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Vietnam Open Tour News & Events

THURSDAY 15 APRIL, 2010 | RSS Feed

The capital city looks very romantic from above.

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Lang Ha street.









The West Lake.



Thanh Nien Road.



Long Bien Bridge.



Hanoi flagpole.



Hoan Kiem Lake.


Source: VNE 

Spiritual tourism area to be built in Quang Ninh

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Known as Sen Viet (Vietnamese lotus), the area will be located on Quang Ninh’s sacred land of Yen Tu and open to the public.
The project, to be located at the border of Uong Bi Town and Dong Trieu District, 10km from the Yen Tu Buddhist relic, will be divided into two parts.
The first will be the Sen Vang (Golden lotus) covering an area of 472 hectares around Yen Trung Lake.
The second part will consist of Sen Bac (Silver lotus) and Sen Dong (Bronze lotus), which will be situated along a route leading from National Road No.18 to the Yen Tu cultural historic relic site. These two sites will cover a total area of 164 hectares.
Nearby hotels and tourism services will be built in accordance with Buddhist architecture and style.
According to Superior Buddhist monk Thich Thanh Quyet, head of the Management Committee of Quang Ninh Buddhist Sangha, the Sen Viet tourism area will not negatively affect the sacred land.
In addition to the Sen Viet project, other plans are in the works to enhance the area including casting a 100-ton statue of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong and upgrading the Hoa Yen Pagoda.
Yen Tu, the Buddhist capital of Vietnam, is famous for its beautiful landscapes, historic relics and ancient pagodas. Thus, it holds a special place in the hearts of many Vietnamese, said Superior Buddhist monk Thich Thanh Tu, deputy permanent chairman of the Management Committee of Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha.
Source: Sai Gon Giai Phong

Where to holiday in May?

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For people who want to relax with their families, resorts in coastal or mountainous areas are a good choice. Instead of crowded beaches, they could visit less crowded sites like Quan Lan – Van Don, Tra Co in Quang Ninh province, Hai Hoa in Thanh Hoa province, or go to Phu Yen, Quy Nhon and Con Dao island. Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang, Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan and Moc Chau Plateau could be a good option for many families.


A member of webtretho website shared how she and her family spent last weekend in Moc Chau and really enjoyed the easy transport and reasonable room rates at 270,000 dong per night, plus good meals and wonderful weather.


Resorts near Hanoi are the most popular choice for family trips to relax and avoid crowds. Dam Long, Tan Da resport, V-resort, ASEAN resort in Hanoi, Kim Boi, Mai Chau in Hoa Binh and Tam Dao mountain in Vinh Phuc are ideal places for outdoor activities.


Young families on a budget can go to a resort on Lang Highway, just 45 minutes from the centre of Hanoi. There is swimming pool, tennis court and places for kids to play in the fresh outdoors.


Travel firms have introduced many new options for the May holiday that allow travelers to avoid crowded places. For example, if people like beaches, they would be advised to go to Quy Nhon and Tuy Hoa on a direct flight. The Hanoi – Can Tho – Soc Trang – Ca Mau tour is also recommended.


Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy Director of Hanoi Redtour, admitted that such tours have not attracted many tourists because they are too new.


Vietnamtourism in Hanoi reported that only several groups of travelers have booked tours to the Mekong Delta for the holiday. The low interest is blamed on the high tour fees and lack of airfare discounts.


Con Dao is an attractive destination, but only have few clients have opted for the island because of the limited infrastructure. Nguyen Ngoc An from Fiditourist noted that the limited number of hotel rooms cannot meet demand. There are only two big hotels, which provide 150-160 rooms, and a few smaller hotels.


Meanwhile, tours to the northwest are also unappealing because they are only for those who love trekking rather than those who want to relax over their three day holiday.


Ha Yen - VietNamNet Bridge

HCM City dwellers seek seaside escapes

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Travel agencies in the city say that 24 per cent more people have booked tours to Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc seaside resorts in the first week of April than in the same period last year.

Life's a beach: Travel agencies report rising numbers of tour bookings to Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc.

Fiditour has booked 15,000 customers for these resort towns. Bookings are expected to increase in the next two weeks when more people make plans to spend the four-day holiday from Friday (April 30) to Monday (May 3) to celebrate the nation's Liberation Day and May Day.

Tourist officials have warned that travel destinations will be overcrowded during the holidays and advise tourists not to leave their holiday plans until the last minute.

However, observers say Vietnamese people are not used to planning holidays much ahead of time or booking hotel rooms in advance.

A new tour from HCM City to Vinh Long, Can Tho and Phu Quoc Island launched by major travel agencies including Saigontourist and Vietravel last week is attracting a lot of customers.

The tour is being organised after Viet Nam Airlines inaugurated late last month a new route from HCM City to two Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta destinations – Can Tho City and Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province.

On the tours organised every Thursday and Saturday, travellers will take passenger buses from HCM City to Vinh Long Province where they will visit lush orchards and enjoy delicious food unique to the Mekong Delta.

Before flying to Phu Quoc the following day, visitors can contemplate the rising sun on the Tien and Hau rivers, two branches of the Mekong, and visit a floating market in Can Tho city.

The HCM City–Can Tho–Phu Quoc flights operate every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Travel companies have closed tours to Con Dao after hotel rooms on the island were fully booked earlier this week.

Tours to other Asian countries are also attracting a great number of people. By last week more than 3,700 people had booked Saigontourist's overseas holiday tours.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Province ready to be tourism wonderland

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The firm last week met Quang Ninh provincial leaders to propose a $3 billion project in the Van Don Economic Zone, which would cover Van Don Island and represent the province’s biggest investment project.

The project includes a five-star hotel and casino complex with around 2,000 rooms, a golf course, an international convention centre, a horse-racing track, a high-rise apartment building and an entertainment park.

“If Emerging Market Group’s project is developed, it will be a strong gravitational force to lure more tourists and investors to the province,” said the provincial People’s Committee vice chairwoman Nhu Thi Hong Lien.

The investor must provide further project details by the middle of next month and submit an investment plan, including environment impact assessment to the province. The project will then be submitted to the government for approval.

“They [representatives of Emerging Market Group] have just given us a proposal and we would like to learn more about the project feasibility as well as the investor’s ability,” said Lien.

Quang Ninh is home to the world-famous Halong Bay and is already a popular northern Vietnam tourist destination. However, the province has not yet sucessfully attracted giant tourism projects as central and southern areas like Danang city, Quang Nam, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Khanh Hoa provinces remain preferable destinations for foreign investors.

Last year, United Arab Emirates’ Limitless, a business unit of Dubai World, signed a memorandum of understanding with Quang Ninh People’s Committee to develop the Mac Dynasty Lagoon project. But, the project is in limbo after Dubai World’s publicised financial troubles.

Lien said several other investors were interested in developing large projects in the Van Don Economic Zone. Another American company, Rockingham Asset Management LLC, last October submitted Quang Ninh People’s Committee an investment plan for an airport project. Under the proposal, the airport will have total investment capital of around $1.2 billion and the construction will be implemented since 2010 to 2030.

Rockingham Asset Management will develop the airport project under build-operate-transfer investment form. The first phase of Van Don airport could be put into operation in 2014.
Source: Vietnam Investment Review

Life is more beautiful at Quang Ba flower market

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Located along Yen Phu Dyke in Tay Ho District, the market opens at dawn. In the mist of the morning, the flowers at Quang Ba are regarded as the most beautiful and freshest in town and come from many places such as Quang Ba, Nghi Tam, Nhat Tan, Dam-Cau Dien, Dong Anh, Soc Son, Me Linh, Sapa and Dalat.

 A foreign tourist poses for a photo with a flower seller at Quang Ba Flower Market in Hanoi.

People sometimes go to the market just to relax on the weekend or to enjoy the atmosphere of the buyers and sellers and get away from the deafening noise and stifling smoke and dust of the traffic. The fresh air in combination with the colorful roses, daisies, orchids and many other flowers ease the soul and help make life more beautiful.

Anyone visiting the market will understand the challenge which the gardeners face. To have fresh flowers, they have to cut them at night and get them to the market by 4 a.m.

The market arranges bouquets as colorful flower carpets. On holidays, a bouquet of about 100 roses is only VND12,000 to VND15,000.

This flower paradise allows visitors to forget daily stress with a delightful escape to a world of brilliant colors and fragrances.


Satisfy your bucolic yearnings

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Ha Nguyen Huyen, owner of the 163-year-old house in the village, has welcomed tourists since 2005 when it was recognised as a National Cultural and Historical Relic.

The 51-year-old man, who is the ninth generation of his family to live in the 1846-built house, said he provides different options for tourists who wish to stay longer.

It takes one-and-a-half hours by car from Ha Noi to reach the village, which is home to hundreds of old houses.

"Visiting the villages gives tourists a good overview of rural life. It's the reason I maintain a stove that burns firewood and keep farming tools in my house," Huyen explained.

Duong Lam Village, which sits on Son Tay Town ringroad, is an ideal half-day trip.

Road 32 has bus links between Ha Noi and Son Tay Town, but it takes an additional 15 minutes to get to the village by motorbike taxi.

But don't despair if you don't like independent travelling, travel agencies throughout the north offer package trips to the old village.

"It's amazing. After just an hour's journey from hectic Ha Noi, the village seems to be from another time. There is no noise, no traffic jam and so fresh," said Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuong, who is a second-year student at Ha Noi Social Science and Humanities College.

Phuong, said she was impressed by the main entrance of the village – which is sandwiched by a 300-year-old banyan tree and a lotus pond.

The 20-year-old student was also surprised about gates to the old houses because there lack doorbells, instead they just have a small wooden handle.

"It's very special. I was wondering how to get into one of the old houses when I turned the handle. It made a clacking and the owner opened the door to invite me in," Phuong explained.

A culinary treasure: Jars of soya sauce ferment on the sunlit patio of a 163-year-old house in Duong Lam Village.

Despite the increased levels of urbanisation, most of the families inhabiting the old houses have retained the lifestyles of their ancestors.

Villagers nowadays use gas stoves, but Huyen reserves a firewood oven to either cook or give demonstrations when he hosts tourists.

He says his family alone has more than 1,000 visitors annually, of which 70 per cent are foreign tourists.

Soya sauce is a job that helps Huyen's family lure tourists.

"Visitors can see how soya sauce is made at my house. It's not only a food, but a treasure," Huyen explained.

Huyen's house has become a favourite choice for big travel companies.

"It's because the house has charming architecture, while the host is very hospitable. The owner has taken the time to preserve two-century-old house's original features," said Focus Travel deputy director Nguyen Viet Trinh.

He also said his company will list the half day trip in Duong Lam Village as a new tour.

"A half day tour to the village provides a break from Ha Noi's city life before touring Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province or Tam Coc-Bich Dong in Ninh Binh Province." he said.

Huyen rents bicycles to visitors for VND50,000 (US$2.7), tourists can then explore the village themselves at their own pace.

"Most tourists like going by bicycle around the village rather than using motorbikes, it's more likely that they'll make more stop-offs," said the old house owner Nguyen Thi Vuot.

The 46-year-old woman also said she cooks ordinary foods such as morning glory and fried tofu and soy.

"Tofu and spring rolls are the popular dishes with visitors. They sometimes can make them themselves. Vegetable and tofu are eaten with soya sauce. Fresh water crab soup and fish are also included for lunch."

Last year, the local tourism authority organised a training course on tourism for the owners of ten old houses.

Conical hats displaying on bamboo stalls, peanut sweets and molasses cakes are village specialities.

Harvesting in the fifth lunar month is the best time to catch the farmers working in the fields.

Mong Phu commune house, which was built in 1684, and a series old houses are main destinations for tourists. Mia Pagoda and the tombs of King Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen are other sites worth a visit.

The village is the birthplace of Viet Nam's first two kings – Phung Hung (791-802) and Ngo Quyen (939-944) – who were famous for their struggle for Vietnamese independence.

Duong Lam Village is also the birth place of 17th-century scholar Giang Van Minh (1573-1637), who has a Ha Noi street named after him.

Mia Pagoda has 286 Buddha statues made of bronze, jack fruit wood and clay lacquered dating back from the 18th century.

In recent years, the village has become a favourite location for wedding photographs, artwork and film making.

More information can be found at www.focusvietnam.com, or by emailing infor@focustravel.com.vn.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Mui Ne attracts Russian tourists

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At the exhibition, many contracts to take tourists to the coast city of Phan Thiet were signed with famous travel operators.

A tourism showcase of Phan Thiet-Mui Ne at the MITT-Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition 2010.

With the fair closed, resorts in Mui Ne such as Hoang Ngoc, Phu Hai, Sea Horse, Vinh Suong, Bamboo Village, Hai Au, Trang Tron, Sea Links and L’anmien Mui Ne continue to promote the city to Russia’s Saint Petersburg and Novosibirsk. International travel agents such as Olympia Reisen Sibir, Aero Land, Dialog and Crocus Tour and airlines such as Sansaro, S7 Tour and STA Novosibirsk are planning to take guests to Phan Thiet to explore its landscapes and cultural and historical relics.

* A tourism fair is on at Nguyen Tat Thanh Square in Phan Thiet City with about 500 booths of local enterprises giving tourists and locals a chance to shop, enjoy attractive tourist products and join cultural and artistic programs.

The fair runs until April 12.


Cat Tien National Park drawing tourists

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About three hours from HCMC on National Highway 20, Cat Tien is in a winding section of the Dong Nai River in Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc provinces.

River cruise in Cat Tien National Park.
The park is not only an attractive eco-tourist site but also an archaeological project associated with culture, history and religion.

Cat Tien’s waterfalls create large sand banks like beaches. The biodiversity includes bamboo woodland, grassland, wetland and primeval forest. The park has over 1,360 species of flora including 34 listed in the Red Book and many types of precious woods. There are 77 species of mammal, 320 species of bird, 58 species of reptile, 26 species of amphibian and 130 types offish. Some are threatened with extinction such as the Java rhino, bull, Asian elephant and fresh-water crocodile.

Watching the birds looking for food and then bringing it to the tops of the green trees is a nice experience. So is discovering the green forests and the secrets of the plants.

Some tree-trunks are hollow but still stand imposingly with other normal trees. Some have giant roots tied together like greeting gates.

After passing through the forest, travelers should relax on the large rocks and listen to the birds sing in harmony with the murmurs of the streams and be dazzled by the waterfalls. Tourists can also visit artifacts of Oc Eo Culture and many cultural and historical features of ethnic people.


French style meets Vietnamese culture

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Her Metiss Age collection is a mix between French and Vietnamese culture and took eight months to come to fruition.

"The collection is for everyday wear, it is a simple fusion of Vietnamese fabrics and French style," said Bargas.

"I hope the collection will provide a range of easy to match items highlighting the feminine glamour and chic of people here. These ready-to-wear items are ideal for the office or daily wear," added the designer whose cosmopolitan background mixes French, Spanish, Asian and Caribbean ancestry.

Bargas spent almost a year preparing the collection, with her centrally involved in the design, choice of materials, and research into the Vietnamese market.

"My Vietnamese isn’t that good, so sometimes I had a few difficulties. However, I have been here for two years which has helped me adapt to working here and I have received great support from my team.

"We are a really good mixed team," said the 30-year-old who is the lecturer at the Raffles fashion school in Ha Noi.

This Saturday, Bargas who previously worked as the collection manager for the Indigo brand, will present her favourite pieces including dresses, shirts, tops and trousers which are available in four s and a range of colours.

"All of my blouses, tunics and tops are made of cotton, silk and linen fabrics," she said.

"My collection is really different to some of the other ranges I’ve produced, as I’ve focused on simplicity and glamour while retaining a natural sensuality combined with a Gallic touch."

Bargas is now the key designer and artistic director of the Marie-Linh Couture line based in Ha Noi, which mainly focuses on introducing French style through Vietnamese materials.

The young designer previously worked in Paris before moving to Madagascar and then Viet Nam, a culture that has inspired her since a child.

She has worked in the fashion industry for a decade after studying at the Lissa School and learning to be artistic director for the Paris-based Greta de la Mode until two years ago.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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