Architecture Magazine

Hang Nga Guesthouse, Vietnam Aka The Crazy House

By The Grumpy Old Limey @GrumpyOldLimey

Hang Nga Guesthouse, Dalat, Vietnam Opened in 1990 the Hang Nga Guesthouse in Da Lat, Vietnam is the brainchild of architect Dang Viet Nga. Early in its life the property was often described as "The Crazy House" by visitors and Nga soon adopted that nickname herself; these days the guesthouse is most commonly referred to that way and you will note in one of the photos the welcome sign that actually uses that name. In overall shape the property resembles a large tree trunk and it has been described as a "fairy tale house". The architecture ...

3 Huynh Thuc Khang St, Da Lat, Vietnam
11°56'4.94"N 108°25'50.32"E
No Google Maps "Street View" Available - Not Included In Google Earth Tour

... has drawn many comparisons and characterizations being described as expressionist with certain features likened to elements in the work of Antoni Gaudi, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney. Nga herself has stated that the primary inspiration behind her design was the natural environment in the area along with the work of Gaudi.
Nga received her education in China and subsequently earned an architecture degree at the University of Moscow but despite that formal training she works not from architectural blueprints but rather from paintings which are then realized by craftsmen and contractors. Her design features curves, branches and odd shapes; the windows are asymmetrical and are placed at odd angles, the interior features numerous interconnected levels, hidden nooks, tunnels that curve and twist and themed rooms that feature stone animals; tigers, bears and a kangaroo to name but a few along with original handcrafted furniture. Nga describes the tiger room as representing "the strengths of the Chinese"; the eagle room as being "big and strong" like Americans; and the ant room as representing the "hard working Vietnamese".
It all adds up to a weird and surreal environment perhaps reminiscent of the Disney movie "The Jungle Book" though to me it looks for all the world like the "Wicked Witch Of The West" might just come strolling out the front door.
Nga did not initially intend her property to be a guest house but eventually she decided to accept paying guests to help cover debt incurred during construction. Along the way the property has seen some criticism but eventually it gained more acceptance. Nga put it this way:
When they first saw the house, people would exclaim that it was a “crazy house”! So that’s how it got its name, and now, it’s one of Da Lat’s leading tourist attractions.
The Hang Nga Guesthouse is now a recognized tourist attraction and has featured in many a tourist guide book; Frommers for example. The property has also been featured in the New York Times Travel Guide and was recognized by the Chinese People's Daily as one of the ten most bizarre buildings in the world. Trip Advisor reviews on The Crazy House for the most part tend to suggest it is a fascinating place to visit but perhaps not such a great place to stay but if it takes your fancy room rates, they range from $34 to $84 for 2011, and other details can be found on Hotels In Vietnam and they can be booked here - let me know how your visit goes.

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