Travel to Dak Lak in the morning, where to go and what to do to have the most enjoyable experiences? Here are eight suggestions from Wanderlust Tips.
1. DRAY SAP – DRAY NUR – GIA LONG WATERFALLS: MYSTERIOUS WATERCOLOR PAINTING
These three waterfalls are located between two provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong, about 30 kilometres from Buon Ma Thuot city. They are in the system of Srepock River in Dray Sap Commune, Krong Ana District, Dak Lak Province (Dray Sap Waterfall is in Dak Nong Province).Dray Sap is the downstream waterfall in the system with a height of about 20 metres, stretching for 100 metres. Gushing the roaring water all day and night by vertiginous cliffs, this is the most beautiful and majestic waterfall in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The midstream waterfall, Dray Nur, is the largest one in the Central Highlands. With its great height and strong currents, the waterfall creates roaring waves when the water flows down. Gia Long Waterfall is the upstream waterfall. This waterfall was associated with historical events when King Gia Long came to this land to visit the waterfall and take a rest.
Must see: Trinh Nu Waterfall on the Krong No River – a tributary of the Srepok River, more than 7 kilometres away from the 3 waterfalls. (Along Provincial road 684).
Cuisine: Dray Sap restaurant at Dray Sap – Gia Long waterfalls ecological and cultural tourist site; Restaurant at Dray Nur waterfall tourist site.
2. THUY TIEN WATERFALL: “THE FAIRY GIRL” HIDDEN IN THE JUNGLE
Thuy Tien Waterfall is about 7 kilometres from the center of Tam Giang Commune, Krong Nang District, Dak Lak Province, and about 56 kilometres to the northeast of Buon Ma Thuot. From above, the combination of three layers of water flowing down creates a lot of magical white foam. The first layer has a low slope with steps; the spring is narrow, flow gently between trees’ roots falling down on two sides. Water continues to pour down profusely on large stone steps to form the second layer with many lush green ponds where tourists can take a bath. Finally, at the third layer, waterfalls vertically to the ground. The sound of the waterfall combined with the melodious singing of birds creates the unspoiled scenery of the jungle in Central Highlands.
Must see: Driving on National Highway No.14 from Buon Ma Thuot city to Thuy Tien waterfall, travellers can visit Drai Ega Waterfall (Tring Village, Ea B’lang Commune, An Lac Ward, Buon Ho Town).
Cuisine: Bring food during your journey to the waterfall, or return to Tam Giang Commune’s centre for more culinary options.
3. LAK LAKE: “CERULEAN SILK STRINGS” BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH
Lak Lake is located in Lien Son town, Lak district, Dak Lak province, which is about 56 kilometres in the south of Buon Ma Thuot City, along the National Highway No.27. The lake’s surface is always green with the reflection of the shade of pine forest on the hills around. The lake is surrounded by villages, majestic mountains, and vast primary forests.
You will have a chance to travel by motor canoes or boats to admire Lak Lake; ride an elephant across the lake; visit Jun and M’Lieng – typical villages of the ethnic minority people; go trekking, cycling, or swimming in Dakphoi rocky stream; climb Bao Dai hill to visit Bao Dai Palace and enjoy the panoramic view of the lake, etc.
Must see: Bim Bip Waterfall (Yang Tao Village, Lak District) which is located near Lak lake. Yang-tao Elephant Stone, which is famous for the legend of “walking stone” located on the road from Buon Ma Thuot city to Lak Lake (Along National Highway No.27).
Cuisine: Lien Thanh town with many options: Lak lake restaurant, Ngoc Son Restaurant, Hung Thinh Restaurant, Son ca Coffee …
4. BUON DON TOURIST SITE: THE “CRADLE” OF HUNTING AND DOMESTICATING
Buon Don Tourist Site is located in Krong Na commune, Buon Don district, Dak Lak province, which is 42 kilometres from Buon Ma Thuot city to the northwest. There are stretching natural forests, the majestic Srepok River with roaring water. Besides natural landscape, Buon Don is also famous for its tradition of hunting and domesticating elephants.
Top tips: Visitors will have an opportunity to ride elephant climbing mountains, crossing streams and rivers; taking part in interesting activities such as shooting crossbows, grilling fish, and drinking wine; live in simple and cozy houses built on old ficus macrocarpas.
