Discover top 5 most beautiful islands in Vietnam

Top 5 islands in Vietnam I’ve listed here are only a part of Vietnam’s natural beauties. Only when coming to these places and seeing firsthand their scenery, do you understand why Vietnam is always mentioned as a golden tourism destination in Southeast Asia. Travel to our tropical islands to define true paradises in your own way.

1. Nam Du Island

60 km far away from the mainland of Kien Giang Province, Nam Du has been an ideal destination for backpackers recently.

Pristine but irresistible – That’s what travelers talk about Nam Du Island. Because it hasn’t been much exploited by humans, Nam Du’s natural beauty can make you feel comfortable. To set foot on this island, visitors have to overcome a long journey, but gorgeous landscapes in here will be the best-deserved reward.
Discover top 5 most beautiful islands in Vietnam
The harmonious beauty of Nam Du Island
The blue color of sky, seawater blending with white color of fine sandy beaches and ranges of green casuarinas… This wonderful scenery is able to help you release the tension and feel the sense of serenity.

2. Ba Lua Islands

Kien Giang is really the land of paradise islands in Vietnam. Besides Phu Quoc, Nam Du, people also don’t forget that this area possesses another prominent tourist attraction: Ba Lua. Comprising many various islands, this archipelago is known as “a mini Ha Long Bay of the South”.
Discover top 5 most beautiful islands in Vietnam
Ba Lua Islands -" a mini Ha Long Bay of the South"
The unspoiled beauty of Ba Lua Islands sometimes makes you overwhelmed. Discovering mysteriousness and having new tourism experiences in this paradise, you will have an unforgettable trip. The sea is not too deep, so it’s easy to move between two islands. Remember to admire the sparkling beaches in the afternoon sunshine with colorful corals and gravels.

3. Binh Ba Island

15km far away from Cam Ranh Port (Khanh Hoa Province), Binh Ba Island is on the top 10 beautiful islands in Vietnam. Tourists can visit this island in all four seasons with low budget. With majestic mountainous landscape, green island and poetic waves, Binh Ba Island is highly attractive. Don’t miss the chance to admire the view of sunrise, dive or go fishing.
Discover top 5 most beautiful islands in Vietnam
Majestic mountainous landscapes blend with poetic beaches in Binh Ba Island
Fishers in Binh Ba Island have their own ways to process seafood, especially lobster. Therefore, it is a good idea to taste stunning dishes at a lower price.

4. Binh Hung Island

If you are prepared to explore Binh Ba Island, don’t overlook another island in Khanh Hoa Province: Binh Hung. Located in Cam Ranh Bay, this island boasts its impressive beauty in blue water.
Discover top 5 most beautiful islands in Vietnam
The emerald green color of seawater in Binh Hung Island
Seawater in here is emerald green and crystal clear enough for you to see fish swimming or breathtaking coral reefs in the seabed.

The mixed colors of sand, sunshine, stones covered with seaweed make this island similar to a wonderland. No one can deny that it is as pretty as a picture.

5. Cu Lao Cham Islands

Being a famous tourist spot in Hoi An city, Quang Nam Province, Cu Lao Cham comprises 8 islands in various sizes. This is a destination chosen by a lot of travelers after they have spent all day to visit Hoi An Ancient Town.
Discover top 5 most beautiful islands in Vietnam
Cu Lao Cham Islands - one of the Biosphere Reserves of the world
Recognized as one of the Biosphere Reserves of the world, Cu Lao Cham draws a large number of visitors each year. Peaceful beaches, the rich ecosystem and delicious seafood are reasons why you won’t want to leave here.

Tags : Vietnam Luxury Tours

Beautiful Places to Take Pictures when Travelling to Sapa

1. Holy Rosary Church Or the Stone Church

The Stone church built in 1895 in the heart of Sapa town is the oldest church in Sapa. This church is also known as the church of Our Lady of Rosary, ancient stone church, built in the style of old French architecture, so it is very unique and very special. The church has been embellished and preserved, became an indispensable image with tourists when they come to the town of Sapa. The church was built from hewn stone in Gothic style of Roman. The stone blocks are linked together by a mixture of sand, lime and molasses. The walls of the cross are textured design making the viewers feel like there are stalactites falling down, increasing the natural beauty. Previously, the roof was made of straw lime, but nowadays, has been renewed and tiled.

