Dalat in Vietnam, was one place that took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to be so pretty, to be honest. Plus, during my few days in Da lat, there was never a dull moment. There are tons of awesome things to do in Dalat but visiting the exotic Dalat waterfalls – Datanla and Elephant falls, tops my list.
Waterfalls in Dalat are so incredible, I would say I haven’t seen anything like them in all of Vietnam. I could be biased since Dalat was love at first sight for me in any case. As soon as my bus got into Da lat and I saw the pretty lake and modern, colonial style architecture, I was sold!
From the unique maze bar to the incredible photo spots in Dalat, from the Crazy house to the rooftop bars, pagodas, buddhas and exploring on your own with a bike, this city of eternal spring has a lot on the plate.
Chasing waterfalls of Vietnam, especially the exotic Dalat waterfalls was so much and here are my picks.
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Top Two Dalat Waterfalls you MUST Visit
Even though Dalat has quite a few waterfalls including Prenn falls, Hang cop waterfall, Cam Ly, Boa Dai waterfall etc; Datanla and Elephant falls would most certainly be a part of every Dalat itinerary or bucket list. These two are also the top rated waterfalls in Dalat on Tripadvisor – and that’s a sure shot signal they are simply not to be missed.
In fact, many skip Dalat altogether from their Vietnamese itinerary which is sad because this is one of the prettiest towns in South East Asia.
The huge Elephant waterfall Dalat (also known as Thac Voi) is one of the most popular attraction of the city. Since I had just a handful of days in Dalat, I choose to simply hire a bike and roam around with a friend from my hostel. We decided to create our own DIY itinerary and managed to cover both waterfalls, plus a few nearby attractions in a single day.
A trip to Elephant falls Da lat can, however, be a tad challenging. It’s not quite in the city center and takes around 1 hour (As per Google maps) to drive up on the hilly roads to reach the falls. The ride itself can be extremely challenging on a windy day but the roads are wonderful and if you keep your eyes open, you can find a ton of cute, hidden cafes en-route.
Once you are at the Elephant falls, the challenge has just begun. The hike to the falls and hidden coves can be very daunting.. and slippery. Be very careful as you wade your way to the various carefully marked and divided sections at the falls.
You will, however, be rewarded with the view of a soothing lake and the sounds of the huge waterfall, which makes for a perfect spot to relax after the arduous short trek.
Entry is just 20000 VND (Approx $1) and you might be asked for a small parking fee (15 cents approx).
Datanla waterfall in Dalat, also known locally as Thac datanla, is the closest waterfall to city center, making it the most frequented one for travelers, due to its close proximity.
Datanla is also renowned for Canyoning (Water abseiling) in the falls. This adventurous adrenaline activity is a must try for every first time visitor. Apart from that, the falls also feature an Alpine coaster as well as a cable car ride – I tried both and I would say try one each way so you can enjoy both experiences. However, coaster was way more fun for me.
The cable car ride needs to be experienced too as it took us further into the forests (you can also opt to hike) to yet another exotic fall. This spot was way less crowded and made for amazing pictures.
Everything from entry ($2 approx) to the rides ($2-3 approx) is dirt cheap in Dalat so exploring on your own is a breeze.
Tips for Exploring Waterfalls in Dalat
While chasing waterfalls in Dalat, I realized I missed out on many things. That’s when I decided to mention some handy tips when I write this post so that you guys don’t lose out. Most of these tips are suitable for Elephant falls aa Datanla is way easier to navigate with modern amenities and transport systems within the falls.
Wear proper footwear
It is so very important to wear proper footwear, especially for Elephant falls. I would suggest waterproof sandals with velcro fastening. In India, we call them “floaters”. These would be perfect for the rough, slippery terrain at the falls. Plus they are easy to take off and you can step into the falls/other water bodies around whilst wearing them. Luckily, I wore mine, unaware of the terrain or the hike ahead.
Carry a Backpack
Since I was carrying a handbag, I realized how hard it was to climb (in some parts) at the Elephant falls. The bag would keep falling off my shoulder and lo behold, it didn’t even have a zip! Bad idea, again.
I would totally recommend to carry your essentials (money, water bottle, keys, etc) in a backpack which lies comfortably on your back, leaving your hands free to climb and balance.
Pack a Swimsuit
You absolutely must pack a swimsuit or at least a change of clothes if you are headed to Elephant falls. They have amazing paths that lead you to smaller falls and coves which are absolutely magnificent for a refreshing shower/ dip. Alas, we didn’t have any extras on us so with a heavy heart, we had to skip these refreshing waters.
You WILL need navigation to reach both falls and also to cover nearby attractions. Keep your phone charged and buy a 4G sim to avoid getting lost. You can always download the map offline but I prefer to navigate on the go. If you are riding solo, grab your headphones so you can use voice navigation without getting distracted from your awesome drive.
Dalat Waterfalls Map
Here, I have marked both the waterfalls down on this map so you can save it for your next trip to Dalat.
So have you visited any Dalat waterfalls while you were in Vietnam? Or, is this on your bucket list? Share in comments below.