By Frédo Bui

Dear customers of LaVieVuLinh,

The very first newsletter of LaVieVuLinh is coming into your mailboxes after some of you shared the wish of hearing more regular information about life at VuLinh.

You will from now on receive every quarter a journal informing you about the latest news, the important events, presenting you more in details the diverse faces of the project in the shape of reports, interviews, articles,… Just like our website and Facebook page, our newsletter comes into the development of our communication strategy with the will to always inform you better about our actions.

Our Facebook page / Our Website

You could also be the actors of the newsletter by sending us your pictures, articles and comments!

In this first edtion, you will find a brief presentation of LaVieVuLinh – reminding you its singularity and specificities -, a flashback on the festival which occurred between the 28th of April and the 2nd of May this year, as well as an exclusive interview of Mark Harris who is the creator of Gingerwork, company of artists who participated to the festival and finally, a review about the visit of students from Hanoï French school at LVVL visiting from the 10th to the 12th of June.

Have a pleasant reading,
Marine, Charlotte
& Estelle.
Interns at LaVieVuLinh.

Drawback on LaVieVuLinh
7th anniversary festival

of Gingerwork
Company of artists who worked in collaboration with LaVieVuLinh on the occasion of the festival, Gingerwork reveals its origin and confesses on its experience at the lodge.

Visit of Hanoï French school
For three days, a class of 13-14 year old teenagers from Hanoï French school came to LVVL for a school trip.
Here is a little wrap-up about what they did.

Wrap-up about what

LaVieVuLinh is.

Created in 2007, LaVieVuLinh (LVVL) is an eco lodge located 170km North-West from Hanoï, on the shore of the artificial lake Thac Ba and in the heart of the Dao minority.
Surrounded by mountains – allowing various hikes – and hundreds of green islands, LVVL is an ideal place to relax.

Born from the initiative of Fredo Binh, Thuong and his spouse Nhat, the project aims at participating to the local’s economy development by training the villagers to foreign languages and enable them to participate in the management of a touristic site.

The environmental aspect holds a key role inside LVVL with the setting of an agroforestry and the use of natural materials for the construction of the different infrastructures. This project therefore encourages the local population to adopt an ecological mode of agriculture.
At LaVieVuLinh, the idea of sustainable development makes sens since it relies on the three fundamental pillars being the environment, the social and the economy.


7th Anniversary

Like every year around the last week of April, LaVieVuLinh has celebrated its birthday. For this occasion, a 5 days festival gathered villagers, tourists, vietnamiese and expats around cultural and artistic activities. It is in collaboration with Gingerwork, company of artists who came especially from Hanoï (cf. interview) that the festival took a different turn this year.
A traditional Dao boat race (boat whose particularity is to raw with the foot) declared open the 7th edition of the festival. Every day has been rhythmed by new activities involving the participation of the artists from the company but also the villagers. Thus were proposed workshops such as yoga, meditation, Hoola Hoop, mosaïc painting, stilt games, fire juggle, buffalo tours in the village, boat rides, burning of the totem, but also traditional Dao songs and dances.

Our motto « Come one come all » summarizes correctly the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the festival, allowing multiple enriching encounters !

On a trip in the Mekong Delta

Visiting a fruit plantation in Southern Vietnam along with Thierry, volunteer at LVVL

The girls enjoying the view at LVVL

– What are your impressions about LaVieVuLinh, about the place, the location, the team,…?

M : I really appreciated working at the eco-lodge where all the good conditions were brought together: a very nice team in an amazing place.

C : The location is made to relax, it is a little peaceful place. From my perspective as a girl who never traveled outside Europe, it was a direct immersion in the Vietnamese culture through the team, a group of local villagers from about the same age as me. After shy presentations, a real complicity was born and it is since them a real pleasure to meet them again, learning a little bit of vietnamiese and teaching them some french or english and making fun of each other. At LaVieVuLinh, I really get the feeling to have a little family, as we live together everyday.

E : LaVieVuLinh’s team has quickly become a second family for me, and you really want to see this project succeed. In the guest book I noticed that a lot of our guests qualify the eco-lodge as “heaven on earth” and I truly feel lucky to do my internship at LaVieVuLinh: its location near the lake is really exceptional and it is very pleasant.

– What did you mainly learn from that experience?

M : Through this internship, I expected a change of scene as much on the professional and organisational level than in the daily life, and I can say that I reached my goal, it was a very good experience.

