Maxim Hotel Da Lat

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Maxim Hotel, Da Lat's best kept accommodation secret!

We found Maxim Hotel by chance on our first visit to Da Lat in early 2018. At that time, we didn’t have the well-structured accommodation routine we have today.  But we can tell you that Maxim Hotel is where that little ritual started. Hooray for awesome finds!

Ha and Duong who own and manage the property have gone from acquaintances to good friends in no time.

Here is why we love staying at Maxim Hotel so much.

How did we find this best kept secret?

We were trying out Hotels Combined for the first time. We heard plenty about how easy it was to use and thought we’d give it a go. This was to be the first of many hotels we’d be looking to book on our motorcycle road trip and we needed the process to be easy!

Maxim Hotel Da Lat landed on our short list initially for their price point. It was well within our budget but we’ll admit that we were skeptic once we delved further.

The photos made it look like it was a four-star property, but that couldn’t be right for the price. In the end we took a punt and we were so glad we did!

Affiliate disclosure: The information above (and throughout this post), contain affiliate links for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Where in Da Lat is Maxim Hotel?

Maxim  is also a short walk to Da Lat city center, the markets and several well-known attractions. It’s conveniently located near some great eateries too.

Feel free to ask either Ha or Duong for recommendations.

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Eating like a local in Da Lat

On both visits, Ha introduced us to some delicious dishes, native to Da Lat. So, we can tell you with certainty that you’ll thoroughly enjoy their recommendations.

Facilities

Maxim Hotel consists of four floors. Each floor has four rooms as well as a fully equipped kitchen and small rooftop area.  The latter being available for guest use at any time.

Access to all floors is by stairs and lift. YAY for lifts because you won’t find them often.

They offer free, secure onsite motorcycle parking – if you are traveling with you own. If you don’t have one, they can arrange for a rental motorcycle or other transportation of your choice too.

For added convenience, they offer onsite laundry services. Generally, they can have it done within a day but it is weather dependent. The team is always happy to accommodate special requests where possible so feel free to ask.

Oh, and let’s not forget the free WiFi. Decent services, especially for those working on the road.

Not sure where to start looking for bus tickets, time tables and the like?

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Affiliate disclosure: The information in this posts contains affiliate links for our travel partnerships.  You don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use them but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Rooms

Double Rooms

The Double rooms are perfect for couples.

Each room has a western sized queen bed and a cozy duvet. The fluffy and warm kind – perfect for those cooler highland evenings.

It also has a work desk and wardrobe and the majority of their rooms have windows with plenty of natural light.

The private bathroom is modern and comfortable. Equipped with a double headed shower that has plenty of hot water and great pressure. It has a western toilet and large basin with cabinet too. The latter is almost none existent in hotel bathrooms. It also had a window which was great for natural airflow.

The room had a hairdryer (sounds silly but you miss it when it’s not there), and an electric kettle with cups.  Small but convenient items to make your stay more enjoyable.

Each room also has a large flat screen TV with all the mod cons you would expect.

Quadruple Rooms

The Quadruple rooms have the same amenities as the Deluxe Double room but offer a lot more space.

A plus with this option you’ll enjoy a copious amount of natural light with bigger windows.

The rooms are large enough to accommodate 2 to 4 adults or a family of four comfortably.

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Extraordinary Service

We can’t say enough good things about Maxim Hotel. On our first stay, Ha and Duong went above and beyond showing us their beautiful city.  Not to mention introducing us to some of our now favorite eats.

We were lucky enough to have Ha take us out on a couple of occasions to show us where the boys enjoy their meals. We loved every minute of it!

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Experience Da Lat in a more personal way

Cost

On our first visit, the double cost us VND 250,000 (~USD 11.00 / ~AUD 15.00) per night. It was the best value for money hotel we’ve found so far.

For our second visit, we got a returning customer discount and paid VND 200,000 (~USD 9.00 / ~AUD 12.00) per night for the deluxe quadruple.

Doesn’t sound like a big discount we know. But the room was huge, with a bigger window and better view and that is where we were winners in this deal! We like small things that make a big impact.

Maxim is our go-to hotel in Da Lat and we wouldn’t want it any other way!

 

Update: Duong recently got married and we’re so excited for him.  We wish the happy couple nothing but a lifetime of memories, happiness and love!

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Experience Da Lat like a local!

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Crazy House Da Lat (Hang Nga Guesthouse)

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Do one crazy house thing in Da Lat!

