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In previous chapters, I have mentioned many tasty dishes made of 2 special noodles, bun and pho. Today, let’s me be your foodie tour guide again for another 8 minutes. I bet this time, you will not regret, for sure. Many of my friends are sweet teeth, so we can gather together and find new places offering wonderful dessert. Here is our best list.

Traditional sweeties

Hanoi has many sweet foods, so it is a big mistake if you have not tried one when visiting this beautiful city. Basically, like many Asian countries, most of Vietnamese sweeties are made of sticky rice or its powder.

Floating Cake

Floating Cake- source: internet

Han Thuc (Cold Food) festival was few days ago. On that day, people often eat Troi Cake and Chay Cake. Troi cake is a ball of sticky rice powder with palm sugar inside. Many cute white balls will be boiled and served cold. When they are well cooked, they will be floating on the water so it also has other name which is Floating Cake.  Chay Cake is similar to Troi cake, but instead of palm sugar, it is filled with mung bean or green bean paste. Chay Cake also has a second name, Lean Cake. Both of them will be sprinkled with some sesame on the top. They are sooooooo delicious as all the ingredients blend into each other well.  The sweetness from sugar, the stickiness of glutinous dough, and the rich, nutty flavor of sesame can make you eat the dish unstoppably.

Banh Chay

Banh Chay- source: internet

You can find those foods in many street vendors appearing in almost every corner in Hanoi. However, if you want to sit down, there are 2 shops offering those foods in high quality, according to may experience. The first one is right at the corner of Luong Van Can and Hang Bo Street. It is small but always crowded. The price range is from 15000 VND to 30000 VND per dish. I think you might not be able to eat over 30000 VND as this shop’s products are quite too sweet for some people. My friends love it but I think they have too much of sugar. The second one is located near Ham Long Church. It takes quite a bit of time to walk from the centre to there, but if you have scooter, your iron horse will bring you there in just 10 minutes. The price in this shop is similar to the one on Luong Van Can Street.

New emerging sweet foods

Dark Brown rice (Black Rice)

Dark Brown rice (Black Rice)- source: internet

Hanoian loves food, generation after generation, so it is easy to understand why there are always new sweeties in this ancient city. The thing I like most is Sua Chua Nep Cam (Yoghurt with Black Sticky Rice). It is sweet but not too sweet; it also has a light flavor of yoghurt blending perfectly with Black Sticky Rice. Can you imagine it? It is super good for someone like me, who loves sweetie but hate obesity, love sweetness but hate being sweat when doing work out, like eating wonderful food but want to have a strong heart. Since this food provides a lot of fiber and many nutrients from dark brown (black) rice and yoghurt, I can happily and peacefully enjoy it without feeling deeply regret later.

You can find Sua Chua Nep Cam in mostly café and dessert shops, especially the ones for teenagers. In Giang Café, which is famous for egg coffee also offers this lovely food.

Giang Café

Giang Café- source: interent

I hope after reading this article, you will have a few ideas about where to eat in Hanoi. I know it is hard to choose as Hanoi has too many wonderful foods to discover, so maybe my friends who run some interesting tours for foodie can help you. You can contact at Indochina tours Vietnam. Last but not least, don’t forget to read the next chapters, I hope you will have a colorful time in Vietnam. See you soon!

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4. Drive motorbike at the high-time and “enjoy” Vietnamese traffic jam: (7:30 am-8:30 am)It will be the most special experiences for every foreigner if they can drive motorbike during high-time in Vietnam. The road will be crowed and crazy. Do not try to apply any official road rules in Vietnam when you drive a motorbike during high-time. Some people are asking me why I have to drive motorbike in a traffic jam but it will be safe for you if you drive motorbike at this time.  The street is crowed by motorbike and car, everybody has to drive slowly and no rules (feel free to drive LOL), police have to work very hard and cannot focus on you who did not a Vietnamese driving license. Besides, you also feel our feelings when wake-up late and stuck into a crowded road then you will never go to office on time.

traffic jams

traffic jams- source: internet

Note: Do not forget your helmet when driving. This is the only one rule you should follow because it will help you protect your head if you get accidents. Besides, you can avoid the police from asking for “tea money”

5. Lunch time and relax with some coffee again (12:00 pm – 01:30pm)

You can take back your hotel after crazy experiences with Vietnamese traffic and road in the rush time. To skip our working time from 8:00am-12:00pm because during this time most of people are working or learning at school. The road is less crowed and to be easier for police to catch you and ask for dirty money if you do not want to have troubles with them. If you go into street at this time, please not to break the any rules as you could did a few hours before.

