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Cat Ba is surely the name that pops up on your searching computer screen while planning a beach break in North Vietnam. You may be surprised to know that this beautiful “pearl island” is the biggest island (200 km2) in famed Ha Long Bay area and only 25 km away from Halong City and it is also a great destination for beach & sun lovers.According to Lonely Planet: “Cat Ba Island is caves, jungles and waterfalls”. Cat Ba has a lot to offer: rugged limestone mountains, hot & cold springs, moist tropical forests, coral reefs and pristine beaches. Therefore, it was recognized as Cat Ba Archipelago Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005.

If you are wishing for an escape from the city madness and hectic work schedules, Cat Ba is actually a stunning destination or you in a couple of days with a variety of activities to enjoy: Hiking/Trekking in the National Park, Kayaking, Cave Exploration, Cruise tour, Biking or Fishing and Cultural Discovery. For more detail information about activities, you can view: Indochina Tours Vietnam

Cat Ba trekking national park (Half day)

Cat Ba National Park was established in 1986 which is situated 15 km to the North West of Cat Ba Town with the expansion of 15,200 ha. This park not only contains 9,800 ha of forests, tourists coming here may be surprised at lots of fabulous caves.

The National Park was the first national park in Vietnam that includes both terrestrial and marine ecosystems that is also recognized for its biodiversity conservation.

Here is the recommended itinerary for short trek lasting for 4 hour in Cat Ba National Park:

Depart: 8am or 1pm

Return: 12am or 5pm

8.00 You are met up with our tour guide to start the trip from your hotel in Cat Ba town. Take a minibus or motorbike to the Cat Ba national park for about 20 minutes.  At first, we will take 2 or 3 hours trekking through the Kim Giao forest (which provides the wood for chopsticks used by kings in the past) to the view point on top of the mountain where you can see a breath taking view of valleys. Bird watching and if you are lucky, you will see some wild animals: Squirrels, snakes, frogs, thousands of butterflies and monkey earning food…

A short trek through Cat Ba  National Park is an amazing experience

A short trek through Cat Ba  National Park is an amazing experience

11.00 Come down, on the way come back to visit the Hospital Cave – a natural cave were used as a hospital in Vietnam War. Hospital Cave is served both as a secret, bomb-proof hospital during the Vietnam War and as a safe house for VC leaders. Built between 1963 and 1965, this incredibly well-constructed three-storey feat of engineering was in constant use until 1975. The cave is about 10km north of Cat Ba Town on the road to the national park entrance.Then we go to the beach for a swim. Trip ends at your hotel in Cat Ba.

Cat Ba Adventurous Rock Climbing Tour (Half day)

Cat Ba is an ideal place for those who love adventure sports as this island owns 367 islands of various and there are many beautiful cliffs in Lan Ha Bay that are not so challenging for beginners if you are newbie to this sport.

A popular mountain climbing site in Cat Ba: Butterfly Valley

A popular mountain climbing site in Cat Ba: Butterfly Valley

It also has been loved by many professional climbers for its amazing place to climb with countless beautiful limestone faces and incredible experience to slippery green cliff or steep ones. There are many wonderful routes but you must be careful as the bolts and rappell biners corrode within a few years due to the ocean air so a clear insight into current information on new routes, access, and closures, guidebook is a must to preserve your safety and be a good preparation for your climbing.

Daily tailor made sample trip of rock climbing in Lan Ha bay area will look like below:

8:30am – 9:00am: Coastline ride into the small farming village of Lien Minh

9:00am – 9:30am: Basic instruction and introduction to Rock Climbing

9:30am – 12:30pm: Guided Rock Climbing in Butterfly Valley

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Delicious lunch on a bee farm with fresh local foods

1:30pm – 2:00pm: Return to Cat Ba Town

Kết quả hình ảnh cho cat ba climbing tour rock

Another popular mountain climbing is Ben Beo Wall which overlooks the main fishing harbor on the island and this wall contains the highest concentration of hard climbs in the area; The Face where you can take in the wonder of northern Lan Ha Bay during your climbing.

