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Vietnam Open Tour News & Events

FRIDAY 07 MAY, 2010 | RSS Feed

Vietnamese travelers ignore World Cup 2010

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Some air carriers are providing flights to take Vietnamese travelers to South Africa for the World Cup 2010 championship games and travel firms are offing new tours to Africa. Still, very few have booked these tours.

Thai Airways International reported that, from June 1, 2010, the air carrier will provide flights from Vietnam to Johannesburg to carry Vietnamese soccer fans to South Africa to watch the World Cup championship 2010.


From HCM City and Hanoi, passengers will transit in Bangkok before flying on to South Africa. The economy return air ticket costs $501 per passenger, not including tax and surcharges. Thai Airways will provide four flights a week from Bangkok on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


Other foreign airlines including Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines are also providing flights from Vietnam to South Africa with transit points in Hong Kong, Doha (Qatar) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).


Large travel firms have also launched tours to South Africa, but very few travelers have booked with them.


Complicated procedures and high tour fees are keeping travelers away. A tour to South Africa runs between 70 million and 90 million dong, double that of a European tour.


According to Nguyen Minh Man from Vietravel HCM City, some 100 travelers have tentatively registered to go to South Africa, but they may change their minds.


“Unlike other travelers, soccer fans always decide based on the atmosphere of the football matches,” Man noted.


Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai from Fiditour reported that two groups of travelers have booked tours to South Africa (more than 70 people) and will depart in mid-June and early July.


Mai added that now it is still easy to purchase match tickets, but prices will riseas the World Cup dates near. Vietnamese travelers will be able to watch some football matches, but it will be very difficult to get tickets for the final round and the tickets are very expensive.


Mai, who has returned from South Africa, said that everything is very expensive and goods are scarce.


Nguyen Minh Quyen, Deputy Director of Thanh Nien Xung Phong Travel Firm, explained that his firm only provides tours to groups, not individuals. He confirmed that only one group has expressed their desire to go, but they have not made a final decision.


“If they agree, we must sign contracts and collect the money at once, because it is very risky to organize such tours,” Quyen maintained.


Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Hanoi Redtours, Nguyen Cong Hoan, revealed that the company does not provide tours to South Africa for the World Cup, claiming that overly high tour fees will keep clients away.


Ha Yen - VietNamNet Bridge

CAAV says aviation market back to strong growth path

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Vo Huy Cuong, director of CAAV’s Air Transport Department, told the Daily on the phone that the country’s overall aviation market in March expanded up to 24% year-on-year, leading the market to achieve higher growth this year than last year.

Cuong said more than five million passengers traveled by air within Vietnam as well as from and to this country in the first quarter of this year, up 19% from a year ago, when the global airline industry took a hit from the global crisis.

Cuong calculated the foreign segment accounted for 2.8 million passengers and this had been always a common trend over the years. However, the gap between the domestic and foreign segments is narrowing as domestic demand for air travel tends to grow stronger, particularly during challenging times.

Cuong said that the domestic demand for air travel continued to increase this year, encouraging both Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific to operate more flights and on new routes within the country.

Vietnam Airlines added more than 220 flights to its normal flight schedule from April 22 to May 4 to quench the thirst of people for having air-tickets to travel to their families and tourist destinations because there were major long public holidays during this period.

The national flag air carrier and Vietnam’s second largest carrier Jetstar Pacific look set to increase flight frequencies and open new routes, especially from Hanoi to Nha Trang, Vinh and Chu Lai later this month and next month to transport more people from the north to sites of interest in central Vietnam during summer.

The additional flights give CAAV high hopes that Vietnam’s overall aviation market will grow at least 14% this year. Last year, the market registered year-on-year growth of only 8.4% to around 17.5 million passengers.

Cuong said the 14% growth was a safe forecast even though VietJet Air was expected to join the market, hopefully in August this year. This first private airline licensed in Vietnam is completing procedures to commence its first commercial services, including having an air operator certificate (AOC).

* Jetstar Pacific on Wednesday began fare promotions which allow passengers to get much saving when flying with the low-cost carrier during the low season.

Like other Jetstar-branded airlines, Jetstar Pacific applies a program called “Take a Friend for Free” in Vietnam. Under this promotion, every passenger who buys one of the special sale fares gets approval for one passenger to accompany them to travel for free.

Therefore, two passengers need to book fares from VND415,000 until May 6 for their single trip with Jetstar Pacific from September 7 to October 27. The departure flights applicable to this promotion and from HCMC to Haiphong, Hue and Vinh and vice versa will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from October 5 to 27.

From May 6 to 10, Jetstar Pacific will sell promotional fares from VND207,500 for a single trip between HCMC and Danang; from VND300,000 for a flight on the HCMC-Hue and Hanoi-Danang routes.

Fares start from VND600,000 for a flight between HCMC and Haiphong/Vinh, and from VND650,000 for the HCMC-Hanoi route.

Jetstar Pacific said the discount fares were nearly 50% lower than normal rates and could be booked at www.jetstar.com. The allowable departure flights are from September 7 to October 27.

Other Jetstar-branded airlines are offering fares from US$30 for a HCMC-Singapore flight, from US$108 for the trip between HCMC and Darwin, and from US$228 for the HCMC-Sydney route. 


A journey to birthplace of Uncle Ho

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Nghe An Province is endowed with abundant natural resources, of which tourism potentiality must be mentioned including endless forests and stunning beaches together with historical and cultural relics. The land is also well-known as the birthplace of late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, a national hero and cultural celebrity around the world.

 A view of Saigon-Kim Lien Hotel in Vinh City.
For the holidays, tourists should take a trip to Cua Lo and Cua Hoi beaches to relax and leave daily boredom and stress behind.

Cua Lo Beach is one of the nicest beaches in central Vietnam with its white sand and clear blue water. The beach is located 18 kilometers from Vinh City and stretches about ten kilometers of sandy beach outlined by pine forests.
Not far from the beach are three islands, Hon Ngu, Hon Chu and Hon Mat, with natural and primitive landscapes.

From Cua Lo, tourists can visit the islands by boat, climb the mountains, dive and visit historical and literary. Meanwhile, Cua Hoi Beach is also a must-visit place where tourists can discover the rural beauty of nature and enjoy fresh seafood.

In addition, tourists coming to Nghe An should not forget to visit some of the hundreds of historical and cultural vestiges such as Cuong and Con temples, Vac Village, the archaeological site in Nghia Dan District and the historical vestige of Kim Lien. Kim Lien, the village of Uncle Ho, about 12 kilometers from Vinh City, is a place connected with his childhood and contains many memories as well as souvenirs of his family.

For accommodation in Nghe An, the Saigon Kim Lien Hotel and the Saigon Kim Lien Resort are suggested as ideal options.

The three-star Saigon Kim Lien Hotel is located in the heart of Vinh City and boasts 77 rooms together with meeting rooms, a banquet room and a conference room for 250 to 300 people. Apart from providing upgraded facilities of restaurants, gyms, sports areas and entertainment areas, the hotel is offering many services such as a bar, an air ticket booth and buffet programs featuring many seafood and wild specialties on weekends. The hotel’s Hoa Mai Restaurant, Garden Bar and Lobby Bar serve European and Asian dishes.

The Saigon Kim Lien Resort is located right on Cua Lo Beach and is the largest resort at Cua Lo Beach with 80 sea-view rooms.

The Saigon Kim Lien Resort has a total area of 11,000 square meters divided into many small services such as 80 rooms, an entertainment service, a sports service, a culinary garden, a conference room with a capacity for 360 people, a meeting room with a capacity for 30 people, a banquet room with a capacity for 400 people, an outdoor swimming pool and more.

