Visit the oldest pottery village in Southeast Asia

                  Bau Truc pottery village is the oldest of the Cham ethnic minority people in Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam as well as Southeast Asia.


 


Bau Truc village


Bau Truc is located some 10 kilometres south of Phan Rang town. The small village is home to more than 400 families, of which 85 per cent are in the traditional pottery business. The profession is said to have been handed down originally from Po Klong Chanh, an ancestor and founder of the village.

Every year, local people hold worship ceremonies and a festival to commemorate Chanh.

Walking around the village, visitors are impressed to see crafts men and women working with mounds of clay to make jars, pots and an assortment of vessels.

People in Bau Truc use their hands to skilfully create decorative items from materials like bamboo and shells, which then is used as moulds to make pottery items.

The clay used for pottery comes from the banks of the Quao River and is very pliable, supple and fires well in a kiln.

The skills needed to mix sand with clay are also of importance and the amount of sand to be mixed with other materials depends on the pottery item, the size and what it is used for.

All these factors make Bau Truc pottery very unique and different from pottery elsewhere.

SGGP

 

Downstreaming on Gam River in Vietnam

          Gam river is the river that flows through Cao Bang provice. You have to be brave enough to drift along from east to west then north to south to really appreciate the beauty of the Gam River.


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Gam River running through Cao Bang Province.


Departing from Cao Bang Province’s Bao Lam District, where the Gam River starts on its way down from China, flowing to Bao Lac Mountain then merging with the Nho Que River flowing from Dong Van Plateau, tourists will see that the river is the living pulse, origin and love of ethnic people of Mong, Tay, Nung and Dong who have lived in this area and lived off the river for many generations.

Wise fishermen sit along the number of waterfalls on Gam River, the section between Cao Bang and Ha Giang provinces which is home to fish typical of the north: anh vu, dam anh, lang, bong and chien. Flowing through 217 kilometers in the north of the country, the Gam River provides locals not only with fish, but with shrimp and other fresh water species.

Drifting along the river, tourists should not forget to stop at Na Hang, a small town by the river where is endowed with some magnificent mountains, mysterious primeval forests and splendid streams.

The town is also famous for the Tac Ke-Ban Nung  natural reserve, covering over 42 square kilometers and running over the communes of Con Lon, Khau Tinh, Son Phu, Vinh Yen and Thanh Tuong. The area is home to thousands of rare fauna and flora species.

Tourists will also meet Nui Do canyon with its two mountain walls standing imposingly as if from the heavens as the clouds swoop down over the limestone cliffs.

On the way to Tuyen Quang Province, tourists will meet Pac Ta Mountain which looks like an elephant beside a wine bottle. At the mountain is an old temple where many pilgrims come to pray for a lucky life. The magnificence of the mountain has attracted nature lovers, photographers as well as poets and writers.

You will also come across Bac Me District in Ha Giang Province. The District’s Ban Lan Hamlet of Yen Phu Commune is a must for tourists. There you can discover many riddles of the forests with its abundant ecosystem and learn more about colorful customs and culture of Tay ethnic group.  

Apart from the craft villages and intangible cultural features, tourists will also be amazed by the weird shapes and stalactites of Dan Cum Cave which were formed millions of years ago and are considered home to ancient Vietnamese prehistoric man.

SGT

Two must see beaches on Phu Quoc Island


Phu Quoc Island of Kien Giang Province are ideal destinations for tranquil and beautiful beaches. ..

A tourist walks along Bai Dai which stretches a distance of 15 km 
along the northwestern coast line of Phu Quoc.


Bai Sao, located south of Phu Quoc, is 25 kilometers from Duong Dong Town. However, locals call the route to the beach ‘miserable’ due to heavy dust and its rugged surface so if you are on a motorbike you have to wear a mask and sunglasses. 

However, the beach is worth the dusty 30-minute journey as it boasts an immense and peaceful space. 

The seven-kilometer long beach is in the shape of a sickle with soft sand and pure green water. Tourists might think that God poured tons of white powder or ice-cream instead of sand on Sao Beach to make it that soft. Tourists can find entertainment activities like jet-ski priced at VND450,000, VND850,000 and VND1.3 million for 10 minutes, 20 minutes and 30 minutes respectively and a jetboat (canoe) or snorkeling at VND2 million (around US$100).

“I have found paradise here,” said Anissa, a traveler from Belgium who was on a first trip to Vietnam and spent three hours on the beach to get a nice tan.

Tourists just have to taste the fresh local seafood, including coi bien mai (bien mai shellfish) or ghe (small crab) and then take a cup or a bowl of tau hu (sweet tofu with brown sugar cereal and ginger in Vietnamese style) from beach vendors to keep the stomach warm. 

In contrast to Sao Beach which has all the tourist facilities, Dai Beach in the north of the island is ideal for those who love to be on their own with no-one around to bother them.

If Sao Beach’s appeal is the white sand, Dai Beach’s lure is its yellow soft sand. It is named Long Beach as it stretches 15 km along the northwestern coastline of Phu Quoc from Ganh Dau Cape to Cua Can. 

People should rent a motorbike priced from US$5 to US$7 and head to the north of the island and stop where you like and go for a swim, breathe in the fresh air or simply admire colorful fishing boats close to the beach. 

Or you can rent a boat priced at VND300,000 to reach the small islet named Doi Moi, which is 800 meters from the beach, to see the coral, go fishing or lie on the 50 meter sand to relax and put  headphones on to listen to some of your favorite songs. 

Tourists might think that this is a Robinson Crusoe moment. In 2008 Bai Dai was voted the world’s most beautiful wild beach by the website www.Concierge.com majoring in travel and hotels of Australia. 

Tourists are advised to visit the beaches between October and March to avoid rain, strong winds and high waves. 

And the most important thing to do is to remember a tube of mosquito repellent to protect yourself from the little insects who love to prey on visitors’ skin.

SGT

Tourism sector of Hue targeted toward green growth

           

    An international conference on tourism in Hue City with the participation of  managers, researchers, experts from the U.S., Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea and Vietnam was held on February 14.


Nguyen Van Cao, Chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue provincial People’s Committee said that recently, especially after UNESCO recognised the Complex of Monuments of the Hue imperial capital as a World Cultural Heritage site, the province has made great efforts to preserve and promote its historical value. It also looks forward to promoting the development of sustainable tourism, focusing on green growth, and developing Hue into a model for green tourism in Vietnam.

The province’s tourism investment will be focused on conserving bio-diversity and reusing ecological services, to protect its natural and cultural environment and work towards a sustainable tourism industry.

UNDP senior consultant on the environment, Lal Kurukulasuriya from Sri Lanka, proposed ten key measures for Hue to promote green tourism with a focus on investing in green tourism to help reduce energy, water and waste treatment costs and improve the value of biodiversity, ecosystems and world heritage sites. 

He said Hue should develop new models such as community-based tourism and ecotourism with creative and environmentally- friendly solutions. 

VOV

A travel destination for waves and sand

             192km along the coast is one of the advantages for Binh Thuan tourism development, especially sea tourism - the most popular in Vietnam

“Paradise” of health resorts

On October 24, 1995, a total solar eclipse occurred in Phan Thiet city of Binh Thuan province, attracting hundreds of thousands of domestic and international scientists and visitors. Since that day, the name Binh Thuan has become well established on the tourism map of Vietnam and the world, and October 24 has become the Province’s Tourism Day.

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White and red sand dunes at Phan Thiet’s coastal area always attract tourists’ attention

Regarding Binh Thuan’s tourism sector, it is impossible not to mention Mui Ne – Phan Thiet which is considered a paradise for health resorts. The image of Mui Ne with white sand dunes stretching out in the bright tropical sunshine, waves crashing into the calm fishing village, rows of coconut trees and stone steps, has long been familiar to visitors.

Mui Ne is also endowed with sand dunes, a magnificent landscape which has become an endless source of inspiration for photographers due to constant wind-driven changes in its appearance. It is also the capital of resorts in Vietnam, with over 100 eco-convalescence centres, resorts and villas, with natural, beautiful sites, modern architecture, a fresh sea environment, sunshine, wind and sand.

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Rowing is a popular water sport in Binh Thuan Province

Binh Thuan province has Phan Thiet Bay which, rather shallow and very windy, is ideal for sea sports such as surfing, sailing and kite surfing. From October to April, when the wind gusts are at their highest, Binh Thuan is besieged by international friends who come to windsurf and kite surf.
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Kite-surfing
Apart from sea related amusement activities, visitors can participate in other unique sports on land, such as conquering the sand dunes, paragliding in the brilliant sunshine, or golfing at Phan Thiet or Sea Link golf courses.
With these advantages, every year Mui Ne attracts over two million visitors, including over 220,000 foreign visitors, coming from Russia, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Britain, South Korea, China, Japan, the US, Canada and Mexico.