Crazy House! You might be wondering what would inspire a visit to this crazy looking place.

First impressions of Crazy House will leave you confused, asking what on earth you’re looking at but trust us when we say, there is reason for the madness.

This labyrinth of narrow bridges crawling over a mish-mash of unique structures, is a well-known landmark. Not only in Da Lat but Vietnam as well.

It features in almost every travel guidebook list of ‘bizarre things’ or ‘crazy things’ to do in Da Lat.

Not to mention countless blog posts, Facebook posts and even Instagram and Pinterest.

So, it’s not hard to find at all.

Where is Crazy House?

It’s a quick and cheap taxi or GRAB ride from the city center.

Or if you are feeling energetic, it’s a good ten to fifteen-minute walk.

For those travelling by scooter or motorbike, there is parking available at a cost of VND 5,000 (~USD 0.20 / ~AUD 0.30) per bike for the day.

Roll up and park on the left of the drive and make sure you tuck in nice and tight. The attendant on hand will show you the best place to park on busy days.

The staff offered to put our our full faced helmets in the ticket office, which we did reluctantly.  Not only would they be a pain to replace but they had our Bluetooth sets on them too, hence us being hesitant about it.

In the end it was the best decision. Walking around with them would have been a mare on the narrow stairs alone. Not to mention trying to wade through the throngs of people with them.

Not sure where to start looking for bus tickets, time tables and the like?

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Affiliate disclosure: The information in this posts contains affiliate links for our travel partnerships.  You don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use them but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

What makes Crazy House so popular?

It is actually an active guesthouse, called Hang Nga Guesthouse . You can book to stay the night in one of many available rooms. It’s been voted one of the craziest places to stay in the world.

Affiliate disclosure: The information above contains an affiliate link for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

You’ll have to share your accommodation with curious visitors all day long, lol! So, make sure you’re okay with that first.

The guesthouse started as one structure. Designed and built by architect Dang Viet Nga.

It was a personal project and the idea was to make it look like a banyan tree. Incorporating the elements of nature, inspired by the beautiful surroundings of Da Lat.  It also incorporated elements from her favorite architect, Antony Guidi.

The original building has four rooms. Each one with its own nature inspired themed.

Since opening in 1990, Hang Nga Guesthouse has swelled into three large structures.

They are all connected by a network of narrow stairs dancing in and around the buildings in a crazy jig.

Hang Nga continues to grow, inspired by artist submissions as well as local craftsmen, earning it the name, Crazy House.

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Things to do in Da Lat

What is there to see at Crazy House?

Simple. The whole place!

Crawling all over, in and through this beautiful maze is something else!

So many themes and styles in one place that it doesn’t seem like it could work anywhere but Vietnam.  It truly is unique.

One minute you’re surrounded by soft, rounded angles. The next you’re traversing super narrow stairs with little or no railing.  It really is a crazy experience.

We’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.

There is plenty of new construction too. It left us curious about what the new will grow into and look like when it’s finished.

One of our favorite things was the original reception area.  It has been beautifully preserved and dedicated to someone special.

We later learned the man in the photos was Nga’s father, Truong Chinh, who was the second president of Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh.

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Guided tour or DIY?

There is no tour here. Which we thought would have been very handy.

There is plenty of information on Crazy House all over the place, but none of it is in English.

We did a fair bit of reading up after our visit as we had a lot of questions. We suggest you do a bit of reading before you head out as it might make a bit more sense.

Who would enjoy coming to Crazy House?

It’s a bit of fun and almost like a jungle gym for adults. But we would say mostly adults only. And for those who love architecture, this is a feast on the senses!

One thing to note. We didn’t see any small children here and that wasn’t a bad thing. There were plenty of things around that left us questioning the safety aspect of a lot of them.

If you want to take kids with you, we recommend doing some reaching first. Find out from those who have been with kids and get their advice. We don’t have them so we can’t give you any.

Entry fee

The entry fee for Crazy House costs VND 50,000 (~USD 2.15 / ~AUD 3.00) per person (haven’t seen a separate price for children listed anywhere). And it’s open 7 days a week between 8:30 AM and 7 PM, including holidays.

What did we think of the experience?

This was a crazy experience!

Not only was the whole place crazy, but the crowd was crazy too so, it pays to bring your patience.

And a camera! Taking photos here is unreal. You never know if you’re capturing it in a way that will make sense when you show it to someone who hasn’t been there, lol!