Since opening in 2006 the resort has built many package tours for each season and each relaxing style of tourists such as the tour called Dream Honeymoon priced between VND1.5 and VND4 million for newlyweds from October to December and the three-day-two-night tour called Your Happier Get-Together for VND3.8 million for families from May to August.

In the peak season the resort often hosts gala dinners, events and regular buffet programs priced from VND109,000 to VND159,000. This summer the resort also opens two more services, a bar with live music and garden restaurants.

The Saigon Kim Lien Hotel and Saigon Kim Lien Travel are located at 25 Quang Trung Street, Vinh City, Nghe An Province, tel: 038 383 8899, email: sgklna@hn.vnn.vn.

The Saigon Kim Lien Resort is on Binh Minh Street, Cua Lo Commune, Nghe An Province, tel: 038 395 2899, email: saigonkimlienresort@vnn.vn.


A VND100,000 trip to Giang Dien Waterfall

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If you want to go to a place to escape the hot weather and enjoy comfortable moments under a cool waterfall but spend only VND100,000, don’t forget to take a trip to Giang Dien ecotourism and service urban town. Only 50 kilometers from downtown HCMC on Highway 1A, the ecotourism of Giang Dien Waterfall is located in Hoa Binh Hamlet, Giang Dien Commune, Trang Bom District, Dong Nai Province.

Giang Dien Waterfall in Dong Nai Province is ideal for visitors to escape the scorching heat.

First, you catch bus No.12 at Ben Thanh Bus Station at Cong Xa Paris Roundabout in HCMC’s District 1 with the fare VND15,000 per person to go straight to the gate of Giang Dien Fall Ecological Tourist Park. Second, you have to buy an entrance ticket for VND35,000 for an adult or VND25,000 for a child. Along the way to the waterfall there are trees, flowers and green lawns planted carefully. Those create beautiful scenery and fresh air for a day to relax. In order to get to the waterfall, you can walk one kilometer or catch an electronic train for VND10,000 per person one way.

With an area of nearly 68 hectares, the park is ideal for camping over the weekend, especially in the hot and muggy weather. If you want to save money, prepare food at home, bring cooking devices to make a barbecue and enjoy a happy time with friends and relatives. Giang Dien has camping areas and also rents tents for VND100,000 and VND120,000 or you can use a canvas on the green lawns along the way to the fall.

In the summer, everyone wants to bathe in the sea or soak the body in a waterfall to escape the heat and enjoy cool water. In addition to swimming under the waterfall, tourists can rent a single or a double bicycle to go around. Single bicycles rent for VND10,000 each and double bicycles for VND20,000 each for 45 minutes. It is a kind of entertainment loved by the young. Two people can also rent a boat to enjoy Heart Lake for VND30,000 per hour.

You can have a place to relax on the weekend and enjoy a natural friendly atmosphere but at a low cost.


Underground maze “spiderwebs” beneath Cu Chi

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Soldiers and residents of HCM City’s Cu Chi district created an astonishing 250km tunnel system during the Vietnam War, some parts of which are up to 10 meters deep and three stories. The site is now a famous historical monument.

The first sections were built back in 1948 in Tan Phu Trung and Phuoc Vinh An communes to hide documents, weapons and guerilla fighters. By 1965, the basic system connected five communes in Cu Chi and by 1968, the tunnel had expanded to its full 250 kilometers.


During the peak years of the Vietnam War, residents and guerillas lived in these tunnels. They recall that the tunnels were very wet and stuffy in some sections, due to the lack of sunlight and air. Whenever people felt faint, they were brought to tunnel openings for fresh air. During the rainy season, insects and snakes shared the tunnel with the human inhabitants.


One sector of the tunnel system has three stories. The level for soldiers was 3 meters down, the second story, 6 meters under the surface, was a home for war invalids, the elderly and children. The third plunged 8-10 meters deep and was occupied by healthy people.


Visitors can see how the system zigzags underground, with many branches spread from the main tunnel and some running all the way to the Saigon River. Many air holes also dot the tunnel walls, disguised during the war years as termite nests. The tunnels are still very narrow, with openings only wide enough for small people.


US troops tried multiple times to destroy the tunnel network. In 1966, they launched the unsuccessful “Cai Bay” campaign, pumping water into the tunnels. Later, in 1967, the US Army used a special taskforce to attack the tunnel system. They used 600 small soldiers, wearing gas-masks and special rifles, to go down into the tunnels. Popularly called “tunnel rats,” these forces only destroyed some small sections.


The US then brought in special vehicles to bulldoze the tunnels.. To drive out the guerrillas, toxic gas was pumped into the tunnel networks. The US even tried seeding the area with tall grasses, which grew to 2-3 meters high in just a month. They then set fire to the grass during the dry season to create difficulties for the underground guerillas by “smoking” them out. None of these methods succeeded and the tunnel network served as a vital resource during the remaining war years.


Today the Cu Chi tunnels are a national historic site, hosting around 1000 visitors a day.



Female guerillas of the past.



The map of the Cu Chi tunnel network, with branches to the Saigon River.



People created the tunnels manually.



A door.



Inside the tunnel.



An air hole.



A gun emplacement.



A hospital inside the tunnel.



A meeting room.


A blind ditch.



Trenches are connected to the tunnel.



Visitors at Cu Chi on April 30.


Documentary pictures of the Cu Chi tunnel:





























Source: VNE

Ly Son Island reveals its charms

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Idyllic Ly Son Island, 25 kilometers off the coast of the Quang Ngai province coast, is the home of the Hoang Sa flotilla. Fishermen and sailors from Ly Son have patrolled and protected Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratley) archipelagos since ancient times.

A garlic field on Ly Son Island. Garlic is the island’s famous specialty.



Sunset on the Ly Son sea.



Sunset on the Ly Son sea.






Before a visit to Cau cave, visitors can dive to see coral and bathe in crystal-clear waters.



Taking photos of phong ba flowers in front of Hang pagoda.



Small islands around Ly Son.


Gulls on neighboring Be island.



The lighthouse on Ly Son.



Young girls carry sand from the beach to the garlic field.



Vast garlic fields.


Source: VNE

Suoi Mo Tourist Area: an oasis in the city

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The daily grind of work and responsibilities is tiring and stressful and makes many people long for a relaxing weekend on a quiet, faraway beach.

But for people who do not have enough time on the weekends for such a trip, finding a place without earsplitting noises and with a comfortable natural surrounding within the city in order to forget about work and escape from the scorching tropical heat these days is not so easy. But the problem will be solved with a picnic at Suoi Mo (Dreamy Stream) Tourist Area in HCMC’s District 9.

Tourists play in a 500-square-meter swimming pool at Suoi Mo Tourist Area in HCMC’ District 9.

About 15 kilometers from the center of the city on the way to Thu Duc Golf Course, Suoi Mo Tourist Area is becoming a famous weekend rendezvous of Saigonese and excursionists from neighboring regions. The place is ideal for get-togethers of friends and family in a green space filled of fresh air. Workaholics can regain balance for their life by camping under the shade of groves, strolling along the trees and flowers and massaging their feet in streams, giving them a comeback to nature.

For a VND30,000 entrance fee, visitors can enjoy performances of whales, sea lions and seals and relax by swimming, fishing, playing tennis and camping.

After enjoying games, tourists can have fast food or Vietnamese dishes at a restaurant and bar right in the park. Those who want to stay the night can stay in a hotel or even camp.

Coming to Suoi Mo, antique lovers have a chance to admire old vehicles at Saigon old vehicles area. From the gate, visitors can see many old motorbikes hanging high on the signboard. The area is also a get-together of antique collectors and enthusiasts. Old vehicles are not only displayed for contemplation but also can be used.

To get to the tourist park, take a motorbike or a bus from Ben Thanh Bus Station.

