25/09/2009 | 23:32:00

Tourists take to life down on the farm

With a myriad of tourists attractions in the Hanoi area, more and more people are now spending their holidays at the “Countryside Farm”, a new destination in Hanoi ’s suburban District of Ba Vi.

Instead of spending their holidays in luxury, tourists are flocking to the countryside’s peaceful environment, which provides a pleasant escape from the busy life of the city.

The 12,000 sq.m farm, located on a hill 60km west of Hanoi , is an attractive destination for families or groups of students on the weekend.
Birds and cicadas sing together as dawn breaks, while the brook provides an ethereal melody all day long for visitors. Tourists are able to walk through bamboo forests and under the shade of hundred-year-old trees such as canarium tramdeums, streblus aspers and dracontomelons.

“We have successfully organised many tours around Ba Vi Mountain . All tourists, including domestic and foreign ones, are satisfied with our eco-tourism services,” says farm owner Ngo Kieu Oanh.

Taking part in this “agricultural tour”, visitors are given the chance to discover the broad space surrounding the mountain, whose terrain and landscape are typical of Vietnam ’s agricultural landscape.
Standing on the mountain, tourists can contemplate the beautiful images before them, like Muong ethnic girls working in terraced fields that stretch for as far as the eye can see.

“What a lovely day! Such beautiful scenery and delicious food, but the bike tour was my favourite part. I don’t want to leave,” says Roth Lavergre from Canada .

The next part of the tour takes about 45 minutes by boat to get to Dam Sen Vuon Vua, a large lotus lake in neighbouring province of Phu Tho . For recreation, tourists may row in a coracle to pluck lotus flowers or just enjoy the fragrance of the blooms.

The tour’s food selections have also been a success with travellers. The menu is seasonally designed. For example, during the Autumn season, visitors can enjoy specialties from chicken, goat and rabbit along with vegetables like malabar nightshade, water morning glory and so on. All of the dishes are prepared and served in two historic houses and a traditional Muong home on stilts.

At Ba Trai Commune, which is well-known for its traditional tea-farming, visitors are able to pick, fry and dry the tea leaves. Once they are finished processing the leaves, the tourists are then able to brew and drink the final product.

The homes constructed from laterite (red clay) are another attraction that lead visitors to Ba Trai. Approximately 70 percent of houses in Ba Trai are made of such material.

Visitors can also explore the maize and cotton fields along the Da River bank.
For most, the Countryside Farm offers tourists a chance to be “real farmers”. Visitors are able to munch on the vegetables they’ve harvested and feast on the fish they caught from local streams. The fruits of labour never taste quite as sweet as those at the Countryside Farm.

“Our students have visited the Countryside Farm and other surrounding places twice. This is really a useful activity since it provides students with knowledge about nature and therefore, teaches them to love and protect it,” says Chu Ngoc Quynh, principle of Kindergarten A at No. 88 Tho Nhuom Street, Hanoi .
“Thanks to the tour, we have been given a deeper understanding of the lifestyle in Vietnam ’s rural areas and have been able to learn more about Vietnamese culture, too,” says Sessa Reiter from Canada./.

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