Monday, May 25, 2015

Ly Son of the Paracel Island Chain

Lý Sơn District
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lý Sơn District
Huyện Lý Sơn

Lý Sơn District
Lý Sơn District
Location of Lý Sơn District in Vietnam
Ly Vinh[1]
 • Total
10 km2 (4 sq mi)
Population (2003)[1]
 • Total
UTC + 7 (UTC+7)
Lý Sơn (About this sound listen), previously known as Cù Lao Ré,[2] is a district in Quảng Ngãi Province, off the South Central Coastof Vietnam.

Geography and geology[edit]
The district covers approximately 9.97 km² of land, on two off-shore volcanic islands in the East Sea, and a few islets. The main island, Lý Sơn (Cù Lao Ré) has three prominent craters, the largest of which is Mount Thoi Loi (Thới Lới). Hydrothermal waters on Lý Sơn provide heat for the local power plant. The secondary island is known as Little Island(Cù Lao Bờ Bãi) and is also well populated.

Remains of the pre-200 C.E. Sa Huỳnh culture have been found on the islands. The Cham used Ly Son as a transhipment base. Xó La well, one of the wells used to provide fresh water for ships, still remains right on the shore of the main island and is still in use.[3] In the 17th century the Nguyễn lords started a colony on the islands from An Vĩnh,Bình Sơn District, in Quảng Ngãi, as part of the activities of the Hoàng Sa Company's development of the Paracel Islands.[4] During the United States involvement in Vietnam, Lý Sơn was the site of a U.S. Navy radar installation. The radar site was used to track shipping along the Vietnamese coast.
The economy was founded on,[4] and remains, primarily based on seafood extraction. Ly Son is a major offshore fishing center with an output of 29,000 tonnes worth VND241.2 billion ($11.4 million) in 2012, accounting for almost one fourth of Quảng Ngãi's total.[5]

Lý Sơn is also known throughout Vietnam for its production of a special variety of 
garlic,[6] although coastal sand mining to support its extensive cultivation has led to significant erosion. In the 21st century Lý Sơn began to develop its tourist industry.
As in other parts of coastal Vietnam[7] whales are important in local mythology and religion. Around one hundred whale skeletons are kept in temples, the largest and most important of which is in Tan Temple in An Hai Commune.[8]According to a local legend, the 200 year old skeleton are the remains of Nam Hai Dong Dinh Dai Vuong (the king of whales), the most powerful whale in the East Sea.[8] Whale skeletons are worshiped and huge funerals are held when a stranded whale is found because they are believed to protect fishers while they are at sea.[8]
Administrative divisions[edit]
There are three communes in Lý Sơn District:
·       An Vĩnh and An Hải on the main island
·       An Bình on Bờ Bãi Island in the north[9]
The district government is located in An Vĩnh.[9]
1.     Jump up to:a b "Districts of Vietnam". Statoids. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
3.     Jump up^ Hardy 2009, 111
4.     Jump up to:a b Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Sovereignty Over the Paracel and Spratly Islands Kluwer Law International, page 72ISBN 90-411-1381-9. retrieved on 28 April 2010
5.     Jump up^ "Fine weather brings bumper fishing haul"Viet Nam News. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
6.     Jump up^ "Garlic smells sweet to one island" Vietnam Development Gateway, 26 June 2007, accessed 28 April 2010
7.     Jump up^ Why Vietnamese villagers are dragging dead whales inland Adam Bray, CNN (25 February 2010):
8.     Jump up to:a b c The fishermen’s protector on Ly Son Island Saigon Times (6 August 2010):
9.     Jump up to:a b Viet Nam Administrative Atlas. Cartographic Publishing House, Hanoi 2010
·       Hardy, Andrew (2009): "Eaglewood and the Economic History of Champa and Central Vietnam" in Hardy, Andrew et al.: Champa and the Archeology of My Son (Vietnam). NUS Press, Singapore
External links[edit]
·       "Ly Son District Portal" with articles, images, video, news,... to introduction about Ly Son District (Island - Cu Lao Re)
·       "Ly Son People Portal" with articles, images, video, news,... to introduction, connection, trading promotion, tourism, ly son garlic.
·       "Ly Son garlic Portal" introduction, trading promotion ly son garlic.
·       "Ly Son people blog" introduction, news, gallery, video about Ly Son.
·       Ly Son Island
·       With many historical, cultural relics and fascinating tourist attractions, the 10-square-kilometer Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai Province of Vietnam is one of the country’s most amazing corners to explore. Though referred by many as the “fairy island,” it is also known for its vast garlic fields with a pungent aroma, thus, is called as the kingdom of garlic. But that’s not all this island can offer. It cradles a very diverse ecosystem with five mountains, including Thoi Loi, Gieng Tien, Hon Vung, Hon Soi and Hoi Tai, which lures tourists with its mysterious caves, imposing waterfalls, and splendid rivers and lakes. And if you look beyond the mountains are lines of stunning beaches laid with colorful rocks, pebbles and corals.

