Connect with us

Destination

Visiting the beautiful Mường Hoa Valley of Lào Cai

Mường Hoa Valley, Hầu Thào Commune lies eight kilometres southeast of Sa Pa Town. Visitors get to the beautiful valley after crossing a high mountain pass.

Glorious: Mường Hoa Valley is stunning in the ripe paddy season. — VNS Photo Hạnh Hoàng

Glorious: Mường Hoa Valley is stunning in the ripe paddy season. — VNS Photo Hạnh Hoàng

The northwest mountainous area is famous for its extraordinary and poetic beauty, which changes with every season of the year. For Sa Pa lovers, Mường Hoa Valley is especially delightful. It is beautiful during both the new rice and harvest seasons thanks to the unique terraced fields. Tourists have enjoyed taking a mid-mountain hike to treat themselves to this spectacular view. However, the best way to enjoy this unique specialty of the town in fog is to view it from above, choosing a mid-mountain spot to appreciate this magical green trail.

Launched on March 31, 2018, the Mường Hoa mountain railway, connecting Sa Pa Town with the Fansipan cable car station, has truly enriched tourists’ experiences. With the total length of approximately two kilometres, this is one of the longest mountain railways of Việt Nam. It travels through two tunnels and four viaducts.

Connected: A wooden bridge connecting two banks of Mường Hoa Stream is a place where tourists can take amazing pictures. — VNS Photo Phương Linh

Connected: A wooden bridge connecting two banks of Mường Hoa Stream is a place where tourists can take amazing pictures. — VNS Photo Phương Linh

September is rice harvest season. Viewed from the train, Mường Hoa Valley is a magnificent picture of nature, a perfect arts masterpiece by the earth and human beings. At different times of the day, Mường Hoa Valley displays a distinctive beauty. In the honey-coloured early morning sun, the Valley is full of vitality, freshness and radiance. It is refreshing to see Mường Hoa at sunset. At dusk, blue smoke from humble houses blends with drifting clouds, making the autumn picture more dreamlike.

In September, when the bright yellow colour of ripening rice is everywhere, Mường Hoa becomes more beautiful thanks to the combination of green forests and ivory-white clouds. Along the slope of the mountain are small, peaceful and poetic houses. What makes Mường Hoa more special than other places is that the terraced fields in the valley result from the combination of the water rice planting technique in the narrow valley terrain of the Giáy people and ground-breaking techniques on the high mountains of the Mông and Dao peoples.

Riverside: Tourists can take pictures in Mường Hoa Stream, which is 15km long and runs through many villages. — VNS Photo Phương Linh

Riverside: Tourists can take pictures in Mường Hoa Stream, which is 15km long and runs through many villages. — VNS Photo Phương Linh

There is a lovely 15-km long stream in Mường Hoa, passing Lao Chải, Tả Van, Hầu Thào and Bản Hồ communes. Mường Hoa Stream is the lower section of the famous waterfall called Bạc Waterfall. Twenty-two streams running from forests and mountain creeks join together to make Mường Hoa Stream and its lively flow. To cross the stream, people living along the banks built rattan bridges. The bridges add to the beauty of the valley and attract a lot of tourists who wish to take unique photos.

In this place, along the mountain lies an area with strange carved stones. The area is four kilometres long and two kilometres wide and contains at least 159 stones with mysterious images. The area used to be the working site of numerous scientists from Việt Nam, Russia, France and Australia.

Sunny afternoon: A local kid plays on the road in Mường Hoa Valley. — VNS Photo Hạnh Hoàng

Sunny afternoon: A local kid plays on the road in Mường Hoa Valley. — VNS Photo Hạnh Hoàng

The ancient area has stones with beautiful carvings, mostly in Bản Phố. Some big stones are carved with different images, particularly images of human beings in many positions: some stretching their arms with light rays from above their heads, others holding hands or standing upside down. Some depict couples with connected sexual organs like the symbol of reproduction worship on the Đông Sơn drum. Looking closely, we can find up to 11 types of strange images of human beings here. Most scientists have concluded that this is a great heritage of mankind. It not only possesses fine-arts values but also contains spiritual meaning. It is like a mysterious message sent by the forefathers to their future descendants. It is also one of the appealing tourist attractions of Sa Pa.

