The 17th annual horse race opened the Bac Ha White Plateau Festival this year.

Neither a commercial nor professional race, the event features amateur riders, mainly farmers, on their mounts and riding without full saddles, harnesses and stirrups, just a horse belt, with two iron hooks tied to ropes on either side of the horse’s mouth for control.

At the horse race in Lao Cai (Photo:

According to the People's Committee of Bac Ha district the races saw 86 riders compete from various districts in Lao Cai province, including Bac Ha, Bat Xat, as well as Ham Yen in nearby Tuyen Quang province.

Prior to the race, the horses participated in a ritual ceremony and a street parade, symbolizing the deep connection between horses and the lives of the ethnic communities in Bac Ha district.

Then the horses raced in a 1,900-metre qualifying round to select the 32 best horses for the final on June 8.

In the final race the top riders and runners will compete over a 1,500-metre distance, vying for the individual and team championship titles for both male and female sportspersons.

Over the course of the festival, which opened on June 1, over 65,000 visitors are expected to attend, with the highlight the traditional horse racing that has been recognized as national intangible cultural heritage since 2021.

Other attractions will include folk performances, contemplating the sunset and sunrise over Mount Ngai Thau, over 2,000m above the sea level, visiting the 1,000-year-old timber tree, ancient tea trees in Hoang Thu Pho commune and the Coc Sam grasslands.

Bac Ha district is known for its fresh, cool climate and many beautiful scenic spots, making it an attractive destination for domestic and international tourists.

It is home to 14 different ethnic minority groups, each with their own distinctive customs and traditions.

In recent years, the district has focused on developing a diverse range of tourism products, particularly community-based tourism initiatives that showcase the unique features of each village and ethnic group.

According to Bui Van Vinh, head of the Culture and Information Department in Bac Ha district, the Bac Ha festival has gradually become a distinctive tourism product of Lao Cai province that is highly anticipated by both domestic and international visitors.

“The local cultural identity and available resources have been exploited to create highlights for the festival, thereby attracting tourists near and far to experience the unique offerings of the region,” he added.

Source: VNA