Hundred-year-old rhododendron forest on the top of Truong Son

QUANG NAM – The intersection of the East and West sides of the Truong Son mountain range changes the landscape of the rhododendron forest in just a few steps.

The forest rhododendron population grows on the top of K’Lang (in Abanh 2 village, Tr’hy commune, Tay Giang district, Quang Nam) at an altitude of 2,005 m. This forest is considered a treasure of the Co Tu people and is one of the few primeval rhododendron forests left in Vietnam.

Here, more than 430 hundred-year-old rhododendron trees have been recognized as Vietnamese heritage trees. Which, there are two main species of rhododendrons, broadleaf and coniferous. They live alternately with each other, no other plants can get in.

From February onwards, rhododendron flowers bloom densely on the mountain slopes creating a change of scenery. Rhododendrons have a full range of colors from white, white to pink, purple, and red.

The ecosystem in the forest is still intact because it has not been affected much by humans. The Co Tu people call it ghost forest because the tree trunks here are twisted together.

The rhododendron tree trunk is covered with moss carpet that changes color, from green, dark green to yellow.

Everywhere there is only green color of moss.

Mr. Tran Trung Kien (42 years old, Hanoi) and his group of friends took nearly 7 hours of trekking to reach the top of K’lang. “I felt like I was lost in a surreal world. The layer of moss is so thick that standing on it feels smooth and springy. The sun slanted through the forest trees, the smell of dew, the smell of plants and trees. This landscape is not available in every forest,” Trung Kien shared.

He rewarded himself with moments of sitting quietly in the sun. Kien calls this “forest bathing”, according to the Japanese term Shinrin-yoku, which means going to the forest to restore soul and health.

In the middle of the forest, there is a small valley where some Co Tu households live. They consider the protection of the forest as their life, only taking from the forest every day as something they need to serve their daily lives.

Along with Lim and Po Mu forests, rhododendron forest is also one of the destinations being gradually exploited by the local government of Tay Giang province, welcoming tourists, mainly trekking activities.

“I believe this place can completely become an attractive tourist destination in the Central region. But the exploitation of tourism that needs to be associated with forest protection is still the problem we are most concerned about. Therefore, activities to attract tourists and develop tourism products are still being carried out step by step,” said Mr.

Photo: Tran Trung Kien