Phu Yen , Thuy Hoa

Phu Yen – A Short History

Originally founded by the Champa people, Phu Yen developed into a prosperous coastal province. This special status made the region a coveted prize for Vietnamese forces who slowly took over the area in the early 1600s. In the 18th century, Phu Yen had become a strategically important trade center which the Nguyen and Tay Son dynasties regularly clashed over. The natural beauty of the beaches, hills and green plains is slowly attracting more visitors who want to experience the wonders of Vietnam without getting lost in crowds of tourists.

Mang Lang Church : 35km from Tuy Hoa city.

The church was built 136 years ago by French priest Joseph de la Cassagne who started erecting it in a paddy field in 1892. The building has experienced much change since that time, when there were many plants with purple pink blossoms called Mang Lang, from which the church takes its name.

The combination of Eastern and Western architecture makes Mang Lang worth a visit and Catholics may want to peruse the documents about the life of Saint Andrew Phu Yen. His statue stands solemnly on a small hill in the church yard.

In the front of the church, currently, at the right is the statue of St. Andrew Phu Yen on a small lawn hill; besides, there is a traditional house keeping relics of the saint who died young at the age of merely 19. At the house, there are paintings depicting the execution of Andrew Phu Yen, drawn into  Alexandre de Rhodes’ narrative; broken pottery, bricks of the chapel background where Andrew Phu Yen was baptized by Alexandre de Rhodes; a number of books and newspapers about Andrew Phu Yen. In particular, Vietnam’s first national language book, printed in 1651 in Rome, Italy, is solemnly displayed in a glass box. That is the catechism book “Catechisms” by Alexandre de Rhodes (called Clergy Dac Lo by the local people) – who gave birth to the national language.

Alexandre de Rhodes was born in France in 1591. Entering the Jesuits, de Rhodes soon decided to dedicate his life to missionary work. A Jesuit mission had been established in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1615, and de Rhodes arrived there soon after. He spent 10 years in and around the Court at Hanoi, where he wrote the first Vietnamese Catechism. He wrote many books about Vietnam, but de Rhodes’s most significant work was the first Portuguese-Latin-Vietnamese dictionary. The dictionary was later used by scholars to create a new Vietnamese writing system, based on the Roman alphabet, which is still used today. De Rhodes was able to return to Vietnam for six years before being sentenced to death for his missionary work. The sentence was commuted to exile, and de Rhodes spent time in Rome before beginning a new mission in Persia. He died in Persia in 1660.

Da Dia Reef 

(Ganh Da Dia or Ghenh Da Dia in Vietnamese) is structured with a surprising geology, including bountiful rocks in disparate shapes: circular, pentagonal, hexagonal or other polygonal looks. They are stacked together in a heap or fixed in pillars like plates overlapped each other. After surveying and testing sample, the geologists said that these are black and yellow basalt rocks. From a far corner, the whole area looks like a giant beehive. According to scientific explanations, the shape of Ganh Da Dia was formed by the activity of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The molten lava fluid met the cold ocean. As the lava cooled, contraction and fracturing occurred and starting in a blocky tetragonal pattern and transitioning to multidimensional polygonal rocks todays.

When visiting Phu Yen, you should spend time checking-in with this usual masterpiece that the Nature gifted Vietnam. Then, you can immerse in the white seawater of Bai Bang beach. At Bai Bang beach, you can fulfil your stomach after playing hard with seafood because there is no food store at Da Dia Reef now. That is also the reason why Da Dia Reef still remains its pristine beauty.

O loan Lagoon :

O Loan is a brackish water lagoon at the foot of Quan Cau Pass in Phu Yen Province. The lagoon is surrounded with small hills which stand next to one another.

Seen from Quan Cau Pass, O Loan Lagoon looks like a phoenix spreading its wings. Given its beautiful landscape, O Loan Lagoon is always an inspiration for many poets.

Xep Beach :

The beach, located in An Chan Commune, Tuy An District, lures passers-by by its primitive and pristine charm. Scattered along the beach are some mushroom-shape huts for tourists to relax, sight-see in the surroundings and enjoy sunbathing.

The 500-meter beach is also striking with the clusters of black stones which waves constantly pound, and walking barefoot on the smooth sand can be a great massage.

Tranquility and privacy are other highlights the beach offers to visitors indulging themselves in nature.

Vũng Rô Bay

Vũng Rô Bay has an area of over 16 km2 water surface and is surrounded by Cả Mountain Pass, Đá Bia Mountain and Bà Island. There are several of small beaches in the Bay such as Lách Beach, Mù U Beach, Ngà Beach, Chùa Beach, Chân Trâu Beach, Hồ Beach, Chính Beach, Bàng Beach, Lau Beach… Each beach has its own characteristic but all of the beaches here have blue sea water and the sand stretches along the shore which are suitable for visitors to enjoy sightseeing, swimming and seafood.

During the American War, Vũng Rô was the port for many none-number boats to park. These boats carried weapon supplies for Vietnamese military force in southern Vietnam. Visiting Vũng Rô Bay today, visitors will see the body of a none-number boat that has lied down under the deep sea and a commemorate sign to pay respect for the Vietnamese soldiers who have died during the American War at Vũng Rô Bay.


Nhan Tower :

Nhạn Tower is located on top of Nhạn Mountain which was built in late 11th century and early 12th century. This is one of Champa ancient towers which are scattered around the central regions of Vietnam. Nhạn Tower has quadrilateral shape, four levels 25 meters in height of which the height from the foot of the Tower to its first level is 11 meters. There is a Linga statue on top of the Tower. The higher you go, the space will be narrower. Nhạn Tower does not possess unique decorative patterns like other Champa towers. On the other hand, visitors will have some good impression for the dragon shape decorative patterns on the outer part of the Tower which were delicately carved by using marbles and carried out the ancient cultures of Champa people.

