San Diu ethnic paintings, meant for worship and found in the mountainous northern province of Tuyen Quang, owe much of their survival to local collectors.
|Holy relics: Two San Diu paintings, made for worshipping, are preserved in the northern province of Tuyen Quang.
According to researcher Phan Ngoc Khue, these type of paintings appeared a very long time ago.
“Paintings have always played an important role in the spiritual life of the San Diu people, revealing specific elements of both their culture and lifestyle,” he said.
Traditionally, San Diu paintings were applied on cardboard using only natural colours.
As part of San Diu customs, sorcerers often display different forms of art including Buddha statues, bronze dragons and paintings made to worship, symbolising various spiritual images.
Locals believe that these type of paintings help them see God or Buddha during worship ceremonies.
Tran Van Thang, a Son Duong District resident, said that the paintings reflected people’s conceptions regarding past and present life.
Despite their popularity, only a few old paintings are kept locally.
Collector Bang Xuan Luc, who lives in Son Duong District’s Thien Ke Commune, said: “I’m so lucky to have some of the oldest paintings around, left to me by my parents upon their death. I still use the paintings during ritual ceremonies throughout the year.”
Pham Duc Si, from the Ha Noi Fine Arts College, presides over a 500-painting collection, 200 pieces of which come from the San Diu ethnic group.
“I bought these paintings by chance while travelling through former Ha Tay Province (now Ha Noi) a few years ago. Because of their exquisite colour I started studying their origins with much interest,” Si said.
In order to avoid deterioration, many painters have resorted to working on cement bags and often even on silk using various chemicals.
The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is busy drawing up plans for the preservation of traditional paintings.
“We plan to collect traditional artwork and information from among ethnic people, which will take a lot of time and money,” Au Thi Mai, a department official, said.
“Despite the challenges, we will aim to do our best in preserving traditional Vietnamese artwork from around the country,” she added.
Welcomes approximately 300,000 French visitors every year. French visitors often choose cultural and historical tours or eco tours. Most French visitors are interested in discovering the remnants of French culture in Vietnam history.
Visiting the Mekong Delta Region by boat tours, most French visitors often go to Can Tho and visit the Binh Thuy Old House which is a beautiful example of French architecture. Built in 1807, the Binh Thuy Old House is well-known. It has been chosen as a studio for many famous Vietnamese films and was the location for ‘The Lover’- the book and film written by French writer Marguerite Duras. French stage director JJ Annaud, stayed in this house for a week to film “the Lover”. Francis and Natalie, two French visitors said that they have known the house through The Lover and they decided to go to Vietnam to see this house.
Besides traveling, many French people have stayed and developed a career in Vietnam. Benoit Perdu who worked as a director for many French companies in Vietnam has been attracted by the Mekong Delta Region. He decided to establish a tourist company in Can Tho. His luxury boat Bassac has served visitors during tours through the Mekong River. He and his Vietnamese wife have run a Vietnamese restaurant in Can Tho for several years.
Da Lat, the city of thousand flowers and many French buildings is popular among many French visitors. In the 19th century, Doctor Yersin discovered the Langbian Highlands in 1893 and proposed the construction of Da Lat City. It was well designed in 1923 with the first plans drawn up by French architect and city planner Ernest Hebrard (who became more famous for designing much of Hanoi’s most striking colonial period buildings). Jaquelin- a French visitor talked in an enthusiastically said he visited Dalat every time he visited Vietnam. He wants to find a suitable job in Dat Lat so that he would be able to stay in Vietnam for long time. Many French tourists want to visit the K’long Ethnic Village to listen to a folk tale of K’Ho minority about a cockerel with nine spurs. The tale said that there was a couple in love. According to K’Ho ethnic custom, the groom’s family exacted the marriage gifts including 5 buffalos, 20 dresses and 5 cockerel. However this time, the groom’s family demanded a nine spur cockerel. As the girl climbed over mountains and crossed deep rivers to find the marriage gifts, she got lost in the forest and she didn’t return home. Since then, villagers built a bamboo giant nine spur cockerel to commemorate the poor girl. Nowadays, the statue of the cockerel which weighs a gigantic eight tonnes stands in front of K’Long Village and has become the village symbol.
In the Northern and Central regions, French tourists like visiting Hanoi, Sapa and Hoi an because they want to learn Vietnam culture features and French marks in these sites through the adopted culture and historical architecture.
France is among key markets of Vietnam’s tourism sector. More than 300,000 tourists visit Vietnam and the figure increases from five to six percent every year. Direct flights between Vietnam and France via the Charles De Gaulle International Airport (France) have helped visitors to travel easily. Moreover, the Vietnam tourism sector has strengthened its promotional activities in France. For example, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism is opening a tourism promotion center in France. During the last few years, Vietnam Airlines has coordinated with the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism and the Vietnamese Embassy in France to hold a Vietnam Tourism Festival in France which has helped travel agents and companies share information, business opportunities and polish Vietnam’s image internationally. These activities have been promoted via popular websites such as Le Monde, Courrier International, Voyage and Telerama.
