Vietnam Tours 2011

Posted by: vietnamtour | July 21, 2011

Vietnam Tours – City Guide

Let us take you to Vietnam highlights destinations by giving basic information on each places. Information lists are long, and still updating, please contact us for your personal interests on each destinations. We will come back to your as soon as possible with detailed information and hope they will make your trips more interesting and easier. Please select your destinations below…

Hanoi Travel Information
Hanoi, the capital of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, is a pleasant and even charming city, in large parts because of its famous lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks. The city center is an architectural museum piece, its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a peaceful and austere provincial town, contrary to the fast-living and bustling air of Saigon. The city of Hanoi is a small part now of Greater Hanoi, which has a land area of 2,139 and a population of about 3,000,000. In the past, Hanoi was first chosen by King Ly Thai To as the capital of the country and was named Thang Long (Descending Dragon) in 1010.

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Through several successive dynasties, it remained  the country’s capital city, the heart and soul of the whole nation, and has born a variety of names, including Dong Kinh (Eastern capital), from which the Europeans derived the name they eventually applied to all of northern Vietnam, Tonkin. The city was finally named Hanoi (the city in a bend of the river) by Emperor Minh Mang (Nguyen Dynasty) in 1831.

From 1902 to 1953, Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina. There are two main seasons in Hanoi: the hot (and rainy) season from May to October with the hottest month: July – average temperature 31 °C; and the cold (and dry) season with the coldest month: January – average temperature 14 °C.
Ethnology Museum
Just opened at the end of 1997, the museum has attracted the attention of visitors, ethnographers and researchers from all over the world. With its astounding collection of 1,000 objects, 15,000 photos and hundreds of tapes about the 60 ethnic groups of Vietnam, it has successfully recreated the daily life together with the religious rituals and the symbolic festivals of each ethnic group.
Fine Arts Museum
With numerous exhibitions of specific fine arts collections including ancient stone sculptures, antique pottery, ethnic minority paintings, lacquer ware, etc., the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is a lively historical treasure depicting the origins and evolution of Vietnamese fine arts. The entrance is at No. 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc St. and the opening hours are 8:00am-12:00 am & 1:30pm to 4:30pm, from Tues. to Sun.
History Museum
Once the museum of the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient, the building remains one of Hanoi’s most stunning architectural showpieces. It preserves a large number of valuable artefacts from Vietnam’s turbulent past including prehistory, Dong Son culture, etc. to various Vietnamese dynasties as well as the Vietnamese struggles against foreign invaders.
West Lake  & Tran Quoc Pagoda
West Lake , the largest lake in Hanoi, and  Truc Bach Lake are an attractive part of the city. The two lakes are separated by Thanh Nien St. with rows of willow trees offering a picturesque site in the heart of the country. In the past, West Lake was once a resort for mandarins and kings. Now it is a very popular recreational place for Hanoians to enjoy fresh air, peaceful atmosphere and typical dishes. We wouldn’t forget to mention Tran Quoc Pagoda right on the shore of  West Lake which is one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam.
Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple
Hoan Kiem Lake, considered the most beautiful lake in Hanoi, is an enchanting body of water right in the heart of the city. Lying on a small island in this lake is Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain) founded in the 18th century and dedicated to the Scholar Van Xuong, General Tran Hung Dao (who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century) and La To (patron saint of physicians). Ngoc Son Temple is reached via the red-painted, wooden bridge – The Huc (Rising Sun) constructed in 1885.
Old Quarter
Hanoi’s Old Quarter of over a-thousand-year history, or 36 streets with each taking a different name after its product, remains one of Vietnam’s most lively and unusual places, where visitors can buy anything from precious stones to silk kimonos. Some of the specialized streets here include Hang Bac with a trip of snazzy jewellery shops or Hang Ngang with a row of clothing shops and tailors. Moreover, a stroll through this historic Old Quarter with a stop at Dong Xuan Market is highly recommended for visitors can get a good dose of Vietnamese culture and some insight into the country’s long history.
President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the final resting place of President Ho Chi Minh, was constructed between 1973 and 1975 of native materials gathered from all over Vietnam. It now becomes a site of pilgrimage for Vietnamese as well as for foreign visitors. Just some steps from the mausoleum, visitors can visit One-Pillar pagoda resembling a lotus blossom and also  Ho Chi Minh Museum depicting a view of President Ho’s life.
Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) is a pleasant retreat from the streets of Hanoi. Founded in 1070 for the worship of sages of Confucianism, it constitutes a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is well worth a visit. Vietnam’s first university was established here in 1076 to educate the sons of mandarins. In 1482, King Le Thanh Tong ordered the erection of stelae with inscriptions of the names, places of birth and achievemnets of the graduates who had taken examinations since 1442. The stelae are in a form of tortoises which surely give visitors many impressions. Presently, 82 stelae stand at the Temple of Literature.
Bat Trang ceramics village
Half an hour’s drive from Hanoi, across the bridge Chuong Duong and down the northern bank of the Red River, brings you to one of the best-known villages in Vietnam. The residents of Bat Trang have been making ceramic objects for centuries. In their heyday, – some 600 years ago – the artisans were responsible for providing dinnerware for the royal families of the capital city and China, while trader took Bat Trang plates, jars and ornamental items as far afield as Japan, Holland and France. Nowadays, by the help of techniques, Bat Trang village can produce its product in high volumes at a low cost. Mold are used to make votive and ornamental objects in its thousands, which are fired in brick kilns then painted by hand. There is very few artisans still use a wheel to create pottery items

Dien Bien Phu Overview
Dien Bien is a mountainous border province in the North-west of Vietnam. It has just been established according to Resolution No.22 of the fourth meeting session of eleventh term National Congress. Dien Bien has total area of 9,554.107 km2, located at the latitude of 20o54’ – 22o33’ North, longtitude of 102o10’ – 103o36’ East. It is adjacent to the new Lai Chau province in the North; Son La province in the East and North-east; Van Nam province of the people’s repubic of China in the North-west with the 38.5 km long border; Luong Pha Bang and Phong Xa Ly provinces of the people’s democratic republic of Laos in the South-west with the 360 km long border.

Vietnam has been a battleground for centuries, but we are most familiar with what the Vietnamese call “The American War”, and there are a number of locations with associations to that war throughout Vietnam which have been preserved and which can be visited by tourists.

There was an earlier war, not much earlier than The American War, one which planted the seeds of the later one.  This goes by the name of “The French War”.

France, like Britain, was one of the great colonial nations of Europe, and one of its most treasured possessions was Indo China, part of which was what we now know as Vietnam.  During the Second World War, the French colonial masters were sent packing by Imperial Japan.  After their defeat by the Allies, the Japanese were forced to leave, and the Vietminh freedom fighters who had been on the Allied side by fighting against the Japanese, asked for, and expected to be given their independence.

France however, as one of the major Allied Powers, demanded and received their old colony back.  This forced Ho Chi Minh and his supporters into the arms of the Communist bloc and began their armed struggle against French colonial rule.

This struggle reached its climax at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954.

The officer commanding the French forces in Indo China, General Henri Navarre, felt certain that if could provoke a large scale set-piece battle, the French would win decisively and by doing so, would virtually eliminate the Vietminh as a political as well as a military power within Vietnam.

Navarre selected a valley 350km north-west of Hanoi near the town of Dien Bien Phu because by setting up a defensive complex with an airfield, he could blockade Vietminh forces from using the route to withdraw into Laos.  He was sure that this was a baited trap for the forces under General Vo Nguyen Giap.  The French commander at Dien Bien Phu was Colonel de Castries.

Giap took the bait, but instead of making the massive frontal attack the French had expected, turned the battle into a trap for the French garrison by surrounding their position with 70,000 soldiers, three times the French force, and using large quantities of artillery from the heights above the valley.  He also had a large number of anti-aircraft weapons, and between destroying aircraft already on the airfield and shooting down most of those arriving and departing, he was able to almost completely prevent the re-supply of the garrison within the first ten days of the battle.  Despite the dangers involved, four regiments were parachuted into the garrison to reinforce the troops to no avail.

For 54 days the Vietminh kept up the pressure, forcing the French back until they occupied only a small area of Dien Bien Phu.  On May 4, the six-tube rocket launchers called “Stalin’s Organs” which had  been so effective against the Germans in WWII went into action with a tremendous howl and shattering explosions.  On May 7th, the command post of the recently promoted General de Castries was overrun, and fighting continued at the Isabelle fortification until 0100 on May 8th.  French casualties were over 7,000 and another 16,000 men taken prisoner.

On 20 July 1954 a formal cease-fire between the combatants was negotiated at Geneva which never advanced beyond a military truce, and Ho Chi Minh left Geneva convinced he had been double-crossed, being forced by the Chinese to accept a partition of the country into North and South Vietnam rather than the unified Vietnam he thought he had won.  This lack of a political settlement meant that the Vietminh did not give up their goal of unifying Vietnam and was the seed for the next war in Vietnam – this to be fought mainly by the US and some of its allies in an effort to maintain the status quo and stop the spread of communism in South East Asia.

It is interesting to note that Navarre’s strategic intent of the battle had been created against the opposition of the French Government who at that time had realized that military victory was no longer the objective and who were seeking an honourable way out through negotiation.  Twenty years later the US had come to the same realization.

Today Dien Bien Phu bears few scars from 1954 except for a few damaged tanks, but there is much to see.

The valley is over 20km in length and most of the battle sites east of the Muong Thanh airfield have been preserved.  These include artillery emplacements, de Castries’ command post, aircraft wrecks and the Muong Thanh bridge.  General Giap’s command post is in a primitive forest in Muong Phang Commune about 35km from Dien Bien city.

There are two cemeteries, one on Hill A1 (Redoubt Eliane 2) with 644 tombs and Doc Lap Hill (Redoubt Gabrielle) with 2432 tombs.  These are all Vietnamese soldiers lost in the battle.  Eliane 2 was the controlling point of the battle and only fell on the night of May 6th; Gabrielle was lost on March 15th.

Muong Thanh airfield is now the civil field Dien Bien.  General de Castries’ command bunker can be seen in its original size, structure and arrangement.  Him Lam Hill (Redoubt Beatrice) was the first to fall on March 13th.  Hills C, D and E are well preserved, and on D1 is the statue of Dien Bien Phu Victory. The victory statue represents three soldiers standing on de Castries’ bunker looking in three directions.  The 360-ton statue was inaugurated on the 50th anniversary of the victory – May 7th 2004.

The Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory, built in 1984, is opposite the Hill A1 cemetery.  It was upgraded in 2003 with five exhibition sections and covers the full eight year struggle against the French, with indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Sapa Overview
Sapa is located at the foothills of Vietnam’s northern mountain range at an altitude of 1,600 metres. In the early 20th century, the French took advantage of Sapa’s cool climate, developing it into a summer retreat from the heat and humidity of Hanoi.
At that time, there were more French people living in Sapa than Vietnamese. Today, Sapa retains its European feel, largely because of the remnants of French buildings, gardens and roads that populate this alpine city.
Sapa was originally home to the Black Hmong ethnic minorities. With the arrival of the French and, more recently, the growth of tourism, many of the hill tribes have moved away from Sapa’s city centre into the surrounding hill country. Still, ethnic minorities often come to Sapa’s main market to sell weavings and artwork.
Sapa has become a destination for travellers seeking adventure. It is a staging point for trekking at Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest mountain, and for motorcycle trips into the wild hill country. Extended treks to visit villages of minority tribes are also available.

Halong Bay Overview
Halong Bay is one of the most magnificent scenic spots in all of Vietnam and was designated by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 1994. It is a picturesque bay with some 1969 islets rising from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.
Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of the most magnificent scenic spots in all of Vietnam and was designated by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 1994. It is a picturesque bay with some 3000 islets rising from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Washed by water and lapped by waves for hundreds of thousands of years, the limestone basin has been carved into stalagtitic caves, crescent beaches and odd-shaped formations. Halong Bay is also famous for its varied ecological system with thousands of kinds of fish, hundreds of sorts of coral and other sea creatures. Moreover, the global value of Halong Bay in terms of geological process has been highly appreciated. In late 2000, UNESCO acknowledged Halong Bay as being a kast geological foundation, a second World Heritage criterion. Halong Bay really becomes a must in the trip to Vietnam.
Halong City
The Cua Luc Straits divide Halong City into 2 parts: Bai Chay and Hon Gai. For the time being, in order to cross the straits, visitors have to take a ferry boat. In the near future, a suspension bridge of 903m in length will be built to connect the 2 sides of the city. Hon Gai used to be a coal-exporting port and is now one of the most important commercial centres for transporting passengers and goods in northeastern Vietnam. Bai Chay is a low gently sloping range of hills running along the sea for 3kms. It was planned to be a windward seaside resort in the French colonial time. Now with many international standard hotels, recreational parks, green trees and white sand, Bai Chay has become one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam.

Hai Phong Overview
Hai Phong is a large port located near a major international maritime line. For hundreds of years, the Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Portuguese have been coming here to trade. Nowadays, it is still a commercial centre, an industrial city and an important transportation hub…
Hai Phong is a large port located near a major international maritime line. For hundreds of years, the Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Portuguese have been coming here to trade. Nowadays, it is still a commercial centre, an industrial city and an important transportation hub. Moreover, visitors can enjoy a lot of beautiful landscape as well as interesting festivals such as Cat Ba Island, Do Son Beach, the buffalo fight festival, etc., just to name a few.
Cat Ba National Park
Some 50km east of Hai Phong, about half of Cat Ba Island (total area: 9,800 ha) and 5,400 ha of adjacent inland water were declared a national park in 1986 in order to protect the island’s diverse ecosystem. These include tropical evergreen forests on the hills, fresh water swampy forests at the foot of the hills, coastal mangrove forests, small fresh water lakes, sandy beaches, eery caves and off-shore coral reefs. Part of all this is still very dense and unknown to the civilised world. Cat Ba is accessible by hydrofoil (1 hour) from Hai Phong.

Mai Chau Overview
Hoa Binh (Peace in Vietnamese), 74 km southwest of Hanoi is the homeland of many Minority groups, including Muong and Thai. Unfortunately, they were removed 15 km away to clear the ground for Hoa Binh hydroelectric plan.
Hoa Binh (Peace in Vietnamese), 74 km southwest of Hanoi is the homeland of many Minority groups, including Muong and Thai. Unfortunately, they were removed 15 km away to clear the ground for Hoa Binh hydroelectric plan. Therefore, Hoa Binh does not have much of a hill tribe atmosphere. It is just a good stop for lunch or taking photo of Song Da Reservoir, the biggest in Vietnam with clear water.
Mai Chau is the closest hill tribe villages to Hanoi (elevation 400m). It is a beautiful rural area, and most of the people here are ethnic White Thai, related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China. They know how to communicate in Thai language but do not know how to write and read. Lac village is the most beautiful one in the region with good service, nice music and hospitable people. There is a government-run guesthouse very near this village, but it is not interesting. Staying with people in thatched-roof stilted house on split bamboo floors (preferably, house number 9) is a good experience. Villagers have even organized a traditional song and dance performance here in the evenings on request at a reasonable price.

Ninh Binh Overview
Ninh Binh is a small town about 100km south of Hanoi, which is surrounded by a number of lesser known interesting sites. Hoa Lu was the first capital of the independent Vietnam, under the Dinh dynasty and the early Le Dynasty (968-1009)…
Ninh Binh is a small town about 100km south of Hanoi, which is surrounded by a number of lesser known interesting sites. Hoa Lu was the first capital of the independent Vietnam, under the Dinh dynasty and the early Le Dynasty (968-1009). There are two sanctuaries, each of them devoted to the emperors of one of these two dynasties. They are set into a landscape of limestone mountains reminiscent of some the better known sites of South China. In Tam Coc, you can take a boat tour on a river which tunnels several times into the same type of mountains. The river is actually used by local villagers to access their rice fields. The nearby Ken Ga canal provides the opportunity to observe river life in the North, and contrast it with what you can see in the Mekong Delta. The whole area was an important center of catholicism, and you will be surprised to see churches among the rice fields. Phat Diem has a vast cathedral which has a unique Sino-Vietnamese architecture.

DMZ Overview
In June 1965, Vinh Moc was almost entirely destroyed. The people of Vinh Moc started digging an underground network of tunnels and rooms for the village population, comprising 82 families for total of 300 people…
Vinh Moc Tunnel
The passage is approximately 7m under the surface. Seventeen babies were delivered in the passage during the war.
The 17th Parallel
(Ben Hai Rriver and Hien Luong Bridge)
Ben Hai River runs 100km in Truong Son Mountains to meet the sea at Cua Tung Mouth. The widest part of the river is about 200m, the portion covered by Hien Luong Bridge is approximatele 170m wide. Under the Geneva agreement on Vietnam in 1954, Ben Hai River was selected as a temporary demarcation line separatingthe country into two parts.
Hien Luong Bridge was divided into parts, each serving as a border gate. Nowadays, Ben Hai River and Hien Luong Bridge have become the historic landmarks and great tourist attractions.
Quang Tri Citadel
Was built in 1824 upon order of Minh Mang King. The citadel was initially built in clay and was rebuilt with bricks four years later. Nowadays, you can see several pieces of brick walls remaining from the citadel.
Khe Sanh Conbat Base
Khe Sanh is a valley surrounded entirely by rolling mountains and forest. Topographically, Khe Sanh is similar to Dien Bien Phu. It used to be an American defense station believed to be unassailable. The entrenched fortifications surrounding Khe Sanh comprise three areas: Ta Con, Lang Vay and Huong Hoa. More than 10,000 army men were stationed at Khe Sanh, not to speak of many other troops ready to intervene.

Hue City
Being Vietnam’s feudal capital from 1802 to 1945 under the Nguyen dynasty, Hue is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples set in a poetic background of greenery on the banks of the Perfume River. All are laid out in harmony with nature and in accordance with the principles of geomancy (feng shui). Besides monuments, Hue still retains much of its past glory in daily routines and activities in religion, gastronomy, handicraft, music, the performing arts and traditional festivals. With those vestiges and cultural treasures, Hue became Vietnam’s first World Cultural Heritage site recognized by UNESCO in 1993.
Imperial citadel
The construction of the moated citadel, which has a 9,950m-long perimeter, was begun in 1805 on the northern bank of the Perfume River by King Gia Long. The Citadel was originally made of earth, but between 1818 and 1832 it was paved with a 2m-thick layer of bricks in the style of the French architect Vauban. The King’s official functions were carried out in the Imperial Enclosure, a citadel-within-a-citadel with a perimeter of 2,450m. The Imperial Enclosure has 4 gates, the most famous of which is Ngo Mon Gate (or Southern Gate) used as the main entrance. Within the Imperial Enclosure is the Forbidden Purple City, which used to be the living quarters of the King. With more than 100 buildings such palaces, temples, fortresses, etc., the Citadel is the most interesting place to visit in Hue.
Museum of Royal Relics
The beautiful hall that houses the Museum of Royal Relics was built in 1845 and restored when the museum was founded in 1923. This is a precious wooden construction of Hue’s unique palace architectonics. The house was built after “trung thiem diep oc” model (sloping successive roofs) with 128 pillars. The first sight catching visitors’ eyes is the walls inscribed with 1,000 poems written in chu nom – Vietnamese script. Most of the exhibits displayed here bear characteristics left by the last Vietnamese feudal dynasty. Here visitors can find the everyday utensils (such as clothing, sedans, gongs, etc.) of the King and the royal family and other aesthetics decorative works in the palaces of Hue. The museum is located at 3 Le Truc St. and open daily from 6.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Royal tombs
There are eight royal tombs in Hue that are the final resting places of the Nguyen kings. Among them, Tu Duc Tomb, Khai Dinh Tomb and Minh Mang Tomb are often visited. The construction of each tomb was very meticulous and usually started while the reigning king was still alive. Most of the tombs face the south-west, the direction of the Imperial City. Although all are unique in structure and design, most of them consist of two compounds. The first is reserved for funeral services and the second is the tomb proper. Generally, each tomb is enclosed by a surrounding rampart. However, the internal configuration of each tomb is different, since these particular arrangements reflected the tastes and personality of the monarch. The tombs are open from 6.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. daily (from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter).
King Tu Duc’s Tomb
7km far from Hue city, King Tu Duc’s Tomb is surrounded by a brick wall. Tu Duc was the fourth king of Nguyen Dynasty. He had his tomb constructed in 1848 when he was still on the throne. The tomb was built according to the plan based on two axes: one for the mausoleum and another for the palace. The tomb comprises of an important number of buildings, man-made ponds full of nenuphars and lotuses, crossed by various bridges and covered by frangipanniers. This is one of the most romantic and splendid asterpieces.
King Khai Dinh’s Tomb
Khai Dinh is the twelfth king of Nguyen Dynasty and he is also the father of King Bao Dai, the last king of Vietnam. The construction of the tomb started from 1920 to 1931. The conception of its architecture and decoration got the European influence. The multi-colored ceramic inlaid style makes his mausoleum gracious and magnificent.
King Minh Mang’s Tomb
12km far from Hue city, King Ming Mang’s Tomb is located on the left branch of the Perfume river. The tomb was built as the plan drawn out by the king himself and the middle of the pine forest. The construction started in 1841 after the king’s death. The palace, the pavilions and the entrances are harmoniously built around two big lakes that make these more luxurious and peaceful.
Dong Ba Market
Located on the southeastern corner of Hue Citadel, Dong Ba market has been one of the most famous commercial centers in Vietnam for more than 100 years. Built in 1899 and then destroyed in 1968, the market was rebuilt on an area of 5 ha in 1986. Up to now, all the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese market are still there such as the sampan landing, the bus station and the bazaars. Dong Ba market is a paradise for snapshots of daily activities as well as for shopping with everything from souvenir items to bronze goods, Hue sesame sweetmeat, conical poem hats, etc.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, was originally founded in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang. This pagoda, built on a hillock overlooking the Perfume River, is one of the most famous architectural structures in Vietnam. The most striking feature of the pagoda is the 21m-high octagonal tower, the seven-storey Phuoc Duyen Tower. The tower was built by King Thieu Tri in 1844 and has become the unofficial symbol of Hue. Lying on Ha Khe Hill, 7km from Hue, the pagoda can be reached either by car or by boat. Visitors often come here late in the afternoon in order to enjoy sunset on the Perfume River and to attend the daily prayer service at 5 p.m.

Garden houses
Hue owes its beauty not only to the Perfume River, Mount Ngu Binh and royal mausoleums but also to garden houses. This kind of house is a prominent feature of Hue. Each garden house has an area of about 2,000m2. In front of the house, there is always a tile-covered gate. Around the house is a garden with all kinds of fruit and flowers. The highlight in a garden house is a small rock-garden which is an artificial wood and mountain made of rock, water and plants. The house and the garden, the people and the landscape, etc. all blend harmoniously in a colorful atmosphere. All shows the love for nature of the owners, which is one of Hue people’s characteristics. Visitors can visit some garden houses such as Lac Tinh Vien (65 Phan Dinh Phung St.), Princess Ngoc Son (29 Nguyen Chi Thanh St.), Y Thao (3 Thach Han), etc.
Perfume River
A visit to Hue would  not be complete without a boat excursion on the Perfume River (Song Huong). This 100km-long river owes its name to the fact that it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching Hue, bringing with it fragrances of tropical flora. A boat cruise will offer visitors a general view of the daily life of Hue people. When night falls, the surface of the river glistens under the moonlight and the folk melodies of Hue make the lovely river even more poetic and musical. It is said that Hue is peaceful and tranquil mostly thanks to the Perfume River.
Hai Van Pass
In Vietnamese, Hai Van Pass means the pass of ocean clouds. It is located on Highway 1 between Danang and Hue. One can see a spectacular stretch of scenery here where mountains seem to fall into the sea. In the past, Hai Van Pass has been the site of a historic seesaw struggle between several nations in the region (Kingdoms of Champa, Vietnam, Laos, etc.).
Bach Ma National Park
Just 45km south of Hue, Bach Ma National Park is home to old French hill station. Established in mid 1998, the park covers a rolling mountainous area of 22,030 ha. The forest, in addition to its indigenous flora, also has various species of plant originating in both the north and the south. Visitors can find exciting trekking routes and romantic hotels in this area.

Da Nang Overview
Danang is the largest city in Vietnam’s central region and is one of the country’s most important ports. Ringed by mountains on one side and the East Sea on the other, Danang has numerous sites of natural beauty and historical interest.
Danang traces its origins to the ancient Champa Kingdom, established by Indonesian settlers in 192 AD. At its peak, the Champa Kingdom stretched from Hue to Vung Tau. The expansion of the Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer peoples led to the decline of Champa by the mid-15th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, French and Spanish traders and missionaries made landfall at Hoi An, just south of Danang. By the 19th century, Danang superceded Hoi An as the most important seaport in the central region. The presence of the French in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Americans in the 1960s, led to continued growth of Danang, and it is now Vietnam’s fourth largest city.

Hoi An Overview
Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was one of the orient’s major trading ports in the 16th and 17th centuries. After the Thu Bon River linking Hoi An to the sea silted up ocean going ships were no longer able to sail into town and trade moved 30km…
Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was one of the orient’s major trading ports in the 16th and 17th centuries. After the Thu Bon River linking Hoi An to the sea silted up ocean going ships were no longer able to sail into town and trade moved 30km up the coast to Tourane, known nowadays as Danang. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of the weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. A walking tour is the best way to see the wooden-fronted houses that once belonged to the town’s prosperous merchants, the Japanese-covered Bridge and the wonderful market. Hoi An is one of the best places in Vietnam to shop for souvenirs at bargain prices including silk, handicrafts, antiques and paintings. Five kilometres from the centre of town is Cua Dai Beach, popular with both locals and visitors alike for its sandy beach, warm sea and seafood stalls. HoiAn is known throughoutVietnam for its excellent seafood and it also boasts its own unique dishes  such as Cao Lau, a delicious combination of noodles, pork, bean sprouts, mint and croutons. Inland and a half-day trip from Hoi An is My Son, where the capital of the once great Champa Kingdom stood. The Cham, originally from India and Hindus, were the rulers of large areas of central Vietnam between the 2nd and 15th centuries. The Cham Museum, housed in a classical French colonial building in Danang, has the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world, much of it originating from the My Son site. Right on Danang’s doorstep is Non Nuoc Beach with its miles of golden sand beaches and home to a luxurious beach resort complex. Another popular site in the Danang area is that of the Marble Mountains, five sacred marble and limestone hills. Many shrines and temples have been constructed over the centuries both on the hillsides and in the spectacular natural caves concealed within the hills.

Nha Trang Overview
Nha Trang on the south coast of Vietnam, about an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City, still retains much of its quaint fishing village atmosphere. With an average temperature of 26C and warm water the miles of beaches are a real experience…
On the beach you’ll be offered everything from a manicure to a grilled seafood lunch cooked in front of you.
Most days between 5 and 8am Nha Trang beach is filled with local people taking in the fresh sea breeze, socializing, playing soccer, badminton or practicing Tai chi.Most people in Nha Trang still  walk or use the bicycle as their means of transport, whichadds to the tranquillity of the town. In the South China Sea,directly off Nha Trang, you’ll find 20 small islands well worth a day trip.
At Tam Island, 30 minutes from Nha Trang, you can see the basket boats or ‘thung chai’ which are used by the locals. Rowed standing up, these circular baskets can carry as many as five people.
Back in Nha Trang take a look at the Cham Towers of Po Nagar. Build around the 10th Century, no one really knows how these towers were build, but one theory is that the bricks were laid wet then a fire was lit around the outside to bake them in.
Just three kilometres away is the Longson Pagoda, colourfully decorated onthe outside with ceramic dragons. Inside you’ll find the ‘The Goddess with 1,000 Heads and 1,000  Eyes’. According to Buddhist belief she’s all seeing and all knowing!
If you want your own ‘all seeing’ tour of the city, hitch a ride in a cyclo. Clyclos are the Vietnamese equivalent of the Indian cycle rickshaws, except that the people riding the cyclo are in front of the peddler.
Built in the style of an old Vietnamese village and surrounded by lush gardens Ana Mandara Resort is a great place to stay. It also offers classes in traditional Vietnamese cooking.

Da Lat Overview
Located 200 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh and at an altitude of 1,500 meters, Da Lat has the appearance of an old French city. It was founded in 1897 when Doctor Alexandre Yesin recommended that the area be developed as a resort.
Da Lat has many natural and artificial such as Ho Xuan Huong, Than Tho, Da Thien and Tuyen Lam, which are all bordered by rows of pine trees, one of Da Lat’s best-known features. A trip to Da Lat is not complete without a visit to the Flower Garden. The temperate climate is suitable for orchids, roses, lilies, camellias and a wide variety of other flowers.
Tourists can go on from Da Lat to nearby Langbian Highlands, home to many ethnic minorities. Langbian Mountain’s highest peak (2,165 m) is very tempting for climbers. From Lom Bieng Klo peak, one can see endless green mountains reflecting the golden rays of the sun. There are many organized tours in the area, including parachuting and climbing.

Phan Thiet Overview
It is found on Highway No. 706, and features sweeping sand dunes and beautiful rows of palm trees. The beach is shallow and sloped, the water is clean and blue and the sun rarely hides behind clouds. There are desolate and primeval beaches that have never witnessed human exploitation…
There is also Doi Cat (Sand Hill), which has long been a creative subject of artistic photographs and paintings. Besides beaches and sand dunes, there are also beautiful landscapes such as Suoi Tien (Fairy Spring), the Ong Hoang Building and the Poshanu Cham Tower. Mui Ne has long been considered the “Hawaii” of Vietnam. It boasts shady roads under coconut trees, a beautiful beach and cliffs batteredby the waves of the sea. The typical scenery of Mui Ne lies in the moving lines of goldensand caused by the wind and when they are seen from afar they look like  moving waves. The scenery looks more fascinating at dawn, when young Cham girls in green dresses go to work. That’s why no photographer fails to visit this area. Mui Ne is an ideal place for rest and relaxation. Visitors can certainly enjoy swimming in the blue water of the sea, climbing the sand dunes or relaxing by a swimming pool. In fact this oasis entertainment people of all ages, and furthermore, provides an endless inspiration to the artists’ creat

Quy Nhon Overview
Qui Nhon town lies in the southeast of the Binh Dinh province. It is bordered in the east by the East coast, in the west by Tuy Phuoc district, in the north by Tuy Phuoc and Phu Cat district, in the south by Song Cau district of the Phu Yen province.
The town has 16 precincts and 4 villages with 215 km2 general area. Population in 1999 is 240.000.
More than 100 years ago, the town was born officaly, however, town’s forming and developing history goes with to 11th Century Champa culture, Tay Son dynasty and Thị Nại seaport from 18th century. Nowaday, Qui Nhon is recognized as a the second city with a geograhpy priority, a seaport, a developing city infrastructure.Our government defined the town is one of three commercialand tourism centres of SouthCentral part  coastal ( with Da Nang and Nha Trang).
Qui Nhon has a lot of different areas, its geography landscape is very diversified such as moutains and forests, hills, fields, satl-marshs, plains, lagoons, lakes, rivers, coasts, peninsulas, and islands….Qui Nhon’s coast- line is 42 km with a big lagoon area, brackish water lake and abudant sea creature resource and many of valuable specilities with high economic worth. The town’s key brands include industries, trade, export-imports, seaport services, breeding and exploiting aquatic products, tourism.

Vung Tau Overview
Vung Tau is a resort town in the province of Dong Nai 125 km from Saigon. The town is a long strip approximately 14 km long and 6 km wide. Where the southern tip of town meets the ocean stand two famous mountains…
Historically, Vung Tau used to be part of Bien Hoa. The first settlements in this area occurred during the reign of King Gia Long. During this period, there were many Malay bandits in this region. They often enter the area through Song Be entrance from the ocean. This created a threat for merchants in the Gia Dinh area.
King Gia Long sent three garrisons of troops to the area to quell the disturbance and to clear this area for settlement. A few years later, the bandits were driven away and in 1822, King Ming Mang rewarded the three officers who led the army to this region. The soldiers were allowed to retire and brought their families to this area to make a living. The first three successful settlements in this area were under the leadership of the three officers who originally led the troops here. Thang Nhat (first win) township, Thang Nhi (second win) township and Thang Tam (third win) township were led by Mr. Pham Van Dinh, Mr. Le Van Loc, and Mr. Ngo Van Huyen respectively. Ever since then, this area is known as Tam Thang or Three Wins. The name Vung Tau came about because the geography in this area also forms a natural bay where many merchant ships would stop to seek shelter. In time, this area became known as Vung (puddle) Tau (ships). Another name for this area is Cap Saint Jacques or Au Cap in French. The Vietnamese mispronunciation is “O^ Ca^’p”.

Ho Chi Minh City Overview
Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as still known to many, is Vietnam’s largest city with a growing population of around 7 million. This is a city on the go 24 hours a day, where everybody seems to be busy either buying, selling, studying, working or just enjoying themselves.
Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as still known to many, is Vietnam’s largest city with a growing population of around 7 million. This is a city on the go 24 hours a day, where everybody seems to be busy either buying, selling, studying, working or just enjoying themselves.
Despite the fact that modern high-rise buildings have begun to dominate the skyline in recent years there are still many fine examples of French colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Saigon Post Office and the former Hotel de Ville. A stroll down Dong Khoi Street, the Rue Catinat of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American , will reveal more colonial classics like the Continental, Grand and Majestic hotels as well as dozens of tempting boutiques and galleries. Ho Chi Minh City is a real shoppers’ paradise with modern shopping centres and trendy boutiques rubbing shoulders with traditional street markets. Thecity’s best-known market is Ben Thanh Market where you can buy anything from fresh fruit and flowers to the latestimported electronics and cosmetics. One of the most interesting places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City is the former Presidential Palace, now renamed the Reunification Hall. This building remains almost exactly as it was in the morning of 30th April 1975 when the Saigon regime surrendered to the victorious liberation forces and the country was reunified for the first time since 1945. For more war-related history the War Remnants Museum with its thought provoking display of weapons and photographs is also worth visiting. Cholon, Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, is the frenetic commercial centre, where every building has a shop or workshop on the ground floor. Cholon also has the city’s largest market,
Binh Tay Market, and some fine pagodas including Thien Hau Pagoda, with itshuge incense coils suspended from the ceiling. For wining and dining it is hard to beat Ho Chi Minh City. The city is crammed full of restaurants and bars ranging from simple pavement stalls where you can buy a bowl of noodles for a few cents to sophisticated restaurants serving fine European cuisine at a fraction of the price you would pay in Europe. Ho Chi Minh City’s nightlife has become very cosmopolitan in recent years and there are literally hundreds of bars, pubs, nightclubs and discotheques to pick from for a night in the town. Further afield, popular day trips from Ho Chi Minh City include the incredible Cu Chi Tunnels built by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long years of struggle for independence and the bizarre Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh.

Tay Ninh Overview
Tay Ninh’s climate is relative mild, and is divided into 2 main seasons, the dry season and raining season. The dry season lasts from December of previous year to April of next year and it contrasts with the rainy season lasts from May to November…
Tay Ninh province belongs to the South East area of the Socialis Republic of Vietnam, co-ordinate from 10o57’08” to 11046’36”, north latitude from 105o48’43” to 106022’48” East longitude. In the West and Northwest, it faces Cambodia Kingdom, in the East it faces Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc Province, and in the South it faces Ho Chi Minh City and Long An Province. Tay Ninh has the natural area of 4.035,45km2, average population: 1.038.616 people (in 2005), the population density: 257,37 people/ km2, most of the population crowded in Tay Ninh town and the southern districts of the province like: Hoa Thanh, Go Dau, Trang Bang. Tay Ninh has one town (named Tay Ninh town) and 8 districts, including: Tan Bien, Tan Chau, Duong Minh Chau, Chau Thanh, Hoa Thanh, Ben Cau, Go Dau, Trang Bang. Tay Ninh town is the economic, political, and cultural center of the province, 99km Northwest far from the HCM City and along the national highway 22 and 1809km far from the Hanoi Capital along the national highway No1.
Tay Ninh possesses 998m Ba Den Mountain high, the highest of the South East area. Tay Ninh land contains main groups: grey soil stretching 338,833ha holding 84.13% of the natural area.
Tay Ninh’s climate is relative mild, and is divided into 2 main seasons, the dry season and raining season. The dry season lasts from December of previous year to April of next year and it contrasts with the rainy season lasts from May to November. The radiation system is plentiful, and the temperature is high and fixable. On the other hand, Tay Ninh lies far inner in the continent, so suffers less from the storm and other disadvantageous elements. The average temperature of Tay Ninh is 27,40 degree Celsius, annual light volume is profound, averagely there are 6 hours of sun shining in a day.
The annual average rainfall is 1800 – 2200 mm, the annual average moisture lies about at 70 – 80%, the wind speed at 1,7m/s and operates regularly in the year. Tay Ninh is under influence of West – Southwest wind in the raining season and North – North East wind in the dry season.
About the water resource: the surface water in Tay Ninh is mostly from the drainage system over the province’s territory, with the total length of 617km, the average of and the averagel 0.11km/ km2, and focus on two big rivers those are Sai Gon River and Vam Co Dong River.
The Saigon River: deriving from Loc Ninh hilly area (in Binh Phuoc Province) over 200m high, flows in the direction North East – South West, it is the natural border between Tay Ninh Province and two provinces of Binh Phuoc and Binh Duong.
Up streaming the Saigon River to the higher section, the nation’s largest hydraulic work has been built named Dau Tieng reservoir, with the efficient volume of 1.45 billion cubic meter, water surface 27,000 ha (on the Tay Ninh’s area 20,000 ha) which provides a watering capacity for 175,000ha of the cultivated land of Tay Ninh Province, HCM City, and Long An Province.
Vam Co Dong River, deriving at a height of 150m from Cambodia in the direction North West – South East. Vam Co Dong River has a length of 220 km (151km lying in the Tay Ninh’s territory).
Tay Ninh has a vast source of underground water, scattered over the whole province’s territory. The total volume of underground water can be exploited to a rate of 50 – 100 thousand cubic meter/ hour. In the dry season, the underground water can be still exploited, meeting the demand of living and agricultural and industrial production.
About the mineral sources of Tay Ninh Province, most belong to the non-metal minerals such as: peat, limestone, gravel, pebble, clay and stone for construction. Peat reserve is 16 mil. tons scattered along the Vam Co Dong River, limestone reserve about 100 mil. tons reserve of gravel and pebble sand lies about at 10 mil. tons. Clay for brick manufacturing has a reserve of about 16 mil. tons, scattered at many places in the province. Laterite reserve is about at 4 million cubic meter and stone for all kinds of construction with the reserve of 1,300 – 1,400 million cubic meters, scattered mostly around Phung Mountain and Ba Den Mountain in Hoa Thanh district.
Tay Ninh’s forest is mostly the secondary forest due to badly suffering from former wars, most of the forest belongs to the dry small woods and mixed woods of bamboos and woods. The rest forest area is about 40,025 ha (forest estimation in 1990).
For the humanity assets: Tay Ninh was civilized from mid century XVII due to the migration source from the North. Till beginning of century XIX (1873 – the 18th Minh Mang), Tay Ninh government was divided into 2 districts: Tan Ninh and Quang Hoa. Nowadays, on the Tay Ninh’s territory there are 26 ethnic groups. Though distinguished from the traditions and habits of each ethnos, all of them have brought Tay Ninh a diversified and rich culture.
About the , Tay Ninh has Buddhism, Caodaism, Catholicism, Protestantism,  and other religions . . .
About the historical aspect, Tay Ninh is a local rich in the tradition of revolution and patriotic movements against foreign invaders, a capital of the Provisional Revolution of the Republic of  Southern Vietnam. Apart from vestiges of the Southern Central Bureau, man can find in Tay Ninh many historic sites relating to the resistance war for the South liberation such as Boi Loi historic revolutionary base, Duong Minh Chau Fighting zone, An Thoi tunnel and other historic sites
About the economic development, Tay Ninh is one of the important international exchange thresholds among Vietnam and other neighboring countries such as: Combodia, Thailand … Tay Ninh also keeps an important role in the goods exchanging relations among the provinces of the Mekong Delta and the Southern key economic provinces. Some remarkable achievements in recent years:
The economic structure (compared with 1994) has moved fast and rightly through the years and: In 1976 the agri-forest-fishery products held the rate of 89%; construction industry 2% and service 9%. To the year 2002, the equivalent rate is 46.88%; 21.02% and 32.09%. In 2003, the equivalent rate is 42.33%, 25.56%; 32.11%; in 2004: 40.45%, 25.11%, 34.44% and in 2005, the equivalent rate is 38,25%; 25,14%; 36,61%.
Until now, key economic fields have reached its stable stage. The agriculture has been specialized for some short-period and long-period industrial trees like: area specializing in sugar cane: 31.572ha, area specializing in cassava root: 43.279ha,  area specializing in rubber trees: 54.521ha, area specializing in peanut: 23.436ha . Concurrently with the planting field, the breeding field has also gained some excellent achievements.
The industry and handicraft has grown more and more sustainable with some agricultural product manufacturing factories in some specializing areas such as: sugar cane factories, tapioca processing factories, rubber latex processing factories. The nuclear industry point is the concentrated industrial zones, in which the Trang Bang industrial zone has attracted many domestic and foreign investors.
With tourist and trade field then Tay Ninh has deployed the projects belong to domestic and international trade zones which make condition for border residents of two countries exchange goods with each other. Tay Ninh concentrates to develop the Moc Bai border gate economic area, interior trade centers, clue markets, and border markets at the same time constructs the Xa Mat border gate economic area. Tay Ninh continues to expand of cooperating trade and communicating information with Combodia and Thailand in many forms such as visit, discussion. Besides, Tay Ninh promotes to invest. Tay Ninh establishes the economic zones into the center which exports and imports the goods including the transit goods. On the basis of expanding the commercial network, promoting the tourist activities, and constructing the facilities for the tourist branch step by step, make the connection in order to develop the tourist area such as Ba Den mountain, Ma Thien Lanh, Bureau Central base, Dau Tieng Reservoir, Lo Go–Xa Mat National Garden.
Cu Chi Tunnel
The Cu Chi Tunnels were pivotal to the Communist’s victory over the American and the South Vietnamese Army as they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area around Saigon. At its height, the tunnel system, parts of which were several levels deep…
The area of Cu Chi was one of the most pro-communist districts in the far south; indeed the VC used the tunnels to organize the 1968 Tet Offensive. During the Vietnam War the entire area of Cu Chi was designated a free fire zone and was heavily bombarded: you can still see numerous craters caused by 500 pounds of  B52bombs.
It was this persistent bombing campaign that drove many of the residents of Cu Chitogetherwith the Viet Cong underground. Originally the tunnels had been created asfar back as 1948 to help combat the French. Now they were rapidly expanded toinclude innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres, kitchens and even schools.
Today the remaining tunnels of this intricate network have been widened to accommodate the larger western frame and have now become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience of what underground life in the Vietnam war must have been like and a deep appreciation of the courage and ingenuity of the Vietnamese people.