At 12:00, most of worker and staffs of offices will go out for lunch and enjoy the break. Like in the morning, they will go to some small local restaurant or vendors to enjoy lunch. After that, they will go to coffee near their office to enjoy the break time and chat together. The working time in the afternoon will start at 1:30pm and end at 5:30pm.

At 5:30pm, you will never image how crazy traffic is. It will be crowed more and more at this time. I do not know why but I suggest you not to drive motorbike into street from 5:30 till 7:00. It is the most rush time on every road. You can see the streets are full and the sidewalk becomes a road. I have to say that this is “Battle rush hour traffic for home”. It is the worst tiem in day especially after a hard-working day.

6. Men for beer and women for dinner preparation:

At the end of the day men will join friends for a beer on the many “bia hoi” street corners common throughout the country particularly in Hanoi while women take care of kids and prepare dinner.  Once the men come home typically around 7:30 PM dinner is ready, all of member can have dinner together and talk to each other about their working/school days. Some people think that it is not fair for women but it is a very traditional culture in Vietnam and it is not uncommon. However, nowadays, it has been changing more and more. There are many husband come back home on time and prepare dinner with wife and kids.

Beer restaurant

Beer restaurant- source: internet

Back to what you should do, you can enjoy you dinner at a restaurant if you want but I think you should walk into Old Quarter and find “bia hoi” store, but them then enjoy with some typical Vietnamese foods. If you want to learn in detail on “BIa Hoi” and the most popular foods for drinking beer in Vietnam, please to find my last post: “Bia hoi Hanoi” – Not only the name of a beer.

7. Extra activity for men: Roadside barbers

I think it will be very memorable experience for you when you visit Vietnam. How cool you are when you come back home with a cut hair from a roadside barbers in a third-world country like Vietnam.

Roadside barbers

Roadside barbers- internet

There are two option for a men to cut hair with style in Vietnam:

  • Roadside barbers: You have to get out the Old Quarter to find these guys. It is not difficult to find them when you get out of touristic area like Old Quarter. I can’t recommend anyone in particular, so you’ll be taking a bit of a risk, but if you’re a man and you just want a quick trim or a shave, do not worry so much because all of them can do these very well. However, if you want to find a good barber who can cut your hair in required style, you can watch how they cut for other customer and evaluate if their skill can be enough for your hair. The price for one haircut is from VND30,000 – VND35,000.
  • Find some store with “Cat Toc Nam” (male hair cut) signs. The price can be higher than pavement a little bit but the final result might not be significantly better to a pavement cut. However, it’s a bit more private and the more expensive places will even wash your hair (some offer additional services for men so choose carefully if you don’t want to be chasing off the girls).

I hope that with two parts of my post, you can have an overall view about our daily time and will arrange one day by yourself and try as much as unique activities I have mentioned. These will make you Hanoi walking tour be more memorable and special.

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After visiting all of famous destinations inside/outside Hanoi and still having some free days, what will you do? Staying at your hotel or taking a walk around Old Quarter and seeing our local life. I think it is enough for you to see. Let’s go and have unique experiences on our local daily life!

You will see these activities in Hanoi every day and I make sure that real Hanoi people will have to do one of them at least one time during their lifetime. With these below activities, you can arrange a full day trip to enjoy a local life by yourself easily.

Waking up at 5:30 am, go to a local market in early morning

Normally, Hanoi starts its new day very early at 6:00am. You can see a road with some transportation from 6:00am. But the high time of traffic jam in morning is from 7:15 am to 8:30 am. Most of foreigner cannot understand why we have to start our days earlier than some other country. There are some reasons as below:

  • Most of working places will start at 8:00 am
  • All of primary student and secondary student will be transferred to their schools by parents. Parents will bring their kids to schools safely before moving to office. Because of this culture, all of primary and secondary school will start at 7:15 am. This will help parents can bring their kids to schools safely then going to workplaces on time.

When you wake-up at 5:30 am, you can take a walk around your Hotel and find some vendor at the local market to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, flower, and raw meat with very low price. Most of these vendors go to market at the early morning is farmer who just collect their agriculture products in the very early morning and bring from their garden to big cities like Hanoi to sell. However, if they just sell till around 6:30 am then come back home in countryside area. If you go to market late, you have to buy from retailers who just go to market earlier than you and buy with a good price then trying to earn some profit from people going to market late. A smart Vietnamese housewife will go to market very early to buy fresh foods with the best price.

Flower-Market-in-the-early-morning-in-Hanoi

Flower Market in the early morning in Hanoi- source: internet

In case you do not like local market, you can do some morning exercise around Great Lake, Sowrd Lake or any Park near your hotel. However, you will meet many older walking or running slowly in the early morning. As I said, most people at working age will have to go office very early, so they did not have time to do some morning exercise because it make them be late for working. The younger usually do their work-out in the afternoon after they finish their working day.

Having a breakfast with street Vendor Food and Drink (6:30 am – 7:00am)

In Vietnam, most of hotel will offer you buffet breakfast as a complimentary service. You may enjoy both of Western foods and Vietnamese foods in your breakfast at hotel but I have to say that the taste of Vietnamese foods at hotel sometimes is not traditional and is modified to be familiar with Western dishes. Please to forget one complimentary breakfast at hotel and wake-up then find some local places to enjoy “Pho”, “Bun” or “Banh mi”. They are top three the most popular foods for breakfast in Vietnam. What are they?

Have you tried Pho like this? This is a very local way to enjoy a Pho in early morning in  Hanoi

Have you tried Pho like this? This is a very local way to enjoy a Pho in early morning in  Hanoi- source: internet

  • Pho: a type of Vietnamese soup typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. This one is very famous in all over the world.
  • Bun: This is one is nearly the same with Pho but its fibers will be smaller than Pho. You can have use Bun with beef, chickens, snails, duck, pork. You will have more option than Pho which is used with beef and chicken only.
  • Banh mi: a Vietnamese snack consisting of a baguette (traditionally baked with both rice and wheat flour) filled with a variety of ingredients, typically including meat, pickled vegetables, and chili peppers.

Enjoy a Vietnamese black coffee and green tea after break-fast:

ice-milk-cafe

Ice mile cafe – source: internet

I guess that most of you will drink coffee right after wake up and use it during with your breakfast. However, in Vietnam, our breakfast will have a lot of smells and taste (I am talking about real local foods not about modified foods at hotels), so if you drink coffee and green tea, you can enjoy the taste of food fully. If you did not try any Vietnamese coffee before, please do not try to order a black coffee because it will be very strong and not easy for drinking at the first time. You can call a green tea or coffee with milk and ice. Most of coffee shop in Vietnam open early, so you can find some good places around Old Quarter and enjoy your cup of coffee or green tea. Vietnamese people usually have a strong coffee cup with condensed milk in the morning to start a new day.

For more detail information about Hanoi, you can access Hanoi walking tours

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To Vietnamese people, Da Nang is considered as Singapore of the country. People believe it’s the well worth living city in Vietnam.  This city is also an attractive destination to both foreigners and local people. Once in Da Nang, you shouldn’t miss visiting the lovely ancient Hoi An Town which is 30 mins drive from the airport, the Marble Mountain. My Son Holy Land and spend a few days relaxing by the crystal clear beach.

If you have chance of visiting Da Nang city, beside visiting these above sites, don’t forget to visit Con market – the Foodie Paradise to taste the most yummy and cheap street food of the city.

Con Market - the Foodie Paradise of Da Nang

Con Market – the Foodie Paradise of Da Nang- source: internet

I am certain you will be overwhelmed once you arrive to this market because there are hundreds of food stalls that you can hardly see at any markets in Vietnam. It seems that most of the well-known specialties are around you.

If you interest, you can access:  centre Vietnam tours to get more information

Various dishes sold at Con market

Various dishes sold at Con market- source: internet

Con Market has all kind of noodle, pancake, fruit salad, steam rice, snails, fresh fruit juice, fruit/milky jelly … If you don’t know to begin at first, then I highly recommend you to try Mi Quang – a flavor mix of meat, prawns, turmeric noodle and vegetables infused in thick broth and sprinkled with tasty toppings.

