Van Phuc Silk Village Hanoi

Van Phuc Silk Village

Van Phuc Silk Village is one of northern Vietnam’s most famous “traditional craft villages” but local silk producers are using so many imported materials and modern machinery that soon it might not be so traditional. Book a day bike tour to visit Van Phuc village as well as Hanoi rural villages.

Van Phuc Village Map

The name Van Phuc is synonymous with silk. Some will tell you that silk was first produced here around 700 years ago when a woman from China’s Hangzhou city, also well-known for silk products, arrived in the village. At the time the village was desperately poor, so she decided to teach the villagers how to weave silk so they would have a trade.

Another legend said that a princess during the reign of the semi-mythical Hung Kings introduced silk making to the area nearly 2,000 years ago. But yet another story goes that 1,200 years ago, a young woman called A La Thi Nuong from Cao Bang province, who married a man from Van Phuc, taught the village how to cultivate mulberries, raise silkworms and weave silk.

After she passed away, she became a tutelary village genie. In feudal times, silk products were made exclusively for kings, queens, mandarins and other members of the royal court. In colonial times Van Phuc silk was highly prized and sold in international fairs in Marseille and Paris, held in 1931 and 1938 respectively, and distributed across Europe afterwards.

Today nearly 700 households are engaged in silk weaving in Van Phuc with more than half of the village’s population involved. The village produces 2.5-2.7 million square metres of silk every year and is home to nearly 100 shops.

Traditionally Van Phuc produced silk from locally-made materials. The villagers liked to say they had their secret methods when it came to producing silk. But now you can buy silk from elsewhere in Van Phuc. Roughly half of the products in most shops are believe to be either imported or produced from imported materials.

Bike tours to Van Phuc village

Tay Ho West Lake pagoda in Hanoi

West Lake Pagoda

The West Lake Pagoda or Tay Ho pagoda in Hanoi is beautifully positioned on a peninsula projecting into West Lake. It is one of Hanoi’s most popular on the first and 15th of each lunar month. West Lake Pagoda in Hanoi is dedicated to the Mother Goddess, Thanh Mau. As the legend goes, she appeared in the 17th century as a pretty girl before a fisherman on the lake, smiling and reciting poetry. Then she disappeared without revealing her identity. Later the locals found out who she really was and built Tay Ho Pagoda in Hanoi.

West Lake Pagoda

Hanoi is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Hanoi spreads over 2,000 square kilometers, but most important sites lie in compact areas. Touring the major landmarks of Hanoi can be interesting. You can also try a trip around West Lake that takes in the rural suburbs. Tay Ho Pagoda in Hanoi is such a place where you can visit during your tour to Hanoi.

A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in China, Japan, Korea, Nepal and other parts of Asia. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function. The modern pagoda is an evolution of the Indian stupa, a tomb-like structure where sacred relics could be kept safe and venerated.

The most exciting fact about the pagoda is that the earliest example in the Oxford English Dictionary of the use of the word pagoda in English is from 1634. Pagoda – comes from Sanskrit “dhatu garba”. Tay Ho Pagoda in Hanoi is one such piece of architecture.

You can visit the West Lake pagoda either by car or taking our full day bike tour.

West Lake pagoda map

North West Vietnam Overland and Trek Travel Hanoi Mai Chau Son La Dien Bien Lai Chau Sapa 7 days

The 7-day tour takes you to the less travel places in the north-western Vietnam. Begin the tour in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital and travel through Mai Chau village, Son La, Tuan Giao, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau, Tam Duong, Sapa. You also enjoy a full day hike in Sapa villages before taking the overnight train to get back to Hanoi. If you arrive in Tam Duong on Saturday, you will have the opportunity to visit the Tam Duong market on Sunday morning. The market is open only once a week. You meet different ethnic groups such as Giay, Nhang, Tay, H’mong, Dzao…

North West Vietnam Overland and Trek Travel Hanoi Mai Chau Son La Dien Bien Lai Chau Sapa 7 days

Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. Overnight in Maichau.

You will be met up by Lotussia local guide and driver at your hotel in Hanoi and head west towards Hoa Binh province. Following lunch in a White Thai village in Mai Chau valley we spend the afternoon walking through the various ethnic minority villages in this area. In the evening, enjoy the traditional music and dance shoe which will be performed by local villagers. Overnight in Mai Chau.

