Dak Lak Vietnam is one of the best destinations to consider for a unique Vietnam travel experience. Located in Central Vietnam, it offers visitors a chance to learn about the country’s coffee production and connect with nature.
1. Where is Dak Lak in Vietnam? What is it famous for?
Dak Lak is a province spanning over 13,000 square kilometers in the Central Highlands. Its capital city is Buon Ma Thuot. Dak Lak is famous for its natural beauty, cultural richness, and coffee production. The province’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, and tourism is quickly growing here, too.
- Natural beauty: Tourists can find many stunning forests, waterfalls, and lakes in Dak Lak. There is also Yok Don National Park, one of the largest nature reserves in Vietnam.
- Cultural richness: Home to a diverse population, visitors can learn a lot about the people of Vietnam through ethnic festivals. It is possible to see Vietnamese traditional longhouses.
- Coffee production: Dak Lak Vietnam is considered the capital of Vietnamese coffee.
With its abundance of natural wonders and cultural richness, Dak Lak promises an unforgettable journey for those seeking an authentic Vietnamese experience.
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2. Dak Lak Vietnam weather: When is the best time to visit?
Dak Lak weather has a diverse climate owing to its varied topography divided into six distinct agro-ecological zones. The temperature steadily decreases with elevation, with an average of 24 degrees Celsius.
Dak Lak Vietnam has two distinct seasons: the rainy season from May to October and the dry season from November to April. Weather-wise, the best time to visit Dak Lak is at the end of November. During this period, it is no longer rainy but still cool and clear. The beginning of the year is also a good period to visit, as flowers begin to bloom in Dak Lak.
3. How to get to Dak Lak Vietnam for the most convenience?
Most tourists choose Buon Ma Thuot as the destination on their trips to Dak Lak Vietnam, which is approximately 350 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City and 1,400 kilometers away from Hanoi.
- By plane: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways all have flights to Buon Ma Thuot. Fares are typically about 1,000,000 VND for departures from Ho Chi Minh City and about 2,000,000 VND for departures from Hanoi. Flying to Dak Lak Vietnam is a convenient and comfortable option, but it can be pricey for those traveling with a tight budget.
- By bus: Going to Buon Ma Thuot by bus from Ho Chi Minh City often costs 200,000 - 400,000 VND and takes up to 8 hours. Meanwhile, from Hanoi, bus tickets start at 600,000 VND and travel time can exceed a day. Compared to flights, buses are more economical. There are also many bus companies to choose from. You will have to stick to your bus’s fixed schedule, though.
- By motorbike or by car: This option gives you the most freedom. You can travel at your own pace, stopping wherever and whenever you want. However, you will have to be well prepared. It is important to know the route and have essential supplies like food and equipment to ensure a safe journey. If you are not used to Vietnam’s roads, it is best to travel by plane or bus to Dak Lak Vietnam.
4. Top 10 must-visit tourist attractions in Dak Lak Vietnam
4.1. Buon Don Tourist Area
Often referred to as the "Land of Elephants,” Buon Don is an attraction known for its rich traditions associated with taming and raising wild elephants. In this unique corner of Dak Lak Vietnam, you will hear captivating tales of elephant mahouts and visit centuries-old stilt houses. For those seeking a more interactive experience, Buon Don offers an opportunity to feed and even take pictures with these gentle giants. Adding to its allure, Buon Don boasts a 1-kilometer bamboo suspension bridge that sways gracefully, offering a thrilling adventure and spectacular views.
4.2. The World Coffee Museum
Although fairly new, this attraction has been drawing many visitors. It displays more than 10,000 coffee artifacts from around the world. But unlike other museums where exhibits are within glass casings, everyone coming to The World Coffee Museum is encouraged to smell, touch, and even taste certain items to learn about the history and migratory patterns of coffee. If you are a fan of these aromatic beans, you wouldn’t want to miss out on this attraction.
