12.03.2013

This undiscovered destination in Vietnam is cool in more ways than one

credit: weendang

Vietnam can be a very chaotic country for tourists.  The traffic, the crowds, the heat and humidity, the ever-present hustlers: there is always a lot for travelers to deal with.

These negatives are all reasons why places like Da Lat became so popular for both international and domestic tourists.  The highland city was a place to get away from it all.  Cool weather, a chilled-out vibe, and natural scenery provided the perfect antidote to the crowded, aggressive streets of Ho Chi Minh City, the touristy beaches of Nha Trang, and the other crowded tourist zones.

Today, Da Lat is still a place to chill out.  The vibe is still unique, and the weather is always cool.  But it is no longer the untouched mountain town it once was.  There are more farms, more hotels, more people on those "secret" trails that lead to beautiful highland views.

credit: weendang

Enter Mang Den.  This mountain town is very similar to the Da Lat of the previous century.  Like Da Lat, this kilometer-high town has cool weather year round.  Unlike the highland hotspot, though, Mang Den is almost completely untouched.  Pine forests are everywhere, and the local streams are still unpolluted and filled with fish.  The "secret" waterfalls, lakes, and scenic overlooks that define the Da Lat experience are also found in Mang Den.  The difference: in Mang Den, you will be alone on the trails and you won't have to share the view with anyone else.

Mang Den is about 30 miles from Da Lat, so if the larger city doesn't live up to your expectations, there is another option only a short ride away.

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