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Mê Linh flowers as colourful tourist destination




JOYOUS COLOUR: Hà Nội’s Mê Linh District is home to many different kinds of flowers and bonsai trees. The district leaders plan to make their land a tourism destination of the northern region. Photo

Thanh Hà

Roses, daisies, lilies and many beautiful bonsai trees are here and there and everywhere for visitors to see in Mê Linh, the famed flower-growing centre of Hà Nội. The district is also home to many cultural festivals and spiritual sites boasting fantastic eco-tourism.

“Here in Mê Linh, there are 161 relic sites, more than 200 typical traditional festivals and a range of tourist sites,” said Hoàng Anh Tuấn, Chairman of Mê Linh District People’s Committee.

“Among the relics, 25 are national relics and one is the national special relic of Hai Bà Trưng Temple where we organise the annual Hai Bà Trưng Festival.

“Visiting Mê Linh, people can admire our Hạ Lôi Flower Village, visit the President Hồ Chí Minh Memorial Area at 79 Springs Hill, and enjoy the high-tech organic agriculture zone combined with an educational farmhouse.”

These advantages and good transport links have encouraged local authorities to build a plan to develop Mê Linh into a sustainable eco-tourism destination with the largest flower market in the north.

Land of flowers

Located 30km north of the capital, Mê Linh has almost 2,000ha of flowers. Farmers supply flowers to the capital and other provinces and cities across the country. 

Mê Linh’s is almost full of flowers all year round but farmer Phạm Đức Tài said the most beautiful time is from September to April.

FLORAL BEAUTY: Miss Tourism World 2022 contestants enjoy their time at the first Mê Linh Flower Festival in December 2022. Photo

“At this time, fields are covered by violets, gladiolus, mimosas, roses, daisies and lilies, bringing new colours. And we also welcome many tourists who either come to take photos, or buy flowers and bonsais,” Tài told Việt Nam News.

Tài said that in addition to fresh flowers, farmers in Mê Linh now produced dried ones that last many months with their vibrant colours retained. 

“Flowers are dried with hot sand from techniques we learnt from Japan. After two to three weeks, fresh flowers will be converted into dried ones with their beauty kept almost 100 per cent,” he said.

He added their new products received great feedback from local customers, and they also received orders from international clients.

“Farmers here have great skills and a good aesthetic sense, so they can breed hybrid flower varieties to create such special colourful bonsais,” said Đào Mạnh Tiến, a visitor from Ba Đình District.

“My family loves roses, and we often go to Mê Linh at the weekend to visit pagodas and temples, go sightseeing and shopping for ornamental plants. This flower hub is not as crowded as those in the city, and it’s not too far to travel. The atmosphere is fresh and cool. What a way to relax,” he said.


BOUQUETS: Mê Linh farmers provide dried flowers to both local and international customers. — VNS Photo Khiếu Thanh Hà

Chairman Tuấn said that Mê Linh organised the first flower festival in December 2022. Entitled Mê Linh Brilliant with Flowers, the festival lured thousands of visitors to the three-day event that spanned 4,300 square metres.  He said it would now be organised annually to make Mê Linh a must for flower lovers.

Land of heroines

Mê Linh is also well-known as the hometown of Việt Nam’s first two female rulers, Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị. The sisters (who lived between 14 and 43 AD) spent their childhood, grew up and rode elephants to lead their troops to defeat the cruel Chinese Han invaders.


BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: The Hai Bà Trưng Temple, a national special relic. — VNA/VNS Photo 

The sisters are considered the first heroines of the country.

The temple here is not only a sacred spiritual place where people learn about national history, but also home to many valuable and precious relic items made of wood, stone, bronze, porcelain and paper.

Imbued with traditional culture, the temple is preserved and honoured as a place for education about traditions and for cultural and religious activities. It was recognised as the National Special Relic in 2013 and named as a “Hà Nội tourist destination” in 2022.

According to Chairman Tuấn, Mê Linh is implementing a VNĐ500 billion (US$21 million) project to renovate, embellish and complete works in the temple. The work will preserve, promote, and sustain the surrounding heritage and traditional culture of the building.

