Vietnam’s Central Highlands region has slowly opened up to tourists over the past decade after years of government enforced travel restrictions and today foreigners can explore the main centers of this region with relative ease. Occasionally regulations will require you to use a guide when visiting the hinterland but for most places you’ll be fine just on your own.
The Central Highlands boast beautiful natural features such as relatively untouched forests, waterfalls and spectacular scenery, which contrast with areas still bearing the savage scars of war. A large number of ethnic minority groups still live traditionally in the highlands, particularly around Kon Tum, Plei Ku, Buon Ma Thuot and Da Lat.
The highlands become a torrent of water in the monsoon season as they get the heaviest rain falls in all of Vietnam. During the summer season, Da Lat becomes a popular destination as its high altitude offers a slightly cooler temperature than the almost unbearable heat of the southern plains. This, combined with its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City and some great animal-shaped paddle boats plying its main lake, has made it the epicenter of domestic tourism.
For those who enjoy getting off the common tourist trail, the highlands are a great destination. It’s quite easy to include a detour to this historically significant region as a circuit from the coast, leaving and returning from either Qui Nhon or Nha Trang, with a separate excursion required to reach Da Lat from Phan Rang or Ho Chi Minh City. Two weeks would allow ample time to explore, while in one week you would see the basics.
Best time to visit Central Highlands
Best time to visit the Central Highlands is January to March during the relatively short dry season.
It is not recommended to travel to Central Highlands between September and November, when the rainy season brings frequent storms and occasional disruption of road transportation in the region.