Vietnam’s Huu Lien: Ecotourism destination in pristine Lang Son

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
It’s perfect for camping in Huu Lien community-based eco-tourism village. TRUYEN HINH DULICH/VNA

The Huu Lien community-based eco-tourism village is an ideal destination for tourists when the Covid-19 pandemic is under control because of its beautiful pristine scenery.

About 120km northeast of Hanoi, Hu Lien village is located in Huu Lien commune of Lang Son province’s Huu Long district.

The spot is surrounded by a wonderful landscape. The craggy limestone mountains, mysterious caves, underground streams and clear lakes create a unique ecosystem, making visitors feel like they are in harmony with heaven and earth, with wild and natural scenery.

Autumn is also the best time to visit Huu Lien village, when nature boasts its most charming appearance.

The entire commune is located in the 8.9ha Huu Lien National Forest Reserve, which has two primary forests and an extremely diverse and rich ecosystem with 776 species of plants and 409 species of animals, of which about rare 30 species of plants and 61 species of animals have been listed in the Red Book.

Huu Lien Forest is likened to the green lung of the northeast region thanks to its rich and diverse ecosystem, magnificent cave systems, underground streams and emerald lakes.

In addition to Huu Lien National Forest Reserve, about 3km north of the Huu Lien Commune People’s Committee, Dong Lam Steppe is an ecological area of around 100ha. It is surrounded by limestone mountains and adorned with streams that flow to Lake Dong Lam.

In the dry season, Lake Dong Lam dries up. In the rainy season, the steppe becomes more beautiful than ever, when the water rises to form small winding rivers. The water here has a jade green colour, creating a charming landscape. At this time, visitors can experience kayaking or rowing around the lake.

The Dong Lam Steppe is very spacious. Along with the cool autumn weather, tourists often choose this place to organise outdoor activities like camping. Tents and colourful kites are also indispensable for travel to Huu Lien. This area is suitable for both adults and children to fly kites together. With family groups, these can be memorable experiences.

The steppe and herds of horses have become a special attraction for tourists and photographers.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Huu Lien community-based eco-tourism village is an ideal destination for tourists. TO QUOC/VNA

At the end of the steppe there is a small lake, visitors can go by raft around the lake to see the scenery and soak in the beauty of nature.

“I had the chance to discover Huu Lien community-based eco-tourism village. It was wonderful. I love the immense steppe here with the blue lake, delicious food and new experiences.

“This destination is not too far from Hanoi, the road is easy for travel. In our group, there are many people with different ages but everyone feels happy and comfortable. There is almost no sign of urbanisation in this area.

“The people here are gentle, friendly and hospitable. Early in the morning at the homestay, hearing the rooster crowing, going out to breathe in the fresh air by the stilt house and kitchen smoke makes me very excited,” said Hanoian visitor Nguyen Phuong Dung.

Learning about culture and cuisine

The prominent feature among the rice fields in Huu Lien village is the houses on stilts halfway between the mountains and clouds of the old forests.

The commune has a total area of more than 6,000ha and is home to more than 3,000 people, including ethnic Tay, Nung, Dao and Mong people.

In the rice season, the landscape here is even more beautiful. Visitors can see the image of people harvesting in the field, smell the fragrant rice mixed with the smoke of burnt straw.

Mid-September and early October every year is also the persimmon season. On the way to Lake Nong Dung which is not far from the steppe, there are persimmon gardens right on the left. If you go at the right time, you can easily pick persimmons and buy them in the gardens.

After experiencing and enjoying the beautiful scenery, you should return to your homestay to enjoy local culinary specialties such as grilled chicken, grilled pork with mac mat (clausena indica) leaves, grilled stream fish, boiled mountain snails and pumpkin cake. If you want, you can also order food to cook in the steppe or lakeside, the homestay will prepare and bring it to you.

Huu Lien now has six homestay facilities to welcome visitors.

Vi Van Tuyen, the owner of Ngoc Bich Homestay, said Huu Lien villagers have received a lot of support and training from local authorities towards developing community-based tourism.

In addition, Huu Lien has many other attractions, depending on the season and weather conditions. About 10km from the commune, tourists can visit the field of buckwheat flowers, Khe Dau Waterfall and Xuong Pong Cave.

Huu Lien is also a place to keep the ethnic customs, traditions and culture alive, like the intangible heritage such as Go Chua festival, Pa Xoan singing, Then singing or ancient cheo (popular opera) performance.

Huu Lien is expected to be an attractive destination for tourists because of its unspoiled, beautiful nature and intact indigenous culture.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK