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Vietnam Open Tour News & Events

MONDAY 10 MAY, 2010 | RSS Feed

Developing orchard tours in Mekong Delta

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With a favorable location, an interlacing river system, a variety of delicious fruits and rich indigenous culture, the Mekong Delta has many advantages to develop orchard tours. But, orchard tour development is still unproportional with the potential due to a number of planning problems.


With 269,000 hectares of fruit, the Mekong Delta is the largest fruit growing area in Vietnam, which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s total fruit area. With a diverse range of fruits, which have high economic value such as Lo Ren Vinh Kim star apple, Hoa Loc mango, Cho Gao dragon fruit, Tan Phuoc longan and Cai Be mandarin and attractive tourist sites such as Thoi Son Island, Cai Be floating market…, the Mekong Delta has a lot of advantages to develop tourism. At a Vietnam Fruit Festival which recently took place in Tien Giang province, managers, scientists and businesses discussed weaknesses and suggested solutions to develop the region’s tourism.


According to associate professor, Dr. Luu Thanh Duc Hai, the deputy head of the Economics and Business Administration Department of the Can Tho University, Mekong Delta’s tourism should not only rely on available advantages. The delta needs to invest in infrastructure and technological development, strengthen human resources, diversify its range of tourist offerings, improve service quality, promote advertising and expand the market. In addition, it is necessary to focus on environmental protection based on inter-regional and interdisciplinary cooperation.


In reality, the Mekong Delta has not fully taken its available advantages. Nguyen Ngoc Minh, the director of the Tien Giang Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the biggest difficulty is the lack of an overall plan for orchard development that pertains to eco-tour development. Especially, the region does not pay proper attention to transport infrastructure system, including roads to orchards. Therefore, it is necessary to have inter-regional cooperation to overcome difficulties and utilize the advantages.


According to Dr. Tran Van Ngoi, the director of the management board of the Mekong Tourism Development Project, the region’s tourism development is still unproportional with the potential. A matter of concern is cooperation among provinces to establish brands for tourist offerings and create development breakthroughs. In addition, it is necessary for the Mekong Delta to invest in infrastructure and human resources and improve tourism services towards professionalism. Unqualified tourism staff and tourist sites, which are facing with the risk of degradation, are creating a lot of obstacles to tourist attraction.


Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism approved the Mekong Delta Tourism Development Project to 2020. According to the project, investment capital in tourism from 2010-2015 is estimated at US$959.6 million, while US$963.7 million being demanded for the 2015-2020 period. The region is striving to attract 7.7 million tourists (including 2.7 million foreign visitors) by 2015 and 10.4 million (including 3.9 million of foreign visitors) by 2020 and create 236,600 jobs for local people. To reach the target, it is important to issue proper development policies and avoid inconsistent investment.


Source: Vietnam Economic News

Tam Dao – ideal destination for holidays

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About 86km from Hanoi, the Tam Dao mountain range extends for 50km with natural landscapes, a romantic and quiet atmosphere, and fresh air. It might be the ideal destination for relaxation.

Driving about an hour from Hanoi, travelers will reach Phuc Yen Town of Vinh Phuc Province. Then, for another half an hour, travelers follow a narrow road along the foot of the mountains under the shadows of pine trees to reach Tam Dao Town.  


Those who set foot in this area for the first time will be surprised to feel a change in the weather when they are about ten kilometers from Tam Dao. Being situated at a height of more than 1,000 meters above sea level, the weather in Tam Dao is similar to Sapa’s in Lao Cai Province, which offers tourists the ability to experience four seasons in one day.


The day starts with spring winds, turns hot at noon like in the summer, has the mild weather of autumn when it turns dark, and is rather cold at night like in the winter.


Visiting this place, tourists also enjoy the feeling of returning to nature with beautifully landscaped valleys, hills, mountains and waterfalls as well as other tourism sites such as Thac Bac (Silver Falls), Suoi Tien (Stream of the Goddess), Cau Hen Ho (Dating Bridge), Cong Troi (Gate of Heaven), Den Thanh Tran (Temple of the Tran God), and the Tam Dao National Park that has a total area of 19,000ha with many rare species of fauna and flora.


