All You Need To Know About Traveling To DakLak

, 04/11/2023, 13:44 GMT+7

All You Need To Know About Traveling To DakLak

Have you ever wondered is there anything that makes you feel intrigued in Dak Lak? No further ado, let’s find out with Vietnam Budget Carrental after this. 

The headwaters of the Serepok River system and a portion of the Ba River basin are where Dak Lak is situated, in the middle of the Central Highlands region. Rivers, hills, valleys, and virgin woods all merge together to create a place of varied natural beauty.

When is the ideal time for you to visit?

Dak Lak has two distinct seasons, the rainy season from May to October and the dry season from November to April of the following year, with an average annual temperature of 24°C.


Dak Lak is most beautiful around late November, as the rain has passed, the autumn sky is clear and cool, and the waterfalls still have a lot of water. The early months of the year also have pleasant weather. Late February to early March is coffee blossom season, April is the season of bright red poinsettia flowers on the hills, and November is the season of wild poinciana flowers.

There are also seasons of flowering canna lilies, golden mushrooms, and red maple trees... The Central Highlands summer often has afternoon rain, but it stops quickly. Therefore, you should focus on sightseeing in the morning.

How to get to this place?

Buon Ma Thuot city of Dak Lak is considered the center of the Central Highlands, and can be reached by plane, car, coach or motorbike depending on your starting point. Buon Ma Thuot is about 350 km from Ho Chi Minh City and about 1,400 km from Hanoi.

Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways all have flights to Buon Ma Thuot. Round trip airfare ranges from $35-43 if flying from Ho Chi Minh City, about 60 minutes. The direct flight from Hanoi takes around 1 hour 45 minutes, with roundtrip tickets around $87.


Coach ticket prices from Ho Chi Minh City to Buon Ma Thuot range from $8.70-17.40; coaches departing from Hanoi cost around $26. Buses take about 8 hours from Ho Chi Minh City and over a day for buses departing from Hanoi. 

If you want freedom to stop and rest, you can go by car or motorbike. Departing from Ho Chi Minh City, take National Highway 14. The road is good so you don't need to worry too much, but check and maintain your vehicle carefully before departure.

>>Read more: Car Transfer From Dalat To Daklak | Taxi Dalat To Buon Me Thuot

Where to stay?


There are many accommodation options right in Buon Ma Thuot city center. Highly rated lodgings include Muong Thanh Hotel, Thanh Mai Hotel, Nice, Bazan Xanh, Royal Palace, Elephants, Sai Gon Ban Me, and Hami Garden... with prices ranging from $13-39 per night. Some popular homestays are Zan Homestay, Lee's House, Hill Star Homestay... priced $13-52 per night.

If traveling in a large group, you can stay in the Buon Don tourist area or at Lak Lake to immerse yourself in nature and the mountains. Lak Tented Camp is a famous resort by the lake in Buon Ma Thuot.

What are the attractions here?

Within a radius of about 50 km from Buon Ma Thuot city center, Dak Lak has many places to explore. The beautiful natural attractions are quite far from the city, so you can divide them into sightseeing routes over around 3 days 2 nights, or longer if you have ample time.

Elephant King’s Ancient Stilt House


Located in the Buon Don tourist complex, the stilt house is 130 years old. The house was built in Lao architecture and is made entirely of good-quality wood. Visitors can learn more about the life of hunting and taming elephants of Khun Yu Nốb.

Elephant King's Tomb


Buon Don also has the tomb of Khun Yu Nốb, who was dubbed the Elephant King for having hunted 400 elephants. The Elephant King's tomb has M'nong and Lao architecture as King Bao Dai had people research the design and build it to thank the Elephant King for the white elephant he gifted him and for building the royal elephant corps.

Buon Don Tourist Area

On the first day, visit Buon Don. Located over 50 km from Buon Ma Thuot city, Buon Don tourist area attracts many domestic and foreign visitors. This place is known as the "realm" of elephants in the famous Central Highlands for the tradition of hunting, taming and raising wild elephants. 

In Buon Don, you will hear stories about elephant masters (mahouts who control elephants), visit hundred-year-old stilt houses and the unique tomb architecture of elephant hunting King Ama Kong... You can feed elephants and take photos under the supervision of mahouts.


There are also some strikingly arranged structures that attract young people to check-in and take photos. 

Since it's far from the city center, you should stay in Buon Don for lunch. Some local dishes available here include lam rice, grilled chicken with chili salt, wild vegetable hot pot, sour fish soup...

You should try the suspension bridge in Buon Don crossing hundreds of years old giant trees, nearly 1km long made mainly of bamboo and rattan, which many visitors enjoy the swaying feeling when crossing.

  • Suspension bridge ticket: $1.70 per person.
  • Ancient stilt house visit: $0.65 per person. 
  • Elephant King’s tomb visit: $0.43 per person.
  • Meal: around $4.30 per person.

Troh Bu Garden


Troh Bu is considered the first eco-tourism farm in Buon Don. Here there are outdoor activities, entertainment, learning about orchids, forest trees, and wildflowers... The tourist area has catering and accommodation services. Adult admission ticket is $1.50 and child is $0.86 per entry.

Hoc Ca Sau Lake 


In recent years, the green rock lake within the area of Serapok 3 hydropower plant, about 40 km from Buon Don, has attracted many young people as a check-in spot for beautiful photos. The lake is also called Hoc Ca Sau, because the surrounding rock cliffs from above look like a crocodile lurking in the water.

This place is on online maps, you can easily find it, or ask locals for enthusiastic guidance. Since it's deserted, rocky and the lake water is very cold, you should not swim or climb too high. Visiting Hoc Ca Sau is free.

>>Read more: Car Transfer Nha Trang To Buon Ma Thuot

Lak Lake ( Ho Lak )

Lak Lake is the second largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam after Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan. The lake is surrounded by towering mountain ranges with pristine forests. Arriving at Lak Lake around 4:30 pm is a beautiful time to watch the sunset descending upon the lake's surface. 

The most notable feature of Lak Lake is the dugout canoe, a characteristic Central Highlands water vehicle. Therefore, the most interesting activity here is a boat tour around the lake to admire the scenery and swimming.


Additionally, you can visit Buon Jun or Buon M'Lieng village, home to most of the M'Nong ethnic group, to experience the typical Central Highlands communal life. Around the lake there are also two architectural relics for visitors to explore - the M'Nong longhouse and King Bao Dai's mansion.

Dugout canoe tickets:

  • $3.50 per canoe for 30 minutes in Buon Jun.
  • $6.50 per canoe for 2 passengers for 30 minutes at Lak Lake tourist area.

Ancient Pottery Village


Less than 10 km from Lak Lake is Yang Tao village, the only place in the Central Highlands that still preserves the ancient pottery craft of the M'nong Rlam people. Here, visitors can learn about the handicraft pottery art as well as buy ceramic products as souvenirs at reasonable prices.

Serepok River


The Serepok River flows into Cambodia before joining the Mekong River, after which the great river returns to Vietnam. The 406 km long river with many magnificent rapids and waterfalls still pristine is a highlight attraction for tourists. Serepok is formed from two tributaries Krông Knô and Krông Ana. Oddly, the two tributaries flow parallel, but one is always reddish all year round, while the other is always clear green. 

Dray Nur - Dray Sáp Waterfalls

Serepok Myth creates beautiful waterfalls like Dray Sap, Dray Nur, Gia Long, Trinh Nu, Bay Nhanh, Krong Kmar, Bim Bip... Dray Nur is considered the most magnificent waterfall in the Central Highlands, about 30 km from Buon Ma Thuot city center. The frothy white waterfall is about 250m wide during high water season, over 30m high pouring into the abyss. Most thrilling is bathing in the small rock pools and under the pouring stream from the cliff behind the falls.



Locals consider Dray Nur the wife waterfall and Dray Sap the husband waterfall. Although both are waterfalls formed by the Serepok River, Dray Nur is in Dak Lak province while Dray Sap belongs to Dak Nong province. However, you can go from Dray Nur to Dray Sap just 2 swinging bridges apart. 

From Dray Nur waterfall, you can hike to Gia Long waterfall (Upper Dray Sap) 2km away, or drive about 12km into the main area of Dray Sap falls. Although not as vast as Dray Nur, Dray Sap still stirs visitors with its foamy white cascade - true to its "smoke waterfall" name in the local language.

Dray Nur entrance fee is $1.30. You can buy a Dray Nur - Gia Long combo ticket for $2.20.

