Bac Ha Winter Festival

Music, horse racing and food will all be featured at the Bac Ha Winter Festival from November 20-22 as Lao Cai Province attempts to attract tourists back to the district.

Bac Ha Winter Festival
GIDDY UP: A horse race in Bac Ha District. VNS Photo Viet Thanh

“We will be holding horse races in Na Hoi Commune at the stadium in Bac Ha District,” said Hoang Van Khoa, deputy chairman of the district’s People’s Committee. 

Na Hoi is home to the famous stables that bred the winner of the annual Bac Ha Horse Racing Festival held in May this year. 

Adding to the race, a food festival will take place with cooks vying for the best “Bac Ha Food Tray”, a chance to highlight local delicacies from the mountainous district.

“I love the black rice cakes from Bac Ha,” said Pham Dieu Trang, a tourist from Hanoi who visited the district on a recent trip. 

Bac Ha Winter Festival
Playing the pipe is a must for all Mong men. Photo courtesy of Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs website

 The event will also include the ethnic Mong Panpipe Festival for the first time. Bac Ha is home to 14 ethnic groups. The Mong account for 47 per cent of the 62,000 people who live in the district, and they mainly live on the mountainsides making a living from growing maize and rice on the rocky cliff ledges. 

During French colonial times, Lord Hoang A Tuong of the Mong in Bac Ha built a French-styled mansion in the town. Today, it is a tourist destination. 

Other activities will include a street parade, night market, flower valley and homestay tours. 

The festival is part of the district’s People’s Committee’s efforts to attract visitors after the COVID-19 pandemic, which cut off all international visitors earlier this year.  VNS