Educational support for the locals provides sustainable eco-tourism opportunities. What is meant by eco tourism is that visitors are encouraged to explore the beauty of Vietnam’s surrounding areas while ensuring that tourists do not damage the natural and social environment. Greenheart Travel’s project partner in Vietnam is helping to facilitate educational information and advice in these efforts, and act as an ongoing liaison with families who operate the home stay provision and key members of the community who can influence the success of these efforts. Preserving the natural state of Vietnam’s outdoor attractions is important, and focuses on the problems of littering and pollution with the help of the locals.
The key is to empower local people with the knowledge and skills to do the protection and maintenance, and encouraging visitors themselves. This means that they can continue to be self-reliant, without the need of outside corporations who may take over for base level financial gains at the expense of the social fabric and ecological homeostasis.
The future will be more about standing back to allow the ownership of these initiatives to belong to the local people. It is good to know though that it is the locals who will benefit from the income and any economic profit will remain within the villages. The work in these eco-tourism initiatives started in the autumn and continues into 2013. Thank you to the Greenheart Travel Grant for helping me contribute my efforst in making a difference to this project.
A few areas that should be mentioned in preserving the natural beauty of the environment are listed below:
Nuoc Vang and Khe Din are two streams that merge in the middle of the forest forming the Khe Ro Stream and is where the name Khe Ro Forest originated. The eco system is made up from a diverse range of life forms at all levels; there are said to be around 786 different types of vegetation alone. These include things like incense, ironwood and pomu, thonglang, ba tich. As for animal life another 226 are known of covering 81 forms of Orders, 24 families. Some of these species are in the ‘Red Book’, and are said to be ecologically at risk. The forest itself this is located in the Tay Yen Tu Natural Reserve.
Vung Trong is a walk of about 25 minutes along a bubbling stream for from an entrance into the forest, out of which a round lake emerges, and apparently how it gains its meaning. The water is cool, clear and fresh. This is where the Rangers have their accommodation, a house built on stilts, to avoid problems of flooding. The Rangers are also being encouraged to participate in rubbish and litter reduction, as part of the education program.
Khau Tron Peak takes about 2.5 hours to get to there and back from Vun Trong and around 3 hours for less experienced hill climbers and scramblers. A faster way is through a number of climbs to Khau Tron Peak. Bamboo forest is evident at places as well as Ironwood, Vatica Vietnamese and other plant forms. On the top is a grassy area where people camp out at in the summer.
Khe Vang. The Vang part refers to yellow. This yellow comes from the chlorophyll of plant growth on the bottom of the lake. It takes about 45 minutes by motorbike and another 15 minute walk from the community house. The natural state of the water has lead the local government to set up the water systems from Khe Vang to the village / hamlets for daily use. Unlike the Vung Tron which was created by two streams, the Khe Vang is a peaceful lake following a heavy waterfall. The deserted landscape adds to the romance of the location and is far from the bustling crowd in Hanoi.