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Since late November, people in Hanoi starts to feel the weather changing. Sometimes there is a heavy rain and the temperature decrease 10 Degree Celcius in just a few hours. There are some special dishes that familiar with local people in the winter that we would like to introduce to you today. For those who would like to discover the new things, you might want to taste these dishes. They might be not the taste of everyone, but it’s worth to try if you want to experience like a real local people with Indochina tours

  1. Che Troi Nuoc ( stuffed sticky rice ball served with sweet syrup)

It’s not easy to exactly describe this dish. There’s also no official name for it in English, but it is a dessert that similar to the Tangyan of Chinese. The word ‘troi nuoc’ means floating on the water. In a small bowl, there are two balls with the same size of the egg, made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls, one stuffed with the green bean paste, another with black sesame. The balls are bathed in a sweet brown liquid made of water, sugar and grated ginger roots, garnished with peanut and coconut milk.  The liquid is always kept warm in low heat.

This dish is perfect for a light dessert or a snack in the mid-afternoon on a cold rainy day. You can find the famous food stall that serving this dishes in the Old Quarter at No. 1, Bat Dan Street.

8 món ăn vặt nóng hôi hổi giúp bạn chống chọi với đợt rét đậm đầu tiên của mùa đông - Ảnh 11.

2. Banh Duc

This dish is kind of weird with Westerners. In a large bowl, slow-cooked non – glutinous rice flour or corn flour is served with savory ingredients such as ground pork, grilled ground shrimp, mushroom, fried onions, fried tofu, Vietnamese coriander, sesame seeds, salt, peanuts, lime juice and soy sauce or fish.

Local people can eat this dish throughout the day – for breakfast, lunch or as a snack. It is the favorite dish special for the elder because of the soft texture and mild flavor. The best place to taste this dish is at a small stall in the alley of Le Ngoc Han Street.

Image result for bánh đúc nóng lê ngọc hân

3. Grilled Corn and Sweet Potato

You can find these simple dish almost anywhere in Hanoi. Just simply the fresh corn or sweet potato, grilled on the hot charcoal but its good smells seduce local people in the cold and dizzy winter night. The sellers might have another job at the daytime and in the evening, they spend some hours on the street for extra income. They serve the people who have to work late or on the night shift. It’s only 30-50 cents for a corn or potato, but in the freezing day, people seem to be closer when sitting around the fire to enjoy the sticky, hot and sweet grill corn or sweet potato. What a healthy snack for a beautiful sleep in the winter night!

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Have you hear about this Wolrd Heritage in Vietnam? I guess that most of you did not hear about this Citadel. It appear some travel books but the information is limitted and not much writers mentioned about this one. Even in Vietnam, not much local people care about this places. On my post, I will show you some reason why it is forgotten and some useful information about this places. However, there are some historical and political reasons but I am not able to mention on my post. However, when you visit it, you will know why goverment forget this ancient Citadel.

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Etrance Gate made from stone of Ho Citadel

Citadel of Ho Dynasty, one of the most distinct architectural constructions from stones in Vietnam, situates in Vinh Loc District, Thanh Hoa province. It was built by Ho Quy Ly in the spring of 1397 and became the center for economy, politics and society in 7 years between 1400 and 1407. Being threatened by the enemy in the past, the citadel was erected for the war to come and was a prime example of of a new style of South-east Asia imperial city. The total area of this historical site is 5000 hectares including 3 areas: Inner Citadel, La Thanh War and the Nam Giao Alter. Its location was followed by feng shui principles, lying in the conjunction of Tuong Son and Don Son mountains in a plain between Ma River and Buoi River. The wall and its four gates were constructed from immense stone blocks 1,5 meters in length, some are 6 meters and 10 to 20 tons in weight; some stone blocks even weighs up to 26,7 tons. Over the past 600 years, the wall remains nearly intact without any type of adhesion which amazes modern researchers the most.

If you interest, please click: THE PU LUONG RETREAT  to get more information

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The stone walls still remain nearly intact without any type of adhesion

Moreover, Ho Citadel was built in three months, this demonstrates the talent as well as excellent creations of the old artists. Additionally, the sophisticated traits are demonstrated by cravings of dragons, a symbol of Ho dynasty’s power. However, the dragon’s head was stolen a long time ago for some mysterious reasons. It is rumored that the head was cut down by the enemy in order to illustrate the perdition of the Ho dynasty or it was demolished by someone who disagreed with the Ho dynasty. Citadel of Ho dynasty was listed as one of the World Heritage by UNESCO in 2011 and the site is attracting more and more tourists every year.

