Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Four Seasons in Ho Guom

Located in the heart of Hanoi, Ho Guom or (Hoan Kiem Lake) with legends and surrounding ancient vestiges, such as Tortoise Tower, Ngoc Son Temple, Hoa Phong Tower, But Tower (pen-shaped tower), is a drawing card for the thousand-year-old Capital.

In spring the Lake is as beautiful as a romantic painting and in summer the space around the Lake is shady and brilliant with flamboyant reflections on the water. When autumn comes with its slightly cold winds, Barringtonia trees surrounding the Lake are in blossom and its red flowers fall over the trees’ foot and the lake’s surface.
In winter the Lake seems to huddle to warm up with rows of trees shedding leaves for budding in the coming spring. With its historical and cultural values, Ho Guom has become an indispensable part of Hanoi and an interesting destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Fresh buds signal spring is coming to the jade Ho Guom.
Boat racing in spring time on Ho Guom.

Quan ho singers perform on Ho Guom.

In summer flamboyant flowers are red over The Huc Bridge.

Visitors tour around Ho Guom by cyclo.

In autumn the gigantic Barringtonia tree by the lake has golden blossoms.

In spring flowers in diverse colours boom around the lake.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Enjoy a bowl of subtle "Cao lau" in Hoi An

"Cao lau" was considered by the Quang Nam people as a special symbol representing Hoi An.

Tourists in Vietnam travel who visit to Hoi An always remember Cao Lau, the foremost traditional food here. Cao Lau -  a special food that only appears in the ancient town of Hoi An- does not taste like any other Vietnamese dish. It  has something in common with Japanese and Chinese noodles, though more refined.
Unlike the flat, white, ivory noodles of "phở", Vietnam’s most popular noodle dish, Cao Lau noodles are much thicker and a bit raw. The noodles will therefore be soft, enduring and flavored with special sweet-smelling additives.
The secret of Cao Lau lies in the water; authentic Cao Lau is prepared only with water drawn from ancient Cham wells hidden around Hoi An and Quang Nam Province. Noodles are pre-soaked in well water and lye made from wood ash brought from one of the eight Cham Islands around 10 miles outside of Hoi An. The combination may seem esoteric, but local foodies can tell a difference in the taste and texture. So, Cao Lau be made anywhere else in Vietnam.
In addition, the meat used to prepare the Cao Lau must be pork loin or trotter.  The pork is fried in a marinade and then roasted for 1 hour.
It's served in a steaming bowl of flat, yellow rice noodles in a broth flavored with lemon, ginger, anise, basil and mint. It is basically a rice noodle, herb, and meat dish. The dish is eaten with crisp bean sprouts, fried onions and slices of pork topping it. Cao Lau is always hot and very delicious. It is very flavorful.  Its flavors have distinctions, making visitors ate once, that want to eat forever.
Also an interesting thing, when eating at Cao Lau Hoi An, tourists must climb up to high floor. They can enjoy delicious dishes and has just see beautiful scenery,  just as the traders did hundreds of years ago. At any time during the day, tourists in Vietnam can enjoy Cao Lau.
People said, Cao Lau just likes a shy, discreet girl who hides herself in a simple dress and shuns expensive perfume. It’s might not be as vibrant, colorful and eye-catching as Ho Chi Minh City’s cuisine, or as tempting in appearance as Hanoi’s, but it doesn’t matter as the food of Hoi An is all about taste, taste and taste. 

Buon Don village, Daklak - A mysterious legend

Don Village has the long-standing fame for elephant hunters and trainers. All Vietnamese children remember their heart a song about the elephants at this village.

Don Village is located northwest of Buon Ma Thuot in Krong Na Commune, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province close to the Cambodian border, approximately 42km from Buon Ma Thuot. It is built on the Island inside Serepok Rive, home of many ethnic minority groups like: Ede, M’nong, G’rai, Lao, Thai, etc. 
There is Yok Don National Park here - one of the most famous National Park in Vietnam.
 It has been famous for its Kru  -powerful elephant tribe leaders, for a long time, and is well known in India and France for its elephant. Y Pui, a 102-year-old man (1883-1985) who tamed over 450 elephants, spent part of his life as King Bao Dai’s Mahout. Elephant training and hunting has been passed down through generations. It takes 67 months to domesticate a wild elephant.
Elephant riding is a experience that toursits in Vietnam travel will never forget. Include fording across the Serepok River, which is pretty cool. The elephants can hold two to three people, depending on their girth (the passengers, not the elephants). 
It's a pleasant enough spot - there's  The raditional long house full of souvenirs to buy, and the tribespeople that work there spend the day putting on musical shows using traditional instruments for group after group of tourists.
There are an annual traditional festival of the Don Village, which will also show visitors performances of gongs, UNESCO’s oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
This is an opportunity for Vietnamese and foreign tourists to come and learn about the Don Village and York Don National Park of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak. Don Village becomes the “can-not-be-missed” destination in Vietnam travel.

