Hoa Binh province is a mountain province in the northwest region of Vietnam. It borders Phu Tho province and Son La province to the northwest, Hanoi to the north and northeast, Ha Nam province to the southeast, Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa province to the south.
About 75km from Hanoi, Hoa Binh province is one of 10 attracted destinations when tourists travel to Vietnam. This place is not only known as an origin of “Hoa Binh culture” - the cradle of Vietnamese ancient culture but also where has the largest hydroelectric plant in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Hoa Binh means "peace" in Vietnamese and indeed this is one of the most peaceful and pleasant areas you'll find in Vietnam. Come here, tourists will have opportunities to treek through terraced rice paddies and small villages, discovering the natural beauty of the valley, beautiful caves like Thac Bo cave, Hang Ret, Hoa Tien cave, the Pu Nooc primitive tropical forest and encountering the distinct cultures of the colourful hill-tribe people of the White Thai people, Muong people and other ethnics living in the region.
1. Mai Chau valley
Normally when we mention travel to Hoa Binh province, we will immediately think of Mai Chau valley. It takes about 5 hours to drive from Hanoi, Mai Chau valley is really a wonderland worth a visit to us in our lifetime.
Mai Chau Valley is a captivating valley situated between tall mountains and filled with rice paddies, lush green forests and enchanting nature reserves. Visitors are able to admire the beauty of Ban, Plum, and Peach flowers when they visit Mai Chau in March, April, October, November and December. Coming here, you will also have the opportunity to interact with many ethnic groups as well as to discovery its different customs, customs and cultural identities
In Mai Chau, there are some tourist places don't miss such as Thung Khe Pass also known as White Rock Pass, Mai Chau flag pole, Mo Luong cave, Chieu caves, Go Lao waterfalls, Thai ethnic Cultural Museum, Hai Son community - based tourism fresco village, Lac village, Pom Coong village, Van village, Nhot village, Buoc village, Ba Khan village, ... usually people choose Lac village (Lac village is 1.6km away from Mai Chau bus station).
1.1 Lac village
Lac village is located in Mai Chau valley, Hoa Binh Province, about 70 kilometers from Hanoi. Lac village has 5 Thai ethnic: Ha, Lo, Mac, and Loc. According to the head of Lac village - Mr. Ha Cong Tim, Lac village has over 700 years old. Previously, the professions of the local people were rice planting and weaving brocade. However in 1993, Hoa Binh province's governement allow tourists to stay overnight in the village according to Mai Chau district's proposal. Therefore, the hidden beauty of Lac village has been gradually discovered by tourists and the name of Lac village has been well known as a "bright spot" on the tourist's map of Vietnam.
1.2 Pom Coong village
Lying next to Lac Village, Pom Coong village belongs to Mai Chau town, Mai Chau district, is a Thai village that is less touristic than its neighbor with just equally beauties and attractions. Pom Coong means the village of the hills lying on a big drum, which implies the field - a name with rich symbolic meaning. Pom Coong has been known as a cultural village, tourist village, an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world with nearly 70 households and more than 300 people. Come to Pom Coong to enjoy the idyll nature, wooden stilt houses, traditional performances and Can wine – a communal and festive drink.
1.3 Thung Khe Pass - White rock Pass
Located between Tan Lac and Mai Chau (Hoa Binh) on Highway 6, Thung Khe Pass or the White Rock Pass is a famous Mai Chau site to enjoy the views. The pass is on an altitude of about 1000 meter above sea level, cutting through mountain cliffs with a perfect curve. Here, in the early morning is a clear sky, the midday is a sunny blue sky, the afternoon is subdued with afternoon and night sunlight is the fog spreading all the way. The pass is not as majestic as O Quy Ho of Lao Cai, not as steep as Ma Pi Leng of Ha Giang but contains unexpected dangers for any driver.
1.4 Mai Chau flagpole
The flagpole is the place that can see the whole of Mai Chau, pass over Thung Khe pass, before going down to Tong Dau intersection to go to the center of Mai Chau, there is a point that you cannot miss. It is the Mai Chau flagpole. In the past, this area was just an empty space from which to view the whole of Mai Chau, later it was concreted and built there a flagpole, as a small symbol for you to record. Back to the beautiful moments when you come to Mai Chau.
1.5 Explore Mai Chau's Caves
If you’re a fan of caves and underground world, Mai Chau Valley has caves such as Mo Luong Cave, Chieu Cave, Pieng Kem Cave... The most famous is Mo Luong Cave which boasts marvelous blocks of stalactites, located not very far from Mai Chau. Its two entrances overlook to the stretching rice paddy fields and the villages. It’s a great place for a half-day hiking tour.