Among the most noticeable attractions nestled in the island are Hang and Duc Pagodas and An Hai Temple. The Hang Pagoda is a peaceful sanctuary with ancient architecture surrounded by beautiful scenery. It is founded about 400 years ago using a natural cave, is a combination of natural feature and human labor, thus of great value in different ways. It is a popular destination for tourists seeking for relaxation in a magnificent and poetic scenery. The An Hai Village Temple in Dong Hamlet, An Hai Commune, Ly Son Island District was built in the first year of King Minh Mang (1820) in an architectural style of Nguyen Dynasty which was reflected in uniquely carved altars or on the surface of rafters, supports and doors.

Not only accommodating various valuable historical and cultural relics, the Ly Son Island also embraces legends associated with many folk and traditional festivals such as Tet (Vietnam’s new year), boat race, hat boi (traditional Vietnamese opera), fish worshipping, and especially ceremonies to pay homage to solders who died in battles in Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands. But if you are not fascinated enough with its hundreds of cultural and historical relics and diversified architecture, the island has a 374-square-meters museum displaying more than 1,000 documents, photos and artifacts associated with the heroic Hoang Sa and Truong Sa troops. The island also holds a cemetery for the late Hoang Sa soldiers. With that, Ly Son is a living museum.

Many artifacts of Sa Huynh and Cham Cultures were discovered on Ly Son island. The Thien Yana and old ruong houses are evidence for Sa Huynh and Cham’s ancient civilizations. Indeed, artworks and historical tokens can come in many forms. But perhaps Ly Son, with its charm, rich history and entirety, is among the few ones that prove to be a token in itself.

Ly Son Island joins power grid
PM Nguyen Tan Dung (left) talks to residents of Ly Son island district as he initiates the building of a 27km underground cable connecting the district to the national electricity grid. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
QUANG NGAI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung initiated the building of a 27km underground cable connecting Ly Son island district in the central province of Quang Ngai to the national electricity grid yesterday.
The project, started in October last year and finished three months ahead of schedule, makes Ly Son the third island district in the country to join the national power grid so far, after Co To in northern Quang Ninh Province and Phu Quoc in southern Kien Giang Province.
Islanders can now enjoy a reliable supply of electricity around the clock, an improvement over six hours a day in the past.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Dung said the project was significant for socio-economic and cultural development in the island district as well as defence and security. He praised the efforts of contractors, workers and relevant agencies to ensure the safety and efficiency of the project and asked authorities in Quang Ngai province, particularly Ly Son, to manage the project effectively, contributing to economic growth on the island and safeguarding national sovereignty over sea and islands.

