The blue emerald

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 A corner of Lake Nui Mot

Nui Mot was a small lake nestling in a valley of the An Truong Mountains until the late 1970s, when a dam was built downstream to create a 1,200-hectare irrigation reservoir that snakes its way back through the high country.

Still called Nui Mot, the largest and prettiest freshwater lake in the central region is the most popular tourist attraction in An Nhon, an inland district of Binh Dinh Province on the central coast.

We were lucky enough to be shown this jewel of the mountains.

From Quy Nhon, the capital of Binh Dinh, we took National Road 19 to An Truong Village in Nhon Tan Commune, An Nhon, where we turned left at the sign showing the way to the lake. From the turnoff, it was eight kilometers of sealed road to the Nui Mot.

The distance from Quy Nhon is only 30 kilometers but the road is narrow so the trip took us about an hour by motorcycle.

We continued on our bikes to the top of the dam wall 700 meters high. The cool air was invigorating and made the scorching sun of the summer dissipate before a breathtaking vista of blue water winding its way through green mountains.

It was just as picturesque around the pier on the lake, with big trees and huge rocks smoothed and arranged by Mother Nature in an amazing way.

From a construction site where a monument to the revolutionaries of yesteryear was being built, we walked up several hundred meters to Ong Dai Cave. This large and beautiful cavern sheltered communist soldiers in the war and was used to store food.

Back at the pier, we embarked on a tourist boat and began a 45-minute trip to explore Nui Mot. It felt so peaceful and relaxing as we floated in the middle of the vast reservoir. The forest and mountains on both sides were as pretty as a picture.

Our first stop of the lake cruise was Do Falls, which resembled a strip of silk floating in mid-air when viewed from below.

We made our way up the forest path to the waterfall, accompanied by the sounds of a bubbling brook, bird calls and leaves rustling in the breeze.

It took us 15 minutes to reach the splashing, silvery water that drops 40 meters to create Do Falls which is then joined by other creeks before emptying into the lake.

Taking a small path, I continued to climb to the top of the waterfall. My effort was rewarded. From my high perch I could see the whole of nature before me.

Around the waterfall were flat rocks and long grass under shady trees, making it an ideal place to enjoy some specialty dishes of fish raised in the lake and sip a strong local brew made and stored in ceramic pots.

After lunch, some of us put our feet up in the shade while the others went swimming in the cool water or took out the fishing rods they had brought along for a spot of angling. It was idyllic.

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