Other cave that deserves honorable mention is Chieu Cave to which you can only reach through a staircase of 1200 steps. If you are looking for a challenge, try conquer Chieu Cave. Walking inside the two interior chambers of a cave has never felt so rewarding.
1.6 Hai Son community - based tourism fresco village
On the walls along of a road more than 800m long in Hai Son village, Mai Hich commune (Mai Chau) has been decorated by people, turning the walls into a vivid mural, filled with colors, soaked cultural identity and typical local landscape.
1.7 Pa Co Market
On every Sunday mornings, Pa Co market takes place like a small weekly festival to the ethnic people here. Pa Co Market is where you can witness the customs and habits of Hmong culture. Lying between Mai Chau and Moc Chau, Pa Co Market is the meeting point of two ethnic groups: Hmong from Moc Chau and Thai from Mai Chau. The bustling atmosphere of the market is so special compared to the quiet feeling of the weekdays. People will bring their self-made and self-grown products trying to sell to others. Pa Co Market is one of the unique things to do in Mai Chau.
2. The Hoa Binh Hydropower plant
Hoa Binh Hydroelectricity Plant was built on the Da River in 1979 and inaugurated in 1994. This is the largest hydroelectric plant in our country with an output of nearly 11.254 tỷ kWh / year, meeting the demand for use electricity to many provinces and cities across the country.
Coming to Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Plant, you will be able to witness the majestic beauty of the white lines and admire the ability of people when blocking rivers, damming to make a hydroelectric plant has such a grand scale.
3. Travel to Cao Phong district - Hoa Binh
About 15km from Hoa Binh city and 100km from Hanoi, Cao Phong is a district of Hoa Binh province very famous for specialties "Cao phong's orange". This land also owns beautiful natural landscapes, many historical sites, landscapes such as Thuong Bong Lai Temple, Thung Nai, Bo Market, Trach stream and peaceful Muong village - The Muong Giang Mo village captivating visitors.
For those who want to return to nature, enjoy the fresh air in the countryside, the natural space filled with vitality of Cao Phong is an appropriate choice.
3.1 Thung Nai
Dubbed the "pearl" of the land of Hoa Binh or Vietnam's terrestrial Ha Long Bay, coming to Thung Nai, you will admire the beauty of the blue lake, Trach stream in cool, Thac Bo cave together with windmill island to make the scenery stirred people's hearts. With a perfect combination of mountains, forests, and peaceful lakes, travel to Thung Nai, sitting on a boat floating on the Da River and admiring the whole scenery here, a wild beauty, but also poetic and romantic beauty. Thung Nai has become the epitome of an idyllic landscape, attracting tourists from all corners of the globe. Nothing is more wonderful to come here to relax and dispel the fatigue of everyday life.
3.2 Muong Giang Mo village
About 10 km from Hoa Binh city, Giang Mo village in Binh Thanh commune, Cao Phong district is located around the valley and at the foot of Mo mountain, around the village is the green of rice fields and mountains of Hoa Binh forest.
Giang Mo is a village of 140 households of Muong ethnic people living with wooden stilt houses, which still remain pristine in color, with fruit-laden orchards. It has long been an attractive destination, attracting a large number of domestic and international tourists.
4. Mu Waterfalls
About 140km from Hanoi, in the Ngoc Son - Ngo Luong (Lac Son) nature reserve, Mu waterfall is an interesting destination for those who love to explore. Especially, in the peak hot days, Mu waterfall has attracted a lot of people to come here to enjoy the cool air, cool bath and have fun.
The immaculate landscape of mountains, forests, and rice terraces surrounding the magnificent Mu waterfalls attracts many visitors. At the foot of the waterfall, visitors can safely swim in the natural pool.
5. Travel to Kim Boi
5.1 Kim Boi hot spring
Kim Boi hot spring is an ideal place for those who want to take a day off after a long and tiring journey. Clear warm water continually spouts from the fountains, at a temperature between 34C and 36C. According to some scientific tests, Kim Boi water resources can reach the required standard for quality; therefore, it is suitable for drinking and bathing.
5.2 Cuu Thac Tu Son waterfall
Over 20km from Hoa Binh city, Cuu Thac Tu Son eco-tourism area is located in Cu hamlet, Tu Son and Kim Boi communes, next to National Road 12B, near Kim Boi hot mineral springs.
On the way to the waterfall, tourists can marvel at the wild, rustic beauty of nature and the unique cultural identity of the Muong ethnic people. Cuu Thac Tu Son Mountain is over 1,300m high. Nine waterfalls run down from the peak like strips of white silk.
5.3 Dong Thech's ancient tombs
Dong Thech is the name of the ancient Muong tombs area in Chieng Dong hamlet, Vinh Dong commune, Kim Boi. "Dong" in the concept of Muong people refers to places of graves, burial places of the dead. And “Thech” is a place name of the land, therefore, the grave area is called Dong Thech.
Dong Thech tomb area is located in the Northwest of the Muong Dong valley, Vinh Dong commune. On Road 12B, 6km from the district capital of Kim Boi district, 24km from the center of Hoa Binh city to the Southeast, from the road looking at you will see a small, tall, flat valley, going deep inside us saw undulating hundreds of high and low graves standing with the time of rain and rain, the terrain is quite beautiful, flat, convenient transportation, surrounded by three sides of the ancient tomb of Dong Thech are low hills creating a small terrain in a large valley.
6. Thang Thien Waterfall
Located on the Vien Nam mountain range, more than 50km from Hanoi to the West, the Thang Thien Waterfall Resort (Ky Son) is covered by a vast green primeval forest with a rich variety of plants and animals. Tourism Thang Thien Waterfall promises to bring you many interesting discoveries when discovering unspoiled, mysterious mountains.
7. Travel to Tan Lac
7.1 Ngoi Hoa village
At Thung Nai's port, taking a boat trip nearly an hour away on the Da River hydroelectric, Ngoi village in Ngoi Hoa commune, Tan Lac district is one of the most beautiful Muong ancient villages of Hoa Binh oasis is located deep in the heart of Hoa Binh hydroelectric lake, there are no roads, the main means of transport is shrimp boats, rafts, the lives of the people here are separate and isolated as "forgotten" ”In the majestic Da river lake.
7.2 Thac Bo cave
Thac Bo cave has become a favourite spiritual tourism destination for pilgrims across the country, who are drawn to the amazing natural scenery. Bo Temple was built in 1431 in Hoa Trang Commune in commemoration of the contributions of Dinh Thi Van, a H’mong ethnic minority woman, and her Dao ethnic minority friend who encouraged locals to raise food to support Le Loi’s troops in the fight against foreign invaders.
7.3 Lung Van
Lung Van is considered “The Roof of Muong Bi”, one of the four major and most ancient cultural cradles of the Muong ethnic people in Hoa Binh Province, including Muong Bi, Muong Vang, Muong Thang and Muong Dong.
7.4 Hoa Tien Cave
Coming to Tien Hoa cave, people will not be surprised by the shimmering scenery of many unique stalactites with all shapes and sizes. Thanks to the natural beauty combined with the installation of dim light inside the cave, visitors entering the cave feel like they are lost in a fairy-tale place.
In addition to the sightseeings mentioned above, Hoa Binh province has many other attractive points such as Da Bia village, Phu Canh Nature Reserve, Tien Pagoda, Chi Ne money printing factory, Muong cultural space museum, Silver rock Cave, Ngoc Vua Ba stream, Bich Tru village and Tien Phi cave...
Hoa Binh specialites
1. Lam rice "Cơm Lam"
Lam rice is not only specialty of Hoa Binh, but Lam rice here has a very unique flavor, because this dish is made from premium rice - upland fragrant rice. Rice after soaking will be mixed with sliced coconut to knead in bamboo tube, adding a little greasy fresh coconut water will make the dish more aromatic. Next, they will bring this bamboo tube placed on charcoal to grill until cooked. The delicious taste of the fat leopard of coconut water mixed with the natural aroma creates a rustic cuisine style that captivates many visitors.
2. Sour pickled pork "Thịt lợn muối chua"
Unlike the sour meat dishes in other regions, Hoa Binh sour pickled pork brings in the flavor of the whole nature here. Each banana leaf is cleaned and then heated over fire, wipe off all the charcoal, lining the bottom of bamboo before spreading the meat. When you put meat in your palate, remember that each layer of meat is spread with a layer of roasted rice and roasted salt. Do this one at a time until the meat is full, then cover, store the meat on the kitchen counter or around the wood stove. Note, to give the meat a natural sour taste, you can not forget to marinate pork with leaven forest leaves and crushed roasted rice.
