Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Travel Blog | 0 comments

Buon Don village charms

Buon Don village charms

It took about one hour by car to reach Don village from Buon Me Thuot. Driving slowly, I admired the vast and stunning views of the Central Highlands, sometimes passing working elephants and their riders. A red dirt path led into Don Village, which was extremely peaceful. The air smelled of coffee flowers.

hospitality-of-buon-ma-thuat-people

Buon Don village charms visitors in Vietnam’s central higlands

Every visitor to Don Village must see the historic home of the late “King of the Elephant Hunters” Ama Kong, whose birth name was Y Prong Eban. This elderly man, who passed away in 2012, was well known for his legendary elephant hunting skills and his talent playing various folk musical instruments. During his long lifetime, Ama Kong was reported to have caught 298 elephants. Ama Kong was also famous for having four wives, the last of whom he married in his eighties.

Ama Kong’s house was built 127 years ago in the tower pagoda style of a Laotian or Thai temple. The walls and roofs are made of cà chích wood, known for its excellent elasticity. This wood can shrink on rainy days and expand in the sun.

elephant-ride-in-buon-don-village

Don village is the gateway to nearby Yok Don national park, which is home to wild elephants

The house previously consisted of three compartments. In 1954, a big storm caused an old tamarind tree to collapse on one compartment, leaving two compartments. The house was purchased by Ama Kong’s grandfather – Mr. Khun Ju Nop, who paid for it with the tusks of 12 male elephants. After buying the house, Mr. Khun Ju Nop carried out a sacrifice of 22 huge male buffalos, dozens of pigs and hundreds of pots of cane liquor.

Sapa mountain Marathon

Since the demise of Ama Kong, visitors to Don Village can no longer enjoy his stories elephant hunting and love, or share big jars of cane wine with the famous hunter. Nonetheless, they can witness the villagers’ unique way of life in the Central Highlands. They can also view Ama Kong’s old hunting tools and explore the village.

buon-ma-thuat-sunset

My friends and I left Don Village as the sun was setting. Someone started to sing: “Still loving each other, please come to Buon Me Thuot… I felt sad to leave, wanting to extend my stay in these idylic highlands.

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