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Da Lat

Вьетнам Сайгон Да Лат

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#1 Den

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Отправлено 29 Январь 2013 - 01:48

Da Lat
AS KHUE VIET TRUONG DISCOVERED, JOURNEYING AROUND DA LAT, EVEN IN THE SUMMER RAIN, IS A TRULY UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE. PHOTOS BY KHUE VIET TRUONG
Da Lat is beautiful in the winter when the streets are awash with yellow from the flowers of the marigold tree and the Mexican sunflowers. On the hills are pretty yellow mimosa flowers; and of course, there are apricot blossoms and cherry blossoms everywhere. However, Da Lat is equally as beautiful in the rainy season, when people from other towns and cities stay in their houses out of the sunshine, students are on holiday and many businesses and organisations arrange holiday trips.
Da Lat is a favourite destination for many precisely because it is beautiful, even in the rainy season when there is constant rain. The temperatures are not too low, hovering around 19-20°C, but it is pretty cold for some people and you may need to wear a jacket when walking along the streets at night.
Buses from Nha Trang or Ho Chi Minh City usually arrive in Da Lat at noon. The first stop for many visits is Prenn Waterfall, which is pretty swift during the rainy season though the water is a muddy brown because of the alluvial soil.
You may get caught in the rain the first time during your visit. But the drizzle in Da Lat is not heavy and does not last a long time. It is pretty strange, sometimes just enough to wet your hair, just enough for couples to huddle closer to one another.
Fortunately, the rain only falls in either the morning or the afternoon; so visitors can continue sightseeing when it is not raining.
At the entrance to Da Lat, some hotel owners arrange for employees to take visitors by motorcycle. Many visitors refuse such service thinking they are bad people. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to the rain; the City’s flower park is still busy with tourists. There are many different kinds of flowers on display, and if you do not want to pay for a ticket you can still enjoy looking at the entrance gate beauti­fully decorated with flowers. Park benches can be found at various places, so visitors can sit down and take a rest.
During the rain, you may choose to visit Thuy Ta (floating) eatery to sit and sip a cup of hot coffee and admire the beauty of Xuan Huong Lake, half hidden in the rain. A number of visitors even love taking a pedalo out on the lake in the rain, maybe because pedalling around in the highland rain is such an exciting or unfamiliar activity for them.
The coffee shops from Ong Dao Bridge to Hoa Binh on Le Dai Hanh Street are a very special feature of Da Lat. Each coffee shop is decorated in a different way. At one such shop, there are tables inside, outside along the side and even at small comers for couples.
receive the business cards of such xe om (motorcycle taxi drivers) even r you are visiting Da Lat for the very first time.
Hordes of visitors come to Da Lat in the rainy season, but there are always enough rooms. So, you can follow the guides to Bui Thi Xuan Street, which is dubbed the tourist street’. Room rates are quite reasonable, on average, from VND200,000-VND250,000/ night for two people. And even at 3-star hotels room rates are just VND300.000- -.’ND350,0001 night.
Traveling to Da Lat in the rainy season is particularly interesting. If tou go by motorcycle, you can enjoy seeing Da Lat hidden among the mist and fog. Tourist attractions and beauty spots remain open even when it rains. However, you should always remember to take a raincoat or poncho with you in case the heavens suddenly open.
Flowers can be found in every street and on every street comer in Da Lat There are more dark-coloured flowers than any others. On Tran Pr.u Street, there are flowerbeds, and there is a flower park near the sport stadium on the road which encircles Xuan Huong Lake. Even in
Drinking coffee in the rain is actually a real pleasure as one enjoys the panoramic view, the cold air and the wetness. It is also interesting to look down at the glistening streets; and you may want to stroll into Da Lat Market. Visitors in raincoats often crowd into the Market, which is pretty busy with tourists.
The rainy season is part of Da Lat. It is as if the highland city, which is cool all year round, is kept clean by the rain as it washes away the dirt on the sharp leaves of the pine trees. Rain makes the grass along the streets grow well to greet visitors.
At cheap eateries that serve breakfast, two long benches on both sides are full of customers. The customers who arrive first huddle in the cold. Experiencing Da Lat’s rain in the' morning is also unforgettable.
You may stay in the hotel, looking through your window at the drops of rain falling on the streets. Vehicles pass by in a way that is also typical of Da Lat. As soon as it stops raining, visitors pour out of their hotels and guesthouses to find their way to Than Tho Lake, Love Valley, & Datanla Waterfall to enjoy looking at Da Lat’s many waterfalls, Da Lat’s flowers and Da Lat’s green pine trees.
BICH VY INVESTIGATES THE GROWING DEMAND BY SAIGON CITY DWELLERS FOR A WEEKEND GETAWAY, AND HOW AGRITOURISM COULD FITTHE BILL
Increasing demand for green space
Migrants have been flooding to Saigon for many years, as it has become a pioneer of a fast-growing metropolis in Vietnam and an economic example that other Southern cities are urged to follow.
Construction sites mushroom, new houses and buildings take up spaces previously occupied by green parks and pristine river channels. People wake up to noise from construction instead of the chirping of birds. They inhale dust from vehicles’ exhaust pipes instead of brisk air from early winds.