Tet in HCM City for the New Year of the Cat is going to be bigger and better than ever with lots of entertainment venues and festivals to visit. Local tour companies are offering amazing Tet packages.
The HCM City People’s Committee has announced programs for Tet Festival 2011 in the city’s downtown area, including Nguyen Hue Flower Street 2011, Bánh tét (cylindrical glutinous rice cake) festival, fireworks, the lighting city, snapshots of New Year 2011 and doorshows.
The annual seventh Nguyen Hue Flower Street 2011 is themed “New Heights” as HCM City sets its sights on a bigger and better city. Sections of the street will be decorated in different spring themes — Hn Vit (Vietnam’s Soul), Tt phng Nam (Southern Tet), Ni vòng tay ln (Get together), Vn lên tm cao mi (Reach New Heights), Xuân an vui (Happy and Peaceful Spring). Other attractions include a flower arrangement booth, a wishing pond to collect money for charity, coffee stalls, folk music and games.
Nguyen Hue Flower Street extending down Nguyen Hue Boulevard from the City Hall to the river opens from 7 p.m., Jan. 31 till 10 p.m., Feb. 6. It will be closed to traffic for the holiday week. In addition, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Feb. 6, the nearby Le Loi Street from Ben Thanh Market to the Municipal Theater will be for pedestrians only.
The Bánh tét Festival from Jan. 26 to 31 is being jointly organized by all the city’s 24 districts. Activities will include bánh tét cooking contests and a bánh tét Tet gift drive for poor families. Saigontourist Holding Company, in cooperation with the HCM City Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, will give 10,000 bánh tét to disadvantaged children.
The fireworks displays on the Lunar New Year’s Eve (Feb. 2) will take place at seven places around the city while Le Loi, Dong Khoi and Le Duan streets and Chi Lang Park on Dong Khoi Street are decorated with hundreds of lights from Jan. 26 to Feb. 13.
During the last days of the lunar year and the first days of the new lunar year, you can join the Spring Flower Festival at Tao Dan Park and Quoc Te Square, a.k.a. Tortoise Fountain, in the city’s District 1. This year the “Bird Competition” comes back after a long absence.
According to HCM City Greenery and Park Co., the event’s organizer, some highlights of the festival from Jan. 28 to Feb. 8 will be bonsai, flower and fish exhibits by locals and foreigners, an area for souvenirs, games and food at Tao Dan Park. The “Nha Rong – Ho Chi Minh Museum” miniature made from flowers and leaves by a Japanese artisan and orchids from the HCM City Orchid Club. Tortoise Fountain will be turned into a lotus pond with an exhibition titled “HCM City Socio-economic Achievement” and music performances.
Tours around Vietnam
Besides Tet programs in HCM City, tourists can enjoy Tet travel tour promotions around the country.
HCM City-based tour operator Vietravel is introducing the “Spring Travel 2011” program with over 100 tours and lucky prizes till Feb. 28. The spring heritage tour of the North will take you to Hanoi, Halong, Sapa, Trang An, etc. Witness the rich history of the central region by visiting Tet festivals along the Hoai River in Hoi An Town, Danang City, citadels in Hue City and Phong Nha Ke Bang caves in Quang Binh Province. Waterfalls and thousands of flowers are symbols of the Central Highlands while opera songs for Tet are specialties in the Mekong Delta.
Vietravel is holding a Tet lucky draw with prizes including diamond jewelry, vouchers and 20,000 gifts.
Another local travel giant Saigontourist Travel and Service Co. is offering 100 tour packages to enjoy the New Year of the Cat. There are nearly 20 island tours to Con Dao, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Danang. A world heritage trip in spring, the legendary Central Highlands and spring in villages in the Central Highlands. Saigontourist has also launched special tours for overseas Vietnamese returning for Tet.
Cholontourist Travel and Service Co. this year has tours to highlands and beaches, including adventure tours.
By Adam Seper
One of the biggest misconceptions of international travel is that most people cannot afford it. While there are certainly places in the world that are difficult to travel to without a six-figure salary, there are also plenty of others where just about anyone can go.
Looking away from the typical North American and European vacations, one can find other regions around the world where it’s not only possible, but rather easy, to travel on the cheap. Many travelers can get away for a week, and sometimes two, for under $500US for the on-the-ground expenses, including accommodation, food, drinks, activities, and transportation (excluding airfare to and from your hometown).
One of the most budget friendly countries in the world, Thailand has been on the backpacker radar for 40 years, and with good reason. Cheap accommodations and dining, inexpensive buses and trains, beautiful beaches and mountains, and a bustling metropolis in Bangkok all contribute to the perfect storm for the budget traveler.
