South Central Highlands Video Travel Guides

Vietnam

Explore the Central Highlands visit ethnic villages, coffee plantations, silk factories, crazy houses and love parks. After which there are impressive waterfalls and lakes to visit. An easy way of getting around is on the back of an easy rider motor bike.





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Nha Trang

Explore the fishing town of Trang before setting off into the highlands.

Nha Trang Port

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is regarded as the scuba diving capital of South Vietnam. The city adjacent to fine beaches also attracts backpackers in large numbers.

The monsoon season October to December can bring heavy rain and seas - but outside this period the climate is pleasant.

Being close to the sea the area is well known for its sea food - though Bird Nest soup is also a local speciality.

While tourism is important to the economy, the city has a significant fishing industry.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang

Things to see near Nha Trang The Cham temple dedicated Po Nagar the goddess is not far from Nha Trang and is worth a visit.The tower was built as early as the 8th century.

Nha Trang Beach. The beach which runs for over 7km along the city front, is well sheltered by the headlands to the south and north.A promenade runs almost the entire length of the beach, and is popular with visitors as evening descends.Most of the most recent development has been along the sea area.

Nha Trang Cathedral Built in the 1930s the Cathedral is of French Gothic style . Its large square clock tower dominates the church. The three bells of the cathedral were imported from France.Cai River

The Nha Trang fishing industry is based around the Cai River - the boats with their dominate blue colours can be seen moored along the quay.Don't be surprised to see the fishermen heading out to their boats in tiny round coracles.


Further Reading on Wikipedia : Nha Trang

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Waterfalls and Lakes

The Central Highlands have some of the best waterfalls and lakes in Vietnam

Datanla Falls

Waterfalls and Lakes

Datanla Falls

Before the installation of the waterfall toboggans or mini rail cars, access to the waterfalls was via steep steps cut into the sheer rock surrounding the waterfall.

The toboggan rail system is over a km long, allowing visitors to roller coast powered by gravity from the top of the falls down through the pine forest to the foot of the falls.

There are 48 two person toboggans and the rear rider is able to adjust the speed through a controlling lever.

The cars can reach a max speed of 45kmh.

After viewing the foot of the falls visitors can return to the top of the falls by cable car and another free roller coaster ride.

Elephant Falls

Waterfalls and Lakes

Elephant Falls lie north east of Dalat in the province of Lam Dong.

The falls are more than 30 metres high and considered to be the most beautiful of the falls in the highlands.

Legend has it that a herd of elephants were turned to stone as they lay prostrate listening to the beautiful songs of a maiden as she called for her lover.

The falls are best seen from below, but be advised the spray wafting in the breeze can be quite dense and makes the path slippery. So take care and enjoy the view.

Boat Living

Waterfalls and Lakes

Though many Vietnamese live in boats on the great rivers - Mekong and Red Rivers and on the many lakes throughout the highlands, don't be confused and call them Boat People.

This is a term that is commonly reserved for the refugees who fled in boats from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon during the war.

The exodus by boat - some quite flimsy was risk prone as some were blown out to sea, miles from the shipping lanes from which others were rescued by trawlers and taken to safe havens in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

During the migration, many perished when their crafts were destroyed by heavy storms.

Lat Lake

Waterfalls and Lakes

The freshwater lake of Lat Lak lies in the centre of the Dak Lak plateau below the Lang Bian Mountain.

The village of Lat comprises 9 hamlets around the lake. Most of the villagers are Lat people. The hamlets are about 12 Km from Da Lat. Lat is pronounced Lak. So the lake sounds like Lak Lak.

The hills around the lake which were once Covered in forest are now cultivated. Rice and coffee are the main crops in the area.

A number of ethnic villages lie close to the roads throughout the plateau. The waters of the lake are fished by ethnic minority fisherman, such as the Lat and Mnong people.

Edensee Lake

Waterfalls and Lakes

Edensee Lake is south of Da Lat and close to the Datanla Falls.

The lake provides a quiet, more tranquil spot to relax than the falls particularly in the busy season.

The late is a reservoir which feeds the town of Dalat.


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Silk, Rice, Coffee

Vietnam is a major world producer of Rice and Coffee.

