Dalat, located in the South Central Highlands, was originally a playground of the French, who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and of Saigon. The city spreads across a series of pine-covered hills, with a small lake in the centre and surrounded by higher peaks, making for some scenery as lovely as it is different from the rest of Vietnam. Temperatures are pleasantly warm by day and quite cool at night.
Dalat is very much a tourist town, with dozens of tour buses running up and down its hills and its streets lined with all the usual array of tourist businesses. It is a somewhat cheesy place which has only been included in this book as, at an altitude of between 1,500 and 2,000 metres the cool, hilly terrain is fantastic for mountain biking, trekking, canyoning, kayaking, rappelling and rock climbing.
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