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Crazy House Da Lat (Hang Nga Guesthouse)

Things to do in Vietnam, Crazy House Da Lat, Hang Nga Guesthouse, things to do in da lat, vietnam history, vietnam tourist attraction, Vietnam travel, vietnam tourist spots, vietnam destinations, where to go in vietnam, best places to visit in vietnam, Da lat, dalat

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?

No problem, we've got you covered. Hit search to find  your travel solutions

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.

Leon and Tash Blog

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.

Things to do in Vietnam, Crazy House Da Lat, Hang Nga Guesthouse, things to do in da lat, vietnam history, vietnam tourist attraction, Vietnam travel, vietnam tourist spots, vietnam destinations, where to go in vietnam, best places to visit in vietnam, Da lat, dalat

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!

Helmet buying in Vietnam and what to consider before spending money

How to buy helmets in Vietnam
buying a helmet in vietnam, motorcycle helmets, what to know when buying a motorcycle helmet, ECE accreditation, DOT, SNELL, SHARP

Do you need to wear a helmet in Vietnam?

Short answer – Yes you have to wear a helmet.

Long answer – legally in Vietnam you have to wear a helmet when riding a scooter/motorbike. If caught riding without one, you are liable for a fine of ~VND 100,000 – 200,000 / USD 4.40 – 8.80. Or jail depending on the circumstances. That may sound like a small price to pay for those outside of southeast Asia, but we assure you, it’s not worth the hassle.

 

Don’t run

Running when the red light is swinging at you, could be tempting but in reality, it’s a bad idea. They will take chase. As a result, you can cop a hefty fine and they will impound the bike. Probably not worth it.

Fun fact – traffic police are by law obligated to salute you when they stop you. Found that bit of info on the RentabikeVN website. Great reads on their blog, go check it out.

 

Fines and bribes

Going back for a minute to fines (or bribes for that matter). You’ve most likely heard or read plenty about pretending to be stupid so you don’t have to pay the fine or get off. That may have worked in the past, but things are changing and not in the favour of stupid.

Thai traffic police for instance, have learnt how to read English international licenses. They now understand how the classes/restrictions should apply to foreign licenses.No more pretending your home license allows you to ride a scooter lol.

We learnt this from a man who completed an advanced motorcycle training course with us last year. He’d been to Thailand many times, riding a 110cc scooter on his Australian car license without incident.

Not to say that it will happen in Vietnam, but in reality, what’s to stop it from happening here in the future?

(FYI you can only ride a 50cc scooter on your car license in Australia and NZ. Anything bigger and you need a proper motorcycle license. Same goes for Vietnam.)

That all changed once he got wind of the new methods adopted by the local police force. He weighed up his options and figured it wasn’t worth the drama of getting caught. Hence why he opted for the course of getting a proper motorcycle license.

 

Speaking of valid licenses

Vietnam will only accept an international license issued by a competent authority of a member state of Convention on Road Traffic 1968. Do your research on that before you come to Vietnam, because most countries in the world won’t comply with that little requirement. And no, you can’t just roll around on your normal license, it doesn’t work that way lol.

But back to the topic at hand. We wouldn’t advise negotiating or engaging in bribery. Avoid if you can, it’s not worth it.

Ensure you have the correct paperwork on you at all times. That includes a valid license, vehicle registration, insurance and passport. It’s not fail safe but those are the minimum requirements as set out by official government law.

 

Also consider

Another thing to think about is Vietnam has southeast Asia’s second highest fatality rate. You don’t hear or see much of it on international news but it’s a stark reality once you’re here and experience the chaos for yourself.

In all fairness, they have improved vastly in the last decade but have yet to introduce a minimum safety standard for motorcycle helmets. That basically means you can wear anything on your head that resembles a helmet and it’s fine. Hell, we’ve seen cats here on 1,000cc street bikes wearing what looked like bicycle helmets.

There is a silver lining to that dark cloud. Since introducing the compulsory helmet law, 15,000 individuals can thank their lids for saving their lives. Progress, not perfection. But it is a good reason to cover your head, yeah?

 

Which helmet is best

We can’t tell you which helmet is best for you, but what we can do is give you the info you need to start your own research.

 

Types of helmets

Vietnam offers a plethora of helmet options including;

  • Half helmets – covers the top of the head only and most popular in Vietnam
  • Open faced helmet – covers three quarters of the head and second most popular option.
  • Full faced helmet – covers the whole head plus chin (least favorable option).

So, let’s see what the types of helmets are about.

 

Half Helmets

Half helmets or brain buckets, are the most popular option in Vietnam. Not because they are safe, but rather they are a cheap option to avoid copping a fine from traffic police.

A run of the mill brain bucket will set you back anywhere from USD2.00 to USD6.00 and at that price you can imagine the level of safety on offer. Oh, yes safety standards. There are none for this type of helmet.

By all mean if you have a $10 brain, buy a $10 helmet.

** UPDATE **: Something I didn’t consider when I first wrote this article was the integrity of used helmets.  As frequent travelers to Vietnam well know, motorbikes are bought and sold at an astronomical rate in Vietnam and most of them are second hand.  If are are buying a secondhand bike and the deal comes with a brain bucket (half helmet) we highly recommend you toss it and buy a brand new one!

One, they are cheap and readily available and it is totally worth it.  Two, you have no idea what kinds of knocks and hits that helmet has already had and have no idea of its integrity.   Would you rather have an inherited helmet and cracked head or a new helmet and a better chance at surviving?

At the end of the day it’s your choice, we just you to make an informed one.

 

Open faced helmets

Awareness of safety is filtering through to Vietnamese motorcycle riders. Offering more protection than a brain bucket, the open faced helmet is becoming more popular. To be fair, they do offer more protection than the brain bucket.