PROCESSION: Hai Bà Trưng Temple Festival is the largest spiritual and cultural event held annually in Mê Linh District. — VNA/VNS Photo

Every year, the Hai Bà Trưng Temple Festival is held on lunar January 6 in Mê Linh Commune. 

It opens with the procession of the king’s palanquins, fighting-elephants and offerings. The respected elders in the village are selected to beat drums and gongs, while strong men and beautiful girls carry two palanquins. Villagers display their offerings to welcome the procession.

The festival includes many cultural activities, such as traditional dances, wrestling and folk games. It was recognised as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018.

Relaxing land

In addition to cultural and spiritual hotspots, visitors can enjoy a day full of activities at the 79 Springs Hill ecotourism complex. The green and fresh environment will keep people away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is an ideal place for camping, team building, aquatic sports, and campfires. 

You can also visit Linh Ấn Pagoda, Báo Ân Temple worshipping heroes and martyrs, and one of the first-ever President Hồ Chí Minh statues here.


ANCIENT CRAFT: Farmer Vũ Thị Nguyệt dries her family’s rice paper, a speciality of Trung Hà Village in Mê Linh. — VNS Photo Khiếu Thanh Hà

Touring the district’s traditional craft villages is a much-loved choice of many visitors where they can buy local specialities such as peanut candies in Yên Thị Village, vermicelli noodles and rice paper in Trung Hà, as well as bamboo and rattan weaving products in Nam Cường.

Future plans

Mê Linh recently hosted a farm trip and workshop gathering many travel agencies and tourism officials of Hà Nội, who contributed their ideas to help local managers recognise the potential of tourism here.

Most agreed that Mê Linh had many advantages in the tourism industry with its long history, revolutionary tradition, and rich customs and traditions.

But there is a lack of experiential tourist products, transport is limited, and the craft village activities can be unattractive.

Tourism supporting infrastructure such as goods and souvenir shopping facilities and parking lots are not available, or they are too small and unprofessional to meet the needs of tourists. 

Trần Thị Lan, deputy head of the Mê Linh’s Department of Culture and Sports, said the district was aiming to turn tourism into an important economic sector by 2030. 


GREEN AND CLEAN: 79 Springs Hill is an ideal place for a-day-out for family and friends. — Photo

A system of synchronous and modern facilities would be needed, and quality tourism products must be imbued with national culture and be environmentally friendly.

“We will cooperate with travel agencies to build tourist routes connecting destinations to link with the 79 Springs Hill, agricultural tourism at traditional flower-growing villages and fields of clean vegetables for people to visit,” Lan said.

“We will build a chain of garden houses to grow and display high-tech flower varieties to attract tourists. We will also coordinate with partners to build tours and routes connecting with the tourist destinations of our neighbouring districts of Đông Anh and Sóc Sơn.” VNS



Ba Ria – Vung Tau taps into cruise tourism potential



The port complex of Cai Mep – Thi Vai in Ba Ria – Vung Tau continually welcomed international cruise ships with thousands of tourists over the past months, a sign of cruise tourism recovery in this southern province and Vietnam at large.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau taps into cruise tourism potential hinh anh 1Ba Ria – Vung Tau has welcomed many international cruise ships in recent months. (Photo: VNA)

Ba Ria – Vung Tau – The port complex of Cai Mep – Thi Vai in Ba Ria – Vung Tau continually welcomed international cruise ships with thousands of tourists over the past months, a sign of cruise tourism recovery in this southern province and Vietnam at large.

From November 10 to 26, the Saigontourist travel service company served three cruise trips to Vietnam by cruise line Celebrity Cruises, including two arriving in Ba Ria – Vung Tau. In late August, Spectrum of the Seas carrying almost 4,000 passengers and crewmembers docked at Cai Mep – Thi Vai, marking the third time in 2023 this superyacht had come to the province.

Like in some other localities such as Quang Ninh, Khanh Hoa, and Thua Thien – Hue provinces, cruise tourism in Ba Ria – Vung Tau often becomes vibrant from October to the end of April.

The provincial Tourism Department said Saigontourist was designated by cruise lines to serve 14 international cruise trips with over 30,000 visitors to Ba Ria – Vung Tau between November 10 this year to April 1, 2024.

