No wave bay: a Ninh Binh ripple

Van Long wetland nature reserve in Ninh Binh Province, famous for appearing in blockbuster Kong: Skull Island, still retains its pristine tranquility – dozing beneath cloud covered limestone pinnacles.

Van Long, nestled 80 kilometers to the south of Hanoi, boasts the Red River Delta’s largest wetland with mirror-like, tranquil water, which explains its nickname, “no wave bay”. 

Located in the north of Gia Vien District, the wetland reserve, dotted with spectacular islands and caves, was created by the 30 km flood prevention dyke hugging the left bank of Day River.

At VND60,000 ($2.6) per person (maximum two passengers per boat), an hour-long, guided row across this 3,500-hectare lagoon will further make clear the origins of its nickname. 

Dissecting the mirror-like, moss and algae rich water, nature enthusiasts can marvel at mountains like Meo (Cat), Mam Xoi (Raspberry) and Co Tien (Fairy) visible through the clusters of bamboo shoots and strewn grass.

This popular Ninh Binh destination holds two national records for the biggest troop of Delacour’s langurs, a critically endangered species at home and abroad, and as “the largest nature picture.”

Lesser known among travelers than Tam Coc or Trang An (considered Ha Long Bay on land), peaceful Van Long lagoon is home to thousands of terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora. Among them are rare and endangered species such as waterfowl and giant water bugs, as listed in Vietnam’s Red Book. 

Over 32 stalactite-abundant caves pockmark Van Long, though only Ca, Bong, and Rua are accessible to the public.

The sunset view from atop Ba Chon, Van Long’s highest peak, takes in magnificent cliffs, mountains and vast lakes. With langurs swinging from peak to peak, birds nesting inside the belly of caves, and a horde of other wetland species sauntering about, you might well imagine yourself immersed inside a veritable wonderland.

Late afternoon is best for boating, when thousands of white storks return home, painting an atmosphere, rustic and peaceful backdrop. Bicycle and cow rides add to the charm of exploring local villages surrounding the reserve, slowing down time just enough for the unfamiliar to quickly about-face.

Source: VN Express