Old French dwellings a base for Ba Vi to grow

Spread out over more than 10,000ha, Ba Vi National Park, which is 60km to the west of Hanoi’s city centre, offers amazing biodiversity, luxurious and eco-friendly tourist resorts, a selection of mysterious French architecture, and so much more.

Some 200 relics of French colonial buildings from a century ago have now become wonders for trekkers to discover.

Old French dwellings a base for Ba Vi to grow

Gateway to Ba Vi National Park

Tree roots engulfing the ruined architecture creates a mystical scene. Some parts of the buildings remain intact, revealing the French architectural style in their stairs, floors, pillars, and walls.

While many villas and mansions of French officials were destroyed during wartime, many have been preserved and are interesting detours for visitors.

From Height 600m to Height 700m, a buggy tour delivers tourists to French relics hidden deep inside the jungle, including a church, a cannon emplacement, a ladies’ camp, a mansion of an army colonel, and other villas scattered nearby the modern Melia Ba Vi Mountain Retreat, which was built on the foundations of an old French resort.

The Melia has a unique location amid the natural beauty of Ba Vi Mountain Range, blending a perfect fusion of French colonial architecture and the traditional architecture of Vietnam’s northern region.

Trekkers can discover various routes through the forests, such as the one traversing Ngoc Hoa Stream and bamboo forest.

Wild sunflowers, or dã quỳ, are scattered around from October to November. A rose myrtle species from Thailand blooms from the beginning of summer, with its purple colour representing love and loyalty. Meanwhile, golden shower trees bloom in early summer, giving tourists some great photos.

A conference on making the most use of the French architecture relics on Ba Vi Mountain was held recently in Hanoi, with the aim of acknowledging the cultural and historical value of the remnants and identifying how to revive this “sleeping beauty” and develop the site in a sustainable manner.

Initiated by the Vietnam Association of Architects (VNAA) in co-operation with Melia Hotels International Group, the conference took place in early September in Hanoi, gathering together 150 Vietnamese and foreign experts in architecture, culture, preservation, art, history, and tourism.

Many documents regarding the resort town built by the French on Height 400m, Height 600m, and Height 1,000m were revealed for the first time at the conference. These are evidence of harmony between Eastern and Western cultures, between the French lifestyle and local natural spaces.

“Anyone who visits the French relics on Ba Vi Mountain will realise that the town should be revived and its story told,” said Nguyen Tan Van, chairman of the VNAA.

“It is necessary to promote the site, restore its old buildings, and spread Ba Vi’s historical and cultural stories, but development must go with preservation, which is a key strategy to boost local tourism.”

“Our task is to identify the right way to make investments, respect nature and the environment, restore the relics, and add to the site while preserving the harmony between the jungle and the buildings.”

“It would be of great regret if the century-old remnants were to be consumed by the jungle and completely disappear.”

“Reusing old buildings in a positive way is a solid strategy for protecting heritage for present and future generations,” he said.

“Ba Vi Mountain is like nowhere else in Vietnam, with a French resort area built in harmony with nature and respectful of local culture. I support the idea of putting up new buildings on the foundations of old villas.

 

“The old architecture of the French is diverse and functional and includes villas, churches, libraries, kindergartens, and restaurants, so I would suggest highlighting them.”

Paredes added: “We can use eco-friendly materials, design new buildings in an old style to match the previous architecture, and create a comprehensive project wherein myths, history, nature, and luxury come together.

“Nestled amid Ba Vi Mountain Range and with fresh air and panoramic views of the plains, the site is the ideal getaway to relax and liven up your senses.”

Painter Thanh Chuong, meanwhile, said he felt moved upon seeing hundreds of ruins on Ba Vi Mountain. Traces of villas hidden among trees are evidence of the splendour of the past. What belongs to culture must be protected, but we must still promote its value. If not, days of yore will simply be buried forever beneath the roots of ever-growing trees.

“Ba Vi National Park is a precious primary forest, of which there are only a few left in Vietnam, and Ba Vi Mountain has an important place in terms of history, culture, and spiritual life for the Vietnamese people,” Chuong said.

“So, whatever we do, we must respect and protect the forest. I believe the operation of the Melia Ba Vi Mountain Retreat will be done in a proper manner. New buildings don’t harm the jungle, as they are built on the grounds of the demolished French buildings.”

Chuong also spoke of the lessons to be learned from overheated development at other mountainous tourism sites such as Tam Dao, Da Lat, and Sa Pa.

According to Dang Van Bai, a member of the Vietnam National Cultural Heritage Council, Ba Vi is like an oasis of relaxation. The French built villas that were suitable with the local climate and inspired by the beauty and simplicity of traditional Vietnamese wooden houses.

He suggested how best to promote the French relics as part of tourism in the national park.

"Such a project needs transparency in distributing the benefits between all parties and must be under the control of the local government and community. Ecological tourism should develop a sustainable local economy, with the exact impact on the environment determined beforehand," Bai said.

“Ba Vi National Park now offers a range of tourism products to meet the preferences of different people, so I think the restoration of French relics should target luxury tourism only."

The green mossy staircase to a French mansion gives tourists a panoramic view over Ba Vi Mountain Range and also the Đà River.

Villas blending into their surroundings help tourists experience Vietnam’s exotic nature and understand more about its history.

As a saying goes, it’s better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.

VNS

A close look at rare bird species in Hoang Lien national park

A close look at rare bird species in Hoang Lien national park

Situated between 1,000 and 3,000 metres above sea level in the northern province of Lao Cai, Hoang Lien national park is home to many rare species of birds, making it a popular national tourist attraction.

