Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, Hue’s off-the-beaten track destination

Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, Hue’s off-the-beaten track destination

It was a sunny day with pretty hot weather that we traveled to Phuoc Tich – an ancient pottery village of Hue up to 500-year-old. The village is located around 35km from Hue City taking roughly one-hour drive.

First of all, it’s about how we reached the village.

From Hue, we can travel to the north to find the place. However, this village is nearby the border between Hue Province and Quang Tri Province bordering Hue from its northern part. When we were less than 2 miles from the village, we realized that we were in Quang Tri Province’s territory. It’s was slightly panic then we asked the local along with checking the map if what we are searching for is correct. Out of surprise, we were on the right track. It’s interesting that there are a couple of pieces of each province will be intertwined to each other making the border less clear.

Turning on the right from a local market, we carry on driving passing a bridge crossing O Lau River and will find the village not so long then. It’s obvious that most of pottery villages in Vietnam are surrounded or on the bank of a river providing great source of clay and water for the handicraft. Phuoc Tich Village is more charming when it’s embraced mostly by the O Lau still river with very silky surface and somesparse local boat cruising camly by.

Phuoc-Tich-Ancient-Village-Hue

Things to do in Phuoc Tich Village

Biking through greenish road and visit an ancient house

Entering, we hopped on a bike and explore around the village. There is a small house where a graceful local guide greeted and showed us around. Traverse under luxuriant paved road, we reached one of 26 remained ancient houses and visit the hospitable hosts who are 4thgeneration living in the area. They used to be lecturer and all retired now and living together in a heritage house from parents in peaceful and tranquil area. Their previous generations were the rich one in the village that could erected such comity and firm houses made mainly of jackfruit wood; this make locals always say that to be able to construct such house people have to “cumulative the grain in 3 years and cumulative the wood in 5 years”.

Phuoc-Tich-Ancient-Village-Hue

Visit Pottery factory

After sipping a cup of tea and hearing the introduction about the house as well are interesting stories on culture and family customs, we bided a farewell and move on to another house making pottery. The villagers make pottery vases bottlesby usingmolds, and more complicated decorative vases, flowers, animals, etc. by hand. Interestingly, they burn fire to have the pottery products dried. Plus, the unique clay in the region making a very unique natural dark red-brown color. Phuoc Tich Pottery Village was very famous when make fine products to dedicated to Imperial family.

In the modern time, most of the traditional handicraft are in danger when in between the threshold of modernity which is forced to change to apply machine or drawn backward and facing economic remission. This makes the household carrying on this once prosperous job reduced significantly these days.

Phuoc-Tich-Ancient-Village-Hue

Cay Thi Temple

In the village, there is a sacred shrine undergiant “Cay Thi” over hunderd year-old – a Diospyros decandra species. The modest size temple is sheltered under Cay Thi‘s canopy. The tree’s emtry medulla also sheltered for Vietnamese soldiers during the war time. There are told stories about the children, villager and events in the village related to this tree. 

Our stay was pretty short, but we did enjoy this exotic place very much. It’s one of the very less villages in Vietnam sustaining its authenticity and culture. If you have more time for your journey, don’t hesitate to spend a night with the host in a plain but lovely closet right in the house. Additionally, visitors can have a meal with the host, hands-on cooking class or try making potteries in Phuoc Tich’s traditional way.

Phuoc-Tich-Ancient-Village-Hue

The place and peopleof Phuoc Tich Villageare deeply remembered by any visitors looking for an authentic countryside village of Vietnam and value hundreds year cultural antiques.

Feel free to comments or contact us for any further questions if you are planning for an off-the-beaten road of Hue. 

Phuoc-Tich-Ancient-Village-Hue

What make Hue stunned and unmissable?

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Hue – The unmissable mosaic perfects your Vietnam Journey

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Ninh Binh is Halong Bay on land, is it all as the saying?

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What make Hue stunned and unmissable?

What make Hue stunned and unmissable?

In another sharing of us, you are introduced with the most oustanding attractions of Hue in  Hue – The mosaic perfects your Vietnam heritage journey. To enhance to the idea, there are escapes in Hue that make the destination truly unique and worth a venture.
And here below are things will have your visit to Hue.

Imperial-Citadel-Hue-Vietnam

Chuon Lagoon

Chuon Lagoon is a pictureque and exotic spot, located 10 km (6 miles) from Hue City. Bicycles, motor-taxi, van are all good and affordable means of transportation to reach this place. The best time to visit Chuon Lagoon is from April to July when it’s sunny with blue sky, clear landscape and pleasantly stunning sunset and sunrise. The ideal time of the day to come here is morning or late afternoon as Chuon Lagoon will showcase you a breathtaking view and chances to have an insight on local life. The fishermen, whose whole family live in a boat on the lagoon, often begin their work at 6:00 pm and do it unstoppable till 6:00 am of the following day to go home with fishes caught overnight. Next morning, the wife will bring freshly alive fish to the market and selling them.
Getting here, jump on the wooden boat and sail to endless seemed lagoon with fresh air, you will admire the pristine scene and capture one in a life time pictures. To linger further on the lagoon, take break on the floating house or bamboo raft and chill out with some beer and seafood served by locals. The experience, yet homely and memorable. Wanderers could stroll to nearby sites like Ru Cha mangrove forest and Thuan An beach.

Chuon-Lagoon-Hue-Vietnam

Boat, bike and drive to handicraft villages

Hue was the capital with opulent and elegant imperial live from 19 th to early 20 th century. The people then make things at most skillful and sophisticated to match the high standard in order to serve royal family and notable mandarin families. Though the demand on these traditional products is not frequently high these days, local handicraft men keep conserving and maintaining their passion.

Thanh Tien Paper Flower Village

Sited in a tranquil village Phu Vang district, Thanh Tien Paper Flower Village is only 9 km (nearly 6 miles) from Hue City Center. The village is also on the bank of poetic Perfume River; it then could be reached by either land transfer or boat. The most exciting arrangement to get to Thanh Tien Village probably by boat sail to the village and then jump on a bicycle to emerge yourselves in the peaceful village. The work of making paper flower has been an heirloom for more than 300 years. This originated from worshipping custom of Vietnamese to have at least 4 items on the alter including incense sticks, oil-lamps, a bunch of banana and flower. Due to the climate with high rainfall is not suitable to cultivate much fresh flower, the craftsman devised paper flowers instead.

People used the flower for spiritual worship but then also for house decorations all year around. The highly demanded season is the end of the year when each family refurbishes their houses. Thanh Tien Village is a fantastic escape to wander in an authentic rural village surrounded with immense paddy fields, to learn about a famous and gracious craft in Hue and make your own paper flower.

Thanh-Tien-Paper-Flower-Hue-Vietnam

Folk Painting Sinh Village

It’s not strange to see the woodblocks printed paintings in many regions of Vietnam. Noticeably, paintings in Sinh Village used to be made for belief and religious worships which introduces a great cultural value to the visitors. The craftsman paint dummies of character, subjects (like clothes and offerings) and animals as the substitutes to protect the house owners themselves in safe, their cattle and their livings.
Due to the special functions, Sinh Painting are hung on the alters then burnt as votive papers. Since the paintings must be burnt after the worship ritual, there are not huge exhibitions; but this still offer great things to learn about a local culture. The village is nearby the Thanh Tien paper flower making village. Then a boat ride to the area and take biking from one to each other is definitely highly recommended.

Folk-Painting-Sinh-Village-Hue-Vietnam
Folk-Painting-Sinh-Village-Hue-Vietnam
Folk-Painting-Sinh-Village-Hue-Vietnam

Phuoc Tich Ceramic Village

Phuoc Tich Village, located 35 km (22 miles) from Hue center, has been a handicraft Village of Hue for more than 500 years. The pottery products made here are in dark red color and sophisticated of various shapes and sizes. Witnessing many ups and downs, the village seemed to be standstill and revitalized in early 20 th century.
When taking a stroll around the village, you will find the pottery kilns, temple, the rural landscape and especially ancient house. There are 24 remained ancient houses of which the oldest could be back to 1850.

Phuoc-Tich-Ceramic-Village-Hue-Vietnam

Phu Cam Conical Hat Village

Conical hat has been a typical image representing for Vietnamese farmers. In Hue Province, the conical hats appear more elegant and graceful. The slender and comity girl in Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress) and conical hat has been a symbol of Vietnam. The craft making conical hat in Phu Cam Village is date back to 17 th century. Different to other regions’ conical hat, people in Phu Cam Village make very light and thin with city’s symbolic images and even poem embroidered on. The poem and some of patterned sinks will come out when the hat is being looked with the sunshine through. The village’s location is right in Hue City, around 2km (1.2 miles) from Truong Tien Bridge; then it’s could be accessed by bike or even walking when taking a stroll around city.

Phu-Cam-Ceramic-Village-Hue-Vietnam

Thuy Xuan Incense Village

On the way to Tu Duc King’s tomb, you will see from afar some colorful bunches exposed under the sunlight to get dried. They are incense stalks of Thuy Xuan Village. There are around 20 families doing this craft these days. And the tourist passing by are hospitably welcomed to learn step by step how to make an incense stick by hand. There are very simple tools to with a small wooden table, a mixture of grinded scented wood powder and the colorful dried sticks. Making it rounded and nicely come out, on the other hand, is challenging. The short-excited stop is totally free; but if interested there a some seasonable of aroma cone incense pieces lit to get relaxed for you to purchase and support the locals.

Thuy-Xuan-Incense-Village-Hue-Vietnam

Bach Ma National Park

The national park at the altitude of 1,450m with cool climate and located 18km (11 miles) from the ocean was the Hill Station of French troops. There then come with summer villas and resorts to escape from the heat. Bach Ma National Park covers 220sqkm2 (37.5 hectares) is divided into three zones of buffer zone, administration and core zone under strict protection. There are more than 1,400 plants species including the rare floras of Vietnam, and 132 mammal species in which could be named the rare red the Douc Langur.
Distanced 40 km (25 miles) from Hue City, or only 65 km (40 miles) from Da Nang, it’s possible to arrange a day trek from either Hue City or the point from Da Nang City and Hoi An City.
Best time to visit Bach Ma National Park is summer and early autumn from April to August. During rest months of the year, the way will get more moisture and slippery. For nature lover and bird watching activity in Vietnam, there are villas in the national park for overnight and get deeper into the jungle.

