Christmas in Vietnam 2018

My first steps in Vietnam soil were on the early afternoon of 24 Dec 1997 in Saigon. It was an unforgettable experience, having no idea what to expect for Christmas in a Bouddhist country. Churches were packed, streets were taken over by millions of motorbikes, no way to get through by car. Make sure to book a hotel at walking distance from the restaurants and bars !

Christmas in Vietnam is both hilarious and confusing, because, really, it’s just another day. Vietnam is officially an atheistic country, so nobody gets the day off — but you’ll hear Christmas carols everywhere you go and many businesses put up elaborate decorations. For most Vietnamese, Christmas is more of a curiosity than a religious holiday. Luckily, Christmas falls in the middle of the peak tourism season so there’s plenty to do.

Buy a Santa outfit and sing carols

Shop owners in Vietnam certainly aren’t blind to opportunity, which means you’ll have no problem finding Christmas-themed items as the big day approaches. You can even get complete Santa outfits for under $20. You’ll also be amazed by how many Christmas carols Vietnamese know, even though the holiday isn’t actually celebrated. While they might not understand the words, they’ll sure belt them out with you. There’s nothing quite like singing Jingle Bells in a crowded seafood restaurant on the beach.

Enjoy a feast

Many high-end restaurants and hotels put on specials around Christmastime, offering buffets or set menus with all your traditional favorites — turkey, ham, roast or even some tasty Vietnamese cuisine. Call the restaurants in your area and ask what they offer. Most will at least point you in the right direction if they don’t offer a Christmas meal.

Have a look at some of the churches

There are many beautiful churches around Vietnam to check out. Catholics are a minority, but they still make up approximately 17% of the population. You could even take in mass, but you’ll probably have to stick to humming along with the hymns unless you know some Vietnamese.

From Gothic-style stone cathedrals, to elegant golden marble altars, and hot-pink facades, Vietnam flaunts some gorgeous churches. The country’s architecture is owed to years of French colonial styles, paired with traditional Oriental designs, resulting in an elegant combination of antiquity and modernity. Check out the most awe-inspiring churches you’ll find throughout Vietnam.

Phat Diem Cathedral, Ninh Binh province

Located in Ninh Binh province, this stunning cathedral, built in the mid 1880s is carved entirely from natural stone. The cathedral sits in a serene complex with a lake, bell house, and several grottoes.

Cua Bac Church, Hanoi

While the official name is “Church of Martyrs”, Cua Bac Church is considered a prime example of the marriage between European and Vietnamese architectural styles.

Tan Dinh Church, Saigon

Feast your eyes on a sight I bet you have never seen before: a Gothic-inspired hot pink church located in Saigon’s District 3. This unique church is one of the most underrated sights in the city. Its intense colour is hard to miss, and the interior is equally as stunning. During Tan Dinh’s 1929 reconstruction, wealthy parishioner Francois Haasz and his Vietnamese wife generously decorated the inside with Italian marble, creating a rich, elegant feel.

Church of Christ the King, Nha Trang

Constructed in 1928, this church is built of simple cement blocks, yet it is a marvel to behold. Located in the upper part of coastal Nha Trang, the Church of Christ the King features a striking exterior, but it’s the interior that will take your breath away.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi

St. Joseph’s Cathedral is the oldest church in Hanoi, with construction beginning in 1886, and the design intending to emulate its Parisian counterpart (Notre-Dame de Paris). St. Joseph’s holds mass several times per day, with each mass broadcast outdoors to anyone unable to enter, leading to regular, large crowds during mass times. The cathedral was built in Gothic Revival-style, built of granite slabs and gorgeous stained glass windows shipped to Hanoi from France.

Basilica of Immaculate Conception, Phu Nhai

Fun fact: After a major storm devastated this church in 1929, a nation-wide lottery funded its reconstruction in 1933. This basilica is yet another stunning architectural marvel in Vietnam. The cathedral rises 30m high and is flanked by two tall bell towers with four bells each, and each bell weighs a staggering two tons.

Notre-Dame Basilica, Saigon

This list would be incomplete without the most famous church in Vietnam on it! At any given day, you’ll find crowds of selfie-stick wielding tourists, just-married couples and their professional photographers, along with everyday locals camped around the Basilica selling souvenirs. The red bricks adorning the facade were shipped to Saigon from Marseilles, garnering a lot of attention from the locals, as they were unique at the time. While it is one of the top tourist hot spots in the country, it is currently undergoing a massive renovation, and you won’t be taking any tours of the inside until 2019. However, an English and Vietnamese mass is still held every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Get a tailored outfit

There are quality tailors around no matter where you are in Vietnam, and what better way to add to the Christmas cheer than to get a hilariously tacky suit or dress made up. Splurging for a custom-made outfit in Vietnam won’t set you back too much, so have some fun and get something you can wear for years to come at Xmas parties back home. I had my first taylor made Tuxedo done in Hoi An back in 1998 for barely $50, won’t be that cheap anymore, but still good value for money !

Enjoy a massage

This one is fairly self-explanatory. If you’re bummed out that you’re missing another Christmas at home — and especially if it’s your first — then take your mind off things with a massage. You could even go for a manicure and pedicure or a foot massage. Be warned, though, foot massages in Vietnam are sometimes thinly disguised torture sessions, but you will feel great afterwards.

Go to the beach

You’re never more than a half-day’s journey from the beach in Vietnam, and this country has thousands of kilometers of picturesque coastline waiting for you to enjoy as you sip on your favorite drink, singing carols to yourself while the sun dips into the ocean and night brings laughs and good company. O holy night, the waves were gently lapping…

The rainy season in the South is supposed to be over by the start of the Christmas Holidays, there might be an occasional downpour, but the temperature is still nice and hot.

There are plenty of beaches to choose from :

  • Mui Ne : Mentioned enough of this area in my last newsletter …
  • Nha Trang : The nicest beach resorts are close by Cam Ranh airport, but Nha Trang city at 20-30 minutes by taxi offers the cheaper hotels in the city at 5 minutes walk from the beach and enough entertainment.
  • Phan Rang : For those who prefer to be quiet, tucked away and just relax.
  • Phu Quoc Island : An idyllic island, the only place in Vietnam where you can see the real sunset in the sea.
  • Con Dao Island : Smaller, but still a great escape from the bustling life.
  • Quy Nhon : A fast developing beach destination.

Enjoy a 2 or 3 days cruise in Halong !

With cruise lines from three to five stars such as Starlight CruiseOriental Sails, and Calypso Cruiser, your journey to discover Ha Long Bay is not just a normal trip but also a fascinating experience.

Oriental Sails is preparing the final stages for the launch of two four-star cruises to discover Lan Ha Bay. Calypso Cruises I & II will be launched in early November and will be the fifth and sixth vessels in its fleet, with the impressive slogan: “The Timeless Experience of Lan Ha Bay.”

 

 Calypso Cruises, a steel cruiser with a sturdy double hull, wears a white gown of a beautiful goddess in her twenties, full of life and energy. Each cruiser has 20 luxurious cabins designed in a classic Indochinese style. All furniture is made from high-grade wood with a deep brown color, creating a warm and natural ambience. Rooms are well-equipped with modern amenities and large windows with beautiful views out over the bay. With a capacity of 50 guests, Calypso Cruises creates a cozy and fun space. The highlight of the cruise is the three white masts. Looking from afar, the three masts stand out against the sea and make it appear to glide across a green channel, providing a sense of security and excitement for guests visiting Lan Ha Bay.

Discovering mysterious Lan Ha Bay with Calypso Cruises, visitors can kayak around the Van Boi area or be immersed in the blue water of Ba Trai Dao Beach. On this journey, visitors also visit Sang – Toi Cave in the area adjacent to Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay, discover Quan Y caves – a landmark of heroic history, or visit Viet Hai – an isolated village located entirely in the middle of the sea, covered by the high mountains and jungle of Cat Ba National Park.

In the morning, when the sun starts to flow through the glass door, the sound of the waves will wake visitors up to welcome in a new day. They can go to top floor for tai chi, play golf, or simply lie on the sun loungers and enjoy panoramic views of Lan Ha Bay while the cruise gently sails across the water.

Calypso Cruises will help you experience exciting emotions and memorable moments when cruising on Lan Ha Bay.

