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Vietnam owns majestic mountains and winding passes, which can match the beauty of widely known spots in the world. When it comes to mountainous areas, we cannot help but mention Sapa and Ha Giang.

Both Sapa and Ha Giang are gateways to the outstanding mountain scenery of the Northwest and extreme north of Vietnam. However, in comparison with Sapa, the town hidden in the clouds, Ha Giang is not yet on the beaten trail. So, let’s get to know more about magnificent Ha Giang!

1. Overview of Ha Giang

As the northernmost province of Vietnam, Ha Giang is regarded by many as “The Final Frontier of Viet Nam,” which is a home for ethnic minorities such as Hmong, Tay, Lo Lo, etc.. Each of which has its own history, tradition, clothes, and cuisine that create a unique regional culture.

Ha Giang is also known for the buckwheat flower season in November, which drives people to visit this space to admire blooming flowers on rocks. Moreover, since it is far from the city center and the infrastructure is not yet expanded, tourism is left behind. Therefore, everything is reserved in their pristine beauty. Let’s make your way to Ha Giang to be rewarded by sweeping views of karst mountains, carpets of flowers, and colourful markets!

2. Geographical features

Naturally, Ha Giang is divided into 3 sub-regions. As the northern part is called, “Dong Van Karst Plateau”, there are numerous rocky mountains, deep canyons, large caves and separated rivers. The plateau is covered in bare limestone, which created bizarre, yet splendid sceneries.

Dong Van Karst Plateau

Dong Van Karst Plateau. (Credit: Tien Nguyen)

Secondly, the western area consists of 2 districts: Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man. This one has many sloping mountain sides, high pass, valley and narrow springs, and is famous for its wonderful terraced paddy fields.

Finally, the southern part, including the small, provincial capital city of Ha Giang is mostly covered by low hills and valleys along the blue Lo river.

3. Local Culture (History, people)

History

Since ancient times of the legendary Hung kings, Ha Giang was called Tan Hung. It was an autonomous zone under the control of various tribes of Thai and Tay people.

In 1886, the French occupied this region and named it Ha Giang. After independence, Ha Giang was a part of Viet Bac, the local base of support for the Viet Minh troop. The city had to be rebuilt after being heavily bombed in both Indochina wars and Chinese’s artillery in 1979. It was not until 2010 did this city gain attraction when the Dong Van Karst Plateau was designated as a member of the UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network.

People and Culture

Unlike many parts of Vietnam that are dominated by the Kinh ethnic minority, the community of Ha Giang are formed by minor ethnics, such as H’mong, Tay, Nung, Dao, Giay. While some of them have lived in the region for thousands of years, some have only migrated here in the last few centuries, living on different terrain and altitude. For example, while the H’mong live on the high mountains of 800m and above, the Tay live in valleys and near the rivers. After hundreds of years living together, their culture blended together, too, to create one of the most diverse yet unique cultures in northern Vietnam.

Among many ethnics living in Ha Giang, the Hmong people are a colorful and culturally and historically-rich ethnic minority that occupies the majority of the population in Ha Giang. If there are two things you should know about the H’mong culture, they are “Khen” and linen waving.

Khen

Khen is their traditional musical instrument. It is a polyphonic instrument in the shape of a set of bamboo pipes of varying sizes. This instrument is an integral part of the life of the Hmong people since they use it as a way of communication and express their liberal soul. Therefore, they always bring khen with them.

Khen Hmong

(credit: vnexpress.net)

Linen waving

A woman is waving linen at Lung Tam Commune

A woman is waving linen at Lung Tam Commune

While khen is still a preserve of men, textile is the passion of Hmong women. They are still an important part of modern Hmong culture. The Hmong women employ many techniques such as embroidery, applique, reverse applique, and batik to brocade costumes with various symbols that tell stories.

A H’Mong saying goes: “A beautiful girl that can not make linen is also an ugly one.” Hence, Mong girls are proficient in weaving linen. Of course, in the modern context, you should not take this proverb literally. Please just bear in mind that this custom drives them to make the best clothes for themselves to wear on the festival, to go to the fair, and especially to dress-on on the wedding day.

4. Things to do in Ha Giang (What to eat, where to visit)

What to eat:

Steamed rolls: Trust me, Ha Giang’s version of steamed roll is quite different from Hanoi’s: stuffed with minced pork or cloud ear fungus; served with broth. Perfect for breakfast or a late-evening (9P.M or later) meal.

Au tau porridge: As its name suggests, the dish is made from rice with au tau’s root and porks’ legs. The main ingredient, au tau, gives the dish a bitter taste, and can cause harm if not made well. Luckily, the locals of Ha Giang are experts in using Au Tau. They turn the poisonous roots into something that helps ease joint pain and aiding sleep.

Recommendation: Ms.Huong’s porridge, at 161 Tran Hung Dao Str., Ha Giang City.

Thang Co: The dish’s name derived from Chinese, which literally means “soup cooked in the big pan”. The main materials of Thang Co are bone, internal organs (heart, lungs, nerves, e.t.c…) and meat of a horse, or a buffalo, cooked together in a big pan, then served in a small bowl. It is common to have a sip of corn wine while savoring Thang Co . The added spices such as hemp, cardamom, cinnamon, and anise made Ha Giang’s Thang Co unique and, probably, the best Thang Co in northern Viet Nam.

Where to go:

Ma Pi Leng Pass: Undoubtedly, Ma Pi Leng Pass is one of the most astonishing mountain roads in Vietnam. The 20 kilometre-long road has many sharp turns and incredibly panoramic views. Especially from Ma Pi Leng Viewpoint, you can overlook Tu San Canyon and Nho Que River which flow between its ridges. An hour boat-trip on the Nho Que River is a must when visiting Ha Giang.

H’Mong Royal Palace (Palace of the Vuong): Located in Sa Phin valley is the residency of Vuong Duc Chinh, the King of Opium. Built from stone and fir wood and terracotta tiling in a combined Qing-Chinese, French, H’mong traditional style, the building is considered a gem of the northern district of Dong Van.

Legend has it that before the beginning of the construction, Vuong Chinh Duc went to China to find a Feng-shui Master to Vietnam. They went through 4 district areas under his jurisdiction to find out the best terrain. Ultimately, they decided to choose Xa Phin village – the land located in the middle of the Sa Phin valley. Thanks to a block of soil rising high like a turtle’s hood, symbolizing the Golden Turtle God in Vietnamese legends, this place was chosen. It was believed that by forming up Vuong Chinh Duc’s erection in this territory, his ambition would become true.

As Vuong Chinh Duc was a Hmong wealthy and powerful man for trading goods, especially opium. Sa Phin is the transshipment place for opium from the Burmese golden triangle and the Yunnan region of China to Indochina. This made him decide to incorporate the design of opium into the building. The pillar footstones are shaped into opium fruit, its outside also has unique patterns. Not only the footstones of the pillars but under the eaves and rafters are also sculpted in the shape of opium fruits and poppies.

Khau Vai love market: Another must-do activity is to visit Khau Vai love market, a special and unique annual festival that is held at 26 of the third Lunar month. Lively, colorful and crowded, this is the place where lovers meet and talk, ex-lovers who can’t make it together reunite and tell the story of their life.

Hoang Su Phi: The western mountainous district of Hoang Su Phi is famous for its wonderful terraced paddy fields, poetic Shan Tuyet tea hills from Thong Nguyen’s famous trekking path and the gigantic 2400-meter high mountain of Kiou Leou Ti (Chieu Lau Thi).

Lung Cu Flag Point

Located on the top of Lung Cu with a height of about 1.470m above sea level, this flag’s size is exactly 54 square meters, representing Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.
Lung Cu Flagpole was built first in the Ly Thuong Kiet dynasty and was originally made of wood only. However, it has been rebuilt and repaired many times, and nowadays, the 9m high flag handle is made of stainless steel.