Dai Lanh Head :

Đại Lãnh Head is an important position for Vietnam national security and it has one of the biggest Lighthouse in central Vietnam.

The Lighthouse was built by the French from 1890 and it is 110 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by Môn Beach with the lapping sounds of the waves, the stone cliff reaching out to the sea and the rolling mountains at the back. This place is where you can catch the first dawn in Vietnam.

Recommended hotels in the area :

  •           Sala Thuy Hoa Beach resort
  •           Bai Tram Hideway resort
  •           Vietstar resort
  •           CenDeluxe hotel

Whether travelling south to Doc Let, Whale Island and Nha Trang, or north to Qui Nhon, it’s worth getting off the highway and taking these back roads along the coast for a more memorable drive dotted with empty, windswept beaches. And remember, from Tuy Hoa it’s possible to jump off into the Central Highlands, like to Ayunpa and Buon Ma Thuot.

Thuy Hoa has an airport with flights from Saigon and Hanoi as well for a possible 3 days/2 nights trip.

Please feel free to ask for our packages !

To Hue Admire Thien Mu Pagoda

In the midst of the green
A purple flower
To the birds of the cross
That song of heaven
(Little spring – Thanh Hai)

Hue poetry was so natural and beautiful, Thanh Hai poet was not excluded by feelings when writing about Hue full of pride. We came to Hue on a nice day, with sunshine to add to the magic. The travel companion of our trip is AtravelMate tourism company – Hue branch.

Situated on Ha Khe hill, on the left bank of the Huong river, about 5km west of Hue city center, Thien Mu pagoda features the unique architecture of Hue ancient capital. Looking down from the top, the pagoda is like a giant tortoise shining down the Huong River.

The place has many precious objects not only in history but also in art. The statue of the Guardian, statue of the Buddha, Maitreya Buddha statue … or the horizontal, the sentences here all mark the golden age of the Thien Mu pagoda, although the decoration but the historical color, spirituality makes the temple more ancient. Through all the history of lowland, Thien Mu pagoda still quietly and forever become the soul of Hue.

Most prominent is the Phuoc Duyen Tower, considered a famous symbol associated with Thien Mu Pagoda. 21 m high tower, 7 floors, was built in front of the temple in 1844. Each floor has a statue of Buddha. Inside there is a spiral staircase leading up to the top floor, formerly a golden Buddha statue. In front of the tower is the Huong Nguyen Temple, on the roof of the Dharma wheel is a Buddhist Dharma, a Buddhist symbol. Falun Gong is set on the Huong Temple will turn when the wind blows.

Standing on the tower, visitors can watch the stream of Perfume River and watch the light boats sail on the river. This peaceful, romantic landscape will surely make us remember forever.

Passing from Phuoc Duyen Tower to Dai Hung Palace is the main electricity of the temple. An architecture is preserved quite intact although experiencing many events of the time. The beauty of Dai Hung has just ancient deep, just magnificent. Inside Maitreya worship to hear the words of the suffering of beings, have big belly to tolerate the mistakes of the people, and have big mouth to laugh the laughs in the galaxy. On the top there is a 4-lingual inscription “Linh Feng Cao Feng”. Inside the electrical also hang a fairly large copper bell touching the moon.

Next to the Quan Yin temple, the end of the garden is the tomb of the late monk Thich Don Hau – the famous abbot of Thien Mu Pagoda, who devoted his life to charitable activities to help life.
Perhaps Vietnamese culture, turtle has become a sacred and sacred symbol. Unlike other temples, Thien Mu Pagoda has only a large marble turtle, which is a symbol of longevity.

From the courtyard looking down is the river Huong lung float lightly, immensely deep. The boats moored neatly under the landing. We are immersed in pure and pure space and green natural scenery.

Visit Thien Mu Pagoda, the most sacred pagoda of this romantic dreamland, to discover the unique ancient architecture, such as space lost of pure hundred years as well as listening to stories from life pass on Heard that there is a mysterious love charms, the girlfriend love to go to Thien Mu pagoda, return to the farewell has become an unresolved curse in the ancient sacred Hue.

Brother of Pham Van Hoa of AtravelMate has taken us so deeply into the “fairy world”, the sacred reminds me of the poems of the poet Nguyen Trong Tao in the song “Alone Thien Mu” wrote Needle stick:

Knowing that heaven is about to rain
Why do I go to the temple far?
Know who is looking forward to home
Why do I go to heaven
Huong River flowing about people
Backstream and I … Temple


Explore The Beauty Of Vietnam With Atravelmate

What is more beautiful than coming to the new land, exploring all the beauty with indescribable emotions and marking unforgetable memories. Only “take the backpack and go” can give us memories like that in life.

Explore the North with enchanting beauty

North Vietnam is characterized by its mountainous terrain, with both mountains and sea, plus distinct seasonal climate: winter and summer. Therefore, experiencing the North is very interesting.

The first point we came to, was the land of Hoa Lu – the local spiritual masterpiece, where many national heroes. This land is associated with the history of Dinh – Tien – Le dynasty. Sitting on a boat to visit the cave, experience the feeling of floating on a romantic little river or ride the rice field watching as the carpet rugged yellow carpet on the mountain side. The harmony of mountains, rivers, blue of young rice, the golden season of rice is like a picture painted water, beautiful to the soul.

