Pleiku is the capital of the Gia Lai Province and is linked by road to Buon Me Thuot (197km), Quy Nhon (166km) and Kontum (49km). Inhabited mainly by the Bahnar and Jarai ethnic groups, Pleiku today is usually served as a pass to the quieter town of Kontum.
What to expect
In Pleiku, there are various types of tours including day trekking to hilltribe villages, elephant riding, city tours and veteran tours. Though Buon Ma Thuot is recommended a better base for these trips, the unusual burial custom of Jarai villages is an outstanding feature.
Located 36km from Pleiku, Plei Phun village is a good example to explore the Jarai's culture. Here, tombs take the form of mini-houses surrounded by carved wooden effigies, often humorous and sometimes graphic depictions of stages of procreation.
7km north of Pleiku, Sea Lake is the flooded crater of an ancient volcano. With scenic area, this beautiful lake may also be a pleasant excursion from Pleiku.
The best time to visit the Highlands is between November and January, when the landscape is lush, the rain is minimal and the weather is temperate.
Visits at minority villages are a MUST but it is always required a local guide, local transportation and permits to these spots. Please do not offer money directly to minority people - instead donate to a local charity or offer a small gift such as pens and toys. And remember to ask for permission before taking photographs in minority areas.