Elephant Race Festival

sHARE TO facebook twitter mail
expdetail

Elephant Race Festival. Image courtesy of the Viet Nam National Administration for Tourism.

The ground shakes, the dust from the earth rises, and a herd of elephants rush past you—it’s an incredible sight and it makes the Elephant Race Festival one of the most unforgettable cultural celebrations in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. It is held in Don Village of the Buon Don District in Dak Lak Province, home to the M’Nong ethnic group who are known for their tradition of hunting and training wild elephants. The large mammals hold a significant place in their spiritual and cultural lives and the festival is supposed to reflect the martial spirit of the M’Nong people.

During even numbered years, normally in March, Dak Lak turns more than just a destination for tourists to ride elephants. It’s a time when elephants from different villages compete in a race and participate in a series of different competitions—swimming across the Serepok River, and playing football and tug-of-wars, among other games. People from near and distant villages come and watch in their colourful costumes. You can book a hotel in the capital Buon Ma Thuot, which is around two hours away from Buon Don.

The race starts at the sound of a tu va (horns made into musical instruments) and as the elephants charge ahead, the thunderous sound of beating drums and gongs rival the cheers of the crowd. Find yourself amidst this spectacular festivity and you can’t help but get swept by the exuberant atmosphere. It also doesn’t hurt that the Central Highlands provide a magnificent natural backdrop of pine forests, beautiful waterfalls, and bucolic sceneries.

You Might Also Like…

For a similar elephant-focused festival, visit the Boun Xang (Sayaboury Elephant Festival) in Laos. For alternative March festival stops, visit Thailand's Bun Luang and Phi Ta Khon Festival, and Cambodia's Mekong River Festival.


TOUR packages

View All
Borneo's Cultural Highlights
tour packages

Your tour begins late in the day, sampling Brunei's unique flavours at a restaurant in Bandar Seri Begawan. The lights il...

VIEW DETAILS
Theme Parks and Retail Therapy
tour packages

From your starting point in Singapore, you'll reach some of Southeast Asia's most modern (and most entertaining) them...

VIEW DETAILS
Highlights of Laos & Viet Nam
tour packages

Program to see Laos and Viet Nam's top spots: a study in contrasts that works well together nonetheless!

VIEW DETAILS

MASTERCARD'S PRICELESS EXPERIENCES

View All
Bayview Hotel Langkawi
tour packages

Enjoy Chinese and international cuisines in Langkawi, Malaysia

VIEW DETAILS
Cape Kudu
tour packages

Escape and immerse yourself in the vibrance of Phang Nga Bay.

VIEW DETAILS
Aleenta Phuket
tour packages

Refresh your senses on the pristine Nantai Beach with Aleenta Phuket.

VIEW DETAILS

AIR AND CAR BOOKINGS

View All
The Best Way To See Asean
tour packages

Go on an epic Asean journey with AirAsia Asean Pass, a travel pass that allows you to book our base fares at least 14 days or...

VIEW DETAILS
Hertz Car Rental Deals
tour packages

Rent a car for 2 days or more at participating locations in Asia and enjoy up to 15% off

VIEW DETAILS

HOTEL DEALS

View All
Jinjiang Inn, Ortigas
tour packages

Hotel location: Ortigas

VIEW DETAILS
Amari Johor Bahru
tour packages

Rate RM 374 nett in a Superior Room with breakfast for 2 persons.For reservation dial our number 607 266 8888 or e-mail reser...

VIEW DETAILS
Sheraton Towers Hotel
tour packages

Whether you are looking to get your retail fix, have a go at the iconic local dishes or discover the kaleidoscope of cultures...

VIEW DETAILS