As the designated itinerary planner for our travels, I thought to explore Vietnam this time rather than cross the border to Phnom Penh, Cambodia like we did last 2010. Given that cheap (and sometimes hassle-ridden) flights to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are now available courtesy of Cebu Pacific, it is best to explore the beauty of Cambodia separately.
The best site to do your research for suggested itinerary and hotel recommendation is Trip Advsor. I still do research in Girltalk, but found the forum ridden with comments that provide no help at all so I just browse through the topics but still stick with Trip Advisor.
I recently got acquainted with a blogger who went to Vietnam early this year and he explored Mui Ne; his detailed description is so helpful that all I have to do is follow his itinerary. And then I read about Dalat. It’s very similar to the weather in Baguio and I thought this is poles apart from the temperature in Saigon; a welcome respite from the heat indeed.
While Sinh Tourist offers tours to Dalat from Saigon, I decided to take Phuong Trang bus as it is more flexible. Sinh Tourist only have one trip in the morning and we can’t leave that early since we wanted to spend more time with our two other friends who were leaving earlier than us. Phuong Trang have buses leaving for Dalat every hour. We decided to get the 11AM trip and estimated arrival at Dalat is around 7PM.
- Terminal is located at 272-274 De Tham Street. Your landmarks are the Allez Boo resto and Highlands Coffee Shop.
- I don’t suggest taking the night bus. Much as it will be more travel-efficient because you can just sleep the 8-hour ride away and wake up in Dalat, traveling at night can be quite dangerous as the narrow roads go up and down the mountainside. Mix that with some hellish bus/truck drivers and motorbikers and it’s not worth taking the risk.
- Book your ride a day before, preferably in the morning so you get the seats in front.
- Fare is VND190,000 (Php380) , one way. You cannot buy a roundtrip bus ticket so upon arrival in Dalat, buy your ticket for your trip back to Saigon. They will then ask you where you’re staying because a shuttle will fetch you from your hotel 45 minutes before your schedule. Sweet right?
(I learn later on that the hotel you’re staying on can arrange this for you. 🙂 )
- Phuong Trang in Dalat also offers a free shuttle ride to your hotel. So that’s one cab fare saved!
- Bring jacket and pants. It’s bound to get as cold as 15°C at night.
Place to Stay
I relied on Trip Advisor for this one. Since our primary rule in traveling is, Thou Shall Not Spend Too Much on Accommodation, I checked out the Bed & Breakfasts (BBs) and Inns and found this gem.
They ranked #4 among the BBs and Inns in Dalat. I initially emailed Dreams Hotel as they ranked first but I never got a reply from them. Mr. Tung of Les Sapins (it’s French for ‘The Pines’) was quick to respond and so I confirmed our room here. Our room was spacious, has a working hot shower, and its location, super! Go straight up that street and it’s lined with restos, bars, tour operators / easy riders, banks and the night market. Walk further and you will see the Xuan Hong Lake right in the heart of the city. Dalat tour photos on the next post. 🙂