A cheesy tourist attraction, or fun filled hours thrill seeking as you fly down an alpine waterfall coaster in control of your own speed and brakes?! The jury is still out, but my vote is that this is budget friendly and a unique experience worth checking out when in Dalat.
Getting There: located 5km south of the city you can pick up a public bus from the central market heading south on Prenn pass for 10,000 VND or hire a motorbike for the day for 100,000 VND
Costs: entrance fee for the park is 30,000 VND ($1.30 USD), the alpine roller coaster is 50,000 VND and you can take a cable car to the base of the falls for 40,000 VND.
Suggested Time: try and get there early morning to beat the crowds however any time of day is fine. It always tends to be quite busy but weekends are definitely more crowded. This activity can take an hour or two of your time, depending on how many times you ride the coaster or how busy and crowded it is.
Datanla Waterfalls is the sort of place you’ll either love or hate. If you like thrill and adventure ride the alpine rollercoaster and you will love it, if rides aren’t quite your thing, then you may think that they’ve messed with nature too much. A bit like a budget adventurepark you can ride the rollercoaster, take the cable car, and pose with various animal statues while visiting.
You’ll start off at the top of the falls, a cascading set of waterfalls set over three stages. The sound of the water is thunderous as it cascades down the mountain flowing into natural streams that lead to another waterfall. The scenery is spectacular, lush green forest and pristine turquoise water surrounded by peaceful nature. Walking through the forest watching the water carve it’s path through the canyon is well worth the $1.50 entrance fee. What stole the show for me was something I hadn’t seen before: the alpine style rollercoaster. This is a control-your-own-speed roller coaster at the entrance to the waterfalls which takes you down to the base or does a loop back to the top.
So what’s the deal? You sit in a small plastic car with a lever on your left hand side which is your brake, the sheer force of gravity propels you flying down the tracks and hurtling into corners. If you are slightly mental, like me, you’ll try and use the brake as little as possible, although there are points where you feel like the cart is coming off the tracks so use the brake more than I did! It takes about 2 minutes to race around the track and when at the bottom you can jump off to see the falls or take the cart back up to the top.
The highlight for me was definitely the alpine rollercoaster, weaving around a track controlling your own speed is incredible fun. Unfortunately the natural beauty of the area has been overshadowed by the adventure activities and terrible touristy statues they’ve erected for photo opportunities.