Land of festivals
In addition to its sea tourism potential, Binh Thuan also has cultural and festival tourism strength because of its many cultural and architectural works, as well as unique festivals of the Viet, Cham and Hoa ethnic groups.
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Kate Festival of the Cham people held annually near Po Sah Inu Towers

Binh Thuan is home to Po Klong Moh Nai Temple, a typical cultural work of the Cham people, where over 100 precious objects of Cham royalty are preserved, such as the crowns, robes, boots, shoes, rings and bracelets of the kings and queens. It also has Po Sah Inu Towers, dating from the 8thCentury, devoted to the Shiva Genie and a sacred set of stone linga and yoni of the Cham people.

Binh Thuan also boasts many unique cultural works, such as the oldest lighthouse in Southeast Asia (built in 1899) at Ke Ga Cape, Vietnam’s biggest Buddha statue on Ta Cu Mountain, the biggest whale skeleton in Van Thuy Tu Communal House, the most colourful Co Thach stone ground in Tuy Phong District and the relic site of Duc Thanh School, built in 1907 in Phan Thiet City, where President Ho Chi Minh taught before he went abroad to seek ways to save the country. In particular, the project of Binh Thuan Water Tower, a unique architectural work designed by Lao Prince and architect Souphanouvong, was completed in 1934 and is considered a symbol of Phan Thiet City.

 

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Lantern procession at Mid-Autumn Festival in Phan Thiet City

 

 

Apart from a system of tangible heritages, the community of ethnic groups living in Binh Thuan also has a rich system of festivals and rituals, such as Cau Ngu (fish worshipping) Festival of the Kinh ethnic group; Kate Festival of the Brahmin Cham ethnic group; Nghinh Ong Quan Thanh Festival of the Hoa community in Phan Thiet City; and Dinh Thay Thim Festival which bears the specific cultural features of Binh Thuan Province - it is one of few festivals in Southern Vietnam listed in the dictionary of Vietnamese Festivals.

VOV

 

Promoting Vietnam's image in Greece

       Vietnam's images will be promoted through diplomatic, business and cultural events organized by the Vietnam's embassy in Athens with the cooperation of a Greek Television station.


The commitment was made at a recent working session between 902 Television, owned by the Communist Party of Greece, and the embassy in Athens.

The Greek broadcaster will also strengthen bilateral cooperation in introducing the people, landscape, culture, historical traditions, economics, politics and society in both Vietnam and Greece via their broadcasting networks. 

902 TV has coordinated with the Vietnamese Embassy in providing information about the Southeast Asian economy since the embassy was established in Athens. Recently, 902 TV aired announcements about the 13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties in Athens in late 2011, including the presence of Vietnam’s Communist Party delegation, led by Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee's External Affairs Commission, Nguyen Manh Hung. 

Besides, 902 TV ran stories about circus and art performances in Athens in December 2011 and a get-together to welcome spring in 2012, both co-organized by the Embassy of Vietnam and Overseas Vietnamese in Greece. 

VOV

UK is one of Vietnam's top ten tourism markets

            With nearly 18,000 Britons came to Vietnam last month, The UK has become one of Vietnam's top ten tourism markets for the first time in seven years - reported the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).


UK tourist arrivals have picked up strongly since Vietnam Airlines launched direct service between London and Vietnam’s two biggest cities, Hanoi and HCMC, in December last year. 

Besides promotional flights aimed at Vietnamese travelers to Britain, the airline has organized a host of marketing activities to attract British tourists to the country. The national flag carrier now runs four weekly flights between Vietnam and the U.K. and will introduce daily flights in 2015.

The U.K. was on Vietnam’s top ten visitor-generating markets list in 2005.

VNAT this year will concentrate on exploring the potential market via promotions, road shows or tours arranged for British travel agencies to Vietnam.

The local tourism industry has arranged a range of promotional programs in the U.K. during the last two years, including placing advertisements on taxis or in tourism magazines like National Geographic UK. 

