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Ho Chi Minh
The Mekong delta
The Central Highlands
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THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
 

Located in the belt of the tropical monsoonal climate of the south of Asia, with the two distinctive seasons: the rain season from May to October, the dry from November to April and covered with basaltic soil, the central highlands is home to thousands of rare and precious species of both plant and animal categorizing not less than 35,000 kinds of plants and over 600 classes of animals, among them 17 have been listed in the Red Book.

The central highlands are renowned for their cool climate and beautiful mountain scenery with many streams lakes and waterfalls. This area is also home to various ethnic minority groups. With its evergreen forests, Da Lat (once called Petite Paris) is a famous honeymooning spot. Further north is the Pleiku, Kontum and Buon Me Thuot area, where domesticated elephants are still used for transport, and the countryside is excellent for trekking.

The central highlands is really a marvelous and mysterious land for those who would like to explore the wonders of nature, who would like to mix themselves into nature.

Da Lat

As the capital city of Lam Dong Province, the southern province in the Central Highlands, Da Lat is always listed as one of the most ideal destinations in Viet Nam for both home and foreign visitors. Founded in 1917 on Lang Biang, the highland discovered in 1893 by Alexandre Yersin, a French scientist, this city looks very green, up and down on the hill with the thick forest of pine trees. All kinds of European fruits and vegetation can be planted here.

Viet Nam is proud of its old-aged civilization, heroic history, endless and fertile golden rice-fields, etc., but it has only one Da Lat which is well-known for her natural charm and beauty. Endowed with fresh air, temperate climate all the year round and exclusive landscape, this highland city has long evoked the endless inspiration of poets, composers as well as painters, hence, many of them do not hesitate to tenderly name the city as “City of flowers”, “City of Eternal Spring”, “City of Love” or even “Le Petit Paris”, etc.

Whatever effort one makes to describe Da Lat, they find it difficult to express in worlds all the attractiveness and exclusiveness that she possesses. Only when setting foot on her land do they perceive the romantic and poetical features of this lovely city.

Pleiku

Pleiku is the heart and soul of the Central Highlands, essentially untouched by tourists save for the occasional backpacker and those seeking to explore virgin hill tribe villages and the lush scenery of the Truong Son Mountains. Known through the war, the town is lovely with many pine trees and pepper farms. It used to be a volcanic area. The soil is red and good for some industrial trees like rubber, coffee plants. Nowadays, Pleiku has about 81,000 inhabitants with a large number of ethnic people. There is special wine made by local people, which is always ready offered all tourists with different tastes. Besides, tourists don't forget enjoying traditional dancing shows when being in Pleiku. The musicians are experts in playing their musical instruments which are made from bamboo tube. The melody from them sounds really great.

Pleiku is the place for adventurers, who want to see a part of Viet Nam that hasn't sold out to brochures and tourist-luring gimmicks. Riding elephants and trekking are the most popular programs for tourists.

In the dry season - between November and May - the mountains look pretty brown and thirst and the region around Pleiku is heavily forested and possesses a lot of the wildlife that has been driven away (or simply killed and stuffed) by the encroachment of humans in places like Da Lat and Buon Me Thuot.

Kontum

About 50 km north of Pleiku, Kontum is also populated mainly by Jarai, Sedeng, Rengao and Bahnar ethnic minority hill tribes.

Kontum, the northernmost province in the central highlands, covers an area of 10.000 km2 with 250.000 inhabitants.

Favoured by nature, the land is embellished with many landscape both virgin and romantic, besides, this mountainous region is inhabited primarily by ethnic minority groups, whose traditional customs certainly interest visitors coming from anywhere in the world.

Paying a visit to Kontum, visitors will stay a while with a Bahnar or Jarai family, to admire Rong houses (Traditional Communal Houses) of which the unique design closely attaches to these peoples legendary history and faiths, or even to join them in their traditional festival. In addition, visitors can enjoy their holidays perfectly by taking part in a special hunt in the primeval forest of Dakuy or Hu Morei, visiting the village of Ronam whose population is only counted 200, conquering the Western Highlands´ highest mount of Ngoc Linh of which the summit is shrouded in mist all year round, tasting the Ngoc Linh gingseng renowned for its medicinal properties or bathing with natural hot water in mineral springs.

Buon Me Thuot

Buon Me Thuot, was built right on the highland of 500 meters above the sea level, is the center of the Rade minority. Besides, there are many other ethnic groups as the M’nong, Bahnars, Sedang…

It’s the most civilized and most populated region in the highlands. It used to be a hunting ground and an important American base during the war.

Nowadays the area is well-known for its flora and fauna. Coffee here is marvelous. It is interesting to walk around the coffee plantation and count the different minorities that you come across. Tourists can get a chance to tour the village and ride the elephants through the primitive forest outside the town or go by small boat in Lak lake.

 
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