Asia Pacific Travel Team
Quiet, authentic, picturesque – Tha village is well known among tourists for its charm and peaceful beauty. Located just 2km from Ha Giang, Tha village stands out for its stilt houses, green bamboo groves and lush rice fields.
Tha village offers a gentle beauty far from the urban hubbub. The murmur of limpid streams and a flirting wind in the palms welcome you at the village entrance. Then you enter a mysteriously region submerged all year round in a mist, a lush forest floor, where centuries-old values are still present. Here you will come across no trace of modernity, no multi-storey buildings, and no vehicles. Nguyen Van Nhuong lives in the village: "I prefer the wooden houses on stilts to concrete housing. Building a house on stilts costs about 300 million VND but it's worth it because it is very comfortable and airy throughout the year. "
Here in the village you can take an actual breath of fresh air and enjoy the warm hospitality of the people. The Tay people are very warm and welcoming. If a stranger invites you to drink a cup of tea or offers her prettiest smile, do not be surprised.
Tay people still weave brocade products like bags, scarves, skirts, and pants. For a closer experience of Tay life, spend a night with the locals.
In addition to a taste of their corn alcohol, you will have the chance to savor their many culinary specialties: fish with fermented bamboo shoots, chicken salad, grilled pork with bamboo and wild vegetables. The Tay cook very well. Mai Thi Chung lives in Tha village: “Tourists are impressed by our hospitality and the customs we fiercely preserve over time. We offer our best recipes to tourists. We grill meat on the pan - our best dishes served at Tay parties. These dishes are prepared using lots of special spices, such as cardamom, basil, pepper, and shrimp paste”.
After dinner, tourists can experience Then singing, the intangible heritage all generations of Tay perpetuate. A singer improvises lyrics of his song while playing a kind of guitar called a Tinh other while artists perform graceful dances. Everything is in harmony like a painting of life in paradise.
Mong ethnic people in Meo Vac District, Ha Giang Province celebrate their New Year or Tet one month earlier than Lunar New Year.
Mong’s New Year Festival starts from November 26 of lunar calendar and often lasts for 10 days. Everyone wears their best clothes and join in the exciting atmosphere of the New Year.
Mong people in Can Chu Phin Commune, Meo Vac District, Ha Giang Province seems to be busier on the last days of the year to prepare for the New Year. After a hard-working year, the people spend 10 days relaxing.
Tho Mi Tha from Can Chu Phin Commune, said, “New Year is the time for us to have rest. We spend 10 days earlier to prepare for Tet. We prepare food for cows and pigs and firewood. One week before Tet, we boy gifts and new clothes”.
New Year atmosphere can be felt at the weekend markets. The places are crowded with many sellers and buyers.
The most popular items on this occasion are clothes, pork, spices, sugar and votive offerings.
Mr. Sung Mi Tu, the owner of a clothing shop said the sale of the goods doubles at Tet market, shared, “The sale often doubles on Tet occasion. People buy new clothes for the New Year. Clothes for Tet are diversified in terms of pattern and materials”.
Prior to Tet, houses and gardens are cleaned and decorated beautifully. Mr. Tho Mi Tha said, according to Mong people’s custom, not only people but also objects can have rest at Tet.
“Like people, objects such as knives, hoes and shovels can rest after a hard-working year. All the tools are sealed on the last day of the year. We let them rest for several days,” he added.
Pork, wine and corn cakes are indispensible at Tet of Mong people. On New Year’s Eve, Mong people offer their ancestors with a pig and a chicken to pray for favorable weather conditions, bumper crop, health and happiness.
On the first day of the New Year, the first thing Mong people do is to visit the coops and pig sty to invite the cattle’s souls to enjoy Tet. Mr. Tho Mi Sung from Can Chu Phin Commune, said food prepared for the domestic animals must be freshly cooked.
“The old year has passed and another new year has come. We invite wandering souls of cows, buffalos and chicken to have return and have fresh, new meal in the New Year,” he stressed.
