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Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park 7 Days 6 Nights

South East Asia is the home of the rice paddy field. Here you can still experience the traditional style of agriculture with its use of irrigation, hand tools and water buffalo, with the farmers working in the rhythm of the seasons. Agriculture is at the heart of the nation, and has helped develop and uphold its strong traditional values. While the wet rice paddy fields form the bedrock of the Vietnamese village culture, each ethnic minority still manages to preserve its own unique traditions, with regards to housing, clothing, language and spiritual beliefs, values that are largely lost in the world of globalism. By participating in meaningful activities of rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park, you will not only be helping the local farmer in his toil, but you will gain some insight into a world devoid of consumerism, a life defined by hard work and the weather and barely touched by the 21st century.
 

Type of tour: Private
Tour code: BB40E
Departure date: 10/ 20/ May & 01/ 10/ October
Destination: Ba Be National Park
Duration: 7 days

Tour itinerary:

Day 1 : Hanoi - Ba Be Lake
Day 2: Orientation and first experience of harvesting rice with the local people
Day 3: Great Day harvesting as an enthusiastic volunteer farmer
Day 4: Hiking in the hills in the land of the Dao people
Day 5: A day of work in the highlands
Day 6 Farewell to the Dao, a walk through the jungle and a boat trip back to Ba Be lake
Day 7: The end of the programme and return to Hanoi

Day 1
Hanoi - Ba Be Lake (L,D)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-cutivation of rice
You will be picked up from your hotel at 08:00 for the journey to Ba Be National Park, a drive of approximately 230 kilometres. On the way, you will visit a Tay minority community, the second largest ethnic group in Vietnam after the Viets, who mostly make their living from the cultivation of rice.
You will have plenty of opportunities to take photos before continuing to Ba Be National Park, arriving at about 16:00 to check in at the Homestay in Bo Lu, right on the shores of Ba Be Lake. You will have time to rest or stretch your legs and explore the area before dinner which will be served at a local restaurant.

Highlights and activities: Ba Be National Park
Accommodation: Mr Linh's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 2
Whole day of orientation (B,L,D)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-volunteer
After a delicious breakfast at your homestay, your coordinator will help you with orientation, and introduce the ways of farming life, the seasonal and daily timetable, the tools and techniques of harvesting and how to work cooperatively with the local farmers.
Much will depend on the intensity of the sun, and on this first training day we will take it slowly, resting as much as necessary. You will return to your homestay at 17:00 for a shower and a well-earned rest. Dinner will be a wonderful feast of local Vietnamese food, typical of that eaten by the farmers. Your coordinator will join you, so there will be plenty of opportunities to relax and learn all about the local culture.

Highlights and activities: a 3-5 km walk
Accommodation: Mr Linh's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3
Great Day harvesting as an enthusiastic volunteer farmer (B,L,D)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-harvest
As true farmers, you’ll be waking with the first crow of the cockerel, and have an early breakfast, grab a sickle, gloves, palm hat (and tissues!) and head out to the paddy field. Today the farmer will decide which rice terraces are ready to harvest. Rice is cut about 20 centimetres from the base and then tied into bundles.
You'll have earned your lunch of sticky rice with sesame and peanuts. In the afternoon the farmer may need to spread the rice out in the sun or do some threshing. You should experience a good variety of the processes of rice harvesting. After a hard day's work, you will no doubt be ravenous and more than ready for the delicious dinner that will be prepared for you at your homestay.

Highlights and activities: a 3-5 km walk
Accommodation: Mr Linh's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 4
Hiking in the hills in the land of the Dao people (B,L,D)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-trekking
This day of trekking will be a fantastic way to take in the luscious scenery. Your coordinator will lead you to visit Coc Toc Village, where the Tay people live by fishing. You will need to cross the Pelu Stream, and the terrain may be rough, with mosquito repellent a must, but it will be well worth the effort as when you reach the top you will think you have reached paradise.
You will then continue into the highlands to Nam Dai Village where you will meet the Cash Dao people and enjoy a picnic lunch. You will have dinner in a local Cash Dao’s homestay in Na Nghe Village, but be careful with the corn wine which may accompany your meal, before you settle down for the night.

Highlights and activities: a 10-13 km walk
Accommodation: Mr Hung's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 5
A day of work in the highlands (B,L,D)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-cash dao
In the hills, you will notice that the type of agriculture is completely different. Without the large areas of flat land common to the lowlands, the farmers have the more complex task of combining terraced rice paddy fields with cultivating corn in little patches all over the mountainsides in order to grow enough food. You can easily see the difference in lifestyle now that you are amongst the hill tribes, and depending on the needs of the local minority, you will help with tilling the soil, planting or harvesting or it may be community work like painting the school. You will stay overnight again at the Dzao homestay.

Highlights and activities: a 3-5 km walk
Accommodation: Mr Hung's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 6
Trekking and boat trip (B,L,D)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-boat trip
After breakfast at the homestay, it will be time to bid farewell to your Dzao hosts.
First, you will follow the trails to Nam Dai Village and then continue through the forest to see Dau Dang Waterfall which lies within the two provinces of Bac Kan and Tuyen Quang. At lunch, you will be joined by Mr Pirate, the main actor in the "Ba Be Lake Pirate Movie" and then take a boat trip up the Nang river. The river passes right through Puong cave famous for its thousands of bats numbering 18 different species.
Here we can take some time to explore the amazing patterns of the stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over the years of erosion. On the way back, you will visit An Ma Temple before returning to the lake shore. After dinner, you will be able to enjoy a performance of traditional song and dance of the Tay and Dzao minority groups. After enjoying your final party, you can sink into bed for a restful night's sleep.

Highlights and activities: a 3-5 km walk
Accommodation: Mr Linh's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 7
The end of the programme and return to Hanoi (B, L)
Special Tour: Rice harvesting and community help in Ba Be National Park-Puong cave
We will leave straight after breakfast and head for Hanoi hoping to arrive at around 16:00. As the hills and valleys and the fields and forests fade from view, you can reflect on the wonderful experience you have had, sharing the landscape and the homes, the culture, the food, the work and the play of these very special people.

Highlights and activities: a 3-5 km walk
Accommodation:
Not included
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

The facts

This is an Ecotourism with Volunteering and Experience programme so for all involved it is a win-win situation and everyone is rewarded for their efforts.
We aim to bridge the cultural divide, fostering tolerance and global awareness and you will gain an insight into the changes that can be effected in less advantaged communities.

Climate
From July to September the climate is usually humid and hot.
From October to June the weather is usually cooler and more pleasant.
Activities may be affected by the weather

Transport
Vehicle with A/C
Boat

Coordinators
Our coordinators have good organisational skills, and know how to encourage the group dynamic.
They have fluent English, are enthusiastic flexible and friendly, and they are extremely knowledgable about local culture, history and the environment.

Planning your trip
 Harvesting is in crop only, the best is between May and June; between October and November.

Tour price includes
A/C Van
Home stays
Experienced local guide.
Ba Be lake boat trip
Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner)
Small gifts for the school children.
Working tools (sickle, gloves, palm hat)
All sightseeing tickets.

Tour price excludes
Personal expenses, drinks, tips and gratuities
Travel insurance
Beverages
Other services not mentioned above.
Tip for Tour guide & Boat man.

What to take
Pack essentials, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, comfortable walking shoes. Take a small day pack for hiking and trekking.   
We also recommend packing: insect repellent, sun cream, raincoat and sun hat...
It is essential to bring your passport on this trip.
 
Have a nice journey!
 
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