Must-try Outdoor Activities in the Central Highlands, Vietnam

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The Central Highlands, also known as Tay Nguyen, is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic region in Vietnam. There are five provinces that belong to the Central Highlands: Kontum, Daklak, Gia Lai, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong province. Apart from fantastic foods and friendly local people, we cannot forget to mention the outdoor activities here. Let’s explore this colorful land!

Kontum Province – The Cross-Cultural Land

Hiking in Mang Den Ecotourism Site

The great news is that the temperature here sustains a steady 20 degrees Celsius all year round. Covering a large area of this ecotourism site are the majestic pine trees with branches reaching to the sky. As soon as you get into Mang Den pine forest, you will be at ease immediately because of the sheltering shade that keeps the heat away. “Catch me if you can, heat” – I believe that is what you’re going to say. The species here are various and diverse, so this area attracts a huge number of travelers. Leave your burdens outside the entrance door, leave behind all the chaos, and let your soul fly with the wild land of peace!

what to do kontum
Photo: Instagram @thiennguyen1012

The combination of the natural beauty and the unique ethnic minorities here will make your trip even more interesting. Moreover, the mysterious legends of this land will broaden your imagination and arouse your curiosity. Hiking into the forest, wandering around the majestic waterfalls, and trying local specialties such as ruou can alcohol as well as roasted pork will make you remember this land forever.

Discovering the Hidden Stories in Chu Mom Ray National Park

Chu Mom Ray has the highest biodiversity of Vietnam and is the only national park in the country adjacent to Laos and Cambodia. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history fan, or both, this park can please you all! Come to Chu Mom Ray, you will not only have the opportunity to explore the rich natural resources but also visit historic attractions such as the Truong Son Road, H67 – the military base of the Central Highlands, Bo Y international border gate, and Yaly hydropower plant – Vietnam’s largest underground hydro-electric power plant.

things to do in kontum
Photo by

Biking to the Indochina Junction (the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia border marker)

The Indochina junction connects three countries: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. A funny story exists about this particular spot. It is said that this is the only junction in Indochina in which three countries can hear a chicken cluck. To get to the Indochina Junction, you have to bike through sandy slopes, rough road, and bumpy trails. But the reward is worth it because when you get here, you can observe all the beauty of Indochina. You may not know this, but in the Vietnamese backpackers’ community, if you’ve conquered four poles, Fansipan mountain, and the Indochina junction, it means that you’ve successfully conquered Vietnam!

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Daklak Province – The Lively Land

Wandering Around Lak Lake

Lak Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Daklak province. In the rainy season, when the water level rises, you’ll be mesmerized with a big tide of lotus and water lily. Around the lake, there are large mountains covered by primitive forests. Jun village, a famous village of the M’nong people, is located near the lake. Around the lake, historical architecture such as the Bao Dai emperor palace and the longhouse of the M’Nong can be found. Come here and you will not only enjoy camping in a peaceful atmosphere but you might learn something about the traditional fire dance, elephant riding, and paddling on the lake. Don’t forget to let your creativity flow and take freestyle poses here!

what to do dak lak
Photo by didauchoigi

Exploring Dray Nur Waterfall

Dray Nur waterfall is one of the most marvelous waterfalls in the Central Highlands. From a distance, Dray Nur waterfall looks like a giant water wall. At the height of more than 30 meters, when the cascading water stream falls into the river, it creates a glorious picture. If you want to experience an adventurous route in which to experience these falls explore the cave in the waterfall, and walk on the suspension bridge.

things to do in daklak
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Playing With The Elephants in Yok Don National Park

Yok Dok National Park offers a huge range of outdoor activities, from hiking, kayaking, to watching animals. What makes this park (and also this province) unique is a big number of elephants make this area their home. There are lots of amazing activities that you can do with the elephants, but the most unique is a program called “For one day become an elephant supervisor”. You will get up at six in the morning, learn about elephant habits, and dive deep into the forest to keep track of the elephants. So don’t forget to come, say hi, and have fun with them!

Photo: Instagram @petitemandarine.o0

Do you love cooking? Then try out Buon Don Local Cooking Class. You’ll learn how to choose food in the market and prepare a typical Ede meal. This is hands down a great way to learn more about one of Dak Lak’s indigenous people – E De tribe, all while supporting the community.

Camping in Ea Kao Lake

According to the Ede people, Ea Kao means a lake that never runs out of water. It possesses a breathtaking and romantic beauty, especially in the afternoons. Around the lake, there are countless hills with fantastic flora and forests with many ancient trees. Lots of Vietnamese backpackers enjoy camping here on the weekends. When the sun rises, you can see the most stunning and sparkling reflection on the water! Nearby there are villages of the Ede tribe, so don’t forget to pay a visit to get to know more about the culture here.

