Ly Son island, a living museum of folk culture

Tourist arrivals on Ly Son island in central Vietnam have surged in February and March, when the weather is nice. Local authorities are working on ways to lure even more holidaymakers to the island.

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Ly Son, also called “Cu Lao Re”, is comprised of a big island and a small islet 25 kilometers from the mainland of Quang Ngai province. It’s hard to describe Ly Son’s beauty in words. The island welcomes as many as 3,000 visitors per day.

Nguyen Thi Thuy from Ho Chi Minh City said “My family and I come to Ly Son island in the early spring. The local people are friendly. I enjoy the fresh air and magnificent scenery, especially the volcanic sediment, rocks, and green moss. This place is awesome.”

The island’s seduction is created by five extinct volcanoes. Attractions include activities that embrace the coastal folk culture, such as a whale worshipping ritual and boat racing.

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Tran Van Thanh from Hanoi describes Ly Son island as a museum because of its cultural and historical relics. Thanh told VOV “Tourists are attracted to the traditional festivals. I think the islanders’ efforts to preserve their culture is critical to Ly Son’s tourism development.”

Ly Son island is lively museum of coastal life because it has abundant tangible and intangible cultural vestiges of the Sa Huynh, Cham Pa, and Viet people who lived here for thousands of years.

It was chosen by local authorities as the core of a geo-park seeking a global recognition, which will help local tourism involve the community and develop sustainably, according to Nguyen Minh Tri, Director of the Quang Ngai provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

“We want to make Sa Huynh culture and Ly Son geo-park local trademarks. Efforts are focused on promoting Sa Huynh culture and protecting the magnificent natural scenery”, said Mr Tri.

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Underwater volcano and coral reef make Ly Son island really attractive to tourists.

Ly Son island is preserving historical evidence of Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos, so preservation of its historical relics is essential, according to Nguyen Viet Vy, Secretary of Ly Son District’s Party Committee.

He told VOV “With a target of making tourism its economic spearhead, Ly Son aims to combine tourism development with cultural preservation. Two important goals are more jobs and greater incomes.”

Ly Son islanders earn their living by fishing and growing onions and garlics. Their hospitality is yet another attraction of this island.