There are dozens of Bahnar villages encircling Kon Tum. As most are free from the official restrictions that hang over Pleiku, you’re at liberty to explore this area at will, although for overnight stays it’s best to check first with the tourist office; if you opt for their guided tours it’ll work out at around $25 per person per day.

All Bahnar villages have at their centre a longhouse known as a rong. Built on sturdy stilts with a platform and entrance at either end (or sometimes in the middle); the interior is generally made of split bamboo and protected by a towering thatched roof, usually about 15m high. The rong is used as a venue for festivals and village meetings, and as a village court at which anyone found guilty of a tribal offence has to ritually kill a pig and a chicken, and must apologize in front of the village.

Within Kon Tum

One good thing about Kon Tum is that you don’t have to go far to get a feel of a minority village, as there are a couple of Bahnar villages within the town itself. First comes Kon Harachot, whose immaculate rong faces a football field – if you’re lucky, you may even get to see an all-Bahnar game. To get there, head east along Nguyen Hué, and take any right turn up until Hoang Dieu; Ly Thai To will bring you straight to the rong. Following Nguyen Hué to its eastern end brings you to Kon Tum Konam, while following Tran Hung Dao to the east takes you directly to Kon Tum Kopong, where there is another wonderful example of a rong. Villagers at Kon Tum Kopong are big on basket-weaving, and you might chance upon locals cutting bamboo into thin strips and crafting them into sturdy baskets, which they sell very cheaply in the local market.

Plei Thonghia and Kon Hongo

The villages of Plei Thongia and Kon Hongo, respectively 1km and 4km west of Kon Tum, are inhabited by members of the Rongao, one of the smaller minority groups in the region. Women are often busy weaving in the shade of their simple, wooden huts, ox carts trundle along the dusty road and children splash about in the Dakbla River down below. It’s possible to walk to Plei Tonghia – heading north from the Dakbla bridge, turn left at Ba Trieu and just keep going. Kon Hongo is within cycling distance but a little tricky to find – it’s easier to take a xe om there (20,000đ) and work your way back on foot.

Kon Kotu

About 5km to the east of Kon Tum is the most frequently visited of Bahnar villages, Kon Kotu. Though now linked to Kon Tum by a surfaced road, it makes a pleasant walk to go there by country paths (contact the local tourist office for details) and it’s possible to overnight in the village rong. To get there by road, follow Tran Hung Dao east out of town until you reach a suspension bridge over the river at Kon Klor. Turn left 200m beyond the bridge and follow the road to Kon Kotu. Though the village church is absolutely huge, and fairly pretty to boot, it’s still the immaculate rong that commands the most attention. No nails were used in the construction of the bamboo walls, floor and the impossibly tall thatch roof of this lofty communal hall. It also doubles as an occasional overnight stop for local trekking tours organized by Kon Tum Tourist, either in a simple guesthouse ($12 per person), or the longhouse itself ($10).

Ya Chim

About 17km southwest of Kon Tum is the village of Ya Chim, where there are a few Jarai cemeteries that can be visited, though it’s best to go with a guide from Kon Tum Tourist as they are tricky to find. Wooden posts, some of them carved in the form of mourning figures, surround the graves and personal possessions such as a bicycle or TV are placed inside. The graves are carefully tended for a period of three to five years after death and offerings are brought to the site daily. At the end of this period a buffalo is sacrificed to make a feast for the villagers and the grave is abandoned in the belief that the spirit of the deceased has now departed.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track

4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track

4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track. The Vietnamese have a saying: “A day of travelling will bring a basketful of learning”. When it comes…

10 Oct 2018 • Iseult Larkin insert_drive_file Article
Video: 6 places you need to visit in Vietnam

Video: 6 places you need to visit in Vietnam

Vietnam has long been a favoured haunt for backpackers – and it's little wonder. The fragrant food markets, leafy tea plantations and generous stretches of un…

08 Jun 2018 • Colt St. George videocam Video
How graffiti is saving the rhino in Ho Chi Minh City

How graffiti is saving the rhino in Ho Chi Minh City

The world’s rhino population is in stark decline: in the last forty years it has plummeted by 95 per cent. Yet, in Ho Chi Minh City there's a fightback brew…

13 Mar 2018 • Freya Godfrey local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs