For a Vietnamese couple living overseas for many years, the Tea Festival in Dai Tu district in the northern province of Thai Nguyen is an unforgettable experience.

Mathilde Tuyet Tran and her husband, who live in France, said they enjoyed the festive atmosphere and learning more about the Vietnamese tea drinking culture.

The festival, which took place on January 25-27, promoted the tea growing and drinking culture of the Vietnamese people. It attracted many visitors.

Organised as a cultural festival and trade fair, the event presented 200 booths introducing tea products and handicrafts from villages in Dai Tu.

There was a competition to honour tea makers and to exchange the technology used in tea processing by businesses, co-operatives, villages and households.

Tourists also enjoyed singing, a typical music genre of the Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic groups who reside in Thai Nguyen. Songs were also sung around a campfire at night, accompanied by a musical instrument called dan tinh (with a sound-box made from a dried gourd).

Tuyet Tran said she felt the joy of the local people as they introduced tourists to different products.

She said she was amazed by a drumming performance by high-school students. She felt the beat reflected the soul of their homeland.

Tourists were impressed by a traditional market displaying specialities such as com lam (rice cooked in a bamboo tube), nem chua (fermented pork and pig skin), banh gio (pyramidal rice dumpling) and banh chung (square glutinous cake).

Blessed with favourable soil and climate, Dai Tu District has the largest tea plantations in the province. More than 6,200ha yield about 57,000 tonnes of leaves each year, making up one third of the province's total tea output.

Dai Tu is pround of its prosperity associated with the industry. This is also reflected in farmers' increasing incomes, according to Dang Viet Thuan, Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee.

"The tea festival has become a tradition for local people," he said. "It creates a chance to promote the products to tourists and develop the name of Dai Tu tea."

Thai Nguyen tea products are popular in Vietnam and are also highly valuable exports.-VNA