Bo Dau Chung cake

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Thai Nguyen City is popular by not only Tan Cuong tea but also other local specialties such as stuffed pancake in Cao Ngan, bamboo-tube rice in DinhHo and so on. Today, I will introduce one more local specialty what is always appeared in national Lunar New Year holiday. It is the Chung cake in Bo Dau.

Bo Dau is in both Son Cam and Co Lung hamlets, Phu Luong district. Here there has the traditional Chung cake trade village, which is well-known long ago. In war period, Bo Dau Chung cake was famous and shared by long-distance drivers on the northern route.

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Ingredients of Bo Dau Chung cake

It is still made from sticky rice, green beans and bacon but with hands of local people in Son Cam, Co Lung Chung cake here has the distinctive flavor not be confused with other places. Bo Dau Chung cake is made from specific sticky rice in Dinh Hoa, which is very glutinous and especially scented. Sticky rice which is removed from grit, non-glutinous corn is rinsed carefully, soaked in water for an hour to hatch rice. Then, it is drained and mixed with a little salt and prepare to be packaged.

Phrynium which is used to package cake is sticky, thick, green and wide-size leaf. Those leaves taken from Na Ri forest, Don market, Bac Kan are washed two sides, drained and cleaned by dried towel. Then, they are stripped down pedicle, leaf top and arranged near rice pot. Bamboo string is made by hands.

Green bean that is made stuffing of rice dumpling is local bean, thin skin and yellow. Bean is broken in two, soaked, washed down skin and mixed with little salt. Selected meat is the delicious bacon from pigs who are in mountain region. It is sliced into big parts, mixed with salt and pepper to be absorbed.

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Secret makes Bo Dau Chung cake famous

Local people in Co Lung, Son Cam share own hereditary secret to have the special cakes. According to legend, to make delicious cakes, these people used water in wells in their own village. They make Chung cakes without any kind of mold because they use their hands to make cakes skillfully and square Chung cakes in turn are produced.

Bo Dau Chung cake plays an important role in cultural culinary of people in Thai Nguyen. The days which are close to holidays, Chung cake market is more bustling because local and urban people or neighboring province, city order cakes before the New Year for months. These cakes make Lunar New Year holidays become warmer and more complete. However, Chung cake of Bo Dau is appeared not only in Lunar New Year holiday but also all year round. Thus, all tourists also have chances to enjoy and buy it as a special gift for their friends or families from Thai Nguyen.

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When unwrapping a Bo Dau Chung cake, we could feel fresh cool cover, quiet fat stuff of rice dumpling mixed with pungent and scented taste of pepper like whole land and sky are culminating in each cake. And maybe legend of Chung cake is appeared in our mind. We are very proud of this traditional cultural culinary of Vietnam.

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Ban flower festival

Ban flower festival 2

Ban flower festival ( also known as Xen Muong festival ) is celebrated by the Thai people in February of the lunar year when the Northwest mountains are wrapped with the white of Ban flower. The festival expresses the deep gratitude of the local residents to the great contribution of the ancestors, the gods and prays for good health, peaceful life, good weather, prosperous harvest…

The Ban flower festival represents the cultural feature of the spiritual life of the Thai ethnic minority. They worship “Then” –  a supreme deity of the Thai people, worship “ Miss Ban”- a legendary goddess represents the virginity of the Thai young women and the faithful love of the Thai couple, worship the god of mountain, the god of river, the god of village…for good weather, good harvest, happiness and peaceful life…

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Ban flower

According to the legend of the Thai people,  “ Miss Ban” is a beautiful woman but she has got smallpox. She didn’t got married and decided to live in the Tham Le cave ( belongs to Son Thinh commune, Van Chan district ). Then she exhausted there. The place she died grew a tree with white flowers like the fingers of women. This kind of flower spreads across the Northwest. Annually, the flowers bloom around the mountain in the spring and is called “ Ban flower”

 

The Ban flower festival is a special occasion of the Thai when the local residents meet each other. Annually the festival is held in the February of the lunar year. The festival taken place 3 times per year attracts talented people all around the village.

The festival is usually celebrated in Tham Le cave with two parts : the ceremony part to worship the gods and the festival part with games and cultural activities to educate people reach to the better things. The ceremony part is performed out side the cave. After the sorcerer asks “Then” to open the gate of the cave, the festival part is celebrated both inside and outside of the cave.

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The activities taken place at night in The Ban flower festival

After the ceremony part is ended, the villagers continue taking part in the festival part with exciting folk games such as con throwing, tug of war, walking on stilts, climbing tree, sing and dance…The laughter of young men and women is commingled with the sounds of the ethnic musical instruments such as drum, khen, pi…..The men both sing and help the women pick up white Ban flower to take home.

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The Thai women perform Xoe dancing in the Ban flower festival

Participating Ban flower festival, tourists will be immersed in the lively atmosphere of the spring in the Northwest area and listen to the sounds of the “pi”, “khen” ( the musical instruments of the ethnic minority groups), enjoy the unique dances of the Xoe dancing. Certainly, you will fall in love with the land, the people here, then you will be reluctant to leave the Northwest region.

Founded in 2001, Exoticvoyages.com is the website about vietnam travel guide. The most beautiful destinations you should explore. The most delicious food you should enjoy. For example: history, people, culture, cuisine, destinations. We have everything what you need. (Ex: best beaches in vietnam, Things to do in vietnam, Things to do in hanoi, Non la, Vietnam souvenirs, Things to do in Saigon, Best time to visit Vietnam, Things to do in Sihanoukville,… )

Cao Son market – an ideal destination for your holiday

Cao Son market – an ideal destination for your holiday 5

Cao Son market is located in Cao Son commune, Muong Khuong district, Lao Cai province, 80 kilometers far from Lao Cai city.

Visiting the market, tourists will have opportunity to interact with the ethnic minority people and explore the cultural features of four largest mountain villages in Muong Khuong.

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A corner of highland market

From Lao Cai city, visitors follow national highway 4D to reach Phong Nien commune, Bao Thang district, Lao Cai province, then continue following provincial 153 you will come to the Bao Nhai bridge in Bao Nhai commune, Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province. From here, tourists can go 30 kilometers to the north to Cao Son market.

You can choose several ways to go to the market and the most interesting way is taking a boat  to enjoy the poetic and romantic landscape.

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Taking place every Wednesday, Cao Son market is a small market of four ethnic groups of Hmong, Phu La, Dao and Black Han in Muong Khuong district.

From a far distance, the market is highlighted amongst the forests and mountains of the North Vietnam. Groups of people in colorful costumes are carrying baskets of goods on the backs walking on the road to the market.

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Brocade stall

Like other highland market, Cao Son market is divided into separate sections:

Some mountainous specialities such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, hone, corn wine, sticky rice, housewares, jewelry… are sold in a separate area. The most attractive place is brocade stalls with the eye-catching colors and vivid designs. These products show the talent of ethnic women from annealing fiber, weaving, dyeing to embroidering.

However, the most attractive area is the place selling poultry, cattle such as buffalos, cows, pigs, chicken, dogs, horses…

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A woman selling vegetable

The food area also leaves deep impression on tourists. You will be easily overwhelmed by the flavors of cuisines: the fragrance of Thang Co ( a special food made of horse meat), spicy taste of ethnic wine such as Coc Dam corn wine or Coc Ngu corn wine…

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Exchanging cattle

Visiting Cao Son market, tourists will have a chance to enjoy culture interference of some ethnic groups living along Chay rive in
. Especially, you can take a boat trip on the river to enjoy the peaceful landscape.

Founded in 2001, Exoticvoyages.com is the website about vietnam travel guide. The most beautiful destinations you should explore. The most delicious food you should enjoy. For example: history, people, culture, cuisine, destinations. We have everything what you need. (Ex: Things to do in vietnam, Things to do in hanoi, Non la, Things to do in Saigon, Vietnam souvenirs, best beaches in vietnam, Best time to visit Vietnam, Things to do in Sihanoukville,… )

Coc Ly market – a cultural feature of highlanders

Coc Ly market – a cultural feature of highlanders 3

Coc Ly market is a medium sized market where every Tuesday the minority people from surrounding villages come to buy and sell goods.

From Lao Cai district, following the national highway 4D, visitors come to Phong Dien commune, Bao Thang district, Lao Cai province. Continuing to follow the provincal road 153 through Bac Ha district’s Bao Nhai bridge and then take a boat 10 kilometers across Chay River, tourists will arrive at Coc Ly market.

According to the locals, Coc Ly means “plum tree” and perhaps the market is in the highland of plums- a typical plants of Bac Ha district.

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 A corner of Coc Ly market

Coc Ly market looks beautiful and vivid from a distance. It is divided into separate zones: the zone for selling buffalos, the zone for selling brocade and the zone for traditional cuisines.

Original buffalo market

The most interesting thing in the market is the zone for selling buffalo. The Bac Ha people mainly use buffalo for plowing so the buffalos for sale should be the biggest and strongest ones.

