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Vietnam Open Tour News & Events


Moc Chau Plateau is attractive in spring

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When mentioning Tay Bac, people think about magnificent mountains, windy hills, immense terraced fields and ladies with tawny complexions in colorful brocade dresses with bamboo papooses on their backs.

Serene Moc Chau in the morning.
Serene Moc Chau in the morning.
Especially, visiting Tay Bac in spring, excursionists will surely be surprised by the picturesque landscapes and peaceful life and can not resist wallowing in nature.

For those who prefer a ‘smooth’ road and less tortuous, less perilous and less collapsed rocks, Moc Chau, a plateau of Son La Province, is suggested as a priority. People often say: dairy cow + green tea + white plum = Moc Chau. That is right. The terrain is endowed with many steppes and has fewer mountains than other highland regions of Tay Bac. Therefore, it is covered by the colorfulness of wild flowers and the greenness of grasslands as the climate is warmer and more comfortable and does not suffer severe chills as the winter of Tay Bac.

Loong Luong Village is nestled outside and Ta Phinh Village lies inside. All appear in tourists’ eyes with valleys overwhelmed by the endless whiteness of plum flowers, and winding roads to the village entice tourists to step into the village as the legendary garden. Amidst limitless whiteness it is studded with radiant smiles of children who are striking with sunburned skin and weird costumes. They stroll in lands, in forests, in gardens, and are innocent like wild grass. With them, trees are friends.

Stepping for some kilometers on the winding roads strewed with plum flowers, tourists can get lost in the boundless tea valleys, growing in lines from the foot to the peak of the hills. Teas here are not too seasoned and large like Ta Xua tea, a very special type of tea in Tay Bac, but Moc Chau’s teas are short and green.

In the limitless greenness, kids run and play, making the land lively and full of breathes of life.

The daily life there is so simple, peaceful as well as colorful. Stilt houses lie obediently in valleys, halfway up mountains. The fronts of the houses are always decorated with wild sunflower and wild peach and many wild unknown flowers. Wandering around the villages, tourists sometimes can see pigs running around. They are black and much smaller than pigs people often raise on farms, and most of them wear wooden necklaces which can protect them from banging their heads into mountain walls.

Adults go to farms far way, children stay at home and play in the vast space of the mountains and forests and young couples in colorful costumes decorated with many necklaces and bracelets hang out in love markets.

Under the sunset, tourists can catch some couples seated side by side on mountaintops and looking down over the endless valleys. They keep silent in order to let their souls connect, let their emotions stretch into nature. The silence falls into sleep with soft hugs and kisses.

That is Moc Chau, fresh and primitive, giving travelers a chance to escape the bustling and hustling urban life. Have you ever thought about a simple journey to nature to find stillness and balance for your soul after stresses of daily life? Pack a bag and go ahead.


Dinh Mountain - tranquil Buddhist hideaway

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Dinh Mountain, also known as Bong Lai (Heaven) Mountain, located just over 30 kilometers from the famous beach town of Vung Tau and about 90 kilometers from HCMC, is suggested as an ideal venue for those who love stillness, peace and nature. Many people call it Buddhist Mountain as there are a lot of pagodas.

 A peaceful path leading to Dinh Mountain in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
The foot of the mountain, situated along National Highway 51 in Kim Dinh Ward of Ba Ria Town, is covered in a dense forest of lush green foliage and rugged outcrops. The path leading to the mountain is lined with many kinds of trees. There are not many houses but scattered around are Buddhist pagodas, towers and temples, a peaceful change of pace from the noisy cities.

A large bodhisattva statue on the peak will be the first impression with its whiteness and solemn features. While it is possible to take a motorbike or car up to the peak, hiking is a great option, allowing for more time to take in the wild scenery, listen to the sounds of nature and take photos.

Along the way to conquer the peak 500 meters above sea level, visitors can explore the hidden beauty of Da (Rock) and Tien (Fairy) creeks which originate from the top of the mountain. Visitors can also take a swim to release the tiredness and sweat after trekking for a while. Nearby, smooth, flat rocks make for a pleasant area to relax after splashing in the cool water.

The mountain also boasts many mysterious caves and several Buddhist monks call the mountain home because of the great solitude. While sitting in the shade of the mountain’s ancient trees, visitors can feel a tranquil calm wash over them. The soft ringing of bells from distant Buddhist pagodas, the chirping of birds and the babbling of brooks are a treat for the senses and a great escape from the chaos of daily life.

Trekkers can also stop by many pagodas to discover ancient and contemporary architecture or make prayers for good luck and good health. After conquering the mountain, tourists can visit Phu Hai Fishing Village to learn more about the daily life of the locals.

Vung Tau Beach, about 30 kilometers from the mountain, is a must see destination for playing in the cool, blue waves and flying kites under the sunset.


Festivals in the first month of the lunar new year

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In Vietnamese folk culture, people often say ‘Thang gieng la thang an choi (The first lunar month is the month to play and enjoy the festive time).

 A bustling atmosphere of people rowing on the Yen Stream heading to the Huong Pagoda Festival.

Therefore, this month, everywhere around the country is animated with diverse traditional cultural festivities typical of a nation for a long time living in a civilization of water rice, Vietnamese people believe that when spring comes, the leisure of the harvest time also comes.

So people long ago chose the first days of the year to gather with family, worship their ancestors and the gods of heaven and earth and go on a pilgrimage to the pagodas to pray for happiness, prosperity and luck for the whole year.

Traditional festivals bloom during this most beautiful season of the year, giving Vietnamese the chance to return to the tradition and giving expats a chance to understand more about the culture and people.

* Huong Pagoda Festival

Last Friday, the Huong Pagoda Festival opened in Hanoi’s outskirt district of My Duc, attracting around 16,000 Buddhist pilgrims and tourists.

The Huong Pagoda Festival is considered the biggest and longest annual festival in Vietnam that lasts through three spring months and welcomes more than one million pilgrims and tourists each year. Nearly 200 high-quality boats have been added to the fleet of more than 4,000 boats to serve tourists during this year’s festival. While drifting on the river, tourists can enjoy traditional music shows.

The event also features exhibitions of Buddhist antiques and fine arts at the compound of the Thien Tru Pagoda as activities to mark the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.

Especially, a Buddhist Culture Week and a ceremony to float flower garlands and colored lanterns on the Yen Stream will be held during the festival. The festival runs until the end of March.

* Dong Tien Festival in Tuyen Quang

On Monday, in the warm atmosphere of spring, authorities and locals in Ham Yen District in northern Tuyen Quang Province opened the Dong Tien Festival with a hope for a better new year.

From 7 a.m., the roads to Dong Tien (Fairy Cave), a national landscape, were crowded with people wanting to explore the mysteries of the cave and the magnificence of the mountain, listen to folklore about fairies and join folk games. Visitors also had a chance to enjoy many ethnic artistic performances and experience indigenous specialties.

* Boat race festivals in Phu yen and Phan Thiet

Over the weekend, thousands of people flocked to O Loan Lagoon in Tuy An District and to Da Rang River in Tuy Hoa City in Phu Yen Province to join boat races with the participation of over 1,000 athletes with 31 boat teams. The festival not only brought visitors a joyful atmosphere but also presented the custom of praying for a good harvest for fishermen.

Last week, about 10,000 locals and tourists also gathered along the Ca Ty River for the traditional boat race in Phan Thiet City, shouting and cheering for 300 athletes who are local fishermen. The river, inherently silent and romantic, was animated with the shrieks of visitors, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

* Dong Da and Soc Temple festivals in Hanoi

The culturally rich capital boasts over 100 festivals. The Dong Da Festival on the fifth day of the first lunar month (February 18) commemorates the battle of Emperor Quang Trung against invaders of the Qing dynasty. The Co Loa Festival from the sixth to the sixteenth day of the first lunar month (from February 19 to March 1) at Co Loa Commune in Dong Anh District commemorates King An Duong Vuong who came to the throne in 257 BC.

The Soc Temple Festival on the seventh day of the first lunar month (February 20) commemorates Thanh Giong, one of the four immortal gods of Vietnamese folk culture. Trieu Khuc Village in Tan Trieu Commune in Thanh Tri District, well-known for its flat palm hat with strings, embroidery and weaving, holds its festival from the tenth to the twelfth day of the first lunar month (February 23 to 25) to commemorate national hero Phung Hung and honor the art of weaving.

* Lim Festival in Bac Ninh

The province has the Lim Festival, a famous folk music festival, from the 11th to the 13th day of the first lunar month.

* Gau Tao and Long Tong festivals in Lao Cai

This highland province has the Gau Tao Festival of the H’Mong ethnic people from the 3rd to the 5th day of the first lunar month, the Long Tong Festival of the Tay people in the rice fields near their village on the 5th or 15th day of the first lunar month, and the dancing festival of the Red Dao ethnic people on the first and second days of the new year.


Vietnam’s tourism to be advertised in Southeast Asia

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The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and over 20 leading tourism firms will organize three programs to market Vietnamese tourism in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia from February 28 to March 6.


Ha Long Bay, a world natural heritage recognised by the UNESCO.


The programs will take place in Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) on March 1, 3 and 5 to introduce Vietnam’s tourist sites, tourism products and great events in 2010.


These are part of a program named “Developing ASEAN tourism – ten nations – ten destinations” to connect cultural and spiritual values and improve mutual understanding among ASEAN countries.


Duong Mai Lan from Vietravel, the co-organiser of these programs, said that through these events, VNAT would focus on introducing world natural and cultural heritages, craft villages or tourism with traditional arts and cuisines of Vietnam in Southeast Asia.


These programs will attract over 100 companies, airlines, government agencies, and the media in each host country.


Last year Vietnam welcome 3.8 million foreign visitors. In the first month of 2010, over 400,000 foreign tourists visited the country, up by 20 percent year on year.


This year Vietnam aims to attract 4.2 million foreign tourists. The Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, are defined as potential markets this year. (Vietnamnet)

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