Board a motor coach for a journey through the rural areas of the Red River Delta. In the district of Thuy Nguyen, you’ll leave the coach for a half-mile walk to a local village renowned for its betel nut production. Enter via a series of small lanes and streets shaded by betel nut trees, the bulbs of which are cut open to reveal a red ‘nut’ that is chewed on by many elders throughout the country as a stimulant, in the same way that caffeine is used in the western world. Many of these betel nuts are transported throughout the north for consumption. In this local farming community, people spend the day tending their fields and livestock. You will notice a remarkable absence of mechanical assistance here—the work in the fields is mostly done by hand. At certain times of the year you may see people harvesting the rice, plowing the fields with buffalo or irrigating the intricate canal system by hand. Return to the coach for the journey to Haiphong, the main port city of the north. Visit the 17th-century Du Hang Pagoda, where you will find an impressive display of about 500 wooden relief sculptures.
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