Developing Tourism Products on Karst Culture

2:17:29 PM | 10/23/2015

The aspiration to change stone into tourism strength and economic development on Dong Van Plateau is mainly from inner strength and karst culture, said Dr Tran Huu Son, Deputy Director of the Association of Vietnamese Folklorists in a discussion with Vietnam Business Forum. Thanh Nga reports.
As a national culture researcher, would you share something of the Dong Van Karst Plateau?
Dong Van Karst Plateau concentrates on special attraction about the culture of ethnic groups that is the most outstanding and typical cultures in Vietnam. The specialty in the culture, life, productive labour of ethnic groups makes the geological park especially attractive, besides nature’s grandiosity. In an area with only rocky mountains, human has adapted to the life on karst. They live on karst, build houses on unstable karst and are also buried in karst. The life, production and spiritual life of the people here all relate to karst. These particular conditions help develop tourism on Dong Van Karst Plateau, and the area is concentrating on developing tourism products from karst.
It is necessary to create remarkable point in the activity in Dong Van Karst Plateau, what do you think?
Firstly, it is necessary to study behaviours on karst to build special tourism products from karst.
To create typical tourism products on Karst Plateau, firstly we must find out and have studies on karst culture, know thoroughly the geological park’s attraction, ethnic groups there, find out the people’s behaviours in relation to karst. How do local people build fields on the mountains, irrigation and water saving systems, houses on unstable karst slopes, and how do they live relying on karst to grow food. Spiritual life also has a strong attachment to karst. In karst caves, researchers found illustrations of dances on karst; and many aspects of regional cultures are associated with karst.
Living on Karst, it is necessary to explain how karst is attractive, creates products for tourists to find out and experience how people cultivate crops on karst, what the people eat on karst, how the Mong people build their houses, and even use karst to build houses and create beautiful fences. In their life, water is an important issue, and irrigation systems bring water sources to their houses a fields. The Mong, Lo Lo and Dao people have an effective irrigation system, the Dao people have an upward irrigation and then distribute water to every area. Springs are now discovered but the people’s water use is same as previously. Rain storage is used all year around in local houses; all houses have water tanks. Previously, water tanks were made by wood, they are now replaced by other materials; however, such water use is a special character.
Secondly is karst cultivation, the ethnic groups on the Karst Plateau practice various types of cultivation, but a common characteristic is to farm land on small pockets of dirt. The most typical Karst cultivation on Dong Van park is the Mong, Lo Lo and Pu Peo people. There are many Karsts and little land so tourists coming here will feel very surprised that with a pinch of land on small caves, maize and cucurbit are very fresh, the local cultivation methods are a special native knowledge that is required to study to choose suitable crop. Many new maize crops are grown to replace old maize crop. In fact, some crops are not suitable and they have to reuse old crops the native used to grow ago. Karst cultivation tools are very special. The Mong people have made themselves labor tools in line with karst cultivation such as coulter, plough but the most famous forge and cast products by the Mong people is the coulter. The Mong coulters are tempered strongly, sharply and firmly that are likely to butt against karst without nicks and able to cut tree roots.
In addition, it is required to develop some tourism products; find out, visit plants grown on karst, every type, various growing and cultivation methods. How to perform catch-crop technique, coming to Lung tao to see how the people grow linen for textiles, how the people grow alternate vegetables and fruits, the whole catch crop system is very attractive, here cattle are left unbridled in a precinct with surrounding Karst fence. Cultivation – breeding – handicraft has supported mutually forming a tripod, a common model so that ethnic groups have developed. Recently, additional advantage, a newly developed type is goods exchange, a new developing step currently, thus, a border area market system has also developed, especially kermis. After Karst Plateau is advertised, the people’s new livelihood is appeared that create tourism products and economic development.
- Physical culture and behaviours in relation to karst: House, Village and Mountain Village are also a subject to develop into tourism product. What are signs of a Mong, Lo Lo village? The Mong people always have Karst fences, Dao people’s houses always have a forest and they live close to the forest, protect the forest. Adjacent to Dao mountain village, there is always a forbidden forest, they protect the forest and have a sacred forest on headwaters. The Dao people never destroy the forest. They consider the forest as a protector and keep water from its headwaters. Without a forest, the Dao people will maintain a sacred tree as a tent and form a sacred temple for worship.
Besides, there are many trade villages maintained from olden times such as ironwork and cast-work, and woodwork, producing saddles, water tanks, and water pipes previously.
Previously, people here ate maize mainly, they now know how to process but which method to process, previously food processing tools are from Karst, how karst maize mill is attractive. Many emigrating Mong villages always carry 3 things: linseed bag, corn kernel bag and karst mill. It is required to preserve and develop karst mill work, wax printing work for creating Mong dress, etc. It is all issues required to study and create actual tourism products.
Even with such specialties, Dong Van Plateau still hasn’t really created good, typical karst products. Will these be lost to oblivion without preservation and development?
Ha Giang Province needs a museum of karst culture so tourists are likely to visit and get valuable information here. Research is vital for developing and preserving karst culture, creating extremely special values unique to Dong Van, from thence, building the attraction for tourists to come to Dong Van geological park.
Karst culture museum will be a very attractive destination in which all karst, physical, spirit cultures give some typical characteristics: how Mong people’s karst graves, funerals are, how karst graves from various families are, traditional behaviours, what are carving achievements for road opening. How to preserve villages and karst cultivation, how the Dao, Mong people cultivate on karst, how cows in karst areas are. It is possible to choose specialties from the Mong, Lo Lo and Dao people as typical models in order to show karst culture models, karst traces. A vestige is required to thoroughly study as tourism place, develop public tourism, traces relating to karst, present the people’s behaviours on karst to the environment, nature, karst architectures, experience karst, inner karst, karst religion, the ancients’ talent in karst culture behaviour, food culture, folk vulture, festivals from karst, etiquette serving karst, karst behaviour legend;
Using Karst Culture topic to build tourism products in Dong Van. When these tourism products are formed and developed, I believe that Dong Van Karst Plateau will become not only a geological park with a speciality of geological construction, but also attractive by inner Karst’s soul, creating typical tourism products from the unique karst in Dong Van Karst Plateau.