ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Entertainment centres hope to attract Tet visitors
Tourism parks and entertainment centres in HCM City have made significant invetments to attract visitors during the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival, which begins on Friday.
Suoi Tien Cultural Tourist Park in District 9, for example has spent VND35 billion (US$1.7 million) to build a giant garden with traditional varieties of flowers, bonsai, and fruit and bamboo trees of various kinds and sizes.
Designers and carpenters worked to create a 11,000 sq.m area that depicts the cultural and daily aspects of the life of people in various regions of the country.
It has hundreds of model houses, rickshaws, and everyday objects made of bamboo, wood, and clumps of rice, straw and grass.
Many traditional dishes, cakes, liquor, and handicrafts will be both displayed and sold by artisans.
There is also a playground for traditional games that takes older people back to their childhood.
Music and dance and food related to ethnic groups will be seen at several spots around the park.
"Through our unique products, we hope both local and foreign visitors will discover and enjoy slices of Viet Nam's history, culture, and lifestyle in different regions," Dinh Van Vui, a member of the park's managing board, said.
She and her 500-strong staff hope to welcome 40,000-50,000 visitors a day during the first week of Tet holiday.
Binh Chanh District's Labour Cultural House in co-operation with its partners will organise traditional music and programmes to usher in the New Year.
The first show, titled Xuan Yeu Thuong (Beloved Spring), will begin this weekend, featuring circus, puppet, music, song and traditional dance performances.
It will also include dozens of excerpts from popular cai luong (reformed opera) plays in praise of the country, its history and culture, such as Rang Ro Viet Nam (Brilliant Viet Nam) and Nu Tuong Co Dao (A Female Commander).
Cai luong artists from the Tran Huu Trang Theatre, one of the region's leading traditional art troupes, will be featured.
"I'm sure both urban and rural visitors will find inspiration here," said young talent Vo Minh Luan of Tran Huu Trang Theatre, who will appear with veteran cai luong stars, including Bach Long, on stage.
Luan and his colleagues will tour around the city, performing for migrant labourers who work at industrial parks and export processing zones.
Sponsored by the city government, their shows will be free every night through the holiday period.
District 11's Dam Sen Tourist Park will invite more than 1,500 disadvantaged children to join its special music and song programme on the first day of the Lunar New Year.
The event will offer free food and drinks.
Songs about children and their dreams will be performed by pop singers like Ngo Kien Huy and Dong Nhi.
Tet gifts for people in remote areas
Poor women and children living in remote provinces of Ca Mau, Gia Lai and Kon Tum have received gifts of food and medical assistance for Tet under a programme undertaken by several HCM City organisations.
Mua Xuan Cho Em (Spring for You) offered gifts worth VND500,000 ($25) each to 2,000 disabled children as well as poor people.
Medical volunteers provided villagers health checks, treatment, and drugs.
Elsewhere, members of the HCM City Women's Association visited and gave away books, magazines, blankets, and traditional jams and candy to women and children living in the remote communes of Cu Chi, Nha Be and Hoc Mon Districts.
This week more than 1,000 HCM City university students have travelled to shelters and open houses under a voluntary programme organised by the City's Young People's Association.
Sinh Vien Don Tet Xa Nha (Migrant Students Welcome Tet 2011) encourages young people in the city to call on and help needy people to celebrate Tet.
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