Mui Ne Overviews

Mui Ne is a town and cape located 180 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City (220 kilometers on the current highway). In 1999, the town of Mui Ne, plus the village of Hon Rom and Suoi Nuoc Beach north of Mui Ne were combined into one ward and, along with a number of other communities along the coast, were annexed by Phan Thiet. This annexation nearly doubled the population of Phan Thiet to just under 400,000, thereby allowing it to be registered as a city.
Northeast of the city center of Phan Thiet, the coastal road climbs over the slope of a hill in Phu Hai ward and descends onto the long, sandy crescent of Mui Ne Bay in Ham Tien ward. The formerly little-inhabited beach west of the fishing town and cape of Mui Ne proper has seen some serious development in the last 20 years. Now it is a 10 km long strip of resorts that line up like pearls on Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Huynh Thuc Khang streets, shaded by coconut palms.Given the choice, nature would move the sand around, much to the dismay of some developers. Beach sand tends to migrate up and down the coast seasonally, leaving some (but not all) spots on Rang Beach in Ham Tien ward with just a concrete breakwater rather than the sandy beach. If a sandy beach is important to you, some research is called for before booking a resort in Ham Tien ward.
A few bargain hotels have popped up on the inland side of the road, across from the beach-side resorts in both Mui Ne and Ham Tien wards. If you stay on the inland side, you will need to pass through one of the resorts to reach the beach, which might or might not result in some hassle from the guards. The resorts jealously guard their lounge chairs and palapas, though the beach itself is open to everyone.
Within the past few years, resort development has expanded in Ham Tien and Mui Ne Wards, as well as along the coast south of the Phan Thiet city center in Tien Thanh commune and the area around the Ke Ga lighthouse.
Mui Né ward itself has two beaches; Ganh Beach and Suoi Nuoc Beach, both with an increasing number of resorts, shops and restaurants. Strong sea breezes make all the beaches of Phan Thiet very popular for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

What to see besides hanging on the beach :

• Thap Cham Po Sah Inu (aka Po Shanu Cham Towers) in Phu Hai ward is a remainder of the ancient Cham culture, located on Ba Nai hill overlooking the bay, approximately 7 km northeast of Phan Thiet city. The oldest of the three multi-storeyed square towers was built in the 9th century with few decorations and the base similar to Khmer towers of the Chan Lap era. It is still a place of Shiva worship in use by the local Cham people who also use it for their religious festivals (like Mbang Kate, Ramadan, etc.) and other celebrations.


• Fish Sauce Plants, where the famous nuoc mam (fish sauce) is produced. Big jars harbor the concoction that, after months in the blazing sun, is sold all over Vietnam to add some spice to the food.
• The famous Red Sand Dunes (Doi Cat), are located in Mui Ne on the main coastal road at the intersection with the four lanes (706) highway. The whole region is fairly sandy, with orange sand threatening to blow onto the coastal road in some spots. The red sand dunes that visitors visit are about 50ha (1/2km²) of open sand on a hillside with ten-meter undulations, staffed by dusty children with plastic slides who will offer instruction and assistance if you want to slide on the sand. The dunes also offer nice views of the coast to the north. In all, it’s worth a half-hour visit, especially if you have rented your own motorbike for the day. On the opposite side of the road are a series of small cafes where you can park your motorbike for a small fee if you ride there on your own. Most day tours sold by local tour operators include a stop at the dunes. A number of Mui Ne resorts are within walking distance of the red dunes (Sand Dunes Resort, Pandanus Resort, Nam Chau Resort, Malibu Resort and Blue Shell Resort).


• There are also White Sand Dunes located 24km north of the red dunes. They are much larger than the red dunes, extending up to 20 kilometers along the coast, and vendors offer dune buggies for rent to drive around the dunes. There are also the omnipresent children with plastic sleds to rent, as well as ostriches to ride. The deep blue lake below the entrance to the dunes and the dark green lotus plants on the shore provide stark contrasts to the white sand glistening in the sun, offering photographers delightfully starkly contrasting colors. Plan 1-2 hours for a leisurely stroll including stops for photos.


