One day at the end of July, I and IAESTE trainees & volunteers visited Bac Ninh – the city for history lovers. Even though I was born and grew up in Bac Ninh, this trip did expand my knowledge and understandings about my hometown. Especially, I had chance to meet up my IAESTE friends of different nationalities, origins and languages.

We started our trip at 6 a.m and it took about 3 hours to reach the gathering place. Unluckily, we had one problem with renting bikes for other trainees and spent 2 hours for negotiating with the owners of the motorbike shop. After that, we stopped at local restaurant to have lunch and took a rest before going to the first destination – Dau Pagoda which was about 40 kilometers from the center of Bac Ninh city. On the way, I was so happy when sharing special things in Vietnam with my foreign friend – my travel buddy on this trip. We were keen on talking and did sight-seeing together. Actually, it was the wonderful time for her and me to understand more about such strange lands.

In the flash, we reached Dau pagoda built more than 1000 years ago. We were completely impressed by its peaceful, unique and traditional architecture. My IAESTE friends asked me to explain about special things of this pagoda.

Honestly, this was the first time I became a tour guide. However, I tried my best to provide them with a lot of details so that they could have better understandings about the place.

Next, we went to But Thap pagoda and Kinh Duong Vuong Tomb. Each place owned its origins and values. 4 hours passed away, we came back the center of city and went to swimming pool where we could break all the tiredness after driving for several hours on the road under severe weather.

The first day ended with a delicious dinner meal and then we hang out to drink beer together under the torrential rain. We walked in water and other trainees were so surprised with the flooded roads which they never saw in their countries. They felt so happy and took many pictures with those surprising things. That evening offered us opportunities to chat and get closer to each other like brothers in the same unit.

The second day, we continued visiting two of the most special pagodas in Bac Ninh. We drove motorbikes for about 30 minutes to Phat Tich Pagoda. The special things here were the big Budha statue and the tower on the top of the mountain. This place was so different from other places we visited the day before. It therefore attracted and motivated all of us. For those who were interested in discovering Buddhism culture of Vietnam, this was an appealing spiritual destination.

After that, we moved quickly to Do temple where we could enjoy “Quan Ho– Vietnamese traditional songs” which visitors visiting Bac Giang shouldn’t  miss. Everyone was attracted by men & women’s singing. Some songs followed countryside intonations but the others were a little bit exciting. Therefore, it didn’t make us feel tedious.

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Now it has been nearly 2 months since those 2 amazing and memorable days. Honestly, I feel as if I were on the trip at the moment. The images of flooded roads we went through, the ancient pagodas we visited, the stone steps on which we crossed to reach the top of the mountain to see the Budha statue and the tower are still jumping in my mind.

In the end, this trip not only helped us have chance to visit and discover new destinations  but it was also an occasion of “sharing” & “ harmony ” among trainees of different nationality.  Naturally, we connected with the others like the same  flesh & blood, which created remarkable memories that I can’t forget in my life.

See you again, my Bac Ninh and my IAESTE friends!

 By Ms. Lê Thủy – Trainee at IAESTE Vietnam National Office.