With its mini–Eiffel Tower and colonial architecture, the mountain resort of Dalat bears a vague resemblance to a French town. Its temperate climate and cool misty mornings provide a welcome respite from Vietnam's tropical heat. Kitsch is a Dalat specialty, in the form of swan-shape paddleboats, tacky souvenirs, and tourist attractions designed to be backdrops for photo ops. It’s a favorite destination for Vietnamese honeymooners. Named for the "River of the Lat Tribe," after the native Lat people, Dalat was "discovered" in 1892 by Dr. Alexandre Yersin (1863–1943), a protégé of scientist Louis Pasteur. It quickly became a vacation spot for Europeans eager to escape the infernal heat of the coastal plains, the big cities, and the Mekong Delta. During the Vietnam War the city was a favored nonpartisan resting spot for both high-ranking North and South Vietnamese officers, before it capitulated to the North Vietnamese on April 3, 1975.
Dalat's prime sight is its market, an interesting place to poke around day or night, and the city also has a number of interesting temples that are worth exploring. For golfers, an 18-hole golf course originally set up by Emperor Bao Dai is now known as one of the best in the region.