The Charming Highland of Binh Lieu

The “look- like- thread” roads from far distance, the majestic waterfalls and young girls of the Dao Thanh Fan ethnic group wearing colorful hats are the most impressive characteristics of Binh Lieu Highland, Quang Ninh.

Located near Vietnam-China border, Binh Lieu highland is at a height of more than 1,000 meters above the sea level, from the center of Binh Lieu town to the peak of Ma Thong Thuan mountain. Standing at this “adventurous” position, you definitely hold a panoramic view of the immense nature.
Watching the magnificent waterfall cascade down the mountainside

After staying a night at Hoanh Mo commune, you just need to go back to Dong Van mountainous commune to reach the spectacular waterfalls.

We get to Khe Tien waterfall which is located in a primeval forest of Khe Tien village, Dong Van commune after 30 minutes of riding motorbike. Although the cold weather at the beginning of the year prevents tourists from bathing, they are all fascinated to conquest three cascades from the foothills by climbing.

This spectacular waterfall is formed by the water flows originated from Quang Nam Chau mountain (1.507 meters above the sea level). Reaching this considerable height, the waterfall is naturally favored heavy fog throughout the year.

The cascades intentionally create large blue lakes all over the year. According to the local people, this impressive place is associated with the legend of the gorgeous gemstone. Therefore, visitors often look for one as a valuable souvenir when visiting the waterfall.

There is an “untouched” waterfall, named Song Moc in Dong Van commune. This waterfall owns the height of 10 meters and cascades down to a large rock surface of over 4,000 square meters with unique stretching big rock.

However, the most picturesque waterfall must be Khe Van in Huc Dong commune. Water flows which pour down at a height of 1,000 meters in Khe Van - Thong Chau mountain, create white foam after approaching large stones. Moreover, the rock outcrops which outcrops mountain by mountain forms three cascades.

This beautiful waterfall hides itself in the immense forest with mossy cliffs. Many people think that it is the most picturesque and majestic waterfall in Quang Ninh. Featured with pristine protection forest and luxuriant vegetation, Khe Van is a perfect destination for mountain’s nature exploration.

Sitting next to big rock ledges and grilling foods, some of my local friends did reveal that Khe Van was the dating place of young men and women of the San Chi ethnic group. Each year in March, the Soong Co song festival will be taken place in Khe Van waterfall so that single men and women can find a good match. 

The display of Hoa So, a local characteristic flower with layers of white petals and sunny yellow center is without dispute an amazingly contributive factor to the attraction of Khe Van waterfall. Noticeably, the authority of Binh Lieu will organize a festival at the middle of December to promote the beauty of this flower.

Exploring specialities at traditional local market

If you visit Binh Lieu on Sunday, don’t forget to drop by 2 most famous traditional local market, namely Binh Lieu and Dong Van.

At these two markets, tourists certainly have a chance to see young girls of the Giao Thanh Phan ethnic group with unique headdress and buy numerous local specialities such as plums, apricots, bananas, and tasteful cakes featured by the Tay, Dao, Hoa, etc. 

Especially, visitors might visit the medicinal herbs market of the ethnic minorities which have been believed to cure many diseases.

The characteristics of Dao Thanh Phan group

Wandering around the streets of Binh Lieu, visitors definitely see “weird” houses (made from clays and surround by rocks at the footwall). These traditional local houses are still preserved and conserved by the Dao group. Moreover, compared to the steep-slope terraced fields in Ha Giang, these in Binh Lieu are significantly gentler and the rice harvesting is also a month later than that land of the Northwest.

The costume of Dao Thanh Phan people (a branch of Dao group in Binh Lieu) is quite strange, especially woman's headdress made from bamboo frame and covered with vivid cloth. Furthermore, many of them cover their own traditional hat with “sophisticated” embroidered cloth.

There are even some headdresses to be up to 40-50centimeters high. These special hats are quite “powerful” because it can keep them away from sun and rain when they are on the farm. Therefore, they always put it on their head.  

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