Hill Tribes of Central Highlands of Vietnam   Leave a comment


Hill Tribes of Central Highlands of Vietnam
The photo-shooting at a small village’s Sunday market patronized by the members of the hill tribes living there took us about two hours. After their Church services, they were shopping at the market selling clothing, fruits, cooking utensils and other every-day items. It was quite interesting to note their colourful clothing and intricate patterns as these depict the different tribes. The female indigenous members were in their Sunday best but the male counterparts were in their modern clothing. I notice an elderly indigenous lady quite engrossed with her kitten.

SP Lim

From Wikipedia:-
The Central Highlands (Tây Nguyên) of Vietnam are a distinct contrast from the tropical south, with an arid climate, rolling hills, and blue skies. The region sees few foreign visitors, and many of them go to revisit old battlefields or see the indigenous tribes.

Cities

Buon Ma Thuot – home to the most famous Vietnamese coffee
Dalat – the old French hill-station with “eternal” spring climate
Kontum – where communal life centers around the towering rong-houses
Ngoc Hoi – small town near border crossing to Laos (Bo Y)
Pleiku
Bao Loc – good resting spot between Ho Chi Minh and Dalat

Buon Ma Thuot or Buôn Ma Thuột (or sometimes Buôn Ma Thuật, Buôn Ma Thuật or Ban Mê Thuột), is the capital city of Daklak Province, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Despite its quiet appearance, Buon Ma Thuot is very quickly developing. However, most of this development is from internal investment rather than the tourism industry. There are very few tourist sites, but the people are friendly, the coffee is great, and a stop here is well worth it to get off the beaten track and see Vietnamese city life that does not revolve around tourism. It is also an excellent base of operations to visit Yok Don National Park, Ban Don Village, and Lak Lake.

Dalat, also Da Lat (Đà Lạt), located in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam, was originally the playground of the French who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and of what was then called Saigon (now) officially known as Ho Chi Minh City.
Dalat is a mid-sized city that looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Outside of the city centre, it is surrounded by a series of pine-covered hills, lakes, and higher peaks, making for some lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam.
Temperatures are pleasantly warm by day, and quite cool at night, down to perhaps 10 degrees Celsius. Be aware that during summer months, rain comes at least once a day and can sometimes dictate the mood and activities you are planning.
The city centre is quite small and feels very urban, concrete, and patches of streets and buildings are in disrepair or construction. However, outside of the small urban centre is a spacious landscape of well kempt and pretty hotels, cafes, restaurants, and lakes peppered among the rolling green hills and pine trees to offer tourists an escape from city life. Even further out from those are fields of fruits, vegetables, coffee, and canopied flower gardens that are harvested and exported across Vietnam. The tempo of life in Dalat is very relaxed, traffic is not frenetic, streets are spacious, and the local populace is friendly to foreigners.
Dalat is very much a niche tourism town, open to those seeking a respite from the heat of the rest of Vietnam, a change in scenery to lush pine forests and rolling hills, or those seeking world class golf. There is a steady flow during some parts of the year of tourist from all walks of life and places, small hotels, cafe’s lining its streets and plenty of small shops offering anything from orchids to knitwear. The vast majority of visitors are Vietnamese, although plenty of Americans and Europeans find their way, either on short package tours, soul searching, or drawn by the scenery, vivid blue skies, fresh air, flower-filled parks, and local culinary treats. Dalat is a favourite destination for company weekend outings, family get-aways, and honeymooners. Most guidebooks for overseas visitors describe Dalat as a tourist town with a colourful approach to tourism.
Dalat is a very pleasant stop, on a north-south tour (or vice versa), or a pleasant outing from the heat of Saigon. For overseas visitors, it offers mostly a chance to cool down, observe some beautiful landscape and agriculture, view a bit of the French legacy, the Indochine legend and its momentous glories and the architecture untouched by the Vietnam conflict left behind,a unique place to enjoy the atmosphere of a unique country and its people.
Dalat is also surrounded by some of the best mountain biking, hiking and canyoning opportunities in Vietnam, with hills of coffee and tea plantations, which evoke images of the colonial hill stations of the north of India.
Dalat’s high altitude (1500-2000m) and fertile landscape make it one of Vietnam’s premier agricultural areas, producing varieties of fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee beans, and flowers that do not grow in the lowlands. In markets as far north as Hanoi and Hai Phong, vegetable and flower vendors will tout their “made in Dalat” produce.

Kontum is the capital of Kontum Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
Kontum is a relaxed little town with few sights in their own right. What nevertheless puts it on the map of interesting places in Vietnam are the surrounding minority villages, including settlements of the Sedang, Bahnar, Jarai, Gieh Trieng and Rengao ethnic groups. Each village has a Rong, a huge and impressive communal house where the villagers gather for special occasions. Strangely enough, French catholics missionary work has been quite successful in this remote part of the country, rendering some of the minorities converts and leaving a few Christian vestiges.
Kontum’s major draw is the villages of the indigenous hill-tribes (called montagnards by the French). It is strongly recommended to go with a guide, since he or she will be able to communicate in the minority language and keep you from inadvertently breaking taboos. If you are on a tight itinerary, it might be good to fix things beforehand, since they are often crowded with tour groups. Though some of the Bahnar villages actually form a part of Kontum’s eastern and western edge, the ones farther away are more interesting. Highlights would be the different kinds of rong, the cemeteries of the Jarai and joining in a rice-wine party with the locals.

In Pleiku, you can visit Banhar and Jarai minority villages, including a day-long trek that takes you through four Banhar villages. We found the city tour over-hyped and the veteran tours would really only be of interest to those with an active interest in the war. Tours into the surrounds take in waterfalls, elephant rides and folk-shows, but it is suggested that Buon Ma Thuot being a better base for this type of trip.

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