4.3. Troh Bu Garden
The construction of Troh Bu started in 1995 as a botanical garden, but it had become a conservation area for wild orchids by 2012. This reserve, roughly 12 kilometers west of Buon Ma Thuot City, is currently preserving over 10,000 semi-wild and wild orchids of all kinds and a collection of other forest plants. In addition, Troh Bu Garden is home to a number of wild animals, such as peacocks, pheasants, rabbits, turtles, flying squirrels, wild boars, and Ede chickens.
4.4. The ancient stilt house of the Elephant King
There are many stilt houses in Dak Lak Vietnam, so you might be wondering, why is this one so special? It belonged to the most skillful elephant hunter in the region - Y Thu Knul (1828 -1938). It is said that Knul hunted and tamed nearly 500 wild elephants during his lifetime. He was named the “Elephant King” by the King of Siam when he gifted the King a rare elephant with white hair, white skin, and an amber tusk in 1861. Today, the house is preserved to remember Y Thu Knul and protect the tradition of the region. It also shows the beauty of Dak Lak Vietnam’s cultural identity.
4.5. Trung Nguyen Coffee Village
Trung Nguyen Coffee Village is a 20,000-square-meter site set up by the coffee brand Trung Nguyen. It is an excellent destination for those looking to understand the coffee culture of the Central Highlands. Here, you can listen to a repository of coffee cultures from various countries and enjoy a variety of coffee while doing so. Furthermore, you can explore the longhouses of the Ede people, where artifacts like gongs, weapons, and utensils related to coffee cultivation, transportation, and production are on display.
4.6. Lak Lake in Dak Lak Vietnam
Covering an area of about 6.2 square kilometers, this is the second-largest freshwater lake in Vietnam. It is located in Lien Son Township, 55 kilometers away from the center of Buon Ma Thuot City. Here, you can enjoy a tranquil beauty away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. In addition, you can visit M’Nong villages, interact with the local people, and learn about their customs. The best way to move around Lak Lake is by canoe.
4.7. Truc Lam Tu Giac Buddhist Monastery
Truc Lam Tu Giac Buddhist Monastery is located 50 kilometers to the southeast of the city center of Buon Ma Thuot. It was built on Cu Kuin Mountain in Krong Pak District, with its back against the mountain and a vast lake in front. From a distance, the monastery looks like the main subject of a landscape painting. Stepping through a triple-arched gate, you will see a majestic statue of Amitabha Buddha sitting and holding a lotus. Further inside is the main hall, where the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are worshiped.
4.8. Yang-Tao Elephant Rock
As you can guess from the name, this is a rock site that looks like an elephant. More specifically, it is a pair of monolithic rocks resembling two elephants. The larger one is the Mother Elephant Rock and the smaller one is the Father Elephant Rock.
- The Mother Elephant Rock: This is the largest monolithic rock in Vietnam. It is 200 meters in length and over 30 meters in height. You can find it near Chu Yang Sin National Park, at a Vietnamese mountain’s feet.
- The Father Elephant Rock: This rock is 70 meters in length. At the foot, there is a vast green rice field where you can take beautiful photos. If you are a climber, you can reach the top and enjoy panoramic views of the region.
These Elephant Rocks are especially popular for couples, as the locals believe that when a couple falls in love and comes here, the stone god will protect their love forever! So, if you are traveling to Dak Lak with your significant other, you should definitely include this destination in your itinerary.
4.9. Dray Nur - Dray Sap Waterfalls
These are two famous waterfalls in Dak Lak Vietnam. Dray Sap Waterfall cascades from a 20-meter-high valley and creates a misty fog, so it is often referred to as the “Smoke Waterfall.” Surrounded by green trees and black rocks, the area is like something that comes straight out of a fairy tale.
Dray Nur Waterfall is equally beautiful. It is located not too far from Dray Sap Waterfall and is known for its white foam rushing down from a 30-meter-high cliff. If you come here during the dry season, the stream at the base is gentle, so you can walk barefoot across and feel the moss-covered rocks.
4.10. Chu Yang Sin National Park
If you are seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure at Vietnamese national parks, look no further than Chu Yang Sin National Park in Dak Lak Vietnam. Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Central Highlands - 60 kilometers to the southeast of Buon Ma Thuot, this gem promises a breathtaking experience for nature lovers. There is a world of enchanting landscapes and diverse flora and fauna here.
