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In Vietnam, it’s pretty much the first one, and it sounds so bad on the packed roads of Saigon. Let me put the question another way.
The usual heavy traffic in Ho Chi Minh often comes with a lot of honking. Photo credit: Bloomberg

The usual heavy traffic in Ho Chi Minh often comes with a lot of honking. Photo credit: Bloomberg
Is honking free speech or a crime?

I was traveling to work this morning when the driver of a giant public bus kept honking his horn on tiny Nguyen Du Street. Cars and motorbikes tried to give way, but there was not much space.

So the bus driver kept at it until we all came to a red light. 30 seconds… 15… 5… 3… BEEP! BEEP! He was honking again even before the green light was back on. I turned into another road just to escape from him.

Some people say public bus drivers have time pressure. But it is not just them who are horn-happy. Many others are also quick on the draw, blowing the horn for no reason except that they want to go ahead.

My foreign friends say they can get at least one middle finger shown if they honk at another driver to indicate they want them to give way.

One afternoon two years ago my friend was driving me around Kuala Lumpur when a car in front of her kept zigzagging. We never found out if the driver was high on drugs, drunk or sick.

My friend had to slow down for fear of getting into a crash, but after around five minutes she lost patience.
She honked loud and long, which made the driver drive straight and move to one side for her to pass.
She immediately sped up.
“That driver might follow us and beat us,” she told me.

A Filipino friend in the car was also scared.

“What do you do that for?” he almost screamed.

I was not. Unfortunately, in Vietnam, you are not scared of honking at people. Honking is so loud and so often in the country that people just seem to accept it, and you should be scared, in fact, of asking them not to honk.

Vehicle horns are designed for the primary purpose of warning other vehicles of danger. Some also use it to punish others doing the wrong thing on the road, like my friend did.

But somewhere along the way, it has become habitual and a major cause of noise pollution, not just in Vietnam but around the world. The World Health Organization said in a 2011 report that one million healthy life years were lost every year due to traffic-related noise in Western Europe.

Since honking is a habit, it is hard to stop, just like we cannot stop people from using plastic bags or smoking even by printing graphic lung and throat cancer images on the pack.

From what I have read, there is a campaign in Mumbai to curb its honking “epidemic” by installing a device called Bleep to help drivers become aware of their unconscious honking.
It is a red button with a frowning face near the steering wheel that beeps repeatedly when the driver honks. They have to press the button to silence it.

Tests found honking by cars with the button reduced by 61 percent.
Most other countries use cash fines, which is US$350 in New York. In Peru, which is also known for its honking problem, the police can seize the vehicle as well.

Vietnam has a maximum fine of VND200,000, or less than US$10, on drivers if their honking disturbs the peace in a residential area between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

In a country where traffic cops force people to drive past red lights and stop at green to make way for officials’ cars (I’ve seen that with my own eyes in Saigon), such a rule hardly means anything.

One time I was in a taxi when the driver said a young girl had paid him twice the fare for not touching his horn. I was not sure if it was a suggestion for me, but yes, a driver who controls themselves from honking in the city deserves a reward.

It really gets on your nerves when in heavy traffic drivers keep pressing their horns and pass their stress and impatience to others.

Maybe paying a few bucks to stop people from honking is a good solution.

Thuy Vi/Thanhniennews

via Why do you freaking honk?.

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If you love the soft beauty of Da Lat and would travel alone, hope that the following information will help you to arrange your trip.

1. Transportation:

– From Hanoi:

+ By Air: It takes 1:40 – 2 hours to fly from Hanoi to Dalat.
With Vietnam Airlines, there is one round trip flight per day and four times per week. Particularly, flights take off at 1:30PM from Hanoi to Dalat and at 11:00AM from Dalat to Hanoi on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
You can buy ticket online or through a travel agent, or possibly at the front desk of your hotel.
Cost: Around USD 300.00 for a round trip ticket

+ By Coach: It takes 22 – 24 hours to drive from Hanoi to Dalat.
You can buy the tickets at Giap Bat coach station at No.6 Giai Phong Street in Hanoi or at Nuoc Ngam coach station with Tai Thang Bus Company. You can buy tickets at the station, travel agencies, or at your hotel.

