Tran Thi Xoan hums the song Tinh Ca Tay Bac (Northwestern Love Song) while she decorates her tho cam (brocade) clothes stall with plastic ban flowers.

The 30-year-old woman from Hoa Binh province is displaying tho cam clothes and scarves typical of her region for visitors from across the country.

She is happy because she is presenting her products in Hanoi .

"I hope people will get to know more our traditional products and culture," she said with a big smile.

For the first time, a large-scale replica of a market in the northwest mountainous region has been set up in Ha Noi.

The market is part of the cultural programme Sac Mau Tay Bac (The Colours of the Northwestern Region) which opened on April 26 evening at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre for Culture and Arts.

More than 200 artists and inhabitants from diverse ethnic groups in north-western provinces are taking part in the three-day event.

"It is a good opportunity for everyone to discover the peoples and cultures of the northwestern region," said Pham Van Thuy, director of the centre.

"The programme aims to protect and promote the traditional cultures of the northwestern people, and consolidate solidarity between ethnic groups in Vietnam to boost the region's tourism potential," he added.

The market, covering an area of 1,200sq.m, opens at 8.30am on April 27 and will close at 9pm on April 28. Traditional products from the provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Yen Bai are on display. Visitors have the opportunity to buy khan pieu (traditional scarf of Thai ethnic women), linen clothes produced by the Mong, forest bamboo shoots, honey and smoked buffalo meat.

Tourists can also enjoy thang co (horse meat, beef, bones and viscera cooked together), com lam (rice cooked in bamboo tube), maize wine, and banana wine. Artisans will also show off their wine-making skills and traditional metal working.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, deputy director of the centre, said the organising board had worked with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to select the most interesting cultural products from the northwestern region.

There is also a broad range of activities to entertain guests, including cultural and art exchanges, traditional fashion shows and traditional games.

Each of the five provinces will perform traditional songs and dances.

The event, organised to mark Vietnam 's Ethnic Cultural Day (April 19), will end on April 28 night with a spectacular performance featuring artists from the five provinces.-VNA