2024 International Friends: Join our Cultural Experience Day on Friendship Spring Tour

Last weekend, approximately 400 government officials along with representatives from diplomatic missions and international organizations in Vietnam embarked on a delightful spring journey through the outskirts of Soc Son district. It was a fantastic opportunity for individuals to foster friendships and strengthen relationships in a scenic and serene environment.


During the 2024 friendship spring tour organized by the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organizations (HAUFO), the Hanoi Department of Tourism, in collaboration with Soc Son district, on March 9, foreign ambassadors, their spouses, and diplomatic officers at embassies; representatives of international organizations and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Vietnam had the opportunity to explore the charm of Vietnamese culture.

Delegates attended the traditional incense offering ceremony at Soc Temple Complex. Photo: Tuan Viet
The Soc Temple Complex – a national special relic site – is the place to worship Phu Dong Thien Vuong – one of the “four immortals” of the Vietnamese people. According to legend, Phu Dong Thien Vuong helped King Hung VI defeat the northern invaders, bringing peace to the country and its people. The Soc Temple Complex was built more than 1,000 years ago. Having gone through many historical ups and downs and restorations, the relic complex still retains its unique architecture and many valuable antiques. Photo: Ngoc Chau
Delegates watered the bamboo groves at the Soc Temple Complex. Photo: Tuan Viet
Delegates enjoyed visiting the stalls and listening to the introduction of traditional craft products of Soc Son district – part of their One Commune One Product (OCOP). Photo: Tuan Viet
Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Khamphao Ernthavanh (middle) experienced wrapping quids of betel in the shape of a “phoenix’s wing” with local artisans. Photo: Tuan Viet
May Thet Htun, Deputy Ambassador of Myanmar to Vietnam, enjoyed creating a painting from rice grains for the first time. Photo: Ngoc Chau
The activity of making flowers from bamboo attracted many international friends. Photo: Tuan Viet
Yonemori Shinsuke, Second Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, personally wrapped banh chung for the first time. He said, “I have enjoyed banh chung and loved its flavor. However, it was not until I made it that I realized wrapping a cake is not easy. This is truly an interesting experience. Hopefully, next time I can wrap banh chung more skillfully and beautifully.” Photo: Ngoc Chau
Two young tourists attentively learned how to wrap banh chung. Photo: Ngoc Chau
International and Vietnamese delegates were excited about the banh chung they wrapped. Photo: Tuan Viet
International friends explored calligraphy activities… Photo: Tuan Viet
…and participated in the Cheraw dance. Photo: Tuan Viet
Ilza Burchett, the Australian freelance visual artist, said, “This is my first time coming to Soc Son. I am very excited to learn about this region, about tourism development activities, and logistics services. When tourists come here and experience these things, they will feel more connected to Vietnam. I bought a few bracelets for good luck and as gifts for my family. In the near future, I hope I can bring my family here to travel.” Photo: Ngoc Chau
Monica Sharma, the Director of the Hanoi-based Swami Vivekananda Cultural Center, shared, “Soc Temple has many rituals similar to temples in India. When I burn incense and pray here, I feel like I am at home. I was also very impressed with the music in the exchange program. The dancers and artists performed wonderfully. The flute performance and bamboo musical instruments were unique and attractive, making me want to dance along.” Photo: Ngoc Chau
Within the program framework, the organizing committee congratulated and presented gifts to the female ambassadors and their spouses on the occasion of the 164th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Photo: Tuan Viet
Delegates participating in the 2024 Spring Friendship Tour took a souvenir photo. Photo: Tuan Viet
Hannah Nguyen