If sandy beaches and blue seas have become too monotonous on your visits to Vietnam, why not give the pristine wilderness of the mountains a try? In Dak Lak, honest people and natural beauty are the main attractions.
Dak Lak is the fourth largest province in the Central Highlands. It is home to the nation’s largest forest area and reserves, with many rare trees.
Buon Me Thuot is the province’s main city and it is known as the capital of coffee. Dak Lak’s coffee production has helped Vietnam become number two amongst the world’s competitors.
Lak Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the Central Highlands, and second-largest in Vietnam after Ba Be Lake. Here, you can go boating and rent bicycles to see the villages. Boating is a popular way to explore the rich lakeside vegetation and hear local legends told by the Mnong rowers. There are many untouched sites along the lake with pools, dikes, and hills where you can trek and take photos.
Early September is the best time to visit because on the way to the lake you’ll be able to see the golden rice fields ready for harvest.
World Coffee Museum
The World Coffee Museum is located in Buon Ma Thuot City. Designed in the style of a Central Highlands longhouse with a sectioned open area, the structure is embellished with a touch of contemporary European architecture.
Not only a museum, it is also a library, and space for exhibitions and seminars.
Visitors can admire approximately 10,000 coffee artifacts taken from the coffee museum of Jens Burg – a popular tourist attraction in Hamburg, Germany. The museum also exhibits various objects and tools used since ancient time in Vietnamese coffee production and processing.
Dray Nur Waterfall
Dray Nur Waterfall is well-known in Dak Lak for its majestic beauty. Coming here, you will feel at one with nature. Activities include exploring the cave next to the waterfall, canoeing from Dray Nur upstream to Dray Sap Waterfall, strolling in the virgin forests, biking, camping overnight, and venturing out on the staggeringly high hanging bridge.
Chu Yang Sin
It would be remiss to visit Dak Lak and not see its tallest mountain range – Chu Yang Sin. Although not as popular as Fansipan or Bach Moc Luong Tu, this range is worth seeing at least once in life. It is 2,442m above sea level and sits behind the nearly 60,000 ha national park of the same name. Before conquering its peak, you will witness the poetic beauty of Krong Kmar Waterfall.
Once on Chu Yang Sin, you can rest on enormous boulders and listen to the waterfall which sounds like the breath of the Central Highlands’s forest spirit. From afar, with its greyish-brown colour, Chu Yang Sin looks like a giant elephant sleeping soundly in the middle of the vast, green forest.
Yok Don National Park
At 40km west of Buon Ma Thuot City lies the “home” of Vietnam’s largest herd of wild elephants, Yok Don National Park. Along with Asian elephants, a number of other rare animal species shelter here, including kouprey, Eld’s deer, banteng, dhole, and black-shanked douc. Yok Don National Park offers ethical elephant tours where you can see the animals forage and play in their own environment. This helps reinforce the importance of protecting the species from extinction due to ivory hunting. The park is 115,000 hectares in size, consisting of natural forests of the two provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong. It is also the largest remaining dipterocarp forest of Vietnam. Some of the activities here include spending a day with elephants, bird watching, camping, mountain climbing, biking, and learning to cook traditional local dishes.
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