Continuing to the mountain, we went to Sapa, covered four seasons, watching the terraced fields, exploring the lives of ethnic minorities with colorful traditional costumes, experiencing village life, seeing the land colorful, beautiful.

Going to the sea: Ha Long Bay – World Cultural Heritage, on the Starlight cruise enjoy fresh air, mystical beauty with thousands of islands, birds, caves. The most interesting are kayaking themselves or sitting on boat baskets explore fishing villages and life of fishermen. How much of the hardship of everyday life also vanished.

Atravelmate, 39D Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

– Hoa Lu, 1 day: 890,000vnd/pax

– Ha Long, 2 days: 2.730.000vnd/pax

– Sapa, 2 days: 1,955,000vnd/pax

– Buy 2 separate tours to the airport or free 2 water puppet tickets.

2. Hue ancient, romantic

“Once in Hue dreaming, I embrace a sweet love,” Hue has gone into poetry, music as his own romantic, romantic. We were guided handsome guy, cute voice to visit Thien Mu Pagoda – the temple was built in the early 18th century; Visit the Imperial Citadel, the Imperial Palace of 13 kings of the Nguyen Dynasty – the last dynasty of Vietnam. Standing in front of the museum of imperial artifacts in Hue, Minh Mang Tombs and Khai Dinh Tombs are more ancient.

Dong Ba market, this is a market with a history of over 100 years, witnessed many ups and downs of Hue but the market still exists and developed into the largest shopping center in Hue.

“Back to Hue love the poem carved in the hat”, “Find the girl purple dreaming”, visit the village to make hats, make incense and watch the long dress on the Perfume River romantic, drop into the soul. Songs, lyrics, immersed in Hue tone. Thus, when it comes to Hue, it is said that poetry is one of the most talked about cities in Vietnamese poetry and music.

Another characteristic of Hue is Hue cuisine. There are not many delicious cakes here: duck cakes, mushroom cake, filter cake; sweet potato … there are not many places like vermicelli like Hue: beef vermicelli, vermicelli noodles, vermicelli noodles … all are unique, unique by the mix of spices and processed in style. Kingdom.

Atravelmate, 33 Vo Thi Sau, Hue City, Hue

– Hue city tour ( daily): 880.000 vnd/pax: Small group 12pax/group

– Hue Street Food on Foot: 550.000 vnd/pax: Small group 12 pax/group

3. Downstream Me Kong

Following the Atracelmate step, we entered the south. Our first visit to Cu Chi Tunnels. It’s a defense system in the ground. This system was excavated by the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam during the Indochina War and the Vietnam War. The tunnel system includes an infirmary, several rooms, a kitchen, a storage room, an office, an underground tunnel system. The tunnel system is about 200 km long and has ventilation systems in place of bushes. Cu Chi tunnels are built on land known as “steel land”, located at the end of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. During the Tet Offensive of 1968, the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam used this tunnel system to attack Saigon.

Coming to the Mekong Delta, explore the small canals of the Mekong by rowing boats, visit a beautiful island with many tropical gardens, try coconut candy and enjoy fresh fruit, local honey tea.

– Cu Chi Tunnels, 1 day : 550.000vnd/pax

– Classic Mekong Delta, 1 day: 795.000vnd/pax

Source :

All UNESCO World Heritage Sites for Indochina Tour

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was set up in November 1945 and has a declared purpose of contributing to peace and security through the promotion of international collaboration in educational, scientific, and cultural reforms. There are currently 195 member states of UNESCO, who have signed up to help increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with the right to fundamental freedom, as proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

World Heritage Sites are areas or landmarks that have been officially recognized by the United Nations and UNESCO as having significant cultural, historical, or scientific interest to the world. Indochina is also no stranger to UNESCO World heritage Sites, and there are a huge number of sites across Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. With 13 sites on the World Heritage Site list, as well as 18 sites on the UNESCO Tentative List of Southeast Asia, there are plenty of amazing things to see on an Indochina tour.




UNESCO calls Angkor “one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia”. Once the biggest city in the world with around 1 million residents, the site stretches over 400 square kilometers and includes the famous Angkor Wat along with other temples such as the Bayon with its sculptural carvings and Angkor Thom. Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire, and flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries.


The ruins of Angkor are located amid forests and farmland north of the Great Lake (Tonlé Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern-day Siem Reap city. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the Angkor Wat, said to be the world’s largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together, they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture.


Temple of Preah Vihear

Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the Temple of Preah Vihear is dedicated to Shiva. The Temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800-meter long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded.


This site is particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location. The site is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation.

Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura



Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is located in northern Laos at the heart of a mountainous region. The town is built on a peninsula formed by the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. Mountain ranges (in particular the Phou Thao and Phou Nang Mountains) encircle the city in lush greenery. Luang Prabang is exceptional for both its rich architectural and artistic heritage that reflects the fusion of Lao traditional urban architecture with that of the colonial era. Its remarkably well preserved townscape reflects the alliance of these two distinct cultural traditions.


Many legends are associated with the creation of the city, including one that recounts that Buddha would have smiled when he rested there during his travels, prophesying that it would one day be the site of a rich and powerful city. Known as Muang Sua, then Xieng Thong, from the 14th to the 16th century the town became the capital of the powerful kingdom of Lane Xang (Kingdom of a Million Elephants), whose wealth and influence were related to its strategic location on the Silk Route. The city was also the centre of Buddhism in the region. Luang Prabang takes its name from a statue of Buddha, the Prabang, offered by Cambodia.

Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape

The Champasak cultural landscape, including the Vat Phou Temple complex, is a remarkably well preserved planned landscape more than 1,000 years old. It was shaped to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity, using an axis from mountaintop to riverbank to lay out a geometric pattern of temples, shrines and waterworks extending over some 10 km. Two planned cities on the banks of the Mekong River are also part of the site, as well as Phou Kao Mountain. The whole represents a development ranging from the 5th to 15th centuries, mainly associated with the Khmer Empire.






Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty

The 14th century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to the feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Vietnam and its spread to other parts of east Asia. According to these principles, it was built in a landscape of great scenic beauty on an axis joining the Tuong Son and Don Son mountains in a plain between the Ma and Buoi rivers. The citadel buildings represent an outstanding example of a new style of Southeast Asian imperial city.

Composed of the Inner Citadel, La Thanh Outer Wall and the Nam Giao Altar, it demonstrates the use of architectural elements in terms of space management and decoration designed for a centralized imperial city in order to show a concept of royal power, based on the adoption of the Confucian philosophy within a predominantly Buddhist culture.


Complex of Hué Monuments

The Complex of Hue Monuments is located in and around Hue City in Thua Thien-Hue Province in the geographical centre of Vietnam and with easy access to the sea. Established as the capital of unified Vietnam in 1802 CE, Hue was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen Dynasty, the last royal dynasty of Vietnamese history, from 1802 to 1945 CE.

The Ngu Binh Mountain (known as the Royal Screen) and the Perfume River, which runs through the city, give this unique feudal capital an entire setting of great natural beauty as well defining its symbolic importance. The site was chosen for a combination of natural features – hills representing a protective screen in front of the monuments or taking the role of “a blue dragon” to the left and “a white tiger” to the right – which shields the main entrance and prevents the entry of malevolent spirits. Within this landscape, the main features of the city are laid out.


Hội An Ancient Town

Hoi An Ancient town is located in Viet Nam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River. The inscribed site comprises 30 ha and it has a buffer zone of 280 ha. It is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a small-scale trading port active the 15th to 19th centuries which traded widely, both with the countries of Southeast and East Asia and with the rest of the world. Its decline in the later 19th century ensured that it has retained its traditional urban tissue to a remarkable degree.


The town comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls, which include architectural monuments, commercial and domestic vernacular structures, notably an open market and a ferry quay, and religious buildings such as pagodas and family cult houses. The houses are tiled and the wooden components are carved with traditional motifs. They are arranged side-by-side in tight, unbroken rows along narrow pedestrian streets.


Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary dates from the 4th to the 13th centuries CE. The site is located in the mountainous border Duy Xuyen District of Quang Nam Province, in central Viet Nam. It is situated within an elevated geological basin surrounded by a ring of mountains, which provides the watershed for the sacred Thu Bon River. The source of the Thu Bon River is here and it flows past the monuments, out of the basin, and through the historic heartland of the Champa Kingdom, draining into the South China Sea at its mouth near the ancient port city of Hoi An. The location gives the sites its strategic significance, as it is also easily defensible.


Hạ Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, is165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans, it forms aspectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate. The site’s exceptional scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.

The outstanding feature of the site is centered on the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a variety of coastal erosion features such as arches and caves, which form majestic natural scenery. The repeated regression and transgression of the sea on the limestone karst over geological time has produced a mature landscape of clusters of conical peaks and isolated towers, which were modified by sea invasion, adding an extra element to the process of lateral undercutting of the limestone towers and islands.


Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is located in the middle of the Annamite Mountain Range in Quang Binh province, Viet Nam, and shares its boundary with the Hin Namno Nature Reserve in the Lao PDR to the west. The site comprises an area of 123,326 ha and contains terrestrial and aquatic habitats, primary and secondary forest, sites of natural regeneration, tropical dense forests and savanna and is rich in large, often spectacular and scientifically significant caves.


The site contains over 104 km of caves and underground rivers, making it one of the most outstanding limestone karst ecosystems in the world. The karst formation has evolved since the Paleozoic period (some 400 million years ago) and as such is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the karst landscape is extremely complex, comprising a series of rock types that are interblended in complex ways and with many geomorphic features.


Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long — Hanoi, located in the heart of the capital of Viet Nam, is the most important and best-preserved part of the ancient Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty, marking the independence of the Đại Việt. It was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. It was the centre of regional political power for almost thirteen centuries without interruption.

The buildings of the Imperial Citadel and the remains in the 18 Hoang Diêu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads of influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is characterized by its longevity and continuity as a seat of power, evidenced by different archaeological levels and monuments.


Tràng An Landscape Complex

Tràng An is a scenic area near Ninh Bình, Vietnam renowned for its boat cave tours. Situated near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. Exploration of caves at different altitudes has revealed archaeological traces of human activity over a continuous period of more than 30,000 years.

The story of human occupation continues through the Neolithic and Bronze Ages to the historical era. Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Viet Nam, was strategically established here in the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The site also contains temples, pagodas, paddy fields and small villages.

Vietnam continues visa exemptions for five European countries

Vietnam will renew visa exemptions for a three-year period for the citizens of five Western European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Vietnam welcomed approximately 1.5 million Western European visitors in 2017 (Illustrative image)

The decision was approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the regular Government meeting on May 3.

Accordingly, citizens from the five aforementioned countries will continue to enjoy visa exemptions to enter Vietnam up to 2020 after the expiration of the visa-free policy in June this year.

The PM said that Vietnam should continue to expand its visa-exemption policy as the country has unilaterally offered visa exemptions for citizens from only 24 countries, including nine ASEAN countries.

According to Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, the open-door visa policy aligned with enhanced tourism promotion has contributed to maintaining Vietnam’s growth rate of foreign visitors at nearly 30% annually.