The experience to choose a healthy buffalo is to ensure three important factors: short hair, round legs and curved horns.  The cost of each buffalo is more than 20 milion VND.

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The buffalo market

The buffalo is the most important fortune of the minority ethnic people so they just sell it to pay for greater works such as building houses, weddings or funerals…

Attractive cuisines

Besides selling a lot of items that brings cultural features of the highland such as brocade, corn wine, wild vegetables, sticky rice, poultries, cattles…the market is also famous for traditional dishes of the ethnics.

Food area where ethnics from different villages meet each other, drink wine and enjoy specialties of Bac Ha. Although they are in hurry, they still spend time enjoying a bowl of Thang Co ( a special dish from horse meat) with the smell of lemon leaves, the sweet taste of horse bones and drinking a cup of corn wine.

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“Thang Co” a special dish of ethnic people

Bac Ha people are used to eating “ Thang Co” with “ mèn mén” ( “ mèn mén” is made from grined corn with the yellow color and attractive flavors)

“Pho” ( Noodle) restaurants in the market isn’t less exciting than Thang Co zone. “Pho” in Bac Ha is very special. The noodle is made from red rice that make “ Pho” have attractive color. Tourists can choose mixed noodle, cool sour noodle or hot sour noodle with their own unique flavors.

If you go to the market on a winter day, you should enjoy a bowl of chicken noodle. Chicken noodle is the most delicious dish in Bac Ha. The chicken meat is sliced into small pieces and then mixed with some Muong Khuong chilly sauce.

A special dish of Bac Ha is sour noodle – a bowl of noodle with a lot of things such as pork, salted vegetable, roasted peanuts that leaves deep impressions on tourists.

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 A bowl of sour noodle

Coc Ly is considered a cultural market fair of the highlanders.   The market looks colorful and vivid every Tuesday. The different of this fair is not only the place for people to exchange goods but also for traveling, meeting each other…

Founded in 2001, Exoticvoyages.com is the website about vietnam travel guide. The most beautiful destinations you should explore. The most delicious food you should enjoy. For example: history, people, culture, cuisine, destinations. We have everything what you need. (Ex: Vietnam souvenirs, Things to do in vietnam, Things to do in hanoi, Non la, best beaches in vietnam, Things to do in Saigon, Best time to visit Vietnam, Things to do in Sihanoukville,… )

Discover Ban Flower Festival of the Thai

Discover Ban Flower Festival of the Thai 3

Annually the fifteen of lunar January, when Ban flowers is booming all over the forest, people in the Northwestern region will hold Ban flower festival (Bauhinia festival) with the boisterous sounds of drums and gongs.

Typical feature of Yen Bai

This spring, in the journey to discover the Northwest, tourists can break a leg in the Western mountainous area named Yen Bai which is not only the land of ban flower, peach blossom, romantic love stories and colorful costumes but also the homeland of beautiful folk dances.

The Northwestern region in general and Yen Bai particularly are given rolling mountain ranges as well as springs and waterfalls flowing year by year as if they are singing murmuring music of different feelings along with the sound of wind through the high mountains and thick forests and the melodious sounds of birds. The sketchy line of the charming and gigantic landscape is just green color of rice and corn on the lushy contour fields and the white color of ban flowers.

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The meaning of Ban flower

When going though Van Chan, Muong Lo in the spring, tourists can sightsee the
pure beauty of Ban flowers booming on the forests and on the hillsides of mounatins. Not only are they the typical flower of graceful beauty in the Northwest but also they have strong attachment with the mental life of the Thai community. To the Thai, Ban flower symbolizes both faithful love of the couples, children’s piety to their parents and undaunted tradition of human beings.

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Legen of the festival

According to the Thai ethnic group, the festival origins from the love story between a girl named Khom which means “pour or bitter” in the Thai language and the young man named Tao Lu (meaning of the wealth). They fell in love with each other; however, their are strongly opposed by two families. Regardless of the disagreement, in spring, they went to Tham Dong Ngoang cave (currently Tham Le cave) together.

Shortly after that trip, Tao Lu is dead for catching a cold suddenly. Because Khom did not want to be forced to marry with other man, she decided to run away into the forest. On the road of running, she felt exausted and then passed away in the deep forest. Where she drew her last breath, there is a white flower blooming with the sweet scent like a honey. The thai people has called this type of flower “Ban”. Particularly, Ban flower boom right in the spring when Lu and Khom hung out together.