• Mui Ne Market and Harbor (Lang Chai Mui Ne). Don’t miss out on an excursion to Mui Ne harbor and market. Near the northwest end of town is an overlook with a splendid view of hundreds of colorful fishing boats moored in the bay. Further along into town, just off the main road, there is a small but colorful market. If you take your transport just down to the water, you will reach the fishing harbor, where you can purchase fresh seafood or purchase steamed crabs, shellfish, etc. to eat on the spot from local vendors. Walking along the beach, you’ll pass by fishermen sorting out their catch, ship-wharfs and, at the southern end of town, a section where claims have been stripped of their shells for many years, so the sand on the beach is now substituted with littered shells.


• The Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien) is a little river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes, in parts resembling a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Local kids will want to accompany you to show you the way (and of course earn a dollar or so), but since you’re just following the stream, there’s little need. For the most part, the stream is about ankle-deep and no more than knee-deep even at its deepest. It is sandy with few stones and can be walked comfortably barefooted. You can climb up the red sand hills overlooking the river valley and even walk there parallel to the river, however, the sand may be hot on a sunny day, so bring some footwear. Walking upstream for about 20 minutes, you will reach a small waterfall into at most waist-deep water, great to take a refreshing bath before heading back!


• Taku Mountain, (About 30 kilometers west of Phan Thiet off of Highway 1A). An aerial tram takes you most of the way to the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia. Spectacular views from the top of the mountain.
• Fishermen Show, 360 Nguyen Thong, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, ? 0901111666. Fishermen Show Mui Ne is an epic cultural show about Vietnam fishing village. This show features the two big local rituals: God of Whale worshiping and Cham Kate festival. Fishermen Show is the only show in Vietnam where professional contemporary dancers and local musicians using traditional instruments with live singing, together with flying equipment, LED screen, a flying sand dune, ox and cart, all bring alive the Mui Ne-Phan Thiet “fishing village” culture. The show was conceived as an interactive portrait of Kinh and Cham ethnics inspired by a fishing village in Phan Thiet in 1762. It unfolds the legend of a whale skeleton that drifted through the Phan Thiet sea. The body sacredly honored as South Sea General was worshipped at Van Thuy Tu temple by Phan Thiet people in their annual sea festival. The soul turned into a fisherman living with village people, supporting and saving fishermen at sea.
• Hot Air Balloon flight, ? +841208536828 (booking@vietnamballoons.com), 5:00-8:00. Mui Ne is the only place in Vietnam where you can fly hot air balloons. The balloon company has European management, balloons, and pilots. Majority of the time flights take place over famous white sand dunes. When the winds in dunes are too strong, flights take place from Phan Thiet city centre. Both locations are amazing, and balloon ride is probably the most impressive way to celebrate your vacation, birthday, or other special occasion in Mui Ne.
• Kitesurfing is offered by many outfitters and hotels. Peak season is from November through March, with strong winds often occurring on a daily basis from 10-11am until the late evening. Gusty winds are seldom. With strong winds, the waves can be as high as four meters or more. The water is free of rocks, which makes it relatively safe to kite.
• tropical mini golf, 97 Nguyen Dinh Chieu (close to Saigon Mui Ne casino), ? 0084640211720. a nice 18 holes mini golf in a Tropical garden with french restaurant and lounge bar.

Where to eat and drink :

My personal favorites are :
Backstage : Great and very affordable French food, local and imported beers. Perfect location and very welcoming atmosphere ! Great to BBQ at your own table ! 139D Nguyen Dinh Chieu.
Joe’s Café : Daily live music, small pool, kids friendly with small playgarden, great food !
Crown & Anchor : Latest addition to the strip, great sportsbar with extended beer menu, pool table, darts, table football, Sunday roasts, pub grubs, 117c Nguy?n Ðình Chi?u.
Modjo : The main restaurant area offers a selection of tables and chairs for more formal dining and comfy sofas for something a little more casual and relaxing. Specialized in Swiss food. 139b Nguy?n Ðình Chi?u.
Jibes : Jibes Beach Club, offering the very best Water Sports, Bar, Restaurant and Shop in Mui Ne. Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Surfing, Catamaran sailing, SUP, Kayaks and Body Boarding. 90 Nguyen Dinh Chieu str.
Sandals : Sandals in Mia Resort is a good spot for casual lunches by day and quality dining by night. The menu features a mix of Asian and Western dishes in a lovely seaside setting.
– Fresh seafood at the Bo Khe restaurants.
Ganesh : a dependable stop for a dose of Indian cuisine.

