Half Day Bicycle Riding Hanoi An Coc Village Festival

An Coc Village Festival is held on 9th and 10th day of the first lunar month, in Hong Minh commune, Phu Xuyen district, Hanoi, northern Vietnam.

The Festival is organized to honor Mr. Thai Luan, the founder of making paper profession.

The 9th day of the first lunar month is the death anniversary of Mr. Thai Luan. Local villagers prepare lots of offerings in the worship ceremony including “che kho” – soft green-lentil cake, “banh giay”, betel nut and rice wine.

We offer at Lotussia Travel a day cycling tour to An Coc village festival. The group tour we run with at least two people (maximum 6 people) is available only on February 5th, 6th 2017. But a private tour can be arranged any time.

Itinerary in brief

6.30: Picked up at hotel. Car transfer to Phu Xuyen. Start the bike ride.
8.00: Visit local temple, pagoda. Assist to festival activities.
9.00: Have breakfast. Keep cycling through rural villages.
10.00: Coffee break. Continue biking.
11.00: Picked up again by car and brought back to Hanoi.
12.00: End.

Contact us for trip details, cost and availability.

Half Day Biking Hanoi Bo De Village Festival

Bo De Village Festival is held on 6th day of the first lunar month, in Phu Vien Village, Bo De Ward, Long Bien District, Ha Noi, Hanoi, Vietnam.

The festival is organized to honor Cao Son, Ms. Can My Nuong, Dung Hoa.

Joining the Bo De Village festival, you have the chance to discover different Vietnamese traditional games and activities. The festival involves boat racing.

We offer at http://cyclinghanoi.com a day cycling tour to Bo De Village Festival. The group tour is only arranged once a year, on the day of festival. But the private tour can be arranged any day, offering you the chance to discover the area (without the festival).

Contact us for detailed itinerary, trip cost and availability.

Half Day Hanoi Bicycle Tour to An Son Village Festival

An Son Village Festival is held on 5th day of the first lunar month, in Dong Son commune, Chuong My, Hanoi, Vietnam.

The festival is organized to honor Three brothers of Dang family (Dang Ca, Dang Hai, Dang Ba), generals of Hai Ba Trung.

Joining the An Son festival, you have the chance to assist to Vietnamese traditional games and activities.

We offer at Lotussia Travel a half day cycle tour to An Son Festival. The group tour is arranged with at least two people (maximum 6 people), and available only once a year. If you would like to discover the area (without the festival) you can book a private tour that can be arranged upon request.

Itinerary in brief

06.30: Picked up at hotel. Car transfer southwest of Hanoi. Cycle to Chuong My.
08.00: Assist to festival activities.
09.00: Have breakfast.
09.30: Keep cycling through rural villages.
11.00: Picked up again and brought back to hotel. End.

Contact us for trip details, cost and availability.

1 Day Cycling Hanoi Boi Khe Pagoda Festival

Boi Khe Pagoda Festival is held on 2nd day of the first lunar month, in Tam Hung Commune, Thanh Oai District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

The festival is organized to honor Buddha, Zen teacher and shaman Nguyen Binh An (in the 14th century).

Joining the Boi Khe Pagoda festival, you have the chance to discover different Vietnamese traditional games and activities. The festival involves Water procession, statue washing, vegetarian feast offering. There are such games as dragon dance, stick dance, boat rowing for catching ducks, Chinese chess playing, cheo popular opera singing, burning of fireworks.

We offer at http://cyclinghanoi.com a day cycling tour to Boi Khe Pagoda Festival. The group tour is only arranged once a year, on the day of festival. But the private tour can be arranged any day, offering you the chance to discover the area (without the festival).

Contact us for detailed itinerary, trip cost and availability.

Hanoi Ancient Houses

Hanoi Ancient Houses are best attractions you should visit in Hanoi. Most of ancient houses are located in the ancient quarter, within the territory of Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi City.