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Time for the festival

In the lunar calendar, Ban flower starts to boom on February and flourishes in the early March. If taking a visit in these months, tourists can feel the fresh breath of forest, of spring and merge themselves into the Bauhinia festival.

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Purpose of the festival

To the Thai ethnic group, more than a fesival for the loves of Thai men and women, Ban flower festival is also occasion for the Thai to give their wishes for the country’s peace, teh village’s prosperity, good harvest and happiness as well as their gratefulness to their grandparents and parents. The thai people here retains a lot of unique customs and habits, in which Ban flower festival is one of the most typical activities of the land. The festival implies the Lingaism’s meaning of  farmers in the moutainous region. It also expresses the spiritual feature of the Thai community’s culture with the high respect.

The offerings of the festival

On the days of the festival, the offering of the ritual is pork meat because the Thai people believe that pig is intelligent enough to become a facilitator between them and the Gods for praying. Besides, the Thai people will prepare several branches of Ban flowers, a bottle of wine, two bowls of rice, two bowls of steamed rice, some incense sticks with betel and areca. Afterthat, they will bring these offerings to Tham Le cave for the shaman to do the ceremony and worship for a prosperous life to villagers.

Generally speaking, once tourists visit Yen Bai and take part in Ban flower festival, they will have unforgettable and wonderful memories when walking in the forest of white Ban flowers as well as the impressively cultural beauty of the festival.

Founded in 2001, Exoticvoyages.com is the website about vietnam travel guide. The most beautiful destinations you should explore. The most delicious food you should enjoy. For example: history, people, culture, cuisine, destinations. We have everything what you need. (Ex: Things to do in vietnam, Things to do in hanoi, Non la, Things to do in Saigon, Vietnam souvenirs, best beaches in vietnam, Best time to visit Vietnam, Things to do in Sihanoukville,… )

CULTURAL SPACE OF THAI NGUYEN TEA – PRESERVATION AND PROMOTION OF TEA CULTURE

Project of Cultural space of Thai Nguyen Tea was chosen and invested to build as a major part of serving the First International Tea Festival in Thai Nguyen in 2011. Construction was completed on 27.000 m² area of the famous tea land, Tan Cuong. Sweet aftertaste of Tea Festival, tea products, tea culture of Thai Nguyen seems to be converged here.

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  1. Tan Cuong tea

On the route from Thai Nguyen City to Nui Coc Lake tourism area, visitors will travel across the famous tea region, Tan Cuong. In this land, there has a half of plain and a half of mountain with cool climate and fertile soil, which are extremely suitable for development of tea. In an immensely green space of lush tea hills, Cultural space of tea appears as a subtly sketchy line, which has the wealth of artistic values of the peaceful and fertile village painting.

When visiting the site, visitors will realize that this is an unique construction with an open space. Each category of this Cultural space is marked by time and art. In front of it, there has a large area to organize all activities of the festival, promote tourism to attract visitors in studying and enjoying the culture and Tan Cuong’s characteristic tea products.

  1. Exploration of display area

Gallery is the main item of Cultural space. It was designed with three major architectural spaces for reception, for exhibition and for introduction of tea culture and its products. Gallery is like a small historical museum of Thai Nguyen Tea. In the story of tea, Tea is the main character which is considered as a witness of history, culture, traditional elements of people cultivating, caring, collecting and processing tea.

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After Cultural space of tea was completed, People’s Committee and Service of Culture, Sports and Tourism commissioned to preserve and efficiently exploit this construction. Units would arrange staff for 3-shifts daily work. Additionally, units would organize collection, exhibition of more than 500 documents relating to types of tea, tea culture for domestic and international visitors to visit and study.

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At present, here keeps and exhibits many groups of documents and objects to introduce the history and development of tea, characteristic culture. Among them, there has several precious documents and objects about cultivation, maintenance and processing of tea; ancient teapots, tea tools and so on.

Through these exhibited documents, objects and contents, visitors will understand not only the typically natural conditions for the development of tea but also the value of history, culture of tea. Also, they can sympathize for the hard work of local people. Everytime when we enjoy a moreish cup of tea, we can feel more about the value of life and the sophistication of the people in this land. This means that brand of Thai Nguyen Tea in general and brand of Tan Cuong Tea in particular are not achieved naturally or accidentally. In fact, due to deposition and accumulation of the time flow of history that has saved life and development of tea and tea growers, enjoyers has created an original tea culture.

