Minh Hoa
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Ruby Le

Ruby Le is keen on traveling and exploring undiscovered places in Vietnam. He loves to share travel experiences, photos, and write articles after every trip.

Minh Hoa

Minh Hoa is famous as a land rich in history with many outstanding relics. When traveling here, you will experience the unique cultural features imbued with the traditional identity of this land. Let’s explore this special place with Origin Vietnam.

IMG Mo Waterfall Minh Hoa 2

1. Where is Minh Hoa?

Minh Hoa is a border mountainous district located in the northwest of Quang Binh province, Vietnam. About 105 km northwest of Dong Hoi city and about 440 km south of Hanoi capital. With geographical location:

  • The East and North border Tuyen Hoa district.
  • The West borders Laos with a border of about 89 km long.
  • The south and southeast border Bo Trach district.

2. How is Minh Hoa unique?

Minh Hoa has a diverse terrain, with majestic mountains, poetic rivers and streams, vast primeval forests. And a rich system of historical and cultural relics. Thanks to that, exploring Minh Hoa promises to be an attractive tourist activity for all visitors.

Furthermore, this is a land rich in historical and cultural traditions. When it was once the base of the resistance war against the French and Americans of Quang Binh’s army and people. In particular, Minh Hoa is also home to many ethnic minorities. With rustic but very unique customs and specialties: poi rice, thau lang, male snails,…

3. When is the best time to visit Minh Hoa?

The most ideal time to travel to Minh Hoa is the dry season, especially from April to August. At this time, the weather has little rain, is sunny. But not too hot due to the wind blowing in from the sea. It is a suitable condition to move around, visit tourist attractions and experience many interesting activities.

IMG Yen phu Lake Minh Hoa

4. How to get to Minh Hoa from Dong Hoi city?

Starting from Dong Hoi city, you follow Ly Thuong Kiet street about 3 km northwest. Then come to a junction with F325 road. From here, you turn left and continue on F325 road and Phan Dinh Phung street to the west about 4.5 km. You will meet the intersection between National Road 16 and National Road 1A.

From this intersection roundabout, you go straight to enter Highway 16 and continue moving northwest about 45 km to meet the intersection with Highway 15. You go straight onto Highway 15 and move northwest about 42 km when you come to a fork. From here, you turn right onto Highway 12A and continue moving north about 11 km to the center of Minh Hoa district.

5. Sightseeings in  Minh Hoa

5.1 Tu Lan Cave

IMG Tu Lan Caves 1

The Tu Lan cave system is located in an area of ​​primeval forest and limestone mountains of more than 650 hectares, located in Tan Hoa commune, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh. This forest formed from eight different valleys and mountain ranges through a network of underground rivers and cave systems.

This cave system was discovered in 1992 by cave experts from the Anglo-Vietnamese Cave Exploration Group. The Tu Lan cave system includes more than 25 caves of different sizes, with typical caves: Hung Ton Cave, Ken Cave, Kim Cave, Tu Lan Cave, Tien Cave, Ruc Cave, Bat Cave.

Among them, Tu Lan Cave is the largest cave in the system. The cave has a floor up to 35m wide, stalactites at a height of 30m look like natural chandeliers and massive stalactite columns, making Tu Lan Cave look like a magnificent and impressive fortress.

5.2 Mo Waterfall

IMG Mo Waterfall Minh Hoa

Mo Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall and a scenic spot located in Hoa Hop commune, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh. From Dong Hoi city center, follow Ho Chi Minh Highway East branch about 108 km to reach Hoa Hop commune, Minh Hoa district. From here, you continue to follow the small trail leading deeper into the forest for about 200 meters and you will reach Thac Mo.

The waterfall is located in the middle of a lush, majestic primeval forest, creating a poetic and lyrical natural scene. Mo Waterfall has a total height of about 30m, divided into many small floors, pouring down with white foam, creating a natural picture of the beauty of Minh Hoa. At the foot of the waterfall is a large, clear lake, an ideal place for visitors to cool off and relax. Around the waterfall are large rocks covered with green moss.

