Tra Vinh develops tourism alongside preservation of Khmer culture

Tra Vinh province has tried to attract tourists to experience and explore Khmer cultural activities while taking many measures to preserve Khmer culture.
Cổng chào không gian ký ức văn hóa du lịch Trà Vinh, ở ấp Ba Se A, xã Lương Hòa (huyện Châu Thành – Trà Vinh) với con đường bích họa tái hiện hình ảnh văn hóa, sinh hoạt cuộc sống đời thường, hoạt động tín ngưỡng của đồng bào Khmer. (Ảnh: Phương Nghi)
Welcome gate in Ba Se A hamlet, Luong Hoa commune (Chau Thanh district) with a frescoed road depicting cultural images, daily life and religious activities of the Khmer people. (Photo: Phuong Nghi)

Tra Vinh has a large population of Khmer people (over 32%), 142 Khmer Theravada Buddhist Temples with unique architecture imbued with the cultural identity of the Khmer ethnic group.

The province has traditional Khmer festivals such as the Ok Om Bok festival, Sene Dolta, Chol Chnam Thmay traditional New Year, in which, Ok Om Bok Festival is recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as an intangible cultural heritage of the national level. This is a condition for Tra Vinh province to develop cultural and spiritual tourism.

With the view of preserving and developing southern Khmer culture, Tra Vinh has implemented a Khmer Culture and Tourism Village in ward 8 (Tra Vinh city) and Luong Hoa commune (Chau Thanh district) at a total cost of 25.8 billion VND (in which 8 billion VND come from provincial budget, the rest from socialization sources).

The project has 7 main subdivisions: Ba Om Pond, Ang Pagoda, Khmer Ethnic Culture Museum, Pali School, Khmer Ethnic Culture Village, Lo Gach Pagoda, Oc Eo relic and other functional subdivisions with various activities and services such as a commercial night market, a food court promoting special Khmer cuisine, an art creation area, an art exhibition, a old house area, etc.

The goal of the project is to build Tra Vinh’s Khmer Culture and Tourism Village into a national cultural and tourist destination; preserve and sustainably develop Khmer culture in Tra Vinh, and at the same time create leverage for Tra Vinh’s tourism development.

Chùa Ang Korajaborey (Chùa Âng) là một công trình kiến trúc điêu khắc độc đáo, mang đậm bản sắc văn hóa tâm linh, tôn giáo của đồng bào Khmer Nam bộ, được xây dựng hệ thống hào nước bao bọc xung quanh và có ngôi tháp cao năm ngọn (tổng thể “Làng Văn hóa,
Ang Korajaborey pagoda (Ang pagoda) is a unique sculptural architecture, imbued with the cultural, spiritual and religious identity of the Southern Khmer people, built around a moat system and has a five-top high tower. (Photo: Phuong Nghi)

Stepping into the village, tourists will get to immerse themselves in the unique beauty of the long-standing Khmer culture, spread by the community tourism model. Notable in the Khmer Culture and Tourism Village is the frescoed road drawn by 5 Khmer artists and artisans on the walls of houses in Ba Se A hamlet (Luong Hoa commune, Chau Thanh district), including 28 paintings depicting the cultural images, daily life and religious activities of the Khmer people…

Currently, “Khmer Culture and Tourism Village” welcomes hundreds of domestic and foreign tourist groups monthly to visit and experience activities such as making flat green rice, dancing, visiting the frescoed road, sightseeing and learning about culture, religion and temples. Project staff are also becoming more and more professional due to training.

Elite artisan Lam Phene from Ba Se A hamlet, Luong Hoa commune (Chau Thanh district) excitedly said: "Khmer Culture and Tourism Village, which is tied to the beauty of the craft village, has created an opportunity for visitors to experience when coming to Tra Vinh, as well as exchange culturally with the Khmer people.”

Participating in the project, members are supported with 60 million VND for each family when investing in homestay. In addition, the locality also supports 50% of the bank loan interest rate within 36 months, the maximum support norm is not more than 150 million VND per household.

The family of elite artisan Lam Phene "directly recreates and visitors experience traditional Khmer performances such as the Ro bam dance, ocher dance, Ta Khe guitar playing... with hats, masks, instruments that I create. In addition, many families recreated the scene of pounding flat green rice, making pandan tube cake... the traditional dishes of the Khmer ethnic people, which have helped many families have stable income."

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(Translated by Tue Anh)