Just after one-year operation at Cultural space of tea, Thai Nguyen attracted more than hundreds of domestic and international visitors from different coutries such as India, Pakisttan, China, Japan or even Laotian group of government and so on. While taking a tour to this tourism site, they more and more deeply felt and understood about currently preserved land, tree and products of tea and the sophisticated tea culture.

In brief, it can be said that Cultural space of Thai Nguyen tea is the remarkable spotlight luring hundreds and even thousands of tourists because thanks to this space, they will feel interested and excited to know more unique tea cultures of Thai Nguyen in particular as well as other domestic and international tea areas in general.

Founded in 2001, Exoticvoyages.com is the website about vietnam travel guide. The most beautiful destinations you should explore. The most delicious food you should enjoy. For example: history, people, culture, cuisine, destinations. We have everything what you need. (Ex: Things to do in vietnam, Things to do in hanoi, Non la, Things to do in Saigon, Vietnam souvenirs, best beaches in vietnam, Best time to visit Vietnam, Things to do in Sihanoukville,… )

DIEN BIEN PHU HISTORY MUSEUM – HISTORICAL VALUE OF NATION

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Dien Bien Phu History Museum (The History Museum) is the construction work creating a greatly historical value of Vietnam – a small but undaunted country. The History Museum is one of the most interesting destinations for all tourists to Dien Bien because it displays a vivid space of the victory “producing a stir in world opinion”.

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  1. Overview about the History Museum:

The History Museum was commenced from October, 2012 with the area of over 22.000 m2 and has openned since May 5, 2014. Monumental design and unique display greatly helps the visitors strongly feel that they are witnessing the nine-year war of resistance against the French colonialism when going through all exhibition areas of the museum.

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If you want to take a visit to the History Museum, the following information will be useful for you to keep in your minds:

Opening time:

  • Morning: 7.00 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Afternoon: 13.30 p.m. to 17.00 p.m

Ticket price: 5000 VND/ person/visiting place

Location: Street 1, Muong Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu district

  1. The design of the History Museum:

The main building is designed as the shape of broadbrim covered with net as the means of camourflage. It has a basement and a connecting floor. The basement is not only the reception for visistors but also the administration area and interractive studying space. The connecting floor is used for display area, panorama space (general view) and working place.

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The width of the museum is more than 7000 m2 with approximately 1000 objects and images, divided into 5 sections: The nine-year war of resistance against the French colonialism from 9/1945-9/1953; the happenings of Dien Bien Phu campaign; international people’s support for Dien Bien Phu campaign; and the influence of Dien Bien Phu Vitory on the world and Honorable room.

Besides, the whole part of the second floor which is like a panorama picture play an important role in series of display of the History Museum. This picture is expected to be completely built by 2016. It can be said that this is the first round-shaped picture made in Vietnam in order to literally detail Dien Bien Phu battle field.

  1. Display:

All objects on display in the History Museum are attached to the historical events relating to Dien Bien Phu campaign, in which the spotlight is “56 days and nights of deeping mountain, sleeping in the cellar and the hazardous life”, singing the praise of national heroes such as To Vinh Dien, Be Van Dan, Phan Dinh Giot and other hornorable sacrifice role-models. Particularly, tourists can see a lot of objects describing activities of opening road, pulling fire-cracker, transporting food of Vietnamese soldiers and militiamen. As can be seen, they are the most forceful proofs for the miracle created by Vietnamese nation and Vietnamese people in Dien Vien Phu campaign. Remarkably, despite using only with primitive weapons and means, we can defeated the French colonism’s modern ones in the war.

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In the History Museum, there are more spaces for honoring General Vo Nguyen Giap – High Command of Dien Bien Phu campaign by a lively variety of exhibition ways.

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  1. The meaning of the History Museum

The History Museum makes a great contribution to both fulfill facilities to meet demands of preserving as well as building on the historical and cultural values of relic site of Dien Bien Phu battle field. In addition, it is worthy of National Monument and stature of one of the greatest historical vitories in Vietnamese Revolution. Thanks to this, the museum promotes historical, cultural, socio-economic development of Dien Bien in particular and the country in general. This is the place for educating young generations’ patriotism and pride.

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Founded in 2001, Exoticvoyages.com is the website about vietnam travel guide. The most beautiful destinations you should explore. The most delicious food you should enjoy. For example: history, people, culture, cuisine, destinations. We have everything what you need. (Ex: Things to do in hanoi, Things to do in vietnam, Non la, Things to do in Saigon, Vietnam souvenirs, best beaches in vietnam, Best time to visit Vietnam, Things to do in Sihanoukville,… )