Red River Delta named among top places to visit in 2022 by New York Times

Vietnam’s Red River Delta has been named by the New York Times as one of 52 places to visit in a changed world, where travellers can be part of the solution.

A performance of quan ho in Bac Giang Province (Photo: Vuong Lam)
A performance of quan ho in Bac Giang Province (Photo: Vuong Lam)

In its 2022 travel list, the newspaper described the Delta as a less-visited region, with the age-old traditions of Vietnam.

It said besides Vietnam’s world-famous beaches and dynamic megacities, visitors should head north to the traditional villages of the Red River Delta, to immerse themselves in centuries-old cultural practices and see a way of life that is at risk of disappearing.

The New York Times highlighted the art of quan ho, which was recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage practice in 2009.

Quan ho is a call-and-response folk music style performed by alternating all-female and all-male duets from neighbouring villages.

The newspaper said since then, 49 ancient villages along the Cau River in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang Provinces have taken measures to safeguard the cultural heritage of quan ho — which includes countless rituals celebrating culinary traditions — and to address rural-urban migration through cultural tourism.

According to the New York Times, several Hanoi-based tour operators offer travellers a chance to explore the villages’ Buddhist temples, craft communes, Ly Dynasty pagodas and waterways, while helping to preserve the past.