Hoa Binh Travel Guide

Hoa Binh province, which means “peace” in Vietnamese, is located in the North of Viet Nam and far is 82km from the Southwest of Hanoi. The province honorably preserves 37 national relics and 18 regional vestiges. The residents here consist mainly of Muong ethnic group and various ethnic minorities such as Thai, Yao, Tay and Hmong.

If you want to get an experience about ethnic minority’s daily life, Hoa Binh is the best choice for all travelers.

The best time to visit

The climate of this district is representative for tropical monsoon, which is pretty cold and less rain in winter and hot and rainy in summer. The best time to travel to Hoa Binh should be the winter time, lasting from October to February.

How to get there

Hoa Binh town is 82 km from Hanoi which can be approached both by road and water transportation. Ones can travel by cars or coaches from Hanoi, along National Highway no. 6 to Hoa Binh Town; National Highway No. 15 from Thanh Hoa to Mai Chau or National Highway No. 12B from Ninh Binh to Hoa Binh.

Things to do

Thung Nai

Located in Cao Phong district, Hoa Binh province, just about 110km north-east of Hanoi center, Thung Nai is a popular destination for weekend retreat of both tourists and upper class Hanoians who can afford the time and cost.

Thung Nai is said to be most beautiful in the autumn, when the water level reaches the highest and the valley is filled with the romantic lake water. Try visiting Thung Nai this time to best enjoy the landscape.

Hoa Binh Dam

This is the most well-known feature of Hoa Binh is Hoa Binh Dam for hydro-electric purposes The dam is now one of the largest and most important dams in Viet Nam. It is 128m in height and 970 m in length.

The Hoa Binh Dam plays an indispensable part in preventing flood, producing electricity, irrigation and transportation. This is a meaningful construction to the process of industrialization and modernization of the country. It is the symbol of unshakable friendship between Soviet Union and Viet Nam, too.

Entrance: 50,000 VND

Hours: 8:00AM-5:00PM

Tien Phi Cave

The cave is situated on Thuc’s hill-top (maybe called in other name Thung Phi). The entry mouth is considerably narrow, followed by a gentle slope.  Walking 10 more meters, you will see that because of the high and dry cave top, the atmosphere inside is pretty cool and comfortable.

Mai Chau

Mai Chau is noted for its beautiful scenery as a mountainous region. The district is about 60km from Hoa Binh and covers an area of 520 km2. In Mai Chau Valley, there are also national caves and grottoes such as Mo Luong Cave, Chieu Cave, Pieng Kem Grotto, and archaeological sites such as Lang Cave and Khau Phuc Cave

Hang Pagoda Festival

The festival is held on the 15th of Lunar January every year at Pagoda Cave and Hang pagoda in A Dong hamlet, Yen Tri commune, Yen Thuy district.

Annually, on the 15th of Lunar January the pagoda draws large number of pilgrims from every corner of the country coming to purify and pray to Buddha and other Gods for support and a lucky and prosperous New Year.

Xuong Dong - Festival of Muong people

The festival takes place annually at the beginning of spring. Specifically, Muong Bi holds the opening ceremony on 7th of January (Chinese calendar) and ends no later than 3 days afterwards.

This festival in some respects shares similarities to Long Tong festival of Tay-Nung ethnic groups. The main purpose of the celebration is to spray for good harvests, favorable weather and full lives. This is also considered as an occasion for Muong people to relax, amuse themselves and express their aspirations for a beautiful and peaceable life

Local specialty

Tube rice

This dish is considered as a special characteristic of many ethnic minorities in Vietnam. The recipe is quite simple. The best glutinous rice is sprinkled with salt, and then put the mixture with water into the bamboo tubes. After that, the tubes are covered by banana leaves. Grilling the tubes by heating them on fire as long as the fragrant aroma coming out, which is the indicator that the dish is perfectly cooked

Lóong Soup

Loong soup is a special soup whose ingredients are poke and peeled banana collected in the forests of Hoa Binh. Banana tree are cut from the depth forest and then peeled to collect the inside part. This peeled part will be sliced into tiny, mixed with salt to demolish its acid taste then cooked with piglet and unique ingredients of the province: burned Dổi nuts and sliced Lốt leaf. This dish is cool and sweet that may make gourmets keep digging in.

Meat roll with pomelo leaf

This dish is unique of Hoa Binh, The process to make it is very simple: high -quality bellies meat sliced into small piece as big as pinkie, then spiced with fish sauce and onion. After that, washed pomelo leafs are sliced into half and each half would be used to roll a piece of sliced meat and then clip by bamboo sticks. Barbecuing the food on slow fire while smelling its alluring scent of poke mixed with pomelo leaf may make foodies dying for it.

Further readings