How to travel to Thai Nguyen for your best experience
Thai Nguyen Travel Guide – What to do, when to visit, and more…
Located just 60km away from Hanoi,
. Being famous for its hundred years of aromatic tea cultivation, however, by far off from the tourist track, Thai Nguyen is an interesting yet perfect place to escape from the hustle city life. If you prefer somewhere quiet but rich in culture, let’s find out how to travel Thai Nguyen for your best experience in this article.
Visiting Tan Cuong Tea Plantation
Tan Cuong is on the outskirts of Thai Nguyen City, 11km from the city center. The hills of green tea make the scenery of this place become charming and romantic, which are great spots for photography, especially in the early morning. Strolling through the tea fields while striking up a conversation with the tea growers and learning the tea making process brings also a deeper insight into their lives and generally, Vietnamese tea culture. From picking up leaves, through several steps of tea drying, shaping to the final product, there are so many things that will get you way excited as soon as you are ready to roll up your sleeves and make your first attempt.
Boat-touring at Nui Coc Lake
Located 16km to the west of Thai Nguyen city, Nui Coc is a great man-made lake having beautiful scenery surrounded by immense emerald rice fields and fresh tea hills with gentle streams. This 2,600ha reservoir area comprising 89 islets has become an attractive eco-tourism destination for tourists to take the boat trip to discover around on a calm water surface. Nearby the lake, Coc Mountain stands imposingly amid the blue sky, the bright sunshine over every blade of grass and twig, all creating marvelous and splendid scenery. On the weekend, this place often witnesses a large number of locals coming here for a picnic and family excursion.
Exploring Phoenix Cave and Mo Ga Stream
Located in the complex of the most beautiful landscapes of Thai Nguyen province, Phoenix Cave and Mo Ga Stream are spectacular natural sceneries that draw the attention of visitors when coming to this land. At a height of 500m above the foot of the mountain, Phoenix is a large cave with an exotic view. The air in the cave is fresh and cool. At the heart of the cave is a huge stone statue of the Phoenix in the posture of the majestic wings. Farther forward from the cave gate is Mo Ga, the private stream where visitors can have great swimming on cool water.
Visiting the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Thai Nguyen is home to eight different ethnic groups comprising Kinh, Tay, Nung, San Diu, H’ Mong, San Chay, Hoa, and Dao. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Thai Nguyen has a total area of 39,000m2, of which 3,000m2 used for the display area, storage of artifacts and other activities. For culture lovers, the Museum of the Cultures of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups offers a great exhibition because it is the place reserving nearly 4,000 documents, artifacts, and films about the cultural characteristics of those ethnic groups living in Vietnam.
Touring the Reserve Village
Located in the center of Thái Nguyên City, the Reserve Village is one of the best parks in Thai Nguyen. It is a real ethnic village with peoples living, mainly Tay people. The village is surrounded by hills and there is one lake in the middle. With a scale of about 25 hectares, this village gathers and preserves more than 30 stilts houses with the age of hundred years. Owning a landscape of four hills in the middle of the lake, scattered around the house floor, when you come here will be like a stray into another world. As you go into the Reserve Village and chat with residents, you will have the opportunity to understand more about their culture as well as having a peaceful day in harmony with nature.
If possible, having an overnight with the locals in the Nature Reserve will be an unforgettable experience. The stilts house of Ethnic minorities is well equipped with modern facilities such as toilets and baths. It is time for you to get out of the noise of big cities and enjoy the fresh atmosphere here.
For those who are the first-time visitor to Thai Nguyen, we often suggest a 2D1N itinerary with the following detail.
Day 1: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology – Reserve Village
Arrive at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to have an overview of Thai Nguyen’s culture and practice. Then move on to the Reserve Village. Take a tour of charming tea hills and how to pluck a leave with the grower. Have an overnight stay with locals.
Day 2: Nui Coc Lake – Mo Ga Stream
Explore Nui Coc lake on a boat tour and enjoy the sightseeing. Then travel to Mo Ga stream for outdoor activities and swimming under the cool water.
If you are a veteran backpacker, please feel free to manage the trip on your own and alter it when needed, else, we recommend you join a tour organized by a professional company, that can free you from hassles and keep you safe throughout the journey.
Bamboo-tube rice (Com Lam)
This dish is quite popular among highland people, as people who work on the upland fields or in the forest usually cook Com Lam to bring along with them, which is really convenient. The upland sticky rice is soaked carefully, poured into fresh bamboo tubes and then made into a knot of fresh dong strings, then baked in the fire. When the scorched bamboo tube shell has a fragrant glutinous aroma, it means the rice has been finely cooked. When enjoying, Thai Nguyen people would often wait for the rice tube to be less hot, using a sharp knife, gradually sharpen the outer layer of the bamboo tube so that it still retains the young bamboo membranes. The fragrant and bamboo-tube rice is eaten with crushed peanut & salt. This dish can guarantee that you will never forget it.
Five-colored sticky rice
Five-colored sticky rice is a traditional and cultural dish of this region. This is a typical rustic dish of the Dao and the Tay ethnic minorities, which frequently appear on important occasions of the people here. For those who have the opportunity to enjoy the northwestern five-color sticky rice, you will never forget the sweet aroma of the plants, nature which has been imbued in each rice grain. Eating a little greasy and glutinous sticky rice will create a totally different taste compared to homemade sticky rice. In particular, a big plus point for this dish is that it looks extremely eye-catching and appealing, making this delicious food now even better.
Nham is another special culinary highlight of the countryside of Thai Nguyen. Nham is usually made during the ripe Canarium fruit season, from 14 kinds of wild foods and spices such as Black carp or burnt fish, young banana, sesame, peanuts, bacon, star fruit, ginger leaves, fig leaves, basil leaves, clove leaves, coconut copra, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. Nham can be served with rice paper sheets. A folk dish, but it is quite strange to the mouth with a nicely delicious taste.
This is a unique kind of cake of Tay people in Thai Nguyen, which has a really distinct taste. The major ingredient of this cake is a kind of high quality glutinous rice, and the wrapping layer is made from chit leaves, which must be long enough to wrap and flexible enough not to be torn out. The ash-based water in which the sticky rice is immersed must be finely filtered in a sufficient amount of time. The sticky grains after cooking will be slightly yellow, transparent and flexible. Banh Tro, when eaten with molasses, is perfectly delicious.
The climate of Thai Nguyen has two distinct seasons: the rainy season from May to October and the dry season from November to April. The dry season is the best time when it is cool and may not be affected by rain and landslides.
Not far from Hanoi, it normally takes about 1.5 hours to get to Thai Nguyen on some available transportation options.
By bus: You can go to My Dinh or Giap Bat Station to get a bus to Thai Nguyen, which costs around VND100k.
By motorbike: You can rent it from the hotel and enjoy your trip on the wheel at a fair price. However, take extra caution when driving on your own.
Throughout this article, we wish you to have an idea of how to travel to Thai Nguyen for your best experience. In case you are looking for your own travel agent, who can offer a wonderful and hassle-free trip to Thai Nguyen, please feel free to let us know. We always commit our best to make it your once-in-a-lifetime journey.