The rain festival

Rain ceremony of Lo Lo minority people in Meo Vac, Ha Giang

Posted By : Duc Viet Nguyen/ 80 1

The rain festival of Lo Lo minority people in Meo Vac, Ha Giang

The rain festival is undisputably the most traditional festival among the Lo Lo people living in Meo Vac; Ha Giang. Once integrated in this uniquely cultural festival you will learn so much more than you ever imagined; taking with you a sense of humbling serenity like no other.

The rain festival

In the beginning stages of the ceremony the Lo Lo people gather in the middle of the village; inviting ceremonial people such as the village chief or senior citizens to help commend the practice. Everyone then proceeds to prepare the holy sacrifices for the gods.

Among these are animals; swords; wine; and four scented bamboo sticks intended to symbolism the four heavens. This is completed by lighting the incense and scattering dazzling gold paper and silver over the offerings in a final tribute before the ceremony

Lễ hội cầu mưa lô lô
lễ cầu mưa

In order for the rain ceremony to be successful, it is imperative that the procedure is commemorated using ancient prayers. Using a cup of water, incense and paprika the priest first burns the incense at the majestic alter of the ancestors, then places the cup of water down before continuing with prayer. Gold paper is then wrapped around the cup of water, and after it is poured out the rain ceremony can commence successfully. Only once the paper is burnt out is the ceremony complete.

cầu mưa lô lô (1)
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After the rain ceremony, all of the villagers gather for drinking and dancing around the table. At this time, the boys and girls of the Lo Lo ethnic group will perform ancient folk songs that sing of love and praise for the country, and celebrate the happiness of couples.

hang-na-luong (1)

NA LUONG CAVE, THE HIDDEN GEM OF HA GIANG

Posted By : Duc Viet Nguyen/ 57 0

NA LUONG CAVE, THE HIDDEN GEM OF HA GIANG

Na Luong cave, recently announced as a national heritage site is considered to be the most beautiful cave in all of Vietnam. The entrance towers 30 meters in height but is secretly shrouded by over grown forest and vines.

na luông

People can admire the gleaming stalactites hanging right from the top of the cave entrance that stretch throughout the length and breadth of the cave. Along the bed of the cave it is known that rock formations stand out in the appearances of fish, wild boar and buffalo.

Na Luong cave is burrowed deep into mountain, with its water level thousands of meters in depth.  Adjacent to Na Luong Cave is another cave system, with 7 independent caves, all of which are close together creating a cave complex that visitors can explore.

hang-na-luong3 (1)

Being a cave deep in the mountains; the cave has long been inhabited by thousands of bats. Should the flocks be disturbed at any given moment they immediately take flight in synchrony;  blocking partial streams of lights from the cave and creating a very impressive image for its visitors.

hang nà luông

With its beautiful terrain; spacious and cool aired atmosphere; it has proceeded to become a great tourist attraction of Ha Giang. Finding Na Luong is about finding tranquility; discovering nature up close and personal; and making many of your own discoveries in the enchanting land of Ha Giang.

Fire dancing festival

FIRE DANCING FESTIVAL OF PA THEN MINORITY COMMUNITY IN HA GIANG

Posted By : Duc Viet Nguyen/ 42 0

Fire dancing festival of pa then minority community in Ha Giang

This brilliantly vibrant yet ancient festival is still celebrated at large by the Pa Then ethnic group of  Tuyen Quang province. The inhabitants of this province are scattered far and wide in deeply remote areas but they all still unify as one culture in traditional costume; music and song for the God of fire on the 16th day of the first lunar month every year.

The ceremony, which is believed to bring good fortune and opulence; is practiced to fortify the alliance between man; nature and god. Before the ceremony takes place; the village Shaman prepares offerings as a ritual for the gods; asking divine permission to proceed with the fire dancing.

Fire dancing festival

The Pa Then people them must wait and abstain from jumping in the fire; until the gods have been worshipped and invited to join the ritual.  In the lead-up to this mesmerizing frenzy percussion instruments are played up until the Gods agree to let the people join the fire. This only happens once the coals are red and the blaze has weakened.

Once the boys and men of the pa then people join the fire it is like a hypnotic illusion- they skip and dance barefoot among the hot coals painlessly as if they feel no pain at all. Some even dig out the scorching coals with their bare hands and put them in their mouths. They do this in the hopes of driving out evil spirits or simply in prayer of supreme health and strength.

