The story of Pa Khoang Lake’s cherry blossom

Thousands of cherry blossom trees on Pa Khoang Island have been nurtured by Dr Tran Le, a biologist, who has a long career in high-tech agriculture, having developed numerous applied scientific and technical products and plant varieties.

Tran Khanh An

Tran Khanh An

vietname news


Cherry blossoms on Pa Khoang Island attract domestic and international visitors. PHOTO: VIET NAM NEWS

February 27, 2024

HANOI – Pá Khoang Island located in the centre of the pristine Pá Khoang Lake in Mường Phăng Commune of Điện Biên District, Điện Biên Province, is known as “The Island of Cherry Blossoms”.

During spring, visitors can freely explore and enjoy the awe-inspiring landscape of cherry blossom gardens, as well as picnic and take pictures.


Thousands of cherry blossom trees on Pá Khoang Island have been nurtured by Dr Trần Lệ, a biologist, who has a long career in high-tech agriculture, having developed numerous applied scientific and technical products and plant varieties.

“Planting cherry blossoms in Việt Nam is challenging. I saw numerous scientists attempt it, but fail,” Lệ said. “Cherry blossom trees do not need much watering, but Việt Nam’s climate has high humidity and much rainfall.”

“Before planting, I spent many years researching the climate and soil suitable for cherry trees. Climate is the most important factor,” he said.

Having completed his research and assessment, he decided on Pá Khoang Island because of its ideal temperature for cultivating precious cherry bloom trees.

“Located at an altitude of over 1,000m, Pá Khoang island in Mường Phăng Commune has a mild winter without too much rain, creating good conditions for the development of the Japanese flowers here.”

Lệ began cultivating cherry blossom trees in Mường Phăng Commune from 10 seeds that he received from a Japanese friend.

“I chose a native type of cherry blossom from Okinawa Island, which is in southern Japan and has mild, snowless winters that are suitable for Việt Nam’s climate. I started growing the seeds on Pá Khoang Island in 2006, and in the spring of 2013, the cherry trees began to bloom,” he said.

Eight of the initial seeds survived, and after eighteen years, 5 hectares of the 600-hectare island are covered with cherry blossoms in the spring.

“The number of flowering plants is increasing. There are about 100,000 cherry blossom trees on the island, 5,000 of which will bloom brilliantly during spring this year,” he said.

Entrusted by a general

Lệ said that encouragement from the renowned General Võ Nguyên Giáp was the reason he retired to Điện Biên to begin researching cherry blossoms.

Mường Phăng is where the Command Headquarters of the Việt Nam People’s Army was located during the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ. Gen Giáp has left numerous marks on the land, most notably the Điện Biên Phủ victory over the French 70 years ago.

“Following his attendance at the 50th anniversary of the Điện Biên Phủ victory, the general expressed concern that even though the war had ended, the life of the Mường Phăng people remained difficult,” Lệ said.

“In a meeting with scientists of the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, Gen Giáp encouraged us to go to the Northwestern province to do something practical for the benefit of the people of Điện Biên.”

The words expressed the general’s faith in Lệ and served as encouragement.

“Gen Giáp said that we were educated, enthusiastic scientists. If we could do anything to assist Mường Phăng and its people, we should do so.”

Lệ voluntarily started conducting research about soil and climate in numerous locations in Điện Biên from that day.

All his hard work paid off, and Pá Khoang Cherry Blossom Island is now one of the province’s tourist destinations. The annual Pá Khoang Cherry Blossom Festival draws large crowds of visitors to the commune.

“Điện Biên is a unique place due to its historical heritage as well as its potential for boosting the tourism industry. I am proud that cherry blossoms in Pá Khoang draw in domestic as well as international visitors,” Lệ said. VNS

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