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Yen Tu: Where heritage meets modern tourism

Update: 08-06-2024 | 13:08:15

Yen Tu, nestled in the northern province of Quang Ninh, annually beckons around 1 million pilgrims seeking to immerse themselves in its sacred Buddhist ambiance, spurring the emergence of services catering to those looking for a deeper connection to unique heritage.

The Nuong Village Night Festival showcases the distinctive cultural features of the Dao Thanh Y people to visitors to Yen Tu (Photo:

Heritage-focused tourism

With a steadfast commitment to Yen Tu spanning over two decades, Tung Lam Development JSC stands as a prominent investor, envisioning a tourism development strategy deeply rooted in the exploitation and preservation of cultural heritage.

Le Trong Thanh, Deputy General Director of Tung Lam Development JSC, pledges continuous improvement of services meeting the diverse needs of tourists, whether at Legacy Yen Tu or Yen Tu village.

Looking ahead, the company envisages ventures like the construction of a Buddhist museum, a Tran Nhan Tong museum, and a Yen Tu museum, alongside cultural villages nestled at the foot of Yen Tu mountain. As Yen Tu's cultural legacy garners international acclaim, Thanh anticipates a surge in heritage-focused tourism to the site.

Dao culture takes centre stage

Comprising roughly 60% of Thuong Yen Cong commune's population, the Dao Thanh Y community at Yen Tu foothills boasts a rich cultural tapestry dating back centuries.

Recognising this potential, Truong Thi Thanh Huong, an impassioned advocate for community tourism, spearheaded the establishment of the Dao Thanh Y community cooperative in Khe Su 2 village, aimed at sharing their cultural heritage with visitors.

Huong (middle) and her staff packaging herbal products derived from ancient Dao remedies in Yen Tu (Photo:

Huong and her team meticulously package herbal products derived from ancient Dao remedies, offering foot and herbal baths on-site and for sale. They also craft and sell intricate brocade items, including scarves, shirts, and embroidered pillows. Despite an initial investment of around 1 billion VND (41,600 USD), Huong's initiative has garnered significant tourist interest since its launch in February.

Acknowledging the challenges inherent in pioneering such a model, from securing funding to community education and mindset shifts, Huong aspires to broaden services, including homestays and more immersive cultural experiences.

Exquisite embroidered products crafted by Dao Thanh Y women are displayed at the Dao community tourism model in Thuong Yen Cong commune (Photo:

A Culinary Journey

Local enterprises are tapping into the Dao Thanh Y culinary heritage, offering traditional dishes that have become popular among visitors. Colourful sticky rice, stir-fried bamboo shoots, river fish specialties, and grilled meats are just a few of the delicacies capturing tourist palates.

Tourists explore Yen Tu apricot products, produced by Vu Anh Tuan's family, in their visit to Thuong Yen Cong commune (Photo:

Yen Tu apricots have also been transformed into healthy beverages by local entrepreneurs like Vu Anh Tuan's family in Nam Mau 2 village. Their production space, inspired by King Tran Nhan Tong's legend, reflects the long-standing tradition of apricot processing in the area.

Similarly, Tran Thuy Tap, Director of Thang Long Trading and Services Company, cultivates a 4-hectare apricot orchard and envisions transforming it into an ecotourism destination.

Additional support needed

Despite their potential, current tourism models around Yen Tu remain relatively small in scale and ad hoc, necessitating further support for sustainable development.

Pham Thi Phuong Thuy, Vice Chairwoman of Thuong Yen Cong Communal People's Committee, highlighted the commune's plans to establish a Dao Thanh Y cultural exhibition space and facilitate visits for officials to learn about community tourism models.

Connecting pilgrims traveling to Yen Tu with community tourism destinations is a direction that Tung Lam Development JSC is focusing on (Photo:

Tung Lam Development JSC is also exploring ways to connect tourists with cultural sites in Thuong Yen Cong to provide more opportunities for cultural immersion.

Thanh proposed investments in traditional Dao houses to preserve their lifestyle and customs, potentially creating standardised Dao cultural villages.

Given Yen Tu's millennium-long history and its inclusion in the Yen Tu - Vinh Nghiem - Con Son, Kiep Bac heritage complex proposed for UNESCO World Heritage status, the synergy between large enterprises like Tung Lam and smaller tourism models is crucial. This not only underscores corporate responsibility to the community but also facilitates the dissemination of Yen Tu's cultural values while uplifting local livelihoods./.


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