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Dalat, Vietnam

Da Lat Crazy House

A Surreal flight of architectural fancy in Vietnam's Central Highlands 

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This bizarre guesthouse is one of the landmarks of the city of Da Lat, a mountain resort popular with local honeymooners. In the Crazy House, Antoni Gaudi meets Alice in Wonderland in a fantastic folly of twisting, tree-trunk-like concrete and artificial caverns, winding flights of stairs and irregular windows, stalactites and stalagmites, flowering purple vines, and an over-sized sculpture of a giraffe.

The interiors are no less intriguing. In one room, guests are watched over by the glowing red eyes of a kangaroo. Other rooms feature elaborate local tribal decorations, or carved birds looming over beds tucked snugly into cave-like nooks.

The whole complex was a labor of love for avant-garde architect Hang Nga, who lives on site and sometimes chats with guests. She is an interesting person to talk to; besides designing buildings like this and her other Da Lat landmark (“The House of One Thousand Roofs,” now demolished), she is daughter of a former Vietnamese vice president.

Sightseers are welcome to tour the building during the day for a small fee or to book a room and stay the night. Bring warm clothes: the Da Lat Crazy House is at a high altitude, and all that concrete gets mighty chilly after sunset.

Know Before You Go

A 10 minute taxi ride from the centre of town. Important that you watch your step and keep an eye on any children with you. There are several stair cases and rooms which have less than adequate safety railings. In many places you are facing a 50+ foot drop.