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Archive for August, 2012

It’s only few days more to the second of September – the National Day of Vietnam – the day to celebrate the declaration of independence from France Colonization and Japan Fascism (1945).

It’s one of the biggest public holidays in Vietnam and this year – since it’s on Sunday, Vietnamese have one more Monday off in compensation. With 2.5 to 3 days off, many of us will take a get-away trip somewhere close to town. Or for those who can afford it, fly to the beach destinations or even overseas.

While urban citizen run away from the cities, flocks of people from the suburbs will come to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Banks, offices will be closed, but shops remain open on 2nd of Sept. And there are several public activities if you are in town:

 Parade, normally held at Ba Dinh Square, in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, is the most formal celebration.

 

Parade in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Vietnamese National Flag is everywhere…

You may imagine walking along the Old Quarter streets in early morning of 2nd Sept, real quiet streets, fresh breezy air of an Autumn day in Hanoi, with full of flags. You may wonder if everyone remembers to put their flags up, we do have a friendly reminder from the Chief of the Ward a few days before the event.

The Patriots’ Spirit

Like in many other countries, Independence Day often to be the day people gather to eat and drink. So many supermarkets have big promotions to draw attention of buyers. And yet you don’t know, Vietnamese go to supermarkets to enjoy the cool fresh air, to look around with arrays of stuffs. A lot of us go to the supermarkets just to enjoy the cool air-conditioned area, which yes, a lot of local’s house do not have air-con yet.

I have mentioned travel above, yes, travel. Group size can be huge, everything is booked out, so if you travel through these dates, make sure you have the booking in advance for flight tickets, train tickets and hotel (if they can sell a plastic chair seats on the plane like they do on the train, they will, seriously). Prices for budget hotels can be double, tickets can be hard to get. And most of popular destinations like Halong, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Danang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Phu Quoc, Dalat, will be packed with people.

“Queuing” at the ticket counter

So where to go? You would think you want to find a quiet relaxing place – which seems to you – the whole point of a get-away. But to many Vietnamese, travelling means crowd, noise & karaoke. So don’t get pissed and be surprised if you are woken up in the middle of the night with a lovely voice (by lovely I meant horrible). Hey, welcome to Vietnam!

Escape number 1: Splurge the money and stay in a super nice resort, not to prove that you have more money than the others, just because the resorts are already designed in a way to give you the most privacy – like a beach front bungalow in Sunrise resort Hoi An, or a Villa in Sixth Sense Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang.

Ana Mandara Nha Trang resort

Escape number 2: Go off-the-beaten-paths where require hard core travelers to go. By this way you already eliminate 90% of locals.

Pan Hou resort – Ha Giang

Escape number 3: Cruises. Yes, cruises. What I reckon is a lot of locals and Asian in general, does not like to be on cruises because it’s boring (they need entertainment – such as, again – karaoke). Take the chance to cruise in Halong Bay, Mekong Delta or cruise wherever you can cruise. Good thing is a lot of luxury boats in Halong Bay also offer a great deal cruising on 2nd September. Not everywhere surcharge for this day.

Halong Bay Cruise

Escape number 4: Overseas destination: Bangkok is the cheapest to get on Qatar Airlines (they are now having cheaper rates than Air Asia), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Luang Prabang & Siemreap? All is be possible for a 4 day weekend. There is never enough for travelling, isn’t it?

Floating market – Bangkok

Whatever you decide to do on this Vietnamese National Day, enjoy it! Wherever you are in the world, make some spring rolls to celebrate with us!

Cheers and love to everyone – as we say in Vietnamese:

Chuc Mung ngay Quoc Khanh!” (Happy National Day!)

And Happy Labor Day for the American friends who celebrate it on 3rd of September!

Written: Ms Huyen Nguyen – Our travel consultant/ Edit by hcao.

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Monks at Phnom Bakheng, Siemreap / Photo: hcao

Written by Mr Nam Ngo – Our Travel Consultant

 

You can ask anyone who has been to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap – Cambodia and they would tell you it’s the most stunning sight in all of Southeast Asia, and it is – one of my most favourite destinations. The massive complex of temples, located in the ancient Khmer city, speaks volumes of the brilliant and sophisticated of the Khmer people.

 

The temples are scattered across 30km and each stone monument  have its own story to tell, through carving on the outside depicting the battles and life style of the Khmer from the eighth to the tenth century BC. As you wander past 100m long stone bathing pool with its elegantly carved stone steps or the 40m long arched Khmer figure, it’s easy to conjure images of the people washing themselves or studying in the gardens around the outside. The 80 stone faces of Ta Phrom lit up under the mid afternoon sun create an eerie feeling for its visitors. This meticulously carved faced appear incredibly calm as tourists wander through their stone arches and follow their stories on the main walls.

A bride and groom-to-be at wedding photo shooting outside Angkor Wat / Photo: hcao

You can buy a one, three or seven-day pass to visit the temples and other monuments that form the complex of Angkor. Most of the important sites can be seen in three days, but trust me, you may be “wat-out” by the third day. A guide is essential to navigate through the sites, and you can hire a minibus, taxi or tuk-tuk to transfer from one monument to another. Be prepared for a lot of walking and climbing huge stone steps. Personally, I enjoy cycling from the Siemreap town to Angkor Wat, follow the path with thousand years old trees. A pleasant way to end your trip is to take a leisurely boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake, past a fishing village where homes, schools and playgrounds are all built on floating bamboo rafts.

 

Kids rowing boats on Tonle Sap/ Photo:hcao

Apart from the ancient Angkor is the active town where you can easily splurge another two or three days, wandering through the old market area, indulging in a massage, sipping Angkor beer on a high stools and people-watch on bustling Pub street at night time. The town is lit up at night with full range of restaurants, bars and hotels, and street food stalls of Khmer food. If you are jewellery/crafts addicted, it is the place to splurge the dollars, you won’t regret to bring this special things home.

Cute handmade figures / Photo: hcao

From Bangkok/ Vientiane, Hanoi or Saigon you can fly to Siemreap (easiest and fastest way, we will mention about boating/bus from Vietnam to Siemreap in one of the later post). Among those departure destinations, flight from Hanoi or Saigon are the most expensive choice since Vietnam Airlines is the only air carrier to fly this route. But the good news is, Vietnam Airlines often runs a Summer Promotion (launching in every April/May) and a Fall promotion (launching in every Aug/early Sept) that can save you 50% of the rates so the fare is only about US$89-119, exclude taxes, fees, charges. This year, the promotion is on sales for 17 days with travelling date from August 15, 2012 to August 31, 2012. Departure periods: from September 05, 2012 to December 20, 2012 and from March 05, 2013 to May 20, 2013 (except for peak periods and holidays).

 

For flight booking, please contact our Ticketing department:

Tel: (84 4) 2244 8899 | Fax: (84 4) 3972 6888 | Hotline: (84) 91 868 6428
bongsenvang@gmail.com | http://www.vietnamflightbooking.com

 

For tours and other arrangements, pease contact our Travel Consultants:

info@indochinavoyages.com | www.indochinavoyages.com

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