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Travel Hanoi to Lao Cai

posted Jun 6, 2018, 7:02 PM by Michael Nguyen   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 7:03 PM ]

Lao Cai is a province of northwestern in the mountainous region of Vietnam, bordering the province of Yunnan in the China. There are so many popular travel places are located in Lao Cai province including Sapa, Can Cau, Bac Ha, Muong Khuong…The town itself therefore has not much interest.

For most travelers, Laocai is just a stop before they travel to other places in Lao Cai province. 

The most popular mean of transport that links Hanoi to Lao Cai is the train, run by Vietnam Railways. There are usually three trains departing each night from Hanoi during the season of tourism. The earliest train leaves Hanoi train station at about 20:20; The second at about 21:15 and the other at about 21:45 pm.

After spend a night on board train you arrive Laocai train station early morning the following day at about 5:00 – 6:00 am. There you can hire a private vehicle with driver or take the open bus to get to your planed travel destinations.

Those who would like to see the scenery along the way can take the day train from Hanoi to Laocai. There is only one train per day. The day train is less comfortable than the nights trains. There are only seats on the day train.

Another option for those would like to see the landscape on the way is to travel by car. Hiring a private A/C vehicle with driver may be the best option since this is quite flexible. You stop where and when you like. Stops may be made in route for you to take picture and to visit local hill tribe villages.

Those who are on budget can also take the public buses that depart from My Dinh bus station. Most of public bus leave in early evening. But there are also day buses which are less comfortable.

Travelling to Laocai can also be arranged with motorbike. This activity is for adventure, active travelers seeking a real challenging bike ride in the northern Vietnam. It is possible to rent a motorbike in Hanoi and then start riding through Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai to Laocai. The rider cal also ride through Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai, Than Uyen, Lai Chau before turning right towards Laocai. The rental cost of a bike is about 20USD – 35 USD per day per bike. This depends on the bike model. As a experienced rider at Lotussia Travel, I personally recommend you renting a high capacity bike or an off-road bikes what are designed for mountain ride. A Honda BR Baja 250 or Yahamaha Baja 125cc or Honda Fortun 150cc can be a very good choice.

If you have much time and that you are an active, adventure traveler who liked outdoor and challenging travel activities, you can rent a mountain bicycle and enjoy the road ride by yourself. You if pedal from Hanoi to Laocai, the journey may take up to five or six days. The first portion of the road is flat and paved but the second one has many up and downhill rides.

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Lao Cai Has four more National Intangible Cultural Heritages

posted Jun 6, 2018, 1:36 AM by Mai Hoa NGUYEN   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 1:37 AM ]

According to Branch of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has officially publicized the national intangible cultural heritage list, the 4th time in 2013. Lao Cai has four heritages which are “Roóng poọc” festival of Giay pepple (Ta Van commune, Sa Pa district), “Pút Tồng” festival of Red Dao people (Sa Pa district), silver carving profession of Mong people (Sa Pa district), “Chàng Slaw” profession (the profession of making pictures and cutting paper) of Nung Din people (Muong Khuong district).

Up to now, seven intangible cultural heritages of Lao Cai have had their names written in the national intangible cultural heritage list. In 2012, three intangible cultural heritages of Lao Cai were recognized as national intangible cultural heritages which are “Then” rite of Tay people, “Gầu tào” festival of Mong people and “Mature Certification” rite of Dao people.

As a rule, intangible cultural heritages need meet below requirements to have their name written in the national intangible cultural heritage list (after the science profile has been submitted). Firstly, they are representatives for the unique identity of the community and local areas. Secondly, they reflect the cultural diversity and human’s creation which have been maintained through many generations. Thirdly, they can be restored and can exist for a long time. Lastly, they are voluntarily deputed, recognized and protected by community.

New Rice Ceremony of the Xa Pho People

posted Jun 6, 2018, 1:00 AM by Mai Hoa NGUYEN   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 1:01 AM ]

When the grains are ripening, each terraced fields are turning into gold, the Xa Pho people, in Lao Cai, celebrate their traditional new rice ceremony "Giày xí mà".

The new rice ceremony is usually held on the dragon date or snake date, which depends on their family. However, if before September 9th in lunar calendar, the oldest woman in the family will directly reap the harvest fields.

The tray full of new rice and foods are the performance of a hard-working year. While the first gold grains are being brought home, all family are preparing for the thanksgiving to their ancestors and foods for their worship ceremony.

When they finish worshiping, the family makes ​​two trays: The men’s tray and the women’s tray. The men’s tray is placed before the altar to invite host, shaman and visitors. The women’s tray is placed on the banana leaf inside the men’s tray. After shaman and men have finished drinking, the woman gives each person a handful of rice and the meat that are placed in banana leaves. The men sip their wine three times, then eat rice.

According to the traditional custom of the Xa Pho, the day when the family have a new rice ceremony, they absolutely do not give anything to anyone. The families in the village which haven’t celebrated the new rice ceremony are not be invited to attend.

New rice ceremony of the Xa Pho has still been maintained, this is a beautiful culture and traditional faith in particular and mountainous ethnics of the northwest in general.

Annual Horse Race Takes Place in Bac Ha

posted Jun 6, 2018, 12:04 AM by Mai Hoa NGUYEN   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 12:05 AM ]

Bac Ha district in Lao Cai province is very well known for the stunning mountain views and traditional festivals, especially Bac Ha Horse Race festival. The Bac Ha Horse Race festival is one of the most interesting event which has existed for nearly 100 years. In the race, all the riders are farmers from different ethnic groups on Bac Ha plateau as well as its neighbour districts and the racehorses are their pack-horses. The Bac Ha Horse race takes place annually on June and attaches not only the local people but also foreign tourists. According to Bac Ha People’s Committee deputy chairman Thao Seo Cau, the festival plays an important role in promoting and broadcasting ethical tourism in Bac Ha district. The local public enjoy the races, and so do the tourists whose numbers have doubled since 2009 to nearly 30,000 a year.

The traditional Bac Ha Horse Race 2015 will be held in the form of socialization. According to this form, there will be approximately 12.000 tickets for the Horse Race are expected to sold by Bac Ha district. This year, the race will attract more than 80 horses from 10 communes in Bac Ha district as well as its neighbor districts. In the festival, the horse riders will compete in two categories: individual competition and team competition. The qualifying round will take place on 6th June in order to choose the best riders for the final round that will be held on the next day. In addition, many other cultural activities are also held, involving music, dance, food and social tourism in several villages such as Na Hoi, Ta Chai, Ban Pho, Thai Giang Pho…

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