Day 2: Mai Chau – Son La. Overnight in Sonla.

After breakfast served by the Thai people under their house-on-stilts, we leave Mai Chau making our way west to Son La. Upon our arrival in Son La late in the afternoon we check into our local guesthouse where we spend the night. Son La is located in a scenic valley, inhabited mostly by the Thai, the Muong and the H’mong minority people. This area is historically important for its involvement in the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France during the first half the 20th century. Overnight in Sonla.

Day 3: Son La – Dien Bien Phu. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.

Following breakfast we will visit the remains of former French prison and enjoy a dip in the local hot- springs. We then board our vehicle for the drive to Dien Bien Phu around 170 km away. It is a 7-hour journey on rough roads, but it is worth while as the scenery is dramatic. We will encounter many ethnic minority people along the way. In the late afternoon we arrive in Dien Bien town and check into our guesthouse for the night. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.

Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau. Overnight in Lai Chau.

After breakfast this morning we will visit some war sites in Dien Bien including Dien Bien Phu museum, A1 Hill, De Castries Commandment Post and set out on our drive to Lai Chau, around 7 hours away. This is in quite a remote area and as a result some of the roads will be fairly rough and uneven. Yet this is to our advantage as there will be fewer tourists along the way to spoil our views of the beautiful and dramatic scenery which we will encounter along the way. Overnight in Laichau.

Day 5: Lai Chau – Tam Duong Sunday Market – Sapa. Overnight in Sapa.

From Lai Chau we drive east to Sapa, which is a five-hour drive. We will stop on the road to visit Tam Duong Sunday market which is one of the most colorful markets in Vietnam. The local hill tribe ethnic minority come from different surrounding area to the market where they will sell their homemade handicraft, agricultural products such as vegetable, fruits and also pork, ducks, chickens…

After visiting the market, we continue our drive to Sapa. As the roads become even rougher, the more deserted they get. But the rougher they get, the better the scenery becomes. The beautiful hill station of Sapa has the best-of-both worlds, breath-taking scenery and modern-day comforts. In the afternoon, we will have half day walking excursion to the Red Dzao village. Overnight in Sapa.

Day 6: Sapa full day trekking. Sapa – Laocai – Hanoi. Overnight on the train.

Today we start our trek with a five to six hour trek to villages of Cat Cat, Ta Van and Cau May situated in idyllic valleys, which are covered with a patchwork of rice terraces. Cat Cat is home to the H’mong people who originated from China, where they emigrated from about 300 years ago. The H’mong people are easily recognizable due to their dark clothing, usually blue or black. The dye is fashioned from the indigo or hemp plant that is native to the area. H’mong women wear long aprons with embroidered waistcoats and have their hair rolled up into a turban-like hat, whilst the men wear a black skullcap, long waistcoat and loose trousers.

In the late afternoon, we will be picked up again by our car and transferred to Lao Cai Railways Station four our journey back to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.

Day 7: Arrival in Hanoi.

Upon your arrival in Hanoi Railways Station, you will be welcome by our local driver and transferred to your hotel in Hanoi or directly to the airport for your onward flight. End tour.

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Vietnam multi centre holidays: Trekking Sapa and Halong Bay Cruises 3 days

The 3-day tour includes the most important travel highlights in the northern Vietnam – Sapa and Halong bay. Take the overnight train to Laocai then enjoy a full day hike through terraced rice fields, local H’mong and Dzao villages. You have about 5 hour boat cruise in Halong bay on day 3. If your group size is big enough, we would recommend you booking a chartered boat junk offering you a complete flexibility while cruising. Have any question? Contact your travel consultant at info at lotussiatravel.com or travel at lotussia.com

Trekking Sapa and Halong Bay Cruises 3 days

Day 1: Overnight train to Laocai.    

Overnight train to Lao Cai. Train??? Departure at ??? (To be advised). Overnight on board train.

Day 2: Laocai – Sapa. Sapa full day tour. Overnight train back to Hanoi (L).    

Arrive Laocai Railway Station early this morning. You will be welcome by our local team and transferred uphill to Sapa.

After breakfast (not included), travel to Sin Chai village. This is a beautiful village, located right at the foot of Hoang Lien mountain range and inhabited by the Black Hmong minority. There we start our trekking journey uphill. Once we reach to the top, you will take a small trail descending to Catcat village.

Your lunch will be provided near a waterfall.

