Lo O Stream is known nationwide for its fairy story and reaching it is certainly an adventure.
The magical stream is part of Chua Mountain National Park and is located in Vinh Hai Commune, Ninh Hai District, Ninh Thuan Province.
When you make the journey northeast of Phan Rang-Thap Cham, you will encounter many passes which give way to breathtaking landscapes with the beautiful blue ocean and white sand beaches if you are brave enough to look down.
But it seems a long way when you are at the foot of the mountain, where you pass a suspension bridge typical of the central region and then after climbing up steep ragged rocks, you have to walk two kilometers on a cement path where you will come across the Cau Gay Village, home to the ethnic Raglay people.
The village only has 200 people living in simple homes nestled under the shade of ancient trees and fruit trees. Locals earn a living making conical hats, weaving bamboo or plucking the herbal and fruit trees.
From July to October in the lunar calendar, they pick the fruit for sale to make some money. The local government has asked them to come down from the mountain and join the local communities but the Raglay people insist they cannot adapt to living in society as they are happier being among their own indigenous people and customs.
After leaving the village, the cement path continues to the edge of the Chua Mountain National Park. The park is located at the end of Truong Son Mountain Range and covers an area of about 22,513 hectares.
Ninh Thuan Province is considered the desert of Vietnam due to its location and its lack of rainfall and many hot sandy areas. It also has a forest which is the driest primeval forest in Southeast Asia. Touring here, visitors will feel they are in Africa among the thorny trees and the dust. However, there are some small streams flowing into rice farms of the Raglay people.
As you go deeper into the forest, you will see 20 meter high trees and hear the murmurs in the distance as you know you are getting close and once you overcome some unsteady rocks, there it is in all its glory – Lo O Stream.
Legend has it that during full-moons under a cool breeze a fairy often bathed in Vinh Hy Bay. A young fisherman clapped eyes on the fairy and was so love-struck by her beauty that he asked her to marry him.
She said yes and decided to stay on earth but one day after a horrid monsoon the man never came back from a fishing trip. The fairy longed for the return of her lost love but he never did and so overcome with grief she cried all day, every day. Her tears flowed into a stream which is known as Lo O Stream on Tuesday.
Lo O Stream is formed by many waterfalls five meters high with giant rocks hiding in the forest canopy. Some rocks are so big people call them stone beds or stone tables as they sit on them or lie down and relax and listen to the murmurs of the stream. Dipping your legs or arms in the water is a must to cool down after your journey.
Then the fun begins with a BBQ seafood party on the rocks a must to enjoy your feast in the forest. Later on you can swing on the hammocks, listen to birds singing and forget all your daily woes and enjoy your short stay in paradise. By Cat Loc in Ninh Thuan
A view of Lo O Stream on Chua Mountain in Ninh Thuan Province – Photo: Phuong Kieu