Thursday, June 29, 2017

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Useful info

Cuisine

Visitors often notice that Vietnamese food is very healthy. It is mainly based on rice and noodles. The palatable recipes are handed from generation to generation. Delicious bowls of noodle soup with vegetables and meat (pho), fresh rice pancakes (banh cuon) with a tasty sauce, hot grilled chopped fish accompanied by a small cup of rice wine, snail with ginger, green sticky rice (com) in lotus leaves All these specialties that give you a taste of Vietnam!

Fruits and Vegetables

Vietnam is located in a tropical zone, with abundant rainfalls and a high level of humidity. This results in a diversified ecological and agricultural area producing manifold fruits and vegetables, which are rich in flavours and colours. Vietnam counts over130 species of fruit-tree. The tropical zone trees produce bananas, coconuts, mangoes, papayas, listchis, longans, and oranges. The Temperate Zone trees produce apricots, plums, peaches, pears, and more.


There are some well known fruits coming from different parts of the country such as Sapa peaches, Bac Ha Plums, Trung Khanh chestnuts, Doan Hung pomelos, Bo Ha oranges, Hung Yen longans, Thanh Ha litchis, Huong Tich apricots, Ninh Thuan cashews and Thap Cham grapes.

Visas
Most visitors to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country (except for citizens of countries that signed an agreement of visa exemption with Vietnam). For now, tourist visas can only be obtained in Vietnamese embassies, consulates abroad, or at the first point of entry to Vietnam. To secure a visa Vietnam, the applicant is requested to submit: the original passport, 2 copies of the application forms, 2 passport-sized photos, and visa fee.
Tourist visa: they are generally valid for thirty days
Visa extension: Travel agencies offer this service

Customs
On arrival in Vietnam, the customs inspection is usually pretty fast now.
When entering Vietnam visitors will be asked to fill out a form declaring all electronic equipment, jewellery, camera equipment and other valuables (except for the persons exempted by Vietnamese law). Amounts of money exceeding US$3.000 must also be declared on the customs forms upon arrival. Visitor cannot bring more than 1,000g of gold into Vietnam.

When leaving Vietnam, quantities exceeding 300g of gold must be declared unless the holder has permission from the Director of the State Bank. The exportation of antiques is retricted by Vietnamese law.

General information
Vietnam time: GMT plus 7 hours
Office hours 

All government offices are open from 7.30 am to 4.30 PM (with a one-hour lunch break) from Monday to Friday.
In local regions, offices are open from 7.00 am to 11.00 am and from 1.00 PM to 5.00. Banks are open from 7.30 or 8.00 am to 3.30 PM and are closed on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.
Private shops are usually open from 8.00 or 8.30 AM to 9.00 or 10.00 PM.

Holidays
There are 5 Vietnamese holidays every year for total of 8 days.


  • January 1: New Years Day (One-Day holiday)



  • April 30: Saigon Liberation Day (One-day holiday)



  • May 1: International Labor Day (One-day holiday)



  • September 2: National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (One-day holiday) Vietnamese Traditional Lunar New Year Festival, or Tet Nguyen Dan (four-day holiday): this holiday begins on the eve and last over the first three days of the Lunar New Year, generally at the end of January or beginning of February


  • Currency
    The national currency is Vietnamese dong (VND). Notes are available in denominations of 100,000VND, 50,000 VND, 20,000 VND, 10,000 VND, 5,000 VND, 2,000 VND, 1,000 VND, 5,00 VND, 200VND.

    Throughout the country, American dollars are widely accepted. However, the bills must be relatively new with no marking or tear. Travelers cheques are easily exchanged in banks. Credit cards are becoming popular, especially in the major hotels and restaurants of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    Telephone, Facsimile, E-mail

    The international phone code for Vietnam is 84. It is possible to make international calls or sent faxes from a post-office or major hotel. E-mail and Internet are available in most urban areas throughout the country. Domestic long-distance calls are made by dealing 0, followed by the area code and number. It is very easy to phone inside Vietnam. Most hotels will allow local phone calls free of charge.

    Language

    Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. Learning foreign languages, particular English and French, is now vogue among young people. Tourist guides speaking English, French, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese are often available.

    In the North, the best tourist season lasts from November to April. During this period, the weather is cooler and drier. There are several ritual ceremonies and folk festivals to celebrate the arrival of spring. The Lunar New Year festival (Vietnamese traditional Tet) in Hanoi will allow during this season is recommended to bring along warm clothes.
    In the South, the temperature is warm all year round. The average temperature is approximately 27ºC. Therefor tourists need thin garments, sunglasses, and hats.

    Electricity and water supply
    Voltage system: 220 volt.

    Tap water is already filtered and sterilised, but it should be boiled before drinking.

    Accommodation

    There are a vide variety of accommodations for visitor to choose from. Most hotels in big cities meet international standards.

    Transportation

    Visitor can travel over Vietnam through various province and town either by air, by road, or by train. Domestic flights are available everyday. The train between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi stops at different stations and province an exciting and unforgettable trip. The air-conditioned express trains take 32 hours to cover the distance. Cabs, motorcycles, and bicycles can easily be rented all over the country. The cyclo, a three-wheeled vehicle, is perfect for those who wish to move slowly and enjoy a city tour.

    Airports


  • International Airport: Noi Bai (Hanoi), Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City), and Danang airports.



  • Domestic Airport: Gia Lam (Hanoi), Cat Bi (Hai Phong), Dien Bien (Lai Chau), Na San (Son La), Vinh (Nghe An), Phu Bai (Hue), Pleiku (Gia Lai), Phu Cat (Qui Nhon), Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa), Buon Ma Thuot (Daklak), Lien Khuong (Dalat), Phu Quoc, Rach Gia (Kien Giang).
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    Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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    Quao River Lake great beauty unforgettable in Phan Thiet

    How about 20km from Phan Thiet City, located at the foot of the North Pass Gia Lam Dong and Binh Thuan connection, Quao River Lake brings a charming unspoiled beauty.

    Small road leading to the lake Quao River. Construction was started from May 9/1988, 9/1997 to May completed, the lake has the task Quao River water regulation for agricultural areas and Ham Thuan Bac provide drinking water for the city of Phan Thiet.




    The water from the river channel Quao. Straight branch water supply for the city of Phan Thiet, the horizontal arm running around the mountain, bring life to the rice fields and gardens of the district dragon.

    The water from the river channel Quao. Straight branch water supply for the city of Phan Thiet, the horizontal arm running around the mountain, bring life to the rice fields and gardens of the district dragon.

    Shore dam is also the road leading to the foot of the mountain with rich flora and fauna. Quao River to the lake in the last months of the year, you have the opportunity to admire the forests are deciduous, very colorful. A small corner of peaceful lake, with a small fishing boat of the locals. Stop by the lake on a clear blue day, enjoy the peace and breathe the fresh air, you could not help feeling like you are in the windswept highlands.

    The distance is home to put the measuring device parameters of the lake. The main gates of the building brings great significance, making agriculture Ham Thuan Bac change meat. View of the main dam:


    A romantic corner on the original ancient lake, the dam site area.

    Standing in the main dam, once again, you have pretty good vision on the other side of the lake. Visit Quao River Lake, do not forget to take some time to climb the mountain right on the lake, from here, the whole panoramic vast plains around, looks peaceful feel of the land.

    Bring agricultural significance is more tourist, Quao River lakes life seems distant buzzing, just quiet mountain silence is reflected. There are occasions in Phan Thiet, make one visit to this place to feel peace of mind.

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    Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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    Delicious grapefruit sweet soup

    Located in an alley modest on Hai Ba Trung Street, grapefruit sweet soup shop that sells coffee and coconut for just 15 thousand VND/cup.


    Although Hanoi has hundreds, thousands of sweet soup shops, but a cup of sweet soup when appetite simple grapefruit, sweet soup and coconut contains only good while until the last piece of the small sweet soup shop is located at the top of an alley on the road Two Ba Trung, paragraph facing American Club is a choice of more people.
    Grapefruit sweet soup shop fit tens of years old where small alley on Hai Ba Trung Street.

    This tiny shop grapefruit sweet soup with fortune mere 2 sweet soup pot and sugar bowl with coconut milk, coffee bottle containers stowed in a small corrugated coffin, a few plastic chairs as seating for guests. This shop only one type of sweet soup is sweet soup grapefruit. Sweet soup cup cooked from dozens of years of experience of the physician owners for the sweet soup things hard match but nothing special, soft bean is tender but still whole grain, especially grapefruit pulp crispy chewy, not he, eat lumpy lumpy, it was mouth. Even coconut milk is also homemade coconut, coconut milk rather than buy available.

    Patrimony of only a pot of sweet soup shop, a pot of coconut. Unlike many on restaurant serving sweet soup cup full of beer and real substance to style diners get to eat no, sweet soup bar scene here is being ladled into the small glass. Guests called, her middle-age sales slowly opened the lid of sweet soup, specialty sweet soup scoop of salt into a glass, add the coconut milk and a little rock salt and give it to guests.

    If an acquaintance to eat, this grapefruit sweet soup cup is hard to please, but must admit pretty small sweet soup cup draw moderate it also has its reasons, when the island was no match sweet soup, dropped out, the stone base both with coconut milk, sweet soup should be sufficiently harmonized to form pieces aromatic sweet soup, cool places throat.

    Apart from grapefruit sweet soup, you can also try adding coconut milk dishes hit the road, smell the coffee to taste, mix coconut fatty slightly bitter taste of coffee and sugar tasted sweet. A cup of sweet soup or coconut like pretty small, the voracious enough to eat 2 cups, but with the ladies really like miu or find dishes stomach lining afternoon afternoon rush, the level is quite reasonable gifts idea to not affect the dinner with family.

    Features of Hai Ba Trung grapefruit sweet soup is pretty light cook, eat well no matter how little stones or after eating joints need to drink more than a cup of water to balance the taste, coconut reviews here have 15 thousand, one price lovely such as the sweet soup cup.

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    Monday, June 26, 2017

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    Vietnam - Travel Tips

    Local Time

    GMT +7 hours or +12 hours for US EST (subtract 1 hour for daylight savings).

    Climate

    The climate in Vietnam differs greatly from North to South due to geographical diversity.

    In the North, the rainy season is from August until November. Typhoons are sometimes a problem, but quite rare. The North can be quite chilly from December to February.

    In Central Vietnam the Rainy season is from October until December. Heavy rain and flooding can interrupt travel and Hue, Danang and Nhatrang may have to be missed if travelling overland.

    The climate in the Mekong Delta is sub-equatorial with two main seasons. The wet season lasts from May to October with short, sharp drenching downpours occurring almost every day. The dry season lasts from November to April.

    Annual rainfall for the South is approximately 80 inches (2,000 millimeters) while temperatures remain relatively constant - on average between 77 and 95 F (25-35 C).



    Food

    Eating in Vietnam ranges from cheap noodle soups on the street for about 25c to a banquet in one of the luxury hotels. Vietnamese restaurants offer a broad selection of international fare including French, Italian, American, Indian, Chinese and Japanese.

    The most typical Vietnamese food is Pho, the noodle soup with meat in it. It is very cheap at a 50c per bowl and usually well spiced. The main types are: Pho Bo with beef, Pho Bo Tai with rare beef fillets and Pho Ga with chicken. Com steamed white rice is eaten for lunch and dinner. Nuoc Mam is the fermented fish sauce used to spice absolutely everything in Vietnam.

    Seasonal fruits such as dragon fruit, rambutans and longans, fresh vegetables and local seafood are widely available, although supply can vary by region and season. All fruits and vegetables should be cooked or peeled before eaten. Drinking water or ice is generally not recommended, even in the cities. Bottled water is cheap and readily available, so we recommend you don't take the risk. Vietnam is a beer culture. There are plenty of local as well as imported brands. 333, Carlsberg, Hanoi, Tiger, Saigon, LaRue, San Miguel and Heineken are some common brands.

    Language
    The official language is Vietnamese, a mix of mostly Mon-Khmer elements with some Tai and Chinese. The language is tonal and monosyllabic. Most minorities continue to retain their languages.
    Today's main foreign language, especially among the young, is English. In the north, French and Russian are still quite widely spoken. The script of modern Vietnamese is based on Latin with accents, and was formed and created by the Jesuit priest Fr. Alexander De Rhodes in the 19th century.

    Health care

    No vaccinations are officially required to visit Viet Nam. However it is prudent to have up-to-date innoculations for Polio, Meningitis, Hepatitis A&B, Tuberculosis, TABT (TYPHOID, paratyphoid A&B and tetanus), Cholera, Malaria, and Japanese Encephalitis. In addition, we suggest you contact your personal physician or clinic specializing in international travel. Vietnam does have a wide variety of medicines, but you may not be familiar with them. You are advised to bring any prescription medications (in the original containers) currently required. You should pack a small medical kit, which includes sunscreen, insect repellent, diarrhea medication, ibuprofen or aspirin and antibacterial ointments. For those who wear eyeglasses, it is recommended that an extra pair be taken, as the quality of local replacement services varies. It is strongly suggested that you have a dental check-up before departure. Medical care facilities are available, but are limited outside of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and can be expensive for emergency care.

    Religion
    Vietnam is home of four of the world's great philosophies and religions: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity. Over the centuries, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism have fused with popular Chinese beliefs and ancient Vietnamese animism to form what is known collectively as the Triple Religion. Confucianism, more a system of social and political morality than a religion, took on many religious aspects. Taoism, which began as an esoteric philosophy for scholars, mixed with the popular Buddhism of the peasants, and many Taoist elements became an intrinsic part of popular religion. If asked their religion most Vietnamese are likely to say they are Buddhist, but when it comes to family or civic duties they follow Confucianism while turning to Taoist concepts in understanding the nature of the cosmos.

    People
    The majority of the population (85%) is comprised of the plains-dwelling Kinh people. The minority population is made up of 53 ethnic groupings. The best-known are the Tay, H'mong, Dao, White and Black Thai and the Hoa. Each has its own unique customs and dialect making them fascinating to visit. The population is 80 million. More than 60% are under 25. Life expectancy at birth is 68 years.

    Electricity
    220V, 50 Hz

    Shopping
    Vietnam is good for shopping. Hot items on the tourist market include lacquer-ware, mother-of-pearl inlay, and ceramics, colorful embroidered items (hangings, tablecloths, pillowcases, pajamas and robes), greeting cards with silk paintings on the front, woodblock prints, oil paintings, watercolors, blinds made of hanging bamboo beads, reed mats, carpets, jewelry and leatherwork. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have the best choice when it comes to shopping but Hoi An in central Vietnam is also a very good place to look for souvenirs.

    Currency Exchange
    The currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Notes are available in denominations of VND 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 thousand, and 5, 2 and 1 hundred. Coins are no longer used. Exchange rate: 1 USD is roughly 22,600 VND. The USD is widely used in Vietnam's cities. The Euro is exchangable, but not as popular. Bring clean bank notes with you. Dirty ones might be refused. Larger notes (i.e. 100) often get a better exchange rate than smaller ones.

    VISA, Master Card and American Express cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, and shops in the urban areas. Travellers Cheques are easily changeable at banks and moneychangers all over the country. Commissions are USD1 for a USD 100 TC at Vietcombank, USD 2 at ANZ Bank.

    Public transport
    Local inner-city bus systems are not good in Vietnam. Fortunately, there are other convenient ways of getting around. Taxis with meters are fairly cheap. The first two kilometers cost 12.000 VND and every subsequent 200 meters costs 1 thousand VND. The Cyclo, or pedicab offers easy, cheap and enjoyable transportation around Vietnam's cities. Riding a cyclo is also the best way to explore a city. The driver pedals behind you while you sit comfortably in the front and watch the movie of street life passing by. The average price for a ride is around US$0.20 per kilometer and is cheaper by time rather than distance. A typical price is US$1 per hour. Many of the drivers are also very knowledgable about their city and will speak at least some English or French or Russian.

    Mail
    Post offices are usually open from 8.00 am to 8 or 9.00 pm. Postcards cost about VND 10 thousand for a booklet of ten from the post office. Children also sell them, but they are more expensive. Don't be too annoyed by them, if they save you a trip to the post office it's probably worth paying a few dong more. A postcard to Europe/USA costs VND 5400, a letter VND 8400 (depending on the weight). They take about 2 weeks to be delivered.

    Telephone

    It is very easy to telephone inside Vietnam. All hotels will let you make local phone calls, many don't even charge you. International phone calls are possible from many post offices. At some places, international direct dialing (IDD) has become commonplace. There is a telephone card, the UniphoneKad. Cell phones are popular. If you have one you can buy a prepaid phone-card and own your private contact number while traveling in Vietnam. The system in Vietnam is GSM.

    Internet access
    The Internet was officially permitted in Vietnam in 1997. Access to online services is now available through cyber-cafes and computer terminals in the lobbies of guest houses and business centers in hotels. If you have an established Email account with a non-Vietnamese service provider, accessing your mail from Vietnam will require you to download your mail through a Web-based service such as Yahoo or Hotmail. This is easily done at cafes in cities like Hanoi, Saigon, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Danang and Hue. The Internet access fee is about 4000-5000 VND per hour.
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    One of the best places in Mui Ne.

    Rang Dong Wine Castle was built in the classic European architecture, located in the 5 star resorts Sea Links City is the new tourist destinations featured in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet.



    Comments work from Napa Valley Wine Valley, California American region, bringing Rang Dong wine castle architecture of medieval Europe with the vast square, the ancient dome but no less elegant, chic, these towers soaring space spread views of the Sea Links City of fresh green. All images seemed to exist at the remote US European countries now been reproduced in the castle wine Rang Dong.

    Outside the castle, mill iconic grape farmers are placed on the page in the sand dunes as reminder of the distant history of viticulture and wine industry in Napa Valley. Then Sauvignon Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay also planted around the castle taken to introduce a new addition to the ingredients that make up the reputation of the wines of this valley.

    castles including 3 suites connected together, surrounding a large courtyard, where the ancient aristocratic West often organized parties bustling outdoor wine. Inside the castle is divided into storage areas wine cellar, wine tasting room.

    Come to the castle, visitors can buy souvenirs, wine in supermarkets Mini mart located on site as well as delight admire the wine line reputation here.

    Castle was particularly interested in his customers when the service launched very nicely suited to the fun, your picnic with family and friends. With recreational fishing services new castle was cared research and investments, you will be completely impressed with the location extremely wonderful scenery here.

