Sunday, 06/08/2023 10:34

Lạng Sơn offers a dam fine holiday


BIRD'S-EYE VIEW: Pắc Mỏ Dam, a poetic landscape in Hữu Liên Commune in the northern mountain province of Lạng Sơn, about 120km northeast of Hà Nội. Photo courtesy of Lê Thanh Tùng 

 Nhật Vũ & Mai Phương

Mai Hồng has been stuck with office work for two weeks and can't wait to begin her trip. Looking at her watch after closing the computer, Hồng, 37, a businesswoman from Hà Nội started to prepare a backpack and set out on a new trip.

Hồng is a huge travel enthusiast. She loves moving, particularly to discover unique and natural landscapes, and invariably spends a few days each month going somewhere new.

This time, she visited Pắc Mỏ Dam site, a poetic landscape in Hữu Liên Commune in the northern mountain province of Lạng Sơn, about 120km northeast of Hà Nội.

Before getting to Pắc Mỏ, she headed to the nearby reservoir, 1km from Hữu Liên tourist village. It is a renowned spot attracting many visitors to admire its pure and tranquil beauty.

The reservoir stores the water flowing from the Chi Lăng border pass down to Pắc Mỏ Lake to provide water for daily life in the area downstream in Hữu Liên Commune.

The reservoir was first formed with an earth dam built by local people to prevent floods and support farming, until it was upgraded with bricks and concrete with the help of soldiers and the resource mobilisation of the local authorities in 2000.


FAIRYTALE TRAVEL: Mai Hồng (left) discovers Pắc Mỏ Lake on a raft. The trip reminds her of being lost in a fairyland. Photo courtesy of Lê Thanh Tùng

 The road leading to the site is small, only accessible by motorbikes. Sometimes it is muddy, so it is very hard to travel on rainy days.

For Hồng, this is not a problem as she is experienced travelling across the country, including on very adventurous trips, but she managed to visit at a suitable time to avoid any inconvenience when visiting the site.

"Low mountains and primary forests surround the lake, giving the area a cool and fresh atmosphere throughout the year, including the hottest days of summer. The water flows very smoothly, so it is not dangerous for those who want to try kayaking," Hồng told Việt Nam News.

"Pắc Mỏ is an attractive destination due to the wild beauty of the natural landscape reflected in the clear blue water. The surrounding green hills and forests create a feeling of closeness to nature." 

Autumn is a great time to visit, as it is when the trees change colour and Pắc Mỏ becomes more charming than ever. Rays of sun shine through the branches and reflect on the water, creating idyllic scenes.

Relief from pressure

"I have to bear pressure at work, and sometimes it feels like I am falling into a state of bondage and depression. If you are unstable and lack positive energy and have to be in a continuous fast-paced and noisy environment of hard work, it is terribly difficult to heal yourself," Hồng said.

"Setting up a camp by myself, I sit on a small chair, read some books and deepen my soul alongside the clear blue water or admire the wide and spacious surroundings, then all the pent-up emotions are released and melt into nature. My heart is purified and more peaceful." 

"A trip reminds me of being lost in a fairyland, as I look out at the green mountains, and feel my bare feet touch the ground covered with fallen leaves, as my hands feel the coolness of the water."


IDYLLIC: Low mountains and rays of sun shine reflect on the water, creating beautiful scenes around Pắc Mỏ Lake. Photo courtesy of Lê Thanh Tùng 

 She said the sounds of leaves in the wind helped her completely de-stress. She felt the natural flow of energy running throughout her body and became extremely relaxed.

"There is a bamboo bridge over a stream. Near the dam further inwards, there is an ancient tree, locally dubbed 'Phu Thê' (The Spouses). The tree is famed for its two entwined trunks, creating a canopy above what looks like a couple in love."

Another attraction is that the area is ideal for outdoor activities such as fishing, walking, or flying kites.

"At night, you can sit by the camp fire, enjoy outdoor meals such as BBQ, fruits, and snacks, and watch the starry sky. You can relax and enjoy the fresh air and take photos of the rafts on Lake Pắc Mỏ. Rafting is only VNĐ200,000 per hour," Hồng said.

During the trip Hồng chose to stay at Mai's House, a beautiful but affordable homestay. She spent the second day in the homestay with yoga or meditation, met and spoke with the local ethnic people, and enjoyed their rustic food. The two-day weekend is enough to help her re-balance before returning to the hustle and bustle of the city.

New destinations

Pắc Mỏ Lake in Hữu Lũng District is just one of many new destinations in Lạng Sơn.

Since the beginning of 2022, the province has been a "hotpot" of community tourism with an increase in the number of tourists rushing to enjoy the wild nature, with many homestays built to meet soaring demand.

Along with the Đồng Lâm Steppe, a 100ha ecological area surrounded by limestone mountains and adorned with streams that flow to Lake Đồng Lâm, Hữu Lũng is renowned for tourist spots such as Lake Nong Dùng, Quỳnh Sơn community tourist village, and Mỏ Mắm Stream. 

Khổng Hồng Minh, head of the Culture and Information Office of Hữu Lũng District, said that many tourist routes had been set up to focus on the relevant local conditions of each commune, district and province.

"The district also developed specific local tourism products targeting three main groups of tourism: relaxation, cultural and spiritual tours, and entertainment. In the future, Hữu Lũng will implement policies to create better conditions for tourism development with more diverse products," he said.


HOMELY: Mai's House, one of the new homestays with a view straight to  the mountains near Pắc Mỏ Dam in Hữu Liên Commune, Hữu Lũng District has won the favour of tourists over the past two years. VNS Photo Mai Phương 

"We are also strengthening promotion and branding; actively increasing environmental awareness; and encouraging and supporting local people, communities and authorities to participate in tourism." VNS

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