Kon Tum

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Posted by DH Travel at 6:44 am April 28, 2014

Kontum has feature climate of Central Highland. That is tropical monsoon one. There are two seasons. The rain season lasts from May to October. The dry season lasts from November to April next year.

Annual average temperature is 23.4oC. Annual average rainfall is 1,884mm.

Kon Tum

Kon Tum City

Peaceful and mysterious, Kontum lies inland, near the borders of Laos and Cambodia. Here, you may feel as if you’ve reached the end of the world. Traditional ways of life are upheld in the nearby indigenous villages that skirt the city’s suburbs. From Kontum city you can chart a course of exciting excursions into the most remote corners of Kontum province. 

“Go ahead. Try!”. A dozen pairs of eyes intently scrutinize me, eager to know if I’ll swallow a mouthful of dog meat, a traditional regional dish. Not wanting to disappoint my audience I take the plunge, to a round of joyful applause. I had decided to head to nearby villages inhabited by the Bahnar, Sedang and Jarai people rather than stay in downtown Kon tum. With friendly gestures and the sharing of a meal, you can familiarize yourself with the lifestyle of the mainly indigenous inhabitants of this mountainous province, home to 27 ethnic groups. Each group has preserved its own rich culture and language, though most also speak Vietnamese.

Kon Tum

Kon Tum Church

The Bahnars are the majority ethnic group nearest to Kon tum city. Their villages are easily recognizable, thanks to their trademark rong communal houses. Rong houses were once used to store rice and to protect villagers from dangerous animals. Today, these houses host village meetings and weddings as well as water buffalo sacrifices to celebrate plentiful harvests.

The Bahnar-populated villages aren’t Kon tum ’s only proximate attraction. Indeed, Kontum city features many remnants of French colonialism. Noteworthy monuments include a small Catholic church that was built in 1913 and stands on stilts, and a seminary that hosts a museum of local hill tribe exhibits. You can also visit the Vinh Son 1 Orphanage and the French-built prison of 1935 that was used to detain revolutionaries who opposed imperialism. In the nearby village of Kon Klor an impressive suspension bridge connects the banks of the Dak Bla River. Whether going by car, bike or even on foot, this is the entry point to the hinterland of Kon tum Province.

Kon Tum

Kon Klor Village – Kon Tum

If you’re a hiker you’ll delight in the region’s primary forests. You may even spot a rare Albino Rhino in Chu Mom Ray National Park, 55 km west of Kon tum city. Chu Mom Ray covers an area of 48,658 hectares and boasts rich animal life including tigers, elephants, wild boars – even bulls. So diverse is the fauna in this national park that, in 2008, scientists discovered a new species of bat – the leaf-nosed – so named for the leaf-like bumps on its face. On the road to Chu Mom Ray you’ll pass stunning scenery: coffee plantations, rice paddies, orchards and a multitude of rivers, birthed in the surrounding mountains.

The resort town of Mang Den, 50 km from Kontum, is spectacular for its waterfalls, temperate climate and chalets. This area lies at an altitude of between 1100-1400 m and is blanketed by vast pine forests. Definitely worth a detour! For history buffs the former battlefield of Dak To, situated about 40 km north of Kon tum on Highway 14, is a must-see. Dak To – indeed the Kontum region itself – saw heavy fighting between the U.S. and North Vietnamese forces during the American War, especially in November 1967 and between May and June 1972.

Kon Tum

Chu Mom Ray National Park

Finally, if you’ve any time and steam remaining in your tank, consider exploring Kon Jari, a Sedang village that factored highly in the actions of notorious French explorer Marie-Charles David de Mayrena. In the late-1880s, Mayrena left Saigon (then nicknamed ‘Paris of the East’) to negotiate treaties among the tribes of the Kon Jari region. However, he decided to go one step further and crown himself King Marie I – with the backing of Sedang chiefs – in 1888. The self-styled king and his cohorts set into the jungle to carve out the Kingdom of Sedang. After failing to gain official recognition for his kingdom, and fearing French reprisal, Mayrena fled to British Malay, where he mysteriously died in 1890.

Practical Information:

– Note that to visit some Bahnar villages near the Laos border you must make arrangements with the tourist office in Kontum city (2, Phan Dinh Phung Street , +84 60 386 1626).
– By plane: flights land at Pleiku Airport, in Pleiku, approx. 40 km from Kontum.
– By car: Kontum is located 49 km north of Pleiku; 246 km north of Buon Ma Thuot; 194 km northwest of Qui Nhon; 351 km northwest of Nha Trang; and 300 km from Da Nang via the Ho Chi Minh Highway. Numerous buses ply these routes. (Distances are approximate and calculated by Google Maps.)

Kon Tum

Kon Tum Travel Guide

Kon Tum in Vietnam

Kon Tum Tour

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