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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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Whenever someone mentioned to Ninh Binh, most of people will think about Trang An Complex, Bai Dinh Pagoda – the largest Buddhism pagoda in Vietnam, Tam Coc, Hoa Lu – ancient capital. Even you had one full day trip to Ninh Binh before, I still believe that most of you never heard about Dancing Cave – Hang Mua.Dancing cave is located Khe Dau Ha Village (Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu District). Dancing cave name associated with the legend: the king of the Tran Thai Hoa Lu Am set Vi, King often come here to listen music from beauties, and Harem dance, so the cave was named dancing cave.

To get more information about Ninh Binh, please click: Indochina travel Vietnam

Dancing-cave-looks-like-small-sized-Great-Wall-in-China

Dancing cave looks like small-sized Great Wall in China

Dancing cave is located at the foot of the mountain. Shape of this moutain looks like a bell, is about 800 Square Meters. The path to trek up to the yop of this mountain was built modeled on the architecture of the Great Wall of China but the number of steps is much less with around 486 stone steps.

steps-to-top-of-mua-cave-ninh-binh

486 stone steps to reach the top of Dancing Cave

There are two way to entre the cave. You can visit Tam Coc by boat and pay a extra fee to require the sampan man to sail to this cave. I will not highly recommend this way to any tourists who never visit Indochina area before because the Sampan man can charge foreign tourist unbelievable fee to visit this cave. Besides, they will not wait for your for a long time to visit all parts of Dancing cave. Another way is drive to the main entrance of Dancing cave and buy a ticket (VND 100.000 per person). Then, you will have more time to discover all at this place.

You will feel so wasteful if you pay VND 100.000 and just visit a normal cave. I want to remind that Dancing cave is not different so much with other cave in Tam Coc and Trang An or Halong bay. Besides, with someone, they feel it uninteresting and the price is so much high until they start trekking to the top of the mountain and complete nearly 500 steps.  Then, they realize that the view over the countryside from the  temple which is on the top of moutain is stunning. It will be an unforgettable memory of your trip in Ninh Binh if you touch the top of moutain at around 5:00pm.

a-picture-of-Sunset-from-Dancing-Cave

a picture of Sunset from Dancing Cave at around 5:30pm

On the final part, I will share to you how I will arrange my full travelling day in Ninh Binh. This will be based on my first trip to Ninh Binh 02 years ago. I think that I am a Vietnamese people but my first time will be same with yours. On the first time, I was wondering if I should visit Tam Coc or Trang An because both of them are so beautiful, especially in the paddy season in Tam Coc. After a few days discussing with my companion, I will decide to see both of them and Hoa Lu Temple only on day. In the early morning, we drive to Trang An Complex from Hanoi. choose a private boat for two of us (we are big boys and do not want to share our boat, so we buy 4 tickets for two of us to enjoy Trang An). Remember that if you have much time and will not back to hanoi for flight or anything else, please remind staffs at port that you want to visit all caves and all pagodas in Trang An. The total time for this place is more than 3 hours. We also choose visit Trang An in the morning and end before 11:00am. You can avoid strong sunshine at noon.

After that, we drive to a local restaurant near Trang An and enjoy burned rice and goat meat (specialties of Ninh Binh province). Take a rest at restaurant before driving to Hoa Lu – Ancient Capital. From Trang An boat station, Hoa Lu is only a few kilometres further on. After one hours visiting Hoa Lu and learning its history, we drive to Dancing Cave. Normally, you will have to back to Trang An boat station to get to Dancing cave easily by passing Trang An Street. However, we decided to drive to 38B route and this way will be 3km farther than driving back to Trang An Boat station and follow Trang An street. However, I did not want to drive again on one route so many times, so we choose the longest way with 38B route. Besides, the scene on this way is very authentic and peaceful. You will also across Sao Khe river before arriving in Dancing cave.

As most of other tourists, we was not impressed so much by the cave but we knew that the most intersting part is waiting for us with completing nearly 500 steps to touch the small temple on the top and enjoy the sunset. We thought that 500 steps would not be a big problems but it was. We start trekking at 3:00pm in summer time (the temperature is 33-36°C) and we had just prepared only 500ml water bottle for two of us when we visited Dancing Cave. I want to suggest that you should bring more water if you want to reach the top because it will be fairly tired. There are some tourists gave up and just stayed at the middle way to take some picture. For us, we never want to waste our money and time for this, so we try to our best to reach the top. The final result is really amazing and can not describe on my words.