Some travel companies said foreign visitors, after arriving at local ports, often take a tour of famous destinations in Vung Tau city such as the statue of Jesus Christ, Niet Ban Tinh Xa Pagoda, Thang Tam Temple, and Bach Dinh (White Palace), or a countryside tour of destinations along National Highway 51 in Phu My commune like Ho Phap Pagoda, Cao Dai Temple, or the suburbs of Ba Ria city, where traditional crafts and customs are still upheld.

Located in the southern key economic region and a gateway to the East Sea for the southeastern region, Ba Ria – Vung Tau is connected with Ho Chi Minh City and other localities by road, air, and waterways.

Aside from a number of historical and cultural relic sites and special festivals, it is also blessed with 306km of coastline, including 156km eligible for serving as bathing beaches. Dinh and Minh Dam mountains, Binh Chau – Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve with rich flora and fauna diversity and hot mineral springs, 16 pristine islands of all sizes, along with the island district of Con Dao – a revolutionary relic site, a nature reserve and also a Ramsar site also form part of Ba Ria – Vung Tau’s tourism potential.

The close proximity with Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City and Long Thanh International Airport, which is under construction in Dong Nai province, and the Cai Mep – Thi Vai port complex’s capability of handling major cruise ships are also advantages for the province to welcome international travellers.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau taps into cruise tourism potential hinh anh 2The Cai Mep – Thi Vai port complex is capabile of handling major cruise ships. (Photo: VNA)

Phan Hoang Vu, Deputy Director General of SP-SSA International Terminal, said cruise tourism is growing well in Ha Long, Hue, Da Nang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, and Nha Trang. Among them, Ba Ria – Vung Tau with the Cai Mep – Thi Vai deep-water port complex is favourable for large vessels to dock at. The road system linking the complex with national highways and places of interest province-wide is also convenient for tourists to travel.

To facilitate cruise tourism, the Government, ministries, and sectors have issued many policies to create favourable conditions, including reforming administrative procedures at seaports and reducing port fees for the vessels coming to the country on fixed routes or for multiple times.

On August 15, Vietnam officially applied a new visa policy for foreigners, which is said to be a good condition for tourists and cruise lines to arrange trips.

Trinh Hang, Director of the Ba Ria – Vung Tau Tourism Department, affirmed that the province holds conditions to develop cruise tourism. It welcomed 126 international cruise ships in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and the number is expected to reach 26 this year.

Cruise tourists often spend much money as well as time to try all services of their destinations, and Ba Ria – Vung Tau is currently a magnet for them, he went on.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau attracted nearly 14 million visitors during the first 11 months of 2023, equivalent to 99.7% of this year’s target and up nearly 22% year on year. Meanwhile, its revenue from tourism approximated 14.6 trillion VND (601.2 million USD), or almost 103% of the year’s revenue target, rising 30%, according to the provincial Tourism Department./.


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HCM City launches new night tour



A new night tour made its debut in Ho Chi Minh City on December 6 as part of activities in the ongoing Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Week.

HCM City launches new night tour hinh anh 1A corner of Ben Thanh Market in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City – A new night tour made its debut in Ho Chi Minh City on December 6 as
part of activities in the ongoing Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Week.

The tour will provide
visitors with service to experience culture – art, sightseeing – entertainment activities,
night shopping – culinary culture and takeaway, and healthcare services, at
night through destinations in District 1 such as Saigon Opera House, Ben Thanh Market, and Ho Chi Minh City Museum
of Fine Arts.

This is also one of
the new tourism products aiming to exploit the potential for developing the
night economy and nightlife tourism in District 1 in particular and HCM City in
general, towards attracting more domestic and international holiday-makers to
the southern metropolis.

HCM City launches new night tour hinh anh 2The tour will provide visitors with service to experience culture – art, sightseeing – entertainment activities, night shopping – culinary culture and takeaway, and healthcare services, at night in District 1. (Photo: VNA)

Vice Chairwoman of the
People’s Committee of District 1 Mai Thi Hong Hoa said the district has
proactively reviewed its tourism resources associated with famous cultural and
historical values to develop a plan for connecting and developing tour

Night tourism products will help stipulate visitors’ demand for commercial
services in District 1, contributing to promoting the city’s economic
development, she said.

