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Picturesque mountain lake inspires many
VietNamNet Bridge – “Our boats keep sailing back and forth. Against the silvery currents our oars keep moving...”
Serenity: The transparent water of Cam Son Lake is like a mirror high in the mountains. -- Photo mytour.vn
These lyrics from the song Ho Tren Nui (Lake on the Mountain) by renowned Vietnamese song composer Pho Duc Phuong are very familiar to many Vietnamese. But few people know the song was composed after the author’s trip to Cam Son Lake in the northern province of Bac Giang.
A trip to Cam Son Lake helped us understand why this lake is an inspiration for so many songs and poems.
Cam Son Lake is a huge man-made lake located some 300m above sea level. It is surrounded by villages of many ethnic groups, such as Nung, Tay, Cao Lan and San Chi, with diverse cultures and colourful ethnic markets in the mountains.
There are many roads which visitors can choose to travel to the lake, such as national highway 31 from Bac Giang City to Chu Town - or national highway 1A from Dinh Lap District in the northern province of Lang Son. We chose provincial road 297, which is full of twists and turns but still tempts adventurous travellers.
Two villagers from Kep 1 Village volunteered to accompany us to Cam Son Lake. Thanks to the funny stories told by our two enthusiastic and humorous tour guides, the 25km forest stretch seemed shorter and more interesting.
We were immediately stunned by the natural beauty on arriving at the lake. The fragile sunlight of the early morning radiated through the thin layer of mist above the water, creating sparkling rays of light. At that moment, Cam Son Lake looked like a giant natural mirror amidst vast poetic forests.
The lake is normally some 2,600ha large. But in the rainy season, when the water level is higher, it may swell to 3,000ha. In the centre of the lake are hundreds of islands of all shapes and sizes, on which fruits and vegetables are grown by local people. Because of such a large number of islands, Cam Son Lake has been compared with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam’s natural wonder.
Sailing gently on the calm water, our boat passed the villages appearing through lush gardens. The sound of the boat’s engine disrupted the peace of the surroundings. We caught sight of some storks spreading their wings and dashing above the water to seek shelter.
The feeling of purity and coolness gradually permeated our senses. It was so pleasant that each of us tried to inhale as much fresh air deep into our chest as possible, which is next to impossible in the noisy urban areas where we live and work.
It is easy to understand why visitors feel close to nature when they come here. They merge with the surroundings and enjoy the pure atmosphere, the beauty of the mountains, the water and the sky above.
After basking in the natural beauty, we visited a special floating house which belongs to Luong Duc Cuong and Vi Thi Khoa of the Cam Son Commune. It is also the first floating house to serve tourists in the area.
The two hosts happily invited us into their house and served us some specialty wine made of local herbs by the family. In the cozy atmosphere, Cuong and Khoa surprised us with a wonderful performance of the song Mountain on the Lake by composer Pho Duc Phuong.
We were also treated to our favourite dish, boiled snails, which went perfectly with the local wine. Enjoying the hot boiled snails, we felt extremely moved by the hospitality and the modest but sincere affection of the locals for us as tourists.
When night fell, Cam Son Lake suddenly became very noisy with the sounds of boat engines of villagers about to cast their nets. For the past several years, the lake has been the main source of food and income for people from the Ho Dap, Son Hai, Cam Son and Tan Son communes who live around the lake. Nearly all the local families own fishing equipment, such as nets, fishing rods and baskets.
Catch of the day: Locals prize Cam Son Lake fish. -- Photo baotintuc.vn
“Villagers only catch a lot of fish in warm weather - especially in April and May when there is more rain and water flows down from the higher levels. Then fish emerge or swim near the shore. So we can harvest heavy nets with catches that weigh up to 20-30kg”, local Vi Van Hai said.
Like other visitors, we did not miss the chance to satisfy our stomachs with fresh and delicious seafood cooked by villagers during our stay.
Tourism is not well developed in the area around Cam Son Lake. The lake is like a rough gem preserved in the high mountains. Few people visit the area. If you want to take a break from summer heat and urban noise, pack your bags and travel to Cam Son Lake to enjoy fresh cool air and spectacular views.
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