No matter when you visit Mường Hoa Valley, it will be a memorable experience. Unlike the crowded and noisy Sa Pa Town centre, there is always a humble, graceful and splendid Mường Hoa with its unforgettable God-given beauty. — VNS

Central Highlands

November, the best time to visit these awesome Vietnamese destinations

As chilly November arrives it is the best time to pay a visit to these places.Ha Giang – buckwheat flower festival

Ha Giang – buckwheat flower festival

Photo by VnExpress/Tung Duong

Photo by VnExpress/Tung Duong

Ha Giang Province nestles in the mountains of northern Vietnam. It is home to ethnic minorities like the H’Mong, Thai and others. Visitors to the province can witness exotic local lifestyles.

The wildness of its nature is the captivating feature of Ha Giang. The province attracts many motorbike riders and trekkers every year. Mother Nature has gifted Ha Giang with diverse scenery with mighty rocky mountains, golden rice terraces and, in November, magnificent white and magenta fields of buckwheat flowers.

Buckwheat is among the staple grains of the locals, and is usually cultivated after the summer-fall rice crop every year. Now buckwheat flowers have bloomed all over mountain slopes in Dong Van District.

This year the annual buckwheat flower festival starts on November 10 with cultural activities, traditional games and a buckwheat flower competition.

1,000-year-old capital, Hanoi

Photo by VnExpress/Trung Vo

Photo by VnExpress/Trung Vo

November may mark the start of winter in many places, but in Hanoi autumn lingers. This is arguably the best time of the year to visit the city, when it wears a whole new façade with the renowned hoa sua (milk flower) and streets gilded with fallen golden leaves and cuisine specialties.

Photo by VnExpress

Photo by VnExpress

In November do not miss a walk through Hanoi’s most romantic streets, Phan Dinh Phung, Hoang Dieu and Tran Phu. The hoa sua (milk flower) have bloomed all over these streets, giving off a glorious aroma.

Visitors can also explore the maze of alleys in the old quarter to find autumn specialties like green rice, green rice cake and ragworm, or sit by an open-air café in the cool wind and enjoy a cup of Vietnamese egg coffee.

The ancient citadel of Hue

Photo by Quoc Viet

November heralds autumn in Hue in central Vietnam. Hue typically expects pleasant weather and less rain this month, perfect for tourists to take a trip around the royal citadel and mighty tombs of old kings.

The Hue citadel complex holds in itself the historical legacy of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last imperial rulers of Vietnam. The tombs of the Nguyen kings are situated around Hue’s suburbs, which can be reached by car or motorbike.

The Hue cuisine is not to be missed. Mussels with rice/noodles, Hue beef noodles, steamed rice cake and tapioca dumplings are among the must-try dishes in the city. In the cool weather of autumn, the spicy mussels with rice can warm your stomach, and a bowl of beef noodles can give you a nutritious fix for a whole day of exploration.

Tree marigold in Gia Lai

Gia Lai museum. Photo by VnExpress

Gia Lai museum. Photo by VnExpress

Gia Lai Province is in the Central Highlands and has a tropical highland climate. Tourists should visit the province in the dry season in November or December. This is when the rice terraces on the hill slopes are ripe and marigolds have painted the paths yellow.

Tourists can stay in Pleiku City, the center of Gia Lai. One place to visit is the Gia Lai Museum where cultural and historical relics of the local ethnic groups are preserved.

Photo by VnEpxress/Thanh Nguyen

Photo by VnEpxress/Thanh Nguyen

The Chu Dang Ya volcano is a must-visit place for flower lovers since it has the best scenes of blooming tree marigold. The volcano is situated in Chu Dang Ya Commune, Chu Pah District, 30 kilometers to the northeast of Pleiku. Locals can give you directions, so if you are lost do not worry.

Da Lat, the city of dreams

Da Lat City is among the favorite destinations for tourists visiting Vietnam. The rainy season has ended in early November, so it is a good time to visit this city.

Photo by VnExpress/Trung Vo

Photo by VnExpress/Trung Vo

In Da Lat, you can visit the Valley of Love, Da Lat train station, Golden Valley, and Langbiang Mountain.

Da Lat is also in the Central Highlands, so tourists can expect to see tree marigold here.

