Dalat is a unique, charming city, and a really great place for a few weeks of quiet work in beautiful cafes. Located in the region of high plains/low mountains where southern vietnam meets central Vietnam, known in Vietnamese as the Tây Nguyên region, Dalat has a cool climate year round. As a result, vegetables like Artichokes, and flowers grow there, that don’t grow elsewhere in Vietnam, and so it is renowned for its high-quality agriculture, and cool fresh air.

Dalat, is really like two different towns. During the week it is a quiet town with locals going about their business, but on the weekend busloads of young Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi arrive to enjoy a couple of romantic and artistic days, listening to the music of Trịnh Cộng Sơn and sipping Dalat wine in candlelit cafes, drinking coffee, or eating at the famed night market. If you are looking for nightlife, this is perhaps not the place, but if you want a quiet and scenic place with some fun cafes, and a decent swimming pool in town, then you will really like it here.

A nice cup of coffee at the Married Beans Coffee Concept

Some of the best coffee I had was at The Married Beans – Coffee Concept.   The cafe is more of a demonstation room for the coffee they make and sell, it’s certainly a good place that is close to the night market.  And staying in Dalat you probably will want to be within walking distance of the night market.  That is the center of the town, and as there are so many decent places to stay near there, I wouldn’t stay elsewhere.

Of all the places I sat and worked, this place was the best for long hauls.  The reason was that it also serves pretty decent food.  You can get a sandwich or soup, plug your computer in, and spread your stuff out.  Much of the cafe is open air as well, and the tables had vegetables and herbs planters on them or next to them, so you really feel like you’re in a garden.   I felt productive, and slightly inspired.

An Cafe, Dalat

Up Coffee

This place was really cool as well.  I remember driving my motorbike around, and seeing the lights of a cafe or restaurant up on a cliff.  So one evening I drove over there, and found it.  It is a 3 story cafe, with open air on the upper level.  I don’t really drink coffee in the evening, otherwise I can’ sleep, but I liked the blueberry yogurt smoothie.  The smoothies in Vietnam are great in general.

The Dalat Night Market

The night market is a great place to eat in the evening, you should definitely try what people refer to in English as the Dalat Pizza, or in Vietnamese it’s the Bánh Tráng Nướng Đà Lạt. You can then get a glass of warm soy milk, and shop for strawberries.  I recommend the local Dalat variety of Strawberries, which are cheaper and taste great, though they don’t look as pretty as some of the larger ones.  This is also a good time to pick up some of those furry hats with the long ears that double as hand mittens.

The Phù Đổng Pool

It’s a real shame I didn’t take a better picture of the pool, but at long last I found a good place to swim in Da Lat.  I had tried looking at the pool at the Muong Thanh hotel, but basically it was one of those small hotel, pools, with near hot tub temperatures you may be familiar with.  The Phu Dong pool, while the hours might be a little limited, is a nice 25 meter pool, that occasionally gets flooded with kids, but also has times where you can get in a quiet swim, despite the lack of lane lines.  This pool, along with a number of good local gyms, really made Da Lat a place I could hang out and get some good work done, without having to sacrifice my exercise routines.