Hello everyone, and Happy New Year 2018! On January 13th and 14th, we had an exciting and memorable two-day trip to Tay Ninh Province. Here is a brief review of our weekend journey.
Tried Banh Canh Trang Bang – a special food of Tay Ninh.
Joined “Culture Fair” with secondary school students and tried Tay Ninh snacks.
Visited Cao Dai Temple and Observed praying.
Had a feast with varieties of beef food.
Tried Hu Tieu – Vietnamese vermicelli.
Hiked on Bà Đen (Black Virgin) Mountain.
Day 1 – 13/01/2018
- 10:00: Departed from Ho Chi Minh City
This time, we had almost 20 people, who come from Vietnam, America, France, South Africa, Hong Kong, China and Japan, so we decided to rent a van to Tay Ninh. We started to leave for Tay Ninh at 10AM. It took us 3 hours to reach the center of Tay Ninh Province.
- 12:30: Arrived in Tay Ninh Province
At around 12:30, we arrived in Tay Ninh Province, and we had a lunch at ‘Bánh Canh Cô Ba‘ restaurant. We tried Bánh Canh Trảng Bàng, a special vermicelli dish of Tay Ninh. The restaurant also sells some popular Tay Ninh snacks like banana rice paper or spicy rice paper. Tay Ninh is a hotpot for rice paper or bánh tráng in Vietnamese, especially the one with muối tôm (literally shrimp salt.)
- 14:15: Joined “Cultural Fair” with Secondary Students in Tay Ninh
Our first big purpose of this trip is to interact with students coming from two secondary schools in Tay Ninh at the invitation of a teacher there. Activities include having conversations, introduction about Tay Ninh and Vietnam, playing a quiz, and playing traditional Vietnamese games. It was quite surprising that the students could speak English very well. Some were confident, some shy; but after all, they were really eager to share with us their experience and the information about their hometown. We learnt a lot from them. The Vietnamese games also reminded me of my childhood time. In japan, we also have some similar games and I usually played them with my friends at school.
We, Vietnam Track, really appreciated this memorable time. We would like to send our greatest gratitude towards the teachers and students, and also the parents. Thank you.
- 17:00: Visited Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai is a special religion in Vietnam. Briefly, the religion is the combination of several other religions, and hope for the peace of the world. I don’t know this religion exactly, so I cannot talk about it more; however, I want to talk about my impressions of this temple. The temple was quite big, colourful and quiet. The whole area surrounding it was so huge that it seems like a small town with residential areas, education and governance. In a day, there are four praying time: 6a.m, 12p.m, 6p.m and 12a.m. Visitors are kindly welcomed to observe it.
- 19:00: Dinner Time
At 19:00, we had a dinner at a restaurant, which is famous for the beef, called “Bo To Tay Ninh Nam Sanh”. We asked local people which restaurant in Tay Ninh is good? They answered this one, so it is already proved that this restaurant is super nice. We could enjoy delicious beef dishes like BBQ, fried rice, beef hot pot and so on. I put the address here, if you are interested in this restaurant, why don’t you go??
Bo To Tay Ninh Nam Sanh
Address : C3/21T Pham Hung | Xa Binh Hung, Binh Chanh, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam
- 21:00: Back to the hotel and took a rest.
We stayed at Thảo My Hotel. The hotel service is very good and the price is reasonable.
Address: 313 Tran Hung Dao, Ward 1, Tay Ninh.
Day 2 – 14/01/2018
- 6:30: Had breakfast
At 6:30, we gathered and went to have breakfast with Hủ tiếu (Vietnamese vermicelli) and Cà phê sữa đá (iced milk coffee) at a popular restaurant near our hotel. Why we gathered so early in the morning?? Because the hiking was waiting for us!!!
- 8:15: Started to hike the Black Virgin Mountain
The height of Black Virgin Mountain is 986 meter. The reason why this mountain is called “Black Virgin”:
“Variations of the legend of Núi Bà Đen exist. The oldest Khmer myth involves a female deity, “Neang Khmau” who left her footprints on the mountain rocks. The Vietnamese myth centers around a woman, Bà Đen, falling in love with a soldier and then through betrayal or suicide Bà Đen dies on the mountain. It has special significance to the Vietnamese Buddhist population and has a famous shrine about two thirds of the way up the mountain. Also, to the Cao Dai sect the mountain has special religious significance and its temple, the Tay Ninh Holy See, is close to the mountain.”
(Wikipedia – Checked at 2018/01/17 11:57)
Although we took the easiest way to get to the top, it turned out to be not actually “easy”. For the way up, we chose Đường Cột Điện (Electric pole route) which is marked by a line of electric poles. After the pole numbered 108, we could reach the top. The route was unpaved, really natural with rocks and surrounded by bananas and mangoes trees. From time to time, colourful birds and insects were spotted. It took us about 4 hours to climb up to the top. The tiring time was paid off by delicious lunch which we had prepared beforehand and more importantly, the amazing view from the top. After lunch and a short rest at the top, we continue going down via Đường Chùa (Pagoda Route.)
But, from this point, we should be more careful. Before the trip, many people searched on the Internet and were told that this way was the easiest one. So, most of us didn’t prepare for this enough. However, as you can see from these picture; the route was rocky and steep, and some places had a big hole, so be careful! If you slip, you absolutely get hurt. It is advisable that you should prepare enough hiking things like shoes, sportswear, water and so on.
- 17:30: Reached the bottom and back to Ho Chi Minh City
Fortunately, every member could reach the bottom safely, and we went back to our residential city. It took another 3 hours, but around this time the traffic was so terrible, so at 21:15, we finally came back to the centre of Ho Chi Minh City.
In two days, we did many activities such as exchanging culture with students, visiting Cao Dai Temple, hiking Black Virgin Mountain, trying many Tay Ninh dishes and of course, making new friends from many countries. I would like to say thank you for having joined with us. We had great time with you. We are planning next trip and will inform soon, so please check our website often for more updates. The events are open for both local and foreigners. You are always to be welcomed.
Finally, if you have trouble to travel in Vietnam, feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer all of your questions.