+ By Train: It takes 27 hours to travel by train from Hanoi Railway Station to Nha Trang Station and another 3.5 hours to travel by coach from Nha Trang to Dalat. For the coaches from Nha Trang to Dalat, there are Phuong Trang Express and Mai Linh Express for your reference.

– From Sai Gon: You can take a passenger car such as Thanh Buoi cars or Mai Linh Cars with 50 seats depart once every hour. Tel: 08.3830.8090

2. Transportation in the city

– Motorbike: you can rent a motorbike in streets to Dalat market (Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street)
– Double bike: mostly bike rental businesses are at Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street or Bui Thi Xuan Street or around Xuan Huong Lake
– Carriage: Once coming to Dalat, you should take a carriage to tour around the city. You can take one at the junction near Thanh Thuy restaurant.

3. Accomodation

Prices of hotels in Dalat are from USD 15.00. Three or four star hotels are located near Xuan Huong Lake. If you want to enjoy a more private space, a villa outside the city is highly recommended. Most of big hotels in Dalat offer special promotional programs on Christmas. You are advisable to make a reservation as soon as possible in case all hotels are fully booked during the festive season.

4. Specialties: Wine, hot soya milk, fresh fruits, vegetable, tea, flower and plan.

5. Famous attractions:

– Than Tho Lake: from Dalat city center, go along Thai Phien – Chi Lang Street. The lake is situated in the pine forest.
– Love valley: is one of the most romantic destinations in Dalat, about 6km from the city center in the Northeast
– Flower Garden: is located by Xuan Huong Lake with various types of flowers
– Bao Dai Palace: includes three palaces of Emperor Bao Dai in the city
– Truc Lam Monastery: an extraordinary structure situated in Phung Huong mountain peak and surrounded by an immense pine forest with the turquoise Tuyen Lam lake.
– Tuyen Lam Lake: the largest fresh lake in Dalat located near Phung Hoang Mountain, about 6km from Dalat. The lake has many small oases and turquoise water.
– Langbiang Mountain: or also known as Nui Ba Mountain have a height of 2,169m. It is a special destination for picnics, explorations of nature and local culture. From Langbiang peak, you can have the panorama view of Dalat with villas, schools and churches with high bell tower.

Dalat is covered by cool mist in the day and cold mist at night. Visiting Dalat in the Christmas time, you will feel like walking in a picture.

More Info:
Tourist information on Vietnam is available on the http://www.evivatour.com/

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Over the past decades witnessed great movements towards textile digital printing in the textile industry like others including digital cameras, CDs, DVDs and so forth. Advances in digital technologies – let’s say a ‘real’ digital camera – have made shooting pictures easier for amateur photographers yet as for someone who thirst for ‘true’ art of photography, an ‘old’ motion picture camera is irreplaceable.

 

Unlike digital printed textiles, hand – made fabrics are unique yet beautiful. Music lovers are still falling in love with classical music records worth at least hundreds of dollars. International Exhibition of Hand – made Textiles sponsored by UNESCO is going to be held in Clermont – Ferrand in France in September, 2012 with the motive to promote and preserve traditional and religious artifacts.

Vietnamese brocade fabrics are also on display at the exhibition. Vietnamese famous designer Minh Hanh takes advantages of the beauty of Vietnamese brocade fabrics made by ethnic minorities in North – West Vietnam and Central Highlands. In fact, most Vietnamese textile products are fabricated by H’Mong locals, mostly skillful and meticulous craftsmen, in Ha Giang Province and Bac Ha Province and others in Central Highlands. Minh Hanh – inspired fashion collection fascinated more than a thousand guests of all nationalities at the exhibition in France – The Empire of Fashion.

Vietnamese brocade fabrics vary according to their textile materials and designs. In the old and present days, hand – made brocade products are closely associated with the habits and customs of most Vietnamese ethnic minorities, for example, brocade fabrics serve as essentials, goods or even used as marriage portions. Textile engineering driven by manpower brings beautiful brocade textile with unique yet wonderful colors and patterns.

Brocade textile manufacturing

Textile materials are mostly raw fibers of cotton together with antiar skin. Old – fashioned wooden looms transform smooth white cotton fibers into brocade. Beautiful brocade colored are true amazing artworks.

Dying color

+ Black Color: a mixture of indigo leaves or a special type of dark – blue leaves soaked and fresh mud.
+ Dark Red or Brown Color: dark red or brown dyes mix different types of tree barks.
+ Blue Color: the baked shells of the snails living in springs mixed with lime water, Krum or indigo leaves.
+ Red Color: the bark of the century – old Krung trees
+ Red – Brown Color : A boiled mixture of tree bark, vinegar and alum. Textile fibers are dyed at high temperature of about 80 degrees.
+ Yellow: turmeric fabric dye.

The final step is to brush dyed textile fibers, clean and dry them out.

Local brocade fabric are strongly attached to the traditional customs of the Vietnamese ethnic minorities, each has its own unique hand – made brocade textile.

+ H’Mong: H’Mong brocade textile embroidered with cruciform, rhombic or triangular patterns .
+ Dao: most of Dao brocade textile dyed in light – red color. Dao’s bright colored brocade textile embroidered with dark – blue patterns looks beautiful and elegant.
+ Tay: Tay’s brocade textile is distinctive in its arrangement of rhombic dark colored patterns on smooth white background.
+ Nung: Nung people usually wear colorful dresses, in particular, the colors of the sleeves and the shirt tail are different from its body.
+ Khmer: Unlink textile dying in North – West Vietnam, Khmer textile engineering enables texture patterns to be directly woven into the fabric.
+ Cham: Dark or red colored brocade textile decorated with geometrical patterns.
+ H’re: H’re brocade textile dyed in black and red color and its beautiful patterns depicts meaningful pictures painted with natural colors and geometrical shapes.
+ Bana: The main colors of the Bana’s brocade are black, red and white.
+ Lolo: The colors of the Lolo’s brocade fabric are mostly bright colors. They are produced by sewing a shaped fabric onto a larger fabric, a patchwork square or a foundation fabric.
+ Cotu: The patterns of the Cotu’s brocade textile are simple yet beautiful. It varies according to designs, mostly, with multiform color and unique vignettes.

Vietnamese brocade handicrafts serve as meaningful presents and souvenirs. Fashion designers inspire their creations with traditional brocade textile patterns, besides its advantages also seen in graphic design and home decoration. Vietnamese brocade textile brings out the spiritual and heritage value of Vietnam fashion in particular and the world’s art of textile as a whole.

 

Vietnam Brocade – The Essence of Vietnamese Handicraft.

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Traveling by bicycle away from your home is new thing and brings many benefits.

You can go anytime you want, easy to find parking, go quickly through the crowded streets , do not have spend too much cost for repairing, and keep your body in shape. And above all, you will have more new experiences when going through the fields, cities, villages and panoramic view around.

1. Safety first

Cycling is not safe as you think. Although speed of bicycles is not high as motorcycles or cars, but due to the small size of bicycle, it is very easy to be vulnerable when riding on the highway or at the small road. Therefore, safety should be your priority if you want to implement this new experience.

Before you go, you should check out your bicycle and the associated equipment. Helmet should be fit and do not block your vision, other parts on the bicycle is performing well or need additional parts for bicycle or not? For example, more lights mounted on the front wheel caps help you see clearer and other means of vehicle can see you in the evening.

Review and choose a safe route. If you know the conditions around and traffic rules, you will avoid unnecessary accidents.

2. Bring necessary paperwork, phone and reasonable amount of money.

These items are not only needed for your trip, but also really important in some situations. What if you had an accident and no one was around or you must go to the hospital but no one was there? This is when you need your phone to call for help or use cash and personal papers.

3. Snacks and water are not redundant

Cycling also takes a lot of energy. During a long journey, your leg may be in pain and all motivation will disappear. To avoid the lack of energy, bring snacks to have more energy

You can carry fruits that good for health like bananas, apples, butter, peanuts or bread.

Provide water for your body even more important than food throughout the trip. If the body is dehydrated, the body’s blood becomes thicker heart rate increases and gradually your trip will becomes really bad. Drink water regularly to avoid these problems.

4. Have basic knowledge and skills to repaired bicycle

You’ll not find a mechanic every time on your journey. You should have some basic skills to ensure the trip is not interrupted by small technical problems. Bring some alternative tools or replacements; they will save you from difficult situations. A little basic knowledge can help you save time, money and turn you into an expert rather than a people just sit and wait for others to help when you have an accident.

5. Choose suitable clothes for the trip

Cycling for hours under the sun or rain, you should find some information about weather conditions before your trip to choose suitable clothes.

If it is dry and warm by the time you go, a shirt for professional bicycler or light shirts will be the right choice. If you go in the evening, a light jacket would be something you should have in your backpack.

 

5 things to know for cycling tour.

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My friend told me she applied visa on arrival with Eviva Tour Vietnam and was very happy with their service. I followed her advice to get visa via this company. With their sales team, getting Vietnam visa is very easy and fast. Besides, their website is very informative; therefore, I referred some of their tour information to make a Vietnam tour by myself.
I arrived Sai Gon and was shocked with the traffic here. This is the first time I have ever seen so much traffic and so many bikes. Traffic lights were also seemingly non-existent. Crossing the road was so scary but also a special experience for me. It’s likely I’m carrying my life in my hands and legs. Luckily, I come back in “one piece”.

However, the food of this city makes me fall in love with it. I loved Ben Thanh Market for its food stalls and pretty kitchenware. Quan An Ngon was highly recommended for its variety of Vietnamese dishes. Hoa Tuc was a lovely Westernized restaurant and I would have loved to attend a cooking class if I have enough time.

Additionally, I managed to fit in culture visiting the War Remnants museum and took a walk around the old town. I then trekked out to the Cu Chi tunnels on the local buses. After around 3 hours, I finally arrived and spent the afternoon watching videos, crawling through the unbelievably small tunnels.

Hoi An is a peaceful town where beach resorts line the coast and I can cross a road without any fear at all If you come here, book a beach yoga session if that’s up your alley and then visit the Ancient Town, an well-preserved area with bright yellow walls, joyous lanterns, lots of tailors, and delicious food choices. Banh Mi Phuong is a good bread that was filling with meat, some salad vegetables. Walking along the river till dark, breath the fresh air and offer 1 USD to the elderly lady selling candle-lit paper lanterns, releasing into the river and watch it join its other lantern friends – it was a feeling of serenity and appreciation. I loved this vibrant little town!

I arrived the capital of Vietnam in a cold morning. I could not wait to try Pho for my first lunch in Ha Noi. And it is the best dish I have ever had so far.
I am writing this whilst sitting in a quiet car, going to the airport to come back home. This is a wonderful trip with unforgettable memories about a country with friendly and enthusiastic people.

SourcE: http://getindirectory.com/articles/snap-shot-of-vietnam-511239.htm

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A great trip depends on many factors. Perfect destinations with special things and good quality of service will make your trip become amazing. But if you want your trip to become perfect, carefully prepare anything required. Here is a check list of things you should bring when you leave your home and head to Vietnam.
A. 3 months before you go.
1. Check your passport to ensure that it is valid with at least 6 months prior to the date you will arrive in Vietnam.
2. Check you are in good health for travel, there is no requirement on health when travelling in Vietnam.
3. Follow and search all Vietnam Travel information including visa requirement, destinations, food, hotel, etc. on Facebook, Twitter or websites like evivatour.com.
B. 1 month before you go.
1. Prepare necessary travel insurance, book Vietnam visa on arrival. There are several companies providing Vietnam visa service with good quality such as Eviva Tour.
2. Scan all your important documents and identification and email it to yourself and a friend at home.
3. Begin learning a few Vietnamese greetings.
3 basic words: “Hello” – “Xin chao”; “Good bye” – “Tam biet”; “Thank you” – “Cam on” .
4. Start practicing using chopsticks.
5. Have your phone unlocked if you are planning to use your phone in Vietnam especially if you use Iphone, Android phones.
C. 1 week before you go.
1. Get a few passport pictures for your Vietnam visa and or you also plan to travel Lao, Cambodia.
2. Collect and record any important, emergency phone numbers .
3. Bring your lightweight, quick-dry clothing on summer, your warmer comfy clothes on winter months, as well as your sun hat, swimsuit.
4. Bring flashlight, alarm clock, sunglasses, insect repellent.
5. Prepare any medications, toiletries.
6. Change money in US dollars (crisp $100 bills is best) .
7. Prepare your raincoat.
8. Prepare footwear: sandals, hiking shoes, walking shoes, etc. .
9. Double check your camera and photography equipment.
D. 1 day before you go.
1. Reconfirm your flight.
2. Try to get some sleep,because the excitement is building and you will have a long flight.
3. Say your farewells.
4. Zip up that suitcase and head to Vietnam.
Good luck!