Bun Cha Ca - Fish Cake Noodle Soup

Bun Cha Ca – Fish Cake Noodle Soup- source: internet

Next one is Banh Xeo (meaning sizzling pancake), a savory pancake made using rice flour and turmeric powder stuffed with pork, beansprouts, shrimp and herbs accompanied by special Da Nang dipping sauce; or Da Nang’s version of Northern favorite – Bun Cha Ca (Fish Cake Noddle Soup), fish cake, herbs and noodle in a fruity fragant broth. Absolutely not to be missed is a taste of the unique sweet soups of Da nang which include ingredients such as lotus seed and peas, mixed together. I know it sounds strange, but actually it’s more like a desert than a soup and believe me, it tastes so good!

If you get full but you are only at half of the way, don’t get back because there are many yummy food are still ahead. Just walk around to visit the market and then moving to the end of the market where sold the famous spring rolls, Banh Trang, Banh Cuon …

street food

street food- source: internet

The price of the food sold here are also very reasonable. It’s only about 5.000 VND – 20.000 VND per dish (about 2 cents – 1USD per dishes)

For 50.000 – 100.000VND, (3 – 5USD) you will be full until you go to bed.

Con Market

Con market- source: internet

A good point of Con market is all the food served here are very hygiene. Every food stalls even food vendors have clean tables and chairs for customers. Food are kept inside the glass showcase and the sellers will cook it once customers make an order therefore food is always fresh and hot.

The address of Con Market is Con Market 318 Ông Ích Khiêm, Hải Châu 2, Hải Châu Dist. You can take a taxi to this place or from Da nang airport, go to Duy Tan road, turn right to Nguyen Van Linh then go ahead until you see the Ong Ich Khiem Road board then turn left following the traffic circle to reach to Ong Ich Khiem Road. Go ahead until you see the Hung Vuong Crossroad – Con Market is about 100m ahead.

Happy traveling!

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Da Nang – Hai Van pass – Hue – dreaming road for road – trippers

Hue with ancient beauty, Da Nang hiring the winding passes, blue sea and long sandy beaches are destinations that everyone wants to come and experience.

Da Nang is reagarded as the most liveable city in Vietnam

Da Nang is reagarded as the most liveable city in Vietnam – source: internet

Da Nang, regarded as the most liveable city in Vietnam”, has the big gift from mother Nature. It is the cool weather, beautiful and charming scenery, long white beaches and gentle, friendly people and rich cuisine, which are reasons you want to come back again. The city embracing Han river inside makes up the romantic and peaceful landscape along the river. Besides, the unique architectures adorn the attracting scenery. Coming to Da Nang, enjoying the local life, trying special food, etc. is worthy to become one of “bucket list” of travellers in the world when coming to Travel Vietnam and Indochina.

Renowned as the most royal city in Vietnam, Hue has enough charm to keep you staying as long as you can afford the time to visit. It hire the dreamy, poetic and romantic beauty of the ancient city with citadels, palaces, temples and majestic tombs and the values of intangible cultures inside, which is symbol of intellect and soul of Vietnamese people. Many of Hue’s attractions are found along the banks of the romantically named Perfume River with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 architectural works, which are the reflection of the life of Emperors and mandarins under Nguyen’s reign.

Hue famous for rich cuisine with many simple foods

Hue famous for rich cuisine with many simple foods – source: Sam Nguyen

However, when visiting all the famous landmarks, you will miss when not exploring a simple and peaceful Hue city. Renting a bike or motorcycle, going around Hue to meet and talk to warm and friendly locals is the best way to enjoy the atmosphere here and many special local foods, take photos of young and charming Hue women in “Ao Dai”.

But if you just focus on two city, it is probably not enough for your trip to Da Nang – Hue.Two beautiful cities hide something special as the gift from nature, which is for travellers who are adventurous and love to discover.

There is a majestic pass as a line connecting Da Nang and Hue. In this road through the pass, you can admire Lang Co Bay – known as one of the world’s most beautiful bays or small fishing villages, peaceful blue sky. All is on nearly 30km long passageway (including Pass Phu Gia and Phuoc Tuong), which you can only enjoy if travelling on pass road instead of tunnels.