Cat Ba – Lan Ha Bay – Monkey Island Cruising & Kayaking

Lan Ha Bay belongs to Cat Ba islands area, Hai Phong city and is located to the south of Ha Long Bay. As it also has hundreds of islands like Halong Bay so many people assume that this belongs to Ha Long Bay. However, Lan Ha bay is different with hundreds of islets with small sandy beaches. So this is paradise for tourists to go swimming, go kayaking, rock climbing or staying overnight in a bungalow. The other activities that you can pay a short visit are: Viet Hai Fishing village, Cai Beo Floating market or swimming at Ba Trai Dao Islet.

A day will not be fulfilled without a kayaking "contest"

A day will not be fulfilled without a kayaking “contest”

You may take a look at the itinerary as followings:

Depart: 9 am

Return: 12: 30 am

09h00 – 10h00: Depart from your hotel to visit Lan Ha Bay. Taking photos of the scenes with hundreds of small beautiful islets on the way. Visit one of floating fishing villages on the bay and explore how the local people live. There are a lot of fish-farming water houses with many different shapes but all have some common features of Vietnamese fishing village.

A fishing village floating on the bay

A fishing village floating on the bay

10h00 – 11h00: Do kayaking in one of the most beautiful area on Lan Ha bay (1 hour)

11h00 – 11h45: Boat arrive Van Boi islet, it is time for relaxing, sunbathing on the deck, swimming in the fresh water

11h45 – 12h15: Getting back the boat and  on the way back, you visit Monkey Island, where there are lots of monkeys living freely.

Hope several of above day trip suggestions will satisfy your concern on what to do in Cat Ba.

Happy traveling!

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Practices related to the Viet beliefs in the Mother Goddesses of Three Realms! What should you do in the evening in Hanoi? Would you like to explore Folk culture? After a few days visiting Hanoi, visitors may like to see something different, something is unique just being held in Vietnam? Outside the usual scope of performances tourists attend – mostly water puppetry – exists the Viet Theater’s artistic interpretation of “Lên Đồng” or “Hầu Đồng”, a traditional ritual in which a medium is possessed by several deities. Tứ Phủ – The Four Palace show is one of the latest shows in Hanoi that has been nurtured, idealized and arranged for 4 years before officially presented in late February 2016 in Cong Nhan Theatre which is three-minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam.

“The four palaces” or Tu Phu Performance was inspired by the ritual of the spiritual medium ship (Len Dong) of the Mother Religion believing in The Mother Goddess who brings about favorable weather, happiness and fullness to people.

What does Four Palaces mean?

Vietnam is already home to world intangible cultural heritages, including Nha Nhac (royal court music), the Space of Gong Culture in the Central Highlands, Quan Ho (love duets), Ca tru (ceremonial singing) and Hung King worshipping rituals. In 2016, Vietnam summited the dossier on “the belief of the Mother Goddess of Three Realms worship by Vietnamese” for UNESCO recognition.

Mother Goddess worship is a traditional practice in Vietnam with a long history, having stood the test of social changes. The belief in Mother Goddess worship reflects people’s desire for health, wealth and fortune. The practice rituals meet belief-related needs by people in their daily life and have been closely associated with historical and cultural figures, such as Lieu Hanh, Au Co, Vuong Mau (legendary Mother of Saint Giong).

The practitioners are comprised of temple guardians, ritual priests, spirit mediums, mediums’ assistants, musicians who perform the songs for the spirits, disciples and lay adherents who share the same beliefs in the spiritual power, supernatural strength and protection of the Mother Goddess spirit pantheon. All of these practitioners form groups who worship together, take part in traditional festivals and perform spirit possession rituals at temples and palaces dedicated to Mother Goddesses. The folk belief shows the respect of children towards their mothers while reflecting the UNESCO spirit of preserving cultural and religious diversity.

If you interest this post, please view: Indochina travel Vietnam to get more detail information

As a type of folk arts, Len Dong ritual is a spiritual performance

The reincarnatation of Goddess of Mountain & Forest Performance

The reincarnatation of General “Ong Muoi“ Performance

Four Palace Show

Four Palaces is created by Viet Theatre, is the 1st performance to bring Hau Dong ceremony of the Viet Belief on Mother Goddesses (Dao Mau) which is now recognized by UNESCO as the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage to the stage. Four Palaces show honors the magnificence, sophistication of the art in Dao Mau to introduce to the international audiences in Hanoi. The show is an exciting and spiritual journey that combines the effects of sound, light, and unique visuals during the 45-minute performance. The Four Palaces Show has three parts:

  • The Reincarnation of the Second Lady of the Highland
  • The Reincarnation of the Tenth Prince
  • The Reincarnation of the Little Princess of Highlands

Schedule: Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Duration: 45 minutes

Location: City centre – Cong Nhan Theatre (Add: 42 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi)

Enjoy the show.

