Halong Bay_Vietnam with VIP Tourasia

HALONG BAY: (165 km from Hanoi). Located in the North of Vietnam’s East Sea, 165 km east from Hanoi. Halong Bay is one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions and was listed by UNESCO a World Natural Heritage, an area of outstanding nature beauty.

Halong Bay covers an area of 1.500 square kilometers. Among many pleasant beaches, along its winding coast line is Bai Chay in Halong City and the peaceful coves of Cat Ba Island. The marine reserve in the bay is flourishing and offers great potential for kayaking.

The bay is the filled with thousands of islets of all shapes and sizes. A wide variety of birds and animals including bantams, monkeys and iguanas live on the islands. Pearl and coral is also exploited in some areas. With its spectacular beauty, Halong Bay is a wonderful destination. Tourists who visit Halong Bay at any time of the year are always enthralled.

Exploring Saigon shopping streets in HCM City

Amidst the bustling city streets in Ho Chi Minh City, filled with shabbily dressed street peddlers, alongside the ancient architecture and markets with names like Ben Thanh and Binh Tay, there are always great numbers of tourists.
Shopping markets
Ben Thanh market, built by the French in 1870, located in District 1 is a must see destination for most all tourists. Trade is always brisk in the morning as vendors and market goers haggle over everything from clothes, footwear, arts and handicrafts, brocade, jewellery to specialty foods.
As an age-old commercial centre, it draws multitudes of foreigners speaking a multiplicity of languages.
Ben Thanh market
Binh Tay Market (informally referred to as Cho Lon Market) with its elegant Chinese facade topped with distinctive reddish-brown roof tiles, and a yellowy coloured central clock have made it the most attractive and photogenic market in Saigon.

Much of the trade that goes on at Binh Tay Market is wholesale. Many Vietnamese who own stalls at other markets purchase wares in bulk at Binh Tay Market for resale at their own market.

The market is heavily stocked with body care products like shampoos, body lotions and creams. It is also especially good for household items and a galore of electronic devises.

If you’re looking for the trendiest most fashionable and multi-stylistic watch, you will most assuredly find it in Binh Tay market, just be prepared to bargain to get it at a good price.
Equipping yourself a nice watch in Binh Tay market
Shopping on demand

On Le Lai street in District 1, just 20 metres far from Ben Thanh market, tourists can choose from a legion of unique and beautiful suitcases or handbags.


If you are a fashionista or a tourist with the ability to look beyond the trends set by others and create your own artistic style then you won’t want to miss Saigon Square. The shopping centre gathers both clothes and handbags from common to the sophisticated.  Prices are rarely listed, but don’t hesitate to bargain.

Nguyen Trai street at night is also a most fascinating place for purchasing clothes.

Drawings for interior decoration are found on Tran Phu street in District 5. There are generally fewer customers here, tourists can relax and spend more time contemplating the drawings.

HCM City seems to have a specific street for everything, and shoes are no exception. For tourists who like stylist footwear with good quality, they should come to Ly Chinh Thang street in District 3, where the latest and favourite fashions can be found.

Another address is Luu Van Lang street in District 1, to the left of Ben Thanh market. There are sandals for foreigners. A part of this shopping centre is set aside exclusively for children.

Vietnam is often touted as the custom tailoring capital of the world.  Tourists searching for a nice cloth for a gift or Ao Dai (traditional long dress), should visit Soai Kinh Lam cloth market.

This is a wholesale market so the prices are cheaper and the choices are more abundant. Cloths are diversified in colour, size and origin.


Antiques street (otherwise known as Le Cong Kieu street) is located just outside Ben Thanh Market.  The stores are riddled by imitations but tourists may find a diamond in the rough!  Items include copper items (incense burner and altar), wood items (statues of Buddha), porcelain items (plates, bowls) and paper items (stamps and old money).

Be careful when buying “antiques” in Vietnam however as it is illegal to export real antiques out of the country.

Foreign geologists survey Dong Van Karst Plateau

A delegation from Global Geoparks Network (GGN) conducted a survey from August 6-9 of the construction and development of the Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark.

