Travel to Dak Lak in the afternoon, where to go and what to do to have the most enjoyable experiences? Here are eight suggestions from Wanderlust Tips.
1. AKO DHONG VILLAGE – VILLAGE IN THE STREET
Located at the end of Tran Nhat Duat Street, 2 kilometres to the north of Buon Ma Thuot city centre to the north, Ako Dhong village, also known as Co Thon village is featured with scenery of ancient longhouses along the main road. Longhouse is a a unique cultural identity of the Ede group, which is the home to many generations of a large matrilineal family. In addition, the space of gong culture is also carefully preserved by villagers.
Top tips: Travelling to Ako Dhong, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in gongs night by the flaming fire, to hear the legendary epics of the highlands, to enjoy the songs and dances in the traditional longhouse, to witness the art of weaving brocades, and to buy real hand-woven products.
Cuisine: Tai Restaurant (91 Nguyen Khuyen Str.), Tuan Dat Grill village (53 Nguyen Khuyen Str.), ARUL Café (17-19 Tran Nhat Duat Str.), DamRin Coffee (95 Tran Nhat Duat Str.), etc.
2. TROHBU WILD ORCHID CONSERVATION GARDEN – IMPRESSIVE RECORDS OF VIETNAM
Located in Nien 3 village, Ea Nuol commune, Buon Don district, 12 kilometres to the west of Buon Ma Thuot city center, along the Provincial Road No.1, Trohbu Wild Orchid Conservation Garden has a valuable collection of up to 200 species and more than 10,000 orchid plants living on the tree. The Reserve has been honored by Vietnam Record Organization (Vietking) to have the largest collection of wild orchids in Vietnam. Vietking also recognized that this place has the oldest and the most ancient stone gong set and the biggest wooden dugout canoe made from hopea oak in Vietnam.
Top tips: The reserve is an ideal picnic site for visitors comming to Dak Lak. In addition, there are tourist services such as the tour for one day working as a farmer, the tour for experiencing life as a landowner of Ban Me coffee farm in Troh Bu, which bring more interesting activities to tourists.
Cuisine: Bring food or eat at the food court in the reserve.
3. KO TAM ECOTOURISM TOURIST SITE – THE BEAUTY OF VIETNAM CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
Located at 789 Pham Van Dong Street, National Highway 26, Tan Hoa Ward, Ea Tu Commune, Buon Ma Thuot City, Ko Tam culture and eco-tourism site has an attractive geographical location and favourable climate suitable for growing coffee and many kinds of fruit trees. In particular, Ko Tam also enchants tourists by a large space of 13 hectares with countless colorful flowers, clear water-wharf, and beautiful stilt houses.
Visitors come there to experience community tourism; listen to the introduction of traditionally cultural features of local people; visit gardens of flowers, vegetables, fruits, coffee and rice fields, and learn about coffee production. In addition, visitors also have a chance to exchange gong culture, go rowing, swimming, fishing and play folk games, etc.
Must see: Dak Lak Water Park (KM4, National Highway 14) is located on the road from the city centre to the tourist site.
Cuisine: Enjoy the flavour of delicious coffee and dishes made from fresh organic food planted at the tourist site.
4. EA KAO LAKE TOURIST SITE – IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE POETIC NATURE
Ea Kao Lake Tourist Site is located in Ea Kao Commune, 12 kilometres from Buon Ma Thuot City to the southeast. This tourist site with an area of 120 hectares (excluding water surface) was built in modern large-scale but still bear the national identity. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills and mountains with rich flora and old tree forests. Nearby, there are villages of Rade people such as H’Ve, Ea Kao, Cu Mbhim, Juong Ju.
Ea Kao Lake Tourist Site is built on a natural space full of green plants combined with abundant types of tourism, cultural and entertaining activities to meet the needs of visitors. The site is divided into many small areas with various tourist activities including recreation areas, rest houses, flower gardens, restaurants, botanical gardens, children playground, campsites, nature reserves.
Cuisine: Enjoy the specialties of the Central Highlands at food service area inside the site.
5. CƯ DLUÊ PINE HILL AND LAKE TOURIST SITE – IMPRESSED BY THE VAST GREEN PINE FOREST
Cư Dluê Pine Hill and Lake Tourist Site is located in the north of Khanh Xuan Ward, 6 kilometres to the West of Buon Ma Thuot City. The tourist site is built on a diverse topography including hills, mountains and plain. This place has humid and tropical plateau climate which has less volatile during the year. The temperature is fairly evenly distributed over space and decreases with altitude.
