Tam Dao Town - A Friendly Address of Culture, History and Tourism


Tam Dao tourist zone is in the middle of a round valley with its parrameter of about 2 km. There are three mountains: Nha Tho (Church), Mang Chi and Mo Qua surrounding its three sides, one remaining side faces openly to the South, so in summer the wind comes and in winter the very cold Northern wind is blocked by the three mountains, consequently, its temperature is temperate, comfortable all the year round. That is why hundreds of thousand people go there every year.

Bac (Silver) stream pouring from high level creates a Bac waterfall. The fall is 130m high, three levels but looking up from the foot of the fall, you only see a very white water flow of 40m high pouring. Coming down to the foot of the fall, you have to step through 355 stone stairs. You can feel here a whirlwind blustered made by the water flow and cold. The water flow also plains many stones to become benches fro tourists to seat..

In the valley, the vacation area likes a hammock with its altitude from 930m up to 970m. There is a reservoir of Bac stream water to supply water to buildings and swimming pool.

From Tam Dao looking down you can see a great picture of the whole area below. The road to Tam Dao is as a white silk strip now appears now disappears in the green mountain.

Days in summer are short; days in winter are longer, mild cool climate in summer and warm climate in winter is a typical characteristic of Tam Dao climate. The sunlight in Bac waterfall is very yellow and graceful. In the middle of summer, this valley has seven hours of sunshine, from 9 AM through 4 PM. In the early morning days of May, June, July the sunlight can not reach to the valley because of blocking of the East mountains, only when the sun gets higher, the sunlight can reach to the top of the West mountains. People are very interesting to enjoy the sunlight hanging over the trees. When it is 9 AM, the sunlight can touch to the middle of the valley. In the afternoon, sunset is just about 4 PM but in the middle of the valley, there is no sunlight. There only remains yellow sunlight on the top of the trees in the East mountains. When winter comes, the sunshine is longer in the valley, because the valley faces largely to the South, and the North wind is stopped by the mountains so the weather here is warm, no foggy. In January, February, it is cold but dry. It is just like near tropics.

The three highest mountains in Tam Dao emerged are Thien Thi, Thach Ban and Phu Nghia. Dinh Thi mountaintop is in the East, 1375m high. Judging from a far, the top is very acute but it is a plain space with many stones as if the heaven people came for market. Thien Thi means “heaven market”. The second top is 1388m high. There is a big stone, but plain as a table surface in the top, so it is called Thach Ban. it means a “stone table”. The highest top is 1,400m, which is named Phu Nghia. It means “assistance to good deed”. Some people say this name is named by Quan Heo when he posioned his troop there to fight against the Le Kings and the Trinh Lords in about XVIII century. Some other people say a general Phu Nghia under Tran dynasty named it when he went there to recruit his troops. In the three tops, there are luxuriant trees and a lot of precious wood. 

Tam Dao is not famous to the domestic people but also to foreign people. The French themselves discovered and built there around 250 villas. Under the Ming (Chinese) dynasty in XIV century, Cao Hung Trung recorded in his “An Nam Chi Nguyen” book that “In Tam Dao three sky-high mountains, oppositing to Tan Vien Mountain  are the famous mountains of Giao Chi ...” Cao Hung Trung again wrote “in Tam Dao mountains there are many varieties of the strange and precious herbs. In the mountain, there are Van Tieu hermitage, Song Tuyen hermitage, Luong Phong hermitage, Bo Van  garden and Dai Tuyet bridge...the landscape is wonderful...”. Now a day, there is no traces of theses hermitages and bridge, especially the “fairy garden”, but people think that they are round about on the both sides of Bac strean and Vang stream there. 

In the middle of XVIII century, Le Qui Don (1723-1783) still saw “on the top of the mountain, land here is a mixture of land and stone, trees are luxuriant, many cinnamon and star anise trees”. It is quite correct to say, “Here cinnamon and star anise tree is equal”. Pagodas and temples are existing, “in the middle is a high sky Kim Thien Mountain, and so many waterfalls ...In the side of the mountain, there is an ancient Tay Thien Temple, bamboo and pine is quite green, scenery is free and elegant. On the top of the mountain, there is a Dong Co temple. It takes two days for going up and down”.

Tam Dao range emerges closely to the plain area where a good condition to build up the famous pagodas, temples. In addition, the hills and streams closely to the plain area of military value. Le Quy Don describes, “Tam Dao range lasts uninterruptedly. In the West, there are Bong Mountain, Tru Lai Mountain, Lich Mountain and Nhan Tuc (human’s foot) rivulet. Water from Yem Nhi Mountain and Ngoc Boi Mountain runs out, section by section, to Thanh Lanh Mountain including 99 sections. Co Co Mountain is in the direction of Ngoc Boi and Ban Long Mountains. They are layers after layers, in which Huan Bong, Thien Thi and Dat Ma Mountains are endless and full of obstacles and difficult access”. 

Tam Dao has many up and down mountain passes, many short cuts: Khang Nhat pass from Vinh Yen to Tuyen Quang Province; Nhe pass, Thanh Loc pass and Khe pass to Thai Nguyen Province so many insurrections take Tam Dao as bases, “successful attack and safety defense”. In the XVIII century, the monk Nguyen Duong Hung made Thanh lanh, Ngoc Boi as the bases from 1737 through 1750 to fight against the Le kings and the Trinh Lords. Next were Quan Heo, Nguyen Danh Phuong from the Yen Lac native village to set up a large farmstead by the foot of Mo Qua Mountain, in Trung My Commune, Binh Xuyen District from 1740 to 1750. At present, this area remains the bastion of Quan Heo in the Suoi Khe Mountain, on the way from My Khe to Thanh Lanh, Ngoc Boi. The bastion looks as large as a big river barricaded Thanh Lanh valley to create a large lake for both defending the outside and irrigating the farm. Going deep into the area, now there is a troop gathering place before each battle; now there is deep hollow for elephant and horse washing-this stream called washing elephant stream; now Quan Ngua mountain, flagpole mountain and at the end is the Large Farmstead and Ma forest, Dua Pond in Tam Quan Commune, Tam Duong District. In early XX century, De Tham and Doi Can used Tam Dao for operation. In 1909, De Tham came from Yen The to camp on top of Bach Bung mountain. After that, he moved to Trung Oai village, Dong Anh District and he came back again to the Northeast side of Tam Dao range. In the pre-insurrection period, on July 16, 1945, the revolutionary armed force wiped out the Japanese post positioned in Tam Dao. During the French war, Tam Dao was a jumping-off position to launch the well-known operation like Tran Hung Dao in 1950; Hoang Hoa Tham in 1951, liberated the midland in 1954. Tam Dao is not only a natural beauty of the country but also a kungfu drill of the peasants for their fight against the feudalist king and mandarins and people’s insurrection against the foreign invaders.



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