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As you know Vietnam is a long history country with diversity in culture, cuisine and religion. For religion, Vietnam will be influenced by China, Indochina region, and Europe, so there are many religion in Vietnam. But, there is a very strange thing that nowadays, 80% of Vietnamese is non-religious and they donot follow any religion totally. However,  Buddhism was the first religion in Vietnam and influenced strongly on what Vietnamese people believe and how they live until now. That’s why Buddhism is not our official religion and now, there is not much people following this religion totally but we still have many ancient Buddhist pagodas all around the country. I will list 8 Buddhist pagoda is considered as the most famous pagoda in Vietnam.

In the part one, I will introduce 4 pagoda in Northern Vietnam. the Northern Vietnam will cover a half od list because this part of Vietnam is influenced by Chinese culture and belief. Besides, in the past, the North is Buddhist center of the whole country.

1. The Mot Cot Pagoda – One Pillar Pagoda

The Mot Cot Pagoda (One Pillar pagoda), which is one of two symbols of Hanoi – capital of Vietnam in 1049, is also recognized as the most architecturally unique. This pagoda is known with another name – The Lotus  Pagoda

Onepilar

The Mot Cot Pagoda – One Pillar Pagoda

The temple was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, Ly Thai Tong was childless and dreamt that he met the Kuan Yin – Goddess of mercy handing him a boy while seating on a lotus flower. The Emperor then married a peasant girl and they had a son. In 1049, he decided to construct a temple in gratitude for this important event. He thought that Goddess of mercy gave his son to his life. At this age, based on Asian culture, a son was very important for all of family, especially for Emperor or Royal family. The pagoda was built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water as Emperor Ly Thai Tong dreamed . The temple is built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. That is the reason why the nick-name of One Pillar Pagoda is the Lotus Pagoda.

During the Ly Dynasty, the temple was the site of an annual royal ceremony on the occasion of Vesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha. A Buddha-bathing ceremony was held annually on April 8 in the Lunar Calendar by the monarch, and it attracted monks and laymen alike to the ceremony. The monarch would then free a bird, which was followed by the people.

However, you will never have chance to see the original version of this pagoda because it was destroyed by French Union force in 1954 during The First Indochina War. After this war, Vietnamese Government decided to re-build this iconic symbol with the same architecture and size.

The best time to visit: Whenever you want because this pagoda is located at the heart of Hanoi and you’ll have no trouble getting there. However, you should note the opening time: 08:00-11.30 daily and 14:00-16:00 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

2. Chua Huong (Perfume pagoda) – Hanoi

Perfume Pagoda is a very large complex of Buddhist temples which was built into a limestone Mountain – Huong Tich. It is located in Huong Son (Perfume Mountain), 75 km southwest of Hanoi. Because it is located in Perfume Mountain, so most of local people call this complex is Perfume Pagoda and after a long time, now everybody considers this is the real name of this complex. Most of travellers think that Perfume Pagoda is only a pagoda in the mountain but it is a very big complex of many small temples, and shrines. The center part of Perfume Pagoda Complex is “Huong Tich” temple. However the most important part of this central temple is Trong Temple (Inner Temple). It is built deep inside Huong Tich Cave, so local people call it with the simple name – Inner Temple. This is the main part of Perfume Pagoda Complex and there are many local tourists will visit during Lunar New Year to pray for health and luck. Besides, Perfume Pagoda Festival will start from 6 Jan to the end of March (Lunar calendar), so you should not visit Perfume Pagoda Complex during this time every year. Please to check the calendar and itinerary carefully if you do not want to have bad experiences on traffic jam, the expensive for every service there and especially you may be stuck between thousands of local people. Believe me! It will be a very horrible experience, despite I am real Vietnamese.  It look like pilgrimage with thousands Buddhists.

