In the southern part of the Central Highlands lies the mystical and unspoiled beauty of Da Lat. Famous for its laidback charm and dramatic terrains, this mountain resort town draws all kinds of travelers — couples on a romantic trip, wellness seekers, adventurers, and even solo travelers wanting a taste of freedom.
Da Lat, which was once was summer getaway for the French, has now become one of the top spots for both local and foreign tourists. During the Tet holiday this year, the town welcomed about 120,000 visitors — and that’s even before Vietnam reopened the borders and lifted all entry restrictions for foreigners.
Over the long weekend, as locals celebrated the Reunification Day and Labor Day holidays, the town of Da Lat was warned of overcrowding. According to VnExpress, Da Lat originally planned to receive 160% more visitors than during the Tet holiday and 135% more than the same period last year.
With all this hype and the truly undeniable magic that Da Lat holds, we break down some of the reasons the town continues to become a crowd favorite.
No one’s gonna argue with this: Da Lat is almost synonymous with grandeur. It offers every traveler a space to relax and unwind and bask in the glory of nature. Here, there’s no shortage of places to see and things to do; every corner exudes an alluring energy visitors can never resist. It’s no surprise that Da Lat’s natural landscapes have been made as inspirations in paintings, music, and films.
Some must-visit places are the Xuan Huong Lake, Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, and the Lang Biang mountain. Interacting with the hospitable locals is also an experience that’s not to be missed.
There’s always something new to discover
While Da Lat doesn’t have the energy that Saigon or Nha Trang possesses, it continues to evolve and grow at its own pace. One can visit the town several times and still be surprised to see new things sprouting up. Besides known locations such as Clay Tunnel, Than Tho Lake, and Valley of Love, there are new destinations to check out like La Phong Tourist Area, Datanla Waterfall, Da Lat Fairytale Land, or Doc Nha Lang.
Quality homestays and dining spots
There are countless homestays and cafes that cater to travelers’ needs in Da Lat. Most of them offer priceless hospitality and incredible service, adding to the whole Da Lat experience. With a wide range of options, visitors can find the most suitable and convenient accommodation and dining venue for themselves.
There are too many reasons to love Da Lat. But like the majority of the Vietnamese destinations that have captured the hearts of tourists, Da Lat is also slowly becoming crowded. While it’s a sign of economic prosperity for the town, it is, in some ways, affecting travelers’ experiences.
There has been some negative feedback on social media from travelers that Da Lat has somehow lost its tranquility. Many come to Da Lat to find inner peace, but instead, all they see are travelers waiting in long lines to take photos, or overloaded restaurants and hotels.
If not managed carefully, Da Lat might be at risk of over-tourism. A study by McKindsey&Company and The World Travel & Tourism Council pointed out five main problems resulting from over-tourism: Alienated local residents, degraded tourist experience, overloaded infrastructure, damage to nature, and threats to culture and heritage.
As a traveler, there are a few things you can do to prevent over-tourism and experience your favorite destination the way you want it:
- Travel off-peak season: Travelling during low seasons might even benefit visitors as it allows people to have more time and space to enjoy themselves without getting disturbed.
- Explore lesser-known places: Lesser-known doesn't mean they are not beautiful or great. There are various destinations still hidden from most tourists, and more often than not, these spots are even lovelier than the usual crowd favorites
- Travel in smaller groups: Overtourism can be solved, starting with just a simple act of reducing your own travel groups. It's not always "the more, the merrier."
- Travel with respect: When you travel, you are like a visitor coming to your friends’ homes. Hence, you need to show your respect by following the rules and protecting the culture and values that place has carried on for generations.