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Home | Vietnam | Other Cities in Vietnam | Pleiku - Gia Lai
Pleiku - Gia Lai

Mountainous and in the wet season very, very wet, Gia Lai province sits in the centre of Vietnam's Central Highlands. The provincial capital, Pleiku, sits at the junction of Routes 19 and 14, making it the crossroads for any exploration of the Highlands.

Pleiku town marks the junction of Routes 19 and 14 leading to Kon Tum to the north, Buon Ma Thuot to the south and Qui Nhon on the Vietnamese coast. Most travellers who find themselves here tend to be on the way to somewhere else as the town itself is fairly charmless and while the surrounds are just as mountainous as the provinces to the north and south the infrastructure to explore them is both undeveloped and expensive.

Pleiku is larger than Kon Tum, but receives far fewer tourists - and for good reason. The major thoroughfares are crowded with noisy traffic throughout the day, and the streets are lined with stores that specialize in selling goods in bulk, as a part of its function as a market centre for the surrounding region. The location figured prominently in the war with America - this is pretty much where the war started and where it ended - but rebuilding after the destruction of the town has left no trace of the war, or what the city was like before.

The tourism authority and the local hospitality industry have been trying hard to sell Pleiku to travellers as a destination, even quoting a popular song that sings that city's praises: "You are so beautiful Pleiku, breaking my heart into pieces..." One look at the chaotic, nondescript town will make such poetry seem like wishful thinking, but the city is centre around a deep ravine where an artificial lake has been created, and from that spot it's possible to imagine that the city was in fact pretty, before it was flattened by war, then blanketed with modern buildings.

Leaving the city to the east and west, signs of the modern world quickly vanish, and you'll find yourself surrounded by a somewhat more picturesque countryside.

A wide variety of slightly pricey tours are available from Gia Lai Tourist which make more sense for large groups. There are a number of Jarai villages nearby that may be worth checking out, as well as Yaly Falls to the north along the road to Kon Tum. Within the city there are two museums, and nearby there is Bien Ho, a lake made by a volcanic crater, as well as Dong Xanh, a water park that has some fossilised trees on display and a small zoo.

If you intend being here during the monsoon season, bear in mind that Pleiku boasts the highest rainfall in the Central Highlands

  • Pleiku does not receive a lot of tourists. The select individuals who do get to this town quickly discover that while there are not many attractions, one of...
  • There is not much to do in Pleiku and is a rather sleepy town, which is why it is not frequented by many visitors. The best thing to do while in the city is...
  • Pleiku is not especially known for its cuisine. Nonetheless, there are dining spots in the area that can pleasantly surprise such as the My Tam 1 and My Tam...
  • Almost all streets in this city are lined with shops that sell wholesale merchandise. Pleiku is also one of only two cities (the other is Buon Ma Thuat) that...
  • Tourists who enjoy the drinking and party scene at night may be disappointed with what Pleiku has to offer in terms of nightlife. In this place, it is hard...

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