Friday, December 21, 2012

Most beautiful Flowers in Dong Thap

Covering an area of 60 ha, Tan Quy Dong Flower Garden is located in Tan Quy Dong district, Dong Thap province. The garden is famous for the most beautiful flowers but the most precious plants in the South Vietnam as well. There is no doubt that the Tan Quy Dong Flower Garden is one of Dong Thap’s greatest attractions to tourists in Vietnam travel.

In spring, Tan Quy Dong flower garden is covered with new colorful outfit decorated with various types of flowers. Tourists in Vietnam travel gather here to enjoy the fascinating beauty of the garden. Spring is definitely the best time to visit Tan Quy Dong garden during the year, when the weather turns warm with sunshine and gentle wind.
Tan Quy Dong flower garden Dong Thap
The flower garden has many precious plants, some of which may reach the age of hundreds of years old. Strolling around, you may also catch sight of popular trees such as star-fruit trees, fig trees, or areca, etc. As time gone by, under the skilful hand of the craftsmen, these popular trees have transformed into valuable pieces of bonsai arts.
The garden is well-known for its colorful and beautiful flowers which can be found any season, not Spring only. Especially, roses and amber trees are the ones that bring fame to this garden. The garden prides itself on its 50 species of roses such as Black Baccarat Rose, Cleopatra Rose, Elizabeth Rose, Mascara Rose, etc.
Today, when the flower art has become more and more poplular, the garden’s reputation also increases constantly. Surely, whoever joining tours to Vietnam and visiting Dong Thap, the land of pink lotus, feel very pleased.

Snake museum in Tien Giang

Exciting journeys on coconut-lined creeks, enjoying My Tho noodles or swimming in the sea of Go Cong ... are among interesting things that tourists can do in the southern province of Tien Giang.
A unique destination that not many tourists know when they come to Tien Giang, is the Dong Tam snake farm, which is recognized as the first snake museum of Vietnam.

Visiting the snake farm, you will be given the opportunity to explore the lifestyle and activities of these familiar but dangerous reptiles. In addition, you also have the opportunity to admire the collection of specimens of snakes, see how people take snake venom or learn about the method of creating vaccines or medicines for snakebite.

Cai Be floating market, the biggest wholesale market in the Southwest region is pretty well known. Unlike the floating markets of other provinces in the Mekong Delta, the floating market of Cai Be opens all day and night on a large scale. Goods are diverse and abundant. After visiting the floating market, a boat trip to explore the Tien River or small creeks is also interesting.

Tien Giang orchards tourism has famous names such as the Mekong Lodge eco-tourism site, orchards on Thoi Son Island, Ngu Hiep, Dong Thap Muoi eco-tourism zone, Cai Be orchards, etc. There are different names but the common characteristic of the above sites is that they are fruit-growing areas of peace and quietness so you can choose to visit one of them.

Coming to these ecological tourism sites, in addition to walking on cool pathways, visiting coconut candy factories, picking fruits from trees, tasting delicious fresh food, tourists can also transform into farmers to scoop fish or sleep on a hammock.

If visitors have only one day in Tien Giang, they can visit Vinh Trang pagoda, the largest temple of Asian- European architecture mixture. With a long journey (at least two days), they can go swimming in Go Cong or visit a wide range of cultural and historical monuments such as Go Thanh, Rach Gam-Xoai Mut, Ap Bac, Phao Dai fostress, many tombs and temples.

The suggestion for a one-day tour to Tien Giang, with VND150,000 cost ($7) as follows:

6am: departing Saigon to Tien Giang

7am: arriving in the city of My Tho, enjoying My Tho noodles, then visiting Dong Tam Snake Farm (9km away)

11am: Leaving the snake farm to the city of My Tho. Taking a boat trip on the Tien River, then dropping in Thoi Son Island or Cai Be orchards for sightseeing, having lunch and rest.

3.30pm: Experience the feeling of a yacht on tiny creeks.

5pm: Visiting Vinh Trang Pagoda. Sightseeing, worshiping and enjoying hammock coffee in front of the temple.