Bach-Ma-National-Park-Hue-Vietnam

DMZ and vicious history

As an demilitarized zone, the area used to be an American military base lies at the border between northern and southern Vietnam where happened fierce battles.
After their evacuation of American troops, the base was destroyed accordingly and left with the foundation only. Apart from this you also can visit the La Vang Church, Vinh Long tunnels and Khe Sanh region.
The mountain landscape is spectacular with rugged jungles. A knowledgeable tour guide will be very helpful in this case to give the detailed information on the history; otherwise the trip purpose of getting here might not be fulfilled as the driving distance is a minus point (100 km or 62 miles – takes roughly 3 hours drive).

DMZ-Hue-Vietnam

Pristine Lang Co Beach escape

More famous to domestic trippers, Lang Co Beach is quite with turquoise water and soft white sand coastline. There are higher end resorts erected for an escape on the inviting beach. It takes one-hour drive from Hue City; and is highly recommended for whom prefers retreat. Additional to the beach relaxation, there are a couple of nearby spots like fishing lagoon, Chan May beach, Bach Ma National Park, Hai Van Pass, etc.
Best time to visit Lang Co is from April to July with sunny weather and clear water. You might want to see main things to do in Hue to design your trip with suitable staying nights spent for this city.

Lang-Co-Beach-Hue-Vietnam

Our private Hue City Tour could be tailored flexibly to add your interested places.

Feel free to CONTACT US for best quotation and tailor a unique trip for you and party.

Mai Chau – Not extraordinary outstanding but beguiling

Mai Chau – Not extraordinary outstanding but beguiling

About Mai Chau

Mai Chau is a mountainous district of Hoa Binh Province, sited 135 km (84 miles) from Hanoi. Nestled in the peaky valleys, Mai Chau is the home of 7 minority groups of Vietnam which mainly are Black Thai and White Thai people making up the totalpopulation of nearly 50,000.

Hiking along the plain trails, the towering cliffs and idyllic emerald rice field will gradually come out enchanting and fascinating. This make Mai Chau, though not granted with outstanding, but ecstatic to the visitors.

About-Mai-Chau-Vietnam

Best time to visit Mai Chau

Valley surrounding geography along with sea elevation of 400m (437 yards), the climate in Mai Chau is more pleasant thanother regions of Vietnam all year around with temperature range from 15 – 30 oC (59 – 86 F)

The best time to visit Mai Chau is period from Sep to May. During this period, Dec and Jan would be the coldest time of around 15oC (59F) and offer less sun than the rest months.                                                                                                            

Jun to Sep should be reconsidered witha high rainfall thatmight influence your hiking and biking routes. The dirty land trails will get marshyand disturb your plan.

Best-time-To-visit-Mai-Chau

How to travel to Mai Chau

There are not many choices of transportation modes taking you to Mai Chau. Land driving is the most efficient means. You can get a private transfer (more flexible to stop on the way, call in at a local market and spend time for photo taking) or book the shuttle transfer provided by the tour organizers with a very moderate budget. However, the private transfer is not only convenient and affordable for solo traveler and group friends, family.

Contact us for the advices to arrange the transfer for you.

Things to do in Mai Chau

Hiking from village to village:

There are 9 villages in Mai Chau distributed over Mai Chau with 7 minority groups of which White Thai is the majority. Among 9 villages in Mai Chau, Lac Village is where settled by Thai Group ancestor is the most popular one.

The area is ambled with a rich culture with the inhabitant of human being for 700 years; they mainly earn the living by water rice cultivation and brocade weaving.

A full day or half day hike around a village or from one to another is great and ideal way to not only discover the natural magnificence but also to intermingle with local to learn more about their culture, costume, customs and lifestyles.

You can consider these villages for your hike: Lac Village, Poom Cong Village, Van Village, Na Tang, Tong Dau, Cha Long, etc.

Road condition is not so tough; though with trails sometimes, but you don’t have to be a professionally active hikers to cross the fields and travel between the villages. You can stop at local stilted house and make some conservations with the local or observe how are things done there; take a break on the rice fields or farming land and understand somewhat about the region’s cultivation methods.

Mai-Chau-Hiking

Biking

An alternative option for hiking could be biking. Or it’s doesn’t matter if you have both hiking and biking experiences. Traversing the greenish and pristine lands overwhelmed by fresh atmosphere is exciting and extremely pleasant. From afar are the enticing idyllic mountains appearing one after another.

Many lodges and some local houses in Mai Chau offer bikes with very reasonable prices. Just wrap one and enjoy the wanderlust adventure.

Mai-Chau-Cycling

Visiting cave

Similar to the other regions of Vietnam, mountains in Mai Chau are granted with the karst cave with lovely stalactites and stalagmites.

The caves are not much far from the central village – Lac Village; and you could find them easily with the help of local directing you to the point.

