DIY Motorbike itinerary of Dalat Waterfalls

Our 2 day DIY motorbike itinerary of 4 Dalat Waterfalls and nearby attractions

Located at the base of the Langbiang valley, Dalat is often referred to as the ‘Sapa of the south’. Boasting rolling hills, spectacular natural scenery, local villages and an endless number of activities for tourists, it’s become a popular place on the tourist trail. Pongour waterfall, Elephant waterfall, Prenn falls and Datanla waterfalls are high on the lists of many travellers. We decided to create our own itinerary for motorbike waterfall tour and took in a few other sights on the way, including the Dalat Crazy House. 

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For more information, please see our disclaimer here.

A complete 2 day self ride motorbike itinerary of Dalat waterfalls and mountainous surrounds. Explore the 4 biggest waterfalls, temples, the Clay Sculpture tunnels and more central attractions like Bao Dai's summer palace and the Crazy House #dalat #vietnam #travel #thingstodo #waterfall #motorbike A complete 2 day self ride motorbike itinerary of Dalat waterfalls and mountainous surrounds. Explore the 4 biggest waterfalls, temples, the Clay Sculpture tunnels and more central attractions like Bao Dai's summer palace and the Crazy House #dalat #vietnam #travel #thingstodo #waterfall #motorbike A complete 2 day self ride motorbike itinerary of Dalat waterfalls and mountainous surrounds. Explore the 4 biggest waterfalls, temples, the Clay Sculpture tunnels and more central attractions like Bao Dai's summer palace and the Crazy House #dalat #vietnam #travel #thingstodo #waterfall #motorbike A complete 2 day self ride motorbike itinerary of Dalat waterfalls and mountainous surrounds. Explore the 4 biggest waterfalls, temples, the Clay Sculpture tunnels and more central attractions like Bao Dai's summer palace and the Crazy House #dalat #vietnam #travel #thingstodo #waterfall #motorbike

Why we chose to go it alone as opposed to doing a waterfall tour

The last time I was in Dalat I went canyoning. It was a lot of fun but this time I wanted to see some different sights. After a little research and map analysis we knew we wanted to see waterfalls. We also wanted to see some temples. None of the Dalat day tours we looked at really fit what we were after.

The biggest problem we have is that often, we are not ‘tour’ people. For the most part, we enjoy choosing our own sights and taking our own time. thats not to say we never do tours, we do, in this instance however nothing was going to fit. We really enjoy the freedom of getting out and exploring on our own.

I suggested we do a self guided motorbike tour. I can plan a route like no one can and Ben is an experienced motorbike rider, so this works for us. While we wanted to see waterfalls, we also wanted to visit some Buddhist temples, see the famous Dalat Crazy House and enjoy the local scenery.

If you only have one or two people a self guided tour works out cheaper. Our hotel was offering a tour to all 4 of the waterfalls for 550000VDN for 2 people. As it is just a waterfall tour we also miss out on a lot of the other sights.

We spent two days touring the southern highlands and seeing some spectacular attractions. Our 2-day motorbike itinerary is below with all the information you need.

Depending what time of year you’re in Dalat, it can be really wet, here is the ultimate waterproof jackets guide, trust us, you’ll need one!

Our DIY 2-day motorbike waterfall itinerary

Motorbiking in the rain, DIY waterfall tour Dalat

On each day we spent roughly 6-7 hours exploring the sights. Its probably possible to do it in a little less time however as we were there in rainy season we spent a little time sitting around and waiting out the rain. We also took our time and didn’t rush between activities.

Day 1

Pongour falls

Dalat waterfalls Pongour Waterfall Dalat

We started our waterfall hunt with Pongour falls located about 45kms south of Dalat. The ride took us roughly an hour and a half. It was a Saturday and there was quite a bit of traffic coming through some of the towns. We also took a few wrong turns. Whoops.

How to get to Pongour Waterfalls

The ride coming down the mountain, away from Dalat is stunning. Most of the ride is through local towns and villages before you turn onto a dirt road. The views along this road are magical. Beautiful rolling hills, the fast-flowing river that leads to the falls and wide-open spaces. You’ll feel like you’re riding into nowhere, but every now and then a tourist bus or minivan will whizz past.

Views on the motorbike ride along the road leading to Pongour falls, Dalat

Pongour waterfall entrance fee – 20000 VDN per person.

Motorbike parking fee  – 3000 VDN

Once you get inside the gates the area is clearly set up for both foreign and local tourists. There are a  few stores and cafes along the top. There are large well-made paths, so it is easy to walk throughout the whole area. As you walk along you’ll see a huge happy Buddha. There are signs in English directing you down the stairs towards the waterfall. Just keep walking down and to the left.

