Giao Xuân

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Giao Xuân (xã Giao Xuân) is a commune in Giao Thủy District, Nam Định, Vietnam approximately 150 km South-East of Hanoi. It has a population of 10,000 people.

The main source of income of the people of Giao Xuan comes from marine life. Being 40% Christian, there is a collection of churches around the village. The other predominant religion is Buddhism.

Xuan Thuy National Park[edit]

[1] In January 1989, Xuân Thủy National Park was declared Vietnam's first Ramsar site; a wetland of international importance. The Xuan Thuy Nature Reserve was established in 1995 and was upgraded to a national park in 2003.

Located in the Giao Thuy district forming part of the UNESCO Red River Biosphere Reserve, it is a rich, biodiverse, coastal wetland that houses about 220 species of birds (including 9 endangered species), 110 aquatic plants and 500 other aquatic organisms. Many highly valuable types of seafood like shellfish, shrimps, fish, crabs and oysters are also found in this area. It is also a critically important staging area and wintering area for migratory birds visiting and passing through Vietnam from northeast Asia and Siberia to Australia.


It is possible to visit Giao Xuan and do a homestay with a local family in a traditional home. There is a twice-daily bus that runs directly between Hanoi and Giao Xuan. Most homes have hot water and western toilets. The people eat typical Vietnamese food including seafood, pork, rice, and fish sauce.

The town has a:
Nuoc Mam (Fish Sauce) Making House. Fish sauce is the one ingredient that is quintessentially Vietnamese and it lends a distinctive character to Vietnamese cooking. The sauce is made by fermenting highly salted fish in large ceramic vats for four to twelve months.

Rice Wine House: In Vietnamese culture, rice wine is typically enjoyed with every meal. It is customary to invite the whole table to drink simultaneously. Most households produce their own rice wine resulting in each batch varying in alcoholic strength.

Jellyfish processing: The jellyfish are freshly caught and brought to the local processing plant and prepared for export or local consumption.

Churches and pagodas

Cultural performances

Local marketplace

Near to Giao Xuan is the Xuan Thuy National Park which can be visited by boat along the Vop River or by foot through manrove forests.

During migration and staging seasons, rare species of birds like spoon-billed sandpiper (Calidris pygmeus), Nordmann's greenshank (Tringa guttifer), grey-headed lapwing (Vanellus cinereus) and Asian dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) reside in the park.

Eleven species of birds, found within the project area, are listed as globally threatened or near-threatened, including the endangered spotted greenshank (Tringa guttifer), the spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus), and the black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor), the near-threatened Asia dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus), the black-headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), the painted stork (Mycteria leucoephala) and the Japanese paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata), the least-concerned grey-headed lapwing (Vanellus cinereus), and the vulnerable Saunder's gull (Larus saundersi), the Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes), and the spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis).

Rare globally listed mammals existing in the park include the fishing cat (Felis viverrinus) and the finless porpoise (Neophocaera phocaenoides), as well as locally listed dolphin species.

Birding tours: [1] River Boat Cruise: [2] Trekking: [3]

Eco-Tourism project: Volunteers’ Partnership For Bio-Diversity Through Eco-Tourism Promotion[edit]

Volunteers for Peace Vietnam [2] has started this project with the goal of furthering to develop ecotourism within the Giao Xuan—Xuan Thuy National Park communinty so as to provide an alternative, sustainable livelihood, address poverty by creating job opportunities, contribute to environmental conservation by reducing reliance on natural resources for income generation, promote cultural preservation and support community development. The project's three main objectives are: capacity building, raising awareness, marketing and promotional support (see below for details*).

Within the park's buffer zone there are five communities with a total population of more than 45,000. These communities rely heavily on the natural resources of the park for food, shelter and their livelihoods.

Over-fishing, destructive fishing, and the clearing of the mangrove forests for shrimp aquaculture have resulted in a loss of biodiversity. The national park is experiencing a loss of natural resource habitat and ecological productivity, as well as coastal accretion (sediment build-up).

Since 2003, the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community development (MCD) [3] has been working with coastal communities to address the need for alternative, sustainable source of income. Ecotourism has been identified as a constructive way to improve livelihoods and help restore Vietnam's marine ecosystem, and MCD is helping communities develop ecobusiness in a sustainable way working to ensure a future for all.

Giao Xuan, one of the five communes in the Xuan Thuy National Park's buffer area, has a population of approximately 10,000 people, (more than 2,000 households). Besides these 10,000 direct beneficiaries, the local communities in nearby areas, visitors, and local and international volunteers will also benefit from the project. The Giao Xuan community will directly benefit from the program because they are the closest in proximity to the areas that will support ecotourism activities and hold the most knowledge of the area and resources. However, the other communes in the buffer zone will also indirectly benefit from the increase in the economic development of the area, or when further development of the ecotourism program will take place.

Capacity building[edit]

VPV proposes to place two types of volunteers in the project area to assist in implementation of activities built around the theme of capacity building: long-term volunteers ranging from 3 months to a year and short-term groups for about 2 to 3 weeks. Together with the local community and other stakeholders, VPV's volunteers will actively contribute in planning, implementation and participation of activities. To ensure that volunteers will provide the highest standard of voluntary service to the community, VPV will give pre-arrival training to each volunteer. Training content shall include biodiversity and conservation, social and cultural situation of the communes, basic Vietnamese language skills and ecotourism development in the Park. Guidelines and training materials will be developed for long-term usage. VPV will also provide on-going contact and guidance to the volunteers during their stay in the Park.

English teaching[edit]

VPV's international, long-term volunteers, a great percentage of them with English as their primary language, will give English language lesson to community members, especially those working in ecotourism. The lesson will be on a regular basis, focusing on improving speaking and listening for practical, daily use. Volunteers will produce learning materials for ‘students’ and engage ‘students’ in mock conversations with international visitors.

Intercultural and hospitality skills training[edit]

Long-term volunteers will conduct workshops to train local community on the concepts of intercultural interactions. Real life examples can be given to demonstrate potential misunderstanding between international visitors and local people. Volunteers will lead discussions on how to appropriately interact with visitors to the Park. Volunteers will also provide some guidance on hospitality and customer service. The training can be combined with the English lesson.

Volunteering at Visitor Centre and other Tourist Attraction Areas[edit]

Long and short-term volunteers will offer assistance in tour guiding, interpretation and logistics when there are visitor groups in the Park. They can assist with problem solving when there are communication issues so as to allow the visitors the answers and provide the locals with experience on how to communicate in future situations. The volunteers can also provide this same support in the environmental study program groups.

Participating in Tour and Homestay Trials[edit]

Short-term volunteers will be hosted on mock tours and both long and short-term volunteers will be hosted on homestays. During and upon completion of the tours and stays, the volunteers will critique and provide comments and suggestions on the services they receive. This will also allow the local people with the opportunity to practice their language and communication skills.

Raising awareness[edit]

Marketing and promotional support[edit]

Marketing and promotion activities consists of marking segmentation, developing marketing channels, building relations with private sector, producing and distributing promotional materials.

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]