Even the massive Thai capital of Bangkok can be done easily on the cheap. It wouldn’t be difficult for travelers to stay in Bangkok for 10 days on $500, less if you really don’t mind roughing it.
If you’re fresh out of high school or college and on a gap year, then your home base will probably be Khao San Road, the backpacker haven that offers $5 beds, $1 bowls of Pad Thai, and cheap Thai whiskey buckets. If Khao San Road isn’t your style, consider staying in the Sukhumvit area, home to many of Bangkok’s expats. Located near the Skytrain, which can get you about anywhere you need to go in the city, Sukhumvit is home to very nice, very clean, and much more laid back guesthouses. It’s not uncommon to get a private room with bathroom and shower for around $25-30US, with all the cheap eats you need in the surrounding streets.
Even most sites in Bangkok are cheap. Very few places tourists visit, like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Arun, will break the bank. Entrance to the Grand Palace only sets travelers back about $6US. In addition to the literally hundreds of temples in and around Bangkok, another cheap endeavor is heading to the markets. The night market runs every night, and the weekend market is one of the largest in Asia. Bargain for souvenirs at rock bottom prices and eat some of the best (and cheapest) food around.
In this smaller and more laid back city in the north of Thailand, $500 can get many travelers up to two weeks of fun. Dorm beds are available for a few dollars a night while nice hotel-style private rooms with bathrooms can be had for about $25/night. Some places may even have a pool!
Like the rest of Thailand, if you’re willing to eat local Thai food, you can eat for $5/day with ease. Even if you tire of Thai food, there is plenty of other ethnic food in Chiang Mai, including a good deal of Indian restaurants, that will only cost a bit more.
Most areas of Chiang Mai are close enough to walk, but songthaews are a cheap and efficient alternative mode of transport for getting to those far out places. Many of the temples are free to get in, and the ones that do charge don’t cost much. Travelers can even pamper themselves with $5 hour-long massages and still come in under budget!
Everyone knows about Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, and the full moon parties at Koh Pha Ngan. These are all great places to visit, but if you’re trying to save some money, consider heading to smaller, less popular islands where your money will go further.
Like Chiang Mai, $500 can get most travelers 10-14 days of fun in the sun in many Thai islands. Koh Chang, while getting more popular by the year, still has several beaches that accommodate those on a budget. Beachside bungalows on Lonely Beach, while not exactly the most pristine, can be had for about $3-4/night, but there are also nicer ones with air conditioning and a private bath/shower for around $25-30/night. More and more western food is popping up on Koh Chang, which means higher prices, but there is almost always a Thai section on the menu at a third of the price, and usually much tastier.
If planning wisely, tourists can even get in elephant tours and snorkeling trips without busting the budget wide open. Koh Tao and Koh Samui are also good options when looking for cheaper Thai islands to spend time unwinding.
A spectacularly beautiful country with tons to offer, Vietnam is a great place to visit if you want your money to go far. Vietnam hotel is cheap while still being clean and comfortable, the local food is some of the best in the world and is available for next to nothing, and getting around by bus will save plenty of money.
A trip to a city that just celebrated its 1000th birthday, plus a side trip to one of the most picturesque bays on Earth, all for under $500? You got it. Combining 4-5 nights in Hanoi with a 3 day, 2 night trip to Halong Bay is possible to do for under our magic number, and it will be a trip you will never forget.
The northern city of Hanoi is as crazy and bustling as Southeast Asian cities get, and while your senses may get a stern test, the energy, the sights, the smells, and the sounds of Hanoi will stick with you forever. Halong Bay tours can be really cheap, really pricey, and anywhere in between, so shop around and do some research. There are a lot of scams out there, so going with a reputable company like Ocean Tours is a good idea, even if it costs a bit more.
If going to Halong with a more expensive tour, it’s not difficult to balance your budget during a cheap stay in Hanoi. A bed can cost as little as $5, while a private room with bath can be as cheap as $20. Just wandering the narrow, winding streets and markets of the Old Quarter really gives travelers a feel for the city and Vietnamese culture. Hanging out at the park surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, while watching the people and traffic and taking pictures, is a great free activity. And the food, my God, the food. Stop in a random alleyway for an absurdly cheap, steaming bowl of pho, then look for small shops with Bia Hoi signs and wash it all down with a 25 cent beer. That’s right, 25 cents!
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)-Mekong Delta
One of the greatest things about massive cities in Southeast Asia is that most all can be done on the cheap. Try finding a saigon hotel room for under $25 or a meal for a buck in cities like New York, London, Paris, or Sydney. It’s pretty much impossible. But that’s simply not the case for a city like Saigon (as it’s still called by most all locals). A private room can be found for under $25, and a simple bed can be as low as $5. Like the rest of Vietnam, looking for street carts and markets for meals will get you not only the freshest, tastiest, and most authentic food, but also the cheapest. Meals are easy to find in Saigon for a dollar or two. Even taking a taxi across the city to a museum won’t set tourists back but a few dollars.