Minister Dung noted that the Government will consider proposals from the Vietnam Tourism Association concerning the extension of the period of stay in Vietnam from 15 to 30 days and the expansion of visa exemption for more countries, among others.

Vietnam welcomed approximately 720,000 Western European visitors in 2015 and the number of visitors increased to 855,000 in 2016 and 1.5 million in 2017.

Cr: Vietnamnet

Explore Saigon in the way of foreigners

One of the most famous features of Saigon in the eyes of foreigners is … traffic. According to many travelers, if you temporarily ignore the fear of being on the road here, surely the most prosperous city in southern Vietnam will have many interesting things to explore.

Trying street food

The unique Vietnamese cuisine is always the theme that makes foreigners excited to experience. The food in Saigon is rated as delicious and affordable. The taste of the food on the sidewalk and in the restaurant does not have too much difference. “Fair to say, we found that eating anywhere is very good,” an American guest said.

For drinks, many people are not familiar with the sweet taste of Vietnamese coffee but they are addicted to it after a few drinking.

Trying Saigon street food: “Banh trang tron”

Visit religious sites

Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the first places that foreign tourists visit when traveling Saigon. Many people think that they come here because of the impressive architecture. “This is one of the witnesses of a part of Vietnamese history and you must definitely visit.”

President Barack Obama visited Ngoc Hoang pagoda

In addition, three temples tourists often visit are Ba Thien Hau Pagoda, Ngoc Hoang Pagoda and Ong Pagoda (Nghia An Hoi Quan). Thien Hau Pagoda is also known as the most beautiful temple in Saigon. These sacred places are built by the Chinese and these are in Chinese architectural style.

Explore Cho Lon area

In Saigon, the Hoa people live in District 5, a part of District 10, District 11 and District 6. They have built streets with architectural features. This is a very popular tourist attraction when coming to Saigon.

Festival in Cho Lon area 

Visit Ben Thanh market

It is called “shopping paradise” that you must visit when you come to the most crowded city in South Vietnam. You can find everything from coffee beans, fruits to street food.

Welcoming the Lunar New Year in Saigon

Saigon in Tet holidays

Guests are very impressed with the atmosphere in Saigon on Tet holidays. They also leave the message to the following guests: “Come here on Tet holidays, you will step into the magical world. The street is decorated with brilliant lights, flags, flowers and colorful icons. Come and discover their biggest spiritual festival, you will see a mysterious Vietnam, but also very attractive and new. ”

Vietnamese: Vnexpress

07 awesome experiences when traveling to Hoi An

1. Ride the river: After walking around the small streets in the Old Quarter, you will find yourself stepping out of the river. You will find blazing restaurants, lanterns hanging alongside ancient houses along the river and small boats. Having dinner or drinking a glass of water, and watching the riverside, amidst the bustle of the night market. You will see a colorful neighborhood with full of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and colonial architecture in Hoi An.
2. Visiting the rice fields and learning about local life: You can find a lot of cycling or walking tours to local people. You may have the opportunity to help them take care of rice fields and livestock. This is an opportunity to learn about the daily life of indigenous people.

Visiting the rice fields in Hoian, photo: Vov

3. Watch the lanterns at the ancient town: Hoi An ancient town displays a lot of handmade lanterns hanging along the way, creating a beautiful scene for a night walk. Buy some for souvenirs, and create your own Hoi An at home.

Watching the lanterns in Hoian ancient town

4. Join the Cooking Class: You will learn how to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes such as pancakes, salad rolls, dipping sauce. Crowther took a class at a cooking school for young people who could teach themselves, giving them opportunities for future jobs. They can also teach foreigners a few Vietnamese words during the course of cooking.

5. Take a boat trip: Take a leisurely cruise along the river. Handcrafted basket-boats look insecure, but locals can handle very well. You will be taken to nearby villages, enjoy food, learn about the work and daily life of local people.

Funny boat trip in Hoi An

6. Apparel: Hoi An is famous for its nice and affordable clothing stores. The suit can only take 48 hours to complete and the fabric you choose.

Hoi An became known for good tailored clothing, photo: City Pass Guide

7. Cuisine: Enjoy dishes like rolls, noodles, and pancakes.


Hanoi in top 13 best places to visit in March 2018 for every type of traveler

Travelers are planning their springtime vacations.

March offers an array of great travel experiences around the world, from breathtaking glimpses of flourishing nature on the Galapagos Islands to the colorful celebration of Holi in Mumbai.

Best yet, in many places March is the start of “shoulder season” — the period between the high and low seasons of a vacation destination — meaning you’ll be able to find an affordable vacation no matter your travel style.

Business Insider looked at airfare trends, climate data, and peak travel times to figure out which vacation spots should be on your radar.

Read on to find 13 destinations you won’t want to miss in March:
13. Hanoi, Vietnam
March is one of the best months climate-wise to visit Southeast Asia, and Hanoi – Vietnam is no exception.

Hanoi in top 13 best places to visit in March 2018 for every type of traveler

In Hanoi, you could spend days roaming the energetic and mazelike Old Quarter, packed to the brim with street vendors, open-air eateries and whizzing motorbikes. Hoan Kiem Lake provides a peaceful respite from the frenzy, as do numerous Buddhist temples and pagodas.

Hanoi in top 13 best places to visit in March 2018 for every type of traveler

When you need a break from the city, stunning views of the rock formations of Halong Bay and the verdant rice terraces of Sa Pa are just short trips away.

12. Austin, Texas
Gary Clark Jr. performs during the 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 17, 2017 in Austin, Texas. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW
March is the perfect time to travel to Texas’s quirky capital. The weather’s balmy, flights are cheap, and you can catch two decidedly Texan events: the Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo and the world-famous South by Southwest music and media festivals.