Mo Luong Cave

In Thai language, Mo Luong mean a big stream course coming out from Phu Kha Mountain. It spread up to 500m and is divided into 4 cavities. The first one of 60m length was used as the warehouse for weapon during Vietnam War Walking through the cave is like getting in a mystical land for a while. The second cavity is only 10m length but offering more vivid and lively stalactites making up a unique brocade. Carry on under the archway, you will reach to the third one of 7m length. Slightly hit the rock, you will hear the merrily sound like of lithophones’. In last one of 15m length, there will be a stream of clear water.  

Mo-Luong-Cave-Hiking-Mai-Chau

Chieu Cave

Located on the peak of Phu Kha Mountain, Chieu Cave is a pretty steep one with more than 1,000 easy hiking steps. This will lead to a wide entrance of around 10m from where you can enter the impressive and cool cave of two floors stretching up to 150m.

The cave is impressed by its forested stalactite and stalagmite that the further you go, the more stunning the cave comes out.

 

 

Chieu-Cave-Hiking-Mai-Chau

Interacting with locals

Traveling in Mai Chau, the visitors would interfere with variable local interactions that is one of the most memorable things to do.

Observe their daily life

By walking and biking over the land, you will see the villagers work on the field, taking care of their plantations. Depending on the traveling period that you will meet the villagers planting, plowing, harvesting their products or catching fishes.

Mai-Chau-Village-Local-Life

Homestay choice

Staying with local is the best way to learn from their culture. Apart from the less fancy living condition, you would have chance to stay in a traditional house-on-stilts; experience their communal living style.

It’s not difficult to have a sleeping space in their house of only one room where all the activities of the family being taken place. Lac and Pom Coong Villages are places offer more homestay to visitors.

Early in the morning, the cocks will awake you on behalf of the alarm. Sometimesthelively naturalchoirswill have your excitement too.

Thai Dancing Performances

Local people call it Xoe Dancing, a folklore to describe locals’ love to each other and the wish for happiness as well as good crops.

The dancing is performed by the local people and the lively music of traditional drums and gongs are played by themselves too.

The locals will gather in the stilted houses and introducing the interesting traditional dances with some chances for audiences to dance and join them enjoying their dances.

Traditional-dance-Mai-Chau

Dinning local food

Local food is a wonderful aspect to experience local culture. There are not many dishes here, but they are all tasty and homey.

Com Lam

Com Lam is a rice dish cooked in the bamboo tubes. The sticky rice should be well washed and then soaked in water around 2 hours beforehand to become softer. Once the rice is ready, local people will have them stuffed into the bamboo tube collected from forest. The tube should be the long one up to around 30 cm. Then add a small amount of water and some topping like shreddedfresh coconut. Lastly, have it cooked on dim fire with constant turning or slipping over.

Com Lam is a specialty of Mai Chau and firstly mentioned whenever talk about the local cuisine. To savor this dish, local will eat with sesame salt.

The visitors not only can eat the Com Lam sold by local people is most of places; but also join with them making this rice tube at your own. This should be arranged in advance as the local need to help collecting the good bamboo tubes and even soak the sticky rice. Just contact Bonzer Tour and we will sort it out for you.

Grilled pork skews

The pigs are wildly raised here with natural food such as vegetable and farming products that make the pork fresher and tastier.

Local people will chop off the pork into square pieces; make them fermented by mixing with some local ingredients like sugar, salt, lemongrass, salt, chilly, turmeric etc. in a couple of hours; then have them grilled on charcoal.

Mai-Chau-Specialty-Bamboo-Rice
Mai-Chau-Specialty-Grilled-Pork

Bitter bamboo shoots

Apart from their agriculture farming, the villagers get in the jungle very often for hunting and collecting food for the family. Bamboo shoots are the abundant one that local people collected them and cook soup or make fried-stirred dish with pork.

Despite of soaking the shoot in salted water, it’s still slightly bitter. The light bitterness and crispy of the shoots make people love them.

 

Can Wine

Can wine is a favored and popular drink to the local people in Mai Chau. The local people are reminded by this interestingly unique drinking style.

Drinking Can Wine shows the ethnic groups’ communal culture when every bodies share a pottery jar of wine by using long and super thin bamboo straw. The villagers also have to find a special piece of bamboo that provide this super long straw.

Can Wine is a type of wine made of sticky rice or cassava added with some other combination like herbal medicine, jungle fruits and so on. This make the wine taste a bit sweet and not immediate strong.

Drinking the wine together nearby kitchen fire is so cozy and help mount the family members and friends.

Mai-Chau-Can-Rice-Wine

Brocade in Mai Chau

Brocade is one of the main jobs for the villagers to earn their livings. There sophisticated skills are showcased in the features of Thai women’s dresses, headscarf, waistband, etc.

As the customs that Thai women need to prepare the nicest dress for their wedding, sets of pillows and blankets presenting to her husband’s family, the women have to be skillful at brocade that their bright color products are quite attractive and lovely.

These days, Thai brocades are sold within the villages or in local markets.

It’s possible to call in a local house to learn from the way they do it from silkworm cocoon harvesting, silk reeling, threads dyeing by colors of natural plants, weaving with a wooden loom and then coming out beautiful patterns.

