Asia Pacific Travel Team
The Thanh Hoa Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has launched its first waterway tours on the Ma River. Tourists can enjoy landscapes along the river banks and visit historic sites.
The tours, which depart at the Ham Rong Tourism Boat Station in Hoang Hoa District, will take tourists upstream or downstream the Ma River.
On the tour that goes downstream, tourists can visit several famous sites such as Nguyet Vien Village in Hoang Quang Commune, which produced many illustrious students and scholars under the feudal Confucian education system; Trang Quynh (a legendary wit living in the 18th century) Temple and Sam Son, a well-known beach destination.
The tours cost VND300,000 – 350,000 (US$14 - 16) each. — VNS
Bac Ha District, one of the most famous tourism destinations in the northern province of Lao Cai, has opened a night market at the district's centre market.
The night market, which is open every Saturday, holds art performances and offers food, souvenirs and other products. The district's famous cuisines include thang co (a special dish of Mong people cooked from horse meat) and home-brewed corn wine.
With cool weather year-round, Bac Ha has amazing sightseeing such as mighty mountains, beautiful caves and terraced fields. The district has exotic cultures with 14 ethnic minorities and historic sites like Bac Ha temple and the palace of Hoang A Tuong.
The palace, built in 1919 – 1921 with European architecture, is called the house of the King of Meo people (Mong people) as Hoang Yen Chao and his son Hoang A Tuong ruled over Bac Ha during French colonial rule. About 70 per cent of Bac Ha's population are ethnic Mong. — VNS
Themed Vietnam’s coconut palm in integration and development, the festival aims to introduce and promote Ben Tre’s coconut industry as well as to provide a forum for coconut farmers and enterprises to share experience and information on coconut growing, processing and consumption.
The event included an art space for installation of coconuts and coconut products, a cuisine festival, contests, a ceremony to honour coconut farmers and workshops relating to the industry’s development.
Ben Tre has about 63,000 ha under coconut palms, the country’s highest area, yielding about 500 million coconuts per year.
Coconut products are being exported to 68 countries and territories around the world with a value of more than US$200 million annually.
The figure represents a two percent annual increase and amounts to 40 percent of the year’s target.
Of the tourists, 791,600 were international arrivals, a slight one percent over that of the same period last year.
The industry earned 1.63 trillion VND (74.9 million USD) in the first three months, up 15 percent compared to last year.
Quang Ninh is now preparing for a new tourism season with a wide range of attractive activities, such as the 2015 Ha Long Carnival Festival and the Japanese cherry festival. The province is also doing its utmost to improve its service quality, diversify products, ensure visitor safety and keep prices stable.
As its name suggests, Hen is known as an islet of food, especially dishes from hen (mussel) such as mussel rice, rice porridge with mussel, or mussel with noodles and rice vermicelli. This is because many generations of people on this islet have been earning a living by catching mussel and processing dishes from this bivalve mollusk.
Although the present-day Hue has been added with a modern touch, the living environment on Hen islet is still as peaceful and rustic as any typical Hue village at the lower reaches of the Huong River.
Nguyen Van Vinh, a 73-year-old man whose three generations have been living on Hen islet, says the section of the Huong River running through the islet is clear, leaving a thick layer of mud at the bottom of the river and creating a good environment for mussels to grow. Mussels in this area have been famous for its high quality and in the past, mussel dishes from this islet were offered to kings, he says.
The unique bridge to reach Hen islet
Among the restaurants on the islet, the one owned by Tao, a 75-year-old woman who has been cooking hen dishes for 60 years in Hue, is the most famous place for diners.
Tao’s restaurant serves mussels with rice and vermicelli. She says in order to process a bowl of mussels with rice and vermicelli, it needs at least 20 types of spices and ingredients.
Apart from basic spices such as fish sauce, oil, chili, and pepper, shrimp paste is an indispensable spice. Ingredients needed for these two dishes include rice, vermicelli, fresh vegetables, peanuts, star fruit, green mango, and obviously, mussels.
When cooked, a bowl of mussel rice or vermicelli looks mouthwatering thanks to its different colors and fragrant smells. The food just becomes more delicious thanks to the charming and poetic scene around, with boats flowing smoothly along the peaceful Huong River.
Peacefully hidden away from urban areas and surrounded by mountains on three sides, the village located in Ham Rong Ward, Thanh Hoa city has many hundreds-of-years-old houses with intact interior and architectural features.
From Ham Rong Bridge, the visitors take a one-kilometre walk passing the newly-built Ham Rong Convention Centre to a winding path lined with palm trees leading to the village.
Arriving in the village, visitors are struck with peaceful and ancient scenes of water wells and banyan trees and the ancient rural houses, comprised of three main compartments and two lean-tos.
The village has maintained 10 of its ancient houses, the oldest of which was built more than 200 years ago.
The village was listed on the must-see destinations in Thanh Hoa, the venue for the National Tourism Year 2015.
Here, tourists will discover local daily life as well as enjoying fruits and seafoods from Ninh Hoa.
