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Unspoiled Vietnam - exploring the central Highland  
Vietnam is one of the world's fastest up and coming tourist resorts. The upside of this is that many of its resorts are now fully geared towards making every visitors' experience as comfortable as possible. The one downside, however, is that a lot of people will have thought of paying a visit to the same resorts that you have. The good news is that if you would really like to get away from it all, there are still many parts of the country that are relatively unspoiled.
The bulk of visitors to this beautiful Far Eastern country tend to head along to the eastern coast, drawn to the beautiful beaches and the limestone islands of the likes of Ha Long Bay. Those who are drawn to mountains usually head northwards to the more spectacular ranges. While the mountain ranges in the centre of Vietnam can't match their northern counterparts in terms of sheer beauty, there is still an immense amount of landscape here waiting for the more intrepid explorer.
The mountains here are shrouded in mist and harbour countless thundering waterfalls. There are a immense longhouses, which are hardly struggling to cope with the demand of tourists clamouring for accommodation! Vietnam's central highlands share their western border with Cambodia, and spread to the high peaks and wide plateaus of the Truong Son Mountains. This region is renowned for its fertile red soils that yield a lot of natural resources. Chief amongst these are tea, coffee, silk, hardwood, and rubber. Although plantations obviously take up a lot of this land, there are still pockets of Forrest dating back to primeval times. Amongst these secretive trees there are elephants gibbons and bears that have managed to survive the advances of civilization surrounding them.
For visitors coming to the central highlands, the first target of choice is often Da Lat. Christened by the former French colonists of this country, this mountain retreat looms above pine-crested hilltops. It does have to be said that it can be somewhat disappointing to arrive here because the architecture is fairly dreamy and it has succumbed to some of the excesses of being a tourist trap. On the other hand, it does contain some charming colonial buildings and if you enjoy bike rides, some extremely picturesque trails. Its market is also overflowing with local delicacies to whet your appetite prior to exploring further in the hills.
North of Da Lat you'll come across Lak Lake. This picturesque body of water is surrounded by tiny villages, whose inhabitants always welcome visitors. Be prepared to be offered all manner of hand-crafted trinkets to be taken away to remind you of your time spent in the central Highlands.
Indeed, one of the keenest memories of this area you are likely to leave with is a snapshot of a varied indigenous mix. Amongst the people living in this hilly terrain are tribes like Jarai and Bahnar. Despite the way that Vietnam has evolved into a contemporary country at the forefront of the new Asian economies, these proud peoples remain relatively cocooned from the worst consumer excesses of the outside world. A glimpse into their charming lifestyles is bound to be heartwarming for any visitor.