Buon Ma Thuat is not popular among tourists. I have asked some travellers in Vietnam and no one has ever heard of this place. There is a direct flight from Hanoi to Buon Ma Thuat that takes 1 and a half hour. I randomly picked this destination but there is no regret. The town itself doesn’t have any special attractions. Mostly they are 1-2 hours away from Buon Ma Thuat. For example, Buon Don Village – famous for its elephant races and the suspension bamboo bridge. However, you do not know that Buon Ma Thuat is actually the centre of the coffee making.
If you have landed to Buon Ma Thuat, visiting the Coffee village is a must. Come here around 9 o’ clock to have a breakfast and a cup of Vietnamese Trung Nguyen coffee. You can actually find the Vietnamese filter coffee everywhere in Vietnam, every café corner. But how great it is to taste the coffee from its origin. Gotta say, I cannot have 2 or 3 Vietnamese coffee a day because it is kinda strong but it tastes absolutely delicious. With a touch of the condensed milk, it makes the coffee have a little taste of chocolate.
The place is surrounded by coffee and tea trees. You can actually pick some coffee seeds to try out yourself. The skin of the coffee fruit is eatable and I tried it – it tastes nothing like coffee unfortunately. There is also a museum that exhibit all the products to make coffee – from drying machine to storages… One guy showed me around the museum and explained me the function of each product. It is quite different from what I have learned but it is nice to know another way of making coffee.
It was a hell of a ride. With a bus from the centre of Buon Ma Thuat, it takes about 1 hour to get to Buon Don Village. I settled myself in a hotel in the centre of Buon Ma Thuat and directly took the bus to the village. The bus ride must be the scariest one that I have ever had. I arrived safely in Buon Don which was a miracle.
Buon Don is known by its Cầu Treo (the Hanging Bridge/Suspension Bridge) which is made by bamboo and rattan and connected by iron cable and its elephant races which is held every March. I gave a try crossing the bridge and ehm… I truly need to practice on my balance. The bridge looks quite fragile but it is actually very stable. The bridges are tighten on huge ancient trees that are hundreds years old and grown along Srepok river. It is so calming with the sound of the stream around and being surrounded by nature.
It is also possible to try riding an elephant here in Buon Don, either around the village or through the stream. However, I refused to take that ride. The elephants look not so happy so I would prefer not to exploit them.
One thing that you will find everywhere here is Nhà Sàn (Pfahlbau/Stilt House). They are built with wood on stilts. People here believe that they build their houses above the ground to prevent wild animals to get in. The wildness from the outside looks interesting. I could imagine the life in that wooden house must be fascinating – living so close to the nature, feel every single draught…
If you have more time, try to take a visit in the village to see the lifestyle of this place. People here are extremely kind and friendly. I felt so warm and welcomed. Buon Don is not very popular among tourists but once you are here, you will see another culture of Vietnam. It’s nothing like the city.