& FOREST IN NORTH
137/4 Tran Huu Trang, Phu Nhuan District
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel. ( 84 - 8 ) 847 7335
Fax ( 84 - 8 ) 847 7335
Huong Son area consists of the Perfume Pagoda and Huong
Tich Grotto and is situated in the My Duc District of
Ha Tay Provinces, almost 70 km northwest of Ha Noi.
DONG VAN HIGHLAND
Van Highland situated 1,025 m above sea level and is
inhabited by the Tay and H’Mong ethnic groups.
The temperature is approximately 1oC in winter and reaches
24oC in hottest days. The plateau provides famous products
such as Hau plums, peaches, and persimmons without seeds.
Dong Van apples are as big as a pear.
Dong Van, numerous valuable plants used for their medicinal
value are found: ginseng, anise, and cinnamon.
Van has a lot to offer: mountains, forests, hidden grottoes
and caves, multicolored orchid forests, plum and peach
trees, persimmon orchards, and more. Visiting Dong Van,
one can see Pho Bang, also called Pho Bang Street, which
was built a long time ago and features multi-story houses
made of clay bricks and tile roofs.
Visiting Dong Van on Sundays, one can shop in a very
original mountain market where all kinds of goods and
multicolored clothes can be purchased.
best time to witness the scenic beauty of Sapa is in
April and May. Prior to that, the weather might be cold
and foggy. In April and May, the area is blooming with
flowers and green pastures. The clouds that settle in
the valley early in the morning quickly disappear into
at 1,500 m above sea level, Sapa lies on the side of
the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, 333 km northwest of Ha
Noi. Sapa’s vegetation is diversified, ranging
from flowers to fruits; among the most popular are apples,
pears, peaches and plums.
has countless natural sites to visit such as Thac Bac,
Thuy Cung Grotto, Gio Cave, Troi Gate and Truc forest.
Sapa is also the starting point for many clumbers looking
to reach the top of Fansipan Mountain, the highest on
the Indochinese peninsula at 3,143m. the pyramid-shaped
peak is covered with clouds all year round and temperatures
often drop below zero at high elevations.
reach Sapa, one can take a train to Lao Cai and from
there, hop on a bus to Sapa. On Sundays, Nung, Dao,
Tay, Cao lan, Paxi and Xa Phong minorities make the
trip to the foot of Fansipan to take part in the Sunday
7 km from Lao Cai along Hoang Lien Son Mountains, Fanxipang
Mountain is southwest of Sapa. It takes six or seven
days to reach the peak of Fanxipang, the highest peak
of the Indochina Peninsula with 3,143 m.
topography of Fanxipang is varied Muong Hoa valley,
at the lowest altitude (950 – 1,000m), is created
by a narrow strip of land at the base on the east side
of the mountain.
1,680 plant species divided into 679 families are found
on the mountain.
XUAN SON CAVES
AND XUAN SON FOREST
of Phu Tho is Xuan Son Caves in Thanh Son district.
This complex of mythical caves and grottoes lies deep
in the vast forest. Dozens of caves and grottoes in
which hang stalactites of different shapes are spread
all over the area. Xuan Son Caves are still s mysterious
potential, as they have not yet been tapped. This site
will however become, in the immediate future, an interesting
tourist attraction, given the project receives assistance
from Vietnamese and foreign investors.
the local language, Pha Din means heaven and earth and
according to the locale legend, it was the frontier
between Heaven and Earth.
Din is located 1,000 m above sea level Climbing and
descending the slopes with their many bends and deep
gropes is a really interesting trip amid such a magnificent
TAM DAO RESORT
Dao Resort, located 75 km from Ha Noi, lies between
the Ban Thach, Thien Nhi and Phu Nghia mountains. The
area, 1000 m above sea level, has been known since the
Ly and Tran dynasties for its scenic beauty, but was
not transformed into a resort until the 20th century
by the French (1904 – 1906). Tam Dao is comprised
of villas, hotels, restaurants, sports fields, swimming
pools and dance halls.
weather is cool all year round with and average temperature
of 20 to 22oC. during the summer, tens of thousands
of tourists visit Tam Dao to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
YEN TU MOUNTAIN
Yen Tu Mountains are located in Quang Ninh Province,
14 km from Uong Bi in the northeast region of the country.
According to Vietnamese Zen Buddhist history, the mountains
are located where the three patriarchs of the Truc Lam
Ch’an sect came into being.
Truc Lam Buddhist sect’s founders included: Emperor
Tran Nhan Tong (1258 – 1308), Phap Loa Ton Gia
(1284 – 1330); and Ly Dao Tai (1254 – 1334),
also known as Huyen Quang Ton Gia.
Yen Tu’s legacy includes pagodas, temples and
towers spreading from the foot of Doc Do Hill, also
named Bi Thuong, to the Dong pagoda.
road leading to Yen Tu goes through many hills and streams,
with countless places of worship to stop at. The most
beautiful stop is Tich Quang, which dates back to 1727,
where the remains of its founder, Tue Dang, are preserved.
the slopes of Day Dieu and Va Quy are eight towers,
one of which dates back to 1758. The relics of the first
founder of Truc Lam are also kept here. One of the tower’s
platforms is in the shape of a lotus flower with 102
petals. Inside is a marble statue of the sect’s
the past, the Yen Tu Mountains were a National Buddhist
Center. Nowadays, they are a valuable historical and
cultural vestige of Vietnam.
BA VI MOUNTAINS
AND SUOI HAI LAKE
Ba Vi mountains cover an area of over 5,000 ha in Ha
Tay Province, about 60 km west of Ha Noi.
to Vietnamese legends, adeity resided in Ba Vi, which
is why these mountains are considered the origin of
all the country’s peaks. The highest is Ngoc Tan
at 1,281 m.
are three temples in the mountains: Thuong Temple, located
at the top; Trung Temple, about half way up; and Ha
Temple, at the food of the mountain.
pure and cool air that form due to its higher elevation
has made Ba Vi a famous resort ever since the French
colonialism era. Over 200 villas and rest houses have
been built. Ba Vi National park is also located in the
the foot is Suoi Hai Lake. This artificial body of water
was built in 1958, and protects 14 islands of varying
sizes. There are many trees and fruit gardens on the
islands and lakeshore.
CON SON AREA
Con Son area is located in the village of Cong Hoat,
between the two mountain ranges of Phuong Hoang and
Ky Lan, about 70 km from Ha Noi.
consists of mountains, a pagoda, tower, pine forest,
stream and well-known vestiges relating to national
history. During the Tran Dynasty, the Con Son Pagoda
was one of three centres of the Buddhist Truc Lam Trinity.
present, there are cultural remains of the Tran Dynasty
and other historical periods, as follows:
The pagoda, also knowns as Tu Phuc or Hun, is situated
at the foot of Con Son Mountain. During the Le Dynasty,
the pagoda was restored and magnificently expanded.
it is a small pagoda that remains hidden underneath
the shafe of ancient green trees. It was built in the
shape of the cong character, inclyding a hall, incense
house and upper chamber. The upper chamber is a worshipping
place for Buddhists, with 3m high statues from the Le
is a worshipping house for ancestors with statues of
the three Truc lam saints (Tran Nhan Tong, Phap Loa
and Huyen Quang).
is also a 600 – year – old frangipani tree
and four stele houses on the pagoda’s grounds.
Ngoc (Pearl Well)
Gieng Ngoc is located on the slopes of
Ky Lan Mountain. On its right, the road leads to Ban
Co Tien (Fairy Chess Stone) and Dang Minh Tower.
was said about the well that Buddhist monk Huyen Quang
was warned in a dream that the divine would give him
a precious source of water. The water is clear, blue
and fresh annually, and drinking it will make you feel
pleasant and comfortable. The well is used by the monks
here for the pagoda’s ceremonial water.