Hanoi Old Quarter Map

Geometrically, the ancient quarter has a shape of triangle, whose peak is constituted by Hang Than Street, eastern side by damp, western side by the streets of Hang Cot, Hang Dieu, Hang Da and based by the axis of Hang Bong, Hang Gai, Cau Go Streets.

According to the assessment of some historians, the ancient quarter made its appearance immediately after the Thang Long’s establishment, i.e. nearly a thousand years ago. Most of houses presently existing within the ancient quarter’s borders have, however, their age of only more than 100 years. In this quarter, those houses that keep an air of anxiety are no longer so numerous. It is just the phenomena of extension that has sharply and negatively deformed its spatial appearance. Under such circumstances, the embellishment and preservation of this quarter has required great efforts.

The houses at 87 Ma May and 38 Hang Dao are two projects of embellishing ancient houses, launched at the occasion of 990th anniversary of Thang Long -Ha Noi. They became now a tourist spot to be presented to visitors in terms of architectural value of Ha Noi’s ancient houses.

The house at 87 Ma May is a place to present the typical architecture of Ha Noi’s ancient houses. The ancient houses have generally a small, pretty form and appearance like the Vietnamese people themselves. Following the former feudal ideology, houses were not allowed to be higher than the shoulders of the King;s palanquin, because when the King was in his palanquin, nobody was allowed to see the face of His Excellency.

The ancient houses had a tube – like shape. Their width is usually narrow, sometimes only of 2m, while their length can amount up to 60 – 70m. Under such circumstances, to get enough light and fresh air, there is always a yard between houses. The principal construction material used is wood. However, during 100 recent years, people began to use bricks and traditional mortar made from honey and leaves to build walls or stick tiles on slope roofs. The window bars, doors and roof rafters are all decorated with dragon – or phoenix – shaped vignettes, and other designs.

The house at 87 Ma May was identified to be about 110 years old. Originally, Ma May Street consisted of two shorter streets: the first section was Hang May street, where goods made from rattan were marketed, and the second one constituted a part of Hang Ma Street with things for sacrifices made from paper. In this street there were numerous businessmen, both domestic and foreign. In 1954, five Chinese families came and installed themselves in this house. That is why the house was strongly deformed, and the traditional architecture was damaged.

Originally, the ancient house at 38 Hang Dao was constructed as communal house of Dong Lac – a communal house of the former marketplace for silk brassieres. It was built under the Le Dynasty (17th century). During the years of war, it was heavily damaged. Around 1856 (year of Binh Thin under the King Tu Duc reign), it was restored for the first time. In 1941 (15th year of the King Bao Dai reign), the communal house was rebuilt as a two – floor construction. The owner’s family lived and made their business in the ground floor, while the first floor was reserved for the altar. In 1953, the house became a shop with miscellaneous goods.

The latest restoration was conducted in the period from February 2000 till April 2000. The house at 38 Hang Dao was chosen as a place for presenting the traditional construction techniques combined with modern restoration techniques. The construction materials used here are composed of reinforced concrete and wood: floors are made from concrete, while stairs are made from concrete and covered with wood.

The doors were designed in such a manner that the central one is higher, while the side ones are lower, following the architecture of ancient pagodas and communal houses: the central door was reserved for the nobles (members of the royal family, mandarins, officials), while the side ones for the mobs. The sanctuary on the first floor was restored just as its origin.

The vignettes on the handrails were kept the same as the available original patterns. The house at 38 Hang Dao has become not only a tourist spot but also a location of the headquarters of the Management Unit of Ha Noi’s ancient quarter. At this address you can also get more information on ancient streets and ancient houses of Ha Noi.

Hanoi Old Quarter or Hanoi 36 Streets

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi old quarter or Hanoi 36 streets is indeed an earea covering the north-east Hoan Kiem lake. There were 36 streets, each being closely attached to a traditional trade that is clearly shown by its name, such as Hang Muoi (salt) Street selling salt, Hang Manh (curtain) Street selling bamboo curtains, Hang Bac (silver) Street selling silver jewellery, etc.

Hanoi Old Quarter Map

Mentioning the old streets of Hanoi, the essay “Notes taken on rainy days” by Pham Dinh Ho writes: “Dien Hung ward (present-day Hang Ngang) and Dong Lac ward (present-day Hang Dao) are places where many cloths and silk products are sold.” According to Hanoi researcher Nguyen Vinh Phuc, all kinds of papers, such as Giay ban (tissue paper), Giay moi (inferior tissue paper), Giay boi (coarse paper) and other popular papers made by people in Buoi and Cot Villages were sold on Hang Giay Street in the past.

Some streets were named after a legend or special ana, such as Hang Chao (rice porridge) Street which was the place selling rice porridge to candidates who came to the capital to attend “Thi Hoi” (National Examination) and “Thi Dinh” (Court Examination) or Trang Tien Street near Hoan Kiem Lake where once existed a coin casting workshop of the Nguyen Dynasty (the 19th century).

At present, the number of old streets in Hanoi is a matter of controversy because someone said that 36 is only a symbolic number. However, it is correct to say that people on each old street engaged in a trade. In the past, people from all parts of the country flocked to the capital to set themselves up in business. Following the trade motto “It needs friends when trading and it needs to establish guilds when selling”, they lived together in one place and gradually established guilds specializing in trades and products.

Due to this unique feature, Hanoians usually think of one street where they can buy what they want. For example, the locals usually venture to Hang Manh Street to buy bamboo curtains, Thuoc Bac Street to buy medicinal herbs, Hang Chieu Street to buy mats, etc.

Hanoi is undergoing drastic changes daily and the old quarter with “Hang” streets are also affected by the process of development. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., have mushroomed on these streets, so only a few streets with the traditional trades remain, such as Hang Bac, Hang Ma, Hang Manh, Hang Chieu, Hang Dong, etc.

The others have engaged in other trades, for example, Hang Than Street now sells Banh com (green rice flake cakes), teas and cigarettes in service of wedding ceremonies; Hang Vai Street sells bamboo products; Hang Chao sells mechanical and electric products to meet the demand of customers in the modern life. In addition, many new streets with new trades have been established in Hanoi, such as Hai Ba Trung Street selling electronic products, Ly Nam De Street selling computers, Luong Van Can Street selling children toys, Hoang Hoa Tham Street selling ornamental trees and Dang Dung Street selling second-hand mobile telephones.

Strolling through the old quarter or “36 streets” of Hanoi one can perceive the beauty as well as typical feature of these streets which should be preserved by not only the authorities but also the locals.

Dong Co Temple Hanoi

Dong Co Temple is located in Buoi, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The temple was built in the Ly Dynasty, and was ranked as a national historic and cultural site. We at Lotussia Travel provide a half day bike tour to visit Dong Co temple.

Dong Co temple map

Dong Co temple was originally constructed on the bank of To Lich River during the Ly Dynasty (11th century) to worship the Dong Co (Bronze Drum) God, a unique symbol of Vietnamese culture. Not only being a typical Vietnamese musical instrument, the ancient Vietnamese bronze drum is also a prayerful holy piece of Vietnamese for thousand years.

For the very first time, this temple was located on the Dong Co Mountain in Dan Ne, Yen Dinh, Thanh Hoa. It was orally told that King Ly Thai To (1010 – 1028) came staying in Truong An citadel in order to be about to fight against Chiem Thanh (Champa Kingdom).

At one night, the King had a strange dream that he met a man who wore velvet robes and told him that: “I am the god of Dong Co Mountain. I know that the King goes to conquer the southern enemies and wish to stand by his side to help him”. Consequently, the King successfully conquered the enemy’s land. To show his respectful honor to the god of Dong Co Mountain, the King commanded to build a temple in the left of the eastern citadel after he returned to his mainland.