Interestingly, this place has various legends. The most famous one is attached with King Quang Trung. The legend tells that after a grand victory over Thanh’s army, the King was punished for placing a gigantic drum on Lung Cu’s peak. At a particular time, he signed a soldier to beat the drum three times to affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over China. After years, as a habit, whenever there is a problem at the border, the Vietnamese beat the dumb again to awake people’s patriotism.

What to do, see: From the top of the flagpole, you can admire two ponds on both sides of the mountain that never run out of water. The landscape at the foot of the Lung Cu flagpole is mountains interspersed by terraced fields creating a wild beauty, the typical feature of the Northwest regions of Vietnam that you do not want to miss. The most exciting and unexpected thing is that coming to the Lung Cu flagpole, you will stand right next to the border of Vietnam and China to have a glance of the neighboring country.

Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate

Located at 1.000 meters above sea level, Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate is the first gateway of Ha Giang to Dong Van Plateau. It owns the pretty magnificent scenery of the Northwest mountains. The most exciting thing is that Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate creates the feeling of bringing visitors up to the clouds to touch the sky, true to its inherent name.

Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate is associated with many historical events, especially military ones, such as the struggle between Vietnam and France to preserve the country. Therefore, during the war years, the gate had a wooden door built by the French to separate two ethnic groups, the Kinh and Hmong. However, presently due to severe weather conditions, that door was replaced by a large sign which makes Quan Ba heaven gate just a distance between two mountains. Even so, the landscape that you can observe from the Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate will take your breath away.

What to do, see: Climb to the top of the mountain to observe a breathtaking view of the Dong Van Plateau, and sightsee the vast valley of Quan Ba, offering the silent charm of the yellow ripped rice, the terraces, the houses of hill tribes, and Co Tien Twin Mountain, which is a natural work of art that makes a captivating poetic frame of clouds stretching all the way. Also, Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate is the first attraction in Ha Giang, so you can grab coffee and locally produced honey here after a long ride.

Lung Tam Weaving Village

Located not far from Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate, Lung Tam village is a small valley with a flowing through Miem river. It is also a home for Hmong people, who are seasoned professionals in textile art.

In the past, Lung Tam village was a typical village of the hill tribe. However, when the traditional trade seems to be extinct, one strong, smart woman appeared to save the craft and bring brocade linen products to the domestic and international markets. The name of this woman is Vang Thi Mai, the founder of The Linen Co-operative. Despite the traditions of hill tribes, where a woman’s role is limited to household matters, Mrs. Mai helps people continue to preserve and uphold traditional values and culture by bringing Lung Tam linen down the mountain, up to the city’s streets and then fled abroad.

Lung Tam Linen Commune

Lung Tam Linen Commune

Linen weaving in Lung Tam is a traditional handicraft with a long history, not only bringing income to households in Lung Tam village but also contributing to preserving the traditional cultural values of Mong people. And thanks to one wonderful woman, the linen village of Lung Tam is now an unmissable authentic destination that attracts thousands of visitors.

Souvenirs at Lung Tam Commune

Souvenirs at Lung Tam Commune

What to do, see: Coming to Lung Tam village, you can see beautiful Hmong batik hemp panels, hear stories about savior Mrs. Mai, who they are proud of, and linen development. Of course, you can also purchase hand-crafted hemp products with specific details, which have a particular meaning, as a souvenir. In addition to buying special gifts, you can also learn about the uniqueness of an old brocade-weaving village of Ha Giang mountain land and join in some parts of the 50 stages of waving linen.

Nho Que River

Nho Que River

Nho Que River

Nho Que River is one of the deepest canyons in Southeast Asia and one of the unique geological formation valleys in Vietnam, which originates from the mountains of Nghiem Son (China), from an altitude of 1500m. Nho Que flows smoothly all year round through the majestic mountains with a poetic, mysterious, and fanciful beauty that you will find hard to leave.

In previous times, the Nho Que River was not as smooth as it is now and considered to serve the fishing purposes of the Ha Giang people only. However, since a hydroelectric project was built, water flows more smoothly. Moreover, after construction, locals opened boat trips on the river to help travelers explore Tu San Canyon, the deepest canyon in Southeast Asia.

What to do, see: Nho Que River is quite wide, therefore to fully admire the beauty of the Nho Que River, you can settle on the Ma Pi Leng pass to observe all the splendor of the river and the grandeur of nature Ha Giang. There are two stations leading to this blue river, one can be reached by foot, one by bike. Make sure when traveling to Ha Giang, you can try to mingle with nature on the Nho Que river and combine a Tu San canyon visit, which will bring exciting experiences.

Meo Vac Market

Since Ha Giang is the home for various ethnic groups, to explore local culture, the best way to do it is to shop like the locals at their markets. It is highly recommended to visit the famous Meo Vac market, which is a museum about the lives of ethnic minorities in the borderland of Meo Vac. Every Sunday, all minority groups will come there to hold the market in the middle of the district’s central town, which makes a good chance for you to survey locals’ culture and lifestyle. It is also a fantastic venue to see the ancient bartering of remote ethnic people in Ha Giang.
It is unknown when the Meo Vac market was formed, but every Sunday at dawn, people are eagerly dragging each other down to the market at crossroads. Going to the market has become an indispensable cultural feature of Meo Vac people in particular and Ha Giang highlands in general. After those hard-working days, the market day is also the time for ethnic minorities to go to the market, to purchase necessities for daily life. Also, it is a very important need, exchanging with each other. This is a rather special value of the Meo Vac upland market, different from the lowland markets. It is a mental factor characteristic that you do not want to miss.

What to do, see: There you can walk through stalls that are divided into 2 sections: outdoor and indoor markets selling everything, starting from mobile phones to livestock.

On the livestock section you can see little piglets, goats, chicken, ducks and even puppies sold along the street. Not far from this section, you can also find a cattle market, where locals inspect water buffaloes or cattle on sale. Besides, you can watch how the various parts of the animals are checked before a sale is completed.

What is most fascinating is that here you will get treated to some interesting views, such as locals walking a piglet with a lead, men carrying a couple of chicken holding their feet, motorbikes passing where the chicken are hanging with their feet down the handle, or having to share a cage at the back of the bike with a dog. However, if you are not a fan of such views, you can move to the indoor market, another area to explore local culture. There, you can find a few food stalls with the fireplaces preparing food, which make a great sight. It is a nice place to have a cheap, uncommon delectable breakfast.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Ha Giang is in dry season: from early October to late April

October: It is the time when the paddy field turns yellow, which is stunningly beautiful. Also, it is interesting to see local ethnics in their colorful dresses happily harvesting the rice, putting it in the sack and transporting home. It is recommended that you should visit Hoang Su Phi’s terraced paddy fields during this time of the year.

November: The northern plateau is covered by the purple of buckwheat flowers, the symbolic flower of Dong Van. Sidenotes: This is also the time of “Buckwheat flower festival”, therefore a large number of tourists will flock into Ha Giang, and the whole plateau suddenly becomes crowded. Reservations should be made at least a week prior to the trip.

December – mid January: It is when rapeseed flowers blooms. The weather gets really cold, and the wind is chilly. There might be snow-if you are lucky enough, which is amazingly beautiful, but also quite rare in a tropical country like Vietnam.

Late January – February: It’s the end of a Lunar year, and the beginning of a new one. The people of Ha Giang celebrate Tet, too, just like any other Vietnamese, and all tourists are welcomed to join. You’ll have a good chance to learn the culture and traditions in the most natural way.

March: When the mountains of Ha Giang enter springtime, the landscape is full of life with numerous kinds of different species of flower bloom at its fullest beauty, most notably the pink color of peach blossom, and the white of plum flower, along with their nice fragrance. Many spring festivals are held, such as Buffalo fighting, Horse racing, Long Tong (the festival of Tay ethnics people to pray for a good crop and bountiful harvest).

April: It is the time when the local people water the terraced paddy fields so they look like giant mirrors, which is breathtakingly beautiful. The weather in April is also warmer, which makes trekking and biking more pleasant. It is also the time when the famous Khau Vai love market festival is held.

How to get to Ha Giang

Located northwest of Ha Noi, without an airport or railroad connected, the most recommended form of transportation is bus, which is surprisingly cheap, from 8 to 13$ for a ticket, depending on departure time and how comfortable the bus is. It would take 6 to 8 hours to get to Ha Giang.

Travel in Ha Giang : Of course, it is possible to travel in Ha Giang by bus or private car, but I strongly recommend to hire yourself a bike, so that you can stop at any point of your adventure, and take a snapshot of the breathtakingly beautiful nature of Ha Giang

Some alternative route to Ha Giang: Beside the main road of QL2 straight from Hanoi to Ha Giang, Ha Giang can be accessed from the nearby attractions such as Sa Pa, Ba Be Lake or Cao Bang.

From Sa Pa: The border road from Sa Pa, via QL4D through Lao Cai City – Muong Khuong- Si Ma Cai – Xin Man (Coc Pai)- Hoang Su Phi Ha Giang. You can also take a detour to visit the beautiful town of Bac Ha, which is only 10km from the main road, or take a half-day, or a full-day trekking in Thong Nguyen or around the Kiou Leou Ti mountain in Hoang Su Phi.

From Ba Be Lake: There are two options: From Ba Be to Yen Phu town of Bac Me, then take a detour to Du Gia Commune of Yen Minh – a famous destination for trekking and Meo Vac town to start the famous Ha Giang Loop via DT176 and DT182, or straight to Ha Giang City via QL34.

How many mountainous areas in Vietnam have you visited? Please tell us, we would love to hear from you. Get prepared with more tips and travel plans in Vietnam at Eviva’s blog or contact our travel consultant for more support.


Writers: Pham Thi Nhat Le and Nguyen Le Hai

If you decided to travel with family, you cannot miss Phu Quoc Island – the unspoilt gem of Vietnam.

Despite a total acreage of 574 square kilometers, Phu Quoc offers a full package of activities that suits every family member, from leisure travel, adventure travel to entertaining facilities and so on. However, there are some of the top things to do with your family as well as some tips to travel with kids while visiting Phu Quoc, listed below.

1. Swimming in the Starfish Beach (Sao Beach)

Starfish Beach, also known as Sao Beach, is a natural wonder within walking distance. This place is a guilty pleasure for urban dwellers living in metropolitan areas. There, you with your family can observe huge amounts of starfish close to the beach through clean, shallow water, which will definitely amaze your children.

Sao Beach, Phu Quoc

Sao Beach, Phu Quoc

However, if you want to see bigger ones, you can go snorkeling to see them since the further you go out the larger the starfishes are. Besides starfishes, there are coral reefs located in the north and south ends of the beach too, which makes the marine life of Sao Beach pretty lively. Also, snorkeling is a kid-friendly activity, so you can explore the underwater world together. This quality time will bring an unforgettable, fun, and educational experience for the kids.

Sao Beach, Phu Quoc for Kid

Instagram: @d_olya

Moreover, if you visit Sao Beach just to search for starfishes, do not forget sunscreen and bikinis, because you will stay there longer to admire the natural beauty of Starfish Beach!

2. Vinpearl Safari Park

Vinpearl Safari is the first semi-wild zoo model in Vietnam, located in the north of Phu Quoc Island. If you have seen wild animals on the Discovery Channel before, this is your chance to snap those images in real life. Vinpearl has created a forest-like ecosystem. By doing this, the animals here can survive and fully develop as in the natural environment. When you come here, you will not observe the animals locked in cages like in the zoo!

Vinpearl Safari Park

Vinpearl Safari Park in Phu Quoc Island

The park welcomes visitors with a variety of greenery, figures, and installations. Vinpearl Safari Park is divided into two main areas: Safari Park and Open Zoo. Not far from the entrance is the Safari Park area with flamingos ponds and other beautiful birds. Further, there is a variety of primates living in the enclosures, very active and fun. Besides, there are so many animals that you may have not even heard of before, so it would be nice to expand your and your kids’ understanding. The park also has some close communication areas where you can go into the aviary and touch the animals.

Safari Phu Quoc

The Open Zoo is home to 40 local fauna rare species together with many wild animals from main geo-biological regions on earth like Africa, Europe, India and Australia… While traveling by bus, you will move through the natural habitat of animals that came from all places on earth, such as lions, tigers, bears, zebras, ostriches, rhinos, giraffes, and many others, to examine them.

It would leave your whole family with indescribable feelings!

3. Phu Quoc Bee Farm – fun and educational experience

The Bee Farm is reaching down a beautiful road with stunning views of the National Park beyond with a taste of jungle as you approach. When you arrive, it may look like a scrappy little garden with lots of rickety box beehives. However, take some time to explore, and you will start to understand the wonderful charm and incredibly important work they are doing here.

Phu Quoc Bee Farm

The farm is a small well-maintained garden area with many exotic flowers and trees to walk around and get away from the heat, hustle and bustle. When you reach there, dont forget to join a tour hosted by the locals. It would help you and your kids as well learn a lot about the bees and the huge environmental impact they have on the planet.

Instagram: @travellingfornow

Instagram: @damiancarvill

Besides, Bee Farm has a lovely shop and cafe with lots of honey and honey-based products. Taste the honey, have a drink with honey, and try the Bee cake in the restful place with a lively heart. Immersing in the peacefulness and serene, you would not want to leave this place. Worth a visit!

4. Vinpearl Land Amusement Park

Vinpearl Land Amusement Park is a perfect place to spend all day. The park has a lot of lures such as attractions, aquapark, beach, oceanarium, orangeries, Japanese house with the tea ceremony, zoo, cafes, picturesque corners throughout the territory, fountain shows, evening performance, etc. There is plenty to keep you and your kids busy with entertainment, as everyone can find something to their liking. Furthermore, children will be impressed by the fountain and laser shows, so don’t miss them!

Vinpearl Land Amusement Park

Vinpearl Land Amusement Park

Vinpearl Land Amusement Park is the best thing that can happen to you in Phu Quoc since you will experience the whole spectrum of emotions, from gladness to tears, tears of happiness, of course.

However, please keep in mind that daylight hours to visit all places may not be enough. So be sure to go there early in the morning and think over carefully about the order of visiting places of interest to try all or most of them since the queue will be unrealistically long.

5. Go to the picnic in Suoi Tranh Waterfall

Suoi Tranh Waterfall is the most popular four-meter-tall and the most beautiful waterfall, located about 9km to the east of Duong Dong. This natural attraction is ideal for nature-lovers and those who are looking for a place to escape the bustling town center and immerse themselves in nature.

There, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as picnicking, camping, and bird-watching, with small walking paths available for those who prefer a leisurely hike through the jungle. Also, since Suoi Tranh Waterfall is located near Ham Ninh, you can combine all those activities with exploring the daily life of the fishermen from Ham Ninh’s Fishing Village and enjoy authentic regional specialties.

You will love Suoi Tranh Waterfall due to its quiet atmosphere and the picturesque scene of the sunlight shining through the trees’ canopies, reflected by the water.

However, due to its proximity to the main town, Suoi Tranh Waterfall can be crowded by the locals during the peak seasons (weekends and national holidays), so visit this place early to get the best picnicking spot.

6. Boat trip & Water activities

A boat tour can bring excitement to the children with all the fun water activities. To go on a big adventure over water, you can rent a boat yourself or book a half-day boat tour from agencies. It is highly recommended to choose well-trusted agencies to guarantee the safety and the best experience for your family.

Boat tours itinerary often features the An Thoi Archipelago where you can swim, snorkel, fishing, kayaking…

The islands have some stunning beaches, decent coral reefs, and primeval forests, making them one of the best places in Phu Quoc to enjoy nature.

☺☻☺ Tips for mamas and dadas ☺☻☺

Traveling with young kids in Phu Quoc can sometimes be difficult because you have to keep your eyes on children most of the time. Also, you may worry about whether the food is friendly to them or not. Therefore, you may not be able to relax and enjoy your trip to the fullest. There are some nice little tricks to help you deal with it!

