Treks do the trick for releasing pandemic tensions
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A tourist sits atop Lao Than mountain peak in Lao Cai Province with sea of clouds, October 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Chiem
Trekking in remote mountainous areas and other green destinations has become a trend among Vietnamese tourists seeking a release from pandemic confinement blues.
Ha Chi, an office staff in Hanoi, said she trekked to Lao Than Mountain in northern Lao Cai Province for the first time in her life last November and conquered the peak that stands 2,860 meters above sea level.
After being confined to her house for a long time due to the pandemic, Chi wanted to do something in harmony with nature without crowds around. So, she decided to experience trekking though she had no previous experience.
Lao Than of Phin Ho Village in Y Ty Commune is well known among the Vietnamese trekking community for its beautiful scenery at cloud level.
Driven by the same desire to be close to nature without large crowds, Hoang Trung, 24, another Hanoian, went on his first trekking trip last month and scaled Phia Po, also known as Cha Mountain, in Lang Son Province. He trekked a total of 16 km in eight hours.
Trung said trekking was "really not easy at all." Good health and a lot of patience was needed, he added.
"After returning home, I was totally tired and my limbs hurt; but, after some days I felt healthier and became "addicted" to it (trekking)," he said.
In the near future, Trung plans to conquer other mountains in the northern region including Ba Vi (Hanoi) and Lao Than (Lao Cai).
Children prepare to join a trekking tour inside Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh Province, October 2021. Photo courtesy of Tran Trung Kien
To catch up with the new trend, some travel firms like Viet Trekking and Umove Adventure have launched trekking tour packages, including transportation, meals and porter services.
Tran Trung Kien, CEO of Hanoi-based Umove Adventure, said outdoor activities such as camping, SUP paddle boarding and mountain trekking have become increasingly popular among domestic tourists.
Every week, his company organizes two trekking tours with about 60 participants. Compared to previous years, the number was not too large, but the number of people joining the tour for the first time accounts for a high percentage, he said.
Favored trekking destinations include Ta Chi Nhu (Yen Bai), Ta Xua (Son La) and Lao Than (Lao Cai), he added. Domestic tourists were also keen on trekking tours to deep forests in Cat Ba National Park (Hai Phong) and the Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh Province, Kien said.
He said the trekking had gained in popularity because many travelers were afraid of crowded tourist hotspots because of the pandemic. So they preferred to trek in remote mountainous areas and/or forests.
According to statistics from the Department of Culture and Information of Bat Xat District in Lao Cai Province, Lao Than Mountain welcomes about 300 trekkers every week while Ky Quan San receives around 150 people, a slight increase compared to the same time last year.