Shopping and swimming are the two main activities of the border tourist town of Mong Cai in Quang Ninh province. If tourists do not pass the Bac Luan border gate to China, a full day in this town is hard enough for travelers to explore.
7am: Enjoying cu ky
Enjoying a bowl of noodle with cu ky (one kind of crab) on Tran Quoc Toan road will help energize you before your day of exploration. Cu ky is a specialty crab of Mong Cai that any visitor will want to give it a try. In addition to noodles, you may choose banh da (rice noodle) or mien (vermicelli) with cu ky.
8am: Shopping at Mong Cai market
Markets in Mong Cai always attract tourists to visit and shop because commodity there are abundant and diverse. There are three main markets and a night market in the city, in which the central market located on Tran Phu Road is the largest and most crowded.
The central market is usually bustling from 4am to 1pm, when Chinese owners return to their home across the border. Tourists come here often favor ready-made garments and household appliances.
10am: Discover Mong Cai Markets 2 and 3
These markets are located in Hoa Lac Ward, from Bac Luan border gate 1 km. These markets also sell items similar to the Mong Cai Central Market but the Mong Cai 3 market is also known for electronics.
After purchasing goods in the markets, you can go to restaurants around the city for the lunch. Most dishes are in Chinese style, including Peking duck as the most favorite cuisine of tourists. In addition, you also should not miss the spicy tofu and thit khau nhuc (pork with indian taro).
13h: Discover the monuments in Tra Co
Sunrise on the Tra Co beach. Photo: baoquangninh
Tra Co is 7 km from Mong Cai center. Before swimming in the sea you should visit relics here. The first site is Van Linh Khanh Pagoda with over 50 precious ancient statues. Tra Co communal house is the largest ancient architectural work in Quang Ninh. Although it is built at the border with China, it is entirely marked by the culture of Vietnam.
Tra Co is dubbed “the most lyrical beach in Vietnam” with a long coastline of over 17 km. As far away from the city and industrial zones, the climate here is very cool and quiet. You can comfortably play with the waves in the blue sea or walk on the white flat sand bank.
17h: Sa Vi Cape
As the evening sun faded, it is time to catch the sunset on the wonderful cape of Sa Vi, the starting point of the S-shaped Vietnam. From here you can look to China to satisfy your curiosity but do not forget to shoot some photos of yourselves at the starting point of the country.
19h: Eating seafood
Tra Co has a lot of restaurants along the coast so it is not difficult to find a good place for your dinner. You can enjoy fresh seafood dishes such as sea eel, sea snail, shrimp and crab. The prices for seafood in Tra Co are reasonable.
20h: Back to the night market
Ka Long Bridge – the historic symbol of Mong Cai city. Photo: baoquangninh
The Night Market of Mong Cai opens from 18h to 22h mainly selling groceries, souvenirs, apparel, household appliances and especially food with Chinese flavor.
The night market is quite crowded and the prices are pushed up by several times. If you do not buy anything, you can take a walk around the market to feel the vibrant rhythm of the night.
22h: Enjoy the city at night
You can see the border city in the shimmering light from the Ka Long Bridge, the historic symbol of Mong Cai city and the Vietnam-China friendship. Ka Long Bridge is the only bridge in Vietnam that was built entirely of stone.
Mong Cai city is not too big but its system of motels and hotels is abundant, with standards from one to five stars. You can find a good inn on Tran Phu, Hoa Binh, Tue Tinh, Hung Vuong, Nguyen Du and Hoa Lac streets.
(Source: Vietnam Net)