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Tourists experience Mekong Delta during Tet festivities

Update: February, 23/2015 - 08:07
The foreign tourists are captivated by their surroundings during their walk through a flower market in My Tho City. -- VNS Photo Van Dat

Van Dat

TIEN GIANG (VNS) – Amid cheers from other visitors and family members of local resident Nguyen Thi Huong, Swedish tourist Bjorn Emmerik could not help but feel embarrassed while trying to wrap a piece of Banh Tet, a Vietnamese cylindrical glutinous rice cake, just three days ahead of the Lunar New Year.

When he finally finished making the less-than-perfect cake with support from Huong and her children, the loud applause he received from the surrounding crowd caused him to feel proud.

"It was interesting and fun," Emmerik said, admitting that it was his first attempt at making this cake and that he was a little self-conscious.

Tourists visit local houses on the Thoi Son Islet by boat.

With his wife Marie and other tourists, Emmerik visited Huong's home on Thoi Son Islet—also known as Unicorn Islet—in Mekong Delta's Tien Giang, where she lives with her six children, while they were preparing for the Lunar New Year holidays like all other Vietnamese families nationwide.

"Before our visit, we knew that Vietnam would be celebrating the Lunar New Year, but we did not know exactly when," Marie remarked.

In his first attempt, Bjorn Emmerik helps a local family wrap a piece of Banh Tet, a Vietnamese cylindrical glutinous rice cake.

After visiting Huong's family, the couple followed their tourist group to visit another family on the same islet.

An 80-year-old man ran out to welcome the visitors from other parts of the globe. Octogenarian Duong Thanh Quang, who had displayed fruits at the altar, offered each tourist a cup of banana wine to celebrate Tet and invited them inside to eat and drink, using gestures to communicate, as he could not speak English.

The highlight of the tour, which was organised by Saigontourist, was their visit to a local family home where they were able to enjoy the traditional feast in a cosy family atmosphere. This part of their trip pleased the foreign tourists the most.

Duong Thanh Quang (middle) welcomes the foreign travellers to his home with a cup of wine, while offering them traditional Vietnamese dishes during the Tet festivities.

Foreigners who tour the country during the Tet holidays have a chance to indulge themselves in the festive atmosphere of the Mekong Delta. They get to enjoy a full-day excursion to My Tho, a peaceful town on the banks of Mekong River, 75km south of HCM City.

Before visiting local families to join their Tet celebrations, the travellers stopped by Vinh Trang Pagoda and a local flower market, where people sell and buy flowers to decorate their houses during the festival. -- VNS



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