Visiting Sapa: Tips for Planning Your Trip

Located at the height of 1600m above sea level in Vietnam’s remote northwest mountains, Sapa in Lao Cai Province is famous for not only its stunning sceneries but also friendly local people and cultural diversities. It contains hidden wonders of natural landscapes and overlooks bright green rice fields in Muong Hoa valley. The epic scenery is often filled with thick mist rolling across the mountain peaks, but even when it is cloudy, the town can easily be spotted by the colorful clothes of hill-tribe dwellers. Sapa is definitely a precious gift that Mother Nature dedicates to Vietnam.

In this article, we will give you some awesome traveling tips to Sapa.

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Planning tips for Da Nang Fireworks Competition

If you plan to visit Vietnam in the summer and are longing to experience the beautiful beaches of Da Nang, don’t miss out the Da Nang International Fireworks Competition, one of the biggest events of dancing colors in the night sky and spectacular music performances of Asia.

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How to Cross Street in Vietnam

Crossing streets in Vietnam is not an impossible act; in fact, when you get used to it, you will find it not difficult at all to deal with this messy traffic.

In foreign tourists’ eyes, traffic in Vietnam seems to be pretty hairy with a tangled and endless flow of motorbikes and cars, but for traffic lights, there are just a few. Crossing streets in such big cities as Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi is really a nightmare. The incredible volume of motorbikes and cars keep moving on and on with fast speed. Many drivers refuse to slow down to give space for pedestrians. However, crossing streets in Vietnam is not an impossible act; in fact, when you get used to it, you will find it not difficult at all to deal with this messy traffic.

When you get used to it, you will find it not difficult at all to deal with this messy traffic (Photo: Vietnam travel blog)

First of all, you need to have a clear head and nerves of steel. Just kidding, you are not going to fight in a war (though a friend of mine has that feeling when crossing the street here.) Be relaxed, recite this spell “I will make it! I will make it!” and follow some tips below.

  1. Walk with confidence and DON’T STOP in the middle of the street.

The key to cross the road quickly and safely is to calmly and confidently walk across the street. Do not turn back or stop in the middle of the street. It will put you in danger because the drivers do not know what you are doing and what direction you are heading to. So do not be reluctant! Drivers know how to give way for you.

Walk confidently (Photo: Chicago tribune)
  1. Walk slowly

Bravely crossing the street does not mean that you have to close your eyes and run as fast as you could. It is extremely dangerous, too! You should walk slowly and observe the speed and direction of coming vehicles. It is advisable for you to raise your hands up in the air to give the drivers a signal that you are crossing the street.

Another thing you should remember is that never look the drivers in the eyes and smile with them in order to ask them to give way for you. It makes the drivers and yourself lose concentration, and no one knows what is going to happen next.

  1. Walk in group

If possible, wait for more people to cross the street with you. Walking together in a horizontal line and raising your hands up in the air are among the safest ways to cross the street. Drivers are willing to make ways for a group of people and you will feel more secured with the company of others.

People walk in group to feel safer when crossing the road (Photo: Vietnamnet)
  1. Look out for buses and cars

Many foreign tourists are afraid of an endless flow of motorbikes on streets. Besides motorbikes, remember to watch out for larger vehicles as buses, cars and trucks. The drivers of large vehicles are usually unwilling to give way for pedestrians unless there are traffic lights.

Walkers should also notice of these “giants” (Photo: thanhnien.vn)

Sometimes, you can take advantage of these ‘giants’ when they are turning in the street. Whenever they turn right or left, one side of vehicles will have to wait for them, and if you happen to cross the street in the other side, then take this fortune! 😉

  1. Copy the natives

One of the easiest ways to walk across the busy street in Vietnam is to follow locals and copy their acts. They must know more clearly than anybody else what should and shouldn’t do when crossing the street in their homeland.

  1. Ask for help

Do not be reluctant to ask for help if any of the previous tips does not work with you. Vietnamese people are friendly, sociable and helpful so try asking guards, pedestrians or students to guide you to cross the street.

In short, crossing the street in Vietnam does sound dangerous for foreigners, but it is also a great experience for you. After getting familiar with the traffic here, you may realize that although people drive quite fast, they are really careful drivers. So, hope that all the above-mentioned tips are applicable for you and make your crossing streets in Vietnam more easily.

