Da Lat tourism week, flower fest kick off tonight

The 2013 Da Lat Culture and Tourism Week will kick off tonight, Dec 27, with a host of activities including those to hail the 5th Flower Festival and celebrate the resort city’s 120th anniversary.

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The opening ceremony, set to take place at Lam Vien Square on Yersin street tonight, will kick off the festive week, to run until Dec 31, which includes the announcement of the 2014 Central Highlands – Da Lat National Tourism Year, the Da Lat Flower Festival and the celebration of the city’s 120th anniversary.

According to the organizers, over 1,700 artists and artisans from across the country will perform at the opening. The 100-minute program will feature the re-creations of flower and vegetables cultivation spanning from the early days when migrants brought in seedlings from the north of Vietnam to the modern day. Another highlight is the re-creation of how Alexandre Yersin, an eminent Swiss-French physician and bacteriologist, who is most remembered as the co-discoverer of the bacillus responsible for the bubonic plague or pest in 1894, discovered the city of Da Lat.

Several activities have already begun on the morning of Dec 27. One of them is the “Da Lat’s floral spaces” show, which is running in the area surrounding Xuan Huong Lake and the city’s major flower villages including Van Thanh, Thai Phien and Ha Dong in wards 4, 12 and 8 respectively.

The “Da Lat Flower and ornamental creatures” display, which is going on at Da Lat Flower Garden, boasts various breeds of flowers, including rare ones and those unique to the city, along with different kinds of precious stones and stones used for fengshui purposes from around the country.

The four-day “Hoa Binh night”, running at Hoa Binh Theater next to Da Lat Market, features fascinating performances by street artists. The countdown to the New Year will also take place there.

Meanwhile, the Da Lat flower market sessions along Nguyen Van Cu Street offer tourists stunning flowery spectacles to pose for photos, various kinds of produce to choose from and displays of local farmers’ techniques in growing flowers and vegetables.

Themed “The breath of the jungles”, the Central Highlands art show, set to take place at Lam Vien Square on Yersin street, features a large number of ethnic minority artists and artisans as well as ethnic singer Ya Suy, winner of the 2012 Vietnam Idol.

With the participation of 20 champagne, coffee and tea producers, the Da Lat champagne and specialty ‘street’ will be open to the public from Dec 28. It’s expected that some 10,000 liters of champagne will be served for free during the festive week.

To commemorate Da Lat’s 120th anniversary, the city will be decorated with hundreds of flower baskets, arrangements, and ornamental plants around major tourist attractions such as Xuan Huong Lake, Prenn Fall, and Le Dai Hanh – Ong Dao bridge.

Another highlight of the festival is the parade of floral cars and bikes throughout the night of Dec 27. Another is the program “The convergence of Da Lat hues,” which features floral fashion and masquerade performances and displays flower breeds that can’t be grown elsewhere in Vietnam.

Nostalgic travelers can relish in local veteran artists’ famous romances and everlasting love songs at the Da Lat train station on Quang Trung Street on Dec 28 and 30 nights. They can also find out more about the city at the documentary photo exhibit “The age-old Da Lat train station” after which they can join in an exchange with Volkswagen buffs.

It’s show time

According to the Lam Dong province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, some 15,000 visits were made to Da Lat in Dec 26. The number is expected to rise by five times by Dec 27 evening, which means the resort city will receive some 200,000 visitors during the week. One of the new points at this year’s Flower Festival is locals’ greater participation in the street activities, the organizers noted.

The provincial Department of Transport and traffic police said that the usually congested streets are now cleared, and they will give their best to make sure few traffic jams happen during the week. During the opening, vehicles will be stopped from entering several streets around Lam Vien Square.

Around 6,000 tourist maps designed specifically for the festive week will be issued to tourists, who will also be offered free coffee, pots of Da Lat flowers and Tuoi Tre daily newspapers.

Meanwhile, to welcome the flower fest, Vietjet Air on Thursday organized an in-flight floral bikini show on its maiden flight from Vinh city to Da Lat with Miss Fashion Truong Tri Truc Diem and its cabin attendants dancing in bikinis made of thousands of flowers.

Hotel rates jump 3 times

As soon as the 2013 Da Lat Culture and Tourism Week was launched, several hotels in Da Lat hiked their room rates by twice or three times. Most hotels, including luxury ones and those in remote areas, are fully booked.

According to the statistics released by the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the city is now home to 642 hotels with roughly 11,000 rooms, which provide accommodation to some 35,000 tourists a night.

The provincial People’s Committee earlier announced its hotlines, 0913.881271, 0913.953207, 0913.853053, 0918.007267, 0633.701788 and 0633.701726, which locals and tourists can call to report scams. Help will also be offered to tourists in case of emergencies. The numbers will be in service 24/7 and are publicly posted at all local service providers such as tourist spots, restaurants, hotels, cafés, and shops.

The provincial Center of Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion also launched the Information and tourist assistance center at Xuan Huong Park on Tran Quoc Toan Street on Dec 26 to provide guidance and help to tourists during this festive week and the upcoming Tet. The center will be in service from 7am to 10pm every day. Its hotlines are 0633 673333 and 0633 725555.