After the snowfall in the last months of 2013, Sapa ancient stone church is known as a place with wonderful scenery which is as beautiful as the scenery in the cold European countries by travelers. Sapa ancient stone church has become a symbol of Sapa, the land of snow, since that time. This has attracted tourists to visit, including the couples coming to take wedding photos. No matter they are Christian or not, the ancient stone church in Sapa is the indispensable "wallpaper" for images of countless pre- married couples loving this landscape. Currently, the old stone church is an indispensable location for wedding photography in Sapa.

2. Ham Rong Mount- Muong Hoa Valley

Talking about places to take wedding photos, travel pictures in Sapa, we could not ignore Ham Rong Mountain and Muong Hoa Valley. Ham Rong Mountain is located adjacent to the town of Sapa, just 3 km far away; therefore, tourists can walk there. Standing on top of Ham Rong Mountain, visitors can enjoy panoramic Sapa, Muong Hoa valley, Sa Pa, Ta Phin hidden in smog. Thanks to the existing beauty of Ham Rong, at the hands of human embellishment, this place is now the ideal location of wedding photography of many couples who are going to get married. Taking wedding photographs in Ham Rong, the bride - the groom are like getting lost in the fairy garden with clouds hovering over and brilliant flowers on the ground.
 Beautiful Places to Take Pictures when Travelling to Sapa

Muong Hoa Valley is in Hau Thao commune, about 8km from Sapa town to the southeast. If you want to reach Muong Hoa Valley from Sapa town, you have to cross a mountain pass along the mountain range. Muong Hoa Valley has the ancient stone carving many strange forms located between trees and terraced fields. In addition, there are Muong Hoa Valley beautiful little stream that stretches for about 15 kilometers, through the town of Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao and ends at Ban Ho. Thanks to the natural beauty of the scenery and nature here, Muong Hoa Valley has become the favorite tourist destination of many tourists. Here, some couples enjoy their the honeymoon and many couples who are going to get married also come to capture outdoor wedding pictures.

3. The Heaven Gate

Among scenic spots in Sapa, apart from terraces, bridges, streams, there is an area where people call “Heaven Gate”. Going out of Sapa town, going about 18 km to the north, you have to pass a prettily zigzag and winding path on halfway up the mountain to go to the Heaven Gate. This road which is called “Tram Ton” by local people travelers is located on the majestic Hoang Lien Son range. Going through the pass is going to the Heaven Gate, in fact, this Heaven Gate is the summit of Tram Ton Pass. Forgetting all the hardships in the process of climbing here, standing on the peak and enjoying the view of whole Sapa valley, upland fields, paths, waterfalls ... you will feel like you are standing in Penglai or a fairy land. It is really beautiful, romantic and incredibly spectacular!

The Heaven gate is located at an altitude of 1,800 m bordering Lai Chau. This place has attracted countless photographers, amateur and professional paparazzi coming to capture and memorize the spectacular scenery here. Tourists who come here can drop soul to cloudy sky and mountains. Because the scenery is to great, many young couples take wedding photographs when they are travelling here. Heaven gate contributes to enrich the beautiful locations for wedding photography in Sapa.

4. May bridge

Coming to May bridge you can see the mountain landscape, beautiful nature of Sapa. Occasionally, you can encounter the children, the girls of Dao, Giay ethnics... in traditional dress holding an umbrella and guiding tourists to take photograph in the bridge. There are also a lot of couples from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho... who love this scene coming here to take wedding photos. Of course, once they have to "climb the pass, wade streams" coming to May bridge to take wedding photographs, they prepared the dress and costumes very carefully. Most of them choose to wear skirts, dress, ethnic dress to take pictures which are suitable with the scene and love.

Tags : Indochina travel packages | Vietnam Cambodia tours | Vietnam Cambodia travel

The Places near Hanoi to Entertain in the New Year

The Places near Hanoi to Entertain in the New Year - Places introduced below are suitable for 2-3 day trips, and are 40-100 km from Hanoi.

#1. Dong Mo

This is an ideal place for the people of Hanoi if they do not want to go too far on the occasion of New Year. Dong Mo is about 40 km from Hanoi, suitable for picnics, camping.

Dong Mo has Son Tinh Camp with large campus and beautiful scenery, 3 sides face Dong Mo lake, fruit forest and primeval forest creating scenic natural beauty, suitable for families with small children to play and for the groups of friend to go for a picnic.

