Central highlands of Vietnam are home to rolling mountains and the immense green forests with many dreaded and zigzag mountainous roads. The land boasts its untouched nature and tourist attractions pertaining to the legends of jungles. It promises to satisfy any passionate adventurers.
Located in the middle of Vietnam, the central highlands have a humid tropical climate and a large area of basaltic soil. It’s still a new name on the map for those who want to uncover the majesty of forests, high mountains, and learn about the space of Gong culture – Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritage along with the life of hill tribal villages. In the article today, we will show you the essential information to make a vacation there.
Best time to visit
According to well-experienced backpackers, the period from November to April of the next year is the best time to come here. More specifically, December and late February to early March is when Central highlands of Vietnam look the most beautiful.
December is not only the season of glorious yellow Mexican sunflowers planted along many roads of the central highlands but also the harvest of coffee beans when all the berries dye a corner of region red. It’s hard to forget such a wonderful sight after leaving.
Meanwhile, February and March are when the white coffee flowers are in bloom, covering the highlands with a fluffy white coat. Until when seeing the scene with your own eyes that you know the land is different from your imagination.
How to get there from Hanoi?
Central highlands of Vietnam are far from Hanoi so most travelers choose to travel by car or plane there, then rent a motorbike to get around the spot.
That being said, as a true rider, you should travel Vietnam by motorbike for a road trip from Hanoi to the region. Start your journey by following National highway 14 (from DakNong), 26 (from Nha Trang), 27 (from Da Lat) and consider some worth-going routes such as Ho Chi Minh City – Buon Ma Thuot – Pleiku – Kon Tum, Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang – Da Lat. Don’t forget to bring along your driving license and personal papers as well as extra cans of fuel.
Must-visit destinations in Vietnam Central Highlands
T’Nung lake – Eyes of Pleiku
Bien Ho, also known as T’Nung lake, is one of the most poetic natural lakes in Central highlands of Vietnam. The lake was formed from a volcanic crater but it’s hard to see the other shore. People compared Bien Ho with the eyes of Gia Lai people in general and citizens of Pleiku city in particular.
On the top of a mountain, you will feel a unique sense of winds from the sea mixing with that from the jungle when standing on the shore. Cycling through the forests is a good way for you to discover the mystical beauty of the eyes of Pleiku.
Unspoiled Mang Den Town
Mang Den is a town in Kon Plong District, Kon Tum Province, 50km away from Kon Tum township. It’s home to primeval forests, lakes, and cascades. The temperature here is cool and fresh, which makes the town a perfect place for backpackers to run away from the hot summer. At an elevation of around 1.400 meters, Mang Den is circled by pine trees and wildflowers that make the weather fresh all year round.
Ta Dung Lake
Ta Dung Lake is originally a valley on the side of Ta Dung Mountain, in Dak Som Commune, Dak G’long District, Dak Nong Province. Like a striking blue mirror in the middle of the pristine highlands, this place captivates any tourists.
Once coming there, visitors seem to forget all of their sorrows and worries after immersing themselves in the spectacle and the nature discovery as well. The Journey to Ta Dung Lake is not too difficult. Go along the Highway 28 from Gia Nghia town for 48 km, you’ll reach the lake.
Before conquering the T-junction of Indochina, you should visit Bo Y border gate, which is an important milestone territory of the nation. From there, following a 10km winding pass crawling around the hills and climbing up the stairs that you can touch the granite milestone, which stands at the height of 1086m above sea level. The milestone is carved with 3 countries’ names.
Lak Lake is the largest natural lake in Dak Lak province that attracts visitors by its wild atmosphere and impressive beauty. The M’Nong ethnic villages living around the lake also provide travelers with their unique cultural experiences.
After all, Lak Lake is an ideal site for leisure activities such as kayaking, Drum-gong performances, swimming, and one of the best places to admire sunrise and sunset.
Yok Don National Park
Yok Don, which is located in the area of two provinces of Dak Lak and DakNong, is considered one of the largest special-use forests in Vietnam. There live many rare animals and natural lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. With wild beauty and many unique features, it is interesting to visit the forest, you can ride an elephant through the vast forest or cross the mighty Serepok river.
What to eat
Here are must-eat specialties of the central highlands: steamed rice pancakes with grilled pork stuffing, Dak Lak red noodles, Dak Lak avocado, Buon Ma Thuot coffee, wine drunk out of a jar through pipes, grilled wild boar, Don Village’s roasted ranger, Dak Lak deer meat, thut soup (a traditional soup cooked in bamboo tube), and bamboo-tube rice.
Each dish has it own original taste which is rich in the sense of the upland region.
Where to stay
Hotels in Buon Ma Thuot often charge from nearly 13 to over 21 bucks. And hotels named Eden, Tuan Vu, Biet Dien, Cong Doan, and Gia Dinh (Family) are the most popular among backpackers.
It’s not hard to find a hotel with the price ranges from 13 to over 21 bucks in Pleiku. The most bustling place of the city is Dien Hong Ward where lies the largest market of the region. If you want to find cheap accommodation, come to the area of Duc Long bus station on Ly Nam Street. And for a hotel with full of amenities, get to the streets of Hung Vuong, Tran Hung Dao, Le Loi, and Pham Van Dong. For more detailed information, check it on Agoda.
Kon Tum city is quite small so it will be easier to move around if you stay at a hotel on its main routes, namely Phan Dinh Phung, Truong Chinh, or Duy Tan. There is only one 3-star hotel – Indochine Hotel Kon Tum. The hotel offers a double room for 21 up to 34 bucks per night. Hotels in Kon Tum are generally cheaper than elsewhere in the Central Highlands.
If you travel with a group, the best way is to book a homestay in cultural villages like Kon K’lor and Kon K’Tu.
Central highlands of Vietnam have 5 provinces so it will take you 3 or 5 days to finish the trip. This windy, sunny, and majestic land is sure to bring you a whole new and fresh experience. What are you waiting for? Let’s pack it up and start off your vacation.
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