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Many rumours about this dragon with stolen head but till now, the real reason and story is a mystery

Although there was an increase in the number of tourists to the site, this was not considerable compared to the historical and cultural value of the Citadel. Regardless of the world recognition, Ho Citadel has not received proper concern from tourism organizations. What is more, roads to the site need upgrading so that it is more accessible for both domestic and international visitors. One more reason that might hinder the tourism development of the site is the incompatibility with other surrounding highlights of Vietnam. Besides, it is located in the North Center of Vietnam, a new tourism area, which is not so famous and not many attractive sites for foreign tourists

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Nice over-view picture of a large area inside Ho Citadel

Visiting the citadel, you can walk, drive or cycle through the arches into the citadel. Within the complex, the quiet scenery of the country side also makes you feel peaceful since you can enjoy the fresh atmosphere of rice fields, lotus ponds, farmers and buffalos working on the fields.

Chùm ?nh: Thành nhà H? - Di s?n van hoá th? gi?i

I believe that this ancient and historic Citadel will be attractive more and more tourists in the future but it will be still far. I have a route for you if you want to visit this site. You wil visit Ninh Binh, staying over-night there. In the moring, you wil start a trip to Pu Puong – a hidden gem of Vietnam, then atfter 65km from Ninh Binh you will stop to visit Ho Citadel on the way heading to Pu Luong.

 

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I decided to book air tickets to return Hoian for the 3rd time on a day of mid-October. However, this is the first time of mine to visit the enchanting town during its rainy season and especially when reading the weather forecast news warning that if central Vietnam would be anyone’s travel plans over the next few days, they may want to consider delaying the travel — or, at least, keep updated to the latest information pertaining to the weather due to the effects from Typhoon Khanun.” (Boarding Area).

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Having been kept updated by the local weather forecast channel about the weak influence of this storm and believing that the daily rain will not dilute the beauty of this region, I still started my trip as planned and was so lucky to enjoy Hoian without rain or storm but with a pleasantly sunny and cool weather throughout my chilling days.

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After strolling around the old streets of Hoi An, I thought of doing something else near the town for more fun experiences. My great day was to rent a bike and ride around on two wheels to visit Thanh Ha Pottery Village, Bay Mau Palm Forest and relax by An Bang Beach.

  1. Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Finishing a nice breakfast with Mi Quang (Quang Noodle with shrimp and pork), I headed 3 kilometers out of Hoian town to Thanh Ha Terracotta Park and Pottery Village to see the historical village and made a pottery on my own as a souvernir.

The Thanh Ha village was famous for its pottery, bricks and tiles. You will be amazed to know the unique Yin – Yang tiles which can still be seen on many roofs in the old city of Hoi An were made from this old village. Coming to the terracotta museum, you will have a chance to see the whole building of red bricks and clay in the region.

I must admit that I was lost in the World Square garden of miniature of iconic monuments from all over the world. This was really a great way to learn new places and to check my memory. Besides world famousTaj Mahal, Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge, Sydney Opera House, Pyramids, the Whitehouse, the Angkor Wat, I figured out the little  replica of Hoi An Old Town with lovely old houses which were all made by clay and by the artisans in village.

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Though the indoor exhibition was quite attractive with objects and images about the long history development of 500 year history at Thanh Ha, I could not stand going down to the outdoor area where I can see the nice hand-made pottery products and made one by myself. Needless to say, this is an ideal site for both adults and children where you can create any masterpieces of your imagination.

Having made the pottery without previous knowledge and experience but thanks to the great help of the nice artisan, the vase/pot came out surprisingly nice and it cost only 30,000 VND for this worth.

  1. Bay Mau Nipa Palm Forest:

Leaving the Thanh Ha village, I continued my day trip to Bay Mau Nipa Palm Forest where is regarded as the Little Mekong inside Hoian.

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Located 5 km from Hoian and surrounded by water of 3 major rivers in Hoian: Thu Bon River, Truong Giang River and De Vong River, the hidden coconut forest is really a wonderful destination for tourists to sit in the basket boat and go through the natural coconut waterway. In the past, the forest was an important historical where the guerrilla force relied on coconut forests to cause more damage to the enemy in wars and became a place of shelter, refuge to many officials. Nowadays, it is really nice place for people to explore the tranquil coconut palm while seeing the sunset at Thu Bon River.

Welcomed me on boat, the friendly boat lady gave me an amazing gift made of the coconut leave, that is the ring with shape of a grasshopper! The rowing boat went through the forest and along the river for around 30 minutes. At the end of the ride, I was astonished again by the unique performance of a boat man right in his basket boat while enjoying a great round by my boat’s old lady that was a little dizzy but so much fun.

  1. Relax at An Bang Beach

The end of my day trip today was An Bang Beach, a lovely beach that is only 3 kilometers from the town and it is where you will find less vendors, more peace with clean water, smooth sand, gentel waves and pure atmosphere.

While the Hoian ancient town is peaceful, the beach is somehow vibrant by the pace of life showing on a huge number of bamboo basket boats along the beach. Like in Bay Mau forest, these boats are still used as a mafor means of fishing for daily life.

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As the ideal time for swimming at Hoian beach is from April to September during the summer of Central, I just stopped at An Bang Beach to have a big fresh seafood dinner that definitely satisfied a hungry soul like me.

Though the trip was taken during the rainy season, I enjoyed myself very much in a great weather. So my best advice for anyone who is planning to Hoian these days would be to get updates from local weather channels, book accommodation through any channels that allows for late cancellations or for last-minute delay until the weather is better and take advice from locals where living right at place. It is certain that you can even still had good days while during rainy time. Therefore, I believe you may also have a lot of fun experience to Hoian and do not hesitate to share with me your great time there!

Happy traveling!

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Sapa is not only famous for the colorful mountains, terraced rise fields, passes up and down, but also well – know by The Medicinal bath of the Red Dao Ethnic

Coming to Sapa where is not only famous for the colorful mountains, terraced rise fields, passes up and down, but also well – know by The Medicinal bath of the Red Dao Ethnic. This is a long-time medicine that the local people here, every day they go into the forest and cut the medicinal plants to use for bath because according to their experience, these plants can treat many illness.

According to legend, on the last day of the year the Dao boiled leaves from the forest for medicinal bathing before welcoming the new year in. As this practice proves both effective and salubrious, a majority of Kinh people have considered it a unique feature of Red Dao culture. The Red Dao’s medicinal bathing has become one of the northern mountainous province‘s attractions, even though it is still a mystery to foreign tourists who first set foot in Sapa.

After a long day trekking, it’s good chance to go to the bathhouses of Ta Phin village. We went to Dao’Spa – Sapanapro, one among a handful of Dao women in Ta Phin who offers the service. Take this chance, I would like to share about a must-try experience while visiting Sapa:

How to make herbal water of the Red Dao

The number of ingredients in Red Dao herbal water can vary from 10 to 100, depending on the purpose of the users and how experienced the bath maker is. Nonetheless, there are some crucial types of herb. According to local people’s guidance, wild fokienia wood, also known as “Pemou wood”, is believed to be the best material to make the tub used in herbal bath since Pemou wood aromatic essential oil will be extracted by hot water, making it a wonderful scent which may last for even a few days.

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Based on the number of users, the amount of herbs used will be different. Normally, herbs is washed carefully and boiled for 3 hours until the water turns into red color with romantically typical scent.

They will boil these dried plants and bark in a water filled giant wok, over a charcoal fire, of course will take takes several hours to prepare. After several hours of brewing, the water is transferred to a wooden barrel tub. Taking this herbal baths, having just entered the bathroom, you will immediately caught a whiff of fragrant herds, enjoy the beautiful smell of these natural medicines. You can relax and soak your bones in traditional bath and wash away your aches, pains, worries and woes all at once in the privacy of our bathhouse.

According to local people here, for this herbal bath in Sapa, each herb remedy for bathing includes approximately 120 kinds of herbs, plants and bark used for the baths. But of that total there are 39 which are popular and about 10 which are indispensible. The herbs are boiled for 3-4 hours in 30-37oC to extract the essence, and then mixed in water to serve tourists. Average time to take herbal bath is 30 minutes.

The forests in tranquil Ta Phin, Vietnam, are lush with medicinal plants which are a valuable resource to the resident Red Dao ethnic minorities.

Like the sound of a warm herbal therapy bath in the lovely Sapa. With a grant, social enterprise Sapanapro was able to upgrade its spa facilities, allowing the ethnic Red Dao people to better commercialise their herbal remedies and improve their livelihoods

With a grant, social enterprise Sapanapro was able to upgrade its spa facilities, allowing the ethnic Red Dao people to better commercialise their herbal remedies and improve their livelihoods

Positive effects of using Red Dao herbal bath

According to the wisdom of the Red Dao people, an herbal spa is especially helpful for physical and mental fatigue, as it relaxes your body and renews your energy by enhancing overall circulation, soothing your daily tensions. For women, the herbal bath promotes skin beauty by opening pores, removing dead skin and impurities, and leaving the skin soft, clean, and silky smooth. The bath also relieves some chronic illnesses including rheumatism and joint pain. Herbal bath can help customers, with essential oil of local herbs, reduce negative effects of alcohol in the body, musculoskeletal pain, rheumatism and improve their health. On top of that, Sapa herbs can also a simple natural treatment for skin disease such as ulcer, acnes and psoriasis, etc.

Such a beautiful view from bathroom ^_^

Instruction for bath with traditional medicines (or herbal bath):

First Step: Please soak slowly your feet into water get familiar with temperature, and then put slowly your body until the water surface touch your chest. (Effects of traditional medicines will decrease if you put more water to decline temperature)

During bath time: You can use small bucket or towel to pour water to the part of body above water surface. (Eg: head and shoulder). You can use bathing water to wash your face and hair. You will sweat after 5-7 minutes to soak into water, especially in period 7-10 minutes. (Don’t worry, it’s normal sign)

Final Step: After 15-20 minutes, when your heartbeat and breathing rate increase. Please out of the bathtub, dry your body. (Don’t bath again by other water because it will decrease effects of traditional medicines).

Note: Careful control of temperature and time herbal bath in the following cases:

– You have gotten heart diseases or high blood pressure.

– You get drunk or drink too much alcohol.

– Pregnant women

If you soak your body in bathing water too long (more than 25 minutes), you can lose your balance in some minutes or being sleepy. This phenomenon is called “medicines drunk”. In this case, just call receptionists or staffs to help you. After 5-10 minutes, you will be fine.

Made from longstanding types of herb in Sapa, this service of Red Dao people is a must to any tourist. If you have a chance to visit Sapa, consider giving this amazing bath a try. It’s relaxing indeed.

 

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Traveling to Hanoi, visitors would definitely be interested in exploring the city nightlife and having some fun when the evening comes. Beside wandering on the streets and trying street food, live music lounges are also a perfect option for a night in Hanoi. The capital city of Vietnam is one of the live music lover’s paradises and the most difficult thing is deciding which gig to go to. There are certain recommendations that should not be skipped.

  1. Swing Lounge

Swing-Lounge

(Swing Lounge – source: Internet)

Located right by the Hoan Kiem Lake, Swing Lounge is a retro-inspired café and bar in the capital. You will be impressed by old French architectural design of the venue which may attract you with its elegant beauty.  You can visit in a day for a coffee or a bite or by the night for live music. The cabaret style show alternates between performances from some famous singers and bands of the local music scene to lesser known cover acts. Plus, the set list is a mix of Vietnamese old time favorites, more recent Viet-pop songs as well as iconic Western tunes. Don’t be so surprised when the heartfelt edition of Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” comes on.

Live-performance-at-the-Swing-lounge

(Live performance at the Swing lounge, source: Internet)

  1. Hanoi Rock City

This group of musicians, DJs and artists has been bringing big sounds to Hanoi since 2010. Their focus is mostly on giving a leg-up to emerging acts however; they do dedicate some nights to making sure their audiences get a chance to catch the latest international acts.

Band-performance-at-Hanoi-Rock-City

(Band performance at Hanoi Rock City, source: Internet)

Hanoi Rock City boasts an impressive line-up of electro, experimental, reggae, rock and alternative acts that will most definitely raise the mood of any gig lover. Located in the Tay Ho District where is the living spot of a lot of foreigners, Hanoi Rock City has a vibrant atmosphere and pleasing prices.

  1. CAMA Atk

CAMA are the spots “dedicated to bringing the best of independent music to Vietnam”. With over 60 international acts to date, CAMA are certain to become any indie kid’s hero for their work.

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(CAMA Atk at night, source: Internet)

Giles Cooper, the founder of CAMA, says he started the collective simply because there was no live music on offer in Hanoi. Cooper saw that as a gap in the market that sorely needed to be filled and he has certainly done an impressive job in doing so.

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(The tranquility inside the CAMA, source: Internet)

“The luxury of choice is starting to emerge in Hanoi,” Cooper says, “More people are stepping up to the plate and doing things.” Artists, musicians, venues and promoters are putting so much effort than ever to bring local and international acts of all genres to the audiences in Hanoi.

CAMA host gigs at their very own venue, CAMA ATK. Conveniently located in Hai Ba Trung, CAMA ATK looks like a mixture between a 1920s speakeasy and a grungy 90s den. The venue tends to be quite during the week, but can get noisy on weekends when live music performance goes on.

Swing Lounge is a place for romantic souls, CAMA’s shows tend to be for the more specific music lover, whereas Hanoi Rock City is perfect for those who just love any music that’s loud and live. So which is your favorite one? Let’s get up and join in with Indochina tour.

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Nestled deep within the tranquil, sleepy hideaway forest, Pu Sam Cap Grottoes in Pu Sam Cap Commune began bustling in July 2006 and then has been attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors.