At a meeting with local authorities on August 9 to review their assessment, the delegation, consisting of experts from Malaysia, France, and Brazil, spoke highly of the efforts of Ha Giang province to uphold the heritage values of the global geopark.

They also were inordinately complementary of Ha Giang province for its commitment to raise ethnic minority people and young generation’s awareness of the importance of geological heritage protection.
They noted that to fully meet all criteria recommended by GGN, Ha Giang province still has many things to do in the coming time.
They emphasised that the planning work must be linked to conservation, restoration and promotion of the natural heritage values​​, contributing to developing socio-economy, ensuring national security, and improving the quality of local people’s lives.
The Dong Van Karst Stone Plateau is the first official UNESCO Global Geopark in Vietnam and the second in Southeast Asia.

HCM City to host Int’l travel expo

Over 200 companies from 19 countries and territories have registered to participate in International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE-HCMC) 2014 to take place from September 11 to 13.

The organising board also announced that over 20,000 trade and public visitors are expected to attend the annual event, the largest travel event in Vietnam, which is set to get underway at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC).
The organizing board plans to present the 5th Mekong Tourism Alliance Awards (MTAA) to outstanding tourism businesses from five countries namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam at a ceremony at White Place Convention Center on September 10.
The award categories include the best airline of the Year, Outbound Travel Operator of the Year, Inbound Travel Operator of the Year, 5 Star Hotel of the Year and Resort of the Year.

New tour linking Vietnam, Thailand, Laos

Vietnam’s Kon Tum province and Thailand’s Ubonratchathani province are cooperating in developing a road tour linking localities in the two countries and Laos via Bo Y border gate, the Saigon Times Daily reported.
Leaders of the two provinces have agreed that the new route going through eight provinces of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand will be launched next year. Their agreement also covers favourable conditions for easy transportation of passengers and goods in the three nations.
The Daily quoted Nguyen Xuan Truyen, Deputy Director of the Kon Tum Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as saying that the province’s tourism sector wanted the road tour to become a regularly scheduled itinerary of travel agencies rather than a product only offered by them.
Truyen said Kon Tum province and relevant agencies of Laos will discuss further tourism cooperation after reaching an agreement with Thailand.
Currently, tourism cars run smoothly between Laos and Thailand, but they must be escorted when entering Vietnam via Bo Y border gate as regulated for right-hand drive vehicles. “If travel conditions are made simpler, tourism may grow strongly,” Truyen said.
Truyen said after the authorities of Kon Tum province and Ubonratchathani province clinched a cooperation agreement, companies of both countries will partner to develop the route connecting the three countries.
However, some travel firms suggested the National Highway 14 be upgraded if Kon Tum province wanted to develop land routes connecting Bo Y border gate. Previously, many travel agencies arranged tours for their guests to travel from Ho Chi Minh City on National Highway 14 to Bo Y border gate and Champasack province in Laos and go further. But, they had to cancel these tours due to the highway deteriorating.

Kate festival mirrors Cham people’s rich culture

Kate festival, the largest of the Cham ethnic people in the central province of Ninh Thuan in the year, aims to honour male deities and ancestors who extended great help to people.

The festival takes place in the seventh month of the Cham people’s calendar and it usually falls in October.

Festival activities are held in three tower temples in Ninh Thuan province at the same time and on the same day. The rituals are similar in content.

It includes a ceremony to receive Goddess Po Nagar's costumes in Huu Duc hamlet, Phuoc Huu commune, Ninh Phuoc district.

Goddess Po Nagar is said to be the ancestor of the Cham people who taught them how to grow rice and cotton, weave clothing and carry out cultural activities in their daily lives.

All the royal costumes at Cham tower temples are kept by the Raglai people. Therefore, at the Kate festival, the Cham people have to perform a ceremony to welcome the Ragrai people who bring the costumes to the Cham tower temples.

The ceremony starts at 1.30 pm and ends at 9 pm in the hamlet's temple.

Offerings to Goddess Po Nagar include betel and areca, eggs, chicken, fruits and cakes.

The festival is also an occasion where the participants can enjoy unique folk singing, dancing and music. They can dance with Cham people and relax with Gi nang drumming and Saranai trumpeting. The festival serves as evidence for the cultural richness of the Vietnamese.

