Christmas in Saigon has become more festive over the last 3 years we’ve been here but comparing it to the intensity of the Christmas celebration in Manila, it still has a lot of catching up to do. But of course, since Vietnam is largely a non-Christian country, that’s something we won’t be seeing any time soon.
Since we’re used to the cold weather during the Christmas season, we set off for the holidays at near Central Vietnam in Dalat. We hired a 16-seater Mercedes Sprinter for our group composed of 10 adults, 3 kids and 2 babies. We left our home at 6:30 PM and arrived at the chilly highlands at 3:30 PM. Yup 9 hours but that included a couple of hours for our toilet and lunch stops.
The place and weather is gorgeous! I couldn’t ask for anything more for our vacation (except that I wished my 8-month old wasn’t running a low-grade fever due to teething)! We spent 4 days and 3 nights in the lovely city but we knew we could have explored it for a full week and still wouldn’t have gotten tired of it.
To top it off, Dalat is home to a number of Catholics so we felt really quite at home. The awesome structure of the Dalat Cathedral or Cock Cathedral (there’s a rooster on top of the cross mounted on the bell tower) was brightly lit with Christmas decors and the stained glass windows were all a-glow. We attended the solemn celebration of the Christmas mass (in Vietnamese) in the sardine-packed cathedral.
I just wished my son wasn’t too fussy because I had to go out of the church for a long time because his squeals can be a showstopper. Good thing, my son love the chilly weather outside.
If you’re passing by Dalat, dont’ forget to drop by this cathedral right smack at the city center.