Friday, October 26, 2012

Pu Sam Cap Grottoes in Lai Chau

The Pu Sam Cap Grottoes in Lai Chau province, named after the nearby village or the homonymous mountain, ar noted for fine speleothems. This very young show cave which attracts many domestic tourists as well as foreign tourists in Vietnam travel to come here and visit.

The cave is located high up on the 1,700m asl high Pu Sam Cap Mountain. It is reached from the parking lot on a short but strenuous walk uphill, which is rewarded by the extraordinary views of the valley and Nam Ron River, and the beautiful cave.

Travel Attraction: Pu Sam Cap Grottoes In Lai Chau

Luckily, the road that winds alongside the valley and up the mountain offers terrific views. Though the chill grows stronger as one nears the destination, the climb up the mountain to the grotto’s entrance leaves one considerably warmer.

Upon arrival, visitors can cast their eyes back over the valley. The whole village is often obscured by clouds, though shafts of sunlight pierce through, leaving bright spots on the overcast landscape. Below, the waters of Nam Ron River are barely visible as they snake their way through the mountains.

For tourists in Vietnam travel, touring the entire grotto takes at least one day if they are feeling strong enough to undertake the two-way climb. The area contains over 10 caves of varying sizes which all converge around the three largest: Thien Mon, Thien Duong and Thuy Tinh.

Given a limited time frame, guides advise visiting the lowest cave, Thien Mon, as it is the easiest climb, instead of trying to reach all three.

Their advice is well-heeded. Standing among the stalactites in Thien Mon, stress and weariness melt away and imaginations wander over the shapes of the stalactites. In the front, one resembles an elephant statue, another, a group of fairies dancing.

While Pu Sam Cap is not very different from other grottoes in terms of position, beauty or size, what sets it apart is its simplicity and isolation.

It allows so much privacy that in addition to guiding visitors through Pu Sam Cap. In the middle of the cave there is a large, flat area where they play football.

Six months after the discovery of the caves, more than 10,000 tourists have visited Pu Sam Cap, and the number is increasing year by year. Yet the simplicity of the services is posing problems for the area’s reputation.

Small steps have been added to each cave to prevent tourists from getting lost and lights have been suitably arranged throughout.

With much effort, Pu Sam Cap Grottoes will be more and more attractive for tourists in Vietnam travel, one of Vietnam attractions for tourism.

Sin Ho town - "the second Sapa” of the northwest

Flying far from the well-known and colourful markets of Sapa, Bac Ha and Can Cau, is the bewitching northwest mountainous area of Vietnam with the remote town and market of Sin Ho, the roof of Lai Chau province. 

Sin Ho town is located on the highest peak of the Sin Ho plateau in Lai Chau province, over 2,000m above sea level, and surrounded by verdant mountain ranges and clouds. In Vietnam tourism, tourists come here and feel that Sin Ho town looks like “ the second Sapa” of Lai Chau province. But the climate in Sin Ho is even dourer and more fickle than that of Sapa. One minute, you can be standing in a sea of white clouds, then several minutes later, the rain will pour down like a waterfall. But as soon as the last raindrop falls, the sun will rise again brilliantly and a cool breeze will blow over the small town.

It takes four hours to drive up the zigzagging road from Phong Tho, at the junction between national Road No.4D from Sapa and National Road No.12 towards Muong Lay. The mountain road has been smoothly paved, but it’s still a slow and winding drive.

In the late afternoon, Sin Ho looks small, deserted and gloomy, with sparse simple wooden houses roofed with dark grey cement tiles and only a few shops and restaurants. Fortunately there are several modern guesthouses and mini hotels at a reasonable price, only VND250,000 per twin room. 

On Sunday morning, the sleepy town comes alive. Waves of ethnic people walk or ride horses and motorbikes on all the roads and paths leading to the town centre, loaded up with many kinds of farm products, heading towards the market. These ethnic minority people come from many distant villages up and down the mountains. They are members of the Flower Hmong, Blue Hmong, Black Hmong, Lu, Black Dao and Red Dao minorities and others.

Pha Xo Lin II village, just three kilometers from the town centre, is home to the Dao Khau tribe, also known as the Sewing Dao or Black Dao, who wear black trousers richly embroidered with the signature flower, tree and star patterns that can be seen on many Dao costumes. They also wear a black apron in front, with a wide, plain blue border and a plain black turban.

The village is very beautiful and poetic, with dark wooden houses roofed with black stone tiles and fenced in with stone walls. This is the season the peach and mango orchards are ripening in a riot of red and yellow. It’s delicious to walk in the village, where you can take a seat  under the fruit trees to enjoy lovely lanterns swinging in the cool breezes, as well as their fresh and sweet tastes.

Pha Xo Lin is very famous for its special golden red mangoes, with their sweet, jackfruit-like flavour.
Besides its delicious fruit, Pha Xo Lin is a shopping paradise for brocades and embroidered products. It’s common to see Dao women sitting on their thresholds in their front yards or under the fruit trees sewing passionately. Their products are very sophisticated and beautiful, as befitting of their name- the Sewing Dao tribe.
  Source: Timeout