Hue in vietnam, Vietnam explorer: 2011

Redeemer Church

The Redeemer Church is located at the end of Nguyen Hue street in Hue city. The particular architecture of the cathedral is large doors without partitions.  The verandah of the Cathedral is largely designed in order to make who ever stay in the verandah feel that they were in the interior of the church. Main altar is made of rose marble and its bloc is 3.6m long, 1.25m wide and 2.8m high. There are two smaller ones also made of rose marble in bloc. In the Cathedral, there are drums, gongs deeply characterizing East-Asian characters. The campanile consists of four bells which operated by electricity.  The architecture of the redeemer church shows the combination of western and eastern style.  With the original architecture, the Redeemer church is a place where is worth for visiting in Hue city.

Hue, a poetic city of Vietnam

Hue is one of places, which has many cultural heritages. It is located in central of Vietnam, just a few miles from the East Sea. It is considered as the most royal city in Vietnam. It has enough charm to keep you staying as long as you can. Up to now, there is no places like  Hue remaining a lot of originally historical vestiges as in this ancient Capital City. On the Northern bank of Perfume River has relics consisting of palaces, which were constructed as arc defensive ramparts with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 arichectural works which were extremely reflected the life of Emperors and mandarins under Nguyen’ reign. Situated in the middle of hills on the Southern bank of Perfume River are very beautiful tombs of Nguyen Kings. Among these tombs are the four famous ones with the name and the arrangements of the tomb reflected each Emperor’s points of view, personality, and tastes.  Moreover, Trang Tien Bridge which connects the citadel area with the new town across the Perfume River is itself a major attraction, a lovers' lane of sorts and a national symbol. You'll see local photographers selling their services in the little riverside park on the new-town side. Except from visit beautiful places, you can try to taste local cuisine specialties. There are a lot of interesting thing in Hue. Come and experience!

Huong River, Perfume River brings a pleasant beauty

Perfume River (Huong River) - Hue City
  Perfume River is truly a priceless godsend to Hue City. The Perfume River is 30km long. That is from Bang Lang to Thuan An estuary. In this region the stream runs quite slowly. The color of the Perfume River becomes darker when it runs along the foot of Ngoc Tran Mount .The river brings its fragrances of tropical flora. Probably that's the reason why the name of the river has been the Perfume River. Many people think that Hue city has peaceful, gentle and tranquil landscapes mostly thanks to the Perfume River. This river brings to the city a thoughtful rhythmical individuality and the pleasant-sounding limpidity  from a land of age-old culture.   The Perfume River has two sources, both of which begin in the Truong Son Mountain range and meet at Bang Lang Fork. The Ta Trach (Left Tributary) originates in the Truong Dong Mountains, It flows Northwest towards Bang Lang Fork. The shorter Huu Trach (Right Tributary) flows through the Tuan ferry, landing towards Bang Lang Fork. This river brings a individual beauty. 

century old high school in Hue

Quoc Hoc High School is a secondary school in Hue city  Thua Thien Hue province,  Vietnam. Built  on October 23, 1896 Century Old High School  is the first and oldest high school in Vietnam . It was built on the site once known as the Admiral's Palace , a royal naval base established in 1806 (the fifth year of King Gia Long’s reign). Quoc Hoc High School is located on the bank of Perfume River. It is a beautiful campus with many large shady trees, stone benches, and French architectural designed buildings. It is also the largest high school campus in Vietnam. It contains a big football field, basketball court, five badminton courts, a swimming pool and a medium stadium.

The school was built on the site of a former squadron headquarter - a royal navy headquarters.
In 1915 when the decree annulling Emperor ancient exam in the province and the ancient exam of the capital in the North were issued, Quoc Hoc high school was rebuilt.
The rows of thatch roofed apartments were torn down and replaced by two rows of buildings, the wall made of brick, the roof covered with tiles. It was solid and comfortable according to the western European architecture. Most of the architectures are still extant.

Going to Tu Duc's Tomb is going to a sacred place

Tu Duc's tomb is located in a narrow valley in Thuong Ba village, Thuy Xuan Commune, Hue City.
ltuduc2.gif (13241 bytes)The tomb lies in a boundless pine forest, 8 km from Hue.
Its construction started in December 1864 and finished in 1867.

