It was also the only representative in Southeast Asia to break into the list compiled by travel editors of the New York Times based on more than 2,000 suggestions. After two years of the Covid crisis, this year’s list highlights places that can deal with problems like overcrowding and climate change.
“Once travel begins to normalize, tourists will undoubtedly flock to Vietnam‘s world-famous beaches and dynamic megacities. But head north to the traditional villages of Red River Delta, and you can immerse yourself in centuries-old cultural practices and a way of life at risk of disappearing,” the U.S. newspaper wrote.
Red River Delta is the cradle of quan ho folk singing, recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2010.
The songs are performed as alternating verses between two women from one village who sing in harmony, and two men from another village who respond with similar melodies, but with different lyrics.
Villagers in Bac Ninh Province perform quan ho folk singing at a ceremony, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Le Bich
“Since ancient times, villagers along Cau River in northern Vietnam have sung quan ho and 49 ancient villages in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces have taken measures to safeguard the cultural heritage of quan ho that includes countless rituals celebrating culinary traditions and to address rural-urban migration through cultural tourism,” New York Times added.
Hanoi-based tour operators have launched tours taking visitors to explore Buddhist temples, traditional craft villages and pagodas built during the Ly dynasty (1010 – 1225).
Red River Delta is also home to the 400-year-old Dong Ho folk painting originated in the eponymous craft village on the banks of Duong River in Bac Ninh Province, which is facing extinction with demand dramatically down over the past two years.
The Delta, measuring some 15,000 square kilometers, consists of eight provinces and two centrally-managed cities including Hanoi and Hai Phong, with a population of over 23 million.
India’s Uttarakhand, Japan’s Kyoto, Daintree Rainforest in Australia, Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve in Canada and Little Calumet River in the U.S. were also featured in the list.