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This short trip from the bustling Ho Chi Minh City will show you how varied Vietnam can be. We will visit the sparsely populated Central Highlands, where the time like stands still. Buon Ma Thuot is the capital and legend of the Vietnamese coffee. The Central Highlands are a series of flat plateaux bursting with stunning natural sceneries, lush green rice fields and bisected by the Ho Chi Minh Road, the legendary road used during the war to supply the Viet Cong in southern Vietnam.

Nha Trang, placed halfway between Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, is surrounded by an impressive landscape and some of the best beaches of the country. With coral reefs around its rocky islands, Nha Trang is the perfect place for the scuba lovers, especially if we keep in mind its benign weather conditions: its rainy season lasts only from September to December, having blue skies and sunny days for the rest of the year. The perfect beach destination!


Day 1: Depart Ho Chi Minh City to Lak Lake (L)

We will pick you up in Ho Chi Minh City (hotel or airport), and then your tour into the Central Highlands of Vietnam begins. Our first step will be along the mountain roads north to Buon Me Thuot. Visit the nearby Dray Sap Waterfall (“Waterfall of the Mist”). Witness the thunderous power of the water as it cascades down these huge horseshoe-shaped falls. Next, stop in Tur Village, an enclave of the Ede minority – here many of their century-old customs are still practiced today. In the afternoon, drive less than an hour heading south, to the scenic Lak Lake. Surrounded by rice paddies, this 600-hectare site actually shrinks to 400 hectares during the dry season. Surrounding the lake you will find the Jun Village, home of the traditional Jun or M’nong Riam people. See their traditional rattan and wooden long houses built on short stilts, and witness how they travel by dugout canoe and elephant! Overlooking the lake is the old summer residence of Vietnam’s last emperor, Nguyen Dynasty King Bao Dai. Now renovated as a hotel, you spend the night at this hotel complex that sits 70 meters above the lake.

Overnight in Lak Lake.


Day 2: Lak Lake & Buon Me Thuot (BL)

This morning enjoy a real Vietnamese adventure – an elephant ride across the north side of the lake. Trek with your elephant across the Serepok River and through local forests with rice paddies and coffee fields. Travel back across Lak Lake by boat then drive into Yok Don National Park. Explore the park, home to 67 species of mammals, including elephants, tigers, and leopards. Thirty-eight of the animal species are considered endangered in Indochina, and 17 species are on the international endangered list. This park, Vietnam’s largest nature reserve, is also inhabited by nearly 250 different species of birds.

After lunch in a local restaurant, visit some of the native ‘minorities,’ or hill tribes that reside just outside the park in Ban Don Village. Arrive in Buon Me Thuot in the late afternoon. Buon Me Thuot is the provincial capital, and also known as the ‘capital of Vietnamese coffee.’ (Vietnamese coffee, ca phe sua da, is traditionally served strong and sweet – blended with an ample amount of sweetened condensed milk, and served over ice). Though fairly modern, the city is also home to several ethnic groups, or “minorities,” who keep the area’s traditions alive.

Overnight in Buon Me Thuot.


Day 3: Buon Me Thuot to Nha Trang (BL)

This morning, travel southwest to the coastal city of Nha Trang. Stop just outside the city center to visit the Po Nagar Tower. Built almost an amazing 1,000 years ago, the tower sits over a 19-meters high hill looking out over the sea. Constructed by the Cham people as a religious structure, you can see the culture of the Cham infused in the architecture of the tower, and the sculptures that adorn it. Continue into the center of the city, stopping to explore Dam Market. Started in 1908, the market was named “Dam” as the land was originally a 17-acre pond, en route to the Cai River outlet. The Dam Market is Nha Trang’s main trade center, offering a wide variety of local and imported goods: dried seafood is one of the market’s specialties. After checking into your hotel, enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to relax on one of the white sand beaches or explore further the city.

Overnight in Nha Trang.


Day 4: Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City (B)

This morning, learn about the local sea life when you visit the National Oceanographic Museum: housing a diverse collection of ocean creatures. Since its establishment in 1923, the Institute of Oceanography has collected and preserved more than 20,000 specimens and more than 4,000 sea and freshwater species. The institute also conducts marine research and has a number of live specimens in their aquariums. Next, use your newfound aquatic knowledge to spot the marine life during a boat trip to Mun Island, on the south side of Nha Trang Bay. On the island, enjoy some time for swimming, fishing or snorkeling around the extraordinary color reefs filled with multi-colorful fish. On route back to the bay shore, make a short stop at a local fishing village to see the fresh shrimps, zoo groupers, and sea crabs being raised in floating cages. After disembarking the boat, you are transferred to the Nha Trang airport for your evening flight back to Ho Chi Minh City, where the tour ends.

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