A Hanoian travels to the Central Highlands town of Pleiku and is smitten with its charm.
Hung Phung, 30, often travels by himself and spends time to learn about local cultures. In March, he spent several days in Pleiku exploring the town, its outlying areas, Chu Pah District, and the famous Chu Dang Ya Volcano.
In this photo, Hung is at Chu Dang Ya, an extinct volcano in Gia Lai Province and one of the most beautiful destinations in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
The volcano in Chu Pah District’s Ploi lagri Village was reportedly active millions of years ago. In the J’rai ethnic minority language, Chu Dang Ya means “wild ginger root.”
“When I reached the top, I could see the whole town in the distance and Chu Pah District right beneath. The view was really majestic,” Hung said.
The T’Nung Lake (Bien Ho) with its jade-green water surrounded by lines of pine trees.
At T’Nung Lake, Hung spent time on a neaby pine hill to shoot photos. “The red basalt soil here is perfect for the pine trees as they look robust.”
“If you visit Pleiku, you should rent a motorbike to travel around easily. I like to ride the motorbike to outlying areas because people there are very sincere, and that gives more soul to photos,” he said.
Wandering around in Pleiku, Hung tried a lot of its street food. His favorite place was a small eatery on a sidewalk that sold water fern cakes (banh beo) in small bowls. A delicious bowl of banh beo, which has rice cakes, dried shrimp, crispy pork skin, and scallion oil and comes with fish sauce, costs VND2,000 ($0.1).
The cake soup in Pleiku reminded Hung of Hanoi. The thick chewy noodles are accompanied by quail eggs, fish sausage and a flavorful broth. He said if visitors want to enjoy good, cheap food, they should try the town market.
Hung said the best time to visit Pleiku is the dry season (from November to April) as the weather then is more favorable and visitors can take part in many festivals celebrated by ethnic minorities like the Bahnar and Jarai.