“If you’d like to get off the beaten track in Vietnam, this is the place to do it,” advises Rough Guides. “The central highlands can’t quite match the northern mountains for scenic beauty, and its minority groups are far less colourful, but there’s a lot to see here -- thundering waterfalls, mist-laden mountains, immense longhouses and barely a tourist in sight.” This mountainous region is a few hundred “very hilly kilometres inland” from Nha Trang, a “bumpy ride north” from Ho Chi Minh City, or along the “paved and very scenic” Ho Chi Minh Trail south from Hoi An, explains Frommers. It saw “its share of fighting” during the war, but “the scorched earth has grown again, and the region prospers as one of the most productive agricultural areas for produce, and one of the most prosperous for coffee growing.”
The Central Highlands is a “different and interesting landscape,” observes Photodiary of a Nomad. Leaving Ho Chi Minh City you start passing rubber plantations and orchards as the countryside becomes “distinctively hilly,” and you can see an “intriguing” mix of religions -- “a patchwork of buddhism and catholicism, rather than a blend … in one town, we passed six large churches in as many kilometres, while every second house had a statue of the madonna on its balcony,” while at another place, an “enormous buddha perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the local Catholic church.”
The rainy and dry seasons are separate In the Central Highlands, explains Living Nomads. The rainy season lasts from May to October, when it’s “rather difficult to travel along dirt roads.” During the dry season it’s “not very hot and the air is not too dry,” so this is the best time to visit.