(TITC) - Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, a world heritage site with unique values is the pride of Quang Binh Province, as well as of Viet Nam. With love, responsibility for the heritage, many beautiful stories about the process to preserve the values of Phong Nha - Ke Bang have been told by the insiders.
Sustainable tourism development
According to Quang Binh Newspaper, Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Director of the Department of Tourism of Quang Binh, shared about a field trip at Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, including the journey of conquering Son Doong Cave, which showed the success of Oxalis Company and businesses being exploiting products in Phong Nha - Ke Bang. Their success means building an important foundation for tourism in general, and Quang Binh’s cave tourism in particular to develop sustainable.
Photo: Ngoc Mai - Oxalis
Son Doong is the largest cave in the world with many other records and attracts the attention of many Vietnamese and foreigner visitors. By 2019, Quang Binh Province had allowed Son Doong Cave welcoming only a number of 500 visitors per year. After the 90m-high "Vietnamese wall" (a great stalagmite inside the cave) has been conquered, the number is increased to 1,000 visitors per year.
Oxalis Company organizes tours to explore Son Doong Cave. Each trip is limited for up to 10 excursionists with 20 people including cave experts, porters and service staff. In terms of risk rating, Son Doong is ranked 6th, the highest level. The excursionists will spend a 25km journey including 17km of mountain paths, 8km of caves exploration with ropes, walking and swimming in underground rivers depending on the time.
To participate in the expedition in Son Doong Cave, in addition to the budget, visitors must have a health check, especially strictly comply with the safety regulations and how to deal with nature. Although the journey to Son Doong is extremely dangerous, all the necessary items are prepared enough to serve visitors, including the portable toilet with the most advanced and modern technology. In order not to affect the non-stop tectonic process of the cave, the campsites are also carefully considered to place. The path in the cave is limited by two red ropes, visitors absolutely do not step outside the boundary.
"We call it the "red thread" that all businesses, visitors participating in cave exploration tours need to adhere to minimize the human impact on nature. We need to consider Son Doong and the cave system as "living legacies" that need to be respected and have time to recover from exploitation. Therefore, each year, Son Doong is only allowed to welcome 1,000 visitors during the period from March to August, then rest to recover”, said Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam.
Photo: Ngoc Mai - Oxalis
With 6 experts from the British Cave Research Association, 500 porters carefully trained and tested annually with a team of professional staff, Oxalis is considered one of the leading professional adventure travel operators. The carefulness, elaborateness, respect for nature and visitors by Oxalis is the way that Quang Binh tourism businesses need to effectively exploit and preserve the values of the heritage for future generations.
For benefits of the local community
Ban Doong (Doong Village), a small village of almost of Bru-Van Kieu group, lies in Tan Trach Commune, Bo Trach District. The village was formed in the early 1990s. At that time, there were only several households with a few people lived on forests and a self-sufficient life. The village had undergone with many hardships through a long time.
The village is isolated in a flat valley in the core zone of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. It is surrounded by high rocky mountains and forest. Doong Village is wild, because it has no concrete roads, no phone waves, no market, etc.
After three decades, Doong Village is now like a highlight in mountains and forests thanks to the attention of the State and the contributions of businesses and individuals that are responsible to the community and nature, and thanks to also the development of tourism.
Photo: Ngoc Mai - Oxalis
Doong villagers now still live on the forest, but more confident when they are allocated to take care and protect forests of 800 ha. The sources of income from preserving the greenery of forests have improved villagers' lives, and are the sustainable livelihood of Doong villagers.
In additions, as developing tourism, Doong village becomes an ideal stop-station for visitors who join an adventure tour to explore the world's largest cave - Son Doong. Visitors are served a lunch at the village. The villagers contribute some tasks such as cooking, arranging, supplying firewood ... Thanks to that, they also have more income. The village still maintains a typical cultural identity. And with its hospitable and friendly, the people of Ban Doong have left many visitors good impressions that become an unforgettable mark.
Thanks to tourism, the connection between Doong villagers with the world has been closer. Oxalis Adventure Company has positively contributed to the change of Doong village. Ban Doong is now spacious; especially has a beautiful and secure school for children.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, dubbed as “kingdom of magnificent caves” with a history of millions of years of establishment, still contains many mysteries that attract to be discovered. With love and responsibility, today's generations have been writing more beautiful stories to promote and preserve the heritage for today and tomorrow.