National Parks

Vietnam has many popular national parks such as Ta Dung National Park or the park in Phu Quoc. Dak Lak also has two famous ones, Yok Don National Park and Chu Yang Sin, plus the Nam Ka Nature Reserve and Ea So Reserve. Aside from jungle trekking, there are many activities to participate in while wandering the national parks such as camping in the forest, waterfall swimming or trekking, exploring ethnic minority lifestyles...

Chu Yang Sin National Park has spectacular scenery with over 40 high and low mountain ranges, many slopes, expansive forests and intertwined streams, rapids and waterfalls. 

The Chu Yang Sin range divides the park into North and South sections and is the highest peak at 2,442 m. Chu Yang Sin peak is dubbed the "second rooftop" of the Central Highlands, after Ngoc Linh peak in Kon Tum province. The conquest of Chu Yang Sin takes at least 3 days 2 nights.


With an area of 589 sq km, Chu Yang Sin stretches across many communes and is over 60km from the city center. You can travel by motorbike from Buon Ma Thuot to Lien Son town, then follow the trail about 20km to reach the national park.

Meanwhile, Yok Don National Park is one of the largest natural conservation areas in Vietnam, home to many large animals like banteng, gaurs, wild buffalo, elephants, monkeys, gibbons, tigers, leopards, peafowl, crested argus, hawks... It also preserves many unique cultural values of Central Highlands ethnic groups like E De and M'Nong...

With an area of over 1,150 sq km, Yok Don spans two provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong. Up to 90% of the national park is pristine forest, mainly dry dipterocarp forest. This is also the only forest in Vietnam that still preserves this special type of forest.

>>Read more: Top 10 Best Vietnam National Parks

Yang-tao Elephant Rock

On the second day's journey to Lak district, stop by the Yang-tao Elephant Rock about 40 km from Buon Ma Thuot city center, before arriving at Lak lake. Here there is a pair of giant intact elephant-shaped rock formations, including a large rock at the foot of the mountain called the Mother Elephant Rock, and the smaller one about 5 km away in the middle of a field called the Father Elephant Rock.


Following the directions on the online map, you will see a signboard indicating “Visit Mother Elephant Rock”, turn in about 200m more, park at the drink shop (5,000 VND/motorbike) then walk a short trail to the foot of the rock. To admire the panoramic view of the Chu Yang Sin mountainous forest, you can climb to the gently sloping summit of the rock formation without too much risk. There is no admission fee for this attraction.

Yang Praong Tower 


Unlike the Cham towers along the Central coast that sit on high hills, this tower nestles in the middle of the old forest, with gurgling streams, birdsong and the brilliant golden yellow of wild poincianas along the trail to the tower. 

Wind Farm

The wind farm is Dlieyang Wind Power Plant, located in Dlieyang commune, Ea H'leo district, Dak Lak province. The farm is part of the Central Highlands Wind Power Farm project. The road leading to the wind farm is beautiful but has some difficult stretches.


To get to this spot, from Buon Ma Thuot city center, follow the map to Ea H'leo district, then continue to Dlieyang commune. If you don't know the way, ask the locals for help. Along the way you will see Y-Jut Secondary School, drive straight into the road next to the school another 3-4km to see the wind farm.

Buon Trap Hydropower Plant

The road leading to the hydropower plant is beautiful, with some stretches extending to the horizon, at times through a vast valley, at times through a mountain pass... Below the dam is the Buon Trap bridge spanning across Serepok River. On one side is the mountain, the other is the lush green reservoir captivating adventurous travelers.

In addition to the above destinations, you can combine visits to some attractions in Buon Ma Thuot city center such as the Coffee World Museum, Dak Lak Museum, Penal Institution Museum...

What are the special cuisines here for you?

1. Catfish Hot Pot ( Lau Ca Lang )

Most of the food here is made with catfish, but the catfish hot pot, which has a taste that is only found in the Central Highlands, is still the best.


The cleaned, thinly sliced catfish is put into boiling water for a short time to make the meat firm. Add the tomatoes and fresh turmeric to the chopped meat and cook it for a while. Then add the catfish and pickled vegetables and season with spices. Finally, add bone broth to the pot. Let it boil for a few minutes, then turn off the heat.

You can eat the catfish hot pot like a regular soup or with rice noodles. It's sweet and fragrant, and it's perfect for hot summer days.