It certainly was one of the craziest, quirkiest and bizarre things we’ve done to date!

We had a great time at Crazy House and highly recommend a visit if you are in Da Lat.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Is this the craziest house in southeast Asia?!!

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Looking for your perfect Da Lat accommodation?

From 2 star to rock star! Da Lat can accommodate any need for any traveler. Find yours here!

Affiliate disclosure: The information above contains an affiliate link for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Elephant Waterfall Da Lat

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Why Elephant Waterfall should be on your Da Lat to-do-list!

Among the many things to see and do in Da Lat is Elephant Waterfall.

It’s one of three waterfalls in the area, the other two being Datanla and Prenn waterfalls.

According to our sources, if we were to choose only one of the three, we should make it Elephant waterfall and here’s why.

Spectacular views along the route, great coffee (if you opt to stop) and then the waterfall at the end of it.

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Me Linh Coffee Garden - coffee with the best view in Da Lat!

How we discovered Elephant Waterfall

Before our last visit to Da Lat, we came across the name on Insta and in some research we did on Da Lat.

It looked like a great spot to kill an hour or so and we decided to add it to our to-do-list.

When we checked into Maxim Hotel, our friend Ha also recommended we visit the waterfall. His recommendations are usually on point and if he says they are well worth the visit, then we go visit.

Also, a local recommendation is usually a good endorsement.  That’s how we know we’re onto a good thing.

Unfortunately, on that visit the weather wasn’t on our side. We ended up flagging the activity, much to our disappointment but on this visit though we hit gold!

Not only did we wake up to a beautiful sunny day but it rained the day before. This meant we were in for an epic waterfall show.

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Where is Elephant Waterfall?

Approximately 25km from Da Lat is Cam Ly river and with it, Elephant Waterfall.

There are small tours that go out there but you can do it yourself for cheaper by taking a GRAB or renting a scooter.

The fastest way to get there is to find Hoang Van Thu street first. Follow that until it turns into Cam Ly and keep going until you hit a fork in the road. Follow the road to the left where it becomes DT725 and keep following that until you see Mê Linh Coffee Garden.

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Civet Coffee with a view only Da Lat can deliver!

If you don’t want a coffee then keep going for another 10 – 15 minutes until you see a sign that points to a road on your right. The entrance is about 500 meters down the road on the left.

Things to know when visiting Elephant Waterfall

There are no guides or boards to tell you where to go. Neither is it hard to figure out. You just follow the only pathway down towards the waterfall.

The pathway is a makeshift of locally engineered steel bridges and steps carved out of the rock. It’s a fun walk but super slippery and pretty rough.

After rainy days the waterfall bathes the area in a beautiful mist that soaks everything!  On a hot day it’s heavenly but it does make the pathway hard to traverse.

Our advice. Take good shoes with good grip!

This is a hands-on activity. So, make sure to wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty as there is no escaping it.

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Half way down the pathway there is the big waterfall and a few smaller ones spewing off the sides. The pathway forks, left taking you up close and personal with the big fall.  There you’ll find a steel platform looking out over the big waterfall. To the left of the platform is the way to the cave but we didn’t go in there.  We didn’t have our waterproof gear with us and didn’t want to damage our camera gear.

Coming back to the fork, head downwards towards the foot of the big fall where there are some smaller falls.

There are plenty of great photo spots and it’s not hard to kill an hour or so there. You can even pack a picnic to enjoy in a shady spot if you want.

Cost

Elephant Waterfall is a nice cheap outing.

Parking the bikes cost us VND 5,000 (~USD 0.20 / ~AUD 0.30) per bike.

The nice attendant was more than happy to look after our full faced helmets. (We normally carry them around with us. But it’s not practical here and we reluctantly left them with the bikes. We’re super happy to report that they were still there when we go back.)

There is an entry fee of VND 20,000 (~USD 0.85 / ~AUD 1.20) per person and you can buy the tickets at the office as you go through the gate.

There is also a little souvenir shop with some refreshments on offer and you can take your if you prefer.

What did we think of the experience?

First impression was wow! The river is right there as walk into the garden area and you can go and stand right where the water flows over the edge. I can’t think of any other place we’ve been able to do that. And don’t panic, there is a fence to make sure you don’t go over the edge either.

Seeing the waterfall from above and below was great and we got some great shots. It was also MUCH bigger than it looks in the photos we’ve seen and that was a surprise.