Apart from festive activities in the community, the Cham people also celebrate the festival in their families.
In the past, the festival usually lasted for one month in their families but today, it is shortened to three days.

On the first day, family members gather to prepare traditional cakes and offerings.

On the second day, they join rituals at pagodas.

On the third day, they conduct worship to implore ancestors and deities to support them in life.

On this occasion, each family prepares cakes and fruits to invite relatives and friends to visit and congratulate each other.

There are about 153,000 Cham people in Vietnam, including approximately 72,500 people in Ninh Thuan, who live in 22 hamlets.

The Cham people in Ninh Thuan still preserve several unique folk festivals like Kate, Ramawan and Rija Nagar.

Three venues attractive to world stars

Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City), Mui Ne beach, and Ha Long bay are among three most attractive destinations for many world stars, including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Mark Zuckerberg, So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah.

Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt chose Ho Chi Minh City as their first venue during their visit to Vietnam in November 2006.

Like other residents in Saigon, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt rode motorbikes, tasted local food and visited beautiful places. They stayed at Park Hyatt luxury hotel, went to Ben Thanh market and dined at a nearby restaurant.
In casual wear, they walked through central urban areas and enjoyed the fresh air there without any special care by others as they fit right in, looking like real back-packers.
Since 2006, Angelina Jolie has returned to Vietnam five times.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan also surprisingly selected Vietnam as a destination for their Christmas holiday in 2011.

They stopped over in the capital city of Hanoi first and stayed there for two days before flying to the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh province.

Korean stars So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah had photo shooting in Vietnam to advertise for Giordano fashion brand name in Mui Ne beach in southern Binh Thuan province. Coming to this beach, these special travellers enjoyed the daily life of local fishermen and beautiful landscapes such as Hon Rom, Hon Lao Cau and Bai Rang, as well as fishing village and several historical and cultural relic sites.

Three local hotels cited “best in Asia”

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Nam Hai in Hoi An City and Park Hyatt Saigon have been chosen as three of the best hotels and resorts in Asia by the US magazine Travel + Leisure.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi currently ranks 7th among “Top City Hotels in Asia” and 66th among the Top 100 Hotels Overall.

Meanwhile, the Nam Hai in Hoi An City climbed up 2 notches from last year to 10th overall in “Top Resorts in Asia”.
The Park Hyatt Saigon now stands at 24th in the list of “Top City Hotels in Asia”.
More than 17,000 travelers logged on to Travel + Leisure Magazie online and participated in the selection based on criteria, such as rooms, infrastructure, position, services, restaurants, cuisines, and value of services compared to payment.


Most impressive bridges in Vietnam

The Anh Sao (Starlight) Bridge is located in the heart of the international commercial and financial district of Phu My Hung. The first modern pedestrian bridge of Vietnam, it cost VND50 billion (about US$2.5 million) to construct and was officially inaugurated in April 2010.

While many stop by to enjoy the beautiful scenery, others want to experience the splendour of a 170m-long walk amongst the LED-lit stars (simulated by the lights on the ground).
The solar powered lights collect energy during the day using specially designed battery panels located on the sides of the bridge.
The bridge, with its illuminated path and waterfalls, is a scenic feature drawing a lot of visitors.
Nuzzled along a beautiful river promenade with a fresh cool breeze flowing all the time, Anh Sao Bridge is an architectural symphony which perfectly harmonizes with the natural setting to create an ideal destination for local residents and visitors to enjoy.
Han River Bridge in Danang
Danang is named “the city of bridges”, and its most famous bridge is the Han River Bridge - the first swing bridge in Vietnam symbolising the city’s renovation process.

In the middle of the night, traffic is stopped from crossing the Han River Bridge and it swings on its axis to allow shipping traffic to pass along the river.
It not only facilitates transport but cradles a huge potential for awakening economic prospects for tourism thanks to its special design and the seismic beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The bridge is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Danang and a cultural spot of cosmopolitan Danang today.
Thi Nai Bridge in Binh Dinh
Thi Nai Bridge in the central coastal province of Binh Dinh is the longest cross-sea bridge in Vietnam, spanning nearly 7km.

