AO CHAU LAKE - A MINIATURE OF HA LONG BAY IN THE ANCESTRAL LAND
Located 65km away from Viet Tri City to the Northwest, Ao Chau Lake (Ha Hoa District) is a pristine but charming natural landscape. This sparkling pearl in the sacred land of the Ancestors is also considered a miniature of Ha Long Bay in Phu Tho Province.
Resting between the low mountains and hills of the Northwestern Midland of Vietnam on an area of roughly 1,500 hectares with a diverse vegetation, Ao Chau Lake is a gift endowed by the nature to the land of Phu Tho. Legend has it that during the search for a land to set up the capital, Hung King and the courtiers of Van Lang set their feet on a land of 99 hills and 99 rivulets. While contemplating the beauty of the land, accidentally they saw two buffaloes engaged in a fierce fight then suddenly disappeared into the water. Hence, the lake has been called Kim Nguu (Golden Buffalo).
The pristine Ao Chau Lake
Perhaps due to the legend of the “Golden Buffaloes” and the fact that it is a buffalo head-shape complex with the two horns spreading toward Thao and Lo Rivers combined by a main lake and several small ponds around, the Golden Buffalo Lake was then called by a relatively evocative name: “Ao Chau Lake” (in the local pronunciation, the word “trau” (buffalo) is misspelled into “chau”).
As a district of the Northern mountainous province of Phu Tho, regulated by Ao Chau Lake, Ha Hoa District in general and Ao Chau Lake in particular possess a wonderful environment with the climate of the Northwestern Mountains. This region has a cool atmosphere with an average rainfall of about 1,850 mm/year and an annual mean temperature around 23°C.
A pearl of the Midland
With the water surface area of nearly 300ha, Ao Chau Lake is immense, calm and purely green. The average depth of the lake is 4 - 5 m with the deepest point of over 30 m. In the Southeast, Ao Chau Lake is linked to Thao River by Lua Viet canal and to the Northeast, it is adjacent to a high mountain chain consisting of Ong Mountain, Van Mountain and Buom Mountain, of which Buom Mountain is the highest and most charming one with the peak at an altitude of 665 m above sea level. Dispersing across the surface of the Lake are 100 islands of various sizes with a multi-species flora of high density and diversity.
Waterfalls in Ao Chau Lake
The terrain of mountains and hills has created hundreds of rivulets wriggling within the area and many beautiful streams pouring into the lake. The accumulation of water in all 4 seasons in the area facilitates the development of a thick natural vegetation which mainly consists of reeds, Neohouzeaua, tea and low-growing shrubs. Some of the hills here are covered by eucalyptuses, Bodhi trees, pines and some kinds of fruit trees such as litchi, longan, jackfruit or grapefruit.
The natural beauty of Ao Chau Lake
According to the surveys of specialists, Ao Chau area possesses a diverse fauna and flora ecosystem with 702 plant species, in which there are 86 species of woods such as Parashorea chinensis, Dipterocarpus retusus, Erythrophleum fordii, mukulungu, vatica or Chukrasia tabularis, 332 species of herbs and 47 types of vegetables. Zoologically, there are 22 species of animals and 71 kinds of birds. In Ao Chau Lake is also home to 29 fish species dominated by common carps, grass carps, milkfish, barbs, spiny eels, armourhead catfish etc. Especially, there are also several kinds of turtles and soft-shell turtles in the lake.
To be able to watch the whole scene of Ao Chau Lake, it is necessary to climb up the highest mountain called Buom Mountain with an altitude of nearly 700 m above sea level. From the top of Buom Mountain, the overview of the lake with 99 rivulets wriggling between the rolling hills will be fully captured into the vision. Surrounded by the lake, the hills here become small islands with various shapes and heights contributing to the unique beauty of the landscape.
A POTENTIAL TOURIST AREA
As a unique landscape with a pristine beauty combining the mountains, the trees and the lake, Ao Chau Lake possesses sufficient favourable conditions for tourism development in many forms such as resort, boating, mountain trekking, fishing or fruit picking. In 2001, Phu Tho Province and Vietnam National Administration of Tourism worked together to survey and make general planning for Ao Chau Lake Tourist Area and Phu Tho Province has also approved the detailed planning of Ao Chau Lake Tourist Area with an area of roughly 1,500 ha.
A corner of Ao Chau Lake
After several steps of survey, evaluation, research and project development, tourist experts has confirmed that Ao Chau Tourist Area plays an important role in the tourism developmental strategy of not only Phu Tho Province but also of the Northern mountainous provinces in general. Ao Chau tourist area is defined as the key area in the cluster of Phu Tho Town– Thanh Ba – Ha Hoa - Doan Hung of Phu Tho Province and is an attractive destination on the route of tourism connecting Capital Hanoi - Hung King’s Temple (Phu Tho) with Tay Bac Province and Viet Bac Province.
The development of Ao Chau tourist area will create a boosting highlight for the economy of tourism of the province, contributing to the local socio-economic development. Ao Chau Lake will be constructed to be an eco-tourist area for long stays and weekend relaxation with many activities such as sightseeing, camping, entertainments, sports, workshops, conferences or creative camps.
The reflection of the scene on water
Beside joining interesting trips on boat for sightseeing and observing the diverse vegetation of the lake and the islands, tourists travelling to Ao Chau Lake also have the opportunity to learn about the ancient shrine called “Tu Hang Quang Te” where the sacred ones are worshipped as well as enjoying special dishes of the lake and the jungle made by local people.
The “Tu Hang Quang Te” Shrine
With a wild, peaceful but magnificent beauty, Ao Chau Lake totally deserve the name memorized by many travelers who have once set the feet here, “the jade of the midland hills and mountains”.
Contact details for tour booking and necessary services:
Service department - Phu Tho Province Tourism Promotion Center: