Monday, September 20, 2010

In and around Kon Tum

The area around Kon Tum is my favourite place on this trip. I say the surrounds because the town itself is pretty uneventful without much character or soul. The people are friendly, which can be said for most of Vietnam, but everything else is quite uninspiring. It is very hot and as Celine pointed out there are virtually no trees or plant life throughout the city, and trees mean shade. Having a coffee on the river for breakfast or a drink in the evening is very enjoyable and is without a doubt the highlight of the town.

The ethnic minority villages and the people in general that surround Kon Tum are what makes this a special place. On our first morning in Kon Tum we went for a drive and found a cafe, Eva cafe, that was listed in the Lonely planet. The owner, Mr An, spoke great English, and pretty good French, and gave us a number of ideas for exploring the area. He also offered some inticing trekking options which we unfortunately could not fit into our schedule.

we spent the rest of the day visting a number of orphanages around the area, meeting adorable kids and amazing people, and learning about the plight that countless children face. (see next post)

We explored the local wooden French church, probably the most beautiful church I have seen, and later stopped for dinner around town. I chatted to many of the locals who were very friendly. One guy was telling me how his kids were living in Sydney, working for Macquarie and Wespac Bank. I used to work for Macquarie Bank. Small world.

The following day started as most do: with a coffee. After that, we had organised a guide to take us around some of the surrounding villages. The people, mainly Banhar people, have lived in the area long before the Vietnamese. There are a number of villages in close proximity to the town and others that are further out. He took us to places we would not have found, answered all our questions and gave us a great insight into the locals current culture and also their history. It was a very authentic experience.

We returned from our half day tour and hit the road towards Danang, hoping to find a small town to sleep for the night, before making tracks to the coast the following day.

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