A new generation of world-class theme parks don’t simply wish to entertain you in Viet Nam’s leading destinations for tourism. They also wish to revive and showcase the traditional values of the Vietnamese people to make the country a more attractive destination in the eyes of the world.
When April arrives in the Hoang Lien mountain range in the far north of Viet Nam, the slopes are covered in azalea flowers of all colours—white, purple, yellow, red, pink azalea, all blooming together, stretching all the way to the peak of Fansipan, the highest mountain in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.
This native species is the star of its own show, the Azalea Festival which will be held annually at Sun World Fansipan Legend, a tourism complex created by Sun Group, a developer of luxury tourism and entertainment projects in Viet Nam, and located in Sa Pa, the gateway town to Viet Nam’s northwest, a mountainous realm of unsurpassed beauty.
Visiting the Azalea Festival, tourists can also discover more about the cultural activities of northwestern Hill Tribes, such as the Red Dao and H'mong ethnic groups, who live in villages dotted around the Hoang Lien mountain range.
These people have their own ritualistic dances, folk games and traditional forms of musical, all of which are depicted at Sun World Fansipan Legend, giving visitors a chance to discover more about the local way of life before they ride by cable car to the 'Roof of Indochina', or tour Sa Pa in the Muong Hoa Funicular.
Vietnam northwestern culinary festival. — Sun Group photo.
If arriving in Sa Pa in July, visitors will also be able to soak up the vibrant festival atmosphere of the Northwestern Cultural Space and Culinary Festival. At the food court, visitors have a chance to taste dozens of traditional dishes such as thang co — a hearty stew made from horse meat! If that sounds a bit intense, you can snack on a Sa Pa-style sausage or grilled pork. All of these classic dishes can be enjoyed with a small glass of ruou (rice wine).
Visitors can also try their hand at cooking banh chung (square sticky rice cake) or grinding a sticky rice dumpling - a custom of the H’mong people during their New Year Festival. The distinctive wedding rituals of the Red Dao people are also recreated on Saturdays and Sundays during the festival. But whatever day you visit, there are always more activities that showcase the fascinating traditions of these groups.
Realising that Sa Pa is a gateway town, not just to the geographic wonders of northwestern Viet Nam, but also the distinctive cultures in the locality, Sun World Fansipan Legend strives to be a valuable window into the local customs and traditions of the communities who have lived around Fansipan since the days of yore.
Sun World Fansipan Legend’s approach to hosting traditional festivals and showcasing local culture has been lauded by many industry observers. First and foremost, festivals and vibrant local cultures are a great magnet for attracting tourists. From another perspective, by promoting the traditional cultural values of these communities, Sun World Fansipan Legend is also helping preserve them at a time when even remote parts of Viet Nam are modernising.
Da Nang also flying the flag for tradition
Meanwhile in central Viet Nam, Sun World Danang Wonders has also been proactive in showcasing local traditions through the hosting of regular cultural events, such as the Lantern Festival, Tet Holiday Festival and Spring Flower Festival. One might argue it’s even more important to showcase traditional values in a city such as Da Nang, which is modernising rapidly.
While many visitors will wish to visit Sun World Danang Wonders and Asia Park to ride the Sun Wheel (one of the five highest ferris wheels in the world), the Monorail (the most modern monorail system in Vietnam), or Queen Cobra (the largest hang glider ride in Vietnam), Sun World Danang Wonders wishes to create traditional festivals that will whisk Vietnamese tourists back to their childhood while introducing age-old Vietnamese traditions to foreign guests.
From downtown Da Nang, tourists can go to Sun World Ba Na Hills, where they can find tributes to French culture. It was, after all, the French who first developed Ba Na as a retreat. Visitors today will be greatly intrigued by Debay Wine Cellar, first constructed in a deep tunnel in 1923. The wine cellar is 100m deep and is always kept at an ideal temperature between 16 and 20° Celsius. Outside you can admire a replica French village of epic proportions. Besides, Sun World Ba Na also hosts regular cultural festivals through the year, not just to celebrate Vietnamese culture but also many other global traditions.
Traditional yet modern
Part of the challenge for each of the Sun World complexes in Viet Nam has been to strike a balance by featuring traditional features but also contemporary touches, too. At Sun World Halong Complex in the northeast of Viet Nam, visitors can enjoy exhilarating rides and some of the world’s top gaming systems visitors, but they can also experience Vietnamese traditions, too. For example, during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday , they will be able to admire a wonderful flower festival, play folk games, try their hand at writing parallel sentences or browse for something to read on special ‘book streets’, a typical Tet activity in Viet Nam.
By blending modern entertainment facilities with traditional festivals in some of the country’s most beautiful and popular destinations, thanks to the Sun World complexes, visitors can explore the age-old culture of Viet Nam, while also experiencing the modern, dynamic and fun side of this fascinating country.