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Da Lat’s Golden Valley – a painting on central Vietnam plateau

Fresh air, pine trees, brilliant flowers and murmuring brooks – a picturesque landscape that leaves tourists with a breath-taking first impression upon visiting the Thung Lung Vang (Golden Valley) in Da Lat.

Sloping pine tree-clad hills surround the 10-hectare tourist park near the Dankia-Suoi Vang Water Plant, located some 12 kilometers from the heart of the capital of Lam Dong Province in Vietnam's Central Highlands.

Tran Dinh Lanh, director of Lam Dong Water Supply Co., says he initially wanted to develop the area near the water plant so that his employees could relax there during their spare time.

Company employees and officials enjoyed the area so much they decided to join forces to turn the area into a tourist park, boasting many specialized trees and precious stones.

In the middle of the Golden Valley, orchards and flower gardens bloom with life while man-made streams, lakes and waterfalls create a tranquil harmony – an Asian philosophy of balance with the surrounding landscape.

To add to the naturally-occurring flora, the park brought in other plants from various international regions.

Interspersed with the immense ever-green pine forests are not only typical highlands plants, such as peach, cherry, mimosa, red pine and p'mu, but also maple trees from Canada – some as old as 80 to 100 years.

Near the kingdom of plants lies a rock garden with several types of precious stones, such as chalcedony and agate, from different parts of the Central Highlands.

From a distance, the valley looks like a beautiful Chinese ink painting.

After touring the park, many visitors enjoy lying on the soft grass slopes of the hills under the pine trees.

There is also ample space for those inclined to camp out.

Tourists can also fish at uniquely designed lakes, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere, fresh climate and scenic landscape that rivals Da Lat’s Doi Cu (Golf Hills).

“I have visited many sites in Vietnam, but still felt surprised when I arrived here. This site is quite peaceful, romantic and fresh,” says Sato Kohara, a Japanese fine arts student, while preparing to take photographs of wild flowers besides a lawn on a sloping hill.

“If I have a chance to visit Vietnam again, I will return to this site together with my friends,” she adds.

The tourist park management is currently considering building a restaurant that will serve Da Lat specialties and offer bungalows for those wanting to spend the night.

Also planned is a garden that will feature rockworks, sculptures and art.

The Golden Valley Tourist Park opens daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is VND10,000 per person.

How to get there

There are two ways to get to the Golden Valley.

You can travel along Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street to Tung Lam crossroad (near the Biology Institute), turn left and go another five kilometers on the way to the Dankia-Suoi Vang area to reach the park.

Alternatively, you can go along Hoang Van Thu Street to pass through Cam Ly Waterfall and then travel another five kilometres down the road leading to Suoi Vang.

Reported by Nhat Hung - Thanh Nien News 30 Oct 2007

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