Mekong Delta Overview
The Mekong Delta covers an area of 67,000 square km in the southernmost region of Vietnam and is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam as it produces three harvests per year. The Mekong River begins its life in Tibet and travels 4,500 km…
he Mekong Delta covers an area of 67,000 square km in the southernmost region of Vietnam and is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam as it produces three harvests per year. The Mekong River begins its life in Tibet and travels 4,500 km through six countries before eventually splitting into nine tributaries (Cuu Long in Vietnamese) and flowing into the South China Sea.
Because the plains are periodically flooded by the rising Mekong River, traditional transportation is by boat, along a vast network of canals. These canals are the very lifeblood of the Delta and her 15 million inhabitants. Everything from human cargo to tropical fruits with exotic names such as Dragon fruit and Longan (Dragon’s eye) can be found along this complex system of waterways. A cruise along these canals with their floating markets always proves to be a fascinating and rewarding experience for all visitors.

Con Dao island overview
Looking at a map, Con Dao Island looks like a bear rising from the sea to south east of Vietnam. Originally a prison for patriots and revolutionists during the French and American resistance, Con Dao Island sheltered brave revolutionary spirits of the Vietnamese people.

Location: Con Dao Island is situated in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province
Characteristics: Con Dao Island is also famous for its nice beaches shaded with evergreen trees, fresh air, clear blue waters, and primitive forests.

More than 22,000 prisoners who dedicated their lives to national independence were incarcerated on the isolated island of Con Dao.
Con Dao was recognized as a nature reserve in 1984 and a national park in 1993. The total protected area of the park is 20,000ha, including 14,000ha of sea and 6,000ha of forest on 14 islands. There is also a buffer zone that is 20,500ha wide. Con Dao National Park encompasses oceanic and coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, coral reefs and sea grasslands. Over 1,300 species of sea animals have been identified here. The park is the most important egg-laying area in Vietnam for sea turtles. The island also has many precious animals, the most important being dugong (called “sea cows” by locals). Between late 1996 and early 1997, officials at the park counted 10 dugong in the sea surrounding the island. With high oceanic biodiversity, Con Dao is classified as one of the areas given optimum priority in the world’s system of oceanic reserves.

The best time to visit Con Dao Island is from March to June, when the sea is calm. Some of those beaches include Dam Trau, Hang Duong and Phi Yen where visitors can relax and enjoy the warm temperature. The ocean around Con Dao Island is a heaven for sea life and the splendid forest cloaks the land. This is ecotourism at its best. Clean, smooth sand banks, blue sea, dolphins jumping and racing after boats, tropical almond trees swinging in a cool sea breeze, peaceful narrow roads, and forest covering most of the island, make Con Dao seem like heaven to visitors from far and wide.

Con Dao is one of the few places in Vietnam that is home to rare dugong, sea turtles, and dolphins, and to varieties of orchids found nowhere else in the country. In addition, the island has large and diverse coral reefs comparable to the most famous ecotourism spots in the region. This peaceful island district has 5,000 people whom nature seems to have created with kind hearted and generous characters and adventurous enough to choose the remote island as their home. Visitors will arrive there to enjoy themselves in an intact natural environment and have a good time with dugong, sea turtles and dolphins playing freely around the island paradise.

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