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The busy but ho-hum capital of Gia Lai province, Pleiku is better know as a strategic American and South Vietnamese  base during the American War than for any postwar accomplishments. It makes an adequate pit stop, but there’s little to detain a traveler for more than a few hours. Torched by departing South Vietnamese soldiers in 1975, the city was rebuilt in the 1980s with help from the Soviet Union, which thoroughly explains its lack of appeal today.

In 2001 and 2004 Pleiku was the scene of Montagnard protests against the government, the latter promptly responded by prohibiting foreigners from visiting the area. While thse rules have gradually been relaxed and the permit to visit the minority one is not recommended, unless you enjoy being questioned by the police.

In 1965 the VC shelled a US compound in Pleiku, and killed eight Americans. This attack was used as a justification by US President Bombing campaign against North Vietnam and the rapid build up of US troops, who, until then, were supposed to bi in a noncombatant role.

When US troops departed in 1973 the South Vietnamese kept Pleiku as their main combat base in the area. They fled the advancing VC in 1975, and the civilian population of Pleiku and nearby Kon Tum fled with them. The stampede to the coastline along the only road, Hwy 7, became know as the “Convoy of Tears’ as they were relentlessly attacked that only a quarter or a third of the 100.000 people survived.

What to do?

Pleiku is the home of Jarai minorities people. 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.

When to go?

The best time to visit the central highlands is between November and January, when the landscape is lush, the rain is minimal and the weather is temperate.

Travel Tips

When you take tours to minority villages, please make sure to get a local guide and permits from local authorities to avoid cultural shocks. 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 or people. It is also to ask permission when you visit any family for deeper understanding the local tradition and custom.
Hotels Restaurants Places to visit

1. Hoang Anh Gia Lai Hotel

Add: 01 Phu Dong Square, Pleiku City

Tel: (84-59) 718459

1. Bien Ho Xanh Restaurant
Add: 662 Pham Van Dong, Pleiku Ciy
Tel: (84-59) 386 7854

Sea Lake

Jalai Village

Pleiku Market

2. Gialai - Pleiku Hotel

Add: 124 Le Loi Str., Pleiku city

Tel: (84-59) 824628

2. Cat Loi Restaurant
Add: 25 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Pleiku City
Tel: (84-59) 371 9933

3. Hung Vuong Hotel

Add: 215 Hung Vuong road, Pleiku city

Tel: (84-59) 824270 - 821010

3. Indochinese Restaurant
Add: 386 Pham Van Dong, Pleiku City
Tel: (84-59) 386 7191

4. Dien Anh Hotel

Add: 6 Vo Thi Sau road, Pleiku city

Tel: (84-59) 823855

4. Kim Oanh Restaurant

Add: 699 Pham Van Dong, TP. Pleiku
Tel: (84-59) 382 5180

5. Indochine Hotel

Add: 6 Vo Thi Sau road, Pleiku city

Tel: (84-59) 823855

5. Kim Hoa Dai Tuu Lau Restaurant
Add: 638 Pham Van Dong, Pleiku
Tel: (84-59) 382 5871

6. Quang Trung Hotel

Add:168 Ba Trieu Str., Kontum town

Tel: (84-60) 862249 - 862763

6. Lam Vien Restaurant
Add: 100 Phan Dinh Phung, Pleiku City
Tel: (84-59) 387 2816

7. Dakbla Hotel

Add:02 Phan Dinh Phung Str.Kontum town

Tel: (84-60) 863333/ 4/ 5

 


 

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