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Cover Picture Source By Google Image

An Indian village with no front doors, shops that are always unlocked, and residents who are never feeling unsafe. Anyone can walk into your home or shop in this village there are no doors and no locks. But no one will steal. If someone does, they will suffer from ‘sade-sati’, a period of seven years of bad luck.

This is the story of Shani Shingnapur, a village in India’s Maharashtra state. Where villagers avoid their security because of their undying faith in Lord Shani, the god of Saturn, who is considered the guardian of the village.

Also Read Mask Works, So Make Your Masks Work

Village house with no door concept
Google Image
Google Image

Story Behind The Doorless Indian Village 

According to legend, a heavy black slab of rock washed up on the shores of the Panasnala River. Which once flowed through the village, about 300 years ago after a bout of rain and flooding. When a local shepherd touched the 1.5m boulder with a stick, blood started oozing out of it. Lord Shani appeared in the shepherd’s dreams later that night, telling him that the stone was his idol. The shepherd asked the Lord for permission to build a temple for him, but he refused. He wanted to be placed in the heart of the village without shelter, so he could look over around freely. He promised the shepherd that he will protect the village from any dangers and mishaps.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

Loard Sani temple  In Shinganapur
Loard Sani temple In Shinganapur (Google Image)

Faith In The God

Since this day, the village has placed all its faith in god. The villagers installed the huge slab on a roofless platform in the heart of town, they decided to discard all doors and locks. They didn’t need them anymore, not with the Lord to watch over them. This remote Indian village, Shani Shingnapur attracts devotees from across India. At least 40,000 visitors pour in each day to see the once-humble shrine that has grown into a large temple with extensive property and donations.

Google Image

Now It Is A 300 Year Old Tradition

This tradition has continued for generations. Locals sometimes lean wooden panels against their front door frames to keep stray dogs out, but they don’t have permanent doors. Villagers leave their jewellery and money unsecured, firmly believing that their holy guardian will protect them from any mishap. Local lore says that a man who built a door outside his home had an accident the next day. Even the public toilets in the village square just have a thin curtain at the entrance for privacy.

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lockless Goverment Office In Shani Shingnapur

Even post offices and police stations do not have doors here. The United Commercial Bank opened its first “lockless” branch in Shani Shingnapur in 2011. It has a glass entrance and a remote-controlled electromagnetic lock that is barely visible to respect the sentiments of the villagers.

Also Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

Belief VS Superstition

Although Shani Shingnapur has officially remained free from thefts for centuries. However, many villagers now strongly feel that it is time to get rid of the superstition. Until 2010, Shingnapur had not reported any cases of theft. However the next year, gold ornaments worth Rs70,000 went missing from the home of a temple trustee. The no-door policy has become such an important belief for the village and its economy, that many cases even go unreported. Many peoples argue that the low crime rate in the area is due to the village’s remote location rather than the miraculous powers of the lord.

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People dreaming of travel post-COVID 19 now have some scientific data to support their wanderlust. A recent study has found that frequent travelers are happier in their lives than people who don’t travel at all. But during this pandemic, first of all, we have to keep safety in mind. If necessary, we have to wait when the right time to travel. In any case, we must first make sure that our travels are not unhappy.

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The New Travel Study

Chun-Chu is an assistant professor at Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management. He conducted a study to learn why some people travel more often than others and whether travel experiences have a long-term impact on satisfaction and wellbeing. Individuals who pay more attention to tourism-related details and regularly discuss their traveling plans with friends are more likely to take daily vacations than those who are not planning their next holiday, according to the findings of his study. Participants in the survey who said they travel at least 75 miles away from home daily were also about 7% happier than those who said they traveling very rarely or not at all.

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Experience New Things

“While things like work, family life, and friends play a bigger role in overall reports of well-being. The accumulation of travel experiences does appear to have a small yet noticeable effect on self-reported life satisfaction,” Chen said. “It really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things. Previous research has looked at the stress reduction, fitness and well-being benefits of tourism activities. But much of it has focused on the impact of a single trip or holiday. Chen’s study goes a step further than prior research by examining the long-term benefits of travel over the course of a year.

The Survey

The study asked participants about the importance of travel in their lives, how much time they spent researching and preparing future vacations, and how many trips they took in a year. They were also polled on how satisfied they were with their lives. A little more than half of the 500 survey respondents said they take more than four pleasure trips per year. Only 7 per cent of respondents did not take any vacations.

