Awakening tourism potential in suburban Hanoi

10:21 | 20/09/2018 Travel

(VEN) - Located west of Hanoi, Thach That District, with verdant fields and traditional craft villages, has tourism potential. To turn tourism into a key economic sector, the district is associating tourism development with products of traditional craft villages and promoting cultural, spiritual tourism.

awakening tourism potential in suburban hanoi

Bamboo dragon flies

Thach That District has 209 historical, cultural and architectural relics, including various communal houses, pagodas, temples and shrines, the most well-known of which is Tay Phuong Pagoda. The prime minister has recognized this pagoda as a special national relic and its Buddha statues have been designated national treasures. Thirty-three other sites have been listed among national relics, and 62 among provincial relics.

Each village/commune of the district has specific cultural festivals featuring their traditions and histories. Traditional art forms have been restored and conserved - cheo (a Vietnamese traditional theatrical art form) in Canh Nau and Dai Dong communes, and water puppetry in Chang Son, Binh Phu and Thach Xa communes.

Thach That District is also famous for an abundance of ancient craft villages, 10 of which have been recognized as traditional craft villages with special products. These include bamboo dragonflies and che lam (a kind of sweetened porridge) made in Thach Xa Commune and paper fans and carpentry in Chang Son Commune.

Bamboo dragonflies are made in the hamlet where Tay Phuong Pagoda is located. Nguyen Van Tai and his wife, Khuong Thi Tan, own the best-known bamboo dragonfly production facility in Thach Xa Commune and visitors can see how meticulously craftspeople work to create them.

“The process of making a bamboo dragonfly consists of 10 stages, requiring careful work so that the dragonflies can perch upon branches of trees, fingers, table edge or even a strand of hair. We also make bamboo birds, butterflies, peafowl and tortoises,” Nguyen Van Tai said.

Bamboo dragonflies made in the hamlet are marketed throughout the country, mostly as souvenirs for tourists to major cities, such as Hanoi, Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, and Ho Chi Minh City. They are also exported to the US, France, Germany, the UK and Japan. The bamboo dragonfly facility of Nguyen Van Tai has attracted a large number of foreign visitors.

Paper fans made in Chang Son Commune’s Dinh Hamlet are also typical traditional products of Thach That District. These fans can be used not only for cooling purposes but also as home decorative items. The fans are offered as souvenirs at major events and sold at festivals and historical sites throughout the country. The paper fan made by artisan Duong Van Mo, displayed at a ceremony marking the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, has been recognized as the biggest fan of its kind in Vietnam. Paper fans made in Chang Son are exported to France, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Promoting tourism

According to Kieu Hoang Tuan, Vice Chairman of Thach That District’s People’s Committee, the district has made its own tourism development plans, focusing on tours to cultural sites, festivals, craft villages and eco-tourist sites. Various projects have been developed, including the restoration of major relics, the attraction of investment in cultural and leisure tourist sites, and the connection of tours and tourism facilities along the districts of Ba Vi, Son Tay, Thach That and Quoc Oai, including three to four-star accommodations, such as the Hoang Long Eco-tourist Site.

Emmanuel Cerise, Ile-de-France Region’s representative in Hanoi and Director of the Paris-based Agency for International Cooperation in Vietnam, has been associated with Hanoi’s tourism for years. He said visitors, especially those from European countries, the US, France, Canada and Japan, come to Vietnam to discover its culture and history through cultural and historical relics. They want to experience life in the countryside with its traditional craft villages and farming, which is quite different from life in their countries. To attract more visitors, in his opinion, Thach That District does not necessarily need to invest large amounts of capital in infrastructure but it can organize bike tours to craft villages and open tea shops and restaurants along the way to these places.

Dinh Xuan Trang, Director of the Mai Viet Co., Ltd, said Hanoi’s tourism sector should work with the local government to install additional signposts guiding the way to relic sites and craft villages, as well as to introduce destinations to visitors in a more professional manner.

Hanoi Tourism Department Director Tran Duc Hai affirmed that the department would maintain coordination with the Thach That District government to promote tourism development in the locality.

Thu Huong