The biggest deal yet was advertising on the electronic boards at stadiums which hosted 12 Premier League matches last year. Also, posters and ad films on Vietnam’s tourism were screened at 60 stadiums within one month in Britain. 

Britain’s Guardian newspaper at the end of last year announced Vietnam as one of the five popular destinations after Japan, Maldives, Peru and New Zealand.

France also emerged as a fast-growing visitor-generating market for Vietnam last month, up 33.3% to over 25,000 travelers compared to the same period last year. 

According to VNAT, the nation received 630,000 international visitors last month, rising 24.8% year-on-year.

SGT

Bai Dinh The Pagoda of records

                Bai Dinh is a pagoda with beautiful architecture in the province of Ninh Binh. The Pagoda famous for many records as the largest size, the largest Buddha statues...in Vietnam


Located in Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, Bai Dinh pagoda was built to commemorate King Ly Thai To who moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long.

As a tourist attraction, Bai Dinh pagoda is endowed with both scenic beauty and historical value. It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist pagodas Vietnam, which are either old or new.

The old Bai Dinh Pagoda sits on a 200m high mountain, which has been recognized as a cultural and historical heritage site of Vietnam. The new Bai Dinh Pagoda covers about 700 hectares, near the site of the old one.

Tourists often visit the pagoda area during their sight-seeing tour. Every year, the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival kicks off on the sixth day of the first lunar month, attracting tens of thousands of visitors.




On the way to the old pagoda site, pilgrims have to climb stone steps to small ancient places of worship to pray for good luck and enjoy traditional ceremonial singing performed by local artists.

Through the gate into the new Bai Dinh Pagoda area, visitors will see 500 Arhat statues, each 2.4 m high and weighing about 4 tonnes, standing or sitting on both sides.

The Bai Dinh Pagoda complex boasts having the biggest bronze Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, about 100 tonnes in weight, and three 50-tonne Buddha statues and two huge bronze bells.

From Bai Dinh, tourists can go by boat to the nearby Trang An tourist site in Hoa Lu district. Along with the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Tam Coc-Bich Dong caves and Phat Diem stone church are all on the to-see list.


VOV

 

 

Tourism industry can still grow up in 2012

                Travel companies still believe that revenue of tourism industry will remain highly although the world economy continued difficulties in 2012 after harvesting a bountiful crop last Tet holiday.

 

In economic difficulties, tourism relating sectors can live well

Though travel firms made a fat profit last Tet holiday, analysts believe that the tourism sector would not see a higher growth rate in 2012, because people would have to fasten their belt amid the forecasts about economic difficulties.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism VNAT proves to be reserved when setting modest targets for 2012: receiving 6.5 million foreign tourists, up by 8.3 percent over 2011, and serving 32 million domestic travelers, up by 6.67 percent over 2011.

However, service providers do not think that way. Vo Quoc Khang, the owner of a shop of cars for rent in Bien Hoa City keeps optimistic about his business in 2012. 

“Local residents in the city now like traveling more than going to cinema. They would go traveling if they have one or two days off work. Therefore, I think that carrying travelers would bring good income to me in 2012,” he said.

Khang said that he uses the cars to carry students to schools and from schools every day. Meanwhile, on the weekends, he usually receives orders to carry travelers.

On Van Le, a taxi driver of Hoang Long taxi firm – Phu Quoc Island, has also said that the works within seven months would bring the revenue high enough to cover the expenses for the remaining rainy months. Airlines are considering providing more flights to Phu Quoc. Not only travelers who go under the tours booked with travel firms, but separated travelers also go to the island, who would be the potential clients for taxi drivers.

A representative of Phu Quoc branch of Vietravel said that the 15 cars for lease of the branch were always fully booked in 2011, while the branch is considering increasing the number of cars this year.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, General Director of Vietravel, said the travel firm has requested airlines, hotels and service providers sign service contracts for the whole year 2012 before December 2011, so as to be secure about the services.

Ky has affirmed that among the choices of people for enjoying life, tourism would be the top choice.

New tourism products designed

Not only targeting high income earners, Vietravel has launched Travelpon that provides services to different groups of travelers, including the ones with low income.

Saigontourist has said it would put the Saigon-Dong Ha, Saigon-Ban Me, Saigon-Rach Gia hotels in the localities it believes would see the number of travelers increasing this year.

