FormerHa Tay Province (now has been belonged to Hanoi Capital) is located in the Red River Delta surrounded by Hanoi municipality and Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, and Phu Tho provinces. The terrain is various including mountainous, hilly and delta which are very ideal for the development of agriculture, industry, tourism and services.The province of Ha Tay lies to the southwest of and at the entrance to the capital city of Hanoi. For this reason all the tourist attractions of province are around 50km from the centre of Hanoi and easily accessible by land.Capital: Ha DongRegion: Red River DeltaArea: 2,192.1 km2Population:2,500,000Density: 1,100/km2Ethnicities: Kinh, Muong, Dao, TayTowns and Districts:Son Tay Districts: Ba Vi, Phuc Tho, Dan Phuong, Thach That, Hoai Duc, Quoc Oai, Chuong My, Thanh Oai, Thuong Tin, My Duc, Ung Hoa, Phu Xuyen.History The province of Ha Tay is a very old land, having long history, which leads to the appearance of 2388 cultural, historical, and religious relics of which 12 relics are famous and being classified by Ministry of Culture and Information as especially important. These are: Perfume Pagoda with the most wonderful cave in Vietnam; Thay Pagoda being closely linked to a famous monk Tu Dao Hanh; Boi Khe Pagoda, Tram Gian (100 room) Pagoda being stick to the hero Nguyen Binh An; Tayphuong Pagoda - cultural essence of Tay Son regime time; Mia Pagoda, which has the most Buddhist statues in Vietnam (287); Dau Pagoda is unique in the sense that it has two real (corpse) statues of two monks; several renowned communal houses such as Taydang, Chuquyen, Daiphu, Hoaxa.All above mentioned relics is an important part in the country cultural heritage which on the one hand links closely to different folk, belief legends and other hand are typical for art and sculpture standard (development level) of Vietnam Nationals in general and of old people living in the province in particular.Most of these relics have been built on beautiful locations, which are very worthy and suitable for visitors to combine different activities. Tourism Ha Tay has many attractive landscapes such as Ba Vi, Dong Mo, Ao Vua (King's pond), Khoang Sanh, Thac Da, Suoi Hai, Quan Son, Thanh Long tourist resorts, Son Tay ancient citadel. Especially, there are 114 kinds of bird, 12 kinds of reptile in Ba Vi National Park.Ha Tay owns many famous pagodas like Huong (Perfume), Tay Phuong, Tram Gian, Tram, Mia pagodas, and hundreds of caves, which were used as homes of ancient Vietnamese. Many festivals attract lots of visitors every year. Most of them take place during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd months after Tet. The most famous events are the pilgrimage to Huong Pagoda, and festivals of Thay, Tay Phuong pagodas.Ha Tay preserves 900 handicraft villages, of which 120 villages are recognized as 'traditional handicraft villages'. They are silk village of Van Phuc, Chuong conical hat, La Khe orchard, Phu Vinh rattan bamboo, Trang Son wood, Vac paper fan, Son Dong wooden statue villages....FestivalsDinh Mai FestivalTime: The 20th day of the twelfth lunar month.Location: Thanh Mai Commune, Thanh Oai District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Ha Khoi Royal Highest, who had merit of assistant Dinh Bo Linh quelling vassal of Do Canh Thac - who ruled Thanh Oai RegionActivities: Making sacrifice to the god, Chinese chess, cock fighting. An Son Festival Time:5th day of the first lunar month.Location: An Son Village, Dong Son Commune, Chuong My District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Three brothers of Dang family (Dang Ca, Dang Hai, Dang Ba), generals of Hai Ba Trung.Activities: Flag festival. Boi Khe Pagoda Festival Time: 2nd day of the first lunar month.Location: Tam Hung Commune, Thanh Oai District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Buddha, Zen teacher and shaman Nguyen Binh An (in the 14th century).Activities: Water procession, statue washing, vegetarian feast offering. Games: dragon dance, stick dance, boat rowing for catching ducks, Chinese chess playing, cheo popular opera singing, burning of fireworks. Chuong Market Festival Time: Market Festival: 10th day of the first lunar month (Village festival: 10th day of the third lunar month).Location: Chuong Market (Chuong Village) Phuong Trung Commune, Thanh Oai District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Bo Cai Dai Vuong Phung Hung, tutelary god.Activities: Sell and display conical hats, contests of human chess, rice cooking.Chuong Village, a big village of Phuong Trung Commune, is famous for conical hats making long time ago and Chuong Market Festival is one of the biggest one in the region. This is the Location not only to exchange goods but to occur the cultural activities in the region, especially village handicraft culture.In the festival, there are contests of rice cooking, playing human chess, selling and buying conical hats for lucky. Da Si Village Festival Time: 12th to the 15th day of the first lunar month.Location: Da Si Village, Kien Hung Commune, Ha Dong Town, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Hoang Don Hoa, the village's tutelary god (famous medical doctor) and his wife - Princess Phuong Dung (who grew medicinal plant) in the 18th century, famous for 201 medicines.Activities: Sacrifice and incense-offering ceremonies, palanquin procession, dragon dance, swinging, cock-fighting, wrestling, cheo singing, ca tru singing. Dang Communal House Festival Time:6thday of lunar month.Location: Tran Dang Village, Hoa Son Commune, Ung Hoa District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Cao Lo ( famous general of An Duong Vuong).Activities: Masquerade as a tiger and catching invaders. Dong Bo Dau Temple Festival Time: 8th day of the first lunar month.Location: Thong Nhat Commune, Thuong Tin District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Huyen Thien (Ung Thien) Dai Thanh Thien Vuong.Activities: In commemorating Ung Thien who had the merit of exterminating thuong luong (monster); gay (sticks) dance. Dong Phi Village Festival Time: 4thday of the first lunar month (every 3 year).Location: Phuong Tu Commune, Ung Hoa District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Bach Tuong, Bach Dia, Do Dai.Activities: Flying palanquin, returning palanquins, lion dance, sênh tiên dance, drum dance. Festival of rice cooking contest in Dong Van Time: the 15th day of the first lunar month.Location: Dong Thap Commune, Dan Phuong District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Vang Vi, the village's tutelary god.Activities: Water procession, popular opera singing, rice cooking contest (the way of making fire is unique). Gia La Night Festival Time:6th to the 14th day of the first lunar month (hold every 5-year).Location: Duong Noi Commune, Hoai Duc District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: The village's tutelary god Duong Canh.Activities: Have a procession at night, catching tiger performance, a returning palanquin procession. Hoa Son Festival Time: 6th day of the first lunar month.Location: Hoa Son Commune, Ung Hoa District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Cao Son, Qui Minh.Activities: Pray for good crops, play game of catching eel in big jar. Huong Pagoda Festival Time: From the 6th day of the first lunar month to the 15th day of the third lunar month, main festival days last from the 15th day to the 20th day of the second lunar month.Location: Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Holy Mothers.Activities: One of the longest festivals with the most spacious area. Approximately 70 kilometers southwest of Ha Noi, Huong Son boasts quite a few pagodas built in the Posterior Le Dynasty. Until the beginning of the 20th century, there have over 100 pagodas. Visitors can go to Huong Son via the Ha Dong - Van Dinh route.Vietnamese or foreigners alike wish to come to Huong Son in springtime. Heading there tourists come to a magnificent land, a famous beauty spot in Vietnam.Going boating in Yen Stream, visitors get a stunning view of the landscape in springtime. Here lies Ngu Nhac Mountain, there stand Hoi Bridge, Dun and Voi Phuc (Prostrating Elephant) mountains. Then come Thuyen Rong (Dragon Boat) and Con Phuong (Phoenix) mountains, not to mention various other mountains named after their shape like Ong Su (Buddhist Monk), Ba Vai (Buddhist nun), Mam Xoi (Tray of Sticky Rice), Trong (Drum), or Chieng (Gong).At Trinh Temple visitors stop to burn incense and present to the Mountain Deity before going on their journey to Ba Cave. In front of the cave spreads a land with magnificent beauty. Leaving Ba Cave, tourists go to Tro Wharf, the starting point for the trekking up the mountain. Thien Tru Pagoda is the first destination. Known as the Kitchen of Heaven, it boasts Thien Thuy - a tower-like natural rock, and Vien Cong Tower an exquisite terracotta architectural structure dated back to the 17th century. On the right of the pagoda stands Tien Son Grotto, housing five statues carved out of stone and many stalactites and stalagmites which can be used as musical instruments.To reach Huong Tich Grotto one go past a winding path paved with slabs of stone nature has smoothed. Alongside the path visitors has a chance to feast their eyes on stunning landscapes. In the 18th century, upon coming here Lord Trinh Sam had the words “The most beautiful grotto under the Southern sky” chiselled above the mouth of the grotto. Pushing into its belly, visitors get a spectacular view. Many stalactites and stalagmites are named after their shape: Rice Pile, Money Pile, Gold Tree, Silver Tree to name but a few. Inside there are statues of King’s Father, Queen, Avalokitesvara, and so on. Noteworthy is the Cuu Long structure with nine dragons flanking from above.There are many interesting pagodas, caves and grottoes in Huong Son. Among them include Long Van, Tuyet Son, Hinh Bong, and so forth. The Ong Bay (Sung Sam) Cave, 2km from Long Van Pagoda, still retains traces of ancient people some tens of thousands of years ago.Unlike any other Locations, Huong Pagoda harmonizes the characters of a Buddhist architectural complex with the impressive natural beauty. Coming here, tourists have chances to live in a boisterous atmosphere of a spring festival amidst beautiful landscape. They seem to be free from all tiredness and sorrow and come to pay respect to the compassionate Buddha. Khe Thuong Village Festival Time: 3rd to the 7th day of the first lunar month.Location: Son Da Commune, Ba Vi District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Saint of mountain Tan Vien (son-in-law of Hung King).Activities: “cutting for lucky” custom (in this case it is a contest of cutting banana trunk), wrestling for worshipping the genius. La Duong Communal House Festival Time: 11th day of the first lunar month.Location: Duong Noi Commune, Hoai Duc District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: 3 Ancestor Gods (Tu Dao Hanh, Khong Lo, Giac Hai) in the La Duong Communal House and Pagoda.Activities: Incense offering ceremony, tripitaka teaching. Games: human chess playing, cocks fighting. Mang Son Temple Festival Time: 6th to the 12th day of the first lunar month. The main festive day is on the 6th day.Location: Son Dong Commune, Son Tay Town, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Saint Tan Vien.Activities: Offering procession (five fruits; unripen jack-fruit is indispensable; wild beast meat or three pieces of pigskin). Wrestling, con throwing, vi singing (kind of song which country boys and girls sing back and forth), dum singing, cross-bow shooting, tree swinging. Som Festival Time: 7th to the 12th day of the first lunar month.Location: Phu Lam and Phu Luong Communes, Ha Dong Town, Ha Tay Province.Activities: ky an ceremony (Worship for good health), xuan dinh sacrifices- offering ceremony (pray for giving birth to a son). Son Thanh Festival Time: 7th to the 9th day of the first lunar month.Location: Son Thanh Village, Son Ha Commune, Phu Xuyen District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: To Hien Thanh, high-ranking mandarin of Ly Dynasty.Activities: Sacrifices - offering ceremony in commemorating To Hien Thanh. Va Temple Festival Time: Spring festival: on the 15th day of the first lunar month (the main festival day). Autumn festival: the 15th day of the ninth lunar month.Location: Va Temple, Van Gia Hamlet, Trung Hung Commune, Son Tay Town, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Tan Vien Genie (Son Tinh, one of four immortal gods in the Vietnamese pantheon).Activities: The procession across the river to Doi Temple, the custom of catching fish for worshipping.In the minds of Vietnamese people, Duc Thanh Tan (the Mountain Genie) is a sacred patron saint who drives out evil spirits and brings good things to people. Va Temple festival is annually held in the full moon of the first lunar month (spring festival) and of the ninth lunar month (autumn festival) to celebrate his services rendered to society. Every three years, the festival is organized with a large scale. Those are the years of the Mouse, Cat, Horse and Rooster. The spring festivalIn the years of the Mouse, Cat, Horse and Rooster, the festival has a ritual of water procession performed by Di Binh villagers of Vinh Thinh Commune, Yen Lac District, Vinh Phuc Province. Early in the morning of the 15th of the first lunar month, Di Binh residents row a boat to the middle of the Red River. On behalf of the villagers, an old man of great righteousness and generosity gets water from the river and pours into a china jar. Thereafter, they make a water procession to Va Temple, and then offer it to the deities. The big Va Temple Festival begins in the 13th with numerous activities. A palanquin procession of eight hamlets takes Location in the morning of 14th. About 1 or 2 a.m, old men perform a traditional ceremony. At 3 a.m, two temple guardians bring the tablets of the Mountain Genie, Saint Cao Son and Saint Quy Minh to the main palanquins. Thirty-two strong young men with the same height carry the palanquin. Four others hold fans and two hold parasols. They are followed the palanquins carrying the textual materials that tell the stories of the deities, costumes and hats of the deities, and offerings of the hamlets.The palanquins are taken down to the boats. When the procession reaches the other bank, the palanquins are carried to Doi Temple. In the temple, a small pig of 30-40 kg is Locationd on the altar of the Mountain Genie as an offering. The notable men perform the rituals, called môc duc ritual, symbolizing the act of providing a bath to the Mountain Genie. Traditional games are organized on the sandbank, which attract a lot of participants. In the evening, the procession comes back to Va Temple. The palanquins are located in front of the main house. During that night, they hold the traditional rituals.On the 15th day, pilgrims offer incense and fruit to the Mountain Genie at the temple. There also take Location many traditional games such as wrestling, tug of war. The Autumn FestivalThe festival begins on the 14th of the ninth lunar month. On that day, the inhabitants of Van Gia, Nghia Phu, Thanh Tri, Mai Trai, Dam Trai Hamlets gather at the Tich River (the section from Thuong Cau Vang to Ha Ma Mang) to catch fish. Those who catch white, big fish have to hand in the village to present the Mountain Genie, and bring home the small ones. The fish catching game ends when they have enough 99 big fish. This festival is known as da ngu (catching fish).Anyone who catches big fish thinks that the Mountain Genie will bring him an auspicious year. Ninety-nine fish are cleaned and cooked into various dishes to offer the Mountain Genie as a way to pay homage to the Genie. At the end of the ceremony, people enjoy fish dishes. The festival ends. Van Sa Festival Time: The 5th day of the first lunar month.Location: Van Sa Communal House, Tan Hong Commune, Ba Vi District, Ha Tay Province.Objects of worship: Tran Quoc Chan (the second - born child of Tran Hung Dao, a high ranking mandarin of Tran Dynasty) and Ngu Nuong (Saint Ba, a general of Hai Ba Trung).Activities :The village festival of the work of raising silkworms and weaving silk, flower procession (the top of the sections of bamboo are splited and dyed look like flowers).Games:: striving for silkworm cocoons (silkworm cocoons are put on the frame and shaked strongly to drop them down; people who pick up much will have much lucky in this year), Tu dan lac nghiep show (four works show: Si, Nong, Cong, Thuong), Tu Linh dance (four sacred animal: Long, Li, Qui, Phuong) TransportationHa Tay is 110km of expressway No.5 from Hai Phong International Seaport. Ha Dong Town is 10km far from the center of Hanoi. There are city buses between Hanoi center and Ha Dong town. The province has National Highway No.32 linking to Phu Tho Province, National Highway No.6 connecting to Hoa Binh Province and other North-West region.