5. Things to do in Dak Lak Vietnam for the best experience
5.1. Participate in an ethical elephant tour
Traditional elephant tours have a bad rep, but there are ethical ones that you can take to get up close and personal with these gentle giants and not hurt them. Offered by Yok Don National Park in partnership with Animals Asia, these ethical tours prioritize the welfare of the elephants above all else, aiming to provide a safe and natural environment for them to thrive.
5.2. Immerse yourself in authentic ethnic culture
Vietnamese people are divided into 54 ethnic groups, and many of them reside in Dak Lak. You can partake in their traditional ceremonies, witness captivating dance performances, and savor the exquisite flavors of the indigenous cuisine to immerse yourself in the region’s authentic ethnic culture. These experiences can help you foster a deeper understanding of Vietnam's ethnic diversity and a profound connection with the people.
5.3. Explore adorable cafés and enjoy the local coffee
Dak Lak Vietnam is known for its coffee, so sipping on a cup or two is surely a must. There are many cafes offering aromatic options for you to choose from. Pick one where you can relax and enjoy your brew while soaking in the serene atmosphere.
5.4. Watch the parade in the annual Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival
If there is one event that captures the vibrant spirit of Buon Ma Thuot Vietnam, it is definitely the annual Coffee Festival. Every year, locals and tourists gather to watch the parade that brings the entire city to life. As the procession glides through, you will be swept away by the infectious energy exuded by everyone involved!
5.5. Experience cycling in the countryside
Cycling in the countryside of Dak Lak Vietnam allows you to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature. As you pedal your way through the winding paths, you are greeted by lush green landscapes and charming Vietnamese villages bustling with friendly locals. You will be able to glimpse into the region’s culture and appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
6. What to eat and drink on your trip to Dak Lak Vietnam?
While in Dak Lak, don't miss out on the opportunity to sample the local delicacies. Here are some of the best items to try:
- Cơm lam gà sa lửa: This is a famous dish in Don Village. It includes rice grilled in bamboo tubes and chicken grilled with salt and green pepper.
- Bún đỏ: In English, this is “red vermicelli.” The name comes from its red broth. There are many ingredients in a bowl of bun do, like quail eggs, pork blood jelly, herbs, etc.
- Canh lá: This is a soup made of at least ten different vegetables. It is a traditional dish for the Ede people. The taste is uniquely bitter and spicy.
- Thịt nai rừng nướng: This is grilled wild deer meat. It is known for its tender texture and smoky flavor.
- Cá bống thác kho riềng: Eaten with white rice, this is a spicy and fragrant fish dish. The fish is special because it comes from Dak Lak’s waterfalls.
- Lẩu cá lăng: This is a hotpot dish featuring bagrid catfish, which has a sweet taste. It is often served in a flavorful broth for communal dining.
- Lẩu rau rừng: Another hotpot dish, this one combines many different local vegetables to offer an authentic taste of the region.
To accompany the dishes above, a wine called rượu cần is a good choice. It has a mildly spicy taste and the aroma of rice and forest leaves. The special part about enjoying this is using a straw called “can” to drink the wine.
7. What to bring home after your trip to Dak Lak Vietnam?
There are many souvenirs to take home after visiting Dak Lak Vietnam. You can consider Tay Nguyen coffee, cacao powder, dark chocolate, avocado, honey, and deer jerky. If you prefer non-food souvenirs, handicrafts by ethnic minorities such as the Ede and M’Nong are great options.
Besides Dak Lak Vietnam, you can also explore Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long, where you will find a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. In these destinations, you can stay at Vinpearl’s hotels and resorts to enjoy spacious accommodations and modern amenities. At Vinpearl, there are spas, pools, kids’ playgrounds, and a number of dining options for an unforgettable stay. From Vinpearl, you can also pay a visit to the entertainment complexes of VinWonders for fun-filled memories.
There are many things you can do and see in Dak Lak Vietnam. From magnificent waterfalls to bustling coffee plantations, there is no shortage of places to visit in this province. You will have a uniquely immersive travel experience that will leave you with many unforgettable memories.