Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

By Huynh Phuong, Pham Cong Quy   September 3, 2021 | 12:00 pm GMT+7
Mighty waterfalls, tea estates, rubber plantations and traditional gong festivals are among the hidden charms of lesser-known Central Highlands province Gia Lai.
Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

Bien Ho tea estate in Chu Pah District is smothered in white fog.

Bien Ho is one of the oldest tea estates in Gia Lai. The first plants were grown here by the French in 1921. Today it is owned by Bien Ho Tea Company that grows 351 hectares of tea and more than 700 hectares of coffee. On harvest days, hundreds of farmers work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to collect the leaves and take them to the factory for processing.

Tea is a major local agricultural product.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

A fisherman rows his boat on T’Nung Lake, also called Bien Ho in Vietnamese.

T’Nung, which means ‘the sea on the mountain’, is the largest natural lake in the region, surrounded by verdant forests and actually the caldera of a millions-year-old volcano.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

The majestic Yaly hydroelectric power plant project, the third largest in Vietnam with a capacity of 720MW and average output of 3.68 billion KWh per year, lies on the Sesan River, surrounded by green forests and mountains. Along the river, there are four other hydroelectric plants under construction.

Visitors should take a boat tour on the river to admire the poetic landscape and visit J’rai ethnic minority village.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

Hang En Waterfall is tucked in Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve of K'bang District.

Hang En, 54 meters tall, is considered the highest and mightiest waterfall in the Central Highlands. During the dry season, it is 20-30 meters wide. Its spray creates plenty of rainbows.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

Phu Cuong Waterfall in Chu Se District flows along the lava base of a million-year-old dormant volcano. At its foot, there are countless black and grey rocks with diverse shapes, all volcanic remnants. They are very slippery in the rainy season and burning hot in summer.

Huge water columns with white spray pour down from a height of 45 meters.

From downtown Chu Se, visitors can turn left along Highway 25 and travel about five kilometers to find the sign indicating the waterfall.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

A little boy leads a herd of cows home.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

Children play under a giant tree in Ayun Commune of Chu Se District.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

A group of kids cycle amid blooming wild sunflowers along both sides of a road leading to the Chu Dang Ya volcano that used to be active millions of years ago.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

A girl in a traditional Dao costume in Chu Prong District, home to 18 ethnic minority groups of which the Kinh and J’rai make up the majority.

Gia Lai, a hidden Central Highlands gem

J’rai locals perform atop Da Mountain at sunset, one of the distinctive cultural traits of the ethnic group.

Photos by Pham Cong Quy

 
 
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