Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ba Be Lake in Bac Can

Ba Be Lake have a water area around 500ha, spreading over 8km, as biggest natural water lake in Vietnam, situated in Cho Ra-Ba Be-Cho Don carste terrain pertaining to low-lying lands of Vietnam North raising mass. This raising mass was formed from the destruction of South East Asia continental mass at the end of Cambri era, around 200 million years ago.

Due to its special geological constitution, the Lake has very original and special features compared with other world-wide carster lakes: world carster lakes are spent or only with one-season water, while Ba Be Lake has its permanent full-water.

By decision No.41/-TTg dated 10.1.1977, Vietnam Prime Minister recognized Ba Be Lake as a forest preserve area.

By decision No. 83/TTg dated 10.11.92, Vietnam Government gave its approval on the econo-technical study on Ba Be National Park conservation.

Ba Be National Park takes a 23,340ha area in 7 communes of Ba Be district, Bac Can province on the North West of Hanoi. The terrain covers most of limestone rocks inserted with a few earth hills with medium to abrupt slope, a 150-1,535m average height (from sea level) and is laid completely within the South-West valley of Phiabyior Range with 1502, 1517 to 1525m peaks.

Ba Be Lake is Ba Be National Park Center with likely special configuration contracted in the middle and swollen out on the two ends, surrounded by cliffs with very original and attractive forms and shapes. Through influenced by 3 rivers flows discharging their water into the Lake, lake water remain always blue and its current velocity is kept on at 0,5m/sec. giving the take both lake and river characteristics.

The lake has an average depth from 20 to 25m and is deepest at 35m. Lake bed is not plain but with much of submersible mounts and grottoes. There are ideal home ranges for aquatic animals.
With an area around 500ha, the Lake plays a great role in spate distribution for Nang, Gam and Lo rivers deltas.

According to primary survey documents, 417 species of trees including 300 branches, 114 parenties. Also, hundreds of orchids and species of medicine-plants. The system of animals including; land, aquatic and flying animals covering 319 species of animals in 27 forms, 85 parenties in which 42 species recorded in Vietnam Red Book with 3 endemic anima l species that are gibbon (snub no se) Bamboo-Thread and Red Algae.

Hua Ma Cave in Bac Kan

Bac Kan is a well-known place as it used to be part of the Viet Bac Revolutionary Zone of the Vietnam Revolutionary Forces and embraces a number of tourist attractions.

Any visitors to Bac Kan could have remarkable feelings about the place and people there. During the resistance war against the French colonists, local people were very bold by having an uprising against the colonisation but now in peacetimes they have become so simple and hospitable. Bac Kan is famous for Ba Be Lake, which consists of three large fantastic lakes surrounded by mountains and forests. Still, there is another mysterious tourist destination, Hua Ma Cave.

Hua Ma Cave is located in Quang Khe Commune, Ba Be District. The cave has only recently been discovered so it is still almost untouched and enigmatic. The cave has been naturally shaped during the many-thousand-year process of geological changes. It is 700 meters in length and in some places the cave opens up and is 50 meters in height. Inside the cave, there are thousands of stalagmites and stalactites of different shapes; some look like small towers, others are like a statue of Goddess of Mercy or a formal court of mandarins in the feudal time.

In fact, Hua Ma has been known by local people for a long time but, as it bears in a myth and a much-weaved occult story, few local people would dare to approach the gate of the cave. The legend tells that a long time ago, a King headed a raiding contingent visited the locality and when he came to the bank of a stream near the cave, his horse stopped and did not go on. The King got off the horse and asked local people about the reason and local people told him that the area was a habitat of ghosts. According to them, when it was getting dark, cries generated from the cave and they decided that these were the spirits of honest people who were killed by foreign enemies during wars.

The King then ordered his troops to erect a pagoda to pray for peace for the souls of the killed people. Since then, local people have not heard the cries from the cave, yet they still consider the cave a holy place that should not be trespassed upon. As a result, the cave has been hidden until recent times.

If the cave is so mysterious inside, the view outside the cave is also great. From the mouth of the cave, people could see a large space, a vast picture of mountains, forests and water. They could see Ba Be Lake and the Nang River running smoothly in distance, they could hear birds singing elsewhere and imposing mountains and forest in front.

