Local forest keepers in Ninh Thuan Province call it Hanging Lake. A five or six kilometers walk up steep paths through the dense forest of Nui Chua National Park, Hanging Lake is an unexpected sight on the mountain.
Tourists can catch the last train from HCMC to get to Thap Cham train station at around 2am in the morning. The walk to Nui Chua starts at 8 or 9 in the morning to avoid the heat and humidity. There are many starting points for the climb but the path from Vinh Hy Bay is the most popular, as tourists can combine the hike with a boat ride around the bay to explore its 16 beaches.
The first half of the walk is through an old construction site that has been cleared. The second half is through forest. Tourists are advised to take care walking over the fallen trees on the path and avoid the trees with thorny branches.
One minute you are in the middle of the forest then suddenly the hanging lake appears out of nowhere, astonishing tourists with its unique beauty at such high altitude – a deep blue gem in the jungle. Frogs and insects shelter in the rocks in the lake from birds. Sometimes in the dry season, if you are lucky you can watch mountain goats, deer and monkeys playing. The lake is always full of water from streams and underground springs in the area. After a few hours exploring the lake, you can start the trek back to Vinh Hy Bay.
The trip cannot be made without an experienced forest keeper. Though access to the national park is still limited, tourists should not miss out on the experience. Without the boat tour, the trip to the lake costs a few hundred dong and some local hotels like Saigon – Ninh Chu have information desks for tourists. By Thai Hang in Ninh Thuan
Hanging Lake is always full between the sky and the mountain – Photo: Thai Hang