Lang Son in north Vietnam does not see many tourists. In fact, most
tourists passing here come by train and don't stay in town. They move
directly to the border, Pingxiang and Nanning. Few see Lang Son longer than
Lang Son town center
Lang Son is not a bad town, it is very much a border town and it's nice enough
to spend a night here. The market, the busy street life (especially in the morning)
and the 2 temples give you enough to enjoy yourself.
The first thing I did when coming to town was finding a bank and change
some money. After that done, I checked myself in at Hoa Binh Hotel, a
little cozy hotel with spacious rooms in the town center (VTD 250K, US $11,50).
After a short rest I went out to have a lunch and I found a small restaurant
where I could have rice. It was a kind of "economy rice", so you choose
what you want and get it with rice. I also ordered a Vietnamese coffee. For a
whole US $2 I could have my fill.
While walking around I found two interesting temples. As many Vietnamese are
Buddhist, I expected these temples to be similar to the Chinese temples. And to
some extend they were but they were also different.
Beautiful sunset right in the middle of Lang Son town.
This view is from the bridge that cuts the town in two parts
The old temples still contained the writing in Vietnamese characters,
something that is nowadays replaced by the Vietnamese version of the alphabet
(which to some extend I can read).
The first temple, Chua Thanh I visited seemed to be closed but opened its
doors when a minibus with Vietnamese tourists arrived. I was waved inside too.
The relatively new temple just across the bridge was beautiful not only on the
outside ...but also on the inside.
Walking back across the bridge I decided to visit the temple on my right hand
at the water side.
This one, Quan Lon Tuan Tranh, was even more beautiful.
Inside there was much to see, from beautiful embroiled hats ...
to even more beautiful artwork... as this copper bell and the horse
I left Long San with a good feeling. It had been a very pleasant first day
with some unexpected beautiful things, good food and lovely people at the Hoa
But after a nice breakfast of rice noodles, I left Lang Son and cycled
further into North Vietnam using highway 1A which I expected would be crazy
busy. It was not but the whole story you can read here and it ended up in
Hanoi, the capitol of the nation.
If you decide to travel north into China, you may want to read the
The road from Nanning China to the border is more interesting than it looks likes.