Thousands join flower, book roads

TUOI TRE News, Sat, January 21, 2012,1:19 PM

The flower road on downtown Ho Chi Minh City’s Nguyen Hue Street officially opened to visitors from 7pm yesterday, with thousands taking part.

Themed “Viet Nam Que Huong Toi” (Vietnam my home country), the annual flower road displays spectacular arrangement of fresh flowers and ornamental trees to welcome Tet.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hua Ngoc Thuan, deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, said the flower road had continuously improved each year its launch in 2004.

He also wished everybody a Happy New Year.

The street this year is decorated with plants picked from different areas across Vietnam, including Da Lat roses, Sa Dec daisies and kumquat trees, Ha Noi peach-blossom branches, HCM City ochna-flower trees, among others.

The highlight of the street is a 26m-long and 5m-high dragon made of bamboo, and knitted and braided with dried water hyacinth.

The dragon, which blows colorful flowers, is installed on one end of Nguyen Hue Street to welcome visitors. Five other smaller dragons represent the five basic elements of metal, water, wood, fire and earth.

There are many other decorative items made of flowers representing the culture of the three regions like banh chung (square sticky rice cake), banh tet (cylindrical sticky rice cake), non quai thao (flat palm hat), non la (conical hat).

The dragon welcomes visitors

Baskets of flowers

A foreign tourist looks at old photos of Saigon displayed on Mac Thi Buoi Street

The book road

A giant banh chung (square sticky rice cake)

Quick facts
Capital: Hanoi
Government: Republic
Language: Vietnamese
Population: 88.1 million
Religions: Buddhism
Timezone: GMT +7
Climate: climate, with humidity averaging 84 % throughout the year
Currency: đồng
"Discovering Vietnam and how radically different it is from England (I really did fall in love with it) has also made me want to travel more and explore the world and all it has to offer. I would never have been this adventurous had I not been on this placement; it’s really opened my eyes to the world."

Marianne, English teacher