Travelers can easily take a 7-10 day trip to Saigon and the nearby Mekong Delta for under $500. A 6-7 day stay in the capital city can be done for about $35-40/day with relative ease, and if you decided to spend $50/day, you’d be traveling pretty well. A 5-hour bus trip to Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong, only costs about $5, and hiring a long tail boat to guide you around the floating markets can be as little as $15 for an entire day. If thinking about a homestay, look into smaller Mekong cities like Vin Long, where an authentic stay with a family will only set you back about $25/night, meals included. There are tons of options for visiting this area of Vietnam, and most can be done for rock bottom prices.
Laos has been gaining steam the past decade as a backpacker hotspot, but the costs have yet to catch up with the popularity. It probably won’t be long, but as of now, $500 will get you pretty far in Laos, with its gorgeous scenery and laid-back lifestyle.
Luang Prabang-Vang Vieng-Vientiene
A trip like this may be a bit hurried in a country like Laos, where overland travel is slow going. Travelers could take up to two weeks to hit up all three places (Vang Vieng lies in the middle between Luang Prabang and Vientiene), or just pick and choose one or two, all the while keeping it under $500.
All three cities have cheap accommodations available, with Vang Vieng being the cheapest and Vientiene being most expensive. But in all three, a bed can be had for under $5, with a decent private costing anywhere from $15-$30. Like any Southeast Asian city, food can be cheap if you go the local route, but even other ethnic foods, including some western restaurants, won’t kill the budget. Make sure to check out Luang Prabang’s night market, which has all the cheap food you can imagine.
Buses are extremely cheap, but you get what you pay for in Laos, which usually means an overcrowded minibus, oftentimes without a/c, traveling on unpaved roads much of the time. But when paying under $10 for an 11-hour bus trip from Luang Prabang to Vientiene, it’s easier to stomach the conditions.
Even activities in Laos are cheap. A trip to the nearby waterfalls outside Luang Prabang, in addition to all the beautiful temples in the city, all will only cost a few dollars. The backpacker rite of passage, tubing in Vang Vieng, may end up being a bit expensive depending on how much alcohol you consume, but that will be made up the following day when sitting around doing nothing while recovering and watching Friends in the town’s restaurants. Even the capital city of Vientiene has several cheap and free things to do, including a massive labyrinth of a market that can take an entire day to explore.
If you can manage to find a cheap flight to Laos, your $500 will take you further than almost anywhere in the world, but it won’t be this way for long, so get to planning!
Colombia still has a bit of a stigma to it, but if you’ve paid any attention to the travel world in the past few years, you’d know that it has turned the corner. Before long, Colombia will be a major travel hotspot. Beaches, big cities, dancing, mountains, jungles, and some of the friendliest people in the world are all contributing to the tourism boom in this once maligned country.
Cartagena-Taganga-Tayrona National Park
The highlights of Colombia are many, but if you only have a few weeks, then the Caribbean area is a great place to go. The brightly colored buildings in this walled city make Cartagena one of the most picturesque cities in Latin America. It’s a photographer’s dream. A 5-6 hour bus ride away is the sleepy village of Taganga, which sucks travelers in, making them never want to leave. Add in a side trip the tropical oasis that is Tayrona National Park, and you have an itinerary fit for a king. Luckily the price is more suitable for us commoners, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to go spend 14 days traveling in this region of Colombia for under $500.
A dorm in Cartagena costs as little as $10/night while a private will set two people back about $20-$25. Taganga is a bit cheaper on the accommodations, while Tayrona is cheapest of all, offering a beachside hammock for about $5. A popular meal in both Cartagena and Taganga revolves around seafood, with local beachside vendors and street stalls selling cups of delicious fresh seafood cocktail for about $2-$3. Food for a day can cost as little as $10 in either locale. Food is a bit more expensive in Tayrona, but the $5 hammocks should offset that higher cost.
The good thing about beach destinations is that activity costs are usually kept to a minimum. Lounging on the beach all day doesn’t cost much, and even if you decided to take a boat trip or go snorkeling, it won’t bust the budget. $10 will get tourists a boat trip to Playa Blanca, a striking white sand beach outside of Cartagena.
While not nearly as cheap as it was ten years ago, Argentina is still home to a great steak and red wine dinner for two for under $30, in addition to a culture like no other. Part European, part Latin American, Argentina is a unique country where the dollar, euro, pound, and other currencies around the world still go pretty far.
The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is one of the most unique and impressive cities in the world. Culture oozes from all over, from the passion of the tango in La Boca to the massive Sunday flea market in San Telmo to the chic neighborhood of Palermo.