Things you will miss if taking Hai Van pass by tunnel

Stretching along the slopes of Hai Van mountains is Hai Van pass with the length of about 20km, connecting Hue and Da Nang city. Hai Van pass is like a strim silk ribbon stretching along the majestic mountains.  For centuries, this mountain pass area formed a wall dividing between the ancient Cham culture in the south and the Vietnamese people’s civilization in Red River Delta.

The name of “Hai Van” Pass is very special. “Hải” means the ocean, “Vân” means clouds, “Hải Vân” describes the majestic natural scenery, a colorful picture with sea, mountains, clouds and sun.  In the past, it is called intimatedly “Clouds Pass” because one side of pass is mountains, another side is sea, cloudy all time of the year. The pass is covered by clouds so that you can feel as being lost in the magical paradise. It is said that King Le Thanh Tong had taken the pass and given it the name “Thiên hạ đệ nhất hùng quan” (Means: the most majestic and beautiful pass in the country). And later, this name is inscribed on the stone gateway.

Taking the Hai Van pass is the adventuring experience with the clouds to admire the beauty of colorful pictures: green, turquoise, jade, dark blue and blue, etc.

There is feelings you just get when travelling by motorbike

There is feelings you just get when travelling by motorbike

On the top of Hai Van Pass, travellers can see the Lang Co fishing village in the north and Danang city in the South. Standing on the top, you can see totally the impressive landscape of long coastline.

When driving through Hai Van Pass, you can conquer the winding mountain pass roads, dangerous turns. After going through many winding pass roads, you can stand on the top of Hai Van pass to see panoramic view of Danang city in the sunshine. At the foot of the pass, the trail is as a line separate the space into mountain and lagoon. There are some fishing villages around the lagoon making the view more peaceful and lively. Hai Van Pass has its own beauty in every season attracts many travellers from all over the world to come and explore. In summer,  it is covered with bright colors, blue sky and white clouds. When winter comes, it is such cloudy that you can feel like in the paradise. That is the reasons why many couples have chosen this place to record the best moments of their life.

From the surviving historic  monument on top of Hai Van Pass

From the surviving historic  monument on top of Hai Van Pass

From the monuments on the top of Hai Van Pass, where many people stop to relax and take photos, you can see nice Da Nang city beside Han river, Son Tra peak covered with cloudy in the South and Hue city with Lap An lagoon, Lang Co Bay with many yellow sandy beaches beside blue sea. If you stand here at night, you can be impressed by the image of Danang City like the big glistening silk ribbon beside colorful river. The best time for you to take the pass is in the morning or evening when you can breathe the fresh and cool air and enjoy the spectacular sightseeing. Moreover, walking along the path and stopping at some small shop on the pass – side to try cool and sweet drinks such as coconut and sugar – cane juice. The price is so reasonable for you.

Through Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Bay is so wonderful destination you have never forgotten. This is one of the most ten beautiful bays in the world. Local people here are friendly and hospitable, so do not hesitate to talk and ask them for way to sandy beaches under the Lang Co bridge. Taking a dip in cool water, playing and taking photos are your list – must – to – do here.

Sunrise in Lang Co Bay - one of the most ten wonderful bays in the world

Sunrise in Lang Co Bay – one of the most ten wonderful bays in the world – source: internet

After Lang Co, going ahead to Lap An lagoon where locals breed and catch fishing. Enjoy sunset on Lap An lagoon is your best experience.

Then, you can drive along the 1A high way to visit the food court of the Lang Co to enjoy hundreds of fresh seafood dishes before ending of your road trip. I am sure that it is worthy to try here. Before eating, do not forget to ask the price and then feel free to enjoy.

Tips for travelling through Hai Van Pass by motorbike

Hai Van pass is the extremely dangerous one because of many winding road with cliff on oneside and abyss on another side. So careful preparation before making a roadtrip is so important.

Choose a good companion

Motorcycle is your companion during your trip. Therefore, choosing a good one is indispensable. It is so easy for you to rent a bike in Da Nang city. You can study more about MOTORBIKE RENTAL DA NANG, which own many shops to be convienient for you.

Do serious preparartion

Besides motorcycles, a full backpack with repair supplies, gloves, flashlights, lighters, foods, maps is the indispensable items. Before departure, it should be better to check seriously bike’s safety, prepare masks, long cloths, hats and do not forget cameras.

