ITINERARY BY DAY
EXPLORE GORGEOUS VAN GIANG VILLAGE ( L)
Leave Hanoi over the Red River by vehicle, almost immediately the scenery changes to rural villages, age old pagodas and fields of rice. Follow a windy road for 40-minutes until reaching Van Giang District set on the edge of the plains of the Red River Delta.
Arrive at Van Giang Village’s morning market where the sounds and sights of the city seem far way from the rural life here. Vegetable sellers are seen trading their fresh produce plucked from the fields that morning, fish traders with their live catch and (thanks to the legacy of the French) frogs and the endless stalls of cuisine: rice noodle soup, grilled meats served on a bed of fresh herbs as well as sweet cakes and sticky rice puddings.
From the market drive to a temple along the river banks which worships Saint Chu Dong Tu and his wife Princess Tien Dung, who has been honoured as one of four immortal Vietnamese spirits. The temple is set on large peaceful grounds consisting of several large gates; pass through the yard into the main altar house where incense can be seen burning as it has for hundreds of years. The temple also houses rare wood engravings on its roof as well as two bach tho vases which have ancient non characters (the ancient script of Vietnam before it became romanized) engraved in various styles on them.
From the temple drive back to the village then take a stroll through Van Giang to the 150-year old home of Mr. An who at 65-years old has one of the most impressive Bonsai collections in the district. His home which has been passed down through the generations is typical of rich landowners of that time. Large wooden beams and an open plan abode conform to Vietnam’s fung shei beliefs whilst the garden is filled with fruit trees and bonsai some which are as old as the house. On arrival enjoy a cup of green tea and get acquainted with the hosts and hear the villages’ history.
The family will then give a demonstration on how to prepare spring rolls, fish sauce and cutting “chung” cake by special way from the Northern regions of Vietnam. At the end of the morning, sit down to a traditional Vietnamese family style lunch. After the meal, return to Hanoi.
Note: Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, National Holidays) are subject to supplementary charges.