Known as the “City of the Eternal Spring,” Dalat’s temperature was the most refreshing thing about my 5 weeks of recent travel. We were sweating bullets in Malaysia, stayed indoors during the middle of the afternoons in Laos, and chugged a lot of cool beverages in other parts of Vietnam, but while visiting Dalat, I had to put away my summer tank tops and dig out a sweater and a light jacket for those cooler nights. At times, I wore three layers and envied locals for their hats and gloves. Yes, Dalat is cool and you might wonder why that is…elevation! Nestled in the picturesque mountains of between 1400-1500m (4,700-4,900ft), this city is the perfect stop in between your beach getaway of Phu Quoc and roasting central of Ho Chi Minh City.
Other than the much-welcomed temperature change, we enjoyed Dalat for its small size (it’s centered around a relatively small lake and a golf course), laid back lifestyle, and very manageable driving/crossing conditions. So while the central promenade can get quite congested (props to my mom-in-law for crossing it just to take a picture), what feels like the outskirts of the city are only a few blocks away.
Of course, if you feel like raising your blood pressure again, there are plenty of athletic activities in store, primarily zip-lining, canyoning, biking, hiking, rappelling, trekking, and others. So, adventure seekers, you’ll be more than impressed by this small gem of a city and wait till I tell you about the four unique accommodations where you could lay your head at night:
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Nightly prices: $40-75 (depending on the season)
Zen Valley was the first SE Asian accommodation where I basically had a deja vu. Why basically, because this gorgeous resort is a much nicer version of the cabins and a slightly less nice version of the mountains of Montana (our home away from home during the summertime). It is also just as quiet, smoky (they control burned some trees in the distance), very peaceful, and totally Zen. In places like that, the world simply slows down, reading a book half a day instead of sightseeing feels like the right decision, and having an extra-long bath with open curtains is a luxury few get to experience. Now, I believe each home needs a day bed for lounging, flowers and gardens need to surround and separate cabins and breakfast buffets must carry Russian Winter Salad! Zen Valley was home.
The inside of our cabin was full of warmth and coziness, even if the fireplace was fake 😛
Love Zen Valley? Book it here!
(This post contains affiliate links, where if you book your stay with any of the mentioned hotels, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. These partnerships help to continue my storytelling and do what I love).
Nightly prices: $15-40
Container Hotel is located right next door to Zen Valley, which means its views of the valley and the mountains are also on point! This place is well laid out, has a central perk for lounging and having your morning smoothie, and has plenty of spunky accommodations to fit your budget. While A-frame cabins have a special place in our hearts (we built our own last summer), actual container dwellings were also super cozy! Decorated with wood accents, container rooms felt cabin-like with all the amenities you’d need for a short stay!
While we didn’t stay here, just a visit and a look around the premises made us feel like we could certainly stay there next time and the A-frame dwellings gave us more inspiration to go artistic with our “A-fame” back home.
Photographs are courtesy of Booking.com
Love Container Hotel? Book it here!
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Nightly prices: $4-26 (dorms and private rooms are available)
We came across Greenland while walking around in search of a dinner and a nightcap. A very pleasant Greenland employee (unemployed by the restaurant) was kind enough to show us the way. Later on, she happily showed us around Greenland, because their tiny sheds are adorable and the whole place just oozes an inviting and pleasant atmosphere. While mostly inhabited by European tourists, this place is a conversation piece for sure and the restaurant adjacent to it is very tasty! You may even get a live musical performance because it’s a local restaurant popular among the local drunks haha.
Love Greenland? Book it here!
Nightly prices: $27-63 (each and every room is unique and is named after an animal)
Saving the best for last (or the most eccentric place for last), it is fair to say that some people travel to Dalat just to experience/stay at the Crazy House!
First opened in 1990, yet still, under construction (in certain parts), this unconventional home and tourist destination sees upwards of 1000 tourists a day during their busiest seasons. It was designed and constructed by an architect Dang Viet Nga, who still resides on the premises. She received her Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Moscow and I can personally attest that there were just as many Russian Tourists as there were Chinese. Her inspiration is clearly defined from nature and the animal world with a definite sense of playfulness, freedom of expression, and a desire to be one of a kind. This magnificent structure/experience is a regular in the Top 10 World’s Weirdest/Strangest List.
We just had to stay the night!
While each room at the Crazy House is uniquely themed, I did my research and booked “The Pheasant Room” with a staircase and a second story. Little did I know its located inside the entrance structure and there were plenty of tourists peaking into our windows and knocking on our locked door. But that apparently is par for the course, because this place feels like a giant Jungle Gym, where each corner can be explored, stairs climbed (even when they don’t lead anywhere).
Here are a few of the other rooms you too can stay in:
There are so many nooks and crannies that one needs a full day to observe it all and you’d need a reservation to see the glow in the dark paint and lights that illuminate the courtyard after the visiting hours are over.
Maybe not everyone would enjoy staying in such a noisy place, but it’s a small price to pay in order to experience the magic of it all. While my hubby was under the weather, walking/climbing/discovering Crazy House for myself was almost meditational. It infused me with inspiration that anything is possible, creativity is not dead, freedom rules this soil! As a photographer and as an artist, I felt like that’s what life is all about – to find a true calling and then just have fun with it. I feel like Mrs. Nga has done just that!
Love the Crazy House? Book it here!
Which Dalat accommodation did you enjoy the most in this post? Don’t forget to stop by my accommodation section for more samples of world-wide places to stay.
Where would you prefer to stay the night?
Got any quirky spaces you’ve inhabited that could join this unique list?
If so, leave a comment(s) below.