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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. 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. 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...
Sapa mountain Marathon

Sapa mountain Marathon

This October, over 120 athletes from around the world will compete in an off-road marathon in scenic Lao Cai province On October 5th, runners from more than 20 countries will convene in Sapa, a small town in Vietnam’s Lao Cai province to participate in the first Vietnam Mountain Marathon. Organized by the Danish Embassy and the Topas Ecolodge, event promises to challenge participants’ fitness and introduce n to the area’s beautiful mountain scenery and diverse cultures. Four Vietnamese runners have signed up, as has the Danish Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr. John Nielsen. “I know it will be difficult, but the atmosphere and beauty of the mountains and rice fields on the race course will compensate for my physical tiredness,” said Ambassador Nielsen. Having taken part in seven marathons in cities including Copenhagen, Venice, Berlin and Paris, Ambassador Nielsen is looking forward to this event’s rural setting. Participants in the Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2013 may choose to run a half-marathon (21 kilometers), a marathon (42 kilometers) or an ultramarathon (70 kilometers). Runners will race along dirt roads and tracks through rice paddies, mountains and valleys, where few tourists reach. The track features many ups and downs, but will allow runners to experience local life. “You don’t have to run fast, but you should keep a steady pace and look at this as a unique adventure,” said running instructor Mr. Asger Koppen. Sponsored by the Novo Nordisk company, the Vietnam Mountain...