Cast adrift on Ly Son Island
Ly Son Island, 30km off the coast of the central province of Quang Ngai, is a tranquil destination that can be explored in two days, as Dang Thi Mai Thi and her group recently discovered.
Departed souls: Officials take part in a ceremony to honour the souls of sailors who died during long voyages to the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the Nguyen dynasty in the 17th century.
The group began their trip in Da Nang City on a package tour from Da Nang Beach Travel. A van took them very early in the morning to Quang Ngai’s Sa Ky port, 16km east of downtown Quang Ngai City and a three-hour drive along National Highway 1.
They got on board a 150-seat boat for the hourlong trip to Ly Son Island, which cost VND110,000 (US$5).
“We had to rush a bit in the morning because there is only one ship to Ly Son every day. Tourists have to come to Sa Ky port on time if they don’t want to miss the ship,” Thi said.
“We were lucky because the trip would have been cancelled if the weather was not mild. A strong wind would prevent us from cruising safely,” she said.
One nautical mile away, five mountains form Ly Son Island, of which four are dormant volcanoes.
As soon as the ship docked at Ly Son port, the group was taken to Dai Duong Hotel.
June is the hottest time on the island, so visitors often plan to go in July or August – the best time for fishing – to sample the local seafood at its peak.
Thi’s group landed on the island at noon, in the heat of the midday sun. They slaked their thirst with sugar-cane juice in a stall near the port before checking into their hotel.
A passenger boat docks at Ly Son Island daily. The 150-seat vessel departs
from Sa Ky port in Quang Ngai Province and arrives at Ly Son district in an hour.
“The province is well-known for its sugar-cane. The juice is so sweet and cool and very cheap. A big glass costs just VND5,000 (two US cents) and the juice actually refreshed me,” the 23-year-old said.
The first site the group visited was Hang Pagoda, which was built in the middle of a mountain that was once a volcano. The local people said the pagoda was an ancient Cham structure.
On the top of Thoi Loi Mountain, one of the four volcanoes, local people built a reservoir in a crater to deal with the lack of fresh water in the dry season on the Islands.
“I felt a bit of fear when I stood on the rough rocks in the former volcano crater. The local people constructed concrete paths around the reservoir for tourists,” said Nguyen Thi Le Chi.
Lunch included garlic salad (garlic grows abundantly on the island) and several varieties of sea snail and squid.
The island has 3,000 inhabitants, most of whom make their living from farming garlic and spring onion, and fishing.
The stems and roots of the garlic plant are mixed with pea nuts, herbs and vinegar and served with rice pancakes and fish sauce.
“You should not avoid garlic because of its strong smell. The chefs here create great dishes from it,” said visitor Nguyen Xuan Ha. “Also, garlic salad helps prevent colds.”
Visitors are offered a cup of garlic-soaked wine – a traditional cure for high cholesterol level.
There was not much traffic on the island, so the group decided to explore it by motorbike.
They visited An Hai communal house, and Duc and Am Linh pagodas in the afternoon.
Culinary delight: Ly Son Island, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai Province, has 3,000 inhabitants,
most of whom make their living from farming garlic and spring onion.
An Hai communal house was built during the reign of King Minh Mang in 1820. It’s the oldest building still preserved on the island, with engraved timber girders and beams.
Am Linh Pagoda was a worshipping place for seamen in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the Nguyen dynasty, around the 17th century.
The pagoda was built to worship the soul of sailors who died during long voyages to Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands.
A museum on the islands displays over 200 ancient documents and 100 exhibits which prove that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands belong to Viet Nam.
In the evening, the group boarded bamboo coracles to go on a diving trip with local fishermen.
“There is not any beach on the islands, but we were advised to snorkel to explore the coral reefs around the islands,” said Nguyen Thanh Ha, a tour group member.
“There are many snails and fishes living in the coral reefs. The water here is so clear and safe for diving.”
At night, an outdoor party with a campfire was held at a fisherman’s house, where islanders flocked to share drinks with visitors.
“We had a big party with fresh seafood. We danced and sang with local people. Of course, they expressed their hospitality by giving us garlic wine until we got drunk,” Ha said.
As the ship leaves early in the morning, travellers must wake up early to get on board in time.
Ha and his friends rushed out to the local market, where they bought dried garlic and spring onion, squid and shrimp as gifts to take home.
The group then went shopping in downtown Quang Ngai and had a lunch of goby – a small fish caught in the Tra River – in a restaurant on the river bank.
“It was a short trip, but we had an interesting experience exploring the island. I hope to stay longer next time,” Thi said.
Da Nang Beach Travel offers a package tour from Da Nang to Ly Son Islands and back. The tour lasts one night and two days and costs VND870,000 each passenger for a 10-member group.

The wonderful Scenery of Ly Son Island
    Only a few people know that Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai Province in Central Vietnam was d from five extinct volcanoes during the prehistoric age. With wonderful scenery left by these volcanoes, the island has now become an alluring destination, attracting a large number of tourists.

Seen from the shore on a fine day, Ly Son Island looks like a pyramid on the sea with its top being the peak of Thoi Loi Mountain. Among five mountains founding on the island, Thoi Loi is a rocky one. After a long time climbing the tortuous path on the mountain, tourists reach the peak of Thoi Loi where they have a panoramic view of the garlic field that looks like a chess-board and an immense blue sea dotted with fishing boats in the distance.

According to the old people in Ly Son, the hollow of the extinct Thoi Son Volcano was formerly a primitive forest of different valuable trees and had abundant fresh water resources which ran at the foot of the mountain to form Chinh Stream with Vietnam travel guide. Then, the forest was totally destroyed and the stream no longer exists. So far, there is only a relic left – Hang (Cave) Pagoda. Due to the sea’s impact on geology for hundreds of years, the layers of rock have been eroded and have formed a cave in the shape of a pagoda.

Unlike Thoi Loi Mountain that has only rocks, Gieng Tien Mountain has a special fertile soil, similar to the Bazan soil in Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands). The locals often use this soil and sand to fertilize the garlic fields. Thanks to these fertilizers, the variety of garlic grown in Ly Son has a special flavour that is hardly known in other places.

Around the crater of Gieng Tien Mountain that is smaller than that of Thoi Loi Mountain is a piece of land where no plants can grow. According to the beliefs of the locals, it is the sacred oil that was used as ash on the graves of soldiers of Kiem Quan Bac Hai Squad who laid down their lives when protecting the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands during the reign of King Minh Mang (1791-1841).

To the east of Gieng Tien Mountain is a strange pagoda, called Duc by locals. Visiting the pagoda, tourists learn a story about the Goddess of Mercy who traveled on Bac Hai Sea to save fishermen in distress. Seeing fishing boats being sunk by storms, she tore her robe into thousands of pieces and threw them into the sea.
Source: VNP

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