1. The younger the children, the lower the pace

Kids can easily get tired of the abundance of new information and different experiences. Therefore, plan your excursions and entertainment abroad, taking this fact into account. Push off your usual sightseeing pace, reducing it by about 2 – 3 times. In other words, traveling with childrens to places of interest should not be too intense and dynamic.

2. Packaging

Make a list of the necessary items in advance, and try to take only the essential ones to not carry a huge suitcase. Remember that some items you can purchase locally. Also, check if the young traveler has not forgotten his/her player, tablet, book, or favorite toy, which will help them brighten up the time during the flight or road trip.

3. Bring snacks and water with you

Be sure to bring something to eat and drink on every trip for your kids. Of course, it is not about thermos with soup or cutlets with macaroni. Take a drinking yogurt, banana, apple, bun, or a couple of sandwiches in a bag. While sightseeing or conquering water slides in the local water park, children tend to work up an appetite. So that child does not become capricious while waiting for dinner, it will be enough to bring him/her a small snack.

4. Bring essential items in the separate bag

While traveling with young children, keep your baby’s essential items such as milk, candy, diapers, towels, windbreaker in a separate backpack and bring it with you throughout the trip for convenience at any time.


Writer: Nhat Le and Long

In Vietnam, “Responsible Tourism” is increasingly a well-received trend. This approach deals not only with tourists, but also with suppliers, who raise awareness about culture and the environment, minimize the negative impact of tourism, and create more jobs, income for local people.

One of the projects that capture this spirit is Mekong Rustic. If you want to experience the culture and immerse yourself in the poetic beauty of people and nature in the Mekong and still make a positive contribution to the trend of “Responsible Tourism”, then join with us to discover Mekong Rustic through this blog!

What is Mekong Rustic?

Mekong Rustic is a community tourism project founded by Huong Duong Tourism Management Company Limited – Represented by Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bich in December 2014. Mekong Rustic is built on the basis of cooperation, training and Investing in Cai Be and Tan Phong islet for households including: training in tour guide skills, products, homestay accommodation, ship services, restaurants, activities and facilities equipped on Tan Phong island. Mekong Rustic does not only bring benefits to an individual or a family, but also all households participating in the project and supporting local communities and sustainable tourism in Tan Phong, Cai Be, Tien Giang.

Responsible travel

The goal of the project is to introduce to tourists the daily activities of the people of the Mekong River, support to create more livelihoods for local people, preserve traditional works, culture and develop sustainable tourism.

Tradition – Health – Responsibility

Not only does it save the tradition of activities that visitors participate in or experience responsibly locally, the activities we build here also bring health and happiness to all visitors when arriving in the Mekong Rustic.

How responsible is it?

Mekong Rustic has been committed to offering low-impact tours that benefit travelers and hosts alike. They work with local communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism opportunities that help local economies while minimizing negative environmental and cultural impacts.

Their travel programs show our travelers how most Vietnamese actually live, far removed from tourist hot pots which dot the country and encourages all travelers to bring with them their favorite novel and donate to schools. Travelers are also highly encouraged to pen their personal thoughts inside the books. These are words of hope and form the basis of cultural exchanges between differing nations. Books could be given to our team members at registration, and the team shall consolidate them and distribute to the schools quarterly.

School children in Cai Be and Mekong Delta will benefit from this travel program. The book encourages literacy rates and hence allows the children or future leaders of the world to make informed life choices as their knowledge, imagination, and horizons broadens.

Mekong Rustic aims to make a positive impact on conservation of local life, natural and cultural heritage via its carefully chosen itineraries at various ports of calls. Travelers are able to play an important role in preserving and shaping the world’s diversity as they show the host communities how the values of learning the ethnic traditions and encourages greater understanding between differing cultures.

Travelers visit silk workshops, rice paper-making workshops, mats making workshops, and travel on local rickshaws to truly experience the local cultures. Mekong Rustic is more than a rustic holiday in the Mekong delta, it is about making informed lifestyle choices that would help preserve local dream time that would be passed down from generations to generations.

Mekong Rustic engages local guides, facilities, and services to generate greater economic benefits for the local peoples through meaningful human connections. Travelers play direct roles in building local pride and confidence, thus enhancing the local lifestyles and life chances.

Tourist activities that you can involved in Mekong Rustic experience

Homestay experience

Mekong Rustic Cai Be situated on one of the most beautiful islands on the Mekong River, Cai Be Town, Tien Giang Province. It stands beside Cai Be floating market among fruit gardens which emphasize the beautiful but seldom visited rural areas on this side of the Mekong River. An eco-rustic homestay set in a large and well-landscaped green area with good food, pure atmosphere and nice people, typical of the Mekong Delta.

Homestay services of Mekong Rustic not only are pure accommodation suppliers but also help visitors to truly explore the culture as well as the lifestyle of people in the Mekong River Delta. The hosts there will be cookers directly and travellers will be warmly welcomed by them as their relatives. For now, Mekong Rustic has two families serving homestay and cuisine.

Mekong river boat rice

Travellers can embark on a boat to admire the simple beauty of the Mekong Delta as well as observe the daily life of local people and gain authentic experiences like a local while cruising along the river.

Cycling around Tan Phong isles

Tan Phong Isles is in the middle of Vinh Long, Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces where you can cycle on the peaceful road around the island with green trees to experience local life and meet friendly people when visiting Mekong rustic which equips over 20 bicycles.

Local cuisine experience

Visiting Mekong rustic, it will be worse if you don’t try local traditional cuisine here. Coming here and tasting local foods of Mekong specialties such as honey, elephant ear fish, rambutan, water coconut, and mango.

Gardening

Mekong Rustic garden and homestay is an ideal destination for communicating with local people and learning how to garden. Especially, you will see orchards where the host shares their experience on how to take care of the garden and pick fruits as it is their daily work.

Gardening in Mekong

Gardening in Mekong

Ditch fishing hook

Visiting Mekong Delta and staying at Mekong rustic, travelers have chances to manually bailing water out of ditches to catch fish and then cooking them right away. Travellers can wear Mekong River Delta people’s folk costumes and join this exciting activity with local tour guides. Mekong Rustic also provides boots and protective clothes to keep them safe.

Jackfruit leaf cake

Jackfruit leaf cake is a signature dish of Western Vietnam originating from the countryside during wars. When enjoying, you need to separate the cake from the jackfruit leaves before putting it on a plate and filling it with coconut milk and peanuts. The sweet taste of coconut milk with the chewy taste of the cake will surely make you satisfied. Visiting Mekong rustic, you can make this local staple by yourself and bring it back as a gift for relatives.

Shop at the local farmers’ market

Each boat has one bamboo stick on the front which used to hang the product of the boat. This is a kind of advertising to show what the boat sells inside. Local people produce the farming products in the farm or in the garden and then they load them to the floating market. Some people come here to buy the products from the merchants and bring back to the markets in the mainland for selling to the customers.

Shop at the local farmers’ market

Shop at the local farmers’ market

Đơn ca tài tử Folksong

Before ending an eventful day, travellers can take a rest and enjoy the great Don Ca Tai Tu Folksong – one of UNESCO’s recognized intangible cultural heritage as well as listen to the intriguing stories of local people.

Rowing boat on canals.
The Mekong people’s lifestyle is associated with the river. Mekong Rustic has been building the most appropriate, primitive rowing boat trip on Tan Phong Isles for tourists.

Fishing on river

Fishing on the river is also one of the daily activities of local people. However, it has gradually vanished by getting rid of a large amount of fish before. Mekong Rustic holds fishing activities on the river with local people in Mekong Delta helping to display fishing scenery for visitors to experience one small part of the workers’ lifestyle.

Local traditional handicraft

Doing the handicraft products under the guidance of local hosts and exploring traditional handicraft.

By joining these above activities, you not only will be immersed deeply in the culture, explore the real life of local people in the Mekong area but also contribute to their income, protecting traditional works, and developing sustainable tourism.

Writers: Minh Hien and Nguyen Dieu Linh

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Music is fascinating. We all have experiences of being emotionally moved after listening to music that we have strong personal memories of or to seeing an image that captures particular places. Every song can take you on a journey and when you add charming travel imagery to it, it’s enough to make you want to book a flight and pack your bags.

