A 3-day retreat in Tu Le

By Phuong Anh, Tu Anh    November 11, 2019 | 11:48 am GMT+7

Tu Le Commune in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai is well-known for its beautiful rice fields, hot mineral springs and infinity swimming pool.

Located on National Highway 32 in Van Chan District and next to Khau Pha Pass, Tu Le could be a get-away spot of choice for many types of travelers, from backpackers to luxury seekers. The commune is home to the Black H’Mong and Thai communities.

The roads through Tu Le show off all of what makes northwestern Vietnam so beautiful. The scenery here, especially mountains, mountain passes and rice fields, is a big attraction for photographers and trekkers. 

Tu Les rice fields, a major attraction of the commune. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Tu Le's rice fields, a major attraction of the commune. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Day One

Tourists can either ride a motorcycle from Hanoi or take a 6-hour-bus from the city's My Dinh Station to Tu Le, 300 km away. 

After checking into a hotel, homestay or resort and have lunch, you can take a tour of Khau Pha Pass, which means "the sky’s horn". Tu Le is about 4 kilometers from the pass, one of northwestern Vietnam’s four top mountain passes for its roughness, height and beauty.

Located at an altitude of over 1,200 meters above sea level, Khau Pha’s climate mirrors that of resort town Da Lat in the Central Highlands. However, temperatures may drop due to its subtropical positioning. In winter, temperatures might even reach below zero with the possibility of snow.

In the afternoon, you can do traditional food shopping or visit local markets.

Khau Pha means the sky’s horn. The pass in Yen Bai Province stuns travelers with its twists and turns with high mountains on the one side and a deep valley on the other. Photo by Vu Tuan Anh.

Khau Pha Pass in Yen Bai Province stuns travelers with its twists and turns with high mountains on the one side and a deep valley on the other. Photo by Vu Tuan Anh.

Day Two

Bathing in a hot mineral spring is a must-try activity when visiting Tu Le. Relaxing in a massive 35 degrees Celsius pool not only benefits your joints and circulation but could also help you relax and rejuvenate. An indoor hot mineral spring additionally provides a chance for quiet solitude.

Tien Nu Cave, near central Tu Le, is a not-to-miss tourist attraction. At VND50,000 ($2) per adult, visitors can explore the cave where fairies were said to descend from Khau Pha sky gate to earth according to local legends.

For the last 300 years, Thai ethnic people have held the belief that, on the 30th of the 12th month on the lunar calendar, fairies descend from the sky to revel in worldly beauty. Amid sliver smoke, the fairies are said to bathe in Nam Lung stream and get changed in Tien Nu Cave.

Day Three

Another location worth a dive is the infinity swimming pool on top of a hill, especially at 5 a.m, when clouds drift by at leisure. Filled via a direct supply of mineral water, the pool remains warm and fresh. 

To add more to the trip, don’t forget to savor local delicacies like green rice flakes (com), sticky rice, nuggets, liquor, bamboo noodles with boiled goose, and fried pork.

The Thai ethnic group people in Yen Bai still make com in the traditional way. Photo by VnExpress/Van Khuong.

The Thai ethnic group people in Yen Bai still make com in the traditional way. Photo by Van Khuong.

There are many types of hotels, resorts and homestays in the area highly rated on TripAdvisor and Booking.com, namely Guesthouse Kim Quy (VND130,000 or $5.6), Le Champ Tu Le Resort (VND2.5 million or $108) for a bungalow and less for a dorm bed, Yen Bai Homestay - Zoni House (VND260,000 or $11), and Pho Nui Hotel (VND350,000 or $15) per night. Such variety provides plenty of options for every type of travelers.

A resort on the hill in Tu Le. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

A resort on the hills in Tu Le. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

 
 
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