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Best Ways to Travel to Vietnam Central Highlands

travel-to-vietnam-central-highlands-roads The road in Gia Lai Province

Vietnam Central Highlands is considered a mysterious land due to its unique culture and stunning landscapes, and the best news is, it is pretty straightforward to find the means to travel. Below are our suggestions for transportation to explore the magical central highlands.

Our Notes for Traveling around Vietnam during the COVID-19 Situation:

  • Even though traveling within the country is not prohibited, it is more important to take the responsibility into our own hands and practicing social distancing seriously. Only travel in case of emergency
  • Most bus lines and hotels have put a halt to its service for foreign visitors
  • It is by law that you always wear a mask when going outside and no unnecessary gathering of more than two people

More Self-quarantine Tips in Vietnam here

Overview of the Vietnam Central Highlands

  • Vietnam Central Highlands (or the Western Highlands) consists of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, and Lam Dong provinces
  • Travel-worthy destinations: Da Lat City (Lam Dong), Buon Ma Thuot City (Dak Lak), Kon Tum City and Mang Den (Kon Tum), Sea Lake (Gia Lai), Yok Don National Park (Dak Nong) etc.

Find out more in our Vietnam Central Highlands Travel Guide

  • Vietnam Central Highlands highlights: mountainous nature, cool climate, exquisite coffee and cuisines, ethnic minorities’ cultures

Distance from Ho Chi Minh to the Central Highlands:

Ho Chi Minh - Dak Lak: 415 km
Ho Chi Minh - Dak Nong: 265 km
Ho Chi Minh - Gia Lai: 625 km
Ho Chi Minh - Kon Tum: 717 km
Ho Chi Minh - Lam Dong: 317 km

Distance from Hanoi to the Central Highlands:

Hanoi - Dak Lak: 1,266 km
Hanoi - Dak Nong: 1,360 km
Hanoi - Gia Lai: 1,124 km
Hanoi - Kon Tum: 1,007 km
Hanoi - Lam Dong: 1,490 km

Flying to the Central Highlands

Lien Khuong International Airport in Lam Dong Province (DLI)
Address: Highway No.20, Lien Nghia, Duc Trong, Lam Dong (30 km from Da Lat City)

travel to vietnam central highlands lien khuong

Lien Khuong Airport

Pleiku Domestic Airport in Pleiku (PXU)
Address: Thong Nhat, Pleiku, Gia Lai

travel to vietnam central highlands pleiku airport

Pleiku Airport

Buon Ma Thuot Airport in Dak Lak Province (BMV)
Address: 100 Dam Sam, Hoa Thang, Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak

travel to vietnam central highlands bmt airport

Buon Ma Thuot Airport

The three airports scatter around the regions make it more than accessible to travel to Vietnam Central Highlands, both from inside the country or from abroad. Domestic flights to the central highlands are available every day from major airports such as Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi or Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh at low prices from VND 500,000. In case the destination province does not have an airport, you can still travel to the neighbor province’s airport and then take a bus or a taxi to cover the remaining distance.

Some major airlines in Vietnam are:

Vietnam Airlines (4-star)
Vietjet Air (budget)
Jetstar Pacific Airlines (budget)
Bamboo Airways (hybrid between traditional and budget airlines)

Check out Taxi Fares from Vietnam Major Airports

Taking a Bus to the Central Highlands

Buses are cheap and the most prevalent option to travel to the Vietnam Central Highlands. Many bus lines from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh daily run overnight to the central area - do be mindful that traveling from Hanoi will take way longer considering the greater distance.

travel to vietnam central highlands thanh buoi

travel to vietnam central highlands phuong trang

Thanh Buoi and Phuong Trang are the two most popular local bus lines running across the country, including to the central highlands

Look for tickets below and plan your journey to the wondrous mountains in Vietnam:

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Or Join a Multi-day Tour from Mui Ne to Da Lat

Ride a Motorbike to the Central Highlands

For risk-takers, there’s no fun without a bit of adventure. However, we would recommend against motorbiking to the Central Highlands, unless you are a highly skilled driver. The mountainous loops and passes with many trucks and containers pose a daunting challenge to any traveler. What is more, renting a motorbike to travel to Vietnam Central Highlands can be quite costly as it takes several days to a week to complete the journey. Only embark on this trip when you’re confident in your driving skills, have some experience in driving on Vietnam’s streets, and remember to sign up for a travel insurance plan in case of unwanted incidents.

kon tum travel guide ho chi minh trail

The Ho Chi Minh Motorbike Route is the most charming trail in the central of Vietnam, but it takes great driving skills to complete

Get a free quote for Vietnam travel insurance here:


There are no trains running directly to the Central Highlands

This is sad news but true, and even though there is a train station in Da Lat, it only serves tourism purposes.

Read more about Vietnam Trains

How to Travel around the Central Highlands

Our best advice is to rent a motorbike upon your arrival to explore above and beyond the highlands provinces. The average price for renting a semi-automatic bike is VND 150,000/bike/day, and you can always ask the hotel’s receptionist to help you find a rental place.

For traveling between the provinces in the central highlands, you can also opt for local public buses or taxis.

travel to vietnam central highlands scenery 1

Scenic views along the streets - huge upside of traveling by motorbike around the area

travel to vietnam central highlands tea fields

As soon as you get off the city's streets, you will come across these verdant tea plantations

Final Takes on the Best Ways to Travel to Vietnam Central Highlands

Despite being a lesser-known destination for international travelers in Vietnam, the Central Highlands is surprisingly quite easy and cheap to travel to. The plane would be the most attractive choice, but a bus can also get you to the central highlands just fine. Have you ever been to any off-the-beaten-path places in Vietnam? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.


© Written by Kim Hoang for

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Wednesday, 05 October 2022

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