ABOUT BHOHOONG VILLAGE
Nestled in the Truong Son mountains range, sitting astride the beautiful Kon River and separated from the local town is the land named Bho Hoong. As one of the few villages that still preserve the indigenous traditional values, of the roughly 350 people, 90% are from the Co Tu ethnic minority.
The Co Tu reside in the northwest mountains of Quang Nam province, as well as the southwest of the Thua Thien Hue province in their ancestral home. They live primarily in small villages in the mountainous regions surrounded by hills and cool streams. The scenery is an idyllic green tea plantation. Like the majority of people living in Truong Son range, their main source of income is from farming activities.
Apart from the spectacular natural landscape and traditional wooden stilt houses, the colorful brocade costumes and festivals, cheerful chimes of the gongs and “Tung Tung Da Da" dancing and rustic folk songs make this village full of charm and mystery. Hunting, collecting and traditional handicrafts (rattan and brocade) still play an important role in the unique culture and simple lifestyle of the ethnic Co Tu.
In addition, the national highways and the legendary Ho Chi Minh trails connect the Southern and Northern provinces from Hoi An and Da Nang city through Dong Giang. The many regional links create significant potential to develop tourism in Dong Giang. These many advantages are already attracting more and more visitors to Bho Hoong village each year, directly supporting the livelihood of the local population.
In the effort to wake-up the tourism potential in the mountainous area of Quang Nam in 2006, Bho Hoong village was chosen as the ideal cultural destination. The first phase of the project has been completed with five Moong accommodations ready to welcome guests. However, because tourism was a totally new concept to the ethnic minority they were unable to sustain the project at that time.
In 2013, Mr. Dzung Pham Vu (Director of Rose Travel Service Co., Ltd) made an inspection trip to Bho Hoong Village with his friends, Mr. Vinh – Co-Founder of Handspan Travel and Mr. Mark Wyndham – Founder of Hoi An Motorbike Adventures. During the trip, they met the two most prestigious and famous village patriarch of the Co Tu, Mr. Briu Pram and Mr. Ykong. They shared the challenges for the village as they struggle with cultural differences between themselves and tourists. They also emphasized the fear of losing their culture. After this encounter, Mr Dzung and friends identified that the most important thing to recover the project was to help locals preserve and promote their original cultural values. They realized that only then could tourism in Bho Hoong Village be successful.
They started working with local authorities and gave presentations with villagers. After many years of discussions, a joint venture company named Bho Hoong Bungalows was started in April, 2013. Five new Moongs and some of service cooperating with the locals. At the same time, this project received support from ILO, NGOs, the local authorities of Song Kon Commune and the People’s Committee of Quang Nam to train and raise awareness for the community by opening vocational training classes for the locals such as brocade weaving, reception, guiding, and cooking, as well as English language training.
After 7 years of operation, the project has faced many difficulties and challenges because Bho Hoong is a relatively new travel destination for global tourists. Finally, with the desire to keep the project, Rose Travel officially bought all of the shares of 2 partners and reinvested in infrastructure, added some services, trained locals to operate more homestays.
Bho Hoong Bungalows couldn’t be more pround of being the pioneer in Community-based Tourism (CBT) in the mountianous area of Quang Nam province. CBT means that tourists visit a local community, which is often located in rural and well-preserved areas. There they enjoy a rich and engaging experience of the local community’s traditional cultures and way of life. Our main goal is to provide a sustainable income stream for Bho Hoong village without sacrificing the traditional beliefs and customs of the local people. At the same time giving visitors a unique chance for cultural interaction and exchange.
In order to achieve this goal, Bho Hoong Bungalows has worked with the villagers and their leaders to ensure that they believe in, understand, and value the project we helped set up. The key to any project such as this is creating a sense of ownership among the local people, involving them in a project that they believe in. The more aware the locals are of the value Western tourists place in their unique culture the more enthusiastic they are about preserving it and sharing it with others.
A number of traditional wood and rattan bungalows have been upgraded to provide modern comforts Western travelers desire without losing any of their original charm and grace. Local people have been provided training in hospitality and as tour guides. Villagers, traditional farmers and craftsmen have been enlisted to supply fresh produce and to showcase Co Tu culture with their unique moonlit gong and dance performances, artisanal skills, and guidance.
Every traveler who stays at Bho Hoong village pays a compulsory fee. This goes directly to the Bho Hoong village management committee. This fee is covered within the tour price and helps build a sustainable future for the local villagers.
Through these responsible travel initiatives we hope to enhance the living conditions of the community, maintain and improve the local natural environment whilst enriching the travellers’ experience.