Weekend camping trips allow Vietnamese Covid reprieve

By Lan Huong   May 29, 2021 | 02:00 pm GMT+7
With localities banning large gatherings and closing entertainment facilities over coronavirus fears, urbanites are flocking to eco-friendly camping grounds.

Nhung, a resident of Hanoi, sought to take her four-year-old kid outdoors instead of letting him play video games and watch TV amid the capital-wide shut down of tourist sites, public parks and gatherings of more than 10 people during the nation's fourth coronavirus wave.

Every other weekend, her family of three escapes to deserted locations near Hanoi with green forests and fresh air to mitigate coronavirus fatigue.

Some ideal camping destinations recommended by Nhung’s family include Xuan Son National Park in Phu Tho and Dong Lam steppe of Lang Son, both a mere two hours from Hanoi.

During their trips, the family prepare tents, tables and chairs, cooking utensils and food supplies for a total VND1-1.5 million ($43.37-65.05), traveling by private car to avoid contact with strangers.

Nhung said short family trips to deserted locations close to nature are ideal as the new outbreak limits travel and weekend activities.

"Through camping, my son has learned life skills and more about nature, helping us clean up trash prior to our departure.

"It's great for kids, especially since electronic screens are unhealthy, especially over long periods," she said.

Nhungs son watches a herd of horses grazing on a grassland at Dong Lam steppe in Lang Son Province during his familys camping trip, May 2021. Photo courtesy of Nhung.

Nhung's son watches a herd of horses graze on Dong Lam steppe in Lang Son Province during a family camping trip, May 2021. Photo courtesy of Nhung.

Thai Hoang, a currently out-of-work tour guide in Ho Chi Minh City, also goes camping and trekking on weekends, preferably by motorbike.

His most recent trip was to Dinh Mountain in southern Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, home to famous beach town Vung Tau. Dinh Mountain was a famous revolutionary base in Chau Thanh District during the Vietnam War and is now a top trekking destination thanks to lush green forests, murmuring streams, small caves and Buddhist temples hidden on its peak.

The total cost for his two day, one night trip came to only VND1-2 million, including all necessities.

Hoang said camping was a safe option amid the coronavirus threat since it helped avoid close contact between people. However, he advised groups should comprise of no more than two or three campers and adhere to local safety recommendations.

"While many people are gathering in cafes and restaurants, it is safer to go camping close to nature," he commented.

Le Vinh De in Hoai Nhon Town of central Binh Dinh Province, home to beach resort town Quy Nhon, also enjoys nature with his family, with his hometown yet to record a single community transmissions during the ongoing wave.

Normally, the family would arrive at their campsite around 2 p.m. on a Saturday, set up a tent, tables and chairs, and then watch sunset. In the evening they typically gather around a small fire, grill delicious food and enjoy a completely different experience from urban life.

The Sun Hill in Binh Dinh Province where Des family camp out. Photo courtesy of Le Vinh De.

Sun Hill in Binh Dinh Province where De's family regularly camps out. Photo courtesy of Le Vinh De.

Early the next morning, the family wakes up early to catch the sunrise, admire the natural scenery and do morning exercises, then has breakfast, cleans up, and returns home. His ideal camping destination is Sun Hill in An Lao District. The trip costs around VND500,000 per person, including food and equipment rental.

De added campers need to comply with local travel restrictions and that furniture should be bought from home, limiting exposure on the road.

 
 
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