Michelle Pham

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Michelle Pham
Certificate in hotel and Tourism Operations
HTMi Switzerland
There is variety of ways for tourists to choose their vacation. Most of them
choose somewhere which has luxurious, comfortable facilities and careful
service to relax. Some people though, who are bored with normal life so they
decide to enjoy their vacation by challenging themselves with exhilaration and
danger, so they choose off-road adventures. In last few years, off-road adventure
is a new trend in Asia, especially in South East Asia countries such as Vietnam,
Lao, Thailand, and Cambodia. Off-road, also known as overland 4x4 expeditions,
will bring you to the most remote areas and beautiful landscape (Adventure
travel tales and tips 2006). This article will discuss this development in Vietnam,
what its advantages and disadvantages in Vietnam in few last years and how to
develop off-road tourism in the future.

Off-road Adventure Overlook

Off-road is maybe an old form of tourism in the Western world, but in the Eastern,
especially in South-East Asia, it’s still a new trend and now it attracts many young
people who desire to discover and conquer the wild life. Off-road is a term for
driving a specialized vehicle on unpaved roads such as mud, sand, snow, rocks and
other natural terrain. The vehicle used for it is any type of vehicle which can surf
gravel road. To go off-road, you need to have the right equipment, technical
knowhow about that equipment and you need to be prepared for whatever you
will find underway (Adventure travel tales and tips 2006). Off road requires time,
money, health and patience. It’s very tough and sometimes dangerous. This is the
most reason why its major target market is a younger tourist.

Off-road now in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia-Pacific region.
Recently, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) named Vietnam as the
world’s fourth fastest-growing tourist destination (fxstd 2010).
Vietnam has attracted keen interest from world riders after BBC’s “Top gear
Vietnam Special” show on UK television on December 28th 2008 (Offroadvietnam
2010). This is a really good sign for Vietnam tourism. In addition, Vietnam is a long
country with over 3000 km coastline with many beautiful beaches and nice food
so tourists will need at least one month to tour all Vietnam (Voyagevietnam 2006).
Almost foreigners choose motorbike for travelling and obviously they will choose
off-road adventure. The Northern mountainous region in Vietnam is one of the
country’s most beloved destinations for local and international travellers, but if you
want real adventure, you should visit the area on an off-road motorbike tour
(vietnamnews.vnagency 2010). By off-road, tourist will have chance to see real life
in Vietnam with friendly local people. From North to South, tourists will find
“authentic” Asia- in the fertile plains of the Mekong Delta, majestic mountains in
the North, classical temples and pagodas, bustling cities and street markets and the
faded elegance of the French colonial era (Vietnamwebsite 2008). In addition,
Vietnamese Government also cares about the quality of infrastructure. All the
roads in Vietnam are in safety situations. The Government of Vietnam has agreed
to a US$31 million loan from the World Bank to develop and implement a dedicated
road safety project targeting a number of primary issues over a four year period
(grsproadsafety 2010). Nevertheless, Vietnam is an easy country to explore.
Tourists can go any highlight on an organize tour or they can hire a motorbike
with a guide almost anywhere (Southeast Asia Backpackers paradise 2010). In
Vietnam, each tourism companies and travel agencies have many types of tours,
included off-road adventure. Tourists can find tour which is suitable for them from
$300-$500 (Voyagevietnam 2006). Recently, in Vietnam, there are a number of
motorcycle tours for travellers because foreigner tourists like travel by motorcycle
than sitting on a car. They can ride by their own and feel the wind outside, they can
stop wherever they want to take photo, to enjoy the air, the view without asking
car driver to stop. Like Lao Tzu- a philosophy of ancient China- said: “A good
traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving” (Lao 2010).
Besides, when we talk about off-road, we have to talk about homestay. In Vietnam,
homestay is usually included in off-road adventure. Every tour, tourists will
homestay in some local people’s houses (Vietnamwebsite 2010). This activity can
help local people improve their life by making some service such as: tour guide,
house for rent and introducing local cuisine. But, there are still many problems
about off-road adventure. The environment will be polluted seriously by
motorbike and by tourists’ behaviour, but the most important problem is that they
affect the local people’s life. In Sapa- one mountain province in Vietnam, a famous
location, there are so many Ethnic minority people. When Sapa attracts many
foreign tourists, all the Ethnic girls dress modestly, just long trousers and t-shirt,
they always ask money when tourists want to take photograph with them. They
become modern and lose their own tradition. These are difficult problems to solve.
Off-road in Vietnam now is very famous in Asia. Youngsters are the most people
who advertise for this kind of tourism through public network such as: facebook,
twitter or MySpace. People who never go to Vietnam will know many aspects of
life in Vietnam what they have never seen before. This is also a useful
advertisement for Vietnamese tourism in the future.