Travelers can spend at least 10 days in Buenos Aires for $500 if on a tight budget. Hostel beds and rooms are more expensive than elsewhere in the country, but a dorm bed can still be had in some areas for $10-$15, while privates are going to run about $20-30. If coming to Buenos Aires for a week or longer, consider renting an apartment, which can be done for about $25/day.
While food is cheaper than in the States or Europe, there isn’t the glut of ultra-inexpensive street food like in Southeast Asia, so having an apartment with a kitchen is a great option for saving a few bucks. For tourists staying in hostels or hotels, you can still enjoy the food Argentina is known for, red meat and red wine. While you won’t always be able to dine out this nicely, it is possible to get a really good, really large steak for about $10. A bottle of decent wine at many restaurants also costs about $10, so get used to dining well for a fraction of the cost of home. For breakfast, stop by one of the hundreds of bakeries and grab a few of the mouth-wateringly good baked goods, facturas and medialunas, for an indulgent but cheap way to start the day.
As far as activities go, museums are a bit more expensive, but many offer free entrance one day a week, so do your homework. Luckily for all travelers, Buenos Aires is chock full of free things to do. The Sunday Flea Market in San Telmo can easily take up an entire day, while simply wandering the different barrios (neighborhoods), chilling in the massive Parque Tres de Febrero, and checking out the famous Recoleta Cemetary are all things one can do for absolutely nothing. Getting by on $40/day in Buenos Aires shouldn’t be a challenge for any budget minded traveler.
A skiing and snowboarding town in the winter transforms into an outdoorsman’s haven in the summer. Bariloche is certainly touristy, but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the area and friendliness of its people.
Depending on the time of year, Bariloche can be a bit pricey compared to many other places in Argentina. Summertime (December-February), when the weather is perfect for hiking, biking, and climbing, sees prices go up, but it’s still possible to take a 7-10 trip here for under our $500 budget. Accommodations are a little pricier, with dorms costing $15-$20 and privates going for about $30-$40. Most hostels do have kitchens, though, so you can save a lot on food by cooking most of your own meals. Like Buenos Aires, renting an apartment is another option that could help the budget.
Luckily, many of the outdoor activities available are cheap or free. Hiking never costs anything, so you could explore the surrounding areas on foot for next to nothing. Even better, if you have your own tent, you could save tons on a multi-day trek in the area (renting a tent and camping equipment is also possible, and doing so would cost less than staying in a hostel).
If 7-10 days seems like too much time in one place, consider a side trip to the small hippie town of El Bolson, only about two hours away by bus. The market held here three days a week is very impressive and is heavy on organic eats and goods, and there is plenty of hiking and biking in the region.
These are just a few of the many budget friendly countries around the world that offer a lot of bang of your buck. Keep an eye on airfare deals, and you could be setting off on an epic adventure across the world that won’t jack up your credit card balance.
Reviewing the tourism industry’s performance in 2010, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism VNAT announced with great pleasure that the country received five million foreign tourists and 28 million domestic travellers in the year. However, experts have pointed out that Vietnam could do much better.
5 million foreign tourists – where were they from?
According to VNAT, five million foreign tourists should be seen as an encouraging result, especially when Vietnam experienced a bad year 2009.
However, according to Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon, the figure can mean many things. Of this number of five million, two million tourists were considered “low income travellers”. They were Chinese travellers, who came to Vietnam by land and crossed the border gates in the north. Besides, there were travellers from Cambodia, who also travelled by land and crossed the border gates in the south. These travellers stayed at one-star hotels or guest houses. China and Cambodia were the two markets which saw the highest growth rates in the number of travellers.
Every day, the Moc Bai border gate alone sees 78 45-seat coaches, which run on HCM City-Phnom Penh route,. Besides, there are also the trips provided by travel firms. This makes the number of tourists high. However, no tour guide who can speak Khmer language has been granted practising license. These are western backpackers. No country in the world encourages this kind of tourism, because it is difficult to manage and the State cannot collect tax from these subjects. While Cambodia prohibits the citizens from 10 countries to enter the country, Vietnam keeps the doors open to everyone. As the result, many travellers have decided to stay in Vietnam, with no documents or jobs.
A question has been raised of how many tourists out of the five million came to Vietnam for the second or third time. The figure would be very low.
Vietnam has many opportunities to develop tourism, but it doesn’t take full advantage them
Vietnam is a politically stable country with great potentials, and a new destination to many tourists. It is estimated that about 2 million foreign tourists come to Angkor Watt every year. If a general consulate in Siem Reap is set up to advertise Vietnam’s tourism and grant visas on the spot, Vietnam will be able to attract some hundreds of thousands of tourists more.