Mai-Chau-Brocade

Local market

The local markets in Mai Chau are openedin some specific days of the week but not every day. To visit local market in Mai Chau, the travelers should make plan in advance with correct travel dates of the week matching with market organize schedules.

Pa Co Sunday market:

A miniature place to observe colorful culture of the minority lifestyle in Vietnam. Localpeople flood to this market sited 40km (25 miles) from Mai Chau every Sunday to buy food and things or sell their products.

The colorful hubbub is with dozens of shopping items which are fruits, vegetable, piggy, bamboo weaved baskets, brocade dresses, rice wine, sausages, etc. It’s also the place for the village boys and girls show up to find a partner.

The best way to travel from Mai Chau from Pa Co Market is by car or by motorbike via national route No. 6.

Pa-Co-Market-Mai-Chau

Other activities could be combined with Mai Chau:

  • Excursion to Pu Luong Nature Reserve
  • Trekking through jungle to Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Reach Tea plantation in Moc Chau Town
Hue – The unmissable mosaic perfects your Vietnam Journey

Hue – The unmissable mosaic perfects your Vietnam Journey

 

For any considerations to take Hue or not, the answer always a definite “Yes”. Hue, Vietnam a chock-full of potential charming and magnificent places to discover. This destination will be specially favored by historical, cultural and cuisine buffs.

 About Hue

Hue is well-known as the ancient capital of Vietnam from 1802 – 1945 when the Gia Long King from Nguyen Dynasty moved Vietnam’s capital from Hanoi to Hue for land extension purpose. This contributed a significance piece into the nation’s history. Hue City is leafy with Imperial historical relics; and becomes more charming when pampered by the Perfume River.

Hue is located in the North and Middle-North of Central region; bordering Laos in the West and the ocean in the East. This serene place is entirely endowed with an ecosystem range transversally spanned with mountain, plain area, fresh-water lagoons and marine.

hue

With a coastline stretched up to 128km (79 miles), Hue is endowed with isolated and stunning beaches of soft white sand shores; and the captivated coastal lagoons homing variable aquatic creatures.

The indigenous culture and nature render Hue’s an unmissable mosaic of Vietnam Travel.

Distanced 1100km (684 miles) and 700km (434 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi respectively, travelers could reach Hue from these two big cities via flights, train and local sleeping bus.

Best time to visit Hue

November to March could be the period when the temperature is most moderate. April to July is a bit hotter but still acceptable and with some sudden short bursts in the day; but this time offer blue sky and stunning sunset over the lagoons.

August is scorching hot; then September and October is monsoon season. This might affect some experiences of yours but Hue landscape is always attractive.

Things to do in Hue

Imperial Palace

These days, only a fraction is remained but the citadel – an enormous complex of around 520 ha is still very atmospheric and symbolic. This relic represents once prosperous dynasty with thousands of principles, policies and the significant developments. This should not be missed in your Hue City Tour.

Imperial Palace

The citadel is bounded with 10 km walled fortress and could be entered by 10 majestic gates which armed with cannons and military units.

It takes around 2 hours or more to discover this Purple Imperial Citadel where only royal family and servants habituated. To tour around, let’s enter through the Ngo Mon Gate and you will get a grip on easily.

Tombs and creepy stories

Before passing away, the Emperor planned a fine architecture of their own tombs. Each of them bears the temperament, philosophies and interests of the King.

Highly recommended tombs:

Minh Mang Tomb

Minh Mang Tomb is located on the tranquil greenish Cam Khe Mount area 12 km (8 miles) from City center; and face to the joining of two tributaries originating the serene Perfume River. Then it’s could be reached by land transfer or leisure boat cruising. 

Minh Mang Tomb

Designed in a unique structure depicting the best harmony between nature and architecture, Minh Mang Tomb is a complex of 40 components like palaces, pavilions, lakes, etc. distributed well along the axis.

Tu Duc Tomb

Tu Duc Tomb is said to be the largest and the most luxurious complex of Nguyen Dynasty. It’s why the place was renamed in to Khiem Tomb (Modest). The tomb designs represent King’s philosophical intelligence and romantic characteristics. It’s not only the resting place of him after his death, Tu Duc King also take this place as a retreat escape.

Tu Duc Tomb

Be the king had longest ranging period up to 35 years, Tu Duc sadly confronted draconic difficulties like the outer Colonial invading and inner dissension conflict. Additionally, he has over a hundred wives but no son to succeed which was assumed that he got infectious to the smallpox. This gave him more time inventing new poems and follow the freedom spirit. In the end of his life, when the tomb is constructed it consumed a significant treasure and labor works that there was a rebellion against him. Over all, Tu Duc himself was a kind-hearted, romantic and philosophy excellent.

This tomb of tranquil atmosphere is just around 6 km (4 miles) from Hue City; and it has been one of the most attractive places of Hue.

Khai Dinh Tomb

Khai Dinh King enthroned in 1916 when the French Colonial already flooded in Vietnam and played role as the Indochina protector at the time. In the last period of his rule, Khai Dinh did not showcase much his emperor power but mainly worked for the Colonial range.