 After the fire has deceased and the charcoal has cooled the shaman makes one final summons for the spirits to be driven away and the people conclude with laughter and excitement; cherishing this unique and sacred ceremony.

cat ba national park

HOW TO NOT DIE WHEN TRAVELING IN CAT BA

Posted By : Duc Viet Nguyen/ 66 0

HOW TO NOT DIE WHEN TRAVELING IN CAT BA

With its rugged rocky horizons, cool, glittering caves, thick jungles teeming with wildlife, and golden beaches, Cat Ba Island is an explorer’s nirvana.

Cat Ba offers the chance to get outdoors in so many ways. You can choose to kayak in private mini bays, hike in the National Park, swim at any number of gorgeous sandy beaches, take a boat trip, cycle or motorbike around the island or even do some rock climbing to fully appreciate what the island has to offer.

Of course the last thing you want on your holiday is for something to go wrong, so we have put together a brief list of things you can do to keep yourself safe so you get the most out of your stay on the island.

HOW TO NOT DIE WHEN TRAVELING IN CAT BA
cycle or motorbike around the island

Kayaking

Kayaking is one of the most rewarding ways to properly appreciate the sheer size of the famous limestone karsts that make this part of the world so famous. There are so many reasons why you should kayaking in Cat Ba. However, as in many South East Asian countries, rental equipment can be damaged or not quite up to the safety standards many western tourists are used to.

When renting a kayak, check the boat is firstly and most importantly, water tight. If not, don’t get in and ask for another one! Secondly, make sure your paddles are not brittle or broken and ask if they can be tied to your kayak to avoid losing them and ending up a creek without a paddle! Insist that you are given a lifejacket and inspect it for any damage first.

Before setting out make sure you have plenty of water, sunscreen and it pays to have a wide brimmed hat. Once you have all the gear you are good to go and will easily spend hours discovering beautiful private bays, pristine beaches, enchanting sea caves and tunnels and capturing photos of the rugged landscape from an entirely unique perspective

kayaking in Cat Ba

Hiking

If hiking is your thing, Cat Ba National Park will not disappoint. Here you will experience nature and views like you will not find anywhere else. You will wander through shimmering greenery; pass caves like works of art, carefully perfected by Mother Nature over billions of years.

Just like anywhere in the world it is important to take the appropriate precautions to ensure you have a safe experience. Always bring plenty of water and food. The jungle is incredibly humid and you will sweat bucket loads. Consider bringing a cloth head band to keep the sweat out of your eyes or wear a hat. Wear appropriate shoes with plenty of grip as after rain the ground can get very slippery. Do not approach snakes or any wildlife you might encounter. Never hike alone and always make sure someone is expecting you back at an agreed time.

THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL VIETNAM
Ride A Motorbike Around Cat Ba

Cycling and motorbikes

Cycling or hiring a motorbike is a popular way to get around the island. The freedom of having your own bike is priceless and means you can explore everything the island has to offer at your own pace as well as giving you the chance to get off the beaten track and discover parts of the island that even the locals might not know about.

The roads are probably your biggest enemy here. The island is quite hilly and in some places there are un-sealed roads with giant pot-holes. These can pop up quite unexpectedly and can be deadly so always watch where you are going, wear a helmet and go slowly. In Vietnam you must cycle and drive on the right-hand side and cyclists should give way to motorbikes. When driving or cycling in traffic it is customary to give a friendly honk of your horn or ring of your bell when approaching traffic or pedestrians from behind. This lets other drivers know where you are and is an essential part of traffic culture in Vietnam.

Ride A Motorbike Around Cat Ba

Boat trips

Taking a boat trip in the bay is by far the most relaxing way to fully appreciate the incredible natural rock formations and get up close and personal with the unique fishing villages that are scattered throughout the bay. To ensure you are safe make sure you book with a reputable company. Nam Travel only partner with providers who meet the safety standards set by the government. Boat skippers have to comply with certain maritime regulations but to keep yourself safe make sure there is a life jacket available for you and your family. Take enough food and water with you if the tour does not supply this and wear long pants and shirts, put sun-cream on your skin to protect yourself from the sun

Boat trips
Boat trips

Rock climbing

For some people there is no better way to enjoy spectacular views across the island than by hanging from a rope half way up one of the magnificent craggy rock faces of a limestone karst. The only way to experience these views safely are by booking a guided trip from a reputable company which Nam Travel can help you with. Again dress for the sun. Wear long tight fitting clothing to avoid it getting snagged on anything and bring enough food and water for the whole day. Always wear a helmet and ask your guide about what kinds of shoes are suitable for the climb. Listen to your instructor carefully and follow their rules. They are there to keep you safe and are more familiar with the environment than you are.

leo núi

Exploring the town

One of the most interesting parts of the island is actually the town and the local people. As Cat Ba has been a popular tourist destination for so long, locals are used to seeing tourists as well as travelers and will hardly blink an eye at you. The crime rate is very low here and there are very few reports of tourists being mugged. Women travelling alone can also feel safe even whilst walking at night as there are plenty of street lights on the road in the main part of the town.

WHAT TO DO ON CAT BA ISLAND
Exploring the town

I AM HERE TO HELP YOU OUT!

Don’t worry if you struggle to find a course of action- contact me. I will help you as best as I can. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am available all of the time to help you out.

I am here to listen to you

Whatsapp number: +84936516991 – Viet

Skype: ducvietdz

Facebook: http://fb.com/namtravel.net

Good luck with your amazing journey in Viet Nam!

Wait, you would love these tours so much!

is safe to ride a bike during the typhoon

HOW TO NOT DIE IN A TYPHOON

Posted By : Duc Viet Nguyen/ 91 0

HOW TO NOT DIE IN A TYPHOON

Typhoons are a common occurrence all over Vietnam and if you aren’t careful they can even be deadly. If you are properly prepared chances are you’ll be fine however there are different hazards that you should look out for depending on where you are when one hits.

Why is a typhoon so serious?

What to do if a typhoon hits whilst you are in a hilly area

How to stay safe during a typhoon on an island

Is it safe to drive in a typhoon?

I AM HERE TO HELP YOU OUT!

Typhoons

Why is a typhoon so serious?

A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone and can bring with it incredibly powerful winds and rain. Often in the days before a typhoon the weather will be warm and the skies blue and cloud free. This can lull unsuspecting travellers into a false sense of security. A typhoon usually begins with torrential rain, sometimes thunder and lightning and then introduces very strong winds. This wind and rain can last for a maximum of 5 days so can bring your plans to a serious halt.

biển Cát Bà
sam set

What to do if a typhoon hits whilst you are in a hilly area

Landslides are a very real risk during a typhoon and it can be dangerous for a few days following. Torrential rain can seriously damage the structural integrity of the soft soil found in many hilly areas of Vietnam. If you are stuck in the hills when a typhoon strikes make sure you have a safe place to stay for a while until the rain stops and the ground dries out a little. This could take a few days so be patient.

Before heading off on a trek in these stunning areas of the country always make sure to check the weather forecast and ask the locals. Always follow local advice. Often when tourists are injured during extreme weather it is because they have not listened to the advice given to them.

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How to stay safe during a typhoon on an island

If you happen to be on one of Vietnams many islands when a typhoon hits – don’t panic. Most local people can tell when a typhoon is coming and this will give you time to change your plans and swap outdoor activities for some relaxing indoor activities. Strong winds will bring about large waves and dangerous sea conditions.

Boat trips and ferries will be cancelled for the safety of the passengers and there is not much you can do about this. You should avoid going to the beach during a typhoon as the winds will be very strong and the waves can be wild and unpredictable.

HOW TO NOT DIE IN A TYPHOON

Is safe to ride a bike during the typhoon

The simple answer to this is no. Many roads in Vietnam are unsealed and become very slippery in the rain. Depending on where you are, busses may be cancelled until the roads have dried out. Do not, under any circumstances, drive a motorbike in a typhoon regardless of how desperate you are to get to your next destination. Rain plays havoc with both sealed and unsealed roads and the ratio of potholes to road only gets worse. This makes the roads deadly and it is not worth risking your life.

The soft fertile soil that makes up most of Vietnam is prone to slips and landslides after heavy rain so avoid roads that have steep drops on one side for a few days after the typhoon has passed.

I AM HERE TO HELP YOU OUT!

Don’t worry if you struggle to find a course of action- contact me. I will help you as best as I can. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am available all of the time to help you out.

I am here to listen to you

Whatsapp number: +84936516991 – Viet

Skype: ducvietdz

Facebook: http://fb.com/namtravel.net

Good luck with your amazing journey in Viet Nam!

Wait, you would love these tours so much!

