Apr 29, 2018
Lying at a height of over 1,000 meters above sea level, Da Lat is one of the rare places in Vietnam which has cool weather all year round. But for those of us accustomed to the heat of the tropics during the four seasons, the winds in this land of flowers virtually freeze our souls from the first moment we set foot there.
We arrived in Da Lat during the last days of the lunar year – the time when the beautiful peaches finally fade, leaving only the branches trembling under the coldness of the coming spring weather. The first thing we did when we went to Da Lat Night market was to go to buy warm clothes. This is a paradise of clothes, hats, scarves, gloves... for keeping us warm. Just walking around the market for a while patiently rummaging through piles of second-hand items, we found pretty woollen hats and warm jackets at very affordable prices.
Da Lat Night market (Credit to: Khanh Hmoong)
When the coldness outside temporarily subsided, we continued to do activities to "keep warm" especially those for the stomach! The food in Da Lat is not that renowned but when the air is icy, it becomes extremely delicious. We sat on stools in a corner of Da Lat market, chatting while waiting for crisp and spicy “bánh tráng nướng” (the girdle cake which is baked with meat, shrimp and lots of spice ) was made. Next to us, the smoke of the glasses of soy milk was spiralling upwards.
Bánh tráng nướng (Credit to: Nguyen Dao)
Soy milk and barbecues are very popular here because you can make either easily. They can be found all over Viet Nam, but what makes them become a speciality in Da Lat? Because when you sip the hot soy milk or taste the barbecued meat in the cold weather with your family, friends or partner , its’ taste is very different from other places. It is a time when you feel both the love and warmth of our cuisine.
Dalat is usually chilly but has the ability to warm up cold souls. Sounds weird? But in reality how can you not feel warm when the gestures of love are given very easily without having the slightest embarrassment? How can you walk next to a girl whose cheeks are reddening and whose hands she is rubbing together because of the cold winds without having the intense desire to bring her some warmth? And in one such cold Da Lat night like that, a friend of mine lent me a pair of gloves with the so cute “invitation”: "Put your hand in my pocket and share the warmth!"
Soya milk (Credit to: Vinh Ta) If any of the above things don’t warm you up enough , then cycling around Xuan Huong Lake is definitely a good choice. You just need to pay 30,000 dong (about US $ 1.5) and show an identity card to enable you to hire a tandem. Then romantic Da Lat is waiting to "wake you up".
Xuan Huong Lake (Credit to: Pham Anh Dung)
Xuan Huong Lake at night with its strong winds and chilly water makes you feel the cold more and more, but just one lap of the lake left us wanting to take off our our jackets as we felt hot. We hit the pedan and sang our favorite songs very loudly. Maybe other people on the street called us "crazy". However, we just didn’t care – even the feeling of our faces being numbbecause of the cold wind and our throats dry from singing did not stop our hearts being warm so it was really a memorable experience in Da Lat.
Image Featured: Phạm Anh Dung
Proofreader: Mr. Alex Curtis, Civil Servant UK