Must See In Vietnam : Three Vietnam Parks

The Cuc Phuong National Park

What more can I say… humm… These three parks have won prizes at the World Travel Awards! It a Must Visit in Vietnam … Your Editor

Three Vietnamese parks – Cuc Phuong, Ba Na Hills and Aquatopia – have won prizes at the World Travel Awards for Asia.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

The Cuc Phuong National Park won “Asia’s Leading National Park 2022” title, surpassing Nepal’s Chitwan, Japan’s Fuji-Hakone-Izu, Malaysia’s Kinabalu and Taman Negara, Indonesia’s Komodo, and Sri Lanka’s Minneriya.

This is its fourth consecutive win since 2019.

Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park in Vietnam. It spreads over an area of 22,408 hectares in the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa. The park is 120 kilometers to the south of Hanoi.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

The dense forests in Cuc Phuong make it a perfect location for researchers, naturalists, conservationists and tourists who can easily get there from Hanoi via National Highway 1A.

Towards the end of April and early May, tourists visit the park during the butterfly season, when millions of white butterflies flit around.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

Cuc Phuong is also famous for its firefly season, usually between April and August. Millions of fireflies spark the yellow green light that combines with the Milky Way to create a magnificent sight.

Entrance costs VND60,000 ($2.55) for adults, VND20,000 for students, and VND10,000 for children. Admission is free for kids under five.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

Ba Na Hills, atop the Chua mountain in Hoa Vang District of Da Nang City, was named Asia’s Leading Theme Park by the World Travel Awards this year. 

It opened in 2009.

The Golden Bridge is one of the most famous, and most photogenic structures in the park.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

Aquatopia, on Hon Thom Islet of Phu Quoc, won “Asia’s Leading Water Park” this year.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

The park has a wide range of zones and games, allowing for both leisurely and adventurous experiences.

Three Vietnam parks win prizes at World Travel Awards

Entrance for adults and children costs VND200,000-600,000 and VND150,000-400,000, respectively.

Written by ong Anh for E.VnExpress.net

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The Cuc Phuong National Park

Cultural / Vietnam Relics Exhibition in Hanoi

If you are passionate by #Culture and #History of #Vietnam, don’t miss the chance to see a total 29 signature relics from various time periods of Vietnam History, where 1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam are unveiled. Must See In Vietnam Editor

The Thăng Long Imperial Citadel

Starting Thursday, the Center for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Thang Long-Hanoi, in cooperation with the Institute of Imperial Citadel Studies, organized a relic exhibition themed “Treasures of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel.”

A total 29 signature relics from various time periods are presented at the exhibition. Most were used in daily life at the Imperial Citadel.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

A porcelain pot with a lid, decorated with dragon and cloud-like patterns, from the 11-12th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

An amphora to contain liquor from the Ly Dynasty, 11-12th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

A ceramic pot with lotus-like patterns from the Tran Dynasty, 13-14th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

A water bowl with flower-like patterns from the Tran Dynasty, 13-14th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

A sword with decorations on its blade from the Tran Dynasty, 13-14th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

Gold leaf with dragon and cloud-like patterns from the Ly-Tran Dynasty, 11-14th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

A ceramic bowl with colored decorations from the Le Dynasty.

Through different resources, experts can recreate some of the patterns and present it through 3D mapping technology.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

Bowls and plates from the Le Dynasty, with lotus and dragon-like decorations.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

Vases and bowls to drink liquor (upper row) were made in the Binh Giang ceramic village of the northern province of Hai Duong, from the Revival Le Dynasty, 17-18th century.

Bowls with phoenix and dragon-like patterns (lower row) were made in the Mac Dynasty, 16th century.

1,000-year-old imperial treasures of Vietnam unveiled

In 2017, archeologists found a stone well from the Revival Le Dynasty in the 17th century. It is 41 centimeters tall and 68 centimeters wide.

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The Center for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Thang Long-Hanoi, in cooperation with the Institute of Imperial Citadel Studies, organized a relic exhibition themed “Treasures of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel.”

Dawn across Vietnam

I love getting up before dawn. I feel the fullness when I see the first rays of the rising sun which begins to whiten the horizon. This morning I offer you a winsome beauty at dawn in the lens of photographer Nguyen Ngoc Tuan. Must See in Vietnam Editor

Dawn across Vietnam

Pink cherry blossoms glow as the sun shines across tea hills along National Highway 4D leading to O Quy Ho Mountain Pass, around 15 kilometers from downtown Sa Pa

In recent years, tea hills here have become a tourist destination especially during the year-end season as cherry trees see their leaves changing colors and replaced around October to November. 

Hanoi-based photographer Tuan said he has traveled across Vietnam for the past two years to carry out his photo series of dawn beauty. 

Dawn across Vietnam

Long Bien Bridge, a symbol of Hanoi, is blanketed in early morning mist. 

The bridge across the Red River was designed and built by French firm Dayde-Pillie in September 1898. It opened to traffic in 1903, running more than 1,691 meters in length, with a rail track in the middle and roads either side.

Dawn across Vietnam

A fisherman starts his new day on Quang Lang Beach in Thai Thuy District in the northern province of Thai Binh. 

Quang Lang villagers have survived on fishing and processing aquatic products for many generations.

In the early morning, visitors can easily see local fishermen wading across the sand to catch fish, crabs or snails. 

Dawn across Vietnam

Dawn on a sedge field in Nong Cong District in the north central province of Thanh Hoa. 

This sedge growing area is considered the largest in the north central region, with an area of more than 300 hectares spread over 10 communes.

Sedge harvest season takes place in the fifth and sixth lunar months.

Dawn across Vietnam

Dawn on at Bay Mau nipa palm forest, an eco-tourism site in Hoi An ancient town in the central province of Quang Nam. 

The forest is around three kilometers from the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An, in Cam Thanh Commune. It sheltered Vietnamese troops from shelling and raids during the Vietnam War.

In 2009, local authorities recognized the Bay Mau nipa palm forest as an eco-tourism site and allowed locals to offer coracle tours and homestay services to boost tourism.

Dawn across Vietnam

The first rays of sunlight fall on Ban Viet Lake in Trung Khanh District of Cao Bang Province on the border with China as sau sau trees (Chinese sweet gum) add their allure with yellow and red leaves. 

Ban Viet Lake, which spreads over an area of five hectares, is a great camping and trekking spot. Apart from sightseeing along winding roads, visitors can take a boat trip on the freshwater lake.

Dawn across Vietnam

Two little girls in school uniform cycle along a path in Chu Pah District in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, lined on both sides with large pine trees that are over 100 years old.

The misty landscape along the 800-meter-long path in the early morning has in recent years drawn the attention of many photographers. 

Dawn across Vietnam

Eo Gio Strait in beach town Quy Nhon in the south central coast is captured at dawn. 

The arc-shaped strait encompassed by rocky mountains has become popular with tourists thanks to its unique geographical feature. 

Dawn across Vietnam

Hon Yen (Yen Islet), around 15 kilometers to the north of Tuy Hoa, not far from Quy Nhon, is a sight to behold at dawn.

Dawn across Vietnam

Dawn on Du Sinh Hill, about six kilometers from downtown Da Lat, a popular town in the Central Highlands.

From the top of the hill, visitors can see the bright red sunrise covering the sky.

“With this photo series, I want to promote Vietnam’s beauty to international friends,” said Tuan.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan Elite Vietnam Photographer

By Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Huynh Phuong for E.VnExpress.net

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Dawn in Vietnam by photographer Nguyen Ngoc Tuan.

Must See In HCMC : A STREET FOOD HUB !

Good Day ! , At Ho Thi Ky Street in HCM City’s District 10, known as a paradise for street food, with over 100 stalls, visitors can find famous dishes…yes just near the biggest Saigon Flowers Market! Enjoy your day and share your experience on this blog and on Must See In Vietnam Community —> https://chat.whatsapp.com/EOHxblYFrfhEwO9cAjhImG

Bon Appétit ! Must See In Vietnam Editor

An alleyway next to HCMC’s biggest flower market has become an unusual street food hub that can satisfy cravings for more than Vietnamese street delicacies. In recent years, the alleyway has been attracting increasing numbers of food enthusiasts who zigzag their way through densely populated neighborhoods to get there.

For most people, Ho Thi Ky Street in District 10, a 15-minute drive from the downtown area, is home to a flower market that is more than a hundred years old. Many are drawn to see it at its bustling best betwe

People crowd into Ho Thi Ky street food hub in District 10, HCMC, June 2022. Photo by Hoang Phong

In recent years, the area has added one more feather to its cap – that of a haven for Saigon foodies. This has prompted local vendors to open food stalls in front of their houses, offering a wide variety of choices, from traditional Vietnamese dishes to Thai street food and South Korean-style treats.

Grilled skewers are served inside Ho Thi Ky street food hub. Photo by Hoang Phong

While the street food hub has existed for half a century, it did not carry the current variety. Locals used to call it the Cambodian market as the area is mainly inhabited by the Vietnamese-Cambodian community – people who have lived in Vietnam after fleeing the conflict there in the 70s. 

The street food alley had its profile and popularity boosted in recent years after travel bloggers and Tiktokers shared videos of their experiences here, attracting even foreigners living in or visiting the city. 

The offerings

At the right entrance leading to the alley, a stall serves banh trang nuong – a pizza of sorts with a thin rice cracker grilled over charcoal serving as the base, with toppings like eggs, dried shrimp mayonnaise and shallots.

Usually, the thin rice cracker is grilled with butter, scallions and egg before minced pork, sausage and dried shrimp are added on the top.

The dish costs VND15,000-20,000 ($0.64-0.86) a serving.

“On weekends I can sell over 200 grilled rice papers. Due to limited space, I cannot arrange tables and chairs. I can only serve takeaways,” said vendor Huong as she grilled a rice paper on a charcoal fire.

The ga nuong com lam (grilled chicken with bamboo tube-rice), beef offal, grilled octopus, chen trung nuong (grilled and fried quail eggs in porcelain plates) or grilled oyster with egg and cheese are other dishes served here for just VND10,000-50,000 ($0.42-2.12). 

Bowls of quail eggs added with toppings are grilled on a burning charcoal stove at a stall inside Ho Thi Ky street food hub in HCMC’s District 10. Photo by Huynh Nhi

Hung, who runs a stall selling snails, said he used to work as a mason but work was not regular and income insufficient to raise his two kids. So he thought of opening a snail stall in this alley. 

“Last year, as HCMC suffered its most challenging pandemic outbreak, closing business and tourism activities, my family returned home to the Mekong Delta and completely lost a source of income,” he said. 

“In the morning I work as a GrabBike driver and then help my wife to run the business from afternoon to midnight. On peak days during weekends we can earn around VND300,000-500,000 a day,” he added. 

Oc buou nhoi thit (apple snail stuffed with minced pork and wood-ear mushroom), which is steamed with lemongrass, green pepper and spicy chili, is the best-selling dish in his stall. 

A plate costs VND70,000 and is served with green vegetables and a dip of ginger fish sauce.

Oc buou nhoi thit (apple snail stuffed with minced pork and wood-ear mushroom), is steamed with lemongrass, green pepper and spicy chili. Photos by Hoang Phong

The Ho Thi Ky food hub is unusual in that it can also satisfy cravings for Thai street food.

Squid skewers and chicken feet pickle are popular Thai street foods at Ho Thi Ky market. Photos by Hoang Phong, Ha Lam

Goi du du (green papaya salad), chan ga ngam sa tac (chicken feet pickled with lemongrass and kumquat), Thai-style milk tea, Pad Thai and squid skewers are popular Thai street food that can be easily found here.

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Squid skewers and chicken feet pickle are popular Thai street foods at Ho Thi Ky market. Photos by Hoang Phong, Ha Lam

Since the alley is also home to the Vietnamese-Cambodian community, Cambodian specialties with a Vietnamese twist are a special offering. Dried fish, dried carabeef, num banh chok (Cambodian rice noodle soup), baked bananas and Cambodian sweet soup are popular dishes.

Huynh Thi Huoi, 74, came to Ho Chi Minh City with her family in the 1970s.

Her place stands out with truly Cambodian varieties like che thot not (jaggery sweet soup), che hot me (tamarind seed sweet soup), che bi do chung (pumpkin sweet soup), che trung (egg sweet soup), and che thap cam (mixed sweet soup).

VnExpress-ChoCampuchiaIMG-4201-9943-5239
Cambodian-style sweet soups are served inside Ho Thi Ky street food hub. Photos by Quynh Tran

“I love running my stall every day to serve guests with Cambodian signature dishes as a way to preserve this cultural identity,” Huoi said.

Cambodian-style sweet soups are served inside Ho Thi Ky street food hub. Photos by Quynh Tran

Hooking foreigners 

Adriana and Dylan from Sweden and Wales, founders of “2Passports 1Dream”, a YouTube Channel with 746,000 subscribers, visited Vietnam last April after the country reopened its borders. 

The couple enjoyed Vietnam’s street food at the Ho Thi Ky flower market for just $5 and shared a video of their experience that attracted over 132,000 views and 5,000 likes, promoting this alley among global audiences.

“Vietnam is known for its amazing foods, but how much food can we get at a street food market in the biggest city in Vietnam for only $5? We head to the lovely Ho Thi Ky flower market, which, at night, turns into a bustling street food market that has everything from hot freshly cooked dishes, to sweet desserts, and everything in-between,” the couple shared.

Some tour operators based in HCMC have launched street food tours for foreign tourists. The Ho Thi Ky flower market is a main destination. 

A foreign tourist strolls around Ho Thi Ky street food alley in HCMC, June 2022. Photo by Hoang Phong

It is advisable to park vehicles at the Ho Thi Ky primary school for VND5,000 to VND10,000 and walk a few steps into the market. 

Unfortunately, some stalls have no tables and chairs for customers and only offer take-aways.

Things can get quite cramped in the alley as motorbikes jostle for space with street-food diners.

However, good food and the unusual setting does not deter visitors from having a good time.

Charles from the U.K. told VnExpress International: “I had a wonderful evening with my friends at the Ho Thi Ky flower market. Great! Street food in Vietnam is really cheap and amazing.”

This Story was written by Hoang Phong for E.VnExpress.net

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AA-6908-1662555064.jpg
Oc buou nhoi thit (apple snail stuffed with minced pork and wood-ear mushroom), is steamed with lemongrass, green pepper and spicy chili. Photos by Hoang Phong

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Let me tell you this funny story that makes me believe that nothing in the world can pull me out of my roots even when I meet the American friends of a good friend of Minh (Michel)! You guessed it, we talked about the City where I was born, Mon Hue! In addition, a Vietnamese collaborator of David is from Hue and is very close in line to the last Emperor ( King ) !!! Of course we talked about Hue and places to visit. It seems from his discussions that Jeff will be there very soon! So for Jeff and you, dear readers, a little visit to the biggest market in Hue… Bon Appétit! Must See In Vietnam Editor

Minh eating a famous Hue Dishes

Known as Hue’s largest and oldest market, Dong Ba attracts globetrotting foodies with its night market, home to signature delicacies sold at extremely cheap prices. 

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Dong Ba Market on Tran Hung Dao Street in Phu Hoa Ward, along the northern bank of the Huong (Perfume) River, around 100 meters from Truong Tien Bridge, is more than 120 years old and has long been a tourist icon of Hue.

From downtown hotels, you can hire a cyclo for VND150,000 ($6.38) to explore many of Hue’s tourist attractions including Dong Ba night market, open from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., and offering the busiest nightlife in town. 

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

In addition to selling handicrafts, souvenirs, fruit and other specialties, the night market has a private space for street food with dozens of stalls and restaurants serving signature dishes like che (sweet soup), bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup), banh beo (steamed rice cake) and com hen (rice dish featuring rural ingredients like baby mussels and fresh herbs).

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

A group of visitors stroll around the food hub at Dong Ba night market. 

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Sweet soup used to be an indispensable dessert for kings and royal families during the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1954) and is now a popular street food in Hue. 

Sweet soup stalls mainly serve che hat sen (lotus seed), che nhan boc hat sen (longan stuffed with lotus seed), che khoai mon (taro sweet soup), and che bot loc heo quay made with small pieces of roasted pork with crispy skin wrapped in a layer of filter powder served with sugar water and ginger. 

A bowl of sweet soup here costs only VND10,000 ($0.42)

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Bun bo Hue at Ms. Vui’s stall costs from VND20,000-30,000 a bowl.

Bun bo Hue is a specialty of Hue, where it was invented. The broth requires both pig and beef bones to be boiled with a generous dose of lemongrass, sugar, annatto, and shrimp paste. Vendors then add various ingredients like sliced brisket, crab balls and pork pie. 

Adventurous eaters can also add cubed pig’s blood pudding for even more flavor. When served, the dish is garnished with a tangle of vegetables like lime, scallions, cilantro, banana blossoms, mint, basil, and Vietnamese coriander.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Only a portion of beef noodle soup at Ms.Vui’s stall, one of the most popular addresses to try this dish in Hue, is left.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Street grilled skewers are also part of Hue street food at Dong Ba night market. 

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Snail dishes sauteed with lemongrass and chili are also worth a try with prices ranging from VND10,000-20,000 per serving. 

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Nem lui (Hue grilled pork skewer on bamboo sticks) is a signature dish in Hue. 

The dish is made of ground pork grilled on a lemongrass skewer or bamboo stick. Other ingredients often include black pepper, pork skin, garlic, shallots, and fish sauce. The meat combination is rolled into a sausage shape around a bamboo stick, then brushed with oil and grilled on a coal stove until slightly charred.

Nem lui is always served with rice paper, vegetables and fresh herbs accompanied by a sweet and sour peanut-sesame sauce. 

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

A stall serves gilled skewers.

“If you are a first-time visitor to enjoy Hue cuisine here, you should tell the seller to make it less spicy because most Hue people are used to eating spicy food,” said Long, a tourist.

By vin Long, Huynh Phuong for E.VnExpress.net

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Group picture with ‘Uncle Hello’ our lovely Hue Tour Guide, after the market visit !

Vietnam Wonders : The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Vietnam’s cities may be full of history, one-of-a-kind architecture, and savory food worth traveling for, but the magic doesn’t stop there. Just a short ride outside of your favorite Vietnamese city is a breathtaking natural wonder waiting to be explored. So power up with a bowl of pho and get adventuring! Must See In Vietnam Editor

Your Editor in 2011

During this time in Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province, harvest season emerges with warm peacefulness and breathtaking scenery. 

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Autumn is the beginning of harvest season in Bat Xat District, about 80 km north Sapa town. This is also the most beautiful season of the year in the northern highlands, with terraced fields tinted gold.

Bat Xat District has over 3,000 hectares of terraced rice fields, with those in communes like Ngai Thau and Y Ty considered the most stunning creations of the ethnic Hmong and Hani farmers.

In Ngai Thau, visitors can experience the vast terraced fields on the precarious mountainsides and distant valleys. On cloudy days, the scenery here turns even more magical.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

The terraced fields in Y Ty are covered in clouds, creating a picturesque scene.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Across the terraces stand signature Hani homes. This particular house is made of clay, cool in summer and warm in winter.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Harvest season at the foot of Ky Quan San Mountain creates an overwhelmingly marvelous scene. The Ky Quan San mountain range is located on the border of Lai Chau and Lao Cai, with the 3,046-meter high Ky Quan San peak the fourth highest in Vietnam.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

This year, rice fields in Lao Cai turn gold early and unevenly. In Muong Hum commune of Bat Xat, the harvest has already commenced.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

A Hani girl carries her sister beside a fire in Choan Then, one of the oldest villages in Bat Xat.

Photo taken by your Editor in 2011 … very few tourists were used to travel there
The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Another highlight of Bat Xat in harvest season is the highland commune Sang Ma Sao. In the Hmong language, Sang Ma Sao refers to the Mao Ga (chicken comb) mountain range, which is also the name of the Hmong village located at its foot.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Farming has turned this place into a valley of winding terraced fields, surrounded by majestic mountains. The vast valley covered in yellow hues create an endless beauty.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

Harvest season flows through the valleys, brightening up a whole corner of the sky. However, this glorious scene does not last long, usually only two to three weeks. Visitors who want to enjoy the wonderful views need to time their trip right. Harvest season comes early and is expected to end in mid-September.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

The warm and rich beauty emerges through every grain of rice. This place is more beautiful in the morning when dew drops still hang from the leaves. If lucky, tourists will be able to see the clouds between the terraced fields, which many compare to a paradise.

The beauty of harvest season near Sapa

To get to Sang Ma Sao, visitors can start from Sa Pa, about 60 kilometers away. The journey to Sang Ma Sao is also a memorable experience because visitors can stop to take photos at any time as they can easily spot the rice terraces along the way.

Photos by Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Nguyen Duy Hoang for E.VnExpress.net

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Must See In Vietnam is looking for stories from the Vietnam Expat Community. We would be delighted to publish your Experiences . Write to us at MustSeeInVietnam@Gmail.com

Million of Thanks for following us, for your Likes , Loves, for your comments and for sharing with your friends. Visit us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mustseeinvietnam/

We Welcome advertisers as Must See In Vietnam is a non-profit blogger and your support will will allow us to pursue our mission and even to hire young journalists to allow SME Vietnamese Businesses to have visibility all over the world!

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Photo taken by your Editor in 2011

Visit MiKi Chef post @ https://wwwMiKiChefVietnam.com to see the local food in Sapa

Travel & Must See in Vietnam : Ha Giang

I love to travel, and that’s because I love discovering… the wonders of Vietnam, the people and their cuisines. I am writing this article this morning as Editor of Must See In Vietnam and MiKi Chef, a chemist who has traveled through Vietnam and who is concocting my own meals for you today… MiKi Chef & Must See In Vietnam Editor ❤️

Ha Giang is just 300 kilometers from Hanoi, but the life that unfolds in the province is a world apart from most other places, given its topography and ethnic diversity.

This photo is a courtesy of Must See In Vietnam Editor

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Between September and November is the most ideal time to visit Ha Giang with dry climate and cool weather with average temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius.

From the end of September to early October marks the ripening of its terraced rice fields, which are a spellbinding sight.

Buckwheat flowers blooming in November is another unique sight in the northern highlands province. 

WHAT TO EXPLORE

Nestled in the middle of a valley, the Dong Van Old Quarter, also called Dong Van Old Town, is a unique gem in Vietnam’s final frontier that is surrounded by high rocky mountains and limestone formations.

This photo is a courtesy of Must See In Vietnam Editor

The old town was formed in the early 20th century with a few Hmong, Tay and Chinese families settling down here.

Now, the town has 40 two-storied houses with a touch of Chinese architecture such as yin-yang tiled roofs, yellow walls and red lanterns hung on the gables.

The downtown area of Dong Van Old Town in Ha Giang. Photo by Duong Nam

Since 2006, the town has attracted tourists by organizing a lantern festival on the 14th, 15th and 16th days of each lunar month, around the full moon time. All the local families hang red lanterns, display their special product – ethnic brocade – and sell their traditional food in an effort to boost tourism, somewhat similar to what the more famous Hoi An ancient town has been doing.

Dong Van old town attracts tourists with colorful lanterns. Photos courtesy of Du Lich Today

A cup of coffee at the Pho Co Café, one of the few places that have retained its Chinese-Vietnamese architecture, is a highly recommended experience.

This photo is a courtesy of Must See In Vietnam Editor

Another cultural-commercial highlight of the town is its flea market, held every Sunday morning. It is a place to shop for local products made by ethnic minorities such as the Mong, Dao, Giay, and Tay and a place for young women to hang out with friends in their colorful traditional costumes, shopping and having fun.

Located in Sa Phin Valley of Dong Van District, the Hmong King’s Palace, the seat of the H’mong kings Vuong Chi Thanh and Vuong Chinh Duc, who ruled over the region during the French colonial era up until Vietnam regained independence in 1945, takes visitors to another age.

Visitors pose for photos inside Hmong King’s Palace in Ha Giang. Photo by Ngoc Thanh

The palace consists of six two-storied houses with a total of 64 rooms, all connected to each other. The architecture features the Qing Dynasty style, with green pebbles, pine woods and terra-cotta tiles as the main building materials.

Admission fees cost VND20,000 per person.

Leaving Dong Van Town, a 25-kilometer road through steep paths and rugged mountains leads to the Lung Cu Flag Tower, which proclaims the nation’s territory and sovereignty, and is mark of pride for all Vietnamese citizens.

Lung Cu Flag Tower in Ha Giang proclaims the nation’s territory and sovereignty. Photo courtesy of Vietravel

Built at the summit of Rong Mountain at the height of 1,700 meters above sea level, the octagonal monument is 33 meters tall and on top of the tower flies a 54-square-meter flag that represents 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam.

Visitors have to climb 389 stone steps and another 140 steps on a spiral iron staircase to get to the tower. A panoramic view of Ha Giang awaits those who reach the summit.

The Ma Pi Leng Pass is often described as one of the four most dangerous passes in Vietnam. Soaring over the pass is a mountain 2,000 meters high that is hugged tight by the Hanh Phuc (Happiness) Road connecting Ha Giang Town with the districts of Dong Van and Meo Vac.

Ma Pi Leng Pass in Ha Giang is often described as one of the most dangerous passes in Vietnam. Photo by Hachi8

The road was completed in 1965 after 11 years of construction mostly by workers belonging to the Hmong ethnic group.

Negotiating the pass is a tough task even for the most seasoned travelers and some foreign tourists have died driving off the pass.

“Ma Pi Leng pass is such a wonder of the world which lies right on the border of Vietnam and China. The pass offers breathtaking landscapes and exotic walking trails along the mount. Love this!” said Victor from Denmark.

“This might be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. A bit dangerous, I suggest you pay for a service with a driver,” Zupanc Nina wrote on Tripadvisor.

Currently, some tour operators also offer one-day tours for inexperienced tourists to navigate Ma Pi Leng Pass. Experienced tour guides will take them through the rugged curves and steep cliffs.

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Tourists conquer Ma Pi Leng Pass through rugged curves and steep cliffs. Photos by Hachi8

A boat trip on the Nho Que River’s turquoise waters at the foot of Ma Pi Leng Pass is another highly recommended travel experience.

Hire a motorbike taxi (xe om) to reach the pier and pay VND100,000 per person for a 30-minute boat trip.

Nho Que River at the foot of Ma Pi Leng Pass is seen from above. Photo by Giang Huy

Visitors can also request special photo stops along their way down Tu San, known as one of Southeast Asia’s deepest canyons.

There are 23 tourist boats that transport thousands of visitors who come to admire this majestic wonder every year.

Visitors can rent kayak along the Nho Que River. Photo courtesy of ultradx4

“Before the Covid-19 outbreak, this place was crowded with tourists during weekends and holidays. Now we only get tourists traveling in groups to ensure safety,” said boatman Trieu Chuong.

Along both sides of the river are rice fields planted by the Giay people.

Pho Tro, a small village on the outskirts of Pho Bang Town in Dong Van District, is characterized by traditional ‘trinh tuong’ houses with yin-yang tiled roofs.

As part of a rural renovation program, local authorities have improved infrastructure to develop tourism here. The village now has spacious headquarters and an elementary school. Cemented pathways provide easy access to every house. Households have received subsidies under the program to build bathrooms and indoor toilets.

Pho Tro Village in Ha Giang. Photo by Nguyen Chi Nam

As noted earlier, visiting Ha Giang from September until November is an opportunity to visit Hoang Su Phi District, famous for 3,000 hectares of terraced rice fields that form wavy, mesmerising golden yellow carpets.

There aren’t many places to stay in Hoang Su Phi, but homestays are available in villages or motels in Vinh Quang Town for VND250,000 to 550,000 ($10.68 to 23.50) a night.

It gets cold at nights and early in the morning, so taking a jacket along is a good idea when visiting Hoang Su Phi. Extra care has to be taken when driving on the road from Ha Giang Town to Hoang Su Phi because it’s narrow, winding and crowded with trucks.

Yellow rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi District during the harvest season. Photo by Xuan Hy

WHERE TO STAY

Built atop a mountain in Yen Dinh Commune in Bac Me District, the P’apiu Resort is particularly favored by well-to-do couples who wish to enjoy a peaceful, secluded atmosphere and green landscapes.

The resort is also unique in that all its staff are local ethnic minority residents. Room prices start from VND9.8 million a night.

The Hmong Village resort in Quang Ba District, around 50 kilometers northeast of Ha Giang Town, has 25 bungalows surrounded by green trees and picturesque natural scenery.

Bungalows designed in the shape of rattan baskets that Hmong women sling on their backs to carry rice and other things are a distinctive feature of the resort.

It also has a community guesthouse that can accommodate up to 40 people at VND400,000 a night. A night’s stay in the bungalows costs from VND2.4 million ($105.31).

P’apiu Resort and Hmong Village Resort. Photo courtesy of the resorts

To gaze up on the rice terraced fields during the golden season from their windows, the Hoang Su Phi Lodge and Kinh Homestay in Nam Hong Village are ideal options.

Hoang Su Phi Lodge offers views of rice terraced fields in Ha Giang. Photo courtesy of the lodge

Dong Van and Meo Vac districts offer budget-friendly homestays with prices ranging from VND100,000-230,000 per night.

WHAT TO EAT

Given the diversity of ethnic minority communities who live in Ha Giang, a culinary exploration of the province is a rewarding exercise.

Cheers ! This photo is a courtesy of Must See In Vietnam Editor

The xoi ngu sac (five-colored sticky rice) – red, yellow, blue, purple and white – is made by using fruits, roots and leaves of plants. Glutinous rice is soaked in water for 6-8 hours and divided into five parts. Apart from the original white color, the other parts are dyed with a natural food coloring agent and steamed until tender.

Five-colored sticky rice can easily be found at weekly flea market in Dong Van Town. Photo courtesy of PSY Travel

The dish can be found at the weekly flea market in Dong Van Town.

From mid-October onwards, the Ha Giang rock plateau blooms with buckwheat flowers, a season which has already made the place a major tourist attraction. Residents use these flowers to make a signature dish – triangle buckwheat cake – that is difficult to find elsewhere.

The buckwheat seeds are harvested, dried and crushed into fine powder. The power is mixed with water to make flat round cakes that are then steamed for about 10 minutes. The cakes bought at the markets can be taken home as a special gift.

Triangle buckwheat cake is considered a specialty of Ha Giang. Photo courtesy of PSY Travel

Tourists can buy this cake from street food vendors or food stalls in the Dong Van flea market.

Thang den is another signature dish made with glutinous rice flour in Ha Giang. It looks like banh troi, the cake with a sweet filling that is popular in Hanoi.

The thang den is made by mixing glutinous rice flour with sugar, shaped into balls and steamed. They are served with a syrup made with sweetened coconut milk and ginger. A bowl of thang den is topped with peanuts and/or black sesame seeds.

A bowl of thang den topped with peanuts and/or black sesame seeds. Photo by Ngoc Thanh

Though the steamed rice roll, banh cuon, is a popular dish in the north of the country, the version in Ha Giang is quite different. It is filled with pork/egg and mushroom, topped with dried shallots and served with a bowl of delicious bone broth flavored with fresh coriander, chopped scallions and Vietnamese pork sausage.

In Ha Giang’s chilly mornings, a bowl of hot broth with banh cuon makes for a great breakfast.

Banh cuon served with a bowl of hot broth is a popular breakfast in Ha Giang. Photo by Ngoc Thanh

The most popular restaurants to try this dish are: Ms.Ha’s stall at 31 Dong Van Town; and Ms. Cuc’s stall opposite to Ha Giang Town’s social security center.

A special porridge favored by the Hmong people in Ha Giang is made of the root of the monkshood aconite plant, known as au tau, which grows on Ha Giang’s highest mountain peak, Tay Con Linh.

The process of cooking the porridge is very time-consuming, because the roots can be poisonous without being processed and cooked in the right manner.

After harvest, the roots are soaked in water for a night and then simmered on a fire for about four hours. They can then be turned into dough and mixed with glutinous rice and pork trotters.

The porridge is only sold at night and is served with fried minced pork, pepper, herbs and sour bamboo shoots.

Bowls of hot porridge cooked from the root of the monkshood aconite plant, known as au tau, is a signature dish in Ha Giang. Photo by Ngoc Thanh 

You can find this treat at Ngan Ha Restaurant at 161 Tran Hung Dao Street.

The black chicken hotpot is a not-to-be-missed dish on a cold day in Ha Giang. It is normally had with cabbage, peas and other vegetables that make the hotpot sweeter.

Unlike ga ac, a kind of black chicken in the Mekong Delta, the Hmong variety is a rare breed found in the northwestern mountainous provinces of Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Bac Kan. It is a favorite of the Hmong people, who believe that it helps enhance human vitality, including libido, and is good medicine for heart disease.

A serrving of black chicken hotpot at a restaurant in Ha Giang. Photo by Ngoc Thanh

The hotpot is served at Oanh Hieu Restaurant in Dong Van Town and at Phan’s Restaurant on Hai Ba Trung Street.

HOW TO GET THERE

Ha Giang Town is 300 kilometers from Hanoi and the most popular method of transportation is by overnight sleeper bus, for which tickets can be booked/bought at the My Dinh Bus Station. The journey of around six hours to reach Ha Giang Town costs VND200,000-350,000 ($8.54-15) per person.

On arrival, hiring a motorbike for VND150,000 a day is probably the best way to explore the undulating paths that embrace the province’s mountainous terrain.

With one’s own motorbike, take National Route 2 to Vinh Yen Town, turn into National Route 2C past Tuyen Quang and Viet Quang towns to reach Ha Giang. This is the easier route, though slightly longer.

Children smile with flowers on their back rattan baskets in Ha Giang Province. Photo by Pham Xuan Quy

Story by Hoang Phong for E.VnExpress.net

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World Travel Awards: 10 Vietnam hotels ⭐️

There are so many beautiful things to discover in Vietnam that we forget those who highlight these wonders. I am of course talking about all the builders who host you, whether you are local or foreign. These ten hotels stand out … and deserve to be known! Don’t forget the others! Write to us, we want to know your experiences and view your photos, your videos, read you and of course publish you! Must See In Vietnam Editor

Nestled on secluded peninsulas and islands not far from popular tourist spots, 10 Vietnamese hotels and resorts have won top honors in different categories at this year’s World Travel Awards. 

Amanoi Ninh Thuan in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan was crowned “Asia’s leading boutique beach resort.”

Nestled inside Nui Chua National Park, recognized as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the resort has 36 villas overlooking Vinh Hy Bay. Its most luxurious villa costs $8,000 a night, while the cheapest starts at $1,150.

Each is designed in contemporary style in combination with Vietnamese architecture and has two to five bedrooms, a living room, private swimming pool, and an outdoor dining room.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Hotel de la Coupole – MGallery in the northern highlands resort Sa Pa won “Asia’s leading design hotel” category. 

Its design takes inspiration from the 1920-1930 period in France.

The hotel has 249 rooms and suites that allow tourists to enjoy breathtaking views of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range and rice terraces.

From the hotel, guests will be ferried to the Muong Hoa cable car station from where they can make a seven-minute trip to the Fansipan cable car station, enjoying the beauty of the Hoang Lien Son range with its rolling forests and valleys from a great height.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Hoi An Memories Resort & Spa was named “Asia’s leading entertainment resort.”

Located on Hen Islet in the ancient town of Hoi An, the resort has 102 rooms with yellow walls and red-titled roofs. 

While staying at the resort, visitors can watch the “Hoi An Memories” live-action show that recreates the 400-year history of Hoi An from its early days as a small village to its golden era of global integration.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

The Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino was awarded the tile of “Asia’s leading fully integrated resort.”

Around a 2.5-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, the resort in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has over 540 rooms overlooking Ho Tram beach with turquoise waters. 

It has over 15 restaurants and bars, eight swimming pools, two spas, a golf course and a casino with 90 live-gaming tables and more than 500 electronic gaming machines.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Six Senses Con Dao, the only five-star beach resort in the Con Dao archipelago, was named “Asia’s leading honeymoon resort.”

Spread over 12 hectares along Dat Doc Beach off the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, it has 50 beach villas, built mainly with natural materials and each with a private swimming pool.

Guests can kayak, dive to explore coral reefs, release turtles into the sea, and trek through pristine forests inside the national park.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Ville De Mont Mountain Resort in Sa Pa Town was named “Asia’s leading lifestyle resort.”

Standing 1,500 meters above sea level with a year-round cool climate, the resort is home to 39 villas overlooking Muong Hoa Valley and Ham Rong Mountain.

All villas here are built from stone, indigenous wood in combination with handmade ethnic brocades. 

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Located along Khem Beach on Phu Quoc Island, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emeralda Resort & Spa was voted “Asia’s leading luxury wedding resort.”

It was designed by architect Bill Bensley, with the concept of a fictional Lamarck University that was abandoned and then restored.

There are 234 rooms, suites, apartments and villas with private swimming pools.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Capella Hanoi was crowned “Asia’s leading luxury boutique hotel.”

Located on Le Phung Hieu Street in the capital’s Old Quarter, the resort opened last year with inspiration from Hanoi Opera House, a symbol of past extravagance.

It has 47 rooms and suites, each individually styled with operatic artifacts and custom portraiture that pay tribute to legendary opera artists, composers, designers, and performances.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay was named “Asia’s most romantic resort.”

Located on Ninh Van Bay in the south central province of Khanh Hoa, the resort consists of 62 villas covering an area of lush greenery. 

All villas facing the sea have a private swimming pool, garden or sun terrace.

The only way to access the resort is by boat, which takes around 20 minutes.

10 Vietnam hotels, resorts bag prizes at World Travel Awards

Regent Phu Quoc, which opened in April this year, claimed “Asia’s leading new resort” title.

Situated next to a UNESCO-recognized world biosphere reserve off the southern island of Phu Quoc, the resort has 302 suites and villas.

Its six restaurants and bars serve Japanese and French cuisine in addition to traditional Vietnamese food.

Article written By Hoang Phong for E.VnExpress.net

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TRAVEL GUIDE : Must SEE In Vietnam : Ly Son

For first-timer visitors of Vietnam or even for local residents, Ly Son island, the “Kingdom of garlic and volcanoes”, sound completely off the radar. In recent years, this area has become one of the favorite weekend jaunt for younger Vietnamese who satisfy their wanderlust with the beauty of unspoiled wilderness, untouched coastline and the charm of small towns instead of commercially fancy tourism. You will see some of my memorable photos during this short weekend … Must See In Vietnam Editor

Ly Son is the vestige of volcano eruptions millions of years ago. The island boasts volcanic craters, pagodas in caves, cultivates garlic and is home to the Hoang Sa Flotilla.

The flotilla is immortalized in the nation’s history for having protected the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos four centuries ago.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The dry season in Ly Son lasts from March to August while the rainy season starts in September and goes on till February.

For water-based fun including swimming, scuba-diving and snorkeling, June to September would be a perfect time to visit Ly Son Island. It is hot, sunny and humid in these months.

Between December and February, the weather is mild, warm and pleasant, which is suitable for cultivating garlic, a specialty that has given the island a brand identity and the islanders a stable income.

Ly Son is a garlic paradise … photo courtesy of Must See In Vietnam

WHAT TO EXPLORE

Ly Son is formed by five mountains, four of which are dormant volcanic craters. Broadly, it is a combination of three islands including Dao Lon (Big Island or Ly Son Island), Dao Be (Small Island, as the An Binh Islet is called) and the Mu Cu Islet.

On Ly Son Island, the Thoi Loi Mountain is a good place to start. It rises from one of five dormant bowl-shaped craters formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

It is the highest mountain on Ly Son Island at 169 meters above sea level. The road leading to the mountain zigzags its way up, offering a little adventure on its own, enjoyed from the comfort of electric cars, which are the most popular means of transportation to get there.

On the top of the mountain is a 20-meter-high national flag pole that looks out to Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands.

A Garlic Farm … photo Courtesy of Must See In Vietnam

The ordinance of Ly Son is written on the main side of the pole and the stand is painted red to match the color of the flag and a marker of Vietnam’s maritime sovereignty.

Atop the peak is a fresh water lake that is the sole supply source for the island’s residents. It holds about 30,000 cubic meters of water.

The entire Ly Son Island with garlic fields is seen from Thoi Loi mountain peak. Photo by Hachi8

At the foot of the Thoi Loi Mountain is the Hang (Cave) Pagoda.

Formed by a dormant volcano, the 3.2-meter-high rocky cave is 24 meters deep and has an area of 480 square meters.

According to writing engraved on stones in the pagoda, an official named Tran Cong Thanh was sent to guard Ly Son Island during the reign of King Le Kinh Tong (1588-1619). Here, he discovered the Hang Pagoda. After a century, his descendants embellished and expanded the pagoda to what it is today.

Pilgrims walk through stairs leading to the Hang Pagoda. Photo by Thanh Nguyen

The cave has an altar with statues of the Buddha – the Amitabha Buddha, Buddha Tathagata and Maitreya Buddha.

The Hang Pagoda has a large yard with a lotus lake in the center and a statue of the Goddess of Mercy looking out to the sea.

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Inside and outside the Hang Pagoda. Photos by Thanh Nguyen

Around the yard are old tropical almond trees. In front of the pagoda is a well called “Heaven’s Well.” Some people believe sipping water dripping from the stalactites will refresh and rejuvenate their body and soul.

The To Vo Gate, a small gate-shaped cliff near the sea, has one of the world’s most unique geographical features formed by remnants of volcanic activity millions of years ago when lava encountered the sea and hardened to create a unique arch.

A group of tourists pose for photos above To Vo Gate in Ly Son Island. Photo by My Le

From To Vo Gate, a 200-meter walk through a cemetery leads to the Duc Pagodaon Gieng Tien Mountain.

After climbing more than 100 steps along the mountainside to enter the pagoda, pilgrims offer prayers to the 27-meter-tall Guanyin statue facing the ocean. Local fishermen believe that the Goddess protects them from dangers at sea. They burn incense here and pray for peace before going out to sea.

Duc Pagoda lies at the foot of Gieng Tieng Mountain, a dormant volcanoe, on Ly Son Island. Photo by Bui Thanh Trung

Behind the pagoda are small caves with Buddhist statues.

Unlike the Thoi Loi Mountain that has only rocks, the Gieng Tien Mountain, a dormant volcanoe, has especially fertile soil, similar to the Bazan soil in the Central Highlands.

This beach is awesome! Photo courtesy of Must See in Vietnam

Locals use this soil and sand to fertilize their garlic fields. It is credited for giving the garlic grown in Ly Son a special flavor not found in other places.

Growing garlic and onions has become a main source of income for many Ly Son islanders.

Leaving the Big Island, boats or canoes can be hired to get to the An Binh (Small) Islet, which hosts pristine beaches and coral diving sites.

An Binh Islet has an area of less than a square kilometer and is sparsely populated. Less than 100 families live on fishing and garlic cultivation.

Visitors get off their boats to reach An Binh Islet that is around a 15-minute boat ride from Ly Son. Photo by Thanh Nguyen

Previously, the islet was only reachable by hiring fishermen to take visitors on small boats from Big Island. Today, visitors can easily rent boats or canoes and get to the island in just 15 minutes. Boat trips usually depart at 8 a.m. and return to the Big Island at 2:30 p.m. daily with prices ranging from VND50,000 to VND60,000 ($2.13-2.56) per person.

On the Small Islet, the Cave Beach is famous for its turquoise waters and ideal conditions for coral diving and snorkeling.

Corale boats lie along a beach on An Binh Islet in Ly Son Island. Photo by Giang Huy

Coracle paddling and diving are popular activities among visitors. Rides cost VND60,000 per person for a group of three or four, including rent for life jackets and goggles.

Coracle paddling tour is a popular experience on An Binh Islet. Photo by Giang Huy

Over the past three years, residents on the island have started augmenting their earnings with tourism-related services, including homestays and other lodgings set in scenic beauty.

Dao-Be-7-1568728477-1-1974-1662002600.jp
Residents on An Binh Islet improve their earnings thanks to homestay and other tourism-relate services. Photos by Thanh Nguyen

Another place of interest here is a small temple that worships Lord Nam Hai, or whales, who are believed to help fishermen avoid danger at sea.

Unique events

A festival for commemorating Hoang Sa Soldiers is the biggest cultural and spiritual event on Ly Son Island. It has been recognized as national intangible cultural heritage.

The traditional ceremony, which has been performed for hundreds of years, pays tribute to sailor-soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country, and establishes Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

During this festival, people clean up the graves of Paracel soldiers.

The Tu Linh (Four Holy Beasts) boat race festival, held from the fourth to the eighth day of the first lunar month, is another long-standing tradition in Ly Son.

The festival was first held in 1826, according to Ly Son residents, who add that it pays homage to the island’s ancestral inhabitants and soldiers who fought to protect Vietnam’s national sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.

Boats compete in the Tu Linh (Four Holy Beasts) festival on Ly Son Island during the Lunar New Year 2022. Photo by Quang Sung

Eight boats participating in the race are decorated following the images of four holy beasts: long (dragon), lan (unicorn), quy (turtle) and phung (phoenix). Before the festival opens, teams typically pay tribute to their specific deities. The winning team will enjoy the most peace and prosperity during the year, it is believed.

WHERE TO STAY

Given the tourism boost of recent years, the island now has motels, hotels and homestays with rooms costing VND200,000 – 400,000 per night.

Bep’s House homestay, Athena Camping Ly Son, Cao Canh homestay or DHT Hang Cau guesthouse are popular establishments.

For luxury accommodation, Ly Son Pearl Hotel & Resort with great beach views is a good choice.

Ly Son Pearl Hotel & Resort. Photo courtesy of the hotel

Normally, visitors tend to stay for one night on An Binh Islet, too. Some of the suggested homestays are the BeEcolodge Homestay, Ly Son Bungalow or the XaLaBin, which has rooms with views of the sea.

BeEcolodge Homestay on An Binh Islet with eco-friendly materials. Photo courtesy of the homestay

WHAT TO EAT

A lot of choices for Must See In Vietnam Editor

Known to many as the Garlic Island, Ly Son has unsurprisingly used the spice in several signature dishes.

Photo courtesy of Must See In Vietnam

The Ly Son garlic salad is made with garlic, basil, sugar, fish sauce, green onion, morning glory, roasted peanuts and a little peanut oil. The salad is had with rice crackers.

A plate of garlic salad. Photo courtesy of Ly Son Sea Tour

Photo courtesy of Must See In Vietnam

Another signature dish in Ly Son is seaweed salad, which also uses basil, garlic, lemon and other seasonings.

Seaweed salad is a signature dish on Ly Son Island. Photo courtesy of Ly Son Sea Tour

These salads can be found at the Ly Son night market or several seafood restaurants elsewhere on the 10-square-kilometer island.

Fried fish ball is another recommended specialty. The islanders do not mix different kinds of fish as is done elsewhere. The only fish they use is fresh redtail fusilier, which is caught off the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos. The fish is seasoned with Ly Son garlic, spices, and pepper before frying.

On the beach … Fresh Fish & Sea Food grilled … a Must Try !

This dish is also served at the Ly Son night market and food stalls around the island.

A fish cake noodle soup has become a popular breakfast on the island. Unlike other coastal tourist destinations like Nha Trang, Quy Nhon or Phu Yen, Ly Son’s noodle soup is made with the bright red grouper fish.

A bowl of fish cake noodle soup on Ly Son Island. Photo courtesy of Ly Son Sea Tour

Eateries run by Ms. Phuong Chau and Ms. Bich Vien are popular places to try the dish.

At most places on the island including the night market, its signature dishes and other seafood preparations including hotpots can be enjoyed with cold beer.

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Grilled urchins, snails and squid are served in Ly Son. Photos by Che Van Hien

HOW TO GET THERE

After taking a flights from Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh City to the Chu Lai Airport in Quang Nam Province, a taxi or bus takes visitors to the Sa Ky Port, 42 kilometers away. From Da Nang City, a two-way train trip to Quang Ngai costs VND180,000 ($7.67) person. A taxi ride is another option.

Ly Son Island can only be reached by boat from Sa Ky Port. There are three round trips by speedboat each day for VND300,000 to VND350,000, taking around half an hour. An ID, driving license or passport is required when purchasing tickets.

On the island, a motorbike can be rented from locals for VND120,000 per day.

Ly Son is famous for its pristine beaches with blue waters. Photo by Shutterstock

Story by Lan Huong, Hoang Phong for E.VNExpress.net

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Vietnam Architecture : Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling in a bucolic environnement

Once a week, Must See In Vietnam shows you some of the most inspiring residential architecture, interior design, landscaping, urbanism from creative Vietnamese Architects. Enjoy your reading … Must See In Vietnam Editor

Instead of the typical tile roof, a house in southern Ben Tre Province features four different rooms under four concrete barrel vault ceilings. 

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The 430-square-meter house enjoys a cool and pleasant climate, surrounded by coconut trees and situated next to Ben Tre’s Ba Lai River.

The owner wished to construct an open-plan house with relaxing river views. 

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The architect team used a barrel vault design to enhance the overall aesthetic and help the home stand out. 

To ensure all rooms have a river view, most of the ground floor is empty; the space is separated from the second floor by a three meter high wall. This height allows the view to remain unobstructed by the nipa trees in front, while also making the function rooms feel more spacious. 

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The ground floor’s vacant space is used as a common living space, accommodating family meetings as needed. However, three sides of the ground floor are planted with trees, ensuring privacy. 

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The house boasts four bamboo-lined concrete vaults of varying sizes. The small arch is 2.3 meters high, while the large arch is 3.3 meters high. The vaults are arranged adjacent to each other, making the space more opulent and unique.

The barrel vault ceiling is heat resistant, allowing inhabitants to enjoy cooler airflow. The bamboo cork pattern is maintained on the concrete surface to add a rustic, simple, and environmentally friendly feel to the home. 

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The second floor is divided into three bedrooms and one common room at the center. 

The rooms have large sliding glass doors that allow for good ventilation and full access to natural light. The arched shape ceiling also makes the room appear larger. 

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The highest dome is in the living room space on the second floor, where glass is installed from top to bottom to form a transparent wall that connects the inside and outside of the house. 

The common living space, which includes the kitchen, dining room, and living room, is regarded as the heart of the home.

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The architect used the gray of concrete as the main color inside the house, evoking a rustic, simple appeal and a quiet, peaceful space.

Southern home stands out with arched shape ceiling

The interior is designed in a minimalistic style with wood as the main material. All rooms have a front view of Ba Lai River, erasing the boundaries between home and habitat.

The house was completed after 1.5 years of construction. The owner didn’t disclose the price.

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