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Cao Bang – An attractive tourist destination



Cao Bang province holds major tourism potential, with many famous sites, scenic spots, and landscapes attracting domestic and foreign tourists, such as the Pac Bo historical relic site, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Nguom Ngao Cave, Thang Hen Lake, Mat Than Mountain, Nam Tra Waterfall, and Truc Lam Pagoda.



Preserving the Mekong Delta’s floating markets



Traders purchase and sell fish at the Quảng Lợi lagoon’s Ngư Mỹ Thạnh floating market. VNA/VNS Photo Hồ Cầu

The Mekong Delta’s famed floating markets, where local speciality produce is sold on boats, provide a unique scene that draws both local and foreign visitors.

Researchers say that the floating markets were established to meet local goods distribution and consumption needs in the area where road traffic is less developed.

In addition, the markets also illustrate the southerners’ custom of buying, selling and travelling on the river.

Nhâm Hùng, a cultural researcher, said that floating markets represented the cultural features, tourism specialties, and the pride of the land and people of the Mekong Delta.

Cái Răng floating market (Cần Thơ City) was voted as one of the 10 most impressive markets in the world by the British travel magazine ‘Rough Guide’. VMA/VNS Photo An Hiếu

Among the floating marketplaces in the delta, Cái Bè in Tiền Giang Province and Cái Răng in Cần Thơ City are the most popular sites for visitors to the southwest region.

According to a poll conducted by Cần Thơ’s Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the floating market is a must-see attraction for more than 70 per cent of visitors to the city.

Lê Thanh Phong, vice chairman of the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, has been to many floating markets worldwide and has observed the distinct appeal of Cái Răng, a typical floating market of the Mekong Delta.

Phong has noticed that the trading in this market is not only a reenactment or performance for visitors but also the locals’ actual lives. The market demonstrates the delta inhabitants’ authentic and vibrant cultural character, intriguing tourists.

Ba Ngàn floating market in Ngã Bảy town, Hậu Giang Province, features a wide variety of fruit and other local delicacies. VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khương

Frequent visitor to the Cái Răng floating market Đặng Thu Hiền was charmed by the local cuisine and culture.

“Listening to the lively sounds on the river in the early morning while enjoying a bowl of hot hủ tiếu (noodle soup), a cup of bà ba sweet soup, and grilled banana cakes is an amazing experience,” she said.

“By visiting the highland markets in the Northwest and the floating markets of the Mekong River Delta, I learned more about the lives, customs, and habits of the people in each region.”

Culture preservation and tourism

Floating marketplaces in the Mekong Delta continue to exist, playing a part in economic activity and serving as a tourist draw despite numerous changes and the diversification of purchasing, selling, and exchanging commodities over time.

However, many experts, management organisations, and businesses are concerned with how to sustainably protect and enhance the value of the floating markets, while expanding tourist experiences.

Foreign tourists taste pineapple, a signature fruit of floating markets. VNA/VNS Photo An Hiếu

Associate Professor Đào Ngọc Cảnh of Cần Thơ University said he believed that while tourism resources are vital, they are merely the “raw materials” for making high-quality products.

“Without a skilled chef, it is impossible to prepare a delectable dinner, even if the ingredients are great, likewise for tourism. Based on understanding the needs and preferences of tourists, appealing and competitive tourism products must be developed via investment and inventiveness,” he said.

Taking the example of the Cái Răng floating market, Cảnh said that it was established in the early 20th century and had since become one of the most well-known floating marketplaces in the world.

However, Cảnh argued that floating market tourism services and products must be continuously enhanced to match social development and satisfy tourists.

“If floating market tourism is merely exploited without investment, it will eventually become monotonous,” he said.

He suggested establishing a floating market tourist service centre with the functions of inspecting and supervising tourism services, ensuring civilised tourism business, ensuring security, and organising tours connecting the Cái Răng floating market with nearby tourist attractions.

Tourists enjoy their breakfast of hủ tiếu (noodle soup), a famous dish at the Cái Răng floating market. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Liêm

Cảnh also said that for floating market tourism products to become increasingly diverse, it was necessary to develop all types of services to sell speciality produce and souvenirs on land and retail boats, thereby providing customers with a selection from which to choose.

The establishment of a supply chain for floating market tourism products, mainly fruit, food, and souvenirs was also needed.

In addition, it is necessary to encourage locals to participate more in tourism services, such as taking tourists to the floating market by boat and selling fruit, food, beverages, and local delicacies.

“These services must be supervised and invested in properly,” he said.

Trần Thị Bích Thủy from the National Institute of Culture and Arts in HCM City said that floating markets in the Mekong Delta played a vital role in the economic, cultural, and social life of southern residents.

She added that the country’s development required the transformation of the floating market for it to continue to exist and develop while preserving traditional culture.

Thủy suggested that some typical floating markets be selected, combined with craft villages and restaurants, to form a complex that is both an eco-tourism destination and an area to explore and enjoy Southern cuisine.

She added that the local authorities needed to strengthen communication and raise community awareness about tourism development associated with the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage.

“It is important to realise that cultural heritage is the foundation for promoting sustainable tourism development while creating favourable resources for the conservation and promotion of heritage, including the floating market’s cultural heritage,” she said.

With the right vision and management, the spectacular floating markets in the Mekong Delta will provide a place for locals to earn income and a unique tourist experience for many decades to come. VNS


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Lam Kinh ancient royal capital holds feudal mysteries




The Lam Kinh relic site in the northern province of Thanh Hóa’s Thọ Xuân District has attracted thousands of tourists since it re-opened in April. Photo

The special national relic site of the Lam Kinh ancient royal capital of the Later Lê Dynasty in the northern province of Thanh Hóa’s Thọ Xuân District harbours mysterious tales about one of the most significant Vietnamese feudal reigns.

After more than 10 years of restoration, the site’s Main Temple Hall area comprising the most important works covering over 1,600 square metres, opened at the beginning of April, attracting thousands of visitors.

The 200ha site is a complex of monuments with a large area of unique architectural works of the Later Lê Dynasty (1428-1789).

The restoration was officially completed based on the original foundations. Along with the restored works of the Main Temple Hall, other areas, including Thái Miếu (Royal Temple), Nghinh Môn (Welcome Gate), Dragon Yard or audience attending court, White Bridge, the Ngọc River and an ancient well have also been carefully preserved.

According to historical and archaeological documents, Lam Kinh Main Temple Hall was built after the death of King Lê Thái Tổ (1433), the founder of the dynasty.

It has an ironwood frame structure and was restored by artisans according to the typical model, style, shape and colour of the Lê Dynasty. The frame with six pillars is decorated with patterns of dragons on the surface of the wood.

According to a local authority official, Lam Kinh Main Temple Hall is now the largest wooden structure in Thanh Hóa, using more than 2,000 cubic metres of ironwood.

Nguyễn Trùng Khánh, general director of the National Administration of Tourism, said that Thanh Hóa’s opening of the Lam Kinh heritage site for tourism was meaningful and timely as Việt Nam has just officially reopened its tourism after closure due to the pandemic.

Tourists are overwhelmed by the gold-plated worship objects and interiors when visiting the Main Hall. Tourists can also see the throne and much-gilded furniture firsthand.

Vũ Đình Sỹ, head of the management board of the Lam Kinh relic site, said that to create the magnificent work, the construction unit selected highly skilled workers. 

“The interior is plated with gold in large quantities. This is not only great work but also the product of the determination and concern of the local authority and the great affection of the people of Thanh Hóa and the wider country, and a great contribution to the nation and the history of the Later Lê Dynasty,” Sỹ said.

The provincial authority officially opened the Lam Kinh relic site for tourists on April 2 and held a ceremony to celebrate on the same day.


Visiting the Main Temple Hall, tourists are often overwhelmed by the gold-plated worship objects and interiors. — Photo

 Smart tourism project 

At the ceremony, the province launched a smart tourism product project-the MobiFone Smart Travel application, to introduce tourists to many popular historical relics and scenic spots in Thanh Hóa, such as Lam Kinh in Thọ Xuân District, the Hồ Dynasty Citadel in Vĩnh Lộc District, Am Tiên in Triệu Sơn, and Pù Luông in Bá Thước. 

The project will be implemented in two phases. The first will set up a smart tourism application and digitise several tourist attractions in the province.

Thanh Hóa has worked with MobiFone to digitise information on tourist draws such as the Lam Kinh relic site, the Phú Lương community tourism area, and the Hồ Dynasty Citadel, a World Cultural Heritage Site.

The second phase will develop advanced features connecting accommodation, travel agencies, restaurants, and entertainment areas.

The province also aims to develop mobile applications by 2025 to inform visitors of key tourist areas.

Land of heroes

Over nearly 600 years old, Lam Kinh relic site has preserved the ancient spiritual culture and legends of the feudal dynasty considered the most flourishing in Việt Nam’s history.

Located in Xuân Lam Commune, about 50km west of Thanh Hóa City, the site is the birthplace of national hero Lê Lợi and where the famous Lam Sơn cemetery was discovered.

“Thanh Hóa is known as the ‘Land of Kings and Heroes’ of which Lam Kinh ancient royal capital is a significant example. I visited the site many times, and each time, I found amazing things about the relic through its historical stories,” said Nguyễn Huy Mão, a tourist from Hà Nội.

“Now, although I am in my 80s, I want to visit Lam Kinh again to hear and admire more about the national heritage, particularly after the Main Temple Hall was restored.”


Gold-plated worship items inside Lam Kinh’s Main Temple Hall. — Photo 

According to Thanh Hóa provincial museum, Lam Sơn – Lam Kinh is a “sacred land and region of extraordinary people, the hometown of national hero Lê Lợi, and the starting area of the Lam Sơn Uprising which defeated the Ming Chinese invaders (1418-1427).”

On April 15, 1428, Lê Lợi took the throne in Đông Đô (Thăng Long – Hà Nội) and became King Lê Thái Tổ. He named the country Đại Việt and began the most prosperous and peaceful dynasty in Việt Nam’s feudal history — the Later Lê Dynasty lasting 360 years.  

It is also the “eternal resting” place of King Lê Thái Tổ and other kings and queens of the Lê Dynasty, a symbol of national pride in the historical period in the building of the Đại Việt State.

For centuries through many ups and downs, the harshness of nature and people’s poor awareness left the site facing serious degradation and ruin.

Though the temples and shrines have been mostly gone, the surrounding landscape, architectural foundations and artefacts of the Later Lê Dynasty remain.

In 1994, the Prime Minister issued a decision to restore the Lam Kinh historical complex. Many actions were taken to preserve the original values of the site.

Experts from the Việt Nam National Museum of History conducted a series of archaeological excavations at the site, which unearthed many cultural layers and numerous relics.

These excavations also revealed the foundation and architectural structure of the complex and tens of thousands of artefacts dating from the Lê Dynasty. The artefacts provided a scientific basis to restore the site true to its origins.

The Thanh Hóa authorities have also issued policies on encouraging and attracting investment in the site and have designed tourist services and products to satisfy visitors.

Today, the site provides a confluence of heritage in Thanh Hóa, not only as a tourist attraction but also for studying the history, tradition and cultural identity of Việt Nam. VNS 


Beautiful scenery inside the Lam Kinh relic site. Photo 


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Baby lobster fried with garlic (tôm hùm baby chiên vị tỏi)



with Chef Lê Đức Hải of Ngon Garden Restaurant in Hà Nội

Chef Lê Đức Hải


–    Lobster: 1.5kg

–    Garlic:5 pieces

–    Light butter:1 tablespoon

–    Shrimp satay:1 teaspoon

–    Cooking oil:2 tablespoons

–    Broth mix, sugar, chilli and pepper

Choose the lobsters, light butter and shrimp satay:

You should choose live lobsters with a light pure blue shell which has a natural sea smell.

You can buy the light butter and shrimp satay in supermarkets, bakeries or online.

 Baby lobster fried with garlic (tôm hùm baby chiên vị tỏi)

Cooking the dish:

–    Clean the shrimp carefully with light salt mixed with white wine to clear its fishy smell before using a knife to vertically cut it into two to take out the dirty thread on its back, and use a spoon to get any shrimp roe and pour it into a bowl.

–    Peel, clean and mince the garlic

–    Put the cooking oil in a pan over medium heat then put the lobsters in and regularly turn for about three minutes until they all turn into a light red colour before turning off the heat and putting the lobsters on a plate.

–   Fry the minced garlic until it becomes brown colour and put light butter and the lobster roe in the pan to cook for a minute then add the sugar, broth mix and shrimp satay and stir well.

–    Finally, arrange the fried lobsters on a plate and pour on the sauce.

Completed dish:

–    The dish has the tasty sweet flavour of the lobster, aromatic fragrance of fried garlic, and spiciness from chilli and pepper mixed in to the roe. 

      It is best eaten with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. VNS


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