Where to stay :

Mui Ne Hills : Since its opening in October 2010, Mui Ne Hills Hotels have continuously been praised as a rising star in one of the most popular choices of accommodation Mui Ne has to offer. Over the past years they have created 4 different venues as to meet the different expectations of our guests, all located very near to each other, centrally in Mui Ne and a bit up on the dunes which provides excellent views and a peaceful surrounding.
Mui Ne Hills Backpackers is their latest addition which opened end 2017 and offers very comfortable dorms and private rooms for the backpackers who love the luxury of a resort style accommodation with lots of entertainment but set against backpackers prices.
Mui Ne Hills Budget Hotel suits perfectly for the budget traveler. Private rooms and dorms and a small private swimming pool with lounge chairs quietly tucked away in a small garden
Mui Ne Hills Villa Hotel is our boutique style hotel with 20 rooms and a very homely intimate surrounding with great views over the ocean. Also equipped with its own private swimming pool and sundeck and a lovely garden full of exotic flowers.
Mui Ne Hills Bliss Hotel opened end 2014 and meets the highest expectations of our guests with very luxurious rooms, some even with private balconies overlooking the whole bay of Mui Ne
Aside of each hotel having its own private swimming pool, we also created ” Mad Monkey Bar” which offers a 5th beautiful swimming pool accessible for guests of all 4 hotels / hostels. It also have a lively vibe with loads of entertainment during the day and night with our resident DJ spinning tunes till late into the night

Xin Chao Hotel : Set up and fully renovated by Paul, his wife, Tien, and their partner, Twan, Xin Chao Hotel is a beautiful little hotel where you will feel at home straight away. Xin Chao means “Hello” in Vietnamese. It is the first thing you will hear when you enter this stunning country—and it is the first thing you hear when you enter our friendly family-run boutique hotel. Xin Chao Hotel is situated by the roadside in the centre of Mui Ne with the beach, shops, and restaurants within minutes of walking.

Joe’s Café Boutique : Elegant seaside bungalows surround small pool. LIVE MUSIC 365! New seaside bar. Budget Café rooms. Two new Seafront rooms. Joe’s has 12 bungalows and rooms surrounding a seaside pool and the famous Joe’s Café Muine. Two bungalows now have new private seafronts. All bungalows have views of the pool, sea and gardens as well as plush sofas and hammock on private balconies. Budget rooms are available near the music stage, closer to the entrance and café and recommended for the real music fans.

Full Moon Beach resort : It lies in a tropical haven of lush gardens right on the magnificent Mui Ne Beach near Phan-Thiet. Full Moon Beach is an ideal holiday destination for every-one looking for a taste of paradise or just a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Our range of accommodation features comfortable and stylish furniture, offering privacy and seclusion for those seeking peace and quiet.

Joe’s Seaside Boutique resort : Joe’s Cafe Seaside Boutique is a new addition to Joe’s Cafe Muine. This tranquil boutique hotel features a large swimming pool, soft green grass, vast lawns and beautiful gardens. This is the ideal choice for families with quiet and large gardens, different sport activities available on site, a large swimming pool and all year round access to the sea. Joe’s Seaside Boutique is in the center, situated right in the heart of Mui Ne’s tourist area, giving the guests easy access to clothes and souvenirs, plenty of cafes, restaurants, and nightlife. Jeep tours are available at Joe’s to the 1300 year old Cham towers, to the Sand Dunes, Fairy Stream, market, fishing village and sleeping Buddha.

