By: Andrea Ross
A few months ago a good friend of mine sent me an article about a new discovery in Vietnam: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-01-25/world/vietnam.wall_1_vietnam-wall-hadrian-s-wall-quang-ngai-province?_s=PM:WORLD. An almost 200km long wall had been discovered in Quang Ngai Province and was being heralded as one of the most important archeological discoveries in Southeast Asia. With my interest obviously piqued and a Spring trip to Vietnam already in the works, I figured out how to get a visit to the wall included in our adventure.
It turned out to be easier than I expected, as Quang Ngai is only about three hours South of Hoi An, and the wall sits just 30 minutes beyond the town, through quiet villages and up into rolling hills. The wall was developed as a border between the Hre tribe and the Viet people in the lowlands, with forts dotting the wall. We were able to visit one such fort, or at least what’s left of it.
While it was interesting to see the wall and I loved that we are one of the first tour companies to have seen such a great discovery it was later that we made the best discovery; the Hre people themselves.
We stopped to visit another section of wall that was past beautiful crops and into the jungle. On our trek back to the road we met a few local villagers and started chatting with them, thanks to the translating skills of our Journeys Within guide Binh. They were ethnic Hre villagers and told us that they liked to marry within the tribe so they could continue the Hre tribe. Brandon of course discussed their farming and we asked if the discovery of the wall had impacted their lives. They said they had seen more government workers recently, but other than that life continued as usual. The older woman showed me how she prepared her beetlenut, something she said she’s done since she got married.
After a while we left them to continue their wood collecting and farming…we imagine their life isn’t that different from those of their ancestors over 200 years ago when the wall was built.
Journeys Within Tour Company will be offering tours to Quang Ngai and the Long Wall for anyone interested. We recommend doing it as a day trip out of Hoi An with an afternoon visit to the My Lay Memorial Museum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!