Mong people are hospitable. They think that the more relatives and guests they welcome, the more luck they get for the New Year.
Located 300 km northwest of Ha Noi, Son La Province has become a popular tourist destination in recent years because of its various ethnicities, festivals, historical relics and scenic spots.
Son La Museum, the Son La Hydro Power Plant, and hot springs in Mong villages, and peach blossoms, apricot and bauhinia flowers inspire tourists near and far.
There are more than 100 historical and cultural relics in Son La of which Son La Prison and Son La Museum are the most popular.
Classified as a national relic in 1962, Son La Prison is perched atop Khau Ca Hill. Covering an area of 500 m2, Son La Prison was built in 1908 by the French colonialists to imprison Vietnamese communists.
Known as hell on earth, its cells were built with solid stones and its high walls were covered with barbed wires and broken glass.
Despite the barbaric tortures, Vietnamese communist soldiers turned their cells hell into a place to communicate Viet Nam’s resolution. The prison has recently been renovated and become a tourist mecca in the northwestern region.
Son La Museum was also built in 1908 by the French. There, distinctive cultures of 12 local ethnic minority groups in the province can be discovered through thousands of pre-history artifacts.
Collections of 1,000 books, documents, epics, and folk tales and songs of the Thai and Dao ethnicities are kept at the museum.
Nguyen Hai Duong, a guide at the museum, said, “Covering 14,000 square kilometers, Son La Province has 12 ethnic communities, 55% of them are Thai minorities. These are ancient books of the Thai in Son La who have valuable expertise in paper-making from bamboo fiber and other plants. Their books are divided into three main categories: literature, history and belief”.
The Son La Hydro Power Plant is also an attractive destination in the city. Surrounded by a verdant forest, Son La Reservoir impresses visitors with its incomparable beauty.
Hoang Lan, a tourist from Bac Giang province, shared, “This is the first time I visit the lake. Nestled in the heart of magnificent nature, it is an ideal place to relax. I would like to come back to discover more about local people’s life”.
Hidden in a mountain range, Mong Village in Hua La Commune, 6km from the center of Son La, is also a tourist destination.
Nguyen Hong Thang, a tour guide from Ha Noi noted, “In Mong Village, tourists relax in hot springs and enjoy Thai cuisine. Water in hot springs here can be used as a medical therapy or a drink. After having a bathe, you can stay in guest houses and savor delicious Thai dishes”.
Seeing is believing. Go and explore the wide nature by yourself!
Lung Khuy cave which is located at Lung Khuy village, Quan Ba commune, Ha Giang province and about 10 km from Tam Son town has been considered as the largest cave in this rocky plateau. In the last Tam Giac Mach (Buckweet) festival, the cave was officially opened for visitors.
Lung Khuy cave is around 300m in length with many different branches, magnificent stalactites and fancy shapes stimulating the imagination of visitors. Coming to this cave, visitors must park their vehicles at the local house and walk along the earthen road for more than one kilometer.
Lung Khuy is a beautifully pristine cave which will bring huge value for Ha Giang’s tourism. Therefore, Lung Khuy cave needs to be preserved and protected to become one of the attractive destinations for domestic and foreign tourist
Asia Pacific Travel
Belonging to Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, Thung Nham Bird Garden Eco-tourism Area (also known as Bird Valley) is located in the core area of Trang An Landscape Complex, about 5km to the south of Tam Coc – Bich Dong Tourist Area and 12km to the west of Ninh Binh City.
Thung Nham is surrounded by untouched green of forests. At dawn, thin dew veil looming in the pristine space of Thung Nham makes visitors feel as being in the fairyland. Gently rowing on tranquil water current, the steersman will take visitors to interesting sites in Thung Nham.
The first stop is the garden bird which is home to 46 bird species with about 50,000 individuals, popularly storks, herons, silver teals, white-rumped shamas… Many of which are recorded in Viet Nam Red Book as mycteria leucocephala, phalacrocorax fuscicollis, phoenicopterus… In silent space, the sound of birds is like a boisterous and cheerful natural symphony. Staying in Thung Nham at about 17h-18h, visitors will have the opportunity to witness flocks of birds flying to the nests.