A peaceful corner in a NinhThuy fishing village
Typical architecture in NinhThuy villages
Simple life of local fishermen
Turquoise waters and deep sand beaches
The week is in response to the 2015 domestic tourism stimulus programme launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the 40 th anniversary of national reunification (April 30) and the Hue traditional craft festival (April 28 – May 2), according to the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre.
Accordingly, visitors touring the Imperial Palace and Minh Mang and Khai Dinh tombs will receive free entrance to the Thieu Tri tomb and An Dinh palace.
In addition to the above sites, visitors to Tu Dinh will be taken to Gia Long and Thieu Tri tombs, Hon Chen temple and An Dinh palace for free.
Groups of 20 or more visitors will enjoy guided tours free-of-charge, 10-30 percent discount on ceremonial music performances, photos and electric car services, among others.
During the week, the Ta Tra building of Dien Tho palace will open its door to visitors, featuring a guest reception space and a rickshaw of the late Queen Mother Tu Minh, mother of King Thanh Thai.
The rickshaw was bought back from a centre in France last year, marking the country’s first successful effort to retrieve royal antiques from an auction abroad.
In the line-up are a showcase of royal costumes and cuisine in Truong Sanh palace on April 22, a night music performance in Co Ha garden on April 25, and a display of antique jewelleries at the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities.
Similar weeks will be held on June 14-21, September 2-8, and December 28-30.
The Ho Dynasty Citadel was recognised by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site in 2011. The recognition has brought pride and a great joy to the Vietnamese people while paying homage to the great historical values left by the Vietnamese ancestors.
The Ho Dynasty Citadel was the cultural centre of the capital of Vietnam in the late 14th century and early 15th century and a political, economic and cultural hub of the northern part of the central region of Vietnam from the 16th to the 18th century.
It was built in 1397 in the two communes of Vinh Tien and Vinh Long in Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province with the supervision of the Tran dynasty's top mandarin, Ho Quy Ly. He later occupied the citadel when he forcibly took the throne in 1400, changing the country's name from Dai Viet to Dai Ngu.
Unlike many other citadels that were built from bricks, the citadel was built with huge stone slabs from nearby mountains. It features four arched gates facing east, west, north and south. The large stone slabs required a new building technique that workers installed without the use of any mortar.
The citadel buildings represented an outstanding example of a new style of Southeast Asian imperial cities. The citadel's grounds include the Hoang Nguyen, Dien Tho and Dong Cung palaces, which were linked by roads paved with stone. The citadel itself includes buildings such as the Dan Nam Giao (a platform used for offerings to the heavens), Dong Mon communal house and Tam Tong temple among other structures. However, after several centuries, almost all of the citadel's main structures have been seriously damaged, while the wall and four main entrances are still well preserved.
The Citadel of Ho Dynasty has been attracting more and more tourists since it was recognised as a world cultural heritage site.
Each year, the relic welcomes about 70,000 visitors.
In recent years, the Ho Citadel has gradually revealed more valuable historical items. Notably, the basic but quite comprehensive architecture of Nam Giao Esplanade has been unearthed in an area of over one thousand square metres. The researchers claimed the esplanade is presently the most intact in Vietnam with a series of vestiges such as the Than Dao Road and the King’s well, drainage system. Based on the unearthed vestiges, Thanh Hoa province has reconstructed the large-scale Nam Giao esplanade.
Nam Giao Esplanade
Archaeologists have unearthed the Hoang Gia (Royal) road (also known as Hoe Nhai road) at the southern gate of the citadel with a unique structure. So far, Hoang Gia road has existed intact with a length of about 2km. In addition, the discovery and research of ancient stone exploitation work in An Ton Mountain in Vinh Yen commune and Xuan Dai Mountain in Vinh Ninh commune have special importance in clarifying doubts of the origin of the materials exploited and used to build the Ho citadel.
The National Tourism Year 2015 is expected to attract 5 million domestic and foreign visitors.
Emperor Cruises will be the first to offer high-end all-inclusive, unlimited services to serve luxury travellers in Nha Trang Bay.
Combined with the international 5-star hotel brand Intercontinental Nha Trang, Emperor Cruises have created a three days - two nights programme to Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa. Guests can now enjoy three days - two nights holiday in Nha Trang Bay with Emperor Cruises for moments of relaxation, interesting discoveries, cruising activities, scrumptious fresh seafood dinners, stunning sunsets, and refreshing cocktails along the coast of Nha Trang.
Emperor Cruises has many attractive activities suitable for all ages such as: visits to Hon Mieu, Hon Mun and other islands by speedboat, swimming at the wild beaches, rowing local basket boats, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving.
In addition, this programme takes travellers to explore more islands, go further into the ocean, discover the local island lives, coastal lagoons, fishing villages, beautiful lighthouses, and birds' nests on steep cliffs, with the help of an Experience Manager for the guests to experience every moment of the trip.
The service includes two nights at the Intercontinental Nha Trang hotel, Nha Trang airport shuttle transfers, daily breakfasts, and an all-inclusive Day Cruise on the Emperor Cruises.
As promotion, Emperor Cruises and the Intercontinental Nha Trang are offering an all-inclusive package for VND7.4 million ($360) per person only for bookings made from April 15, 2015 to August 30, 2015.