Buckwheat draws tourists to Vietnam’s northern mountainous region

By Mai Thanh Hai, Thanh Nien News

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Buckwheat, a plant that was widely cultivated by H'Mong people in Vietnam’s northern mountainous region in the past, is now attracting tourists to the areas for the beauty of its flower.
Several decades ago, the H'Mong ethnic communities in the northern provinces of Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Ha Giang cultivated buckwheat for its grain-like seeds. They usually milled the seeds and made cakes, which taste like corn cakes, from the buckwheat flour. 
The H'Mong ate the buckwheat cakes to replace rice in times of financial difficulties.
As the living conditions of the H'Mong communities have been gradually improved, the area for buckwheat cultivation has also shrunk. 
Over the last few years, more and more tourists have flocked to mountainous provinces in the north during year-end months to watch buckwheat flowers in bloom. 
Ly Trung Kien, the deputy chairwoman of Dong Van District in Ha Giang Province, said hotels and motels in the district had been all full of tourists during week days and weekends since early October. 
Initial statistics showed that the number of tourists coming to the town to watch buckwheat flowers this year doubled from the same period last year, she said. 
Kien said the district authorities are encouraging local residents to cultivate more buckwheat to attract tourists. 
Trieu Thi Tinh, deputy director of Ha Giang’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the province plans to support residents in the cultivation of buckwheat and will host activities to promote the plant as a “specialty” of the province, such as organizing the buckwheat flower festival.

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