Khai Dinh Tomb

Like previous generation, he designed his own tomb as well. Khai Dinh was the last King able to order tomb construction; then Khai Dinh Tomb could be said as the last emperor tomb of Nguyen Dynasty.

His tomb, took 11 years to complete, is more modest than previous King ‘s. However it is contracted with most elaborated architecture is the combination between Oriental and Western nuances. This is definitely worth a visit.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Not an official symbol of Hue, Thien Mu Pagoda yet has been well-known via depictions and admirations in Vietnamese poems and songs which probably thank to its ideal location being on a hill and overlooking to tranquil Perfume River or the legends of Lady Manushi-buddha.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Sited only around 4 km from Hue City center, it’s suggested to take a bicycle ride to see landscape and admire the river and landscape which would be solemn, quiet and charming in the morning.

It doesn’t take much time to visit this small complex included with Phuoc Duyen Tower – a seven-story octagonal one. Thieu Tri King had this tower built to memorize his grandmother’s 80th  birthday. Coming up are the pagoda sanctuary with Buddha impressive statue and giant bell. Apart from this, there is a house preserving relics relating to a religious resounding event which is the car of Thich Quang Duc monk to burnt himself till death to object Saigon Government ’s harsh regime on religion.

Visit a Garden house

Hue is featured with typical garden houses with precise rules of Feng Shui of which were once processed by princes, royal mandarin and the rich. These elegant houses discreetly shelter in the greenish garden; located at good land bringing auspiciousness and prosperity to the owners. Their door directions also decided base on the host’s fortuned direction.

The garden houses could be found at the villages nearby Hue City. Our suggestion is taking leisure bike through pristine rural area and entering the serene houses for a short visit and break.

Which village to visit?

  • An Hien Garden House: A garden house built in 1885 covering 5,000 sqm just around 4 km (2.5 miles) from Hue City. It lies among ancient trees, alluring natures and confronts the tranquil Perfume River. Originally, the An Hien Garden House was the residence of a Nguyen Princess. Though it has been transferred a few times, there are remained some royal relics displayed.An Hien Garden House
  • Xuan Vien Tieu Cung Garden House: This was resided by a royal Minister of ceremony whose name means Spring Garden like miniatured palace. Sited in Phu Mong Village, less than 4 km (2.5 miles) from city center, this is the most intact house in the village. Its last owner probably was the grandchild of the Minister who passed away recently at the age of 91. She was the house’s spirit, in small shape and always hospital with smiley face.

 

Food Sampling

Apart from Imperial gastronomy that you could try at a nice restaurant, there are great local dishes to try in Hue including. All the city

  • Banh Beo, Banh Nam, Banh Ram which are steamed cake made from rice or tapioca combined with variable toppings, crispy crackers and sauces.food of Hue

Suggested restaurant to eat these cakes: Quan Banh Chi in Hue City

  • Banh Khoai: The pancake of Hue with prawn, bean sprout, pork, wrapped up in the folded hot and crispy fried rice layer.

Suggested restaurant: Banh Khoai Hoang Mai

  • Bun Bo Hue: a Hue’s signature dish of rounded noodle with beef and some add on. The taste is fresh healthy. This dish should be eaten with some thinly sliced banana flower, lettuce and herbs.

Suggested restaurant: Bun Bo Ong Vong

  • Bun Thit Nuong: Rounded rice noodle with BBQ Pork served with peanut and special Nem sauce (anchory fermented paste mixed with minced pineapple, sugar, chilies and seasoning for a just right taste)bun bo hue

Suggested place: Bun Thit Nuong in Dao Duy Tu Street

If you wish to know more about the stories and best way to savor these dishes, don’t hesitate to contact us here for a special customized experience.

You also might be interested in What make Hue stunned and signature.

 

 

 

 

Why Ninh Binh – Dried Ha Long Bay must be in your bucket list?

Why Ninh Binh – Dried Ha Long Bay must be in your bucket list?

About Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is a northern province of Vietnam, located around 105km to the south of Hanoi (app. 2-hour drive). It ideally lies between 2 big rivers: Red River with its reddish-brown color brought by the laden silt and Ma River (400km long) originated from Vietnam, runs over Laos and then return Vietnam to meet Gulf of Tonkin. This grants the province advantages for agriculture and farming. Furthermore, the region is scattered with limestone mountains providing abundance source for cement manufacturing and granite blocks for construction.

ninh binh

Once the capital of the country during 10th century, Ninh Binh is featured by historical legendary and reveal the proud and touching stories since the country’s early forming. Ninh Binh is a sacred land of extraordinary people. We could name with some heroics like Dinh Tien Hoang King, Le Dai Hanh King, Nguyen Cong Tru, Truong Han Sieu, etc. who played important roles in the development of the country, independence achieve as well as nation protection. 

This province is often reminded as the dried Halong Bay one of the most famous attractions in Vietnam with karst mountains spitted up from river and scattered all over the land.

Ninh Binh could be, and definitely should be in your bucket list while traveling in the northern region of Vietnam because with the short distance of 95km southward Hanoi, it’s super convenient to arrange a day trip or an overnight stay.

Things to Do In Ninh Binh

Main things in Ninh Binh should be in your travel bucket including Tam Coc boat ride, Trang An boat ride, Hoa Lu ancient temples, Bich Dong Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Mua Cave.

