Discovering Y Ty mountainous commune’s pristine beauty in northern Vietnam

VOV.VN - Located approximately 70km from the centre of the northern city of Lao Cai, Y Ty mountainous commune boasts pure air and an amazing natural landscape that gives the area a unique appeal for visitors.

                                                                      (Photo: Phi Manh)

Situated in the heart of the spectacular Nhui Co San mountain range, Y Ty commune sits at an altitude of over 2,000 metres above sea level in Bat Xat district of Lao Cai province. Indeed, the commune therefore serves as an attractive destination for both tourists and photographers who come to enjoy the area’s exquisite views. 

                                                                        (Photo: Phi Manh)

It is widely considered that the best time in which to enjoy the scenery of Y Ty’s breathtaking clouds is between March and April each year. 

Tan Ky Old House in Hoian

 Come to visit Hoian ancient town, the world heritage site since 1999, you should not miss to stop at Tan Ky House that is over 200 years old. The house is situated at 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, and the other side is overlooking to Thu Bon river.

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Tan Ky Old House is well preserved since the first generation till now the 8th generation. The location is right in the middle of business town, the front is a shop, and the back is the place of receiving goods from Thu Bon river.

The design of Tan Ky House is Japanese and Chinese influences. Japanese ceiling is formed crab shell supported by three beams in living room. Chinese poems written in mother of pearl are hanging from a number of columns that hold up the roof. 

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Main materials of construction for the house are hard timber, Bat Trang bricks, yin and yang tiles. Inner decoration are wooden painting layered by mother pearl shell, lacquered paintings, ceramics, hard wood furniture in old style.

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Air circulation in the house is perfect with wide opened doors and windows, opened yard in the middle of the house is not only for fresh air but also sun light. Vietindo Travel can advise the trip to visit Tan Ky house by half day walking tour Hoian.


When Hoa Lu festival taken place in Ninh Binh

 Annually, Hoa Lu - former capital of Vietnam 968 - 1009 - arranges festival at period 9 - 11 March Lunar calendar. The place is at Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. 

Photo ST

The festival remind us the merit of our ancestor who built and defended the country. Hoa Lu festival is also the momentum to intensify the great unity of our country. In 2021 we celebrate 1053th Dinh Bo Linh enthroned as Emperor of Vietnam.

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There are many interesting activities during the festival such as ritual and royal ceremony, duet singing, folk games on ground and on river. It is worthy to attend Hoa Lu festival in this Spring. 


Market sessions in Ha Giang

(VOV) - Markets in Ha Giang always attract tourists because they are not just places for buying and selling, they are also meeting places for local ethnic minority people.

Wearing colorful costumes, all the different ethnic minority groups of the region come to the market to meet their friends, or their ex-lovers.

Early in the morning, Meo Vac district of Ha Giang province is blanketed with fog. All the roads to the markets are noisy with people calling one another as they make their way to the market, which meets only on Sunday. Local people in Meo Vac district are of the Nung, Dao, Mong, and Giay ethnicities. The market is both a trading center and a socializing center for local people.

Many different goods are on sale in the market. People come to the market to sell their farm produce and home-made products and buy clothing, plastic slippers, sandals, sport shoes and mobile phones. Here they also meet their friends and eat their favorite food.

Phan Thi Mui from the Red Dao group said, “I don’t have much money so I can only buy a few items. I brought rice to the market and can sell it for 1 million dong. I also go to the market to meet my friends”.

Visitors to Meo Vac market are impressed by the wine section, where local women stand in a long line selling corn wine. There’s an aluminum soup ladle by each can of wine which customers can use to taste the wine.

Italian tourist Malcro Cusani shared, “We have bought some dishes which can’t be found in Italy. We love to see the costumes of the local ethnic minority people. We have found some souvenirs for our parents”.

People go to Khau Vai market just to meet their ex-lovers. For more than 100 years, Khau Vai market has been known as a Love Market. Legends tell that an ethnic Giay girl from Ha Giang fell in love with a Nung boy from Cao Bang but their love was forbidden by both families.

They separated from each other and made an appointment to meet again on the 27th day of the third lunar month. The mountain where they dated has become a market place. The market meets once a year serving as a festival where people come to meet their ex-lovers.

Tho Mi Tha of Can Chu Phin commune, Meo Vac district said he waited for the Khau Vai Market festival all year to meet his ex-lover.

“I never miss a market festival. My marriage was arranged by my parents. But I have an ex-girlfriend. She is 5 years younger than me. It’s difficult to explain but I always wait for that day and will not return without meeting her.

The festival is held on March 27 but the night of the 26th is a memorable day in my life,” he added.

When they meet, the former lovers recalls their love stories although they might be married and have children now. They don’t return home until midnight.

Tha noted, “I live 10 km from the market. I come here by motorbike at 6 PM. We meet each other in the market. She is married already. We discuss the sad and happy events in our life during the past year. I wish I could have married her”.

The Khau Vai love market is also a place for boys and girls to seek partners. Many couples have been married after meeting at a love market session.


Assembly Hall of Cantonese Chinese Congregation

 Assembly Hall of Cantonese Chinese Congregation or Hội Quán Quảng Đông in Vietnamese is situated at 176 Tran Phu street, near Japanese covered Bridge. The Hall was built in 1855 by Cantonese community coming from China and doing business in Hoian. 

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The Hall was restore in 1915 and again in 1990. The main construction, in the middle compartment, is used to worship Quan Cong - a famous General who lived in 3rd century in China, who is respected by 5 noble characters that real and success traders must follow. On 2 other sides are altars of Saints.

The Hall is ornamented colorfully and attractively by motifs of dragon, phoenix, jade glazed ceramics, paintings...Many ancient objects still remain inside including 4 horizontal lacquered boards, incense burner with the height of 1.6m high and 0.6m wide.

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Annual ceremony praying for peace and lucks is taken place at the Hall on 15th day of January, Lunar Calendar. If you attend the Temple this day you you learn lots of cultural features of Chinese Community in Hoian.  


Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoian

 Four hundred years ago, 17th century, Japanese community in Hoian town, Quang Nam province built the roofed bridge across Hoai river connecting with Thu Bon river. Later on they built a pagoda on  northern side so that it was call Pagoda bridge.

Photo - Zing news

It has been maintained over 6 times but the architecture is still intact as the beginning with Japanese influence. The wooden bridge under the tiled roof is fixed by wooden panels. Statutes of dogs and monkeys are placed on two ends of the bridge may mean that the bridge was built in the year of monkey and fined in the year of dog, or just they are beloved animals in Japanese culture. 

The Saint in pagoda protect sailors when they are on long journey of trading to Vietnam. Legendary, the construction of Japanese Pagoda Bridge is like an obstacle to control the harm from sea monster, and bring happiness and peace to the locals and traders.  



Discovering community-based tourism village Kon Kơ Tu in Kon Tum

As an ancient village in a mountainous area, the Kon Kơ Tu community-based tourism village in Kon Tum City attracts visitors because of the pristine beauty of the local Ba Na ethnic culture.

The village is located on the banks of the Đăk Bla River and is one of the oldest villages in Kon Tum City in the province of the same name.

Coming here, we admired the Rông long house soaring in the blue sky which is a community house for the common activities of villagers such as meetings, festivals, or welcoming, and also immersed ourselves in xoang dances, participated in hand-loom weaving and danced with the people to the sound of gongs.

On the way, we saw the winding paths along the legendary Đăk Bla River. The two sides of the road to the village are full of pink grass. In the distance are sandy beaches adorned with light purple sugarcane mixed with overlapping mountains to create a peaceful village scene.

Entering the village, we felt a peace different from the noisy life outside. The fun and refreshing laughter of the children mixed with the sound of weaving and the sound of carving statues to create a beautiful old village.

Currently, Kon Kơ Tu Village has 92 households with 530 Ba Na people. Because the village was formed very early, it still retains its ancient, wild and majestic natural beauty.

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Standing in Kon Kơ Tu and looking to the east, we could see the top of Kong Muk Mountain reflected on the Đăk Bla River. About 5km along the bank of the river is a flat, sandy beach that embraces the ancient village like a mother holding her child in her heart.

Pristine architecture

Although it is the oldest village in the city, Kon Kơ Tu still retains the pristine beauty of a Ba Na village.

Surrounding the long communal house is a system of stilt houses facing the south as in the local traditions, this is a favourable direction to improve the luck and lives of the villagers.

The village still has more than 20 stilt houses built in the traditional style. A Ba Na stilt house is characterised by a rectangular model with an average length of about 10m. Each house consists of 12 pillars and is divided equally by six pillars on each side to create stability and balance for the house. The Ba Na often set up pillars of houses made of various kinds of wood. The stairs of the house are usually made of wood and meticulously carved.

In the long stilt houses, there will usually be three to four generations of the Ba Na living together.

The Kon Kơ Tu villagers are very hospitable. In addition to cultural exchange and getting acquainted with folk songs and traditional musical instruments of gongs, we participated in the new rice festival.

In the afternoon, we rented boats to admire the romantic Đăk Bla River and enjoy the clear, fresh air of the mountains and rivers here.

At night, we enjoyed rượu cần (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes) of the Ba Na people and heard them talk about their lives, as well as the cultural customs in the region. And of course, we enjoyed the local food like fried forest bamboo shoots, grilled chicken with salt and pepper and river fish.

The Kon Kơ Tu community-based tourism village just debuted in July last year.

According to Kon Kơ Tu villager A Kâm, local tourism has grown in recent years but local people were mostly disorganised. After the People's Committee of Kon Tum City launched a project to support the development of community-based tourism in villages last year, tourism in the locality has developed even further.

With the support of the municipal People's Committee and preferential loans, many households have invested in building and upgrading houses, rooms and campuses. They have also offered new kinds of tours with different experiences to attract tourists.

With the unique architecture and cultural features of the Ba Na, Kon Kơ Tu Village is an attractive destination in Kon Tum.

Source: VNS

“Wife stealing” custom of H’Mong people

As spring arrives in the northwestern region, it is the time when young H’Mong men ask their friends to help them to “steal or pull a wife”, an established local custom.

It works like this: during the day, the young couple arranges to have a date in the forest, on the road or in a marketplace. In late afternoon, the young man asks some of their friends to go to the dating place where they will help him to drag his girlfriends to his house.

Although they love each other and promise to live with each other their whole lives, no girl will willingly step into her boyfriend’s house. That’s why the man has to organize “a stealing event” so she will come to live in his house. The more friends that participate in such an event and the more determinedly they pull the girl, the happier the couple will be, the longer they will live, the more children they will have and the richer they will be.

Like young couples everywhere, when a H’Mong couple fall in love, they will tell their families. If everything goes well, the man’s family will send a matchmaker to the girl’s family to talk about the affair. Then they will carry out engagement rituals and the wedding. The wedding is normally held in spring when the weather is mild and things reproduce.

However, many couples cannot get married because the girl’s parents do not agree with the wedding.

The “wife stealing or pulling” custom is an effective solution. On the designated day, the man meets his girlfriend in a particular place. Before that, he secretly asks his friends and relatives to go there and pull the girl to his house. Even though the girl is aware of the custom, she must still act surprised and cry out for help.

Photo - Internet

The girl believed to be bad if she does not cry out when being pulled. The two families and her neighbors will definitely look down on her. When her family runs to her rescue with sticks in their hands, the man’s friends will stand in between and receive all the beatings so the man can take the girl to his house. As a matter of custom, the man’s people are not allowed to fight back.

The stealing or pulling must be carried out skillfully so the girl’s legs do not touch the ground and she does not fight back or bite the man and most importantly, she does not get hurt. When they are near the man’s house, one of the man’s friends will run to his house first and tell waiting people there, such as the man’s parent, uncles or aunts, to prepare two chickens, one young male and one young female, to stand in the main door. When the girl arrives, they will carry out rituals involving the chicken. Only after that can be girl be brought inside the house.

The H’Mong people believe that once the girl has entered the man’s house after the chicken rituals, she will not be accepted back to her parents’ house. She is now a member the man’s family. When she dies, her spirit will also belong to that family.

Before treating those friends who have helped with the theft to food, the man’s family will send someone to go to the girl’s family and tell them that the man’s family has stolen their daughter and that she is now married. The girl’s family will agree even if the theft has happened without their consent.

When the girl has entered the man’s house, she will sleep with the man’s sisters for the first three nights. The next morning, the man’s family will make rice cakes and take the girl back to her parent’s house. When arriving at the girl’s house, her husband and his parents and relatives will kneel down in front of the girl’s family as a token of their friendship.

The girl’s family will cook a meal and invite the man’s family to stay and eat. At the meal, a representative of her family will ask her if she can spend the rest of her life with the man’s family. If the answer is positive, they will pack her personal belongings so she can take them to her husband’s house. Preparations for a wedding now begin. When returning to her parents’ house, if the girl cries and tells them that she does not want to return to the man’s house, then the marriage is cancelled.

That the girl lives in the man’s house for three days allows her to get used to the set-up in his family. During that period, if she likes it there, then the couple will officially become husband and wife.

Vietnam Cultural Window/ VOV.VN

Traditional boat racing in Phan Thiet city

 Traditional boat racing festival of Binh Thuan is arranged on 2nd day of Lunar New Year on Ca Ty river (Phan Thiet city)

Photo - Internet

The racing includes sampan and basket boat on the river. Spring sunshine spreads on peaceful river but it quickly being filled up with the shouts and laughs from audience and boat racers who are fishermen coming from different groups from nearby villages.

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The boat racing is like a happy melody to welcome new year arrival at Phan Thiet city. 


Brocade knitting village of Cham people

Brocade weaving of Cham community being gathered mainly at Phan Hoa and Phan Thanh communes in Bac Binh district, 80 km away from Phan Thiet city northward. According to legend, the mother of Polnu Nagar taught Cham women how to weave to honor beauty. 

Photo Internet

The book "Van Dai Loai Ngu" of Le Quy Don wrote that "At Lam Ap there is Cat Boi tree whose flowers like goose feathers. Thread drawn from these flowers are used to embroider scarves, costumes with images of Cham dragons and Garuda birds to serve the King and court". Currently, brocade weaving village of Phan Hoa still maintain wooden weaving frame by rosewood made hundreds of years ago.

Wanting to create models of patterns the skilled artisan can catch the flakes with stylized motifs of cultural identity of Cham. From four traditional patterns: green, yellow, white, and black on red background, the artisans can create many kinds of products like handbags, wallets, scarf, belt matching to the needs of tourists and consumers.  

Binh Thuan Tourism


Tay's culture and belief

(VOVworld) – With around 1.7 million people, the Tay are the biggest ethnic minority group in Vietnam. They live mainly in Vietnam’s northern and northwestern provinces - Cao Bang, Bac Can, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Thai Nguyen, and Lao Cai. They live along rivers in mountain foothills.

The Tay build their villages in valleys, on mountainsides, or in the highlands. A Tay village has from 20 to over a hundred households. They live in wooden stilt houses with tile or palm leaf roofs.

Both men and women wear clothes made of hand-woven cotton, dyed with indigo. Women wear high collared, waist- or knee-length shirts buttoned on the right side. Their pants have roomy legs and a wide belt. Tay women enjoy wearing jewelry, particularly silver necklaces and arm and wrist bracelets. Men’s clothing is similar to that of women. Hoang Thi Xoan, a white Tay woman in Xuan Giang commune, Ha Giang province, said: “The Tay include black Tay, white Tay, and Thai-Tay branches. We identify each other mainly by the color of our costume. The white Tay wear indigo headscarf, shirt, pants, and belt. The black Tay wear a black shirt and long dress. We all wear silver necklaces. The white Tay make up 80% of the population in Xuan Giang. The black Tay live in Xin Man, Ha Giang province.”

Like many other Vietnamese ethnic groups, the Tay practice polytheism and believe that supernatural powers have impacts on their life. Worshiping their ancestors is the most sacred ritual of the Tay. The ancestral altar is placed in the center of the house. In front of the altar is a bed on which visitors are not allowed to sit or lie. The Tay have many taboos, like: people may not step on the edge of the stove, after attending a funeral people must take a bath before tending the cattle and poultry, and new mothers are not allowed to stay near the altar.

Every Tay house in Lang Son has a stone dog at the gate. The Tay believe the stone dog will help the owners take care of the house and chase away bad luck. Vy Van Co of Loc Binh, Lang Son province, said: “Our ancestors told us that if the house is built on hard soil or if the house faces a bad direction, a brook, a lane, or a hill, we should place a stone dog at the gate to protect the house and its contents, preserve peace, and promote production. The stone dog will inform our ancestors of any evil coming to our house.”

The Tay have developed a rich culture of poems, songs, epics, tales, funny stories, and dance. Popular folk singing genres of the Tay are call-and-response singing, lullaby, Then, and wedding and funeral singing. Then is sung at events such as worshiping at the ancestral altar, praying for sick people, praying for a couple to have children, at family get-togethers, to welcome guests, and at a “going to the field” festival held in the first month of the new year. Then is an indispensable part of the spiritual and religious life of the Tay.

Lan Anh


Travel around Vietnam and Indochina including Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia. Adventure Travel - Luxury Tours - Authentic Travel and Homestay - Cruise Halong Bay and Mekong river

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