Start Planning Your Next Vacation.

As travel restrictions due to Covid-19 begin to relax in the future. The research could have important implications for both tourists and the tourism industry. Based on the results of the study. Chen said travel companies, resorts, and even airlines could launch social media campaigns, such as creating hashtags about the scientific benefits of vacation. To spark people’s interest in discussing their opinions about travel.

This research shows the more people talk about and plan vacations the more likely they are to take them,” he said. “If you are like me and chomping at the bit to get out of dodge and see someplace new, this research will hopefully be some additional good motivation to start planning your next vacation.

Also read Stay Healthy While You Travel

Cover Image source by Google Image

In this pandemic situation all over the world, travelling is one of the difficult tasks now. It’s a strange time to be a traveller or travel enthusiastic. Our world predicated on the belief that everywhere, anywhere, is just a drive, ride or flight away. These past few months of being strictly at home, even sometimes walking down the street not even possible. If there’s no travel, there’s no travel blogging. During this time I realise maybe travelling is not physically possible for a certain time but there are many ways to explore your travelling passion.

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When Travelling In Your Hand

Virtual travel experiences that let you explore the world from your suitable place. This tours can take you pretty much anywhere, without your passport. Travelling is a learning process. Either you are in physically travel or either you travel virtual, you learning lots of unknowing things. In this pandemic situation, we don’t live our nomadic life that’s right but we watch travel documentaries, travel show and many more things. In the digital platform, there are a ton of travel vlogger publish their travel experiences. You want to know lots of new things, tips and idea about your travel destination, then there it is.

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Reading An Alternative To Travel

I always prefer to read some book, about my travel destination. Because its help me making a sudden decision during my trip. Reading is mind travel. Reading a book is clear your thought and it gives you imagination power. Last few months we all are stuck at our houses for the pandemic situation. No travel at all. Maybe coming few months are also a little difficult for the travel lover. So do that mind travel choose your next travel destination and pick the book about your destination. And I am sure your mind reached your destination. In India, there is a famous Bengali author named Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay he never been African jungle, but he wrote a famous novel called Chander Pahar (The Mountain of the moon). This Novel is published in 1937 and believe me that era not even know the power of Google or the internet. The mind is the most powerful thing we have.

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Photograph Is Another Journey

Travel without photographs means an ocean without water. A photograph is the first thing to encourage your travel. When you are home during this pandemic situation watch travel photographs. Watching travel photograph is eye-soothing and cheerful. In my childhood, I saw some African safari photos these photos till then encourage me to go to Africa. I am sure you have some travel photograph in your mind when you want to go someday.

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People Have A Lot Travel Stories

In my childhood, I used to listen to my father’s travel stories. I used to cherish those. Every detail, every incident used to take me to that place. Not only that, but I also got to know about so many places that hardly mentioned in any travel destination list. Now when I am an adult, I still use the same old trick. In my neighbourhood, there are people who travelled to many places. From them, I get to know about Visa procedure, places to visit, their best travel experience. These tips always help me to plan my travel and bookings.

Travelling is in your mind. Nothing in this world can stop that travel. It’s only you who can set a limit. Decide your own limit and travel as far as you can.

Also Read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh Blog Cover picture source by timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Chhattisgarh was on my travel list in 2020. But COVID 19 pandemic change all travel enthusiasm plan. If I will be allowed to going Chhattisgarh this year, then Dholkal hill Ganesh temple was one of my top list places. This temple not like that normal classic temple. The 1100-year-old this small, mysterious shrine located atop a hill in the middle of a dense forest In Dantewada district, about 350 km from Raipur in Chhattisgarh. The small hill shape of which resembles a dhol (Indian drum), and hence, it became popularly known as Dholkal. I don’t know this temple is man-made or some mystery had happened. But this temple’s location and its scenic beauty attracted everyone. I am just eagerly waiting to visit this place.

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Chhattisgarh The Untouched Melody

Sliced off from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh is one of the newest states of India, but one of the oldest enclaves, thriving with ancient tradition and customs. Weekly Haats (markets), ancient temples, dense and deep jungles, frothing waterfalls, a well-defined spiritual circuit, and intriguing customs are some of the things that awaken travelers to a new but old era.

The Myth

As per the mythology, folks believe, a battle occurred between Lord Ganesha and sage Parashurama on Dholkal hill a long time back. This was a fierce battle in which Parashurama attacked Ganesha with his farsa (ax) and cut one tooth of Ganesha. That’s why Ganesha is known as “Ekdant“. The village nearest to the hill named Faraspal (the name derived from Parshuram’s weapon). It is also saying that, because Parshuram’s farsa fell here, the Bailadila mountain range became rich in iron ore.

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Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh
source by timesofindia.indiatims.com

11th Century’s Temple

According to history, In memory of the battle between Parashurama and Ganesha, the kings of Chindak Nagvanshi dynasty set a stone idol of Lord Ganesha at the hilltop in the 11th century. The 2.5 to 3 ft idol has carved in the shape of a Dholak (musical instrument) hence, the hill has been named Dholkal. The idol depicts Ganesha seated in his typical Lalit asana or playful and easygoing posture. The local villager worships the idol of Ganesha throughout the year, and a special fair has held at this site in the month of Magha, between January-February.

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The Journey

The most interesting part about the ancient temple its journey. Raipur to Jagdalpur 300 km and Jagdalpur to Dantewada town another 80 km. Both private cabs and public buses are easily available from Raipur to Jagdalpur and Dantewada. Dantewada town to Faraspal village is 18 km away and Faraspal to Dholkar hill another 5 km trekking in the dense jungle it would help you immensely to hire the service of a local guide to make your way through the dense conifer forests. So definitely Dholkar Ganesh temple and Chhattisgarh are my bucket list. You also join me actually for this ancient city travel. Till then be safe.

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“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees.” -Henry David Thoreau

No plan is the best plan. Connect to the primitive. We have heard these kinds of phrases so much that it became generic statements for us. It starts losing impact on us. Until that one-day comes in our life, when we understand the real meaning of these phases, and we adsorb the thoughts. The excess greenery does soothe the eyes and mind. When you can hear your breathing sound, the sense of alive overpowers your mind, then you can understand yes, sometimes the obvious works wonder.

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Walk in the woods lamahata
Walk in the woods PC-Neel Malakar

Why The Realisation:

In Darjeeling I got bored. Next day the plan was to move to Sikkim. So in between, I got an unwanted spare day, which I did not know how to utilise. Post breakfast, I started walking on random roads. It was 8:30 am and cold. I thought I would spend my day doing Dandi march. In a few minutes, I saw a little crowd. Few car and drivers were waiting and calling for the passenger and few people were getting on the car. “Lamahatta for 100 rupees”. I moved towards it. I asked them about the place and hopped in the car when they said Lamahatta is 45 minutes away from here. New place, about an hour’s journey, I could not think of much except one thing: No Plan is the best plan. The car started in 15 minutes.

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Time spent among trees is never time wasted
Time spent among trees is never time wasted PC- Neel Malakar

The Moment Of My Existence:

I reached Lamahatta. It was 10:15 am when i checked my watch. Before I moved away, the driver said, it might be difficult to get a car in return. But they could wait for me if paid 1000 bucks for up and down. I smiled and moved away. I did not know at that time, whether to keep the car, or not. One thing that I could feel is that I did not want to think. It’s okay to go with the flow. Let the time come, I would figure out. That’s all I could think that time.

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walk solo lamahata eco village
walk solo

Walk In The Woods:

That moment waited for me. Sometimes we wait for some moments and sometimes the moments waiting for us. Those tall green trees were everywhere. Big rocks and hills peaks were peaking behind them. I never had seen such fresh greenery and such peace. Yes, here you can see peace. It looked calm, pure, mature. I sat on the rocks, stood on them, spread my arms and then again I sat down quietly. It was the moment when you had to do nothing, just exist. We travel abroad, spend a fat amount to get this kind of peace and happiness. Trust me sometimes the unexpected thing fulfil all your expectation. I did not compare my busy city life with that peace. I just let it flow, let it go.

For hours it healed my soul and mind. I was feeling calmer. There was no smell of worry. The place looked so primitive yet so modern. I walked on those woods for hours until the sunset. Walk in the woods is not a journey, but a feeling. You live it once but carry the sense within you until you die. Words won’t be enough to describe but definitely, it is a worth sharing story.

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Lastly, when at 5 P.M I started getting off. There it was dark and no conveyance. But strangely I was not worried about my return. As I started walking, I heard a car. It came from behind and stopped near me and asked, “Sir, it is hard to get anything to return. Can I drop you somewhere?” I smiled.

I was on my way to Kohima from Dimapur. It was already 5:30 pm, the sunset time. My shuttle car was moving slowly through the mountain valleys and my phone ringing continuously. The network was pretty bad there. Still, I picked up the call and a hasty voice asked me about my whereabouts. “Call me when you reach Kohima. Me and my family waiting for you”, the voice yelled.

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Finally, at 7:15 P.M I reached Kohima. I called him, and the network was a little better. He said that he had arranged for the car for me. His friend was the driver and owner of that car. He was waiting for me near the Kohima main bazaar. From Kohima to his house was another 40 minutes. He asked me not to worry as his driver friend would drop me safely and no payment required. On another side of the phone was Stany, my host in Nagaland.

When I decided to visit the Hornbill festival, It was mid-November. And the festival would be starting on 1st December. The hotels, homestays, and tents were prior booked for the festival. Desperate me was randomly searching Naga people on Facebook, asking for a homestay near hornbill festival ground. Then someone contacted me and told me about Stany, his friend, who had started for the 1st time a new homestay business. Post my conversation with Stany had sent me a few pictures of his house. And I was a little worried, whether to book a 1st timer in a new strange place. It could turn into my nightmare. But I didn’t have any other option but to book his house. So I did.

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FAMILY HILL HOME STAY :

I found out the place was in a dense forest and surrounded by mountains. Post reaching there I saw the house was in the deep dark. It was freezing outside. The dimmest light was coming from a bulb which had no intention to spread the ray. Suddenly, a flood of light came on me. I was shocked by that sudden presence as a man was holding a torch. He was merely visible in the dark. Stany was waiting for my arrival. He gave me the warmest hug on our first meet. That was enough to defrost all the ice in my mind. An 8 years-old girl came to me with a smile and glass of hot water. It was so pleasing and overwhelming. I chose a mixed dormitory with 5 more beds in the room. My bed was beside a window. And I already loved my stay.

HILL HOME STAY Nagaland
HILL HOME STAY

MEETING MARLINE:

Next morning when I woke up, I heard children’s playing. That sound was enough to lift my mood. As I came out of my room, I saw the beautiful red and yellow house was lonely in between the valleys. In front of me, there was a huge ground. Wherein the children were playing football. The place was surrounded by greenery. And the same beautiful 8 years old, Angela, who gave me hot water last night, was playing with her beautiful small sister Marline. I could not stop myself from joining them. But 8 months old Marline did not welcome her unwanted guest. 

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As I sat near her, she made a crying face. Instantly I made a safe distance. And she became normal. But she kept an eye on me. I utilised that to please her. Marline looked at her left, I did the same. She raised her hand and touched her cheek, I replicated her actions. Now she found it fun and started noticing me. I made funny faces, she smiled, and at a point, she laughed. Post her green signal, I sat near her and stretched a finger. She stretched her finger too and touched mine. Rest of the day she was on my lap. 

Marline

MY EXTENDED NAGA FAMILY:

Stany made my stay beautiful in Nagaland. His village name is Kigwema village. And his sweet home was situated over a hilltop. As per my calculation, it was the tiniest hill, as his house was surrounded by the biggies. I never imagined to wake up to that breathtaking scenario. The festival ground was a 10-minute walk away. While I was playing with the kids, Stany’s wife came and greeted me with a hot cup of teas. Every day with the children I used to play a football match. Life seemed like a Bollywood film. Good morning Nagaland.

Aka, Stany’s wife, served me typical Naga breakfast, with some fried beans, pork bacon, 2 toasts, and a banana. During the breakfast Stany made me understand the way to the festival ground and the way back home. He mentioned specifically to come early from the festival and to have dinner with them. The menu for the dinner was pork curry, sticky rice along with some other things.

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Roland & Angela
Look at the Cute smile

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THAT NIGHT:

The last Party

One night I was very late and lost my way to Stany’s homestay. It was 11 pm. Due to the entire day’s activity, my phone was charged out too. It was pitch dark and lonely. After a point, I felt so helpless that sat on the road not knowing what to do. Suddenly a man was coming from a distance with a torch. I asked him eagerly about the way to Stany’s homestay. The man called my name, “Shuvo, I am Stany. I came out to look for you”. And I followed him home silently as sometimes gratitude can’t be expressed in words

THE END:

My Naga Window

The end of stories is always special to me. I met some Naga friends in hornbill festival and we bonded quickly. They forced me to join them at their place for the rest of my days in Nagaland. I did not want to leave Stany but their warmth was also unavoidable. Stany and Aka made me share their contact numbers, their addresses with them. I am not a kid, but I felt that was more of a family member’s concern.

Stany arranged a small party for my last night. He asked to join his few friends and my new friends as well. With rice beer, besides the warm bonfire, we celebrated the togetherness. While interacting with my new friends Stany found out a common thread between them. I just laughed as he was so relaxed post that. Next morning when I say goodbye to them, Angila and Roland asked me, “are we not playing today?”

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Hanoi is a perfect blend of history and contemporary. The city is being developed for over 1000 years since 1010, because of the constant destructions by the different invaders from time to time. It inspires the visitors with its combination of oriental lifestyle, French colonial construction, tree-lined roads, and peaceful lakes. 

Also Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

Found Yourself In Old Quarter:

In Hanoi, make sure to head to the Old Quarter. This is the historic heart and commercial centre of the city. It’s noisy with heavy traffic, but it is a collection of about 36 streets, which all specialize in selling goods like jewellery, pillows, shirts, baskets, toys, shoes, sunglasses etc. You can find many bars; restaurants and the biggest demonstration of street food places and the travel agencies, which are selling tours to Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Perfume Pagoda etc.

TIP: 

Make sure to survey online before booking a tour in one of the agencies. In Old Quarter make your landmark St. Joseph’s Cathedral church it’s been there since the late 1886s. It’s popular and a meeting place in the city. Be careful with the directions as the difference of language may create confusion for you. 

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Hanoi Train street
Train Street

Train Street: 

Just before the train speeds past, with a couple of feet of clearance, drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors and the bikes pulled to the side of the road. The train passes the narrow road early in the route that connects Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. It is located between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in the Old Quarter. Homes and business go side by side of the railway lines. You can enjoy your snacks and coffee while experiencing a train to pass an inch away. 

Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake

Walk Around Hoan Kiem Lake:

In the centre of the Old Quarter, beautiful and charming Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Turtle Lake) is one of the unmissable things with amazing views. The best part is that there are no cars and no scooters, so it’s a nice break from the terrible traffic of Hanoi. You just need to cross the red bridge which leads to the island at the centre of the lake, as this is where the lovely Ngon temple is located. The Turtle God’s figure is persevered there, which makes you believe the myth. It costs 20000 Vietnamese Dong (VDN), which is less than $1.

Temple of Literature Hanoi
Temple of Literature

Visit The Temple Of Literature:

Dedicated to Confucius, the temple was built in 1070. It then became a male university for Mandarin students. Around the temple, there are stelae which are dedicated to the students. To know the civilization and, presently, you just need to know their past. 

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Take A Ride: 

On the sidewalks, you will find many drivers with their motorbikes, who are ready to take you anywhere around the city if you ask. You can also use the apps Grab or Uber to book a ride. It’s cheap.

Ta Hien street  Vietnam
Ta Hien street PC- levitalks.com

Be In The Beer Street:

Known as “Beer Street” Ta Hien street is THE place to party on any night of the week. In this area, everyone is sitting outside on small chairs, drinking beer and eating BBQ with their friends before heading to the clubs until the early hours of the morning. Grab a local beer and wander around Ta Hien to see street performers!

One pillar Pagoda Hanoi
One pillar Pagoda

Visit Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda:

Hanoi has a variety of museum. Check out Hoa Lo Prison, Ho Chi Minh Museum and Fine Arts Museum. Uncle Ho’s figure is preserved in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Close to that, there also is Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and the One Pillar Pagoda, which are two of the utmost famous Hanoi attractions. 

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Please Note: 

The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is closed after 10:30 A.M and on Monday and Friday.

Hanoi Opera House:

One of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi is the Opera House, which was built in 1911 under French rule, now known as the French Quarter. The Opera House was pretty much left to the elements when the French left Vietnam, but it was renovated in 1997. You can experience Vietnamese opera performances, concerts and even ballet. The prices start at around $4.

Go To The Water Puppet Show:

The Water Puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a huge tourist attraction. The “classic puppet show” in water, consists of strange instruments and entirely held in Vietnamese, showcases Vietnamese way of life, culture and even religion. The show lasts about one hour and it costs around $10.

Go Shopping:

Vietnam is an excellent shopping destination. There are various markets around Hanoi. One of the most famous ones is the Dong Xuan Market. The building is anything but charming, but if you passed the fish section, it can be a cool place to shop. The market closes at 7:00 pm.

Weekend Night Market:

Open only on weekends, starting at about 7 PM and going until about midnight, you will find hundreds of mini vendors side by side in tents selling everything from shirts to Shoes to lamps. You should bargain for everything. 

TIP: 

Sharpen your bargaining skills well!

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Hanoi Day Trips Cover Pictures Source By Google Image

We will find hundreds of tour agencies on the Hanoi streets. We can explore and book any of these tours. It is not necessary to book in advance. These tours mostly are all-inclusive, which will cover all transportation, accommodation, and food costs. Any kind of extra activities will be at your own cost. The following are the best day trips around Hanoi.

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Ninh Binh (Google Image)

Ninh Binh –

Ninh Binh is a small but beautiful city just 50 miles south of Hanoi. It is an hour about ride each way, it’s best known for its stunning landscape, which is comparable to Ha Long Bay with regards to tall mountains, caves, and greenery. A suitable day trip from Hanoi with the range of $10 – 40 is a must.

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Ha Long ( Google Image )

 Ha Long Bay 

It was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value. Ha Long Bay is the main reason why people visit Vietnam. You can take either a day trip or a 2-3-day trip from Hanoi. It’s about a 4 hour drive each way from Hanoi. If you take a 2-day trip, you will sleep overnight on the boat and wake up to the best sunrise you’ve ever seen. Day Trips to Halong Bay are about $40, and 2-day trips are around $100 depending on your ride.

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Sapa valley (Google Image)

Sapa Valley 

This Beautiful place is 7 hours driving each way on a sleeper bus, famous for its green countryside and rice terraces, which are alongside steep hills. While trekking (half-day, full-day, or 2+ days), you will visit several villages. The locals who live there are part of the Hmong tribe – they speak their own dialect and look physically different than people in Hanoi. It’s really a great experience!

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Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda –

The journey to the Perfume Pagoda is itself an interesting experience. Located about 60 km southwest of Hanoi in the Huong Son Mountain range you will need to take a car for around two hours before boarding a wooden or iron boat to reach the temple complex.

The boat journeys down a narrow flowing stream fringed by rice fields, temples, and grass and you will have the option to stop and visit some of these temples. However, if you are short of time it’s best to head straight to Huong Tich Cave. It’s an uphill walk to the Perfume Pagoda which will take around one hour. Things can get slippery, so remember to bring walking shoes or boots.

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If you can smell better then you can see better and can hear better. That means all your senses are working fine and you are safe and sound. To protect your senses, your family’s senses you must visit The Perfume Pagoda in Vietnam as the “Viet” does. Besides the blessings, as a bonus, we will get to see something so beautiful, so serene, so peaceful that you will never forget. This striking complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines is built into the Karst cliffs of Huong Tich Cave (Mountain of the Fragrant Traces). Among the better-known sites are Chua Thien Tru (Pagoda Leading to Heaven); Chua Giai Oan Chu (Purgatorial Pagoda), where the faithful believe deities purify souls, cure suffering, and grant offspring to childless families; and Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige).

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Perfume Pagoda
Perfume Pagoda

Position: 

This pilgrim is extremely popular with Vietnamese tourists from February to April. It is located about 60 km southwest of Hanoi; and getting here requires a journey first by road, then by the river, then on foot or by cable car. The journey is half the fun, but don’t try and do it without a guide: most tour operators offer day-return trips here from US$30 to US$50, which serves the purpose. From Hanoi you need to travel by car for two hours to My Duc. There you can go to the restroom, drink tea and buy offerings for the pilgrims as well. Then take a small boat, rowed by women from the local village, to the foot of the mountain.

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The Journey of perfume pagoda
The way Google Image

The Journey: 

The entertaining boat trip takes an hour and travels along scenic waterways between limestone cliffs. Allow a couple more hours to climb to the top and return. The path to the summit is steep in places, and if it’s raining, the ground can get very slippery. There’s also a cable car to the summit (one way/ 100,000 – return/160,000d); a smart approach is to take the cable car up and walk down. The bus journey, an hour’s boat ride, half an hours trekking will reach you to the first pagoda. And there the history and story will take you to the era of the medieval age. 