In the afternoon, we will take another trail sneaking through mountain. The scenery is also spectacular. Take a short break upon arriving Y Linh Ho village before climbing up to the main road where our vehicle will be waiting for us for the journey back to Sapa.

Day use will be provided in a mini standard hotel in either Sapa or Laocai.

Travel to Laocai Railways Station for overnight train trip back to Hanoi. Train ??? Departure at ??? (To be advised). Overnight on board train.

Day 3: Arrive in Hanoi. Hanoi – Halong bay – Hanoi (L).

Arrive Hanoi Railway Station early this morning. You will be greeted again by Lotussia local team and transferred to Halong bay.

Enjoy 3.5 hour drive through the fertile flood plains of the Red River Delta to Ha Long City. Once at Ha Long City we board our private boat for a five-hour cruise in Halong bay, stopping along the way to visit one of the limestone caves in the bay. There will also be time for a swim in the bay’s emerald waters. Whilst on board, you will be served a delicious local seafood lunch.

The boat goes back to shore at about 15:30. Get on our car again and travel back to Hanoi. You will be dropped off at your hotel in Hanoi city center. End trip.

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Biking Hanoi February

The temperature increases a little bit compared to January. The weather becomes a little warmer with its average temperature from 14-21 Celcius degree in a day and drizzling rain and mist occur more often, especially in the morning.

February may not be the best month for cycling in Hanoi. But this outdoor activity is still available and can be arranged in advance. If you arrive in Hanoi during this period, you will have the opportunity to join in lots of local Festivals and celebrations since the TET usually comes this month. If you arrive in Hanoi about one week before Tet, you will enjoy bustling climate here, when people are in a hurry to prepare for Tet; and witness the beauty of thousand species of flowers and tree in flower markets around the city.

Lotussia Travel arranges both short long bicycle tours in and around Hanoi. Therefore, most of our biking tours will finish before the TET or commence about one week before the festival. Vietnamese people will have four day off for the TET. During these 4 days, many shops, tourist sites, restaurant will be closed.

If you would like to have just a short cycling experience in Hanoi, it is possible for you to rent an one-speed push bikes in many bicycle shops in Hanoi. These bikes are not very strong. You should you these bike for cycling in Hanoi city center only.

For longer cycling tours that are arranged outside Hanoi, we recommend high quality trek bikes and support vehicle. If the group is big, then a technical is necessary.

—> Contact us for further information.

Cycling Hanoi January

The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi offers a wide selection of day bike tours and short cycling excursions. The most popular bike tours are provided by local biking tour operators (www.vietnamcycling.com) such as a half day bicycle tour in Hanoi, a full day tour to Bat Trang and But Thap pagoda (Hanoi countryside cycle), one-day cycling to Tam Coc (“Halong bay inland”), three-day mountain bike trip to Pu Luong Nature reserve…

The bicycle tours in and around Hanoi can be arranged all year round. Therefore some months can have very nice weather while others do not. If you arrive Hanoi in January, you will experience the coldest month of the year. In some days, there is strong freezing wind.

Therefore, the city seems to have its busiest days of the year and streets are more crowded than usual during working hours when people are in rush to complete all the remaining works and prepare for Tet holiday. The TET, Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival usually fall into late January or early February. Hanoi streets are crowded during this period. The half-day and one-day bicycle tour in Hanoi city center are not recommended by Lotussia Travel since the traffic is quite busy and dangerous.

The cycling tours which are provided outside Hanoi such as Cuc Phuong bicycle tour, Mai Chau biking tours, Tam Coc cycling tours…are provided as usual.

Cycling in and around Hanoi in January, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the tasty hot food of Hanoi such as noodle, hot pot and roasted dishes.

With its average temperature raging from 14-21oC, it should be fine if you come from Europe and familiar with freezing subzero degree and snowy climate at the same time in your native country. However, don’t be fooled by the temperature range because winter here is much more chilling with high humidity at 70%. Lowest temperature in a day measured during night may be below 10oC while one can barely see sunny days. Even with the sun it can be freezing cold!

If you plan a cycling tour in Hanoi in January, do not forget to bring along with you warm clothes. We recommend bicycle tours using support vehicle. If you already booked your flights and you will arrive Hanoi in January, try to finish your bike tour before the TET festival or begin the tour after the event. Contact your Lotussia Travel consultant for more information about the best time to cycle Hanoi.