11. Palm Springs, California

The desert resort city of Palm Springs, California, is another American hotspot that’s ideal to visit in March.

Temperatures in the 70s and low 80s Fahrenheit make for perfect hiking conditions on the numerous trails — just two months later and the mercury will reach triple digits. Nearby Joshua Tree National Park offers some of the most rugged, spectacular views of nature and wildlife you’ll see in the United States.

And if you’re not the outdoorsy type, you’re sure to find comfort cooling off by the pool or pampering yourself in a spa.

10. St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Mild weather and low rainfall make March the optimal time to visit this Caribbean gem with an affinity for rum.

Indulge in the island’s stunning tropical beaches, go whale-watching on the north shore, and be sure to check out historical sites like the Columbus Landing Site, the only known location where members of a Christopher Columbus expedition set foot on what is now US soil.

And if you plan your trip right, you can take part in the raucous St. Patrick’s Day parade in Christiansted — one of the only celebrations of the Irish holiday you’ll find in all the Caribbean.

09. Cartagena, Colombia
The coastal Colombian city of Cartagena offers beautiful beaches, traditional food, and some of the best nightlife in Latin America. Take advantage of the nice weather and go handgliding or kitesurfing, and for a relaxing day trip, head to the white sand beaches on Isla Barú.

08. Galapagos Islands
There’s a reason nature lovers flock to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Between active volcanoes, idyllic beaches, and some of the most exotic and rare animals on the planet, the Pacific archipelago provides countless opportunities to witness something you’ve never seen before.

March happens to be the rainiest month on the islands, which means they will be less crowded with tourists. But don’t let the rain discourage you — the showers are brief, and locals say they make the water even clearer. On top of that, March is the beginning of mating season for birds there, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a glimpse of baby sea lions and turtles on the shore.

07. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is best enjoyed away from the throngs of tourists that tend to overrun the city in the summertime. March in the Dutch capital is a little chilly, with temperatures around 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you don’t mind the cold, it’s well worth the extra room to breathe and the money you’ll save on airfare.

You’ll have plenty of space to admire the colorful, off-kilter houses along the Amstel River, as well as other attractions like the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. And if you like electronic music, the Five Days Off festival in March is a must-do.

06. Chamonix, France

The winter sports haven of Chamonix is still going strong in March, so if you feel the urge to hit the slopes on your European adventure, this resort town should be on your list.

Even if you’re not an avid skiier, you’ll find plenty of active pursuits in Chamonix, from ice climbing and dogsledding to snow-shoeing and hiking. When the day’s done, you can cozy up in your cabin and enjoy some fine food and French wine.

05. Cairo, Egypt
March is shoulder season in Cairo, meaning the winter crowds start to thin out, airfare dips, and the weather is exquisite.

The legendary Pyramids of Giza and Great Sphinx lie right on the outskirts of the city, and archaelogical sites at Dahshur, Memphis, and Saqqara will intrigue history buffs. When you’re done sightseeing, head to Al Azhar Park or barter for goods at the Khan el-Khalili bazaar.

04. Tasmania, Australia
Travelers fall in love with Tasmania’s rugged wildnerness and picturesque landscapes, which feature everything from beaches, rainforests, mountains, and more.

March is right on the tail end of tourist season in Tasmania, and the island benefits from breezy late-summer temperatures in the low 70s Fahrenheit. Take your time exploring the different regions of the island, and get up close in personal with the local wildlife, including wallabies, wombats, and fairy penguins.

03. Mumbai, India
Children celebrate the Hindu festival of Holi. Shutterstock
The vibrant Hindu holiday of Holi begins on March 1 this year, and Mumbai is one of the best cities in India to celebrate it.

The peak of the holiday is a free-for-all festival of colors, in which revelers take to the streets and hurl colored powder and spray colored water at one another, turning people into walking rainbow canvases.

02. Kathmandu, Nepal
March is one of the best times of year to visit Kathmandu, the home of holy sites, incredible views of the Himalaya mountains, and frenetic street life.

Kathmandu is also host to one of the greatest Holi celebrations outside India — a raucous all-morning celebration of color that culminates in historic Durbar Square.

The weather this time of year is mild and perfect for strolls around the city or day treks through the mountains.

01. Antarctica
Traveling to the coldest continent on Earth is only possible between October and late March, but there are a few reasons why holding out until the end of tourist season is a good idea.

For one, although traveling to Antarctica is never cheap, you’ll save a lot of money on cruise tickets by booking for March. Most cruises to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina, and some companies in the town even offer last-minute deals that you can buy on the spot. However, be prepared — even the cheapest, shortest trips to Antarctica can cost around $5,000.

March also happens to be a prime month for whale sightings, including humpback whales, sperm whales, and orcas. Fledgling penguins and sea birds are still hanging around as well, providing for a once-in-a-lifetime excursion to the edge of the planet.

 (Copyright Business Insider)

10 must-try dishes in Ho Chi Minh city and where to try

1. Pho: This consists of a bow of pork bone soup, rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef, features predominately in the local meal. It is cheap, tasty, popular and available at all hours in Ho Chi Minh city. Pho has shown its position not only in Vietnamese cuisine but also world cuisine. Pho can be seen everywhere from street stalls to high-end restaurants. Some are served with chicken or with beef. Fresh herbs, soft noodles are important factors in making an outstanding Pho.

Where to try in Saigon:
– Phở Dậu: 288, Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, ward 08, District 03
– Phở Hòa: 260 C, Pasteur, ward 08, District 03
– Phở Lệ: 413-415 Nguyễn Trãi, ward 07, District 05

Pho, where to try in Saigon?

