On paper, Buon Ma Thuot provides no reason to linger. Yet we manage to enjoy three awesome nights using it as a base for explorations to Dray Nur and Lake Ea Kao. The city was more than just a place to sleep: it’s too full of life for that.
Arriving in the evening it is impossible to ignore the call of the city’s brightly decorated streets and parks. Small amusement parks create a festive atmosphere to complement the colourful street lights. Children and parents laugh play games together while in other parks families share meals and drinks on picnic blankets.
Every morning Ngô Quyên Street comes alive with the colour, sound and scent of a fresh food market. Neat piles of brightly coloured fruit are sold by weighing on old fashioned scaled. Live fish swim in round plastic tubs of all sizes. Larger fish are chopped in two: head and body. Pork seems to be the meat of choice, butchered with precision. For chicken meat the preferencd appears to be live birds. I just wish I had smellogram because the scent of crushed onions, garlic, chilli and spices is amazing.
Buon Ma Thuot is street food heaven. We sit on tiny red seats on street corners and footpaths for almost all of our meals. We never pay more than 25,000VND each to eat everything from rice with barbecued pork to freshly made noodles served in perfectly seasoned broth. One night we chose a cook your own barbecue stall. The owner is partying with some young men; one empty carton of beer sits under the table and they are making short work of the second. He shows us how to eat the meal before returning to his group.
Buon Ma Thuot has an excellent CGV cinema. We are the only people there to watch the new Transformers movie. Unfortunately, the movie is rubbish but the seats are comfortable, picture perfect and sound full Dolby 7.1.
Accommodation: Lys Hotel