There are about 50 gates, buildings, terraces and pavilions inside the complex. It is about 12 ha in surface.  The tomb is divided into two main parts: the temple area and the tomb area itself. The temple area starts with the Vu Khiem entrance and the romantic Luu Khiem lake. On the lake, there are Xung Khiem Pavilion and Du Khiem Pavilion. The temple part continues with three Thanh stone steps to Khiem Cung Gate leading to Hoa Khiem Palace. It was the Emperor’s working place and is now used as an altar devoted to the Emperor and Empress. , there are Phap Khiem House and Le Khiem House for the military and civil mandarins On its sides. The next part is the tomb area. On the left of the temple is the necropolis itself slopping upward with the Honour Courtyard, the Stele Pavilion, and the seplucre. It is right behind Bai Dinh (Honour Courtyard), with two rows of magnificent military and civil mandarins, is Bi Dinh (Stele Pavilion) with the biggest stone  in Vietnam.

Tu Duc’s tomb is not only one of the most beautiful works of the Nguyen dynasty, but it is also a romantic scenery of mounts and lakes
The most interesting part of this tomb is that despite the grandeur of the site and the amount of time Tu Duc spent there, he was actually buried in a different, secret location somewhere in Hue. Even today, the mystery of Tự Đức’s real tomb still keeps in secret.

Bach Ma National Park where you can be close to nature


Bach Ma National Park is located in central Vietnam, Thua Thien Hue province. Bach Ma National Park is one of the biggest attractions in Hue . It covers an area of 22,000 ha in the districts of Phu Loc and Nam Dong. It was created in 1991 to protect the centre of the last corridor of forest stretching from the South. China Sea to the Annamite mountain range at the border with the Lao PDR. This area is home of  variety of animals and plants with steep mountains and dense forests.  There is tropical monsoon forest above 900 m   the sub-tropical forest .  Bach Ma is recognised as one of the biodiversity centres of Indochina. The highest point is in the park. Bach Ma mountain   is 1450 m above the sea level and only 18 km away from the coast. Visitors have been coming to Bach Ma since the 1930s  when the French Colonials built a hill resort here to escape the hot and humid plains during the summer. The National Park has restored some of the villas  built at that time, and is upgrading the services they offer. The rich flora and fauna also attract many tourists. Bach Ma National Park is home of 233 species of birds and 55 species of mammals, as well as extensive vegetation of more than 500 species. Thus, the park does not only  beautiful landscapes, but it also allows for scientific research.

Travel Lang Co beach to get wonderful experience


Lang Co beach bordered a section of the 1A National Highway, nearly Hai Van pass, and 24 km from Bach Ma area. The beach is a long stretch of fine sand with a gradual slope and shallow waters. Coming to Lang Co beach,  tourists can enjoy diving, mountain climbing and expeditions with local fishermen. Moreover, there are many kind of shrimps, lobster, sea shrimp, crab, butter-fish, mackerel fish, oysters in this beach. Tourists can buy them as the gifts for their family or friends. Tourists also can enjoy spectacular views of Lang Co from the Hai Van Pass and from the trains linking Da Nang and Hue. The beach is best enjoyed between April and July. .

The old tomb of Gia Long in Hue

LGiaLong3.gif (14206 bytes)In fact, the tomb of Gia Long is a group of tombs which include those of the Emperor's relatives. The whole compound is spread on a joint mountain with 42 small and big mounts, Dai Thien Tho is the biggest. The tomb of Gia Long is well known for its beauty. The Emperor's Tomb is located on a flat, big hill. In the front, Thien Tho Mount forms a natural screen,. In the back , seven hills raise like natural defenses. On the left, 14 peaks form the "left blue dragons" (Ta Thanh Long). On the right,  other 14 peaks form the "right white tigers" (Huu Bach Ho). To visit Gia Long's tomb, tourists can go by boat about 18 km along the Perfume river. Then land directly at the wharf of the tomb or tourists can go about 16 km by car to Kim Ngoc wharf and walk for some more kilometers.

