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We just got back from a two-day private tour to Mekong Delta spending the night in a homestay (which was pre-arranged by Mrs Trang of Eviva tour).

Different from the previous trip, we wanted to experience the daily life of local people in the Mekong Delta. “Abundant” is the best adjective to describe the delta. Created by alluvium of mighty Mekong River, the Mekong Delta is the biggest rice-growing region in the country and Vietnamese often refer it as Vietnam’s rice basket. The region is crisscrossed by the chocolate-coloured canals encompassing green fields and peaceful villages. This fertile delta nourishes the cultivation of not only rice, but also sugarcane, fruit, coconut, fish and shrimp which sustains life of its inhabitants. Everything grown in this land has its own purposes. For example, rice, fish and shrimps are used for daily meals; leaves are for salads and soups; fruit is used for desserts; banana stems are for rope and floating raft and water hyacinth is used for feeding cattle. Life of people here also depends on the river. With the help of our tour guide, it is not difficult to find a three-generation family that was born, lives and earns their livings in their vessels and homes on the water.

Fruit in Mekong Delta

Floating market of Cai Be is the most popular “work place” of people here. The daily life in Cai Be floating market starts from early dawn with noises and shouts of busy people and ends at noon. Dozens of boats carrying large amount of sugar cane, pineapples, jackfruit, pumpkins and vegetables were rowing around. Each boat has a tall wooden pole which displays a sample of what the boat’s owner sells, so that goods can be “advertised” and seen from a long distance.

Besides, there were many boats offering local soups, snacks and even coffee for dealers and buyers attending the market.

Customers generally use smaller boats which are filled with various products purchased.

We spent our night at a local family who offered homestay options. Everything was very simple and pretty much as what we expected from a Mekong Delta homestay – no hot water, no TV and of course, no wifi. The host was open, friendly and easygoing. She showed us around the backyard garden and duck farm where she collected almost everything to prepare for our meals. For dinner we had a selection of delicious Mekong food including duck soup with bamboo and a deep fried fish with mango sauce that was freshly caught from the river outside the house. All was cooked perfectly and full of flavour. To accompany the main dishes, we had fresh salad, vegetables and lots of other tropical fruit. I have included some photos below showing all the weird but juicy fruits growing in the garden of our host family.

If you are planning to travel to Vietnam, I really recommend a Mekong Delta trip with home-stay to get a much closer insight into the way of life in this wonderful part of the world.

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Known as the heaven of resorts, it is not a surprise that Mui Ne has lots of top resorts along the beach. These resorts do not simply amaze you with their fancy architecture but also their high-quality services. Here are 6 beach resorts in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet we recommend for you:

1. Sea Links City Resort

Right at the waterfront of Mui Ne beach, Sea Links City Resort situates in a prime location on a hill which is 1000 meters above sea-level. Looked down from the sky, Sea Links City embraces the entire Mui Ne Bay. The resort with open modern plans offers you a spectacular paranormal view of the paradise bay.

Here you can spend your day enjoy regular activities like sea bathing, basking, or reading by the beach. Besides, you may also want to take a stroll along the beach while the sun sets over the endless skyline. Visiting nearby fishing villages on a scooter is another choice for you. When the night falls down, you might want to gather around the fire, dancing, singing, and enjoy the freshly caught seafood. These experiences would definitely be unforgettable.

2. Takalau Resort

Just about 3 kilometres from Phan Thiet city, hillside Takalau Resort hides under the lush green of coconut leaves. The resort comprises a number of villas with a unique design, a clever combination of classical and modern style embellished by Vietnamese traditional patterns. In addition, each villa has its own swimming pool, suitable for families and groups of friends who would like to be private.

Someone might say, Takalau Resort looks like a giant flower garden. Indeed, you can spend your whole day wandering under a colourful curtain of Bougainvillaeas, lying on the soft grass reading your favourite book or swinging under the palms facing the cool ocean breeze. Such relaxation you hardly find elsewhere.

3. The Cliff Resort & Residents

The Cliff Resort & Residents sit comfortably atop the rocky and gentle slopes, offers you a breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean. Accommodation options range from the Azul room with picturesque ocean vistas to the elegant Terra rooms, which boast a panoramic ocean view and sun deck. All offer you an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the unbelievable natural beauty.

