1. Escape the tourist traps
If you’d like to enjoy the stunning views of Halong Bay but don’t want all the crowds, the Da Bac region offers some of the most magnificent scenery in Vietnam. From the lush rice paddies to the magnificent caves, the glistening lake to the limestone karsts – Da Bac is truly spectacular. Here, you can immerse yourself in nature, free of the tourist hordes.
2. Stay with locals
Stay with local families who run traditional homestays in the remote mountain and lakeside villages. All hosts are trained in hospitality, so you’re assured a comfortable but authentic experience. Sleep in a wooden stilt house (with all the mod-cons like hot showers, Western toilets and power points), get to know your hosts, and experience their lifestyle and culture.
3. Enjoy the cuisine
Meals are served banquet-style, with many large, shared plates to enjoy with your fellow guests. The dishes include locally-produced fish, chicken or pork; and seasonal produce for the vegetable or tofu dishes. Rest assured – there are plenty of options for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. You can even watch your meals being prepared by your hosts – and maybe pick up some recipes to take home with you!
4. Get active
Trekking routes link three villages in Da Bac – Da Bia village, Ke village and Sung village – so you can take in the view on foot. You can also hire a mountain bike, play a game of soccer or volleyball with the locals, or enjoy swimming or kayaking on the Da River or Hoa Binh Reservoir.
5. Wind down
Recover from all that exercise by relaxing in a hammock with a Vietnamese coffee while enjoying the lake or mountain views. You can also take a traditional herbal bath, used by the Red Dao people to promote circulation and wellbeing, from a private room overlooking the river in Ke village. Get a good night’s sleep in your homestay, with comfortable bedding and good mosquito nets ensuring that you have sweet dreams.
6. Give back to communities
Action on Poverty’s Community-based Tourism (CBT) project has empowered poor communities in Da Bac to earn sustainable livelihoods. With training and small loans, people such Thao, Sanh and Hoan have benefited from the income brought by sustainable tourism.
Last year, the CBT project welcomed more than 2,000 visitors, contributing $55,000 to the local economy, and another $8,000 to the community fund. This helped to create jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for poor communities in remote Da Bac who were struggling to earn an income.
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Sustainable Development Goals
The Community-based Tourism project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).