Tomb of Minh Mang 's in Thua Thien Hue province

The Stele Pavilion (Bi Dinh) in Minh Mang’s Royal Tomb containing the Duc Than Cong stele.The Minh Mang Royal Tomb in Hue is the final resting place of one of the Nguyen Dynasty’s  a King  whose reign represents the apex of Nguyen power over the country. The Tomb is situated 12 km outside the city, on Cam Ke Hill,  on the west bank of the Perfume River. The tomb is a standard architectural complex which consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions, etc.) were designed on an symmetric axis running from Dai Hong gate to the foot of La Thanh (Surrounding Wall) behind the Emperor's tomb. Tourists visit Minh Mang’s Royal Tomb will be required to stop at a parking rest stop at the entrance.  Visitors  will walk about 500 yards  to reach the first stop: Dai Hong Mon Gate. Dai Hong Mon is It is the main gate to enter the tomb.The center gate was opened only once to admit the body of the Emperor. After the Emperor’s burial the center gate was closed for good. Visitors must enter through the two side gates which were for the use of mandarins and other members of the royal family. 
Behind Dai Hong Gate is the Honor Courtyard. Visitors go to Bi Dinh   with  two rows of statues of mandarins, elephants and horses.  Visiting Minh Mang’s tomb, everyone is impressed by the majesty and symmetry of the architectural constructions.

Khai Dinh Tomb's one of the royal tombs in Hue

The Tomb of Khai Dinh is located in Chau Chu mountain . Khai Dinh’s tomb is smaller than the tombs of other emperors in surface. However it is very elaborate. It is the result of the interminglement of different architectural trends such as European and Asian, as well as ancient and modern.
The overall construction of the tomb is an emerging rectangular structure with 127 steps. Entering the tomb area, visitors will climb a 37 - step gate with the biggest dragons in the country. Climbing 29 further steps, tourists is reaching the imperial audience court. There are two rows of statues are facing towards the court center. These statues are made of stone, a rare material in Khai Dinh's tomb. The courtyard is flanked  by two high and imposing pillars on both sides. The room of the Khai Thanh palace constitutes the main temple. The statue, the grave and altar of Khai Dinh is in this palace. The tomb of Khai  Dinh is one of the most surprising among the royal tombs of Hue.

Tomb of Thieu Tri

Mien Tong was the eldest son of Minh Mang  King. He took the throne under the name  "Thieu Tri" on the 11th January 1841. Thieu Tri's  tomb lies in Chu Chanh village, Thuy Bang commune, Huong Thuy district.  The tomb was built in 1849. It was divided into two parts: the tomb area and temple area.
- The tomb area includes  bronze gate leading to big Binh Dai. The two rows of stone statues are on the left and right of the court are typical for the sculpture in the first half of 19th century.
- The temple area :  In the main temple, on the edges of the roof and Hong Trach gate, are engraved over 450 word boxes including poems with educational and literary values. 

Dong Khanh tomb's in Hue

Dong Khanh Tomb is located on the land of Cu Si hamlet, now Thuong Hai village, Hue City. Dong Khanh Tomb belongs to Hue Royal Citadel.
It's construction lasted through the lives of four Nguyen Emperors (1888-1923) that's the reason why it bears the stamp of two architectural inclinations of two different historical periods. The tomb includes 2 areas: The worship temple and the tomb area.
hue-dongkhanh.gif (18769 bytes)- The worship temple: 
  In the main temple and its dependent houses, visitors can find the familiar splendid red and gilt pillars with decoration of four seasons and four holly animals.  Moreover,  there are 24 drawings which consist of illustrations from "Nhi Thap Tu Hieu", historical references about pious examples in China.
- The tomb area:
The design of the tomb is almost completely Europeanized from its decorative models to the building materials.

Duc Duc tomb in Hue

ducduc1.gif (13999 bytes)Duc Duc tomb is  the smallest and least ambitious royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty. However,  it possesses a special charm. The whole rectangular tomb has a surface of 3,445m2. Behind the gate, the Honour courtyard does not contain any stone statues .  Next  is another three-layer triple gate. It is decorated with ceramic chips. Inside are three altars which dedicated to the three emperors: Duc Duc (in the middle, with his wife), Thanh Thai (on the left) and Duy Tan (on the right). These two patriotic emperors (Thanh Thai and Duy Tan) and tombs of the Emperor's relatives  rest  in the back of Long An. 

Bloating fern – shaped cake is a specialty in Hue

Bloating fern – shaped cake is a variety of small steamed rice cake or rice pancake in Vietnamese cuisine. It is white  color.  Its  feature is a dimple in the center, which is filled with savory ingredients including chopped dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, crispy fried shallots, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil. 

The ingredients include rice flour, tapioca flour, dried pigskin, ground shrimp, green onion and oil.

