TRAVEL GUIDE Hoa Binh
thamnguyen99 14-05-2022, 10:13

Hoa Binh is located about 80-140 km from Hanoi depending on the tourist destination and is the gateway to the Northwest region. This place impresses visitors with diverse landscapes from rivers, lakes, mineral springs, national parks, and cultural identities of the H’Mong, Muong, Dao, Thai… In recent years, Hoa Binh further affirmed its attraction when a series of resorts were born, in line with the current trend of rest and health care.

Hoa Binh Lake is one of the largest artificial freshwater lakes in Vietnam since the construction of the Hoa Binh hydropower plant. Photo: Doan Manh

What season is Hoa Binh beautiful?

With a large area and many scenic spots, visitors can come to Hoa Binh in any season with different experiences. Usually, tourists in Hanoi like to go to Hoa Binh in the summer because the weather in many destinations such as Mai Chau, and Thung Nai is cool.

May-June will hold visitors back by the golden rice season in Mai Chau, and May-August is the season when the water of the Da River in Thung Nai is clear… Visitors also don’t forget to go to Kim Boi hot mineral springs in winter. often visit Lung Van in the spring when hundreds of flowers bloom, the mist covers the houses of the Muong halfway up the mountain.

Move

From Hanoi, visitors can go by bus from My Dinh, Giap Bat, and Yen Nghia bus stations with prices from 60,000 VND one way. Limousine offers more privacy and comfort, priced from 220,000 VND one way. Some operators suggest that Mang Kien, Xuan Trang, and Anh Dung have drop-off points at resorts in Mai Chau.

For tourists who want to drive on their own, the road to Hoa Binh is easy to find and beautiful. The usual route by car is through Thang Long Boulevard, on National Highway 21 and through Xuan Mai. For motorbikes, the shorter route is Nguyen Trai through Trung Van, then along Highway 6.

Hotels, resorts

Hoa Binh has many beautiful and famous places to stay, concentrated in Mai Chau, Kim Boi or Luong Son.

In Mai Chau district , Avana Retreat isolated resort in Phang hamlet, Bao La commune attracts tourists. The price of accommodation here is from 4 million VND per night on weekdays and 6 million VND per night on weekends or public holidays.

Ripe rice season at Mai Chau Ecolodge. Photo: Resort

Mai Chau Ecolodge in Na Chieng, Na Phon attracts tourists with its rustic look, located close to the rice fields, suitable for viewing the golden season. The price for staying overnight here is from 1.1 million VND per night.

Mai Chau Hideaway is located on a peninsula in the heart of Hoa Binh Lake, with lots of green space. The price is from 1.6 to 3.6 million VND per night during the week, on weekends (Friday-July night) the price is from 2.2 million VND to 4 million VND/night.

Not far from the two accommodations is Bakhan Village Resort, located on the mountainside and overlooking the green valley and Hoa Binh lake. The price of accommodation here is 1.1 million VND.

Kim Boi district is famous for hot springs, so the resorts here are suitable for all 4 seasons. Serena Resort Kim Boi is located in Khai Doi hamlet, Sao Bay commune, inspired by the beauty and culture of the Northwest and built from stone, wood, bamboo, and thatched roof… close to nature. There are Japanese-style Onsen baths here or indoor hot baths… Room rates here are from 1.8 million a night. Visitors can refer to VResort in Kim Boi.

Koi fish tank at Satoyama resort.

In Luong Son district , Doi scented grass resort in Ram hamlet, Cu Yen commune is a suggestion for tourists. It has modern and luxurious villas located on green grass hills. Utilities have many outdoor swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and Dao tobacco bathing services.

Satoyama Village in Cu Yen commune just came into operation earlier this year. The resort is built in Vietnamese – Japanese style, has a sauna, Japanese-style Onsen mineral bath… The price of accommodation here is 2,000,000 VND per night.

Where to play?

Hoa Binh owns 177 scenic spots and historical sites. Here are some fun suggestions by area and most popular spots.

In Mai Chau , the first attraction is Thung Khe Pass or Da Trang Pass, located on National Highway 6, between Tan Lac and Mai Chau territories. This is a limestone mountain, created by the process of paving the way. This is also a place often covered by clouds, forming a blurry scene like white snow in winter. Visitors should only come here on sunny days, to take beautiful photos and not be dangerous in the process of traffic.

If you want to learn about local culture, you should not miss Lac village , where there are hundreds of stilt houses up to 700 years old. It also has a scene of endless rice fields and homestays on stilts to stay. Lac village is about 3 km from Mai Chau Ecolodge resort, which can be experienced by bicycle.

Go Lao waterfall or Go Mu waterfall is not far from Mai Chau Hideaway and Bakhan Village Resort. The waterfall is about 20 m high, the water pours down white, and in the lake bed are large rocks. This season bathing in the waterfall is very cold, you can take a walk in the cool air, and take pictures in the white water.

Coming to Mai Chau in a large group, you should not miss the visit to Hoa Binh lake bed to Ngoi Hoa bay, Ao Tien, Ba Chua Thac Bo Temple. The marina is located at the end of Suoi Lon village.

Kayaking on Hoa Binh lake. Photo: Mai Chau Hideaway

Lung Van commune in the Tan Lac district attracts visitors with its cool weather and fanciful misty scenery. The commune is located at an altitude of 1,200 m above sea level, which preserves many cultural and architectural features of the Muong people. In the spring when coming here, visitors have the opportunity to see the green spring color in the forest, the peach blossom blooming… In addition, Lung Van is also an ideal cloud hunting spot from February to April. This time in the mountains. The terraced fields are white clouds floating, creating an enchanting scene.