over-view-of-Tam-Coc-from-the-top-of-Dancing-Cave

over-view of Tam Coc from the top of Dancing Cave in June

May and June are hot summer month in Vietnam but they are the best time to see the yellow rice fields in Tam Coc. In conclude, the cave in Tam Coc and Trang An are not different so much, so you should choose one of them to pay for boat to visit caves. In my opinion, you should choose Trang An because it has much caves and they are more beautiful. However, the surrounding view with rice field of Tam Coc is more amazing in paddy/harvest season (from May to June, the view will be the most beautiful). You will not want to pay more for boat, or spend much time on boat to visit boring caves after Trang An but still want to look over-view about Tam Coc’s rice field, right? The Dancing cave will be the best good option. This will be suitable for tourists who love trekking, challenge a little bit, less tourist places and taking amazing photos. I just want to give you small note that you should start trekking before 4:00pm and get down before 6:00pm (may be earlier in the winter) because the way will be very dangerous in the dark and the sky will get dark very quickly after sunset

I hope that my experience and sharing will be helpful and make you a wonderful trip in Ninh Binh with Dancing Cave in your plan.

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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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When talking about beach paradise, where will you think of? It may be Bali, Maldives, Koh Rong Saloem… These are definitely beautiful. But you may not know that in Vietnam we also have an enchanting island named Mong Tay which is not less graceful than any other islands. In this March, without calculating or planning in advance, I got a very good flight ticket deal to Phu Quoc. So BOOM! I have been there and enjoyed my exciting trip with the most unique experiences – exploring Mong Tay Island.
For more information, you can click: Indochina travel Vietnam

Mong Tay islands is also called “Fingernail Island” or “Nail Island” is a small island located just off the Vung Bau beach – near to Phu Quoc island town, Kieng Giang province and is an eco-tourism destination famous for snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and kayaking. It has two zones: the south zone is where you will find most island flora with a few sea bird nests and the northern zone lying the small beach with coarse white sand. Today, we are going to discover the south part aka Robinson Island.

The beautiful Mong Tay island

The beautiful Mong Tay island- source: internet

The legend of its name comes from a true story about a real “Robinson” ­– Mr An, the king of the island, the “blind knight”. 13 years ago, he himself swam from the mainland to this island, brought along food and drink, forecasted the storms, and turned it into an alive island. Nowadays, the island, beach and coastal waters are protected and are belonged to the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve.

To come to this beautiful island, the only way is getting on boat/cano from An Thoi port.

The locations of two Fingernail Island in the North and South side

The locations of two Fingernail Island in the North and South side- source: internet

WHAT TO DO?

  • Swim and relax on the beach: The sea here is calm in the dry season and there are rarely underwater currents which make this an ideal destination for friends, couples and even your entire family. The beach is really stunning and picturesque where you feel like living in a true heaven – the sand is white and powdery, the water’s color in in blue and green and so clear that you can totally see any of the creatures living beneath.
Relaxing with sun, sea and sand

Relaxing with sun, sea and sand- source: internet

Swimming in bluish green water

Swimming in bluish green water-source: internet

  • Snorkeling: The green reef around the south Mong Tay island is shallow which makes it perfect for snorkeling. Coral ecosystem in here is very diversified with 17 different types including sea anemone. There are a few hard coral species and seaweed and many scattered rocks. Also, you may be able to see small school of barracudas, giant clam, puffer fish as well as Technicolor fish.
Beautiful green reef under clear water

Beautiful green reef under clear water- source: intenret

  • Fishing and have BBQ on the beach: For setting up the BBQ party, you can possibly buy seafood from the An Thoi port before your departure or go fishing to catch your own fish, that would be a very memorable meal.
Handmade seafood BBQ

Handmade seafood BBQ- source: internet

After this trip, I am thinking of postponing my excursion to Maldives for at least 3-5 years because I still enjoy and miss the Robinson Island. So if you are looking for a sun-sea-sand vacation to where is less touristy than Maldives, Mong Tay Island – Phu Quoc Island – Vietnam always welcome you!

 

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I have arrived in Myanmar on a very auspicious date, the Burmese new year, or Thingyan, the most celebrated festival in the country. Thingyan, Myanmar Water Festival, takes place toward the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia. Taking place from April 13 to 16 each year, the Buddhist festival of Thingyan is celebrated over four to five days, culminating on the Lunar New Year Day.

Commonly referred to as the Water Festival, Maha Thingyan allows people to celebrate the Burmese New Year. Despite this, Maha Thingyan is observed in mid-April on the Gregorian calendar. While the Water Festival is a Buddhist event, the Burmese government has made it a legal public holiday. This ensures that many Burmese citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the Water Festival. Maha Thingyan is a time for happiness and friendly attitudes.

