by Nguyễn Thu Hiền
The biggest lake in the northern province of Quảng Ninh has long been known as “Little Đà Lạt”.
Surrounded by hills and mountains, Yên Trung Lake in Phương Đông Ward, Uông Bí City, is popular among tourists and locals looking for a place to relax.
The 5km drive from Uông Bí City along National Highway 18A passes Phương Đông Ward’s People’s Committee building, which is about 1km from the lake.
From Hà Nội, it takes nearly three hours covering 115km to reach the destination.
|The tranquil lake. Photo unmove.com.vn
There are forests of eucalyptus and pines along the road leading to the lake, which help cool the atmosphere.
“It feels like Đà Lạt to me because of the cool weather and immense fresh atmosphere brought by gusts of wind from the lake,” said Mai Phương, a visitor from Hà Nội.
There are also flower gardens and ornate bridges for those who like taking photographs.
|Kayaking on the lake is fun. VNS Photo Thu Hiền
Con Xà (Snake) Hill is located in the north of the lake, which runs parallel with Yên Tử Mountain Range.
Lower hills border the lake in the south, offering good views and convenient paths for visitors to the area.
The lake measures some 1.7km in length and covers 7ha.
In the rainy season, waters can rise to 13m at its deepest point.
Taking an aerial view, the lake looks like a giant figure of eight with two islets sitting in the middle of the turquoise water, which are known as the Tortoise islets.
One of the islets is the resting place of famed businessman Bạch Thái Bưởi (1874-1932) and his mother. Bưởi owned a coal company in Uông Bí. He was also involved in shipping and printing business.
Born Đỗ Thái Bửu into a poor family in today’s Hà Đông District, Hà Nội, he was considered one of the four richest people in Việt Nam in the early 20th century.
He was also known to care deeply about the lives of students and workers.
Bưởi has often been used as a good example of an honest businessman, having led a modest life promoting domestic products.
“What I like about this place is I can leave the city life behind to relax in the peaceful scenery and fresh air,” said Mai Trung Nam, another tourists from the capital.
Visitors can rent bikes or boats to travel around, and the shade under the pine trees is ideal for camping.
|The site is ideal for camping. VNS Photo Thu Hiền
Many young couples chose the site for their wedding photos.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Giang, head of the city’s Department of Culture and Information, said since the beginning of this year to the end of October, 80,000 visitors had visited the area.
“Authorities have been planting flowers and bonsai, and a new road has built around the area,” she said.
At the end of November, the city will announce a complex of games, entertainment and recreation facilities, along with a new urban project in Yên Trung Lake invested by FLC Group.
“The lake will have more tourism products in near future,” she said.
From the lake, tourists can explore nearby destinations including Lựng Xanh Ecological Tourism Site, Yên Tử Relic Site, Ba Vàng Pagoda and Uông Bí Decorative Plants Market.
|The site will host various recreational games. VNS Photo Thu Hiền
“I enjoy travelling by motorbike throughout the north, and I like taking photos along the road,” said traveller Hoàng Thống Nhất. “The lake at sunrise and sunset offers a great chance to take photos, when the bright sunlight shines through the leaves to sparkle on the water [in the early morning] and when the whole sky turns pink [in late afternoon].”
“It's when you fill your lungs full of fresh air with the fragrant scent of pine leaves,” he said.
“You just can't find that in the city,” he added.
Quảng Ninh Province is home to 179 freshwater lakes, most of which are located at high altitudes in valleys along the Đông Triều Mountain Range.
Some localities have used these beautiful lakes to establish parks and tourism sites, like Khe Chè Lake (in Đông Triều), Mắt Rồng Lake (in Vân Đồn) and Yên Lập Lake (in Quảng Yên).
Yên Trung Lake was built in 1980 as a reservoir. It stored 3.5 million of cubic metres of water that irrigated 227ha of farm land. Now the area has shrunk to 40ha following the urbanisation process.
In November 2018, authorities permitted Uông Bí City to exploit the lake for services and tourism.
In the first half of 2019 [before COVID-19 pandemic], the lake welcomed over 20,000 domestic and foreign visitors. VNS
|The site has become popular among tourists. Photo umove.com.vn