Perfume-Pagoda41

Chua Huong – Perfume Pagoda

I will give you a quick brief about history of this complex. On the first there is only one Temple name as Huong Son Thien Tru Pha which nowadays, we call Huong Tich temple , was built during the reign of Le Chinh Hoa (1680-1705). On his way to search for enlightenment, he met and followed a monk who help him build Huong Tich Temple after that. Other shrines and temples were later built in this area to take advantage of the local beautiful scenery.
Perfume pagoda has a long history in Vietnamese literature. This temple has been a theme of many songs, topic of poetry, used in literary works as well as backdrops for paintings.

Now, you can go up by cable cabin to reach the top and go down by trekking to watch the beautiful view of river and Perfume Mountain. In case you do not have enough energy, you can use cable cabin for both up and down ways.

3. Yen Tu Mountain – Halong City

In Halong city, you just hear about Halong bay or Bai Tu Long bay which there are many luxury cruises for tourists to visit these famous bays. Howver, in Halong, there are many other attractions and Yen Tu Pagoda is one of them.

It is located in Thuong Yen Cong Commune, about 40 kilometres far way from Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province. Yen Tu Moutain is one of the most  beautiful mountain in the Northern Vietnam with silky streams around bamboo forests; green pine forests, and towers and ancient temples were hidden dimly
Yen Tu region is well-known worldwide for its beautiful landscapes, historical relics and hundreds of ancient pagodas and towers, especially Bronze Pagoda, with its peak at 1,068 meters above sea level.

This pagoda is famous and more popular after King Tran Nhan Tong devoted his life as a Buddhist monk in Yen Tu after his abdication.

4.  Bai Dinh Pagoda Complex – Ninh Binh City

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain in Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province. This complex consists of the original old temple and a newly created larger temple. Nowadays, It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and become more and more popular for Buddhist pilgrims from not only all over Vietnam but also from neighbor countries

Bai-Dinh-Pagoda-complex-travel

Bai Dinh Pagoda – the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam

This complex was rewarded many records in Vietnam and also in Asia likze bell in Vietnam, the longest corridor with 500 Arhat statues, and the largest number of Bodhi trees at a Buddhist pagoda complex

However, this pagoda is still a new pagoda in Vietnam. It is very young, built in 2003 and completed in 2010. Besides, biggest bronze, Trikava and 500 Arhat statues,this pagoda still have a very large structure, the Tam Thế Hall. It rises to 34 m at its roof ridge and measuring over 59 m in length. The construction materials are stone and timber from Ninh Binh, tiles from Bat Trang – Ceramic Village near Hanoi… However, it is  still a new pagoda, so the main part of this construction is still from reinforced concrete. In spite of this, the temple was built on traditional Vietnamese pagoda structure with its curve finials and corner eaves soaring up and down. They had the shape of the phoenix’s tail or dragon head – symbol of power and hope. All of decorations of pagoda inside tis complex were selected carefully from artisanals who are living at the famous local handicraft villages around  Ninh Binh Province

You can visit this pagoda in the afternoon after visit Trang An by local wooden boat. The total complex of this Bai Dinh is very large, so you can rent electric cars with around USD5 per person to visit all of must-see attractions inside.

 

 

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Sapa is famous for its unique beauty and climate all year round so anytime can be considered the best time to visit this magic land. If your travel period is within the summer of Vietnam from May to September, heading to Sapa is a brilliant relief to avoid the scorching hot weather and burning sunshine then feel the rush of cool air filled in your breath. Let’s explore Sapa in summer with: Indochina holidays

  1. Weather in summer

Located at the North West mountainous area of Vietnam, at a high altitude of 1600 meters comparing to the sea level and 380 kilometers away from Hanoi, this is an ideal location for summer retreat with pleasant climate and fresh atmosphere.

Terraced-Rice-Fields-In-Sapa-1

The average of temperature in Sapa town is only approximately 15 degree Celcius in which there are two warmest months: July & August when the temperature can reach up to 29.4 degree Celcius for day time. While the winter in Sapa is getting colder with fog and drizzle all day even some years with heavy snow falls at the highest peak, the summer in Sapa witnesses sunny days and cool nights at a very relatively stable temperature. Therefore, it is certain that summer is the perfect time for photos hunters and trekking lovers. However, summer is also the rainy season so sometimes of the day so this unfavorable condition of hot, humid and wet may hinder your enjoying fresh air and strolling around this lovely town. The only way to continue with your trip is to be well prepared for these sudden and infrequent showers.