Unforgettable experience in Mui Ke Ga

Clean and primitive, Mui Ke Ga (Ke Ga Cape) is the most favourite destination for visitors to Binh Thuan Province. From the top of the lighthouse built on the island, visitors can enjoy a fabulous view of the open sea...

From the beach...
Twenty-five kilometers from the city of Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, tourists can travel by bus or motorbike along the coastline to Ke Ga Island. At Ke Ga Cape, visitors are able to wander around and clamber over cliffs and boulders piled up all over the place.
There are many international and domestic ships and fishing boats coming and going in the area. As there are reefs in the area, French and local people decided to erect Ke Ga lighthouse to warn ships of the danger. 

Visitors can also stay on the island overnight to go fishing. Fishing during the full moon is another unforgettable experience. People can taste the baked sea fish they have caught by themselves and then stay up to see the first sunlight. 

... to the famous lighthouse
At Ke Ga Cape stands a lighthouse, built in 1899, considered as the tallest and oldest existing lighthouse in Vietnam.
The lighthouse is called Ke Ga by local people. Ke Ga Lighthouse was built on Ke Ga Island top whose total area is about 5 ha in the coastal area of Tan Thanh Ward, Ham Thuan Nam District, about 30km away from Phan Thiet City to the South East. This lighthouse was designed by a French architect named Chnavat to guide ships to go back and forth.


The construction started in February 1897 and was completed by the end of 1898, and the lighthouse was put in operation in 1900. To mark the construction period, local people put a big granite panel carved the number 1899 at the lighthouse entry gate. The lighthouse has now been operating for 108 years.

The light house with its unique architecture is about 60m tall. From that height, visitors are able to see a vast expanse of sea and sky, as well as enjoy cool ocean winds. The most beautiful moment to visit the lighthouse is at sunset. People can see a fantastic sight with splendid colours. 

Sometimes they can not distinguish the boundary of the sky and sea. Only 500m from the coast, people can walk to the island when the tide is out.

Ke Ga Lighthouse was built grandiosely, which can be classified as Vietnam’s tallest lighthouse, built of granite stones brought from France. A unique character of this lighthouse is that the granite stones were carved out of different cells, shapes, sides that are well-fit. So in building, they were put together and stuck by mortar. On the lighthouse, there is a big light of 2000W, which was brought from France and used to give signals ships back and forth. Presently, Ke Ga Lighthouse has become a tourist attraction, not only about art and architecture, but also a beautiful natural landscape.

Up to now, the tour to Ke Ga Cape has been always drawing much attention from international and domestic visitors.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mai Chau Valley - Hoa Binh

Coming to Mai Chau, travelers in Vietnam tourism will be warmly welcomed by the picturesque scenery of Mai Chau lying in a green valley of paddy fields dotted with rows of stilt houses.

Mai Chau Valley

Stilt houses border both sides of the roads. The houses are quite large with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo-slat floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the making of the colorful tho cam, the material used by Thai minority to make their clothes, takes place in the kitchen. The windows are large and decorated with patterns. Each house also has a pond to breed fish.

Stilt houses in Mai Chau Hoa Binh
Stilt houses in Mai Chau Hoa Binh

The Sunday market brings a lot of people into town. People from different minorities living in the mountains come to Mai Chau market to sell their specific products: honey, bananas, corn, and tho cam made by skilled Thai women.

The Sunday market is also an occasion to enjoy traditional Thai dishes and to participate in traditional dances. Thai dancing and singing is something that visitors can not afford to ignore. Especially, there is the traditional dance show for tourists, which starts at 8pm and it provides to tourists joining tours in Vietnam with a very impressive experience.

Mai Chau valley

Mai Chau can be a base for some trekking tours to the villages around, and spending one night at one of the stilt houses in Mai Chau, tourists have chance to enjoy the folk dances and songs that are accompanied by Gong music, as well as experience the feeling of drinking Can Wine – an important cultural symbol for ethnic minorities in Hoa Binh province. Particularly, tourits coming there can enjoy the minority specialty dishes including rice cooked in bamboo and grilled meat.

Nowadays, foreigners who want to learn more about Vietnamese culture as well as to admire picturesque scenery of Vietnam, Mai Chau Hoa Binh is an ideal place where they can freely discover everything.

Kim Boi hot spring in Hoa Binh

Kim Boi, one of the districts of Hoa Binh province, is said to be granted with a natural hot spring by the Nature. The hot spring is now a tourist spot which “can-not-be-ignored” if staying in Hoa Binh. 

