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Central Highlands

From Dalat the fertile plateau of the Central Highlands stretches northwards for hundreds of kilometers. This is the most sparsely populated region of Vietnam and in the past was inhabited mainly by the dozens of ethnic minority groups known as montagnards in colonial days.

During recent decades the region has seen an influx of settlers from the more densely populated areas of Vietnam and much of the original forest cover has been cleared to make way for coffee plantations.

There are however still many places of interest in the Central Highlands and although the main towns of the Buon Ma Thuot, Pleiku and Kontum may not have a great deal to offer there are many authentic minority villages throughout the countryside. The traditional thatched, wooden stilt-houses of the Ede, Jarai, Bahnar and others are a feature of the region and an overnight stay in one of the villages is a memorable experience.

One such village is Jun village on the shore of Lak Lake about 50km from Buon Ma Thuot. Here visitors can have a real Central Highlands experience with an elephant ride through the countryside, a cruise on the lake in a hollowed-out tree trunk known as a pirogue and spend the night in a village longhouse.

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