Visiting the ancient town Vietnam as a farmer
Visiting the ancient town Vietnam, Lee Stamm, a fourth-year forestry student from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and his girlfriend Annalies Bayles had holidays in Hoi An, but with a twist. They went on the “One day as a resident of an ancient town” tour.
“I’m surprised about the interesting and memorable tour,” says Stamm, who was guided to the Tra Que – Cam Ha vegetable farming village near Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam. His girlfriend, meanwhile, entered the Hoi An town to learn to make lanterns.
Stamm went through an introduction about the village and its agriculture and made a visit before starting work as a Vietnamese farmer with other villagers. Hosts and guests hoed land and raked and fertilized the ground to plant young cabbages. During the break, they grilled corns for eating and afterwards, he was guided to carry out tasks on the soil before trees are planted. Although the work was slow, both the hosts and guests enjoyed themselves.
Lunch at noon is usually colocynth (also known as bitter apple) and the province’s signature dish tom huu, whose main ingredients are vegetables. After the break, Stamm chose seeds for planting and tended the trees.
Then there are the cabbages to harvest. “Each bundle of cabbage only costs VND 500 (US $0.03),” Stamm says after selling the harvest. “I just paid US $25 to work as a real farmer with friendly people here. And I can even find flowers right there to present to my girlfriend.”
From idea to tour
Hoi An Tourist Service Company started such intimate tours to get to know the locals in 2004 and they quickly found success. Tourists can participate in the activities of Thanh Nam fishing village, Tra Que vegetable village and in making lanterns.
The tour has become an essential part in the programs of international travel companies in the central region.
“After eight months of surveys, we officially opened the tour,” Vo Thi Thu, director of Hoi An Tourism and Service Co., says. “A tour to work as an artisan costs US $30 a person and it costs US $25 to be as a resident in Tra Que and Thanh Nam villages.”
Tourists have opportunities to access traditional manufacturing methods, work and live as a farmer and exchange experiences with residents in the ancient town, she added.
Tang Ngoc Thu, an owner of a lantern making shop at 190 Tran Phu Street in Hoi An, said that he enjoyed working with foreigners to make lanterns, from sharpening bamboo to knitting frames, gluing silk and decorating the product.
Vietnam Tours of trade villages are part of the program of the National Tourism Year 2006 in Quang Nam province Vietnam . The program will feature tours of riversides and traditional villages in April and May. They are expected to boost the development of the tourism industry in Quang Nam, which is home to more than 100 trade villages, including 18 that are leaders in their respective operations.