Here are top 5 music videos that inspire you to get out and explore a beautiful Vietnam and their links will be listed at the end of the blog.

1. Vũ Cát Tường – Dream (Mơ)

Vu Cat Tuong - Dream

Location: Dalat – Lam Dong Province

In this song, it depicts the couple’s love and the story of young people who are confused between many paths of their lives.

The MV was filmed in Da Lat with dreamy frames, impressing with the image of the brilliant sunflower hill that stretches as far as the eyes can see. “Dream” is carefully elaborated on the image from shooting angle to the post-processing stage that many viewers commented that “Dream” is like a movie. You can spot numerous stunning frames like the campfire scene, chatting on the roof under the starry sky, waterfall jumping, playing on a sunflower field, etc.

With the slow-motion shots of the pine forest and epic scenery from the sunflower hill, this MV by Vũ Cát Tường no doubt leaves you wanderlust and have you book a flight to Dalat immediately.

Some attractions spotted in the MV:

  • Lang Biang Forest Trail
  • Pongour Waterfall
  • Mộng Mơ (Dreamy) flower hill

About Vu Cat Tuong: A runner up in Vietnam The Voice Season 2, she was in Top 30 under 30 2018 by Forbes Vietnam. A talented composer, singer, Cat Tuong could be described as a rising star in the music industry in Vietnam.

2. Bích Phương – Nếu Thương Nhau Thì Đừng Làm Trái Tim Em Đau (Please don’t break my heart if you love me)

Bich Phuong in Ban Gioc Waterfall - Cao Bang Province

Location: Ban Gioc Waterfall – Cao Bang Province

This is the first song of “VIỆT NAM VIỆT NAM’ Project, a series of 3 MVs brings national music, bold Vietnamese culture and harmonious mixes to catch up with world music movements.

The MV tells a romantic love story of a modern girl with a guy from the Dao ethnic group. Throughout their story, viewers gently admire the culture and exotic landscape of Northwest Vietnam. From the beautiful waterfall, the epic view of the highland to customs of the Dao ethnic group, it gives you a real taste of what you can expect when visiting there.

The MV was shot in Bản Gioc Waterfall, one of Vietnam’s most impressive natural sights. Located in the northeastern province of Cao Bang, the fall is 30 metre high and 300 metre wide, making it the widest (but not the highest) waterfall in Vietnam. Although it may not convince you to jump off the edge of the waterfall, it will certainly make you cross the globe to observe its natural beauty.

About Bich Phuong: With a beautiful voice, Bich Phuong owns many hit records that speak the insight of the youth in Vietnam. Are you getting a lot of annoying questions during the Tet holiday about your marital status? Then let’s listen to her song “When will you get married?” to be sympathized.

3. Hoàng Thùy Linh – Bánh Trôi Nước ( Glutinous Rice Cake)

Hoang Thuy Linh- Ninh Binh and Long An

Location: Ninh Bình and Long An

Hoang Thuy Linh’s MV once again amazed us with the fanciful look of Ninh Binh – the “Halong Bay on land” because of the same view of dotted mountains as Halong bay with sheer limestones rising up from the river. Below are highlighted must-see attractions in Ninh Binh that appeared in the video.

Situated near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex contains striking mountains, majestic limestone caves and wild streams flowing through the caves, making this place become one of the most attractive karsts in the world.

Mua cave is a small cave in Mua ecoresort, where you can reach to the mountain’s peak for a great panorama of Ninh Binh mountainscapes. It is good to link your visit to Trang An or Tam Coc with a trek to Mua cave if you like trekking & having awesome photos.

Located in Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, Bai Dinh Pagoda is 15 km from Ninh Binh city, located in the west of Hoa Lu ancient capital. It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and has become a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across the country.

Besides some majestic scenery in Ninh Binh, appeared in the MV is Tan Lap floating village in Long An, southside Vietnam. It’s being nominated as one of the top 10 most popular ecotourism areas in Vietnam. Exploring this floating village and you will be amazed by the exotic nature of the Southern Vietnam River.

About Hoang Thuy Linh: Hoang Thuy Linh is a talented MC, actress and singer. Her latest album, Hoang, a combination of culture material and folk music, has won the Album of the year Dedication Music Awards in Vietnam.

4. Bích Phương – Gửi Anh Xa Nhớ ( To my love)

Bich Phuong in Hoi An ancient town

Location: Hoi An ancient town

Gửi Anh Xa Nhớ, another song by Bich Phuong, tells us a love story between two childhood friends. Comfortably known as one of the most travel-inspiring music videos, the MV’s plot evolves since the moment the couple started having feelings for each other and when they finally reunited years later in the background of the poetic Hoian ancient town.

Located in the coastal plain of Quang Nam province, the only way to get to Hoi An is by road. You can hire a taxi/shuttle bus from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other large Vietnamese cities.

Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was one of the most crowded trading ports in Southeast Asia from the 15th to the 18th century. Nowadays, this city is well-preserved with merchant houses, temples, and ancient buildings that remind us of its glory days. The ancient, nostalgic and romantic beauty of Hoi An makes it become one of the most popular destinations for not only domestic travellers but also foreigners.

5. Mr. T ft Hoàng Minzy – Ăn gì đây (What To Eat)

Hoang Minzy in The Old Quarter, Hanoi city

Location: The Old Quarter, Hanoi city

Filmed in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, “Ăn gì đây” gives the viewers a brand new, youthful look at Hanoi Cuisine and the sidewalk culture in the capital.

Regarded as the most iconic place of Hanoi, the crew then thought out of the box by bringing some western culture superheroes like Spiderman feature in must-visited sites, thereby blowing a wind of changes to this music video. Through the appearances of the popular character, “Ăn gì đây” wants to tell us that no matter who you are and where you from, you are gonna deeply fall in love with Vietnam as well as its street foods.

Right from the very beginning of this project, Mr. T, the composer, wanted the video to contain as much Vietnamese material as possible. Hence he chose to use two hues of red and yellow, the national flag colour of Vietnam as the main tone for the MV. Besides, the crew also included iconic images of Vietnam, such as conical hats, street vendors as well as familiar stuff in the MV to spread these ambassadors to international visitors.

The Old Quarter is filled with specialty restaurants and popular stalls that have been around for years. Spotted in the MV are some of Hanoi signature dishes like Bún Đậu (noodles with deep-fried tofu and shrimp paste), Bánh Giò (pyramidal rice dumpling), Bún riêu (river crab noodles), etc.

About Mr. T & Hoa Minzy: Mr. T is a well-known rapper in Vietnam. With diverse experience as a reporter, MC, actor, he finally made a career in rap music. Hoa Minzy is a singer/actress that is famous for her inspirational and energetic voice. She has won first place in the national TV competition “Star Academy Vietnam” in the first season.

Link to music videos featured in this article:

  1. Vũ Cát Tường – Dream (Mơ): Link
  2. Bích Phương – Nếu Thương Nhau Thì Đừng Làm Trái Tim Em Đau (Please don’t break my heart if you love me): Link
  3. Hoàng Thùy Linh – Bánh Trôi Nước ( Glutinous Rice Cake): Link
  4. Bích Phương – Gửi Anh Xa Nhớ ( To my love): Link
  5. Mr. T ft Hoàng Minzy – Ăn gì đây (What To Eat): Link

Feeling a little bit of wanderlust? Visit Evivatour Vietnam to start planning your adventure later.

Research, Script & Voice over: Vuong Gia Linh
Video Editor & Blog Writer: Nguyen Nhu Nghia
Idea & team management: Cao Trang

Whether you are a nail polish addict or so into nicely decorated nails to keep yourself looking your best, Ho Chi Minh City has a vast array of lovely nail salons to offer.

If you think polishing your nails with colors is too basic, we have picked out 5 well-known salons in the city which provide fancy designed nail service that takes the art of nail makeup to a new level.