Scenery and activities in Dong Mo tourist attraction
You can rent a tent for about 400,000 VND with lake view, and some convenience items, separate toilets. Guests can participate in fun activities like exploring Dong Mo lake, adventure games, travelling by boat or pontoon boat, making campfire ...

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#2. Dai Lai (Vinh Phuc)

Around 50 km from Hanoi capital, this is the ideal place to rest after a busy and tiring year. In Dai Lai, visitors will enjoy the quiet and fresh atmosphere with the poetic beauty of the immense lake mixed green woodland, undulating hillsides.

Dai Lai attracts visitors with green and airy space
Here, visitors can go for a scenic cruise, explore the Dai Lai lake, visit the Hang Dơi (Bat Cave) area, Heaven Gate, lake fishing, camping ...

The most interesting activities is to walk in the pine forest, visit the village of San Riu ethnic and enjoy the rustic dishes.

#3. Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc)

With an altitude of more than 1000m, Tam Dao’s climate is fresh like it is in Dalat or Sapa. This sight attracts tourists in the holidays for being not too far from Hanoi, just over 70 km.

You can visit Van pagoda with a very airy view down, visit the TV tower, the roadside scenery is very beautiful with kinds of wild flowers, orchids bloom. It also full of colorful butterfly of all kinds that make you forget all your troubles of everyday life. The most interesting thing is to climb to the peak to adore the panorama of the resort in the sea of cloud. In addition, you can also visit Silver waterfall, Rung Rinh peak...

The Stone Church is a famous destination in Tam Dao
They are the cool climate and unspoiled beauty that make this place to be known as the paradise resort where is suitable for all ages. You also enjoy the specialties of the mountains.

#4. Mai Chau (Hoa Binh)

This is an appropriate plcae for your family to take a trip in 3 day in the coming New Year. It is attractive with spacious poetic natural setting, the lovely villages of ethnic groups, so is suitable for families who want to experience, explore and learn about the culture and life of the ethnic people.

Mai Chau in spring
It would be interesting if you make fire, and take part in Sạp dance (bamboo pole dance) and interact with local people. You can ride bicycle to explore Lac village, Pom Coong village or Van village, visit Chieu cave, Mo Luong.

#5. Ninh Binh

About 90km from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is a place that is worth spending time exploring as it offers many scenic places, the land rich in history and the fascinating landscapes and famous caves.

Trang An eco-tourism site in Ninh Binh
You can visit the temple of King Dinh and King Le, famous Bai Dinh Pagoda, Cuc Phuong national park with rich population of flora and fauna including many rare plants and animals like black Delacour langur..., Trang An scenic sight, Tam Coc - Bich Dong or visit the famous stone church.

Other : Indochina travel tours | Vietnam travel guides | Vietnam holiday packages

4 Cheap Tourist Attractions for Your Picnic in Dong Nai

1.  Nam Cat Tien National Park

Nam Cat Tien is name of a land in a bend of the Dong Nai river, and is located right on the boundary of the three provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc and Lam Dong. Nam Cat Tien forbidden forest is located 160 km from Ho Chi Minh city, is the last and highest part of Tan Phu district (Dong Nai) with an area of 36,000 ha.
The green space in Nam Cat Tien
Nam Cat Tien protected forest owns all the beauty characteristic of a great forest with hills, riverside, with the vast flat grassland, steep streams, many waterfalls and rich fauna and flora ecosystems, so this is the appropriate destination for tourists who love to explore or study.
The rich ecosystem of sauna in Nam Cat Tien
There are many ways to explore the forest, but the most common ones are trekking, camping and seeing wild beast at night.

Part 1 : 4 Cheap Tourist Attractions for Your Picnic in Dong Nai
Part 2 : 3 Cheap Tourist Attractions for Your Picnic in Dong Nai

2. Giang Dien Waterfall

Located on the territory of Giang Dien commune, Thong Nhat District, Dong Nai Province, Giang Dien waterfall is considered the exciting destination for your eco-trip at weekend with of young from Ho Chi Minh city and surrounding areas.
With its beauty, Giang Dien waterfall attracts many tourists
Not as natural or majestic as other waterfalls in the Central Highlands, Giang Dien waterfall "invites" visitors with the beauty of the fall which is more than 80% created by human with a series of flows and artificial cliffs. The most interesting and suitable schedule to discover this landscape is eating (prepared food), bathing in the waterfall, walking and relaxing.

3. Buu Long Tourist Area

Buu Long tourist resort is situated in Buu Long ward, Bien Hoa city, is 6 km from the center of Bien Hoa City, and is about 30 km from Ho Chi Minh city. The tourist area covers an area of 84 ha, including Long An lake, Long Van Lake, Buu Long Mountain of 34 m high and 37m high mountain Long Son.
Buu Long is compared to Ha Long bay in miniature
To fully experience Buu Long tourist area, you should take part in the following activities: walking on the winding concrete paths, sailing between limestone cliffs in the lake, conquering Buu Long Mountain, capturing in views of the panorama of the scenic area, learning the legend of the scenic area, visiting and worship in Buu Phong Pagoda atop Mount Buu Long or discovering Long Son Thach Dong cluster (also known as Hang Pagoda) on Long An mountain. You also should not forget to visit the Literature of Tran Bien, learn about the culture and history of this land.

4. Cao Minh Eco-tourism Zone

Only more than 40km from Thu Duc district, Ho Chi Minh city, Cao Minh Eco-tourism Zone makes people surprised with green lawns, the wooden suspension bridges, the red brick house… like in the countryside in Europe.
The house and the scenery in Cao Minh tourist zone is like in Europe
With only 15,000 VND for entrance tickets at the gate, you are able to freely visit and enjoy the romantic and peaceful scenery with old trees line the large artificial lake located in the central area. If you bring your picnic tent to camp with friends, the fee is 35,000/ person during the day and 70,000 / person overnight.
Camping in the tourist area
In addition to beautiful scenery, it also has many attractive entertainment services for you like boating, fishing, BBQ, campfire, team building with different prices. Going away from the noisy city and coming here to rest, relax with family and friends at weekend is also a very ideal choice.

Tags : Vietnam travel guides | Vietnam Cambodia tours | Indochina destinations

The most Attractive Tourist Destinations in Quang Binh (part 2)

Quang Binh attracts visitors with the famous scenic spots such as Phong Nha Ke Bang tourism, Tien Son cave, primeval forest in Phong Nha - Ke Bang protected areas, Nhat Le beach, Da Nhay, Bang hot stream..., in which, Phong Nha Cave is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Vietnam.

Bang stream and Mooc stream

Mooc spring is located on the 20 Quyet Thang road on the Western branch of the Ho Chi Minh road, about 10 km from Phong Nha tourism center to the northwest.

Mooc stream
Along the winding road full of green of the mountains, visitors will find the stream in the valley between the towering limestone mountains, stretching along the Chay River about 3 km. the center of the stream is about 350 m wide. It offers full convergence of natural colors with lake, river, stream and rock waterfall.

Bang Stream is situated in Kim Thuy Commune, Le Thuy district, about 60 km from the center of Dong Hoi city to the southwest. It is the only source of hot mineral water in Vietnam and has a record boiling temperature of 105 degrees Celsius with many rare microelements which have very good healing effects. Especially, this is a winding stream with mineral water stream running into endless lines, both hypaethral and mysterious.

Da Nhay Beach

Da Nhay, the beach with freshwater near the shore, is located right at the foot of Ly Hoa Pass, and carries interesting features of the beach with a lot of big, small, low, high rocks. Whenever there are waves, the rocks, when looking from away, are as jumping on the waves creating a series of different rattling sound.

Da Nhay beach is very impressive with many rocks of different shapes and sizes
Besides, Da Nhay beach also attracts visitors with many landscapes, many interesting caves with various activities such as boating, hiking, hunting, walking in pine forests, diving to catch oysters, enjoying fresh seafood. Also, coming to Da Nhay beach, you also have chance to capture in views the charming paintings of the landscapes in Ly Hoa district nearby.

Playing on the beach

Vung Chua – Yen (Swallow) Island

Vung Chua is 7 km from Ngang Pass to the south, Quang Trach district where has Tho mountain, Rong spur of Hoanh Son mountain crashing the sea. This is the resting place of General Vo Nguyen Giap, surrounded by three islands including Hon La (La Island), Hon and Hon Gio (Wind Island) and Hon Nom (Swallow Island). You should note that, when visiting the grave of General Vo Nguyen Giap, you should wear polite clothes, line up to register to visit and keep order, hygiene in this sacred place.