The Cliff Resorts and Resident offers almost every service you can think of. From fancy restaurants and bars to the luxurious spa. From water sports like windsurfing and sailing to the area only reserved to watch the starry sky of Mui Ne. The complex will certainly meet your expectations.

4. Princess D’Ân Nam Resort

Only 30 kilometres from Phan Thiet, Princess D’Ân Nam Resort rests in the peaceful heart of Ke Ga Bay. Designed by world famous architect, Tan Hock Beng, this luxury resort is also home to an award-winning spa, two epicurean restaurants, a bar, serene pools, function rooms for private and corporate events, and heliconia-filled gardens.

Spanning over 45 acres on a long stretch overlooking the East Sea, it is famed for its natural beauty – stunning mountains, red canyons, sand dunes, rich ecosystem – and its historic lighthouse built by the French in 1899. At the Princess D’Ân Nam, you can live your days in a relaxed and luxury environment personified just for your wonderful vacation.

5. Green Papaya Organic Village Resort

Located at Tien Thanh Beach, Green Papaya Organic Village Resort is surrounded by a traditional fishing village. This is an ideal place for tourists who trying to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The resort has six villas along the coast, standing out by sophisticated carved Vietnamese furniture. Not just the environment-friendly architectural styles, the resort will also make you fall in love with their fresh garden. Vegetables from this garden will be the ingredients for your delicious seafood meal in the resort.

6. Anantara Mui Ne Resort

One of the first five-star resorts in Vietnam, Anantara Mui Ne Resort can bring you unique and memorable experiences. The resort has 89 rooms which are a harmonious combination between Vietnamese traditional and the contemporary design. Besides the private stone bathroom and swimming pool, there are also many gymnasiums with the shady garden frontage. The outdoor restaurant with high-quality facilities creates a luxurious and romantic space for you. Tourists can also take part in water activities on the beach or discover the local life in a nearby fishing village.

Blogger: Hamy

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Discovering Ha Long Bay from the air by the seaplane, going sightseeing on a cruise or from the Sun World cable car are some remarkable experiences for tourists when visiting Ha Long.

Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh province) is one of the most attractive destinations in Northern Vietnam. Recently, there are more and more hotels and amusement parks built to attract local as well as foreign tourists. Here are five exciting activities you should definitely try when visiting Ha Long:

Number 1: Experiencing Ha Long Bay cruise

It would be unfortunate if you leave Ha Long without spending time on the cruise. If you don’t have enough time to stay overnight, you can choose a short tour of about 4-5 hours. The cruises usually depart from Tuan Chau International Marina Station. Ticket prices range from 300,000 VND to 400,000 VND per adult. For this journey, tourists can visit some of the most famous caves in the bay such as Thien Cung, Dau Go, and Sung Sot, spend time on Titop beach or go kayaking.

Number 2: Bathing and Swimming on Bai Chay beach

A few years ago, Bai Chay, Ha Long is an untouched beach with many cliffs and rough stone. Nowaday, Bai Chay coastal road was renovated by a big corporations so there are many new projects have been built to attract tourists.

Number 3: Experiencing the Ha Long Queen Cable Car

The Ha Long Queen Cable Car has two floors with a capacity of 230 persons. It’s routine from Bai Chay Beach to Hon Gai town. From the cabin, tourists can contemplate the whole city from above.

Number 4: Experiencing the Sun Wheel in Ha Long Sun World Complex

Right here, tourist can take part in the highest wheel in the world – the Sun Wheel. Located atop of Ba Deo mountain at nearly 250m above the sea-level, Sun Wheel places among the top world’s tallest sightseeing Ferris wheels. Sun Wheel Ha Long, featuring a total of 64 cabins with 384 passengers and a capacity of 1.200 passengers/hour, promises to provide visitors with a brand new outlook while gazing down the breath-taking panoramic landscape of Ha Long Bay.

Number 5: Contemplating Ha Long from seaplane

15 mind-blowing minutes on the plane will help you take a panoramic view of the whole city into your mind.

Source: http://blog.evivatour.com

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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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