Bich Ngoc

Ta Hien Street Hanoi – Must Go for Beer Lovers

Are you an enthusiast of this cool wheat-made drink? If the answer is yes, Ta Hien (Tạ Hiện) vintage street would be an interesting hub for you. It takes about 15 minutes to walk in the north direction from Hoan Kiem Lake.

Speaking of beer, people immediately think of the prosperous German. But in the capital city of Vietnam, there is still a humble 100-metre street which attracts thousands of tourists to enjoy drinking beer. Are you an enthusiast of this cool wheat-made drink? If the answer is yes, Ta Hien (Tạ Hiện) vintage street would be an interesting hub for you. It takes about 15 minutes to walk in the north direction from Hoan Kiem Lake.

People drink beer at Ta Hien Old Quarter, Ha Noi Viet Nam (Photo: news.zing.vn)

Actually, Ta Hien street, one of Hanoi old quarters, is a combination of short lanes. During the French colonization time,  the street was named Géraud. According to the Hanoi’s Street Dictionary, the name Ta Hien originated from the name of a leader of an anti-France colonization campaign – Ta Quang Hien (Tạ Quang Hiện) (1841-1887) who was born in Quynh Lang Village of Thai Binh Province. In 1883 when the Nguyen Dynasty let France took over Northern cities, Ta Hien resigned from his position as Lord Lieutenant and led liberal fighters against the French army. At the end of that year, after recruiting about 4000-5000 liberal fighters, his army regained Thai Binh Province and prevailed in other battles afterwards. But in a battle in February 1887, he was captured and killed.

Another interesting fact about the name Ta Hien is that it was sometimes misread into Tạ Hiền (originally ‘Tạ Hiện’,) so it creates a huge confusion for tourists because the words of ‘Tạ Hiền’ and ‘Tạ Hiện’ are both displayed on signboards in the same street.

Ta Hien Street, Ha Noi Old Quarter (Photo: cellphones.com.vn)

All the pubs at the crossroads of  Ta Hien – Luong Ngoc Quyen have been operated for over a decade. The beer here is known to be cheap and tourist-magnetic. Pub operators from time to time speak Vietnamese and some English to communicate with their customers who come from different countries. Eventually it appeared the informal name of the crossroads – ‘The International Crossroads’ (Ngã tư Quốc tế.)

If you imagine yourself sitting in a pub and enjoy beer in Ta Hien Street Hanoi, you will be completely wrong! There is no proper pub here, not even proper table. Customers will sit on small stools around a little taller plastic or wooden stools on which food and beer bottles are placed. It may be uncomfortable for some foreigners, but it creates a unique atmosphere for customers to experience ancient local lifestyles in Hanoi. Besides, one of the best parts of drinking beer here is that the beer is usually served along with delicious food such as roasted squid, fried fermented pork rolls, roasted bird meat, or simply a plate of sunflower’s seeds.

Like any other pub street, the atmosphere here becomes more lively when the night falls down with the influx of both locals and foreigners. The quietness of the street in the day time is suddenly replaced with the noisiness. The whole street is crowded with groups of people drinking beer and chatting with each other. Echoed throughout the street is the sound of “một hai badzô!” (one two three… cheers!) from both local and foreign customers.

Foreigners drink beer at Ta Hien Street, Ha Noi Old Quarter (Photo: Indochina Travel Blog)

There is a joke spreaded widely among Vietnamese young people: if you want to improve your English skills, the Ta Hien street is a must-place to go. Frankly speaking, this street really attracts foreigners from all nations and races as they seem to be fond of unique Vietnamese alcoholistic cultures. It does not matter if you are traveling alone, because in a few minutes, there will be some young people patting on your shoulders and talking with you like an old friend. That is what people usually talk about the friendliness of Vietnamese.

Ta Hien Street is full of both foreigners and native people at night. (Photo: Hanoi luxury hotel)

In the far southern area of Viet Nam – Ho Chi Minh City, there is a resemblance of Ta Hien Street named Bui Vien (Bùi Viện) Street which is crowded with bars and pubs. The street’s name is originated from the name of a great Vietnamese diplomat and revolutionizer. Coincidently, Bui Vien was a contemporary of Ta Hien’s.

So, if you like beer and plan to visit Vietnam, then Ta Hien or Bui Vien Streets should appear in your bucket list.

Một hai ba… Dzô !!!

One two three … Cheers!!!

A native guy drinks beer with foreigners at Ta Hien Street (Photo: Travel4foodfun)

Writer: Linh Dang