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Thai Nguyen: Tea, tourism, treasures

Home to over 1,000 historical relics and numerous national heritages, Thai Nguyen is a cultural treasure trove.

HANOI (ANN/VIETNAM NEWS) – Nestled in Vietnam’s northeast region, Thai Nguyen is a natural paradise, boasting mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, caves, streams, and waterfalls. The province is rich in cultural heritage, with over 1,000 historical relics and numerous national intangible heritages and archaeological sites. 

Renowned for its stunning landscapes and as the largest tea cultivation area in the country, Thai Nguyen is a captivating destination for tourists.

“Thai Nguyen is a semi-mountainous land, with favourable natural conditions creating an ecological region very suitable for the growth and development of tea plants,” said Nguyen Thanh Binh, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

“With an area of ​​22,300ha for growing tea, Thai Nguyen is one of the leading provinces in the country in terms of cultivated area for tea trees. Tea has been closely associated with the local land and people for a long time. Tan Cuong Commune tea is the best, and is honoured as the ‘Number One Tea’ of Vietnam. The tea tree, which was once grown as a ‘tool’ to help farmers eradicate hunger and reduce poverty, now helps to enrich and create community tourism.”

It has been more than 100 years since the first small-leaf tea trees were brought to and planted in Tan Cuong, about 10km southwest of Thas Nguyen City centre. A few trees from 1921 have now grown into vast tea fields.

“Tan Cuong tea is praised for its unique flavour, with a gentle scent of green rice, astringent-sweet taste, and complete lack of bitterness,” said Dao Thanh Hao, director of Hao Dat Tea Cooperative.

“The brew is not green like tea from other regions but an attractive honey-like yellow. The eye-catching colours and unique flavours are rare to find anywhere else.”

The local soil is said to contain trace elements in appropriate proportions that are endemic to the tea trees. The water source taken from natural water from Nui Coc Lake enhances the delicious and rich taste of the tea. Meanwhile, the microclimate east of the Tam Dao mountain range, at around 1,000m high, is ideal for growing the crop.

Thai Nguyen tea is now exported to many countries and territories around the world, such as Russia, America, Japan, Europe, and the Middle east.

The local authority issued a resolution approving a project to preserve and develop the Tan Cuong specialty tea region for 2021-25. It requires 100 per cent of tea products to be produced by joint enterprises and cooperatives according to safety standards. all must have planting area codes, packaging facility codes, and traceability stamps. as many as 70 tea products will be certified to meet One Commune, One Product standards by 2025.

The province has built a Tea Culture Space under the Thai Nguyen Museum in Tan Cuong. There are many documents and artefacts on growing, caring for, and processing tea. Visitors are given information about tea’s history, with different demonstrations on how to brew the beverage and drink it correctly.

Next to the Space is Hao Dat Tea Cooperative, one of the largest units that grows and produces tea in the area. as one of the places that offer community tourism service, visitors can harvest tea leaves with the staff in the early morning and take part in tea processing activities such as tea hand-rolling, drying and packing.

Tea also plays a key role in Thai Nguyen’s cuisine. The fragrance of the tea buds and leaves makes braised fish, grilled pork, fried tofu cakes and boiled eggs much more delicious. Mat-cha ice cream, jelly, and peanut candies are offered as special desserts.

The “Huong Sac Tra Xuan” Festival is organised every year, to promote and honour tea farming

It is also an opportunity for tea growers, processors, and tea lovers to meet and exchange experiences in making delicious tea. This is also an opportunity for Tan Cuong tea to be promoted to a larger community.

At the festival, many exciting activities are organised, such as contests of quick tea leaves picking and processing tea using traditional manual methods, traditional folk games, and sports and music performances.

according to Vice Chairman Bình, Thai Nguyen identified tourism associated with tea culture as one of the key tasks of the province tourism development project for 2021-25.

Farmers harvest tea leaves early in the morning in Tan Cuong Commune, the capital of tea of Thai Nguyen Province. PHOTO: ANN/VIETNAM NEWS


The tourism industry here focuses on cultural, spiritual, and historical tourism; ecotourism; community and rural tourism associated with tea culture; meetings industry tourism; and adventure sports.

“Thai Nguyen attracts not only historical and cultural tourists but also those interested in ecotourism and community-based tourism,” said Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, director of Thai Nguyen Culture, Sports and Tourism Department.

“This is a land of green mountains and blue waters with many famous landscapes, while the eastern part of the Tam Đaao mountain range in Thai Nguyen has wild, majestic natural landscapes with many streams, waterfalls, and natural rocky reefs.”

He added that Thai Nguyen is home to 51 out of 54 ethnic people groups of Vietnam.

Nui Coc Lake is the most renowned tourist destination in the region. The lake, which was created from a dam built in Cong River in Daai Tu District, is well-known for its spectacular and legendary beauty. With 89 large and small islands, Nui Coc Lake is both an irrigation project and a beautiful landscape amid mountains and forests.

People can take a cruise to explore the lake, visiting islands and enjoying dozens of fun activities such as playing at the water park, aqua-sailing or visiting Legend Palace.

The province has established a project to build a tourist resort connected with a special national historical relic site ATK Dinh Hoa. The Safety Zone in Dinh Hoa Commune (ATK Dinh Hoa) used to provide shelter to the leadership of the war of resistance against the return of the French.

From 1947-54 at this military headquarters, President Ho Chi Minh and many comrades made important decisions important for the national destiny. Among them were strategic military campaigns such as the Viet Bac counteroffensive, Northeast and Northwest campaigns, and the Border campaign.

Twenty relic sites in the safety zone have been recognised as national relics closely associated with the images of President Hồ and other high-ranking party and government leaders such as Khau Ty Hill, Tin Keo Hill, and Khuon Tat Waterfalls.

In addition to historical tourism, the region also offers interesting eco- and community-based tourism. The most notable is the Thai Hai eco ethnic Stilt House Village in Thinh Duc Commune.

It is home to 30 original stilt houses of the Tay ethnic minority people who were relocated from Dinh Hoa. It is a place where villagers preserve artefacts and the traditional culture and customs of the Tay people, where visitors can immerse themselves in lush green nature, and participate in village life.

The village was the only Southeast Asian representative recognised as the best tourism village in the world in 2022 by the UN World Tourism Organisation.

The Phuong Hoang eco-tourism area, which includes Phuong Hoang Cave and Mo Ga Stream, is famed in Thai Nguyen.

Located in Vo Nhai District, it is an ecological space, and unique forest – stream – cave complex. In particular, Mo Gaa stream offers cool, clear and fresh water all year round, and is a fantastic water cave, highly rated by the Royal British Cave association.

There is also the Museum of the Cultures of Vietnam’s ethnic Groups in the city centre, which contains more than 10,000 documents, and artefacts belonging to the cultural heritage of 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam. In its five showrooms, people can learn about the origins and traditional cultural identities of every ethnic group.

The museum also presents an extensive collection of agricultural, handicraft, and hunting tools. Typical ritual clothes with bright colours and decorative motifs of different ethnic minorities are also exhibited. The unusual costumes of the Tay and Nung groups are used for worship and embroidered with lines and designs that supposedly perceive magical sounds.

“With this year’s theme ‘From experience to heart,’ we hope visitors will feel that Thai Nguyen is a safe and friendly destination offering unique, attractive, and impressive experiences to guests,” said Vice Chairman Binh. “Many interesting things await people to explore when they are in our province.”

With its amazing tea culture, incredible beauty and huge tourism potential, the province is set to make waves as one of the nation’s premier destinations.