Son Doong Cave

Son Doong cave is one of the tourist attractions in Quang Binh which are receiving the attention of both domestic and foreign tourists. Many explorers have imagined that Son Doong cave can enclose a skyscraper in New York, and can not describe where is the end of the cave. Caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang is considered “the First Wonder”, one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Son Doong Cave has a underground river, sandy beaches with endless length and countless beautiful stalactite.

Inside Son Doong cave
Son Doong cave has a width of 150 meters, a height of more than 200m, and a length of nearly 9 km. It is estimated that the capacity of Hang Son Doong is 38.5 million m3. Inside the cave, the researchers also found a 2.5 km long underground river and up to 70m high stone columns.

The skylight in Son Doong cave
Son Doong cave also has coral populations and fossils of animal. Especially, there are two "skylights" which are two places where the ceiling collapses, brings sunlight to facilitate the trees to grow as a rainforest in the cave, one of the places is called " Adam garden ".

More : The most Attractive Tourist Destinations in Quang Binh (part 1)

Nha Trang Vietnam : The Must Taste Specialties

Nha Trang is famous for being the most beautiful beach that visitors can not miss in the sea travels in Vietnam. Coming to Nha Trang, apart from seeing dreamy view of the sea, clear sea water, participating in activities such as diving and seeing the coral reefs, flying kites..., tourists also have opportunities to enjoy the specialties of this famous beach.

1. Grilled Nem

Referring to Nha Trang cuisine, we should not forget to mention Ninh Hoa grilled nem which has been famous for a long time. Generally, grilled nem is served with cucumber, rice paper, raw vegetables, and a bowl of pasty delicious sauce. In some places, people eat grilled nem with green papaya salad, which brings a quite strange taste.

Ninh Hoa grilled nem is eaten with raw vegetables
Some address where you can eat delicious grilled nem: 25 Le Hong Phong street; Dang Van Quyen restaurant at 16B Lan Ong, T-junction of Han Thuyen and Phan Boi Chau Streets, Nha Trang grilled nem restaurant at 39 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street and Bong bridge pier on 2/4 (2nd April) road, Ngoc Tien grilled nem restaurant at 59 Le Thanh Phuong street.

2. Cau Dua (Dua Bridge) duck.

The famous Cau Dua duck is cooked from Ninh Hoa duck. The most popular and preferable dishes are boiled and grilled ducks. Despite what style cooking, duck here is always very soft, lean and has no characteristic stink of duck.

Cau Dua duck quarter is located on Highway 1A, a 3-4 km from the city center to the south, and many restaurants serving this dish are in close proximity to one another.

3. Dien Khanh Wet cake.

Wet cake is made from rice flour mixed with water, steamed and served while it is still hot. Before being eaten, the cake will be spread over a layer of delicious oil and onion, sprinkled with red milled shrimp or cooked green beans. You should not forget to dip the wet cakes with seasoning sauce in order to have a tasty sweet taste. Wet cake is normally served with pork bologna.

Wet cake
Some addresses for reference: Hot Ninh Hoa wet cake at 9 Le Loi street, where there is also beo cake (bloating fern-shaped cake), hoi cake (steamed rolls made of rice flour)..., hot wet cake at 43 Truong Dinh, or Ha restaurant on 23/10 street 4 (from Nha Trang to Dua bridge about 400m, it is on the right).

4. Squid pancakes.

The ingredient of this dish include fresh squid as stuffing, and this cake is eaten with raw vegetables, spicy and sour sauce. Price of pancakes is very affordable. Most of the restaurants are opened in the evenings.

Pancake with squid stuffing
Addresses of some pancake restaurants: The sidewalk restaurants along Thap Ba road (crossing Tran Phu bridge the turning left), 52 Phan Boi Chau, 64 Hong Bang, the fishing port area in the end of Vo Thi Sau - Binh Tan roads (only serve in the mornings)

5. Seafood.

You can enjoy seafood at restaurants or stalls along the coast. In addition to the familiar seafood such as shrimp, squid, octopus... visitors will discover more characteristic seafood in the coastal city as sea urchin, grilled amberjack, white sardine salad,… or visit fishing villages and enjoy the fresh seafood.

Addresses for reference: Seafood Restaurant at 6 Ngo Sy Lien, restaurants like Hoa Bien and Gio Bien north of Tran Phu bridge, restaurants around Thap Ba and Bo Ke route, Vi snail restaurant at 39 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Hai Quay arca and snail at 19 and 26 Tran Nguyen Han ...