Putting aside all the tensions and troubles of life, tourists will feel relax and comfortable when soaking themselves in Kim Boi Hot Spring.

Kim Boi hot spring in Hoa Binh

The mineral water continually spouts from the fountains, normally between 340C and 360C. According to some scientific tests, Kim Boi water resources are qualified to meet the standard for drinking, bathing and treating some diseases such as arthritis, gastritis, high/low blood pressure. 

This mineral water Kim Boi is now bottled and become favorite refreshment for tourists in Vietnam travel. It has almost the same composition as certain wellknown foreign brands of mineral water.

Kim Boi hot spring in Hoa binh Vietnam

As for tourists joining tours in Vietnam, depending on their budget they can choose to stay at any hotels in the resort area. Wherever they are, the same point is that they can hear the sound of water spouting out, which makes them relaxed. Being immersed in a large mineral water deposit of Kim Boi stream is also not unmemorable for  any visitor.

Certainly, coming to Kim Boi hot spring once, no one can refuse to spend time in such a spot!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Temple of Tran Quoc Tang

Tran Hung Dao’s son was disgraced and banished to a remote port, where he salvaged his reputation by defending the country before his untimely death.

Though today is not a ritu-al day, Cua Ong Temple is packed with pilgrims and the scent of burning incense is thick in the air. The tem-ple, which is located in Cua Ong quarter, Cam Pha town, about 40km far from north-eastern Halong city, is popular with Vietnamese holiday-makers, foreign tourists and locals, especially fishermen who come here to pray for good luck before setting sail out on the great blue yonder.

Temple of Tran Quoc Tang - a son of general Tran Hung Dao -

The temple is perched on a high tree-covered mountain lsacing Cua Suot (port of Suot). According to the country’s annals, Cua Ong Temple was built by the inhabitants of Cam Pha back in the first century AD. The port linked the Red River delta with the northeastern parts of pres-ent day Vietnam and beyond.
A parallel sentence on the tem-ple’s Front gate reads: “ln front of you is the immense sea. Around you are green mountains – all around looks like a water-colour picture.”


ln january 1149, when the Ly Dynasty (1010-1225) began trading with China and other Southeast Asian countries, Cua Suot was a bustling port and a major national gateway.
ln order to control the port and tax Foreign merchants, local authori- ties set up a series of customs sta-tions along the coast, including Cua Suot, which was originally pro-nounced as “suat”, a term related to tax in feudal times.

Temple of Tran Quoc Tang - a son of general Tran Hung Dao -

Before reaching the temple, visi-tors must walk up hundreds orc brick steps snaking through the trees. As you make your way there, you can enjoy the brilliant views – out on the sea boats look like small leaves lying on a mirror.


A The temples tutelary genie is Tran Quoc Tang, the third son of King Tran Quoc Tuan (1228-1300), who was posthumously known as Tran Hung Dao, one of Vietnam’s greatest generals.

During his childhood, Tran Quoc Tang was a brave, strong and right-eous lad. But when he grew up, he somehow incurred the wrath of his family (no one knows why) and was exiled to Cua Suot. His father hoped that his wayward son would manage this strategically important border gate while in exile.

Indeed, Tang proved to be a bril-liant general, and he helped master-mind some brilliant military victo-ries against the Yuan-Mongol invaders in the 15th century.

But Tang’s life was cut short when on a night of heavy rain and strong wind he foolishly jumped on to a rock near the shore and was hit by a freak wave. He was washed out to sea and at first his corpse could not be found. Two weeks later his body finally washed up by Trac Chan vil-lage, several kilometres away. Cua Suot was then renamed Cua Ong (The Master’s Port) and in memory of his military exploits, the local pop-ulation built Cua Ong Temple For him at Trac Chan — also known as Vuon Nhan (The Longan Garden).

The temple was moved to the present site in the beginning of the 19th century. It was built in the style of the Chinese script “Gong”, which means there’s a lower temple (Den Ha), a middle temple (Den Trung) and an upper temple (Den Thuong). In the lower temple, people pray to the Maternal Spirit known in Vietnamese as Mau. The upper tem-ple is dedicated to Tran Quoc Tang and his statue is the biggest in the temple. Tang’s {ace looks gentle butserious and experienced. The statue’sVermilion coat symbolises his fervent heart and devotion to his country.


Tang’s mausoleum sits behind the temple, and in front of the mau-soleum is his tomb, which is a sim-ple, brick block. It is a deliberately humble structure. Locals say that Tang led a simple life Without pursu-ing fame and privilege.
ln the temple, there are also stat-ues of other generals from the Tran Dynasty – 34 altogether – including the likes or Pham Ngu Lao, Yet Kieu, Da Tuong, Nguyen Che Nghia and Do Khac Chung. All of whom made great contributions to constructing and protecting the country.