The boat continues taking visitors to caves in limestone mountains such as But (Fairy), Tien Ca (Mermaid), Ba Co (Three Ladies), Thuy Cung (Water Palace)… to admire diversified-shaped stalactites and listen the legends on the foundation of the caves.
Leaving the boat for going ashore, visitors will visit thousand-year streblus tree grown completely on a large rock. Its shape and posture are considered as incomparable one in Viet Nam. Especially, visitors should not miss the “moving” banyan tree in Goi Dai Temple. According to scientists, the situation of this tree has changed every 300 years due to further development of auxiliary root system. In addition, Thung Nham also has garden with a variety of typical tropical fruits such as guava, apple, star fruit, mango, custard… and the primeval forest with diversified ecosystem which is the habitant of 109 flora species and 150 fauna species.
After discovering the beauty of Thung Nham, visitors can relax in silt-houses and enjoy many rustic dishes as piglets, hill chickens, lake fishes, goat meat, com chay (fried rice crust at the bottom of the pot), bamboo sprout... This place is also suitable for hiking, camping, fishing, weekend vacation...
With the beautiful scenery, Thung Nham is an attractive destination for domestic and international visitors. From late summer to early autumn is the most ideal time for visitors to enjoy the charming pristine natural picture of Thung Nham. From Thung Nham, visitors can also visit other neighboring tourist sites as Bich Dong Pagoda, Tam Coc Landscape, Thien Ha Grotto…
Tourism website www.thrillist.com has named Y Ty mountainous commune in Bat Xat District of northern Lao Cai Province as one of the best-kept secrets in Asian travel.
The website said: "Y Ty sits atop Viet Nam's highest plateau, offering spectacular views of cloud-reaching mountains and yellow rice patty fields. If you want to experience rural Viet Nam without straying far from the tourist centre of Sa Pa, this is your spot."
The website also suggests meeting locals at Y Ty's market where ethnic tribes sell traditional crafts and agricultural goods.
The other destinations on the list are Kep, Cambodia; Vieng Xai, Laos; Gili Meno – Gili Islands in Indonesia; and Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
An air route from the southern resort island of Phu Quoc to China’s Guangzhou will begin in 2016, according to Huynh Quang Hung, Vice Chairman of Phu Quoc District People’s Committee in the southern province of Kien Giang.
Hung said the district, the Phu Quoc International Airport and a Chinese airline agreed at a recent meeting to launch the air route connecting Phu Quoc and Guangdong city in China’s southern Guangzhou province in January, 2016, with three flights each week.
The new service is hoped to bring more tourists to the island, which is known for its beautiful beaches.
The island district and the Phu Quoc airport are completing necessary legal procedures and make preparations for the opening of the new route.
In the past 10 months, Phu Quoc welcomed 750,000 domestic and international tourists, up 44 percent against the same period last year.
In the remaining two months, up to 85-90 percent of rooms in hotels and resorts have been booked and tourist arrivals are expected to reach 850,000 at the end of 2015, surpassing its year target.
On Oct, 27th 2015, Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade opened Ha Noi Gift Show 2015 at the Viet Nam Exhibition Centre. The event was heading towards the Ha Noi’s 16th Party Congress.
This was an annual event aiming to create a platform for domestic and international handicrafts and gifts enterprises to meet and seek cooperation opportunities.
Accordingly, the fair had 600 booths with more than 200 enterprises and manufacturers units from 28 provinces and cities including Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Hue, Da Nang, Ben Tre… In addition, the fair also attracted over 600 importers from the US, the EU, Japan, Russia and other countries.
On display at the Ha Noi Gift Show 2015 was major groups of products including: home decor and handicrafts; indoor and outdoor wood products; household textile and embroidery products; souvenirs and ethnic minority products, jewellery and accessories…