Pay attention when using Vietnamese currency

Common Mistake When Using Vietnamese Money

Posted By : Duc Viet Nguyen/ 69 0

What is Vietnamese money?

Cash VS bank cards. Which is more convenient in Vietnam?

Common mistakes when using Vietnamese currency

Keeping the face value of money to pay small

As a traveler, using local money to buy consumer goods, is a crucial part of traveling.

 

In this article, I will address Vietnamese currency and tips when using Vietnamese currency.

 

  1. What is Vietnamese money?
  2. Cash VS bank cards. Which is more convenient in Vietnam?
  3. Common mistakes when using Vietnamese currency
  4. Keeping the face value of money to pay small

 

Vietnamese Dong is the official currency in Vietnam. The denominations are as follow: 1000 – 2000 (lowest denomination)

5000

10000

20000

50,000

100.000

200.000

500,000 VND. (highest denomination)

 

XE is an app you can use, to give you live conversion rates or you can simply type the amount into Google and it will convert it for you.

 

If you have foreign currency in cash, you can exchange to Vietnamese Dong. This is very easy to do at the airport and perhaps more convenient, though the commission will be quite high compared to the ATM fee you would have gotten, if you were to have withdrawn cash upon arrival.

 

For money transfer, you can go to the bank or another very convenient way is to go to a jewelry shop or as they’re known ‘gold shop”, they won’t charge you for fees unlike airports and hotels.

 

The bigger the amount of money, the higher the exchange rate is.

 

For example:

 

In the case, changing $10USD to its Vietnamese equivalent (227,273VND) will be lower when you would change $100 to 2,272,736VND.

 

In general, money valued ​​less than $10, the exchange rate will be lower than if the coin value is higher than 10.

 

Why is this change? Because high par value currencies are often more easily traded on the domestic foreign exchange market between Vietnamese and Vietnamese. The higher par value is used or is therefore, more easily exchanged.

 

Cash or bank card? Which is more convenient?

 

It is true that in Vietnam, cash is used in most trade deals. From street food, to market vendors and pharmacies to mechanics most store holders are standalone businesses and do not offer card machines. At some restaurants, people have a swipe card system to charge, but this is only a very small amount.

 

When traveling in Vietnam, do not forget to spend a day in your wallet on average in Vietnam.

Avoid withdrawing large amounts of cash in case of theft or robbery. The ATM system in Vietnam is very developed so you can withdraw money anywhere in the metropolitan area (depending on your bank) and large cities. On average the most you can withdraw 2,000,000VND. Typically you can withdraw this amount three times in a row from the same ATM. If you are in need of more cash, this is the time to make use of the jewelry shops.

 

If you are planning to travel to mountainous or rural areas. You MUST carefully consider the cost of your trip as there will be no way for you to withdraw money from your bank card. If you do not have enough cash. Keep this cash hidden away. Another tip is to have two wallets. One with a small amount of cash and the rest on another one out of sight, refilling the one with the smaller amounts of cash as you need it.

 

The common mistakes when using VND

Vietnamese currency is made of polymer, so it is water-resistant and very durable. One of the most common mistakes made with VND is confusion between the currency: 20.000VND and 500.000VND. The 500.000 note is bigger in size, but very similar in color to the 20.000 note. If you are in a hurry to go somewhere, hungover or just plainly not paying attention handing over the wrong note is a high possibility.

Another error when using Vietnamese Dong is that it can be quite sticky. You could very easily pay with two notes at the same time, only finding this out when you look into your wallet to pay for your Bun Cha and only have 5000VND remaining instead of the 100.000 you had previously thought. Vietnam is very humid and the weather is unpredictable, combine this with keeping the money in your pocket for a long time and voila! Sticky money. Always double-check the money before paying.

 

Keep the face value of money you use to pay in the smallest denominations.

 

In Vietnam, you have to pay to return to nature at public toilets. Price is usually very cheap only about: 1000-3000VND per time, but in truth it is quite and inconvenience. Keep small denominations side to pay for such times.

 

When traveling in Vietnam. The cost of everything compared to some countries is next to nothing so it is easy enough to throw money away. Be smart with your money, don’t flash it around because all of a sudden you’re a millionaire for the first time in your life. Respect the fact that small businesses don’t have a change box in the back of their shop, they will usually have to run to fellow store holder to swap the money to give you change. Enjoy the products and services that Vietnam has to offer and support the local stores vs the international chains. Do your part to give back to the community.