With its green, rolling hills, misty lakes and fragrant pine forests, Da Lat is the most romantic destination in Vietnam travel.
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Quan Lan Island located in Quang Ninh Province’s Van Don Island District is endowed with many favourable conditions, such as forests, sea, historical architectural works, cultural characteristics, etc. The island still retains its primitive beauty that attracts both domestic and foreign tourists who like discovering the deserted areas.
Imprints of a trade port in the past
After three hours cruising on the Bai Tu Long Bay from Van Don Port, we saw Quan Lan Island with its white sand banks appearing on the sea in the curtain of mist. When the ship landed, we were very excited and eager for the island adventure and we were guided by enthusiastic locals on the island.
Quan Lan was the first trading port of Vietnam built by the Ly Dynasty (11th century). Many vestiges of the ancient port together with relics of foundations of ancient architectures, such as water wells and a layer of broken ceramic and porcelain pieces, some metres thick, found at Cai Nang Wharf confirm the fact that the port was once very animated and prosperous.
It is the place where the locals annually hold the offerings ceremony to King Ly Anh Tong (1138-1175) and the boat-rowing festival in May and June according to the lunar calendar.
We visited Quan Lan Communal House to see with our eyes the delicate art of carving with various designs. The images of dragons are carved lively with different shapes, such as the dragon flanking a moon, a dragon keeping the “Tho” (longevity) script in its mouth, a dragon rolling water, a daisy turning into dragon, etc. Also, images of silk moths and shrimp in the dynasties of Ly, Tran, Le and Nguyen are also skilfully depicted because the trade of growing mulberry and raising silkworm and seafood catching once strongly developed in the area for Vietnam tourism.
Another special feature of the communal house is that it was built with Man lai wood. The plant only grows on rocky Ba Mun Island near the Cai Lang trading port. Over the past hundreds of years, the communal house’s pillars remain intact and free of worm and termite infestation.
Primitive beauty of beaches
Once visiting Quan Lan Island , tourists can not help participating in sea tours and sporting activities on the sea and discovering the traditional cultural features of the locals. To get there, tourists will pass over endless white sand beaches in Van Hai area that have been famous since the 1950s and now are the material source for the national glass and crystal industry.
It is not wrong when many people said that Quan Lan is like a princess who is waiting for a kiss from a prince to wake up. The area boasts two beautiful natural beaches, including 3km-long Son Hao and 2km-long Van Hai, which are most attractive to tourists. The beaches here slope gently to the sea with soft white sand and vast poplar forests.
At sunset, Quan Lan became deserted and there were only some tourists on three-wheel taxis returning to their hotels on the only small road on the island and a few motorbikes passing by. When night falls, the scene is very romantic with the whistles of the poplar forests, calls of seabirds, soft and low whisperings of waves flapping on the seashore. From a far, the light from ships on the sea to catch cuttlefish reflects on the sea, creating a dreamlike landscape.
Ti Top beach seen from the above looks like the moon embracing the island foot. Though small it might be, the beach is pretty pure with airy emerald water all year round. The breathtakingly beautiful landscape of the cloud, sky and water create the kudos for Ti Top beach, which donates its most peacefulness and astonishing scene to fans of nature and seas.
Ti Top beach is 14 kilometers far from Bai Chay, 1 kilometer far from Bo Nau Cave, on the East of Halong Bay. It is a sheer-sided mountain and tilted towards a snowy flat sand. Travel tours often choose this place of interest as a stop for their tourists, where they can contemplate occasional junks or fishing boats pottering scenically into view. It is the honor of one special location to record the visit of Ho President and Ghermann Titov astronaut in 1962. The name Ti Top has been available since then.
The Ti Top beach has many tourism services meeting the demand of guests all over the world, who desire to fulfill their lifelong ambition to visit the alluring natural gift. The freshwater is transported from the inland to by the Bay Management Board and therefore being safe and supplementing the tourists’ needs. Swimming suits, buoys and freshwater bathing, water motors and parachutes are all available here. It is the correct decision to select Ti Top beach as a destination in Ha Long Bay.
Visitors to the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre now have the chance to enjoy its famous fruit, traditional craft products and folk culture.
They can travel in a small along the rivers or canals in the shade of coconut trees and stop on the way to relax in fruit orchards and coconut gardens.
Ben Tre is located in the lowest part of the Mekong River basin, some 85km south of Ho Chi Minh City. It has three main islands wedged between the Tien Giang River to the north and the Co Chien River to the south, with the Ham Luong River running straight down the middle. All of these rivers are offshoots of the Mekong as it splits out into many fingers before flowing into the South Asian Sea.
The province is famous for its rice and fruit cultivation, but its traditional life has changed little over time, with tourists wandering through the markets, sipping coffee, taking boat trips and visiting local museums.
Coconut palms have become the symbol of Ben Tre since land was first reclaimed in the southern part of the country. During the war, coconuts were used to make coconut oil, which served as a viable substitute for kerosene. The province now has nearly 36,000 hectares of coconut plantations that have survived through protracted wars and remain dear to the hearts of local people.
There was a time when many people in Ben Tre felled coconut trees for some economic reasons, but now they have replanted them, producing around 242 million coconuts each year.
Many handicrafts are made from coconut materials including sandals, dolls, small baskets, bed lamps and vases. Tourists can visit local coconut candy factories to watch the candy being made and also buy some to take home as special gifts for their family and friends.
In addition to coconuts, Ben Tre is also known as the “king” of specialty fruit, with 41,000 hectares of orchards yielding 375,000 tonnes of fruit a year. Some of the province’s unique specialties include milky yellow-fleshed and stoneless durians, green-skinned pomelos, Cai Mon mangosteens, high-yield “Four Season” mangos, and special Mo Cay oranges.
Ao Vua has its majestic natural scenery with plethora of mountains, streamlines, waterfalls and other artificial works. The weather here is cool and ideal for short holiday or weekend.
Ao Vua tourism site is located in Tan Linh commune, Ba Vi district, (old) Ha Tay province, and about 70 kilometers far from Ha Noi to the west.
Method 1: Start from Ha Noi, go along Thang Long Highway. At the end of this road, turn right to the highway No.21. After reaching 105 hospital, turn left and go straight to Ao Vua.
Method 2: Go along the highway No.32 right to Son Tay Street, turn left to the 105 hospital and then turn right at the crossroad and go straight to Ao Vua.
Hotes: There are 52 rooms at 2 star standard, from which you can see the mountains, waterfalls and the resort garden. Each room is equipped with air-conditioners, separate showers and toilets in the bathroom, international direct dial service, mini bar, cable television…
Stilt houses: are surrounded by green trees with open view to the streamlines and mountains. 30 rooms here are fully equipped to match with the surrounding environment. Moreover, you will be served meals at Thanh Nien restaurant where traditional specialties are served.
There are many different beauty spots in Ao Vua: Go on boats – ethnic gardens; Visit animal gardens; Discover Mountain God (Son Tinh) – Water God (Thuy Tinh) Cave; and other waterfalls and streamlines….
Ao Vua tourism spot has plenty of interesting and adventurous games such as: multi-task houses, moon park, racing formula 1, and also tennis course and swimming pools…
If you stay overnight and travel in groups, remember to register fire camps at night because it make your trip more meaningful and attractive. Services are quite comfortable including: canvas, camps, fire stoves, big speakers…
Eat and Drink
If you are pupils or students, you should bring your food and drink because the food there may not taste you well and quite expensive. Make sure you bring a lot of water as climbing mountains makes you thirsty soon.
If you travel in groups or companies, you can contact the restaurants here before going there. Make sure not to eat at the outside eateries because you are vulnerable to be overcharged.
Some Other Notes
You should bring your cameras to take beautiful photos in Ao Vua. If you travel to the streams or water areas, it is easy to get wet. Therefore, you should prepare additional suits.
Anyone who ever visited Mai Chau in Hoa Binh Province never forgets the rolling landscape or the friendly, charming nature of the local Thai and Mong people.
Mai Chau Lodge is a four-star hotel which was built in the style of a typical house-on stilts of the Thai ethnic people in the Mai Chau Valley. From the window of the hotel, one can behold the beauty of peaceful hamlets, green lakes, romantic hillsides and the ever stretching rice fields swaying in the fresh mountain breeze.
Lac and Pom Coong Hamlets are typical of Thai minority communities. The houses are built on stilts, 1.5m above the ground, having bamboo floors and roofs made from Goi or May leaves. The area under the house is usually reserved for livestock, but for the sake of the tourists, at some houses this area has been converted into a souvenir shop flaunting items such as shawls, dresses, bags, purses, brocade cloths and multi-colour cloth balls skilfully made by Thai ethnic people.
In some houses tourists can witness local women diligently working at a loom, weaving colourful brocade fabric. Also, a visit to a local hamlet is not complete without trying the famous Can wine (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes) that is made from sticky rice, Hinh ho leaf, Meo leaf and ginger that fascinates any visitor.
Continuing on to the tour with the next destination of Hang Kia Commune, tourists will enjoy melodious tunes of flute and mingle in the life of locals at Pa Co market where they can buy typical products of Mong ethnic people as presents for relatives and friends. Then they will visit Mo Luong Cave which is famous for mysterious stalactites in different shapes of flowers and springs.
Tourists are encouraged to stay at homes of local families and enjoy a special artistic programme with fascinating dances and songs of Thai ethnic people. After dances of gongs, Xoe, Gia gao and Xoe quat, they will be invited to participate in a Sap dance with the locals. Overnight stays in homes floating on the lake are also available, where one can take in a gorgeous sunrise and enjoy the clean and pure atmosphere of the early morning.
Trung Khanh, a mountainous district in Cao Bang Province , 332km from Hanoi to the northeast, houses many beautiful landscapes, specialities and rare and precious animals of the subtropical primeval forest.
Standing at the peak of Ma Phuc Pass , 620 metres above sea level, it’s possible to see two stone blocks resembling a pair of horses standing face to face and a floristic composition covering the mountain and valley.
Also, the 32km-long Quay Son River runs through the region, not only bringing silt to a large rice-growing area but also providing water for chestnut forests laden with fruits. The fruit, as big as rambutan, has many hard thorns and contains 3-4 chestnuts, each being 4-5 times bigger than the normal castanea.
Trung Khanh attracts tourists who like ecological, geological and adventurous tourism because it boasts many waterfalls and marvellous caves. Particularly, it has been famous for Ban Gioc Waterfall, hundreds of metres in height and width.
In the rainy season, its water runs into three flows, one pouring slightly like a silk ribbon and the others rushing in noisily. On sunny days, white water sprays create a sparkling and mysterious rainbow. About 3km from Ban Gioc Waterfall is Nguom Ngao Cave that has many marvellous landscapes complete with stalactites and stalagmites of great geological values.
In recent years, Trung Khanh has attracted a number of scientists from home and abroad due to its bio-diversity of subtropical evergreen primeval forests of seven types. Of which, four types have 15 varieties of plants that are the source of food of the Cao Vit gibbon (scientifically known as Nomascus nasutus nasutus), one of the most rare primate species in the world.
According to a survey conducted in Ngoc Khe and Phong Nam Communes in the north of Trung Khanh in 2002-2007 by the Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Trung Khanh is now home to 17 groups of Cao Vit gibbons with nearly 100 individuals. Nguyen The Cuong who works for FFI said that this species of gibbon is very unique because they do not have a tail.
To protect the rare primate, a conservation area was established in April 2007 with a total area of 1,656.8ha, including a flora area of 543 varieties and a fauna area of 23 animals under 14 families, 61 species of birds, 11 species of reptiles under 10 races, of which 10 species were listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2006.
Once visiting Trung Khanh, tourists will never forget moments of relaxing among wild nature, beholding beautiful landscapes with white pear flower and listening to birdsongs.