We’re stoked we finally got to see it and it’s well worth a visit if you’re looking to kill a couple of hours on a good day. We don’t think it would be that great in the rain, but leave you to decide for yourself.

We certainly had a bit of fun here. It’s not a major attraction by any means but it’s a good little work out and you come away with some awesome snaps!

It’s well worth visiting if you are in the area.

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Me Linh Coffee Garden Da Lat

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Me Linh Coffee Garden, the place to get your poop coffee on!

Sounds odd we know. And if you don’t know what poop coffee is all about, then Google the heck out of it.

We’ll be honest and say we weren’t sure how we felt about trying weasel coffee. First off, the idea of drinking poop coffee wasn’t palatable at all. Secondly, we were a little hesitant on supporting this concept on behalf of the animals’ welfare.

Me Linh Coffee Garden quickly won us over with its spectacular coffee plantation and unique inhabitants.  It also convinced us that is was okay to try their specialty brew because they do love their weasels and that was important to know.

How we found out about Me Linh Coffee Garden

When we told our friend Ha, that we were going out to Elephant Waterfall for the morning, he suggested coming with us. He had a ‘treat’ he wanted to share with us and we were already grinning from ear to ear.

We love Ha treats so signed him up for tour guide duties and off we went.

Wondering who Ha is?  Meet this host-extraordinaire from Maxim Hotel.

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Getting there

Me Linh Coffee Garden sits on DT725, approximately 20 kilometers outside of Da Lat and is open 7 days a week from 7 AM to 6:30PM. You’ll know when you get there because there are coffee trees as far as you can see. LOL!

You can either rent a scooter in Da Lat (if you stay at Maxim Hotel, then Ha and Duong can help you out with that), or it’s a cheap GRAB ride from the city too.

What is Me Linh Coffee about?

The Farm

Me Linh Coffee Garden not only grow their own coffee, they roast on site and sell it from their very own cafe.

The complex stretches out from the top to the bottom of the hill and through the coffee trees.  It consists of many seating areas, a shop, café and weasel living quarters. Did we mention the beautiful souvenir shop?

There is plenty of free, secure onsite scooter parking which is located to the right as you come through the main gate. They do have space for cars too.

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At the top you’ll find plenty of covered and uncovered seating options to choose from. You have a choice of table and chairs or cafe bench seating overlooking that spectacular view!

There is also a small stage set up for guests to enjoy karaoke or where the life music is performed.

There is a covered walk way that join the upper and lower level. It also doubles as bench seating to the left and right of the walkway.

Believe us, no one misses out on a great view in this place. It’s well thought out!

The Cafe

Coffee is the biggest seller here (apart from the stunning view).

The drinks menu isn’t limited to just coffee options either. They do offer different types of teas as well as yogurt drinks and sodas.

Their specialty of coarse is the weasel coffee and they have a few options to choose from too.

It’s also the cheapest weasel coffee we’ve seen so far. For instance, Trung Nguyen will charge VND 150,000 (~USD 6.50 / ~AUD 8.90) for their weasel coffee. Whereas Me Linh Coffee Garden only charges VND 75,000 (~USD 3.20 / ~AUD 4.50) for some of their options.

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Discover all of Da Lat's treasures

Coffee shop and souvenir shop

You can also buy their coffee products and accessories from the shop. It’s located at the top part of the complex.  There are a number of coffee and tea related items for sale to shop to your heart’s content.

I steer clear of shopping lol, but I couldn’t resist the other attraction in the shop! For those who love dogs, this is the spot to say hello to the owner’s fur babies. They are adorable.

Walking down to the lower level of the complex you’ll find the souvenir shop. It’s in the shape of an authentic farm building and looks very authentic for the area. Here you can peruse all the locally made items such as scarves, bags and other little nick-nacks to mention a few.

There are also plenty of coffee options to choose from. You know, in case you missed out in the coffee shop (wink-wink).

Civets (weasels)

I was a little nervous to meet these guys as I can’t stand to see animals suffering. We’ve seen some scary photos from coffee places in Vietnam and I feared this might be one of them. Especially given its size.

I’m happy to say that the critters looked very happy and healthy! Their living quarters were actually very nice too which was a relief to see.

Each weasel had plenty of space to move around, a few branches to climb and a cozy little hut to curl up in and sleep. All of which were in an area where guests can see them but not bother them. Win-win for all!

They looked so cute, with huge eyes and so much fur! I would’ve loved a pat, but didn’t want to cause them any distress.

