Top 5 destinations not to miss in Dak Lak

A 9-hour car ride north of Ho Chi Minh City, Dak Lak is known for its distinct ethnic minority groups, coffee industry, national parks, mountains and waterfalls.

Unlike neighboring Lam Dong province, home to the famous resort town of Da Lat, Dak Lak is lopsided, leaving it with vast tourism potential.

The capital, Buon Ma Thuot, is a fast-growing city and an important regional hub.

Within 60km (37 miles) of Buon Ma Thuot, here are five destinations to inspire you.

Dray Sap Waterfall and Dray Nur

Dray Sap waterfall in low season.

Dray Sap in low season.

Dray Nur is the older of the two.

Dray Nur is the older of the two.

The two falls are the most popular natural attractions in the province, and are often crowded on weekends with picnic groups.

Only 25km southwest of Buon Ma Thuot, Dray Sap and Dray Nur are only a few hundred meters apart, but actually belong to two different river systems.

Both waterfalls pour white water from 30m (33 meters) high cliffs, and flow violently during the rainy season.

They then merge into the Serepok River, hence the nickname ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ waterfall.

How to get there? Take bus number 13 from Buon Ma Thuot.

Admission price: VND30,000-40,000 ($1,3-1.7).

Lake Ea Kao

Ea Kao Lake in the late afternoon.

Ea Kao Lake at dusk.

Ea Kao Lake, 12km from Buon Ma Thuot city center, is a large man-made lake that powers a hydroelectric power plant, open to the public.

The lake is a popular spot for local photographers at sunrise and sunset as fishermen set sail in their boats.

Dense forests, rice fields and coffee trees surround the lake, and strong winds make waves crash on the shore.

The picturesque surroundings are popular with couples, who migrate to the lake after work on sunny days.

How to get there? Taxi or motorbike taxi.

Yok Don National Park

Khop Forest in Yok Don National Park

Forest trail through Yok Don National Park

Said to be the most famous of its kind in Southern Vietnam, the park has a huge and varied canopy of greenery, known locally as KhopA plant found only in tropical countries.

Yok Don is also known for trees of the oil family, whose leaves are burned off-season.

The national park offers a variety of tourist services, including trekking or mountain tours, as well as cycling and boat tours on the Serepok River.

How to get there? Take bus number 15 from Buon Ma Thuot.

Entrance fee: VND60,000 ($2.7).

Temple of Sac Four Khai Doan

The main hall at Sac Tu Khai Doan Pagoda.

The main hall at Sac Tu Khai Doan Pagoda.

Buon Ma Thuot is a Catholic stronghold, and Sac Tu Khai Doan is one of the few Buddhist temples to be found in the city.

Standing in the center of the city, Sac Tu Khai Doan combines the structure of a long house of the Ede with the traditional three-room house of Vietnam. The architecture features skillfully crafted wood and stone, as well as statues of Buddha.

Built in 1951, the pagoda was the last to be built under the feudal dynasty of Vietnam.

How to get there? The pagoda is located on Phan Boi Chau street in the center of the city.

Dak Lak Museum

The front of Dak Lak museum.

Front view of Dak Lak Museum.

The largest museum in the Central Highlands, Dak Lak Museum displays artifacts and documents of indigenous ethnic groups in the region.

The museum is designed according to the design style of stilt houses of the Ede ethnic group in Dak Lak, thus reflecting the focus of ethnography.

Local residents also use the garden for morning exercise, where two large cinnamon trees dominate the view.

How to get there? The museum is located on Le Duan street in the city center.

Entrance ticket price: Free

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