Ostrich Tourism in Vietnam

VIETNAM – After over 10 years since being introduced into Vietnam, ostriches are now doing their part to promote domestic tourism.
calendar icon 29 February 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

Ostrich ride

One weekends, students from HCM City decided to travel to Nha Trang. They didn’t buy a tour, but organized the trip themselves. There are many destinations in Nha Trang: going to Hon Mun to see coral, Tri Nguyen to discover the water world, to Hon Tam to play underwater sports or to the five southern islands of Nha Trang, etc.; as long as the trip cost less than VND250,000/person.

As a student of the Tourism Faculty of the HCM City-based Hung Vuong University, Nguyen Thu Trang volunteered to organize the vacation. After several days researching, Trang decided to bring her group to Hon Thi Island to ride ostriches.

Ostriches that are nearly 3m high and 150 kilos are fixed with imitation leather saddles. The instructor rides an ostrich as an example and then helps visitors onto the bird’s back. Visitors sit on the saddle, tightly holding the bird’s wings while their legs grasp the bird’s hip to enjoy the feeling of galloping. Each time the bird run 5-6 rounds in 5-7 minutes. The fees is VND30,000/person, including a photo with the ostrich.

“Don’t hold the bird’s neck, because when it runs, the bird always bends its head which will make you fall to the ground. If you hold the bird more tightly, it will run faster. The feeling is wonderful!” Trang said.

Le Lam Dung, Deputy director of Long Phu Tourism Company, the provider of ostrich rides on Hon Thi Island, said the company opened its ostrich farm tens years ago, but not until last year did the firm begin to use ostriches as a tourism product. The Hon Lao tourist zone also offers ostrich rides.

Ostrich as food

Over 100 years ago, people started eating African tamed ostrich meat. In the 1970s, large-scaled ostrich farms were set up in many countries in America and Europe. Today, this huge bird species can be seen everywhere.

For the first time the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development received 100 ostrich eggs as gifts from the Tate & Lyle group (Britain), which led to the establishment of an ostrich farm in Ba Vi, Ha Tay. Since then, ostriches have developed and can be seen in over 30 provinces.

Ostriches eat grass, leaves, and mash. Ostrich meat is red and looks like beef, but doesn’t contain fat and sinew. It has low cholesterol levels and is a good source of protein protein. Food experts say ostrich meat is good for health.

Ostrich for fashion

Every part of an ostrich is valuable. Ostrich leather is nicer and firmer than crocodile leather since it contains a special kind of fat. Ostrich leather is used to make coats, wallets, bags, belts, etc. One sq.m of ostrich leather costs nearly $400, but when it is processed into retail goods, the price is much higher, for example a 1.2x1.4m ostrich skin wallet is priced at $550-580, while a pair of shoes made of ostrich skin are worth $2,000.

Ostrich feathers are also highly valued. Since ostrich feathers do not conduct electricity, they can be used to make brushes for computers and other precision equipment. 1kg of unprocessed ostrich feathers cost $100, or $2,000 for 1kg of chick down.

The Head of an ostrich leather enterprise in Nha Trang said his establishment can’t meet the demand for fashion products made from ostrich skin.

In addition, egg shells and talons of ostriches can be used to make jewellery and other handicrafts. Actually, almost every part of an ostrich can be used to make money.

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