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
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.
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.
Inside Mr. Tu’s house. The walls are made of wood panels, the back wall was covered with newspapers.
Mr. Tu’s wife was so amused by Van’s effort to make friend with her pig.
The little bike of Mr. Tu’s granddaughter
The bamboo trees here have a strange sort of white & grey color. We had to stop to check it out.
Our host, Mr. Tu & his two granddaughters
Traditional houses in the area have their walls made of bamboo and mud
After lunch, we went for a walk to visit some local families
On the way to a pig farm
So many piglets
Fishnet hanging on a tree
This box is for honey bee
On the way out we met two old buffalo shepherds
My favorite photo of the trip
The honey-bee keeper
A cassava field
The communal house
Some wild flowers
Then we walked to Khe Vang (Yellow Creek)
Along the way, we had wild flowers on one side, paddy fields on the other side, and forests in the distance, perfect!
Khe Vang – more like a pool at the foot of a small waterfall
The water was quite cold, so only 3 members of the team ventured out swimming
Lichen on the rocks
After a long walk back, we were treated to some corn on the cob
The kind mother of our local guide, who gave us the corn
We were in An Lac during the Mid-Autumn Festival, and it was perfect. Without light pollution, the moon was so bright and beautiful.