6pm: back to Saigon. End of the trip

You can go to Tien Giang at any time of the year, but the summer is the most beautiful and sexiest, when orchards are ripen.

If you want to rent a room, you are advised to find hotels on the main roads of My Tho city - Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, 30/4, Ngo Quyen, Nguyen Trai Street, Hung Vuong. The hotels you need to remember are Cong Doan, Chuong Duong, and Huong Duong.

My Tho is famous for fruits, noodles, snake porridge, king crab, fish sauce, rice cakes and choai vegetable.

Some restaurants should be visited: snake porridge – Restaurant 80 (or 180) on Tran Hung Dao road or Minh Nhat restaurant on National Highway 1A, noodle on Le Dai Hanh Street, Dinh Bo Linh Street and No. 246 Male States Khoi Nghia.

Compiled by M. Lan

Friday, December 14, 2012

Beauty of Xuan Thuy national park

Xuan Thuy is an internationally important wintering area for migratory waterbirds and many rare species of fish, animal.

Xuan Thuy National Park is 150 km south-west of Hanoi in the coastal zone of the Red River Delta, belongs to Nam Dinh Province.  It take about  three and half hours by car.

This national park comprises of three islands and mudflats, the most important habitat being the intertidal mudflats and natural mangroves. Being the home to many important species, Xuan Thuy National Park plays an important role in preserving ecological system and developing eco-tourism of the Red River Delta.

More than one quarter of the park's 12,000ha is covered with mangroves that support many aquatic species - including fish, crustaceans and molluscs. These species provide food and livelihoods for the poor, local people of the area.

Traveling to the national park, tourists can find “Cá mòi co” (Clupanodon thrissa), a fish listed in Vietnam's Red Book as vulnerable and at risk of extinction. It is also recognized as a platform for migratory water birds, including the “Cò thìa” (Black-faced spoon-bill), and eight other listed endangered species.

More than 200 bird species have been recorded at Xuan Thuy. The site is the most important staging and wintering area for migratory waterbirds in the coastal zone of the Red River Delta. It regularly supports large numbers of commoner migratory waterbird species, including black-tailed godwit, spotted redshank and Eurasian curlew. Many rare species can also be found at Xuan Thuy, including the largest wintering population of Black-faced Spoonbill in Vietnam, with around 60 birds each winter in recent years. Other rare species that regularly occur at the site include Saunders's gull, Spotted greenshank, Spoon-billed sandpiper and Asian dowitcher.

Tourists can ask for assistance from the national park staff, who know the site well, and can advise on places to look for particular species. Hiring a guide from the park is recommended.

Tourists in Vietnam travel can travel by foot to some places of interest; others can only be reached by boat at high tide.

Walking through the shrimp ponds on Con Ngan island, where the park headquarters is located, can be rewarding, especially at high tide when Black-faced Spoonbills and various gulls, ducks and waders come to roost and feed in the shrimp ponds.

At high tide, boats can be chartered to reach the offshore mudflats and sandy flats, where Spoon-billed Sandpiper can be found among large flocks of waders. Saunders's Gull can also be found here during December and January, as well as other gulls and ducks.

An alternative boat route involves visiting Con Xanh island, which is planted with Casuarina, which shelters migrating passerines, including pittas, and the outer edge of Con Ngan island, where waders, ducks and herons feed in the Tra river mouth.

Contemplating the lovely species of bird, fish, animal at Xuan Thuy National Park is an interesting experience for tourists.

Quynh Lam Pagoda - Quang Ninh

Before the pagoda is a great lake, while the three remaining sides are surrounded by hills and mountains. It was embellished and completed in Ly, Tran Dynasties. During the 11th and 14th centuries - the end of Le Dynasty and in the 17th and 18th centuries, it developed into the main centre of Buddhism for the entire country.

In the 14th century the Quynh Lam Pagoda became an even more important Buddhist centre with the activities of the monk Phap Loa Dong Kien Cuong: a member of the second generation of the Truc Lam Buddhist sect. It was the centre for sacred books and for preaching Buddhism, as well as a training-site for future pagoda wardens. Many associations, famous in Vietnamese literature and history, were organized here.

The ritual festivities of the Quynh Lam Pagoda are held from the first to the fourth day of the second lunar month, but the festive atmosphere lasts through spring. Buddhist faithful flock here from all corners of the country.

In 1319, Phap Loa calls for blood donation from Buddhist followers to print over 5,000 copies of Dai Tang sutras, which are kept at Quynh Lam Buddhist Institute. In 1328, he had a statue of Maitreya cast. A year later, he brought a part of the bone ash of Nhan Tong (the 1st patriarch of the Truc Lam Zen sect) to put into the stone stupa in Quynh Lam Pagoda. In early 15th century, the pagoda was reduced to ruins and had to undergo many restorations. In 1727, the 7-storey Tich Quang Stupa (grave of monk Chan Nguyen, who made great contribution to the pagoda) was set up, which measures up to 10 meters. The stupa's top takes the shape of a banyan bud. To the stupa is attached a plate which notes down the biography of monk Chan Nguyen. In mid-18th century, the pagoda underwent a major restoration. It now also has bronze bells and stone gongs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lo Lo marriage customs

Wedding gifts must include both sticky and ordinary rice, pork and wine for the wedding party. Other gifts may include a skirt, blouse, bracelet and necklace for the bride as well as a quantity of white silver.
Like most people in other area, the Lo Lo ethnic minority regards marriage as an extremely important event in an individual’s life.
Acording to Lo Lo customs, the groom’s family must select four matchmakers  including two men and two women to officiate at the marriage proposal ceremony, which is usually carried out by two happily married couples.
After selecting an auspicious day, the four matchmakers take two bottles of wine and other offerings to the bride’s house for the formal marriage proposal. If the bride’s family agrees to the match, they will hold a feast, drink the wine and set the date of the wedding.
Wedding gifts must include both sticky and ordinary rice, pork and wine for the wedding party. In addition, other gifts such as a skirt, blouse, bracelet and necklace for the bride as well as a quantity of white silver.
The groom’s family normally brings their offerings to the bride’s house on the eve of the wedding day. The wedding itself is always held on an even-numbered day to symbolise the union of two people and the hope that neither will ever be alone again.
The offerings are handed over to the bride’s uncle, who presents them to the head of the bride’s family.
The wedding offering ceremony begins with the bride’s family worshipping their ancestors and reporting to them about the union. 
After this they invite their relatives and friends to eat, drink and share their happiness.
The guests usually give the bride gifts of scarves, shirts, money and other items.
The ceremony involves a lot of singing and takes place in a very intimate atmosphere.
Members of the bride’s family will sing all night long to wish the bride and groom good health, happiness and prosperity.
The wedding takes place after breakfast on the following day when the groom and his groomsman worship their ancestors and kowtow to the bride’s parents, uncle and guests.
The uncle then leads his niece from her bridal chamber and presents her to the groom’s family, while all of the bride’s family cries to show their attachment to her.
The bride herself is expected to cry the most to show that she doesn’t want to leave her natural parents.
Bridesmaids from both families then accompany the bride out of her house. 
The “bringing the bride home” party - made up of the four matchmakers, followed by the bride, the bridesmaids and the groom’s relatives – proceeds to the groom’s house where the bride is welcomed in the same way the groom was greeted at the bride’s house on the previous day, with drinking and the four matchmakers singing.
According to Lo Lo tradition, when the bride steps into the groom’s house, the groom’s parents must temporarily hide, because it is feared that their presence might overwhelm the bride’s soul and endanger her future health.
Soon after the bridal party has arrived at the groom’s house, the bride’s uncle turns up with his niece’s dowry, which typically includes a pig, a chicken, a hoe, a pan, a knife, wine, meat, sticky rice and clothing for the bride. If the bride’s family is rich, he may even bring a cow.
The groom’s family then hosts the wedding party when they sing together all night long to wish the young couple happiness.
The groom's family sees the bride’s uncle back to his home and reimburses him for his travel expenses and gifts, according to the amount of the bride’s dowry.
After the wedding three days, the couple returns to the bride’s house to visit and greet the whole family. They often stay there for a few days before returning to live permanently in the groom’s family house.