While they are a better option, they are not ideal as the chin is still exposed to injury. Sounds minor I know, but all you have to do is look at online pictures of these injuries to know how painful that experience is going to be (shudder).

Good news is, a few big brands make this type of helmet but it comes at a price. It’s still a better option as you now have peace of mind with minimum safety standards. Do your research first before you rush out and buy one. (We’ll cover those standards soon.)

 

Full faced helmets

If you want protection for your whole head, then you’ll want to consider a full faced helmet.

Do be careful as full face doesn’t automatically equate to safe. We found full faced helmets at Lottemart (Vietnamese version of Target) for USD 20.00 and they were nothing but a shell with some Styrofoam looking lining. Not saying it won’t do the job, but again a $10 brain = a $10 helmet.

 

Safety Standards

If you definitely want a helmet you can depend on then look into the following safety standards.

 

Snell

This is the king of helmet safety testing. Snell standards pertain mainly to the racing industry and for this reason considered the king of helmet testing standards. The testing process is both vigorous and detailed and the reason top manufacturers line up for Snell’s accreditation.

This however, is not a money-making racket either. The Snell Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation focusing their testing on high level safety standards.
You can read more about them and their work here.

 

DOT

DOT is the American crash helmet safety standard and stands for Department of Transport FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) No. 218. This standard applies to helmets sold and used in the U.S. only.

The test covers a few things, but most notable is their testing for high speed and multiple angle impacts. The high speed is self-explanatory. What makes the multiple angle impact interesting is that there is no way to predict the direction and force of an impact on a helmet in an accident. So, these guys test the sides, top and back of the helmet to gain clearer insights. And that’s great!

Now while your helmet may have a DOT sticker on it, doesn’t mean the model was actually tested. Here’s the deal.

Manufacturers don’t DOT test all their models. They will get approval for some but not all. If they get audited and hit one that hasn’t gone through testing, well, we’re not sure what the penalty is for that.

Something to think about and you can read more on that here.

 

ECE 22-05

This is the European minimum safety standard. Also known as the Economic Commission of Europe Regulation No. 22 (05 is a specific amendment number).

ECE testing includes low speed and angle impacts as well as subjecting the helmets to environmental conditions, high and low heat, solvents, ultraviolet, humidity and moisture. It’s a comprehensive level of testing and why it’s popular worldwide.

Unlike DOT, if a manufacturer wants an ECE accreditation then testing must be across the entire range. So when you see an ECE sticker, you know the model has the appropriate level of protection for its specifications.

Knowledge is power right?

 

SHARP

SHARP is an online tool that takes ECE one step further. Here you’ll find the safety data from ECE complimented by test results for comfort and proper fit. at your fingertips for direct comparisons.

Basically, they have all the info you need on most helmets in one place so you can compare say, a Shoei to an LS2 and see which one offers what you’re looking for. When it comes to picking helmets, SHARP is your friend.

 

Where can I find a helmet in Vietnam?

Simple answer, almost anywhere.

Long answer, research is your friend. If you know what type of helmet you want and what level of safety you need, then a simple online search can point you in the right direction.

Vietnam has a big motorcycle culture and there are many shops that will have what you want.

Our advice is, always try before you buy! Just because it looks good on paper doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Find a shop that knows what they are talking about. Ask them about the safety features. If they can’t tell you the basics (which you already know), then keep going until you find one that takes your safety as serious as you do.

Plus, it’s a good way to meet like minded riders.

 

How much does a helmet cost?

Again, this will depend on your chosen options, but think about the following;

  • How often and how long will you be wearing the helmet for?
  • Type of conditions you expect to ride in?
  • Have a budget and make sure it covers at least your minimum requirements for safety and comfort.

At the end of the day, it’s your brain and your life. What’s it worth to you?

 

Summary

We went through this experience here in Da Nang not so long ago, hence why we’re sharing what we’ve learnt with you.

Back home it’s easy, you rock up to a bike shop and you know you’re getting the right advice and the right product.

We’ll be honest and say the no minimum safety requirement for a helmet here in Vietnam threw us. Motorbikes make up over 90% of registered vehicles on the road and accidents happen. You can’t have that many vehicles on the road and expect it to be all honky dory.

We knew we wanted full faced helmets. Apart from being a smart choice, it’s also the only choice back home.

We knew about the different safety standards and decided on a make and model that complies with the ECE standard. (Nothing wrong with the others, this one is just our preference).

 

What we wanted

We were happy to find a motorcycle accessory shop in Da Nang that stocked what we wanted and they delivered a great service. In fact, X135 went above and beyond to help us out and for that we thank them. If you are looking for riding gear or motorcycle accessories, they are the peeps to contact. You can find them on their website or Facebook.

(This is in no way a paid or beneficial piece, we really think these guys are genuine and great to deal with and we’re happy to recommend them.)

The only option available within our minimum criteria was the LS2 Stream EVO helmet .  It has the ECE standard, is rated 3/5 for comfort and fit on SHARP and it’s in our budget at VND 2,300,000 (USD100 give or take).  That is not much by western standards but here in Vietnam that is considered and expensive helmet.  Still we’re happy with our purchase as it delivers what we want.

We had a more important reason for spending dollars on full faced helmets, but more on that in coming weeks, hehe.

Sources

We also did a fair bit of reading on Billy’s Crash Helmets for info on EU standards. They have some great reads to, go check it out.

We hope this helps you find your perfect lid but if you have a question, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll help where we can.

Here is a link to a fun little vlog we made on buying our helmets and you get to see X135 in action if you are curious.

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 TwitterFacebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

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


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