Silk Factory

Silk, Rice, Coffee

The production of silk in Vietnam dates back to before 2000BC. The silk manufacturing process starts on the Mulberry Tree, where silkworms create silk cocoons. When the worms start to pupate in their cocoons, the cocoons are immersed in boiling water. The cocoon is dissolved by the heat and the individual long fibres can be extracted and feed into spinning reels.

Silk is cultivated in captivity by setting the moths on special paper. When the eggs hatch, the baby caterpillars are fed mulberry leaves. After about 30 days the caterpillars are ready to spin the cocoons. A frame is placed over the caterpillars and they start spinning the cocoons by moving their heads back and forth in a pattern.

Glans in their heads produce liquid silk which solidifies when it comes into contact with air. After 2 or 3 days the each caterpillar is enclosed in a cocoon after spinning a thread nearly 2 km long.

About ten strands are wound together in the production process to make a single silk thread.

Coffee Production

Silk, Rice, Coffee

While the thought of poop coffee may turn the digestive juices, nevertheless coffee made from beans digested by civets ( weasel type creature ) can sell for over 15 $ a cup in select cafes.

The civets are fed coffee berries collected by local farmers and these little guys are choosey only selecting and eating the most perfect of berry.

The beans can't be digested but the enzymes in the digestive track breaks down the coffees bitter taste, and a sweet delicious coffee bean is pooped out and then left to dry.

Revolting - well try the coffee before forming an opinion.

Rice Fields

Silk, Rice, Coffee

While the Mekong Delta below HCM city and the Red River - up north near Hanoi are the main rice growing areas, rice being a staple food is grown where possible throughout the region.

The Southern Highlands are no exception, in the region both rice and coffee are the main crops.

Vietnam is the second largest exporter of rice in the world ( to save you having to check on google - Thailand is the first ).

Though Vietnam if it continues the rate of production seen over the last ten years will be number one.


Further Reading on Wikipedia : Silk production

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Villages

Explore the many ethic towns and village sin the Central Highlands

Market

Villages

Throughout the highlands there are numerous small towns and villages.

In this movie sequence its market day - when the chickens are roasted and the fish caught locally in one of the many lakes are sliced and diced before frying.

It is also a time for recreation and relaxation after working hard during the previous days and weeks.

Town

Villages

This movie sequence brings you on a tour of one such town.

Fish such as carp or gold fish caught locally is an important food source.

Of course rice which is grown in the highland valleys is a staple food.


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Da Lat

Apart from being city there is much too see in and around

Crazy House

Da Lat

The Crazy House or Hang Nga guesthouse was designed by Dang Viet Nga - a Vietnamese Architect.

When designing the house Nga was inspired by the works of Gaudi in Barcelona. The house is an actual guesthouse where visitors can stay in some of the crazy or gaudy rooms.

The house can be visited by tourists during the day.

While the building may appear to be old it was only opened in 1990.

Truc Lam Temple

Da Lat

The Trc Lm Zen Monastery lies in a protected forest of about 20 hectaceres.

The monastery was built to help recreate the Zen Buddhism of the reign of the Trần Dynasty 1200 - 1400. The Zen tradition was started by the Emperor Tran Nhn Tng, who on abdicating became a Buddhist monk and founded a new tradition in Zen. Zen helps us to live in 'full awareness' and bring our souls back into peaceful state.

A statue of the Gautama Buddha seated on a lotus is in the main ceremonial hall. The statues are displayed simply but meditatively.

A statue of Sakyamuni Buddha raising a lotus in his hand, symbolically expressing the philosophy of 'existence in nihilisim' in Buddhist Zen is in the main hall.

Valley of Love

Da Lat

The Valley of Love or Thung Lung Tinh Yeu park lies in a scenic area about 5km north of Da Lat.

The park has been developed to attract tourists and love is central to its theme which attracts many honeymooning couples.

While the park is set in an area of beauty and tranquillity, the tranquillity is often broken by rented speedboats,noisy visitors and loud music.

Da Thien lake is man made - being created in 1972.


Further Reading on Wikipedia : Hang Nga guesthouse

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Bike Tour

An easy way of getting around the highlands is by motor bike tour.

Bike Tour

Bike Tour

Easy Rider style motor bike tours are a good way to get around the highlands - the tour size can be as small as two or much much larger.

Each bike is driven by a biking specialist who is also well versed in local folklore, customs and traditions.

The driver within reason will take you off the beaten track.

Tours can be arranged for a day or a week or more.



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Copyright Trav Vid Feb 19 2018

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