  1. Breath-taking scenery

Thanks to its nature, the growth of diversified sauna & fauna make Sapa a distinctive and breathtaking beauty. This period can be divided in to 2 different parts: The first part is from May to end of July when it is time for the ethnic to grow rice terrace along the hills. You will be surprised by the whole valleys covered with lush and green color of rice. The vivid and lively pictures can’t be completed without the image of hard-working buffalos pulling plough across the terraces under the instruction of the tribal people. The second part is the August until early October when the terraced fields change seasonally to gold color when being ready to be harvested  under the sunshine and this is the most satisfying scenery that any tourists traveling to Sapa must see at least once in their lifetime.

On this occasion, tourists may also be awed by beauty of blooming colorful flowers along the slopes and down the valleys. Summer is the season of pensées flowers, the flowers of love and nostalgia. The cherry, pear, peach and plum also go into harvest time with juicy fruits. These can be a little sour but fresh taste and soft fragrant can relieve any tourists during hot days of summer.

The must see sites during your visit this period of time are: Ta Van village, Muong Hoa Valley, Ta Phin village and Ham Rong Mountain where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery and lovely surrounding countryside and tribal villages.

  1. Getting ready for travel

To have the most comfy and joyful trip to Sapa during summer, these tips are hopefully very helpful for you:

As the summer is quite cool, you can totally wear shorts, T-shirts and thin clothes but do not forget to bring a light jacket when hanging out at night or climbing up to the summit of mountain, Fanxipan for instance. A raincoat, umbrella is needed in case weather change. And it is great to have a scarf with you regardless of warm weather or cold weather because it can be multi-functional than you know.

If you love trekking, a pair of proper walking or trekking shoes is a must not miss so that you can feel free to wander around the town for the whole day or go uphill and downhill into the tribal village.

Image result for sapa summer trekking clothes

The chance of photos during summer is unlimited so this will be an excellent time for your passion of photo taking. Rechargeable battery is also an evitable stuff to bring along so that you will never feel regret of not having enough power for keeping all of stunning moments.

Due to the long walking outdoor, a few of snacks, milk or candies will be great to “charge” yourself while doing trekking or finding a resting place for food and drink. If you meet the lovely children on the route, these candies can be nice gifts for them but these can be easily bought in Sapa so there is no need to bring from Hanoi.

I believe that after reading this article, there will be no doubt for heading to Sapa this summer and wish you an enjoyable and memorable vacation in North Vietnam.

Happy traveling!

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In Vietnam, when the summer comes it’s time for companies to have holiday or company trip. Every year, companies have planned and searched for great locations/destinations for employees’ summer vacation.This is a great opportunity for whole team to know more each other and strengthen the bonds of friendship from different teams and departments, and also to charge energy, because happy workers can contribute more for the company.

The objectives for company annual trip are our executives can escape for a while from busy and stressful environment at the office. In this trip someone can relax their  body and mind and in the same time can spend a good quality time with their family. It’s also can strengthening a good relationship between executives and their family. Other benefit of this trip is our executive can work more focus and keep motivated to do they daily works. That mean happy worker can contribute more for the company.

Hai Hoa beach has white sand and blue water

This year, Indochina Voyages Team has planned an annual trip for our company in May. This trip involves the company executives with the spouse and children. We decided to visit Hai Hoa beach, is a well-known beach in the North of Vietnam. With the literal meaning of its name, Hai Hoa (means “Peaceful” ) beach in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa boasts the serenity that only beautiful natural scenery can provide (It is located  at Hai Hoa Commune, Tinh Gia District, Thanh Hoa Province, around 200 km from Hanoi). Its tiny white-capped summer waves attract thousands of local tourists in peak season.

Bai Dong

Bai Dong

The reason why we choose this destination because unlike other noisy and commercialized tourist hubs, visitors to Hai Hoa Beach enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of its stunning landscape and the fresh taste of its seafood. As it is quieter than some other beaches in the central region such as Sam Son beach, Hai Hoa is a boom for local people, the beach still possesses white sandy dunes and green, forested ranges near crystal clear blue waters.

