In Da Lat, a lake sighs over Shakespearean tragedies

By Quynh Tran   April 22, 2019 | 09:22 pm GMT+7

The romantic Lake of Sighs has directly borne the impact of broken hearts, a la Romeo and Juliet.

In Da Lat, a lake sighs over Shakespearean tragedies

Than Tho Lake or the Lake of Sighs is located amidst thousands of pine trees about 6km from downtown Da Lat on Quang Trung - Ho Xuan Huong Street.

It is said that there was first a pond called To No Pang Đong in the area. In 1917, the French created an 8.5 hectare reservoir, to provide water for the Central Highlands town of Da Lat, forming Than Tho Lake.

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The man-made lake was first called "Lac des Soupirs" – the Lake of Forest Wind.

In 1956, the lake was renamed Than Tho. After 1975, the name was changed once again to Suong Mai (Morning Mist), but Da Lat residents liked the name "Than Tho" better, and continued to use it. In 1990, the lake got its favorite name back.

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Sad love stories that ended in tragedy give Than Tho Lake its unusually romantic name.

One of the stories is that of Vu Minh Tam and Le Thi Thao, who loved each other dearly, but were prevented by their families from being together. Thao drowned herself in the lake on an afternoon in March 1956. Tam was killed in action after joining the army and his body was brought to Da Lat and buried next to Thao. In 1975, Tam's parents took his remains to his hometown.

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The lake is also associated with the legendary love story of Hoang Tung and Mai Nuong, Vietnam’s Romeo and Juliet.

Tung had to join the army to fight invaders. Before he left, the two met by the lake and promised each other that they would reunite in spring when Tung returned. Devastated on hearing the news that Tung had died in battle, Nuong ended her life. Tragically, she’d been misinformed. When Tung returned and learnt what had happened, he jumped into the lake and drowned.

Locals say the forest surrounding the lake sounds like it is sighing sadly over Tung and Nuong’s love story.

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Since 1997, the surrounding area and pine forest have been transformed into a tourist hotspot.

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The area offers space for tranquil, romantic walks by the lake on small curving pathways along the slope.

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Visitors can also take selfies of themselves on a horse or ride in a horse drawn carriage.

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Paddle boats shaped like swans are popular among couples visiting the lake.

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The pine hill surrounding the lake has colorful flower beds that bloom all year round. Rental accommodations here are built to resemble communal houses of ethnic minorities.

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Than Tho Lake was recognized as a historical and cultural relic - a national landscape in 1999. However, its proximity to an agricultural area causes excessive sedimentation, and it is said that the lake shrinks every year.

 
 
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