Thai Nguyen is a beautiful and slow pace midland province in the Northeast of Vietnam, adjacent to Hanoi and located in Hanoi Capital Region. A visit to the district which is famous for its hundred years of aromatic tea cultivation makes a perfect escape to the hustle and bustle of city life. Limestone mountains are covered by forest canopies, so the landscape becomes more mysterious, exotic and wild with many caves and springs. Coming to Thai Nguyen, visitors are attracted to visit Nui Coc Reservoir. This 2,500 ha lake includes 89 islands, concealing mysterious legends. 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.
THE MUSEUM OF THE CULTURES OF VIETNAM’S ETHNIC GROUPS
Location: Located in centre of Thai Nguyen City.
Characteristics: The museum is a repository depicting the culture of ethnic groups living throughout the Vietnam.
The Museum of the Cultures of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups was established in 1960 in an area of 39,000 m2 of which 3,000 m2 is used for exhibition. It contains more than 10,000 documents, and artifacts belong to the cultural heritage of 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam. The museum also presents an extensive collection of agricultural, handicraft, and hunting tools. Typical ritual clothes with bright colors and decorative motifs of different ethnic minorities are also exhibited. The unusual costumes of the Tay and Nung ethnic groups used for worshipping their sorcerers are embroidered with lines and designs that supposedly perceive magical sounds.
The Viet-Muong showroom presents nearly 500 documents, objects, and photographs illustrating archaeological articles discovered in Phung Nguyen, Dong Dau, and Go Mun in the North of the country. Exhibits of Vietnamese national agricultural and handicraft productions and brocades woven by Muong ethnic minorities are also displayed. Exhibited in the Tay-Thai showroom are nearly 500 documents and artifacts related to the slash-and-burn agricultural technique and traditional trades of minorities, such as the Tay, Thai, Lao, and Lu. Women’s clothes and musical folk instruments such as the tinh string instrument, the flute, as well as displays of the traditional ceremonies of several minorities are also exhibited.
The H’mong-Dao showroom displays approximately 600 documents and artifacts reflecting the agricultural practices of the H’mong, such as slash-and-burn farming, terraced rice fields, hunting weapons, and clothes of the H’mong-Dao ethnic group. The Museum of the Cultures of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups is a repository depicting the culture of ethnic groups living throughout the nation. It is also a place for people to learn about the origins and traditional cultural identities of every ethnic group in Vietnam. The Museum of the Cultures of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 to 11 am and 2 to 4.30 pm. Entry costs VND 30,000.
PHUONG HOANG CAVE AND MO GA STREAM
Phuong Hoang Cave
Mo Ga Stream
Location: Located in the complex of the most beautiful landscapes of Thai Nguyen province by the spectacular natural scenery, beautiful caves, Phuong Hoang Cave, along with Mo Ga Stream is a highlight of Thai Nguyen tourism appealing both domestic and international visitors.
Characteristics: Legend goes that a long time ago, there were a couple of phoenixes living very happily and they were born two eggs. Everyday, the father bird looked for food and the mother bird sat the eggs. One day lured by a new flock, the father bird forgot his task and did not come back. Until he remembered his task and returned to the nest, his wife had been transmuted into a rock. Feeling regrettable, he laid on the opposite mountain, looking toward the nest with the hope that his wife could revive. Waiting hopelessly for a long time, he was also transmuted into stone. Since then the mountain has been named Phuong Hoang (Phoenix).
Reaching the mouth of the cave, visitors can see the landscape of this land. The Light Cave is spacious and well-ventilated. The stalactites in the cave glitter fancifully thanks to the light from the three main mouths of the caves. Visitors can freely imagine the forms of these stalactites such as a mother is carrying her son on her back on the way to the field, ancient people are hunting wild animals, and lanterns.
At the foot of the Phuong Hoang Mountain, there is Mo Ga (Chicken’s Beak) Stream Cave. Its entrance is 100 m wide and there is a stream that flows out from the cave. In front, there are many small waterfalls, bathing places, rocks, and small rocky islands. The water is clear and the landscape is fantastic. The Phuong Hoang Mountain is the most beautiful in Thai Nguyen with the imposing landscape and beautiful cave. The site attracts many visitors. Phuong Hoang vestige and the stream in Mo Ga Cave were listed as National Sites by the Government in 1994.
NUI COC LAKE
Location: Located approximately 90 km from Ha Noi, Nui Coc Lake is an attractive spot due to its marvelous and legendary beauty and the romantic love a girl named Cong and the man named Coc.
