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Hoa Binh

3.2 / 5 15 votes

Country rank: 25 out of 30 Places To Visit In Vietnam

Sub-Region: Northern Region


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Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Best time: October - January (Read More)

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"Culture overload in the lap of spectacular nature"

Hoa Binh Tourism

Hoa Binh is the Capital City of the Hoa Binh province of Vietnam. Located but a short distance from Hanoi, this hidden gem offers spectacular natural beauty, coupled with a rich culture. The natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture have made Hoa Binh a tourist attraction.

The mountainous terrain of Hoa Binh is untouched and the natural beauty encompasses many hills, rivers, valleys, forests and springs that often keep tourists occupied. The Da Bac caves offer the perfect getaway for adventure junkies and trekkers to climb and explore the multicolour stalactites. Kim Boi hot spring offers you the opportunity to rid yourself of all your ailments by bathing in the hot water. The Hoa Binh Hydroelectric plant provides the perfect location to learn about modern technologies of power generation. Mai Chau is the ideal location to learn about the culture and way of life of the Thai ethnic group and it is the best place for culture enthusiasts. Mai Chau valley also has lush green rice fields. The mountains, rivers, forests and hot springs that abound in this region coupled with the indigenous Thai, Muong and Yao tribes offer a perfect medley of culture and nature.

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Khai Ha is a folk ceremony related to agriculture. The celebration is conducted sometime around New Year and represents the hope for a bumper crop, prosperous life, and happiness. Initially, a traditional ceremony is performed, and the people worship their ancestors and the spirits. After the ceremony, people go to the forest to cut bamboo shoot and woods and so this tradition is also called Xuong Dong (open forest ceremony). One unique feature of Khai Ha ceremony is the repairing of ditches. This is believed to assure adequate irrigation for the whole year. As a rule, one person in each family must take part in the physical labour of repairing the ditches. The festival also has folk games such as crossbow - boys, girls and even children can join the crossbow competition. Also, there are traditional love songs that are sung.

Trekking is a very popular activity for tourists in Hoa Binh due to the mountainous terrain. A very popular trek starts at Mai Chau. It is an 18-kilometre trek that leads from Lac village in Mai Chau up a mountain pass through White Thai tribal territory to Xa Linh village, where the Hmong people live. The trek is usually done over two days with a one night's stay at a village. The trek not only offers an adventurous experience but also has other activities such as cave exploration and an opportunity to talk to an examine the life of the local communities. This is a must do for adventure - junkies and culture enthusiasts who wish to learn from their travels.

The Hoa binh district mainly consuists of Muong, Thai and Yao tribes. The muong tribes believes in the existence of evil spirits - ma tai and ma em. The Tay people believe in local, nature and household spirits that influence everyday life. They even have spirit houses next to their house to capture spirits. Yao people practice Daoism.

The Hoa Binh district mainly consists of Muong, Thai and Yao tribes. Nang Yay is a specific shadow play authentic to Thai people. The Yao people celebrate the Pan Wang (King Pan) festival annually on the sixteenth day of the tenth lunar month. The Muong People pray to their ancestors during New Year.

The Muong, Thai and Yao tribes have their own individual dialects, which are slight variants of Vietnamese. English is fairly unmderstood, but don't except the people to speak fluently as the region is fairly underdeveloped.

The Hoa Binh province was established in 1886 and was initially called the Muong province, after its primary inhabitants, the Muong tribe. It was renamed as Hoa Binh in 1891 by the Governers of French Indochina. Hoa Binh ais also one of the earliest regions to have valid proof of Human Life existence, with records dating back to 10,000 - 2,000 BCE.

Hoa Binh is relatively remote and the city shuts down as soon as sunlight recedes. Evening folk dance and music performances are occasionally put on by the local hill-tribe people, which you'll be able to catch if you're doing a home-stay or tour of a local village. Otherwise, simply enjoy the stillness and serenity of the Hoa Binh night, and indulge in some stargazing while listening to the forest rhythms. If staying in the Mai Chau valley, visit the Veranda Bar at Mai Chau Lodge to sample its nightly beer and cocktail happy-hour specials and a decent wine selection.

Hoa Binh has a rich variety of textiles and traditional arts and crafts sold in the village markets. A visit to some local homes will let you watch the creation of beautiful fabrics and clothing by the skilled hands of ladies weaving on their looms. Mai Chau has a Sunday market, which brings in tribes-people from the surrounding hills to sell their wares including their signature tho cam embroidered fabrics and agricultural products including bananas and corn. Polite bargaining is the norm here. Arts and crafts unique to Hoa Binh include go Lua, figures and furniture sculpted from tree trunks; mats, hand baskets, hats, fruit trays and lampshades made with hand-made bamboo wattle; and beautiful brocade weaving using indigo dyed cotton and coloured silk on hand-crafted looms. The brocade fabrics are then made into pillowcases, tablecloths, bedspreads and other decorative items for the home. These are ideal souvenirs.

Hoa Binh has a medley of cuisines which you should not miss. Pickled Pork (Pig meat sprinkled with herbs and roasted rice and cooked in a banana leaf), Xoi Ngu Sac (Five coloured - white, green, yellow, black orange , sticky rice shaped into a star), Meat roll with pomelo leaf (Thinly sliced meat is coated with fish sauce, wrapped in pomelo leaves and barbecued), Loong Soup (pig and Banana soup cooked with authentic Doi nuts and Loi leaf) and Lam Rice (sesame salted sticky rice placed inside bamboo sticks) are some exotic dishes of Hoa Binh. Manh Ngan Restaurant, Da Hop restaurant, Ngoc Cuong and Luong Thuc Restaurant are some great options for a relaxed sit-down meal. For street food, head to the banh bo place on Chu Chin Lan or the kebab stands opposite to it. You can grab a quick dessert at the Phu Thuy Bakery.


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Holidify's Opinion

  What's Great?

Natural Beauty, Hot Springs, Mountainous View, Cultural Overload

  What's not so Great?

Transport system is not very developed

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