5.3 Cha Lo’s Gate of Heaven

IMG Cha Lo Gate Of Heaven Minh Hoa 2

Cha Lo Heaven Gate, a famous Minh Hoa tourist destination, is a masterpiece of nature. Formed from two natural rocks joined together to form a large arch, about 20m high and about 10m wide, this place called “the boundary between heaven and earth”. Looking from below, you will feel the power and magical creation of nature.

Around Cha Lo Heaven Gate, majestic mountains and vast forests create a wild and majestic natural landscape. The terrain around the Heaven Gate is quite craggy with majestic mountains and a dense system of trees in the forest. This difficult road has witnessed many raids and preserved many victories and miracles that the Vietnamese militia has created.

5.4 Ruc Mon Cave

IMG Ruc Mon Cave Minh Hoa 5

Ruc Mon Cave has a length of up to 2,863m and the dome is more than 50m high. Ruc Mon Cave has both dry caves and water caves. The dry cave is created with stalactites of various shapes and shimmering fancies. Under the dim light system, stalactites from small to large gradually appear. Many people who have been here have the common opinion that Ruc Mon cave is exactly a stalactite museum with diversity in both shape and abundance in quantity and size.

The water cave is a place with clear, cool underground rivers and streams. The main river of the water cave is about 100m long, flowing from upstream to downstream. Along the river, visitors can admire the stalactites growing on the cave walls, creating an extremely poetic scene.

5.5 Yen Phu Lake

IMG Yen phu Lake Minh Hoa 1

Yen Phu Lake is a natural freshwater lake located in Trung Hoa commune, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province, about 100 km from Dong Hoi city center. Surrounding the lake are majestic limestone mountains, it creates a wild and poetic natural landscape.

Yen Phu Lake was formed in the 60s of the twentieth century, when local people blocked the Rooc stream flowing from the limestone mountains to serve agricultural production. The lake is clear blue all year round and is home to many species of flora and fauna, including many rare species.

In particular, Yen Phu Lake was chosen as the setting for the movie “Kong: Skull Island” directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts in 2016. In the movie, Yen Phu Lake is described as a pristine island with no people in sight. , where King Kong lives. Therefore, this place was chosen by the film crew as the “battlefield” scene between the monkey king and giant monsters, bringing a dramatic feeling with thrilling action scenes. The beautiful scenes of Yen Phu Lake in the movie have made many people fascinated and want to come here to see it with their own eyes.

Yen Phu Lake has an area of ​​about 7 hectares, with clear blue water all year round. The undulating limestone beach on the lake surface creates a magical, shimmering beauty. Yen Phu Lake is a beautiful sunset viewing spot. Visitors can go to the lake in the afternoon to watch the last rays of the sun shine on the lake surface, creating an extremely romantic scene.

5.6 Da Deo Pass

IMG Da Deo Pass Minh Hoa

Da Deo Pass is located in the Truong Son North mountain region, with rugged, rolling terrain. On both sides of the pass are towering limestone mountains, towering between heaven and earth. At the foot of the pass are lush green primeval forests, with rich flora and fauna. Da Deo Pass is formed from limestone mountains eroded over time. At the foot of the pass is Cha Noi valley.

Da Deo Pass has historical significance. During the resistance war against the US, the pass was a key point for fierce bombardment by the US military with aircraft and artillery from ships. The pass has suffered many bombs and bullets, but still stands firmly amidst the Truong Son mountains and forests.

5.7 But Waterfall – Fairy well

But Waterfall – Fairy Well is an eco-tourism area located in Yen Hoa commune, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province. This tourist area is known for its pristine landscapes and cultural, historical, and spiritual values. But Waterfall – Fairy Well is located about 15 km north of Minh Hoa district center.

This tourist area is located on a limestone mountain, about 200m above sea level. From the center of Minh Hoa district, visitors can travel to Thac But – Gieng Tien tourist area by motorbike or car in the direction of National Highway 12A. After passing Tran bridge, visitors will turn left along the road to Yen Hoa commune. From here, you go about 5 km further to reach the tourist area.

5.8 Mu Gia Pass

Mu Gia Pass is one of the most dangerous passes in Vietnam, located on Highway 12A in Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province to Cha Lo border gate on the Vietnam-Laos border. The pass is located in 3 communes of Hoa Thanh, Trong Hoa and Dan Hoa, Minh Hoa district, about 480 meters high, about 20 km long from Khe Ve junction (Hoa Thanh commune) to near Cha Lo border gate (Dan Hoa commune). The pass is located between the two mountain ranges of Truong Son East and Truong Son Tay, with steep, craggy cliffs on both sides. To cross the pass, the driver must go through sharp curves and steep, winding roads.

More than 100 years ago, the pass was the headquarters of the Can Vuong movement against the French led by King Ham Nghi and loyalist Ton That Thuyet. During the resistance war against the US, Mu Gia Pass was a “fire pass” with road 12A, an important road in the Ho Chi Minh route passing through with slopes of 500 degrees.

This is a road where the sound of bombs never stops. The “V” shaped crab on the pass still has traces and remnants of leaf bombs and magnetic bombs. The pass is a vital road connecting North Vietnam with the southern battlefield, where food, weapons, and ammunition are transported to revolutionary forces. Mu Gia Pass is also the place where many fierce battles took place between our army and people and the US army.

5.9 Kim Bang village communal house – Len Quyt cave

IMG Kim Bang Village Communal House Minh Hoa 1

Historical revolutionary relic of Kim Bang village communal house and Len Quyt tree cave in Kim Bang village, Minh Hoa commune, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province. The relic is located south of Quy Dat (in Minh Hoa district) about 8 km from the district capital. Kim Bang village communal house was built in 1924, as a place to worship the village’s Thanh Hoang and his predecessors who made contributions to the people and the country. The communal house is made of wood, has a thatched roof, and has a dirt floor, including the Early communal house and the Later communal house.

Located about 500m from Kim Bang communal house is Len Quyt Tree Cave – a natural and quite small cave, with an average height of about 3m, width of 15.5m, depth of the cave 22m, cave entrance 10m wide. The cave was formed by the erosion of rainwater and wind.

5.10 Tu Lan Lodge

Tu Lan Lodge is located in Yen Tho village, Tan Hoa commune, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province, about 70 km northwest of Phong Nha. The resort is built nestled on the side of a high mountain, surrounded by majestic landscapes of mountains and forests and the romantic Rao Nan river. This is a great destination for tourists who love to explore wild nature and experience Minh Hoa culture.

Tu Lan Lodge also offers unique and colorful activities. Here, you can participate in interesting activities such as scenic cycling through Tan Hoa grasslands, having dinner at a local house to explore local cuisine, and riding an ATV to explore the Lim forest. nature. These are unique experiences in Minh Hoa that you cannot miss.

6. Specialties when traveling to Minh Hoa

When traveling to Minh Hoa, you will not only admire the beautiful natural landscape, but you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the specialties of this beautiful land.

IMG Food Minh Hoa

6.1 Boi rice

Among Minh Hoa’s specialty dishes, the unique, delicious sticky rice dish that cannot be found anywhere else is the most famous. Anyone who comes to Minh Hoa and has not enjoyed fried rice is considered to have not been to this mountainous region.

The ingredients used to prepare rice are corn kernels, rice grains and fresh cassava roots. Corn kernels are soaked in boiling water for about 2-3 hours, then taken out and drained, put in a mortar and pound, gradually take the flour, soak in cold water, knead thoroughly, beat it loose, and put it in the rice cooker. Pour water into the pot, wrap a dry banana leaf around the mouth, put cornstarch in the pot, put it on the stove and cook for about an hour until the rice is cooked, put it in a mold to form a piece of rice to take away. eat; If you eat right away, pour it onto a plate.

For rice dishes made from rice, wash the rice with hot water, and the other steps are the same as making cornstarch. If you have more cassava roots, wash the fresh cassava that has just been dug, peel it, squeeze out the water, mix it with cornstarch, rice flour, knead thoroughly, then put it in the pot to cook into a rice dish.

6.2 Duc snails

There are many male snails in Minh Hoa and often live in streams with clear, clean water. The Duc snail is a familiar dish in this countryside and it has entered poetry, music and paintings.

Duc snails can be processed into many different dishes, but the most popular dish is boiled snails. Boiled male snails, dipped in lemon leaf salt, chili salt, and seasoned with grapefruit thorns are very delicious. Snail broth can be used to cook vegetable and potato soup or other sour soups that are very rich and delicious during the hot season. In addition, male snails are also processed into fried snail dishes, snail sauce dipped in rice paper (rice paper) that diners will remember forever after eating once,…

6.3 Don vegetables

Rhubarb is a fern that grows wild, in the forest it often grows in streams and beside rocks. Malabar spinach is a special type of wild vegetable that is loved by many people; It is also a herb used to treat a number of common diseases such as colds, coughs, sore throats, diuretics, anti-constipation… Ganoderma can be used to make many dishes: boiled, cooked soup, stir-fried meat, stir-fried with garlic, made salad… and every dish is delicious.

For the people of Minh Hoa, coriander is associated with the humane story of the people here, it is the main dish in the “living death anniversary” tray, the filial meal that Minh Hoa people offer to their grandparents and fathers. Mother’s day is approaching Tet.

6.4 Mon porridge 

According to the elders in Minh Hoa, the Ma Lieng people made this porridge firstly. An ethnic group belonging to the Chut ethnic group in the mountainous areas of Tuyen Hoa and Minh Hoa districts. After that, ethnic people in the mountainous district of Minh Hoa also learned it and it became a unique and special dish in this high mountainous area.

6.5 Bee pupae

Minh Hoa’s terrain is mainly mountains and forests, so there are many types of wild bees nesting. There are 3 types of bees, Minh Hoa people do not hunt for honey but for pupae: hornets, hornets and bumblebees.

Wild bee pupa is one of the dishes that uses very difficult and rare ingredients, but the way to prepare bee pupae of Minh Hoa people is quite simple. When the water boils, put the bees in the pot, and over low heat. After putting the bees in, just boil gently again to avoid overcooking the pupae and easily breaking.

When eating bee pupae, remember to include kumquat juice, guise leaves and salt mixed with chili and pepper, the smoke rising up brings with it the attractive smell of bee pupae. The feeling when the pupa meat melts in the mouth is indescribable. The bee flavor is very delicious and greasy, so even if you only taste this specialty once, diners will remember it forever.

6.6 Ant egg soup cooked with Bun leaves

People made ant soup from eggs of black and yellow ants nesting on tall trees. This is a unique dish only available in Minh Hoa in the spring. Minh Hoa people hunt and cook them with vermicelli leaves growing in the forest. Bun is a wild plant that only grows on stream banks, has a woody stem and symmetrical leaves. This plant also produces young leaves from February to March of the lunar calendar.

However, to have ant soup with sour Bun, there must be a very elaborate step of fermenting the vermicelli leaves. The young Bun leaves are finely chopped and put into a ceramic jar. People add a little salt, apricot sugar, add warm water about 15 degrees Celsius and cover tightly. Then place next to the stove for about 3 days. When the jar of Bun leaves around the kitchen has turned from green to apricot yellow and smells fragrant. Taking it out and cook with the newly beaten ant eggs.

6.7 Grilled Mat fish

Grilled fish of the Khua people is a delicious dish from the streams of Minh Hoa land. Fish often live in groups in streams, especially clean water pools. Mat fish is both healthy and nutritious, the meat is delicious, and the fat is low in bones. Especially, this fish also has milk-boosting effects, is good for the heart. And it is suitable for both the elderly and obese people.