Restaurant

The restaurant was unfortunately closed and I did ask to see the menu but we got lost in translation. So, I can’t give you any info on it sorry.

If you have been to the restaurant, please let us know what it was like in the comment. We’d love to hear about your experience.

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Cost

Our weasel coffees and Ha’s normal coffee came to a total of VND 200,000 (~USD 8.60 / ~AUD 12.00) which is impressive! Back home we would’ve paid a truck load more for specialty coffees.

Our thoughts on the experience

The coffees were great. Leon tried the Moka which was the strongest coffee he could find and I went with the sweeter cherry. Exceptionally strong but good, which gave us a good kick up the bum for the rest of the day.

The main attraction for me was that view though. That’s how I’d enjoy every coffee if I could!

We really enjoyed out visit here. We got some good photos, had great conversations and got to meet some really cute weasels.

Me Linh Coffee Garden is great for a visit in any weather as it caters for pretty much any kind of day.  Which is why it’s on our must-see list for Da Lat.

It’s a great little day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city and it won’t break the bank either. Heck we would’ve gone back to do some work there for a day if we had the time up our sleeve. It would’ve been perfect.

And you don’t have to have the weasel coffee. Their normal offerings are pretty tasty too.

Leon and Tash Blog

Things to do in Da Lat

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If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Da Lat Eats

Eating in Vietnam, Vietnamese local food, vietnamese streetfood, Dalat streetfood

Delicious Da Lat Eats and where to find them

We’ve gone on and one about the produce here in Da Lat and it’s time to put our money where our taste buds are. We’d like to introduce you to our Da Lat eats!

Our stay so far has been epic and one of the things that makes it epic is the food! We were lucky enough to have a decent amount of time in this spectacular city to enjoy an array of different eats. We felt it only fair to share them with you.

Da Lat Roadside eats

We’ve got corn, we repeat, we got corn

We’re normally a tad hesitant to take on roadside food without someone that knows what they are doing. But every now and then though, we luck out! Our first roadside experience in Da Lat turned out to one of those times and it was deliciouuuuus!

We walked past this little old lady frying something up on the side of a busy main road. We couldn’t tell what it was but it smelt amazing! It was sweet, but not sickly, fried but not greasy and had us super curious.

At first, we walked right on by but then decided to suck it up and scurried back to find out what it was.

We’re not sure what they’re called but we’ve named them Vietnamese corn fritters. Delectable little deep fried balls of whole corn kernels, coriander, chili and some other elements we weren’t sure of  all in a delicate batter.  They were soooo goood!

We added two more pieces to the corn fritters but these were slightly wide and flat and covered in the same batter as the fritters. What we had now were slices of sweet potato (kumara), covered in batter and deep fried. Ugh my mouth waters just thinking of it.

Combined, the whole lot only cost us VND 35,000 (~USD 1.00 / ~AUD 2.00).

They were so good, that they disappeared before we could take a picture. Sorry guys! We’ll see if can remedy that on a next visit. Wink-wink.

If it looks like a toastie, it must be a toastie

A few days later we were on our way back to our hotel after a long day on our feet. We stopped in at our new favorite, Lien Hoa Bakery, only to find almost everything sold out.

We pretty hungry by then and still new Da Lat, in an area we hadn’t been in before. There were small restaurants everywhere but we couldn’t tell what they were and didn’t want to risk it.

That’s when we saw the toasted sandwiches! Leon was happy to be guinea pig and ordered one. I was still dubious at this stage as the bread was a weird soft yellow color with brown stuff oozing from the middle.

I should’ve known then I was going to miss out! Leon offered me the last bite and after concluding it seemed safe to eat, I tried it.

Pineapple Lump Toastie!! (Sorry but that will only mean something to the Kiwis and Aussies right now.) But you guys read it right!

A light, sweet batter made with real pineapple and a gooey warm chocolate center, toasted to perfection. It was heaven!! Not to mention only VND 5,000 (~USD 0.20 / ~AUD 0.30)

We contemplated going back for more, but we had a dinner date with our friend Hà and had to get back.

Eat like a local - the best of Ha and Duong's Da Lat Eats

If you’ve read our Delightful Da Lat blog, then the name Ha will sound familiar. Our new friend was kind enough to introduce us to some of his and his brother Duong’s favorite Da Lat eats.

Nem Nuong at Ba Hung (Phan Dinh Phung Street)

Ha decided to introduce us to a Da Lat specialty called nem nuong. Delicious morsels made of seasoned pork, molded on lemongrass stalks and grilled to smokey perfection over an open flame.

