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When you look at the S-shape map of Vietnam, the highest spot in the North West area which is marked by a red dot is Sin Ho, Lai Chau province.

Beautiful Sin Ho

Beautiful Sin Ho- source: internet

Lai Châu Province is unlike any other area of Vietnam. Not only is it the most sparsely populated are in Vietnam but it was also once a semi-independent White Tai confederation known as Sipsong Chu Thai. This was absorbed by France into French Indochina in the late of 19th Century and subsequently became part of Vietnam following Vietnamese independence in 1954.  This is reflected in the great cultural diversity seen today. Lai Châu has long been the poorest province in Vietnam and also the least developed.  The scenery of some of the most stunning sceneries you can see in all of Vietnam. The epic limestone mountains stretch out in every direction, many are lined with ancient forest, valleys are planted with rice, corn or neat little tea plantations. Located 60 km west of the town of Lai Chau, Sin Ho has the north border next to Yunan – China, the south is Tua Chua district, the east is Phong Tho district and the west is Muong Te district. If you have a chance to wander around by motorbike, it is even a more amazing and unforgettable experience to see the rice terraces or to catch a glimpse of the “cloud sea” in sunset/sunrise.

The cloud ocean in the sunrise

The cloud ocean in the sunrise- source: internet

Beside the spectacular views of the mountainous area, the highlight of Sin Ho is the weekend local market. Most of the local residences living around the town will join in the Saturday market, but Sunday is more attractive as it seems plenty of hill tribes from other villages gather here such as Red Mong people from Mo Village, Dao people from Phang Xo Lin Village or Phu La people from Pu Sam Cap town which is located quite far from Sin Ho and takes nearly one day for transporting.  They come here to sell and exchange handmade goods with the traditional bags behind their back. This market is colorful with the unique dresses, delicious and authentic food presented each ethnic minority.

local people are trading goods

local people are trading goods- source: internet

sin-ho-market

Sunday market- source: internet

Over the recent years, Sapa is seemingly becoming worldwide known for its beauty and diversified culture which lead to the fact that a lot of travelers wish to explore here. With aim to guide guests to another similar but less touristy destination, I am thinking of putting Sin Ho to our classic itinerary. That would be really unique!

Firstly, you need to catch a night train to Lao Cai as the normal way to travel to Sapa then start the tour in the morning. However, it is highly recommended to be on the train on Thursday night then you will be able to see the market on Sunday.

Day 1 – Lao Cai – Lai Chau: Drive up past the Silver Fall to the scenic road QL4D, through the Hoang Lien Son National forest, the Heaven Gate and especially Tram Ton Pass (Vietnam highest road on 1900 meters)

Day 2 – Lai Chau – Sin Ho

Day 3: Sin Ho – Sapa

Another remarkable point is visiting spectacular Putaleng Cave system which we will have another article on this coming soon. Keep update our newest blogs of Indochina Voyages Travel

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Chiang Mai is a city located in the Northern area of Thailand capital city and here still maintains its religious and historical charm thanks to the presence of many historical buildings. It takes you around one hour journey by plane from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or about 8 hours by bus. There are over 300 temples that reflect the glory of the ancient Lanna kingdom. When you are in Chiang Mai, you can see a temple, to the point that people are looking at them that they don’t even notice their presence anymore. Moreover, the city is well arranged with many trees planted along the road and it has some artificial rivers. Since its own features of the beauty, the government intentionally prepares Chiang Mai for tourism purpose. So it’s a really good idea for you to enjoy discovering Chiang Mai-the land of golden Buddha one day. And here are some the most interesting places, where we’ll discover their beauty together now! Let’s visit Chiang Mai with:  Indochina holidays

Pra MA Ha Tat Noppamethanedon and Pra MA Ha Tat Nopphonphusiri in Chiang Mai

Pra MA Ha Tat Noppamethanedon and Pra MA Ha Tat Nopphonphusiri in Chiang Mai- source: internet

Wat Chedi Luang

This is very well-known in Chiang Mai and it’s right in the heart of the Old Town. Getting from Ratchadamnoen Road, at first you will find out the main temple and the chedi behind it. The chedi was built in the 14th century but only finished until 10 years later. It was 82m high and also was the biggest building of the Lanna Kingdom. In 1468, the temple was the house of the Emerald Buddha’s famous statue, considered as one of the holiest Buddhist images.

As amazing as the chedi is the main temple: when you walk into, you will be welcomed by an explosion of colors. The red carpet drives your sight to the end point, where there are three big golden statues. The columns along the nave are brilliantly decorated with golden motif and on the sides there are the curved seats used by local monks. One of the most attractive things in this temple are the colorful prayer flags hanging from the top, which are giving more brightness to the whole space.

Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai

Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai- source: internet

Wat Buppharam

Buppharam is one of the most different looking temples that you can travel in Chiang Mai when you are travelling to the golden land of Budhha. The architecture of the temple is completely different from the other temples and other ones in Thailand. The structure of main temple was first built in 1497 and in 1561, when the northern part of Thailand was occupied by the Burmese. This temple has a cross one with a sort of tower in the middle, but normally Thai ones often have a rectangular shape. Here you will be attracted by the main temple, which is widely decorated and is two stories high, both inside and outside, with golden carvings and images of Buddha.

Wat Buppharam temple in Chiang Mai

Wat Buppharam temple in Chiang Mai- source: internet

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a solemn Theravada wat in Chiang Mai Province. The temple is often alluded to as “Doi Suthep”, which is actually the name of the mountain where it’s located. In fact that Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a sacred site to many Thai people. The temple is really religiously beautiful and magnificent. The temple is 15 kilometers from the city of Chiang Mai. So, from the temple, you can have impressive views of Chiang Mai in freedom. When you are planning to travel to Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep should be in the top privilege list of places you like to come and discover.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep- source: internet

Wat Ket Karam

This temple was established some five hundred and eighty two years ago. Until today it has gone through some name changes. The first one of the temple was Wat Sa Gate named for the Chiang Mai Royal Families ceremonial structure which the Royal family used to wash their hair at. Then it was changed because it was the same name as another temple down south. And now it is called Wat Ket Karam or “Wat Gate” by farang spelling. Because of its unique and diverse cultures, Chiang Mai has become such a special and warm place to live or travel to. One of the features of this temple is that some how the blend and mix different special designs from Europe, Chinese with Central Thai Features. These has made this place a truly special place for travelers who like to discover something new special.

Wat Ket Karam in Chiang Mai

Wat Ket Karam in Chiang Mai- source: internet

Besides these places, there are some another good ones highly to recommend for you such as elephant training camp, orchid ark, Thai silk, waterfalls and many more.

When traveling to Chiang Mai -the land of golden Buddha, where has interesting places to travel as mentioned above, you will never regret about the journey you made. Here you have a good chance to relax, to have an interesting experiences in peaceful Buddha atmosphere, to discover and enlarge your mind about the history.

 

Are you boring with touristic attraction around Hanoi and Old Quarter? Are you a real trekker? Do you want to find some new challenge during your time in Hanoi? If your answer is YES, you are reading the right post.On this post, I want to introduce a new places for both of local and foreign tourists – Ham Lon Moutain. As on my title, this is the highest places in Hanoi and is considered as the roof of Hanoi. It is located only 50 km from Hanoi’s Old Quarter towards North Thang Long – Noi Bai expressway. the way is very easy for motor-bikers to reach this places. It will just take you approximately one hour. Therefore, you can conquer this mountain on day or you can stay longer if you want to watch the sunset and sunrise on the mountain. Besides, on the foot this mountain, there is a large lake and is very suitable for you to camp over-night and have BBQ at night.

Camping area at the bottom of Ham Lon - the roof of Hanoi

Camping area at the bottom of Ham Lon – the roof of Hanoi

One more interesting information about this moutain is that there are many prosfessional trekker and young tourists who pracatice to conquer the Fansipan – the highest mountain in Indochina. That’s why it aslo has another nickname:” Fansipan inside Hanoi”. The highest point of this moutain is 462m.

To get more information, you can click: Indochina tours Vietnam

Every name has a meaning but after 3 times travelling to this places, I did not know why the local people call this moutain “Ham Lon”. In English, Ham Lon is “Pig Jaw” !??!! Most of local people just know that this name was considered as official name of this mountain for a long time and no one can understand why their grandparents call this moutain as “Pig Jaw”.

There two main path to touch the top this moutain. However, after 3 times conquer this moutain, I found that there are at least 6 paths to reach the top but for the first time, you should follow 02 main paths which there are many trekers choose. One path is very easy and suitable for biking. If you are professional biker, you can try. However, I have to remind that you are a real professional biker who try conquering high moutain before. With this path, you just start the foot of the mountain and make it all the way to the top through a fairly flat trail, of which the entire climb can take about two and a half hours. Visiting the Nui Bau Lake right at the start of the trail can give one a relaxing mood and get ready for the fight to the steep. Please to remind that you if you get lost, please to scream out and will someone will raise their voice to get back to you and you can follow their voice. However, this is the only way to find the support from other trekking groups because there is not any instruction board. If you feel unsafe with this trip, you can pay for some local people on the foot of moutain, then they will go with you for the whole day. It will cost you around 200,000 VND (around USD 10) for a whole day with local guide who can not speak English. One more note about this path is that it will covered by many bushes, so you should wear clothes covering all of part of your hand and knee. If you wear tank-top or short clothes, you will be hunted by bushes. On the first time, I wore short clothes and I had to pay for this with many scratches on my skin. The bushes on this moutain is not normal because I had tingle on my skin for a month. It seems be very dangerous for your skin. These below picture will show you how beautiful the easy path is

Easy

Most of tourists will choose the easy route to reach the top.

Yellow reeds along the easy route

Yellow reeds along the easy route- source: internet

Nice picture was taken on the easy route with full of yellow reeds along the path.