Keep playing attention to your safety

When Hai Van tunnel is brought into effect, the traffic is not really heavy. That means the road is more desert, you should join in the group, avoid travelling alone. On the way, keep a safe distance with other vehicles, drive with slow speed to be safe and sound.

When you go down the pass, you should check your motorcycle again to ensure safety. Remember to keep the slow speed and use the low number and use wins carefully.

So far, the density of the vehicle through the Hai Van Pass has been less frequent. But Hai Van Pass with its spectacular beauty, it has become the destination attracting travellers from all over the world. So, plan to taking a road trip through Hai Van Pass, why not?

If you interest, please click  Classic adventure Vietnam , it includes all informatins of this post

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Ha Giang, one of the northern mountainous provinces, is famous for its many spectacular and romantic natural scenery. Besides, it is regarded as the cradle of many special foods such as Men Men, Pa Pa, corn wine, etc. One of them is “Thang Co”, which is considered delicious and unique food for people daring to try.

According to the H’Mong old, the name “Thắng Cố” – a different way of pronounce “Co Thang” or “Thảng Cố” –  is derived from Chinese. “Thắng” means soup, “Cố” means the big pan, so we can understand “Thắng Cố” as a soup cooked in the big pan.

The main materials are bone and meat and internal organs of horses. The traditional way to cook Thang Co is only to use horse meat, but today H’Mong also use beef and buffalo meat. Horse internal organs and meat are washed first, marinated then fry. The next is pouring water into the pan. After water is boiling in about one hour, add more boiled horses’ blood.

For further interest, please follow our relevant topics at: Indochina travel

H’Mong peple in Ha Giang cook Thang Co for many people to eat together in a big pan. The pan to cook Thang Co is often so big and old. They think that Thang Co is food for the fun party when gathering almost of relatives and friends, which makes this food special and meaningful.

Travel to Ha Giang, visit Dong Van town on the weekend to take part in the colorful market here, opening in the morning of Sunday. Joining this market, drinking corn wine and eating Thang Co are indispensable activity to explore culture here.

thang-co-is-a-special-dish-in-ha-giang

Thang Co is cooked over a wood burning stove

In the center of market, you will see many people gathering around a table, eating Thang Co and speaking to each other funnily. On the old furniture, a big pan have horse’s organs such as heart, lungs, nerves, heart, blood, and bones inside cooking with anise flowers, cinnamon twig, cardamom. You can easily feel the tasty and good smell. One of the unique features is the way to add spices. H’Mong people are interested in spices and make them special with almost 70 kinds of species and sauces. They focus on the broth of Thang Co, when cooking, all foam is always scooped out to help the broth clearer and more tasted. The added spices such as hemp, cardamom, cinnamon, anise and herbs makes Thang Co in Ha Giang become the most special. The H’Mong style to eat is quite different when squatting together around the pan to eat Thang Co and drink corn wine. They are very friendly and hospitable to be willing to warm welcome you to enjoy Thang Co as soon as the pan is steaming boil in the stove.

5_clgu

A hot Thang Co bowl is a warm gift of the mountainous area in the cold winter – source: internet

If it is the first time you have come to Dong Van market, you may be not interested in a steaming Thang Co pan with many internal organs and not try it. But if you dare to enjoy this food once, I am sure your trip will be an extremely memorable aftertaste. Enjoy this food will bring you many feelings. Firstly, you are curious why it is call Thang Co and the way to make it and how its states are. Then, you are wondering if you should try it. And finally, when you decide to eat, you are surprised by the smell of the simple gift of honest people from mountainous area.

The outstanding culture in the north mountainous area is displayed on going to market. Markets are the place not only for the selling and buying but also for meeting and gathering friends and relatives. After eating Thang Co and drinking corn wine, men sing and dance excitedly. Even if husbands get drunk after going to market, wives will not only be upset but also feel proud of that because it means that their husbands have many friends and are loved.