If you have ever thought about a green oasis in the city to relax, escape the city life and heal the soul, prepare a backpack and head to Suoi Mo which promises many surprises and comfort.


Discovering distinction of Vinh Long ceramics

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Vinh Long Province is known for its orchards and interlacing canals as other provinces in the Mekong Delta. Vinh Long is also famous for a pottery craft village running 20 kilometers along the Co Chien River.

Vinh Long ceramics are popular not only by their elegant shapes but also by their distinguished color, pink, that makes it different from other ceramics of other regions. This is also the reason Vinh Long ceramics are easily found in homes around the country as well as overseas markets.

 A woman whittles ceramic pots in a pottery kiln in Vinh Long Province.

“The color is not made from the process of producing or techniques of baking, but on the character of the clay which has a high concentration of alum that also is available in Vinh Long,” said Ho Minh Trung, owner of a local pottery factory.

Strolling along Co Chien River, tourists will see egg-shaped pottery-kilns between the industrial factories. These kilns are not only to produce pottery works but also are dedicated as tourist destinations to show the work and how it is done.

In Vinh Long, tourists can see many outstanding works in diverse types such as vases, pots, jars, bas-relief, paintings and statues. The most interesting thing for tourists is the process of making ceramic works. First, the artisans have to dig clay from under the river and then mix it with sand. The mixed clay is then carefully kneaded. The kneaded clay is put into molds and then into kilns. Finally, artisans have to whittle till the products are perfect.

Coming to the village, tourists will also learn how local artisans make bricks. “The village has a tradition of making bricks for over 100 years,” said Ho Van Vang, chairman of Vinh Long ceramics craft association.

For living and for passion for the craft, most craftsmen make both pottery and bricks as well as develop passion and creativeness for the village. Tourists will see the combination of ceramics and bricks in houses in the village. One of these houses will surprise visitors as the pillars are made from pottery while the roof is made from red-tile and the floor by bricks. The house is decorated with bas-relief and paintings made by pottery.


Afloat on Ha Long Bay

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Nature at its most magnificent, perfect harmony between sky and earth, mountains and water, makes Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province, 165 kilometers east of Hanoi, an essential stop for any visitor to Vietnam.

Ships dot the Bay like floating castles.  To spend a night on such a ship during holidays, tourists must book several months in advance.


Ships typically leave the Bai Chay moorage depart at noon.  The fare of about $110 per person on a four star vessel includes three meals featuring local seafood, sightseeing fees and kayaking.


From a boat, Ha Long Bay is beautiful like a water-colour painting.




Many will visit the Sung Sot (Amazing) Cavern in the afternoon. Sung Sot Cavern is the largest of the many caves on Ha Long Bay.



A Ha Long Sunset. Tourists can take a kayak to the beach at Titop Island or explore the many islets.


On four-star boats, visitors will enjoy sea specialities while enjoying the landscape.


Emotion, a boat recently put into service, looks splendid at night.

Source: VNE

Thousand people pilgrimage to Goddess Ponagar festival

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The Goddess Ponagar Festival opened in Khanh Hoa province on May 5, attracting over 100 groups of pilgrims from many provinces and cities.

This is a major festival in the southern part of the central region and the Central Highlands, which is associated with the legend of and the worship of Goddess Ponagar, who is credited as the mother of Viet and Cham people in the central region.


The festival will run through May 8.



Candles were lighted up at the Ponagar Tower.



Thousands of people flocked to the festival.



Over 100 groups of pilgrims attended the opening day.



Pilgrims in queue, waiting to their turn to get into the tower.



Getting into the tower to perform rituals.



An old man beats a drum to open the festival.



A band using traditional Cham musical instruments.











Cham dances.


Source: VNE

Doc Let Beach – primitive beauty beckons

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Ninh Hoa, a coastal district in the central province of Khanh Hoa, is well-known for its ocean temperate climate and as a land of sunshine and cool winds. In which, Doc Let Beach is suggested as ideal for summer vacation, especially for Saigonese to flee the heat and the ear-splitting noises of urban life.

