Sa Pa to host culture-tourism week on holidays
The resort town of Sa Pa, in northern mountainous Lao Cai Province, will host a Culture - Tourism Week from April 30 to May 3 in a move to attract more visitors.

The week will bring together a wide range of activities highlighting rich and distinctive aspects of the province’s diverse ethnic cultures, including an art exhibition entitled “Colours of mountainous areas,” a gastronomy fair featuring the Muong ethnic group’s cuisine, and an orchid fair.

Festivals depicting traditional festivities celebrated by local ethnic people, the cultural lifestyles and sports of the minorities will be highlights during the event.

In particular, the Sa Pa love market will be restaged as part of the week as local authorities are fearing that this unique and traditional event will be lost to commercialisation.

Throughout its history, Sa Pa’s downtown market opened on Saturday night as a destination for young, single Hmong, Dao, Tay and Ray ethnic minorities in the surrounding areas to go and seek their true love.

Those already married also seldom missed the event, as it offered them an opportunity to revisit old flames and relive the experience of young love.

In the evening, the love market would fill with tenderly bewitching music from the romantic leaf-horn, and with people from all around the area dressed in their finest garb.

Sa Pa is now regarded as one of Vietnam’s top vacation and relaxation destinations, sought out by both locals and foreigners alike. In 2008, it welcomed more than 285,000 tourists.

Local officials said they expect to welcome at least 10,000 tourists during this occasion as many hotels have reported reservations.

Home-stay will also be a good choice for holidaymakers, they noted