Lao Cai: Preferred Destination for Spiritual Tourism

9:03:24 AM | 6/3/2024

Since the commencement of the Year of the Dragon in 2024, Lao Cai has witnessed a significant surge in its tourism sector. The region is teeming with visitors, drawn to its myriad tourist attractions and amusement parks. However, it is the spiritual tourists who form a substantial part of this influx. The Lao Cai tourism sector places particular emphasis on the maintenance and development of spiritual tourism.

The northern border province of Lao Cai is home to many spiritual tourist attractions such as Bao Ha Temple, Thuong Temple and Mau Temple. Bao Ha Temple lies in “Hoang Bay National Guard Monument Complex”, located in Bao Ha commune, Bao Yen district, 60 km from Lao Cai City. The temple worships renowned General Nguyen Hoang Bay and keeps a lot of original architecture, majestically and solemnly. Every year, Bao Ha Temple opens major festivals such as Thuong Nguyen Ritual and the festive death anniversary of Hoang Bay, attracting tourists with locally unique religious characters. According to the Lao Cai Tourism Department, in the first days of the lunar year, Bao Ha Temple received up to nearly 20,000 people per day on average.

Thuong Temple also lured tens of thousands of tourists every day at the beginning of the lunar year. The ancient temple, also known as Thanh Tran Temple located on Hieu Hoa Hill, Lao Cai, preserves the memory of the sacrifice of Hung Dao Dai Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan, a great historical figure in the war against the Mongol army. With more than 300 years of history and majestic architecture, the temple attracts thousands of visitors every year, especially during the key festival in the first lunar month. This is an ideal destination for tourists who want to explore Vietnamese culture and history and learn about traditional spirit as well as pray for a lucky and successful new year ahead.

According to the Lao Cai Tourism Department, every year, over 2 million visitors go to see Thuong Temple Cultural and Historical Relic Complex to pay homage to Thanh Tran Saint.

In addition, tourists far and wide flock to Mau Thuong Temple (Mau Temple), built over 200 years ago, to enjoy special spiritual experiences. The temple deifies Princess Lieu Hanh and Queen Thuong Ngan in folk beliefs. Every year, thousands of tourists come to worship and wish for a peaceful and prosperous life.

Tourists flock to Lao Cai province early in the lunar year because it is not only a spiritual destination but also has a lot of traditional festivals imbued with unique, profound Northwest cultural experiences.

Mr. Lai Vu Hiep, Deputy Director of the Department of Tourism, Lao Cai province, emphasized: Lao Cai has huge potential for tourism development, including spiritual tourism. The province has more than 40 unique festivals organized by ethnic peoples in the early lunar year. This shows that Lao Cai can develop spiritual tourism - a growing trend that is of great interest to people. Therefore, right at the beginning of the new lunar year, Lao Cai City launched many activities to enhance the appeal of spiritual tourism by organizing cultural and artistic activities and folk culture and cuisine experiences.

During the 2024 Lunar New Year holiday, Lao Cai welcomed more than 260,000 visitors, with spiritual tourism accounting for an important proportion, said the department. Effectively tapping this potential will help realize the goal of welcoming 8.5 million visitors in 2024.

To maintain and develop safe and sustainable spiritual activities for visitors, the Lao Cai Tourism Department has also directed districts, inspectorates and tourism authorities to intensify inspection to make sure that all activities in spiritual tourist destinations comply with the law, prevent superstition, and avert distorted activities.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum