BY MELISSA EARL
Ride a choose-your-own-speed roller coaster
At Datanla Falls, you can zip down to the viewpoint in a luge-like car that plunges through the forest on a steel track. The speed of the coaster is controlled by nothing but a flimsy pair of hand brakes, so you’re free to hurtle around the hairpin bends as quickly as you’d like!
Swing down waterfalls
This adrenaline-inducing activity will have you feeling like a superhero as you lower yourself backwards down sheer cliff faces and through powerful cascades of water. Don’t miss the chance to dangle in the ‘Washing Machine’, an aptly-named waterfall that will spin you around like crazy before pushing you underwater and spitting you out into the pool below.
Play drunken hide and seek in the trippiest bar ever
Really! The 100 Roofs Café is a surreal eight-story labyrinth full of dark caves, tiny staircases, and bizarre art at every turn. Grab a group of friends and a bottle of rum, and spend a crazy evening getting lost in the seemingly endless maze. Watch out – people have been known to hide in the dark and leap out at strangers.
Snack on crickets
At the cricket farm southwest of the city, you can gawk at writhing vats of live crickets before sitting down to a generous portion of their crunchy, garlic-fried corpses. If you’re brave enough to try one, make sure to wash it down with sticky rice wine made in the adjacent distillery!
Right on, guys!
Become part of a crazy Vietnamese family
Staying at the Dalat Family Hostel is the bucket-list item you never knew you had. From the minute you walk through the door, you’re part of a crazy-affectionate family that welcomes new members with hugs, kisses, and heaping platefuls of food prepared by the insanely energetic matriarch known to everyone as ‘Mama’.
Summit Lang Biang
Lace up your hiking shoes (or hop in a decade-old Russian army jeep) and make your way to the top of Dalat’s highest peak, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city and surrounding farmland. If you’re lucky, you might stumble across a mysterious painted horse wandering through the pine trees!
Stand behind Elephant Waterfall
Clamber over the giant boulders scattered at the base of the falls and squeeze through the tiny cave that leads behind the cascade. You can position yourself directly under the awe-inspiring deluge of water if you’re feeling foolhardy, but prepare to get drenched.
Try the famous “Weasel Coffee”
There are tons of tiny coffee plantations around Dalat, and a couple of them produce the “shit coffee” that’s renowned worldwide for having passed through a civit’s colon. Hang out with the weasel-like civits, examine the partially digested beans, and satisfy your curiosity by trying the bizarre drink for yourself.
Go cliff-jumping at Datanla Falls
Launch yourself off an 11 meter cliff into the waterfall-fed pool below. You’ll need a running start to make sure you clear the lower ledges of the cliff, but the adrenaline rush is totally worth it.
Visit the Crazy House
This giant, otherworldly treehouse is a labour of love that’s a bit Gaudí, a bit Alice in Wonderland, and a LOT of fun. You’ll be amazed by the cave-like corridors and slender, arching stairways laden with concrete branches, so allow a couple of hours to get lost and explore.
Plummet down a natural waterslide
Take a leap of faith and let yourself get swept away by one of the powerful torrents found at Datanla Falls. The descent is undeniably terrifying, but you’ll feel like a rockstar when you survive it. Don’t be surprised if you want to try it again and again!
What are your friendly tips? Don’t be shy. Let us know by leaving a comment below.