We leave Hanoi at 08:30 am and drive to Dong Ho village located just north in Hanoi, famous for wood-block-printing. The paper is made from the bark of the do tree, then brushes it with a paste made from crushed mussel shells to give it an iridescent shine and the paints themselves are also derived from natural ingredients: red from clay and rocks; orange from gardenia flowers; black from charred bamboo leaves; and the blue from indigo leaves. You have about 30-45 minutes to visit this village with some families where they make these enchanting prints.
From Dong Ho, we drive to But Thap pagoda, one of the finest pagodas in Vietnam and known as Vietnam’s first Buddhist center. The name But Thap means pen brush and was given to reflect the shape of the Bao Nghiem Tower. The principal attraction of the pagoda the statue to the Avalokitesvara or Goddess of Mercy, which has no fewer than 11 faces, 994 arms and 994 eyes – each eye resting on the palm of a hand. Picnic lunch.
We go on to Dau Pagoda. At one time the pagoda was the most important center of Vietnamese Buddhism and served as a monastery and place of learning. There, we can see the 17-metre high Hoa Phong Tower, constructed in the 6th century. The Dau complex includes three buildings: the anterior compartment, the incense burning hall and the main temple. Drive back to Hanoi. We arrive Hanoi at around 16 3 0 PM.
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Trip highlights: Traditional villages of Dong Ho, beautiful pagodas But Thap and Dau and unique experience. What to take:
We suggest a small, lightweight daypack for cameras, spare film, drinking water and comfortable walking shoes.
- Air-conditioned private vehicle
- English speaking guide
- Entrance fees
- Picnic lunch
- Personal expenses
- Drinks, tips and gratuities