Trekking Lang Biang in Da Lat is slightly challenging. The 4 km vertical climb will leave you out of breath but it’s worth a trek, if not for the most spectacular views at the top, but for the challenge itself. If nothing else, it’s a great exercise.
For the western travellers Da Lat is all about nature, the hills, the national park and trekking. Companies here operate canyoning and trekking tours, but we stayed away from all of it. As independent as we are, we decided to find our own way up to the tallest peak in the area.
Getting to Lang Biang independently
Lang Biang is located 12 km from Da Lat centre and is within an easy reach by bike, motorbike or a local bus. The road is straight forward, but gets rough in places due to a new road being laid at the moment.
Local bus #5 (look for Lang Biang written on the bus windows) leaves from Da Lat bus station near the central market every hour and costs 12,000 VND ($0.54 USD) one way.
You will be issued a ticket with the price on it so no ripping off tourists here. The ladies on the bus were very nice and even gave us a piece of paper with the return times written on it.
The bus takes around 45 minutes and drops you off by the main entrance to the national park.
You can get your bikes parked at one of the stalls for 5000 VND ($0.22 USD) and motorbikes for 10,000 VND ($0.45).
Currently (May 2016) the return bus leaves the Lat village (just outside the park area) at 7 am, 9 am, 10:15 am, 11:15 am, 1:45 pm, 3:15 pm, 4:15 pm and 5:15 pm.
Prepare for the trek at Lang Biang
Have a good breakfast, wear good footwear and take a rain jacket or a jumper, it gets slightly windy and cold at 2,167m above sea level. But above everything, make sure you have plenty of water. The climb is steep and sweaty so you will want at least a 1l bottle if not more per person.
Pop in a few snacks to have half way or at the top, but nothing too salty. I had some sweet potato chips at the start of the trek and really regretted it later.
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Take the right trekking path
On arrival to Lang Biang, next to the main gate, on the left hand side, there is a ticket booth where you pay 20,000 VND ($0.90 USD) for the entrance to the national park. Apart from that, there’s no information, leaflets etc., of where to go and what to do.
The car park here is pretty horrific, packed with tour buses and Jeeps, so beware, some drivers are quite aggressive. Most of the locals will take Jeeps to take them to one of the peaks. Luckily, the Jeeps can’t get to the tallest peak, so the trek there is nice and peaceful.
Most visitor here just seem to hang around on the hill behind the car park and take pictures of the Hollywood style ‘Lang Biang’ sign and ride on the horses painted to look like zebras. Not really our thing so we set off up the mountain.
There are a few places in the car park or just outside the gate to buy water and Bánh mì (baguette sandwich) if you haven’t had a chance to have breakfast.
There is a road all the way up the Lang Biang mountain. It’s very narrow and, in our opinion, lethal so don’t make the mistake we did. We climbed all the way up the main road with the Jeeps viciously passing us by. We tried to trek into the forest but there wasn’t a path nearby so we just had to suck it up.
The locals couldn’t believe their eyes, they were waving, some looking with disbelief and also filming us from the Jeeps. By time we got to the top, I am sure we appeared on a few of the Asian social media channels.
On arrival to Lang Biang and after buying your tickets DON’T go through the gate. Take the path on the right hand side by the main gate.
It might be muddy and may not look like a path, but it is. The path will lead you into the national park through the strawberry fields, veg greenhouses and a coffee plantation.
If in doubt, just ask a local as they are used to people hiking up this way. It’s much safer than the main road and much more peaceful and scenic too.
Once in the forest just follow the steep path up until you see the main road. The trek, depending on your fitness level, takes approximately 2-3 hours.
Unfortunately you will have to step onto the main road for around 50 m or so to reach the base of the mountain. Once you see a large map and a ticket booth, pictured below, you know you are on the right path.
The ticket office was closed on our arrival, but during the high season, have some cash with you as you might need to pay another 20,000 VND to access the path to the tallest peak in the area.
Climbing the tallest peak in Da Lat
Climbing the tallest peak of Lang Biang was quite challenging, but also pretty cool. You can see the peak you are about to climb from the path and realise it’s not going to be easy.
As you start climbing the mountain, it gets darker and the trek gets narrower leading you up through the jungle, the forest suddenly sinks into the soft fog. Luckily, it also gets cooler, not that it helps much with thirst, but still nicer than scorching sun.
There are signs along the way to tell you how much you’ve got left to climb, but at times, we preferred not to know as the trek seemed never ending. We were tired, sweaty and thirsty.
The most challenging bit is the last 360 m, the climb seemed to take forever. The steps are quite high so climbing gets harder and harder, but then it also gets lighter. We are nearly at the top, just a few more steps…
At 2,167 m above sea level
As we finally reached the top of the mountain, it was, as we expected, foggy. But we knew it will be. We knew we had to wait a while for the fog to shift. We sat on the grass, catching our breath, snacking, resting and took photos of a group of French students who weren’t as patient and left a few minutes later.
While waiting, we met a couple of lovely Polish guys who turned out to be travel vloggers on YouTube from On the way to TV. We exchanged our travel experiences and even made a quick video for each other channel. It was so great chatting to them so we all stuck around for the views.
The panoramic views of Da Lat might not be the most spectacular from the peak, but it was the challenge itself that was worth achieving. Thanks to the guys we found out the nice and tranquil pathway down the mountain, away from the roaring Jeeps.
We had a great chat as we were descending from the top and met up in the town for dinner next day. The joys of travelling! It’s all about finding your own way, conquering challenges and meeting lovely people.
Have you trekked Lang Biang? Was is hard or easy for you? Let us know in the comments below…
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