Archive for the ‘Central Highlands’ Tag

More portraits from Vietnam   Leave a comment

1-VietnamPhotoExpedition Day 5 4818More portraits from Vietnam
I was editing the above photograph this morning until my son said he was not well. Firstly he went to the dentist and was told to go the Emergency Ward of Penang Adventist Hospital to be admitted because of the bad swelling. After spending a whole afternoon there and seeing him being warded and treated with IV drip of antibiotic, I came back home to rest. He has to be warded for 3 days because of the medical treatment.
As a widower, I shall see him only tomorrow.

SP Lim
PS So one edited photo for today as I am not in any state to edit any more photographs.
Good night, folks.

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At the Hill Tribe’s Village – Take 2   Leave a comment

At the Hill Tribe’s Village – Take 2
Owing to the number of photographs I had separated them into two albums. This is the second photo album.

The Degar, also known as the Montagnard, are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The term Montagnard means “mountain people” in French and is a carryover from the French colonial period in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, they are known by the term người Thượng (Highlanders)—this term now can also be applied to other minority ethnic groups in Vietnam or Người dân tộc thiểu số (literally, “minority people”). Earlier they were referred to pejoratively as the mọi.


In 1962, the population of the Degar people in the Central Highlands was estimated to number as many as one million. Today, the population is approximately four million, of whom about one million are Degars. The 30 or so Degar tribes in the Central Highlands comprise more than six different ethnic groups who speak languages drawn primarily from the Malayo-Polynesian, Tai, and Mon–Khmer language families. The main tribes, in order of population, are the Jarai, Rhade, Bahnar, Koho, Mnong, and Stieng.

Originally inhabitants of the coastal areas of the region, they were driven to the uninhabited mountainous areas by invading Vietnamese and Cambodians beginning prior to the 9th century.

Although French Roman Catholic missionaries converted some Degar in the nineteenth century, American missionaries made more of an impact in the 1930s, and many Degar are now Protestant. Of the approximately one million Degar, close to half are Protestant, while around 200,000 are Roman Catholic. This made Vietnam’s Communist Party suspicious of the Degar, particularly during the Vietnam War, since it was thought that they would be more inclined to help the predominantly Christian American forces.

In 1950, the French government established the Central Highlands as the Pays Montagnard du Sud (PMS) under the authority of Vietnamese Emperor Bảo Đại, whom the French had installed as nominal chief of state in 1949 as an alternative to Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnam. In the mid-1950s, the once-isolated Degar began experiencing more contact with outsiders after the Vietnamese government launched efforts to gain better control of the Central Highlands and, following the 1954 Geneva Accord, new ethnic minorities from North Vietnam moved into the area. As a result of these changes, Degar communities felt a need to strengthen some of their own social structures and to develop a more formal shared identity. When the French withdrew from Vietnam and recognized a Vietnamese government, Degar political independence was drastically diminished.

The Degar have a long history of tensions with the Vietnamese majority. While the Vietnamese are themselves heterogeneous, they generally share a common language and culture and have developed and maintained the dominant social institutions of Vietnam. The Degar do not share that heritage. There have been conflicts between the two groups over many issues, including land ownership, language and cultural preservation, access to education and resources, and political representation.

In 1958, the Degar launched a movement known as BAJARAKA (the name is made up of the first letters of prominent tribes; similar to the later Nicaraguan Misurasata) to unite the tribes against the Vietnamese. There was a related, well-organized political and (occasionally) military force within the Degar communities known by the French acronym, FULRO, or United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races. FULRO’s objectives were autonomy for the Degar tribes.

As the Vietnam War began to loom on the horizon, both South Vietnamese and American policy makers sought to begin training troops from minority groups in the Vietnamese populace. The U.S. Mission to Saigon sponsored the training of the Degar in unconventional warfare by American Special Forces. These newly trained Degar were seen as a potential ally in the Central Highlands area to stop Viet Cong activity in the region and a means of preventing further spread of Viet Cong sympathy. Later, their participation would become much more important as the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North Vietnamese supply line for Viet Cong forces in the south, grew. The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, developed base camps in the area and recruited the Degar. Because of their quiet resolve and skills in tracking, roughly 40,000 fought alongside American soldiers and became a major part of the U.S. military effort in the Highlands and I Corps, the northernmost region of South Vietnam.

In 1967, the Viet Cong slaughtered 252 Degar in the village of Dak Son, home to 2000 Highlanders, known as the Dak Son Massacre, in revenge for the Degar’s support and allegiance with the Republic of Vietnam. In 1975 thousands of Degar fled to Cambodia after the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army, fearing that the new government would launch reprisals against them because they had aided the U.S. Army. The U.S. military resettled some Degar in the United States, primarily in North Carolina, but these evacuees numbered less than two thousand. In addition, the Vietnamese government has steadily displaced thousands of villagers from Vietnam’s central highlands, to use the fertile land for coffee plantations.

Outside of southeast Asia, the largest community of Montagnards in the world is located in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

Inserted by SP Lim from Wikipedia

The Living Heritage of the Central Highlands of Vietnam   Leave a comment

The Living Heritage of the Central Highlands of Vietnam
After shooting of the indigenous children having their bath-time along the stream, we moved on to the next destination where we took the photographs of the only two living Hill Tribe grand-old ladies with the elongated ear lobes. These were the only two members of the Hill Tribe still alive and thus considered as living heritage in Vietnam. This photo-shooting session is considered very rare indeed even for the members of the Vietnam Photographic Society. We were lucky and fortunate in the mission.

SP Lim

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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.


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)
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.

A rural wet market of Vietnam   1 comment

A rural wet market of Vietnam
This is the outskirt of Da Lat of Central Highlands of Vietnam. A typical market selling vegetables, fruits, fishes and meat. The pineapples are said to be very sweet but when we wanted to make a purchase, these were already sold out. However, the only objectionable thing to our culture was the sale of dog meat. The head of the dog was placed on the butcher’s table. Thinking back to the old days when there was a war between the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese aided by the Americans, food might be scarce and dog meat was probably added to the table, my opinion.

SP Lim

Tomorrow – Monday, 1 June, 2015 I shall publish the blog on the Grand Post Office of Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Vietnam dedicated to the late father Mr. Fernand Linet of my good friend Bertrand Linet.

Photography at the Central Highlands of Dak Lak, Vietnam   Leave a comment

Photography at the Central Highlands of Dak Lak, Vietnam

From Wikipedia: Đắk Lắk is a province of Vietnam. The name is also spelled Đắc Lắc, which is more in keeping with Vietnamese spelling, but the official spelling is Đắk Lắk. It is located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, and is home to a high number of indigenous people who are not ethnically Vietnamese (Việt).

The provinces of Vietnam are divided into districts (Vietnamese: huyện), provincial cities (thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh), and district-level towns (Thị xã). The administrative unit of the huyện dates from the 15th Century.
The centrally-controlled municipalities are subdivided into rural districts (huyện), district-level towns (Thị xã), and urban districts (quận), which are further subdivided into wards (phường).
The various subdivisions (cities, towns, and districts) are listed below, by province:

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