2. Banh mi – Vietnamese baguette Sandwich: Commonly well-known along with Pho, Vietnamese baguette sandwiches, called Banh Mi, have attracted a growing fan base around the world. The uniqueness of Banh Mi is not only the light and crispy baguette, but also the variation of Vietnamese flavors fillings bring out the most amazing flavor. In the North, chefs fill the basic elements of fat, margarine, and pate but in the South (including Ho Chi Minh city), Banh Mi may contain a more colorful combination of cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh coriander and chili sauce.
Where to try:
– 22 Lê Thị Riêng, quận 1, HCM city
– Hòa Mã bakery, Cao Thắng str., District 03, HCM city
– Nguyên Sinh bakery, Trần Đình Xu str, District 01, HCM city
– Barbecue sandwich cart, 37 alley, Nguyễn Trãi str, District 01, HCM city

3. Banh Xeo – Sizzling cake: Banh Xeo is giant savory pancakes that literally translate to the sizzling cake because of the noise they make when they are being cooked. A good sizzling cake is a crispy crepe bulging with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, plus the garnish of fresh herbs that are characteristic of most authentic Vietnamese dishes. To enjoy one like a local, cutting it into slices, roll it up in rice paper or lettuce leaves and dunk it in whatever special sauce that the chef has mixed up for you.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Banh Xeo Mười Xiềm: 190 Nam Kì Khởi Nghĩa str, District 03 – 204 Nguyễn Trãi str, District 01
– Banh Xeo Ăn Là Ghiền: 74 Sương Nguyệt Ánh str, District 01
– Banh Xeo Miền Trung: 179C2 Đồng Đen str, Tân Bình District

Banh Xeo – Sizzling cake, where to try in Saigon?

4. Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Roll) and Cha Gio (Fried Spring Rolls): Salad roll ranks among Vietnam’s most famous foods and is very agreeable to the taste. Each translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced pork and shrimp. In some places, they’re served with a bowl of lettuce and/or mint. A southern variation has barbecued strips of pork wrapped up with green banana and star fruit, and then dunked in a rich peanut sauce – every bit as tasty as it sounds.
Cha Gio – Fried Spring Rolls: Vietnam’s bite-sized crunchy spring rolls might not enjoy the same popularity as fresh spring rolls, but they deserve a special mention.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Cô Tuyết: 185/30 3 Tháng 2 str, Ward 11, District 10
– “Wrap and roll”, 62 Hai Ba Trung Street, in District 1
– Propaganda Bistro Restaurant: 21 Han Thuyen, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
– Bun Cha & Spring rolls 145 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

5. Bun Rieu (Crab and tomato vermicelli soup): This fragrant vermicelli soup will blow your mind with a large combination of different ingredients, starting from the tomato soup base and crab paste (the main of the dish). Crab meat and complementary veggies add more values to the bowl, slurp on and enjoy!
Where to try in Saigon:
– Bun Rieu on Phan Bội Châu str, East gate Bến Thành market, Lê Lợi str, Bến Thành ward, District 1
– Bun Rieu, 287 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu str, District 03
– Thanh Hải, 14/12 Kỳ Đồng str, Ward 09, District 03

Bun Rieu, where to try in Saigon?

6. Ca Kho To (Braised fish in a clay pot): Another friendly dish for all the Vietnamese families, fish that is carefully caramelized in a clay pot with fish sauce. The clay pot will bring out the juiciness of the fish that a normal metal pot can’t be able to conquer, and clay pot is mainly used to braised dishes for other kinds of meats like pork and shrimps. Ca Kho To tastes both salty and sweet, bringing warmth and comfort to everyone.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Cơm Niêu Sài Gòn – 27 Tú Xương str, District 03
– Ngon restaurant – 138 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa str, Bến Nghé ward, District 01

7. Cơm tấm sườn nướng (Saigon-style broken rice)
Saigon-style broken rice is the famous and most beloved Vietnamese based dishes. It often comes with ribs, pork ham, cucumber slices, tomato slices… The ribs were marinated in honey then grilled, a piece made of pork mixed with noodles and mushrooms then steamed it. That makes the special flavor of Saigon-style broken rice.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Ba Ghiền: 84 Đặng Văn Ngữ str, ward 10, Phú Nhuận district
– Kiều Giang: 63 Song Hành, An Phú ward, District 02
– Thuận Kiều: 54 Thuận Kiều str, 04 ward, district 11

8. Bánh tráng trộn (Banh Trang Tron)
Although the dish is very common in many cities, but only in Saigon ‘Banh Trang tron’ is the most delicious and most attractive. The toughness of rice paper, the sour of mango, shredded beef jerky, the taste of Vietnamese mint and quail eggs… make many people consider it is the best snack in Saigon.
Where to try in Saigon:
– Chú Viên: 38 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền str, ward 05, District 03
– Cô Long: 24 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền str, ward 5, District 03
– “Chảnh”: Turtle (Con Rùa) lake, Phạm Ngọc Thạch str, ward 06, District 03

Banh Trang Tron, where to try in Saigon?