Tam Coc

One of the most popular places in Ninh Binh, Tam Coc means “three caves” is endowed with still Ngo Dong River which was blocked by the karst mountain. After million years, the limestone has been eroded and water current is smoothly run through the mountains which nowadays create a charming sightseeing complex of boat trip and three water caves.

tam coc

Stop by and hop on a local boat and quietly sail along calm river in around 1.5 – 2 hours to contemplate the karst mountain and explore the water caves. Different travel season will offer different colorful landscape. During Mar – May, the nature is wholly greenish with tree on mountains, emerald water in the river, and green rice planted on riverbank. In one month later, the area is embellished with some yellow tripe when the rice is ripe and color by bright yellow. The rest months would be variable depending or rotational agriculture farming.

Trang An Ecological Site

 Belong to the Trang An Complex of 2,168 ha, Trang An Ecological Site is a beguiling area pleasing dozens of visitors by its archeological, geographical and aesthetical values which make the place listed as a UNESSCO Cultural Heritage. Trang An, Ninh Binh is a place of giant karst mountains forming different shapes lie next to the graceful and still river winding to connect the caves and valleys. The ecological site offers visitors a picturesque area with fresh atmosphere for a pleasant visit.

 

Trang An Ecological Site There are multiple choices of exploring routes; and could be divided into two main ways via waterway or via land hiking. For the waterway (could be combined with stops to walk up to temples if interested), a local will row the boat carrying you along an emerald Sao Khe River to admire the landscape, go through 12 water caves with the longest one of 321m. They are named interestingly such as Three Drops Grottos, Sticky Rice Making, Dark Cave, Bright Cave, etc. Besides, the boat ride could be combined with three possible spiritual stops to see historical temples.

Boat ride duration could be 1.5 hours or could reach up to 3 hours. The opening hour for this activity is from 7:30am – 4:00pm.

Active people seeking for off-beaten-track could follow the trails, hike up to the hill of around 60m high. Beginning at Cay Bang Pier, you will excitingly surpass Cay hill (named after Cay Tree, a branch of Diospyros species, which mainly cover this hill), Vai hill (also named after Vai Tree) and Tran Temple Hill where is presented with sacred Tran Temple – one of the country’s four guardian temples during the Dinh Dynasty.

Hoa Lu Temples

Hoa Lu was the first capital of Vietnam – a Feudal Centralize State, in only 42 years (938 – 1010); the place however witnessed the main historical happenings and national missions attached to three dynasty Dinh – Early Le – Ly.

Hoa Lu Temples

Undoubtedly, the Dinh King with excellent vision chose Hoa Lu surrounded by rolling mountain range and widing Hoang Long River as the capital. The granted nature supported significantly to nations’ military development and maintenance.

As time passed fiercely, the opulent palace was destroyed and left with the ground only. The visitors could visit Hoa Lu Temples – originally built in the 11th century and partly damaged by the war; fortunately, then restored in the 17th century by the Nguyen Dynasty and its impressive architects has been remained since then. Symbolic relics to be called out are the Dragon Bed representing the King’s power, the goose neck pillar, lacquer carving old language drawing, etc.

Bich Dong Pagoda

Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh is was constructed on the Bich Dong Mountain which is famously known as the second most beautiful cave of Vietnam, after Perfume Pagoda Cave (used to be called the South Land of China; topographically counted with the northern Vietnam only – before further land extension).

Bich Dong Pagoda

Bich Dong Pagoda is comprised by three leveled pagodas – Ha Pagoda, Trung Pagoda and Thuong Pagoda respectively means Low, Medium and High leveled pagodas. They are distributed well on the mountain and lied in-between with old trees. Especially, the marvelous view from the highest pagoda to land field and other limestone mountains is breathtaking.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest pagoda in Vietnam, 539 ha, built in 2003. Located around 17km from Ninh Binh City, Bai Dinh Pagoda is a site in buffer zone of Trang An Trang An Complex. The pagoda amazes visitors by its giant area, huge buddhas statues up to 10 tons weight; Arhat buddha corrida, giant bell and so on.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

These days, Bai Dinh Pagoda is a popular Buddhist Pilgrimage spot and regularly visited by both foreign and domestic people.

Mua Cave

Mua Cave, Ninh Binh means dancing cave is the place where Tran King came over and enjoyed dancing performances by imperial maids.

500 stair challenge is worth for an amazing view to above of Tam Coc serene mountains and Ngo Dong River. The view has always been fantastic by might be more stunning during May – June when the rice meadow is most lush green and turning yellow.Mua Cave

 Apart from above must-to-see places in Ninh Binh, the last hitting point to urge you getting to this peaceful land is a promising chance to observe local life and even interact with people from countryside Vietnam while you taking the bike around, getting on the same boat with them, and greeting them while surpassing each other.

You might want t read more about Ninh Binh in another blog to find the least touristy places “Ninh Binh is Ha Long Bay on land, is it all as the saying?

 

Ninh Binh is Halong Bay on land, is it all as the saying?

Ninh Binh is Halong Bay on land, is it all as the saying?

