Viet Nam News
by Mộc Miên
Trị An Lake is a man-made lake that stores water for the Trị An Power Plant in the southern Đồng Nai province. The lake is 323sq.km in area with islands of various sizes. Besides concreted dykes and dams, the lake has other places suitable for picnics and camping.
Trị An Lake is an isolated destination, little-known by tourists. The area is thinly populated and few vehicles pass by, leaving visitors alone to enjoy absolute quiet. Locals here lead a peaceful life. Every day, they drive their boats to catch fish in the lake then sell them to faraway markets.
Elegant and quiet as a countryside lake, Trị An transcends its man-made status by being “an evergreen mirror in which the golden sun is reflected.” The whole area is full of the sun, the sky and the wind. You can always see the wind making the water’s surface dance while clouds lazily flowing above your head.
The lake’s highlights include Đồng Trường Island (22ha) and Ó Island (2.1ha) in Vĩnh An town, Vĩnh Cửu district, Đồng Nai province. Imagine a typical summer Southern morning all year round: Đồng Trường Island and Ó Island make for a green and relaxing area where you can set up a picnic and campfire. On the islands, the extraordinary quiet lets you focus on the mountain range lying in the distant legendary Nam Cát Tiên National Park.
The essential experience here is spending the night. You hire a boat, lying inside and let the current take you without thinking; the boat will float in tune with the water in the moonlight in a breezy night.
The locals are quite easy-going. If visitors are well-behaved and care for environmental protection, doing no damage to the lake and trees, they will be very welcoming and helpful.
It is said that backpackers and tourists came here and saw a low-water area revealing a vast area of rocks and stones which created fences embracing some ponds of water. They called the pristine spot "Rocky Stream”. Rocks and stones of dark colours are run over each other, making the ponds of green water stand out.
Visitors should supply their own food and water on their camping trips to Đồng Trường – Ó Islands. However, do not forget that the lake offers plenty of fresh fish. In the rainy season, the water runs down from the upstream of Đồng Nai River, and Trị An Lake supply hits its peak.
The specialty of the lake is cá lăng (Hemibagrus Fish). The fresh and oily lake fish may weight several kilograms. They can be used to serve as cá lăng sour soup, crispy fried cá lăng, grilled cá lăng with salt and chili, or cá lăng hotpot. As the scent of cá lăng dishes wafting into your nose, as you sit freely under the trees to wait for a hearty dinner, you will feel like heaven.
Some tips for visitors
- Trị An Lake is about 65km to the northeast of HCM City, visitors can go there along National Road No 1.
- You can start the trip Saturday at noon to enjoy sunset in Trị An Lake without much money or effort.
- You can contact Đồng Trường – Ó Islands Tourism Centre where you can find some helpful services, i.e. boat, catering and accommodation. Telephone numbers: (061) 386 0440/386 1165
- In Ó Island, the power is just supplied until 10pm every day. If you want more power, you have to pay fee.