Trip ideas: 6 recommended destinations in September

September is marked by Vietnam’s Independence Day on 2nd, as wellthe seasons change from summer to autumn. A short vacation to both undiscovered and familiar destinations of all three regions of Vietnam is recommended for minimal travelling, relaxing moments and quietly interesting experiences.

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1. Hanoi in autumn

True autumn time lasts for only a few weeks but it brings the unforgettable feeling of the cool and romantic. Before Mid-Autumn festival, the period from August to mid-September in the Lunar calendar is the nicest time to be in the capital.

Hanoi breathes romance on every street. Coming here in fall, you should spend time strolling down streets shaded with trees. You cannot miss Phan Dinh Phung street with its twin rows of old dracontomelon trees and their leaves changing to autumn colours; Tran Phu street with old tropical almond trees; Quan Thanh street, shrouded in the subtle fog [MA1] of West Lake; Yen Phu street, Mai Xuan Thuong with two yellow-leaf cold rice[MA2]  trees, Kim Ma with its tapestry of elm leaves,  Hoang Dieu streetwith its leaves changing colors, the 36 ancient streets of Hanoi and the magnolias on Dien Bien Phu street.

+ Nice destinations in fall

West Lake: In autumn, the light fog[MA3]  will make the sun look round at dawn. On foggy[MA4]  days, the silhouettes of fishermen create a mysterious and romantic scene. You can discover the view of West Lake in different ways such as bike, cyclo around Co Ngu st. (Thanh Nien st.), electric car, swan boat or take it all in from a bar at a luxurious hotel.

Old Quarter of Hanoi:The 36 ancient streets of Hanoi merge ancient and quiet vestiges with bustling trade exchanges. It is advisable to go by foot to enjoy the shopping and street food.

Hanoi at night boasts a unique beauty that is both calm and peaceful. Not as noisy as Saigon, Hanoi by day and Hanoi by night own different charms. After a bustling daytime, by 11pm, it is less crowded. Going around Hanoi at night , the city reveals its ancient majesty, with simple old streets, French constructions and charming night-lights.

Sword Lake: Sword Lake is dubbed as Hanoi’s heart. Ngoc Son temple and The Huc bridge feature in legend of King Le and the returned word. Sword Lake in autumn is stunningwith the tree leaves changing color around the lake.

Temple of Literature: The Temple of Literature, having existed for a thousand years,  is the first univerity of Vietnam and a symbol of the country’s development. Girls wearing the graceful “ao dai” at the temple create a wistful view.

Hanoi Ancient Citadel and museums: Coming to these places, tourists can learn history, culture of Hanoi through relics and artifacts and see yellow leaves falling down the yards or streets.

Hanoi Cathedral, Hanoi Opera House: The beauty of these Western vestiges is enhanced in autumn time.

Hanoi Night Market: Hanoi Night Market goes on in 3 last evenings of the week, from Hang Ngang street, across Hang Dao street to Dong Xuan market. If you want to buy souvenirs for your family and friends, this is the ideal place for you.

+ Accommodation:

Hotels in Hanoi meet the demand of every tourist, from budget motels to five-star international hotels. Being a tourist city, Hanoi has a large number of two-star and three-star hotels which are situated on virtually every street of the old quarter. It is a great place to stay as you are surrounded by old streets and delicious restaurants. Big and classy hotels are also located in the city centre. Choosing a room on a high floor, you can admire the extraordinary scenery of Hanoi.

+ Transportation:

Many means of transportation can be chosen to discover Hanoi. You can rent a bike, motorbike or car to get to your destination. It would be remiss to not take a cyclo or electric car to travel around the city. Seeing Hanoi’s streets and enjoying autumn atmosphere bring out a special feeling.

+ Hanoi cuisine:

Hanoi has an extraordinarily rich and distinctive cuisine with dishes ranging from unique to popular. However, it is essential  to mention noodle soup, vermicelli soup with chicken, egg and pork, noodle rolls, grilled fish cake, vermicelli with grilled pork balls and other street foods.

+ Hanoi’s autumn gifts:

Rice milk by the sidewalk , soaked dracontomelon, cassava dessert, salted rice flour cake on Hang Than st.; grilled clam worms on O Quan Truong st., hot snails on Dinh Liet st. and caramelized rice ball cake on Luong Van Can st. are special eat-in treasures. Take-away gifts can be green rice flakes, green rice flake cakes, traditional mooncake on Thuy Khue, ripened dracontomelon, and sugared dried fruit on Hang Duong st.

 mu-cang-chai

2. The Northwest in the ripe rice season

In September, rice stalks blossoming in terraced fields look like shiny yellow silk ribbons spreading over the Northwest provinces. During this time, it is not too cold but you still need wear scarf, warm clothes and gloves along your journey discovering the nature and people of Northwest.