Nestled amidst the mystical beauty of Thi Nai Lagoon and Phuong Mai Peninsula, Thi Nai Bridge links the city of Qui Nhon to Nhon Hoi Economic Zone. It is not solely for transportation purpose but serves as an enticing tourist spot in Binh Dinh province.
Can Tho Bridge in the Mekong Delta
Can Tho Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Hau (Bassac) River - the largest distributary of the Mekong River in the southern city of Can Tho. The bridge has six lanes measuring 23m in width, with 4 lanes for traffic and two for pedestrians.

Inaugurated in 2010, Can Tho Bridge is the longest main span (550m) bridge in Southeast Asia, with construction cost of VND4.842 trillion (roughly US$342.6 million), making it the most expensive bridge in Vietnam.
Vinh Tuy Bridge in Hanoi

Vinh Tuy Bridge is one of seven bridges over the Red River in Hanoi. The bridge was constructed to relieve traffic on Chuong Duong and Long Bien bridges and to link urban areas and industrial parks in the north with the centre of Hanoi.
Cau Rong (Dragon) Bridge in Danang
Cau Rong (Dragon) Bridge on the Han River in Danang features 166 metres of undulating steel in the shape of a giant fire-breathing dragon flying towards the East Sea.

Vietnam’s many bridges are incredible architectural achievements and pieces of history. They not only create a convenient traffic network and bring a source of pride for local people but are some of the most attractive tourist destinations in the nation.

The main span of the 37.5m-wide bridge is bookended by two 128m side sections, with a head and tail on each end of those. The whole structure weighs 8,164 tonnes and stretches 666m in length.

With unique aesthetic and creative characteristics, the bridge won the Diamond Award in the 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) in the structural systems category.
After opening to traffic in March 2013, the Dragon Bridge has become one of Danang’s main tourist attractions and symbols.

Major tourist attractions near Hanoi

The five-day holiday starting on April 30 is an excellent occasion for Vietnamese people to set off on tours to relax and discover new lands.

For those who cannot travel far, they can choose one of the following places near Hanoi capital to enjoy the holiday with their families and friends.
1. Son Tinh Camp
The camping site is just half an hour drive from the city centre. It is located on a peninsula and surrounded by a lake. It offers a wide range of camping models, for single campers, collectives or families.

Campers have the chance to take part in games such as team-building, wall climbing, boat racing, as well as campfire.
2. Ao Vua-Khoang Xanh
Just a bit more than an hour drive from the city centre, Ao Vua-Khoang Xanh is an ecological site at the foot of legendary Tan Vien Mountain – an ideal place for weekend tours.

Coming to the site, visitors find themselves immersed in a space imbued with Vietnamese culture, discovering the ancient legend of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh, and experiencing mountaineering, waterfall climbing, water park games, a tour of caves, and boating on the lake. 3. Dong Mo resort
Dong Mo resort, about nearly 40km to the west of Hanoi, is part of the Cultural and Tourism Village of ethnic Vietnamese groups and a starting point of the Tay Son-Ba Vi tourism complex.

Many families select Dong Mo for their weekend relaxation as they enjoy fresh air, diverse entertainment services, and distinctive dishes of different regions.
With an abundance of green foliage, Phuong (Phoenix) Island is an ideal venue for children’s outdoor activities such as fishing, chicken hunting, and bamboo shoot collecting.
4. Tam Dao resort
Located about 80km from Hanoi, Tam Dao is an ideal resort for relaxation in the north because of its fresh air, tranquillity and mild weather with temperatures ranging between 18-25 degrees Celsius all the year round.

Alongside climbing up the mountain peak, visitors will have an acute sense of peace if they tour around Thuong Ngan Temple or age-old Tam Dao church.
Tam Dao is famous for its specialities like chayote, hill chicken and Man pork.
5. Quan Son-My Duc resort
The eco-tourism site is just about 50km from the city centre, and travelling by motorcycle in the early morning is preferable to young holiday-makers.

Surrounded by about 100 stone mountains of different sizes, the site offers fascinating lake and mountainside tours, helping visitors to go through an unforgettable experience.