Don village has long been mentioned as a legendary land, famous for hunting and tamping wild elephants. Now, thanks to its majestic landscape and diverse cultural identity, the village has become Don village tourist area with special attraction.
Overview of Don village
Don village is a famous old village in Vietnam with the tradition of hunting and taming wild elephants. Don village used to be the capital of Dak Lak province. Later, to facilitate socio-economic development and to occupy a strategic defense and security position, the French relocated administrative offices to Buon Ma Thuot.
Currently, Don village is only a tourist destination located in Krong Na commune, Buon Don district of Dak Lak, which is 40 km from Buon Ma Thuot in the direction of provincial road 1 to the northwest.
There are various beautiful landscapes in Don village, such as many rivers, Seven-branch waterfall, hanging bridge, Duc Minh lake, ancient stilt house, and the nearby elephant king tomb - Yang Prong Cham tower - Ea Sup. Yok Don National Park is famous for being the largest national park in Vietnam with dipterocarp forest ecosystem full of potentials for ecotourism, adventure tourism, and especially the national identity of villages with the wharves retaining the original features and myths about the Elephant King.
History of Don village
Don village used to be very famous in the mainland Southeast Asia region in the past and considered the largest elephant tamping center in the area. This place is adjacent to the border of Laos and Cambodia, so it was so convenient for trading and hunting the elephants.
The strongest and most famous period of Don village was around the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, a Laotian Vietnamese man named Khunjunop who was called King of elephant hunting became the leader of the village. He turned Don village into the center to export the elephants and sell them to other places in the country and neighbor countries as well and quickly the village became the trading center of the elephant of all Indochina.
History noted that from 1899 to 1908, Don village sold 161 tamed elephants and only in 1907, the number of elephants is sold was 56 ones. The benefits of the French government had taken taxes to 34.279 francs. In the most prosperous period, the elephant hunters could catch and tame 50 elephants each year.
At the end of the 19th century, the French first set foot in the Central Highland and had chosen this village as the administrative offices of the entire area before moving to Buon Ma Thuot in 1904.
Nowadays, when taking Don village tour, visitors still can be heard the elephant's tamping stories and discovered about hunting and tamping elephant work. It is so wonderful when riding on the back of an elephant and wandering around the village, crossing through Serepok river and entering into the old forest to understand the cultural way of local tribes such as E-de, Laos, Giarai, etc.
Visiting Don village tourist area
Many tourists said that Daklak tourism will be less interesting unless having Don village tourist area. So, it can be said that Don village plays an important role in the general Daklak tourism picture and be the key to attract tourists.
Coming to the Don village tourist area, tourists will easily see the elephants slowly wandering around the area, but don’t be scary, they are so gentle and well-tamped. It is so great to have a riding trip on the back of the large elephants to travel around the village and crossing through the peaceful Serepok river and then entering into the Yok Don national park, there are so many strange and beautiful things waiting for you in the forest.
Besides riding the elephants, Don village tourist area also supply a unique boat ride to admire the poetic view of the Serepok river - a rare river in Vietnam that flows back to the west. One experience that you should not ignore is walking on the suspension bridge, the feeling of swinging when traveling on the Don village suspension bridge surely make you scared but no less exciting. The bridge is made of bamboo and reinforced with iron. The bridge crossing through the river in the middle of the old forest with a charming scene around definitely makes you feel great.
Visiting the Don village tourist area, you can have chances to learn about the culture, customs and lifestyle of local people, listen to the exciting history of Don village and the art of hunting and tamping the elephants as well as charm the beautiful architecture of the old wooden houses. The centuries-old storeroom is the place displaying the traditional relics and the grave of King Khunjunop.
After a long walking trip, visitors stop at the restaurants and food stalls in the Don village tourist area to enjoy the local food such as sticky rice, blue chicken sauce, sour lobster soup, etc.
The Don village tourist area is great when the night falls down, visitors gather together around the campfire and sing, dance and drink the alcohol with jars. The sounds of gongs and the traditional dance of local people will make you feel more affection.
The dynamic in tourism exploitation has now made Don village the most famous brand of Dak Lak tourism, a place that tourists should not ignore in Dak Lak.