A corner of the Tam Thanh Community Art Village in Tam Kỳ City. Photo laodong.vn
Mai Phương Nam
QUẢNG NAM — “Tam Kỳ really is a city of dreams.” That was my first impression of the capital city of the central province of Quảng Nam, and I am sure many other visitors have experienced the same feeling.
“I recommend a visit during April, when the sưa flowers bloom,” said Hoài Thu, a Tam Kỳ citizen and guide for tourists. “The city becomes much more romantic with every street corner decorated with the yellow flowers.”
This time of year, thousands of sưa trees bloom along the river banks. The slightest breeze sends them waving back and forth, making the river look like a glistening carpet of flowers.
The city held its annual Sưa Flower Blossom Festival in early April at 500-year-old Hương Trà Village on the banks of the Tam Kỳ River in Hòa Hương Commnune. Walking through the village feels like a dream with the colour and unusual fragrance of the flowers all around.
“It is not an exaggeration to say the city is a land of dreams and romance,” said Hoàng Hải Sơn, a tourist from Hà Nội. “It is not easy to find the words to describe the scene and fragrance along the river wharf, a peaceful and silent place.”
Sơn said the scent seems to make pedestrians and drivers slow down and relax.
“They speak more gently and laugh more freely because they know they are in a place of natural romance,” he said.
The city is about an hour by car from the ancient town of Hội An in central Việt Nam. It is known for its culture, history and nature.
Sưa flowers blooming in Hương Trà Commune, Tam Ky City. Photo quangnamtourism.com.vn
The dreamy city sits on three rivers – Tam Kỳ, Trường Giang and Bàn Thạch – and two lakes – Phú Ninh and Sông Đầm.
As the sun starts to set over the Đầm River, the chirping of birds and the sight of floating fishing boats make for a sense of peace.
Hoàng Tú Nam, a visitor from the northern province of Hưng Yên, said the local craft villages along the rivers are worth visiting. He said that unlike in some other areas of Quảng Nam, the people here are gentle, generous and unlikely to get angry.
“They often laugh while patiently explaining their lives and crafts to visitors,” said the tourist.
While many tourists opt to rent motorbikes to explore the area, one can also rent a bicycle to slow down and enjoy the countryside and its unique communities.
The area is home to several places that are famous for tourists such as Tam Thanh Mural Village, the Tam Thanh beaches, Tam Hải Island, Chiên Đàn Chăm Tower and the statue of the Vietnamese Heroic Mother.
The mural village is operated by the commune and the UNESCO office in Hà Nội. The goal of the project is to promote tourism, art and cultural exchange between tourists and the local community. Each wall in the small village is covered by a striking, unique piece of art.
The local market just a kilometre away is a great place to enjoy a lunch or dinner of local specialities like mỳ Quảng (Quảng noodle), Tam Kỳ chicken rice and baked rolls.
“Besides its well-known public artwork, Tam Thanh is also famed for untouched beaches and beautiful natural shorelines,” wrote tourism blogger Hương Nguyễn on baolau.com. “You can spend the noon or early afternoon to relax by the untouched beach, as getting around within this time of the day could be tough due to hot and humid weather.”
"As the sun eases, head towards Tam Hải Island, which is about 40km in the South of Tam Thanh. You’d need to cross the sea by ferry in order to get to Tam Hải Village," Hương suggested in the blog post.
Chiên Đàn Chăm Tower should be at the top of the list for history buffs.
"The tower has three large stupas, but only the central one is quite intact and still retains the shape of a stupa with the body and a floor above,” wrote the blogger. “The remaining two stupas, the South Tower and the North Tower, have completely lost their upper floors, leaving only the tower.”
The Vietnamese Heroic Mother Monument is designed based on heroic mother Nguyễn Thị Thu. It is built on an area of 15ha on Cấm Mountain, the city’s Tam Phú Commune.
Located just two kilometres from the city centre and three from Tam Thanh beach, thousands of tourists flock to the massive monument each year to pay tribute to the heroic mother.
Another relic worth visiting in the city is Kỳ Anh Tunnel – the third largest tunnel from the resistance war against the US after Củ Chi and Vịnh Mốc tunnels.
“This national relic is an important site for historical tourism as it helps visitors learn about history, reflecting the will and creative spirit of freedom of the people in the city of Tam Kỳ and Quảng Nam Province,” said Thu, the local guide. — VNS