Mat fish can be braised, fried, cooked in sour soup,… but it is still best grilled. Just eating once, diners will forever remember the delicious taste of this fish.

6.8 Stone crab

Local people also call stone crabs Khe, living in rocky mountain streams. In the summer, usually from dusk until the end of the night, crabs begin to crawl from the rocks to the streams. At that time, people invited each other to catch crabs by hand. During the day, crabs burrow into ravines, so if you want to catch crabs. You must have a rod and worm bait put into the cave to lure the crabs into the bait and then pull them out. Stream crabs are relatively large in size, with 7-10 crabs per kilogram.

After catching crabs and bringing them home, ethnic people often prepare them without being fussy and without many spices. They usually steam, boil or grill with lemongrass or cooking soup with wild cassava leaves. When cooked, stream crabs have a pink-yellow color mixed with cockroach wings, and have a characteristic aroma. People enjoyed the crab on a hot plate and dipped in white salt and chili. Not only is it beautiful to look at, when eaten, the crab has very firm meat and a rich flavor.

6.9 Cassava leaf silkworm

Silkworms eating cassava leaves are a specialty in the mountainous district of Minh Hoa. At first glance, cassava silkworms will cause a feeling of “fear”, because the big ones are like a giant worm. But when enjoying them, diners will see that this is a dish that is both clean and nutritious. Depending on each person’s taste, cassava silkworms can process into many dishes such as roasting, stir-frying… It noted that before processing, you need to put the silkworms in hot water to help them firm up.

Silkworms have high nutritional value, are fed with cassava leaves, and are a clean food. So they are very popular with customers, not only in Minh Hoa but everywhere else.

6.10 Lam rice

Ethnic people in the Minh Hoa mountain region have many unique folk dishes. It includes grilled rice in bamboo tubes that they prepare to serve in traditional festivals and in daily meals. The bamboo tubes used to cook Lam rice are small tubes, neither too young nor too old.

Before cooking Lam rice, people often soak the rice until it is soft. Then put it into each tube one by one, make a tight stopper and place it on a high-burning stove. Sitting by the fire, holding the bamboo tube back and forth, the bamboo tube begins to boil and gradually cook. The heat of the fire causes the steam to boil and give off a fragrant aroma. It means the grilled bamboo rice is ripe.

7. Accommodation when traveling to Minh Hoa

When traveling to Minh Hoa, you can refer to some accommodations below:

7.1 Hotels:

  • Dung Cuong Hotel. Address: Dan Hoa, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.
  • Son Ca Hotel. Address: Tran Hung Dao, Quy Hoa, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.
  • Hoang Lam Hotel. Address: Sub-zone 8, Quy Dat Town, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.
  • Ha Quynh Hotel. Address: Sub-zone 5, Quy Dat Town, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.

7.2 Guesthouses:

  • The Anh Guesthouse. Address: Hoa Tien, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.
  • Hoang Lam Guesthouse. Address: 55 Ly Thuong Kiet, Quy Hoa, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.
  • Gia Huy Guesthouse. Address: Highway 15, Trung Hoa, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.
  • Truong Dat Guest House. Address: Sub-zone 1, Quy Dat Town, Minh Hoa, Quang Binh.

It can be said that Minh Hoa not only has the advantage of natural landscape. But is also a place that preserves many cultural values, outstanding historical relics. And it is a place of living and cultural interaction of ethnic minorities. Such as Kinh Hoa. , Chut, Bru – Van Kieu.

If you are planning your vacation but don’t know which destination to choose? Please contact Origin Vietnam immediately – a professional tour operator. We are willing to share useful information about beautiful destinations in Vietnam. We will also accompany you on your special tour Quang Binh to explore the hidden charm of Minh Hoa with unforgettable memories and memorable experiences.

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