If you’re exploring Vietnam’s Central Highlands during your South Vietnam itinerary, you’re most likely spending time in Dalat. While Dalat is one of our favorite places to visit in Vietnam, a great alternative is Dalat’s sister city – Bao Loc (Bảo Lộc in Vietnamese or also referred to as B’Lao). Located in Lam Dong province, this city is a good stopping point whether you’re coming from Dalat, Ho Chi Minh City, or Cat Tien National Park.
Bao Loc is a quiet and calm city and an offbeat destination. While it’s not touristy as Dalat, it’s a charming place to visit. From the beautiful tea and coffee plantations grown on the hillside to the stunning waterfalls, the city is worthy of a visit.
We’ve put together this handy guide to highlight things to do in Bao Loc, how to get there, and other helpful travel tips. Since we spent a weekend in Bao Loc with friends, we couldn’t see everything in Bao Loc. However, we thought that it was plenty of time to explore the area.
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Things to Do in Bao Loc, Vietnam in a Weekend
1. Spend the day at Dambri Tourist Area.
Located 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Bao Loc’s city center, Dambri Tourist Area is a fun weekend spot to visit. You can easily spend half a day or a whole day here.
The main attractions are the two incredible waterfalls, Dambri Waterfall and Dasara Waterfall, which we’ll share more in detail below. There are theme park rides such as riding a ferris wheel and alpine coaster and paddling a swan boat. Small children rides are also available. Next to the ferris wheel are traditional games where you can test your balancing skills on the balance beam or climb across the monkey bars. If you’re eyeing for some swimming, there is a small swimming pool with a slide that you can relax in. You can also rent tandem bikes to cycle around the lake and the theme park.
How to Get There: You’ll need to have your own vehicle (car or motorbike) to get to Dambri Tourist Area. Once you’re in Bao Loc, you’ll be on QL-20 until you see a sign that directs to Dambri Waterfall. Follow the signage until you’ve reached the entrance.
Admission Cost: 200,000 VND ($8.60 USD) for adults and 120,000 VND ($5.15) for chidlren. It includes all access to the park. There is a small parking fee for vehicles (10,000 VND/$.40 USD for cars)
2. Dambri Waterfall
Dambri Waterfall (Thác Dambri) is a popular waterfall in Vietnam. It’s one of the highest waterfalls in the province at 70 meters (230 feet). What makes Dambri Waterfall special is the intense cascades. They’re so powerful that you’ll get drenched by the mist when taking photos next to the waterfall. If you visit during the rainy season from May-October, the waterfall has stronger cascades. Next to the waterfall is a snack shop where you can purchase drinks or rain ponchos or just stay there to dry off.
How did Dambri Waterfall get its name? It comes from the K’ho language, an ethnic minority group in the South Central Highlands. The legend goes that a boy and a girl fell in love but couldn’t get married due to being in different tribes. The boy was upset, left his village, and never came back home. The girl searched for the boy but couldn’t find him. Eventually, she ended up in a forest and then cried until her tears became the waterfall. The water flows forever due to her sorrows.
How to Get There: To get to the Dambri Waterfall, you can use the elevator to go down to the falls. The elevator is accessible from the car parking lot. Otherwise, you can take the stairs and paved walking path down to the base which will take about 5-10 minutes.
3. Dasara Waterfall
Dasara Waterfall (Thác Dasara) is the smaller and gentler waterfall compared to Dambri. Yet, it’s lovely to see with the surrounding forest area.
How to Get There: To see Dasara Waterfall, there are two ways to get there. The first way is to walk to the bottom of the waterfall from a walking trail from Dambri Waterfall. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes to walk there.
The best and most exhilarating way is to ride the alpine coaster to the base of the waterfall. The entrance to the alpine coaster is a building next to the car parking lot and souvenir shop. You and your partner (or you can ride separately) sit in a bobsled vehicle and control your speed with the use of a lever. Pushing the level forward means that you’ll go faster while pulling the lever back means that you’ll slow down. It’s such a rush zooming down the mountain and you can go pretty fast along the curves. Although, it’s recommended that you slow down on the curve for safety.
4. Visit the Linh Quy Phap An Pagoda.
Linh Quy Phap An Pagoda (Chùa Linh Quy Pháp Ấn) is a picturesque Buddhist temple on top of the mountain. It’s located 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) from the city center. Most people head to Quan Chieu Duong (Quán Chiếu Đường) for the pretty views of the mountainside. It gained popularity as the pagoda is highlighted in Sơn Tùng M-TP’s music video, Lạc Trôi. Check out the music video below.
Once you visit Quan Chieu Duong, you can see why this spot is a top place to visit in Vietnam. The overlook area is a blend of Vietnamese and Japanese architecture with Japanese torii gates on each side and the backdrop of the forest and the tea plantations. If you visit this place during the sunrise, it has a magical vibe with the layer of dense fog covering the mountain range. For those who want to do a prayer, there is a praying area in the temple located behind the overlook area.
As a reminder when visiting any pagodas, wear appropriate clothing which covers the shoulders and knees. Some areas will require you to take off your shoes.
How to Get There: To get to the Linh Quy Phap An Pagoda, take your car or motorbike and drive through the rural area of Bao Loc. The roads aren’t the greatest, so you’ll need to be careful and watch for potholes and/or puddles.
Once you’ve arrived park at one of the car parking areas at the base of the mountain. Choose to hire a motorbike taxi to take you up the narrow walking path or walk. If you take the motorbike, it’s a 2-3 minute ride and starts at 50,000 VND ($2.15 USD) per person. The motorbike takes you to a rest area and you’ll need to walk to the temple grounds. Even if you’re a skilled motorbike rider, we would not suggest that you go up the narrow path on your own. It’s steep coming up and down the road so leave it to those who do the ride often.