Thinngyan is the most unique and colourful with the merriest occasion in Myanmar. Standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets, people splash water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. The people throwing water each other since the Myanmar believe that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. The water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins. On New Year’s Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.

Thingyan Celebrations:
Thingyan Eve: The first Thingyan celebrations begin on the day before the Water Festival. Thingyan Eve, or A-Kyo Nei, is a time for observing Buddhist beliefs.

Fasting: Many Buddhists observe Thingyan Eve through fasting. People who decide to fast for Thingyan Eve usually eat a single basic meal prior to noon. This meal is often very bland.

Observing the Eight Precepts: During Thingyan Eve, Buddhists are expected to observe the Eight Precepts of Buddhism. These Eight Precepts are similar to the Five Precepts. While observing the Eight Precepts, Buddhists must do the following: Refrain from killing living creatures, Refrain from stealing, Refrain from sexual activity, Refrain from lying or using incorrect speech, Refrain from using alcohol or drugs, Refrain from seeking entertainment, Refrain from eating during fasting periods, Refrain from sleeping on high places

Offerings to Monks: Many people in Myanmar celebrate Thingyan Eve by visiting a Buddhist temple. When visiting these temples, it is considered proper to leave an offering of green coconuts and bananas. These kinds of offerings usually consist of a single green coconut surrounded by a circle of bananas.

Washing the Buddha: Burmese people will also wash Buddha statues with sacred water that has been scented with flower extract. When washing Buddha statues, people start at the top by drizzling water over the head.

Night Celebrations: After the religious formalities of Thingyan Eve have been observed, Burmese people begin to relax and enjoy themselves. There are many lively celebrations that occur during the night of Thingyan Eve.

Music, Song, and Dance: While the Eight Precepts prohibit Buddhists from enjoying entertainment of any kind during the daytime, people are allowed to party to their hearts’ content as soon as night arrives. In nearly every village, city, and town in Myanmar, large stages are erected for the purpose of enjoying entertainment. These stages are made of wood and elaborately decorated with papier-mache and paint. Woman will dance to classical and contemporary music while wearing flower skirts. In addition to these flower skirts, Burmese women often wear padauck blossoms in their hair. The padauck blossom is also commonly referred to as the Thingyan flower due to its rarity and use during Maha Thingyan.

Parade of Locals: After enjoying live music and dancing, people celebrating Maha Thingyan parade the streets of their town or city while enjoying alcohol and the company of their friends and family members. These parades often consist of vehicles and decorated floats. Gyat, a form of Burmese rap, is commonly performed during these parades. Gyat is fairly controversial because it is a popular way of expressing distaste for social and political issues through music.

Water Festival Celebrations
Thinngyan water festival time is the merriest time for Myanmar young and old. Almost the whole populations are in the most joyous mood; roam around the city in cars or on foot to throwing and splashing water each other. Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range – only monks and the elderly are safe.
The primary event of Maha Thingyan is the Water Festival. This huge event is meant to celebrate the descent of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, to Earth. The beginning of the Water Festival, or A-Kya Nei, is marked with the firing of a water cannon into a public area. While the cannon is fired, people run out to collect the water with pots and buckets. The collected water is then poured over the ground. This is followed by a short prayer. Just like Thingyan Eve, these religious rituals are followed by festive activities. Water throwing with toy guns, balloons, and hoses takes place in many areas of Myanmar.

If you are planning to travel Myanmar, Thingyan is undoubtedly the best time of the year to visit. Besides the fun-filled activities and the festive atmosphere, you’ll be sure to meet lots of Burmese, who are always friendly saying “Mingalabar”

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Part 2: Others scams


2.1 Street Vendors of All Kind

Say it again: Overall, Travel to Vietnam is a relatively safe in however like most countries, it has its share of traveller annoyances such as books sellers, ladies with fruit baskets, shoeshine boys…

They are some vendors who sell books in boxes at cheap prices but those books are photocopies. You would not know as these “books” are wrapped up. Some of those are also of low quality – errors in pages, etc.

They are ladies with fruit baskets: Walking in the Old quarter in Hanoi, meet a lady with her fruit basket? There are other vendors who will invite you to take a photo with them. Once taken, they will demand a fee, a tip, or a purchase of their products. Want a photo? being handed the baskets for you to try putting onto your shoulder to have a photo taken? Hey, a few dollars will be asked or they going to keep yelling at you. What a nuisance! It is a set scenario made by a group of women. They are of course a fake fruit basket women. Real ones will never have that light loads. Action: Ignore, and you will be hounded until you pay. Get away from them. If they approach, you stay back. If they put the baskets on your shoulder, just say NO, detour them and keep on ( this is popular in Hanoi old quarter).