Photo by tradoann/instagram

Gia Lai Province – The Land of Diversity

Jogging around Bien Ho (T’Nung Lake)

It is said that Bien Ho (T’Nung Lake), also known as the eye of Pleiku, is one of the most beautiful lakes in Vietnam. This lake was formed by a volcanic crater. If you stand on the shore looking away, you will see a vast blue sheet of sea water. This lake is located on the mountain, so when you stand on the shore, the sea breeze in combination with the coolness of the forest will give you an extremely refreshing feeling. Jogging through the jungle is the right way to discover its mysterious beauty.

what to do in gia lai
Photo by 311.yennhi/instagram

Hiking and Discovering K50 Waterfall

I bet that you’ve barely seen any information on this waterfall because K50 has just become popular among the Vietnamese backpacker community! It is located in Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve and lies on the boundary of Gia Lai and Binh Dinh province. In order to get to the K50 waterfall, you have to undergo a journey full of thorns and challenges with some difficulties and even danger. You will walk into the jungle, take a hike for nearly a day, cross the small zigzag trails and steep slopes. But do not give up, because your tiredness and exhaustion will vanish into the void. To say this waterfall is as pretty as picture is never enough. It’s truly an art and a big gift from mother nature.

things to do in gia lai
Photo: Instagram

Unfortunately, there are no visible trails to the waterfall, and you cannot use Google Maps to find it. But don’t worry, you can contact the administrator of Kon Chu Rang National Park – and they will help you get to the K50 waterfall.

More information:
Kon Chu Rang National Park Location
Phone number: 097 529 25 71

Biking or Hiking to Top Ham Rong Mountain

Ham Rong Mountain is a volcanic mountain that erupted millions of years ago. At the height of 1,028 meters, this mountain is literally and figuratively the roof of the city of Pleiku. It is widely known that Ham Rong Mountain is a precious geological heritage of the province, and luckily the scenery here is still wild.

You may question that although there are no lakes in these mountains, the trees are always green and lush. During wartimes, this mountain used to be the military base of the United States, but then it was changed into the telecommunications transmitter of the province. If you have the chance to get to the top of the mountain, you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the city, as well as the coffee gardens. The air on the top of the mountain is incredibly refreshing. I love my current city, but can I just pack up the air around this mountain and bring it back home?

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Climbing in Kon Ka Kinh National Park

Kon Ka Kinh is one of the 27 national parks in Southeast Asia that was recognized as the ASEAN Heritage Garden. Interspersed with the century-old trees are several dozen meters of plants with different shapes and colors. In addition to the wildlife species such as leopards and tigers, there are also many types of rare species that are in the World Red Book. If you come here, do not miss the chance to conquer Kon Ka Kinh peak, which is the roof of Gia Lai province.

what to do in dak nong
Photo by luongtrieuvi/instagram

Dak Nong – The Mysterious Land

Contemplating Dray Sap Waterfall

This is the most splendid waterfall in the Central Highlands with the height of 50 meters and the length of 100 meters. While you may get caught up in the grandeur of the falls, you’ll be more than surprised to hear about the legend of this waterfall. Once upon a time, a monster swallowed a beautiful girl while she sat next to her lover. She turned into the waterfall and her lover turned into a big tree as a way to stay with his girlfriend. The legend also reflects the characteristics of the people here: devoted, dedicated, and faithful.

what to do in kontum
Photo by tachemia/instagram

Exploring Chu Bluk Volcano Cave

Exploring Chu Bluk is an interesting and challenging activity since this is the largest volcanic cave in Southeast Asia. There are no footprints or human traces, as you wander you may feel like the only person to have discovered this unique area. Overall, there are more than 100 caves, and each cave has its own beauty which was created by lava flows dating back millions of years ago.

what to do in lam dong
Photo by Traveloka

Lam Dong – The Outstanding Land

Many of you may have never heard about Lam Dong, but I believe that quite a number of you know Dalat – one of the most popular, poetic, and soon to be chaotic cities in Vietnam. And Lam Dong is the province that calls Dalat its jewel. For things to do there, you need a whole article. Here it is

Wild, mysterious, and surreal – these are some of the most accurate words to describe Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Furthermore, don’t forget to check out the interesting articles below to make sure you can prepare for your best trip to the highlands!

Where to Stay in Pleiku, An Unspoiled Destination in The Central Highlands

How to Get to Pleiku, Kon Tum, and Buon Ma Thuot

Vietnam’s Central Highlands – A Full Guide to Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Nong and Lam Dong Provinces

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the 4U Trip!

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