By Le Huong
The Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) is always a mysterious destination for travellers who like to explore the pristine beauty of primeval forest, marvellous waterfalls and the rich cultural values of 44 local ethnic groups.
Bountiful: Tours to visit coffee plantations have been organised in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, especially in Buon Ma Thuot City, where tourists can admire and enjoy the national most flavourful products. — File Photo
|Picture perfect: The coffee tour gives tourists a chance to explore the pristine beauty of primeval forests and waterfalls. — Photos courtesy Dang Le Co
Yet in spring, especially during March and the third lunar month, the area seems to be even more beautiful than usual as the colours of nature awaken to the new season. One of the most prominent colours amid the vivid rainbow is the pure white of coffee flowers and waterfall foam, which are the inspiration behind the recently launched coffee tour by Dang Le Company.
Dubbed as the nation's coffee capital, Buon Ma Thuot, with its unique basalt soil, offers some of the most flavourful coffee in the central province of Dak Lak's nearly 200,000ha of coffee plantations.
Dak Lak produces much of the world's coffee, with the second highest volume of exports (first for robusta) after Brazil.
"Our first challenge in opening the coffee-themed tour is addressing the fact that tours to the seaside are more popular among Vietnamese tourists and Dak Lak has yet become a real tourism hub," Pham Thi Thu Hoan, deputy executive director of the company, told Viet Nam News. "We have to make a breakthrough in ideas about adventure travel."
For this reason, the coffee tour is more suitable for people who love coffee and really want to explore the wilderness, she said.
Last November, the company received a patent for its coffee tour from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
To offer a glimpse of the region's natural wonders, the tour features visits to various waterfalls along the local Serepok River, a tributary of the Mekong, like Draynur Falls and Trinh Nu Falls.
It also includes various ecological destinations like CuHLam Hill and Mdrak Farm, where tourists can experience a rich array of wild flora and fauna as well as farm life at a home which raises rare horse breeds from the UK, Australia, France, Mongolia, and a wild dog breed from Phu Quoc Island.
A key stop on the tour is Buon Ma Thuot City, where tourists are guided to the World Coffee Museum which features coffee-related information such as history, geology, technology and culture of various coffee producing countries.
A stop by a coffee farm offers a real treat as visitors can feast their eyes on an immense field full of white coffee flowers, a striking view with green leaves and red basalt soil in the background.
Don Village is the final stop on the schedule and is already a popular tourism destination, where people can learn about the UNESCO-recognised gong culture and the tradition of taming wild elephants.
Hoan said the company currently organises five to seven packaged coffee tours per month to both Vietnamese and foreign visitors. Each group gathers up to 30 people.
Another peak season for the tour is during coffee harvest season in December which almost coincides with winter break in western countries, she said.
|Triple gong: Visitors can collect more information at the province's World Coffee Museum.
The company is collaborating with other travel agencies to bring tourists to the tour destinations such as the waterfalls and the museum.
"This tour is interesting," noted Nguyen Van, a representative from the Ha Noi Tourism Association. "Travel agencies in Ha Noi would like to further co-operate with the company to introduce the coffee tour to broader audiences in the north."
Harumitsu Hida, the Japanese Consulate General in HCM City, wrote about his impressions and memories of the tour during his first trip there last April.
"I know more things about Trung Nguyen coffee, which I drink every day at work, … as well as the early day of setting up and developing a local coffee plant and the Made-in-Viet Nam coffee trademark…" he wrote in the Vietnamese language.
He also expressed regret about not having the chance to taste weasel coffee during the trip.
The company opened a buffet at the museum in March which offers 50 dishes from the country's three regions at weekends and holidays.
A resort with 90 rooms and a meeting hall with the capacity to hold 300 seats will open in June at the museum.
For the truly adventurous, an extreme sports centre will open on Draynur Isle, 25km south of the city centre, later this year. — VNS