The way to make this kind of cake is quite simple:
- Put rice and tapioca flour into a large bowl. Make 3 cups of cold water, season a little salt and a tablespoon of cooking oil then stir to make the flour melt in water.
- Put cold water into and place cups in the mould, boil the water for about 10 minutes, when the cups are hot, put flour into half of cup, steam in 15 minutes, when the cake is cooked, take out and let it get cold.
- Shrimp skinned and get out black line on the back, meat minced with shrimp, scent with salt, pepper and tops of onion
- Cook until the oil is boiled, put spring onion into and mix regularly in 5 minutes, ladle out into bowls, put shrimp and meat into and fry, then lift down.
- Place cake in plates, put shrimp and meat on cakes, sprinkle onion fat, enjoy with fish sauce and green chili
 Bloating fern – shaped cake is  a very popular nosh in Hue.  Come and enjoy!

Beef noodle, a popular dish of Hue


Hue’s beef noodle  is the most popular dish in Hue. Its origin is from the Royal Hue City of Central Vietnam. The way of making a bowl of Hue’s beef noodle is not simple.  The broth is from cooking beef bones for a long period of time as well as a variety of different spices including lemongrass. A typical version of Hue beef noodle must include pork, roast beef, pig’s blood, Vietnamese salami, Hue’s style salami, shrimp sauce and chopped lettuce. In Hue, you can enjoy a good bowl of this noodle at restaurants in front of No. 84 Mai Thuc Loan Street  at night.  A bowl of  Hue’s beef noodle  can be delicious when its broth is clear, sweet, and has a fatty taste and aromatic smell. Having a fuming bowl of beef noodle with a little fish source and lemon, you are sure to feel cheery thanks to the peppery taste of chilli, sweet taste of the broth and meat. 

The imperial Hotel is an ideal accomodation for tourists to rest

The Imperial Hotel in Hue is one of the best possible accommodation facilities when tourists are on a trip to this city. It  is situated on the bank of the Perfume River  and one km  away from Hue Train Station.The Imperial Hotel stands near the heart of the city. It is an international 5-star hotel.
Guestrooms at the Imperial Hotel are luxuriously furnished. They have the  views of the Perfume River, Ngu Binh Mountain and the Royal Palace. Each room has  wooden floor,  a satellite TV, work desk and free high-speed internet access. Other facilities at Imperial Hotel include a club with slot machines and state-of-the-art casino games. The staff are carefully selected and professionally trained to meet the international 5-star hotel standards. The Japanese and European public relation staff are always readily available to ensure information provision and to take care of each and every demand of our guests to their highest level of satisfaction. At Imperial Hotel Hue, tourists can easily communicate with our staff in English, French, and Japanese.

"Poem" hat in Hue

lagnonbaithotayho1 Conical hat has appeared and brought  a legend. The legend of the conical hat is related to maternal love and the history of rice growing in Vietnam. The legend says, when a deluge of rain was falling , a giant woman was wearing on her head four huge round leaves as large as the sky itself and stitched together by bamboo sticks. The leaves protected humankind. The giant messenger from the sky twirled round the leaves on her head to dispel clouds and rains.  One day mankind dozed off as they listened to stories narrated by her. When they woke up, the goddess was gone. The Vietnamese built a temple in her memory and honored her as the Rain-shielding Goddess. Following her example, people went into the forests to fetch broad and round leaves which they stitched together on a bamboo frame to make the hat.   Now, the two best known and best liked are the conical hat of Chuong village in Ha Tay province, north of Hanoi, and the "Bai Tho", hat of Hue, the old imperial city. Poem conical hat in Hue is more precise. Walking around Hue City,  tourists will catch the images of local ladies in white ao dai (Vietnamese long dress) and non la (conical hats) on their heads walking in the street.  It is no doubt that the ao dai is the traditional dress for Vietnamese women which firstly reveals hidden charms of Vietnamese women in tourists’ eyes.  The conical hat is the second thing to make a strong impression on tourists to Vietnam by its charm and romance.

Canh Duong beach, an attractive beach in Hue

Canh Duong is the most beautiful beach in Thua Thien Hue province. It is about 60 km from Hue city. The beach covers an expansive area of 8 km in length and 200m in width. It is located between the two mountains: Western Chan May and Eastern Chan May, all of those create a very beautiful and attractive landscape.. The most beautiful and striking feature of the beach is its shape.  Besides the characteristic arc shaped feature the gradual slope with the white powdery sands coupled with the turquoise blue water are the attractive traits of the beach. This place is quite windless  so you can take part in many beach activities as well as water sports activities. You can play beach volley ball or go scuba diving or swimming here. You can also relax under the shade of the lush green groves. The best part of being here is that it is not very crowded. You can watch the sunset in the sea water at the Canh Duong Beach, Hue.

Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda( Heavenly Lady Pagoda)  is one of Hue's many landmarks ready to be enjoyed. The temple was built in 1601. Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. Thien Mu Pagoda is located on Ha Khe hill, on the north bank of the Perfume River, a few miles Southwest of central Hue. According to legend, the people around this area used to see a vision of an old lady appearing on the hill where the pagoda now sits. Upon seeing people, she always said that someday a great leader would build a pagoda at this site to bring peace to the country. One day, when Lord Nguyen Hoang passed by this area, upon hearing the story, he ordered the construction of the pagoda . He named it  Thien Mu Pagoda - Heavenly Lady Pagoda.  Thien Mu Pagoda appears. Going up the stairs to the entrance of the Pagoda complex, you will stand in front of one of one of the most photographed landmarks of Viet Nam: an octagonal, 27 meters high tower, Phước Duyên tower which is the iconic part of the Thiên Mụ Pagoda. The tower with the seven floors symbolize different reincarnations of Buddha which was built in 1844 by Emperor Thiệu Trị (1807-1847) .The view from there to the hillside and to the Perfume River is spectacular. The pagoda behind the tower is worth for visiting.

Hue Imperial city is ancient citadel of Vietnam

The  Hue Imperial City is a walled fortress and palace in the former capital of Vietnam.
The grounds of the Imperial City are surrounded by 2 kilometer wall . The wall is surrounded by a moat. The water from the moat is taken from the Huong River (Perfume River) that flows through Hue. city. This structure is called the citadel. Inside the citadel is the Imperial City with a perimeter of almost 2.5 kilometers. Inside the Imperial City is  the imperial  enclosure which is  called the Purple Forbidden City in Vietnamese. The enclosure was reserved for the Nguyen imperial family. The last Emperor of Vietnam stepped down in the mid 20th century. The Purple Forbidden City had acquired many dozens of pavilions and hundreds of rooms. Although improperly maintained (the city suffered from frequent termite and typhoon damage) ,it  remained an imposing spectacle. All of that changed in 1968.  American military forced in Vietnam, they reacted to the communist takeover of Hue and  ordered the city retaken. American bombs blasted the majority of the city into rubble, sparing only a handful of buildings. During the past few years, most of the destroyed buildings have already been reconstructed by the cooperation of the Vietnamese government, UNESCO, and other organizations. 

Khải Định tomb

Turkish Airlines flies to HCMC daily

 July 20, 2011
Turkish Airlines has increased the number of its services to HCMC to seven a week just a half year after the launch of its flights from the Thai capital of Bangkok to the southern economic hub of Vietnam.
The carrier in HCMC told the Daily on the phone on Monday that it had added three more weekly flights to make its service daily from July. The airline still operates the Airbus A340 airplane configured with 270 seats, including 34 Business-class seats.
Turkish Airlines said it was cooperating with Vietnam Airlines for Hanoi-Bangkok service, giving those passengers departing from Hanoi an opportunity to enplane the flight operated by Turkey’s airline from Bangkok to Istanbul and beyond.
Previously, Turkish Airlines flew to and from Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and passengers who wanted to travel from HCMC to Istanbul on the other days had to board the flights of Vietnam’s carrier and other airlines to Bangkok.
Turkish Airlines added flights to the HCMC-Bangkok route in anticipation of rising demand of both leisure and business passengers for travel between Turkey and Vietnam, as their relations, especially trade, have grown significantly.
The two countries are looking to take their two-way trade to US$1 billion this year and a double trade expansion by 2012 from more than US$600 million in 2009.
Huong Giang Travel, the general sales agent of Turkish Airlines in Vietnam, is working with its partners to offer more packages to the Vietnamese market. The company has a nine-day tour to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Grand Bazaar and other sites of interest in Turkey, with cost from US$2,479.
The local travel firm has launched a three-day free-and-easy tour to Bangkok from US$165 per person, including a return trip on Turkish Airlines. In Bangkok, this airline is allowed to let passengers embark and disembark its aircraft as a result of the fifth freedom granted by aviation authorities of Thailand and Vietnam.
Source: The Saigon times

