Dinghies take on river rapids

truotthac5A 20-hectare tourist site deep in the forest in Hoa Phu Thanh near central Da Nang City is ideal for adventure tours and camping.

Since early this year, the area, 35km south of the city, has become known for trips by rubber dinghy down the 2.5km Luong Dong stream, the first excursion of its kind in Viet Nam.

The journey challenges adventurers who have to zigzag for 50 minutes downstream without paddles.

Tour organisers take tourists to the top of a hill to start the challenge, which include four 4-m falls and large rocks dotting the stream. Each dinghy carries two trippers with helmets and life-jackets.

“The flow of the stream can be sped up by water released from three dams,” said tour operator Nguyen Thi Thien Nga.

“Of course, adventurers have to zig-zag to avoid the rocks, but the rubber boat keeps them afloat.”

Tran Thanh Hai, 30, an engineer, said he visited the site very often.

“I was nervous at first, but I had things under control the second time. Crossing each fall is difficult as the boats plunge from a height of 4m,” he said.

“The adventure eases business stress. It’s a lot of fun with a team of friends and family.”

He considered the cost of VND900,000 (US$42) a head for one night and two days at the tourism site as cheap.truotthac2Trippers end their downstream voyages in a quiet lake. Less adventurous tourists find it ideal for paddling rubber boats.

In Vietnam, young people find the location as wildly exciting, thanks to the dinghy rides, camping and night barbecues.

Twenty bungalows have been set up on stilts where trippers can cook their own food over a fire.

“The location was formerly home to the ethnic Co Tu group, so we built the village as a reminder,” the tour operator said.

“The village houses display Vietnamese old architecture, furniture and the lifestyle of the Co Tu people. It is perfect for groups because they can bring food to cook for dinner.”

Each person pays VND20,000 for a night stay. At night, visitors can go upstream to catch fish or snails for a supper.

“There are a lot of fish and snail in the stream. We went upstream with steel sticks and fishing nets. We even caught fishes with hands, but it’s a bit of difficult,” said Huynh Ngoc Tuan, who completed a two-day trip.

“We grilled tiny snails and fishes and drank home-made wine at a night party around a camp-fire.”

Large groups can order a barbecued pig or chickens, but they can also find local foods.

Tuan said the location had not yet set up a trekking route or mountain climbing service to lure adventurers.

“We have included the site as a new destination for the city. It’s the first adventure where people can enjoy entertainment and nature,” said the tourism promotion centre’s Hoang Truong Chi Giao.

“The centre also promotes the site at Da Nang airport and international fair. We hope the site would be the best choice for tourists exploring the nature with crossing water fall with thrilling rubber dinghy.”

The site hosts around 400 visitors in summer.

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