Triem Tay Village Preserving the Beauty of Vietnamese Countryside

9:59:06 AM | 25/5/2020

While landslides are becoming more frequent, it is perhaps unimaginable that a village with two-thirds of its land area having slid into the river is made a million-dollar tourist site. But, the tourist village of Triem Tay, located downstream of the Thu Bon River (Quang Nam), is being revived from this seemingly unworkable situation.

Reviving a ‘dead village’

In 2009, Triem Tay village in Dien Phuong commune, Dien Ban town, Quang Nam province - ‘green oasis’ on the bank of the Thu Bon River, not far from Hoi An ancient town was called a ‘dead village’ because two thirds of its area slid into the river and villagers were forced to leave their ancestral land. At that time, Architect Bui Kien Quoc, French National Academy of Architecture, proposed a very audacious but popular idea: Preventing erosion by ecological embankments. Instead of using hard and costly embankments that still risk cracking and destroying the landscape, this project used ecological embankments built from natural materials such as sand, rock and grass to protect riverside bamboos. After three years, the ecological embankment project was completed to prevent landslides.

The project proved to be effective as it stood firm and protected Triem Tay Village during the rage of Typhoon Nari in 2013 which devastated the surrounding area. Villagers returned and built houses in the village. Technical success and the realized goal convinced UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to open a new path for local people. Supported by UNESCO and ILO, completed projects have helped upgrade and develop Triem Tay community-based tourism village since 2015.

After building up public trust in his anti-erosion project, Quoc invested nearly US$2 million to build Triem Tay Gardens, a tourist site featuring the original architecture of a Quang Nam-distinctive rural village with private pools, bamboo houses, wharfs, handicraft villages, yoga clubs and gardens. Eco-friendly houses are assembled with bamboo, roofed with cogon grass, with large windows and doors to catch light and regulate temperature in different seasons of the year in Vietnamese style. Resting on a wooden bed in the middle of the summer afternoon, you will see leaves everywhere, white clouds, running water in the river, and people and tourists seeking peaceful corners of memory. Triem Tay Village, characterizing the beauty of Vietnamese countryside, has made many people believe in the value of living in harmony with nature, retaining the village culture before the expansion and complexity of urbanization. This successful architecture is built sustainably in the harmony of the river, grass, water, thatched roofs and bamboo ranges. The harmonious combination of nature and human creativity revived a ‘dead land’.

First-class product in the market

Talking about his decision to invest nearly US$2 million to turn a village with two-thirds of land sliding into the river into Triem Tay Garden Resort, architect Bui Kien Quoc said, after 35 years living in France, he decided to return to his hometown of Hoi An with the desire of helping his country. According to him, there are two ways to help the country: one is perspective and the other is experience. Particularly, the perspective is to affirm the special values of Vietnam, which may not be seen or noticed by ourselves. The experience is to avoid the mistakes seen in other countries on the path of modernization, industrialization, urbanization and commercialization.

From his living and working experience in France, Quoc said that countryside products are the first class of the market. “I am an academic architect in Paris but I am a native of Quang Nam. Therefore, the launch of the Triem Tay Garden project is an anti-landslide pilot using an ecological and organic approach, a sustainable architectural model - respecting nature, respecting the community, and cherishing the local culture. I think that high-class tourism is a residence with beautiful views from windows. There, rooms, beds, televisions and refrigerators are free gifts, and the beauty can bring great value of as much as US$500 a night,” he said.

This idea was realized. Triem Tay Garden has welcomed many foreign visitors. This is also the place where the famous director Tran Anh Hung organized a training class called Autumn Meeting for young directors. UNESCO and IUCN hold annual conferences and regular discussions on environmental, rural and social issues here.

A student sent a message to Quoc saying: “Triem Tay is love, memory and something that leaves a lot of memories. Something that is green and warm”. “If so, I am more successful than what I expected,” he said cheerfully. Indeed, what Quoc wanted is making Triem Tay Village a model for other cultural tourist destinations across the country. Building but not distorting the landscape, developing but not destroying the traditional cultural value, and the Triem Tay village is a testament.

Remarking on the business investment environment in Quang Nam province, architect Bui Kien Quoc said that procedures in Vietnam should be streamlined. For example, following the success of the anti-landslide embankment project in Triem Tay, with the government's encouragement and support, he asked for permission to expand this project on the nearby riverbank. It took more than 18 months from him to obtain a permit and the riverbank was eroded away over 30m more. “As far as I am concerned, tourists coming to Vietnam are not to watch cable cars, amusement parks or roller coasters, but they come to see the beauty of the countryside, rice fields, and traditional culture because they cannot see these things in Europe or America. Vietnam is among a few places where these beauties are kept and they need to be preserved. I also expect the government to restrict the construction of riverside roads because this will seriously impact the inherent beauty of the above locations. I believe that if we do this, in the next 5 or 10 years, Vietnam's tourism will develop sustainably, and every tourist coming here will feel the love, as I did, the first time on this land,” he concluded.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum