Buon Ma Thuot



Buon Ma Thuot

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The capital of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, Buon Ma Thuot makes a great base for exploring the remote lakes, rainforests, waterfalls, and hilltribe villages of the surrounding areas.

The government claims that ethnic Vietnamese, or Kinh, now make up the majority of the local population, but the indigenous minority peoples, the Ede and Mnong, still live in villages throughout the province. The Ede call the capital Buon Ma Thuot and the Mnong call it Ban Me Thuot; both names translate as “Village of the Father of Thuot.”

The town is Vietnam’s coffee capital, and its high production levels boost the country’s position as a coffee exporter, ranking it second only to Brazil. The coffee plantations here are interesting to visit. However, there are concerns over the welfare of elephants used in this area to offer rides to tourists; these are best avoided.

Buon Ma Thuot is also significant for being the site of the last major battle of the Vietnam War on March 10, 1975. The Victory Monument in the center of town features a  replica of the first North Vietnamese Army tank to enter the  city during the invasion. It is set on a plinth to commemorate the town’s liberation. In addition, there is the interesting Dak Lak Ethnology Museum on Nguyen Du. After an extensive renovation and expansion, the museum is now housed in a large concrete building which has been designed like a traditional tribal home. It is a good place to gain an insight into the culture, traditions, and handicrafts of the local Ede and Mnong peoples and the various other hill tribes of the region.


Tur, a small village lying 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Buon Ma Thuot, is inhabited by members of the Ede minority. Their society is matrialineal so property is always owned by the women. After marriage, men move into their wives’ homes and the houses are extended. The longhouses are built on stilts, providing a space beneath the living quarters to store firewood and house a variety of domesticated animals, such as goats, pigs, and fowl. Because of its proximity to Buon Ma Thuot and Highway 14, Tur is easily accessible and is a  good place to see Ede long- houses. The village is located  near the mighty Dak Krong, or Serepok River, which flows into Cambodia. A visit to Tur can easily be combined with a trip to the impressive Trinh Nu rapids nearby. Farther upstream, Dray Nur, Dray Sap, and Gia Long falls lead the visitor into wilder territory.

Ako Dong Village, situated just a mile (1.5 km) north of the city center also has a number of impressive Ede longhouses.


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