Tây Nguyên, translated as Western Highlands and sometimes also called Central Highlands, is one of the regions of Vietnam. It contains the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Lâm Đồng. It has a large population of ethnic minorities such as the people of Malayo-Polynesian languages (Jarai and Ede) and the people of Mon-Khmer languages (Bahnar and K'hor).
Tay nguyen is the home to most prominent and also most endangered species of Vietnam and Southeast Asia: the Indochinese tiger, the huge gaur, the Wild Asian Water Buffalo, the banteng, and the Asian elephant.
This region is sometimes referred to as Cao nguyên Trung bộ (literally "Midland Highlands"), and was referred to during the Republic of Vietnam as Cao nguyên Trung phần (literally "Central Highlands").
Tây Nguyên is a plateau، bordering the lower part of Laos and northeastern Cambodia. Kon Tum Province shares a border with both Laos and Cambodia but Gia Lai Province and Dak Lak Province only share borders with Cambodia. Lam Dong Province is landlocked, and thus has no international border with any other nation.
Actually, Tay Nguyen is not situated on a unique plateau, instead it lies on series of contiguous plateaus, namely Kon Tum at the height of 500 m, Kon Plông Plateau, Kon Hà Nừng Plateau, Pleiku with the height of around 800m, Mdrak Plateau of approximately 500 m, Đắk Lắk of around 800m, Mơ Nông with the height of about 800–1000 m, Lâm Viên Plateau of approximately 1500 m and Di Linh Plateau of about 900–1000 m. All of these plateau are surrounded by the high mountain ranges and mounts (South Anamite Range).
Tây Nguyên can be divided into 3 subregions according to its deviation in topography and climate, namely: North Tay Nguyen (Bắc Tây Nguyên) (inclusive of Kon Tum and Gia Lai Provinces), Middle Tay Nguyen (Trung Tây Nguyên) (covering provinces of Đắk Lắk and Đắk Nông), South Tay Nguyen (Nam Tây Nguyên) (Lâm Đồng). Trung Tây Nguyên has lower altitude and therefore has a higher temperature from other two subregions.
Tay Nguyen has an average altitude of 500–600 m with basalt soil, suitable for planting coffee tree, cacao, pepper, and white mulberry. Cashew and rubber plants are also planted here. Coffee is the most important product of Tay Nguyen.
Vietnam's Central Highlands (Tây Nguyên) are a distinct contrast from the tropical south, with an arid climate, rolling hills, and blue skies. The region sees few foreign visitors, and many of them go to revisit old battlefields or see the indigenous tribes.
- Buôn Ma Thuột - home to the most famous Vietnamese coffee
- Đà Lạt - the old French hill-station with "eternal" spring climate
- Kontum - where communal life centers around the towering rong-houses
- Ngọc Hồi - small town near border crossing to Laos (Bo Y)