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The best places to visit in Moc Chau, Viet Nam

Moc Chau is a plateau located in the northern mountainous area of Vietnam. With the variation of its climate and the short distance from Hanoi, Moc Chau becomes a well-known destination for tourist in almost every season of the year. The highest temperature recorded in Moc Chau is 32oC and the lowest is approximate 10oC. The average temperature here ranges from 16oC to 29oC.
The wet season of Moc Chau happens mostly from May to July, when the precipitation rises up to no lower than 300mm. The total precipitation is estimated from 1800 to 2100 mm per year. While the summer has a good amount of rain, the winter does not. The precipitation in winter just varies from 30 mm to 85 mm per month.

Although Moc Chau is a plateau in a mountainous area, there is rarely snow here. For 9 years since 2010 until recently, there has been just one time that there was snow in Moc Chau in January 2016.

So, WHAT TO SEE IN MOC CHAU?

1. Ban Ang Pine Forest

Ban Ang Pine Forest is located in Dong Sang commune, Moc Chau district, Son La province. From Moc Chau town, follow Highway 43 for two kilometers to get there. Ban Ang has a natural lake with an area of five hectares surrounded by green pine forests planted on reddish brown ferralsol hills. In the distance, the scenery of Moc Chau plateau with the tea hills and colorful flowers is romantic and stunning.

Ban Ang is home to the Thai people who live mainly on farming, livestock breeding, and handicraft. In Ban Ang village, you will have the opportunity to experience daily life with the villagers such as staying in the stilt houses, picking the tea on the hill, fishing in the stream, and eating local dishes. 

2. Moc Chau Happy Land

Moc Chau Happy Land is a tourist area located in Lung village, Muong Sang commune. It is built on five hectares of land with many beautiful spots for photography such as the heart-shaped garden, windmill, colorful flower garden, and more. This place also has accommodation and food services for visitors to rest and enjoy the peaceful life in Moc Chau.

3. Dai Yem Waterfall

Located in Muong Sang commune, Moc Chau district, Dai Yem Waterfall is the most beautiful from April to September. A big amount of water pours into the waterfall in the rainy season, making the scenery majestic and poetic with the white color of frothing water. The waterfall consists of two parts. The upper waterfall is 70 meters wide and there is a distance of 270 meters between the upper and lower waterfall. The vegetation on the top of the waterfall is rich and beautiful. 

4. Heart-shaped Tea Hill – Doi Che Trai Tim

Tan Lap commune is famous for the most beautiful tea hills in Moc Chau. These green tea hills are likely unlike anything you have seen before. The most beautiful tea hill in Tan Lap is Doi Che Trai Tim, also known as Doi Che Moc Suong. Many couples choose this place to take their wedding photos and record their happiest moments. Besides tea hills, there are plum blossoms and yellow mustard flower gardens in the commune. 

5. The Glass Love Bridge

The inauguration of the bridge comes ahead of a five-day public holiday in Vietnam on the ocassion of the Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1).
Located in Dai Yem Waterfall, Moc Chau district, the bridge, named Glass Love Bridge, measures 80 meters long and two meters wide, with 5D technology. It also boasts a photoelectric sensor system and 30 special effects, such as flowers blooming, fish swimming, and heart shapes, etc.
The bridge is designed with the theme of love, with models of hearts and romantic spaces, including a Japanese-style village with cherry blossoms, an ideal place for couples and fans of photography.

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Vietnam Traditional Tet Holiday

The dates of Lunar New Year differs every year but it generally takes place around late January or February. Because of the fact that Vietnamese families are so close-knitted, Tet Holiday is considered the best occassion for family members to return home and get together. During Tết, Vietnamese spend time shopping for the New Year, go to Pagodas and Temples. The items of shopping range from food to clothing to decorations for the house. The Vietnamese believe that Tet Holiday is an occasion to enjoy life after a full hard-working year, thus people forget their struggles and focus on making the celebration as festive as possible. Due to the high regard in which people hold it, Tết, as often as not, is consumed with unique, distinctive colors and flavors. Let’s take a look at some traditions and customs typical of this special holiday in Vietnam.
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                                                                            A Family Gathering during Tet Holiday.
1. Food
Bánh chưng (Sticky square cake)
Bánh Chưng is a food made from glutinous rice, mung bean and pork, added with many other ingredients. Bánh Chưng is covered by green leaves (usually banana leaves) and symbolizes the Earth, invented by the prince Lang Liêu from Hùng King dynasty. Besides traditional reason, Bánh Chưng is chosen as the main food for Tết holiday because of it can last long for days in Vietnamese weather (Banh Chung can survive at room temperature for nearly 1 month).
Giò, chả (Vietnamese sausage)
Giò chả (Vietnamese ham/sausage) is another traditional food in Tết holiday, and usually served with Xôi (sticky rice) and Bánh Chưng. Giò is different from Chả since Giò is boiled and Chả is deep-fried. Chả is also made of lean pork and ingredients, but Chả is not wrapped by leaves and boiled but deep-fried in oil.
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Thịt kho hột vịt (Braised Pork Belly with Duck Egg)
This dish is more popularly enjoyed in the South than in the North, however, noone can deny the irresistable aroma, flavor and the amazing compatibility of this dish with a bowl of steaming rice. The Pork Belly and Egg is cooked with coconut juice and fish sauce until it becomes tender and absorb all those amazing flavor. The dish is so universal and easy to make that it has become one of the most popular dishes served during Tet Holiday.
Xôi (Sticky rice)
Xôi is also a very important part of Têt holiday in Vietnam, along with Bánh Chưng, xôi is the main staple foods for Tết holiday. Xôi can be seen in many forms: Xôi Lạc (sticky rice with peanuts), Xôi Đỗ Xanh (sticky rice with mung bean), Xôi Gấc (sticky rice with special “gấc” fruit). Among these types, xôi gấc is favorite the most by people because of its special red color – symbolizes the luck and new achievement for the New Year.
Mứt (Jam)
Mứt Tết (Tết jam) is not a food to serve in a meal during Tết holiday, but more like a snack to welcome guests in this special period. This once-in-year mix of snack is very large in variety, with so many tastes: ginger, carrot, coconut, pineapple, pumpkin, lotus seed, star fruit, etc.

2. Traditional customs 

Even though many Vietnamese traditions are based on old cultural beliefs that may strike some as a little superstitious, families believe that their activities during Tết must involve happiness, joy, and good luck. Below are some of the popular, long-standing Tết traditional customs that have stood the test of time from generations to generations. 
tet3                                                                       Older family members give the young lucky money.

Giving Lì xì (lucky money)
The first day of Tết is reserved for the nuclear family. Children receive a red envelope containing money from their elders. This tradition is called mừng tuổi (happy new age) in the north and lì xì in the south. Usually, children wear their new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving the money.
Xông nhà
Since the Vietnamese believe that the first visitor a family receives in the year determines their fortune for the entire year, people never enter any house on the first day without being invited first. The act of being the first person to enter a house on Tết is called xông đất, xông nhà or đạp đất, which is one of the most important rituals during Tết. According to Vietnamese tradition, if good things come to the family on the first day of the lunar New Year, the entire following year will also be full of blessings. Usually, a person of good temper, morality and success will be the lucky sign for the host family and be invited first into the house.

During subsequent days, people visit relatives and friends. Traditionally but not strictly, the second and even painting their home in anticipation of spring, settle old debts and disputes, and pledge to behave nicely and work hard in the new year.

3. Decorations

Traditionally, each family displays “Cây nêu”, an artificial New Year Tree consisting of a bamboo pole 5 to 6 m long. The top end is usually decorated with many objects, depending on the locality, including good luck charms, origami fish, cactus branches, etc.
At Tết every house is usually decorated by hoa mai – Ochna integerrima (in the central and southern parts of Vietnam) or hoa đào – peach flower (in the northern part of Vietnam) or hoa ban (in mountain areas). In the north or central, the kumquat tree is a popular decoration for the living room during Tết. Its bright orange-colored fruits represent the fertility and fruitfulness that the family hopes for in the coming year.
tet4                                                                Hoa Mai – a symbol of Good Luck in the Tet Holiday.
                                             tet5
                                                 Hoa Dao can be seen at Nhat Tan flower garden, is a symbol of Tet in the North

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Huong Pagoda

Huong Pagoda is one of the most important Buddhist temple in Vietnam. The natural landscapes such as Yanxi and Fragrant Caves, which are blended with water and milk in the site, are artificially landscaped by temples and Tian Chu Temple. The sixth day of the first lunar month is the meeting day of the traditional festival of the Huong pagoda, and it will be on the 15th to the 20th of the first month of the lunar calendar. The temple fair lasted for three months and is arguably the longest traditional event in Vietnam. The incense temple is full of incense and believers, and it is also the place where the dragon son Xiansun traces the source and preserves the national culture and tradition. Vietnamese people hope to go to the Huong Pagoda in their lifetime. On the way, you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains and rivers of the Yan River and the entrance to the Huong Tich, which gives you the feeling of being in a paradise.

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Van Don International Airport

The Van Don International Airport in Vietnam officially opened on Dec. 30, with the airport expected to open new avenue between northern Vietnam and Taiwan.san bay van don1

Under Decision No. 497/QD-BGTVT by the Ministry of Transport dated March 15, 2018, Van Don will be an international airport, serving both civilian and military flights.

Construction on the airport started in 2015 with a total investment of VND7.5 trillion (US$330 million). It is the first airport in the country built with capital mobilised by local authorities.
The airport is expected to open international routes to Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, as well as offer many connections within Vietnam.

By 2020, it will house a level-4E airport and a level-II military airport, as well as a 3.6km-long runway, capable of serving Boeing 777, 787, 747-400, Airbus A350, and other similar aircraft.
The airport will have an annual capacity of between two millions and 2.5 millions passengers by 2020, which will increase to five millions by 2030.
Set to cover more than 326ha by 2020, it will have support facilities, a two-module terminal, and functional areas. A cargo terminal is expected to be built by 2030 with a capacity of at least 51,000 tonnes.

It is hoped that Van Don Airport will boost tourism in Quang Ninh, home to Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage site.
The airport is also expected to boost local development, as Van Don District has been designated as one of the first three special administrative-economic units in Viet Nam.

In 2017, Quang Ninh saw 9.87 million tourist arrivals, including 4.28 million foreigners, up 18 per cent and 23 per cent year on year, respectively.
The locality, which serves as host for National Tourism Year 2018, hopes to welcome 12 million visitors, including five million foreigners, and earn VND22 trillion this year.

The airport, alongside other infrastructure projects, is hoped to promote economic development, as well as tourism in Quang Ninh province.