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Ha Giang’s magnificent beauty lures travelers

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Located in Vietnam’s northeast region with its wild and magnificent beauty, Ha Giang province has become increasingly attractive to visitors.

Ha Giang’s magnificent beauty lures travelers hinh anh 1Spring in Dong Van Karst Plateau, Ha Giang province (Photo: VNA)

Ha Giang (VNA) – Located in Vietnam’s northeast region with its wild and magnificent beauty, Ha Giang province has become increasingly attractive to visitors.

Ranges of rugged rocky mountains, the narrow paths winding through hills up and down, and the golden rice terraced fields, all embrace lots of mysteries not yet fully discovered.

Ha Giang is an old land, home to more than 20 ethnic groups, the Mong, Tay, Dao, Nung, and Giay, who have their own traditional culture, lifestyle and customs, plus exciting festivals for visitors and researchers.

The region embraces many historical relics and landscapes, such as the Heaven Gate, the Quan Ba double mountains in Quan Ba District; the Mong King’s Vuong Palace, the Lung Cu National Flag Pole in Dong Van District; the Ma Pi Leng Pass in Meo Vac District; the Fairy Fall, the Windy Pass and the Nam Dan ancient stone ground in Xin Man District and the Quang Ngan mineral spring in Vi Xuyen District. They attract many visitors to come for fun or for research.

In 2010, the Dong Van Karst Plateau in Dong Van District was officially recognised by UNESCO as a global karst geo-park, the first of its kind in Vietnam and the second in Southeast Asia (after the Langkawi Park in Malaysia).

In 2012, the terraced rice fields in Hoang Su Phi District were listed among Vietnam’s national relics, and later in 2015 it became a national intangible cultural heritage. With its natural resources, Ha Giang Province obviously has many tourist sites of significant value.

Visitors to Ha Giang will be immersed in an atmosphere of wild and magnificent beauty with ranges of rugged rocky mountains stretching far beyond the eye, the terraced rice fields looking like paintings which are shining with a golden colour during harvest time, or sparkling in water during field-watering time. Amid the up and down mountainous slopes are grounds of beautiful violet buckwheat flowers. Here and there are houses-on-stilts of the local ethnic residents resting so peacefully with cooking smoke from the kitchens covering the dark green mountains in the later afternoon.

The Dong Van Karst Plateau is located at the height of 1,000-1,600m above sea level, covering the four districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and MeoVac with a total area of over 2,300km2. According to researchers, the locality is one among the country’s special karst mountain regions, which holds historical imprints of the earth crust’s evolution lasting for millions of years.

To fully enjoy the magnificent beauty of Dong Van Karst Plateau, visitors should take a trip by bus from Ha Giang along National Highway 4C for about 40km before they arrive in Quan Ba District. They would continue their trip upward to Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac districts. The total distance will be more than 150km, through winding mountainous paths full of challenges, but very exciting.

Along the way, visitors can contemplate the beauty of mountain ranges, one after another, with sharp rugged rocks pointing to the blue sky. They will discover many fascinating natural beautiful spots, including the Quan Ba Heaven Gate, which is 1,500m above sea level; the Can Ty Pass, which winds around mountain slopes, and especially the Ma Pi Leng Pass, considered one of the top-four high passes in Vietnam’s northwest region. Vast forests of pine trees whistling in the wind will please both eyes and ears.

The Dong Van Karst Plateau has terrains full of obstacles, and a temperate climate, which includes two different seasons, the rainy season lasting from May to October, and the dry season from November to April. The average temperature is around 24-280C. In winter it may fall to 5oC below zero, which is similar with that in western countries.

Beautiful all year round, however the Dong Van Karst Plateau shows off its beauty during the season of light violet buckwheat flowers from October-November, mostly in the fields in Pho La, Sung La, Lung Tao and Ma Le. When spring comes, yellow mustard flowers are blooming on the mountain slopes, and pink peach blossoms beside the old mossy house roofs. Their unique and magic beauty fascinate any visitors to the region.

In addition, visitors will have a chance to stay in the old palace of the former Mong King, which has been preserved through many historical ups and downs. Their car will drive on a road, named “A Road of Happiness”, built by young ethnic people, before they arrive at the Lung Cu Flag Pole, on its top the national flag flying high in the wind. The traditional culture and lifestyle of the local ethnic highlanders also attract many visitors, particularly researchers.

Besides the magnificent Dong Van Karst Plateau, Ha Giang Province has been known for its terraced rice fields, mostly in Hoang Su Phi District. It is said that the local terraced rice fields were built three to four centuries ago, mostly in the communes of Ban Luoc, San Sa Ho, Ban Phung, Ho Thau, Nam Ty and Thong Nguyen. They are among the country’s most popular beautiful spots and have been recognised as one of the national intangible heritages.

Every year, in late September and early October, the terraced rice fields in Hoang Su Phi become golden due to ripening paddies. The rice fields run around the mountain slopes, and ripened rice looks like golden carpets covering the mountain slopes. In the fields, ethnic Mong people are harvesting their rice. The scenery is so peaceful and romantic.

Meanwhile, in May and June, it is time to fill the terraced fields with water. The fields are sparkling, like a huge mirror shining with clouds and the sky reflected in it. The scenery is then extremely fanciful that seems to keep visitors staying longer.

With its advantages, in recent years Ha Giang has paid great attention to developing different forms of tours to attract more tourists to the province. A Village for Communal Culture and Tourism was built, which focused in developing homestay tours, and to date there are 29 such villages operating throughout the province while another 17 villages are under construction. These villages are mostly managed by the ethnic groups of Mong, Dao, Tay and Pa Then.

With its strong points and advantages, Ha Giang’s tourism sector is expected to further develop in the very near future, making the province become one among the country’s key localities in the northwest having strong tourism development due to its unique tourist attractions./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/ha-giangs-magnificent-beauty-lures-travelers/236977.vnp

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Hanoi welcomes 332,000 visitors during Lunar New Year holiday

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The capital city of Hanoi served 332,000 tourists, including 32,000 foreigners, during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from January 21 – 26, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

Hanoi welcomes 332,000 visitors during Lunar New Year holiday hinh anh 1Hanoi welcomes 332,000 visitors during Lunar New Year holiday. (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi – The capital city of
Hanoi served 332,000 tourists, including 32,000 foreigners, during the Lunar New
Year (Tet) holiday from January 21 – 26, according to the municipal Department
of Tourism.

Total revenue from tourism activities topped 1 trillion VND (42.6 million
USD), the department said.

The number of tourists increased dramatically at key monuments,
museums, parks, ecological zones, and resorts in the city.

Notably, Van Mieu (the Temple of Literature) – Quoc Tu Giam (the first university in Vietnam) and the Huong
pagoda received about 80,000 visitors each. Meanwhile, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the
Special National Relic of Co Loa, Duong Lam ancient
village – the Son Tay ancient citadel received 19,700; 18,000 and 15,000 visitors, respectively.

During the holiday, a series of art performances and cultural programmes were held at relic sites and tourist attractions, while many new tourism
products introduced to attract visitors.

According to Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang, the
agency has paid special attention to inspect the observance of regulations on
tourism in tourist areas, aiming to better the quality of services./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/hanoi-welcomes-332000-visitors-during-lunar-new-year-holiday/247455.vnp

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Fancy food with the Midas touch

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ALL THAT GLITTERS: The melt-on-your-palate gold jelly puts a perfect end to a wonderful dinner. VNS Photos Mỹ Hà

by Nguyễn Mỹ Hà

I would never have walked into the Dolce at Wyndham Hanoi Golden Lake if it weren’t for a dinner I had planned with extended family. Dubbed the Gold Hotel, the Dolce is famous for its gold-coated walls, if seen from outside, or ornate gold decoration in the lobby and other places, including tableware and other necessities.

There’s no defining line about how much gold is enough to assert wealth and class, but too much certainly seems something for shallow show-off brats. 

Showing off was exactly what came to my mind when we entered the lobby, where it seemed there was always someone or some team working on a photo shoot. We sighed in relief when we finally got into a private dining room by the larger hall. 

The aura inside was the total opposite of what was outside, these days before the biggest holidays of the year, Tết (Lunar New Year), where traffic jams up even the biggest tree-lined streets in downtown Hà Nội. By Giảng Võ Lake, where the Gold Hotel is located, a recreation centre of the city, it was even more chaotic.

Wyndham has three restaurants on its premises, which besides its expensive gold-sprinkled à la carte menus, also offer lunch (VNĐ550,000) and dinner (VNĐ800,000) buffets. 

ITALIAN CLASSIC: The spaghetti bolognese will impress even the pickiest little eaters. 

The most famous is the F29 Golden Beef restaurant, where you get served the best steaks money can buy, including Japanese Kobe ribeye or fat Wagyu tomahawks. It’s a place that deserves a review of its own by a gourmet steak expert. 

The gold lighting in the limited yet spacious dining area gives a warmer, happier glow than regular light. In fact, both the lighting and gold tableware comforted us. More so did the golden basket of bread on the table. The mini bread made for a great starter with its reddish creamy beetroot butter. 

BAKERY BASKET: Fresh crispy bread on the table.

Next came a garden salad, a great mix of crispy lettuces and herbs and dressing, an ideal palate refresher. After that, the waiter brought a large plate with halves of sandwiches filled with rich truffle pâté.

The little sandwich was soft and smooth like velvet, and the strong flavours of the precious fungi stood out with its earthy smell of a vast damp jungle sneaking into the room, and then… gone. Quickly as it came, it vanished. 

RED RELISH: The beautiful reddish butter coloured by beetroot and pepper served in gold-rimmed butter bowl. 

Other dishes we had, included the classic spaghetti bolognese (VNĐ270,000), which was very good. And the juicy steak we had was a USDA-certified ribeye (VNĐ870,000), with mushroom sauce and assorted vegetables, cooked perfectly medium-rare. My kid wished she could have some mash on the side, or a baked potato even better. 

FUNGI FLAVOURED: Truffle pate sandwich was a great meal enhancer after some cold and hot appetizers.  

As our talking slowly dwindled toward the end of the meal, we felt great that we had survived dining here without falling for the dubious charms of any of the gold-leafed steaks or gold-sprinkled hakau. We were doing so well, not lavishing on anything tacky like sliced meat coated in gold. The restaurant has a dish on the menu, black hakau shrimp dumplings, listed as 24K gold-wrapped steamed shrimp dumplings at VNĐ116,000 a piece. We didn’t have that either.

But, in the end, our gold moment came with dessert: the 24K black herbal pudding (VNĐ160,000). The jelly looked beautiful with its striking black-gold colours, though you needed to generously pour honey to your liking, as the jelly tasted a little bitter without it. 

When you start spooning up the jelly and the gold twinkles in the black water, it gently jiggles as if you’re sitting by a moonlit lake trying to catch the moon’s reflection on a mid-Autumn festival night. 

It makes the jelly tastes better, as its bitter-sweet flavours resemble that of real life, as if tasting real lake water, though that would surely send you directly to the doctor.

Wishing a very happy Tết to all! VNS

MEATY GOODNESS: The tender USDA-certified ribeye medium rare tastes as good as it looks. 

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/dining/fancy-food-with-the-midas-touch_340960.html

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Spiritual sites to visit in spring around Hanoi

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Travelling to the temple at the start of the year is an essential activity for the Vietnamese people that has become a cultural beauty to this day. This is the time when people from all over the country go to the sanctuaries to visit, sightsee, and pray for the best luck of the year. ​

Spiritual sites to visit in spring around Hanoi hinh anh 1Visitors to the Huong(Perfume) Pagoda are carried down the Yen stream by boats. (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi – Travelling to the temple at the
start of the year is an essential activity for the Vietnamese people that has
become a cultural beauty to this day. This is the time when people from all
over the country go to the sanctuaries to visit, sightsee, and pray for the
best luck of the year.

Some of our recommendations might be the perfect place for you and
your loved ones to spend the spring.

Perfume Pagoda

Huong (Perfume) Pagoda is located in Huong Son commune, My Duc district,
about 60km southwest of Hanoi.

It is one of the largest and most unique religious sites in the capital with a
complex of pagodas, shrines and communal houses scattered on Huong Son (Perfume
mountain). The Huong Tich (Traces of perfume) pagoda, which can be found inside
the Huong Tich grotto, is considered to be the holiest and most significant
location in the entire complex.

Many people visit the pagoda every year to take part in its festival, the
largest in the country, which takes place from January to the end of March of
the lunar calendar.

It is believed that the Bodhisattva Kwan Yin attained enlightenment at the
Huong Pagoda, hence various ceremonies and artistic events are staged there
during the three-month festival.

Thousands of pilgrims and visitors, including many from abroad, make the
journey up the Huong Son mountain range to experience the peace that has moved
poets for decades and even one of the Trịnh warlords to pen odes to the area’s
heavenly beauty.

Dong Pagoda

Dong (Bronze) Pagoda can be found on top of the 1,068-meter-high Yen
Tu mountain in Uong Bi district of Quang Ninh province.

The pagoda was built in the 17th century, with the initial architecture
consisting of only a modest bronze cast.

Previously, the only way to get to Đồng Pagoda was to traverse thousands of
stone stairs and mountain roads for nearly 6 kilometres to reach the peak of Yen
Tu.

Nowadays, the cable car has been used by the Yen Tu Scenic Area Management
Board to assist visitors from all over the world to arrive at Dong Pagoda
without much difficulty. Guests may get a bird’s eye view of Yen Tu mountain
from the cable car and then set out on foot to reach the summit of the sacred
peak.

The Lunar New Year is the finest time to visit this location. This is the time
for highly spectacular events in Yen Tu, drawing thousands of travellers from
all across the country to visit and pray.

Tam Chuc Pagoda

Tam Chuc is Vietnam’s biggest pagoda complex, located in Kim Bang district,
Ha Nam province, about 60 kilometres from Hanoi.
This is one of the spiritual spring tourism spots that draw a
large number of visitors who come to pray for good fortune.

With its front side facing Luc Ngan lake and its back resting against That Tinh
Mountain, Tam Chuc Pagoda occupies a magnificent position. Limestone peaks rise
up everywhere around the pagoda, adding to the area’s already impressive
beauty.

Tam Chuc Pagoda’s spiritual tourism complex is split into four sections: the
reception centre, the monastery proper, the experience hub, and the natural
reserve.

Like many other sacred sites, the pagoda is at its most stunning in the milder
months of autumn and spring.

According to the Tam Chuc Pagoda Management Board, on January 25 or the fourth
day of the Lunar New Year, around 10,000 visitors and Buddhists came to visit
and worship at the pagoda./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/spiritual-sites-to-visit-in-spring-around-hanoi/247454.vnp

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