T’Nung Lake - the pearl in Central Hightlands

Nga Do
T'Nung Lake in Bien Ho commune, Pleiku city of Gia Lai province is a renowned tourist attraction which is considered as a "pearl" in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. T’Nung Lake is always blue and full of water year round, it look like a mirror which is towering on the plateau for the clouds reflected. The lake has many mysteries and legends which make the lake are more sparkling.

T’Nung Lake - the pearl in Central Hightlands
Photo by Pho Nhay

T’Nung Lake (alternative spelling is To Nueng Lake, To Nung Lake) or The Sea Lake or Ea Nueng Lake is a freshwater lake located in the northwest of Pleiku city, Gia Lai province, it is about 7 km from the center of the city along Highway 14.

T’Nung Lake is located in Bien Ho commune, Pleiku city, Gia Lai province. T’Nung Lake is near Highway 14 and Highway 19 makes it convenient for tourists to visit.

Characteristics of T’Nung Lake

T’Nung Lake is a crater has stopped running hundreds of millions of years. The lake has oval shape, the area of 230ha. T’Nung Lake is a haven for birds, such as: kingfishers, mallard…

The road leading to the lake is picturesque, flanked by green pine groves. End of the road, climbing the stone steps, visitors will set their foot in a very romantic house built on a high hill beside the reservoir. The lake is full of water year round; the water is so blue that you can clearly see the fish swimming underwater. The lake has a depth of 20 m to 40 m. This is the fishes source, annually provides hundreds of tones of fishes for Pleiku city. The dugout canoes glide on the quiet lake.

The scenery around the lake is spectacular, from the trees and blooming flowers along the lake, bees and butterflies fly everywhere, coo singing of birds each morning. Next, there are vast forests, winding and rolling hills  … The dugout canoes surf on the water.

In the hot season but the space here is very pleasant: the air is fresh and cool. Standing in front of the vast lake, we could remember the verse “the hot wind cross over the river becomes a cool breeze.” Indeed, the lake absorbs hot winds to bring fresh breezes to the vast highlands. This is not only a source of drinking water, water for crops and livestock for a large area, but also give to people in the hundreds of tons of fish, shrimp … every year.

Natural resource that T’Nung Lake brings to people is very enormous and important, especially to the highlands at an altitude of almost a thousand meters above sea level where the water is scarce. T’Nung Lake with many angles emerged as an immense rubies between red soil Highlands.

Standing by the lake, visitors can take a look over an area: these are the basalt red soil hills, the hills of tea, laden coffee hills. That is the city of Pleiku – alpine town, foggy mountain town. Far away are abundant forests, the rolling and winding hills. Tourists also meet here the high community house.

Within a radius of 6 km to the south is the Ham Rong Mountain. Ham Rong is yang, yang is from the mountain, and it is majestic as a windbreak wall. In contrast, the lake is also a volcanic mouth but it is deep underground (yin). The archaeologists did reconnaissance, exploration and development; they opened the history from this ground to tell us about the culture of T’Nung Lake – unique cultures of prehistoric…

T’Nung Lake is like a pearl of Pleiku city and the Highlands, it is an important tourist destination in the province.

The legend of T’Nung Lake

According to the folk tale of Jo Rai ethnic group told about La Nueng: the area (T’Nung Lake) was the common drinking water wharf of Jo Rai people village. The water in La Nueng is very clean and blue; it is possible illuminating people’s face. One day, on the way to the La Nueng wharf to take the water, there were two people in the village: Ya Pom and Ya Chao found out a very beautiful white pig. Ya Chao took the beautiful white pig to his house to raise it up. Every day, Ya Chao was feeding the white pig full of good foods but the little pig did not eat anything.

Once, Ya Chao brought the dry gourd to get water in La Nueng with sticky white sand, and then suddenly Little Pig licked the sand off in a delicious way. Taken aback by the strange phenomenon, later, Ya Chao just took the white sand to feed the pig and the pig grew quickly. After 3 times of the full moon, the white pig is big as a buffalo making the villagers surprised.

Then, the villagers built a new communal house and asked people in the village to find a pig to worship Yang and celebrate. After people went to look everywhere but they did not find out a pig which was as big as the village elders wanted, they go to the house of Ya Chao to ask him for arrest white pig to slaughter. Ya Chao steadfastly refused, even exchanging how much the property of the villagers, he also refused. But the villagers finally decided to appoint two strong men arrested the white pig for slaughter to worship Yang and divided the meat to families in the village to celebrate.

Ya Chao did not get meat separately and vowed: “If I eat this meat, it will earthquake, La Nueng will fall down”. But a grandchild of Ya Chao saw delicious pork, he demanded pork and cried all day and night, so Ya Chao’s mother could not stop her heart that she had to give pork to her grandchildren. Suddenly, the sky, the earth and the mountains shook, houses leaning sideways, burying whole village. The mother and grandchild of Ya Chao ran but could not keep in time; they were submerged to the bottom of the lake and turned into stone…

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