Quang Ninh – The border district of Binh Lieu in northern Quang Ninh province has become a new destination for tourists in recent years thanks to its primitive beauty.
Dubbed as “Quang Ninh’s Sa Pa,” Binh Lieu is characterised by its cool weather and mesmerising views. Sa Pa, a mountainous town in Lao Cai province, is a very popular tourist destination of northwestern Vietnam.
Although Binh Lieu is endowed with a charming beauty all year-round, the district particularly strikes visitors when fall transitions to winter. From the glossy yellow hues of staircase rice fields to the magnificent mountain landscape and natural waterfalls, the area visually amazes at every turn.
In winter, sometimes snow covers rooftops in pristine white fluff at some places in Binh Lieu whilst mist engulfs ethnic villages lining the forest, together composing a dreamy painting. Meanwhile, summer in Binh Lieu is the season of waterfalls such as Khe Van and Khe Tien.
Binh Lieu, bordering China, has a great number of border markers. They are situated on a mountain road that runs for 50 kilometres and is about 700m above sea level. The road is full of obstacles and difficult to access by vehicles other than motorbikes.
There are a total of 64 markers but you shouldn’t miss four, including numbers 1300, 1302, 1305 and 1327. These particular points offer stunning panoramas of the district.
Between markers 1302 and 1305, travellers will come across the ‘dinosaur’s spine’: a spectacular ridge from which the vista stretches miles into the distance.
To reach border marker 1305, one must cross the spine of the dinosaur, which can take up to two hours in good weather. 1305 is one of the two highest landmarks in the province, and so is not easy to reach.
For those people who want to stay in “paradise”, Cao Ly, Quang Nam Chau and Cao Xiem peaks are wonderful spots to rest amongst the clouds.
To round out the trip and profoundly experience Binh Lieu, tourists predominantly camp overnight on Cao Ly Mountain amidst wild nature to contemplate the sunset and sparkling night skies.
More than 90 percent of locals are ethnic minorities such as Tay, San Chi and Dao. The area is also home to special cultural festivities like the Soong Co and San Co folksong singing festivals and Luc Na festival.
Visitors are in for a treat if they manage to catch the festive period, and can listen to the traditional songs.
On Sundays, souvenirs, garments and food are sold at Binh Lieu and Dong Van markets, where visitors can also see Dao Thanh Phan women with their special long hats made from bamboo.
The mountainous district also has its own intangible cultural heritage, notably festivals including the Luc Na festival and the singing festival in March. During the festival, visitors can watch locals playing folk games like tug of war, and enjoy their unique traditional songs.
Relatively unspoilt by development, the cultural features of the ethnic communities in Binh Lieu are mesmerising, and the untouched landscapes make it an amazing place for tourists to explore./.