By Hoàng Linh
An Giang province’s Tà Pạ mountain is one of seven peaks named Thất Sơn, which means “seven famous mountains”.
The gorgeous mountain ranges and lush green fields of the region touch the skyline of Tri Tôn, an An Giang Province district. The area is also one of the most scenic driving routes in the Mekong Delta for adventurous travellers. When we learned of the beautiful mountain landscape of Tà Pạ, we drove straight from the Cần Thơ City centre to Tri Tôn without hesitation to explore the natural beauty of the western side of the Delta.
Leaving the urban centre and Ninh Kiều District, we drove slower than usual due to roadwork: bumpy roads and dispersed gravel greeted us; in some spots most of the road was fenced off for asphalt operations; the road dust was stirred up by running vehicles so often that it was almost impossible to see the road ahead of us. The route featured very heavy traffic, so we faced a crazy traffic jam and road chaos all the way from Thốt Nốt, Ô Môn to Long Xuyên.
“This is a challenging road trip for us, isn’t it?” my friend said.
When Long Xuyên City appeared our tiredness disappeared: we were halfway to Tri Tôn! We stopped to rest and grab a quick bite to eat. Being adventurous travellers, we prefer eating at casual roadside rest stops rather than at high-end restaurants. The food we discovered was delicious and affordable.
When we left Long Xuyên and resumed our trip to Tri Tôn, clouds began to gather and it started raining heavily. Soon we were wet and cold. The downpour brought strong winds which whipped against us and we could hardly see the road.
The rain slowed us down. But after 2 hours of driving in the rain we neared our destination. By that time, the rain had almost stopped. Only a few droplets continued to fall. A wondrous landscape emerged before us, brightening our mood which had been dampened by the heavy rain.
Magnificent mountain ranges emerged. Tà Pạ’s towering mountain cliffs loom like castle walls featuring rough rock pillars. The rock walls vary in shape and size and seem quite peculiar.
Atop the mountain is a deep, clear emerald lake named Tà Pạ. Seventeen metres deep, the lake is the by-product of a former mining operation. The surrounding mountain cliffs provide clear vistas of the lake’s blue depths.
Lake-bottom rocks add many colours to the scene: light blue, black, dark orange and light yellow. When the sky is clear, the lake surface reflects the pastoral setting like a giant emerald-coloured mirror.
“Tà Pạ Lake is as beautiful as a young girl aglow in nature,” said my friend, enchanted by the scenery.
From the montaintop, visitors can feast their eyes on the town of Tri Tôn and relish the beauty of paddy fields in the foothills of the Tô mountain. The bright green paddies are typical of scenery in the southern countryside. During harvest season, the golden rice fields are highlighted by rows of vibrant green palm trees.
Charming trails meander through the colourful fields. Rice plants in each patch ripen at different times due to microclimate variations, creating multiple shades of greens and yellows.
The fresh air and beautiful Tà Pạ mountain scenery made our challenging road trip worthwhile. Our getaway trip to Tri Tôn was very pleasant. It helped us release all our stress. And it heightened our interest in Việt Nam’s truly stunning landscapes. — VNS