Lake Bién translates to Sea Lake and is sometimes called the Gem of Gia Lai. It’s easy to see why. We arrive early to find the perfectly calm lake surface reflecting the sky. Later, when we return to eat our packed lunch, locals will be roasting chickens for their picnics over open fires.
We spend a few hours riding around the lake. Tea, coffee and rice are the main crops that grow here. The northern end of the lake is mostly swampy rice paddied. Cattle stumble through the thick mud eating the grass between the rice stalks. Workers wearing triangular hats form blond-coloured dots on the green canvass. A group of younger workers loading a tractor with dried grass laugh and take photos of us with their phones as we ride by. The older workers just stare. One man rides by carrying a bird in his hand. But most people are just working very hard in the blazing sun.