Must see: The tomb of the elephant hunting king (Khunjunob) which is 1.8 kilometres from the tourist site; Buon Don Tam Linh Hill which is 5 kilometres from the tourist site. On the way from Buon Ma Thuot to Buon Don tourist site, tourists can visit Bay Nhanh waterfall.
Cuisine: Enjoy the Central Highland dishes in restaurants like Po Lang, Chiu Liu and Ko Nia located inside the tourist site.
5. YOK DON NATIONAL PARK: WILD NATURE WITH ABUNDANT FAUNA AND FLORA
Yok Don National Park is located in Buon Don and Ea Soup district, which is 40 kilometres from Buon Ma Thuot to the northwest. It is one of the largest nature reserves in Vietnam with a total area of 115,545 hectares with unspoiled nature, unique and rich fauna (with 464 species, of which there are many endemic species). In addition, Yok Don National Park preserves many unique cultural values of the Central Highlands ethnic groups such as Ede, M’Nong, etc.
There are many ecotourism routes in Yok Don National Park such as Thac Phat (Phat waterfall) route, Tri village’s field route, Ranger station No.5 route, Buon Don return route, Yok Don Mountain route, Buon Dang Phok route. By these routes, visitors can take picnic tours, go hiking and camping in the forest, or rent a small riverside hut to enjoy the scenery of the mountains, rivers, and water as the sun sets.
Cuisine: Bring food and water during the journey of jungle discovery.
6. CHU YANG SIN NATIONAL PARK: JOURNEY TO THE WILD NATURE
Chu Yang Sin National Park is located in Lak and Krong Bong districts of Dak Lak province, 60 kilometres from Buon Ma Thuot to the southeast, adjacent to National Road 27 linking Da Lat to Lam Dong. This national park with high mountains and many rivers and streams, as well as rich fauna and flora is considered an impressive nature and eco-tourism attraction.
There are many eco-tourism activities such as admiring ancient pine forest or thousand-year-old Fokienia trees, observing wildlife birds, mountain biking along the forest route, rowing dugout canoes on the river, visiting waterfalls and having a picnic. For cultural and community-based tourism activities in the village, visitors can discover the custom, rest in comfortable stilt houses, and enjoy delicious local specialties.
Must see: On the way from Buon Ma Thuot to the national park, you can visit Krong K’mar waterfall, located in the national park and near National Highway 27.
7. NAM KAR NATURE RESERVE: TREKKING TO EXPLORE GREEN FORESTS
Nam Kar Nature Reserve is a reserved forest located in six communes in Lak and Krong Ana District, 100 kilometres from Buon Ma Thuot. The craggy and complicatedly divided terrain changing from high mountains to hills, grasslands, rivers, and streams has created a unique area with all types of terrains and vegetation, which is an ideal habitat for many wild animals.
Top tips: Because most of the forests in Nam Kar are evergreen forests, the climate is cool year-round, suitable for ecotourism development. There is a trekking tour with many fascinating experiences.
Must see: Nam Kar Lake is located in the nature reserve with stunning and impressive beauty.
Cuisine: Bring food and drinks for your exploration in Nam Kar.
8. CU H’LĂM HILL: VISIT THE SACRED HILL
In Ea Pok Town, Cu M’gar district, Dak Lak province, more than 10 kilometres away from Buon Ma Thuot city, there is a sacred forest on a gentle hill, shading the surrounding villages, that is Cu H’lam Hill. This place is associated with thrilling legends and mysterious stories told by local people through many generations.
Cu H’Lam Hill has a cool climate and fresh atmosphere, even at midday in the hot summer. Visitors can take a walk under the canopy of green trees; occasionally you will encounter some purple flowers or giant trees which several people cannot embrace it joining their arms. In the east of Cu H’Lam Hill, there is a 15-hectare pond rammer, in which the water is green year-round with colorful lotuses and water lilies. You can also visit the Ea Mpp A and the Ea Mpp B village (one kilometer to the east) to explore the cultural life of local people.
Cuisine: Along the Provincial Road No.8 near Cu H’Lăm Hill, there are many restaurants such as Ea Pốk Kuy teav, Pho Hang 2, Minh Hang Cake, Quyen Linh Coffee, Sao Dem Coffee.