Natural perfection

Between Danang and Hue lies Lang Co, truly one of Vietnam’s most stunning vistas.

By MINH MINH on May 08,2017 01:25 PM

Natural perfection

Photo: MINH MINH

Our train went through Hai Van Pass, which links Danang with Lang Co Bay, on a beautiful morning just as the first beams of sunlight shone over the mountains and a carpet of yellow and white flowers that stretched out among the immense green of the forest. Poetic Lang Co Bay presented itself, curving along wild beaches, rugged coastline, and tranquil Lang Co town. I was enchanted.

We arrived at Lang Co Railway Station, a small stop at the northern foot of Hai Van Pass, where we sat and enjoyed the peaceful, fresh atmosphere of the countryside and mountains, listening to birds singing in a vault of leaves while waiting for a taxi to pick us up.

The taxi driver gave us a friendly hello in his local accent, which was difficult for my children to understand, even though they are Vietnamese. We stopped at a local food stall for a breakfast of delicious Bún bò Huế (Hue beef noodles) before heading to our resort, about 40 km from the station. Along the way, we felt a sense of excitement as we passed through picturesque villages and vast green rice fields, forests and rivers as far as the eye could see. My two children shouted out in surprise upon seeing a flock of about a hundred egrets flying in the distance. Our taxi driver, a middle-aged man, told us that the name Lăng Cô is related to egrets. It is said that, in the past, this was where so many egrets settled, and so it was called ‘Làng Cò’, or ‘the village of egrets’. As time passed, local people pronounced it ‘Lăng Cô’. But I have also read that ‘Lăng Cô’ was pronounced ‘L’An Cư’ (another old name for the area) by the French.

Natural perfection

Mountains meet the sea

Whatever its name, Lang Co has long attracted visitors with its charming beauty. Emperor Khai Dinh (under the Nguyen Dynasty) built a palace here for royal summer holidays. During French colonial times, the French also chose Lang Co for their breaks. Nowadays, it has become a destination for both local and foreign tourists, and in 2009 was voted as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

Where we stayed, Angsana Lang Co Resort, is on one of the most beautiful parts of Lang Co Peninsula, with the superb Truong Son Mountain Range on one side and beautiful white beaches on the other. It really is the ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

We spent of a lot of time on outdoor activities. The sea was pure and great for swimming, kayaking and water sports. In the early morning, I rode a bicycle along country roads, enjoying the fresh, cool air and views of misty mountains. It was an excellent trip for my children to learn more about nature, with flowers, vegetation and animals everywhere. They were surprised and excited to see a toad and a gecko on the grass, and they also had fun zooming their camera in on birds sitting high in the tree tops.

We visited Canh Duong fishing village at dawn with its fascinating landscapes. The small village, with simple houses and small boats lying on the banks of a poetic river by green forests, looked peaceful in the early sunlight. We rode our bicycles slowly to avoid a herd of buffaloes strolling along the road and then stopped to see fishermen pulling vo (lift nets) to catch fish on the river. Their movement looked skilful and strong as they tugged at the nets. Each vo has a hut nearby, where the fishermen can rest. For hundreds of years, generations of villagers have earned a livelihood from fishing on this land. I grasped the simplicity of the villagers’ lives, who are close to nature and supported by nature.

Natural perfection

Tam Giang Lagoon

Tam Giang Lagoon (with Tam Giang meaning ‘three rivers’ in Vietnamese) is on the main highway from Lang Co to Hue. It is famous as the largest lagoon in Southeast Asia, with an area of 52 sq km and the spot where three big rivers - O Lau River, Huong River, and Bo River - meet before flowing out to sea, and where most local people earn a living from fishing and aquaculture.

The beauty of Tam Giang Lagoon has been reflected in a great deal of poetry, paintings, music, and photography. It was sunset when we visited, and had the great fortune to see rainbows straddling mountains in the distance on one side and the glowing red sun sparkling on the water surface on the other. I enjoyed the harmony of nature and humans, watching fishermen row small boats with long bamboo poles in a tranquil atmosphere, vo swaying lightly in the breeze, and simple huts in the middle of the lagoon connected by bridges made from tree branches.

Summer is perhaps the best time to visit Tam Giang. I regretted that we didn’t have time to experience rowing a boat on the lagoon or discover local dishes of shrimp and fish from its waters. I will, though, return some day.

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