A bustling ambiance at Doc Let Beach in Ninh Hoa District, Khanh Hoa Province.

After visiting Nha Trang City and other famous destinations such as Hon Tre Islet, Hon Tam Ecotourism Park, Bai Dai Beach and Cham Towers, tourists should take a trip on National Highway 1 to the north to stop by Ninh Hoa which pledges to put a nice impression in tourists’ eyes and memory by its stunning Doc Let Beach.

About 40 kilometers from Nha Trang City, passing over Banh It Pass and taking a turn onto Road 635 for just over ten kilometers, Doc Let Beach will appear full of surprises and beauty.

In recent years the beach has gained the attention of many locals and foreigners. Doc Let Tourist Park covers about 14 hectares, of which five have been developed into resorts under the shade of a eucalyptus forest by Khanh Hoa Tourist Company.

These resorts feature bungalows at three-star standard priced from VND150,000 to VND300,000. The park also serves entertainment and recreational needs with tennis courts, swimming pools, massage rooms, karaoke, underwater games, beach volley ball, boat cruises, surfing and balloon flying.

Some parts of Doc Let are still primitive with endless sand dunes separating the beach and the land. In order to get to the beach you must first drag through the sand dunes which are dozens of meters high, that is why people call the beach Doc Let (Dragging Hill).

After playing with the waves and wallowing in the crystal blue water, swimmers can lie under the shade of green trees along the beach and listen to the whispers of the wind in harmony with the sounds of the waves crashing onto shore. The next must-do thing is to hire a boat for VND50,000 to cruise to Van Phong Bay to discover the daily life of the local offshore fishermen.

Shopping in Doc Let is another fantastic experience of the trip. Sellers stand in lines at the market gate and invite guests. Doc Let’s seafood market is inside Doc Let Tourist Park and sells fresh seafood such as crab for VND90,000 per kilogram, shrimp for VND100,000 per kilogram or snails for VND20,000 per kilogram.

An overnight stay at Doc Let Beach on a clear star-studded night is wonderful. The surface of the sea shimmers with the lights of the fishing boats. Indulging in the vaporous lights of the boats, the twinkling lights of the stars and the soft sounds of the waves and winds, daily stress is swept away. At the park or on the beach, tourists also can enjoy seafood prepared by fishermen.


Ca Mau Cape recognized as world biosphere reserve

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The UNESCO has recognized the Ca Mau cape national park in the southernmost province of Ca Mau as a world biosphere reserve.



Ca Mau province received the title on April 25, at the launch of the Ca Mau week of culture and tourism, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong and representatives of the UNESCO.


Ca Mau Cape National Park is located in Dat Mui Commune, Ngoc Hien District. The park was established by a Prime Minister’s decision on July 14, 2003 on the basis of the natural preservation zone of Dat Mui. The reserve covers a total area of more than 370,000ha. The most ecologically valuable and largest salt-marsh forest in Vietnam is home to more than 100 rare and endangered species of fauna.


Earlier, international visitors and people have come to the U Minh Ha National Park and the Ca Mau Cape National Park where officials cast tens of million prawn breed in a bid to restore natural seafood sources and released wild animals Seafood breeds were cast into the sea and animals released into the forest as an enriching activity.


Vietnam currently has six UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserves, Can Gio Mangrove near HCM City, Cat Ba Island in northern Hai Phong City, Cat Tien National Park north of HCM City, Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve in southern Kien Giang Province, Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve near Hanoi and the Western Nghe An Biosphere Reserve.


UNESCO’s International Coordination Council of Man and the Biosphere Programme (MBA) on May 26 2009 officially recognised Vietnam’s Cham Islands and Ca Mau Cape as global biosphere reserves. The recognition was announced at the 21st session of the MBA, which is taking place on the Republic of Korea Island of Jeju from May 21-29.(VietNamNet Bridge )

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