First eco-friendly bamboo house opens for tourists

The first traditional eco-friendly bamboo longhouse, sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, was inaugurated on Feb. 15 in Ta Lai village in Tan Phu District in the southern province of Dong Nai by the management board of Cat Tien National Park in the presence of several local residents.

(L to R) Tran Minh Hien, director of WWF-Vietnam, K'Yếu, an ethnic minority participant in the project and Tran Van Thanh, director of Cat Tien National Park at the inauguration ceremony (Photo: SGGP)

Funded by World Wildlife Fund, the traditional bamboo longhouse in Ta Lai village amid the rugged surroundings of Cat Tien National Park was complete in five months by the end of 2011.

Built entirely out of environment friendly material and in the traditional style, the 125 square metre longhouse eco-lodge in the heart of the Cat Tien Reserve offers a spacious living area with four separate rooms that can accommodate up to twenty-five visitors.

This sort of community tourism is expected to help local residents benefit from natural resources. It will also help to reduce deforestation by providing economic alternatives to the local people, create a desire to preserve the region for its natural and economic value, and by expanding local and global awareness of the rainforest.

Ta Lai longhouse is an adventure resort overlooking virgin forests and steeped in the culture and history of the S’Tieng and Ma minority groups, where locals welcome you with a smile. The small eco-lodge enables tourists and small volunteer groups to share in the life of the indigenous local community.

This tourism model is one of the many eco-tourism development projects in wildlife reserves in Vietnam conducted by WWF since 2008. Local residents received training for the necessary tourism related skills including how to interact with tourists, background on the history and culture of the area and cooking various types of dishes.

The project helped to set up a cooperative to encourage ethnic minority groups to engage in business practices. The cooperative will manage tourist activities in the area and cooperate with professional tourist agents.

By Anh Phuong - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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