Quality Tours for Discount Prices

 July 20, 2011
The Saigontourist IKO Travel brand has offered economy tours in Vietnam in 2008. Since then the tours have drawn the attention and have been chosen by many visitors especially in the context of increasing inflation. The adoption of IKO travel in Vietnam has created a new way to enjoy travel for visitors with the motto "everybody can travel".
Doan Thi Thanh Tra, the head of Saigontourist's marketing office said that economy tours are drawing the attention of numerous visitors especially students and teachers because the price of these economy tours are usually cheaper than normal tours (about VND500,000/person). Currently, Saigontourist is offering economy tours to Da Lat, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet. Economy tours are different from cheap tours because the tour quality, sightseeing, food and accommodation are similar to normal tours.
Saigontourist has developed the content of these economy tours based on the departure time of tours and their close relationships with its partners including restaurants, hotels and airports.
Saigontourist is not the only company that has taken the initiative by offering economy tours. Vietravel is also offering attractive economy tours. Several popular tours include the four day Hong Kong Disneyland Wax Museum tour for just VND11.79 million/person, a VND2.2 million discount against normal price; an eight day tour to Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra for VND49.99 million (a US$200 discount against normal price); a seven day tour to Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka for VND44.99 million (VND8 million discount against listed price).
Pham Anh Vu, the head of product development for Vietravel said the company had successfully implemented the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism's stimulus program with its attractive economy tours. The price of almost all inbound tours has dropped by 35-50 percent while outbound tours have decreased by US$30-100. Tour quality has been maintained. Most clients are concerned that cheaper tours will mean poorer quality. Therefore, they are very interested in the quality and content of tours. To diversify their content, the company has taken the initiative in adding special attractions to the tours.
To meet the increasing demand of families and groups of 6-10 people and to increase the quality of economy tours, many travel agents have paid attention to consulting visitors about hotels, transport vehicles or develop tours for them.
The representative of Vietravel said that the company has coordinated closely with its partners including restaurants, hotels and airports to offer special prices for visitors who participate in the company's promotion program for attractive economy tours while ensuring tour quality.
Economy tours have drawn the attention of clients in an unstable market. Receiving a strong response from clients, economy tours are expected to generate considerable income for the country's tourism sector./.
Source: VEN

Hanoi Welcomes More Foreign Tourists

 July 20, 2011
Specifically, the number of tourists from China grew 38 percent, from Australia up 26 percent and from Japan up 16 percent. Mai Tien Dung, the deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the exact number of foreign tourists to Vietnam in the first six months of 2011 might be nearly one million.
He explained that the number of 650,000 foreign tourists to Hanoi in the first half of 2010 was given by the Immigration Management Office (PA18) of the Hanoi Police. In fact, PA18 does not have statistics on a certain number of foreign tourists who did not register their short stay in Hanoi. Those tourists came to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh by sea, then took a tour around Hanoi for several days and then came back to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh. Unregistered tourists also included Chinese tourists who entered Vietnam via northern border-crossings and took a sightseeing tour around Hanoi within one day and then went to Quang Ninh, Hai Phong. Unregistered tourists accounted for almost a half of the PA18-given number of foreign tourists to Hanoi in the first six months of 2011.
Such a strong increase in the number of foreign tourists to Hanoi is attributed to many reasons. Specifically, the image of Hanoi's tourism has been advertised widely in major markets; the celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi has been a success making the capital more attractive to millions of people throughout the world; tourist products of Hanoi have been diversified and improved in quality; the tourism infrastructure of the capital has been upgraded; and human resources of the tourism sector are improving.
The tourism sector of Hanoi has set targets to receive 1.75 million foreign tourists and 11.5 million domestic visitors in 2011, 1.8-2 million foreign tourists and 11.8-12 million domestic visitors by 2015.
To achieve the above targets, Mai Tien Dung said that in the time to come Hanoi will have to make the most of its natural resources and bring into play its cultural and historical values so as to create distinctive tourist products of the capital. In addition, special attention must be paid to combining tourism development and protection of natural resources and the environment as well as efforts to improve the quality of tourist products and services and develop human resources.
To boost tourism development, Hanoi will seek approval for its tourism development plan to 2020 with a vision towards 2030. A plan will be made to develop eco-tourist sites. The transport network will be upgraded to better serve tourist needs. The Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will continue to promote homestay tours to Ba Vi as well as the tours to some cultural heritage sites, craft villages and places which are famous for special kinds of food in the capital.
The Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will concentrate on promoting tours to cultural and historical sites such as Thang Long Royal Citadel, Giong Temple, Temple of Literature, Hanoi Museum, Ngoc Son Temple, Huong Pagoda, Thay Pagoda, Tay Phuong Pagoda, Duong Lam Old Village, Dong Ngac Village, Bat Trang Village, Van Phuc Village and some other traditional craft villages. At the same time, the department will coordinate with tourist sites to organize tour guide training courses. It will also cooperate with the Hanoi Department of Transport and travel companies to provide training for drivers. Such efforts are hoped to make Hanoi nicer and more attractive in the eyes of both domestic and foreign tourists.