When enjoying the food, you should eat with the forest leaves here to be able to fully feel the greasy taste of pork, sour and sour glaze, sweet fragrance of rice and a bit of salt. By skillful combination of natural ingredients, mountains and forests, so this dish has the different taste to other places
3. Boiled man pork "Lợn mán thui luộc"
This is a special dish of Hoa Binh. After tour, trying the boiled and lucky pig dish here. Pork here is more fragrant and firm than domestic pigs by being raised naturally on the hillsides. The reason is called boiled pork because after the meat is cooked, it will go away until it becomes shiny, so that the skin will not be hard to eat due to hard, people will shave their hair. Then the pork is boiled until cooked and then sliced to eat with spice. The hot piece of pork combined with the slightly aromatic flavor of guava seeds and the deep flavor of roasted salt will conquer the most fastidious diners.
4. Sour bamboo shoots cooked with chicken "Măng chua nấu thịt gà"
Sour bamboo shoots cooked with chicken is a very suitable dish for hot weather because the sourness of bamboo shoots will make your taste buds feel somewhat comfortable. Lac Son chicken and fresh forest bamboo shoots are two famous specialties of Hoa Binh - Sour bamboo shoots cooked with chicken. Sipping sour bamboo shoots soup, fat chicken water; biting more fragrant pieces of tough and fragrant chicken (it is better than industrial chicken), sometimes pick up a few strong seeds, nothing is great.
5. Spring roll with Grapefruit leaves "Chả cuốn lá bưởi"
Chả cuốn lá bưởi is a famous specialty no less than Lam rice in Hoa Binh land. At first glance, it is a bit like rolls rolls "lốt" leaves. However, when you taste it, you will discover the difference right away. Unlike the fillings made from minced meat of "lốt" leaves, Hoa Binh's Chả cuốn lá bưởi are made from pieces of "chì" shaped meat with a bit of fish sauce and dried onions, wrapped in grapefruit leaves and grilled bamboo tongs. Lard is burn making sound "sizzle" on charcoal, arousing delicious meat flavor subtly flavored from grapefruit leaves, bamboo tongs.
6. Grilled fish dish "Món cá nướng đồ"
Thanks to the Da River flowing through it, Hoa Binh has a rich source of seafood: carp, lăng fish ... processed feats into many different specialties, in which grilled fish is the most favorite. Fish, after being grilled, has a fascinating aroma, but it is not ready to be served, but it must be wrapped up in banana leaves to be able to enjoy.
7. Sticky rice fields Mai Chau "Xôi nếp nương Mai Châu"
Mai Chau sticky rice is also known as sticky rice of all colors, typical dishes of ethnic minorities on holidays, festivals. It made from delicious upland sticky rice famous throughout the country makes the dish more attractive. Glutinous rice is cooked with many different colors extracted from natural ingredients, not using chemical colors, this is a characteristic in culinary culture of ethnic areas.
8. Buffalo meat with Lom leaf "Thịt trâu lá lồm"
This is one of the Hoa Binh specialties that are most popular with visitors thanks to the strange delicious flavor. To make this dish, it takes a lot of effort, the first step is to prepare the buffalo meat like it did with the pork floss (yellowing the skin, shave the fur), then bring the meat to soften before slicing then put in stew with rice and hollow leaves - a kind of Lồm leaves typical of Hoa Binh. Keep simmering constantly until the rice is cooked to match. Ripe buffalo meat is soft with sour and sour taste of leaves, and the fat of rice is very delicious for eating.
9. Can Wine "Rượu Cần"
When coming to Hoa Binh but not enjoying the taste of Can wine with the bitter, sour and sweet taste enchantingthe heart of the people means you never come to this region "northwestern". Can wine is often used by people here on holidays or brought out to entertain.
10. Forest vegetables "Rau rừng đồ"
Abundant nature for Hoa Binh has a rich plant source with many species of forest leaves that can be processed into delicious dishes, typically forest vegetables. To make this dish, you only need to prepare some forest vegetables to wash away the ripe food to enjoy it. The dish is simple but left in the hearts of diners so much aftertaste: bitter, spicy, sweet, fleshy like the life of the people here. It will be more delicious when combined with thick bread and a unique sauce of indigenous people.
- Hanoi (The capital of Vietnam) (26.09.2019)
- Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) - Pearl of the Far East (18.09.2019)
- Hoian Old Town (Quang Nam) (26.09.2019)
- Halong Bay (Quang Ninh) (18.09.2019)
- Hue (Thua Thien Hue) (18.09.2019)
- Sapa (Lao Cai) (26.09.2019)
- Can Tho (The capital of Mekong Delta) (26.09.2019)
- Dalat (Lam Dong) (26.09.2019)
- Ninh Binh Province - Halong Bay on land (26.09.2019)
- Phong Nha cave (Quang Binh) (26.09.2019)