9. Hủ tiếu Nam Vang (Hu Tieu Nam Vang)
Originated from Cambodia, Nam Vang noodles soup is made by the Chinese. The raw materials are dry noodles, minced pork, pig’s offals, shrimp and quail eggs. The soup is made from pork bone stew. Boiled noodle then adding bean sprout, chives, minced pork and pig’s offals. Depending on each person, you can replace the minced pork by shrimp, crab, squid… but minced meat is necessary.
Where to try in Saigon?
– Hu Tieu Nam Vang Thành Đạt: 25 Cô Bắc str, Cầu Ông Lãnh ward, District 01
– Hu Tieu Thanh Xuân: 62 Tôn Thất Thiệp str, Bến Nghé Ward, District 01
– Hu Tieu Nam Vang Nhân Quán: 27 Âu Cơ str, Ward 14, District 11

10) Xoi (sticky rice): Unlike the usual rice we have for lunch/dinner, sticky rice literally means…rice that stick altogether. This is a go-to breakfast in Saigon for its convenience where students and officers usually dig in. Steamy sticky rice is served with some hard boiled eggs, sausage and dried shredded chicken floss. Sprinkling some soy sauce on top and it is good for you to take away.

Xoi – sticky rice, where to try in Saigon?

Where to try in Saigon:
– Xôi Bà Chiểu: 318/1 Bùi Hữu Nghĩa str, ward 01, Bình Thạnh district
– Xôi “nhà xác”: 409 Trần Phú str, ward 07, district 05
– Xôi Tám Cẩu: Điện Biên Phủ & Cao Thắng crossroad, district 3
– Xôi Bình Tiên: 88 Minh Phụng str, ward 05, district 6

“TET” The Lunar New Year introduction

Personally, I am a bit excited for the upcoming year, being a dog in the zodiac sign myself …

The Vietnamese New Year – Tet Nguyen Dan – follows the same lunar calendar that governs Chinese New Year celebrations worldwide. So on the same day the world celebrates Chinese New Year, the people of Vietnam celebrate Tet.

The Vietnamese consider Tet to the most important one in their considerable festival lineup. Family members gather in their hometowns, traveling from across the country (or the world) to spend the Tet holidays in each other’s company.

The first day of Tet is usually spent with immediate family, the second day is for visiting friends, and the third day is dedicated to teachers and visiting temples.

Because the principle goal is to attract good fortune for the new year, Tet and Chinese New Year share a lot of similar traditions. For instance, you shouldn’t sweep during Tet because you could inadvertently sweep away new luck. The same goes for any cutting: don’t cut your hair or fingernails during the holiday!

One of the most important traditions observed during Tet is the emphasis put on who is the first to enter a house in the new year. The first person brings the luck (good or bad) for the year! The head of the house — or someone considered successful — leaves and returns a few minutes after midnight just to ensure they are the first to come in.

Contrary to popular belief, foreign visitors can and do join in the Tet fun. In the next few chapters, we explain the significance of the holiday, places that throw the best Tet parties, and survival tips for Tet visitors.

Tet is a great time to see Vietnam at its most colorful, especially in the cities of Hue, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City.

However, reservations are bound to be filled up long before the actual holiday, and transportation before and after Tet is bound to be sketchy at best (everybody wants to be home for Tet!). Also, many tourist spots are closed for several days between Tet.

Do visit if you intend to stay in one place for the duration of Tet, and can commit to letting the Tet travel rush die down. Expect prices to be jacked up to the maximum throughout the Tet holiday. Don’t take it personally – everyone else is paying up, too.

Visiting Hanoi during Tet

The Vietnamese capital is the best place to see traditional Tet celebrations taking place, all taking place between the second and seventh day of the festival week.

At the stroke of midnight on Tet eve (February 16, 2018), fireworks shows will go off at five key areas across Hanoi: Thong Nhat Park, Van Quan Lake, Lac Long Quan Flower Garden, My Dinh Stadium and Hoan Kiem Lake.

On the sixth day, the Co Loa Citadel to Hanoi’s north sees costumed locals forming a procession, much as their ancestors did long ago, in the Co Loa Festival; only today, civilians march in the parade, instead of the former military officials and government mandarins.

Finally, a calligraphy festival takes place all throughout Tet on the grounds of the Temple of Literature in old Hanoi – calligraphers called ong do set up shop in about a hundred booths, brush in hand, writing auspicious Chinese characters for paying customers.

Visiting Hue during Tet

The Hue imperial citadel, located in the former royal capital of Hue, has seen a renaissance of royal-era traditions, none more significant than the raising of the cay neu, or Tet pole, on the palace grounds.

The cay neu repeats itself as a traditional bamboo plant in millions of Vietnamese homes, but the one in the Hue citadel is the biggest and flashiest. The first cay neu was traditionally first set up by the Buddha to drive away evil monsters.

An elaborate ceremony raises the Tet pole on the first day of the holiday; the process is repeated on the seventh and the last day, marking the end of Tet. In olden times, Hue residents would take their cue from the palace ceremonies to set up and take down their own cay neu at home.

Visiting Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) during Tet

The mass of motorcycles jamming Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t go away during Tet, but parts of the city explode in color during the week-long festival.

On the eve of Tet upon the stroke of midnight, fireworks shows will ignite at six areas across the city: Thu Thiem Tunnel between districts 1 and 2, Dam Sen Park in District 11, Cu Chi Tunnels in Cu Chi District, Rung Sac Square in Can Gio District, Lang Le-Bau Co historical site in Binh Chanh District, and the Nga Ba Giong Memorial in Hoc Mon District.

In District 8, Tau Hu Canal becomes the site of a flower market, with blossoms and ornamental trees sourced from the nearby provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre. The market’s wares vary wildly, from cheap cockscomb flowers in pots to expensive yellow apricot trees.

Basicly, make sure all your arrangements have been properly booked in advance as most flights and other means of transport will be fully booked ! Expect to pay around 10-20% extra in some restaurants that are open during TET, also the locals pay the extra on those days.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi to the year of the Dog !

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