Going to this tourist site, tourists will have time to walk and discover the nature, watch the blooming colorful flowers by the peaceful and poetic lake. Besides, there are many interesting activities in the tourist site such as fishing, entertaining, going to a coffee bar or dance floor, and playing sports like billiards and table tennis. Hotels, villas around the lake or longhouses and malocas of Vietnamese ethnic groups will be ideal stopovers to have the best relaxing moments.
Cuisine: Restaurant, café, bars insidethe tourist site.
6. BUON MA THUOT PENITENTIARY- AN IMPORTANT HISTORICAL RELIC
Buon Ma Thuot Penitentiary, located at 18 Tan Tan Street, Tu An Ward, Buon Ma Thuot City, was built by French colonialist in 1900 to imprison Vietnamese revolutionary soldiers. This place has been recognized as a national historical relic by the government.
Coming there, visitors will have the opportunity to see the evidence of French colonial empire’s crimes, thereby reimagining the prison in the past with brutal and harsh regime like hell on earth. Besides, you can also learn more about the glorious struggle of former Communist soldiers such as Ho Tung Mau, Phan Dang Luu, Nguyen Chi Thanh, To Huu, Hong Chuong, Bui San, Tran. Van Quang, Ngo Duc De, Nguyen Duy Trinh, Nguyen Phung Tan, Huynh Thanh, and many other outstanding ones from all regions of Vietnam.
Cuisine: The Tay Nguyen Diem Hen Café (45 Pham Hong Thai Str.), Thao Nguyen Coffee Shop (15 Tan Thuat Str.), Me Khuc coffee (41 Dinh Tien Hoang Str.), Coffee Art Gallery Van (121/2 Dinh Tien Hoang Str.).
7. KHAI DOAN PAGODA – THE LARGEST PAGODA IN DAK LAK PROVINCE
Built in 1951, Khai Doan pagoda is the largest Buddhist pagoda in Dak Lak. This is also the first pagoda built in Vietnam Central Highlands and the last one in Vietnam to be honored by Vietnamese feudalism. The name Khai Doan is a combination of King Khai Dinh and his wife – queen Doan Huy Hoang. The pagoda has the shape of a Chinese letter – “san”, with a triple gate in front of the pagoda, the main hall in the middle, and the ancestral hall at the rear. The Guanyin Hall was constructed separately from the pagoda main structure, and has six sides featuring cloud and dragon decorated pillars. The main hall has an area of 320 square metres, divided into two parts: the front half is built in the longhouse-style architecture of the Central Highlands combined with the poles of Vietnamese ancient house; while the back half has a modern style.
Top tips: Address: 89A Phan Boi Chau Street, Thong Nhat Ward, Buon Ma Thuot City.
Must see: Historical destination – Lac Giao Communal House (67 Phan Boi Chau), about 300metres from the pagoda.
Cuisine: Vegetarian bread (153 Phan Boi Chau Str.), Mrs. Huong Noodles (3 Mac Thi Buoi Str.), Duc Tin Vegetarian food (4 Tran Binh Trong Str.), Bang Khuang Coffee (176 Phan Boi Chau Str.), etc.
8. DAK LAK PROVINCIAL MUSEUM – A PLACE TO PRESERVE THE HISTORICAL AND HUMAN VALUES OF DAK LAK
Located at 12 Le Duan Street, Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak Provincial Museum displays the cultural heritage and human life of Dak Lak Province.The museum consists of two floors, and the majority of the artifacts are displayed on the second floor with 3 separate rooms. Room 1 exhibits the artifacts and pictures introducing the natural characteristics of Dak Lak as well as the culture of two ethnic minorities named: the Rade and M’nong. Room 2 displays pictures and artifacts about the resistance of the Dak Lak people against French colonialists and American imperialism. Room 3 shows displays pictures of the economic production of the Dak Lak people after the Liberation of Saigon, and the biodiversity in eco-system of the Central Highlands region.
Must see: Near the museum, there are some attractions like Bao Dai Private Palace, Uncle Ho with Central Highlands’ Children Memorial.
Cuisine: Café Cafeteria, Café Dak Lak Museum (inside the museum), Mrs.Thured vermicelli (Phan Dinh Giot – Le Hong Phong), Guitar Club (50 Ho Tung Mau), Container Café (Bui Huu Nghia Street), etc.