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“Interesting if you've never seen an Asian market before.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Dalat Market

Dalat Market
Ranked #13 of 85 things to do in Da Lat
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This enormous market is where the locals shop for vegetables, fruit and wine.
Seoul, South Korea
Level Contributor
114 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Interesting if you've never seen an Asian market before.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2012

Compared to other Vietnamese markets such as Hue, Hanoi, or even Hoi An, this market is quite poor. It has a lot of elements of a flea market, with junky knockoffs or no-named brands. The real interesting elements around this area are the little cafes, and eateries that spring up in the evening. There is a festivity around the market in the evening as the streets are closed to motorized traffic, and the locals come out to play and socialize (may be on weekends only).

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Thank NomadicBiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Antibes, France
Level Contributor
32 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Eat local on the first floor!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2012

Another market but the best is on the first floor....

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Thank Cat22222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Typical Asian market, noisy, smelly and very dirty.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2011

Dalat market offers all the sights and sounds one would expect while in Asia ..filled with an amazing array of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat, poultry, people and hundreds of motorbikes! It's worth a visit, better still, stop for a coffee in one of the sidewalk cafes and watch the passing parade it's fascinating and a good way to fill in an hour or so. It's worth a visit, once.

Note: Like much of Asia, Dalat inhabitants don't understand the huge environmental implications of dumping rubbish; tons of waste fills the market area, back streets, canals and roadsides. A walk through the lanes of Dalat regrettably makes you think what this place be like in years to come?

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Thank lifesaholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
86 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“The night market!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2011

I am a bit surprised no one has mentioned about the night market in Dalat yet. To me, it's such an amazing place with plenty of food and other choices.

Me and my boyfriend got to Dalat at night and went straight to check out the night market. My first impression about the place was there were so many seafood vendors on the staircases. I still can remember how shock I was when I saw that scenery. The idea of seafood in a highland town scared me at first, but we decided to risk it and ordered some mussels. Turned out it was not so bad. The BBQ pork/chicken/... tasted pretty good as well. We also tried some chicken porridge and trust me, it was so good and hot and good!

We had a little food tour, and tried to eat as much as we could. We also found out a very tasty meatball sandwich stall located just a little walk from the market. Oh my God, the meatball bánh mì was the bomb, a little too spicy for me but still yummy!

I was also amazed by how big the night market in Dalat was. It was maybe one of the biggest night markets I've ever seen. The stalls went on and on. A lot of cheap stuff but too bad they were all warm clothes. I live in Saigon so it wouldn't be a good idea to buy those clothes.

We stayed in Dalat for 4 days and always visited the night market. They have good food and a lot of interesting things to see. Thumbs up!

Dalat could be cold some nights but don't stay in your rooms, go out, check out the night market. It'll worth it!

Visited December 2011
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6 Thank chaucyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Memories of Dalat”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2011

(C) JBoyd 2010

When crossing the road in Vietnam, particularly in Ho Chi Min city (formerly Saigon), walk very slowly. The people will not deliberately try to hit you with their motorbikes but make no sudden moves. With this sound advice from my Lonely Planet, I landed at Saigon airport on a spontaneous trip to meet my daughter who had been travelling there for a month. We rarely get to spend time together at home these days, so this seemed a precious opportunity to both catch up and have a holiday, or so I thought. To my surprise, my trip became so much more – almost a pilgrimage.

After finding each other among the thousands gathered outside the airport terminal – a feat in itself, we travelled into the city on a local bus, much to the astonishment of the other passengers. Two relatively tall, blue-eyed blondes are still a novelty in some parts of the country.

Passing the sign to the CuChi tunnels was the first indication that perhaps this trip would be more than I expected. The horror of a long buried memory of my friend Lawrence who died as a ‘tunnel mole’ there during the Vietnam war, along with thousands of Vietnamese people, hit like a thunderbolt. My first inkling that this trip was to be – unexpected …

Taking the first step into peak hour traffic on the main street of Saigon is like stepping into a vortex. You have no idea if you’ll make it across safely. It’s an exercise in hope. As I stood in the middle of the street, on our way to a history lesson, Vietnamese style, at the Reunification Palace, with thousands of motorbikes swirling around, I was struck by the realisation that Vietnam is a place of survival and memories, and the quirky characters which make the human race interesting. Elegant women, impeccably groomed in their áo dài perched behind wiry men, often with up to four or five children sandwiched between them, or merchandise, or the family shopping, dangling precariously around them; alongside food and furniture carriers. Want to go to a temple on a whim – just jump on the back of a taxi-bike and with a quick price negotiation you’re off to become part of the swirling masses.

The central market is a treasure trove of food, clothing and shoes- as long as you are a small Vietnamese sized person. Searching for size 12 shoes for my daughter’s boyfriend was impossible, though she managed to end up with some beautiful sandals. My guilty pleasure was to have an áo dài tailor made. This outfit was actually created in the 1920s, during the period of French rule, when Vietnamese nationalists envisioned a costume that would contrast with both European clothes and the varied ethnic and status-differentiated clothing that existed throughout the regions of pre-colonial Vietnam. It is incredibly elegant and very comfortable to wear.

A short bus trip found us in the Mekong Delta which is incredibly beautiful, but haunted. A former Khmer Rouge stronghold, it is easy to see how western soldiers would have found it impossible to work there. Now, flat boats paddled by stunningly beautiful young Vietnamese wives while their ancient husbands supervise, negotiate you through the maze of waterways and showcase the enterprising and entrepreneurial nature of the people. Along the Cambodian border, former army generals bark orders to tourists such as ‘you will now enjoy this view’. Peasant farmers hawk their goods in boats at the floating markets while successfully multi-tasking. Rice fields in the dry season become fishing ponds in the wet, while their wives and children make incense sticks and delicious coconut candy to sell.