1. Prive Nails – Luxury Nail & Spa Boutique

Everything about this spa is luxurious: it is the answer to not-your-typical nails, but glittering metallic nail designs. It has evolved into one of the supremest nail rooms & spas in Saigon, to the place where customers can get not only glossy well-maintained nails but also captivated by the opulent ambiance of the salon. Unlike other nail rooms in the city, Prive only picks imported products from Europe, the USA, South Korea, or Japan to scale up its high-quality service.

However, the salon provides more than a reasonable price starting from 6,5$ for a perfect polish nail service, removal included. Besides, there are also some health & spa treatments applied on hands, feet, body, neck, head, and face, as well as waxing.

Prive Nails - Luxury Nail & Spa Boutique

2. Fame Nails

Fame Nails is highly recommended by customers for its professional staff and detailed, unique nail art. For those who want to own long, sharp, and detailed nails, this salon is your first choice. Fame Nails is also praised for the iconic 3D nail bling and other nail arts such as acrylics, gels, and gel polish.

For a basic manicure/pedicure, you will pay only around 5$, while French gel polish, including a manicure/pedicure, will cost only 20$. In addition to manicure and pedicure, the nail room specializes in hair removal services, waxing, and eye lashing. You can find its three branches at 18 Pham Hong Thai, 45 Mac Thi Buoi, and 10 Thao Dien. By this, you can head to the most convenient one.

Fame Nails

  • Address: 18 Pham Hong Thai, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Tel.: 028 3824 5818
  • Website: http://famenails.com/

3. Ori Nails & Spa

Women who live in District 1 are in love with Ori Nails & Spa. The salon is not just a place where you will get a basic manicure/pedicure, it is the place that brings you vivid and playful nail designs. Not only the salon design is adorable, its services also meet US standards, specializing in bold designs and colors. Not to mention, the price there is quite affordable, and a gel manicure/pedicure can last for a long time.

For basic nail care and polish, you have to pay only 4$, while other nail services such as classic manicure/pedicure, manicure spa, pedicure spa, and Ori signature combo will cost you about 5 – 40$. Ori Nails & Spa also make a great subtle, classy manicure, as well as additional spa services such as eye lashing, washing hair, waxing, and luxurious lavender mask.

Ori Nails & Spa

  • Address: 22 Pham Hong Thai, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Tel.: 028 3915 8878
  • Website: https://orinailspa.com/

4. Merci Nail, Hair & Café

Merci Nail, Hair & Café deserves to be voted in the list of the best nail salons in town. Manicurists here are genius. They can turn any nail styles, hair designs that you wish for come true. The coffee ambience here is so comfortable where you can sit for your manicure and pedicure.

To keep your nails healthy, this salon is the place where you can ask for a themed manicure/pedicure using non-toxic polishes such as Zoya or Kure Bazaar. Furthermore, while waiting for your pretty nails, enjoy a chilling atmosphere, and ask for some signature cocktails, juices, smoothies, or healthy food from the best restaurants in the city.

Want to be like a royal? Let’s Merci be your muse.

  • Address: 17/6 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
    24 Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Tel.: 028 3825 8799
  • Website: http://www.merci-space.com/

5. Jenng Nails

Before visiting the most instagrammable areas in Ho Chi Minh City, you may want to clean up your cuticles, polish your nails, or get your nails decorated. Not far from the Ben Thanh Market, Jenng Nails is one of the highly recommended nail rooms in Saigon with a team of attentive, well-trained nail masters. The nail designs here have their best in abstract multicolored designs. Furthermore, the spa has many attractive nail services such as acrylic, nail design with gel, 3D nail art, ornament insert, and foot massage.

Jenng Nails

Translator: Nhat Le (Marketing Intern)

Sapa is one of the ideal destinations when visiting Vietnam thanks for its primitive and spectacular beauty with a lot of breathtaking landscapes. Sapa has Fansipan – the highest peak in Vietnam, Muong Hoa valley…To make the most out of your trip you should research travel information, here in Sapa, before going to Vietnam.

Climate in Sapa

Sapa is located in a moderate temperate climate zone with average temperatures from 15 to 18 degrees Celsius.

Spring prolongs between February and April; however, February weather is still relatively cold. If you visit Sapa at this time, you will not be able to see all the beauty of Sapa because it was hidden behind a dense fog.

May to September is a warm time in Sapa town. In Autumn, Sapa’s temperature decreases gradually, with little breeze cools and rain from the monsoon that clear the heat of the summer. When winter comes, Sapa seems to wear a new color shirt made of pure white snow and fog in the cold wind. The chart below illustrates the Sapa temperature in degrees Celsius, daylight time in hours, and monthly precipitation that all measured especially.

Climate chart in Sapa – Vietnam

Climate chart in Sapa – Vietnam

Summer with verdant mountains and valleys

The summer (from May to August) is the rainy season in Sapa, with temperatures around 23 to 24 degrees Celsius There are many kinds of mysterious plants which grow in summer, which you can see and taste at Sapa markets. The blend of mountainous landscape, valleys, and flowers blooming creates a gorgeous picture that you can nowhere else. . If it’s not rainy luckily, you absolutely can enjoy natural scenery perfectly.

See the charm of golden terraces ripening in Autumn

In early September, the rice fields come into golden time,bringing a new look to the terraces. It still rains in this month, but until October, rainfall gets less, the temperatures are about 20 to 23 degrees Celsius.

Although the chance for rain in September is high, you still can visit and enjoy beautiful rice paddies. The reason is you would miss out on the beauty of the vast terraced fields when the harvest ended in October.

Detailes climate in Sapa – Vietnam

Detailes climate in Sapa – Vietnam

Detailed information can be found at climate-data.org website.

The weather in every season in Sapa

For Vietnamese, Sapa in each season has its own beauties. The spring comes with plants and leaves growing, is the season of the gorgeous forest of flowers; in summer, we welcome the fresh green terraces and delightful waterfall. When autumn arrives, the forests with yellow leaves will make you bothered; the white and pure snow mountains when winter comes is the moment that you can not miss.

Spring is awaked with cherry blossoms and plums

From February to April, when you come to Sapa, you will admire the beauty of blossom forests, plums mixed with the color of green tea leaves and rice. However, there is quite a lot of fog, you can not see delightful sights there, the temperature is about 14 to 20 degrees Celsius.

Winter is cold and snow will fall sometimes

In winter, Sapa has much cloud cover and is colder than other seasons. Winter is fairly special because it has the same time as the dry season so there is almost not any rain. If you come to Sapa in winter, you miss the brilliant tea hills and the natural terraces. The temperature can decrease significantly by freezing, this is a novelty for Vietnamese because in northern Vietnam snow very seldom falls. Which seems quite typical for Europeans. This is the reason why you should not visit Sapa in the winter months.

Spring has cherry blossoms among tea hills

In spring, Sapa is well-known for tea leaves and rice that have still hidden behind the thick fog. When the Sun rises, you can see a beautiful landscape painting of O Long tea hills. Cherry Blossoms adorn the terraced fields, which creates slight but exquisite interweaving color. The soft pink flowers contrasting with green tea hills and all of them mixed with mist make up a realistic, simple yet beautiful Sapa scene.

The best time to visit Sapa

If you want to admire the golden terraces, you can arrive in Sapa in the summertime and especially early September. During the harvest season, which happens in September, Sapa is brilliantly beautiful with the scenery seeming to turn into golden carpet covering steps of terraces of the jungles. It is the reason why September in Sapa is the favorite season for many travellers.

When you decide to visit Sapa in summer or September, you should research carefully how to apply Visa for Vietnam as well as check the weather forecast before departing and make arrangements for your trip. So, you will have the time safe and don’t have to worry about weather problems in Sapa. You need to have flexibility in your itinerary but please be aware that sometimes bad weather may happen. as Sapa is well-known as a foggy and rainy town.