The Northwest route from Hanoi to Sapa stretches almost 500km. Terraced fields spanning two sides of the road from Tu Le to Sapa open a fabulous view of majestic passes and captivating valleys.

The Northwest route particularly suits the young, who love free and adventure some travel by manual clutch motorbike. If travelling with your family, you may need a car. Foreign tourists can rent Minsk motorbikes or motocross bikes and guides in motorbike shops in Hanoi’s old quarter.

A suitable timeframe to experience the Northwest route is 5-6 days, however this can be longer for free-style travelers who will require extra time if they choose to get to villages high upon the mountains. The schedule includes 2 stages, each stage is allocated based on situations.

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Stage 1: Hanoi – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai

It is 25km from Hanoi to Tu Le following National Road No. 32. Tu Le is full of motels and restaurants with delicious mountain specialties at reasonable prices. You can rent a room in Tu Le for 1 night to discover the area. About 3km past Tu Le town is Cao Pha valley under Khau Pha Pass. In the beautiful sunset, you can see the valleys from the pass or wander around the valleys and find out about Mong people.

From Khau Pha to Mu Cang Chai is 40km. Khau Pha Passis considered one of four most wonderful passes of Vietnam. Going from Khau Pha to Mu Cang Chai, passing Kim cross, then turning right after about 5km, you will get to La Pa Tan – high terraced field valleys like ladders to heaven. Leaving La Pa Tan for Mu Cang Chai at noon, you can enjoy enchanting terraced rice field valleys.

After that, you can head to Che Cu Nha and “Cau Ba Nha”– the places of the best terraced field valleys in this area. It is great to enjoy the view of majestic and picturesque scenery from a high position.

Normally, it takes you 2 days to discover Tu Le, Khau Pha, La Pa Tan and Mu Cang Chai.

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Stage 2: Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen – O Quy Ho – Sapa

You can then go from Mu Cang Chai to Sapa- about150km following 32 NR then  about 4 hours moving along 4D NR on the right. You should visit Mu Cang Chai town in the morning and check-out of the hotel to leave for Sapa by noon. It is advised to stop for lunch in Than Uyen. The landscape here is greatly different from that of Mu Cang Chai, with tea hills along the stretch of road and sparse terraced fields.

You can stop by O Quy Ho Pass right at the entrance to Sapa. On a clear day, the scenery is incredibly beautiful. If you are lucky, you can see “Clouds Passing Through” – an interesting natural phenomenon of Hoang Lien Son. Admire the sunset in O Quy Ho, and then enjoy the third day in the miraculous night mist of Sapa together with the grilled specialties and the cold here.

You need at least 2 days discovering and experiencing the life in Sapa and its many features. The first day can be spent discovering Ta Van terraced field and villages of Mong and Dao people. The next day is for wandering around the town, Sapa market, Ham Rong park and enjoying a panoramic view of Sapa from high above. The sunset in Sapa is spectacular, especially on cloudy days, where you can see the sun set on Hoang Lien Son peak, or go around the town, sit in the church and see the sunlight fade out.

You can leave Sapa at night or spend one more night enjoying the cold of Sapa and its many strange dishes, then depart in the early morning. The way from Sapa to Hanoi through Lao Cai is about 350km.

Note:

+ At this time in mountainous areas the seasons are transitioning so you should bring a thick coat and a warm blanket.

+ To avoid fog, do not drive your motorbike in the evening. Remember to bring all necessary papers and a motorbike repair kit with spare tube and tyre.

+ It is essential to bring a map and know your destinations well.

+ Prepare personal items such as clothes, coat, gloves, helmet, pillow cover, raincoat, rainboots, upholstery, personal medical supplies, and sleeping bag. When packing your backpack, arrange items neatly in plastic bags to protect against rain and moisture.

3. Thuy Bieu ancient village in the heart of Hue

In late August and early September, it is cool and comfortable instead of sunny and hot in Hue. This autumn weather is described emotionally in “I go to school” by the writer Thanh Tinh.

Many things can be discovered in the city of historical sites. One is the citadel complex of Hue – a world cultural heritage site – with Hue imperial citadel, Hue capital citadel and antiquities from the Nguyen dynasty preserved in the Hue Royal Antiquities Museum. Another site is the Hue royal court music – a tangible heritage site with its history passed down orally[MA6] . These two heritage sites are very famous and can be easily found in tourism programs organized daily by tourism companies and the tour desk of your hotel.

For a refreshed view of Hue, Travellive recommends you visit Thuy Bieu village, 4km from the city center, to enjoy the poetic scenery and streets shaded with green trees, ancient vestiges such as Ho Quyen, Voi Re temple and old houses. In early autumn, Thanh Tra fruit trees laden with fruits cover village roads and dangle over tourists’ heads. This is a good place for extended families.

+ Destinations:

Vong Canh hill: From the hill along the side of the meandering Perfume River, you can enjoy the romantic natural scenery of Hue. Looking to the other side of this place are Hon Chem temple and Thien Mu pagoda – a well-known ancient pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and the Temple of Martial Arts, built in 1808 during the Nguyen dynasty to honor saints and sages of Confucianism.

Ho Quyen: Built in the Nguyen dynasty for elephant and tiger fights to entertain the king, officials and the public, and to train elephants for fighting. Ho Quyen holds great value in terms of history and culture. It is unique in Southeast Asia and cannot be found even in China or Japan.

Voi Re temple: It is a remnant of the war elephants of the Nguyen dynasty. According to legend, in the war against Tonkin in Trinh-Nguyen time, a valiant general of Cochin sacrificed himself during the battle. Grieving at his death, his elephant ran hundreds of miles to Phu Xuan district, crossing Tho Cuong hill in the eastand then died. Local people carried out the funeral, built his grave and call it rustically “Voi Re”.

Panel houses over one hundred years old:

Panel houses are maily made of “kien” wood and jackfruit wood. A popular traditional architecture is a house with 3 rooms, 2 wings or 1 room, with 2 wings in the house’s center. In particular, rafters are carved with subtle patterns and the roof is covered by 2 stacked layers of “liet” stilts. Therefore, the house is cool in summer and warm in winter.

Thanh Tra fruit garden – a special kind of fruit in Thuy Bieu, Hue. In autumn, Thanh Tra fruit trees are laden with fruits and stretch their branches over village roads. Tourists entering here will be immersed in the cool and peaceful atmosphere of a village in Hue and enjoy the aromatic, sweet and cool taste of the renowned Thanh Tra fruit.

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+ Cuisine

Hue cuisine is a combination of numerous delicious dishes, from idyllic to royal. You should not miss rice with mussels in Con Hen (Vi Da ward), Hue water fern cake on the streets of Dien Bien Phu, Nguyen Binh Khiem, Nguyen Hue; “Nem lui” – Grilled marinated minced pork and beef wrapped round fresh lemongrass sticks in Dong Ba market or on Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Nguyen Hue street, Truong Dinh street, Phan BoiChau street; “tre” – fermented pigs ears with galangal on Dao Duy Tu street, in front of Dong Ba market; Hue-style beef noodle soup on Nguyen Hue street, Bach Dang street, Nguyen Du street; and Nam Pho soup cake.

+ Accommodation

Hue is a tourism city so accommodation is not a problem. To gain special experiences, you can stay in Saigon Morin hotel with a French [MA11] feel. Other three-star to five-star hotels ranging in price from 545,000 VND to 2,934,000 VND includes Imperial Hue, Ana Mandara Hue, Century Riverside Hue, Midtown Hue, and New Star Hue.

+ Hue presents

Royal Tea, Minh Mang medication, sour shrimp, sesame peanut candy, cajuput oil, areca candy, ginger candy, and poem hats can be found in Dong Ba market or any shopping center in Hue.

4. Wild Binh Ba island

Binh Ba is a relatively new place on the Central Coast, only 15km from Cam Ranh port (Khanh Hoa). Dubbed as “lobster island”, this place is very attractive to those who love to discover nature. From July to September is the best time of the year to travel Binh Ba. On this occasion, the beaches are calm and clean with less tourists, transportation is convenient with breakwater bay and lobsters are popular.

+ Destinations:

There are many beaches surrounding Binh Ba, and each beach has its own beauty.

Nom beach: white sand, blue water stretching to the horizon and sloping gently rocky mountains covered by green trees faraway.

