Da Lat city in the clouds
Dalat’s cool winds and temperate climate, its French architecture and evergreen pine trees separate this “Little Paris” from the hot and humid tropical South Vietnam surrounding. Recent urban development and opening of many new resorts and hotels in Da Lat has made Dalat become more modern and tourist-convenient in the eyes of some, yet less romantic in the view of others. Though less popular among foreign visitors, Dalat remains the natural beauty, the city of thousand flowers, and the destination for lovers in the eyes of the Vietnamese. The name derives from the language of the local ethnic group Lat and its original meaning is "Stream of the Lat”.
Prior to 1893, the Lang Biang highlands were home to various ethnic groups. The French governor of Indochina Paul Dommer, together with Doctor Alexandre Yersin, decided to establish a sanatorium on the cool highlands of Lang Biang in 1899. In 1916, emperor Duy Tan decided to form Dalat town (center urban), township of Lam Vien province. The first Viet ethnic people who settled in Dalat were prisoners sent up here to build roads and other infrastructure.
The French built two new roads leading from Saigon and Phan Thiet to Dalat, providing the right conditions to turn Dalat from a nearly wild area to a 1.500 people town in 1923. It was Emperor Khai Dinh h who decided that Dalat should be come not only a city, but a tourist center. During World War 2, many of the French could not return to their country.
They stayed in Da Lat, giving the city its French town look which it holds onto until now. In 1975, Da Lat became one of Vietnam’s four governmental cities (along with Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh city).
The city of Dalat is built on the Lang Biang highlands, North of Lam Dong province. The highlands are surrounded by continuous mountains.
Surrounded by mountains and pine forests, Da Lat has many characteristics of a temperate climate. The average temperature here is 18–21°C, with highest temperature 30°C and lowest 5°C. Dalat also has the two-season climate typical of South Vietnam, with a monsoon season from May to October and a dry season from November to April. Dalat is never stormy and only has occasional heavy winds from the ocean through the mountain less East side of the city.
Best time to go
Dalat is in the temperate region and has pleasant weather year-round, even sunny during much of the rainy season. The dry season lasting from November to March, and the rainy season from April to November. During the winter months, the average temperature is 10 C while during summer it is around 20 C. Ideal weather is from November to March, when the air is fresh and cool.
Ho Chi Minh City (Former name Saigon)
The French nickname their dear city, “Pearl of the far East”. Chinese immigrants call it “Cho Lon”, meaning “Big market”. The Communist government renamed Saigon “Ho Chi Minh city” after the nationalistic revolutionary. With many names and a population of 9 million, Ho Chi Minh city rises as the juvenile leader of all Vietnamese cities. Unlike the old dame Hanoi slow, antique, reserved lifestyle, Ho Chi Minh city goes all out in the modern lifestyle. The city is always in a hurry: bustling, noisy, singing, entertaining, the people: loud and friendly and tourists can get Vietnam visa on arrival online at Tan Son Nhat International airport easily.
The area now called Saigon once were empty marshlands belonging to Cambodia. Flux of Vietnamese migrants flooded the area (running away from the Trinh - Nguyen civil war of the 17th century. The area later became greatly Vietnamized, until later completely assimilated into the country Vietnam by the Nguyen dynasty. During French colonization, the city was a French favorite. The colonizers developed the already bustling trade area into a high class, modern, European influenced city suitable for trade, entertainment and business. After colonization, Saigon became capital of the Southern side (supported by the US) during the American/Vietnam War. After Vietnam’s unification in 1945, Saigon opened up to include Gia Dinh province and was renamed “Ho Chi Minh city” after Vietnam’s communist revolutionary. Saigon now is Vietnam’s largest, most industrial and most developed city.
Saigon is located at 10°45'N, 106°40'E in the southeastern region of Vietnam. The city is 1,760 km (1,094 miles) south of Hanoi. It borders Tay Ninh and Binh Duong provinces in the north, Dong Nai and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces to the east, Long An Province to the west and the South China Sea to the south with a coast of 15 km in length. The city covers an area of 2,095 km² (809 sq mi) (0.63% of the surface of Vietnam), extending up to Cu Chi (12mi/20 km from the Cambodian border), and down to Can Gio on the East Sea coast.
Saigon’s population has now exceeded 9 million. Besides the Viet ethnicity, Saigon has a large proportion of Chinese descendants. The Chinese immigration population concentrated around the “Cho Lon” (Big market) areas of district 5,6,7 and 11, forming Vietnam’s “Chinatown” (though I guess it blends with the scenery here more than say, Toronto).
Ho Chi Minh weather
Located in South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City city has a tropical climate. The average humidity level is 75%, average temperature is 28 °C. The city is generally warm, and has a monsoon season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.
Hue first assumed its role as a capital city, during the Trinh - Nguyen civil war, when it was the capital of South Vietnam. I came to Hue during Tet Doan Ngo (Doan Ngo festival, a minor Buddhist festival) and it was impossible for me to find an open restaurant or shop in town. Vietnam’s ancient capital, booming city and a world renown tourist area, yet Hue is not at all noisy, rushed or commercialized like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Hue is honest and sweet. It is tranquil like the Perfume River that flows through it, majestic like the Royal Palace and tombs that would never let its secrets out.
To be precise, Hue city is the capital of Thue Thien – Hue province. Hue lies on the banks of the Huong (Perfume) river, in the narrow central of Vietnam, only a few miles west from the sea.
Hue first assumed its role as a capital city, during the Trinh - Nguyen civil war, when it was the capital of South Vietnam. In 1802, Nguyen Anh succeeded in unifying his rule over both North and South Vietnam, forming the Nguyen dynasty. Hue remained the capital of Vietnam until the end of feudalism in 1945.
During the Vietnam War, Hue held a strategic positioning as it was near the dividing line between North and South. The city’s elegant and refined architecture witnessed and suffered from one of the most lengthy and bloody battles in the War, the Battle of Hue (during the Tet offensive 1968). Many of Hue’s palaces, tombs and temples were destroyed by American bombs and bullets, as well as by neglect in restoration by the Vietnamese government during early years of independence (they saw these historical artifacts as remains of the oppressing feudal system).
Hue has now been returned the peace, attention and protection it clearly deserves. The remains of the Inner City (where the Royal family lived), tombs and temples offer insight into Vietnam’s past and rich culture. Hue has been certified by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Hue royal music (nha nhac cung dinh) is also considered a UNESCO intangible heritage.
Hue is the center of Buddhist worship in Vietnam, with many temples and tombs.
The coast and delta area of Hue has tropical climate and is divided into two distinguished seasons. The dry season (from March to August) has a maximum temperature of 400 C and the colder, rainy season (August to January) has temperatures that can go down to 19,70 C. In higher areas (on mountains, highlands) the temperature is generally cooler.