Source: http://globallistingsite.com/articles/what-you-need-to-bring-when-travel-to-vietnam,-456825.htm

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Prior to the trip to Vietnam, many people may feel reluctant to go because of worrying about language barriers, tourist traps and culture differences. As a tourist, you will always be vulnerable to certain things; however, with a sensible planning and taking extra precautions of your surroundings, you can have a smooth trouble-free trip.
When to go
Holiday to Vietnam is possible all year around. It always has some part of the country with nice weather for you to explore. However, keep in mind that the seasons vary across the country. The Northern part of Vietnam (e.g. Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa) has 4 seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter, while the South has only 2 seasons – dry or rainy. The further to the south, the hotter and more humid the weather is. Temperatures in mountainous areas in the North can get below 10 Celsius degree in winter while the average temperature in the South is about 24- 31 Celsius degree year around. For countrywide exploration, the best times are probably March to early July. Storms and downpours normally happen in the end of July and August. Anyway, you should also be prepared to encounter some rain whenever you decide to travel.
What to bring
– Bring specialized medicine for your need. Although regular medicines such as vitamins, sunscreen, insect repellent, diarrhea medication, or aspirin are widely available in every drugstore, some specific medicines can be hard to find in Vietnam and the price of them might be third or fourth time more expensive than in your home country. There is no free medical treatment available in Vietnam and the standard of local health facilities is below international standards.
– You can buy clothing and shoes there. However, Vietnamese are Asian, so their clothes are often in small size. Good news is that you can buy European size in shops with sign “Viet Nam Xuat Khau” – shops selling exported clothes.
– The country’s total length is about over 2500 km stretching from north to south. Therefore Vietnam is characterized with both a tropical and a temperate climate. Remember to bring a hat, sunglasses with UV protection and be prepared for adverse weather conditions.
– Electrical plug in Vietnam are mostly 220V with 2 holes, so a kit of adapter plugs is recommended.
How to transport
– The roads are chaos: With thousands of motorbikes carrying families, fridges, and even pigs. Be brave, keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road as motorbikes find their way around you and quite frequently run along the roads the wrong way.
– For manys, motorcycle taxis are the only way to truly discover the crowded streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, considering the traffic chaos in these cities, bike-riding is only suitable for strong-hearted travelers, otherwise, you had better choose taxi as the safer option.
– Stay away from random taxis, motorbike taxis and cyclos. For motorbike taxi and cyclo, it is best to agree on the price of the ride (with the suggestion of local people) before hopping on it as the price is likely much higher once you decide to go without knowing it. For taxi, scams may happen when drivers try to drive the longer way to the destination or taxi meters are set to run extremely fast. Some recommended taxi company is Taxi CP – Tel: (04) 3826 26 26 or Mai Linh – Tel: (04) 38 222 666.
– Finding tickets for flights/ trains in Vietnam during public holidays, especially Christmas and Lunar New Year are hard and expensive. If you will be in Vietnam during these times, make reservations well in advance. The chaos often begins a week before Lunar New Year and can last for about two weeks after it.
What to do
Prior to your journey, research destinations a little first on the Internet. A good resource is tripadvisor (tripadvisor.com), lonelyplanet (lonelyplanet.com) where tourists share their travel experiences in Vietnam. This way you can have some ideas of itinerary and places of interest. If you have trouble in planning a suitable trip for the length of your stay, the best way is contact with recognized, reputable tour operators in Vietnam such as Eviva Tour which offer many innovative trip styles which range from sight-seeing to free exploration or even staying with locals.
How to behave
– The Vietnamese will highly appreciate if they see you respect their customs. When you visit pagodas, temples or spiritual places, you should dress smartly. Never wear shorts, mini shirts, tank tops, bare shoulders or flip-flops as this is considered to be extremely offensive. Sometimes, shoes needed to be left outdoor. If unsure, just follow what the locals do.
– Instead of offering money directly to beggars, offer a small useful gift, such as food or clothes, otherwise the rumor will spread round and many of them will try to approach you.
– Be aware of your surroundings. Always keep an eye to your cash, credit cards, and passport. Do not wear valuable jewellery and do not show off your expensive high-tech devices. You might be the target of pickpocket or scam.

Source; http://linkpartnersdirectory.com/articles/tips-for-first–time-travelers-to-vietnam-366900.htm

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