South Koreans flock to Da Lat for familiarity

By Tu Nguyen   November 6, 2023 | 10:24 pm PT
South Koreans flock to Da Lat for familiarity
South Korean tourists experience a jeep tour in Cu Lan Village near Da Lat. Photo by Triphunter
Many South Korean tourists love the Central Highlands resort city Da Lat due to its cool climate similar to Seoul and the fact that the city has appeared widely on Korean TVs.

Aram Jeong, from Seoul, has been to Vietnam many times and visited popular destinations with Korean tourists such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.

In May this year, she decided to visit Da Lat after watching some reality TV shows filmed in the city about the daily lives of Korean stars.

As soon as she arrived, Jeong felt familiar because the city's cool climate was similar to Seoul.

In addition, she said that the cuisine in Da Lat and Vietnam was suitable for Korean tastes.

"I like many things about Da Lat, especially the beautiful cafes. The atmosphere of Da Lat is unique," she said.

According to Agoda's data, Da Lat in the past four months was most searched for by tourists from South Korea, ranking ahead of those from the U.S., Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Viet Challenge Tours, an adventure tour company in Da Lat, has switched to serving Korean tourists.

"People in Da Lat can easily see that Korean tourists are increasing rapidly. They appear everywhere," said a company’s representative.

According to Viet Challenge Tours, Da Lat has a geography quite similar to Korea with many high mountains and pleasant weather all year round.

When mentioning Da Lat, South Korean tourists often think about Lang Biang Mountain, Cu Lan Village and night market.

These tourist spots also appear in reality shows of South Korea. Television stations in Korea such as MBC, KBS, and SBS also show quite a lot of advertisements about Vietnamese tourism.

Yeong, a Korean female tourist who came to Da Lat in August after seeing a lot of positive information about the city on TV, said she liked the peaceful landscape in Da Lat, especially in some remote areas such as Cu Lan Village and Lang Biang Mountain in Lac Duong District, around 15 kilometers from Da Lat center.

"Da Lat has recently attracted attention from Koreans. I think this will be our top destination in the future," she said.

Tourist Min Seok also found out about Da Lat through a TV show and went there to travel in February.

He said the climate in the city was much more pleasant than other places in Vietnam.

Ozi, who lives in Seoul, said that Da Lat has garnered wide attention in the eyes of Korean tourists thanks to the TV show "I Live Alone". This show was filmed in Da Lat in 2022, sparking Koreans' curiosity about local street food and landscapes.

The tourist visited Linh Phuoc Pagoda during her trip to Da Lat and was especially impressed with its architecture.

Ozi said that Da Lat's climate is suitable for enjoying grilled food, making her feel familiar with her daily life in Seoul.

"Da Lat is not too crowded and has many great street foods. I really like this place," she said.

Authorities in Lam Dong Province and South Korea have recently launched tourism cooperation activities such as launching regular flights from Jeju/Incheon/Cheongju/Muan to Da Lat to improve travel options.

But tourists said there are other things that should be fixed as well.

Jeong still had difficulty during her stay in Da Lat due to the lack of foreign language signs.

She thought tourist facilities in the city and suburbs should add Korean language to their signs and menus to better serve tourists from the land of kimchi.

Safety is another concern, especially after recent deadly accidents involving South Korean tourists.

Four Korean tourists died on Oct. 25 when a flash flood swept their jeep away in Cu Lan Tourist Village in Lac Duong District. The tourist area suspended operation following the accident.

The next day, a South Korean tourist slipped off a cliff while taking photos and died at the Langbiang tourist site.

Choi, who lives in Seoul and came to Da Lat in August, still thinks Da Lat is a safe and friendly destination, saying that accidents can happen anywhere.

However, he said travel businesses in Vietnam needed to prepare more carefully in terms of human resources to avoid similar incidents affecting the city's image in the future.

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