Tam Dao in mist.


More villas are built in Tam Dao.


Chayote - Tam Dao’s specialty.


The road to the television tower.


The television tower is built at Tam Dao’s highest site.


From Tam Dao peak, visitors can see Nui Coc Lake, a landscape in Thai Nguyen Province.










The old church in Tam Dao, which attracts many domestic and foreign tourists.






Source: SGT/VNE

Off-road tours offer rocky path

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The northern mountainous region is one of the country’s most beloved destinations for local and international travellers, but if you want real adventure, you should visit the area on an off-road motorbike tour.


Raft of options: Two motorcyclists cross a river on a raft in the northern mountainous Yen Bai Province. The rocky mountainous region is one of the country’s most beloved tourist destinations for off-road motorbike tour.

The offroadvietnam travel company, the only of it’s kind in the north of Viet Nam, has been operating since last year, offering it’s services to experienced riders from mainly Australia, England, the US and Canada.

Over 500 bikers have taken in 130 rocky road voyages in the mountainous provinces of Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Cao Bang, Bac Can, Tuyen Quang and Lang Son – covering some of the most challenging roads in the country.

"Northern mountainous provinces are well-known destinations on the travel map of Viet Nam, which can be accessed by bus or train in just a few hours. But we want to provide another angle on landscapes in the rocky region by using offroad vehicles with more stop-offs," said offroadvietnam manager, Anh Wu.

"We are the only travel agency in the north supplying advanced motorbike tours," the 37-year-old manager says.

"We don’t experience many problems on our tours, flat tyres are probably the main one. We prefer Hondas because they are the most commonly used and travellers can find garages everywhere or repair the bikes themselves," said tour guide Hoang Ngoc Minh.

"The company has 60 motorbikes from 100-250cc, but Baja XR 250 and GL150 are the favourite choice for offroad tours. Of course, we have conducted detailed surveys to offer the best and safest vehicles and accommodation."

Minh, who has 10 years experience in two-wheel travel, says tourists prefer home-stays, which help them learn more about the lives of ethnic groups such as Mong, Tay, Dao and Nung in the typical northwestern provinces.

First stop

After a 220km, seven hour ride from Ha Noi, travellers arrive in Vu Linh Village, Yen Binh District where they spend their first night with the Dao people.

The village, which has welcomed 400 foreign tourists since the start of this year, offers breathtaking views from a footpath that snakes around a 200sq.km lake.

"I’m sure that you are invited to drink at any house. Hosts in the rustic village warmly welcome all guests," said the guide.

"Travellers love to stay in stilted houses with palm roofs and fresh air off the lake. Visitors find a quite country life where they are offered traditional Dao food including grilled fish, beef, chicken and the most favourite – tofu."

Touring Ha Giang

Clear sky thinking: A traveller stops at the top of hill in northern Ha Giang Province during an off-road tour. The tough roads in the mountainous region require experienced riders.

Ha Giang is best seen by motorcycle, featuring roads that zigzag up and down hills 1,000m above sea level but the company has more than 150 itineraries to offer riders in Viet Nam.

As Minh suggests, the 10-day and 9 night route from Ha Noi that winds through the gemstone of Luc Yen District, Yen Bai and Ha Giang provinces before crossing the forest road into Hoang Su Phi District and on to Bac Ha town in Lao Cai Province.

"It’s the most interesting journey in the north because you have many stops with ethnic groups along the way. The route requires different vehicles such as motorbikes, boats and rafts," Minh says.

"You will cover the most beautiful sites in the northwestern area including the rocky plateau of Dong Van District in Ha Giang."

Motorcyclists will ride 150km on the second day along roads dotted with green palm trees, from Luc Yen to Ha Giang.

A night stay in Ha Giang town will refresh weary riders before they wind from the town of Quan Ba to Cong Troi (Heaven’s Gate).

The next three days are the most tiring as adventurers ride for 270km from Quan Ba, through Yen Minh, Meo Vac valley and Dong Van town and back to Quan Ba again, due to a lack of connecting roads.

There are plans for the karst landscape of over 2,350sq.km ranging across the districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Meo Vac and Dong Van expected to be recognised as a UNESCO Geopark soon.