Right after the King Ly Thai To dead, his son, Ly Thai Tong was pointed to become the next King of the country. Like his great father, King Ly Thai Tong successfully ruled his country. Strangely, he also had a dream which was the same as his father’s at the night before he became King. He also dreamt of the god who told him the king’s brothers including Duc Thanh Vuong, Dong Chinh Vuong and Vu Duc Vuong were making a plan to get him down. The three princes mentioned had been about to murder Ly Thai Tong inside his citadel the following morning; however, thanks to the prediction of the God in his dream, the crown prince ordered his commanders to protect him and was able to put down the revolt.

After being pointed to be the new king, King Ly Thai Tong ordered to build another temple of Dong Co god on the right side of the royal citadel and choose the 25th day of 3rd lunar month to hold an “Oath-swearing” ceremony there. When working on the site of temple the workers were commanded to build a tall altar decorated many flying flags in front of the citadel and ordered all his people to attend.

The Dong Co god’s worshipping tablet was placed in the middle of the altar. All the military and civilian mandarins from the eastern part of the country came into the temple, knelt and swore, “If as children we are undutiful towards our parents and if as subjects, we are unfaithful or disloyal to the King, we will be surely killed by the God”. Later, the date of the ceremony was changed to the 4th day of the fourth lunar month and was held annually through the Tran (13th and 14th centuries) and Le (15th century) dynasties. It was developed into a festival later.

Combining with Dong Co Festival, the bronze drum traditionally become a symbol of physical strength and the ancient sacred value of Vietnam. The festival was a unique, consolidating the morale and traditions of our nation.

The special architecture of Dong Co Temple includes only of a three-door gate, the main building and a lower chamber, with valuable antiques. Dong Co temple was located near the northern side of the Thang Long Citadel. It is not only a landmark but also an outstanding example of the Ly Dynasty’s cultural heritage.

Bike tours to Dong Co temple

Doan Mon Gate of Thang Long Citadel Hanoi

Doan Mon Gate is the main entrance to the Forbidden City belonging to the Central sector of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Ha Noi. Book the Hanoi early morning bike ride to visit Doan Mon gate.

Doan Mon gate map

Doan Mon is directed toward the south because it’s the most important direction for ancient structures of Vietnamese. The gate was built in the Le Dynasty (15th century) with restorations carried out during the Nguyen Dynasty (19th century). Doan Mon, together with an area behind it formerly known as Long Tri (Dragon Courtyard), played a very important role in the ceremonies of the Royal Citadel such as the ceremony for national loyalty Oath (1128); Nhan Vuong Festival, Quang Chieu Colored Lantern Festival (1136); the parade of imperial guards (1351) and ceremonies for the mandarin examinations (1457, 1466, 1481, 1496).

When Ha Noi Citadel was destroyed by French colonialists in late 19th century, Doan Mon has been one of some structures which has still existed. Doan Mon constructed of stone and brick has three floors. The first floor includes 5 doors, of which the central door reserved for the Emperor is the largest one with 4m in height and 2.7m in width. A stone tablet with the words “Doan Mon” in Chinese characters is fixed above the central door. There are two smaller doors (3.8m in height and 2.5m in width) in the each side of the central door reserved for the mandarins and members of the royal family. In addition, there are also two secondary gates in the both side of the main entrance.

The second floor is surrounded by a balustrade and reached by two flights of stairs. Its doors are opening to the east, west, south and north and decorated with hexagons, crosses, lozenges and the Chinese symbol for longevity. The third floor features a gazebo-style pavilion with two-layer roof. The first layer of roof is tiled and ornamented with dragons at the up-turned corners. The upper layer of roof, also tiled, features decorative foliage at the up-turned corners and dragon heads at each end of the ridge line. The two layers of roof are separated by short timber walls. Dragon faces adorn the gables.

