It was also the only representative in Southeast Asia to enter the list compiled by the travel editors of the New York Times based on over 2,000 suggestions. After two years of the Covid crisis, this year’s list highlights places that may be dealing with issues like overcrowding and climate change.
“Once travel begins to normalize, tourists will no doubt flock to Vietnam’s world-famous beaches and vibrant megacities. But head north to the traditional villages of the Red River Delta, and you will be able to immerse yourself in centuries-old cultural practices and a way of life at risk of disappearing”, writes the American newspaper.
The Red River Delta is the birthplace of when ho folk song, recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
The songs are performed as alternate verses between two women from one village singing in harmony and two men from another village responding with similar melodies, but with different lyrics.
Villagers in Bac Ninh province perform quan ho folk songs during a ceremony, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Le Bich
“Since ancient times, villagers along the Cau River in northern Vietnam have been singing when ho and 49 ancient villages in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces have taken measures to safeguard the cultural heritage of when ho which 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 allowing visitors to explore Buddhist temples, traditional craft villages and pagodas built during the Ly Dynasty (1010 – 1225).
The Red River Delta is also home to the 400-year-old Dong Ho folk painting, originating from the eponymous handicraft village on the banks of the Duong River in Bac Ninh Province, which is threatened with extinction with greatly reduced demand over the past of the last 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.
Uttarakhand in India, Kyoto in Japan, Daintree Rainforest in Australia, Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve in Canada and the Little Calumet River in the United States were also on the list.