Thung Nai , also known as “miniature Ha Long”, is located on the road before entering Hoa Binh city. Here, visitors should rent a boat to admire the Da River, and catch the eyes of the large and small islands on the blue lake. Bring snacks and sheets to sit back and enjoy the view. Note that you need to clean up the trash before you go and take measures to avoid the sun because this is an empty space without trees.

Ba Chua Thac Bo Temple is located in Vay Nua Commune, Da Bac district. The temple is located on the banks of a large lake in the heart of Hoa Binh lake, behind is a large stalactite cave system. In 2009, Thac Bo cave was recognized as a national scenic relic. The temple worships two female generals, Mrs. Dinh Thi Van of the Muong ethnic group and a woman of the Dao ethnic group, who in the past had merits to help King Le Loi with his military supplies, the boat that crossed the Bo waterfall to advance to Muong Le, and Son La to quell the rebellion of the Deo Cat Party. Khan. After his death, the people in the area named both Princess Thac Bo and set up a temple to worship with the belief that they would bless hundreds of people in the area with favorable rain and wind.

January to March every year here often has many festivals. Visitors offering incense will go to Thung Nai wharf, then rent a boat to go to the temple. The sequential schedule is at Trinh Temple, Lord Temple.

On the way from Thung Nai back to the city, you can see some banana, orange, and corn orchards on the way. In particular, a Cao Phong orange garden located on the right attracts passersby with its gentle hillside and juicy oranges. Oranges cost 20,000 VND/kg. You can buy it as a gift and then you are free to take pictures in the garden.

Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant in Tan Thinh is a historical work of Vietnam, and a symbol of Hoa Binh City. Currently, the entrance ticket costs 20,000 VND, for visitors only visiting the outside area. If you want to visit the technical and machinery area, you need to buy a ticket for 50,000 VND.

One of the other stops when coming to the city is the statue of President Ho Chi Minh on Ong Tuong hill. From the left, visitors can zoom in to see the whole city. On the right, you can see the hydroelectric plant from above.

Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant. Photo: Trung Nghia

Specialties

Hoa Binh Lake offers many attractive specialties, including fish species such as lentils, carp, sesame, carp…

Fish sandwiched with bamboo sticks , grilled on a charcoal stove is a specialty that is easy to find on the way to Thac Bo cave. Small batches of fish are cleaned of scales, intestines, salt and pepper, and then grilled. The fish is then presented on green banana leaves, served with young crocodile leaves, apricot leaves, and guise leaves. The flesh of the fish is firm, sweet and fragrant with the smell of charcoal grilling and the faint scent of bananas and bamboo.


Chicken cooked with sour bamboo shoots , doi seeds are also a specialty of Hoa Binh. Fresh bamboo shoots are taken from the forest, cut into small pieces, washed, and salted for natural fermentation. Bamboo shoots are light yellow in color, fragrant and not scum. The chicken often chosen to cook bamboo shoot soup is hill chicken, tough and fragrant. After cleaning, cut into small pieces, and stir well with onion fat to tighten. Then the chicken is simmered with sour bamboo shoots and added doi seeds, with a pungent, aromatic flavor.

Buffalo meat cooked with leaves , a specialty of the Muong people, is also very attractive. Buffalo meat is drained, shaved clean, then sprung until soft. When the meat is relatively cooked, cut it into smaller pieces, put it in an earthen pot and stew it thoroughly. Loom leaves with a sour taste are pounded and broken rice is put in a stew pot with buffalo meat. Just keep the fire until the broken rice swells and thickens. After stewing buffalo meat, it is thoroughly cooked, soaked in the sour taste of bamboo leaves and fragrant rice and easy to eat.

Hoa Binh Roast Pork. Photo: Son Fruit

Pickled pork gives visitors the feeling of enjoying both plants and forests due to its unique way of making. The dish of pickled pork is made very skillfully and combined with many types of forest leaves. All are readily available products and each leaf is considered a valuable remedy for the body such as cinnamon leaves, jackfruit leaves, betel leaves… The first impression when guests come to the house is the Muong people. calves out a tray of pickled pork with a basket of leaves. When eating, you must use your hands to roll the leaves with meat, and chew slowly, very fleshy, sweet, and very strange to eat.

Hoa Binh pork mannequin is low in fat, lean, and crispy. Pork can be boiled, roasted, or grilled on skewers. Visitors can eat Hoa Binh’s famous Lam rice, which is fragrant because it is made from upland sticky rice.

Visitors can find these specialties at Bep Muong or Hoa Qua Son restaurants in Kim Boi. In Mai Chau, there is a Hop Thuy restaurant, sub-area 2, or a restaurant in Mai Chau Ecolodge resort.

Orange Cao Phong

On the way from Thung Nai back to the city, you can see some banana, orange, and corn orchards on the way. In particular, a Cao Phong orange garden located on the right attracts passersby with its gentle hillside and juicy oranges. Oranges cost 20,000 VND/kg. You can buy it as a gift and then you are free to take pictures in the garden.

Orange trees start to harvest at the end of October and depending on the time of flowering, the Cao Phong orange harvest season can last until April next year. Photo: Trung Nghia
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