Ha Long Bay, the World Natural Heritage Site situated in the North- East region of Vietnam is renowned for picturesque natural scenery with thousands of limestone and schist islands seemmingly floating on the sea. Wonderful caves and grottoes, Tuan Chau islet, Bai Chay beach are familiar sites for tourists in ordinary tours to Ha Long.
In recent years, community-based tourism has been developing in Ha Long and offers tourists a new choice besides traditional leisure itineraries. Travelling to Ha Long these days is not only the kind of mass tourism that gives “ lazy” tourists common entertaining activities to do like swimming, sight-seeing, sunbathing, relaxing or just simple enjoyment in luxurious resorts. Community-based tours haven given tourists more chances to experience and learn new things.
Situated 30km north-east of Bai Chay port, Vong Vieng, a fishing village that belongs to Bai Tu Long bay, is one attractive tourism spot of community-based tours in Ha Long. Visiting Vong Vieng, tourists will be enchanted by picturesque scenery and peaceful daily life of local people. There are more than 50 families with 300 residents living in floating houses, raising and catching fish to earn a living.
Joining the tour to Vong Vieng, tourists will stay with local families in floating houses, enjoy typical dishes of the area, visit fish farms, learn how to catch like a pro, and join in activities at sea. After the long day, the visitors can opt to go for sight-seeing on the boat, buy some eye-catching souvenir made of shell by local people, or just sit on the boat at night to enjoy traditional folk songs performed by the local people.
These tours provide some significant financial assistance directly to the host families and the community, and thus contribute to economic betterment in the area, where most of the residents are still poor. Moreover, community-based trips bridge the difference between hosts and guests, help tourists understand and respect the cultural value of the local people.
The new features of community-based tours in general are getting preferable review by tourists, especially when mass tourism is something too common, and as time passes more and more tourists are loving meaningful and interesting experiences. If Ha Long is in your list this summer, check with the tour operators to see specific itineraries before booking.