When tourists traveling to Lao Cai may be too familiar with famous landmarks such as Sa Pa, Bac Ha or Bat Xat,… But besides that, Lao Cai still has many tourist destinations with their own beauty. pure beauty, peaceful, few tourists, in which Van Ban is a destination with a lot of untapped tourism potential.
1. Where is Van Ban?
Van Ban is a mountainous district in Lao Cai province, located in two large mountain ranges, Hoang Lien Son range and Con Voi range. It’s about 90 km southeast of Lao Cai city and 260 km south of Hanoi capital. Northwest. Here, 90% of the area is high hills and mountains, the remaining 10% is valley.
Van Ban district borders Bao Yen district to the East, Than Uyen district (Lai Chau province) to the West, Mu Cang Chai district (Yen Bai province) to the South and Southeast and Bao Thang district and Bao Thang town. Sa Pa town in the North.
2. How is Van Ban unique?
Van Ban owns 03 national intangible cultural heritages: Including:
- Heritage “Khap Nom” folk songs of the Tay ethnic group;
- “Long Tong” Festival of the Tay people;
- “Ay lay” village prayer ceremony of the Dao people.
In addition, Van Ban also has 01 national historical relics, the Co – Tan An temple relic, 02 historical relics granted by the Provincial People’s Committee with the Provincial Cultural Historical Relics certificate, including: Ken Temple historical relic. (Chieng Ken pine), Pu Gia Lan historical relic site (upper Khanh Yen commune) and many other attractions.
Furthermore, Van Ban still retains a large area of primary forest in the communes of Nam Tha, Liem Phu, Nam Xe… The vast forests of ancient trees and diverse forest ecosystems are destinations for tourists. Guests like to experience nature exploration and hiking.
In particular, Van Ban still retains the traditional cultural features of the indigenous people, especially the Tay and Red Dao ethnic groups. For the Tay people, traditional cultural treasures compiled over many generations are still preserved and passed down to younger generations. In communes such as Chieng Ken, Duong Quy, Khanh Yen Trung… the typical cultural feature of the traditional stilt house is still an attractive highlight for tourists.
Coming to the Tay village, visitors can easily see images of palm-roofed houses lying close together, hidden behind palm fronds. Houses that have been imprinted with the colors of time often have their backs leaning against the mountains, facing the fields or rivers. Below the stilt houses are typical cultural features being preserved, such as Khach Nom, Mo Then, Pi Le, Mo Tham That, Field Festival, Forest Worshiping Ceremony, Sac Ceremony, Village Bridge…
3. Which is the best season to visit Van Ban?
According to the travel experience of those who have been here many times, from September to April next year is the ideal time to travel to Van Ban.
- Going around April – August, people often go during this time because the climate is warm and sunny. But during this period it rains a lot so you need to check the weather information before going.
- If you want to see peach blossoms, apricot blossoms, and plum blossoms, you should go in the spring from January to March. However, the weather during this season is very cold, so remember to bring lots of warm clothes.
- The rice season is ripe in August – September, this is the right time for your trip. Golden terraced fields create a poetic scene.
- If you want to hunt for snow, you can come here in December – January, this is the coldest time so it is very likely to snow.
4. How to get to Van Ban?
In order to move to Van Ban, first of all, you need to move from Hanoi, you can take the buses from My Dinh, Giap Bat bus stations… to Lao Cai along Highway Hanoi – Lao Cai until you reach Tan Thuong commune, Van Ban district, go to Highway 279 toward Khanh Yen town for about 25 km to get the center of Van Ban district. In addition, you can choose the following means of transfer
4.1. By motorbike
With this route, if your group has a small group of people and is not familiar with running mountain roads, you should rent a motorbike taxi to ensure safety and save time. Besides, motorbike is a quite popular form and easy to call, so if you choose this form, you will not spend much time traveling and can discover many beautiful views on the way. more.
From Hanoi inner city, you go in the direction of Lang – Hoa Lac. Go straight along Thang Long Avenue and turn right onto Highway 21 to Son Tay. Follow Trung Ha Bridge to Phu Tho province and follow National Highway 32C to Yen Bai city. From here, you go on Provincial Road 163 until the intersection with National Highway 279, then turn left onto Highway 279 about 25 km further to the center of Van Ban district.
4.2. By taxi
In addition to traveling by motorbike, you can also choose to rent a taxi to move quickly, safely and without wasting your energy. This is a form that is quite suitable for groups of about 3 – 7 people. With this method, you can also save a significant amount of money.
5. Top sightseeing & things to do in Van Ban
5.1. Lam Vien Thuy Hoa tourism
Thuy Lam Vien is located in Van Ban district, about more than an hour by car from SaPa town. The space here is beautiful with immense Vo Lao fields and a romantic Nam Ma stream. The air is extremely fresh with the flavor of majestic mountains and fields.
Tourists coming here will discover the cultural characteristics of the Tay ethnic group with singing and Luon singing. This place brings a strangely peaceful beauty that everyone must be immersed in when coming here.
5.2. Tan An Temple
Tan An ancient temple has been ranked as a national historical relic. This is the place to worship the goddess named Nguyen Hoang Ba Xa who fought to keep the land for the residents of Bao Ha and Khau Ban (ancient Van Ban).
The temple is the religious site of the Northwest region, educating positive traditions and expressing the spirit of our people when drinking water, remembering its source. Every year on the 17th day of the first lunar month, it is the festival day at Tan An temple for people to commemorate the hero who contributed to building and protecting the country.
