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Archive for September, 2014

When you’re travelling, there is an activity that many people love to do is collecting the money in which country they have been. For each country, money is very unique and some kind of its symbol or history, such as America with US dollar, British with Pound, Japan with Yen. Vietnam’s money is Dong and behind each unit is an interesting story. Through the money, you can discover many about Vietnam like history, interesting place or the life style in Vietnam

Money, Colorful words hang on rope by wooden peg

Travelling through money stories

Before we start, we must have to talk about President Ho Chi Minh, the first and the most famous president of Vietnam, who is printed in every money note in Vietnam. He had lead Vietnam to independence and helped our country have a trusted position in the world. All Vietnamese people are inspired by him and we are so proud of him. There are many great stories about him so that’s why you shouldn’t miss Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum when you travel to Hanoi.

President Ho Chi Minh is symbol of all Vietnam notes

President Ho Chi Minh is the symbol of all Vietnam notes

Now, we will go through all the money note of Vietnam. First is 100 dong. This note is now very rare and no one use it any more. Actually, it’s very hard to find one now. The place in the note is Pho Minh Tower in Nam Dinh Province. This tower was made from only bricks and has lasted for more than 700 years. It has a unique architect and a mystery history behind it. This place is not a tourist place so everything is peaceful and ancient. But if you love to know more about Buddhism in Vietnam, it could be a good place to start.

100 dong

100 dong

Next is 200 dong. This note still exists but no longer to be used because of inflation. The picture you see is about the time Vietnam started to innovate in mechanic, after we get independence. It was a hard time in Vietnam when we began to build everything after war. The main economy was still depend on agriculture so improve the machine was priority. Since that day, we just have nearly 40 years in peace and we are now trying to make Vietnam better in every ways. Read more Tours in Vietnam

200 dong

200 dong

Now we move to Hai Phong Port – the port on 500 dong. Hai Phong Port is one of the biggest ports in Vietnam (2nd place). This is a busy and modern city; you can find anything in here. But opposite to its picture, you hardly buy anything with 500 dong.

500 dong

500 dong

Then, this is 1000 dong, still in use or able to use. This note takes us to Tay Nguyen, the big part in middle of Vietnam. Tourism in Tay Nguyen is now developing with many different things from the other part of Vietnam. There are some ethnics live in here with different culture and life style. You will see many unique houses, tools and festivals which now display in Ethnological Museum in Hanoi. Ridding elephant, playing Gong and drinking wine from bamboo straw is a must try experience if you come here. The whole place is recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage.

1,000 dong

1,000 dong

More valuable is 2000 dong. This note displays activities in a textile factory. The interesting about this is that three girls in this picture are real but no one knows who they are and they still keep looking. About textile, Vietnamese people have known that is very skillful in this field and we have many famous villages doing this like Ha Dong village, Van Phuc village…

2,000 dong

2,000 dong

The last stop for today is 5000 dong. We will see a hydroelectric factory – Tri An, Dong Nai Province. Hydroelectric is very important in power source of Vietnam, nearly 50% electric power in Vietnam come from hydroelectric. Vietnam has many mountains and rivers so it’s easy to exploit and apply hydroelectric all over in Vietnam. Some hydroelectric factories are attractive places to visit like Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Factory.

5,000 dong

5,000 dong

Today, we will take a rest here, at 5000 dong. On the next post, I will take you through the rest of our money and show you more interesting place and story in Vietnam. Don’t miss the next post!

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When travelling abroad, most of travelers want to keep in touch with their family, friends or colleges via email, Facebook … but in urgent case, a direct phone call is always the best choice. However, when you are abroad, unless you have a specific contract that gives you roaming at a discount, you can end up paying 5Euro/USD per minute on receiving AND making phone calls to home.

'You've had a cell phone all these years and you haven't used it because of ROAMING CHARGES?'

What should you do to solve this problem especially when you travel to Vietnam???

The answer is very simple. Just buy a local Sim card!!!

It is very easy to buy a Sim card in Vietnam as you can find it at nearly every shop at a very reasonable price: 80.000 VND(about 4 US Dollars). Once purchasing the Sim card, you can press the sequence *101# to check the info on credit and expiration date. Normally, you will receive a message shown a bonus of 50.000+50.000 VND for making calls and for texting. International calls are pretty cheap, around 4.000 VND per minute, direct dial.

A Local Sim card in Vietnam

A Local Sim card in Vietnam

A Sim card normally excludes any data and you have to register by sending an SMS to the wireless provider however this is not a big problem as you can connect to the internet through free Wifi which is available at every hotel/restaurant/shop

You can easily buy a Sim card or scartch card at any standard shop around the tourist area

You can easily buy a Sim card or scartch card at any standard shop around the tourist area

If you use all the credit in the Sim card, you can buy scratch card at any shops to extend. The card costs 50.000VN, 100.000VND, 200.000VND and 500.000VND.

