(HBO) - Covering more than 6,000 ha, Thuong Tien Nature Reserve spreads across the three communes of Kim Tien, Thuong Tien (Kim Boi district), and Quy Hoa (Lac Son district). Thuong Tien commune lies in a core zone of more than 5,000 ha. Khu hamlet, inhabited by the Muong ethnic group, has the largest wild forested area in the province.

Thuong Tien Nature Reserve with Khu stream.

The distance from the headquarters of the People’s Committee of Thuong Tien commune to Khu hamlet is over 5 km. After half an hour of travel, the hamlet appears amongst the green terraced fields. From Khu hamlet, we started our journey exploring Thuong Tien Nature Reserve. Lined along both sides of the road are majestic, old trees – most of which would take two or three people to wrap their arms around the base.

An hour later, we were about 2 km deep into the forest and found a large rocky area with huge stones. This was the Khu stream. It is interesting to note that many parts of the area have quite flat sand banks, suitable for camping or putting up a tent to stay overnight. There are also some sections of the stream blocked by large stones, creating deep rock pools which are dozens of square metres wide. Local people have come to describe them as natural pools in the forest. 

Despite her exhaustion, Bui Kim Thanh from Ha Bi commune (Kim Boi) said she was very impressed with this experience.She said: "This is the first time I’ve been to the Thuong Tien Nature Reserve. I am impressed by its stunning scenery with a beautiful stream in the middle of the primeval forest. Once it receives proper investment, the reserve will undoubtedly become an attractive tourism spot.”

We stopped at a flat rocky area near Khu stream, with ancient trees lining the two banks. The water is so clear that the riverbed can be seen from above. We had the chance to enjoy grilled fish, grilled chicken, and some jungle-grown vegetables. We did not need to bring along chopsticks, spoons, or cups for drinking wine with as these were all sourced by finding nature’s crockery solutions in the forest.

We had a talk with some of the local residents who expressed their hope that the reserve will soon become a tourism site, helping to alleviate poverty in the area.

Bui Thi Hai, Secretary of the Thuong Tien commune youth union said: "Many people have visited and explored the primitive and stunning beauty of the Thuong Tien Nature Reserve. People living in the commune have faced a range of difficulties as they completely rely on agriculture with low earnings. Therefore, tourism development would help them raise their incomes and living standards.”

The Hoa Binh provincial People’s Committee aims to develop tourism at the Thuong Tien Nature Reserve. Currently, the commune is making efforts to restore and develop local specialties, preserve and promote the traditional culture of the Muong ethnic group, and continue to coordinate with the management board of the reserve to improve works in forest protection.

Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Thuong Tien commune said: "The provincial People’s Committee has plans to develop tourism at the reserve. Thuong Tien commune is working hard to restore and develop local specialties, preserve and promote traditional culture of Muong people, and better forest protection works.”

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