If you are concerned about What to buy and Where to buy good quality gifts or souvenirs that typically represent the vibrance of Hanoi, the list below would help you, and point you in the direction of places to go. There are many options for gifts that you can consider, such as food, clothes, accessories, and handicrafts…

Food

Ô mai (Sugared or Salted Dried Fruits)

Being famous for their fragrance and reasonable price, Ô mai is one of Hanoi’s best sellers and unique specialties for travellers. Moreover, this snack is dried packaging, so it is easy to carry on the plane. Among many different types and flavored of ô mai for you to choose such as green dracontomelon o mai, apricot o mai, kumquat o mai…, dracontomelon sugared with ginger is the most unique one for its sweet and sour taste blended perfectly with a little spiciness of ginger. It will definitely satisfy everyone, even the picky eaters.

=> Where to buy: You can purchase traditional sugared or salted fruits at Hong Lam o mai chain stores, or in the Old Quarter on Hang Duong Street, Hang Da Street (Van Loi Shop), at the beginning of Ly Quoc Su Street.

Cốm (Green rice flakes)

When it comes to the autumn of Hanoi, we could not forget green rice flakes wrapped in fragrant lotus leaves, which is a truly Hanoi gift in this season. Furthermore, eating those green rice flakes with ripe bananas will taste like heaven. If you visit Hanoi in the off-season this specialty, you can choose green rice flake based products, such as stir-fried green rice flakes, green rice cakes, etc.

Com Hanoi

The best place to buy lip-smacking fried green rice flakes is Qùa Quê shop on Dinh Liet street, which is near Sword Lake. This street is near the intersection with Hang Bac Street and there is a famous snail shop right away. Rice flakes fried with coconut here are sold only for a thousand VND per delicious small piece. And if you want to buy in bulk, you should order in advance.
To buy the best green rice cakes you can go to the end of Hang Than Street, near the junction with Yen Phu Street. There you can find many famous delicious green rice cake shops. However, please check the production and the expiration date of the product before purchasing, since rice cakes have a short shelf life, especially in the tropical climate in Vietnam.

Where to buy:

  • Nguyen Ninh store, 11 Hang Than Street. (for rice cakes)
  • Vong Village, Cau Giay, Hanoi. (for fresh green rice flakes)
  • Qua Que store near Sword Lake (for fried rice flakes)

Lotus Tea

Lotus tea is an unmissable Hanoian gift that seems to be the most luxurious but also the pickiest product for users. The most famous one is still West Lake lotus tea, which is remembered for its sophisticated production process. The locals will use Thai Nguyen type 1, the most renowned one to produce this tea, marinating tea leaves with lotus rice many times to absorb the characteristic flavor. More important, it is lotus in Westlake but nowhere else used to create the right fragrance. Thanks to this rigorous production, brewed tea will have a characteristic-rich flavor that spreads in the mouth.

Souvenirs

Handicrafts

You can choose to purchase art designed crafts as a memento while visiting Hanoi at stores along Ly Quoc Su, Hang Gai, Hang Bong, Nha Tho, Van Mieu Street… For its delicate and ornate, the price of handicrafts is normally higher than traditional souvenirs.

Ceramics

Bat Trang Ceramics

To buy quality pottery products to take back home for your relatives, you can visit Bat Trang pottery village. Here you can get the ceramic for a song, because the price starts from a few tens of thousands of VND. More interestingly, you can learn and make your own unique ceramic products, get the artisans burn it for you to bring home at a reasonable price.

Where to buy handicraft in Hanoi:

  • Craft Link – 43 Van Mieu Street – Tel: 0243 7710.
  • Craft Window – 99 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Tel: 733 5286.
  • Hoa Sữa – 63A Tràng Thi – Tel: 934 2792.
  • Lacasa – 12 Nha Tho – Tel: 828 9616.
  • Love Planet – 25 Hang Bac – Tel: 828 4864.
  • Mosaique – 22 Nha Tho – Tel: 928 6181.
  • Tân Mỹ Silk – 66 Hang Gai – Tel: 825 1579.
  • Tuyết Lan – 10 Ly Quoc Su – Tel: 828 9835.
  • Tre Việt Decor – 125B Lo Duc – Tel: 971 4298.
  • Tranh thêu lụa XQ Hà Nội – 88 Pho Hue Street – Tel: 943 6786.

Clothes, jewelry and accessories

Silver jewelry

You can buy products made of Vietnamese or Thai silver, which has a stylish modern design and especially suits the young. To get them, you can go to shops on Hang Bac Street or a quite famous store on Quan Su Street (near the intersection with Trang Thi Street).

Silk, designer clothes

Van Phuc silk

Silk is a gem that attracts tourists by its vibrant colors and variety of texture such as raw, hard or soft ones. You can visit Van Phuc silk Village, which is about 10 km from the center of Hanoi to acquire some silk products. Van Phuc silk is characterized by cool, thin, soft, and less wrinkled fiber like ordinary silk.
In addition, you can obtain these products as well as ao dai, hats, clothes, scarves, bags, etc. along Hang Gai Street and Nha Tho Street.

Locations to buy silk in Hanoi that you can refer to:

  • Co – 18 Nha Tho – Tel: 828 9925.
  • Ha Dong Silk – 102 Hang Gai – Tel: 828 5056.
  • Khai Silk – 121 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Tel: 747 0583.
  • Kana – 41 Hang Trong – Tel: 928 6208.
  • Kenly Silk – 108 Hang Gai – Tel: 826 7236.
  • Sông Hà Nội – 5-7 Nhà Tho – Tel: 828 6965.
  • Cửa hàng túi xách tay Ipa-Nima – 59G Hai Ba Trung – Tel: 942 1872.
  • Cat Walk – 39 Van Mieu – Tel: 747 0271.
  • Kid’s Fashion – 45 Quang Trung – Tel: 822 9226.

We hope the above bits of advice can help you deal with the problem “What to Buy and Where to Shop to find budget and quality souvenirs in Hanoi?” and also can be useful for you in choosing the most exciting and satisfying gifts.

When winter is around the corner, Trang An, the former capital of Vietnam is painted in peaceful lush green, instead of glowing golden ripen rice fields like it used to be in May and June. To capture the panoramic view of Trang An from above, Mua Mountain is an ideal site with more than 500 steps zig-zagged around the mountain that leads you to the summit.

They poetic beauty of Trang An in autumn

As a combination of world natural and cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO, Trang An scenic complex includes outstanding landmarks such as Trang An eco-tourism area, Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area, Bai pagoda. Dinh, the ancient capital Hoa Lu … And the beauty of Trang An has been captured by Mr. Cao Tung Lam (Jame Cao), a traveler born in 1991, from Ba Ria – Vung Tau through a series of photos.

They poetic beauty of Trang An in autumn

Standing from the summit of Mua Mountain, you can see mountains that stretch into the distance and the winding river around the foot of the mountain. This is the most beautiful spot to see Tam Coc located in Hoa Lu karst complex from above.

They poetic beauty of Trang An in autumn

To visit Trang An, visitors will take a boat trip cruising along the Ngo Dong River, wriggle through the foot of sheer limestone mountains rising up from the paddies. Then we will pass through Tam Coc, which means three caves in Vietnamese. During the journey, we also visit Bich Dong Pagoda, an ancient pagoda hidden in a cave dating back to the 15th century.
Occasionally, you will see small boats passing by that sells incense and fruits to pagoda-goers

Entrance fee:

  • Tam Coc – Bich Dong complex is 120,000 VND per adult
    60,000 VND per child under 1.4 m in height.
  • Boat rental fee: 150,000 VND for a group of 4 adults. However, if you want to travel with fewer people, you will have to pay a full boat fee, Tung Lam said.

Trang An ecotourism area is located at the core of the scenic. Currently, visitors to Trang An can choose among 3 routes for a three-hour bamboo boat trip, with 250,000 VND per adult, 120,000 VND for children from 1-3 meter and free for children under 1 meter.

The characteristic of visiting Trang An is that you will be going through a number of caves through the limestone mountains with a geological age of about 250 million years. Here it is discovered 50 dry caves and 50 water caves.

River water in Trang An is so special that it is green all year, except after heavy rain and heavy floods. In many sections, travellers can have a crystal clear view of the flora in the river bed, the most beautiful is the mossy swarms following the movement of the paddle.