In the previous article “Sin Ho – the rooftop of Lai Chau province”, I have introduced another traveling route to Sin Ho – Lai Chau when you come to Sapa and promised to bring more information about a nearby spectacular attraction, here we go – the Pu Sam Cap Caves.

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(View from the Pu Sam Cap Mountain – source: internet)

From Lai Chau town center, it takes around 10 minutes driving to Pu Sam Cap Mountain, which is about 1,700m above sea level. Then from the parking lot, it is reached on a short but strenuous walk uphill, which is rewarded by the spectacular views of the valley and Nam Ron River.

Upon arrival, visitors can have the panoramic broad view of the valley. The whole village is often covered by clouds, though sunlight pierces through, drawing bright spots and shafts on the overcast landscape. Below, the waters of Nam Ron River are barely visible as it winds their way through the mountains.
This complex has 2 big caves named Thien Mon and  Thien Duong.

Thien Mon cave appeared with a large arch and deep pure interior. Stepped into that mysterious darkness, we will feel the cool air of stone and the whisper of the wind. Columns of stalactites are on the undulating ground. Every water drop from small stones falling into your hair brings the moist feelings under the early summer rain. In the cave ground, there are lots of stalactites marbles crystallized by the distilled water from the rock in millions of years. The standing, lying or overlapping marbles create multitude of both familiar and marvelous shapes and enrich the imagination of tourists. Coming to the center of Thien Mon cave we will be surprised with high wide arches and flat platform. We can enjoy wholeheartedly the cool fresh air and listen to wind singing through the stalactites which echoed as the piano melody. A little light appears from the end of the cave creates a contrast of ethereal light and dark.

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(Thien Mon Cave – source: internet)

Leaving the Thien Mon cave, it takes us half an hour passing through the forest to reach the Thien Duong gate with pristine, natural and attractive beauty. The heaven in view of visitors is as a watercolor painting. The way down to the cave provides visitors the thrilling feelings when they have to use vines along the cliffs to climb down – the curving road gradually went down looks like the terrace field. The deeper we go into, the more multi-dimension space we reach when stalactites hang down to illustrate the familiar images of life such as flowers or the gardens. In addition, there are different and strange shapes that take the audience into the world of imagination.

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(Thien Duong Cave – source: internet)

Both of the caves can be visited within a day with the combination of Lai Chau town center market. Beside strolling around Sin Ho to see how local people and ethnic minorities life is, those grottoes will definitely bring you the sophisticating and iconic experience of the mountainous area in the Vietnam tours.

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It’s hard to find anywhere in Vietnam that is as diverse, colorful, and easy-going as Hoian. For hundreds of years, it has remained the same, sitting on the banks of Hoian river, with its ancient mossy roofs and peaceful pace of life.

If you interest, you can click: Vietnam travel and tours

Hoian is an extremely safe for solo traveller like me and you won’t be lonely in this ancient city. I like to roam the streets, try dozens of foods or sit for hours in a small café to watch people across streets, and activities. Wander around one of the local markets to shop for leaf hats, wooden clogs, silk, sand pictures, embroidery items, bamboo flutes, and other handicrafts and souvenirs. After a fun day of activities, savor such delightful Vietnamese cuisine as fresh local seafood, noodle soup, and prawn pancakes, which are served at a variety of restaurants.

Overview from Cua Dai Bridge in Hoian

Follow the river, and head down to Cua Dai bridge to enjoy the sun and the wind, visit Tam Thanh fishing village on the coast of centre Vietnam. Riding about an hour south from Hoi An (42 kilometers from Hoi An) along the coastal road, I arrived in Tam Thanh village, the Mural village of Tam Thanh now is a home to some quaint mural village, which tell stories about ordinary villagers and their way of life in the mountains and coastal regions of the country. Coastal people are always generous, they will spend hours showing you around the village. They will show you every mosaic on the walls, tell you about their boats, the sea, the net and their family.

You can see more:

The beauty of Hoian in the flood season

Early morning – Hoian ancient town

Road into Tam Thanh Village

Tam Thanh explodes out of pastoral sepias into pinks and blues, yellows and deep violets. The main street is a regular kaleidoscope where every house has its own unique color and character. Murals of local people decorate the larger walls and smaller paintings trail down the alleyways inviting visitors to explore.

With the tagline ‘art for a better community,’ the mural village project has started an important discourse in Vietnam about the accessibility of art in everyday life regardless of one’s socioeconomic background. Inspired by Korean mural villages, the Tam Thanh Mural Village is a joint initiative by the Korean Community Art Exchange Program and the Vietnamese People’s Committee of Quang Nam Province to bring art to the people.  The murals are meant to reflect the local culture, people, and nature. With the blessing of the local people, the volunteer artists have been able to turn garden-variety construction into a cohesive work of living art.

