Visiting the northwest without climbing Lung Cu peak? No one would believe it. At the top of 1,700 meters-high Lung Cu peak is tower flying the Vietnamese national flag. Go up there without delay!
Lung Cu is Vietnam’s northernmost point. Several ethnic minorities live at the foot of Lung Cu mountain in what is called “Corn valley” in the Mong language because maize is the only crop grown there.
The Lolo – another ethnic group in the region – have an interesting explanation of the origin of this mythical mountain. On the summit are two lakes which the local people call wells.
According to a Lo Lo legend, the two wells are the eyes of a sacred dragon.
Nguyen Thi Hong, a Lolo who lives in Lung Cu, said, “In the past, life in the region was very hard because of the lack of water. Before rising to heaven, the sacred dragon, out of kindness, left the villagers, his eyes which were later turned into two semi-circular lakes. The first belongs to the Mong and the second to the Lolo”.
Some say that the name of the peak dates from late 18th century. In 1798, after a great victory against the northern invaders, Emperor Quang Trung ordered a giant bronze drum in bronze at the top of the mountain.
Every two hours, the soldiers struck three drum beats to assert the territorial integrity of the country. The mountain was given the name Lung Cu, a variation of “Long Co”, literally “King’s Drum”.
Regardless of what legend is preferred, Lung Cu, an emblem of Vietnamese sovereignty, is anchored in the heart of every Vietnamese.
Diem My, a tourist from Ho Chi Minh City, shared, “There’s a sign here that says this is the Lung Cu Flag Tower of Dong Van District, Ha Giang Province. From here, I can admire the magnificence of nature and feel the sacredness of national sovereignty”.
The staircase that leads to the summit has 389 stone steps but to reach the top of the tower, you must also climb a spiral iron staircase of 140 steps.
The octagonal monument is 33 meters high. Its base is carved with patterns of Dong Son drums – a symbol of Vietnamese culture – and images of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. At the top of the tower is a giant flag 54 square meters in area.
Danh Tiep, a Vietnamese who lives in the Czech Republic, noted, “I find the flag tower interesting. I didn’t know that the 54 square meters of the flag represents Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. The flag tower dates back to General Ly Thuong Kiet’s time. I will share this information with my foreign friends”.
Below the tower, the Nho Que River meanders like a silk ribbon to the Ma Pi Leng Pass, one of Vietnam’s four highest passes. On both sides, tiny Lo Lo houses guard the rice fields. This beautiful scenery inspires the patriotism of those who make the climb the Lung Cu flag.