Central Highlands - Totally Distinctive Cultural Tourism Destination

10:14:16 AM | 8/26/2019

The tourism industry of the Central Highlands has staged positive changes in recent years. In 2018, Vietnam welcomed about 58 million tourists, including 9.5 million international visitors. Tourism revenue totaled about VND120 trillion (US$5.2 billion). Undoubtedly, tourism is becoming one of the key economic sectors of the region.

Blessed by nature

With a lot of advantages, the Central Highlands is favored by its cool climate, natural integrity and untouched nature. Typically, Da Lat of Lam Dong province is a famous tourist attraction with millions of visitors each year. As a kingdom of blooming flowers, majestic waterfalls and ancient villas from the French-ruled colonial period, the city is famous for not only being an ideal resort but also an entertainment spot.

Without natural endowments as Da Lat, other Central Highlands provinces such as Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Nong are alluring for their unspoiled traditional beauty. Here, visitors can discover magnificent nature, wild life and indigenous foods and especially experience the gentle, peaceful life in the fresh mountainous atmosphere.

Coming to the Central Highlands, tourists can experience the life of indigenous people like living in long houses and communal houses, eating rice and grilled chicken, drinking rural wine, riding elephants, riding canoes, trekking in the forest and discovering the vast forest.

Remarking on Central Highlands tourism potential, Mr. Tran Van Hung, Director of Litchee Tour Company, said, the Central Highlands not only has beautiful scenery and cool climate but also carries its own unique culture built by ethnic minorities such as Ba Na, Jrai, E De, Co Ho, Ma, Xo Dang and Mo Nong. The Central Highlands has five provinces of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum, each of which has its own distinctive tourism advantages, especially adventure, cultural and historical discovery.

Home to over 20 ethnic groups, the Central Highlands features great cultural strengths. Each people has its own custom and they live together into a community led by village patriarchs. Particularly, some ethnic groups still follow the matrilineal regime such as the E De, Ba Na and Jrai. After getting married, a man has to go to his wife's house to live and work. The newly married couple will build more rooms connected to the existing house. That is why this dwelling is called a long house. Children use their mother's surname. The woman not only has a decisive voice in the family but also has the right to inheritance.

Unique gong culture in the Central Highlands

Not only appealed by diverse, distinctive ethnic cultures of the Central Highlands, visitors are also impressed by unique gong performances. Although local people do not make gongs themselves, the way they buy, display, use and play gongs differently and characteristically creates distinct cultures that are found no elsewhere. Gongs are used in most major holidays. The music instrument is played in every important event of life of a person, from the time of birth and date of marriage to the time of going with their past ancestors.

On the other hand, different ways of performance by each ethnic group make lively sounds and beats that carry the breath of mountains, forests and basalt soil. Ethnic groups using Mon Khmer, Co Ho, Ma, and Mo Nong languages palm of the hand to beat gongs to make warm, gentle sounds, both men and women can play. Ethnic groups speaking Nam Dao languages use bare mallets to play flat gongs and rubber-covered mallets to beat nipple gongs to make strong resonant sounds and only men can perform. The number of gongs used at a time varied, from only 5-6 to few dozens, depending on event sessions.

Mr. Nguyen Tuan Anh, Vice Chairman of Hanoi Travel Club, said, cultural tourism is a strength, a great economic potential that the Central Highlands provinces have not fully tapped. Only by going on a right track and using a methodical strategy, will the Central Highlands become a new appealing cultural tourist destination to domestic and foreign tourists.

Giang Tu