The sleepy, friendly town of KON TUM sits on the edge of the Dakbla River, and is one of the best bases in the central highlands – unlike busy Buon Ma Thuot and concrete-heavy Pleiku, this provincial capital makes a highly pleasant place to stay. It also has a few sights of its own, including some sterling colonial-era architecture – some of the most beautiful buildings in the country. However, most are here to use Kon Tum as a springboard for jaunts to outlying villages of the Bahnar and other minorities such as the Sedang, Gieh Trieng and Rongao. There are about 650 minority villages in the province, of which only a few have been visited by foreigners, so the scope for adventure here is broad.

Kon Tum’s riverside promenade along the Dakbla River is a fine place for a stroll – especially on fair-weather evenings, when it seems as if half the town stops by. It would also be the perfect place for a beer, but only the bars on the other side of the road seem to sell bottles – and even then, they’re usually warm and only for on-site drinking.

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