Da Lat is the capital of Lam Dong Province in Vietnam. The town is located 1,500 m above sea level on the Lang Biang Plateau in the southern parts of the Central Highlands. The name Da Lat derives from the acronym of the Latin phrase “Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperiem” ("Giving Pleasure to Some, Freshness to Others"), which the French colonial government used in their official emblem of Da Lat. In Vietnam, Da Lat is one of most popular tourist destinations.
Da Lat's specific sights are pine wood (forming the name: "City of thousands of pine trees") with twisting roads and tree marigold blossom in the winter. This city has a unique temperate weather in Vietnam's otherwise tropical climate. Mist covering the valleys almost year-round leads to its name "City of eternal spring".
Da Lat is also known as an area for science research in the fields of biotechnology and nuclear physics.
With its year-round cool weather, Da Lat supplies temperate agriculture products for all over Vietnam, for example, cabbage and cauliflower. Its flower industry produces two typical flowers: hydrangea and golden everlasting. The confectionery industry offers a wide range of Mut, a kind of fruit preserve made from strawberry, mulberry, sweet potato, and rose.
During the 1890s, explorers in the area, which was then part of the French territory of Cochinchina, asked the French governor-general, Paul Doumer, to create a resort center in the highlands. The governor agreed. The original intended site for the hill station was Dankia, but Etienne Tardif, a member of the road-building expedition of 1898-99, proposed the current site instead. In 1907, the first hotel was built. Urban planning was carried out by Ernest Hebrard.
The French endowed the city with villas and boulevards, and its Swiss charms remain today. Hebrard included the requisite health complex, golf course, parks, schools, and homes but no industry. The legacy of boarding schools where children from the whole of Indochina were taught by French priests, nuns, and expatriates lasted until the end of French rule. There were seminaries of Jesuits and other orders. The elite Vietnamese National Military Academy graduated its first class of future leaders in 1950. There was an aviation school at Cam Ly Airport.
During World War II, Da Lat was the capital of Indochina Federation, from 1939 to 1945.
The architecture of Da Lat is dominated by the style of the French colonization period. The Dominion of Mary Church and Convent were built in 1938 and offer a panoramic view of the city. The convent is a home to Roman Catholic nuns of the Mission of Charity.
Da Lat is home to the manmade, 5 km² Xuan Huong Lake. The average temperature is 17°C, and does not exceed 25°C in the hottest season. Its temperate climate is ideal for agricultural production. Da Lat is renowned for its orchids, roses, vegetables, and fruits. There is a nascent wine-making and flower-growing industry in the region.