F. Martine from France and many other tourists from around the world have shown their excitement when joining Thai ethnic people of Mai Chau district in the traditional "sap” and "keng loong” dances.


Photo: By turning culture into a tourism product, Mai Chau district has welcomed tens of thousands of international visitors each year. (Photo: F. Martine and her husband from France experience special cultural identities of ethnic groups in Mai Chau district).

Culture turned into tourism product

F.Martine said she is very excited to try the energetic "sap” dance (a dance with bamboo poles), adding that all people dance hand in hand and all are very friendly.

like the French tourist, many other foreign visitors to Mai Chau are also surprised by the creativity of locals who invented various dances and sounds from just simple bamboos, poles or tree trunks.

Lo Van Hep, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Na Phon commune, said "sap” and "keng loong” dances were previously performed only in traditional festivals. However, with the strong development of community-based tourism, many travellers have come and expressed their wish to learn about and experience the culture of local ethnic groups. To meet their demand, hamlets in his commune established musical troupes to help tourists experience "sap” and "keng loong” dances, thereby helping preserve and introduce the culture of the local Thai Trang (White Thai) ethnic people.

Hoang Duc Minh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Mai Chau, said that the district, home to diverse ethnic groups and rich traditional culture, has tapped into its beautiful natural landscapes and special cultural identities to attract tourists and gradually turn tourism into a key economic sector.

The preservation and promotion of ethnic groups’ cultural heritage in community-based tourism have been carried out effectively. Particularly, Mai Chau has worked to uphold the costumes, folk songs and folk dances, along with the traditional looms and stilt houses of Thai people. That has helped visitors learn about local cultural identities and turn culture into a unique tourism product drawing domestic and international tourists to the district.

Archaeological relic sites transformed into tourist destinations

Over the recent past, Mai Chau has gradually turned archaeological relic sites into destinations for travellers.

Ngan Van Tuan, head of the district’s culture and information division, noted there are now five historical, cultural, and landscape relic sites recognised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Mai Chau, namely Khoa Cave (Xam Khoe commune), Mo Luong and Chieu caves (Mai Chau township), and Lang and Pieng Kem caves (Chieng Chau commune). Among them, Khoai and Lang caves are among the 10 typical archaeological sites of the Hoa Binh Civilisation and listed as national-level ones.

To bring into play the special values of those archaeological sites, the district has carried out a number of measures, including capitalising on the sites for tourism development. Archaeological findings have shed light on the formation and development of the Hoa Binh Civilisation and also created chances for Mai Chau to diversify cultural tourism products to serve local residents and visitors’ exploration and research demand, he went on.

Mai Chau will mobilise resources for preserving cultural heritage and bringing into play archaeological sites’ values to fuel tourism development, the official added.


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