The border district of Binh Lieu, in the northern province of Quang Ninh, has become a new hotspot for tourists in recent years.
Binh Lieu, as it borders 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 milestones 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 bordermarker 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 landmark in the province, and so is not easy to reach.
But for those you meet the challenge, views of great mountains and green rice fields await. There’s also the chance to see the white flowers of reed fields, which are ranked top in the Viet Nam National Radio Station’s list of nine best travel destinations this year. They are in full bloom in late autumn and early winter.
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.
Summer in Binh Lieu is the season of waterfalls such as Khe Van and Khe Tien. For green terraces and yellow rice harvesting season it is recommended to visit in July and December.
Located 15 kilometres from Binh Lieu Town, Huc Dong Commune is the home of the ethnic Tay. This journey reveals the natural beauty of the borderland region. It is also the path to Khe Van waterfall.
The waterfall, which is close to Huc Dong, is the most famous scenic spot in the district. It can be reached by motorbike or on foot. The wide waterfall crashes from a height of 100 metres. In the rainy season water is plentiful, and the three levels make for an impressive sight.
Meanwhile, Khe Tien waterfall is in Dong Van Commune. It is shaped from water which flows halfway down Quang Nam Chau Mountain.
More than 90 per cent of locals are ethnic minorities such as the 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.
If you visit on a Sunday, souvenirs, garments and food can be bought at Binh Lieu and Dong Van markets, where you can also see the Dao Thanh Phan women with their special long hats made from bamboo.
Thanks to its mountainous landscape, the district boasts wonderful natural scenery and charming cultural traditions. Binh Lieu has put together a number of activities to promote the image of the district, focusing on the development of community tourism and ecotourism.