If lucky enough, visitors could participate in a local monthly market to admire girls and boys of several local ethnic minorities in their traditional colourful dresses and clothes. They could taste and become familiar with local typical specialties and they would get drunk with home-made wine and unconsciously fall in love with the place and people.

Both Hua Ma Cave, the local people and the picturesque locality are waiting for international and domestic tourists to explore them.
Source: qdnd.vn

Lotus Flowers in Hanoi

Lotus flowers, although nurtured in mud, have been cherished as a rare species of flower by the Vietnamese people. From time immemorial, they have widely grown nationwide.

Hanoi also has many precious lotus varieties, especially those from the West Lake area. Some parts of lotus flowers are used as medications or to scent tea, making it a tonic drink for a healthy physical and metal life.  To extract lotus essence is really an art and it can be said that nothing is more romantic and purer than "catching" the lotus fragrance.

In early morning, when everything is just waking, so pure and anew, it's time to pick lotus flowers from the lake. Over one night sleeping amid the natural environment with cool dews and fresh wind, the fragile petals seem to hold the whole pure essence of the earth. Soon after, the petals are separated, showing the stamen.
Around the stamen there are bright yellow filements, at the ends of which are little white anthers which provide the special alluring fragrance of this species of flower. Under gentle and skilful hands, the anthers are separated and used to extract a special perfume and scent the tea, turning out a special product, i.e. lotus scented tea. It is hard to find another flower with a fragrance that is more attracting than that of lotus.

Beautiful and charming lotus petals.

Lotus flowers from the West Lake area in Hanoi are famous for their fragrance.

Getting the anthers to scent tea.

A Hanoi girl in a lotus lake.

Lotus flowers in bloom.

Lotus receptacle. The seeds used to make sweeten porridge are good for health.

Lotus capel.

Faded lotus leaves still have unique beauty, like a painting.

Lotus flowers from the West Lake area are special varieties
which grow well and provide fragrance to scent tea.

A lot of secrets about the Vietnamese people's good health and beauty can be related to lotus flowers. In the old days in the royal palaces, the king's beloved concubines were often presented with a lotus bath. After one night, the morning dew that lingered on the lotus leaves was carefully collected as water for the bath. Lotus flowers are not only a luring bouquet, but also have a direct effect to man's nervous system.

Many doctors said that a small cup of tea made from lotus sprouts (green sprouts lying in the centre of the lotus seed) would be a super effective tranquillizer.  It's really hard to fully evaluate the pure beauty of lotus flower, which has become so familiar with many Vietnamese people. Wherever they might go, when seeing lotus flowers, they think of their native homeland and memories about this special flower return to their mind. A symbol of culture, spirit and elegant personality of the Vietnamese, the lotus flower is really worthy of that.
Story: An Na  Photos: An Thanh Hai

Coconut Shoot Salad

Ben Tre Province is known as the capital of coconut trees in South Vietnam. For many years, the coconut tree has been closely attached to the life of local people. Its fruit, leaves, trunk, coconut shells, and coconut fibre, are used to make food and household products.

The local people use coconut shoots to create some delicious dishes, such as coconut shoots fried with chicken organs, coconut shoots fried with Xeo cake and coconut shoots salad that is considered the most delicious. The salad is comprised of scraped coconut shoots, peeled shrimps, sliced belly meat, pig’s ears, fragrant knotweed, onion and fried peanuts. It is served with sour and sweet sauce and crispy prawn crackers.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
- Coconut shoots: 300g
- Tiger prawns: 200g
- Belly meat: 100g
- Pig’s ears: 100g
- Carrots: 50g
- Onion: 50g
- Red pepper: 1
- Fried dried onion: 20g
- Fried peanuts: 30g
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice; fragrant knotweed; fish sauce; and sugar

- Peel shrimps and steam them.
- Boil and slice the belly meat and pig’s ears.
- Scrape coconut shoots and submerge them into cold water mixed with a little of lemon juice.
- Slice carrots, onion and red pepper into threads.
- Mix fish sauce with sugar, lemon juice and red pepper.
- Mix the prepared ingredients with the sauce. Place the salad on a large plate and cover with fried peanuts, fragrant knotweed and fried dried onion.
- Serve with sour and sweet sauce and crispy prawn crackers.