KON TUM – COMEBACK TO MOUNTAINOUS BEAUTY
Mentioning Vietnam Central highland, foreigners think about the city of flower – Da Lat at first. Few people remember that along the northern highland, there are so many pristine but interesting mountainous cities. Kon Tum is an such beautiful place.
Kon Tum is where you can find the wild and majestic scenery, enjoy yourself in the cool moutainous wind in every corners.
Area: 9.674,2 km2
Captital: Kon Tum.
Population: 540 438 (4/2019). Countryside takes 70% population.
Ethnicities: Ba Na, Vietnamese, Xơ Đăng, Gia Rai, Thai,…
In Ba Na language, Kon means village, Tum means lake. Kon Tum is used to describe the village next to the Dak Bla lake.
The topographic which is primarily mountain intertwined plain creates the diverse and specific spectacle as well as the cosy climate. Kon Tum is a special province located in the Indochinese T-junction, bodered on Campuchia and Lao. It has the important strategic spot in the war and economy. Indochinese milestone is visited by many Vietnamese young people and backpackers Vietnam.
IDEAL TIME TO VISIT
Kon Tum is the furthest central highland provinces to the north. Different from the other delta provinces, the atmosphere in Kon Tum is quite cool and cosy all around the year. It’s a little hotter in March and April. Backpackers Vietnam can visit here almost the time. Especially, September is highly recommended to backpack in Kon Tum.
It’s the time when wild sunflowers bloom, the ripe rice harvest and many ethnic festivals take place.
KON TUM CULTURE
DAK-TO – TAN CANG VICTORY
In the anti-American years, the Central Highland is an important and strategic area. Kon Tum in general, Dak To district in particular located at the junction of Vietnam – Laos – Cambodia border, linking the North – South corridor and the East – West corridor route. During the years of resistance war against the American imperialism, Kon Tum received weapons and ammunition from the North to support the war in the south of Viet Nam. Kon Tum is an important revolution of the Central Highlands and the southern central region. The Dakto – Tan Cang victory 1972 leads to the victory in Pleiku, Mang Den. Central Highland at this time is free which create the springboard for the Spring Victory 1975.
In the center of Dak To town, backpackers can see the monument recording the illustrious victories in Kon Tum 1972-1975.
DAK BLA RIVER
The most poetic moment of the day is when sunset appear by the romantic Dak Bla river. Blak Bla River flows in the direction of East – West, in contrast to other rivers in our country, has created a unique feature and became a symbol of Kon Tum province.
Standing on Kon Klor suspension bridge connecting the two banks of Dak Bla river, you will find and immerse yourself in the romantic afternoon. If you are lucky enough to catch a boat from the villagers, you will be able to float on a canoe and drop down smoothly along the stream to the village.
When the darkness gradually takes over, you will enjoy in the space of the Central Highlands mountains, in the graceful sinus dance in the sound of the Gong. You have to listen by your ears, see with your eyes, sit in the immense forest and mountain wind, drink a little wine, to forget the breeze air of highland and feel the Gong culture.
MANG DEN – THE SECOND DA LAT OF VIETNAM
Weather in Mang Den district is pretty cold around the year, even also dew in every morning. That’s one of the reasons that people dubbed Mang Den as the second Da Lat. However, not being tourism place as Da Lat, Mang Den bring itself the peaceful and poetic beauty. See from the above, Mang Den appears like small village with beautiful house, romantic lake and green fields forests.
The road to Mang Den require that you must pass many slopes and moutainous road hidden in pine forests. There are many famous landscapes that you can absolutely visit here such as 7 lakes:Toong Ly Leng, Toong Ziu, Toong Zo Ri, Toong Sang, Toong Po, Toong Đam và Đak Ke and 3 waterfalls: Pa Sy, Đak Ke and Đak Pne.
Discover Mang Den here:
KON TUM CUISINE
KON TUM LEAF SALAD – GOI LA KON TUM
The most famous dish in Kon Tum is probably leaf salad with more than 40 different kinds of leaves eaten together. Some are familiar such as perilla, herb,… some come from deep forest. This dish is eaten with boiled meat, roasted shrimp, … and a sepcial sauce from wine and egg. Depend on each restaurant, there are different side dishes.
Not all people firstly know how to eat in the right way. You must wrap the meat, shrimp by some vegetables, like a bouquet. Then dip into the sauce and eat.
XOI MANG – BAMBOO SHOOT STICKY RICE
Sticky rice is a familiar dish in every Vietnam corner. But bamboo shoot sticky rice is only found in Kon Tum cuisine. The first reason is that bamboo shoot nowaday is hard to find. The second is the simple and rustic lifestyle of Kon Tum ethnic minority.
Sticky rice is initial mashed into turmeric water dulited to make aroma and natural color of dish. Fresh bamboo shoot is choosed carefully to have the best quality. Sticky rice eaten with fresh bamboo shoot will bring you the salty taste that characterizes mountainous dishes.
The traditional rice of ethnic minority is which you definitely try once when visiting any highland province. Com lam is eaten with drilled chicken, herbs, fried meat. Whole chicken is soaked in the spicy chilli salt and drilled under fire. Maybe because of the natural lifestyle of ehnicity, salty and rustic dishes become one that characterised the central highland.
HOW TO GET HERE
There is no airport in Kon Tum, take a flight to Pleiku – Gia-rai and travel by bus or taxi to get Kon Tum city in 50 kilometers to the north.
It costs 30 000 – 40 000 VND for a ticket bus.
You can get Pleiku by the flight Ho Chi Minh – Pleiku, Ha Noi – Pleiku and Da Nang – Pleiku
Not available now.
From Ho Chi Minh or southern provinces: costs around 250 000 VND per ticket or 500 000 VND for limousine one.
Buy ticket here: Bus station – 292 Dinh Bo Linh, Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh at Minh Quoc bus: counter no.79
From Central province: costs around 200 00 VND per ticket.
From Ha Noi or southern provinces: costs around 550 000 VND per ticket.
Buy ticket here: Bus station: no.1 Ngoc Hoi, Hoang Liet, Hoang Mai, Ha Noi at Viet Tan bus or Thien Trung bus.
Mountainous road with full of sunlight and wind is the passion that we are looking for in our long journey. Wild road also become an ideal home of many backpackers Vietnam. It’s around 550-kilometer and 12-hour trip from Ho Chi Minh to Kon Tum. However, it is the impossible journey.
From Da Nang, you must pass nearly 300 kilometers – around 6 hours to get Kon Tum city.
Far from Ha Noi, it doubles the distance Sai Gon – Kon Tum. In my opinion, it should not be recommended.