“The Sun is shining brightly, listening to the legend of the young couple who love each other head over heels, but cannot get married… Hoh…ooh…oh…”The beautiful lyrics in a sweet song that tells the legend of Nui Coc Lake in the northern province of Thai Nguyen. Many people know it by heart and dream of travelling to the lake which, as the legend goes, is made of the tears of a girl who cannot marry the man she loves. Passing uneven fresh tea hills and gentle streams, you will be greeted by immense emerald rice fields along the way to Nui Coc Lake. The 18km of windy roads from Thai Nguyen City’s centre to the lake are lined by tea-terraced fields on hills, and gentle rivers under a blue sky. The mystical Nui Coc Lake always surprises tourists with its legendary beauty. The scene is more like a water-colour painting than a real landscape. With a width of 2,600 ha and a depth of 50m, Nui Coc Lake is an interesting eco-tourism destination. What brings the lake back into reality is the large tourism area built next to it. The lake comprises 89 islets; some are covered with trees, some with flocks of birds, and others with flocks of storks or mountain goats. About 40 species of birds and 15 species of mammals have been recorded in the reservoir area. Nearby the lake, Coc Mountain stands imposingly amid the blue sky, the bright sunshine over every blade of grass and twig, all creating marvelous and splendid scenery. The water surface is large and quiet. Somewhere some storks sore above the islands in the middle of the lake, which suggests a quite and pleasant life far from the bustle and crowdedness of the urban life. With such charming natural scenery, Nui Coc is close to legend of the romantic love between a girl named Cong and the man named Coc.
The legend behind…
The legend has it that there was a couple loving each other very much but their love did not become true due to their different social positions. Generations of the Vietnamese are all able to tell you the beautiful but sad love story of the couple Cong and Coc that relates to the lake, as far as I remember that “One pained person cries and the tears have become a river. One person who spent a life waiting becomes the mountain.”
The tragic tale of families tearing a couple apart is like a Vietnamese Romeo and Juliet. Coc’s family is too poor, and the girl’s rich, mandarin family forbids him from marrying her. Their interference only makes the couple more determined to wait for each other. One day, the sound of the flute Coc uses to call for Cong does not reach Cong’s room. Hopeless for his lover, Coc dies of a broken heart.
The fairy in the sky feels pity for him and transforms him into a mountain that stands imposing in the middle of the sky. During all four seasons, the wind blows through the leaves to resound the lover’s flute. The girl, detained in her room, cries for her lover all day and night until one day her body transforms into tears. The tears full of love and loyalty absorb into the soil, and run as currents looking for a way to Coc Mountain. Every year since then, when summer comes, violet sim (violet myrtle flower) flourish on Coc Mountain and on Cong River to remind people of this beautiful love.
The region where this legend was born is also known as the Tan Cuong region, famous for its perfumed tea in Thai Nguyen. It is said that Cong’s tears are absorbed in the tea plant’s roots, creating a lasting sweet flavour that anyone who tastes can remember it forever.
The love story finished when the boat reaches the bank for tourists to take another travel on Nui Coc Lake in a ship…
… to the Palace of Legend
Visitors to Nui Coc Lake can take a trip to one of the favourite stops upon arrival, that is Huyen Thoai Cung (Palace of Legend) which includes statues made by 50 artisans from Nam Dinh Province. Hopping on a little bamboo boat that runs along the narrow Luoi River in a grotto, a symbol of Cong’s tears, you can live out the legend of Cong and Coc as passing little statues and scenes that tell the whole story. Palace of Legend is a cultural tourism work. The man-made system of caves has been designed by architectures on an area of 3,000 square meters. Standing by the gate of the tourism site is statues of Cong and Coc. The Palace legend is 100 meters from the gate.
The appearance of the Palace Legend is like a mountain range with the statue of male fairy holding a bamboo stick, presenting the good fighting against the bad. Inside the palace, there is a man-made stream flowing around the cave. Sitting on small boat, tourists can look at scenery of the two sides. System of cave and architectural works has recounted by pictures the legend of Cong and Coc.
Not far from the Palace of Legend is a little zoo with dozens of different animals such as monkeys, crocodiles, pythons and ostriches. After stopping at the main tourist destinations, you can enjoy the region’s specialties including bamboo rat meat. A special highlight that shouldn’t be missed is the amazing water music display built to celebrate Thai Nguyen
Tourism Year. You will be enchanted to see waters from fountains in the lake dance to melodies of the songs.
and getting on the boat…
If you have much spare time, you should travel in a boat on the lake water and you can enjoy a panorama of the whole lake, which is one of the most relaxing moments. While enjoying the sparkling waters under the sun, you can reach Co Island (island of stork) with wild myrtle and old bamboo trees where is the host of bird, stork and so on, specially fire stork at twilight. After cruising, you will visit irrigation spillway and the tourism site in the north of the lake with services and bustling tourism area. If visiting a small island, which is quiet and secluded, you will have a chance to organize a happy meal or enjoy pleasant minutes, which will last in your life. Tourists can also camp out on one of the islands and wallow in the pure setting, while fishing on the lake.
The mystical Nui Coc Lake really surprises tourists with its incredible beauty… It is certainly that you will be sedured the water-colour painting landscape of the lake.
Saigon, Cat Tien National Park, Dalat – Lak Lake, Buon Ma Thuot, Pleiku, Kon Tum, Hoi An via My Son Sanctuary, Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An, DMZ & Khe Sanh, Phong Nha Caves, Tan Ky, Cuc Phuong National Park, Mai Chau, Hanoi