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TAM COC

“Halong Bay on Earth"

 It’s hard not to be captivated by the mystical, watery beauty of one of Vietnam’s most spectacular sights – a mini landlocked version of Ha Long Bay. This stunning landscape served as the backdrop for Régis Wargnier’s film, Indochine. Located in the heart of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

(Phat Diem Stone Cathedral)

 As a professional photographer, places like Tam Coc are some of the reasons why Vietnam is my favourite country in Southeast Asia.

There is nothing more wonderful than a boat trip on Ngo Dong River. If possible, do it early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid the excursion groups from Hanoi. Local women will paddle you in small boats along the river for a couple of hours, through caves and past paddy fields and karst formations.

(Badinh Pagoda) 

(Rowing with feet)

Another great way to discover the natural wonders is to rent a bicycle and explore the surrounding areas. Don’t miss a visit to the cave-pagoda of Bich Dong. Stone steps, entangled by thick roots of banyan trees, lead up a cliff face dotted with shrines. The cave, is believed, to have been discovered by two monks in the early 15th Century. Hang Mua Peak is a must-do. After 450 steps you arrive at the peak to be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the entire region, the Red River Delta on the East and the mountains on the other sides. Time permitting, pedal to Hoa Lu to explore the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty. If you’re up for the challenge, continue to imposing Bai Dinh Pagoda.

(Tam Coc just before rice harvesting) 

(Linh Coc Jetty)

For those with more time, take a day tour on motorbike to see Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches in Vietnam with its mix of western and Vietnamese religious architectural styles. It is in this area that French and Portuguese missionaries first introduced Catholicism to Vietnam.

(Hang Mua Peak)

Getting there:

Tam Coc is a two-hour bus ride from Hanoi. Night sleeper trains and buses also travel south. A direct road trip to Halong Bay takes about four hours.

Staying: The Tam Coc Garden definitely! Located a few km from Bich Dong Pagoda, the hotel offers three standards of bungalows set around a central garden. Using natural materials, rooms have been stylishly decorated. The large windows and terraces allow you views of the surrounding countryside. There is a swimming pool and an outside bar. The Lemongrass Restaurant offers a range of delectable local dishes. Remember to order the local specialty; mountain goat meat and cơm cháy (not to be confused with the vegetarian cơm chay) which is the burnt rice off the bottom of the pot, served with pork.

When to go?

Between April and November when the weather is pleasant and the rice paddies are amazingly beautiful.

(Tam Coc Garden)

- text & Photos by FABWORLD -

Luxuriate Amidst History

The official residence of the French colonial governor is the setting of this elegant 5-star getaway, a few minutes’ walk from the old town. As you walk by stately columns and lush gardens, imagine listening in on conversations and decisions that decided the fate of countless people. Now fully restored, this heritage building consists of 25 suites furnished with a blend of Asian tradition and French sophistication. The Sofitel in Luang Prabang is a one-stop address for high living and fine dining. Come pamper yourself and relive the romance of a bygone era.

Offers and Booking Information:

Ban Mano Luang Prabang, Laos
Tel: +856 71 260 777 FAX: +856 71 260 776
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Hot Cafes

Dao - the High Tea

A two-storey French colonial house on Samsenthai Road that hopes to attract both coffee and tea lovers. The décor is luxurious. The café offers a varied menu of light food and bakery products.

 

 

Once Upon A Time

The exposed brick walls and pipes, industrial-styled light fixtures, polished cement floors, and thick wooden bar with its gleaming metal coffee machine indicate that the owners have invested a fair bit of time and money here. Upstairs, there’s a lot of natural light and would be a great spot for a private cocktail party. Try the crab porridge burger or the Norwegian smoked salmon for some healthy eating. The barista has come all the way from Thailand and that shows in the great coffee. Open from 07.00 to 18.00  

 www.facebook.com/onceuponatimelaos
 

 

The Coffee Tree

A new café, located in Ban Phonexay, just behind the Vietnam Embassy. All coffee served is from beans grown exclusively in Laos. The pick of the menu is Korean-style rice balls, smoked duck salad and steak. Prices are reasonable and parking is available. 

 

 

Best Kitchens

DD Bistro & Café Khammouane

Located in front of Thakhek’s historic fountain, is a new hub for foodie’s. On offer is a delicious mix of local and foreign dishes, flavorful smoothies and delectable pastries.

Near Mekong River, Setthatilath Rd, Thakhaek, Khammouane
020 55 558 345 | ddbistroandcafe  

O’Grady’s, Vientiane

Vientiane has definitely arrived with the opening of an Irish pub in Phonpapao. It’s the traditional pub experience down to the frosted glass. And the draft Guinness will just blow you away. With excellent well-priced country grub and regular evening entertainment, it’s a fantastic addition to the city’s night life. There’s even a playground for the kids. Enjoy the craic. ‘Slainte mhaith’!

Ban Phonpapao Village, Vientiane. Rue Phonpapao
T: +856-20-2988 3777
www.ogradys.pub
ogradyspub

 

Tyson’s Kitchen, Vientiane

Situated on Rue François Ngin, a stone’s throw from the Mekong, Tyson’s Kitchen is fast developing a reputation for excellent food, speedy service and the warmth of its welcome. Enjoy the delicious wood-fired pizza that comes with an eclectic range of toppings showing both Lao and Canadian influences. Meet Tyson himself and appreciate the passion he puts into his work.

Rue François Ngin, Vientiane, Tel: +856-21 255 272 | TysonKitchen

 

 

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