Gia Lai


Legendary sea on the mountain

Photo of Entry:  Legendary sea on the mountain

Situated some seven kilometers north of the center of Pleiku City, Bien Ho in Gia Lai Province, so named as the lake is as immense as ocean, is a nice destination for people who love both mountains and the vast of ocean.

Bien Ho (Sea Lake), also known as To Nung or la Nueng lake, indeed is an oval-shaped crater lake lying between a valley circled by thousands of green pine trees. The scenery there is so poetic that many artists usually compare the lake to the eye of Pleiku City or a turquoise of the Central Highlands.


Travelers to Bien Ho are often lost in admiration of the natural picture within their eyesight, like when standing before a giant water-color painting. They will feel comfortable in the cool air from pine forests surrounding the lake. They can enjoy themselves by floating on dug-outs on the wavy ever-blue lake. Besides, it is a nice pleasure to walk to fishing villages and hamlets around the great lake to learn more about their distinctive daily life.


Local residents call the lake Bien Ho because of its immensity of around 230 hectares and depth of 20-40 meters. Moreover, the legend has it that the water from the lake flows directly into the Eastern Sea through it unfathomable depth, and wood exploiters in the highlands only have to drop timber into the lake then catch them at the Quy Nhon Sea the following morning. Besides, legendary stories about the lake's names remain mysterious to tourists.


Elderly people of the Jrai tribe will tell tourists a sad story of their nice village named To Nung of the Jrai tribal group in the Central Highlands a long time ago. The great lake reminds them of a mild countryside with a beautiful spring murmuring down the hills. The water was so limpid and the wharf there was an ideal place for young people to date, sing together, and make promises of marriage under the moonlight.


One day, the highest mountain next to the village suddenly went up in flames, broke into pieces, and buried the village. Then, the lake was created from mourning tears of survivors for their beloved village and relatives, and they named the lake To Nung in commemoration of their peaceful homeland.


Nowadays, Bien Ho is both a water supply source for Pleiku City and a tourist attraction for local and international travelers. The lake can be reached by walking or riding motorbike from the city along the National Highway 19.

Source SGT

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