The seventh and eighth days see trippers back to Ha Giang and through the forests of Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man districts to Bac Ha, which is home to 50,000 Mong people.

Bac Ha is also well known as the land of Tam Hoa plums harvested every April, with thang co (horse meat soup) and maize wine.

Day nine and ten – the last days of the tour – are easier as riders take the main road for the final 360km journey from Bac Ha back to Ha Noi.

To offer even more flexibility and extensions to your tour, offroadvietnam connects tours with Sinhbalo Adventures who offer biking and cycling trips, Motorbike Thailand for touring on modern road bikes, Dancing Roads for motocross adventures and James Barbush in Laos.

Offroadvietnam travel manager Anh Wu reminds trippers who want to experience this adventure that they should be proficient riders and reserve at least US$300-500 to pay for the tour.

"We will provide trans-Viet Nam or other specified options on motorbikes such as the Ho Chi Minh Trail and mountainous area. You can discover anywhere you want in Viet Nam," said Anh Wu.

More details are available at www.offroadvietnam.com or www.motorbikevietnam.com.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Sweeping away tetchiness of blazing heat in Vung Tau

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When everyone flocks to the beach to escape the blazing summer heat of Saigon, Vung Tau is one of the nearest beach city that tourists can visit on short weekends. Anyone swimming or strolling around Bai Truoc (Front) Beach will see a magnificent white palace standing imposingly in front of the beach. People call that palace Bach Dinh (White Palace).


 Tourists visit Bach Dinh (White Palace) in Vung Tau City.

Bach Dinh used to be called Villa Blanche, based on the name of the beloved daughter of a French general named Paul Doumer. The villa was built in 1898 as a resort for his family and French colonial governors. The French colony razed Phuoc Thang Fortress to build the palace.

The palace is located at 10 Tran Phu Street, Vung Tau City at the height of 30 meters above sea level. The palace faces the sea and leans on Lon (Big) Mountain. There are two ways to reach the villas. One is an asphalt road winding along the forest for motorbikes or cars and the other is a stone path between two lines of milk flowers.

The palace is 19 meters high, 25 meters long, eight meters wide and includes three floors. Once visiting the palace, tourists can admire the European architecture of the late 19th century with elegant designs and meticulous decorations. The entire palace is painted white and decorated with many nice patterns, bas-reliefs and statues depicting Greek gods. The red tile roof is striking against the white paint of the structure.

The palace is also considered a museum displaying two statues of phoenixes, two blue-jade statues of peacocks spreading their wings as dancing, ceramic works made during the time of Chinese Emperor Kangxi and historical relics found in excavations such as guns and bullets.

The surroundings are romantic and peaceful with green trees, the endless red and white of flamboyant flowers and the fragrance of milk flowers. Standing in the palace, visitors have a panoramic view of Vung Tau Sea and Vung Tau City.

The heat day by day is getting crazy, making humans hot-tempered and easily furious. Why not take a short trip to relax, balance the soul and leave the scorching heat? Prepare a backpack and go to Vung Tau, not only to indulge in the cool sea but also to relax with old architecture, splendid landscapes and historical and cultural relics.


Hue city to host Buddhist Culture Week

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The event, which aims to spread awareness of the country’s largest religion with a series of exhibitions and seminars on literature, history and culture, will be held at the Lieu Quan Buddhist Cultural Center in the ancient capital city of Hue from May 16-22.



The Lieu Quan Buddhist Cultural Center  in Hue City.


During the week that is also aimed at celebrating Buddha’s 2554 birthday, a range of events will take place, including an exhibition showcasing close to 100 antiques dating back to the pre-Thang Long period (Dai La), the Ly, Tran and Le dynasties. The artifacts on display were collected by antique collector Tran Dinh Son.


Scholars such as Cao Huy Thuan, Tran Dinh Son, Thai Kim Lai and Ho Tan Phan will deliver speeches related to the royal citadel of Thang Long and Buddhism in Vietnam.


The cultural week also aims to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.


Seminars on art, architecture and education will also be a part of the event. (VietNamNet Bridge)


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