Bao Dai Palace
See Vietnam’s quirky side at the last Emperor of Vietnam’s summer palace. This unique building in the hills outside of Dalat is like nothing else you’ll see in the country.
Dalat is a unique destination in itself, with a climate usually 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding areas. Its landscape and culture are more reminiscent of rural Europe than Asia. Bao Dai Palace matches this unusual atmosphere and offers an intriguing insight into Vietnam’s past.
One of many retreats built for the young Emperor Bao Dai in the 1930s, it is one of three in Dalat. He favored the area because of the wildlife that used to roam here and his love of hunting. It’s hard to imagine tigers and elephants anywhere near the art-deco style palace today.
The palace a relatively modest building with high ceilings and lots of windows. Inside you’ll find period furniture and family photos, all seemingly untouched. It’s not clear what parts of the interior are authentic, but it is still a fascinating snapshot of what life may have been like.
Bao Dai carried out his short rule under the French, who stripped him of his royal title in 1949. He was eventually pushed out by the Communist regime and moved to France. His story makes the empty palace seem all the more forlorn and forgotten.