I planned one day to see the waterfalls around Dalat. This city in Vietnam’s Central Highlands is known for nature and beautiful waterfall views. I made the mistake, however, of not properly vetting the waterfalls and their distance from the city. Had I planned better, I would’ve spent the day exploring Elephant Falls and the better-known Pongour Waterfall.
After getting stuck in an elevator at Datanla, I found an available taxi in the parking lot to take me farther down the road to Prenn (it’s not always easy finding a taxi that isn’t waiting for passengers who had already hired the driver for the day). Despite the elevator mishap, I was excited to visit another waterfall — Datanla was beautiful, albeit crowded.
Upon paying my minuscule admission fee to Prenn, I wondered if I had made a mistake in my itinerary. But I was already sweating from the walk through Datanla and my taxi had already departed, so there was nothing left but to take in what I had paid to see.
The best description I can offer of Prenn is that it looks like a Disney knock-off nature park with signs in Vietnamese, English, and Russian. There are rides, fountains, animals, a cable car about 15 feet in the air, and a natural waterfall that flows into a carefully constructed stream through the park. And there are overpriced souvenir shops set up to look like a village.
If that description isn’t off-putting enough, there’s also elephant and ostrich riding.
Alright, Prenn Waterfall is not all bad. The hillside above the waterfall is a beautifully-maintained garden with views of the mountains. And the waterfall itself is pleasant, though nothing impressive — muddy water isn’t so aesthetically pleasing.
Prenn is a waterfall over a large overhanging rock into a muddy pool. The walk around the waterfall is short, making the visit a little less inspiring, but it’s still a brief pleasant time as much of the crowd is engaged in the theme park-like attractions.
Following that underwhelming experience, I hopped in a taxi back to town to find a late lunch near my hotel before taking another walk Dalat. That day I extended my wandering through the market in the center of town — I bought a few packaged food products to bring back to Taiwan (and some to the U.S., like the wonderful coffee).
The journey to Prenn Waterfall may not have been the best, but it was still part of a great experience in Vietnam.
Have you ever visited a natural attraction that felt unnatural?