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Searching for ancient apricot blossom among Yen Tu forest

(BGO) – The magnificent Tay (West) Yen Tu forest in Son Dong district Bac Giang province is well known for many signature specialities including dozens or hundreds of year old apricot  blossoms.  Nowadays, the precious plant is facing to the risk of extinction due to the over exploitation of the human beings.  

Anxiously searching for the ancient apricot blossom

When I talked about the wish to buy the yellow apricot blossom in Yen Tu land that I must see by my eyes, H – a local youth in Thanh Son town (Son Dong district) warned me of the far and extremely rough distance. Witnessing my insistence and persuasion, finally H agreed to take me to the forest.

Bac Giang province, Son Dong district, ancient apricot blossom, Yen Tu forest, signature specialities, yellow apricot blossom,  home decoration, bright yellow flowers

The reporter beside the ancient apricot blossom.

Only dozens of meters in the forest path, we found no cellphone coverage. We must climb over several rocks full of moss, wade through the streams and bush. The deep forest is gloomy and quiet without any person.

After nearly 4 hours climbing over the forest, we stopped to take a rest by the strong waterfall where the yellow apricot blossom was few hundred meters away as H said. But unfortunately, that plant was exploited long ago. H continued taking me to search for another.

Passing through the spiny range of bamboo, we moved nearly 200 m toward the exploited apricot blossom. Suddenly, H shouted out: “Here it is! When I was 10 years old and followed my uncle to go to this place to collect the palm leaves and bamboo shots, this tree was big with huge foliage. Now I am over 30 years old, so it may be over 40 years old!”.

Bac Giang province, Son Dong district, ancient apricot blossom, Yen Tu forest, signature specialities, yellow apricot blossom,  home decoration, bright yellow flowers

The branches and leaves are left after the tree is uprooted.

The apricot blossom loomed over my eyes and rooted to the huge rocks. I used my hand to measure the trunk diameter that was estimated at nearly 50 cm. It was about 12 m tall with green canopy and only few branches left because the locals cut them for home decoration on the Tet occasion.

Preserving the precious plant in the sacred forest

After taking a photo with the ancient apricot blossom and touching it, I felt really excited because I discovered what previously I only knew via television, books and newspapers. It came to the afternoon and we climbed down the mountain.

As the old said in the thirteen century, after King Tran Nhan Tong resigned and moved to Yen Tu mountain to lead a religious life, he and the Buddhist followers planted the yellow apricot blossom. After centuries, there is an ancient apricot forest in the land of Yen Tu. When the spring comes, the plant is laden with bright yellow flowers with no leaf that highlights a whole area in the deep forest. Looking from faraway, the locals call it the yellow robe covering the sacred mountain.

On the way back to the town, I talked to H more about the Yen Tu yellow apricot blossom. Frankly, H shared that exploiting an ancient apricot blossom brings not much profit because normally it takes 2 days for 10 strong men to transport the tree from the deep forest to the outside. The tree may be sold at about 6 – 7 million VND (about 300 USD). Later on, the plant lovers can buy and sell to earn double or triple profit.

The old story about this tree seemed to follow us. As the old said in the thirteen century, after King Tran Nhan Tong resigned and moved to Yen Tu mountain to lead a religious life, he and the Buddhist followers planted the yellow apricot blossom. After centuries, there is an ancient apricot forest in the land of Yen Tu.

When the spring comes, the plant is laden with bright yellow flowers with no leaf that highlights a whole area in the deep forest. Looking from faraway, the locals call it the yellow robe covering the sacred mountain.

Though sharing the same variety with the yellow apricot tree in the Southern area, Yen Tu yellow apricot blossom bears it unique beauty. It booms in bunch and there are many bunches in a tree. Particularly, this flower is fresh for long time. Its leaves are green and thin but they are so different from other leaves helping become prominent among thousands of trees.

On the return journey, sometimes H stopped to pick up some baby tree to bring home for growing. The small trees are few years old. If the precious plant is uprooted, someday there will be no ancient and small apricot blossoms. Thus, H has grown several baby trees in his garden.

Bac Giang province, Son Dong district, ancient apricot blossom, Yen Tu forest, signature specialities, yellow apricot blossom,  home decoration, bright yellow flowers

The fresh apricot blossom after two months decorating at home.

As a person with rich experience of exploring the forest, H said at present you may go all day without finding any tree. Moreover, Yen Tu apricot blossom develops alongside with the rock reefs so people use the dynamite to destroy the rock to exploit the tree that may lead to forest fire.

Listening to the sharing from a person who attaches to the forest with deep knowledge, I truly concerned about an urgent conservation of the ancient plant to stop the over exploitation and to preserve the precious flower in the sacred mountain of Yen Tu.

Discount price offered for Tay Yen Tu cable car on Reunification holiday
(BGO) – In celebration of the 44 anniversary of Reunification Day April 30 1975 – 2019 and International Labor Day May 1, the Tay Yen Tu Service Joint Stock Company (in Tay Yen Tu Spiritual – Ecological Tourism Site in Dong Thong hamlet, Tuan Mau commune, Son Dong district, Bac Giang province) offers the promotional programme for tourists and locals.
 
Bac Giang accelerates phase 2 of Tay Yen Tu spiritual and ecotourism complex project
(BGO) - Vice Chairman of the Bac Giang provincial People’s Committee Le Anh Duong checked on the construction progress of phase 2 of the Tay Yen Tu spiritual and ecotourism complex project at Dong Thong hamlet, Tuan Mau commune, Son Dong district on 16 April. 
 
Photo “Story about Buddhist Emperor” awarded first prize at “7 days to discover sacred land of Tay Yen Tu” photo contest
(BGO) – A ceremony was held on March 15 by the Organization Board of the Spring Festival and first Culture-Tourism Week in the northern province of Bac Giang at the provincial Conventional Center to award the prizes for the photo contest of “7 days to discover the sacred land of Tay Yen Tu”.
 
Tay Yen Tu – Past and present
(BGO) - Yen Tu Mountain should be called Yen Tu Range as it stretches three provinces: Quang Ninh, Hai Duong and Bac Giang. The mountain range has two parts: the eastern part in Quang Ninh and Hai Duong provinces, which is often called Dong Yen Tu (Eastern Yen Tu), and the western part, which is fully located in Bac Giang province and now called Tay Yen Tu (Western Yen Tu).
 
Tay Yen Tu tourism complex attracts nearly 40,000 arrivals in Culture-Tourism Week
(BGO) – According to the Management Board of Tay Yen Tu spiritual –ecological tourism complex, the destination welcomed 39,000 tourist arrivals in the Bac Giang provincial Culture-Tourism Week 2019 (taking place from February 14 - 20), 80 percent of which used the cable car to visit Thuong (Upper) pagoda or Linh Thong Thien Tu.
 

Trinh Lan

Bac Giang province, Son Dong district, ancient apricot blossom, Yen Tu forest, signature specialities, yellow apricot blossom, home decoration, bright yellow flowers
 
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