When you get to the bottom you’ll see the thunderous cascading Pongour falls. The largest waterfall in Dalat, the rock walls of the waterfall are around 100 meters wide and 40 meters tall. The rock face is terraced and water flows down into a big pool at the base. You can walk out along a series of flat rocks and you’ll be standing in front of the falls.

The flow of the falls will vary depending on what time of year you’re there. In June, well into the wet season, the water was flowing quite quickly, and you can hear the thunderous sound of the falls and feel spray wash over you.

When you’re finished looking at the falls there is a small blue truck that will take you from the base of the falls to the top of the hill. There is a charge for truck to the top. We were quoted 30000 VDN for the two of us (15000 VDN each) which seemed excessive, so we just walked up the driveway. I believe if you have more people that will be divided by the total number, but we are not certain.

The next stop on our DIY motorbike waterfall tour of Dalat is Elephant falls.

Elephant falls (Thac Voi)

Dalat waterfalls Elephant Waterfall Dalat where you can climb and sit at the base of the falls

About 20kms from the Pongour falls is the stunningly beautiful Elephant falls. The ride between Pongour and Elephant falls is beautiful, taking you through small villages and countryside. An agricultural region, there are endless fields and some rice paddies weaving their way up mountains. There is a small section of rough road however for the most part the road is surprisingly good with limited traffic.

Views on the motorbike ride between Pongour falls and Elephant Falls Dalat

How to get to Elephant falls from Pongour waterfalls.

The signage for the Elephant falls is in Vietnamese, so look for the giant sign that says Thac Voi.

Entrance fee for Elephant Waterfalls – 20000VDN per person

Motorbike parking fee – 5000VDN

Once you’ve paid, you head towards the waterfall and off the right and begin the descent down the stairs to the base. As you approach the bottom, the stairs turn into more of a rocky climbing track. There is a very sturdy hand rail which you’ll probably need to use while you navigate your way down. You’ll need good shoes and some agility.

Up to the left there are signs saying dangerous area, however you can still follow the path up. Once at the top there is a big deck that overlooks the waterfall from above.

When you arrive at the bottom of the falls you’re able to climb across of series of flattened rocks, out to the centre of the falls.

Unlike the other falls in Dalat, Elephant Waterfalls is the most naturally spectacular falls. The area surrounding it is largely untouched except for the much-needed handrail. The whole area looks like a lush green rainforest and although tricky in places, the path to the base of the falls is the perfect fit with the surroundings.

Elephant Waterfalls - DIY motorbike tour of Dalat waterfalls

Smaller waterfalls can be found in several places with their water flowing into the pool below.

The pool at the base of the falls turns into a peaceful flowing river.

Linh An pagoda

Linh An Pagoda Dalat

Located about 20 meters further up the road the Linh An Pagoda is worth a visit as you’re right there anyway.

A fascinating pagoda, the Linh An has a few stunning features, namely its view and the phenomenally serene gardens behind it.

Linh An Pagoda Dalat

We didn’t see the garden at first. After removing our shoes and looking inside the pagoda we were walking down the stairs about to leave when we heard a monk shouting ‘hoi hoi’. We turned around to see him pointing us around to the back. We were very grateful.

The garden is a vibrant green and incredibly orderly and neat. There is a large statue of the happy Buddha and a row of other Buddhist deities. As you wander around you’ll also find an area with row upon row of perfectly aligned trees. The whole garden is unbelievably relaxing.

The final stop on day 1 of our DIY motorbike waterfall tour – Prenn waterfall

Prenn waterfall

Prenn Waterfall Dalat

The motorbike ride to Prenn waterfall was interesting for us as google maps led us up the motorway. Motorbikes are not allowed on the motorway. We’ve attached a map of the motorbike lane so you know where to go!

How to get to Prenn waterfall from Elephant falls by motorbike

Prenn waterfall entrance fee – 40000VDN per person

Motorbike parking fee – 5000VDN

The Prenn waterfall is situated inside an amusement park. They have a cable car, donkey rides, camel rides, horse drawn carriages and bumper cars. The waterfall itself is pretty and you can hire a small row boat to float around in the river.

Surrounding the park are beautiful big gardens and there is plenty of shops and food. You could spend an hour or so just following the paths along strolling through the gardens.

Prenn Waterfall Amusement Park Dalat

The most disappointing thing about Prenn falls is that they have elephant and ostrich riding.