Nha Cu beach: The scenery is magnificient. Diving goggles are essential to discover this deserted beach. Even if you are unable to swim or dive, you can wear diving goggles and put your head under the water to see coral reefs and fishes of all colors and shapes.

Chuong beach: a wonderful place to admire the dawn when the sky and the sea look sometimes so far away, sometimes so close. On the sandy shore, purple flowers appear vaguely in sea water-seaweed strips embellishing this wild but alluring picture.

Vestiges: Renting a motorbike, you can drive to discover the forest of the island or go to the hill peak to have an overview of this beautiful place. Some vestiges from a French colony still exist such as blockhouses, cannon platform and some other unique architectural works.

+ Cuisine:

– Coming here, you can not ignore lobster, the famous seafood of Binh Ba. Families here stick to lobster farming and fishing. Everyday, they get on a ship to exchange goods and buy essential things for people on the island. There are also markets on the island for trading items from the mainland, and small restaurants together with souvenir shops for tourists.

Binh Ba Market is located in a fishing village with many delicious but cheap snacks such as donuts, grilled pork skewers and grilled pork balls.

– The best delicacy is fresh seafood which can be easily found in the island such as squid, fish, snail, zebra turbo snail, her-breast snail, and especially lobster – Binh Ba’s specialty and a wonderful ingredient for BBQ party by the beach.

+ Further information

Transportation to Binh Ba: Daily flights from HCMC and Hanoi to Cam Ranh are available. Ba Ngoi port is 15km distance from the airport. You can take north-south express buses running through Cam Ranh station or buses from Nha Trang city. It is only 5km from Cam Ranh to Ba Ngoi port.

Transportation to the island: Ships pick up guests at Ba Ngoi port (5km far from Cam Ranh bus station), leaving the station at 7am, 10am, 1pm and 4pm every day. Ships leave the island for the mainland at 5am, 9am, 12am and 4.30pm.

Motels and services on the island are rather limited but still can meet tourists’ demand. You can stay in hotels or do homestay to order rice and seafood at a reasonable price. Mortobike services, tours around the island and squid fishing by ship are available.

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5. Ba Na Hills – Danang

Only a little over 30km from Danang, Ba Na Hills is much ifferent from a modern and bustling town. It is like a “Penglai fairyland”. Being 1400m high above sea level, this destination has cool weather all year round like a “sub-Dalat” or a “Sapa corner” in the Central region.

After a few minutes sitting in the cable car, tourists can get to the highest peak of Ba Na and enjoy a stunning panoramic view of Danang city, the arch from Hai Van Pass to the place of “the world’s finest gate” in Son Tra peninsula, My Khe beach with its occasional waves or Ngu Hanh Son with the meandering Thu Bon river. All of them combine together to create a fantastic water-color painting.

Bana, with its many interesting destinations can please you and your whole family; rainbow waterfall, the old heliport, ancient French villas are examples. Linh Ung pagoda with a Buddha Shakyamuni statue 27m high can quiet your soul.

+ Note

You need to prepare warm clothes and a scarf because it is cold and windy on the peak of Ba Na Hills, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

+ Transportation

From Hanoi and HCMC, you can get to Danang easily by plane, train or bus. Those who want to have a unique experience in an ancient environment can stay over night in the old French villas of Ba Na Resort or can return to Danang by bus. You can rent motorbikes in motels or hotels at the pice of 150,000 -200,000 VND/day to travel within Danang.

+ Destinations

Son Tra Peninsula, Ngu Hanh Son, Han River Bridge by night, Dragon Bridge, Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture, Linh Ung pagoda and some beaches such as Non Nuoc, My An and My Khe. Dragon Bridge is worth visitingwith its shimmering lights and a fire breathing dragon. Lighting works for Dragon Bridge won IALD Awards given by professional lighting designers. Danang has also launched Sun Wheel, a 115m high ferris wheel, located in Asian Park which quickly reached the top 10 ferris wheels in the world.

+ Accommodation

You can stay in Sion Hotel – 121/7 Hoang Van Thu with nice rooms, water heaters and other facilities, at a price of 300,000 – 350,000 VND/night; Hoang Lan Hotel – 189 Nguyen Van Thoai (near My Khe beach) at about 200,000VND/ double room; Lan Phuong Hotel – 25 Phan Chu Trinh (behind the Opera House) at about 240,000VND/twin room; Sunset Bay Danang at 400,000 – 450,000VND/night or mini hotels with good services on Nguyen Chi Thanh st. and Le Duan st. at around 220,000 – 300,000VND/night.

