Si Thau Chai hamlet in Ho Thau commune, Lai Chau province, is 1,400 meters above sea level. Its beautiful scenery, cool climate, and Dao ethnic minority culture make Si Thau Chai an attractive destination.
The gate to Si Thau Chai community tourism hamlet (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Si Thau Chai hamlet is home to 60 Dao families – 308 people. In 2016 Si Thau Chai was officially designated a community tourism hamlet by the Lai Chau administration. A year later, the villagers began to develop community tourism models and quickly turned the village into an attractive tourist destination, says Phan A Pao, a local homestay owner.
“Twelve households offer homestay services. Six more households will soon join them,” A Phao told VOV, adding his family opened the homestay in 2018 and needs to expand it because there aren’t enough rooms to meet the growing demand.
“At first I could only accommodate 10 people. Now I have enough rooms for 50 guests. Si Thau Chai hamlet offers paragliding services, which costs about 50 USD for a person to fly for 20 minutes. This is for a flight with a pilot. The high season is from the third lunar month to the Lunar New Year. Foreign tourists are mainly from the UK and South Korea,” said A Phao.
First-time visitors to Si Thau Chai are often impressed by its quietness, its green clean environment, its many kinds of flowers, including climbing roses and orchids, and its many fruit trees, along the road, in the hamlet, and on the mountainside.
The road leading to the hamlet is paved with stone and flanked by stone walls. The households in the hamlet have jointly set up sightseeing huts and outdoor stone tables and chairs where tourists can enjoy the scenery and take photos.
“I find the scenery very beautiful,” Nguyen Hue Chi, a visitor from Hanoi, recalled, adding “The villagers are friendly. The food is delicious. I’m impressed by the homestays, which are very clean and tidy and provide good service. I’m very happy to visit the hamlet. I’ll come back when I have a chance.”
The attractive scenery of Si Thau Chai hamlet (Photo: Thanh Ngan)
Visitors to Si Thau Chai can explore cultural heritages like rammed earth houses with thatched roofs, the traditional houses of the Dao, attend the “cap sac” or “maturity ritual” and the “nhay lua” or “fire dance” ritual, and try their hand at brocade weaving or blacksmithing. Those who like a challenge can try off-road biking, climbing, or paragliding to get a panoramic view of Tam Duong valley.
Lu Van Pao, another homestay owner in Si Thau Chai, said, “Tourists can experience the local culture and cuisine by going to work with a villager. Many visitors come to the hamlet to buy honey. Our art troupes are ready to perform traditional dancing and singing and build a campfire for the guests. Guests and villagers dancing together around the campfire creates a friendly atmosphere. It’s usually crowded at weekends.”
In 2015 Tam Duong district expanded, upgraded, and paved the road to Si Thau Chai, making it easier for tourists to reach the hamlet. The local government has encouraged the villagers to develop tourism, says Tan Thi Nhan, Deputy Chairwoman of the Ho Thau communal People’s Committee.
“We’ve assigned cadres to coordinate tourism activities. The homestays that have tourists will buy food from the homestays without guests to ensure a stable income for everybody. The commune administration gives 630 USD to each household that provides homestay service and the district gives them 2,100 USD,” said Nhan.
He noted, “The households have been encouraged to grow temperate fruit trees like peach, pear, and plum. The growing areas of peach and pear have reached 10 hectares. Peach trees have been grown for 5 years and pears for 4 years. There is a harvest every year. Villagers have also been given seeds and fertilizers. People’s lives have improved in recent years.”
Source: VOV World – vovworld.vn