In conclusion, as modern life which is full of science and technology often
becomes boring, there is a number of people who have a desire of escaping from
ordinary circumstance to wild nature where they probably find something
completely different to do. Off-road is the best choice for them. It will bring many
incredible emotions, unforgettable memories. Vietnam now is one of the most
destinations in Asia, more tourists can experience new trend of tourism in
Vietnam- Off-road, experience a new style of tourism and a new cultural country.
In the future, Vietnam government need to have more laws about tourism,
especially about off-road adventure to prevent tourists destroying the
environment and protect the wild life and local traditional costumes.

In my country, off-road attracts many youngsters. This kind of tourism is suitable
for them because it is cheap and you will have much more free time. It makes us
love our country more, but the important thing is that we know how to share with
each other on the road, how to cherish the friendship. Not only Vietnamese
youngsters but also foreigners want to conquer all the roads in Vietnam. Many
beautiful landscapes will be discovered, many traditional costumes will be known
by young people. Vietnam is not a modern country. It’s an old country with many
beautiful beaches, old village and nice street food in all 61 provinces. Experience
off-road and you will so many hidden charmed in this country. This is good signs
to develop Vietnam tourism. But tourists need to respect all the rules in that
location, protect environment. Besides, the government and tour agency should
organize tour as well as to do charity to help local people. In the future, Vietnam
tourism should advertise Vietnam’s image widely to all over the world and develop
this kind of tourism to attract more and more tourist and to improve life standard
for local people in mountain location. Tourist company, tour agency should
decrease the sale in some occasions to attract people such as in summer or in
National day, festivals in Vietnam. Besides, tourism companies should take care
about the quality of service, food or accommodation to make their client believe
and then they will be back to Vietnam soon.

Adventure travel tales and tips. 2010. Offroad adventure travel. [Online] Available
http://www.adventure-travel-tales-and-tips.com/adventure[Accessed       May    19

Fxstd. 2009. Analysis of the tourism industry in Vietnam one of the fastest growing tourism
destinations. [Online]. Available from:
-the-fastest-growing-tourism-destinations [Accessed May 27 2010]

Grsproadsafety. 2008. Vietnam. [Online]. Available from:
http://www.grsproadsafety.org/page-viet_nam-29.html [Accessed May 28 2010

Lao Tzu. n.d.   [online] Available from:
http:/honeymoons.about.com/cs/wordsofwisdon/a/TravelQuotes.htm [Accessed 2nd 2010]

Offroadvietnam, 2010. Vietnam Sample motorcycling & motorbiking itineraries.
[Online]. Available from:
http://www.offroadvietnam.com/eng/2.php [Accessed May 16 2010]

Vietnamnews.vnagency. 2010. Off-road tours offer rocky path. [Online]. Available from:
-path-.html [Accessed May 7th 2010]

Vietnamwebsite, 2008. Vietnam mountain biking. [Online]. Available from:
http://travel.vietnamwebsite.net/post/68/ [Accessed May 20 2010]
Voyagevietnam, 2006. Special tour. [Online] Available from:
http://www.voyagevietnam.net/eng/7.php [Accessed May 28 2010]

Voyage Vietnam. 2006. What voyage Vietnam (Vietnam motorbike, motorcycle and
adventure tours company) offers? [Online] Available from:
http://www.voyagevietnam.net/eng/6.php [ Accessed May 23 2010]

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