Post date: 09/08/2023

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Quang Binh launches all-terrain vehicle tour to explore ironwood forest

An ironwood forest in Quang Binh, where the movie “Kong: Skull Island” was set in 2016, has become a destination for off-road driving.

Quang Binh Province in central Vietnam has just launched the tour "Explore ironwood forest - Home of Kong" in Tan Hoa Commune, Minh Hoa District. This tour is unique in that tourists will travel on all-terrain vehicles (ATV). This is the area director Jordan Vogt-Roberts chose as the setting for the Hollywood movie "Kong: Skull Island" in 2016.

Quang Binh is also home to a number of well-known caves, including Son Doong Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the world's biggest natural cave. Tan Hoa Commune is 92 kilometers from the cave.

ATVs are multi-purpose off-road vehicles that can travel on a variety of terrains, including steep slopes, forest roads, sand hills, and roads with numerous obstacles. The vehicle put into operation is the 4x4 ATV, which is capable of anti-rolling even though it is tilted at a 45-degree angle.

Tan Hoa Commune has a 5-hectare ironwood forest with hundred-year-old trees that have been protected and preserved for many generations. Many of these trees are 20 to 30 meters tall, with a width wide enough for two adults to hug.

In the two-hour tour, visitors can drive the ATVs by themselves through the ironwood, palm and myrtle forests, crossing streams and riding through dark tunnels.

This is one of the first officially licensed ATV driving tours in Vietnam. Depending on the type of vehicle, the number of passengers per vehicle, and other services, the cost of the tour ranges from VND1 million to VND1.5 million ($42.17 to $63.25). Drivers must be at least 16 years old to drive the vehicle alone, and those under that age must be accompanied by an adult. There are no more than 10 individuals every tour.

Bui Xuan Hoang, a tourist from Dong Hoi, said that he had gotten used to the vehicle after driving for 5 to 10 minutes.

"When driving through some of the roads, the vehicle can be tilted, but I get excited when I can overcome muddy areas or roads with obstacles," said Hoang. "It is a new feeling."

Dang Dong Ha, deputy director of the Quang Binh Department of Tourism, said that this new breakthrough tourism product can contribute to the growth of the Quang Binh tourism industry, and that it is expected to help the province achieve the same number of visitors as before the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Nguyen Chau A, a tour operator representative, exploring the forest in Tan Hoa by driving an ATV is a different experience than traditional tours. "Instead of exploring the forest as a tour group by regular shuttle bus," Chau A said, "visitors can explore the ironwood forest by themselves. It adds a little excitement."

One of the journey's limitations is that Tan Hoa is about 120 kilometers from Dong Hoi, the capital city of Quang Binh Province. It is also about 70 kilometers from Phong Nha Town, which is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. From Dong Hoi, you can go to Tan Hoa by car, taxi or bus.

Tan Hoa also offers numerous caves to explore, such as the Tu Lan Cave System, with the Hang Tien Cave being the largest in the system. To get a more authentic experience, you can consider staying at a local home.