Over the past week I have spent time across the Dak Lak province of Vietnam. Dak Lak province is perhaps not as well known as other regions in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, such as nearby Dalat; which is firmly on the tourist radar.
However by motorbiking around there is great countryside to see, and you are able to witness the traditional way of living by the numerous ethnic minorities that live in the highlands.
Worth visiting is Dray Nur waterfalls, It would be even more impressive in the raining season with more water flowing. It is 28km from Buon Ma Thuot city the capitol of Dak Lak province.
Around 45km from Buon Ma Thuot is the Ban Don tourist village, which is also the entrance to the Yok Don National Park. Here you can see many of the traditional long houses built upon stilts. Some of the village is aimed at the visiting tourists with numerous stalls and souvenirs on sale, alongside elephant rides in the river. It was good to try the local food (rice cooked in bamboo for example) found at the restaurant next to these bamboo bridges running across the river.
If you are fortunate you may be invited to eat at local houses like I had the oppurtunity to do so. Here the chicken has been cooked in a clay pot on the fire.
For family gatherings and holidays they often prepare numerous dishes to be accompanied by rice. Below you can see the wide variety we tasted including: Pork soup with carrots and potatoes; fried spring rolls; shredded beef and galangal; shrimps; vegetables with soy/fish dipping sauce; chicken; trotters; salad and herbs.
A highlight of the area is to visit Lak Lake, the largest fresh water lake of the Highlands. There are expansive views across the water with rolling hills in the background. Elephants were playing in the lake, with kayaking and mountain biking also available.
Usually I stay in budget accomodation but worth a treat is to stay overnight at the Lak Tented Camp, where you get boated across the lake to their peaceful location. This is the view from the tented room across the lake, fantastic to wake up to and look out across the water.