    In addition, accented with display area and wine tasting tour with classic touches but no less luxurious, space here becomes delicate and extremely cozy.

    During a tour of the castle wine Rang Dong, visitors will be guided tours 2 Cellar same processes and wine production model designed closed deep underground with average temperatures 11-14 degrees C. in addition, guests will enjoy a number of famous red wines from Napa Valley Napa Valley is labeled 55, 66 Napa, Napa 77 Napa Napa 88 or 99. Also in this tour, tourists guests can buy souvenirs, watch the spread of coffee sitting on the rooftop of the castle or enjoy the panoramic view overlooking the Sea Links City Resort.

    Enjoy and soak up the atmosphere here, the tourists will not sort out the beauty awfully pleased amazing unique architecture as well as the irresistible taste of the wine line was intoxicating nực immerse wine enthusiasts around the world are genuine imports of Rang Dong Winery in America. Taste wines at Napa Valleys premium is kept completely original America in every drop of wine, for inviting guests stylish and full of passion.

    Club fishing hut with 15 fully equipped service and utilities for anglers, plus a restaurant specializing in seafood processing for local consumption along with a childrens play area will turn 1 day of you and your family, friends become very cozy and enjoyable.
    Rang Dong Wine Castle promises to bring you and your family comfortable moments to experience the epic as well as enjoy the wonderful service.

    Rang Dong Wine Castle is always open to welcome guests on the search for novelty, and their discovery.

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    Sunday, June 25, 2017

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    Tet Holidays: Back to the roots

    It's Tet holidays, and the whole country is swept up in a wave of festivities. To welcome the New Year, everyone looks back to his or her roofs. Housewives prepare traditional dishes, old men paints banners that are strung up for good luck; villages hold religions processions, traditional games and rice-cooking contests. So put on your best clothes, eat a little banh chung and get into the spirit.



    Mind you, it could extremely confusing for anyone arriving in Vietnam at Tet (which this year falls on January 21, 22 and 23) who doesn't already know what's going on. The tremendous energy of the last days of the old year suddenly evaporates, the bustling shops are boarded are left wondering what on earth has happened and where everyone has gone. Many expatriates take the opportunity to gain an insight into the character and culture of Vietnam. The Vietnamese look forward to Tet as the most important holiday of the year. After a whole year of hard work, it's the perfect time to relax.

    Most of the Tet rituals revolve around maximizing the prospects for a good year ahead. For week beforehand, families prepare classic seasonal dishes, including the essential banh chung (traditional sticky rice cake), clean their house and buy new clothes for their children. Meanwhile the eldest person in the household cleans the ancestral altar and buys votive papers to burn as offerings.

    In the first hours of the lunar New Year, after families perform their devotions at the ancestral altar, they choose an auspicious direction in which to set out for the local temple or pagoda. Here they pray for a good year with good business prospects.

    On their way back home they choose branches bearing new leaves from a banyan or fig tree and plant them ' these tress are believed to house holy spirits, and the word for leaf bud, loc, is a homonym for good fortune. The fresher the loc, the better chance of good luck. Other families bring home some incense to burn on the ancestral alter accompanied by prayers for a good and prosperous year. A big influence will turn out is the character of the house in the New Year. So before families return home from their local temple, they choose a family member with the most auspicious energy to first 'foot their house on lunar New Year's Day. If nobody in the family is suitable for this important task, they can approach someone else, a friend, and neighbor or work colleague to help. Many people orchestrate this visit very carefully, to ensure the first person to call at the house has the right character for the particular year to come.

    New Year means everybody suddenly becomes one year older, an important matter for the life expectancy of the elderly and for young children, who can be expected to fell much more grown up virtually overnight.

    Much like New Year resolutions for Westerners, Vietnamese people also have the habit of working out their hopes and wishes foe the coming year weeks before the big day.

    Meanwhile, shops specializing in sacred images come into their own at this time of year. The many shops in Hang Ma Street in Hanoi, for instance, the traditional center for votive papers, sacred images and Tet decorations, are ablaze with color.

    On offer here are paper lanterns kites for kids of all ages, masks for mid-autumn festivals and decorations for weddings, meetings and other occations, and also before Tet many sizes and kind of bao li xi ' envelopes in which adults give lucky money to children.

    Foe li xi or lucky money is another fine old Tet tradition. Mind you, this can become a fairly costly business if you have friends with several children in the family. If you visit a Vietnamese family around Tet, it's probably wise take red li xi envelopes. Generally, lucky money tends to be given to children younger than 15.

    Vietnam may be moving rapidly into the modern world, but at the same time it is still a land of custom and tradition ' and Tet is its biggest holiday of the year. Even though times are changing, this Tet will still be a time of great energy, faith and togetherness.

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    Saturday, June 24, 2017

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    A Teacher’s Tet Holidays

    Knock knock! Vietnam’s traditional lunar new year (otherwise know as Tet) is knocking on every family’s door. Whether you have experienced it once, twice, or never before, it matters not at all, because Tet is always new for Vietnamese people.


    They all get excited, despite the fact that their country is the land of year round festivals. Each year, Tet comes with new wishes and feelings of happiness. Tet is the greatest annual event for every person, regardless of age, job and social status.

    The guest this month is a foreign teacher who has already tasted the unique atmosphere of Tet with his Vietnamese students and friends. New year customs vary from country to country, he observes, but they have a lot in common as well.

    Raffaele Contardi, 50, first come here in November 2000 and is now working in the Cultural Section of the Italian Embassy. A professor of Italian language and culture, he also gives language lessons to students of Hanoi University of Foreign Studies.

    “ When I came to Hanoi, it was just before Christmas. I saw many people going to church, so it did not occur to me that Vietnamese people also had a great traditional holiday of their own. So when Tet came, I was surprised because everyone seemed so happy.”

    Curiosity led him to taste Banh trung (the must – have traditional Tet offerings made from sticky rice, green beans, pork, pepper and sail, wrapped in banana-like dzong leaves and boiled for half a day). He found it delicious, but he could only manage to eat a small piece – of course, it was nothing like his habitual pasta and pizza.

    During his first Tet he spent lost of time walking around Hoan Kiem Lake and visiting pagodas, just as the locals do. He also bought a big kumquat tree to decorate his house. “ It is quite different from our traditional Christmas tree, but it arouses the same feelings”

    “I like seeing people feeling happy, thinking of friends and relatives, and giving presents to each other at Tet. That’s exactly what Italians do at Christmas.”

    The professor enjoys his life in Hanoi – partly because he is so popular with his students. He proudly shows me letters from some of them. After just a few moths making the acquaintance of a new language, they can write to him in Italian to express such sweet sentiments as “You are my sunshine, and when you smile you look nicer than the sun”. He grins broadly.

    “ After Tet, we visited the Perfume Pagoda. It was quite a climb to get there. But it was really fun when we went on a two day trip to Mai Chau (a Muong Nah White Thai village north-west of Hanoi), stayed in stilt houses and joined in the local dances.”

    In his country, the dances are very different to those of Vietnam. He thought it looked simple, but it turned out anything but people sit moving long bamboo poles up and down, to the right and left, to count out the rhythm. The dancers have to know when to put their feet on the floor and when to quickly step back so the sticks don’t rap their ankles. “ But I couldn’t do it – I kept hopping about to void them. It was really funny.”

    Of course there were other differences between celebrating Tet in Vietnam and Christmas in his hometown of Arcevia. Just for starters, Vietnamese people are shy about kissing, but that’s almost second nature for Italians.

    When he is not lecturing, he often hangs out with his Vietnamese friends. Born on April 30, Victory Day in Vietnam, he always has a happy birthday because there is big celebration all over the city. And also there, he seems many supporters of his favorite football team, Juventus.

    He ends our chat bay telling me how great it makes him feel to run five circuits of Hoan Kiem Lake every Saturday and Sunday morning. “ It takes me 48 minutes,” he notes proudly.

    The only teacher of Italian in Hanoi was excited about this Tet, because he has been invited to visit many of his students’ families, it could be his happiest Tet yet, he believes.

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    Friday, June 23, 2017

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    Southern highligts

    Nha Trang
    The southern central coast offers the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. The turquoise waters around Nha Trang are clean and transparent, so it is a great place for fishing, snorkelling, and scuba diving.


    While in Nha Trang, tourists should visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers, which originally consisted of eight towers built between the 7th and 12th centuries and from which only four remain. Tourists may also admire the Hon Chong Promontory, a scenic collection of granite rocks that jut out the East Sea. Another pleasant trip is a boat cruise to the offshore islands.

    Dalat
    Dalat, in the Lam Dong Province, is a romantic city located on a plateau 1,500m above sea level. Due to its relatively high altitude, Dalat benefits from a cool climate all the year round, with an annual average temperature of 18 oC. Dalat displays very beautiful natural landscapes with several waterfalls, a wide variety of gardens, and numerous lakes and forests.


    Vung Tau
    This scenic bay, outlined by a small curved peninsula, lies 125km south-east of Ho Chi Minh City. Vung Tau is a popular weekend getaway that can be reached by hydrofoil from Ho Chi Minh. Vung Tau offers attractive beaches and delicious seafood.

    Con Dao
    Con Dao is an archipelago comprising 16 islets, about 180km offshore Vung Tau City. In the past, the largest island was home to a prison. Nowadays, it has a great tourism potential with several historical sights, scenic spots and nice beaches.

    Ha Tien
    Ha Tien is located in the province of Kien Giang, 93km from Rach Gia. The scenic beauties of Ha Tien are different from place to place offering very attractive wild landscapes. Ha Tien is also endowed with famous beautiful beaches: Mui Nai Beach, Bai Duong Beach, and more. It is said that Ha Tien is a beautiful and romantic tourist area.

    Phu Quoc
    The island of Phu Quoc is well known for its jade-related richness and for its idyllic location. The holidaymakers can bathe in the sea, rivers, and streams. They can also do some treks in the mountains or in the forests and explore caves. Phu Quoc Island possesses all the ideal features to fulfil tourists needs.

    Ho Chi Minh City
    Formerly called Saigon, lies between the Mekong River Delta and eastern Nam Bo, the south-eastern part of the country.
    Over the past centuries, Saigon was known as an important trading centre for Chinese, Japanese, and Western merchants, who traveled upstream the Saigon River to Pho Island. Saigon was then praised as the Pearl of the Far East.

    Ho Chi Minh City is now biggest city in Vietnam. Its population is of approximately five million people. It is not only a commercial centers, but also a scientific, technological, industrial, and tourist one. The city comprises many large hotels offering a wide variety of services.

    Tourists will enjoy visiting the Nha Rong Wharf, the Reunification Hall, the War Museum, Cu Chi tunnels (200km network of tunnels), Giac Lam Pagoda (the oldest pagoda in the city), Giac Vien Pagoda located next to the Dam Sen Lake, the Jade Emperor Pagoda built in 1900 by the Cantonese Congregation, Notre Dame Cathedral, which was built between 1877 and 1883 in neo-Romanesque style, as well as many other sights and tourists attractions.
    Some places of interest around Ho Chi Minh City



  • Tay Ninh: Cao Dai Temple, Ba Den Mountain



  • Dong Nai: Long An lake, Cai Tien National Park, Long Hai Beach.



  • From Ho Chi Minh City, tourists can visit the Mekong Delta, which is criss-crossed by a dense network of canals, is fertile and excellent for the cultivation of rice and growing fruit trees. The Mekong River Delta is much appreciated by those interested in ecological tourism.


  • Some places of interest



  • Vung Tau: beaches, Thich Ca Phat Dai, Niet Ban Tinh Xa, Bach Dinh, Binh Chau Hot Springs, Quan The Am Bo Tat Pagoda, Dinh Co Landscape.
    Con Dao: Con Dao National Park, Hon Ba Peak, Hon Cau, Hon Tre, Hang Duong Cemetery, Con Dao Prison.



  • Ha Tien: Dong Ho, Thach Dong, Hang Pagoda, Phu Tu Island, Tien Cave, Mo So Cave, and several beaches like Mui Nai, Bai Duong.



  • Phu Quoc: Bai Truong, Bai Dau, Ghenh Rau Beaches, Hon Tre, Tho Chau Archipelago, Hai Tac Archipelago, Doi Cave, Chanh Stream.



  • Mekong Delta: Ton Thanh Pagoda (Long An), Phung Island (Ben Tre), Ninh Kieu Wharf (can Tho), Thoi Son Island (Tien Giang), Cai Be Floating Market (Tien Giang), Ving Trang Pagoda (Tien Giang), Tomb of President Ho Chi Minhs Farther (Dong Thap), Thap Muoi Stork Sanctuary (Dong Thap), Tam Nong Crane reserve (Dong Thap), Orchards (Dong Thap), Sam Mountain (An Giang), Tay An Pagoda (An Giang), Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau (An Giang), Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang), Ha Tien (Kien Giang), Dong Ho (Kien Giang), Tourism Garden (Vinh Long), Ba Om Pond (Tra Vinh), Ba Dong beach (Tra Vinh), Doi Pagoda (Soc Trang), U Minh Forest (Ca Mau), Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary (Bac Lieu)
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    Thursday, June 22, 2017

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    My Son

    My Son Site lies in a valley located approximately 10km west of Tra Kieu, 70km south west of Danang. It features several temples, among which is the largest temple of the Champa Kingdom, and more than 70 structures of different architectural styles. They were built of brick and stone between the 7th and the 14th centuries. My Son has been compared with other famous sites of Southeast Asia such as Angkor, Borobudur, and Pagan.

    The main temples are devoted to India Gods, like Shiva, who were the protectors of the Cham Kings. People also worship the spirit of Bhadresvara, who founded the first dynasty of Emperors of the Amavarati region. Along with Hoi An, My Son have been declared by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

    Some places of interest: Cham Towers, Chien Dan Tower, and Tra Kieu Citadel.



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    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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    Hoi An

    Located 30km south of Danang by the Thu Bon River, the tow was know as Faifo to early Western merchants. It was a major trading centre in Southeast Asia between the 16th and 17th centuries (later supplanted by Danang), welcoming Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and merchant vessels from the Far East.

    In the town, several streets have been kept relatively intact. All the houses were made of wood, and decorated with horizontal lacquered boards and vertical parallel panels engraved with ornamental designs. Hoi An has been recognized by UNESCO as a world Cultural Heritage Site

    Some places of interest: old streets and pagodas, Cua Dai Beach.

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    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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    Hue

    Vietnams ancient imperial capital has been recently recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Hue is famous for its imperial architectural treasures that include the royal citadel, palaces, tombs, pagodas and shrines, all located in astonishing natural landscapes on both sides of the Huong River.

    From Hue, tourists can take sightseeing tours to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the underground tunnels of Vinh Moc located at the 17th parallel, among other historical sites

    Some places of interest: Hue Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, Ho Chen Temple, Perfume River, seven Royal Tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, Lang Co Fishing Village.

    Thien Mu Pagoda
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    Monday, June 19, 2017

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    Hai Phong

    Located 102km from Hanoi, Haiphong is the second biggest port of Vietnam. It is another industrial and commercial hub in the north after Hanoi. From Haiphong, tourists can take a boat trip to the islands of Cat Ba or to Halong Bay.



    Some places of interest:

    Do Son Beach, Du Hang Pagoda, Hang Kenh Communal House. Cat Ba: Cat Co Beach, Cat Ba Island and National Park.

    Cat Ba:

    Cat Ba Archipelago is a very popular tourist area, 80km from Haiphong. The archipelago includes 366 islets offering many beautiful beaches and unusually shaped grottoes. Cat Ba Island is the largest island of the archipelago. Tourists can explore primeval forests and grottoes or just relax on the beach.




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    Sunday, June 18, 2017

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    Ha Long Bay

    Listed bye UNESCO as a World Heritage, the bay is one of the most magnificent places of interest in Vietnam. Belonging to Quang Ninh Province, approximately 180km from Hanoi, it covers an area of 1,5000 sq km with thousands of islands and Grottoes rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. One can spend a day trip on a boat contemplating this enchanting landscape and swimming in the sea. In the year 2000, Halong Bay has been recognized as a World Heritage for the second time for its geological value.


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    Saturday, June 17, 2017

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    Hanoi and Around

    Hanoi is the capital the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as well as the cultural, political, economic and commercial centre of the whole country. The city was first named Thang Long (*) by King Ly Thai To in 1010. Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam ever since, except for one short period of time.
    Hanoi still preserves almost 600 pagodas and temples, as well as numerous busy streets with an old architecture. So, despite the addition of very modern buildings, the city keeps its poetical features, with streets lined with long rows of secular trees, large parks covering dozens of hectares and numerous lakes.

    In Hanoi, tourists can visit Ho Chi Minhs Mausoleum, One-Pillar Pagoda, Co Loa Citadel, Temple of Literature-Quoc Tu Giam (the first university in Vietnam), Quan Su Pagoda (Ambassadors Pagoda) considered as the official center of Buddhism, Thong Nhat Park and Thu Le Park, Hoan Kiem Lake and West Lake. Tourists can also make themselves acquainted with Vietnamese culture by visiting History Museum, Revolutionary Museum, Army Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts. Tourists can also visit some other interesting places close to Hanoi: Thay Pagoda and Tay Phuong Pagoda located in Ha Tay Province as well as Tam Coc Bich Dong in Ninh Binh Province, and so much more.
    Some places of interest around Hanoi



  • Ha Tay: Huong, Thay, and Tay Phuong Pagodas, as well as Dong Mo Golf Course



  • Phu Tho: Hung Temple, Ao Chau Pond



  • Vinh Phuc: Tam Dao Resort, Dai Lai Lake



  • Bac Ninh: Dau Pagoda, Dinh Bang Communal House, and Tho Ha Ceramic Village



  • Bac Giang: Suoi Mo Waterfall, Khuon Than Tourist Area.



  • Hung Yen: Hien Ancient Street



  • Hai Duong: Con Son Historical Area, Kiep Bac Temple



  • Ha Nam: Ngu Dong Son Grottoes, Ba Danh Pagoda, Long Doi Pagoda



  • Nam Dinh: Pho Minh Temples, Phu Day Relics, Tran Kings Temple



  • Thai Binh: Keo Pagoda, Bach Thuan Garden, Dong Chau Beach



  • Ninh Binh: Tam Coc Bich Dong, Phat Diem Church, Dinh Le Temples



  • Hoa Binh : Mail Chau valley, Kim Boi Hot Springs


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    Friday, June 16, 2017

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    FINE ARTS & HANDICRAFTS

    Fine arts
    Dong Ho painting: Annually, the Ho villages population makes paintings for the New Year. This type of folk painting reflects the populations utmost wishes for peace, happiness and prosperity.
    Silk paintings: For this sophisticated style of painting, silk is used as a canvas. Paint or natural ink is used for drawing.


    Lacquerware painting: even though lacquer was used a long time before, it became part of the fine arts as a painting discipline in Vietnam at the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to talented artists. It is still very popular today.
    Ceramics: Different regions have various kinds of ceramics. The traditional ceramics come from Bat Trang, a village outside of Hanoi. The quality and artistry of the handmade drawings are superb.
    Handicraft
    Vietnamese art and craft articles have been displayed in many international fairs. Articles made of lacquer, rattan, bamboo, and palm, are quite popular. Vietnamese are also experts in making articles out of wood, animal hide and horns, tortoise and oyster shells. Other items such as embroidered articles, objects inlaid with mother-of-pearl, ceramics, gold and silver jewels, and paintings are also very popular. These can be purchased in shops or enterprises.
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    Thursday, June 15, 2017

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    New beach in Binh Thuan

    New beach in Binh Thuan super beautiful destinations, super happy New Year holiday!

    Saigon is just 3 hours drive, color beach My Son, super happy camper models and an array of outdoor activities suitable for your group, this is definitely a great place for New Year holiday forthcoming.



    Recently, there seems to Binh Thuan has become one of the ideal destinations for infinity anyone fascinated cruise, when here constantly open beaches, amusement parks extremely attractive new, novelty, and especially with the trend of the young.

    Remember a few months ago, Lagi in Binh Thuan with beach-style picnic, camping here first named Coco Beachcamp. And recently at the American Son has launched a new beach, ultra wide and no less strangely named Son My Beach, Ham Tan District, Binh Thuan

    From the City, you only take about 3 hours to reach the town of Son My, Binh Thuan. Lie on the side of the coastal road, Son My Beach are separated almost completely with a beautiful land. Even on the run in, you will have walked the ramp, and from there you can watch the overarching romantic beaches that he was going towards, with a blue sea color and form lasting hug bow, the above is a fine white sand, interspersed with pine forests, coconut. Side are the colorful wooden houses that you are going to go there to rest.

    Since this is a completely new beach, had not even been officially opened should still pretty crowded on weekdays. But on the contrary, I feel this is the point or its main and for those who want to find a beautiful place to rest, relax and find a private space, obviously, with sea, sun and wind like present.

    My Son Beach is also a go-style beach camping, outdoor picnic huts are built on a white sand beach at the end of the beach. It features more than 20 tents of various kinds from small to big, from personal to collective price from 75k 150k / person. An extremely reasonable price and is equivalent to the nearby area. This is also a form of marine tourism is currently a lot of young people love so save a lot of costs, but also can close, enjoy nature, sun and wind around its maritime domain.

    There are about 20 tents, you can rent or bring your tent and pay additional fees section.
    You can find yourself with very relaxing sitting corner like this, campground was built right on the white sand beaches and the ocean front straight.

    However, the US special Son Beach that is outside the tent like the other, it also has a lovely wooden suites are designed to look overseas beaches, suitable for those who do not like sleeping tent, there are sun and wind during the days muggy coastal region.
    Here, the room is designed as a miniature villa. Each apartment has a different color, representing the country with the flag is hung vertically on the wall of the door. The interior is full of form, with air conditioning, fan, TV, mini fridge, hairdryer, even the bathroom is extremely clean and tidy beyond imagination.

    How do you feel ? A wooden hut next to the beach with bright colors like this ? Each apartment has a different color to represent each country. Walkway leading to the lovely wooden room. Do you like this pink room?

    In a lovely house like this, you can comfortably hang fully enjoy their vacation in. The hot muggy day or rain nor afraid. Also the design of these rooms are straight out to sea and only about 20 30 meters only, so virtually from dawn to dusk, when the room is flooded with light and cool wind.

    Office with two single beds for two people. Inside is a full bathroom, tidy and extremely clean. At this point, the course must take the time to take pictures, right?

    Even the midday sun on top of the head, you would not need to turn on air conditioning to do. Just open the windows, put a chair in front of the wind and sat there, watching the sea, in front of every house has a small garden to vine makes you feel comfortable and absolutely relaxed . The rooms here have prices ranging from 450k 800k / room, depending on room for 1 person or 4 people will have different deviations.

    Open every door and put a chair sitting there, you can enjoy all the great emotions of a serene waters like this. From the room you can look at the whole beach scene. In front of each house was a little garden green. You absolutely can find countless corners to sit and relax other lying around here.

    However there is a point deducted by the beach is still relatively new, so everything here is still in the process of finalizing. Beach not yet have many fun activities, outside campfire, barbecue on the 7th day, Sunday weekend. Known for more than 1 month, the American Son Beach will complete with lovely wooden room and started the myriad of outdoor activities such as kayaking, jetski, pull buoys and floats bananas,


    More than a month, it will be a beach with all the fun games for you to enjoy the experience and thrills on the water. Special restaurant of the beach, where you can find a lot of fresh seafood dishes here. Ceiling side of the restaurant has a special staircase but when climbing you can sit watching the entire space of the Son My great.

    But when climbing you can sit watching the entire space of the Son wonderful sizable My.aMot notes for you before you decide to carry the bag on the road that, the beach-style camping and picnic as this will only suitable for those who have fun, hobby and really want to get close to nature. Because these are almost secluded beach with everything around. No houses, no urban noise, no market, supermarket or even the business center and even less. So the main goal is that you need to get the experience, a place for himself and his friends, families can gather for fun activities simple and close to nature.

    So if youre looking to a crowded beach, full of bars, shops, coffee or shuffle around like Nha Trang, Vung Tau and Da Nang, it is necessary to think carefully before leaving. And if you want to go, please find yourself a few companions to share the experience a more enjoyable way.
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    Jam roses in Dalat

    Jam rose is delicious favorite of many girls. Only the names in the list of Dalat jams recent years, but with names reminiscent of flower symbol of love, the same shape, color, strange, jam rose is consistently ranked in the top of the specialties should buy as a gift.




    Called jam jams commission but this is not made from the commission which made radio Hibiscus results (pink flowers). In folklore, Northerners call this fruit is red artichokes and Southerners often called bup vinegar. Radio Hibiscus fruit has many other names such ephemeral flowers, fruit vinegar, sour fruit. Notable features of the commission is jam-flavored crunchy, sour and totally natural red.But in fact it is made from persimmon flowers, commonly known in folk with sour fruit name.


    Dalat is a huge Hibiscus flower growing areas of the country with natural advantages in favor. About 15 years ago, the first seed company Hibiscus Herbal taken to Dalat then only about 10 years later, the station was popular fruit very wide in the southern provinces. Jam whereby commission also become a typical specialties for romantic Da Lat was very much loved as a gift purchased each player the opportunity to visit Dalat.

    Jam commission can use to decorate cakes, decorating drinks, food and ice cream or fruit juice mixed with Hibiscus to create unique delicacies.

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    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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    Traditional festivals

    Festivals
    Participating in Vietnamese festivals is the best way to experience the culture and tradition of the country. These festivals are an expression of a truly distinct culture accessible and close to all. The following dates are all based on the Vietnamese lunar calendar.

    The 1st lunar month :



  • 1st day: Traditional New Year (often falls between late January and early February).



  • 4th-5th day: Traditional wrestling in Lieu Doi Village, in Ha Nam Province.



  • 5th day: Dong Da Victory Festival in memory of King Quang Trung who defeated Chinese invaders (Hanoi)



  • 6th day: Co Loa Festival in memory of King An Duong Vuong who built the oyster-shell-shaped citadel in Dong Anh, Hanoi.



  • 12th day: Cau Ngu Festival in Huong Hai Commune, in Thua Thien Hue Province.



  • 13th day: Lim Folk Song Festival in Bac Ninh Province


  • The 2nd lunar month :


  • 6th day: Dong Nhan Temple Festival in memory of two heroines, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi (Hanoi).



  • 10th day: Chu Dong Tu Temple festival (Hung Yen Province) in memory of Saint Chu Dong Tu and his two wives, who cured people and developed the agriculture.



  • 15th day: Ba Dens Festival in Tay Ninh.



  • 19th day: Quan The Am festival, a Buddhist festival celebrating the birth anniversary of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Danang).


  • The 3rd lunar month : 



  • 6th day: Tay Phuong Pagoda Pilgrimage (Ha Tay Province).



  • 7th day: Thay Pagoda Pilgrimage (Ha Tay Province).



  • 8th day: Phu Day Festival in memory of Princess Lieu Hanh one of the four Immortal persons in the souls of Vietnamese (Nam Dinh).



  • 8th to 10th day: Truong Yen Festival in several temples of Ninh Binh Province.



  • 10th day: Hung Kings Festival in memory of the first kings of Vietnam (Phu Tho).



  • 20th to 23rd day: Po Nagar Festival in Nha Trang, in Khanh Hoa Province



  • 23rd day: Le Mat Village Festival in Gia Lam (Hanoi).


  • Spring Festival :



  • From 1st to the 3rd lunar month: Perfume Pagoda (Chua Huong) Pilgrimage Festival (Ha Tay Province)



  • From the 1st to the 3rd lunar month: Yen Tu Festival, in Quang Ninh Province 



  • 2nd lunar month: Hon Chen Temple Festival (Hue) dedicated to Thien Y Ana Thanh Mau.



  • 2nd or 3rd lunar month: Elephant Race Festival in Buon Don, in Dak Lak Province.


  • The 4th lunar month :


  • 8th day: Giong Festival, in memory of the mythical hero of Giong village (Gia Lam, Hanoi)



  • 10th day: Trang temple Festival, in Haiphong.



  • 24th to 17th day: Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival on Sam Mountain, in An Giang Province The 7th lunar month



  • 1st day: (according to the Cham calendar) Kate Festival celebrated by the Cham in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan Province.



  • 30th day: Le Van Duyet Festival in Ho Chi Minh City.


  • The 8th lunar month :



  • 15th day: Mid-Autumn Festival.



  • 16th to 20th day: Festival in Kiep Bac in memory of national hero Tran Hung Dao in Hai Duong Province



  • 16th to 20th day: Festival held in Con Son in memory of Nguyen Trai, also a national hero (Hai Duong Province)



  • 20th day: Tran Temple Festival in memory of the Tran Kings and national hero General Tran Hung Dao (Nam Dinh Province)



  • 22nd day: Lam Kinh Festival in Thanh Hoa Province.


  • The 9th lunar month :


  • 13th day: Keo Pagoda Pilgrimage in Thai Binh Province.


  • The 10th lunar month :


  • 15th day: Lantern Festival celebrates by the Khmer population in the south-west of Vietnam, in honour of the moon in Soc Trang Province.


  • The 11th lunar month :



  • 28th day: Nguyen Binh Khiem Festival, in Haiphong


  • The 12th lunar month :



  • 15th day: Ca Ong Festival in Khanh Hoa Province



  • 26th to 27th day: Dau Festival in Ha Tay Province
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    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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    TRADITIONAL ARTS

    Cheo (popular operetta)

    Cheo, or popular operetta, originates from the Red River Delta. The most typical role of the operetta is clown in which the clowns make the audience burst of laughter with their tear running down.



    Tuong (classical opera)

    Tuong started in the 17th century and became very popular in the 18th century. Tuong stages royally with imaginative characters and it is more commonly performed in the Central and Southern provinces.

    Cailuong (reformed opera)

    In this performance, the characters thoughts are often expressed in songs. Ca Cai Luong means that singing plays an important role in the performance. Cai Luong is commonly performed in the Mekong River Delta.

    Water puppet show

    This form of art originates from rural festivals in Vietnam. The ponds and lakes in villages become lively stages for water puppet shows. All puppets are handled by hand and a live musical band accompanies their movements on the water.

    Quan Ho Folk Songs

    Quan Ho folk songs originate from the province of Bac Ninh, north of Hanoi, where traditional village festivals are held every year. These songs are performed by groups of young men and women, who sing alternately in outdoors settings, such as the yard of a communal house, a pagoda on a hill, or a rowboat.

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    Monday, June 12, 2017

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    Vietnam History


    Vietnams history can be divided into three main periods:



  • Northern Kingdoms domination (208 BC-939 AD): this period lasted 1,000 years and was fiercest period  in Vietnams history.



  • National construction and struggle for independence (939-1945): this period was a brilliant era. It was marked by many glorious victory  against the aggressors



  • French, American war, National independence and socialism (1945 until nowadays): the revolution succeeded in August 1945 under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh and  Vietnamese Communist Party. The country proclaimed its independence on September 2, a date that later became Vietnams National Day. During the following 30 years, Vietnamese  continued to resist and protect their independence. Vietnam has been unified since the great victory over the Americans in spring 1975. The Socialist Republic of the Vietnam was proclaimed




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    Sunday, June 11, 2017

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    ECONOMY

    Vietnam is basically an agricultural country. Rice is the main crop, but additional crops include potato, manioc, and soybean. From 1980 to 1985, the Vietnamese economy experienced a serious crisis. To face this situation, the Sixth Vietnamese Communist Party Congress (1986) defined a renovation " Doi Moi" which marked an historical turning point in developing process of the country.
    After more than 15 years of economic reform, Vietnam has obtained major successes and significant development. The economical structure experienced a lot of changes. The rate of the economic growth has increased and several essential standards have been reached. The young industry is prospering. Tourism also develop quickly take benefit  from  the countrys huge potential.

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    Saturday, June 10, 2017

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    Vietnam Highlights

    Geography

    Vietnam is among the most beautiful counties in Asia. It lies between China , Laos, Cambodia, and Pacific Ocean. Vietnams territory stretches from Lung Cu Village (Ha Giang Province) in the north to Rach Tau Village (Ca Mau Province) in the south. The countrys total length is 1,650km from the northernmost point to the southernmost. Besides, it has thousands of offshore islands The biggest is the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagos. Vietnams mainland covers 329,241 sq km. Its coastline is about 3,260km meanwhile inland borderline stretches over 4,510km.


    Climate

    Vietnam lies in the East Asian monsoon zone and its tropical climate is determined by two monsoons. The rainy season lasts from May to October and the dry season lasts from November to April. During the winter The average temperature in the north is around 13°C to 17°C with occasional drizzling rains , and it ranges from 27 C to 34 C during the summer. In the south of Vietnam, the climate undergoes less variation with an average annual temperature of about 27°C in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Topography

    Three quarters of Vietnams territory is mountains. It has two major deltas (The Red River Delta and the Mekong Delta), and four distinctive mountainous zones with unique features.

    People

    The Vietnamese population is 82 million (according to 2004 census) and in that there are 54 ethnic groups. The largest group is the Viet, or King, accounting for 90% of the whole population. They generally concentrate in the lowlands, while other minorities live in the highlands and the mountains.

    Religion

    Buddhism is biggest belief. Besides, catholic, Caodai Sect, the Hoa Hao Sect, and Islam coexist . Some of the Catholic churches and Buddhist pagodas is very interested .
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    Friday, June 9, 2017

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    Bia Hoi experience in Hanoi

    Even though drinking beer seems to be reserved only for men in Vietnam, I have ventured out to local bia hoi outlets to enjoy good and inexpensive beer (4 tall glasses for less than US$1) and to watch the world go by


    Bia hoi is widely available in small eateries and other dives off a busy road throughout the country. Hanoi has hundreds of bia hoi places to choose from.

    As a foreigner, you might get a few stares at first when you sit down on the tiny stool next to the tiny table in this tiny joint but it's all worth it. Bia hoi haunts get packed in the evening as the locals congregate to drink and talk.

    On a warm Hanoi summer day, a fresh cold glass of beer is a welcomed respite from the sweltering heat. I carefully watch the owner turn the cork on a large keg. Out of a long rubber tube comes out a light, golden lager beer poured directly into tall glasses. Local micro-breweries make bia hoi which is bought by bia hoi retailers and transported in large 100 liter barrels. Some large bia hoi outlets can sell up to 15 of the 100 liter barrels a day and will often resell smaller kegs to street stalls.

    Unlike bottled beer, bia hoi is definitely fresh as no preservatives are added so it always has to be consumed immediately and is best when served early in the day ' as close to when it has been made as possible. If you ever feel like having beer for breakfast! As I prefer coffee for breakfast, I do not dare to try it out first thing in the morning, preferring to wait until the sun sets to try out this Vietnamese concoction. My first sip of bia hoi goes down well as the taste is quite light, refreshing, mildly carbonated with no lingering after-taste. Very fresh and very refreshing as well.

    Not only can you savour locally-brewed beer but you can also nibble on some excellent Vietnamese food for lunch or dinner. Popular drinking snacks include peanuts, grilled meat, stir-fried vegetables and also certain exotic meat for the real adventurous palate.
    I get amused glances from the local patrons, some of them obviously quite enlightened by the local brew. If you ever feel like toasting with the Vietnamese, you should learn the words Mot tram phan tram. This expression means 100% and will require you to down your bia hoi in one gulp.

    As large billboards promoting brand-name beers pop up around Hanoi and bottled beer become the norm, classic bia hoi joint may become part to the past. Like its counterparts in Prague or Dublin, bia hoi is a local tradition worth preserving.

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    Thursday, June 8, 2017

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    Hanoi

    The neon signs that light up the maze of streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter gives way to young faces racing on their motorbikes around Hoan Kiem Lake, the core and heartbeat of the city. In the skyline, luxurious high-rises are emerging at a fast pace.


    This is the new Hanoi today, eager to come out and show its colours and embrace the modern world. Yet, I get smitten by the old Hanoi, still standing graceful, with its tree-shaded boulevards, numerous lakes and historical monuments that have stood the test of time. Vietnam’s capital is struggling to find a balance between tradition and modernity.

    Hanoi is a city for strolling. As I walk down the streets, I can’t help but marvel at the architecture, an ensemble of Hanoi’s tumultuous history, from Chinese-influenced temples to French colonial villas to Soviet-era structures to the present modern buildings. On the northern side of the Hoan Kiem Lake is the Old Quarter with its narrow streets named for the major commodity produced in the street.

    Hang Non (Conical Hat street) was the home for makers of the palm-leaf hat, a symbol of Vietnam.
    Hang Thiec means Tin Goods street. To the south of the lake is the old French Quarter with its sumptuous early 20th century white villas. Willowy shady trees form a protective shading around Hoan Kiem lake, creating a welcome oasis from the incessant buzz and motorbike honking roaring around town.

    According to a legend, it was in this lake that the 15th century emperor, Le Loi, received a magic sword from Heaven which he used to fight off the Chinese occupiers. Hoan Kiem means Restored Sword referring to the moment when a golden turtle rose up and took the sword to return it to its rightful owner. Today, giant turtles still live in the lake and I happened to spot one on the day of my visit.
    Besides being a spot to relax, Hoan Kiem lake is place where local Hanoians exercise at the crack of dawn. I did catch Vietnamese people in their pyjamas walking around the lake, bending, twisting, flexing their torsos, kicking in the air. It is an amazing sight to see such activity early in the morning. By 7am, the sun is shining brightly and the morning athletes are off to eat their bowl of beef noodle soup and get ready to do their daily tasks.

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    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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    The Land of Traditional Festivals

    The Vietnamese calendar contains many traditional festivals, some of which can be traced back several thousand years. Some festivals are being revived after years of neglect, and others have been celebrated all along.


    The traditional festivals still hearken back to the days of hardship, and tell the tales of the people's struggles against unforgiving weather, uncertain rainfalls and other natural phenomena linked to farming.

    Some festivals are celebrated nationwide, like Tet and the Mid Autumn Festival; others are highly specialized and are only celebrated in one village, or cluster of villages, in a certain province.

    The use of Communal houses are usually incorporated into these festivities, and singing and traditional dances are performed. Each festival consists of ritual and fun; the first bowing to tradition, and the second following everyone's need to relax and enjoy themselves.

    In the Red River Delta, where Vietnamese culture began, most festivals here take place in Spring and Autumn, coinciding with the planting of new crops and harvests of mature ones. Many of these festivals include the use of water, a life giving force necessary for people who rely on rice for food, and the festivities themselves are performed in the hope the new year will be bountiful.

    The largest and most important of the Spring festivals is Tet, the Lunar New Year, where everyone gets a year older and when all debts and scores are settled. It stops practically everything in Vietnam at this time, especially during the preparation and the three main days where visits are paid to family, teachers and friends.

    Common festivals in Spring time include the Dong Ky firecracker festival, the Ha Loi Festival (that honors the two Trung sisters) The Huong Pagoda festival, in Ha Tay province.

    The summer months are quiet, but the festivals begin to increase as Autumn approaches. The Mid Autumn Festival is the largest one. It's also a big holiday for children, who eat special cakes and paper lanterns lit up with candles.

    Other festivals include the Kiep Bac Temple Festival, in honor of General Tran Quoc Tuan who defeated the Mongol invaders and was made a saint.

    The end of the Lunar New Year is quiet when it comes to festivals, because the country is gearing up for Tet. Several still take place however, including the Trung Do festival, that commemorates the rebellion leader, Ly Bon. Games of 'phet' are enjoyed during this festival, held in the province of Ha Tay.

    CALENDAR OF MOST POPULAR FESTIVALS

    JANUARY

    THE LIM FESTIVAL (Tu Son district, Bac Ninh province).
    Held each year from the 13th to l5th of January to honour Hieu Trung Hoa, the founding father of the "Quan Ho" Vietnamese singing custom that consists of of male and female singing teams. These groups perform during this festival, and numerous ceremonies, including a weaving contest and wrestling contests take place.

    FEBRUARY

    THE DONG NHAN FESTIVAL (Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi)
    The two Trung sisters are honored between the 3rd to 6th of February with a festival that involves the bringing of water to bathe their statues and reclothe them. This takes place each year.

    HUONG PAGODA FESTIVAL (My Duc district, Ha Tay province)
    This pagoda worships the Bodhisatva and from January until the end of the Spring season, religious devotees take part in ceremonies and pay visits to beauty spots near the pagoda.

    MARCH

    FESTIVAL OF HOA LU TEMPLE (Ninh Binh province)
    This festival is held between the 8th and the 10th of the Third Lunar Month, to commemorate the Kings who both reunified their country and defeated foreign invaders. The activities include presenting the joss-sticks at the pagoda, a re enacted battle with red flags, and a display of Chinese character figures.

    GIONG FESTIVAL (Gia Lam district, Hanoi)
    The Festival is held on April 9, to commemorate the Giong Genius, a here of legendary status that defeated An invaders. It includes a solemn procession of the Commander's Flag and a simulated battle against the An forces.

    MAY

    WHALE FESTIVAL IN NHA TRANG (Khanh Hoa Province)
    In Nha Trang, a a large community of fishermen worship the whale for its tranquil and relaxed nature, believing it to be beneficial to their health and safety when storms or typhoons hit the central coast. The festival lasts for two days and involves a procession from the Whale Temple to the sea, where foods (never seafoods) are offered to the Whale God.

    AUGUST

    THE MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL
    This Fesival falls on the15th day of the seventh lunar month to remember all those dead relatives. The Mid Autumn festival is when lost souls are given food and new clothes.

    KIEP BAC FESTIVAL (Hung Dao Commune in the Northern province of Hai Duong)
    The festival lasts from the 15th to the 20th day of the eighth lunar month. Numerous traditional games and festivities are performed to honor General Tran Quoc Tuan, the man who helped defeat the Mongol invaders (on three separate occasions).

    SEPTEMBER

    THE KEO PAGODA FESTIVAL (Giao Thuy, Nam Ha province)
    This Festival is held between the 12th and 15th of the Lunar month of September and commemorates Khong Lo, a Buddhist monk. He possessed several supernatural powers that included the ability to harness rivers, convert marshes to dry land, and he was able to destroy devils that were persecuting farmers and fishermen.

    OCTOBER

    NGO BOAT RACES (Soc Trang, Hau Giang province)
    This Festival is held on October 15, and is part of the Moon worshipping ceremony of the Khmers who live in the Mekong Delta. A boat race takes place, using large wooden 'Ngo" boats, specially shaped ones that are curved at both ends.

    DECEMBER

    TET THE LUNAR NEW YEAR
    Tet, the Lunar New Year, falls on the first day of January of the lunar calendar, and is a different date each year when converted to the Western, or solar, calendar. For Vietnamese it's the most important holiday of the year, and staying with family is important at this time, as is visiting family graves. People's homes get cleaned and are painted with fresh paint, and get decorated with branches of peach blossom and bright orange kumquat trees.
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    Unique Vietnamese Foods

    Vietnamese food is quite unlike any other food in Southeast Asia. It's even quite different from China. Overall it's a blend of Malay, Indian, French and influences and incorporates baguettes and pate from France; and curries and chilies from India.


    Recently voted by health experts as the world's healthiest food, Vietnamese cuisine mixes grilled meats, fresh vegetables, cold noodles, and all kinds of seafood dishes spiced with tamarind and chili.

    Available at all hours of the day, Vietnamese food can be eaten as snacks, in street side stalls, in budget restaurants, and in hotels. In many cases only the price is the difference because often the tastiest foods come from the most basic kitchens.

    As you travel up or down the country, you will notice sharp differences in both main dishes and snacks eaten by locals. Its one of the joys of traveling in the country, and it's a good idea to ask your guide to point out interesting things to eat.

    THE NORTH

    With the weather so cold for so much of the year, soups play a large part in Northern cuisine. Pho, Vietnam's 'chicken soup,' is made with white vermicelli noodles, sliced beef or chicken, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, hot broth and mint leaves that is served piping hot and at all hours of the day. Pho stalls can be found all over Hanoi (and Hanoi style Pho can be found all over Vietnam, catering to homesick Hanoians) and a bowl can cost between 5,000 and 10,000 dong, depending on the location.

    Once the bowl is put in front of you, spice it up with bean sauce and chili sauce and squeeze in a few lime wedges; then dig in with a pair of chopsticks in one hand (to lift up the noodles to cool them off) and a spoon in the other (to lift the noodles to your mouth). Other soups include Chao, a kind of rice porridge, and it's often prescribed as a remedy for common colds.

    By far the favorite food in Hanoi is 'Bun Cha' grilled meat eaten at makeshift restaurants serving patrons on the street. It's a great way to fill up for just a few thousand dong, and when walking around the city it may be impossible to resist the smell.

    Bia Hoi is a Hanoi invention, and 'Bia' comes from the English word 'beer.' Its freshly brewed and served in plastic jugs; its cheap, and it's a great way to soak up Hanoi's ambience at night and you might even make some friends along the way.

    Hanoians may be a reserved bunch, but they are downright adventurous when it comes to exotic food: fried silk worms, cobra meat, dog meat among others are eaten by people in the capital to cure sickness, increase virility or just because it's the right season.

    THE CENTER

    Most of the food eaten in Central Vietnam has some link to the imperial kitchens of the Nguyen Emperors in Hue. Many of the spices, techniques and vegetables come straight from the tables of the emperors themselves.

    Imperial spring rolls are commonly eaten, as is Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef soup that is not for the faint hearted; you may need a bottle of water nearby to wash down the chili peppers.

    Perhaps the most famous is Banh Khoai, a pancake like food that is eaten with nuoc leo, a rich peanut sauce. The pancake includes eggs, shrimps and bean sprouts (much like Banh Xeo, in the south, discussed later)

    A popular snack is Banh Beo, tiny ceramic dishes with a boiled rice cake topped with pork bits and eaten with a spoon; Drop a small amount of fish sauce (Nuoc Man) on top and dig in.

    A lot of seafood is eaten here as well, and boiled crabs are a specialty.

    Perhaps the most exotic food eaten here is Com Hen, a cold rice dish flavored with juice from clams that live in the river near Hoi An. Other ingredients include white vermicelli noodles, chili and shrimp sauce. Its quite a difficult dish to prepare and is not for those who worry about healthy shellfish.


    THE SOUTH

    The South of Vietnam is considered to have the best food in the country, namely because Saigon, with its increasingly wealthy inhabitants, demand the highest quality vegetables fruits meats etc, and foreign foods (even American Fast Food giants KFC are here) are increasingly common from French to Mexican to Indian.

    With the lush Mekong Delta so close, the fruit is very fresh and durians, pineapple, mango and starfruit all come into play in dishes as they come into season.

    Banh Xeo is perhaps the most famous Southern Dish, like Banh Khoai, it too is a pancake, but the dish Banh Xeo is much larger, and uses more green beans, shrimps and coconut milk. It serves more than one person, and is dipped in nuoc mam, fish sauce, after being wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves.

    Freshly cooked spring rolls are famous in Saigon, but the most specialized are Goi Cuon, the fresh spring rolls combining sliced cold shrimp, mint leaves, cold vermicelli noodles, and rice paper that is dipped in nuoc mam.

    Some Southern exotics include Hot Vit Lon, or fertilized duck egg, that is eaten with a spoon and is usually available in markets and street stalls

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    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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    Subtle Cultural Differences in Vietnam’s Two River Deltas

    The two largest and longest rivers in Vietnam, the Red and the Mekong, are both rich in mythology and history. Not only do they help the country feed itself but both have served the country in its historical independence struggles.


    The people that have settled these rivers have done so at different time periods, and have faced different challenges and obstacles. These differences have shaped the structure of the villages here and the people’s mentality as well.

    The river deltas make fascinating trips when visiting Hanoi or Saigon because they are easily accessible by road or by boat and take travelers straight to the heart of rural life in Vietnam.

    THE RED RIVER

    The Red River is the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, and the river’s marshy flatlands are the place where Vietnamese culture was born more than 4,000 years ago. The Dong Son Bronze Age culture was the very beginning of this history, and the fantastically cast bronze drums (and their images of soaring cranes and stilt houses surrounding the sun) symbolized these peoples view of the world. The Bronze Age drums have been excavated and restored, and no have now become a historical symbol of modern Vietnam.

    The current capital city itself, Hanoi, is situated here and the very name means ‘the city within the bend of the river.’ Its an ancient city, almost 1,000 years old (it celebrates this birthday in 2010) and was founded by Ly Thai To who first named it ‘Thang Long,’ City of the Soaring Dragon,’ because he saw a huge dragon fly towards the heavens when he set foot at this site.

    The Delta formed by the Red River is not as fertile as the Mekong, and therefore has only two rice harvests per year. The villages here are far older, and have had to deal directly with fierce invasions from the Chinese, to the North.

    The very structure of these villages is inward looking because they are always ringed with a thick grove of bamboo, that acts as a natural fence to ward off intruders, wild animals, bandits, etc. Life is hard in these villages and strict hierarchy has developed to keep order, peace and progress in the right state.

    The Red river itself has strongly influenced the lives of northerners because of its annual flood season that frequently devastates farmer’s fields, villages and causes many deaths. The people here respect the river and it’s ferocious powers. Some have developed traditional crafts like pottery, papermaking, basketry, and lacquer ware products.

    During the wars against the French and the Americans, the sparse foliage of the Red River delta didn’t offer the kind of protection that Vietnamese forces needed to go about their resistance struggle in secret. Though the river and its tributaries provided a vital transport link to move supplies around during the wars and heavy bombing here resulted in heavy casualties.

    THE MEKONG RIVER

    The Mekong River flows for 4,000 kilometers from the steppes of Tibet through China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia before finally reaching southern Vietnam. When it leaves Cambodia the river splits into arms and becomes lazy and flat; with so many outlets flooding here isn’t as serious a problem as in the North.

    The Mekong river is historically known as the ‘Cuu Long,’ or the ‘River of Nine Dragons,’ for the nine separate branches that reach out to the South China Sea. Though several of these branches have silted up, the name remains because the number nine is lucky in Vietnamese culture.

    The Mekong was not settled until the 17th century. The first arrivals were a mixed group, some were criminals, and some were adventurous types looking for a new life. These Vietnamese settlers found the Delta area practically untouched by the native populated of Khmer people.
    It was the last place Vietnamese could settle on their southward expansion and they eagerly dug into the rich fertile soil and began to plant fruit orchards and rice fields.

    They also converted the tropical forests to rice growing areas and began to utilize canals to manage the flooding. With a steady stream of water all year round, the lack of typhoons, and the warm weather, the ‘pioneers’ in the Mekong were a relaxed group, who lived in open plan villages. These southerners are famous for their relaxed attitude and friendliness; this contrasts sharply with the slightly colder, more reserved attitudes towards outsiders of their northern cousins.

    Today the Delta serves as Vietnam’s largest rice bowl, and produces half the country’s rice crop in three harvests a year; agriculturally, this makes it one of the world’s most productive regions. The extra yearly harvest, and abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, also contributes to the more laid back lifes of the Delta inhabitants.

    In the wars of the 20th century, the Mekong served the Viet Minh (against the French) and Vietnamese soldiers (against the Americans) well because the intricate pattern of twisting canals and heavy foliage made it easy to hide, ambush and defeat the enemy. Both wars were definitely won by the tremendously courageous people, both men and women, who built tunnels into the earth to defeat the enemy. During both wars of independence the Mekong was the scene of fierce fighting and bombing, and despite the use of defoliants to clear away the dense jungle, the Vietnamese forces were victorious.

    Despite the subtle differences in personality, the people of the northern and southern deltas share the same common wet rice cultivation farming lifestyle, and both share a deep love for their country, the heroes that have preserved their independence, and the bright economic future they hope to enjoy.

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    Monday, June 5, 2017

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    Vietnam National Parks for nature lovers

    Not often visited by travelers, Vietnam's 10 national parks make a relaxing place to spend a few days; almost all offer some kind of accommodation (though sometimes rather basic) so paying a visit isn't that difficult.



    National Parks are scattered all over Vietnam, from the far north to the south; the first park was only established in 1962 so the concept of preserving forests is a new one. With deforestation a serious threat to the nation's biodiversity and natural landscapes, the government is planning to set aside more parks in the future.

    THE NORTH
    Hoang Lien Son Nature Preserve protects the highest mountain in Vietnam, Fansipan, and over 30 square kilometers of forest, southwest of the hill town of Sapa. About a third of the preserve's animal life are endangered, and though tigers are known to live here, they are very rare.

    Ba Be Lake, the largest natural lake in Vietnam at 7 kilometers long and up to one kilometer wide, gives this 50,000 hectare National Park its name. Its rarely visited outside the months of July and August (when its popular with Hanoians) so it's a good place to come if you want solitude, and to catch a glimpse of the rare monkeys that live here (though most of them live in the outer areas that are not easily accessible). Visitors can take a boat trip on the lake and stay overnight in a minority village.

    In the middle of Ha Long Bay is Cat Ba Island. The 15,000 hectare park designates both islands and coral reefs (some of the most northerly in the world) and can only be accessed by boat or on foot from Cat Ba town. Its an extremely popular place to stay while visiting this World Heritage area.

    Cuc Phuong National Park near Ninh Binh was the first national park set up in 1962. It protects the 'dry' Ha Long Bay, an area of limestone hills that are surrounded by rivers and beautiful rice fields. Its an easy day trip from Hanoi, and the birdwatching here is superb. Overnight stays are possible, too.

    THE CENTER
    Bach Ma National Park is situated 40 kilometers from Hue, and sits on the convergence of the southern tropical forests and the northern subtropical forests. Its incredibly lush and green here and the rainforest harbors 500 species of plants, with nearly 300 species of birds. Its currently being made into an ecotourism destination, and Bao Dai's former villas are being converted into a hotel.

    The National Park of Yok Don, in central Vietnam is quite difficult to visit. As one of the largest parks, with 60,000 hectares, its located not far from Buon Me Thuot (40 kilometers away). One whole side of the park borders Cambodia and the Serepok river. The Parks main attraction is the elephants, which can be hired for a trek along the preserve's boundary.

    The Hon Mun (Black Island) Ocean Preserve in Nha Trang Bay protects tropical coral reefs from over fishing and the collection of corals and shells. Popular with day trippers, the island is coming under increasing pressure as anchor damage and illegal fishing continues.

    THE SOUTH
    Cat Tien National Park is 150 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, on Highway 20. Its easily accessible on the way to Dalat, and the park has jungle cats and Javan Rhinoceros protected here (they inhabit areas that are off limits to visitors)

    Chu Mom Ray National Park is not open at the moment, though tourist facilities are in the works. Its situated 30 kilometers from Kon Tum, and the 50,000 hectares protect rare monkeys and other wildlife.

    Tam Nong Bird Sanctary is located near Cao Lanh in the Mekong Delta, west of My Tho. It has more than 130 species of birds here, and it's the redheaded cranes that draw most visitors. It's best to see these birds in the early morning, as they leave the park, and in the late afternoon, when they return from feeding

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