ClockThursday, 21/03/2024 09:26

"Treasure" lies beneath the canopy of the primeval forest

TTH.VN - Not only is it simply a habitat for creatures, but the primeval forest of the A Luoi people is also a treasure of precious medicinal herbs and a potential for hiking tourism...

Launching Action for Wildlife Campaign“Forest bathing”

 Rowing SUP in the primeval forest. Photo: Phan Thang

1. Following Vien Dang Phu, a Ta Oi tour guide (A Luoi), into the A Pat primeval forest, everyone in the group was excited. Each season, A Pat has a different beauty. Many Vietnamese and international tourists try to climb mountains and cross streams, and experience foraging life like indigenous people. Phu guided us on how to pick wild vegetables, find mushrooms, catch stream fish, and use banana arecas to make food plates...

For this Ta Oi man, the forest is like a mother and father who hugs, protects, and gives food and clothing to aboriginal generations. Now, tourists flock to his hometown thanks to the appeal of wild nature.

With only one day living in the forest, everyone goes from one surprise to another. Rebecca Andrew, an Australian tourist, loves rustic spoons made of bamboo. So, she earnestly asked Phu to make her own set to bring home. People also use rocks to surround the water stream, creating a natural “refrigerator” for cooling fruit and bottled water.

Those lucky enough to have favorable weather will be able to camp, sleep in tents, wait for dawn, and have breakfast by the stream. Hundreds of tourists learned how to live in harmony with nature and began to love the primeval forest, where calamus bushes mingle with the upstream water flowing to the Huong River. 

Humans become tiny in front of the immense majesty of nature. Without worries, guests can relax and listen to the flowing stream and singing birds. Their wounded souls are comforted by the forest mother with mysterious wild energy. The world's dust seems to be purified, and pristine serenity remains.

That’s why a young lecturer in Hue is working with Vien Dang Phu to research and set up a “healing” tour for young people. Hopefully, many people will soon find the keyword “A Pat tour” on websites introducing A Luoi hiking tourism.

2. More than a dozen times going to A Roang for my work, I set my foot on A Po peak for the first time to see people growing medicinal herbs. The feeling of going to A Pat in the morning and climbing A Po in the afternoon is... beyond imagination. The mystery of the mountains and forests has probably created an attraction that keeps us enthusiastically moving forward.

To get to A Po, Mr. Nguyen Van Khay, Head of A Roang Community Forest Management Board, and Ms. Ho Thi San used a machete point to carve holes in the ground just enough to place our feet. Clinging hands to rocks and forest ropes and climbing with one leg at a time, my colleagues and I somehow completed the journey on a cold, foggy afternoon. We crept under the forest canopy to find wild gingers and Homalomena occulta grown by local people to distill essential oils and massage extracts.

“In the past, when natural medicinal herbs were valuable, people would uproot and sell them. Now, natural seedlings are collected and planted to protect the soil and the ecosystem under the canopy of the old forest. When collecting these plants for the project, some of these medicinal plants are kept for continued cultivation,” said Mr. Khay.

70 households in A Roang commune now take turns patrolling, protecting the forest, and monitoring the growth of medicinal herbs. Profits from selling medicinal herbs will be divided equally and reinvested in the next crop. From the scene of exhausted exploitation of medicinal plants in the wild, Ta Oi people have started protecting and preserving the forest so that resources can grow.

3. Returning from A Luoi, I have many exciting stories in my head from the discovery trip. My bag was full of products from the forest - a bottle of massage wine made from several types of fragrant stems and roots, beeswax soap bars, wildflowers, or wild leaf lipstick tubes... Ms. Ho Hue, a female forest ranger in A Luoi, made all of the above-mentioned interesting products. With thirty years of experience in the profession, she has accumulated a remarkable amount of knowledge about medicinal forest plants. Sleeping at her house, I was immersed in the fragrant atmosphere of dried and soaked herbs. Waking up early tomorrow, my body seemed to be permeated with the scent of eucalyptus, basil, wild ginger...

Whenever she goes on patrol or to the market and sees edible or medicinal fruits, she films, takes pictures, and instructs her friends on how to use them. To have “handmade” natural health care products for relatives and friends, she hires local people to search for ingredients and clean materials. She also makes tea bags from natural lingzhi mushrooms and ginseng and brews upland sticky rice wine from leaf yeast... Sitting with her, I heard countless exciting things about the flowers and plants of the old jungle.

Ms. Hue also reminded several tourist attractions with various vegetable appetizers to welcome guests, herbal foot baths for relaxing, and different leaves to preserve food to avoid mold. She hatched a plan to transfer the simple way of making healthcare products to a few tourism communities.

“Under the forest canopy, a treasure trove of precious medicinal herbs exists. Living near a gold mine without knowing how to exploit and use it is a waste. I want to make something completely ‘made in A Luoi’ so that people from far away can immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the natural mountains and forests,” shared her.

4. Besides natural forests, A Luoi also plans 360 hectares for growing medicinal herb according to the National target program for socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the period 2021 – 2030, with an initial investment level of nearly 230 billion VND. While the authorities are implementing a large-scale hunger eradication and poverty reduction plan for highland people, in some places, people have been testing the model of growing medicinal herbs under the forest canopy.

In addition to A Po forest, there is another forest where the Ngoc Linh ginseng project is incubated. Ngoc Linh ginseng only lives under the canopy of old forests, with forest coverage of over 80% and a temperature below 25 degrees Celsius. This model of growing ginseng both contributes to forest protection and creates jobs for people in the upland area. In about two years, there will be an answer to the deployment of the precious ginseng species, considered Vietnam's national treasure in A Luoi. At that time, billion-dollar ginseng forests will open the door to change people's lives on the Truong Son range.

In the past, the forest sheltered soldiers and surrounded the enemy. Now, the forest is bringing prosperity, and for tourism and medicine development... In the startup story of Ho Thanh Phuong, the owner of a homestay with a large-scale sturgeon farm in Hong Kim commune, he said that having experienced many failures and growing up in this land, he realized why his ancestors relied on the mountains and fields to survive well in the past. And why do young people have to leave their homeland at present? Their land is there. Mountains and forests are there. Enthusiasm is all that we need.

Story: Linh Tue
Be the first to review this post!


Gia Hoi Old Quarter: forgotten treasure Part 1: Bleeding heritage

Just a stone’s throw from the Citadel, the Gia Hoi old quarter used to be one of the busiest areas of Hue ancient capital in early 19th century. This invaluable heritage is being ruined day by day with time while how to conserve and promote it is still a big question.

Gia Hoi Old Quarter forgotten treasure
Part 1 Bleeding heritage
A wish for Sinh paintings to be globally known

I was invited to take a ‘Green Hue’ sightseeing trip. Standing on Gia Vien bridge and look northwards on a sunny day, I saw River Huong was supported with different colors: yellow of the Golden Shower tree, scarlet of the Flamboyant, velvet of the crape-myrtle, blue of the sky and green of water. It made me think of a picture of happiness and well-being in the deep memory of more than thirty years: Sinh paintings.

A wish for Sinh paintings to be globally known
Treasure in the forest

“In the highland now, old people like Mr. Quynh Hoang are numbered,” said Le Thi Them, Head of Culture and Information Bureau in A Luoi with her eyes full of regrets.

Treasure in the forest
Hue Buddhist woodblocks - a treasure

Through the ups and downs of history, the treasure of Buddhist woodblocks found in various places in Hue contains a huge source of documents in many fields.

Hue Buddhist woodblocks - a treasure
Return to top