 
 

Other News

.
HCM City named among top ten cheapest places for American expats
HCM City named among top ten cheapest places for American expats
TRAVELicon  06/11/2020 

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City heads the list of the ten cheapest places for American expats to live abroad, according to the Business Insider’s an article published on November 5.

Vietnam eyes building national cultural tourism brand
Vietnam eyes building national cultural tourism brand
TRAVELicon  06/11/2020 

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) is working on a project on building a national brand for cultural tourism.

Vietnam honoured as Asia’s heritage, cultural, culinary destination at WTA 2020
Vietnam honoured as Asia’s heritage, cultural, culinary destination at WTA 2020
TRAVELicon  06/11/2020 

Vietnam has been named as Leading Heritage Destination, Leading Cultural Destination, and Leading Culinary Destination of Asia at the prestigious World Travel Awards (WTA) 2020.

Four weekly flights to be launched between Vietnam, Taiwan
Four weekly flights to be launched between Vietnam, Taiwan
TRAVELicon  06/11/2020 

Four round-trip flights are expected to be launched between Vietnam and Taiwan each week after Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh agreed with plans to resume commercial flights between the two sides from September 15,

Walking tour to Phuc Tan public art project
Walking tour to Phuc Tan public art project
TRAVELicon  06/11/2020 

The Friends of Vietnam Heritage (FVH), in collaboration with artist Nguyen The Son, will hold a walking tour to the Phuc Tan public art complex on Saturday.

Night market in Phu Quoc Island District
Night market in Phu Quoc Island District
TRAVELicon  05/11/2020 

Phu Quoc Island District in Kien Giang Province is not only famous for its pristine and poetic beaches but also attracts many tourists thanks to its night market.

Bac Ha Winter Festival
Bac Ha Winter Festival
TRAVELicon  05/11/2020 

Music, horse racing and food will all be featured at the Bac Ha Winter Festival from November 20-22 as Lao Cai Province attempts to attract tourists back to the district. 

Artisan strives for preserving traditional pottery
Artisan strives for preserving traditional pottery
TRAVELicon  04/11/2020 

Pham Anh Dao is the 19th generation descendant of Pham Ngu Chi’s family, who has a long tradition of crafting pottery products in Bat Trang Village, Gia Lam District in Hanoi.

Hanoi seen from double-decker bus
Hanoi seen from double-decker bus
TRAVELicon  04/11/2020 

Trying out a double-decker bus tour around Hanoi would definitely offer people, even Hanoians, a different look on Vietnam’s capital.

Discovering peaceful meadow in northern mountainous province
Discovering peaceful meadow in northern mountainous province
TRAVELicon  05/11/2020 

Just 100km away from Hanoi capital, a vast meadow in Huu Lien commune of Huu Lung district, northern mountainous Lang Son province, has developed into a popular spot among travelers due to its pristine beauty.

Roasted bee pupae – a starter to get the taste buds buzzing
Roasted bee pupae – a starter to get the taste buds buzzing
TRAVELicon  05/11/2020 

A visit to midland and mountainous regions this season offers a golden chance for people to try the roasted pupae of forest bees.

Four famous bread stands in HCM City
Four famous bread stands in HCM City
TRAVELicon  03/11/2020 

Bay Ho, bread stand 61, Hong Van, and grilled meat 37 are among the most popular places to purchase bread for local people in Ho Chi Minh City, with each establishment developing its own taste over many years.

Hanoian homespun dish
Hanoian homespun dish
TRAVELicon  04/11/2020 

Bun oc, escargot vermicelli soup, is a homespun dish in Hanoi. To some, nothing is better than enjoying a bowl of spicy escargot vermicelli soup in cold weather in the capital city.

Green tourist destinations in Tay Ninh
Green tourist destinations in Tay Ninh
TRAVELicon  03/11/2020 

Dau Tieng Reservoir, Lo Go Xa Mat National Park, the wild grape garden at the foot of Ba Den Mountain and Ma Thien Lanh Valley are ideal destinations for travelers who want to enjoy a green tour of Tay Ninh Province.

Da Nang to offer free admission at cultural attractions in 2021
Da Nang to offer free admission at cultural attractions in 2021
TRAVELicon  03/11/2020 

In the first six months of 2021, some tourist attractions in the central city of Danang will waive off admission fees, 

Local delicacies introduced to hotel guests
Local delicacies introduced to hotel guests
TRAVELicon  03/11/2020 

The best flavours of local cuisine are being offered at five-star hotels in HCM City as part of a programme to promote Vietnamese dishes to local and foreign visitors.

Unmissable tourist attractions in Phan Rang city
Unmissable tourist attractions in Phan Rang city
TRAVELicon  02/11/2020 

Phan Rang city in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan is a popular spot among tourists as visitors are able to enjoy themselves amid pristine beach and an array of beautiful natural scenery.

Unique water ceremony of the Jrai people
Unique water ceremony of the Jrai people
YOUR VIETNAMicon  03/11/2020 

Dam San Music, Dancing and Singing Theatre in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai recently hosted the water source worship ceremony for Jrai ethnicity locals in Krêl Village, Krêl Commune, Duc Co District.

Number of foreign visitors to Vietnam increases by 7.6 percent in October
Number of foreign visitors to Vietnam increases by 7.6 percent in October
TRAVELicon  01/11/2020 

In October alone, the number of international tourists to Vietnam was up 7.6 percent from the previous month and down 99.1 percent from the same period last year due to the pandemic, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Women’s voices heard as tourism given lift
Women’s voices heard as tourism given lift
TRAVELicon  01/11/2020 

Painter Do Duc, 75, is no newcomer to Vietnam’s northwest.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN