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Why Hoang Yen Chao Castle is special ?
Hoang A Tuong Castle is located in Na Hoi Tho Hamlet, Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province; 300m from Bac Ha Market. It is a unique construction work, which harmonizes the Oriental and Western architectural styles.
The castle was built at the beginning of the 20th century (between 1914 and 1921). Its owner was Hoang Yen Chao of Tay origin. He was the father of Hoang A Tuong, a tribal mandarin under the domination of the French colonialists.
The castle covers an area of 4,000m² in which the main building occupies 420m². In front of its arched doors are earthen banks. Occupying a pivotal position overlooking the Bac Ha valley, the castle serves both as the residence of Hoang Yen Chao, then Hoang A Tuong and as a fortress. Its network of walls, bunkers, and battlements were reinforced by a mortar mixed with sugar molasses. In a distance, the white castle jutting out from the valley looks imposing and majestic.
At present, this castle is put under a restoration scheme to better help tourists get insight into the changes of the local life.
What to explore at Hoang Yen Chao Castle?
With two-floor architecture, it also functions as a fortress. The castle possesses a vital location that enables its residents to influence and control the whole Bac Ha valley. From afar, you can easily notice the white castle standing vividly against the blue sky and the green fields of Lao Cai.
High fences, blockhouses and deep trenches, as well as invincible defending towers used to protect the castle from the enemies in the past. Unfortunately, time has swiped away those wonderful features. However, you can still see the system of dangerous strap full of spikes built around the castle (caution: they are real!). After strolling around the construction, make sure that you go inside and take a look at all the vestiges that survive the destructive flow of time.
Tourists setting foot in the castle have to walk up 17 stairs from both sides, then to the sheltered lounge. Additionally, the castle also has other construction items such as two auxiliary blocks on both sides. Each has two floors and is lower than the main building with an area of 300m2. This is private space of Hoang Yen Chao's wives and Hoang A Tuong's wives. There are also two sub-blocks with simpler architecture used as accommodation for soldiers and servants.
How to get to Hoang Yen Chao Castle?
From Sapa, tourists have several alternatives to go to Bac Ha Market: buses or motorbike.
By bus: There are direct buses from Sapa Terminal with the ticket price of VND 80,000; and it will take up to three hours to reach Bac Ha.
The Lao Cai to Bac Ha has bus schedules are: 06: 30, 07: 00, 12: 00, 13: 00 and 15: 00. The schedule of the bus from Bac has to Lao Cai is at 06: 00, 07: 00, 08: 00, 12: 10 and 13: 00. The price of the bus fare are 2€ per way. Although the distance are just 60 kilometers, the bus takes 90 minutes, i.e., 1 hour and a half.
We recommend you take the bus to Lao Cai at 7:00 and back on the bus by 13:00.
By motorbike: Tourists can also hire motorbike (Minsk is the most popular) for VND 100,000/day and enjoy the wildly picturesque sceneries on the way to Bac Ha. The route passes through Ban Phiet; then following Highway 70 for about 40-50km, turning left at the three-way crossroad leading to Bac Ha.
By Minibus tour to Bac Ha
These tourist minibuses with capacity of 5 to 12 people are hired in Lao Cai travel agencies and hotels. Generallythey tend to leave for Lao Cai around 7: 00 am and return about 12: 00 from Bac has. It takes 1 hour to reach the market and usually minibuses / vans return back to Lao Cai 3 hours later, time more than enough to see the market and do some shopping.
- A hub of eastern and western
- A unique architecture
- A castle of a king
- A great castle
- A majestic history
153,tt. Bắc Hà,Lào Cai,Việt Nam
Tips for you
i visited there with my friend. it is a unique architectural construction combining Eastern style and Western style. Built in the 20th century, it belongs to Na Hoi Tho Village, Bac Ha district. it opens from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and you don't have to pay entrance fee...After strolling around the construction, make sure that you go inside and take a look at all the vestiges that survive the destructive flow of time!