In 2010, Thang Long Royal Citadel was recognised as the world’s heritage. Giong festival and 82 stone steles at Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam were also put on the list of the world’s heritages. Yet tourists have not heard much about them, and even when they visit the sites, they do not receive any information
Vietnam has many big festivals, every month, in every province. The most splendid one was the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi in 2010. However, the festivals did not in attract tourists. The biggest problem of Vietnam’s tourism is that the country is still lacking a central coordination with a long term development vision. the “every man for his own interest” attitude prevails, instead of joining forces to develop the tourism industry for the common interests.
Vietnam has been urged to learn from other countries to develop tourism, especially from China and Thailand. The Thailand Administration of Tourism (TAT) has offices in 24 countries. TAT’s office in Ho chi minh City has employees who can speak Vietnamese and has Vietnamese officers who can speak Thai. It has the division in charge of surveying market and has professional partners. This helps Thailand attract tourists from all over the world.
Source: Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon
When wandering around Da Lat, the city of mist and pine trees, tourists might experience four seasons in one day: a spring morning, summer afternoon, autumn twilight and winter evening. However, in terms of business, the flower city has only two seasons: peak season and low season.
About 300 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City and 1500 kilometers from Hanoi, Da Lat City, capital of the central highlands province of Lam Dong, exhales its own poetic and romantic charm with its beautiful mountain scenery and delightfully cool mountain weather. Peak season is from January of the lunar year and lasts until summer. During this time there are a number of festivals and tourist services tend to be priced higher.
On the other hand, tourists who visit the flower city in the low season can still enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the small city without spending a lot of money. Hotels in Da Lat and lodging houses nestled in corners of the city are at ‘soft’ prices.
To experience the romance of valleys, magnificence of waterfalls and art of ancient houses and pagodas visitors can rent a motorbike to ride around the poetic city, or a tandem tourist bicycle.
When heading to Da Lat, tourists should be sure to stop at Prenn Waterfalls, located at the foot of Prenn pass and about 10 km from Da Lat City; a panoramic view of the falls can be enjoyed from the cable car. Alternatively, a visit to the forest and Au Lac Temple nearby can be arranged with a hired carriage or jeep for four people.
An adventurous and fascinating trip awaits tourists at Datanla Waterfalls, located about 3 kilometers from Prenn falls, on a roller coaster bob sled which runs from the top of the cliffs to the bottom of the falls. The descent is breathtaking and exciting, but guests surely will find the landscape of the falls equally stunning and invigorating, as the falls create a sheet of silver pouring into a pool of water.
Next stop must be Cam Ly Waterfall, which is a well known as a tourist-magnet for domestic visitors and the home of horses and Da Lat’s cowboys. Peace and tranquility is found in the nature and poetry of nearby Than Tho Lake (lake of sorrow).
At Mong Mo Hill (dreamlike hill) area, tourists can enjoy a relaxing and pleasant time wandering on this “little” Great Wall, listening to the sounds of water from the artificial waterfall and sensing the soul of the upland region at a cong chieng (gongs) performance of the local ethnic minority artists every weekend.
The most impressive venue may be Hang Cop (the cave of the tiger) Waterfall, so called because at the foot of the waterfall there is a large cave where a fierce tiger was trapped by people. On the descent to the bottom of the fall on old stone paths, adventurers will see abundant, violent waterfalls breaking off into small streams and falling over huge rocks. It is really a scene of the most attractive and majestic wild landscape.
Da Lat owns many attractive landscapes from waterfalls to ancient pagodas and houses influenced by French architecture and Vietnamese charms. A two week holiday here will pass quickly exploring these and other sights.
Last but not least, Langbian Mountain is an absolute must for anyone wanting to conquer a peak of over 2,000 meter high, with endless views of green mountains reflecting the silver rays of the sun.
“Want to eat white with catfish
Want good hats to the Chuong village”
The center of Hanoi about 40 km west of the Chuong village (Thanh Oai district, Hanoi) from hundreds of years was famous for palm leaf conical hat. With 2,400 households in here, this job is not rich but enough to live suitable with the poor rural, less plowing and transplanting.
Vietnamese girl with white orient robe and palm leaf conical hat
Long-lasting images slender woman in oriental robe and a palm leaf conical hat or loving in the four panel traditional dress with flat palm with fringes was bold in the mind of Vietnamese people. The palm leaf conical hat follow Vietnamese women in all the ways, working on the hot field and today on the brilliant catwalk. Palm leaf conical hat of Chuong village beautiful design, durable back, how was the souvenirs of girls stepped up to carriage decorated with flowers follow husband.
Ancient hat of Chuong village was a gift carried the queen, the princess by own beauty, were made by hand so talented, skillful artisans of the village. Today, hat of the Chuong village are everywhere, both inside and outside the country.
