“Private” islets on Tri An Lake
By Nguyen Vu Moc Thieng
|Some bungalows on Robincao’s islets|
A Vietnamese singer left the hustle and bustle of urban life to do ecotourism and live in harmony with nature on six islets in Dong Nai Province
Farmer and singer Cao Minh several decades ago left his city to reclaim nearly 20 hectares of land in Dong Nai Province’s Vinh Cuu District. Cao Minh soon became a “genuine” farmer, doing all the farm chores by himself, from building houses to driving a bulldozer.
However, such a rural lifestyle gradually lost its appeal. Cao Minh wanted to find something new. He later moved to Tri An Lake where he now owns six islets. Calling himself “Robincao,” a new name created by merging Robinson—the main character in a the famous adventure novel “Robinson Crusoe” by England written Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)—with his family name, Cao.
Cao Minh’s six islets are four kilometers from the shore. The largest islet covering five hectares is home to stilt houses and many trees while the smallest one is only half a hectare. Each islet is around a half to two kilometers apart. Robincao’s islets are shelters of hundreds of bird flocks as well as plants. In the raining season, visitors can see many young birds in their nests. Trees on the islets are around three to five meters high, providing enough shade for all. Cashew nuts are available on the islets all year round. In October, dien dien flowers (Sesbania sesban) are in full bloom there.
Electrical appliances on the islets are run by solar power. Robincao usually rides his speedboat to the shore to buy food or call for food delivery. He enjoys simple meals and does what he likes. Sometimes, he returns to the city to sing or act in a movie.
Occasionally, Robincao welcomes several visitors who have to follow his four rules: no drinking, no karaoke, no noise and no TV.
The islets have recently become ideal places for special sports like paragliding, standup paddle boarding, kayaking, etc. Besides, visitors can catch fish in Tri An Lake and prepare meals by themselves.
Internet is out of the question on Cao Minh’s islets. Instead, visitors should have books, tents and sleeping bags on a trip to the islets on which they would listen to songs performed by Robincao.
To ensure the tranquility and peacefulness, the “owner” of the islets receives only 30 to 40 visitors per day. A visitor has to register in advance. Although services there are primitive, many travelers still love the places.
How to get there
Travelers may ride a motorbike to Ma Da Market where they travel three kilometers to 6 Mui Street. Next, turn right to B2 Street and travel seven kilometers more to get to Tri An Lake. Get aboard a boat and you’ll reach the islets.