Co Tien (Fairy Chess Stone)
From Con Son Pagoda you can climb approximately
600 rocky steps before finally arriving at the peak
of the mountain (200 m). There is a park here with the
large Ban Co Tien (Fairy Chess Stone). There is also
a monument in Vong Lau Dinh (watchtower) design, with
two floors and eight roofs. The view from here is incredible.
Beside Con Son Spring, there is a flagstone
called Thach Ban, where President Ho Chi Minh once rested
while visiting the area. From the upper mountain you
move along a stone path down to the foot of the mountain,
finally arriving at the large flagstone with an even
and polished surface. It is said that in the past, Nguyen
Trai used it as a “carpet” to relax, admire
the scenery, write poetry and think of the country’s
best time for visiting Cuc Phuong National Park is during
the dry season, from December to April, when the hard
forest rain that accounts for 90% of the total annual
rainfall is finished. Cuc Phuong is located 160 km south
of Ha Noi in Ninh Binh Province; conveniently on the
route to several other tourist attractions including
the Bich Dong Pagoda, Hoa Lu and Sam Son Beach. It was
officially opened in 1960 as the first national park
is surrounded by several limestone cliffs, the highest
being May Bac, meaning “silver cloud”, at
a height of 656 m. The park’s flora supports an
estimated 2,000 different species and the fauna, 450
to the limestone terrain, Cuc Phuong also has a multitude
of caves including Trang Khuyet, Con Moong, Pho Ma and
Nguoi Xua. Quen Voi, also part of the park, is where
Nguyen Hue’s army was stationed before making
a surprise attact on Hanoi and defeating the ruling
Tay Son army in 1789.
environmental programs led by the UNDP, United Nations
Development Program, and FFI, Flora and Fauna International,
have researched the tropical forest and the influence
of monsoons on South – East Asia in Cuc Phuong.
CHI LANG DEFILE
Chi Lang Defile is in the Chi Lang District of Lang
Son Province, 110 km from Ha Noi and 60 km from the
border consists of a valley surrounded by high mountains
with the Thuong River running through. The mountains
were opened in two locations to form two gates. The
northern gate was named Quy Mon Quan, meaning “monster
gate”, after the Chinese invaders who entered
Vietnam here. The southern gate was called Ngo The,
meaning “swearing gate.” They were built
by Vietnamese ancestors who swore to sacrifice their
lives to protect their motherland.
was in this area that Le Hoan King defeated the Chinese
Tong troops in 981 and killed all the enemies. In 1076,
Prince Consort Than Canh Phuc set a front line against
300,000 Tong enemies.
by Quach Quy in 1285, Nguyen Dia Lo killed traitor Tran
Kien in the 2nd National Resistance against Nguyen Mong
invaders. In 1427, Lam Son righteous army killed rebel
leader Lieu Thang, caught Hoang Phuc, killed 10,000
Minh enemies, and overthrew all their maneuvers. Now,
Chi Lang Border is considered an historical vestige
with imposing landscape where visitors stop to enjoy
the natural scenery.
MAI CHAU VALLEY
Chau is located in Hoa Binh Province, approximately
135 km from Hanoi and 60 km from Hoa Binh. From
the top of Cun Mountain, one can admire a superb
panorama of the green valley of stilt-houses.
Many minorities, including the Thai ethnic group,
call Mai Chau home.
border the area’s roads. The houses are
quite large with palm leaf roofs and polished
woven bamboo floors. The kitchen is located
in the centre of the house, and is also the
centre for many household activities. The windows
are large and decorated with patterns. Most
houses also have fish-breeding ponds.
Sunday market brings a lot of people in town.
People from different minorities living in the
mountains come to Mai Chau market to sell their
specific produces: honey, bananas, corn, and
tho cam made by skilled Thai women. Sunday market
is also the occasion to enjoy traditional Thai
dishes and to participate in traditional dances.