Day by day, as people become tired of the noise and dust, the hustle and bustle of this big city, they seek any chance to escape. Urban citizens are in search of genuine locales where they can relax by a peaceful riverbank, play hide-and-seek on green hayfields, or catch fresh fish from clean lakes.
They desire more time with their families and an opportunity to show their children (without the aid of modem media) how natural creatures live peacefully in the environment.
The area around the Crescent Lake (Phu My Hung, District 7) seems to be busy every weekend. Parents take their children here to enjoy fresh air blowing from the lake. Little children can run wild, releasing their abundant energy, as vehicles are prohibited in this area. A line of trees shade a green field where some adults decide to relax, books in hand.
This seems to be one of only a few precious green spots still available in the midst of this ever-expanding city. People wish to find more places like this either in their neighbourhood or further afield.
While waiting at the front desk, I chatted with a family of four. They astounded me, saying that they had come all the way from Saigon to Dong Thap by public bus. ‘The cost of a good hotel is a bit high these days, thanks to the crisis, while the drive from Saigon to other Southern provinces is more convenient than before,’ explained father.
He is among a growing number of urban citizens whose busy lives make it nigh on impossible to take days off for travelling. Many them now prefer weekend day trips to overnight tours. Having a trip at a low cost is a simple goal of many families.
Recognising this increasingly growing demand, tour agents hai launched tours that take people to rural areas where vast emp: spaces are still in abundance. Saigontourist has started ‘Wee! Tours’ to Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Cu Chi, and the Mekong Delta provinces every weekend, in the hope that it can give urban citizens chances learn about farmers’ lives or the beauty of wild forests.
In fact, some agents have even diversified their services to mi their customers’ needs. For instance, knowing that urban citizens fond of nature, albeit thirsty for privacy, tours to Phu Quoc or Var Phong Bay allow to customers spend their time alone on the isli Customers can swim in the pristine scenery to their heart’s conten: before phoning their private tour guides to take them back to mainland.
Unfortunately, these tours usually do not have large amounts repeat customers. The reason for that being that they focus too mud- on the ‘sight-seeing’ factor without promoting family bonding healthy living - something that customers can hardly find in big cities
Many complain that “weekend tours’ usually repeat the s; format, rendering customers bored after more than one visit.
The quality of service is not good value for money given the amount spent on such a tour,’ said Ms Tran, who lives in District 7. As a result, customers often end their weekend trips disappointed, which will indeed have a negative effect on the number of new or repeat customers.
By contrast, some tour agents have admitted that they do not put much focus on “weekend tours’ as such target customers are inherently independent travellers. It is rare to have a large group of travellers join such tours. Hence, the agents usually endure high costs, especially when the tours cannot meet the required number of travellers.
Agritourism on the rise
Green spaces aside, urban citizens increasingly demand a place where they can leam about agriculture. That is why agritourism is becoming more popular. To escape city life, people occasionally like to visit farms for short stays.
Agritourism, with its more than two hundred years of history in the world, finally makes sense to many Vietnamese farmers, who are finding ways to diversify their incomes as increasing urbanisation often pressures them into selling their farms. Ba Vi Farm in Hanoi has proved to be a very successful example of this business model.
In Southern Vietnam, agritourism has started to blossom in Western and Mekong Delta areas, where farming is still the main source of income for many families. If fifteen years ago, Saigonese only had Cat Lai as the choice to go fruit picking and sightseeing, they now have a variety of options to choose from, from Binh Chanh Village to Long Khanh garden, from Cu Chi Cultural Minority Village to Vinh San Garden House.
However, instead of making agriculture the focus, many farmers shift their focus entirely to tourism. The scene of a genuine farm being taken care of by hard-working farmers is often replaced by entertainment areas such as ostrich riding or car racing, which are not relevant to what people want to leam about agriculture.
While visiting several farms in Southern Vietnam, we have been impressed by the entrepreneurial way many farmers have organised their farms. They invest in all sorts of activities. Swimming pools, duck-rating, pig-racing, orchid gardens, lakes and animals; often all in one place.
Unfortunately though, except for a few references to village life here and there, we hardly find any comprehensive information on farm life, which surely should be the main theme of such places.
An agritourism enterprise is a business conducted by a farm operator for the enjoyment and education of the public, and to promote the products of the farm, and thereby generate additional farm income’. That’s how Duncan Hilchey, a US expert on organic farming, defined agritourism. On that basis, Southern Vietnam neglects the ‘education’ element as fanners focus too much on the ‘income’ part.
Recently, however, some international organisations such as the Dutch Farmers Association have initiated projects that promote agritourism in the Mekong Delta. They hope to help farmers to understand the true purposes of agritourism, which must go beyond the purely financial. Farmers should inform tourists about a range of community activities. Tourists can also experience farm culture through homestay visits or by dining with farming households.







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