Vietnam’s Historic French Hill Station Train Ride-Dalat

Da Lat is located in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam. It was established by the French during their occupation as a hill town resort in 1907. 

It’s temperate climate at an elevation of 1500 meters provided French settlers with a cool retreat from the hot tropical climate below. The railway was established to provide daily transport for passengers from Saigon and the coastal town of Nha Trang, which would further connect travellers to the north.

The Da Lat Railway Station was designed in 1932 and opened in 1938. It is a unique building in that it incorporates an art deco style with traditional native Cao Nguyen highland communal house elements. 

Considering the railway shut down during the Vietnam war years due to military activity it’s surprisingly in pretty good shape.

The railway and the Da Lat station laid dormant for many years until it was finally resurrected as a tourist attraction in 1991. The 7km ride takes passengers to Trai Mat with a 40 minute stop before heading back to the station.

There’s an original steam locomotive on display but these days the train is pulled by a diesel engine.

Service runs 5 times a day with the first train at 7:45 and the last one at 4pm. A ticket costs about $5 for foreigners.

When this was a full service railway operating from Saigon and Nha Trang there would be three cars for passengers and one for cargo. 

Look for the carriage with the padded seats for a little extra comfort.

There’s just something about train travel that sets it apart with other forms of transportation. The sound of the engine and the wheels clicking on the tracks, the whistle from the conductor, it’s a true adventure ride.

About the Author John Saboe

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

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