Ninh Binh, yet a dried Ha Long Bay of Vietnam, with fairy-tale like places. If you miss the hit, let’s traversing the title Why Ninh Binh must in your bucket list to learn more about the destination.

ninh binh

Apart from memorable experiences: A boat ride on still river along paddy field under the stunned karst monoliths, a bike ride through the village, a walk into historically significant temple or a hike up to some peak will leave you with the amazed feelings and curiosity to carry on, or local touch, Ninh Binh offers more values in terms on culture, nature and history. Most of significant characteristics of Vietnam could be encountered for your wanderlust.

The least touristy attractions of Ninh Binh:

Here are recommendations of less touristy places of Ninh Binh that are definitely worth a drive, hike to conquer.

Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park – The first National Park of Vietnam founded in 1962, of 22,408ha spanning over three provinces – mountainous Hoa Binh Province, Red River delta Ninh Binh Province and Thanh Hoa Province in central part of Vietnam.

cuc phuong national park

Cuc Phuong National Park is a typical tropical rainforest, greenish all year around and homes a great population of fauna and flora. Best time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is from Dec to May; especially between April and May, the national park is beguiling with flying butterflies.

A day trip to Cuc Phuong National Park will bring a glimpse of the place but certainly a wonderful experience. Adventurous and natural lovers could spend longer from 2 – 4 days in the jungle.

Main things to do in Cuc Phuong National Park are trekking through forest trails to admire colorful and variable plants and wildlife, ride the bike in the greenish and fresh area, visit endanger rescue center or reservation center (turtle, languor, Pangolin, deer, etc.), hike up to limestone cave, visit plant garden, bird watching, overnight camping, visiting a minority village and so on.

Thung Nham Bird Garden

Thung Nham, Ninh Binh is a serene area of mountains, caves and rivers, and also nest dozen bird species such as stork and some endanger birds.

Thung Nham Bird Garden

You can stroll around the area and visit a couple of surrounding caves like Mermaid Cave, Underwater Palace, Three Girl Cave, etc., walk through a part of forest. Then, late afternoon, take a 30-minute boat trip to watch the bird flocks returning to their nestle place after a full day.

The best time to visit Thung Nham and seeing bird is Autumn when the birds return to their home earlier.

Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve, Ninh Binh is the largest wetland in northern Vietnam of 3,000 ha. Comparing to other main spots in Ninh Binh, Van Long a waterlogged wetland bears similar characteristic of topography, but at bigger scale. In contrast, Van Long is primitive and much less touristy.

Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve

Taking 1.5-hour boat ride, you will have chance to admire the picturesque and tranquil nature of karst pinnacles, river with swaying reeds in the water and reeds on the banks.

Above all, Van Long wetland is granted with a diversify biosystem. It homes over 40 species of Delacour’s Langur; and is the shelter of thousands bird flocks like storks, gray herons, or teal birds. It’s highly recommended to take the boat trip late afternoon so that you could endowed to the party who hustle going home after a day away.

 Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral, Ninh Binh, app. 125km from Hanoi, is a cathedral with the most unique architecture in Vietnam – the mixture of Western gothic and Vietnamese double layered curved roofs.

 Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

The church complex is constructed by granite blocks and ironwood/ jackfruit wood pillars and decorations. Every tasteful and meaningful designs, carving and patterns contribute to the church’s uniqueness that took 10 years to collect and gather materials then 24 more years to complete the site. This shows a strong religious devotion but never forget the Vietnamese origin by included a lot of oriental factors.

Galaxy Cave

Located on Tuong Mountain Range, of around 200m higher than the ground, Thien Ha Cave, Ninh Binh was discover lately in 2007 with a system of dried and underwater caves which are enchanting and untouched. The stalagmite and stalactite in the cave are glittering when shined by torch light, then local people name it Galaxy Cave.

galaxy caveThien Ha Cave, 700m, is comprised of dried part (200m long) and water cave (500m long). The boat ride in water cave is gentle and noiseless but with paddle rowing sound adventurous. Faint lights is just enough for you to see the water surface as mirror of the ceiling with stalagmite falling down. Walk up to the dried cave is enjoyable with green landscape bringing the traveler close to nature.

Besides the main cave, it’s possible to stop at Thien Thanh Cave and But water grottos. The total visit last around 2 hours. Afterward, a biking trip to surrounding countryside could be done to see the local life.

Kim Son Sedge Mat handicraft Village

Kim Son Sedge Mat, Ninh Binh is a handicraft village making sedge mat up to 200 years, located around 125km from Hanoi, in the same district with Phat Diem Cathedral. The mud land, though have been renovate into living land and agriculture developing, still is a perfect land for the utmost grow of sedge plants which naturally expand. The villagers partly keep cultivate the plant and constantly make traditional and creatively patterned mats and household amenities.

Kim Son Sedge Mat handicraft Village

Coming here, you will visit the sedge field, learn techniques that craftsmen produce the mats, glue spray, color and dry the products.

Visiting the area on sunny days, you will find variable sedge made products exposed under sun light to get dried.

With its reputation, Kim Son Sedge mat has been exported to around 40 countries in the world as high-quality products.