That was the end of day one for us, however if you only want to do the four Dalat waterfalls and skip some of the other sites then you could probably fit Datanla waterfall in after Prenn. Datanla waterfall however closes at 5pm and you will need a good hour and half to walk down to the falls and back.

Getting from Prenn waterfall to Dalat city centre

The motorbike ride to the centre of Dalat is only about 20 minutes up the side of the mountain. Once in the city you’ll probably pass the impressive Xuan Huong lake.

Day 2

Datanla waterfall

Datanla Waterfall Dalat

Located around 10km from Dalat City centre the Datanla waterfalls is probably the most visited waterfall by tourists. It should only take around 15 minutes to get there and is an easy ride down the mountain.

You could include the Datanla waterfalls on day 1 and see all 4 in the same day, skipping the other activities if you wanted, as Datanla is on the way heading back from Prenn to the city. The Datanla waterfall closes at 5pm however, so make sure you have time.

How to get to Datanla waterfall from Dalat center

Entrance fee for Datanla Waterfall – 30000VDN per person

Motorbike parking fee – 3000VDN

Like Prenn waterfall, Datanla is set up with tourists in mind. There is both a cable car and a roller coaster. Theres also a high wire course if you’re feeling brave.

Cost of the cable car at Datanla falls – 150000VDN

Cost of the manual rollercoaster/toboggan at Datanla falls – 25000VDN one way, 30000VDN return. If you are under 1.2meters tall it is cheaper.

The waterfall is quite a way into the area down a lot of stairs. As you walk down you’ll pass a lot of little stalls and some cafes where you can eat and drink.

As the most touristic of the waterfalls the place was packed with locals and foreigners alike.

The fall itself is beautiful, if not a little over crowded. You can walk along around the base of the falls on stone paths laid into the natural rocks before heading back up the stairs to the top. The whole area has a rainforest feel and is a mixture of natural landscape and planted gardens.

As with all the falls we’d advise wearing some good shoes, either sneakers or hiking boots. Elephant falls and Datanla are not the place for heels or soft flats. It was surprising how many people we saw carrying their shoes in hand as they walked bare footed.

Elephant falls requires a certain level of agility and mobility. Your only support as you move along the slippery mossy rocks is a metal hand rail so good grip is important. Although there’s no rock-climbing involved with Datanla, the stairs are mossy with an uneven surface. There are two narrow stone paths separated by a wet clay motorbike track. The sheer number of people going up and down mean at some point you’ll end up off the path and in the clay.

From the Datanla falls, it’s about 2kms to our next stop, the Truc Lam Pagoda.

Truc lam pagoda

Truc Lam Pagoda Dalat

Located about 5 minutes on motorbike from the Datanla falls is the beautiful Truc Lam Pagoda. The large grounds are also home to a monastery.

Getting to the Truc Lam Pagoda from Datanla waterfall

Once inside the grounds There are large signs, in English, about the dress code. Essentially, you’ll need to have your knees and shoulders covered. The signage indicates no shorts or skirts, however inside there were quite a few locals in dresses and shorts, all long enough to just cover the knees. If you dont have the right outfit on you can get sarongs to wrap around yourself as you head up the stairs to the pagoda.

Truc Lam Pagoda Dalat

The pagoda itself is small but beautifully decorated. The extensive grounds however are amazing, particularly if you love flowers. Whereas Linh An pagoda is serene and majestic, the Truc Lam pagodas grounds are lively and colourful. The well-maintained gardens are brimming with the most spectacular flowers, in all different colours, many of which we had never seen before.

From the Truc Lam we decided to head about 20 minutes south, around the Tuyen Lam Lake to the Clay tunnels.

Clay sculptures tunnels Dalat

Clay Sculptures Tunnel Dalat

The clay sculptures tunnel is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a 1.2km tunnel carved out with sculptures. The motorbike ride to the clay sculptures tunnel was great. The roads are fantastic, and the views are incredible.

How to get to the clay sculptures tunnel from Truc Lam Pagoda

Entrance fee to the clay sculpture tunnel – 60000VDN per person

Motorbike parking fee – 5000VDN

Surrounded by gardens, restaurants and cafes, the long tunnel was surprisingly interesting. We weren’t quite sure whether it would be worth the extra 20 minutes on the motorbike or 60000VDN entry, but we were glad we went.

As you walk along, there are carvings of animals, cars and carriages and even a steam train. The whole area has a lovely view over the mountains.

From the Clay sculptures tunnel we headed back towards Dalat; to Bao Dai’s summer palace.

