As I mentioned in the article of Moc Chau travel guide, Mai Chau (Mai Châu) is a beautiful valley in Hoa Binh. It is located in the middle of the road from Hanoi city to Moc Chau. Mai Chau – Hoa Binh is famous for its beautiful and majestic landscape as well as diverse culture. Most tourists spend at least 1 day in Mai Chau before getting to Moc Chau. In this article, I will provide you with a preliminary schedule for a trip in Mai Chau.
I’ve lived in Hanoi capital for 3 years and already visited most of the attractions within and without the city. Hanoi is famous for its historical and traditional sites. Some notable sites include Temple of Literature – the first university of Vietnam, One-pillar Pagoda – a small pagoda with the most unique architecture I’ve ever seen, Hoan Kiem Lake with the legendary story about King Le Loi, Long Bien bridge – a “witness” of history, Hanoi Old Quater with 36 streets existing for thousands of years, or Thang Long ancient citadel – a thousand-year-old citadel, etc.
It would be a mistake when talking about Hanoi without mentioning its cuisine. The city is well-known for its beef noodle (Phở bò Hà Nội), bun cha (Bún chả – vermicelli with grilled pork balls) or La Vong fish balls, etc.
To have a comprehensive view of the city, you should spend at least 2 days discovering it: 1 day for places inside city and another day for some places in the suburb (such as Bat Trang ceramic village, Huong pagoda, Co Loa citadel, or Duong Lam ancient village, etc.).
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Bac Ninh (Bắc Ninh) is a small land in Northern Vietnam, but very rich in culture and tradition. Bac Ninh is also known as “The land of Quan Ho”, a folk music exclusively to the local.
Bac Ninh tourism is more famous for cultural and historical sites: Do temple (đền Đô – where worship the Ly kings, a big dynasty in Vietnam’s history), Dau pagoda (chùa Dâu), But Thap pagoda (chùa Bút Tháp), Dong Ho painting village, Dai Bai casting copper village and so on
How should you travel in Bac Ninh
The sites of Bac Ninh are scattered and there are too many sites. To visit all of attractions, you need at least 3 days. So you should divide attractions into regions then pick the suitable one, depending on your time and preference.
Ninh Binh is one of 3 most visited destinations in Northern Vietnam, the other two are Sapa and Halong bay. Ninh Binh tourism is famous for the charming and majestic nature in Trang An, Tam Coc, Phat Diem church, Bai Dinh pagoda, Hoa Lu ancient capital and Cuc Phuong national park.
Sound like a lot to squeeze in just a few days? Don’t worry because I will help you with a complete itinerary with reasonable time schedule from my experiences in Ninh Binh.
Ninh Binh travel itinerary
From Hanoi, you can easily get to Ninh Binh by motorbike or bus (less 100km or 60 miles from Hanoi). Usually, tourists stay in Ninh Binh for 2 or 3 days. Following is a popular itinerary for 3 days:
After my blog post on Hanoi travel itineraries for 1 or 2 days, many of you asked for recommendation of good restaurants in Hanoi. I couldn’t believe I actually forgot about this!!?? Food is sometimes the reason you travel (and I’m one of those), right!. So this is the list of famous restaurants in Hanoi, adored by both locals and tourists.
Hanoi cuisine is not only mesmerizing but also diverse and distinctive, so you may have to prepare a really good room and strength for your stomach ready to actually spend a couple days to indulge in all of Hanoi’s specialties.
Specialties and famous restaurants
1. Pho Hanoi (Phở Hà Nội). If you’re finding out about Hanoi tourism, you may have got to know this specialty. There’re lots of Pho restaurants in Hanoi, but if you want authentic and traditional taste of Pho Hanoi, go for 49 Bat Dan street (near the Old Quater) or Pho Thin at 11 Lo Duc street – 2 best Pho in town.
Sapa is a small town in Lao Cai provine – Vietnam, well-known for cool climate, diverse culture and majestic nature. Coming to Sapa, you will have the chance to relax in the cool climate right in Vietnam, a tropical country, visit villages of ethnic minorities and discover the beauty of majestic nature.
Best time to visit Sapa. You can visit all year round, summer is cool, winter is very cold, however, you will have big cloud formation, and fog covering the town. Each season has its own beauties. According to my Sapa travel experience, you should spend at least 2 days – 1 night, that’s enough time to visit the most attractive sites. Below is my experiences and top things to do in Sapa – Vietnam, hope it will be helpful for your Sapa trip.
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How to get to Sapa town – Vietnam?
There are 2 ways to get to Sapa (assuming you are in Hanoi – Vietnam).
1. You can go by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai city, from $8 to $40, depending on the quality. Then, get a bus or high quality car to Sapa, fares are about $2,5. Total time, from Hanoi to Sapa, is 10 hours (1 night).
You can buy the train tickets at:
– TSC agent (add: 114 Pho Duc Chinh street – Ba Ðinh district – Hanoi): +844-37162868
– Mua Xuan (spring) agent (add: 41 Ma May Street – Hoan Kiem district – Hanoi): +844-39263138 or +844-22109775
– Hanoi train station on Le Duan street.
2. You can go by high quality buses from Hanoi up to Sapa in about 5-6 hours.
You can buy car tickets of firms: Hai Van (Tel: +84203.872.606), Ha Son (Tel: +844 22.214.171.124), Hung Thanh (Tel: +84989.294.294), VietBus (Tel: +8443-627.27.27), …
Best hotels in Sapa town
2 areas that gather many cheap motels and hotels are Cau May and Fansipan streets. The average prices are from $10 to $20 for normal days, and $15 to 30$ for holidays. You can consider:
– Quoc Thai motel, on Fansipan street, tel: +84203.871384. The price is about $10 for normal days.
– Hoang Phuong motel, 200m from Stone church, close to the Sapa market and Ham Rong mountain. The motel is quiet and affordable, about $15 for normal days, 20$ for holidays.
– Momisa hotel is close to the market at $15/room/night. Tel:+ 84203 871 262
– Mua Xuan (Spring) hotel is also close to the market and 5 minutes by walk to Stone church. Rooms are good, clean and look to Hoang Lien Son majestic mountains. The prices are $12 for normal day, $16 for weekends and holidays. Tel:+ 84203 871 380
– Co Vuong (Mrs. Vuong) motel is located at 10 – Son Thach street. Prices are around $15 – $18, depending on days. Tel: +841677 604 658
– Khuyen Ngoc motel is located on Xuan Vien street. Quite cheap or you can call to recheck: +84203 872 449
– Little Sapa II hotel and restaurant. Add: 38 – Cau May street, tel: +8420 871238 or +8420 871222. Hotelier (Mr.Dung) is very gentle. You can also call him (+841688 063 526) to book room. The Little Sapa II is located in the heart of Sapa. From here, you can stroll around and visit some famous sites in few minutes.
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Best things to see in Sapa Vietnam
There are many attractions in Sapa, however, there are some main sites that you should not miss:
– Ethnic Villages: Ta Van village (bản Tả Van), Lao Chai (bản Lao Chải), Cat Cat (bản Cat Cat), Ta Phin (bản Tả Phìn), Sin Chai (bản Sín Chải)
Ta Van and Ta Phin villages have many rice terraces, which are really impressive and majestic. Ta Phin is the village of Dao ethnic. Dao people have a very special service of bathing in herbal leaves, which is believed to be able to help get rid of many diseases.
– Ham Rong mountain is a tourist resort, located in the heart of Sapa with many things to see: Ham Rong flowers garden, garden of 12 holy animals, Thach Lam rocks garden,…and the most beautiful place is Ham Rong peak, where you can look down to the entire Sapa.
– Waterfalls: Silver (Bạc ) and Love (Tình Yêu ) are 2 most beautiful waterfalls in Sapa.
– Stone church is the only church in Sapa.
Fares of some attractions in Sapa:
– Ham Rong mountain: $3.5
– Cat Cat village: $2
– Sin Chai village: $1
– Lao Chai – Ta Van – Ho villages: $2
– Ma Tra – Ta Phin villages: $1
– Silver waterfall: $0.5
– Love waterfall: $2
– Fansipan, the highest mountain of Vietnam (3143m). To conquer Fansipan, you either take the newly built cable care or climb on your feet. You must be strong man because the journey is very difficult. You will need 2 days (and 1 night) to climb up the peak. Price for 1 Fansipan conquest tour is around $75 – $100.
What & Where to eat in Sapa?
Sapa has many specialties:
– Cap nach pig (lợn cắp nách): Small pigs, that you can lift it up with one hand.
– Black chiken (gà ác): their bones and skin are black.
– Thang Co (thắng cố): this is a dish of Hmong ethic. I really don’t dare to try this dish.
– Bacon (thịt xông khói), a nice dish of ethnics.
– Grilled food in Sapa is really tasty.
Best things to do in Sapa (For 2 days – 3 nights)
Night 1 and day 1: take the train to Lao Cai city. At 7am of the next day, you will be at Lao Cai station, catch a bus to Sapa. Next, check in your booked hotel and get going. You should rent a motor (for 2 days), asking your hotel for the shops.
-Morning: go to Ta Van village, visit the ethic houses (if they allow).
– Noon: back to the town for lunch.
– Afternoon: go to Ta Phin village, try out herbal bath of Dao ethnic and back to the town in evening.
– Second night: try Thang Co, Cap Nach pig and other specialties of Sapa in cuisine market, then stroll around Sapa lake.
– Morning: climb Ham Rong mountain and visit Silver waterfall (by motor).
– Afternoon: go to Cat Cat village, watch Hmong dance. You must get back to Sapa at around 4pm to return the motor, pack up and catch a bus back to Lao Cai city at 5pm.
Night 3: sleep on the train and dream about Sapa on the way back to Hanoi.
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Every year, during grain season, thousands of flocks of tourists and photographers go to mountainous areas in Northern Vietnam for the most scenic rice terraces in the world. Mu Cang Chai (Mù Căng Chải), Yen Bai province, is one of most attractive destinations of all. Personally, I think Mu Cang Chai’s rice fields are even more beautiful than Sapa‘s.
You will not only enjoy the majestic and beautiful terraces but also learn the unique and rustic life of H’mong ethnic group. A hard but warm-hearted life – a rare thing in the modern world. Mu Cang Chai’s highlights include: majestic rice terraces, sticky rice in Tu Le (xôi Tú Lệ), Tu Le hot stream and unique life of ethnic H’Mong. Read on to see what you should do to get the best trip!
Best time to visit Mu Cang Chai
The best time to visit Mu Cang Chai is from Mid-September to Mid-October during the season when rice fields are turning yellow and ready for harvest. This can be different each year (depending on weather), so be sure to check out first. BUT from May to Sep is also no less impressive when the rice fields are green.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Halong Bay is torn right out of a fairy tale book. It’s too beautiful to be true. Halong Bay of Vietnam has been a UNESCO Heritage Site for a long time now and its beauty has never failed any I promise. It’s just true that this attraction is becoming more touristified and taking a lot of cash out of your pocket. In this blog post are my tips, experiences and list of top things to do in Halong Bay to help you plan a more affordable trip.
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How to get to Halong Bay?
The distance from Ha Noi to Halong city is about 180km (110 miles ). So buses are absolutely the best choice for a 4-hour ride. There is a good abundance of buses to Halong in a day.
If starting at 7am, you will arrive in Halong City at around 12pm.
Ban Gioc waterfall, located on the Vietnam – China border in Cao Bang province, is considered the most spectacular waterfall of Vietnam. Standing at the foot of waterfall, the cool atmosphere from the dense water vapor will literally bring you to the heaven of freshness and relaxing. It will be very big regret if you miss this attraction during your stay in Vietnam. So pack up together with some of my experience and get to Ban Gioc Waterfall now!
Attractions on Ban Gioc Waterfall trip
While Ban Gioc Waterfall is the absolute final destination and the main highlights of the day, Cao Bang also offer its visitors a generous number of destinations to incorporate with the trip to Ban Gioc Waterfall. Check out Thang Hen lake, Nguom Ngao cave (động Ngườm Ngao), Pac Bo cave (hang Pắc Bó – where Ho Chi Minh president used to live). If you have enough time, consider combining Ba Be lake and Ban Gioc waterfall to make a circular trip to include all of the main attractions in Cao Bang.
Cat Ba is the biggest island of Hai Phong city, famous for very beautiful beaches, national park, Lan Ha bay (a miniature Ha Long bay ),… and interesting activities. There are many ways to travel to Cat Ba. You may combine travelling to Ha Long bay then get to Cat Ba by ferry, or go to Cat Ba from Hai Phong city.
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