International fest for expats kicks off in Ho Chi Minh City

Binh Minh – Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

Updated : 09/11/2015 16:15 GMT + 7

Visitors pass by a culinary booth at the “Ho Chi Minh City: Development and Integration 2015” festival on September 10, 2015.
Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

Thousands of people, including locals, tourists and expats on Thursday gathered in downtown Ho Chi Minh City for the opening of an international festival.

Titled “Ho Chi Minh City: Development and Integration 2015,” the fest held by the municipal Department of External Relations is an annual event for those foreigners living and working in Ho Chi Minh City to introduce their special cultural characteristics as well as to boost mutual understanding and cooperation among different countries.

The festival at Section A of 23/9 Park in District 1 is joined by representatives from 16 countries conducting a wide range of activities, especially a series of self-introduction performances of the participating countries.

Visitors to the event can both relish foods from around the world and have the chance to learn about varied native cultural features.

The host city also showcases its culture as well as development process through culinary booths, painting exhibitions, traditional music performances, puppet stages, and many more.

Annika Hummel, a German who passed by the event on Thursday by chance, said that she and her friend could not help joining it.

“Our hotel is just across the street and we walked around and heard the music,” she said. “We have to come here and eat something.”

The girl who is on her trip to her grandmother’s homeland for the first time also expressed her surprise seeing people around the world gathering in Ho Chi Minh City.

“I didn’t know that so many foreigners live in Vietnam,” she exclaimed.

“It’s important,” she talked about the event. “Because the world comes together, the world will be connected, people can learn from each other, try foods, and stuff like this. I think it’s a great exchange.”

Meanwhile, her friend, Lisa Stoehr, was cheered up by the celebratory atmosphere of the venue.

“First, we thought it’s an interesting festival for locals, then we walked around and saw it’s international with international foods, and people are celebrating,” Stoehr said.

“Each country has foreigners living in it, so it’s really nice if you feel welcome in the country and I think it’s a good possibility to come together,” she added.

The festival is also a place where young locals come to meet and make friends.

Tran Minh Tri, a second-year student from Ho Chi Minh City Open University, was eager to make friends and talk to foreigners to practice his foreign language skills.

“Festivals like this will help attract tourists to the city and promote its tourist industry,” he said. “If a tourist comes and has fun here, he could recommend his friends to visit Vietnam, a country with many cultural events.”

The fest was held for the first time in 2013, attracting over 500,000 visits.

This year, it runs from September 10 to 13, from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm every day.

Below are some photos taken at the festival on September 10:

Lisa Stoehr from Germany asks about the foods before buying them at a Vietnamese booth. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

A young barista makes milk tea at the Malaysia booth. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

Foreign visitors capture a traditional Vietnamese music performance with their phones. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

A band performs at the festival. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

Indian chefs make foods at a Vietnamese booth. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

Visitors gather at the Thai booth. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

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