Lung Cu offers northern exposure

Published: 15/04/2011 05:00



you get the chance to visit the northernmost province of Ha Giang, you should
not miss the opportunity to take in the imposing landscapes of Lung Cu and the
diverse groups of ethnic people that live there.

High flying
:: The Lung Cu Flag
Tower, which stands 1,600m above sea level, has just been rebuilt at the
location of the old tower. Its design is a copy of the Ha Noi Flag Tower.

(Photos: VNS)

The Lung Cu flagpole, marking the
country’s extreme north, is a tourist destination that inspires a deep sense of
pride in Vietnamese people.

Just over 400km from Ha Noi
following National Highway 2 and 4C, the rocky plateau of Dong Van awaits
visitors, with mountain paths like blood vessels sticking to the land standing
between them and the summit of Lung Cu.

From a distance, Lung Cu is a
spectacular sight, with the view dominated by giant boulders and the national
flag flying above Dragon Mountain, all set to the backdrop of magnificent

The flag tower itself stands
proudly 1,600m above sea level. Its design is an imitation of the Ha Noi Flag
Tower, with eight bronze drums guarding the sides of the octagonal tower.

The national flag adorning the top
of the 135-stair tower has an area of 54sq.m, symbolising the unity of Viet
Nam’s 54 ethnic groups.

Sprawling vista
: From the top of
Lung Cu Peak, paddy fields dot a sumptuous panorama.

Visitor Truong Dai Chien said: “As
a driver, I have travelled to many places. I had the chance to go to the extreme
south in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, and now, I can touch the extreme
north. A holy affection surges in my heart when I see the national flag flying
in the wind.”

“I think this might be my most
interesting and meaningful trip. Standing under Lung Cu, I feel a deep sense of
love for my country.”

Border guards are tasked with
keeping the flag flying in all weather conditions, and have to replace the flag
as often as once a week, following the constant battering it receives at such a
high altitude. It is a hard task as they brace themselves against strong winds.

From the top of Dragon Mountain,
the paddy fields and earthen-walled houses dot the sumptuous panorama,
interrupted by two lakes that are said to be the dragon’s eyes. Even though
people say that Lung Cu is a ‘thirsty’ land, the lakes never dry out.

The houses in Lung Cu also betray
the superstitions of the people who live in them. Charms hang over the doors to
expel demons and evil spirits, and the ancestral altar is carefully placed
opposite the main door. The houses are usually open plan, but when newly-weds
are welcomed into a family, the hosts use fabric to make a private compartment
for them to enjoy.


In stone
: Two Lo Lo women stand in
front of their house. The Lo Lo are one of seven ethnic groups in Ha Giang

Having beaten back invaders in the Tay Son
dynasty (1771-1802), Emperor Quang Trung installed a giant drum on the border as
a means to raise the alarm in case of further attack.

At that time, the drum-beat was the
fastest means of communication, so Lung Cu in the Mong language is meaning
dragon drum.

Lung Cu Commune is home to nine
villages, situated at a height of between 1,600-1,800m above sea level. In the
winter, the weather is very cold, and sometimes it even snows.

Le Da Hanh, Lung Cu Commune’s
official, said: “There are seven ethnic groups in Lung Cu. They are very
friendly and hospitable. Visitors to their houses are considered distinguished
guests, even if they are strangers. A bowl of their maize wine will soon warm
you up.”

Most ethnic people in the area
cultivate rice and the Mong and Lo Lo still preserve the traditional weaving
industry with flax fibres.

Lung Cu is also the land of the
peach, the plum, tea, honey wine and thang co (horse meat hot pot). The bustling
markets where the honey-yellow sunlight has never changed, the cheerful, shy
smiles of the ethnic girls in colourful, handmade dresses, the playful grins on
the children’s faces, and the welcoming nature of the people as a whole never
fail to charm visitors.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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