2. Grilled Chicken in Buon Don

Chicken meat is the most important part of this dish. People in Buon Don have to be very careful when they raise and choose chickens so that they can make tasty grilled chicken. They must be free-range chickens because they mostly eat bugs and food that has been spilled... The chickens that will be grilled are brand new and weigh about 1 kg each. If the chicken is too big, the meat will be tough, and if it's too small, it will smell like fish.


The chickens after being slit and marinated are grilled over hot coals until cooked, eaten with muoi e - a type of herb found abundantly in the Central Highlands forests, pounded and mixed with rock salt and green chili. The fragrant, sweet taste of the chicken blends with the robust, spicy flavor of muoi e that enchants visitors.

3. Rau dam tang ( Rau dầm tang )


The outside of tang leaves looks fragile, with leaves that are like lovage and are easy to bruise and crush. When cooked, though, this vegetable has a sweet, buttery taste that I can't describe. To make tang leaf salad, you need to boil it with things like bamboo shoots, potatoes, mushrooms, and so on.

Get this unique dish from Dak Lak if you ever get the chance to visit. It tastes like the mountains and woods. 

4. Wild Vegetable Hot Pot ( Lau rau rung )


Ten different kinds of wild leaves are cooked with dried shrimp or different kinds of meat in the wild veggie hot pot. The E De people made this dish when they were going through hard times in the past. It's called a "hot pot," but it's more like soup and tastes very much like food from the mountains and woods.

5. Beef in Tamarind Soup


In Buon Ma Thuot, beef tamarind soup is very tasty. The beef is soft, and the buttery smell and sour taste of the tamarind work well together. 

You must have some warm, crispy bread rolls on the side to dip in the tamarind sauce, which is sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. To get the most tender and sweet meat, you should only eat it when it is rare and pink. Too much time will pass, and the beef will get tough and lose its tasty taste.

>>Read more: The Ultimate Vietnamese Street Food Guide: 30 Delicious Dishes

6. Pancakes called Banh Khot in Y Jut


This is a unique dish from Dak Lak. The center makes it look a bit like a banh xeo pancake at first glance. But the cake is fried and puffy. To eat it, you tear it open and add the filling. It's best served with shredded carrots, peanuts, and a slightly hot and sour cà pháo sauce. From the first bite, you'll never forget how it felt.

7. Bun Do - Vermicelli with Crab and Pork

Field crabs, meatballs, and boiled dove eggs are what this dish is mostly made of. With the cook's skilled hands, the bowl of bun do looks appealing with its range of colors and delicious flavors: the slightly reddish color of the roasted peanuts, the bright red of the fresh tomato wedges cut into star fruit slices, the young green of the vegetable plate, the brown of the crab and fish balls, and the perfect white of the boiled eggs. All of these colors and flavors are both pleasing to the eye and the palate.


People might mistake bun do for bun rieu soup or the regular bun soups sold in Saigon at first glance, but they are very different because the Buon Ma Thuot people serve bun do with water spinach and other things like crispy pork fat, fried shallots, and especially boiled quail eggs.

8. Grilled Pork Rice Rolls 

People from Buon Ma Thuot are known for their rice rolls, so don't forget to try this dish when you go there. The best thing about this place is that it's been around for a long time and has delicious rolls. There is shrimp powder and dried shrimp on top of the thin rice rolls. The filling has pickled veggies and grilled pork. There are flowers, green mango, and cucumber. The dipping sauce can be fish sauce dressing or something the customer likes.

9. Fish Braised with Rieng  ( Ca Bong kho rieng )

A unique and tasty meal from the Dak Lak people is braised fish with rieng. When cooked with rieng, fish caught under waterfalls has meat that is chewy and smells good, getting rid of any fishy taste. This dish of stewed fish can be eaten with either lam rice or white rice.

10. Rice Noodles with Minced Fish Soup


When it's cold in the morning in Buon Ma Thuot, it's great to drink a bowl of aromatic, spicy soup. The rice noodles with minced fish soup have a rich broth, soft, slippery noodles, and chewy, sweet minced fish. It tastes great with a sweet and sour salad, and adding hot chili sauce makes it taste even better.

All you need to know about traveling to DakLak has been told in a very detailed way. So do you want to go this place or maybe you still have some queries that have not been solved? You can contact or go to Vietnam Budget Car Rental to have some information about tours or rental cars to Dak Lak.

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