An average day, Chuong village is make 7000 palm leaf conical hats, bring consumption out of the province. In addition, the village bell hats were exported to China, Japan and European countries.However, compared with other villages, people of Chuong village are still poor. Raw materials must be imported from the leaves extinct Quang Binh, Ha Tinh, because the village was not planted. Price caps cheap travel products, from 3000 to 7000 e / unit, a family should do, only an average household income is only 10,000 to 15,000 VND per day.
A conner of Chuong village
Bring-glare white hat with stitching clever and certainly on hand, few know that, to make it very very meticulous. First is the choice of leaves. Leaves were purchased to crush up of sand then dry two, three times sun until the leaves are green to white. Then, holding the rag, lined leaves, plow blades using rapid strokes that leaves flat, but not brittle, not crushed.
Round of hats are made small bark of bamboo and erasing. When connected, the compulsory round of hats should round not be conjoined ripple marks. Unlike the normal hats are usually up to 20 round layers, hat of Chuong village has 16 classes help ensure durable hat but still soft.
Next, workers ranked within each leaf into a hat, a sheath of bamboo and a layer of species of bamboo then stitching. Sewing is a very difficult stage, because the leaves are easily torn, so only the skilled hands, there are new experiences. Hand held metal workers quickly at the first glance, smooth, straight stitches each both from within and outside.
The hat take shape, the artisans dry the hat over sulphur gas make color of hats become white and hats are not mouldy.Formerly, the Chuong village produce many palm leaf conical hats, used for many classes of people such as flat palm hats with fringes for girls, Nho hats, feather hats, soldier’s conical hat, metal stopped conical hat for the boys and the men of luxury. But from 1940 until now, the Chuong village artisans made only a single type of hat.
Mr. Cat Hai, an artist now than 80 years old, who has deserved bring Xuan Kieu hats, also Ba Don hats to the village production replace ancient hats types.
Currently, the village only two artists made ancient hats. It was Mr Tuy Le Van making metal topped hat and Tran Van Canh make flat palm hat with fringes.
Making flat palm hat with fringes more complex as normal hat, but not commonly used. Therefore, the hosiery was poor, making flat palm hat with fringes get poorer. But with the intention of “Keeping a traditional produce no loss in the present life and to keep the children know it”. Tran Van Canh artists have decided to find out and keep doing traditional flat palm hat with fringes of village. Seventy four year-old, who lost a leg in the war, but his hands still nimble, agile. His products are exported to the orders of a member of the ensemble provinces. Fat palm hat with fringes of his have been displayed at exhibitions at home and abroad.
Collect material for making hat
Market of Chuong village meeting in a month 6 main session, on days 4, 10, 14, 20, 24 and 30. The fair is only sold only hat. Hats are classified into long-husband, glare white. This job suitable for women and they are also major consumers. Therefore, the fair attracted a large number of village women and girls to come. Go to market of Chuong village in the early days of the year, see all the special identity of a traditional village, said that the new color white hat has become a close friendship with the people. The white hats have everywhere, mixed pink face of rural women, with laughter, voice, thrill invitation. Although still poor, but many families that had adopted only two hats, three children, who pass college courses. “I’m proud of the traditional craft villages, but hope that the village was more concerned for those who make life as our hats down hard.” An artist for over 40 years with career, was revealed as such.
Flat palm hat with fringes in Quan ho fork song
Inside the slope of dyke dry very white leaves, hand bell villagers, from children are 7- 8 years old until old man and woman are 70- 80 year old still maintain the beauty of each day for a traditional craft, keeping a simple beauty of a woman Vietnam, contributed more pride for our international friends.
Duc Hanh meets the artist Ngoc Linh, who in 1991 created a series of tiny oil paintings inspired by Hanoi.
Duc Hanh meets the artist Ngoc Linh, who in 1991 created a series of tiny oil paintings inspired by Hanoi. As the city prepares to celebrate its millennium anniversary, he now hopes his miniature paintings will inspire efforts to preserve the city’s heritage
Ngoc Linh’s miniature paintings were created in 1991 on old lottery tickets as at the time he couldn’t afford actual paper
People tell me that the artist Ngoc Linh is 80 years old but I’m not convinced. When I arrive at his door I come face to face with a sprightly man who seems far, far younger.
Born in Lang Son province, Ngoc Linh is ethnic Tay and was originally named Vi Van Bich by his parents. His grandfather Vi Van Dinh was chief of Ha Dong and Thai Binh provinces in French colonial times. His father studied in France before returning to Vietnam to open up a small business on Hang Dao street.
When Linh’s grandfather moved to Thai Binh province, he spent a lot of time with his grandson. Linh’s love for the countryside is apparent in his early career. In 1961 he worked as a set designer on the film Vo Chong A Phu (Mr and Mrs A Phu), about the life of mountainous tribes in the northwest in French colonial times. He also worked on Sao Thang Tam (August Star), which was filmed in 1975, right after national unification.
