North Vietnam is not short of stunning tourist attractions with Hanoi Old Quarter, Sapa charming town and even the World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, but it is not all about these crowded places.
Pom Coong village in Mai Chau
Stilt house in Pom Coong Village (Source: Internet)
What to expect at Pom Coong village? Not only taking you through the impressive terrace rice fields and lovely small villages in these hilly areas, a trekking tour also gives you a chance to visit the stilt-houses of Thai people, which have clean feeling and fairly airy space; observe Thai women passionately working with the looms to create uniquely beautiful brocade products; have meals with a white Thai family and especially enjoy bamboo dancing and a traditional dancing in Thai ethnic minority called "xoe" dancing performance after dinner.
Imagine an exciting night joining hand cooking your Vietnamese style dinner, feasting on dishes you have cooked by yourself, sampling some stem wine while your hosts roll out their traditional dancing. Such a beautiful memory to remember! This should be the best way to get to know these warm and easy-going Thai people, whose essential characters have not been changed in spite of the influx of travelers as well as their typical characteristics which today has been stored and preserved.
A corner of Pom Coong Village (Source: Internet)
A biking trip in North Vietnam to Pom Coong village in Mai Chau is a great combination of the area’s natural beauty sightseeing and a rendezvous with local people to discover their culture, cuisine, and lifestyle. It is not a bad idea to bring back home some locally handmade souvenir products such as brightly colorful brocade sheets, bags, or shirts. They will be the reminiscence of your Vietnam biking tour.
After saying goodbye to your host in Mai Chau, you will embark on a full-day biking trip to Ninh Binh – a land of majestic and impressive natural landscapes, heaven-like limestone karst mountains and scenic boat trips on the gentle rivers.
Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh
Cuc Phuong National Park (Source: Internet)
Officially opened in 1962, Cuc Phuong National Park is considered as Vietnam’s oldest and largest national park. Home to conserve extremely abundant ecosystems of the flora and fauna, this national park is also one of the most important sites for biodiversity in the country. A biking tour to Cuc Phuong National Park is an opportunity to get lost in the pristine world of the wonderful longevous nature, to admire several limestone cliffs surrounding this park (with May Bac, meaning silver cloud, at the height of 656m being the highest) and a meeting with an estimated 2,000 different species of flora and the 450 species fauna (bears, leopards, boars, tigers, ferrets, horses, boars, tigers, squirrels, monkeys, birds, beautiful and strange butterflies), accounting for 38% of the total number of fauna found in Vietnam.
Currently, Cuc Phuong National Park plays a role as the centerpiece of Vietnam’s conservation efforts by providing rare plant species with high economic value for serving forestation programs in this region and the nation-wide.
Tam Coc boat trip
A boat trip in Tam Coc (Source: Internet)
Another reason to find yourself in Ninh Binh must be a boat trip in Tam Coc (Three Caves). If you are dreaming of riding a bicycle on your own, Tam Coc is an ideal place to do. In the countryside of Tam Coc, bikers are welcomed by these quiet back roads, the sound of the river flowing and the cooing of the mountain goats filled their ears as well as exceptional vistas to enjoy at every turn.
However, the real highlight of your Tam Coc trip should be an interesting boat trip. The reward for your effort riding a bike to Tam Coc, passing through the limestone peaks, enormous green/yellow rice fields, limestone cliffs rising out of the rice fields, and peaceful rural villages is the surreal karst beauty along the Ngo Dong River. A scenic boat ride along this picturesque river, sailing among gorgeous rice paddies and limestone mountains has long been immensely popular with both domestic and foreign travelers. A Tam Coc boat ride tour is likely to make you go back in time.
If you are looking for a way to get far away from the crowed old quarter of Hanoi capital city, then, Mai Chau and Ninh Binh are great alternatives. Don't forget to share with vietnaminmymind your memorable experiences on your upcoming trip!