Served with rice paper, fresh greens, pickled and veggies and finished off with peanut sauce and deep fried rice paper.

The fun part was making the rice paper rolls with all the ingredients in it. If you want to see how this went down, head on over to our vlog on the experience.

The ingredients don’t look like much, but don’t be fooled, it’s filling and food coma inducingly good! Plus it only cost VND 100,000 (~USD 4.00 / ~AUD 6.00) to feed three of us. Score!

Vietnamese pizza at Banh Trang Nuong Co Hoa (Thong Thien Hoc)

Erm, deep fried what now?

Ok, we’ll be honest and say there was no mention (that we can recall) of lung being on the menu. We were there for a Da Lat pizza! How they were different to other Vietnamese pizzas we weren’t sure, but about to find out.

Hà took us to Bánh tráng nướng Cô Hoa on Thông Thiên Học and introduced us to his favorite pizza. It was just before we ordered the pizza that Hà mentioned the place was famous for their pig’s lung.

We had a previous incident with chicken liver that scarred us for life. The idea of eating pig’s lung didn’t sit well, but we decided to be brave and give it a go.

We got the pizzas first and it was the usual rice paper base with toppings. What made this one so tasty was the selection of toppings. Everything from sausage, peanuts and herbs to green mango adorned the base and it was delicious!! We tried both the flat and rolled up pizza and they were both yummy but not exactly filling.

Hà assured us the main meal would follow. And with that the deep fried pig’s lung arrived.

The little pieces of black something presented on a bed of shredded rice paper with fresh herbs, seemed harmless enough. It looked like pieces of fried mushroom really, except we knew what it actually was.

Hesitantly we both tried it and were pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure what Leon was expecting but I thought it was going to be bitter, hard and/or chewy. It was anything but.

The outside was crispy and the inside still soft and chewy. It was very well prepared and we enjoyed every piece of it. Will I have it again, probably not, but I’m sure Leon won’t be shy about it.V

Skillet food at ChaCha Xot (Duong Bui Thi Xuan)

It was time for the main course. Hà took us to a spot just around the corner from our hotel called Chacha Xot. It’s one of his favorites and we can see why!

Their menu offers a large selection of rice or noodles with meat and/or seafood and veggies, or just veggie options. There is something for everyone!

The fun part is, you chose what you want and they deliver the ingredients on a hot plate ready for you to finish how you like. Almost like your own personal hot plate. But you don’t have to cook everything from scratch as it arrives partially cooked. All you have to do is toss the ingredients like a pro, finish it off with the sauce and get ready for a delicious food coma!

We went back a second time to try two other dishes. Again, we walked out with stuffed bellies and big grins.

At VND 145,000 (~USD 6.00 / ~AUD 9.00) for both of us, it’s what we would consider a good mid-range option. 

The service was great, the staff spoke some English but it wasn’t hard to interact with them. The restaurant itself had great ambiance with a fresh vibe, which made the whole experience great.

We look forward to another visit the next time we’re in Da Lat.

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Chao Dem (Phan Dinh Phung Street)

Now this was a real treat! On our last night, Hà decided to introduce us to another one of his favorites but this time it wasn’t in a restaurant.

We got to experience an authentic street side specialty called chao dau xanh (green bean soup).

Settled into the customary small plastic table and chairs set up, Hà went straight to work on ordering our dishes. We had no idea what we were in for!

Before long an efficient young man plonked three large bowls in front of us. Each bowl filled with steaming light green goop and it looked mouthwatering.

Another five dishes arrived with some interesting looking condiments. Hà explained that the soup itself, made of rice and green beans, doesn’t have much flavor but that is where the condiments come into it.

These included two selections of cooked veggies, two selections of pickled veggies, anchovies, deep fried tofu, boiled eggs and chili sauce.

The shell on the egg looked very soft and the yolk wasn’t a normal yellow. They intrigued me because they didn’t look like normal boiled eggs and I was right!

Turns out the eggs are left in heavily salted water for five days and then boiled.  They were the saltiest eggs we’ve ever tasted but when combined with the green bean soup, tasted delicious.

We sampled all the vegetable on offer with the soup and on a cold, wet night, it was the perfect comfort food option.

If you ever see a sign that says chao dau xanh, don’t hesitate to give it a go!

