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Paddling around Central Highlands’ largest lake

Sitting in a hollowed tree trunk has never been this cool

About 60 km south of Buon Ma Thuot City, Lăk Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in Dak Lak province with an area of about 500 ha and the second largest in Vietnam (after Ba Be Lake, a recently UNESCO recognized site in Bac Kan Provice). Lăk Lake is home to a large number of ethnic minorities. The journey sponsored by pitpan boats allows visitors to discover the life of the indigenous.

Lăk Lake 60 km south of Buon Ma Thuot city is the largest natural freshwater lake in Dak Lak Province with an area of about 500 ha. It is the second largest in Vietnam, after Ba Be Lake, a UNESCO recognized site in northern Bac Kan Province. Along Lăk Lake live a large number of ethnic minorities. A trip on a pitpan boat allows visitors to discover local life.

Kayaking in boats made from hollowed tree trunks is an ideal choice to have a close look at the diverse flora across the lake.

Kayaking in boats made from hollowed tree trunks is an ideal way to get a close look at the diverse flora of the lake.

In the distinctively regional wooden boat, Mnong boat riders tell visitors the legend of Lak Lake as they paddle the boats alongside the water curve. Once upon a time, after a battle between the fire god and the water god, a young Mnong boy named Y Lăk caught a small eel and took him home. Strangely, the eel grew bigger and bigger beyond natural speed. Before Y Lăk knew it, the pond where the eel was housed transformed into an immense lake. The Mnong people call this lake Dăk of Lăk, meaning the water of Y Lăk. Hence, Lăk Lake as it is called today.

In the distinctive wooden boats, the M’nong boatmen and women tell visitors about the legend of Lăk Lake as they paddle the boats. Once upon a time, after a battle between the fire god and the water god, a young M’nong boy named Y Lăk caught a small eel and took him home. Strangely, the eel grew bigger and bigger at bewildering speed. Before Y Lăk knew it, the pond where the eel was housed transformed into an immense lake. The M’nong people thus named it after him.

Some visitors might find it amusing that the villagers let their elephants freely gaze in the shoreline.

Some visitors find it amusing that the villagers let their elephants graze freely along the lake shore.

Despite warning of declining population, the elephants here are still being used to serve tourists.

Despite warnings about declining populations, the elephants here are still used to serve tourists.

Elephants are not the only thing you can ride. Bicycles are available for rent as the village has an interesting scenery worth exploring. Cottages, silt houses, and the community culture are just some of the features of Jun village and Mieong village of MNong people.

Elephants are not the only thing you can ride here. Bicycles are available for rent and the village has interesting landscapes worth exploring. Cottages, stilt houses and the community culture are just some of the features of Jun and M’ieong villages of the M’Nong people.

To have a well-rounded view of the whole lake, visitors should go to Bao Dai Palace, the resort on the hilltop behind the town of Lien Son. This is where ancient King Bao Dai often came for holiday for sightseeing and hunting excursions.

To have a panoramic view of the lake, visitors should go to Bao Dai Palace, the resort on the hilltop behind the town of Lien Son. This is where King Bao Dai often came for sightseeing and hunting. Bao Dai is the final Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam.

Yang Tao Commune, which is less than 10 km from Lak Lak, is the only place in the Central Highlands where the ancient pottery making of Mnong Rlăm people still runs. Here, visitors are in awe of the art of making ceramics out of clays. A variety of ceramic products sold as souvenirs are available at affordable prices.

Yang Tao Commune, which is less than 10 km from Lăk Lake, is the only place in the Central Highlands where the ancient pottery making of the M’nong Rlăm people is still practiced. Visitors coming here are left in awe after seeing locals make ceramics from clay. A variety of ceramic products are sold as souvenirs at reasonable prices.

The shoreline is also dabbed with untouched nature that guarantees a charming scene for trekking tourists.

The area around the lake has untouched nature that guarantees a charming setting for trekkers.

September is a harvest month so walking along the road from Buon Ma Thuot City to Lăk Lake gives you a mesmerizing view of rice harvesters on the background of spectacular nature.

September is harvest month. Walking along the road from Buon Ma Thuot city to Lăk Lake gives you a view of golden rice fields, people harvesting the fields and spectacular nature.

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