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The Myths:

Perfume Pagoda

Thien Tru Pagoda:

As a popular belief, if you don’t pray here, the sky will be angry on you. Thien Tru Pagoda is also known as Heaven’s Kitchen. The starlight falls exactly on the spot where the king’s kitchen was, there the entire kingdom’s food used to be cooked.

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Huong Tich Chu Pagoda:

Post pleasing the sky you can climb up more 3 storied stairs and take a ropeway ride to reach the second pagoda, Huong Tich Chu, which belongs to the lady buddha. The Cave Pagoda has the appearance of an open dragon’s mouth with Chu Nho characters carved in a wall at the mouth of the cave. Again, a breathtaking visual and mind goggling story is waiting for you, how the younger daughter of a King became the lady Buddha with thousand hands and eyes post the greatest selfless sacrifice.

Inside of pagoda

On the route from Thien Tru to Huong Tich cave is Giai Oan Temple, also called ‘Clearing Unjust Charges’ Pagoda. There is a pond called Thien Nhien Thanh Tri (Natural Blue Pond), also called Long Tuyen Well, and Giai Oan stream, with its 9 sources.

Perfume Pagoda I recommend as a must if you fit to take the journey. 

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Find Your Reason To Visit Hanoi:

Things To Do In Hanoi

Vietnam is the port of Southeast Asia because of its position on the world map. And it occupies the eastern portion of the mainland. Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital with a growing population above 9 million people and It is located in the northern part of the country. Because of its scenic beauty, Vietnam’s popularity is increasing day by day among travelers. Therefore, you will get to see a lot of tourists and backpackers in Hanoi, mostly Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Australians. As a result, civics has become more outgoing, more subtle. They are positive about the mixing as well as overseas friends.

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In large Hanoi, the most happening place we will get to see is the Old Quarter. And here you can chill 2 – 3 days max while visiting loads of cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, lounges, markets, clubs, street food vendors, and many more. Another, the city generally closes around 7 to 8 pm, except for the night market.

Hanoi train street
Hanoi Train Street

Besides Old Quarter you must visit Tay Ho (means West Lake). Generally, refugees and English teachers live in this part. That’s why it has all the fancy restaurants and foreign foods to offer. So, you can change your taste there when you want to.

A local told me once, “we have a population of 10 million with 8 million motorbikes”. And it is true because buying a car is a luxury to the Viet. While buying one, they have to pay almost 40 percent road tax. So, motorbikes save their lives and money day to day basis. But you may face challenges while crossing the streets. Hence, you must keep maintaining your pace while walking and crossing the road, then the drivers will go around you. If you slow down or speed up, then there might be trouble.

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The People PC The Statesman

Hanoi People:

People in Hanoi mostly love to spend time chilling outside on the streets, drinking tea and spitting sunflower seeds, sitting in small chairs and tables. Nobody seems to be in a rush. You might find it a sight. If you are not very tall you can also enjoy the sit.

They mostly don’t speak English or speak at a very beginner level, except the workers in hotels, restaurants, cafes, and college-goers. So, it is necessary for you to be prepared.

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Vietnamese Words To Know:

It is in your best interest to learn a few Viet words for interactions as I told you earlier people are not good with English. PFB a few essentials:

Xin Chao – Hello

Cam On – Thank you

Khong co chi – You are welcome

Hen gap lai – See you again

Tam Biet – Goodbye

Ban giup toi duoc khong – Can you help me

Xin Loi – Excuse me

Money & Prices –

Vietnamies Dong

The currency is the Vietnamese Dong, and the exchange rate is $1 = 23,000 DONG as of February 2020. Therefore, in Hanoi, you may feel like a millionaire and it can boggle your mind. But my advice is to start shopping for the reality check, as a bottle of water will cost you 20,000 DONGS. With the exception, everything in Hanoi is cash only, so make sure to have double as much cash as you think you’ll need. Also, it’s pretty normal to be confused with Vietnamese Dong.

That being said, almost everything is cheap in Hanoi – $1 for a bowl of Pho, $0.50 for a taxi ride around the city, and $1 for a T-shirt! Just sharpens your bargain skills. And don’t be fooled.

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