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A wander around Vietnam’s mysterious ‘pomu kingdom’

Monday, August 15, 2016, 19:12 GMT+7

A Fokienia forest in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam has become a national treasure known for its wild and mysterious atmosphere, capturing the heart of any visitor who sets foot there.

The untouched 'kingdom' of Fokienia trees, locally referred to as the ‘pomu,’ is situated in A Xan Commune, Tay Giang District.

To get there, visitors need to hop on a UAZ, a light utility off-road vehicle, which travels from the center of Tay Giang to the Vietnam-Laos border.

During the 40-kilometer journey, which often takes over an hour, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a local primary forest that has had little to no human interference.

On Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper'svisit, upon arriving, another group of travelers were taking a short break before their vehicle ventured deeper into the forest on a muddy path, created by locals to help tourists.

The large trunks of the Fokienia trees began to reveal themsleves before Nguyen Hieu Cuong, an intern of the Southern Institute of Ecology, could not help vocalizing his emotions, stunned as he was by the raw beauty of nature.

“Welcome to the ‘pomu kingdom’! Please take your time to enjoy the wide variety of trees here including the ironwood, cinnamon, and most importantly, the Fokienia,” Huong, the UAZ driver, said.

As the team of adventurers travelled deeper into the jungle, temperatures began to drop, despite the sunny weather, and the view became garnished by blue streams as well as the harmonious sounds of the forest.

The UAZ then carefully descended a slope leading to the Zi Lieng tourist village, constructed next to a stream by local authorities featuring 10 stilt houses.

After unloading luggage and equipment, Huong quickly steered the UAZ away from the venue and handed over tour guide responsibility to A Lang Nhu, a forest protection officer, and Hoi Mia, an official of the village.

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The stilt houses preserved for tourists in the middle of the Fokienia forest in Quang Nam Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Discovering the mysterious forest

After packing hiking equipment and insect prevention substances, the visitors started their journey through the ‘pomu’ forest, while the two tour guides kept reminding them not to smoke, light a fire, or take anything from the jungle.

The adventurers were overwhelmed by the mysterious beauty of the large Fokienia trees, and the unique scent of their sap.

According to Mia, a team of scientists had conducted research inside the forest in 2014, and said that the oldest tree was over 1,000 years old, while the forest itself was between 300 and 700 years old.

The hikers advanced slowly to higher altitudes, and were walking on a thick layer of mulch, while being surrounded by the unique-looking ‘pomu’ trees.

One ‘pomu’ was labeled ‘the dinosaur,' while another was called ‘the elephant,' based on the respective shape of their roots which had formed over centuries, Nhu said.

Another distinctive feature of the forest is the large swarms of butterflies that are attracted to the area by the smell of the Fokienia sap, and serve to stir up the environment with their gentle, colorful movements after laying such a gentle touch on the trees.

Exhaustion dissipated after the travelers reached the altitude of 1,500 meters, and were proud of their accomplishment in getting there.

As the evening began casting shadows, Nhu led the tourists to a path along a stream and into an area where the young ‘pomu’ trees of over 100-years-old are grown, before taking them to their accommodation at the village.

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