In the peaceful Mekong Delta, a mirror of the sky

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The lake lives up to its name, with its perfect serenity and unworldly beauty.
Local people call it Bung Binh Thien, which means “the lake from the sky.”
A gem in the peaceful Mekong Delta province of An Giang, it is blessed with both breathtaking landscape and a rich culture nurtured by Cham people.
It has attracted lots of tourists in recent years.

 Bung Binh Thien is about 35 kilometers from An Giang’s capital town Chau Doc. To get there, cross the Con Tien Bridge over the Chau Doc River, then go along Road 956 for about 15 kilometers to reach An Phu Town. From there, go for another 10 kilometers to reach a junction called Quoc Thai, turn left and go for about two kilometers before reaching the lake.

 It is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the Mekong Delta. The lake’s area is said to change in accordance with seasons – 300 hectares during the dry season between December and April, and 900 hectares during the rainy period between May and November.

 The lake is about four meters deep and never dries up. Bung Binh Thien connects with the Binh Di River, which is full of alluvium during the high-tide season that starts in the seventh month and ends in the tenth month of the lunar calendar. But, during the time, water from the river would always become clean when flowing into the lake, thanks to a kind of seaweed that lives in the lake and acts as a natural filter.

 The lake is home to four ethnic groups. Cham people make up the majority of its population. The Cham community follows Islam and preserves traditional customs quite well. Many still live in stilt houses…

 ...and wear traditional clothes.

 The community’s mosque, Mas Jid Khay Ri Yah, carries typical features of Islamic architecture: a dome with a white star on top, and overturned-U-shaped doors. It is spacious, with numerous columns, white floors and ceilings painted in blue, representing freedom and peace.

Kids frequent Bung Binh Thien and their presence makes it livelier.

 Green trees line up a local road.

 Must-eats for visitors during the high-tide season: grilled ca linh (a small fish species under the same family with carps) with a dipping sauce made from fish sauce and tamarind; banh xeo (rice pancake) with ca linh; and the traditional Vietnamese soup, canh chua (sour soup), modified with ca linh and dien dien flowers.

Photos credit: VnExpress

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