The central province of Quang Nam is full of charm. It boasts the ancient town of Hoi An, the My Son Towers which is a remnant of the Champa Kingdom, and the vast Phu Ninh Lake.
Up to now, there are 48 vestiges which have been recognized as national vestiges in Quang Nam. However, only Phu Ninh Lake, placed in districts of Phu Ninh and Nui Thanh, is classified as National Landscape Vestige.
Phu Ninh is the name of a small village on the Que River. In 1927, the French colonial government had plans to dam the river and create a lake.
But nothing happened until 1977 when construction finally began after a strong push by Quang Nam residents backed by national experts. For 9 years, tens of millions of tonnes of soil and stones were moved into place to dam the Que River and create the lake. And it was inaugurated on 29 March 1986.
The dam, the biggest in the Central Region and the second biggest in Vietnam (after only Dau Tieng Lake in Tay Ninh Province), is a major tourist attraction.
It is 7km to the west of Tam Ky City on a road that links two World Heritage areas, Phu Ninh Lake is endowed with beautiful landscapes, a diversified ecosystem, plenty of mineral water and wonderful weather.
Phu Ninh Lake is an irrigation scheme with a water area of 3,443 hectares and a protecting forest area of 23,000 hectares. With 30 beautiful islands and islets, Phu Ninh Lake looks like a miniature of Halong Bay. This area has varied fauna and vegetation, where is home to more than 142 plant species and 148 kinds of animals, including 14 listed in the Viet Nam Red Book of threatened species.
To tap into the tourism potential of Phu Ninh, the local government has created a development plan in consultation with the French As Conis Group and sponsorship from the French province of Nors Pas de Clais.
Nearly 700ha out of the total 23,000ha Phu Ninh Lake area is included in the plan. So, in the future, tourists will have access to eight different areas, including the Tu Yen Tourist Centre, a mountain resort, mineral bathing resort, accommodation, residential complex, eco tourism and camping. Phu Ninh Lake aims to become an ecotourism area of international stature in the central region.
Some services are already available for tourists. Others are underway, including the mineral baths. “When the baths are developed, people will be able to swim and enjoy the warm, healthy water, which has high value for treating health problems and for relaxation,” said an official from the provincial Tourism Development Centre.
The first impression when visitors arrive in Phu Ninh is the vast lake, blue skies, mountains, islands and pure air. Even when the sun is shining, the weather is usually cool.
From the entrance gate to the tourism area is about 5km. The Tu Yen centre has comfortable hotels and restaurants, an eco tourist boat fleet and places for fishing and camping.
Visitors can visit Black Stone Hill, examine the model of the whole ecological area and visit small islands. One island is known as Rua because it resembles a swimming turtle, another is called Sixty One Island because it is 61m above sea level. Su Island is named after its rubber trees and Khi Island is full of monkeys.
The day begins in Phu Ninh with the songs of birds echoing through the forests – time to wake up and breathe in the freshest air imaginable and go for a swim in clear, blue water.
As the sunlight spreads across the surface of the lake, visitors can catch a boat to visit the great dam wall blocking the river. Old temples and pagodas lie at the base of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see.
They are often wreathed in mist and light swirls of smoke wafting up from kitchen fires in a village at the base of one of the mountains.
For those interested in fishing, small boats are available for those who wish to go it alone. It is not difficult to maneuver one of the small vessels.
Many say there is nowhere where it easier to catch fish than in Phu Ninh. Fish seem to lie in wait for a baited hook. Some tourists light little fires to barbecue their catch – others get restaurants to do it for them.
There is especially an open air mineral source which has refreshment and curing values. With a mild temperature, protected by mountains, the Phu Ninh Resort is being developed with various exciting services: sightseeing, fishing, water-skiing, hot-water bathing, medical treatment, accommodation for rest and recreation after strenuous work or treatment.
When night falls, tourists often gather around camp fires on one of the islands singing merrily as the moon and stars shine overhead.
The sounds of light breezes in the leaves and waves lapping on the shore eventually put everyone to sleep.
This place is attracting a large number of visitors. The people in the region are friendly and live close to nature. Phu Ninh is a place to visit for those wishing to get away from noisy, crowded and polluted cities.