Dalat, a very bumpy eight hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, is described in many tourist books as a cheesy town with tacky tourist sites. That was far from our experience. The bus ride is usually 6-9 hours depending on the traffic. Located in the South Central Highlands, Dalat was originally the playground of the French who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and the city. Called Petit Paris, complete with Eiffel Tower replicas, the city spreads across a series of pine-covered hills, with Xuan Huong lake in the centre – ideal for picnics – and surrounded by higher peaks, making for some lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam. Dalat’s high altitude (1500-2000 m) and fertile landscape make it one of Vietnam’s premier agricultural areas, producing varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers that don’t grow in the lowlands. The French influence is widely enjoyed through food, with patisseries on street carts carrying delicious croissants and baguettes alongside more traditional Vietnamese foods. Known as the food basket of Vietnam, vegetable and flower vendors in markets as far north as Hanoi, tout their “made in Dalat” produce.

Strolling through the market on our first day we were greeted by ‘Hello madam. You are Australian. I am in love with Aussie Eltham.’ The engaging grin caught our attention as he explained the relationship he’d developed with a former Aussie client who he was saving to come and visit with intent to marry her, and the original Easyriders became our guides for one of the most memorable parts of the trip. Now described by the inimitable Lonely Planet as “A witty crew of freelance motorbike guides who were truly born to be wild, whose popularity is reaching cult proportions among travellers seeking an alternative to being herded around on the usual open tour bus trail.”

After introducing himself as Binh, he then introduced his partner – also called Binh, so we promptly labelled them B1 and B2. B1 knew the Aussie children’s characters of the same name and thought it was hilarious. B2 was the older of the two so became my driver by default when B1 claimed my daughter so he could ‘practice moves’. I hoped he meant practice his English.

B2 was quiet and seemed agitated. As we headed out of Dalat, a quiet conversation revealed why. After some gentle coaxing, he reluctantly told me he has a daughter who is blind. Agent Orange related, almost every family in the area has at least one disabled child who they are unable to take care of. She had been put into an orphanage when she was four years old, and she was flying home for her first visit since. She was now 15 and he was justifiably nervous. The only reason he told me was because we rode past the airport as she was supposed to be landing, and he had to stop riding as he was shaking so badly.

Guide books tell you that the area around Dalat was where, 40 years ago, Viet Cong guerillas found refuge in the caves and forests, while the South Vietnamese army held the fort in the city nearby. Dalat and surrounds, however, were spared any fighting during the war by tacit agreement between both sides who apparently appreciated its therapeutic values for rest and recreation. Not believing the tourist spin, I was looking for the real story.

The further we rode, the more B2 opened up. He had been a member of the Khmer Rouge but has never talked about it and gave me a little of the history of Vietnam from his perspective. In return for his confidence, I told him that almost forty years ago, a school-friend, Billy, a poet and songwriter, was conscripted, and had died there the day he arrived. Realising that I was curious and not critical of his history, he offered to take us to the area where Billy had died. Dismounting and walking through coffee plantations to the first of our ‘official’ stops, a silkworm factory I noticed what looked like fire-destroyed jungle beyond the coffee fields.

It was an area devastated by Agent Orange and napalm where the jungle still hasn’t recovered and practically nothing will grow even now. As we stood in silence waiting for the others to catch up, we both became lost in our own memories, and breathing was difficult.

B1, in his inimitable manner, proffered that although nothing would grow in the devastated area, it is surrounded by these coffee plantations which also offer considerable camouflage from the road. If you don’t know where to look you would pass by oblivious to the horror that had occurred there.
Next door to the silkworms we were introduced to another highly entrepreneurial gentleman. He had set up a small cafe on his veranda so his wife could serve morning tea. After eating some delicious coconut cake, B1 asked his friend if he could take us downstairs for a rice wine tasting, and to see the biggest pig in the world. Fed on the refuse from rice wine production it lay in its pen, a huge smile across its snout, content in its drunken stupor as its myriad progeny played in the next pen. The fires for the wine stills are fed by husks from coffee beans being grown on the edges of the devastated jungle. I asked B1 what happened to the coffee. ‘We sell to Brazil. He call it Brazil coffee and sell to Starbucks – call Arabica and Mocha’. ‘So I should tell my friends not to buy these in Starbucks. Is this Vietnamese karma’? I asked. He smiled enigmatically as we headed off to their favourite roadside diner for a feast of frogs legs, and other local delicacies, but no coffee.

Continuing our sublime and ridiculous tour, our next stop was the infamous Dalat Crazy House. Built like a movie set for a Tim Burton movie it was hard to know whether to be bemused, amused or astonished by the architecture and decor which could best be described as tree house meets mad hatter’s tea party.

My favorite memory of Dalat however has to be the tiny Buddhist nun with the meditating dog. The boys had realised early that we had no interest in touristy stuff, so took us to meet their friend in the minority (indigenous) village where she lived and ran her version of a free hospital. Medical supplies could be counted on two hands and they relied on the sale of incense sticks to buy more. Seated serenely in a chair, laughing like the Dalai Lama she would have to be one of the most beautiful and contented people I have ever met. ‘She have dog’ explained B1, and as a dog owner I understood perfectly. ‘I thought nuns didn’t own anything’ I quipped ‘ No, dog own her, 5 dog own her’ he quipped back. As an ancient woman sat beside her, smiling as she hand-rolled incense sticks for us, the nun picked up her smallest dog, a fluffball just like the one I have at home – perhaps with a few more fleas. He lay back on her lap and stayed as still as a statue. Gently she held a lighted incense stick for him to grasp between his front paws (unassisted) as he raised his eyes heavenward and remained that way for 30 minutes. A small furry budda.

Visited October 2010
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9 Thank j B B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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