Eco tourism is a relatively new concept in Vietnam. Last weekend we were lucky to join CSDS to test out their Community-Based Eco tourism model in Bac Giang Province. Our destination: the An Lac commune. Located in Western Yen Tu Natural reserve, merely ~150km away from our bustling capital Hanoi, but An Lac is one of the poorest communes in Son Dong district, which in turn is one of the poorest districts in Vietnam.

We had a great time thanks to great weather, beautiful scenery, charming companions, and above all our very gracious hosts.

Day 1: Khe Vang

An Lac

We left Hanoi at ~7.15am, and arrived at An Lacat ~11.30am. Sitting in a minibus for 4 hours was very tiring, but it was totally worth it.

Our lunch at the host's house

Four families in the commune signed up as hosts for the homestay program. We were lucky to stay at Mr. Tu’s house, which was far cleaner and tidier than we could ever expected. We were treated to a delicious lunch right after arriving. The family doesn’t have an electric cooker, so they cook rice the old way: in a cast-iron pot over open fire, hence the black soot outside the pot.

Thu & Van in our host's house

Inside Mr. Tu’s house. The walls are made of wood panels, the back wall was covered with newspapers.

Van making friend with a pig

Mr. Tu’s wife was so amused by Van’s effort to make friend with her pig.

Our host's house

The little bike of Mr. Tu’s granddaughter

Thu, Van, and Lys

The bamboo trees here have a strange sort of white & grey color. We had to stop to check it out.

Our host and his two grandaughters

Our host, Mr. Tu & his two granddaughters

Walls of traditional houses in An Lac are made of mud and bamboo

Traditional houses in the area have their walls made of bamboo and mud

The little girl is so cute

Newly hatched chicks

Fence

'Mùng tơi' flowers

Granddaughters of our host

Beautiful view

After lunch, we went for a walk to visit some local families

Go for a little walk

On the way to a pig farm

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

Great scenery

So many piglets

So many piglets

Fishnet

Fishnet hanging on a tree

At the beekeeper's house

At the beekeeper's house

This box is for honey bee

Following two local women

On the way out we met two old buffalo shepherds

My fav photo of the trip

My favorite photo of the trip

Buffaloes

Buffaloes

Wild flowers

A local house

Honey bee

The honey-bee keeper

Honey bee

Cassava

A cassava field

An Lac

Communal House

The communal house

On the way to Khe Vang

On the way to Khe Vang

Wild flowers

Some wild flowers

On the way to Khe Vang

On the way to Khe Vang

Then we walked to Khe Vang (Yellow Creek)

On the way to Khe Vang

On the way to Khe Vang

Along the way, we had wild flowers on one side, paddy fields on the other side, and forests in the distance, perfect!

Thuan

Khe Vang – more like a pool at the foot of a small waterfall

Khe Vang

The water was quite cold, so only 3 members of the team ventured out swimming

Khe Vang

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen on the rocks

Khe Vang

Enjoy some corn after a long walk

After a long walk back, we were treated to some corn on the cob

The cat loves corn

A local

The kind mother of our local guide, who gave us the corn

Early moon

We were in An Lac during the Mid-Autumn Festival, and it was perfect. Without light pollution, the moon was so bright and beautiful.

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