by Minh Thu
|Altitudes: The spectacular surrounding landscape seen from atop Elephant Mountain.
From a distance, Elephant Mountain looks like two giant elephants kissing the ground. They are lying between mountains and forests that extend endlessly.
Located at Duc Trong District, in the Central Highlands Province of Lam Dong, the mountain is an ideal destination for tourists who have a great love of nature and adventurous experiences.
The tourist site is right at the southern gateway of Da Lat or 15km to the south of the city centre.
After a day discovering the mountain, tourists can forget every trouble and pressure from ordinary life and enjoy the mountains and forests and to take up the terrific challenges of the imposing mountain of Elephant.
Two stone elephant statues at the gate of the site welcome tourists. From here, it's easy to see a house on stilts bearing architecture of the K'Ho ethnic people and houses built on trees. Tourists can choose to spend the night at these houses or sleep in tents pitched in the forest.
A 100ha camping site covers the right side of the elephants. It's appreciated as one of the most interesting destinations across Da Lat and the Central Highlands.
Particularly, visitors can join a centre of skills training with several exciting team activities and games, such as climbing cobwebs, crossing walls of obstacles as well as overcoming fierce springs.
The team building games help upgrade certain skills of dealing with difficulties and challenges.
|Moving mountains: Team building games at a camping site at the foot of the mountain create an infectious energy. — Photos dalat-info.vn
All outdoor activities here are deeply linked to the nature. Completing the course of skills training, tourists will be capable enough to participate in the extremely interesting journey to discover Elephant Mountain, experiencing valuable moments of enjoying and mixing with nature.
Elephant Mountain (named by the French as Rowas) is believed to be the embodiment of two elephants from La Ngu Thuong Village on their way to attend the wedding party of Biang and Lang.
Due to the long-standing law of the two clans, the love between Lang of the Lat ethnic group and Biang of Sre group was forbidden by the elders. They couldn't get married. They decided to commit suicide to stay together eternally.
The elephants which were tamed by Lang heard of the pitiful death of the young couple when they were climbing to Prenn pass. At the anguished news, they lost their entire strength to overcome the slope and fell to death. Their bodies turned into today's mountain.
While activities at the camping site are so exciting and noisy, the trekking tour to Pin Hatt Peak (some 1,700m above sea level) brings tourists tranquility and calm.
Being here on cloudless days, tourists can enjoy the panoramic view of Tuyen Lam Lake and Da Lat city.
|Love nest: A treehouse built by the K'Ho people can house two people.
Sauntering along zigzag tracks, tourists can breath in the fresh cool air and enjoy the spectacular landscape on the way.
Surprisingly, we come across small streams, forest orchids swinging on century-old trees, and waterfalls.
A tourist from Brisbane who gave her name as Clare remarked that the waterfall on the mountain is not spectacular, but the trek to get there was amazing.
"When the our tour guide took me underneath the waterfall, I could feel the extreme power of it," she said. "Although it's muddy, it is a beautiful natural feature and worth the visit."
Around 2km up from the mountain foot, trekkers can find a lake which serves wonderfully as a natural swimming pool.
Getting up high, we contemplate in person the thousand-year-old red pine trees, each of which is so large that even three adults' arms cannot surround it.
The Elephant Mountain is not only a tourist attraction with a cool climate all year round and a plentiful system of flora and fauna but also home to an ancient creature: red pine trees (Pinus dalatensis).
After an enthusiastic day of conquering the heights and inquiring about the local ethnic people's history and culture, tourists will be served a roasted dinner around the flickering camp-fire.
The taste of ruou can (wine consumed through pipes from jars), the enchanted melody of gongs and the dance of K'Ho young people linger in the tourists' mind and become unforgettable moments.
It's undoubted that the mountain hides many secrets that deserve to be discovered by tourists. — VNS