With an abundance of pine trees, the cool climate, and colonial architecture, the mountain resort of Dalat bears a vague resemblance to a European town. Its cool, misty mornings and chilly evenings provide a welcome respite from Vietnam's tropical heat. Well renowned as a romantic destination, it’s a favorite among Vietnamese honeymooners. In recent years, it's also become a hot spot for young, hip, motorbiking Saigonese who seek somewhere less glitzy than Ho Chi Minh City to feed their souls. Da Lat is as much about adventure as it is about romance, with hiking, cliff jumping, and canyoning on the itineraries of many visitors. 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 and historical buildings 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.