Vietnam Tourism Ranks Fourth in Asia

 July 20, 2011
Vietnam's tourism sector is expected to welcome 12 million foreign visitors and 28 million domestic guests earning US$9 billion in revenue in 2015. Vietnam targets to rank fourth among Asian countries and territories in terms of tourism, after Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
In 2010, Vietnam attracted more than five million foreign visitors, 15 percent more than 2009 and ranking fourth among countries and territories worldwide.
Professor Frederic Jallat from the European School of Management (ESCP Europe) assessed that increases in the number of visitors to Vietnam is attributed to the improved Asian economic context (the number of tourists coming to Vietnam from Cambodia, China, Thailand and the Republic of Korea hit record high), results of efforts that Vietnamese authorities made over the past 10 years, Vietnam's progress, and outstanding cultural events like the 1,000th Thang Long - Hanoi Anniversary and others that all made Vietnam become an attractive destination for visitors worldwide.
The professor said that Vietnam is a leading country in tourist attraction and that the country is becoming more and more attractive for visitors. To reach its targets and develop a professional tourism industry, Vietnam needs to combine marketing with production and workforce development, further promote communications activities, increase the local content of tourist services, set quality standards, and implement communications strategies to stimulate service purchase and establish networks of loyal customers.
He confided that France, a world-leading tourist destination that welcomed almost 80 million foreign visitors in 2010, has succeeded because the French government and related authorities have systematical and neat tourist service marketing and management policies and have been very well performing tourism management for almost 50 years. France's tourist service marketing and management industry has recently continued benefiting from idea development and important management.
Many experts think that Vietnam has reasons to succeed in tourism. Vietnam has world famous historical and cultural relic sites, attractive cities (including the old capital of Hue in Thua Thien Hue Province and the old town of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province that all have been recognized as the world's heritages by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO), six biological reserves, and Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park that have been certified as the world's heritages. Vietnam ranks 16th among countries and territories worldwide in terms of biodiversity and is home to 16 percent of all biological species worldwide. Apart from sea-related tours, cultural tours, eco-tours and sports-related tours are developing well here in Vietnam. Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Phu Tho provinces in the northern country are centers of cultural tour development. Recently, Lonely Planet, a tourism magazine, ranked Sa Pa town in Lao Cai Province among the world's 10 most attractive places to walk.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) is implementing a strategy for tourism development to 2020. Many cooperative projects were signed. Fourteen French projects totaling US$188 million in capital were discussed on the occasion of Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh's visit to Paris in France in May 2011.

Fight to save soul music of Ba Na

 July 20, 2011
Dinh Di, 80, an elder of the ethnic Ba Na group, has spent nearly all his life repairing and tuning gongs for villages in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
The gong playing tradition was recognised as a piece of "Mankind's Intangible Heritage" by the United Nations Education Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
People in Lot, the name of his village in K'Bang District, respect him as an artisan for helping preserve "the soul of gongs".
"At the age of 25, I was aware that it was up to me to keep the art – and sounds – alive. I went out of my way to meet elderly artisans Dinh Sinh and Dinh Tik in Dac Doa District to learn how to correct and improve the sounds," said Di.
Thanks to his hard work and passion, Di quickly learned how to correct the sound of each gong set.
During the French and American wars, many gongs in K'Bang District were lost. After the South's liberation in 1975, most gongs belonging to the Ba Na people were damaged or broken, making it difficult to use them in traditional festivals.
"The situation made me very sad, so I became determined to spend time and efforts to collect and correct gongs kept among villagers," said Di.
Sometimes he would spend several weeks correcting and tuning a large gong set.
Elderly villager Dinh Ly said thanks to Di's efforts, locals now had many repaired and corrected gong sets for rice festivals and many other ceremonies.
Di's reputation has spread to the neighbouring provinces of Kon Tum and Binh Dinh where people often invite him to their homes to repair their gongs.
"Sometimes I travel as far as 200-300km to repair gongs for needy ethnic groups whose festivals are approaching because festivals cannot operate without gongs," said Di.
Di said K'Bang District had about 1,000 gong sets, including 50 ancient ones.
"But the entire district has only six elderly artisans remaining. I am worried that very few young people are interested in learning the art. What will happen when we all die," said Di.
He proposed that the District People's Committee should train artisans to keep the art alive. Gongs are considered the soul of the Ba Na group.
Vietnam's cong-chieng (gong) culture in the Central Highlands was recognised as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in October 2005.
Gongs of the Central Highlands come in a variety of shapes and sizes: cong have a "nipple" and produce a single, uniform sound, while chieng are flat and offer a wider range of notes.
Different sizes are characterised by family names: Mother, Father and Older Sister. Gongs can be drummed by hand or with a cloth-covered stick.
Central Highlands gongs are not only musical, but also serve a cultural function for about 20 ethnic groups as they herald life changes.

