Hanoi travel company offers Clean Up tour of northern bay

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Visitors kayaking through Beo floating village out into Lan Ha Bay to pick up litter

The Hanoi-based Handspan Travel Company is calling on environment lovers to join its annual Clean Up tour of Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba Island this June.

The two-day weekend tour - on the 16 and 17 will seek to raise awareness among residents of the bay's floating villages and local authorities about pollution and waste management.

Handspan's products manager, Guilhem Cavaillé, said the company has been organizing the non-profit tour since 2007 in line with its philosophy of responsible tourism.

"In the beginning, it used to be small groups of tourists accompanied by a few staff of our company.

"Since 2010, we decided to turn this tour into a real event by getting support, promoting wider, and targeting a more local audience. And it has been a success, with more people joining."

It has got regular support from the Cat Ba National Park and Cat Hai District tourism authorities.

"In 2011 we gathered 30 people and picked up more than 300kg of litter."

Pham Van Vuong of the Cat Ba Tourism Center said his agency appreciates the Clean Up tour and supports the event by offering boats and reducing entrance fees to some tourist sites for participants.

"We hope there will be more activities like this that attract more individuals and organizations to help raise awareness of environmental protection," he said.

The tourist will leave Hanoi at about 6 a.m., drive to Hai Phong, take a speedboat to Ben Beo in Cat Ba, have lunch, and learn about kayaking techniques and the itinerary.

At 1.30 p.m. they will kayak through Beo floating village out into Lan Ha Bay to pick up litter. They will return to the beach at about 4 p.m. to rest and swim before dinner.

There will be a barbecue dinner and bonfire party on the beach before the guests retire for the night to beachfront wooden bungalows.

The next day, after an early breakfast, people will get back on their kayaks to explore some hidden lagoons and beaches while picking up litter. They will then return by boat to Cat Ba, eat, and return to Hai Phong and then Hanoi.

Handspan said it does this tour at cost price, and was seeking every year to expand it and find support and sponsors.

Since there will be a fixed number of places available (approx 30), it advised people to sign up early at 78 Ma May Street, Hanoi or by calling 3 926 2828 or writing to info@handspan.com.

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