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City in the clouds. Dalat’s cool winds and temperate climate, its French architecture and evergreen pine trees separate this “Little Paris” from the hot and humid tropical South Vietnam surrounding.

Recent urban development and opening of many new resorts has made Dalat become more modern and tourist-convenient in the eyes of some, yet less romantic in the view of others. Though less popular among foreign visitors, Dalat remains the natural beauty, the city of thousand flowers, and the destination for lovers in the eyes of the Vietnamese.

Meaning of name

The name derives from the language of the local ethnic group Lat and its original meaning is "Stream of the Lat”.


Prior to 1893, the Lang Biang highlands were home to various ethnic groups. The French governor of Indochina Paul Dommer, together with Doctor Alexandre Yersin, decided to establish a sanatorium on the cool highlands of Lang Biang in 1899. In 1916, emperor Duy Tan decided to form Dalat town (centre urbain), township of Lam Vien province. The first Viet ethnic people who settled in Dalat were prisoners sent up here to build roads and other infrastructure. 

The French built two new roads leading from Saigon and Phan Thiet  to Dalat, providing the right conditions to turn Dalat from a nearly wild area to a 1.500 people town in 1923. It was Emperor Khai Dinh h who decided that Dalat should be come not only a city, but a tourist center. During World War 2, many of the French could not return to their country.

They stayed in ?à L?t, giving the city its French town look which it holds onto until now. In 1975, Da Lat became one of Vietnam’s four governmental cities (along with Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh city).


The city of Dalat is built on the Lang Biang highlands, North of Lam Dong province. The highlands are surrounded by continuous mountains.

Further Reading

Dalat weather and climate - information on the best time to visit the city.


Photo by functoruser .All flickr photos are licensed under the Creative Commons

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