Pretty petals

Dalat is readying itself for the seventh holding of the Dalat Flower Festival in late December

By TRANG PHAM & LE DIEM on November 13,2017 09:29 AM

Pretty petals

Photos: DK

Pretty petals

THE SEVENTH DALAT FLOWER FESTIVAL IS BEING ORGANISED BY THE DALAT PEOPLE’S COMMITTEE, THE DALAT FLOWER ASSOCIATION, AND THE LAM DONG DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE, SPORTS AND TOURISM, AND DIRECTED BY THE THANH NIEN MEDIA GROUP. THE FESTIVAL IS EXPECTED TO ATTRACT TWO MILLION VISITORS TO DALAT OVER ITS FIVE DAYS.

Situated about 1,500 metres above sea level on the Langbiang Plateau in the southern reaches of the central highlands, Dalat is endowed by nature with an average annual temperature of 25oC and beautiful landscapes surrounded by mountain ranges and forests, especially pine forests. It’s known as one of Vietnam’s most poetic spots and is charmingly described as the ‘City of Love’, ‘City of Thousands of Pine Trees’, ‘City of Mist’, and, most commonly, ‘City of Flowers’.

The city is decorated with colourful carpets of flowers everywhere, from large fields in valleys to street footpaths. It’s home to over 40 different species of chrysanthemums, 15 species of roses, and about 300 varieties of orchids. Every two years it hosts the Dalat Flower Festival, attended by people from all around the world.

Dalat is also sometimes called ‘Little Paris’, for its French villas and replica Eiffel Tower. Back in French colonial days, French officials planned to turn the city in a little Paris and also an ideal resort town; a centre for their lives in Indochina that resembled their homeland.

It was also the summer retreat of Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai. Today, it’s a favourite place for couples, with many honeymooners spending memorable moments among the local nature.

One of the most popular natural sites in Dalat is Xuan Huong Lake, which local people treasure as a gem in the heart of the city, with pine trees and beautiful views of the flower city. Another beautiful lake is Tuyen Lam, where springs, rivers and forests meet and which covers 350 ha. It’s ideal for different types of tourism, such as sightseeing, camping, trekking, mountain climbing, fishing, and other sports and recreation, especially eco-tourism.

Yet another popular spot is Cam Ly Waterfall, just 3 km from the centre of town and an inspiration to many poets. One described it as like a beautiful dream, with charming and mysterious pine forests blanketed by mist.

A spot that makes lovers’ hearts beat a little faster is the Valley of Love, long considered one of the most picturesque and romantic places in Dalat, with deep valleys, endless pine forests, and tranquil Da Thien Lake.

Bao Dai Summer Palace, Domaine de Marie Church, and Truc Lam Monastery are also treasures for history and culture buffs to explore around Dalat and nearby.

Pretty petals

WINTER TIME

December is the time when Dalat transforms into a romantic winter wonderland, with mists and cold breezes blowing in. It’s also when the city is at its beautiful best, with flowers and colourful festivals found everywhere.

Nothing is more wonderful than being hand-in-hand with your nearest and dearest and appreciating the cool Dalat air amid sparkling Christmas lights and the ringing of church bells. On Christmas Eve, many places around town are splendidly decorated, such as Chicken Church, Domaine Church, and Cam Ly Church, attracting a host of visitors.

December also brings fields of pure white radish flowers to all of Dalat. Tourists are also attracted by white orchids blooming on city centre streets like Phan Chau Trinh, Tran Phu, and Quang Trung, and yellow mimosa flowers can be spotted on slopes nearby. Be sure not to miss the romantic pink of the grass, which is typical on the plateau.

ANTICIPATION MOUNTS

The Dalat Flower Festival has become a popular event, a national and international festival held every two years and a major opportunity to introduce the beauty and people of Dalat to domestic and foreign tourists. With the theme ‘Flower Da Lat - Magic Crystallization from a Peaceful Land’, the Dalat Flower Festival will be held this time around from 23 to 27 December in the city and surrounding areas.

Visitors will be able to indulge themselves in a colourful space created by flowers and also take in the Dalat Wine Festival and other events such as ‘Merry for the Cold Land’, concerts, street parades, and experiential tours like ‘B’Lao Adventure’ and ‘Air Balloon Flight’. A Fashion Week, including ‘Charming Vietnam 29’, ‘Silk Cord - Tea Festival’ and ‘Ao Dai - Silk’, events, is also featured at this year’s festival.

‘Charming Vietnam 29’ will take place at 8pm on 24 December and is a show of art, concerts and fashion, attended by A-list Vietnamese stars. Besides the explosion of music, ‘Charming Vietnam 29’ also includes an impressive fashion show featuring former winners of Miss Vietnam beauty pageants as well as famous models.

Pretty petals

The ‘Silk Cord - Tea Festival’ is set for 8pm on 25 December and is an artistic and cultural program that honours berry growers, silkworm breeders, and tea growers in nearby Bao Loc town.

‘Ao Dai - Silk’ presents an opportunity for domestic and foreign visitors to admire the beautiful and unique design of silk, which is one of the traditional materials of Dalat in particular and Vietnam in general. The show will be held at 8pm on 26 December, gathering together famous designers.

Visitors can attend the opening night of art and music, a perfect combination of performance technology and interactive contemporary art. All are arranged on a 360o open stage; the first in Vietnam.

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