In the kingdom of Huu Kien white horses
When talking about travel to the northern province of Lang Son, you may think of the historic Chi Lang Passage which used to be the barrier protecting Vietnam from Chinese invaders or the famous Nhat Thanh-Nhi Thanh-Tam Thanh caves.
Horses are very popular in Khau Sao Meadow with a population of nearly 2,000.
But in recent years, a new attraction in Chi Lang District has sprung up, namely Khau Sao Meadow with its vast grass fields and thousands of horses.
The beauty spot has become known as the kingdom of white horses as it's home to nearly 800 of the stunning creatures.
It sounds to me a perfect escape from the city whenever stress from life and work gets me down. It's a place without car honking or skyscrapers blocking my view, where I can climb hills, enjoy relaxing fresh air, green grass and trees and befriend animals.
|The road to the Khau Sao Meadow is difficult with high slopes.|
From Hanoi, it took me a 2.5-hour drive to get the meadow, with two-thirds of the time on the Hanoi-Bac Giang and Bac Giang-Lang Son highways. After getting off the highway at Dong Mo Town, the road from National Highway 1A to the meadow is a challenge as the small concrete path passes along the mountains through villages, rice fields and forests to Huu Kien Commune where the meadow is located. That 20 km road to the meadow at an altitude of nearly 800 metres is not easy with some slopes up to a 15-17 per cent gradient incline.
|A white horse and her baby graze at Khau Sao Meadow.|
But once I got past the difficult highland road, the green prairies stretched as far as my eyes could see. Relaxation, population me.
Setting foot on Khau Sao Meadow, I could feel the cool, fresh, unspoiled nature right away. I have been to many hills, valleys and meadows across the country, but Khau Sao Meadow brought a different feeling, more peaceful and strangely beautiful. Probably because there were not many people around.
|Khau Sao Meadow is mainly grassland, so it becomes an ideal place for cattle such as horses, buffaloes, goats and cows to graze.|
Khau Sao Meadow covers more than 144 hectares among hills and mountain ranges from 800-1,000 metres above sea level. The area is mainly grassland, so it's an ideal place for animals such as horses, buffaloes, goats and cows to graze.
Locals allow their horses to freely graze and there are said to be about 2,000 in the meadow, including 800 white horses, a rare native breed of Huu Kien Commune. Purebred horses in Huu Kien Commune have small bodies, weighing from 70 to 100 kilos. They are raised to sell for meat or bone glue.
In the morning, local people take their horses to the meadow and let them roam free. The horses are individually marked with a bell around their neck corresponding to the household that owns them.
|Nong Thi Sao feeds a white horse with maize.|
I spoke to local woman Nong Thi Sao who was grazing a mother white horse and her 15-day-old foal.
She said the white horses are sold for a higher price than other horses, with an adult fetching VND50 million-70 million (US$2,200-3,100).
“Selling two white horses could help us rebuild our house while selling four could help us buy a car,” she said.
|Visitors can befriend with the animals in the meadow.|
Of course, besides the fresh air, green grass and animals, there are people you can meet here. The people in the meadow are mostly Tày and Nùng ethnic people, who are very kind and gentle. They will talk about their cattle and horses and how to take care of them. If you are lucky enough, you will be invited to have dinner with them as you take a magical break in the meadow. VNS
Located in the northern border of the country, Lang Son province regularly enthralls visitors with its romantic and stunning array of natural scenery.
Lang Son, 180 kilometers from Hanoi, has huge tourism potential: historical relics, scenic spots, temples, and pagodas.