Vietnam’s top hill-station destination never fails to capture visitors’ hearts with its year-round cool weather, lush green surroundings, and abundance of flowers that have made it a horticultural hub in the country.
The city, capital of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, is also home to some historic gems like its old railway station.
In the so-called “Little Paris” of Vietnam, the railway station, built 90 years ago, is an architectural marvel that preserves memories of the last century. It is situated on a long, flat hillside near Yersin High School, five kilometers away from the city center.
The designers of the train station were two French architects, Moncet and Reveron. Construction began in 1932 and it was put into use four years later.
The railway station’s façade is designed to represent the three peaks of Langbiang Mountain and stilt houses in the Central Highlands.
Stained glass windows add brightness and beauty to the Da Lat train station’s interiors.
The station was originally a stop on the 84-kilometer Phan Rang – Da Lat railway, a route built by the French colonialists to connect the south-central delta with the Central Highlands. The rail tracks were damaged and lay unused for many years before a seven-kilometer section up to Trai Mat, a tourism destination, was restored.
The Da Lat railway station, along with the Hai Phong station in northern Vietnam, is among the oldest in the country. The steam engine, a relic of a bygone area, has been re-commissioned and pressed into service for tourism purposes.
Every day, the train does five round trips from Da Lat to Trai Mat. Visitors arriving at Trai Mat early in the morning can enjoy the misty, cloudy landscapes that Da Lat is famous for.
The vintage look of the train coaches have become a popular photography draw for all visitors, and for wedding photo shoots in particular.
Trai Mat grows a huge quantity of vegetables and fruits, evidenced by the vast stretches of greenhouses.
Flower and vegetable gardens, and houses with sloping roofs on hillsides are a familiar scene in Da Lat.