Where to go in Vietnam in February
February 9, 2017
The cold weather is almost gone and spring is expected in the North of Vietnam in February. Lunar New Year (Tet holiday) often falls in this month, which makes perfect time for travelers to experience a most important celebration of Vietnamese people. Here below are some recommendations for the places you should visit in February.
North of Vietnam
Northern Vietnam is famous for a vast of landscapes varying from mountainous areas to pristine beaches and rich culture, which surely will amaze you. So what are the highlights of this part of the country?
The capital of Vietnam. It was the citadel of many dynasties in the past and there are several architectures built by these dynasties remaining today. The temple of literature (Van Mieu, Quoc Tu Giam) - one of Hanoi tourist attraction in Vietnam is an example, also known as the first university of Vietnam which was opened to educate the royal. The entrance fee for the temple costs 10,000 VND only. Hoan Kiem lake (Ho Guom) located in the heart of the city is also prominent historical site linked with the legend – King Le Loi under Le Dynasty achieved victory thanks to the help of the sword given by a turtle. While the lake quite enjoyable anytime of the day, you may love to see a lot of activities in early morning such as jogging, Tai Chi, playing chess or badminton etc. Also, if you are a morning person, Hanoi’s Quang Ba Flower Market is another option where you can admire thousands of beautiful fresh flowers and can bargain with quite reasonable price. The market only opens from 3 to 7 AM daily. About 16km northeast of downtown is Co Loa Citadel which was built during the end of Hong Bang dynasty. The historical site is free for entrance. It gives tourists a view of temples, ancient walls and tombs, which may attract history lovers and archeologists.
3.5 hours by bus from Hanoi. A world heritage site, also known as The Bay of Descending Dragons. There are hundreds of companies who can book a Halong Bay cruise for you since it is most prominent tour in Halong Bay. 2 days 1 night is good enough to discover the bay on a cruise. You can witness a lot of beauty of blue water and natural lime stones. What you should not miss here are kayaking in the bay, visiting caves, swimming on Titop island and visiting fishing village to see the daily life of fishermen. When night comes, you can see the stars and sea sight from your own room or join squid fishing. Remember to bring a light jacket or coat in case of getting colder, especially towards the beginning of February.
4-5 hours by open bus or if you have more time to kill, take a train for 8 hours to Lao Cai city and then get on a bus for another 30 minutes to Sapa town. There are many beautiful scenic spots you can visit in Sapa. Muong Hoa valley is the largest farmland for rice growing in Sapa district, covering a land of 10sq.km. It’s famous for its breathtaking scenery in the region. The valley is the home for H’mong, Zao, Tay minority groups who have been living and working on the hill slopes for years. Ta Phin Village, located about 17km in the west of Sapa. Ta Phin is a village of Red Dao people still remaining a rich culture until today. To visit Ta Phin, you can trek or hire a motorbike to access the village. The most amazing thing is you can experience the ethnics homestay and take part in local activities like Red Dao’s wedding, greeting for a new house, oath-taking ceremony etc. If you are adventure lover, Fansipan peak is on top priory. The good time for this journey should be in October or November.
South of Vietnam
Contrast to the North that holds 4 seasons in a year, the South has more of a consistent tropical climate that is broken by a rainy season between May and November. Therefore visiting the South in February is quite ideal since the dry season is during December to April when the temperature tends to be steadily in the high twenties Celsius.
Ho Chi Minh
Tthe largest city and one of famous tourist attraction in Vietnam. People always say that Saigon never sleeps because it’s quite bustling and sometimes chaotic. You should get prepared to drive scooters and navigate through market alleys but for safety reason, using uber/grab taxi to travel around is not bad idea. There are a lot of hotels/hostels in Pham Ngu Lao street (District 1) and Ben Thanh Market area which are quite centered for tourists to move around. If you want to know more about Vietnamese culture, you should book a stay with local people. Please check AirBnB website. I bet that you will learn a lot from your local host. Here are some few places you should go in Saigon. Binh Tay Market is the Central market of Cho Lon in district 6. People say that they enjoy visiting this place more than Ben Thanh market because it helps them earn more local experiences with much reasonable price. After getting out of Binh Tay market, you can come to visit Thien Hau temple located in District 5. This is a Chinese style temple built in the 19th century to dedicate the lady Thien Hau (the Lady of the Sea). Jade Emperor Pagoda (Chua Ngoc Hoang or Phuoc Hai Tu) is a Taoist pagoda located at 73 Mai Thi Luu Street, District 1. It was built in 1909 and has become one of the most spectacularly atmospheric temples in Ho Chi Minh City, stuffed with statues of phantasmal divinities and grotesque heroes.
Located in Lam Dong province, approximately 125 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. It is considered to be the city of eternal spring thanks to cool weather all year around. There are quite many scenic spots in Dalat. The three palaces named as Palace I,II and III and summer home of the colonial-era, last emperor of Vietnam Bao Dai is of great interest. Besides Crazy House is worth a visit if you are interested in architecture. It is located on Huỳnh Thúc Kháng, Phường 4 with the admission fee is around 40,000 VND. If you go for a stroll around Xuan Huong lake, you can come to Flower Garden around a re-constructed traditional Vietnamese teakwood house. Also, a ride in a UAZ jeep up to the top of Langbiang mountain, with spectacular views of Dalat and the surrounding mountains and valleys should be a memorable activity you should not miss out.
The most renowned beach resort town in the south of Vietnam. This place is full of expats and international tourists especially Russians and Chinese. Some sites you can tour in one day: Long Son Pagoda - open 8AM-5PM. At this pagoda, you will see a 79 ft. tall white Buddha. The pagoda was established in 1963 to honor the monks and nuns who died demonstrating against the Diem government. Ponagar Cham Towers - open daily 7:30AM-5PM. These four brick towers were built by the Cham civilization between the 7th and 12th century to honor Yang Ino Po Ngar, mother of the kingdom. This remains a religious site for the local Buddhists of Nha Trang today. Vinpearl Land - from the harbour you can take the cable car over to the island where Vinpearl resort and Vinpearl land is located. The ticket costs 500,000 VND including all activities in Underwater World (aquarium), Water Park, Amusement Park (roller coaster, pirate ship, bumper cars, 4D cinema etc.)
A flat and lush area at the southernmost part of Vietnam where you can see the miles of inter-connecting canals and rivers and experience local life on bustling floating markets. This area is considered to be rice bowl of Vietnam where produces the vast quantities of rice, fruit and vegetables. Tours of the region often start in nearby Ho Chi Minh City or Can Tho, a bustling town in the heart of the delta.
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