Laos is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, which feature lush jungles, towering mountains, and tranquil lakes. One such lake that should not be missed is Nong Fa Lake. A trip to this local gem in the province of Attapeu could give visitors a taste of the country’s famous calm and serenity.
Nong Fa Lake: A Hidden Mystical Gem of Laos
Nong Fa Lake, also known as Nongphatom or “Blue Lake,” is a scenic volcanic crater lake in southeastern Laos’ Sanxay District, Attapeu Province. It is located in the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area, about 12 kilometers from the Vietnamese border. The lake is 1154 meters above sea level and has a maximum known depth of 78 meters. However, local villagers claim that the exact depth of the lake is unknown because attempts to measure it using bamboo poles have failed.
The Enchanted Blue Lake of Attapeu
Nestled in the northeastern region of Attapeu, a 3-day walk from Sanxay District lies Nong Fa Lake, surrounded by majestic peaks. This entire body of water boasts an alluring shade of sky blue throughout the year. The actual size of the lake remains unknown, with some sources claiming that a shot from an AK 47 rifle cannot reach the other side.
Mysterious tales and legends surround the lake, adding to its enchanting aura. The locals of Attapeu consider it to be a sacred and divine place. Nong Fa Lake holds a special significance among the local Laotian community, who refrain from bathing in its waters due to a belief that it is home to a giant snake pig that preys on bathers.
Conversely, the hill tribes in the vicinity have a different belief about the lake, stating that those who take a dip in the lake will be blessed with eternal youth. However, scientific evidence suggests that the lake’s formation may result from volcanic activity thousands of years ago.
When is the Best Time to Visit Nong Fa Lake?
Nong Fa Lake is best visited between November and April, during the dry season. Throughout the year, the weather is often sunny and comfortable, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as trekking and birdwatching. During the dry season, the lake’s water level is also at its maximum, providing ideal conditions for boating and other water-based activities. However, tourists should keep in mind that the dry season is also the peak tourism season, so expect more crowds and higher lodging expenses.
Other Things to Do When Visiting Nong Fa Lake
Visiting Nong Fa Lake is also the perfect opportunity to experience and immerse in the culture of Laos. Some activities you can do include visiting temples nearby or trying out their local cuisines.
Visit Temples or Wats in Laos
Visiting a temple or wat is one of the finest methods to learn about Lao culture. Several ancient temples and wats dating back to the 18th century may be found near Nong Fa Lake. These temples and wats are important religious sites and cultural and historical landmarks. Visitors can learn about the temples’ and wats’ histories and significance by taking a guided tour or speaking with local monks.
Exploring local markets is another opportunity to immerse yourself in Lao culture. The area surrounding Nong Fa Lake has multiple traditional marketplaces where visitors can purchase many things, including conventional Lao textiles, handicrafts, and food.
Go for Laos’ Local Cuisines
When visiting Nong Fa Lake, take advantage of the opportunity to taste the local cuisine. The area is well-known for its excellent and healthful food, frequently prepared with fresh, local products.
“Lao Larb,” a traditional meat salad, is one of the area’s most popular foods. It’s created with minced meat (typically pork, beef, or chicken), herbs, chiles, lime juice, and fish sauce. The dish is frequently served with sticky rice and is available at a variety of local eateries and street sellers.
Tam Mak Hoong, a spicy papaya salad, is another favorite dish. It’s created with grated green papaya, chili, lime juice, and fish sauce, and it’s usually eaten over sticky rice.
Exploring the Surrounding Attractions Near Nong Fa Lake
Nong Fa Lake is a popular tourist destination in Laos because it offers visitors the chance to experience the country’s famous calm and serenity. However, there are a lot of interesting sights near the area that you should also check out.
Mỹ Sơn: The Hindu Temples of Vietnam
Mỹ Sơn is a historic Hindu temple complex in Quảng Nam province, central Vietnam. These temples, dedicated to worshiping the god Shiva, were built between the 4th and 14th centuries by the mighty Kings of Champa.
The temples at M Sn are regarded as one of the most significant surviving examples of Champa culture. The temples covered an area of more than 150 hectares and were created to reflect the Champa people’s religious and cultural values.
Xe Kong River: A Vital Tributary of the Mekong
The Xe Kong River, also known as the Sekong River, is a crucial Mekong River tributary. The Xe Kong River originates in Vietnam’s Central Highlands and runs through Laos before entering Cambodia, where it joins the Mekong River.
The Xe Kong River Basin is broad and extensive, making it one of the most significant Mekong tributaries. The Xe Kong River supplies 10% of the water flow to the Mekong River and is also a substantial component of the 3S River Basin, created by the confluence of the Xe Kong, Sesan, and Srepok Rivers. This area is rich in biodiversity and home to many plant and animal species. The river also serves as a vital source of income for the surrounding villages, providing water for agriculture, fishing, and transportation.
The Golden Bridge: A Scenic Wonder in Vietnam
Located in the Bà Nà Hills resort near Da Nang, Vietnam, the Golden Bridge is a spectacular sight that has recently become a must-see tourist attraction. The bridge is a pedestrian bridge 150 meters long that connects the cable car station to the gardens and provides a picturesque overlook.
The Golden Bridge is an architectural wonder that loops nearly back around to itself, creating a unique and memorable experience for visitors. The bridge is composed of gold-colored steel and glass, hence its name, and is designed to blend in with its surroundings.
In conclusion, Nong Fa Lake is a destination that offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of Laos, learn about the local culture, and enjoy the delicious local cuisine. Nong Fa Lake’s location is also near several must-visit sights, such as the Golden Bridge and Mỹ Sơn in Vietnam. With the lakes rich history and diverse wildlife, it’s a destination that should not be missed. Visitors should plan their trip accordingly, considering the best time to visit, the local culture and customs, and the impact on the ecosystem.