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We just want to say a massive thank you to Ha for taking the time to show us so many of his favorite foods. We had an absolute blast trying out so many different and new dishes! And Duong, sorry we couldn’t spend more time with you, but we thoroughly enjoyed your recommendations too, especially La Viet Coffee!!

More Da Lat Eats for mentioning

Lien Hoa Bakery

Another one of our tricks for eating on the cheap is to look for bakeries. Here in Vietnam there is no shortage of them. Another great French influence that the Vietnamese have mastered.

In Da Lat though, there is one bakery that stands out by a country mile and we know why. Their banh mi rocks!! Welcome to Lien Hoa Bakery, a Da Lat eats institute!

Da Lat is unique in that it offers a different kind of banh mi to any other we’ve encountered so far. What makes the Da Lat version special is that it’s served with pork meatballs cooked to delicate perfection in a light and tasty broth. Add in freshly made pate, herbs and pickled veggies and you have a stunner!

Doesn’t sound like much but the simple things in cooking are usually the best. I devoured seven of these things during our stay by myself and at
VND 15,000 (~USD 0.65 / ~AUD 1.00) a piece, it was both filling and bang for our buck.

One thing to watch out for with Lien Hoa is that you never walk out of there with just banh mi lol. It’s a bakery and it’s a big one to boot too. We can vouch for their banh bao, sweet treats, cakes and coffee lol.

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Opening of a brand new Jolibees

If you’ve seen our vlogs, you will know we were big Jollibee fans! When we planned our visit to Da Lat we did look for it, but it seemed Jollibee hadn’t reached Da Lat yet.Only, on day two of walking around, we spotted some Jollibee signs with an upcoming date and we got super excited. That excitement was quickly squashed when we couldn’t find any info on the posters though.Three days before we due to leave, we found out that Jollibee WAS opening a new store in Da Lat. The best part was it was happening the very next day.

We had to do a fair bit of digging on the location as nobody, not even Ha knew where the store was. He gave us a general direction to head in and with that we set of the next morning.

Ha was right! We found a brand new Jollibee and it was having a great big opening party and we were there to celebrate with them.

Cheap Da Lat Eats

We were travelling on a budget and while we weren’t skint, we liked the challenge of making our dong stretch as far as it could. Along with bakeries, we looked for big versions of Super C, Lottemart or Vinmart supermarkets. Why you ask?

Simple, most, but especially the bigger supermarkets, will have a dedicated counter for ready made meals. Here we found chicken and rice with soup for VND 17,000 (~USD 0.75 / ~AUD 1.00) or beef and veggie noodle stir fry for VND 25,000 (~USD 1.00 / ~AUD 2.00).  These are the options we tried, but there were many more to choose from.

Their bakery section is another good spot for cheap eats.

So, if you are traveling on a super tight budget, look for these guys as their  ready made meals offer value for money.

Da Lat eats we missed out on

Unfortunately, we missed out on the night food market due to bad weather. Everything we read and heard about told us it was worth going to so it’s still on the list of things to do.

If you have been and have a dish or treat you think we should try let us know in the comments.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Da Lat is a sparkly gem in the Vietnamese central highlands and one of our favorite destinations. In our Da Lat playlist we'll show you where all the good spots are and some itinerary must have's!

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

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100 Roof Cafe, a Da Lat must see

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The 100 Roofs cafe is definitely something else!

We must have walked past this odd-looking place half a dozen times before curiosity got the better of us.

We weren’t sure if 100 Roof Cafe was an actual bar or a coffee café or another type of café we hadn’t come across before. With things like a “Cookies and cream rum milkshake” on the menu it had to be a bar, but it just didn’t look like one.

From the outside it almost looks like the entrance to one of those vintage carnival horror rides. With jagged edges and creepy mismatched decor, luring you in with morbid curiosity.

It turned out to be anything but!

When you order a drink and find yourself in a labyrinth

I ordered a Da Lat specialty called artichoke tea, curious to find out what it was about.

Leon took his chances with the cookies and cream rum milkshake (shudder). He swears it was drinkable, and I tried enough to know not to order one (I’m not much of a rum drinker).

Drinks ordered, we took our designated seats and waited. It wasn’t long before we got the green light to head down the stairs.

We had no idea what to expect but the lady behind the counter was very eager for us to get down there.

Our first glimpse into this oddity was down a tight staircase, leading into a dark abyss. The whole things shouted ‘creepy dark forest vibe’, and it did not inspire any enthusiasm for me.

