Monday, May 23, 2016

Discover Vietnam's Subsidy Period via Five Cafes in Hanoi

Amid a new Hanoi bustling and flashy, sometimes people want to come to some serene and gentle corners, where preserve their memories of an unforgettable period – the Subsidy phase (Bao Cấp). 

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 Photo: Instagram @Congcaphe 

# Cộng

Cong café doesn’t have only one address, it has now developed into a brand chain of several dozens of various-sized shops located on many streets in Hanoi.

All Cộng cafes feature a space imbued with the old-styled quality, ingeniously recalling subconscious of customers with wooden chairs and benches, barbers’ chairs and sewing machine tables. These objects, according to many business people, are both worthless and… invaluable.

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Photo: Instagram @meonhan

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 Photo: Instagram @Congcaphe

To common people, painted wooden chairs and broken sewing machine tables are merely cast-off junk; but to creative ones, these items become highlights. 

# Bao Cấp (Subsidy)

If objectively commenting, Bao Cấp is the catchiest name, but the café doesn’t have many exceed differences compared to other same-styled coffee shops. However, each its small, safe and sound corner is enough to evoke quivering emotions about a bygone era.  

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Photo: Instagram @i__phuwowng 

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Photo: Instagram @qanhhhh

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 Photo: instagram @_le08

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 Photo: Instagram @jin.jhin

# Xoan

Every corner in the shop is a strange street like “Happy street”, “Waving street”… accompanying a set of crude wooden tables and chairs, pillows wrapped in flower-patterned or peacock-patterned blanket-fabric, black & white televisions, or legendary dial telephones.

Some people compare Xoan café as a clear voice among a hustle track, because there aren’t too much peaceful corners as such in this noisy city.

The space of Xoan is not spacious but open. It has both gardens, yards, and balconies, and is always soaked in music of composer Trịnh Công Sơn.

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 Photo: Instagram @_trada

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 Photo: instagram @manh_tringuyen

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 Ảnh: instagram @lanxphu

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 Photo: instagram @104bc 

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 Photo: instagram @104bc  

All corners of the café on photographs are very beautiful and peculiar, from iron window frames with sunlit flowers, grey walls full of paintings, to sets of small, old rattan chairs, making every time reaching Xoan is feeling like newly setting foot on father’s hometown in every summer.

Besides, some cats at Xoan will be graceful saboteurs, who may break your relaxing moments anytime. Cats in the café are fearless and familiar with human body odor so they are extremely friendly and lovely. 

# Xí Nghiệp (Factory)

Xi Nghiep was already old. It was old in both style and age, because it is one of the oldest subsidy-styled cafés in Hanoi.

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Photo: Instagram @nhacuacoffeeholic

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 Photo: Instagram @dingolong

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 Photo: Instagram @hnamle

The owner demonstrates the artistic character through subtle spatial arrangement, which is very suitable to the name “Xí Nghiệp” (factory). Reaching here, you will touch unpainted brick walls, old ironwood tables, typewriters, antique speakers, books and notebooks with yellowed paper.

The particular centerpiece of the shop is perhaps the ancient motorbike suspended right above the bar, making anyone getting to the café be full of admiration and amused.

# Cuối Ngõ (At the end of the Alley)

Precise like the name, it’s truly situated at the end of an alley! It’s small, rustic and simple like a part of an ancient house from a former village long time ago.

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 Ảnh: instagram @kevinisjustfine

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 Photo: Instagram @vuvancanh

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Photo: Instagram @ng_t_giang

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Photo: Instagram @klinnyt

All objects inside the shop are so reminiscent of space of Tokin (North Vietnam) in olden days, with rustic bamboo tables, lampshades made of Neohouzeaua (an Asian bamboo), battered green-painted wooden chairs, and oil paintings that being old can be felt by just looking them. Nevertheless, vases of flowers here are always fresh and new. This shows the careful attention of the owner. 

Music in the shop is mainly songs of Trịnh Công Sơn. Especially, the interior of the shop has a portrait of deceased musician Trịnh Công Sơn hung solemnly at the center position, where is also the stage for live music shows in every Thursday evening.

Via: K.H

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top Trails for Vietnam Discovery in 2016

So surprise when seeing stunning photos taken along trails stretching on this S-shaped country. Once riding through breathtaking, rustic, untouched but imposing regions in Vietnam, it will be the most memorable experience in life.

Here are the 16 best trails for Vietnam discovery in 2016. What makes you hesitate? Let snatch a motorbike and ride your own world. 

#1: Da Nang – Lang Co

Once set foot on Da Nang, don’t skip motorcycling on the trail Da Nang – Lang Co, just only 30km in length but splendidly beautiful. Its southern part features Hai Van pass – the highest and most imposing pass in Vietnam, while its northern part is Phu Gia pass appearing intermittently. Under Hai Van pass, it is Lang Co bay with fine, white sandy beaches stretch and interfuse with ultramarine water that makes anyone also love the bay right in first sight.

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Hai Van pass

#2: Saigon – Ca Mau

Crushing this route, it is just the way to conquer the southernmost point of the country. Atmosphere and landscapes dominating this trail are imbued in essence of the South, with boundless rice paddies, wooden bridges and bamboo monkey bridges span over opaquely alluvial canals, and orchards laden with fruits.

>> Recommended journey: Mekong delta exploring on bike

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Long An mangrove forest

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Ben Tre

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Ca Mau - the southernmost point

#3: Hanoi – Moc Chau – Ta Xua – Bac Yen

For ones who love coping with demanding challenges, it will be a pity if skipping this route, which leads to peacefully limitless flower grounds, and real heavens where sky and the earth blend into one… Let take an expedition to Pha Luong summit – the roof of Moc Chau plateau, or vanquish renowned spots like Kem slope, Cun slope and Thung Khe pass.

>> Ready to conquer: 
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Pha Luong peak - Moc Chau

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Moc Chau in seasons of flowers

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Ta Xua

#4: Hanoi – Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai 

With this trail, surmounting Khau Pha pass, the over-30-km pass rated as one of the four greatest passes in the North Vietnam, is a must. After crossing over ethereal fog covering Khau Pha, a majestic view will unfold with forests and mountains linking to picturesque rice terraces and tranquil villages of ethnic tribes.

>> Ride your world: Motorcycling west to east northern Vietnam

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 Khau Pha pass

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Mu Cang Chai

#5: Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu – A Pa Chai

Ideal time to ride on this trail is on the dry season from November to April. Eager more as it takes to meaningful place-names like the westernmost point of the country - A Pa Chai, one of the four greatest passes in the North namely Pha Din pass and the historical Command bunker of General De Castries.

>> For something unknown: Motorcycling on historical trail of North West

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Pha Din pass

#6: Hanoi – Hai Hau

A mere 2 days on a weekend for the trip Hanoi - Hai Hau will be truly worthy. With a distance of barely 120km, this trail soon become a famous “night stormy” route. What is awaited more than welcoming first sunlight of dawn beaming down Hai Ly ruined cathedral (in Hai Hau) and admiring Phu Nhai church - the largest church in Southeast Asia in a quiet morning.

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#7: Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hoang Su Phi

This is one of “mecca” routes to the native backpackers as well as adventurous travelers and trekking lovers, with Vietnam's the hot hub of trekking - Sapa. If just reaching here once, it’s impossible to discover all various landscapes spectacular in an amazing way, from superb, towering Mount Fansipan – the roof of Indochina, O Quy Ho pass – the king pass among the four greatest passes in the North, to Vietnam's the recent snow heaven – Sapa, and Hoang Su Phi - land of alluring terraced fields.

>> Let travel: Conquer Vietnam north pole

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 Mount Fansipan

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 O Quy Ho pass

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Hoang Su Phi

#8: Quan Ba - Yen Minh – Lung Cu – Dong Van – Meo Vac – Ha Giang city

Have you ever heard largest buckwheat fields in Vietnam spreading fabulously on the rock plateau, do you expect to conquer Lung Cu flag pole – the northernmost point of the country, or simply contemplate dreamy pine hills in Yen Minh and glide on meandering roads? If so, you will not be able to resist “charm” of this inspiring route.

>> Discover Vietnam's hidden Himalayas: Complete trekking in Ha Giang province

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#9: Hanoi – Tam Dao

Another wonderful trail for a weekend trip if departing from Hanoi, Hanoi – Tam Dao. Just nearly 2 hours motorcycling, you will be lost in a white cloudy paradise.

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#10: Hanoi – Nghia Dan

From November to the end of the year, Nghia Dan (in Nghe An province) will be mightily magnificent by vastest sunflower fields in Vietnam. This trip is also exciting with a visit to Kim Lien village, where Ho Chi Minh president was born and grew, and roaming on Mombasa grass fields, corn fields and farms of milk cows.

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#11: Saigon – Dalat

After overcoming 107 sudden turns in Bao Loc pass, let your mind find to the cherry blossom road, the less-known marvelous maple forest and weird house blocks Paris in style settled right in Vietnam, or feel the gentle cold, breezes pervaded pine scent of highland, and creep of long-abandoned ghost villas.

>> Ride now: Mountain biking in Dalat

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#12: Saigon – Binh Thuan – Lam Dong – Dong Nai

This trail offers diverse experiences: beating exactingly mountainous parts of Gia Bac pass on way to Di Linh, sinking into sea in Phan Thiet, admiring romantic landscapes in Dalat, turning urgently on Bao Loc pass, and sliding through green forests in Nam Cat Tien.

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Binh Thuan

#13: Saigon – Nha Trang

Shifting along coastal roads, it is a chance to get into eyesight completely ravishing scenery of sea and serene sandy beaches along the roads. Not only attractive views, abundantly fresh and inexpensive seafood for free enjoying certainly please even gourmets that nowhere is better.

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Nha Trang

#14: Saigon – Pleiku

Tasting tremble but being thrilling when crossing over the “death pass" Phuong Hoang. Dramatic mountainous landscapes and very special, very plain beauty of hamlets will make anyone also deeply attached and not want to leave.

>>  Head to Vietnam Central Highland: http://goo.gl/15s6Ee

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Phuong Hoang pass

#15: Sai Gon – Binh Dinh

This trail will receive travelers with acutely green sight of rice fields and orchards along Di Linh district, and pretty sea in Quy Nhon, where the famous Vietnamese poet Han Mac Tu rested in peace. On this journey, let stop a little to look over immense Thi Nai lagoon, where the longest sea bridge in Vietnam spans over, and savor safe and sound minutes as looking sea and mountains in Eo Gio (Wind Channel). All are deserved to get.

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Eo gio (Wind channel)

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Thi Nai bridge 

#16: Ta Nang – Phan Dung

It’s not untruthful to say Ta Nang – Phan Dung is the most beautiful trekking trail in Vietnam. With a length to even 55km, it stretches over three provinces of Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. The trail bring trekkers varied challenges: walking inside forests, climbing passes and hills, and wadding over streams. However, the present received is absolutely worthy thanks to green scenery beyond eye-view of grass and trees, brilliant sunshine, and tortuous paths. All seemingly lead hikers to an endless paradise.

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Vietnamese source: Tri thức trẻ