6. Nha Trang Snails.

If you have a special love for snail dishes, you should once visit Nha Trang. Maybe, this coastal city is not the place where has most snail restaurants, but it is certain the place where has the most various kinds of snail.

Snail dishes in Nha Trang
In addition to being fresh, rich, snail dishes in Nha Trang are also cheaper than in other regions. Affordable restaurants cost 20,000 to 30,000 VND/ dish, the more luxurious places cost about 30,000 to 50,000. Since snails here are always fresh, the restaurants often only serve the quickly cooked dishes such as grilled, steamed, boiled snails but not as finical as in Saigon.

Other : The Must Taste Specialties in Nha Trang

Tags : Indochina tour Packages | Vietnam Cambodia Tours | Vietnam holiday packages 

Spring Festivals - a Cultural Beauty of Quan Ho Land

Spring is the beginning season of a year, the growing season of everything and plants ... In the warm weather, people happily call for each other and go on the a pilgrimage to the original point, play and pray for good weather, good crops, safety and luck for every one.

A procession in the Spring festival of Quan Ho land

Coming to Kinh Bac- Bac Ninh countryside, tourists can feel that festival culture here is diverse and rich. According to statistics, Bac Ninh has over 500 traditional festivals taken place in all four seasons. Many large-scale regional and national festivals organized such as Ba Chua Kho Temple Festival, Hoi Lim (Lim Festival), Do Temple Festival, Dau Temple Festival, But Thap pagoda Festival, Festival of Temple of Quan Ho ancestor... attract numerous domestic and foreign visitors. Each festival has its own characteristic and value, and mainly honor a sacred person like the heroes fighting against invaders and aggressors, the ancestors of a job or a handicraft, the disaster controllers, or people who saved mankind from sufferings…

Quan Ho singing is an indispensable activity in the festivals in Bac Ninh

With the “When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree” ideology, festivals in Bac Ninh are taken place eventfully and associated with the legends, achievements, merits of the ancestor, are the bridges connecting the past and the present, help young people better understand the ancestral merit, and be more proud of the tradition of their homeland and the country. In particular, Bac Ninh festivals are usually associated with villages, landmarks as an indispensable element in community life of the residents in Quan Ho land. In the days of the festival, many traditional games showing the sporting spirit are held beside the forms of cultural activities like Quan Ho singing, rice cooking contest, cockfighting, weaving, wrestling, teetering ...

Immersing in the stream of people enjoying the spring pilgrimage in the land of Quan Ho, most people want to spend time going sightseeing and enjoying the fresh air of the beautiful spring. They come to the historical monuments, landscapes, temples to be immersed into the traditional festivals. Only in January, there are many festivals held such as the Ba Chua Kho temple Festival in Vu Ninh Ward, Bac Ninh city, Phat Tich Pagoda Festival, Lim Festival in Tien Du District. The richness of the festivals here is not only the beauty of national culture, but also a cultural product of spiritual tourism attracting both domestic and foreign tourists.

Rice cooking contest (in traditional way) in Spring Festival

Like generations of Vietnamese people, Tet (also known as Tet Ca), with residents in Bac Binh, is always the biggest festival in the thousands of generations-traditional festival, the transition points between the old year and new year; between an operating cycle of heaven and earth, of all things and plants. Since the creation of the world, the traditional New Year of our nation has had the potential of human values which presents the relationship between man and nature and the universe through four seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter season.

Tet is an opportunity for residents in Quan Ho land to commemorate and express their gratefulness to ancestors and original point; consolidate and strengthen the relationship with neighbors and villagers. The Day when the Kitchen Gods returning the Heaven is considered the first day of the Lunar New Year. After seeing of the Kitchen gods, people begin cleaning houses, cleaning the worshiping subjects on ancestors altar, hanging some Dong Ho folk paintings and some distiches on the most solemn place to prepare for Tet.

The altar in the New Year of Northern people

At Tet, on the ancestral altar of every family, in addition to sweets, cakes,…, mâm ngũ quả (a dish/tray of five fruits: bananas, oranges, kumquats, pomelos, finger citrons) is indispensable. Five fruits are gifts from the Gods symbolizing the concept of human longing for prosperity and affluence. In the traditional New Year's Day of our nation, many customs and traditions like Khai bút (beginning a new-year writing), hái lộc picking bough of buds or young leaves), exchanging wishes, spring walking, mừng thọ (congratulating the old on his longevity) are preserved by Bac Ninh people.

