INTRODUCTION TO BUON ME THUOC
350km (217 miles) N of Ho Chi Minh City; 200km (124 miles) N of Dalat; 200km (124 miles) S of Pleiku; 180km (112 miles) W of Nha Trang
There isn't much to this little provincial capital, just a maze of busy streets surrounding the center Thang Loi (Victory) Monument, with its high arch and a statue of the first tank to enter the town during liberation in 1975. Services in Buon Me Thuot are basic, and the few hotels with any oomph cater mostly to local coffee growers' expatriate managers and folks (mostly Swiss) visiting the highlands on agricultural aid projects. The sleepy town has a few beat-up old museums hardly worth seeing, but Buon Me Thuot is a good base for day trips out into the broad-reaching hill areas. Rolling hills covered with the ordered striations of row upon row of coffee plants bring you to far-flung ethnic minority villages of the Ede and the M'nong people. You can organize all kinds of trekking and tours in town that include canoeing, hiking, and elephant riding, as well as some great options for overnights and homestays in rural villages, or visit Yok Don National Park just north of town. You can also visit a working coffee plantation. In town, expect little more than local souvenir shopping, mostly for good, fresh coffee and jars of locally brewed whiskey in fired pots of the M'nong people.