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Buon Ma Thuot


Buon Ma Thuot spreads out from its central roundabout where a large victory monument and a replica of a tank are on display. It makes sense to base yourself in the roundabout area, where services, cafes, and basic eats are within easy walking distance.

The town is well-serviced with numerous 24-hour ATMs that accept most major credit and debit cards. The Agribank on Quang Trung Street is good for exchanging USD only. To cash traveller's cheques you'll have to head to the Vietcom Bank on Tran Hung Dao Street. To receive VND they charge a 0.5% comission or 1.1 USD, whichever is greater, and to receive USD the commission is 1% or 2.2 USD. The also buy a wide range of popular currencies, and sell some of the major ones as well.

The post office is a few hundred metres south of the roundabout on Le Duan -- it's open daily from 06:00 to 21:00. Long distance phone services are available here in the 10- to 15,000 VND per minute range depending on the country.

The provincial hospital (Benh Vien Da Khoa) is also located on Mai Hac De St, about 1km down from the roundabout. Take Le Duan south for about 800m, turn right on Nguyen Du (past the museum,) then the first left and it's on the right. 24-hour emergency service is available: (095) 591 7375 but very little English is spoken.

Internet is surprisingly hard to find -- Internet Games is obviously placed on Ly Thuong Kiet where most of the accommodation is, but we found it was always full of kids playing games. The post office used to offer internet, but doesn't anymore. There are three places on Hong Phong Street, between Phan Boi Chau and Hoang Dieu streets, which are good backups. Of the three, a place called 'O2, down the side alley on the east side of the street, usually turned out to be the best bet. Cheap rates of 3- to 5,000 VND per hour are standard.

The main bus terminal is 3km east of town on Nguyen Tat Thanh, just past the waterpark on the left. Regional service is quite frequent and you can just show up and catch a bus for most destinations. Longer trips depart once a day, or sometimes every other day, so advanced planning is needed.

The airport is about 5km outside town to the southeast on Nguyen Luong Bang Street -- a metered taxi should cost about 100,000 VND -- you can do it by mototaxi for 40 to 50,000, but it's a rough trip with a full pack and groups of two or more won't save any money. For air tickets, stop by Vietnam Airlines on 19 No Thang Long.

Agribank: 40-42 Quang Trung, Buon Ma Thuot. T: (050) 852 781, F: (0500 859 867, 810 737. Hours: 7:30 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 18:00 weekdays
Main Post Office: 6 Le Duan St, Buon Ma Thuot. T: (050)852 612, F: (050) 852 262. Hours: 06:30 to 21:00 daily
Vietcom Bank: 06 Tran Hung Dao, Buon Ma Thuot. T: (050) 855 039, F: (050) 855 038. Hours: 07:30 to 11:00 and 13:30 to 16:30 weekdays
Vietnam Airlines: 19 No Trang Long, Buon Ma Thuot. T: (050) 954 442, F: (050) 952 591 Hours: 07:30 to 11:00 and 13:30 to 16:30 weekdays, 08:00 to 11:00 and 13:30 to 16:00 Saturdays.

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