New Year's Camping in the Pine Forests, Dalat, Vietnam

New Year’s Camping in the Pine Forests

First published January 2021 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

This post was last updated 3 years ago. Please check the comments section for possible updates, or read more on my Updates & Accuracy page.

New Year's Camping in the Pine Forests, Dalat, Vietnam


For a couple of nights leading up to New Year’s Eve 2020, my friends and I went on a wild camping trip in the forests north of Dalat in the Central Highlands. The southern dry season offers the best camping conditions in Vietnam: dry and warm during the day, cold at night, clear skies, sunshine and sharp light, bright stars and moonlight, breezes through the canopy of trees and the scent of pine in the air. Sleeping out in this region at this time of year is one of the most memorable, rich, and deeply satisfying travel experiences you can have in Vietnam. There were five of us on this camping trip and one dog. We rode our motorbikes for an hour or two on dirt roads through the pine forests until we found the ‘perfect’ campsite. We had three tents between us, cooked food over a campfire and camp stove, bathed in a nearby river, read, wrote, drew, played guitar and played games. But most of all we talked, enjoyed each other’s company and the peace and beauty of our natural surroundings.

We all realize how lucky we are to be able to engage in an outdoor, social activity in nature such as this at a time when many of our friends and relatives in our home countries are still experiencing lock-downs or social-distancing due to the pandemic. Knowing this, we wanted to make the most of our relative freedom during New Year’s 2020, and mark the end of what has been, for everyone, an unexpected, challenging, and in many ways life-changing year.

Below is a gallery of images from our New Year’s trip, which I hope will convey something of the joy of camping in Vietnam. Such is the quality of light in the highlands at this time of year that almost all the images on this page are totally unedited: no filters and no modifications. For much more detailed and practical information about camping in Vietnam, including maps and tips, please read my guide to Camping in Dalat or see the Related Posts or browse my Camping Archive.

Selected Resources What’s this?
New Year's Camping in the Pine Forests, Dalat, Vietnam

Riding through the forests in search of a campsite

Playing guitar around the campfire

Building a campfire

Reading in the hammock

At the campsite

Bathing in the cold river

The cold river

The campsite


Drawing nature

Fern sketch

The pine forest at dusk

The camp

Bamboo rice (cơm lam)

Reading on the forest floor

Reading on the forest floor

One of the tents

Exploring the cold river

At the cold river

Around the campfire

Guitar by the fire

The campsite

On the riverbank

'Sushi' on the rocks

The cold river

A rustic, hearty highlands meals

In the forest

River flying

Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free & independent. I’ve written this article because I want to: I like camping & I want my readers to know about it. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements here

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  1. Elaine says:
    March 4, 2024 at 10:08 AM

    Hey John, thank you for this awesome resource ! Sounds like an unforgettable moment in time, I feel that in your photos.

    I am curious though what you are eating in those photos ? What is that rice wrapped in leaves & various other bits ? I love food and love to see how people acclimatise to place and their creativity with bringing in local cuisine. I haven’t visited vietnam yet but will soon be after I finish my cycle tour of aotearoa New Zealand.

    1. Tom says:
      March 6, 2024 at 5:24 AM

      Hi Elaine,

      The rice is called cơm lam – it is sticky rice cooked inside a length of bamboo and wrapped in banana leaves.

      You can read more about my camping trips, including food, by looking through my other camping guides on this page.



  2. Dianne says:
    January 3, 2021 at 10:35 AM


    1. Tom says:
      January 3, 2021 at 11:34 AM

      Hi Dianne,

      Yes, indeed.


  3. John Pearce says:
    January 1, 2021 at 8:26 PM

    Camping in the Dalat area is the BEST!

    1. Tom says:
      January 3, 2021 at 12:41 AM

      Hi John,

      Yes, it is! 🙂