Phu Tho province was chosen to head the organizing team that will run the 2009 ’Going Back to the Roots’ tourism program. This is the second time that the province will be heading up this organizing team. The 2009 program has been given the theme ’Learning about Traditional Festivals’ and it will focus on presenting the cultures and eco-tourism possibilities of Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai provinces. The program will kick off on the sixth day of the first lunar month and continue until the last day of the lunar year. The three provinces have mountains, hills, rivers, streams and waterfalls that are ideal for developing eco-tourism. Yen Bai province has the 23,400-hectare Thac Ba reservoir from which many islands emerge. Phu Tho province has the Xuan Son primeval forest in which there are waterfalls, caves, streams, interesting plants and animals. Muong Lang people (an ethnic group living in Vietnam) live on forest plantations. Lao Cai province is well known in Vietnam for Sapa - a mountainous town and tourism centre in northern Vietnam. With its picturesque scenery, Sapa is an ideal destination for visitors all year round. In the springtime Sapa is a world of flowers, as many photographers know. It sometimes snows in Sapa and Vietnamese photographers enjoy trying to get a picture of real snow. In Lao Cai there’s also the famous Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range with the 3,000-metre plus Fansipan Mountain. Fansipan is the highest mountain in all of Indochina. Climbing Fansipan Mountain is a challenge that has drawn a number of adventurous visitors. The many temples, pagodas and communal houses in Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai have become destinations for some tours to the provinces. They are an integral part of spiritual/cultural tours. The potential exists to provide tours which would take visitors into the local communities. Houses on stilts, ladies sitting at their looms weaving brocade, terraced fields and Khen dancing can all be seen. The Khen is a wind instrument having six, twelve or fourteen bamboo tubes with a wooden sound box at one end which is very popular among the Thai, the Muong and the Mong ethnic groups. Xoan folk songs and the Tay Bac umbrella dance are also found in these three northwestern provinces, to the delight of enraptured tourists. The ’Going back to the Roots’ tourism program has for four years been advertising the tourism offerings which include the natural areas and cultures of the 30 different ethnic groups that are living in the three northwestern provinces.
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