Driving along National Highway No3 for 80km to Thai Nguyen City, making a left and traveling up a small road for about 20km, you can see Nui Coc, a reservoir with a beauty that can warm the cockles of the frostiest character.
The region is famous for not only its picturesque scenery but also a legend about the romance of a girl named Cong and a young man named Coc. Legend has it that the couple loved each other very much but due to prejudice both families did not allow them to become husband and wife. Coc waited for his sweetheart until he turned into a mount present-day Coc Mountain. Receiving the bad news, Cong was broken-hearted and bewailed her lover until she died. Her tears flowed and changed into a river, the present-day Cong River, soaking deep into the soil to bring up the tea plants; thereby creating a specialty of Thai Nguyen – Tan Cuong tea. The dam was built in 1977 on the Cong River, a tributary of the Red River, and can hold back 175 million cubic meters of waters. It is surrounded by hills and secondary forest.
It’s the scenic side of things that make Nui Coc special, the 89 pretty little islands that dot the 25,000m² surfaces and make it a sort of Halong Bay in miniature. The islands have different characteristics; some are forested in green, while one is home to thousands of storks and many other species of birds. That’s why it’s named Stork Island, another is the home to wild goats and of course, it’s also called Goat Island. There is a green oasis where such dominant flora as Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Melanoma candidum, Cratocylon spp. and Eupatorium odonatum tourism. There are also about 40 species of birds and 15 of mammals inhabiting the area. There you can see several species of duck in winter, particularly Dendrocygna javanica, Anas crecca and A. acuta, and a small breeding colony of Ardeola bacchus and Egretta spp that has recently been established on an island in the lake. Near the lake, Coc Mountain stands imposingly amid the blue sky, bright sunshine spreading over every blade of grass and twig, all creating marvelous and splendid scenery.
For those who like their creature comforts there’s a new resort near the lake. Tourism Park of Nui Coc Lake is divided into two areas, one on the northern bank of the reservoir and the other on the southern. The northern area boasts many mini-guest houses built on the side of a hill and shaded with green trees called keo la cham, along with water parks and an artificial dinosaur park. There you can refresh yourself with entertainment or go fishing on the lake or try specialties of the lake such as chub with the largest weighing nine to 10kg, shrimps and bamboo rats, called by locals as dui. You can also travel across the water in a motor boat and lie back to enjoy the poetic and grandiose beauty of the boundless sky hanging high over mountain and forest.