Udon Thani is home to more than 60,000 Thai people of Vietnamese origin, the largest Vietnamese community in Thailand. After more than 70 years of establishment and development, the Vietnamese Thai community have maintained aspects of their traditional culture and upheld the spirit of their fatherland. They have also been making important contributions to local socio-economic development, with many now holding high positions in the locality.
Vietnam Town is a joint cooperation project between the local administration and the Thai Vietnamese Association of Udon Thani under the auspices of the Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand. According to the Bangkok-based VOV resident correspondent, the local administration supports and encourages the activities undertaken by Vietnamese expatriates living and working there. Notably, it has allocated THB3 million for building and upgrading the infrastructure system of the town over recent months.
During a recent fact-finding trip to Alley 2 of Si Suk street where the Vietnam Town project is getting underway, Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Phan Chi Thanh and Mayor of Udon Thani city Thanadorn Phuttharaksa examined the building of two Welcome Gates at the two ends of Vietnam Town. The Ambassador also revealed a number of Vietnamese organisations and individuals have made practical moves as part of efforts to support the construction of Vietnam Town. Among them, the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has donated a total of THB1.5 million in order to build the Welcome Gates.
After the hard infrastructure is completed, relevant parties will get down to work on soft infrastructure, including the construction of Vietnamese eateries and souvenir shops which introduce famous brands of Vietnam, along with developing places for cultural exchanges. They aim to attract a large number of tourists from throughout the region, specifically targeting overseas Vietnamese living in Thailand, overseas Vietnamese in Laos, and Vietnamese people, all of whom are keen to visit, shop, and enjoy Vietnamese cuisine.
Indeed, the formation of Vietnam Town will bring about great values in many aspects. From a political-diplomatic perspective, the project will contribute to promoting the country’s image, especially its traditional beauty, to Thai people, as well as tourists from all over the world. It will also serve as a vivid manifestation of the friendship and cultural exchanges between the people of Udon Thani and the Thai people of Vietnamese origin residing there. The project will also be a testament to the traditional friendship and comprehensive ties between both countries.
From a cultural perspective, once Vietnam Town is inaugurated, it will be a place that strives to preserve the traditional culture of Vietnamese people in Thailand. It will also become the cultural centre of not only the Vietnamese community in Northeast Thailand, but also Vietnamese expatriates throughout the country.
Economically, making this neighborhood crowded and attracting a large number of tourists to visit and shop will serve to stimulate local economic development, and at the same time generate steady income sources for Vietnamese expatriates there.