March – White carpets in the Central Highlands
Last night, the whole field was green. This morning, it is carpeted with the white of coffee flowers spreading their aroma all over the region and attracting working bees. The landscape turns a spotless white. Coffee flowers blooming often surprise people.
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Text by: Lam Linh
I visited the Central Highlands twice, but did not spend much time touring this city. The first time in Buon Ma Thuot, I walked around the city during its rainy season. I was surprised by the cold weather when the rain falls. The city is bustling with numerous stores along the newly built road. However, the most remarkable feature of this city is an abundance of cafes of various colors and romantic names sparkling in colored lights. “The cup of coffee wants to say to you many things….The cup of coffee wants to sing, sing with you…flavor is mixed with smoke…flavor is mixed with hair featuring love….”. The sound of raindrops blending with the voice of the famous artist makes coffee more delicious. Coffee in this mountainous region is definitely better than anywhere else.
My second time in Buon Ma was also on business, but I had more free time. One afternoon, my friend took me to tour the city. We dropped into Day House in the city center first because it was due to close at 5 p.m. These days, Day House attracts large crowds of tourists every day. Through the stories of our guide, I can get more knowledge of this place, where remains evidences of wars. Communists, who were caught by enemies, raised enthusiasm of the revolution in this Highlands landscape.
Every road leads to a six-way crossroads – the city center. I took advantage of my time to visit the museum, which was once the palace of our last emperor – Bao Dai. This palace retains its ancient French beauty with a garden house, yard and spacious gardens.
Near the city, rubber forests are dropping their leaves. Trees are expanding to heaven’s rim. Each rubber plant holds a story and its cuts for resin contain the sweat and tears of local people. Some trees are so interlaced with cuts that there is no more space for any further cuts. When the wind plays in these immense forests, yellow leaves fall and create bright, romantic carpets of nature.
The third time I arrived in Buon Ma Thuot was due to an appointment with the season of coffee flowers. “Come here, you will have the opportunity to “float” in white clouds of refined flowers. Come to see how fabulous the Highlands are in this season”. When spring comes, I leave the bustling city to see the Highlands again.
In spring, Buon Ma Thuot is bustling and crowded. Nowadays, there are more and more new buildings, projects, and social works. Buon Ma Thuot is the name of the highland village of Êđê Kpă. At the end of the 19th century, there was only a 50-house village by the Ea Tam stream. In each house lived 30-40 people managed by the head Ama Thuot. In the 20th century, Buon Me Thuot developed more villages. The name “Buon Ma Thuot” means the village of Ama Y Thuot – Father Y Thuot. Buon Ma Thuot was 100 years old in 2004.
Not many people can visit the Central Highlands in the coffee flower season because coffee flowers often bloom only 2-3 times in the spring. Each time, flowers bloom and fade in just a few days before turning into tiny coffee buds. I am one of the lucky people who had the chance to witness spring in this landscape. In the blue sky and light sunshine, flowers of this mountainous region plant spread white carpets around the hill slopes, gardens and fields of local people. Green coffee forests along the hills turn to white flowers in one night, surprising visitors. In the spring, Buon Ma Thuot welcomes the most visitors of all the year. They travel to the Central Highlands to immerse themselves in this specific landscape with a variety of festivals.
The sweet smell of coffee flowers attracts swarms of bees to create highly condensed honey. In that romantic view, colorful butterflies hover in the sky, creating a fantastic picture of Buon Me. These flowers and beauty are specific features of this Bazan soil region. They bring vitality to Buon Me and make it an unforgettable memory in visitors’ mind.
At the end of spring, coffee buds sprout on branches giving the signal of a bountiful harvest. Backpacking around the Central Highlands during the spring, I am passionate about fragrant coffee flowers.
Unique experiences in the mountainous region
Non-object cultural treasure of the Central Highlands
Gong plays an important role in the life of local people in the Highlands. Folk literature is also a non-object cultural form with the prominence of su thi and epic. Ancient wood statues of the Highlands, sepulchers’ statues are indispensable for the religious life of the local people. They were inspired by daily- and religious life as well as the customs of each tribe. People in the Central Highlands hold many festivals that relate to their farming work such as Harvest festival, Rice Worship ceremony and Rice Mother Worship… Other community festivals include Friendship ceremony, New Communal House ceremony, and so on…
Coffee festival at Buon Me
The coffee festival in Buon Ma Thuot is held in Buon Ma Thuot city, Dak Lak province. This festival is a reminder to respect coffee trees, which bring prosperity and wealth for this mountainous region.
Ako Dhong highland village
Ako Dhong highland village or Co Thon village, Ma Rin village, located at the end of Tran Nhat Duat street, is a village of the Ede people. This highland village holds a long history and traditional values. It is now an impressive attraction of the city.
Riding elephants at Don village
Riding an elephant through YokDon national forest or sailing a dug-out canoe on Dak Min will be unforgettable moments. Plain wood houses, herds of cows or goats, the Serepok river….will all be memorable when visiting Dak Lak.
Some hotels in Buon Ma Thuot:
Thien Ma hotel: 50 – 52 – 54 Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 050.3853963/3850397
Dam San hotel, 212 – 214 Nguyen Cong Tru. Tel: 050.3851234/3850123
Thang Loi, # 1 Phan Chu Trinh. Tel: 050.3857615
Cao Nguyen hotel, # 65 Phan Chu Trinh. Tel: 050.3855960
Specialties: high grade coffee, Ede ruou can (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes)
Contact to book tickets at website: www.airmekong.vn or call center at 04. 37 188 199, 08. 38 463 666
Or at ticket agents nationwide.
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