According to Vice Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Le Truong
Hien Hoa, each district in HCM City plans to develop a night tour as part of a
joint effort to diversify tourism products in the locality.

District 1, which is
likened to the “heart” of HCM City, is a key locality for tourism
development with strengths in accommodation and dining facilities, he added./.


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Ba Ria-Vung Tau developing coastal tourism urban areas



The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is working to improve its tourism brand and overall experience for visitors, on the back of its advantages like year-long mild and warm climate with beaches, rich and diverse mangrove ecosystems and harmonious tourism infrastructure.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau developing coastal tourism urban areas hinh anh 1A complex of resorts and entertainment areas in Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau. (Photo: VNA)

Ba Ria-Vung Tau – The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is working to improve its tourism brand and overall experience for visitors, on the back of its advantages like year-long mild and warm climate with beaches, rich and diverse mangrove ecosystems and harmonious tourism infrastructure.

Awakening potential, advantages

According to its master plan for the 2021 – 2030 period with a vision to 2050, Ba Ria-Vung Tau set tourism as one of the five important economic pillars. The planning outlines the direction for developing the driving force of tourism economy in the southeastern coastal area with a chain of tourism urban areas like Vung Tau, Long Hai, Phuoc Hai, Loc An, Ho Tram, Binh Chau, and Con Dao national park.

At present, local tourism infrastructure is progressively improving, in both quality and quantity, with 1,490 lodging facilities offering 30,623 rooms. Of them, nearly 900 hotels have been rated from 1 to 5 stars with 8,522 rooms. There are now 45 domestic and international travel agencies in operation. Premium and well-known brands, both domestically and internationally, have been established and developed, such as The Grand – Ho Tram Strip, Six Senses Con Dao, The Imperial, Pullman, Marina Bay Resort, Malibu, and Melia at the Hampton.

The transport infrastructure is increasingly improving to provide better services to tourists. The province is stepping up digital economy, digital knowledge, and digital data activities to increase labour productivity and optimise tourism promotion, focusing on advertising through domestic and global media. Premium and world-class tourism areas are being shaped in combination with efforts to build a safe and quality tourism environment. Last year, Vung Tau was the only locality in Vietnam recognised to meet the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard twice.

Hoang Vu Thanh, Chairman of the Vung Tau People’s Committee, said the city, along with Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, is investing in improving the quality of beaches. They are continuing to build model beaches and hold various sea tourism and sport events, particularly in the Bai Sau area. In the coming time, the city will persist in exploring and developing local tourism potential, striving to establish Vung Tau as a leading tourist destination in the region and globally.

Living up to status of coastal tourism city
Ba Ria -Vung Tau boasts a chain of three coastal urban areas that play a key role in driving its socio-economic development, namely Vung Tau city, and Long Hai and Phuoc Hai towns. Additionally, the province has Con Dao as a coastal urban area and is now in the process of planning three more others, namely Ho Tram, Binh Chau, and Loc An. It is anticipated that by 2025, Ba Ria – Vung Tau will have a total of seven coastal urban areas.

The province is also investing in upgrading and expanding key road arteries, particularly the DT 994 route linking Phu My township and Binh Chau commune in Xuyen Moc district to create convenience for tourists. By 2030, the local transport system will be completed, connecting four satellite urban areas around coastal tourism projects together.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau developing coastal tourism urban areas hinh anh 2A chain of Phuoc Tinh, Long Hai, Phuoc Hai, Loc An coastal urban areas. (Photo: VNA)

As of November, the total number of tourist arrivals in the province had reached nearly 14 million, or 99.71% of the annual plan, marking an annual increase of some 22%. The total revenue was estimated at roughly 14.6 trillion VND (608 million USD), higher than the yearly plan by 2.87% and showing a rise of over 30% year on year.

Trinh Hang, Director of the provincial Tourism Department, said the province aims to have at least one model of developing nighttime tourism products in all localities by 2030. There are plans to establish distinct nighttime entertainment complexes in Xuyen Moc and Vung Tau and to develop nighttime tourism products in tourist centres where crowds of visitors gather, toward shaping and developing its nighttime tourism brand./.


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