Bao Dai Summer Palace

Bao Dai Summer Palace Dalat

About 2.5 km from the centre of Dalat is the summer palace of King Bao Dai, the last king of the Vietnam feudal court. Built between 1933 and 1937, this beautiful palace was the summer home of the royal family.

Getting to Bao Dai Summer Palace from Clay Sculpture Tunnel

Entrance fee to Bao Dai’s summer palace – 20000VDN per person

Motorbike parking fee – 3000VDN

When you get to the door of the palace, you’ll need to put little booties over your shoes to protect the palace, as everything inside is exactly as it was when the royal family where there.

The great thing about this palace is that you can walk around inside each room. If you’ve been to Reunification Palace in Ho chi Minh city, you’ll remember the entrances to all the rooms are blocked off and you can only see in from behind the rope. Here you’re able to walk through the queen’s bedroom and wander around the table in the conference room. Just don’t sit on the furniture.

After visiting Bao Dai’s summer palace, the last stop is the Crazy House, about 600m away.

Dalat crazy house (Hang Nga Guesthouse)

Dalat Crazy House

Designed by a Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga the Crazy House is built to replicate the structure of a tree. Throughout the Crazy house are other structures designed in the image of both nature and wildlife.

Design wise, the Crazy House was interesting, but because of this it is busy, and packed with other travellers. Getting around can be quite tricky as some of the very narrow stair bridges barely accommodate one person. You can spend quite a bit of time waiting for people to come off the bridges or stop and take all their photos on them.

Getting to the Dalat Crazy House from Bao Dai Summer Palace

Crazy House entrance fee – 50000VDN per person

Motorbike parking fee – 5000 VDN

Hiring a motorbike in Dalat

We hired our motorbike through our hotel and paid 100000 VDN a day for a manual or 120000 VDN for an automatic. We didn’t look any further than this as this is the cheapest price we’ve paid since arriving in Vietnam. The bikes at our hotel were quite old. As the area around Dalat is quite hilly, Ben chose the manual as he thought it would be easier to handle the hills. If you have a newer bike, this shouldn’t be an issue and an automatic should be fine.

It’s a little difficult to be sure of the legal requirements for riding a motorbike in Vietnam however trusted sources such as Lonely Planet suggest that you simply require an international drivers licence.

You can technically park your motorbike almost anywhere so you don’t necessarily need to pay parking fees. You’ll often see some locals just leaving them nearby. We chose to use parkng spaces for peace of mind.

The best time to visit Dalat

Dalat’s temperature is cool and stable all year around however there is a wet and a dry season. The dry season is from November to March and the wet season is from April to October.

Obviously if you arrive in the middle of wet season, as we did, there will be some rain. We got a little damp a couple of times but generally, the rain passed quite quickly. We had to wait around half an hour when we were at the Bao Dai Summer Palace because the rain was torrential.

In terms of temperature, the weather sat consistently between 18 and 23 degrees.

Tourist Map of Dalat

We found this tourist map of Dalat to be incredibly useful for planning. It has all the best attractions and you can get an idea of general location.

Where to go next?

From Dalat it is an easy 4 hour bus ride to the coastal town of Mui Ne if you are heading south. Many people also head straight down to Ho Chi Minh City. Here is out list of the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

If you’re heading north, Nha Trang or Hoi An are popular destinations.

Planning a trip to Vietnam? We begin this way

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For more information, please see our disclaimer here.

Like it? Pin it for later!

A 2 day DIY Itinerary for exploring some of the beautiful sites surrounding Dalat Vietnam. Ride through the Vietnamese Countryside while visiting Pongour falls, Elephant falls, Datanla waterfall and Prenn Waterfall. We also visited other must see sites such as the Dalat Crazy House and Truc Lam Pagoda. #dalatwaterfall #thingstodo #dalatvietnamtravel
Complete itinerary for exploring Dalats four largest waterfalls, Pongour falls, Elephant falls, Prenn falls and Datanla waterfall. We also managed to squeeze in some temples, a summer palace and the famous Dalat Crazy House. All while having an amazing couple of days riding through the Dalat mountains.

About Christine

Christine and her partner Ben have spent the last few years traveling through New Zealand and then Europe by campervan. They travel with their dog Alisa, who they adopted in Croatia. You'll find them exploring old cities, hiking through National Parks, and taking unforgettable road trips.

2 thoughts on “DIY Motorbike itinerary of Dalat Waterfalls”

  1. This was amazingly useful. None of the tours were really attending my expectations. I will follow your advices. Thank you for taking your time to write this post.

    Reply

Leave a comment