In 2011, Saigontourist opened a branch in Quang Ninh province, in charge of bringing tourists from the north to the south. It has just opened a branch in Binh Duong province. The moves show that Saigontourist can foresee the diversification of the tourists in 2012.

According to Tran Duc Thinh, Marketing Director of TST Tourist, travelers, both Vietnamese and foreign, now tend to set up higher requirements, They not only want to travel, but also to learn about the life, culture of every locality. This requires travel firms to provide qualified tour guides and design original products. Especially, travelers now have high demand for enjoying local food. Therefore, if travel firms only offer familiar tours, they would not be able to attract travelers.

A VISA’s survey has also pointed out that the attractive local food and low travel costs would be the main factors that help attract more tourists to Vietnam in the time to come. The survey has also said that Vietnam has become one of the most attractive destinations.

Source: SGTT

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region one of the best destination in 2012

               According to the Lonely Planet - The world’s renowned travel guide : "Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region ninth out of the top ten destinations for 2012."

“Vietnam’s rice basket, the Mekong River Delta is a watery landscape of green fields and sleepy villages, everywhere crisscrossed by the brown canals and rivulets fed by the mighty Mekong River,” the Lonely Planet said in its website
The inhabitants of this region – friendly and easygoing people – have long toiled on the life-sustaining river, with the fruits of their labour depending on natural cycles that govern the waterways.
The delta, which produces enough rice to supply the domestic market and a sizable surplus, was formed by sediment from the Mekong River over many years. The process continues today, with silt deposits extending the shoreline by as much as 80m per year. The river is so large that it has two daily tides.
Lush with rice paddies and fish farms, this delta also nourishes the cultivation of sugarcane, fruit, coconuts and shrimp.
Although the area is primarily rural, it is one of the most densely populated regions in Vietnam and nearly every hectare is intensively farmed.
“The uniquely southern charm with its welcoming introduction to life along the river is the real draw, and visitors can explore quaint riverside towns, sample fruits bartered in the colourful floating markets or dine on home-cooked delicacies before overnighting as a homestay guest,” it said.
Other highlights include visits to local orchards, flower markets and fish farms. There are also bird sanctuaries, beach getaways and impressive Khmer pagodas in the region.
In addition to highlighting the Mekong Delta as one of the top ten best destinations, the travel guide also said that Vietnam is always a good value destination for tourists.
The nine other top destinations include the northeast of the US, San Francisco, Japan, Tajikistan, Porto in Portugal, Lesotho in southern Africa, Iquitos in Peru, Ohrid in Macedonia and Merida, Mexico.
Earlier, the US Tourism Association (USTOA) named Vietnam as a top destination for 2012.


The world’s renowned travel guide, the Lonely Planet, has rated Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region ninth out of the top 10 destinations for 2012. “Vietnam’s rice basket, the Mekong River Delta is a watery landscape of green fields and sleepy villages, everywhere crisscrossed by the brown canals and rivulets fed by the mighty Mekong River,” the Lonely Planet said in its websiteThe inhabitants of this region – friendly and easygoing people – have long toiled on the life-sustaining river, with the fruits of their labour depending on natural cycles that govern the waterways.The delta, which produces enough rice to supply the domestic market and a sizable surplus, was formed by sediment from the Mekong River over many years. The process continues today, with silt deposits extending the shoreline by as much as 80m per year. The river is so large that it has two daily tides.Lush with rice paddies and fish farms, this delta also nourishes the cultivation of sugarcane, fruit, coconuts and shrimp.Although the area is primarily rural, it is one of the most densely populated regions in Vietnam and nearly every hectare is intensively farmed.“The uniquely southern charm with its welcoming introduction to life along the river is the real draw, and visitors can explore quaint riverside towns, sample fruits bartered in the colourful floating markets or dine on home-cooked delicacies before overnighting as a homestay guest,” it said.Other highlights include visits to local orchards, flower markets and fish farms. There are also bird sanctuaries, beach getaways and impressive Khmer pagodas in the region.In addition to highlighting the Mekong Delta as one of the top ten best destinations, the travel guide also said that Vietnam is always a good value destination for tourists.The nine other top destinations include the northeast of the US, San Francisco, Japan, Tajikistan, Porto in Portugal, Lesotho in southern Africa, Iquitos in Peru, Ohrid in Macedonia and Merida, Mexico.Earlier, the US Tourism Association (USTOA) named Vietnam as a top destination for 2012.


VNN/VNA/VOV