Sun, 23rd Jun 2024 08:56 (GMT +7)

Bắc Hà's white plateau festival attracts thousands of tourists

Wednesday, 05/06/2024 | 10:16:05 [GMT +7] A  A

Thousands of tourists have flocked to a much-anticipated cultural event of the year in Bắc Hà District in the northern province of Lào Cai – the traditional horse race.

The Bắc Hà traditional horse race this year attracted 86 riders from districts across Lào Cai Province. Photo

The 17th annual horse race opened the Bắc Hà White Plateau Festival this year.

Neither a commercial nor professional race, the event features amateur riders, mainly farmers, on their mounts and riding without full saddles, harnesses and stirrups, just a horse belt, with two iron hooks tied to ropes on either side of the horse’s mouth for control.

According to the People's Committee of Bắc Hà District the races saw 86 riders compete from various districts in Lào Cai Province, including Bắc Hà, Bát Xát, as well as Hàm Yên in nearby Tuyên Quang Province.

The horses and their riders participated in a parade before entering the qualifying round. Photo

Prior to the race, the horses participated in a ritual ceremony and a street parade, symbolising the deep connection between horses and the lives of the ethnic communities in Bắc Hà District.

Then the horses raced in a 1,900-metre qualifying round to select the 32 best horses for the final on June 8.

In the final race the top riders and runners will compete over a 1,500-metre distance, vying for the individual and team championship titles for both male and female sportspersons.

Over the course of the festival, which opened on June 1, over 65,000 visitors are expected to attend, with the highlight the traditional horse racing that has been recognised as national intangible cultural heritage since 2021.

Other attractions will include folk performances, contemplating the sunset and sunrise over Mount Ngải Thầu, over 2,000m above the sea level, visiting the 1,000-year-old timber tree, ancient tea trees in Hoàng Thu Phố Commune and the Cốc Sâm grasslands.

Bắc Hà District is known for its fresh, cool climate and many beautiful scenic spots, making it an attractive destination for domestic and international tourists.

It is home to 14 different ethnic minority groups, each with their own distinctive customs and traditions.

In recent years, the district has focused on developing a diverse range of tourism products, particularly community-based tourism initiatives that showcase the unique features of each village and ethnic group.

According to Bùi Văn Vinh, head of the Culture and Information Department in Bắc Hà District, the Bắc Hà festival has gradually become a distinctive tourism product of Lào Cai Province that is highly anticipated by both domestic and international visitors.

“The local cultural identity and available resources have been exploited to create highlights for the festival, thereby attracting tourists near and far to experience the unique offerings of the region,” he added. VNS

Thousands of visitors attend the much-anticipated cultural event of Bắc Hà District. Photo
Source: VNS