5.3. Ken Temple
Ken Temple is located on top of Phu Dinh hill and worships Mr. Nguyen Hoang Long and the generals of the Tay Son insurgent army who fought the enemy at Van Ban. The temple has been ranked as a provincial-level historical and cultural relic. By 2012, Ken Temple was restored to make it more spacious.
5.4. Duong Quy Fort relic
Provincial-level historical and cultural relic Don Duong Quy is 15 km west of Van Ban district center. This is one of 16 French colonial posts that were solidly built right from the time they set foot in Van Ban continent at the beginning of the last century.
As a place marking a glorious time of our army and people in the resistance war against the French colonialists. Fort Duong Quy is an educational symbol of patriotic traditions, revolutionary struggles, fighting against foreign invaders, arousing national pride of today’s young generation.
5.5. Conquer Gia Lan mountain.
Located at an altitude of 1,458m above sea level, Gia Lan peak is a large area with a magical scene when clouds, sun and wind blend together despite the harshness of the weather.
Besides the steep cliffs and rich vegetation that bring majestic and majestic beauty, the legend of a land with a heroic history makes it known as one of the most heroic mountains in the West. North.
Because the terrain is mainly low grass hills, the distance is short. There is little climbing, and the scenery is extremely magical with layers of clouds stacked densely on top of each other, covering the entire mountain.Gia Lan mountain has been will become a potential mountain climbing tourist destination in the future.
5.6. Dan Thang
Unlike most communes in the western area of Van Ban located along Chan stream. Dan Thang is located on the mountainside with an average altitude of about 800 – 900 m. Because of this, lowland communes are affected by hot, dry winds and harsh climate. So Dan Thang is blessed with a cooler climate by nature.
From Highway 279, turn to the center of Dan Thang commune. It’s going from one slope to another, making people feel that this highland commune must be in a place “deep in the mountains”. But in reality, it starts from Duong Quy commune. This is only less than ten kilometers.
Those who are patient enough to go through that boring journey will not feel in vain when they get lost in the enchanting sea of clouds when standing from the center of Dan Thang commune, looking down into the valley and going a few more kilometers towards Nam Muoi. It is a terraced field along the mountainside, not inferior to the terraced fields of Sa Pa or Y Ty (Bat Xat).
5.7. Visit and learn about the architecture of the Tay people’s stilt houses
The Tay community in Duong Quy commune lives clustered under ancient, stilted roofs, tinged with the color of time. Unlike many people in the Northwest who are accustomed to shifting cultivation, the Tay people in Duong Quy highly value stability.
When coming here, visitors can admire the palm-roofed stilt houses that have become a long-standing cultural feature, both a place of residence and a rich cultural identity. The whole commune now has many stilt houses that have been colored by the time of the Tay ethnic people for many generations.
Traditional houses are built with available materials, with corrugated iron roofs replacing traditional palm leaves or grass, and floors are paved with bamboo or wood. Rich or poor, the house has five rooms, its back leaning against the mountain, facing the romantic Nam Chan river flowing through the village.
6. Specialties when traveling to Van Ban
Van Ban has long been famous for dishes made from bamboo shoots and naturally occurring vegetables. The taste of bamboo shoots here is extremely fragrant, crispy and juicy, leaving in the hearts of every guest who comes here an unforgettable unique flavor. Among them, it is impossible not to mention bamboo shoots.
Bamboo shoots are very easy to prepare, have a sweet and soft taste, and are healthy. And can be preserved for a long time. Before preparing dishes, you just need to peel the hard outer leaves. Especially the old root part and prepare according to appropriate dishes. In particular, with the characteristic of not being sticky, you do not need to boil it like other types of bamboo shoots.
Besides, with the mild climate, in Van Ban there are many traditional specialties with strong local flavors. Such as fruits, smoked buffalo meat, apple wine, shiitake mushrooms, plums, etc. Muong Khuong chili sauce, black banh chung (black sticky rice cake), fish sprouts, salad with coriander, grilled fish,… prepared by the skillful hands of the people create unique features in Van Ban’s culinary culture.
7. Accommodation when traveling to Van Ban
When traveling to Van Ban, visitors can refer to the accommodation facilities below. These accommodation establishments are mainly concentrated in Khach Yen town, Van Ban district to facilitate tourists moving between attractions as well as enjoy the amenities at the accommodation establishments:
- Guest house of Van Ban district People’s Committee. Address: Khanh Yen Town, Van Ban, Lao Cai.
- Dai Duong Hotel. Address: Khanh Yen Town, Van Ban, Lao Cai.
- Phuc Ban Me Hotel 2. Address: Khanh Yen Town, Van Ban, Lao Cai.
- Son Hai Guesthouse. Address: Khanh Yen Town, Van Ban, Lao Cai.
- Vinh Nga Guesthouse. Address: Khanh Yen Town, Van Ban, Lao Cai.
- Hue Cuong Guesthouse. Address: Khanh Yen Town, Van Ban, Lao Cai.
Traveling to Van Ban – Lao Cai will certainly be a memorable memory when you think about the mountainous region of Northern Vietnam. This place may not be as famous as other destinations. But the wild and beautiful natural scenery along with traditional culture and unique cuisine here are enough to attract tourists.
If you are planning your Sapa tour to Van Ban – Lao Cai, please immediately contact Origin Vietnam – a professional tour operator. With a team of consultants, Sapa local tour operators and local guides who are experienced, dedicated and thoroughly knowledgeable about this land, we will take you on a journey to discover Van Ban – Lao Cai with interesting activities. and unforgettable experiences.