Phu Tho province, Northern Vietnam
Capital: Viet Trì
Area: 3,528.1 km² (1,362.2 sq mi)
Population: About 1.5 million
Density: 390/km² (1,000/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Muong, Dao, Sán Chay
Calling code: 21
Phú Tho is a province in northern Vietnam. The name of the province was derived from Sino-Vietnamese and its capital is Viet Trì, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Hanoi and 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Noi Bài International Airport. The province covers an area of 3528.1 square kilometres and, as of 2008, it had a population of 1,364,700.
The history of Phu Tho province is linked to the 18 Hung Kings who were credited with building the nation of Văn Lang. Because of its strategic location, the province is known as the “West Gate of Hanoi”. It is located at the confluence of two large rivers: the Red River and the Da River, and in a transitional area between the Red River Delta the country’s northern mountainous provinces. The Xuân Son National Park, established in February 2002, is located in the province about 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Viet Trì. The park covers an area of 15,048 hectares (37,180 acres), with over 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of natural forest and 1,396 hectares (8,670 mi) of limestone-mountain forests.
Phu Tho province is in one of the poorest areas of Vietnam and the poorest households earn below USD $6 per person per month. Tea is important to the economy of the province. The Hung Kings temple complex, located on Nghia Linh mountain in Viet Trì, is a complex of majestic architecture enclosing Ha Temple (built in the 15th century), Thien Quang Pagoda, Gieng, Trung and Thuong temples, and King Hung’s tomb.
The history of the area is traced to Đen Hùng (the Hung Temple), located on Nghia Linh mountain, which is taken as evidence of the historicity of the province and the 18 Hung Kings who are credited with building the nation of Văn Lang. Hence, the province is considered the first state of Vietnam, with Phong Châu as its capital. There are many festivals in the province linked to this historical lineage.
The area of the province is 3,528.1 square kilometres (1,362.2 sq mi). It is between 20°55 to 21°43 North latitude and 104°48 to 105°27 East longitude. In northern Vietnam, Phu Tho province is at the head of a triangular formation of the Red River Delta in the northern mountainous region. It borders Tuyên Quang and Yên Bài in the north, Son La and Hòa Bình in the west, Hà Tây to the south, and Hà Giang and Vinh Phúc to the east. These provinces are connected to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Phú Tho province, due to its strategic location, is often called the “West Gate of Hanoi”.
Its location is at the confluence of two large rivers namely, the Red and Da Rivers; this province links the northern provinces of the Red River delta with the country’s mountainous provinces and also the two Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan.
Phú Tho is located in the subtropical monsoon region. The province has recorded average temperature of 23.5°C (74.3 °F); the highest temperature and the lowest temperatures recorded have been 29°C (84 °F) (July) and 15°C (59°F) (February), respectively. The average rainfall varies between 1,600 millimetres (63 in) and 1,800 millimetres (71 in). Humidity is high during the monsoon season from May to October with the annual average figure of 85%; in the dry season, it goes below 80%. Precipitation is in the form of rainfall, most of it falling during the monsoon period. Most of the rain usually falls between April and September.
Three large rivers flow through the province: the Red, Lô and Da rivers. In fact, these rivers ensure a plentiful source of water serving daily life as well as industrial purposes. The total length of these three river systems is 200 km through the province and the area drained is 5,000 square kilometres (1,900 sq mi). The annual surface water resources in the province in its river systems have been assessed as 42,000,000,000 cubic meters.
The mineral resources recorded in Phú Tho province are kaolin, feldspar, spirit ores, stone and gravel sand for construction and mineral water.
The Xuân Son National Park was established on February 2002. It is located approximately 80 km from Viet Trì City. The park covers an area of 15,048 hectares (37,180 acres), with more than 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of natural forests and 1,396 hectares (3,450 acres) of limestone-mountain forests.
The park is biologically rich with some 465 species of upper plants and 282 species of fauna, including 23 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, 168 species of birds and 61 species of mammals. Rarer species, such as Tibetan bears, cheetahs, white pheasants, grey gibbons, and cobras are common in the park. The highest points of the park are Mount Voi (1,387m), Mount Ten (1,244m) and Mount Can (1,144m). There are extensive grottoes and caves running 7-8 km inside these mountains; they contain large populations of bats.
Phu Tho province has one city (thành pho): (Viet Trì); one township: (thi xa) (Phú Tho) and 11 districts (huyen): Cam Khê District, Đoan Hùng District, Ha Hòa District, Lâm Thao District, Phù Ninh District, Tam Nông District, Tân Son District, Thanh Ba District, Thanh Son District, Thanh Thuy District and Yên Lap District. In total, Phu Tho province has 275 communes.
According to the General Statistics Office of the Government of Vietnam, the population of Phú Tho Province as of 2008 was 1,364,700 with a density of 387 persons per square kilometre over a total land area of 3,528.1 square kilometres (1,362.2 sq mi). It is one of the least populated provinces in the northern mid-lands and mountain areas of Vietnam. The male population at this time was 660,200 with females accounting for 704,500. The rural population was 1,146,700 against an urban population of 218,000 (about 20% of the rural population). The average population density is 3,706 per km² except for Viet Trì City, where it is 21,042 per km².
Ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh), Muong, Dao and Sán Chay are the dominant ethnic groups which live in the province. The Dao build their houses in the traditional style, built either on stilts, level with the ground or half on stilts and the other half beaten with earth. Du village, located within the Xuân Son National Park, contains an overwhelming majority of this ethnic group is a tourist attraction.
For more details about other provinces and cities of Vietnam, please follow this link.