Trang An in autumn

Getting on a car drive for about 5 kilometers, we will reach Am Tien cave, a scenic spot belonging to Hoa Lu ancient capital. This place is known as Tuyet Tinh Coc, located in a valley between rocky mountains, with gates, pagodas on the mountains, tunnels.

The emerald green lake is the most photo-captive spot for many lenses of visitors, which can be seen while standing on the city gate. Here is Giai pound, where in the past King Dinh punished death row inmates by throwing them down to alligators.

Hoa Lu-Trang An in autumn

Hoa Lu ancient capital was the first capital of a feudal state in Vietnam. Currently, the relic area still preserves many constructions and traces of the capital city with temples, communal houses, ancient pagodas, tombs … that last more than a thousand years.

Van Long - Trang An in autumn

During the trip, Mr. Cao Tung Lam also visited Van Long lagoon, the largest wetland nature reserve in the Northern Delta. About 15 km from Trang An scenic complex, here you can also take a cruise trip to admire the scenery, with the entrance fee of 60,000 VND per boat.

From Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) to Ninh Binh, there are many high-quality car operators with 2 – 3 hours per trip. The average ticket price is 300,000 VND per way.

Come to Ninh Binh, do not miss the signature which are deep-fried rice and goat dishes, which are served in many restaurants in Hoa Lu, around the eco-tourism area of ​​Trang An and Tam Coc.

In addition to Pho – a typical dish that should be on your list when in Vietnam, there are also other delicious dishes made from the same ingredients, such as: Bun (vermicelli), Pho “Cuon” (spring rolls with beef), Mien that once eating, you will remember them forever. Their variety, eye-catching display, and delectable are the reasons why everyone wants to come back and enjoy it again.

1 – Bun

Did you know Bun is the third most popular starchy food in Vietnam after rice and pho? From the North to the South, Bun are popularly known and collectively called Bun
Though this is a long-standing traditional dish of Vietnam, the origin of Bun is not clear. There is an anecdote telling that this food was from an anecdote of King An Duong Vuong: “While preparing a party for the princess My Chau, a chef accidentally spilled rice flour into a basket in a cauldron of boiling water, turning the rice flour into long white strings. It would be a waste if we didn’t use that mistaken food, right? So he stir-fried this white flour with celery as the appetizer.

Unexpectedly, when the party started, the strange food was again noticed by the king and wholeheartedly praised. That was how stir-fried noodles were born and became one of the favorite dishes on the royal menu. Bun evolved from there, would you like to enjoy this special dish?
From North to South, Bun contributes to the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine. Clean, chewy, delicious noodles combined with many typical broths from all over the country creates various famous dishes with the brand name “Made in Vietnam”.

Bun Cha from Hanoi

Bun cha is the top choice in addition to pho when visiting Hanoi. Bun cha consists of vermicelli and grilled sliced pork and meatballs. The highlight is the sweet and sour sauce prepared by the locals in a recipe that combines fish sauce and carrots, papaya blended with barbecue to create an indescribable flavor.

Enjoying a bowl of hot bun cha with the fragrant meat that has just been fresh from oven at the restaurants on Hanoi streets will definitely be an unforgettable impression for you.

Bun cha Hanoi is served with the sweet sauce and grilled meat with raw vegetables

Bun cha Hanoi is served with the sweet sauce and grilled meat with raw vegetables

Suggested Bun restaurant:

  • Bún cha Huong Lien: 24 Le Văn Huu, Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
  • Bún Cha Cua Dong: 41 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
  • Bún cha Dac Kim: 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi

Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue: The broth was thoroughly stewed with pork sausage, cow bone combined with the signature sauce of Hue made this delicious bowl of Hue beef noodle soup attractive

Bun Bo Hue is a signature dish in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. The main ingredients of the dish are vermicelli, beef, pork rolls, a characteristic red broth with lemongrass, and sauces. The sweetness of the broth is combined with the ingredients to create an attractive harmony of dishes. Enjoying a bowl of hot bun bo is the most attractive thing when you come to Hue.

Suggested Bun Bo Hue restaurants:

  • Bun bo MRS Tuyet: 47 Nguyen Cong Tru, TP. Hue, Hue
  • Bun bo Hue O Cuong Chu Diep: 6 Tran Thuc Nhan, TP Hue, Hue
  • Quan Cam – Bun Bo Hue: 45 Le Loi, Tp Hue, Hue

Bun Thit Nuong from Saigon

BUN THIT NUONG FROM SAI GON

Coming to Saigon, you will be fascinated by the fragrant barbecue scent of the roadside barbecue vermicelli shops. Make you not restrained, just a bowl of vermicelli filled with golden grilled meat fragrant with lemongrass, green vegetables, and the sweet-salty taste of chili fish sauce with sour food and peanuts blending together, so the dish is hard to resist.

The attraction of these vermicelli bowls is that the grilled meat is marinated with spices to create an attractive aroma and served with raw vegetables rich in vitamins. You won’t forget its taste once you try.

Suggested Bun restaurant:

  • Quán Bun thit nuong anh Ba: 126 Le Van Sy, Ward 10, Phu Nhuan District, City. HCM City
  • Bun thit nuong Hai Dang: 145 – 157 Chan Hung, Ward 6, Tan Binh District, City. HCM City

2 – Pho Spring Roll with Beef

Pho spring roll is a dish derived from pho, first appeared at the Pho restaurant at Ngu Xa intersection, Nguyen Khac Hieu street, Hanoi. This night pho shop is open to serve midnight football viewers and night-shift workers. One day, a visitor came to the restaurant to enjoy the night noodle. The shop ran out of broth, only a few noodles left. Creatively, the shop owner has taken the unshredded pho, let it dry, then rolled it with stir-fried beef, herbs and not forget to add a bowl of flavorful dipping sauce. After enjoying, the customer complimented the owner for his delightful and impressive food creation, and that was how rolled pho was born.

Since then, pho spring roll has made a mark in the hearts of the people of Hanoi and has become a unique culinary culture that not only locals but also tourists love.

Pho spring roll

Pho spring roll is very simple, the wrap rolls the ingredients including beef, eggs, sausage, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and cilantro. The indispensable highlight of the bowl of sweet and sour sauce creates a cool, rich taste that is cleverly prepared according to the seller’s own secret. Pho spring roll is not too hot, can be eaten all year round, especially suitable for vegetable lovers or vegetarians (without meat). The most suitable address to enjoy this dish is on Ngu Xa Street, Hanoi

Suggested Pho restaurant:

  • Pho cuon Huong Mai: No. 25 Ngu Xa, Hanoi

3 – Mien

Slightly different from Bun and Pho spring roll, Mien is a type of dry fiber food that can be produced from different grains or mixed with special grains made from Dong tree Vietnamese (Dong is a tree with purple stems, purple tubers, and red flowers). Mien is one of the indispensable dishes of Vietnamese people, especially on holidays and important holidays. Mien is made from different ingredients but mainly made from dong flour, thin, tough, not crumbled fibers, and when soaked in water, it will expand. In addition, there are Mien made from green bean flour, rice flour… Vermicelli is processed by Vietnamese people into many different dishes such as: fried Mien, mixed Mien … combined with other ingredients like herbs and vegetables to create attractive dishes. Many Mien crafting villages, which have existed for a long time, they still retain traditional crafting Mien recipes., creating thin, tough Mien fibers that retain the flavor after processing.

(Mien production village in Cam Binh commune, Cam Thuy District, Thanh Hoa, Viet Nam on the main service)

(Mien production village in Cam Binh commune, Cam Thuy District, Thanh Hoa, Viet Nam on the main service)

Nau-mien-nam-ga

(Mien soup with mushrooms and meat in a cool broth)

Suggested Mien Restaurant

  • Mien mixed Vu Ngoc Phan: Lane 36 Vu Ngoc Phan, Dong Da District, Hanoi
  • Mien: No 01, Chan Cam, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Writer: Nguyen Thi Minh Ly