Connect the dots

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kon Tum

This sleepy little town is a great way to cut up that long trip down to Dalat or Nha Trang. In fact, since we had taken a dive on the Cham Islands, we wanted to skip the touristy beach at Nha Trang and take the local bus through the less visited central highlands. 

Rent a motorbike and do some self-exploration. Bahnar villages with their characteristic rongs (super tall nail-free bamboo meeting halls), the Dak Bla River, and wooden Catholic churches are all a stone's throw away. 

Typical Bahnar rongs are used for community meetings, festivals and celebrations. These tall structures are engineering feats with no nails keeping the structure together. Instead a web of bamboo poles are tied together to act like struts.

Typical homes are made of clay and stilted: 

Missionaries over the years have transformed the Bahnar into devout Catholics with wooden churches in every village. 

Then there are the welcoming faces everywhere. This is what makes this trip to the countryside really worth it. 

When you're done exploring, hang with the locals riverside for some strong ca phe sua. 

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