Among many Sim card sold in Vietnam, you should choose Mobi Fone and Viettel – the biggest wireless providers at the moment as they won’t spam you with SMS every hour.

To be suitable for the local Sim Card, you should also bring an unlocked phone GSM compatible and swapping SIM Cards. An old spare mobile is always preferable even it can’t help you to connect to the internet.
If you bring a smart fone which requires a Nano sim card, you should show it to the sellers (as most of them can’t speak English) so they can help you to cut the Sim card to fit your fone. Read more: Tours in Vietnam

Happy travelling!

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On June 23rd 2014, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, become Vietnam’s first site to be acknowledged as a mixed natural and cultural property. Located in Ninh Binh province (about 2 – 2.5 hours driving from Hanoi), this picturesque complex is of 10,000-hectare area comprising three main parts: Trang An – Tam Coc – Bich Dong ecological site, Vietnam’s old capital of Hoa Lu in the 10th and 11th centuries and Hoa Lu primitive forests.

 

Natural World Heritage Site

Described by UNESCO as “a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs”, this complex is indeed breath-taking beautiful. The region is scattered with karst topography such as limestone mountains, caves and lakes. It is surrounded by primary forests with variety of floral and fauna systems including 310 types of tracheophyta, many kinds of fungi, moss and algae, over 30 animals, 50 types of birds, reptiles, especially rare trees and animals in the World Red Book.

Trang An Grottoes – a peaceful and tranquil masterpiece by nature

trang an 6

Trang An 4

 

trang an 1

Trang An 5

Trang An 7

 

Trang An 8

Tam Coc – the famous “Halong Bay on Land” (passionately written about by our blogger lucasnhat, read more here)

Tam Coc 3

Tam Coc 2

 

Tam Coc 1

Cultural World Heritage Site

Besides its undeniable beauty, Trang An Complex is also in rich of cultural values illustrating proves of human adaptation to the geographical and environmental changes and conditions, trace back to the Earth history. According to UNESCO, “Exploration of some of the highest altitude caves dotted across the landscape has revealed archaeological traces of human activity dating back almost 30,000 years. They illustrate the occupation of these mountains by hunter-gatherers and how they adapted to climatic and environmental changes”. Explorations have been conducted and archaeologists found many oyster shells used as money and jewelry. Similar shells have been found in Lai Chau, Son La and Thanh Hoa and belonging to civilizations 7,000-8,000 years ago. Archaeologists also uncovered various work tools made from limestone – some relatively fragile but others harder than glass. The haul was completed with the discovery of pottery from the New Stone era – again bring hints and clues for new researches on life customs and habits of human in the very beginning era. Thousands of years later, it was Hoa Lu chosen as the capital as well as the economic, political and cultural center, in late 10th century. Hoa Lu included defensive earthen walls, palaces, temples and shrines, and was surrounded and protected by mountains of limestone. Though today, the ancient citadel no longer exists, and few vestiges of the 10th century remain, local Vietnamese still visit and honor the temples of the emperors Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Lê Đại Hành, and join an annual festival in the third month of the lunar year includes ceremonies, games and a fair, to commemorate the history of Vietnam between 968, the year in which Đinh Bộ Lĩnh proclaimed himself emperor, and 1010, the year in which Lý Công Uẩn moved the capital from Hoa Lư to the area of Hanoi. Read more: Vietnam tours

 From the journey back to ancient “caveman” time – almost 30,000 years ago…

…to the remains of a thousand year ago, still honored and well commemorated as a nice phase of Vietnam history – Hoa Lu capital

Hoa Lu 1

Hoa Lu 2

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… to development and modernization, big scale even in religion – Bai Dinh Temple Spiritual and Cultural Complex

Bai Dinh 3

Bai Dinh 1

Bai Dinh Pagoda (14)

BAi Dinh 4

Trang An Landscape Complex seems to have its all rich values in both culture and nature. Stories have been told, but to really take in the marvelous scenery, and also the great ambiance of the area’s history, we would not hesitate to recommend spending two days in Ninh Binh province. For travelers with tight time budget, a day trip is also doable. How does it sound with leaving Hanoi early by 7 am, depart for Ninh Binh, a stop to visit Hoa Lu then cycling to Bich Dong Pagoda to the South of Tam Coc? Afternoon is relaxing time for 1.5 – 2 hours boat trip to Trang An Grottoes.

Will you make it – a visit to Vietnam’s first mixed heritage?

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