Introducing Buon Ma Thuot
The Ede name translates as ‘Thuot’s father’s village’, but Buon Ma Thuot has outgrown its rustic origins without acquiring any real charm. An affluent, modern, but rather characterless city (pronounced ‘boon me tote’) it is inundated by traffic from three highways.
Its only saving grace is coffee: the region grows some of the best in Vietnam, plenty of which is sold and drunk in town. Buon Ma Thuot plays host to an annual Coffee Festival in March that sees gallons of the black nectar drunk and elephant races held in nearby Don village.
Most travellers stop in Buon Ma Thuot en route to the attractions around it: Yok Don National Park, a couple of striking waterfalls and heaps of minority villages. The province is home to 44 ethnic groups, including some who have migrated here from the north. Among indigenous hill tribes, the dominant groups are the Ede, Jarai, M’nong and Lao.