Internship in Vietnam Additives – 7 Places for Getaways in the Suburbs of Hanoi (Part 1)
As a student doing internship in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi, you want to have a getaway from the bustling life in the city but do not have much time? Don’t get too stressed out, here are 7 tourist destinations on the outskirts of Hanoi that only take you one or two days for the escape.
Perfume pagoda (Huong Pagoda)
Pagodas and temples are indispensable parts of Vietnamese spiritual life. Ranking no.1 in the list of Buddhist pagodas is Huong Pagoda, which is located 60 kilometers Southwest of Hanoi. The pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone on Huong Tich mountain. The pagoda has a reputation for both its sacred religious features, especially the annual festival, and its enchanting natural landscapes.
If you want to witness and experience special cultural activities in the festival, February and March will be a perfect time. However, as the beginning of the lunar year always welcomes huge numbers of pilgrims flocking to pray for happiness and prosperity, you would probably find yourself stuck in the crowd. Therefore, avoid this period should sightseeing and natural immersion be your main purpose.
The flow of your visit starts from Duc Pier, where you will enjoy a one-hour boat ride on Yen Vi stream. Despite a modern road to Huong mountain, the stream is still the preferable choice for most tourists, thanks to its romantic and peaceful flow that seems endless. Furthermore, the stream is the key to all other landscapes, including the panorama of blazing green rice paddles, Phoenix mountain, Doi Cheo mountain, Bung and Voi mountains, Ngu Nhac mountain with Trinh Temple, Deo and Phong Su Mountains, Son Thuy Huu Tinh cave, Trau cave, Hoi bridge, and Dau valley…
Yen Vi Stream in the season of water lily. Source: nguoimyduc.vn
Setting your first step on land, you will be welcomed by Thien Tru pagoda, built in the 18th century. Its name means “heaven kitchen”, deriving from local people’s imagination that rock formations in this area look like chefs busily working in the kitchen. The two features of Thien Tru pagoda are Thuy Tien tower, a granite monolith and Tien Son grotto which is home to five granite statues and various formations on the walls of the cave.
Climbing up and down hundreds of stone steps, you will be met with Huong Tich grotto, implying “traces of fragrance”. The grotto has a household name for the unique carving art of man (Avalokitesvara statue, the 1.24m bronze bell,…) together with the extremely magnificent works of nature (Dun Gao rock, gold and silver trees,…).
The grotto marks a beautiful ending for the entire trip. However, you still can challenge yourself by climbing to the peak of the mountain and conquering the breath-taking natural vista.
Bat Trang pottery village
Situated 10 kilometers to the South-East from the center of Hanoi, Bat Trang is among the most famous traditional villages in Northern Vietnam. Throughout history, whenever pottery or ceramics is mentioned, the name Bat Trang comes along with it. The history of Bat Trang dates back 10 centuries, when Thang Long (Hanoi) was established as the capital city of the country.
The villagers have been producing pottery or ceramics products such as bowls, plates, vases,… to serve household daily purposes, for decoration or worshipping. Generations do not only pass on and follow traditions, but also keep innovating techniques and creating features. As a result, even the simplest kitchen utensils can have an appealing artistic beauty, which represents a part of Eastern long-lasting culture.
Bat Trang products are famous for their simple yet sophisticated features. Source: thanglong.cinet.vn
Now, thanks to tourism development, Bat Trang village draws a lot attention from tourists and became one of the unmissable destinations on the outskirts of Hanoi. Visiting Bat Trang, you can walk or ride buffaloes for sightseeing and shopping. In addition to many ceramic shops along the road, Bat Trang Porcelain and Pottery Market are definitely worth your time, for providing you opportunities to gain hands-on experience making pottery products by themselves.
In short, paying a half-day or one-day visit to Bat Trang village will leave you deep impressions about Vietnamese arts and handicrafts, as well as meaningful unique souvenirs to bring back home.
Co Loa citadel
If you have enjoyed many natural heritages and landscapes, and need a change of experience, don’t hesitate to visit Co Loa citadel, which lies 17 kilometers to the North from Hanoi. Like Thang Long or Hue citadels, Co Loa ranks among the most valuable cultural and historical relics, mainly thanks to its architectural structure.
Pearl Well in Co Loa citadel. Source: quocchien242.com
In the past, Co Loa was the capital of Au Lac Kingdom – An Duong Vuong dynasty (3rd century BC) and of Dai Viet kingdom – Ngo Quyen dynasty (10th century). It is known as the most ancient citadel with biggest size (500 ha) and greatest height, with a unique design of ramparts. At that time, national defense was of utmost importance, so the first priority when constructing the citadel was its ability to stand against the enemies. Probably, the spiral shape of the citadel made the greatest contribution to its mission, created with 9 walls surrounded by deep moats. The walls and moats prevented the enemies from attacking the citadel, but still allowed people to travel easily by boat. Nowadays, there are only 3 earth walls left, with total length of 16 km: the Outer Wall with perimeter of 8km, the Middle Wall has polygonal shape and perimeter of 6.5 km and the Center Wall has rectangular shape, perimeter of 1.6 km.
Throughout history, Vietnamese people have built a lot of artistic historic architectures to worship historic characters like kings or princesses. Besides, such features as a pair of dragons stroking their moustaches at Thuong Temple, enhance the traditional beauty and power of the dynasties.
Furthermore, Co Loa has long become a cultural icon as it bears miraculous legends and myths, such as the mysterious story of the golden turtle or the painful love story of My Chau princess, which are told from generations to generations. Therefore, for many reasons, the significance of Co Loa citadel has been carved in the sub-conscious mind of Vietnamese people. Every year, on the January 6th as per lunar calendar, the Co Loa villagers organize a solemn festival to commemorate those built up the Citadel, especially express their great attitude to An Duong Vuong King – the founder of feudal Au Lac Kingdom.
The beauty of the capital city of Vietnam does not necessarily lie in the center. Hence, don’t hesitate to travel a little bit further to be deeply immersed in the cultural and natural assets, when you are doing internship in Hanoi.
(to be continued…)
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