Characteristics: With a width of 2,600 ha and a depth of 50 m, Nui Coc Lake is renown for its natural beauty and the legendary story of the young couple who love each other head over heels but cannot get married.
In the lake there are more than small 89 islands, some are covered with trees, some with flocks of birds, and others with flocks of storks or mountain goats. Surroundings of the Nui Coc Lake is the mountains concealing mysterious legends.
With such charming natural scenery, Nui Coc is close to the legend of the romantic love between a girl named Cong and the man named Coc.
Broad view of Nui Coc Lake
When you reach Thai Nguyen City, visitors can go along the windy roads and get Tan Cuong Commune, which is famous for its terraced tea fields and then visitors can go to Nui Coc Lake Tourism Area. Due to its convenient position, visitors can go by some means of transportation such as by car, motorbike but the most interesting way to get Nui Coc Lake is going by motorbike, which is available in some hotels in Thai Nguyen.
One of the most interesting activities when coming to Nui Coc tourism Area is to discover the Lake and surroundings by boat. Visitors will be surprised by the spectacular beauty of the lake, amazing islets, and giant mountains.
The water surface is like a giant mirror reflecting mountains and trees, which creates marvelous and charming scenery, appealing any tourist coming here.
The lake comprises many islets; some are covered with trees, some with flocks of birds, and others with mountain goats. So it is easy for visitors to take a trip to explore the wildlife area.
In particular, when coming here visitors must Co Island covered with trees, and discover the 200-year old house there.
Not only the famous spot for natural beauty, Nui Coc is known as one of the favorite stops in Thai Nguyen with a lot of activities. Visitors can visit Huyen Thoai Cung (Palace of Legends), an animal reservation, a fairy tale house, an artificial cave system and a light music stage that was built in an area of 1 ha with a 40 m high water fountain or take some activities.
TAN CUONG TEA FARMS
Tea drinking habits have long been rooted in many different parts of Vietnam. Unlike other neighbors with complicated disciplines and solemn tea ceremony, Vietnamese appreciate plain tea which shows the real beauty of tea and hardworking tea growers. Unflavored or unscented tea served with neither milk nor sugar can be easily found on the sidewalk in every part in Vietnam. People sit on the tiny little chair facing the street while enjoying their cup of hot or iced tea having a chitchat or watching people passed by. When talking about the perfect tea, the first destination that comes to mind of most of Vietnamese is Thai Nguyen – the highland district famous for its hundred years of aromatic tea cultivation. Situated just outside of Hanoi, a visit to tea plantation makes a perfect escape to the hustle and bustle of city life. There are plenty things to see and do in Thai Nguyen tea plantation that will definitely motivate you to travel:
Stroll through tea plantation: The best time to visit is from May to October in Thai Nguyen where endless lush green tea bushes beckon. Strolling through the tea fields and explore the surroundings of the hill station while striking up a conversation with the tea growers and learning how deft they pluck the right tea leaves. Tea trees in Thai Nguyen are not as tall as in Moc Chau where trees grow naturally due to the regular pollarding for every 15 years, however, enabling to deliver an exceptional tea quality.
Learn the tea process and try your own hand at it: 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. Additionally, making connection with local people bring you a deeper insight into their lives and generally, Vietnam tea culture.
Sip tea and savour every drop of tea: The famous tea from Thai Nguyen is Tan Cuong tea. The technique used in the growing process, as well as Thai Nguyen terrain and weather, are equally essential components contributing to Tan Cuong tea’s quality. The bitter taste left on the tip of your tongue in every sip of hot Tan Cuong tea can entice any tea drinkers while still implying the life of people here.
Meet the tea growers: Just as every kind of tea has its own unique flavors, every grower has their own story. Learn about the person who grows your tea and what makes it so special, gradually, learning to appreciate the true value of tea. You will never look at tea the same way again.
Learn the tea etiquette: You will not only be treated with amazing tea but also learn the tea etiquette. When you arrive, tea will be prepared to welcome you as a traditional act to show hospitality by the host. Every time you put down an empty cup, it will immediately be filled up again, or younger members usually cover their cups when drinking with elders and those with higher status to show respect.
Visit Thai Nguyen Tea Cultural Space: Along the way to explore the areas surrounding, you can visit Thai Nguyen Tea Cultural Space, where 500 objects and Vietnam’s largest ceramic teapot are displayed and learn the tea history in Thai Nguyen. You can bring some tea as souvenirs back home to enjoy your tea and savour the memories.