The best floral scenes can be found at Da Lat University, Pham Hong Thai Street and the Minh Hoa seminary.

Source: By Minh Quan (VNEXPRESS)

Continue Reading

An Giang

The palm that sweetens life in Mekong Delta province

An Giang residents love the palmyra palm for the sustained supply of toddy, juice and raw sugar that it provides.

Known locally as the thot not, Borassus flabellifer, commonly known as doub palm, palmyra palm, tala palm, toddy palm and even wine palm, this species can be found everywhere in An Giang. The local name is derived from th’not in the Khmer language.

They provide a thirst-quenching drink, toddy, made by collecting the sap of its flowers. The palm sugar made from this also carries a special sweetness. The tall palms also beautifully break the monotony of rice fields in the Mekong Delta province.

A thirst-quencher

The thot not juice is often misunderstood as juice from its fruit. But this is actually sap tapped from its flowers. The juice has a light sweet taste and is often served with some slices of succulent thot not fruit. The drink is said to contain many minerals and vitamins that are good for health. It tastes best served with ice.

The tastiest sap is the one harvested early in the morning. If harvested in the evening the sap will get sour and have a fermented taste, which is turned into toddy, an alcoholic drink. Thot not juice is sold in many sidewalk stalls and markets in An Giang.

Sweetmeats

Thot not plays an important role in An Giang’s dessert scene. It is used as the sweetener in most dishes. The thot not pie, rich and sweet, is a steal at VND15,000 ($0.6) a pack.

To make the pies, the pulp of ripened thot not fruit is ground and the juice extracted. The flesh is then mixed with rice flour and thot not sugar and steamed.

Other snacks made here include sweet soups and jelly.

A sweet gift

Thot not sugar is one of the most famous delicacies of An Giang. It’s extracted from the thot not sap then cooked and hardened into round brown clots. The brown sugar is recommended because it retains the natural and original taste. The whiter version is refined. The sugar is not just used in daily cooking, it is also a popular gift item. Some sugar makers even let you make the sugar yourself.

A photo cover

Photographs taken in An Giang never fail to feature the palms against the rising and setting suns. If you show a Vietnamese person a photograph with these palms, she or he will know that you have been to An Giang.

Source: By Linh Sea, Tuan Hoang (VNEXPRESS)

Continue Reading

Destination

Pristine Nam Du islands offer a quiet getaway

The Nam Du Archipelago in southern Kien Giang Province takes some getting to, but that adds to its quiet, clean charms.

The 21 islands that form the Nam Du Archipelago offer visitors a real break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

It takes a seven-hour drive on a bus from Ho Chi Minh City and a two hour boat ride from Rach Gia City in Kien Giang Province.

The islands can be visited anytime of the year, but it’s best to go between November and May when the sea is quiet (and clean) and tourists can avoid getting seasick.

The archipelago only gets power from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day, so charging devices like phones, computers and flashlights should be done at this time.

Taking a walk along the beaches where there is no power enhances the experience of the island’s beauty.

The lack of many activities in the evening, for instance, makes a fire camp or beach barbecue far more enjoyable.

Cool and windy throughout the year, Nam Du is an ideal holiday destination.

A few resorts and homestays have set up bird stations where pigeons congregate, and watching their comings and goings is a pleasant way to while away the time.

The untouched sandy beaches and crystal blue waters of the sea are the greatest attractions on this archipelago, and one cannot get enough of gazing at this wonder.

And given the number of islands, there is a lot of gazing that can get done. For boat rides of just VND150,000 ($7), people can discover islands like Hon Ngang, Bai Nom and Da Den.

Bungalows by the beach.

At the Ngu beach, most of the people are fishermen, but they can tell you one interesting royal fact. Gia Long (1762-1820), the first Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty – the last Vietnamese dynasty – came here for a vacation.

For those who want to do more than walk on the beach, swimming and diving to see corals under the sea are favored options.

Another activity to engage in apart from long walks on the beach is to rent a bike and cycle/drive around each island. Motorbike rentals cost VND150,000 to 200,000 ($6.5 to 8.5).

Nguyen Oanh, a first time visitor, had no such interest: “Nam Du is so beautiful and pristine. I love the feeling of walking by the beach and listening to the waves.”

Source: Hong Ha(VNEXPRESS)

Continue Reading

Trending