On the first two days, we went to Bai Dong, a new beach in Thanh Hoa province, 30km from Hai Hoa. This place is not as crowded as other popular beaches. With peaceful scenery and  blue sea and white sand, the beach is still wild and naturally beautiful.

Hai Hoa beach in the morning

Hai Hoa beach in the morning

The second day was a fun-filled time for Hai Hoa beach. We swam, played football, and climbed up to the mountain. Apart from sunbathing or relaxing on the beach, drinking coconut juice, and chatting with friends over a glass of beer and savory snacks of seafood. Before dawn there is a flurry of activity that involves everyone, both young and old, after fishing boats return to their shores. Nets are gathered and washed as conversations continue, women weigh and sell fresh fish and children play cheerfully around.

Seafood market in the morning

Seafood market in the morning

Hai Hoa beach in the afternoon

Hai Hoa beach in the afternoon

At dawn, the beach is seemingly lit by a ball of fire that bounces off the ocean’s surface. Small fishing boats dock at the beach to sell fish, crab, and shrimp from their overnight catch. You can also surf the waves that surround the pristine island of Hon Me, not far away from the beach or  you can try to fish for cuttlefish at night.

In the summer morning, we did not miss the chance to catch the sunrise over the sea. Just at 5am, many people noisily call each other to wake up and run to the sea. The dawn is “dyed” a reddish purple in the horizon. It is a great feeling when you inhale the salty taste of sea and walking on the flat sand, seeing the fishing boats returning to the wharf in the early shimmering sunbeam.

Coming to Hai Hoa, you can also find Hon Me island offshore, and Soi mountain and Chay mountain in the South of the beach. Not far away from Hai Hoa, there are many other beaches, such as Hai Thuong beach, Nghi Son beach or Bai Dong beach…

blule water on Bai Da

We had great time together there. When leaving Hai Hoa, it is sure that we will eagerly wish for coming here again to return to the nature, and to immerse ourselves in the wild and poetic sea.

If you want to get more information about Hai Hoa beach, please view: Indochina tours Vietnam

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You may ask me why, and I can tell you a hundred of reasons why I love this city so much, especially its summer. To me, Hanoi in summer is like a teenager girl, independent, emotional, rebellious, energetic, adventurous and risk-taking. But she is also very girlish, romantic, cute, funny and sensitive. Therefore, I think it is reasonable and understandable if she is changing her mind often. It is quite exciting in deed. Let’s explore Hanoi with Indochina tours

However, it is also true that sometimes following her mind is exhausting job. Fortunately, I have a wonderful woman who is always by my side, my beautiful Mama. My mother has a habit to watch weather forecast in the morning news to inform all of my family members. When I was in high school, she even woke up early just to make sure that there was a raincoat in my bag so I would not get wet. Even until now, when I have become a grown up woman, having my own daughter; she still reminds me to bring an umbrella every morning in this season. As a result, whenever I think of the rain in May, I always have taken a walk down the memory lane, and it is so sweet. It is fabulous to know that there is someone there who loves you, cares for you; and…you love them.

 Sudden rains in summer

Sudden rains in summer- source: internet

To me, the early summer is also the season of high school. In Hanoi at this time, you can see the mixture of violet, red, yellow and green covering almost every corner of the city. This wonderful palette is made of 3 kinds of typical flowers in summer, Phuong, Bang Lang and Diep. Unfortunately, I do not know their English names but I will attach their photos in this article. I hope you will identify them.

Phượng flower

Phượng flower- source: internet

I remember on my last day at school, I and my friend biked all around West Lake, watched some Phuong petals falling, took many photos in Vietnamese traditional dress. It was bitter-sweet as it marked the milestone in our lives. I also remembered that day, under the early rain of summer, we laughed and cried, we sang from the bottom of our hearts, gave many wishes to each other and wrote some last lines on each other’ shirt. Since that day, it has been very hard to meet all of my friends at the same time. Nowadays, some stay permanently overseas, some have got married and move to other parts of the country, some still live in Hanoi but they are too busy to go to the united meeting. And now, after entering the hard life, I cherish more those times, when we were so young and innocent, when we were used to our best friends. Therefore, to me, early summer is my youth, which makes me smile whenever I think of.