A pagoda on top of Ba Na Mountain

 July 21, 2011
A tour of the top of Ba Na Mountain in the central coast city of Danang is never complete without a walk around the Linh Ung-Ba Na Pagoda.
This is one of the three Linh Ung pagodas in Danang with the other two being Linh Ung-Bai But on Son Tra Peninsula and Linh Ung-Non Nuoc on Marble Mountains.
Linh Ung-Ba Na is the highest pagoda among the three as it is located at around 1,500 meters above sea level.
The pagoda is part of the Ba Na Hills ecological resort complex on top of Ba Na Mountain. It is a real challenge to walk up a very steep road to the pagoda from the Gare De Bay transit terminal where visitors take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain after going halfway to the peak. Don’t worry about that as vans are available for those who are not ready for a workout.
The pagoda is an excellent place where visitors can take a good look at the French-style mansion of the Gare De Bay terminal nestled in the jungle and looking just like a European castle as described in a fairy tale. Standing there, visitors can also have a bird’s-eye view of the jungle and the city below.
What’s more striking about the pagoda is the 27-meter-high white Sakyamuni Buddha Statue with the octagonal base having a story about the eight stages of the Buddha’s life.
Just around 40km west of downtown Danang, the Ba Na Mountain and especially the Linh Ung-Ba Na Pagoda should be given a try when you are in Danang.

Source: The Saigon times

Air Mekong customers can pay at VNPost

 July 21, 2011
Air Mekong will allow customers to pay at more than 18,000 post offices of Vietnam Post Corp. (VNPost) around the country for air-tickets booked at or the private carrier’s call centers in HCMC and Hanoi.
Customers have to write down their booking code in the payment form at any of the post offices and pay cash. Staff at the post offices will verify relevant information before issuing a receipt.
To boost bookings Air Mekong will knock off VND50,000 (around US$2.5) for each air-ticket paid for at the corporation’s post offices nationwide in August.
Air Mekong operates more than 30 daily flights between HCMC and Hanoi, and from these cities to Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Pleiku, Dalat and Buon Ma Thuot.

Source: The Saigon times

Preserving values of Tay ethnic folklore

 July 21, 2011
The northern mountainous Bac Kan provincial Department of Information and Communications has held a seminar on preserving traditional values of folks of Tay ethnic minority groups in the province.
Participants said that Tay ethnic folks in the province have created great spiritual values and played an important role in daily life of the group in the province. Performances, festivals and contests have been held in the provinces to preserve and promote this traditional art.
At the seminar, participants also discussed the preservation of this art and give proposals to improve.

Source: CPV

VNAT welcomes the Fam trip of Sydney travel agents to Vietnam

VNAT welcomes the Fam trip of Sydney travel agents to Vietnam

 July 29, 2011
On July, 22 2011, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism warmly welcomed representatives of  travel agents from Sydney (Australia) who made a famtrip to learn about Vietnam tourism potentials.                                               
The trip lasted from 22nd to 26th July 2011 via renowned destinations as Hanoi – Ha Long Bay and Ho Chi Minh City.
Asia Explorer Travel- an international tour operator was chosen to organize the programme.
The famtrip visited many famous spots, destinations, historic relic sites including Ha Noi ancient town, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem lake (Ha Noi), Sung Sot cave, Ti Top beach, fishing village (Ha Long bay), Thong Nhat Palace, Ben Thanh market, Central Post office , Cu Chi tunnel (Ho Chi Minh city).
Through the famtrip, Australian travel agents had a chance to study Vietnam tourism insightfully and continue to promote and bring more Australian tourists and investors to Vietnam.
During first 7 months of 2011, Vietnam greeted 170,805 arrivals from Australia which is considered one of top ten leading markets of Vietnam tourism.