7 Beautiful Buildings to See in Da Lat, Vietnam

If you’re into architecture and history, you have every reason to love Da Lat. It was the French who developed this charming city during the early 1900s and their influence is still clearly visible, through its architecture. Hilltop houses and colonial buildings are painted beautifully in bright shades of yellow and pink and are truly a sight to behold. It is these beautiful buildings that give Da Lat a romantic vibe. If you’re visiting Da Lat soon, here are some of the most beautiful buildings that you should see.

1. Dalat Cathedral

Also known as the St. Nicholas Cathedral, the Dalat Cathedral has a local name of Nhà Thờ Con Gà, which means chicken church. This Romanesque style Catholic Church is called as such because of the rooster that’s perched on its main steeple. It’s the biggest Catholic Church in Dalat and was constructed in 1931 and took a decade to be completed. The cathedral’s magnificent facade is in pinkish cream color and the entire complex is immaculately radiant. Inside, you’ll find colorful stained glass windows and some sculptures.

2. French Quarter villas

The French Quarter is one of the most charming areas in Dalat. It features a long avenue of French-inspired villas built around 1800 to the 1920s. Some of the villas are already in the decaying stage and appear to be abandoned but they still look surprisingly chic and shabby. There are also a number of buildings that have been refurbished to their former glory. Unfortunately, the road in this avenue is somewhat challenging to explore on foot because there are not many pedestrian lanes. You can perhaps just explore a small section and admire the villas in that area.

3. Dalat Palace Hotel

The Dalat Palace Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in Dalat that opened in 1922. Originally called the Lang-Bian Palace Hotel, this luxury hotel was often frequented by the French colonials when they would go to Dalat for a weekend getaway. Surrounded by a vast area of green grasses, the iconic hotel underwent extensive renovation in 1993 and later reopened in 1995. Nowadays, it has still retained its majestic style and historical French architecture, making it one of the most beautiful hotels in the country.

4. Dalat Railway Station

The Dalat Railway Station is an iconic structure that is perhaps the most visited tourist site in Dalat. It was designed and built by the French in 1932 and was opened in 1938. The station used to be part of the 84-km. Phan Rang – Da Lat Railway line, which connects Dalat to the northern and southern areas of Vietnam. Featuring an art deco style, the station is inspired by the stilt houses on Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The interior is reminiscent of those 1940s train stations in Southern France. A small section of the railway was opened in the 1990s for tourists to travel from Dalat going to the nearby Trai Mat village.

5. Domaine de Marie

The Domaine de Marie is another Catholic church in Dalat that’s known for its beautiful facade. Built in 1940, the church’s charming pink facade is truly a sight to behold. Most visitors would come here for a photo op at the small balcony that’s right in front of the church. There’s also a beautiful garden outside and an impressive staircase leading to a small hill. Take time to explore the back area of the church where there’s a convent with a facade similar to the church.  As one of the most famous sights in Dalat, this place can get very busy so it’s recommended that you come here early.

6. Pasteur Institute

Built around the 1930s, the Pasteur Institute used to be the largest producers of vaccines in Vietnam. This French non-profit private foundation was named after Louis Pasteur, a famous French biologist who pioneered in pasteurization and fermentation. Founded by Alexandre Yersin, a Swiss bacteriologist and was among the first foreign settlers in Dalat, the Pasteur Institute features a bright yellow facade. The facility is no longer in full operation these days and the building now belongs to the government of Vietnam.

7. Teacher’s College

Also known as the Lycée Yersin, the Teacher’s College or Pedagogy College has one of the most impressive architectural designs in Dalat. In fact, the World Association of Architects recognized the school for its aesthetic and historical value. There’s a bell tower made of bricks and the main block features a wrap-around style with archway details. This school was founded in 1927 to provide education for the children of French colonialists and Vietnamese elite families. One of its most popular alumni is Norodom Sihanouk, the King of Cambodia. Visitors are free to enter the school and some tourists can be seen having their photos taken by the courtyard with the building’s beautiful façade in the background.

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