C : Personally, this internship allowed me to confirm my passion for the discovery of new cultures and my capacity to adapt to them. Creating connections with people from all over the world, also realizing how lucky we are on certain aspects in France and in Europe in general ; our freedom, modernism, organisation too! Things that we take for granted but that are not.

E : I already know that this internship and my experience in Vietnam have taught me to put things into perspective and to be more patient. I hope I will keep this frame of mind when I will be back in France.

– Vietnam is very far from France on the geographic and cultural side. Why did you choose Vietnam as the place for your internship?
M :
Due to my thesis subject, it was very important for me to get an experience in a country of South-East Asia, so I applied for internships in different places, different countries in this area.
C : To be honest, it was a pure coincidence. It was never my dream destination, but I was looking for an internship abroad and the place did not really matter to me as long as the job itself was interesting. All I knew is I wanted to go outside of Europe for once to learn much more on the cultural aspect. And Vietnam it became!
E : I was looking for an experience away from Europe, to discover a different way of life.
I have always been attracted by Asia’s cultural wealth and diversity and Vietnam seemed to be a very dynamic country – this feeling has been confirmed when I arrived here-.

– How did you find out about LaVieVuLinh? Which were your motivations to do your internship in this company?
M :
The institute in which I study holds a register of the internships done by the former students, and one of them was part of LVVL a few years ago. It seemed to be an appropriate place for me between my social, environmental and educative concerns, which is why I decided to apply.

C : At a dinner with friends, one of them mentioned an eco-lodge in Northern Vietnam. The ethnic and community aspect, as well as the dream location made me curious, reminding me from my favorite French TV show called “Rendez-vous en terre inconnue”. And then here I am, 6 months later, totally the experience I was lookin for!
E : First, I applied to receptive travel agencies that gave me the contact of LaVieVuLinh.
My main motivation to do this internship was to have a field experience in community based tourism and sustainable development.

– I know that you took the opportunity to travel and discover Vietnam during at the weekends. Be our ambassadors! What would you tell to Western tourists to convince them to come?
M : Indeed, I had the occasion to discover different typical places in the country (such as the Mekong Delta, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, etc.) I really enjoyed all of them but my favorite one is the famous Ha Long Bay.

I would say that for people who love diversity and who are looking for a change of scene it is the perfect destination so come and see for yourself :).
C : Hell yes! Contrary to what I thought when I first got here, there is so much more to see than Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh or the Mekong Delta. It is amazing to travel around, and anything we do even in Hanoï is something new, a real discovery; things we consider as simple at home become totally different here (like crossing the road). Within two months, we learnt more than we would normally would in years! The food is diverse and delicious, landscapes are beautiful and they are different all over the country. So try it out!
E : Vietnam is a country for all the tastes, whether you prefer beach, mountain or cities with an important cultural heritage. It is always complicated for us to decide of our next trip because there are so many things to see and do in Vietnam.

Visit of the French School of Hanoï

In June, our eco-lodge hosted for three days about twenty students coming from Hanoï French school. Accompanied by two professors, the boys and girls of this class had the task to make a documentary on LVVL. Just like real professionals, they were divided into different teams to lead the project that would end up as a movie.

As always, they were welcomed by Fredo upon arrival who introduced them story of the project and guided them around the site. Therefore, they got to discover the classroom, the garden, the two stilt houses, the rammed earth rooms, the farm, … By the end of their first day, the children were familiar with this new environment and managed to be perfectly autonomous while interviewing the co-founders of LVVL, Mister Thuong and his spouse Nhat as well as the apprentices and staff.

After a boat ride on Thac Ba Lake on the second day, the children attended a workshop teaching them the conception of biogas, process enabling the production of gas thanks to the fermentation of plant or animal organic matter by a lack of oxygen. This system is used by LVVL to improve the sustainable aspect.

The children seriousness towards their movie project did not prevent them from having some fun and relaxing moments. Besides the academic aspect during those three days at LVVL, they enjoyed activities such as swimming in the lake, playing football games against their professors and the staff, as well as playing various games.

Before they left the site, with a lot of regrets for most of them, the students shared with pleasure the final movie with their professors and the team. Congratulations for what they have accomplished!

Welcoming students and educating them on the environment, ecology, minorities’ lifestyle, … is one of the missions LaVieVuLinh has set to itself. It is always with pleasure that we host such particular clients.





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