Tags : Vietnam Destinations | Vietnam holiday packages | Vietnam Cambodia tours

The Unique Lunar New Year of the Co Lao Ethnic in Ha Giang

Co Lao ethnic community in Ha Giang province is one of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam. However, the cultural tradition at Tet of Co Lao people remains relatively intact and has many unique features. In particular, the Co Lao group in Tung San (Hoang Su Phi) commune is considered one of the places that preserve the customs and traditions of their ethnic. Typically, we should mention their unique customs at Tet Holiday.

The Co Lao community in Ha Giang province

Tet has a great significance to Co Lao people because, according to them, these are the most peaceful and funniest days in a year when everyone, every family takes a rest and welcome the new year together. They conceive that the new year is an opportunity to show gratitude to their parents, thank their ancestors and Gods for blessing them and giving them health and luck during the last year.

The atmosphere of the New Year usually comes to Co Lao families very early, from the 23th December in lunar calendar. In the families, people begin to be busy preparing for worshiping the kitchen god ritual, an indispensable god in daily life in the belief of people. From then until 25th December, members of the family will help each other to clean and tidy their house ready for the new year.

Pork is an indispensable food at Tet of Co Lao ethnic
However, the boisterous atmosphere really begins from 26th December when people butcher pigs to prepare food for Tet. According to the old people, in the past, every family had to slaughter a fat pig fed during the year to celebrate the New Year because pork is indispensable with Co Lao people. When all the preparations almost done, people will make a traditional cake in the New Year called Day cake (bánh dày). In the families, all members will return to gather together to make this kind of cake. The Co Lao will make a big cake which is as big as a tray to offer to their ancestors and some small cakes to eat.

The happiness in the face of Co Lao people at Tet

By the 30th night of December, people boil a pot of water consisting of kinds of leaves harvested in the forest and in the garden such as tea, guava, camphor, grapefruit leaves... for the family members to bath. Then, they offer a feast to the ancestor inviting them to celebrate the lunar New Year on the altar, the sacrifice must include: a boiled rooster, 3 square pieces of boiled pork, Day cake, wine, and votive paper. According to the opinion of the Co Lao, the rooster means sweeping, sweep away the evil to welcome the luck and goodness in the new year.

In the 1st morning of the new year, rice offering will be the first work to be done; however, especially in this day people abstain from having girls leave their house, cleaning the house or doing anything from morning until night. Generally, they will wait for men or boys to first-foot their house, exchange best wishes then the girls can go out. In the 2nd day of the New Year, people will butcher 2 roosters to offer to the Kitchen God and the lay midwife of the children to pray for health, prosperity, wealth... By the 3rd, if choosing a lucky day, the family will take down the large Day cake down and finish their 3-day Tet holiday.

A traditional game at Tet
Like other peoples, Tet is a chance for all villagers to immerse in the exciting activities, and traditional games... In the traditional games, the boys and girls have the opportunity to show off most beautiful new clothes and skillful artifacts. The elderly and children are also involved, the come to watch, cheer, sing and dance..., which creates a jubilant atmosphere in the New Year.

The Unique Lunar New Year  of the Co Lao Ethnic in Ha Giang

Tags : Vietnam Cambodia Tours | Vietnam Holiday Packages | Indochina Travel packages

New paint color chosen for Saigon Post Office after facelift disaster

Ho Chi Minh City officials have agreed on a new shade of yellow for the Saigon Central Post Office, which was repainted last December in a color many slammed as too gaudy.

All 14 members of the city's planning and architecture board have voted for the new paint for the 123-year-old building, one of the top tourist destinations in the city downtown.

The color was chosen from eight different shades of yellow submitted by the post office.
These shades have being tested over the past few weeks on parts of the three-story building, designed and built by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel, the namesake creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

According to Dang Thi Nga, the post office director, the selected color is lighter than the one used in repainting the building last December, the first such effort since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
“The new color is being repainted on fences. The whole building is expected to have the new color after the Lunar New Year,” she said.

The post office will not have to pay extra money for repainting besides the initial cost of VND5 billion (US$234,250) as the correction job is sponsored by a paint company and the contractor.
Saigon Post Office, constructed between 1886 and 1891, became a hot spot for tourists as part of the city's colonial core, which includes the Notre Dame Cathedral, the former Cercle des Officiers on Le Duan Street and several other French buildings on Dong Khoi and Ly Tu Trong.