A 34-year-old man with childlike appearance is a the successful investors in tourism in Ly Son District, Quang Ngai Province.
Cao Ngoc Canh
Everyone in Cao Ngoc Canh's family has normal height but Canh was special with a height of 1.26 metres and a child-like face and voice.
"My mother said I weighed 3kg at birth and cried really loudly. But for some reasons, my body just couldn't grow up. During high school, I was only one metre tall. I just I grew a bit more after walking and travelling around a lot," he said.
In 2006, Canh studied at the Information and Technology College in HCM City. After graduation, he worked for an IT company in HCM City but the travelling passion never disappeared. Since 2010, he has organised trips to various locations in Vietnam including Mount Fansipan, A Pa Chai Border Marker Zero and Lung Cu Flag Tower with friends. He always took photos and wrote about their experiences on the internet as a guide for others.
When he turned 30 years old, Canh was determined to conquer the Fansipan as a birthday gift to himself. "When I set foot on the peak, I decided to return to my hometown in Ly Son and make a career there," Canh said.
Canh (R) with a group of children on a trip to Ha Giang
At first, he opened a restaurant but failed. In late 2017, he joined a start-up programme held by Quang Ngai authorities and won a reward for his home-stay topic. In early 2018, his parents let him use the house for business. Canh spent VND100m (USD4,300) to renovate and turn it into a 20-room house. He also bought many bikes for rent.
"I contacted the bus, boat, restaurant owners to link the businesses," he said.
Thanks to seven years of travelling, Canh knows every corner of his hometown and more. Along with his charisma, Canh is a popular tour guide of many tourists. However, there are many occasions which he was mistaken for a child.
Once a customer called to book a room. But when she heard Canh's child-like voice, she asked him to put her through to his parents and didn't believe that Canh is the owner. Another time, Canh was a tour guide for a Vietnamese-American group. A woman also told him to ask his parents for help when she saw him. However he had worked with a group member before so the other tourists were persuaded.
According to Canh, summer is the best season in Ly Son when tourists can watch the reefs and catch sea cucumbers. At night, bonfires can be held at the beach.
However, because of Covid-19, all businesses have been affected since March. In early May, Canh received customers but fewer since everyone is still wary. "We mostly have family groups of three to four members," he said.
He went on to say that the tourism season in Ly Son only lasts for eight months because of storms and bad weather. During the social distancing period, Canh focused on his hobby which is collecting ornamental trees. VietNamNet/Dtinews
The coronavirus outbreak has dealt a strong blow on the tourism industry. Thousands of tour guides in HCM City are sitting idle as domestic and international travelers have canceled tours.