On the other than that, I loved the beach here which is the home to untouched seaside, local villages, and amazing countryside landscapes. That is a great place to just sit down, chill and relax with a bicycle ride around the beautiful Tam Thanh Mural village. If you like, you may stay one night here to avoid the crowds of beaches in Hoian and Danang. Tam Thanh Beach Resort and Spa will provide nice accommodation with the natural living by the peaceful of beach. Offering the view of Tam Thanh beach, a-step-to-the-beach restaurant, front beach bar, swimming pool with sea view, spa services are completely near by.

Explore natural landscapes that have retained their untamed beauty!
_Lucas_

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November is the time when Cambodia enters dry season meaning there will be almost no rain for the next six months, although the odd, short shower early in the month is not unusual. Comfortable temperatures (average tem is about 25°C), low humidity and plenty of sunshine makes November a popular time to travel in Cambodia. This is the best time for you to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia.

You can see sample itinerary: SPLENDORS OF VIETNAM & CAMBODIA

Exploring the Angkor temples

One of the destinations you should not miss is Angkor ruins including thousands of temples with many different sizes. Angkor Wat is the most famous temple in Cambodia, built by King Suryavarman II in the 11th century. At the beginning, this was a Hindu temple. Then, the Angkor Wat was becoming a Buddhist temple after Khmer dynasty worship Buddha.

Besides, there are many temples situated in the park beyond archeology.  Fares for one-day tour is USD $20, three days is USD $40 and USD $60 per week. The special thing here is your photo printed in your ticket. After your trip, you can keep it as a souvenir.

The vast area of the Angkor Thom ruins, over a mile on one side, contains many stone temples and other features to explore. The city has five monumental gates (one in each wall plus an extra in the eastern wall), 20m high and decorated with stone elephant trunks and the king’s favorite motif, the four faces of Avalokiteshvara.

Ta Prohm temple was covered by tangled tree roots, is one of the most strange and unique structures of the complex. Going further, Preah Khan and Banteay Srei temples have a lot of elaborate carvings. Phrom Kulen National Park in Kbal Spean, two-hour drive from Siem Reap, still preserved the works of ancient rock carvings called lin-ga (symbol of Shiva’s penis in India Hindu).

Some notes when visiting the Angkor ruins you should remember:

– You should plan to schedule a tour of his temple, even hired a tuk-tuk driver, or rent a bike for a day. You can find a tuk-tuk everywhere and the drivers are always ready to take you to any temples in your schedule.

– Wake up early and visit the temples at the earliest time is the best way for you to experience the beauty of the temples. Starting at dawn, you not only get the opportunity to admire the sunrise but also avoid the crowds.

– Because you are visiting spiritual religious sites, you should pay attention to your clothes, just a scarf or a sarong is not enough in Cambodia. Therefore, dressing politely will help you avoid many problems.

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Visit the floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake

From November, it is flooding season in Siem Reap, so it is high time for you to discover the largest lake in Cambodia – Tonle Sap, far from the center of Seam Reap about 25km, recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve in the world.

A boat trip through the traditional colorful floating villages is a chance to return to nature and explore the daily life in Cambodia. You can feel the peaceful atmosphere and cool wind. Sometimes you can be surprised at a giant python wrapping around some people on the boat. Then, you can visit some floating restaurants on the lake to enjoy the cool coconut water.

On Tonle Sap Lake, people live in simple floating houses. There are also schools, clinics, temples, etc. like on the land. If you want to visit the floating village to explore the lives of local people, you should come to Khneas Chong, Kampong Phluk, Kampong Khleang, etc. And don not hesitate to jump out off the boat and go kayaking through morning – glory and trees in pristine Kompong Phluk  “flooded forests” to have amazing experience. Moreover, you can discover Prek Toal bird sanctuary including many rare birds such as white storks endangered milk, spot-billed pelican, etc.

After your visiting with many activities, you can be relax with local people at their house. This is a great opportunity to experience the peaceful river life, integrate into normal life of the people and enjoy a variety of delicious dishes made from fish caught in the lake.

tonle-sap

Visit the traditional villages in Siem Reap

There is a place in Siem Reap where there are many serious activities to preserve and restore art and ancient Khmer craftsmanship, while create means of livelihood for the local people. That is , a social enterprise, dedicated to providing high quality products such as handmade clothing, lacquer ware, painting on silk, jewelry and ceramics made by more than 1,300 local artisans. You can sign up for the free guided tour in seven languages to have a visit around the main shops as well as travelling free to the Angkor Silk Farm by fast bus, which takes you about 20 minutes.

village

Now, are you ready for your trip to Siem Reap on November? Enjoying many above activities or just leisure in the long sandy beaches on time when sunshine comes back may be your best memory in Cambodia.

