Father And Son Spent 40 Years Of Isolation Living In The Jungles Of Vietnam

vietnamA tragic story of going off the grid Robinson Crusoe-style in response to the horrors of war, via the BBC:

A Vietnamese father and his son who fled to the jungle during the Vietnam War four decades ago have been persuaded to leave, officials say. Ho Van Lang and his 82-year-old father fled to the jungle after being traumatised when three family members were killed by a landmine.

For most of their time in the jungle their whereabouts was unknown. They were discovered living in dense foliage in central Quang Ngai province and were barely able to communicate.

While in the jungle, the pair wore only loincloths and used a homemade axe to chop down trees. They survived on corn, fruits and cassava roots from the jungle. They lived in a tree house, five metres above ground, where they kept arrows for hunting and knives for killing animals.

The older man kept his military trousers neatly folded in a corner as well as the little red coat his son was thought to have been wearing when they fled.

A party of local people who discovered them were reported to be startled by their wild appearance and outlandish gestures. The pair are now being given medical checks as the first step in the process of reintegrating them into society.

18 Comments on "Father And Son Spent 40 Years Of Isolation Living In The Jungles Of Vietnam"

  1. capnmarrrrk | Aug 11, 2013 at 8:36 am |

    Wow…that’s something. That integration is going to be beyond fucked up. “And this is what we call a ‘cell phone’

  2. Gordon Klock | Aug 11, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    What if they were happier being ‘wild’?

    • VaudeVillain | Aug 12, 2013 at 8:52 am |

      At this point, the answer is probably something along the lines of “tough shit”.

  3. BuzzCoastin | Aug 11, 2013 at 11:47 am |

    nice story but it seems unlikely
    especially in that part of the world
    on the other hand
    I knew 2 guys who settled in a valley on Moloka’i
    and it took them years to encounter people, but not 40 years

    on a planet with 7+ billion people
    it’s hard to find a place without people

    • Not trying to be snarky, but that’s just incorrect. I rode my bike over 10,000 miles of the world in the last year…MOST of it unpopulated. Nobody there. 8500-9000 miles of it was legitimate b.f.e. Just saying. Nothing is happening, we just went and invented the internet and think we’re all jampacked and that there’s no wilderness anymore. It’s still quite the opposite, in my experience.

      • BuzzCoastin | Aug 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |

        right, if you bike through the Gobi or travel Siberia
        but in SE Asia there are no unpopulated areas
        especially that part of Vietnam

        did you bike through SE Asia or China?
        I’ve been to about 45 countries in the Northern hemisphere
        and I have not found an empty place yet

        • Ted Heistman | Aug 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

          So where were these big ungulates living that recently got discovered?

          I tend to think SE Asia has a large population but lots of jungle still. I think market hunting and deforestation is really messing things up though. I am pretty sure there are still places with horizon to horizon jungle.

          • Exactly, the first comment of Buzz’s was that it seems unlikely, but then he names basically uninhabited places. BUT he also only named uninhabitable places. The places I’ve seen are almost all totally inhabitable. I inhabited their wilderness for small chunks of time here and there, and for someone with more knowledge and ability, it’d be no problem for them.

            Buzz, I rode in the Americas. Never been to the Eastern Hemisphere.

          • Ted Heistman | Aug 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

            I want to see Patagonia. Is it dammed up yet?

          • Only place we didn’t go. Basically turned around at the edge. Didn’t time the seasons right. I’ll hopefully be finding out the answer to that question very soon!

            And thanks for the wicked kind comments. It was lightyears easier than anticipated. Didn’t anticipate 99% of the people on the American continents would be completely awesome and treat me and my brother like family. Pretty pleasant surprise, I might say.

          • Ted Heistman | Aug 12, 2013 at 6:32 am |

            Yeah, people are way nicer that the impression you would get from the news! I didn’t do anything like you and your brother did but I did hitch hike across Alaska and the Yukon, and everyone who picked me up was awesome! Indians, white people, German Tourists, State Troopers, everyone was really cool and excited about my trip.

            So where do you plan to go next?

          • Oh yeah, we definitely felt safer and safer the further and further we went. Everyone is awesome. Collectively, we got work to do. Heh. But in small bunches, damn. We’re actually pretty awesome as a species.

            Next up is either biking/backpacking (my brother wants to go by camel…he’s the truly adventurous one haha) the north coast of Africa or doing the same across Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, etc. That part of the ME. Probably a few years down the line.

            Might go down the east coast of Mexico this next summer, though. (:

            And man, what you did is equally as awesome, and takes more will in a lot of ways! We’re not Lance Armstrongs, anybody can average 10mph on a decently loaded down bike!

          • Ted Heistman | Aug 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm |

            Yeah slow and steady wins the race! That’s how I hike. Do you have a blog or anything like that? If so send me a link


          • BuzzCoastin | Aug 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

            the center of that province is a plain the runs to the coast
            it’s not even in the hills
            I’ve been in some hills in Laos
            lousy with people too

      • Ted Heistman | Aug 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

        Dude you are fucking awesome! I want to do what you did! Do you know I actually had a couple days in a row hiking through Northern California and I didn’t see anybody, except cows!

  4. BuzzCoastin | Aug 11, 2013 at 11:50 am |

    hey Matt, FYI
    every time my cursor crosses the green “Share This” button
    I get a security warning & the page locks & needs to be refreshed

  5. One more proof thet the wars are horrific.What is this fear which forced the man to remain so long in Jungle ..
    lion king games

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