After the Viet Nam military liberated the capital in 1954, Ha Noi Citadel including Doan Mon has become head office of Ministry of National Defence. In 1998, Ministry of National Defence handed Doan Mon over to Ha Noi People’s Committee with total area of 3,970m². Doan Mon has been opened for visitors since October, 2011.

Dinh Cong Village Hanoi

Dinh Cong Village is located on the To Lich river bank in Thanh Tri District, Ha Noi. Dinh Cong village is famous for jewelry handicraft. Book a day cycling tour from Hanoi to visit Dinh Cong village as well as Hanoi countryside.

Dinh Cong village map

The Dinh Cong Jewelers used to relate the following story: during the Ly Nam De period (571 – 603), in the To Lich River area, there were three orphan brothers of the Tran family called Tran Hoa, Tran Dien and Tran Dien, who originated from Dinh Cong Village. After a period of exile in the war, they learned jewelry making and came back to their native village and opened a jewelry shop called “Kim Hoan”, taking the gold bracelet as their trade mark. The jewelry they made was very sophisticated. As their prestige became more well-known, the king got the three brothers to come to the royal court to make jewelry. The brothers taught people in their village the profession. Since then, Dinh Cong Village has been renowned for its jewelry, the skills being handed down from generation to generation. Besides the Dinh Cong Village, Hang Bac Street in the very heart of Hanoi is an area for jewellers originating from Dinh Cong Village.

In fact the three Tran brothers are not the originators of the jewelry handicraft, they simply contributed to the development of the techniques. About 5 or 6 centuries earlier, ancient China had already appreciated Giao Chi (the name of Vietnam at that time) as an area rich in gold and gemstones, and the exploitation of these precious resources was developed. A Chinese historian in about 187 – 226 A.D. wrote: Sy Nhiep sent to China many gifts, at first these were gold and silver items. In many tombs of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, sophisticated gold and jade jewelry such as bracelets, rings, hairpins, combs, earrings and necklaces have been found.

Under the feudal regimes, kings and mandarins gathered skillful jewelers not only from Dinh Cong village but also from other provinces to produce jewels for themselves or to decorate their palaces.

To make sophisticated products, jewelers must master 3 important techniques relating to the profession, including carving, making and polishing.

The carving technique involves carving a picture, design or motif on jewels, or on gold or silver pieces. The pieces included necklaces, bracelets and spittoons.

The making technique involves spinning tempered gold and silver into strings and then making flowers, birds and animals from these strings to stick on the jewels. This technique requires a careful and skillful hand, so it’s mainly reserved for women. The polishing technique making gold and silver articles by shading not by carving.

The skillful jewelers must master not only these 3 professional techniques but above all the ancient technique of smelting. To use pure gold (called also gold foil or gold leaf) for jewelry making, they have to follow the traditional techniques of “polishing gold”.

When the making is finished, the article is ready for polishing. Silver articles are brushed with sand and then with a solution of soot and lime and then put on a fire. The article is then immersed in a solution of boiled alum and finally polished with sand and pieces of glass. Gold articles are brushed with a solution of pounded brick and liquid salt, then put on a fire and cleaned. Then they are immersed in a solution of boiled, sour fungus and finally polished with sand and by pieces of glass.

Looking at the figures and motifs on the articles, one can see the patience, skill and creativeness of these Vietnamese jewelers.

Bike tours to Dinh Cong village

Dinh Le Street Hanoi

Dinh Le Street Hanoi

Dinh Le Street Hanoi is situated at the cross-road of Ngo Quyen street and Dinh Tien Hoang street in the center of Hanoi, Dinh Le is also called “Book street”. Dinh Le is the name of a small narrow street of 200 metres in length. This street is located just near the Hoan Kiem lake.

Dinh Le street map

For students and book lovers, Dinh Le book street has become a familiar place for a long time now. Stepping onto this street, you would find yourselves astonished at numerous bookshops with various colors and genres standing close together. The reason Dinh Le street attracts so many people is that it often offers a huge discount.

