Buon Ma Thuot
The caffeine capital of Vietnam, the biggest buzz you will get in Buon Ma Thuot (also known as Ban Me Thuot) is from the beans. There is not a lot to do here, but it makes for a good base to explore Yok Don National Park and several stunning waterfalls in the vicinity. In the past, this was a centre for big – game hunting, but the animals have all but disappeared – along with most of the region’s rainforest.
The capital of Dak Lak province, the city has grown exponentially over the last few years, with the coffee industry largely responsible for its improving fortunes. The major approach roads are currently being upgraded to cope with the extra traffic, but it can still be a crawl in and out of town.
A large percentage of the area’s population is made up of Montagnards. The government’s policy of assimilation has been effective: nearly all of the Montagnards now speak Vietnamese fluently. Not a lot of English is spoken here though and you will not see too many Western tourists.
The rainy season around Buon Ma Thuot lasts from May to October, though downpours are usually short. Because of its lower elevation, Buon Ma Thuot is warmer and more humid than Dalat. It is also very windy.