Nice picture was taken on the easy route with full of yellow reeds along the path – source: internet

The difficult route is a option for tourists who have greater taste for adventure and discovery. I love this path but you will need some trekking equipments. You will have to cross small streams or through the bushes, the biggest slippery stones ever. Besides, there are some deep chasm, so climbing gear will be very useful. You will have no standard route here, climbers who prefer to reach the top this way will have to create their own road. It will take you about four to five hours to reach the peak at 462m through this route. Please to note that you should not try this way if you do not have any trekking experiences before. On this route, you can hire a local guide without speaking English but the price can be higher around at 300,000-400,000 VND for a whole day. In my personal opinion, if you decide to choose thi route, you accept a challenge and will not have to be based on any guide. For me, this route give me a special survival experiences. After that time with this route, I decided to discover other routes when I travel to Ham Lon. As I mentioned, I think that now, I can go to the top with 6 routes. Now, if I have free time at the weekend, I will go with my best friend to relax and free stress with this moutain. One more fun fact that I got lost once time and it took me 6,5 hours to reach the top. I feel worried a little bit but it was really memorable experience for us because we went into old forest and need the assistance of army man to back to easy route.

Difficult route is suitable for adventure/ trekking lovers

Difficult route is suitable for adventure/ trekking lovers

When you reach the top of Ham Lon Moutain,  you will see a fairly flat area and you can camp here to over-night or have lunch with BBQ there.

View from the peak of Ham Lon

View from the peak of Ham Lon

Please to remember collect all of rubbish after your camping and bring all things from Ham Lon Moutain after your trip. There are many younger camp on this area and throw many rubbish. It is really a shame.

I suggest you to get top through difficult route and get down the foot of mountain with easy path. I hope that you will have special and memorable experiences as I did with the roof of Hanoi.

 

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!

Birthdays in Vietnam

I believe most of people in this world know the meaning of our birthday.  It is the occasion when a person or an institution celebrates the anniversary of their birth. Birthdays are celebrated differently in numerous cultures and countries but commonly with gifts and parties. With this article, I would like to happily share with you some interesting truths about Vietnamese age and how we celebrate our birthday.

Birthday together

Birthday together

Years ago, the Vietnamese use lunar calendar for our daily lives, for work and for a lot of festivals and celebrations of our country. My grandparents said the dates which had been indicated in their ID were not their birthday even though it was exact, as it had to follow the lunar calendar. The farmers believe the lunar calendar is more useful in the way they calculate when to plant and harvest the crop. Tet Holiday, Han Thuc (Cold Food) Festival, Hung Kings Commemorations, or Full moon festival are all celebrated based on lunar calendar. However, nowadays, with the aim of becoming a developing country and to catch up with the international standard, Vietnam mostly uses the normal calendar as many other nations in the world.

The second fun fact is that we generally count age from Tet which means everyone gets one year older after Tet (lunar new year). No matter when our birth date is, the older people usually wish us health and a happy new age on this occasion. But it is just our tradition, it never works for any government agency, for example, you just can get the driver license if you are from fully 18 years old according to your ID.

Me in my third birthday in 1997

When I was a kid, there was a common thing among us is that I sent the invitations to all friends of mine to my house. My parents would prepare cakes, fruits, snacks and other sweet junk food for us. It was such as mess as there were friends from the neighbor and my classmates, not everyone knew each other.  Now as being an adult, those parties are not organized often as we gradually tend to gather with our family and very close friends. Instead of sweetening snacks, we enjoy a huge meal and cannot forget alcohol. Still, we give gifts to each other and remain the spirit “Cua it long nhieu” or in English, it means plenty of money does not count, the heart does.

A typical birthday party for kids 10 years ago

A typical birthday party for kids 10 years ago- source: internet

A few days ago, our general director – Mr. Tim Lee – decided to plan a trip for the whole company personnel in order to celebrate the 9th anniversary of Indochina Voyages travel.  He wanted to cheer us up after the long busy and stressful time in the office and to understand more on each staff during the time we travel, eat and sleep together. It was a memorable and fun outing trip to Da Bac – a district of Hoa Binh province, a newly discovered attraction for tourism that I would like to share with you later on another article. On the night of IV’s birthday, we spent time playing games, chatting and talking a lot about what we did in the last year and what we can do to make it better. And for me, it was one of the most open-minded conversations ever since I joined the team and it let me know how sometimes we need a special occasion to sit down together to celebrate and to listen.

Indochina Voyages outing

Indochina Voyages outing

Some of my clients travel in their birthday. Even when they did not mention about it, sales team in Indochina Voyages still noticed from the booking form and found some ways to surprise them. Sometimes it is just a birthday cake, a champagne bottle or a small Vietnam traditional party, our clients were very happy and appreciate it. If you are looking for a trip to Vietnam during your birthday or anniversary you can trust us, we are not the professional event planner but we do it with our heart.

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.

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.