Leon however, was chomping at the bit to get down there and no doubt scare the living lights out of me. LOL

We took a few sips, assessed that the drinks were in fact tasty and set off for the dark abyss with mixed feelings.

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Down the rabbit hole we go

The first landing had the same dark forest feel as the staircase. The room had some extra creepy additions of faces and creatures coming out of the walls. The lights had a lot to do with the ambiance, but again, we weren’t sure what the aim was.

Curiously, there were some chairs and tables down there too but not a whole lot of room to move. I wasn’t expecting the seating options, which made the place even more strange.

At this point it felt like I had stepped into a scene at Spookers (It’s a haunted attraction back home).  I couldn’t help but feel like something nasty was about to either jump or crawl out of the hole I was heading towards.

Still apprehensive, I squirmed through said hole. Relieved that nothing was there to scare the life out of me.

I was laughing though, because I’m 5’4” trying to imagine 6’2” Leon contorting himself through the space. It was hilarious.

What greeted us on the other side is somewhat hard to describe and make a vlog about but we’ll try.

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When the hole becomes a maze

We found ourselves in an elaborate labyrinth of nooks, crannies, doorways, staircases and dead ends. Some were dimly lit, others pitch black! We also found headaches, shin aches and finger aches thanks to all the dark explorations. LOL!

At one point Leon and I lost each other in the labyrinth. While I could hear the traffic outside, I couldn’t for the life of me pick up on where Leon was.

I managed to find my way back to the front desk without knowing how. It didn’t take long for a new lady with a spectacular smile to ask if I’d seen the garden terrace.

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Back? In there?

There’s a garden terrace, in there?? I wasn’t sure what to make of that question. But before I knew it, I was back in the dark abyss looking for the garden terrace. I was not looking forward to this as I had no idea how long it would take to find my way back out again.

I did manage to find a couple of the spots overlooking the street and city. I guessed it was from the second and third floors and they had fantastic views over the city.

But, I had a garden terrace and husband to find, there was no time to admire the view.

Found Leon! Now where’s the front door again?

Five minutes later I collided with a large body in the dark. Before I could scream and run the other way, my husband assured me it was him.

The first question out of his mouth was, “have you seen the garden terrace?”.

I relayed my experience to a highly amused Leon who showed me the way to the garden terrace, laughing all way.

Once we reached the top, I could see what the fuss was about. If I thought the view from the second and third floors were great, it certainly had nothing on what I was looking at now.

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Things to do in Da Lat

It was worth finding!

An almost 360-degree view from the top one of the highest points of the city, and what a view! Complete with a scene of its own and some interesting characters.

We could see almost every peak and valley of Da Lat and it was postcard perfect. Low lying clouds kissing the tops of the highest peaks while a soft rain covered everything else in a sparkling glow. It almost felt like another world.

The lady with the spectacular smiled joined us while we were admiring view. Turns out she is the original owner’s daughter and had some interesting history tit bits to share with us.

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How did the 100 Roofs Cafe start?

The 100 Roof Cafe was the brainchild of well-known Da Lat architect, Lu Truc Phuong. It was his dream to create something distinct. Something everyone will want to see when they visit Da Lat.

In 1989 construction started on a narrow four storey building on Phan Bội Châu street, called 100 Roof Cafe. Today it has a bit of a legendary status in Da Lat and Lu Truc Phuong’s daughter now proudly continues the legacy.

Each level is different to the last with new additions constantly switches things up. It’s almost like you’re playing the never-ending version of hide and seek.

The rooftop garden terrace is currently under construction.  We’re uber curious to see what they do with the space. Whatever it is, it’s going to be unique, that’s for sure!

At night the cafe turns into a lively bar.  Its patrons roam the labyrinth in search of their perfect seat (which there are plenty of).

We can only imagine what the place looks like at night, but we would definitely go back to experience it all again.

Even though, my first impression wasn’t that great, it did turn into a fun experience and a barrel of laughs.

100 Roofs Cafe is a must visit in Da Lat

When you find yourself in Da Lat, we can highly recommend the 100 Roof Cafe for a fun and unique experience, day or night.

If we could give you one tip it would be to use your phone as a torch. It will come in handy for those pitch-black spots.  The ones where you’re not sure if it’s a staircase leading up or down or a nook and cranny you can’t fit into. LOL

Whatever you do, don’t forget to have fun, that was the intent with this unique venue.

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All our Da Lat adventures in one place!

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

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