We had heard that there was an unusual guesthouse in Dalat known by locals as ‘the Crazy House’ and for 35000 Vietnamese Dong (£1.20) admission you can wander through it and have a look. We decided to find our way there by foot and were quite bewildered by what we found.
The Crazy House is owned and designed by Dang Viet Na who renamed herself Hang Nga (meaning Sister of the Moon). Hang Nga is the daughter of the late Truong Chinh who was Vietnams second president and as such she found herself at an advantage in terms of education and useful relationships (newspaper clippings inside the house claim she sat on Uncle Ho Chi Minh’s and Fidel Castros knees). She has a PhD in Architecture from University of Moscow!
The house/buldings are hard to describe – think of a drunk Gaudi / Dali / Alice In Awful-land all in one. Surprisingly, it took the People’s Government of Dalat 18 years to approve her crazy construction as it didn’t fit in with any traditional description and once you see it you can understand why!! To cap it all – she is still constructing parts of it and adding to it all the time as she comes up with new ideas.
To begin with we climbed up the steps in a building which sort of looked like the head of a one eyed animal with a giraffe sticking out the side of it and going through it you felt like you were walking up the inside of a giraffe. Within this building were some ‘guest rooms’ that were as unusual as the house. They looked like rooms that you would find in an Alice In Wonderland Horror Movie!!! One of the rooms had a giant kangaroo in it with scary beaming red eyes that would give you a scare in the middle of the night.
Anyway we wandered out the top of the giraffe structure and found ourselves on a little bridge taking us over to another building which looked like a Chalet style house you would perhaps find in the Alps. As you walk over you realise that you are actually quite a distance from the ground and on a narrow concrete (but decorated) bridge with not a lot to hold onto. Stairs then take you up and over the roof of the house – by this time if you suffer from vertigo it will have seriously kicked in!!!
Down the other side of the chalet house we found a part constructed building which again has completely bizarre steps/bridges in it. You can actually enter and wander freely through what is quite literally a construction site – no such thing as Health & Safety or hard hats here!
Finally getting back onto Terra Firma we then came to a building which looked like something you would find in the movie ‘sleepy hollow’. It was like a massive tree stump/mound structure with holes in it – again some parts were still under construction but other parts of this building were finished complete with even more guest rooms.
The garden area has spiders webs made from rope/string dangling down and there are little tree stumps/toadstools dotted around to sit on, and there are a couple of gift shops too.
I don’t know if they ever have any paying guests – I would seriously doubt it, however it was certainly worth a visit and you could have a laugh and a smile as you watch all the other tourists look as confused and bewildered as we were by the whole thing.