Although Tang died in the eighth lunar month, a festival in his honour takes place from the second day of the first lunar month to the end of the third lunar month. Nobody seems to know why the festival is held at this time of year.

A palanquin procession carries Tang’s funeral tablets from the tem-ple to a shrine in Trac Chan village. Legend has it that this was the place where Tang’s ashes were scattered by the wind. The procession then pro-ceeds back to the temple, following his old inspection route.

Standing in the temple amidst the smoke of burning incense and staring at the statutes of such well- known generals who brought such glory to the country, it is impossible not to admire the spirit of solidarity, which made up the unvanquished strength of Vietnamese people dur-ing the Tran Dynasty.

How to get there: From HaLong city’s Bridge 20, take National Road 18 toward Bai Tu Long Bay for about three kilomettres to a T-junction, where Cua Ong Temple stands.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bach Ma National Park in Hue city

Located in Hue Vietnam, Bach Ma National Park is recognized as one of the areas of Indochina with high biodiversity. The typical climate on this Park, which is nearly the same as that on Dalat, Sapa and Tam Dao, is temperate all year round. As a result, many tourists in Vietnam travel are attracted to this National Park where they can admire breathtaking natural landscapes and take part in outdoor activities.

Lying 50 km south of Hue city, Bach Ma National park has a temperate climate much like that of Dalat, Sapa and Tam Dao. However, since it is located so close to the sea, the highest temperature in summer never exceeds 26oC and the temperature in winter never goes below 4oC.

Bach Ma National Park

Thanks to these advantages, the French transformed Bach Ma into a summer resort in the early 1930s. The area comprises 139 villas and auxiliary buildings, such as the post office, bank, tennis court, etc. Unfortunately, the war and lack of maintenance have significantly affected these constructions.
After 10 years of reunification, the State established a network of 87 natural reserves including Bach Ma in 1986. It was officially founded on 15 July 1991.

Coming to this National Park, visitors in Vietnam tourism are attracted to its breath-taking natural landscapes. The highest peak is Hai Vong Dai (Sea Observation Post), 1,450m high, where people can have a panoramic view of the immense sea and surrounding scenery. Do Quyen Waterfall is astounding and huge in the wooded mountain. It is more than 300m high and 20-30m wide. It is amazing to watch the silver water running into the bright red of water-rail flowers. 

Bac Chi Waterfall, about 20m high, roars all year round. Five lakes - a system of large lakes - has clean and cool water, created by the block of black granite stretching along Kim Qui Spring. This is a good place for camping, bathing, and outdoor activities.

Moreover, Bach Ma National Park is still home to 931 species of animals of which 83 wildlife species, including tigers and monkeys. It also houses 333-odd species of birds known to inhabit Vietnam. More than 1,406 species of plants have also been identified.

Bach Ma National park

Besides an interesting eco-tourism destination to tourists in Vietnam tourism, the Bach Ma National Park has an advantage of being close to Vietnam's three world cultural heritage sites (Hue Imperial City, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Cham Towers).

Therefore, tourists joining tours in Vietnam usually add the park to their itinerary. With highly-valued natural resources, Bach Ma does not only gratify thousands of visitors but also attract scientists.  The best time to visit Bach Ma is from February to September. It is open from 7 am to 5pm.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cam Ly Waterfall in Dalat

Location: Cam Ly waterfall is located in Cam Le spring, which is about more than 2km from the centre of Da Lat city. 

Feature: The grandiose waterfall with the view of Pine Hills around made a great impact on visitors’ mind.


Visitors wandering along the Xuan Huong Lake could hear the sound of springs. A spring flows to the lake from the north, another flow out from the south under a bridge near the bus station. The bridge is the dam to equalize the water level in the lake. The two both spring’s names are Cam Ly. The water flows to the west to a marble area, which create Cam Ly waterfall.

It is famous in Dalat with the height of 30m. In rainy season, the water from the upper source flows to the waterfall to create the fog, which looks very romantic. That is why Cam Ly has appeared in poem, songs and pictures of artists. Cam Ly was introduced in Revue Indochine magazine of France before.

According to the legend by the elderly in this land, Cam Ly was named in K’Ho language (an ethnic group in Da Lat). When the Cam Le spring flows through a village in Dalat, its head person who was a K’Ho person named K’Mly, therefore, people took his name to the waterfall to tribute his credit in controlling the village. Besides, there is a theory that Cam Ly was originated from Chinese – Vietnamese language.

Cam Ly means a symbol of sweet water spring, which seduces the visitors. Cam Ly was close to a hill of pine which named Boie d’ramour (the forest of love), but the forest is no longer available now. The waterfall lack of water in the dry season but there is lots of water in rainy season and many blocks of water flow down formidable.
Source: placesinvietnam