Full Moon Village Resort : At Full Moon Village, spend the day on the beach where you can enjoy surfing/boogie boarding. Then return for a meal at one of the resort’s 2 restaurants. All 17 individually furnished Villas feature free WiFi and iPod docks. Kitchenettes with refrigerators and stovetops are standard, and guests will also find flat-screen TVs with digital channels.
Villa deluxe size is 110 square meter, Two Bedroom villa 140 square meter, Tree Bedroom villa 170 square meter. All villas are a minute walk away located from the beach surrounded by tropical gardens with private Jacuzzis. Book a BBQ in your private garden or at the beach. Enjoy a sightseeing tour or discover the sea by catamaran.
Cocobeach Resort : Coco Beach Resort, created in 1995 and managed by Jutta and Daniel, is an idyllic boutique resort – a “little corner of Paradise” – in the center of the Mui Né Bay. The large private beach to a backdrop of tropical gardens and a beautiful pool are coupled with 31 thatched roof bungalows and villas. The contemporary Vietnamese decor combines modern amenities with fragrant woods and present a unique style which reflects the Resorts’ spirit of privacy and well-being. The resorts’ restaurants feature a large selection of local and international cuisines, as well as a complete range of cocktails and drinks which you can sample in various settings. Guests also can enjoy different leisure activities such as massage, excursions, yoga and water sports.

Allezboo Resort and Spa: In this fast-paced world of workplace pressures and life responsibilities, Allezboo Resort and Spa offers an easygoing, reasonably-priced way to decompress with friends and family in deluxe surroundings on one of Vietnam’s most beautiful private beaches on the South China Sea.
The French Colonial-style resort—which boasts swimming pools amid manicured gardens and a restaurant, Catch, specializing in delicious freshly caught seafood from the fishing village down the road—features excellent service and elegantly appointed guest rooms with 24-hour room service. As sea breezes waft into the dining room, guests can enjoy a full breakfast at no extra charge.
A fully-staffed day spa, Lotus Spa, offers Thai, Vietnamese, hot stone and Swedish massages, facials, pedicures, manicures and other services to pamper you from head to toe. Guests with a higher budget can enjoy perfect privacy in two honeymoon villas on the beach, each with their own swimming pools. The crown jewel is the super-luxurious Presidential Villa that comes with its own butler.
Allezboo Resort and Spa is located in a lively, restaurant and resort-dotted neighborhood–a convenient three-hour drive from Saigon

Anantara : Explore Vietnam’s undiscovered coastline of swaying palms and wide golden bays. Anantara Mui Ne is located on a tranquil stretch of beach close to a rustic fishing village. Admire the colourful rolling dunes for which Mui Ne is known from a luxuriously designed sanctuary. Soak up the sun’s rays as you dine on gourmet creations. Explore a wealth of natural attractions whether hiking up scenic mountains or kitesurfing across the waves. Succumb to the slower pace of life in this serene seaside haven.

Blue Ocean resort : Tucked away under the shade of Mui Ne’s coconut trees, Blue Ocean is a haven where the stresses of daily life are left behind. Our rooms and bungalows sit amongst lush, landscaped gardens overlooking the beachfront, offering ample chance to soak up the sun and laze on the sand. Conveniently located in the heart of the shopping and dining area, Mui Ne’s sights and sounds are just outside our doors. Nestled into Vietnam’s south central coastline, far away from the bedlam of city life, Mui Ne is an oasis of calm. Throughout its many years as a small fishing community, life in Mui Ne has thrived on the sea. Nowadays, adventurous travelers, sports lovers, and unhurried holidayers come to relax and rejuvenate on the palm fringed shores that stretch along the beachfront.

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

Source:http://vccinews.com/news_detail.asp?news_id=36116

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 : https://www.vntravellive.com/news/cung-atravelmate-kham-pha-ve-dep-viet-15114.html

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.

 

Cambodia

Angkor

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

 

Laos

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.

 

 

 

 

Vietnam

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.

Vietnamese: motthegioi.vn

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)

Hanoi Head Office: 8th Floor,No 77 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Dien Bien quarter, Ba Dinh district, Ha Noi city, Viet Nam | Phone: +84 24 3926 3449 | Fax: + 84 24 3926 3450

Hanoi Office:39D Dinh Tien Hoang str., HaNoi | Phone: +84 24 3926 3370 | F: (84-24) 3926 3367

Hue Office:33 Vo Thi Sau str., Hue City | Phone: (84- 234) 393 44 55 | F: F: (84-234) 393 44 57

Saigon Office:4th Floor, Room 403. No 14B, Ky Dong Street, Ward 9, District 3, HCMC. | Phone:(84-28) 3930 2959