The Dong Lam Steppe in the northern province of Lang Son unveils an utterly different beauty when the grasslands are flooded.
A panoramic view of Dong Lam, an ecological area of around 100 hectares to the north of Huu Lien Commune during the flooding season that lasts from April to September every year.
In contrast to the dry season (October to March) that highlights the area’s spectacular limestone hills and vast grasslands where tamed horses nibble on the green grass, most of the site goes underwater by up to 15 meters, with only a few higher areas and huge plants able to escape complete submergence.
The only way to explore Dong Lam during the season is to rent small rafts used by locals.
Hung Vi, a photographer and local guide said that the flooding season in Dong Lam could last from a week to about a month or more, depending on the amount of rainfall received.
Sometimes the water only rises for a few days before receding. Therefore, visitors should contact locals to know the right time for visiting Dong Lam.
A family rents a raft as they enjoy the Dong Lam Steppe during the flooding season.
The steppe is only 2 km from the stilt houses in Lang Ben Village. It undulates between the limestone hills for about 1.5 km, adorned with trails and streams that flow to the Dong Lam Lake.
In the flooding season, the lake can get crowded with people moving about on rafts and fishing with nets.
A smiling local sails his raft in Dong Lam.
Residents earn extra income during the flooding season by carrying tourists on small rafts on tours of ethnic minority villages.
According to local tour guides, renting a small raft and learning to sail through flooded grasslands on one’s own is an enriching experience.
Visitors can also be kayak on Nong Dung Lake and explore the Huu Lien Community Tourism Village.
With the steppe becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction on the northern Vietnam tourism map, many homestay services have developed there.
Some addresses worth consideration are Son Thuy Homestay, Phong Son Retreat, and Green Forest Homestay.