One of his most famous pieces is the large oil painting of Xuan Chien Khu (Spring in the northernmost Vietnam base), which features imposing landscapes, a burning sun, wild flowers, green forests and turquoise mountains. In another picture, Linh paid tribute to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups in a massive oil painting he made in the early 70s. Ngoc Linh’s paintings were clearly imbued with the harmonious pastoral beauty of his hometown of Lang Son – the surrounding forests, the precipitous slopes, and the sweet smell of anise and cinnamon in the air.
But the artist is also deeply fond of the capital city. Living alone in his house-cum-studio in Hao Nam street, he often paints and reflects on the streets of Hanoi. When I broach the subject, he wanders over to a small red lacquer box and takes out one of his prized possessions: a pocket book on which he has written the words, “Hanoi… my love.”
Inside the well-worn book are 140 tiny oil paintings he created in 1991 when he set out to document a precious beautiful corner of an old Hanoi that was vanishing slowly in the face of the country’s rapid development in the early 1990s. The paintings are minute but intricate, vivid and overflowing with love.
Back in the mid-80s, after working on several successful films, work dried up in the film industry. With no job, Linh decided to set up a cafÃ© to keep himself busy. Ngoc Linh CafÃ© at 96 Ba Trieu street was a popular spot. For around four years, the artist made coffee and washed 500 glasses a day.
But in the end he decided to close the café so he could have more time to paint. His family set up a wedding-dress-for-hire shop but he spent his days cycling around Hanoi observing the daily changes he saw around the capital.
“I felt sad when I saw the old beauty of Hanoi – French villas, old street houses, ancient villages and green trees – disappearing,” says Linh. “I decided to capture these things’ last days, at least what I loved.”
But why did he make these oil paintings on such tiny paper?
The artist blinks his eyes and smiles before explaining that in those days his family was rather poor. Paper and canvases were very expensive and hard to buy. Linh’s 14-year old granddaughter had a classmate whose mother sold lottery tickets. Linh noticed the discarded tickets were printed on nice, thick, smooth paper with imprints of beautiful Vietnamese women.
“At the time such paper was a precious commodity and rare for a poor artist like me,” recalls Linh. “But their small size meant I could put some in my pocket while cycling around the city. So I asked for 100 tickets and started to paint over the pages to make this book.”
“At first I drew for pleasure, but the work started to bewitch me. Initially I painted on one side of the ticket but eventually both sides were used. I only left two pictures of the beautiful girls to remember they were lottery tickets.”
The Hanoi in his paintings appears vivid and strange in comparison to the present bustling and overcrowded capital. The old Cua Nam Market is now a modern ten-storey business centre. The O Quan Chuong Gate guards an empty street. His charming portraits and drawings are imbued with the honey sunshine of autumn or spectacular red sunsets.
“I loved the beauty of Hanoi when its peaceful and quiet but now the old houses, villas and garden houses, are being lost day by day and being replaced with rigid and soulless buildings. I wish to keep these beautiful images for my descendants.”
He also wishes his artwork could send an inspirational message to city authorities and encourage them to maintain the country’s heritage.
Hoi An and Hanoi were listed as two of the best holiday destinations in Asia in a recent poll carried out by online travel magazine Smart Travel Asia.
The historic town of Hoi An remained in the fifth spot in the top ten holiday destinations in Asia while Hanoi entered the list for the first time in seventh position. Kerala in India topped the list, moving up from third last year.
The annual Best in Travel poll that ran from May to July also listed the best hotels, resorts, spas, airlines and airports in Asia.
The Nam Hai in Hoi An was ranked second in the top 25 leisure hotels and resorts in Asia. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Sofitel Da Lat Palace and Princess d’Annam Resort and Spa were also featured in the list.
Smart Travel Asia has over one million readers worldwide who are frequent travelers. The Best in Travel poll, now in its sixth year, allows readers to vote for their favorites among thousands of options in Asia.
A firework display and an open-air concert brightened Hanoi on the National Day, September 2.
A firework display and an open-air concert brightened Hanoi on the National Day, September 2.
Ten of thousands of people flocked to Hoan Kiem (Restored Sword) Lake in the heart of the capital city to enjoy the fireworks which were set off at 9:00pm and also broadcast live on VTV.
The open-air concert that was performed by 400 singers and dancers, martial artists, and pupils, also took place on the bank of Hoan Kiem Lake .
The artistic performance began with a Lion dance, followed by a demonstration of VOVINAM (Vietnamese marital art), and songs about the Vietnamese people and the country.
The audience also enjoyed video clips featuring Hanoi ’s history, from the Dinh Dynasty (968-980) to the day when President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence (September 2, 1945).
Firework displays and concert were also held in other locations across the country to mark National Day.
|People flock to the road on September 2 evening.