+ Cuisine

– Rice paper rolls with pork: Tran restaurant or mau restaurant at 35 Do Thuc Tinh.

– Fresh seafood: Ba Thoi restaurant on Le Dinh Duong street, My Hanh restaurant by My Khe beach.

– Ba Thuyen vermicelli soup with fermented fish on Le Duan st.

– Quang style noodles: No.1 Hai Phong

– Cao Lau, Hoi An rice with chicken: Le Dinh Duong st.

– Phan Chu Trinh ricepaper with soybean jam, beaten rice paper.

 Rung-tram-Tra-su-forest

6. The Southest in Flooding Season

After September is the floodingseason of the Southwest. The culture of flooding season does not focus on a single place but is spread over the Mekong Delta provinces.

Tram Chim National park (Dong Thap) is a destination you should visit. Sailing in the immense fields of water hyacinth and watching thousands of storks flying in sunset are unforgettable experieices. Do not forget to enjoy specialities here such as Cao Lanh field-mouse, “Bat Kinh” anabas and visit Xeo Quyt on “Nam Quang” boat. Additionally, Go Thap lotus field – the largest lotus field in the Southwest – with millions of fragrant pink lotuses also deserving of your eyes. Sailing a small boat through expanses of lotuses will surely bring you a great feeling.

It is an incomplete discovery of the flooding season without going to Bung Binh Thien lake in Quoc Thai commune, An Phu, An Giang, which is adjacent to the Vietnam-Cambodia border. You should walk on the quaint village streets leading to the holy river wharf in front of a mosque to take in the peaceful life. Cham girls with black scarves coveing their faces make the culture of this place more mysterious.

Tra Su cajuput forest is a great destination in An Giang to discover. The boat splits the green water-fern carpet as yougo; with the green color of cajuput trunks combining with the blue color of the sky to create a cool and peaceful space.

To have a clear view of the scenery in flooding season, you can drive a motorbike along Vinh Te canal bisecting the Vietnam – Cambodia border. Normally, the canal is only about ten meters wide, but in flooding season it can widen to tens of kilometers as if it were a “sea” in the mainland.

+ Note

The flooding season is also the raining season so you should prepare a raincoat. It is advisable not to use a batwing raincoat because it is dangerous when driving in windy weather. Waterproof backpacks, bags or wraps and waterproof shoes should be brought.

+ Nice routes to discover in flooding season

HCMC – N2 road – Truong Xuan – Hong Ngu – Thuong Thoi Tien – Thuong Phuoc – Vinh Xuong – Thai An – Bung Binh Thien – Chau Doc –Vinh Te canal- Ba Chuc Tomb – Tra Su cajuput forest – Tram Chim National Park – Sa Dec – Tien Giang –HCMC.

+ Cuisine

Grilled field-mouse, grilled snakehead fish with claypot (on the journey); [MA12] fish porridge hotpot in Chau Doc; dishes made from lotus such as boiled lotus seeds, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, anabas rolled in tender lotus leaf, fermented “ca linh” served with lotus stem, “ca linh” hotpot, “ca linh” sizzling cake and braised snakehead fish. These dishes can be easily found anywhere of the Southwest in flooding season.

+ Destinations

– Water lily fields along N2 road

– The Buffalo Boy with hundreds of buffalos in water fields in Thuong Thoi Tien.

– The sea in Vietnam – Cambodia border in Vinh Xuong, Thai An and along Vinh Te canal

– Immense paddy fields in Ba Chuc, Tri Ton, An Giang.

– Alluring water-fern carpets in Tra Su cajuput forest. Ticket price: 70,000/ person. You should go in a group to reduce the cost.

– Tram Chim National Park teeming with birds

– Watch people catch specialties of flooding season such as snakes[MA13] , fish, crabs, and field-mouse over the Southwest.

+ Transportation

– From HCMC, you can get on Phuong Trang or Mai Linh bus to all of Southwest provinces conveniently, fast and safely.

– It is posible to go by motorbike to discover all the ways. If going by bus, getting to your destinations, you can rent a motorbike from motor-taxi drivers or hotels. The rental fee is 150,000-200,000VND/day.

+ Accommodation

Mostmini hotels and motels in the Southwest are in the price range of 150,000-200,000VND with pretty small rooms. They can be easily found in city or district center.

From Internet