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Mountainous and in the wet season very, very wet, Gia Lai province sits in the centre of Vietnam's Central Highlands. The provincial capital, Pleiku, sits at the junction of Routes 19 and 14, making it the crossroads for any exploration of the Highlands.

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Pleiku town marks the junction of Routes 19 and 14 leading to Kon Tum to the north, Buon Ma Thuot to the south and Qui Nhon on the Vietnamese coast. Most travellers who find themselves here tend to be on the way to somewhere else as the town itself is fairly charmless and while the surrounds are just as mountainous as the provinces to the north and south the infrastructure to explore them is both undeveloped and expensive.

Pleiku is larger than Kon Tum, but receives far fewer tourists -- and for good reason. The major thoroughfares are crowded with noisy traffic throughout the day, and the streets are lined with stores that specialise in selling goods in bulk, as a part of its function as a market centre for the surrounding region. The location figured prominently in the war with America -- this is pretty much where the war started and where it ended -- but rebuilding after the destruction of the town has left no trace of the war, or what the city was like before.

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