Revel in Vietnam’s raw beauty as you ride the backstreets from south to north.
Take a step off the beaten path and explore the untouched wilderness of Vietnam’s central highlands. While the mountains of the north may be bigger, the ones found in the central highlands are just as exotic if not more so. Dotted with minority villages and pristine jungle forests, the central highlands are a great place to escape the crowds and the chaos of the coast for a more authentic experience.
Most tourists stick closely to highway 20 which takes them from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat, so it can be quite busy with tour bus and scooter traffic. Da Lat is the most desirable city to spend time in; however, it is significantly closer to Nha Trang, so you may want to consider using that as a connection. Nha Trang is a busy tourist beach resort city so if you're looking for a place to spend a couple days relaxing on the beach, or hitting the nightclubs, Nha Trang is the place.
Da Lat is the centre for most activity in the Central Highlands. The city was built in the early 1900's by the French as a resort town and once you get there it's easy to see why. Known as the "city of eternal spring" for its temperate climate and lingering morning fog, Da Lat is a hefty climb at 1,500 meters (4,921 ft) above sea level, but it's worth every drop of sweat once you're there. Hang up your road cleats and put on your MTB shoes because Da Lat is chock full of amazing mountain rides. Wander through the colonial streets while enjoying the fresh cool mountain air before heading out into the countryside to chase waterfalls and visit minority villages.
The rest of the Central Highlands is filled with tea and coffee plantations where life has changed very little over time. The road to Ho Chi Minh City is a long one from Da Lat so make sure to take your time and enjoy the calmness of the off the beaten path journey. National Parks like Cat Tien are worth a visit as this area of Vietnam houses some of its most diverse wildlife, so plan for some guided park tours and with help you might be able to spot some of the more elusive animals.