They are shoe repairer. Some guy approaches you out of nowhere and applies glue to your shoes. Next, he would take out a thread and tell you that your shoes are about to fall apart, which he can repair for $1. If you didn’t realize, that glue is actually a solvent that dissolves stitches. Should you say yes, he would then proceed. However, the trouble does not end when the job is completed, as he will be demanding $10 or more.

⇒ How to avoid:

– A firm but polite “No” to the vendors. In certain circumstances, just pretend you do not listen and walk away.

– Do not open your purse or wallet in public. If you want to buy something, keep your wallet close, know exactly how much you need so you can take it out quickly, and put your money straight away afterwards.

2.2 Overcharging and Confusing Currency

This is common around the world, but it is much more easily implemented here due to the large note denomination.

Confusing Currency: There are so many damn denominations in Vietnam, notes range from the virtually worthless 200 VND up to the 500,000VD note. There are 10 denominations in total.  At the current rate of exchange, 1 US dollar is worth 22,500VND.  So imagine your surprise when you exchange $1000. It makes you feel as though you are one of the wealthiest people on earth. As a newcomer to the country you must be very careful to check the money you are handling as some of the bill colours are quite similar.  For example, you’re in a dark club and you hand a blue note thinking you’ve paid for your 110,000VND cocktail only to be embarrassed that you’ve given the waitress a 20,000vnd bill instead of a 500,000. A very valuable tip is  try to keep your money in different places on your persons when out and about.  You make yourself an appealing target to thieves and pick pockets if you pull out a wad of cash.

Overcharging can occur in many different forms, such as over conversion of currency, giving less change by rounding up/down, not giving any change by insisting on a tip, or even changing the fare once the service is completed. After choosing goods in the shop, you need to make sure the price before taking it. There are many cases fake prices higher than the real value of goods, especially in markets, some shops. The solution for this situation is bargain lower cost many reduce a haft of a price they said. Maybe you conflict others currency between USD and “dong”, let’s check carefully. Some restaurants in Vietnam have the scam list their price doesn’t appear on the menu. If guests ask about the price, they usually avoid the answer or answer vaguely. When meals end, the staff in the restaurant will give bills for customers, the price is usually unacceptable, which is so much expensive compared to the quality of food and the market price. Tourists cannot declare to them as they ate the food already and must pay the bills to leave.

Many places also quote in USD to make overcharging easier for them – either by rounding up to USD (which is higher than the value in Vietnamese Dong) or by demanding payment in Dong while using an unacceptable exchange rate. Also beware when a vendor tells you 10, it could mean 10 USD, 10,000 Dong or even something else! Besides this, always ensure that the fee is for everyone in the group and not for each individual.

Finally, be extremely careful with the cash in your wallet, keep them out of sight from the public and from the shopkeepers.

⇒ How to avoid:

– Always exchange you money in legal money exchange rate counter rather than with individuals on the street. Be ridiculously meticulous with counting (and holding on) to currency you’re not familiar with.

– Before you enter Vietnam it’s very important to know exchange rates and a rough estimate of how much things should cost. Double check how much money you’ve had exchanged and don’t just pay for things without already knowing about how much it should be. Carrying a small calculator or using the calculator on your mobile phone is a good choice.

– Always carry a range of bills, the smaller the better, so that they have no chance to short change you.

– Always confirm what currency a price is in and pay in the currency they’ve quoted. If a price is quoted in dollars and you choose to pay in Vietnamese dong, always double check the exchange rate used to make the conversion.

– Be meticulous with counting any time money change hands and never accept torn or damaged bills which are usually difficult to spend later.

– Get familiar with Vietnamese dong. Even though all the denominations are different sizes and colors, it can still be hard to differentiate the similar ones. For instance, the 200,000 and 50,000 denominations are slightly varied shades of red.

Do not let list of scam scare you. Vietnam is an extremely safe place to travel and its people are overwhelmingly hospitable, friendly and honest. Please remember that tourist scams occurs in tourist areas, even though it seems like there are a lot to be afraid of, these will just ensure you enjoy your time in Vietnam to the fullest. So go visit, just with these tips in mind.

You can see more: How to avoid scams during your holiday in Vietnam? Part I

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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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