20131118_cho-phien-dong-van_06

Gathering arround a steaming big pan to eat Thang Co and drink corn wine is the indispensable activity in the local markets in Ha Giang – source: internet

Nowadays, in order to serve more tourists, Thang Co has been changed a little in the way of process and is known as Thang Co hot pot. Thang Co is beyond the framework of the local markets, served in luxury restaurants. But if you want to have a real feel and study more about local cultures, take a trip to visit the markets in Ha Giang, Mu Cang Chai or Sapa, sit around the big pan and eat Thang Co in the simplest way, hear the interesting stories of H’Mong people who create this unique food attracting many tourists from all over the other parts.

If you have been Ha Giang, don’t be afraid of anything, just try once Thang Co to enjoy true taste of high lands and make your trip more experienced.

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Halong Bay is famous for its beautiful scenery with thousands of limestone islands emerging from its emerald water. As part of your trip to Halong Bay, you must be tearing your hair out trying to struggle with information offered from a huge number of  travel agents, tour desk and hotels to find the best cruise. To help you minimize the time for planing the Halong Trip, I would like to offer these tips below and hopefully it can be really useful for you.
hl1

How to travel

Is traveling on your own is always cheaper than booking a tour from a travel agent? This may be true when you have a big group and there is one “travel expert” leading the tour but it is wrong for Halong Bay trip. Let’s imagine, you have only 2 people. You may go to bus station to catch a bus to Halong then take a taxi or “xe om” (taxi motorbike) to the pier to reach your cruise. It may take a lot of your mean time especially when you decide which boat or cruise should be the best among many offer. Also, you are not aware of the route you choose, the food you are served or the bedroom you stay until you get on that cruise. Instead of this headache, booking a tour to Halong Bay from reliable agents is really a big deal as you can rely on them for a packaged service. There will be a bus and driver coming to your hotel lobby in Hanoi Centre and pick you up to the booked cruise then you are free of mind to enjoy the trip until the car takes you back to Hanoi.

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Your time allowed

Sometimes, we receive some questions like: “I am not going to swim, should I take a one day trip?” or “Is this worth spending a night on a junk?”. All of these questions are relevant to your time bound. Many are time limit, you just have one day to Halong, so one-day tour is an option for you. Just be noted that most of the travel time is on the road and you can just spend around 4 hours on the bay. Activities for a day trip are visiting 1 cave such as Sung Sot or Thien Cung Cave, going kayaking, having a lunch on boat. Many others have longer stay in North Vietnam and want to go further in Halong, staying over one night or two will be the best choice for whom to discover this beautiful heritage site.

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Your budget plan

There are hundreds Halong junk cruise for your trip so the prices are varied. These “floating hotels” can be divided into Superior, Deluxe and Luxury cruise similar to hotel on land. The price range for Superior cruise is from $99 to $139/person for 2 days 1 night. Deluxe cruise costs from $160 to $245/person and higher or even double for Luxury cruise. Please check what are included in your package. You may have the full boat trip, meals and tickets fees but transportation from Hanoi to Halong and return is excluded. This small extra can be required if you decide to book the cruise. Moreover, the peak season for Halong Bay is from October to March the next year, so the price can fluctuate just a little and often cruise are fully booked soon.

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Your favourite route

Recently, many more people prefer going to off the beaten path of Halong to Bai Tu Long Bay as this is not too touristic. You can get the enjoyable moment and travel in your own style. However, for any first time tourists to Halong, you are encouraged to choose a classic route to famous and typical caves in Halong such as Sung Sot Cave, Titov Island, Soisim Beach, Thien Cung Cave and go kayaking to Luon Cave. If you spend one more day, the route near Cat Ba island is a nice choice as well. For almost all cruises, you may experience the Tai Chi class for early morning, cooking demonstration before a main meal, fishing squid (seasonal) and singing karaoke on boat. Travellers in higher quality cruise may have massage, jacuzzi and sauna bath inside their room. Be noted that all cruises in this article are sharing ones, you join with other tourists.

Cruise reputation & safety

Please read travellers’review, your friends or hotel guests and ask your travel expert from travel agents to find your most suitable cruise. It can be famous for the responsibility in environment protecting or some charitable activities. To be sure, you can also base on its price, if it is too low it may not be a good one. The wooden small boat with high reputation may be great. Also, pay attention to its safety is a must. You should check the boat’s age, the newer the better and its facilities such as life vests, alarm clocks, hammers and safety boxes…

As Halong Bay tour is a must to Vietnam, I hope these information above might be helpful for your perfect Halong trip.

Happy traveling

 

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