Horse race as highlight of cultural week in Lao Cai
Tourists and local residents will be able to witness a traditional horse race on June 6th – 7th as part of the Cultural Tourism Week held in Bac Ha district in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.
Nearly 200 horses will perform in a procession, after which 100 horses will race each other, either in teams or as inpiduals.
The winning team will be awarded a prize worth VND20 million (USD920) and the winning inpidual will receive VND6 million (USD260).
The stadium in the municipal centre can hold up to 5,000 spectators, both tourists and locals alike. Tickets cost VND30,000 (USD1.3).
Bac Ha horse race in 2014 (Source: VNA)
The traditional form of riding without a saddle makes the horse race in Bac Ha all the more fun to watch and spectacular performances are to be expected.
During the war, horse racing was discontinued as jockeys were sent to the battlefields to protect their country’s independence.
In the spring of 1980, a horse race organised by the Bac Ha Military Command brought together more than 50 jockeys from villages all over the district.
Twenty-seven years later, horse racing was officially taken up again as a cultural activity as part of the annual tourism development cooperation programme run by eight north-western provinces.
Bac ha district is inhabited by 14 ethnic minority groups, predominantly H’Mong, Dao, Tay , and Nung.
More and more visitors are coming to Bac Ha to attend the unique festival, with visitor numbers doubling to 30,000 in 2012 compared to 2009.
Lao Cai hosted 1,470,000 visitors in 2014, including 545,230 international tourists./.