Dinh Le makes a strong impression on visitors not only for very long bookshop rows, but also it is always crowded with buyers. These shops are of various types, some are large and arranged into sections, which is easy for customers to seek and choose; others are small and narrow but can lure crowds of customers to their bookshelves with all kinds of books, from very old times to the present.

Arriving at Dinh Le street on special events such as New school year, International Children’s Day, International Women’s Day, Valentine’s Day…, you will have a chance to enjoy the bustling atmosphere. Books are bought to gain new knowledge by students, to give their children by parents, cookery books and novels are for women and romantic love stories are for lovers… All of them can be found in this small narrow street.

Hang Buom Street Hanoi

Hang Buom Street Hanoi

Hang Buom Street Hanoi was located near the junction of the To Lich and Red Rivers. Prior to 1945, the street was known by the French name “Rue des Voiles” but after 1954 its name was changed to Hang Buom Street.

Hang Buom street map

In the past, different kinds of boat sails which were made from homemade canvas or rush were sold on the Street. It has also been the main residential place of the Chinese people since the 17th century.

Due to the favourable geographical condition, people in Ha Khau Ward lived on trades dependent on the water. They produced different kinds of bags, sacks, trellis-matting from rattan and rush which were transported by boats to other places.

For a long time in Thang Long Capital, the feudal court had rules on residence and the place of residence for foreigners, mainly the Chinese. They were allowed to live in Dien Hung Ward, also called Duong Nhan Ward and Viet Dong Street, according to the books “Du dia chi” (Geography book) by Nguyen Trai and “Dai Nam nhat thong chi” (Essays on the United Great Vietnam) respectively. Thus, Hang Buom was not the residential place of the Chinese. They resided in Viet Dong Street (present-day Hang Ngang Street ) and then, due to a growing population, began encroaching on surrounding streets, such as Hang Bo, Phuc Kien (present-day Lan Ong Street ) and Hang Buom. Due to its location near the wharf, very favourable for exchanging goods with other localities, the area became the main residential place for the Chinese.

On Hang Buom Street stands famous Bach Ma Temple at House No. 76. The Temple worships Long Do God who was one of the four important guardian gods of Thang Long Capital. The Temple was built facing the South-east with a triumphal arch, a resting hall, an altar in the first worshipping section and an altar in the middle worshipping section and harem.

Today, many confectionaries have mushroomed on the street that has become busy and bustling around the clock.

Hang Duong Street Hanoi

Hang Duong Street Hanoi

Hang Duong Street is located in Hoan Kiem District and still retains its typical flavour that made it famous in Hanoi, processing and selling all kinds of sugar and sweets.

Hang Duong street map

Every year when people prepare for the Mid-Autumn Festival or Tet (lunar New Year Festival), the street becomes most bustling and animated. On these occasions, the owners of big shops on this street, such as Ngoc Anh, Ngoc Dung, Tung Hien, etc., can earn as much as they made in the previous ten months.

In the 1960s the locals started participating in other trades to meet the demand of Hanoians and people from neighbouring provinces. As a result, many other products are sold on the street, such as cloth, fashion accessories, souvenirs, portraitures, and particularly O mai (sweetened and spiced dried fruits), a typical nourishment of Hanoi that is made by locals.

Although O mai has never been mentioned in ancient books as a speciality in the culinary treasure of the land of Trang An and former name of Hanoi , it has quickly become very popular in the last four decades. It appears everywhere, not only in stores on Hang Duong Street , but also on other streets in Hanoi and in the northern cities and provinces, such as Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Hung Yen, Thai Binh and Nam Dinh.

Together with the ups and downs of history, the street’s appearance has changed but the treasured old houses like Vinh Hanh Communal House (at No.19B), Duc Mon Communal House and Pagoda (at No. 38) and Cau Dong Pagoda which have been classified as national historical relics are still preserved on the street.