Travel Black Book With Rhonda Wong and Race Wong

Relaxed in quaint Dalat

Surrounded by hills and lakes, the Vietnamese city has delicious food and unusual buildings

Who: Singaporean sisters Rhonda Wong, 31, and Race Wong, 34, chief executive officer and chief operating officer respectively of Ohmyhome, an online real-estate platform.

Favourite destination: Dalat, Vietnam

Why: Located in southern Vietnam's Central Highlands, Dalat is surrounded by clear lakes, forested hills and waterfalls. It was developed as a resort destination by the French in the early 1900s and French colonial villas still fill the landscape.

It is a peaceful place with average temperatures of 18 to 25 deg C throughout the year.

We spend a lot of time working and rarely have time to travel for leisure, so we love places that allow us to relax completely, empty our minds, get inspired and be rejuvenated. We've been to Dalat three times.

Favourite hotel

We've stayed at the five-star Dalat Palace Heritage Hotel (www.royaldl.com/index.php/en) and Terracotta Hotel & Resort (www.terracottaresort.com).

The Dalat Palace is a French colonial hotel with good food and service and it takes you back in time with its classic, heritage style and old-fashioned charm.

Terracotta, on the other hand, is modern and chic, and better for travellers who prefer hotels with a more contemporary style.

Favourite restaurant

Dalat is dotted with small eateries and one evening, we happened upon Goc Ha Thanh (bit.ly/2h6yEWn) in Truong Cong Dinh Street. The eatery had a long queue. We were seated after a 20-minute wait and ordered a hotpot, self-wrapped spring rolls and other local dishes. Everything was yummy. The average cost is about $15 a person.

Must try

The local French bread is perfectly crisp on the outside and soft inside. You can find the delicious baguette everywhere in Dalat.

There are several street markets around the city which serve barbecued seafood that is good and affordable. They are also full of fresh produce such as strawberries, cashew nuts and avocados.

Favourite cultural site

Linh Phuoc Pagoda, also known as the Dragon Pagoda, is a special temple. It was built between 1949 and 1952 out of bits of glass, pottery bowls and porcelain.

The amount of work and craftsmanship that went into building it is spectacular. The front of the pagoda is lined with pillars decorated with dragons made of glass. Near a pond inside the temple is a 49m-long winding dragon made out of 12,000 glass bottles. It is unlike any other temple or church that we've seen around the world.

Another special site is the Crazy House (www.crazyhouse.vn), a home and hotel which looks like a crazy combination of treehouses, tunnels and caves, with carved staircases, towering wooden sculptures, poured concrete and few straight lines. Many of the buildings look like they have been carved out of gigantic tree trunks.

Visitors can tour the property and guests can stay in its 10 animal- themed guestrooms, each with a different animal sculpture inside, such as a life-sized wooden tiger or kangaroo.

The architect and owner of the property wants to bring people closer to nature and has spent much effort on crafting the home into something amazing.

Favourite spot to relax

We love The Dalat at 1200, a country club with an 18-hole Stadium Championship Course and upcoming villas and resort residences.

Our dad and husbands are avid golfers and while they play their game, we drive the buggy around the picturesque 650ha mountain property which surrounds a 183ha lake. The golf course is also a great place to watch the sun set.

Side trip

The luge at Datanla Falls (http://bit.ly/2hBOTvO). While the waterfalls are not spectacular, the roller coaster-like luge that you can take from the parking lot to the foot of the falls is a lot of fun.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 18, 2016, with the headline 'Relaxed in quaint Dalat'. Print Edition | Subscribe