Peace found in a remote retreat

By Kiều Trinh

A far-flung village has been recently discovered in the northern mountain province of Hòa Bình and dubbed 'Hạ Long Bay on Land' by travellers for its charming scenery and undulating hills and mountains.

It is Ba Khan which nestles against the foot of Thung Khe Pass in Mai Châu District, immersed in cloud and mist year-round.

The village consists of three hamlets -- Khan Hạ, Khan Hò and Khan Thượng -- on the banks of the Đà River.

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LOOK-ALIKE: Ba Khan has been described as Ha Long Bay on land. Photo courtesy of Ba Khan Village Resort

The day begins early in Ba Khan, when clouds still cover the valleys below deep green mountains.

The village also boasts a newly built resort called Ba Khan Village Resort, which offers a unique experience as a desirable resort on a mountainside in Khan Hạ Hamlet overlooking the green valley and the Đà River reservoir of the Hòa Bình hydropower plant.

The resort covers an area of more than 3 hectares of limestone fields, diverse flora, and a natural stream and waterfall, making it a new and unique destination.

“The resort had a soft opening last year and became loved by guests, especially those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of crowded cities,” said Nguyễn Văn Hảo, director of Ba Khan Village Resort.

Ba Khan also offers a host of options for those seeking something a little more active. Walking and bike tours are available, as are caving trips and boating on the river. The local cuisine is plentiful and delicious, and the local people are keen to help you enjoy your stay.

“A decade or so ago I worked as a manager of a travel agency and often travelled to Mai Châu by motorbike,” said Hảo, who has just turned 40.

“Ba Khan was desolate and remote back then, with frequent blackouts and bad roads, but I was mesmerised by its nature and landscapes. The idea of opening a resort began to take shape.”

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DANCING MIST: Clouds blanket the hills around Ba Khan. VNS Photo Kieu Trinh

He then started working with the local authorities to get the idea off the ground.

“It was a brave move to make, to be honest, because many people thought it was a good idea but would be difficult to actually make happen,” said Hảo, who has also worked as an English teacher. “I took a bit of risk and relied on my experience.”

Building the resort was quite a challenge, as the area is home to a waterfall. Streams flowing through Ba Khan to Hòa Bình reservoir are good in terms of feng shui, but it was difficult to calculate the exact flow of water in all circumstances and build safely.

Hảo and his colleagues spent more than a year resolving the issue. Construction then began, and three years later, in 2019, Ba Khan Village Resort was opened.

“My idea was to build a resort with a pleasant blend of contemporary elegance and rustic local charm, creating an open atmosphere while preserving all of the natural values of rock, water and flora,” he explained.

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IN AMONG NATURE: Thatched-roof houses nestle in a tranquil setting. VNS Photo Cao Ly Ly

“September and October is the best time to visit,” he went on.

“We welcomed many foreign guests to Ba Khan last year, but this year, of course, has been quiet. Domestic tourists, fortunately, have begun to hear about Ba Khan, and some people have already visited several times.”

Those seeking more of a travel experience will definitely love the place, with an unspoiled, tranquil vibe that makes you feel closer to nature. VNS

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