Bằng lăng flower

Bằng lăng flower- source: internet

May and June are also very special to me, as it is the season of corn. Red River has blessed Hanoi amazingly wonderful soil, which is suitable to many kinds of crops. At the middle of the River, there is a land made of Red River alluviums. From Long Bien Bridge, you can take a close look at this land. The farmers there grow a lot of banana, corn and many kinds of vegetables. In this season, you can go there, discover the way Vietnamese people plant and look after their trees, pick the fruits and corns by yourself.

Green crops

Green field next to Long Bien brigde- source: internet

And maybe, you can enjoy a hot corn right after ward. I bet this experience is wonderful. If you are looking for someone who is reliable and friendly to take you there, you can contact my friend. I bet It will add some special tastes to your trip in Hanoi.

I love Vietnam

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Located in a remote and beautiful are dominated by Red Dao minority, Nam Cang village is part of the Nam Cang commune, Lao Cai Province. The Village is 35 km from Sapa Town and 60 km from the Lao Cai Station.There are about 267 households (1,578 persons) are living together in the region. Before the year 2000, nearly 80% of households were in hunger and poverty and over 70% of the population were illiterate, but due to a local development plan and investments in education and farming the population is now living under much better conditions. The Red Dao minority in Nam Cang nowadays living mainly on cultivation. The most famous plant of Nam Cang is the Amomum Tsaoko, one of many ingredients that made the special broth of Pho and it also used as a traditional Chinese medicine.

For more innformation about Nam Cang homestay, you can see: Indochina travel Vietnam

Lovely Homestay by the river

Lovely Homestay by the river

The drive on the way to Nam Cang is on mountain road running aside of the scenery Muong Hoa valley, with picturesque views of peaky mountains, endless rice terraces, waterfalls and Hill-tribes’ villages. Take a short walk up to the hill, the Nam Cang Riverside Homestay appears next to a fresh stream, with own suspended bridge and the jungle close by.

Children in Nam Cang Village

Children in Nam Cang Village

The Homestay is made by local ingredients: bamboo, wood, and leaves. Beds are set up nicely with high-quality linen. There are sharing bathrooms with hot water available. On the first floor is the dining station with some simple wooden tables. Meals are served by friendly staffs in Red Dao traditional dress. Foods are fresh and tasty.

Guests can go for a short trek to the village, visit some houses to see how the local people make the special papers by tree barks, a jewel workshop operated by an old man and his very simple tools. On the way, naive children are playing fun games and women wear colorful and diverse costumes are sewing or searing herbs. The Red Dao women are very skilled at the herbal bath, local medicine, and embroidery. And as far as you go, the locals always look with big eyes and followed by happy smiles. There are no hawker or vendor disturbing on the way.

Dinner made by fresh local food

Dinner made by fresh local food

Back to the homestay, guests can take a swim in the crystal stream. Local people said the stream is running through the Amomum forest, thus it has some special treatments and good for health. The homestay also offers herbal bathing service prepared meticulously of hundred types of different herbs mixing, which helps to discard stress, detox, eliminate a headache, backache, good for cold treatments, etc.

The Red bridge near Topas Ecolodge

The Red bridge near Topas Ecolodge

The whispering from the stream as a soft lullaby takes people into a beautiful sleep and waken up by the bird’s singing, enjoy a cup of coffee in the open lounge with breakfast and a book in the middle of the jungle, the homestay is an ideally place for nature lovers.

Some tips for Nam Cang

Traveling from Hanoi:

By night train from Hanoi Statin to Lao Cai. The night trains departure 21:00-22:00 from Hanoi train station to Lao Cai. Trains arrive at 5.30 at the Lao Cai train station. Guests then can drive to Nam Cang.

By private car: from Hanoi via the Hanoi- Lao Cai highway and reach to Nam Cang directly in about 6 hours.

There are some options for traveling to Nam Cang available: Day trip to Nam Cang, 2 days Sapa-Nam Cang trekking tour, 2 days Sapa- Nam Cang mountain bike tour or combine a stay in Topas Ecolodge & Nam Cang to experience both local and luxury services.

What to take along: backpack, good walking shoes, hat, sun cream, insect repellent, shorts & T-shirt for hot season and long trouser & light windbreaker jacket for the cold season. Giving money for children is not recommended but buying local souvenirs and giving sweets or chocolate are welcomed.

 

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