Vietnam's Central Highlands are often overlooked by visitors to the country as they tend to be overshadowed by the famous hilly areas around Sapa. However for those who have time to investigate this central part of the country the region offers fascinating indigenous culture and one of the most beautiful lakes in Southeast Asia.
Located in Vietnam’s central highland region, Pleiku is the capital of the Gia Lai Province and is inhabited primarily by the Bahnar and Jarai ethnic groups, sometimes known as Montagnards or the Degar. The town sits at an elevation of 600-800m above sea level and also at the junction of several highways. The town was strategically important during the Vietnam War because of its position but these days acts as a gateway for those wishing to explore the central highlands. Near Peliku, at Kontum, you will find the extraordinary Rong houses with their distinctive high roofs.
Apart from Pleiku, tours to this region generally also take in Buon Ma Thuot. On reaching Buon Ma Thuot visitors usually enter the tiny town of Lac Thien to spend the night and perhaps have dinner in a traditional long house by the lake. A day's activities would include a visit to Bao Dai’s villa, a castle owned by the last Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, a stop at Jun Village to find out about the custom and culture of the Ede minority and an elephant ride to visit M’lieng village from where it is possible to take a dugout canoe across Lak Lake.