My Trip To Đà Lạt
My Trip To Đà Lạt (4/2018)
Đà Lạt is the city of love, mist, pine trees and flowers. It is known by many names including “City of a Thousand of Pine Trees”, “City of a Thousand Flowers” or “City of Eternal Spring”. When I think of Đà Lạt, I can always feel the cool fresh air and the tranquility. The weather is cool year-round with an average temperature of about 14 °C – 23 °C . I usually travel to Đà Lạt to immerse in nature and to seek relaxation. Đà Lạt is always one of my favorite places where I can feel peaceful and calm.
The city is located 1,500 meters above sea level on the Langbian Plateau in the southern part of the Central Highlands region. Đà Lạt is a mountain city with rolling hills, twisting roads and wildflowers which grow on street corners. To enter the city, I had to travel Prenn Pass which is more than ten kilometers long. It is the main gateway to the romantic city of Đà Lạt. The roadside scenery is very beautiful with forests of towering green pine trees on one side and deep valleys on the other. I could hear the murmuring sound of the wind in the pine trees like an endless song of nature. Far below at the foot of the pass, there are lush vegetable gardens and wooden houses nestled under the pine trees.
I could feel the cool breeze and the clean air while I was approaching the top of the pass that leads to the city of Đà Lạt. We passed the two famous waterfalls of Datanla and Prenn as we drove along Prenn Pass.
Prenn waterfall is located at the foot of Prenn Pass which is 10 km from Dalat city. It has a height of nine meters and a width of twenty meters. From its height, the water flows down over a cliff of basalt rock creating a white curtain of water that looks like the hair of a fairy.
Datanla waterfall is located in a very beautiful region that is full of green pine forests. The waterfall cascades down from a height of twenty meters and its width is about 1,000 meters. There is a deep chasm called Dead Cave that is located at the base of the waterfall.
After we drove across Prenn Pass, the first place I visited was Xuân Hương Lake. It is located at a beautiful site in the center of Đà Lạt City. Around the lake there are manicured lawns and flower gardens as well as pine forests.The crescent-shaped lake is nearly seven kilometers long and five kilometers wide. The smooth glassy surface of the lake is like a mirror reflecting the slender rows of pine and willow trees. The scent of the plants surrounding the lake in the spring is very fragrant giving the lake its name Hồ Xuân Hương which means “the fragrance of plants”. Additionally, it is also named after a famous Vietnamese poet of the nineteenth century. I chose a coffee shop by the lake to have a cup of coffee after trolling around the grounds. While I was sipping my coffee, I listened to the sweet melodious tune with its lyrics, “Whoever comes to the land of the apricot cherry blossoms, please stop at the lake and feel the sun setting.”
I felt a peace of mind and a harmony between the vegetation and humans. All my daily sorrows and hardships seemed to vanish and they were replaced by an unexpected relaxation. I inhaled the cool air as I watched the horse carriages clattering down the road. On the lake shore, there was a horse that was grazing leisurely and a couple of foreigners that were playing with their baby. There were groups of teenagers riding tandem bicycles. Lovers were strolling hand-in-hand under the tree-lined sidewalk which goes around the lake. I saw them stop under an old tree to enjoy a bite to eat.
Đà Lạt is often called “The City of a Thousand Flowers” because you can see flowers at any time of the year. You can see flowers lining the streets and covering the hillside. There are gardens of flowers in front of all the houses. From Xuân Hương Lake I walked to the municipal flower garden. This 7000-square-meter park is located at the end of Xuân Hương Lake, close to the romantic Cù Hill which is about two kilometers from the city center. Đà Lạt attracts visitors to see the hundreds of kinds of flowers such as mimosas and roses as well as other imported species like daffodils and lilies. Every other year the Dalat Flower Festival is held during December and January. The purpose of the festival is to exhibit local flowers, vegetables and ornamental plants as well as plants from other regions of Vietnam and other parts of the world. The festival attracts visitors to Dalat which promotes local economic development. I honor this festival because it creates a positive image of the city, the culture and the people of Dalat.
Even though I was drowning in the beauty of this ‘Kingdom of flowers”, I also love to see the wild yellow chrysanthemums carpeting the road and the dandelions growing naturally between the stones of the walls. I was also amazed and bewildered when I caught a glimpse of a bunch of purple phoenix flowers in the Pedagogical College of Dalat. This college was previously named Lyceé Yersin to honor Alexandre Yersin, a French physician who came to Đà Lạt many years ago.
On the second day, I visited the Valley Of Love (Vallée D’Amour). Situated about five kilometers to the north of the Dalat city center, the Valley of Love has one of the most romantic landscapes in Đà Lạt. It is nestled in the rolling hills which are covered in evergreen pine forest all year round. There is a statue of two pairs of hands exchanging rings at the entrance. It is an ideal place for dating couples on weekends. This charming spot is a source of inspiration for young lovers with its tranquil blue water. A dam was built across the Valley of Love forming a lake that provides water for the Đa Thiện community. Walking paths which are embellished with colorful flower beds surround the lake and lead through the forest to Vọng Cảnh Hill. From Vọng Cảnh hill, I could see the Langbian peaks standing out starkly against the blue sky. High atop Vọng Cảnh Hill, I became lost in an idyllic dream as the breezes enveloped me.
That afternoon I arrived in the Golden Valley which is around 15 kilometers from Dalat’s city center. It is surrounded by sloping green hills which are covered in grass and pine trees. When you stroll through the hills, you can hear the sound of pine leaves rustling in the wind. You can immerse yourself in the colorful flowers lining the hillside path. The Golden Valley is a valley of pine trees, flowers, rocks, lakes and waterfalls. There is a harmony between the natural and man-made beauty. Under the shade of pine trees, there is a rock garden with several types of precious stones such as chalcedony and agate. They have been carved by nature and by the hands of artisans into different shapes. You can lie on the sloping grassy hills under the pine trees and contemplate the blue sky. You can feel the tranquility of the central highlands as you stroll along the hillside to the Golden Stream. I appreciated the immensity of the blue lake under the shade of the pine trees. This place is poetically peaceful and you can get lost in the magical pine forests of the Golden Valley.
After leaving the Golden Valley, I visited a strawberry garden. Đà Lạt is famous for its strawberries. The growers use modern technology to plant and grow high-quality strawberries without using any pesticides. I was delighted to pick and eat strawberries right out of the soil. Here I could also see rows of cherry tomatoes growing in the high-tech farms. Farmers here employ a method of growing plants in a nutrient liquid without soil. It is called hydroponic organic farming. It was really interesting for me to pick tomatoes directly off the vine instead of buying them from a market.
I returned to the center of the city when the sun was setting. That evening I went to the night market in Đà Lạt to buy some local products like dried and fresh fruits, vegetables, artichokes, tea, and coffee. Every time I come here, I feel inspired to explore the night market and its street food stalls.
On the third morning, I woke up early and went to a coffee shop to enjoy a cup of hot coffee in the cool weather of Đà Lạt. With excellent coffee produced right on site, Đà Lạt has a special coffee culture. It is home to some really nice coffee shops. On this occasion, I attended a coffee workshop organized in the nearby mountains. After the meeting, I could understand the difference between Robusta and Arabica coffee beans. I got to know the people who work hard on their farms to produce the best quality coffee. I treated my senses of smell and taste to different kinds of beans from different regions as well as different roasting and brewing methods.
The bitterness of coffee and the beauty of roses are a few of my favorite things. Before leaving Đà Lạt, I bought some roses for my little garden. Now that I have returned home, I can still smell the scent of fresh Dalat roses from my bed and I can still feel the mist of Dalat filling my room.