Set in the central highlands, Kon Tum is one of Vietnam’s most ethnically-diverse hubs. The far-flung region is inhabited by a patchwork of minority communities, the largest of which is the Montagnards, and also has a rich French-colonial history. As the Bakbla River gurgles past, wander the streets of this cultural treasure, stopping in at the town museum and Paris Missions Seminary. This counts as one of Vietnam’s most dramatic churches, where 19th century missionaries sought to convert local tribes to Roman Catholicism.
Head to Kon Tum’s 650 outlying villages where communities such as the Bahnar, Sedang and Gieh Trieng still thrive. In Bahnar hamlets, residents hold festivals in a central longhouse, known as a rong, and welcome visitors for unique homestay experiences. Kon Tum also has a dark history tinged by conflict and the final, bitter battles of the American War were fought here in 1975. The nearby Dak To airfield lends testament to this bloody heritage, as does Skull Hill and its shrine to the Vietnamese people who died there.
Kon Tum’s ethnic villages are best visited with a local guide, so talk to our Vietnam team about organising an ethical, Kon Tum tour or homestay experience.