It’s been millions of years since it erupted, but Chư Đăng Ya still puts on a colorful show each spring, when it dons a patchwork quilt. The dormant volcano is located in the Central Highlands near the city of Pleiku in western Vietnam. In the J’rai ethnic minority language, the volcano’s name means “wild ginger root.”

There is no water source, either in the crater or on the steep sides of the volcano, and it’s not physically possible for farmers to carry enough water up the slopes to provide irrigation. Nevertheless, both the the volcanic cone and the area surrounding it are excellent for growing crops, thanks to the fertile soil and the rainy season, which runs (more or less) from May to October.

The volcanic soil in the area has a reddish tint from basalt, and is ideal for growing a flowering plant called canna, also known as arrowroot. The plant’s roots are processed into starch to make noodles. Canna is only grown every other year. Corn, taro, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes are also farmed on both the sides of the volcano and in the crater, creating a patchwork quilt effect. After the growing season, wild sunflowers blossom, turning the hills blanketing Chư Đăng Ya bright yellow.

The volcano is considered to be one of the most beautiful destinations in the Central Highlands, especially in April and May.

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