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Are you an adventure and discovery lover? Are you interested in new places? Are you finding a less touristic mountainous area? If you are, I believe that you are reading the right post. To get more information, you can click: Vietnam tours from uk

I am a real adventurous traveller and love the mountainous area. Last month, I plan to visit Sapa again after a long time not getting there. However, I had problems of choosing the suitable budgeted hotel/homestay for my trip (I spend most of my time for travelling not in accommodation, so homestay will be a good choice). It was a trip to Sapa on the last minutes. As you know, now, Sapa is a famous mountainous area and there is many tourists reaching to this places everyday. After searching and asking some friends who have the same passion and many experiences of discovering mountainous area, Binh Lieu was highly recommend to me. I found that this place seems to meet my desire because there is not much information about it on the Internet and there is no guide for this places. After a few hours, to use google map and find a good rental motor-bike. I decided to travel to this places with my special companion.

On the first part, I just want to show some nice picture and general information about Bin Lieu Town. The detailed itinerary, guide and the story of my trip will be shown on the next parts, so do not forget to follow our blog and wait for my next post.

Binh Lieu is a small and poor district of Quang Ninh Province. Most of you just hear about Halong bay in Quang Ninh Province only. This district is located in northeastern Quang Ninh Province; The North borders Ninh Van, Sung Ta and Chongqing, and Chengdu City (Guangxi – China); To the west, Dinh Lap district (Lang Son province); It borders Hai Ha district, Tien Yen district and Dam Ha district to the east (Quang Ninh province). Binh Lieu is a mountainous district located in the northern part of the province (21 ° 27 ‘to 21 ° 39’ north latitude and 107 ° 17 ‘to 107 ° 36’ east) 108 km, Tien Yen town 28 km; The north has 42,999 km of border with China. Total area is only 471.4 Squarekilometer and total population is around nearly 30,000 people with density 56. The enthinc group is Tày, Sán chỉ – one of the rare ethnic minority people in the world with very small number of population, Kinh, Dao, and a little bit of Chinese people

Most of people living here is DAO people – a minority ethnic people of Vietnam. All of people farm the rice on terraces as Sapa or herd the buffalo. Then, they will sell their agriculture product/buffalo meat to earn the money. Because of distance, lack of transportation; lack of investment from government and geography characteristics, all of people have to live based on the agriculture. They are very poor people with the limitation on electricity and high technology. This make me think about the Sapa 20 years ago.

 

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View from the Binh Lieu Town

You cannot find a homestay there but you can speak Vietnamese or DAO language, you can deal with the local for a night stay at the home with a very small fee (around USD 2-5 per person). They will be happy to share their local food for you without money. Besides, you want to have special experiences; you can bring camp and find the suitable place for camping to over-night. However, I will not highly recommend you to do that because it seems to be unsafe to go camping in the less touristic and mountainous area. When we drive across small villages, every people wave their hand as greetings and give us beautiful smiles. Tourism really do not effect on this places yet. However, you can find two basic hotel and one hotel in the center of Binh Lieu Town.

There are some highlights you must visit in Binh Lieu which I will list here with picture and share to you more about the itinerary on the next part:

Our brief itinerary:

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong city – over-night in the Halong city (we visit some beautiful places and ancient pagoda on the way from Hanoi to Halong city). 3, 5 driving hours for185 km on this day

Day 2: Halong – Tien Yen – Binh Lieu Town – visit the central market –  Ngàn Vàng, Ngàn Chuồng, Pắc phe villages. We have to drive around nearly 4 hours for 120km from Halong – Tien Yen District – Arrive in Binh Lieu because of rain, uphill road (14%), narrow path and pass.

Day 3: Binh Lieu – Visting Vietnamese and Chinese Border Points: 1300, 1302, 1305 – the best view point I have been, and 1327

Day 4: Binh Lieu – Khe Van Water Fall – Na Lang Village – Na Nhai village – Acrossing the Na Lang “hanging bridge” to back to Binh Lieu Town

Day 5: I planned to finish the trip in this day but after 3 days in Binh Lieu, I realized that Na Nhai Village is the poorest village in Binh Lieu, so I decided to back there to give some small gifts for the children there.

Now, I want to share some nice shots I took during the trips. More pictures will be shared on the next part:

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On the way to get Boder Points

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One of boder point – #1302 Point Vietnam – China

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New green terrance in Na Nhai Village of Binh Lieu in July

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Shy DAO boy received small snack packs from me. He can not speak Vietnamese and did not have chance to go to school but he is really a good boy when he show his respectation to my small gift by taking it by two hands with smily face.