We took the walking route as a healthier option. It took about 20 minutes to get to the main temple entrance. Along the way, we saw many durian and papayas hanging from the trees and wild coffee plants.
5. See the luscious landscapes of the tea plantations.
Bao Loc is famous for tea and coffee plantations. As you drive through the area, you’ll see the endless rows of tea and coffee plantations. You can stop by the side of the road to see the farmers harvesting the tea leaves or just admire the amazing views.
The famous shop in town that sells tea is Tam Chau. The Bao Loc city center has a main store on 294A Trần Phú, P1 which also has a restaurant. You can also purchase teas and coffee as souvenirs at the Dambri Waterfall Tourist Area souvenir shop located next to the parking lot. We purchased loose leaf oolong and green tea which was very reasonable. A 500-gram bag of loose leaf oolong was 170,000 VND ($7.30 USD) and 250-gram of loose leaf green tea was 100,000 VND ($4.30 USD). The tea flavors are on the lighter side so you’ll need to use more leaves for a stronger flavor.
6. Walk around the city center’s Ho Dong Nai Lakes.
The center of town has the Ho Dong Nai lakes (Hồ Đồng Nai). The two lakes are located near local restaurants and Vietnamese dessert (chè) places along Trần Phú street so you always have a place to visit for a post-meal walk. Or, you can do loops around the lakes for your morning run. It’s a peaceful path and you won’t encounter any crowds. If you decide to walk on the inner walking path in the evenings, it’s not as well-lit so you’ll need to be extra cautious.
7. Try the local food.
With our limited time in Bao Loc, we had a snapshot of places to eat in Bao Loc. Here are some places that we enjoyed.
- O Lan Bún Riêu – Have you had bún riêu before? It’s a hot bowl of noodle soup with rice noodles, tofu, pork balls, and meat in a tomato broth. This version has pork blood and a big pork knuckle bone. It’s a popular place to have breakfast. A bowl costs 30,000 VND ($1.30 USD). Unfortunately, there aren’t any vegetarian options.
- Nem Nướng Kim Phát – One of the best parts about Vietnamese food is rolling your protein in lettuce, herbs, rice noodles, and in rice paper. This place has nem nướng which is grilled pork and you get to wrap it in the fried rice paper and other vegetables and dip in fish sauce. Each order is 30,000 VND ($1.30 USD). If you’re a vegetarian, you can wrap the vegetables and noodles.
- Soymilk – It is cold in the evenings, so let’s have something warm! Across and in front of the Bao Loc church are sidewalk vendors that sell fresh soymilk. You can have a hot glass of soymilk with or without condensed milk. A cup is around 10,000 VND ($.43 USD).
How to Get to Bao Loc
By Car or Motorbike
Located between Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, you can either schedule a visit to Bao Loc either before or after a visit from either city. You’ll pass through Bao Loc either way. From Ho Chi Minh City, Bao Loc’s city center is 190 kilometers (118 miles) and will take around 4 hours one-way via car. The driving will take up most of the time, which is why a visit to Bao Loc is not recommended as a day trip. As a warning, the hillside to get to Bao Loc is very windy so stay alert if riding a motorbike.
For more information on how to travel around Vietnam, read more in our post!
By Bus or Limousine Bus
Consider taking a sleeper bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Bao Loc. You get the opportunity to lie down in your seat and potentially “sleep” during your ride. Thanh Buoi Bus is one of the bus companies that will stop in the city. If you have difficulties booking online, you can ask one of your friends who speaks Vietnamese to call the company on your behalf to make a reservation.
Another option is to take a limousine bus either from Ho Chi Minh City or Dalat. Seating varies from 9 spots to 20 spots depending on the vehicle. Find the schedule and make a reservation here.
Where to Stay in Bao Loc
Most of the accommodations in Bao Loc are guesthouses with a few hotels. With the hotels, they aren’t the chain hotels that you may be envisioning but a nicer version of a guesthouse. The accommodations are affordable so you can expect to pay between $7-$20 USD depending on your comfort. Click here to find accommodations in Bao Loc.
We stayed at the Huong Tra which was a 5-7 minute drive to the city center (about 3.5 kilometers/2 miles away). The area is in a residential area so it’s quiet. The rooms are basic, clean, and very large. They also come with an en-suite bathroom with toiletries. Some of the rooms have air conditioning, but you may not need it due to the cool weather in the evenings. There is free on-site parking for your vehicle. It was a decent stay for one night. Click here to make a reservation at Huong Tra.
Other options include:
- Hoang Dinh Homestay – Located 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) from the city center, it’s a modern place with clean rooms, private bathrooms, and a view of the garden. Click here to read reviews and make a reservation at Hoang Dinh Homestay.
- Hotel Mia – With the friendly staff and the new rooms, Hotel Mia is recommended as a top spot to stay. Find availability and reserve a room at Hotel Mia here.
Other Helpful Bao Loc Travel Tips
- The weather is cold in the evenings (around 18°C/64°F) due to the mountain range, so it’s recommended to bring a warm jacket and wear long pants.
- If you’re spending a lot of time in the forest area, don’t forget to bring bug spray. We had several mosquito bites when walking through the forest area of the Dambri Waterfall.
We hope you’re interested in visiting Bao Loc as a weekend trip from Ho Chi Minh City or from Dalat. While the city isn’t the most vibrant with the nightlife, it’s all about the views and the peacefulness here.
If you’re looking for a trekking opportunity in the area, check out our experiences at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park.
Interested in visiting Bao Loc, Vietnam? What do you want to see here? Let us know in the comments below.
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