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Na Lang Village – one of the nearest village from Binh Lieu Town

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Another nice view on the way from Tien Yen District to Binh Lieu

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My rental motor-bike for this trip . Her name is Little Princess 😀 She did very well. Thank you so much for amazing trip with us, my Little Princess!

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Ancient Houses in a small village which I forgot the name but it is very beautiful and authentic

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The type of road we drove during this trip. It is very difficult for new biker as me but “Little Princess” supported me so much.

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Our dinner on the first night in Binh Lieu Town. After a long travelling day without any places for lunch, it was absolutely one of the most delicious BBQ I have tried.

Enjoy the some of my photoshots and try to find if you can have any information about this place on the Internet? If you can not find anything, please follow our blog and wait for my next part with very detailed itinerary and how many difficulties we have been through together.

 

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5. Thien Mu Pagoda – Hue City

Thien Mu Pagoda – Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda is the most ancient pagoda in Hue city. It is situated on Ha Khe hill, on the northern bank of the Perfume River, in Huong Long village, 5 kilometres from Hue city, which is easy to reach from the city centre.

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Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda in Hue

Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda  is based on a legend of local people. Long time ago, an old strange woman appeared on the hill where the pagoda is located today and told to local people that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country’s prosperity. Then, she disappeared suddenly and no-one saw her later. After that, Lord Nguyen who was a devotee and always expected to make country be more prosperous, listened the story. Right after, he decided to buil Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda as the old stanger told and believed that the stranger woman was a embodiment of Buddha to remind him what he should do for his locals’ belief and country’s prosperity . With this mysterious history, the pagoda has attracted a great number of tourists from inside and outside of the nation to come and explore the legend themselves.

One of very famous tourism activities which no tourist want to miss in Hue is boarding a Dragon boat on Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda.

6. Tran Quoc Pagoda – Hanoi: 

Another beautiful and ancient pagoda from Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam – the center of Vietnamese culture and history. Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi is the oldest temple in the city, with more over 1,450 year old. It was built in the sixth century under the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De (544 to 548).

The main part of this pagoda located at Kim Nguu Islet – Westlake. You will have to across to bridge to reach the pagoda. However, When founded, the temple was named Khai Quoc – Founding State and was located on the banks of the Red River.  Because of flood and invasion of the Red River, in 1615, it was re-built and located at the Kim Ngu Islet of West Lake where it is located nowadays.

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Tran Quoc- source: internet

There are many monks living at this pagoda and teach the Buddhism to public. Besides, here are many Buddhist symbols at Tran Quoc Temple. The eight-wheeled wheel symbolizes Buddhism as it symbolizes the Noble Eightfold Path. At Tran Quoc Pagoda, there are many lotus statues. Symbols for purity of mind, body and speech. The lotus also represents enlightenment and accomplishment. The stone walls at the side of the temple are many carvings of lotus flowers etched in stone. The carvings depict the beauty of nature in Vietnam.

7. Giac Lam Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh: 

After the most ancient pagoda in Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam, we will visit the most oldest pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City – Giac Lam Pagoda. It was bulit in 1744. The name “Giac Lam” means “Feel the Woods Temple”. Why it has this name? There is many reasons to explain for this special name. However, there are two reasons which you can realize righ after you entering through the main gate of this pagoda. All of small temples. statue and main architecture of this pagoda was made from valuable wooden. Another reason is that this pagoda is surrouned by garden full of tall trees. Especially, there is a tall Bodhi tree – the symbol of Buddhism.  This tree came Giac Lam Pagoda on June 18, 1953 and nowadays, it is considered as a symbol of Giac Lam Pagoda.

Giac Lam pagoda

Giac Lam pagoda- source: internet

8. Chua Ngoc Hoang – Jade Emperor Pagoda. 

This temple is dedicated to various gods, Taoists and Buddhists of the China-Vietnamese culture and especially to the Jade Emperor, the Supreme of Taoism God. The facades of the Jade Emperor Pagoda are brick painted in pink without greater interest, major architectural and artistic attractions are the tiles and sculptures of roofs and above all, the doors of the temple carvings, authentic works of art and unique style Yin-Yang of the roofs.

To decorate the Pagoda of the Jade Emperor, the Cantonese community was inspired by many Buddhist legends and myths. The doors are carved with figures of men and gods, in the interior of the temple, in the room of 10 hell have the representation of the 1000 torments and flanking the main sanctuary, the giant demon guardians of 4 meters in height.

This pagoda was originally known with the name of Pagoda Ngoc Hoang, but it was renamed in 1984 as Pagoda Phuoc Hai Tu, a name which it retains to this day.

To get more information, you can click:  Southern Vietnam Discovery

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