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Archive for March, 2016

If you – travelers – plan to visit Vietnam in the upcoming April, please remember to note down one of the most important festivals in Vietnamese culture will occur in the 16th of April. This day, we – Vietnamese, will celebrate the Death Anniversary of Hung Kings as for Vietnamese people’s belief, the death anniversary is more important than the birthday itself when memorizing the passed away. Indochina tours in Vietnam

So let’s begin with who are Hung Kings and why all of us,Vietnamese, celebrate them nationwide but not the other kings.

The-National-Ancestor-King-Hung-Vuong

As been told by the legend, the first Hung king and the first King ever of Vietnam was the eldest son of Lac Long Quan and Au Co which was father and mother of Vietnamese people. The Hung dynasty then lasted for the next 17 kings with the name for the country back then was Van Lang until it ended in B.C 258 by the man named Thuc Phan later became An Duong King. During the period of which Hung Kings ruled which has been told to be 2,622 years, Vietnamese people had worked hard in agriculture and farming and developed a lot of inventions to save time and efforts while working. They had created the most famous and well-received food that still remains its reputation till now which are Chung  and Day cake. The two cakes represent the symbols of the sky and earth with the ingredient not only can find easily around but also delicious and can be eaten by anyone. The creation of two cakes was also the reason why the fourth Hung King had come to power since the third King asked all of his sons to bring him the most unique food in both meaning and taste with the winner would be given the crown. To this day, both cakes are often made and consumed during Vietnamese New Year days to remember the origin of it; also when sitting around waiting for the cake to be ready, family members can have the small talks about each one’s achievements, issues and failure in the year which somehow bring people closer to each other.

The dynasty also get famous thanks to the tales of many princes and princess of which the most famous can be related to how the last Hung King held a contest to find the groom for his second daughter. The requirements to have the hand of the princess was to find and bring all of the rarities and special things. Two of the contestant,  Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh – the God of Mountain and the God of Water, were the most potential. After all, Son Tinh was the winner but that did not satisfy Thuy Tinh; he claimed that was unfair and raised the water in all the rivers to drown Son Tinh and everyone down and would stop only when the princess belongs to him. However, as he raised the water, Son Tinh raised the mountain to block the flow and saved other people. Each could not win and kept fighting forth and back till Thuy Tinh was so tired the deciding to retreat. However, he did not give up and kept coming back every year. This fight is the metaphor of how the monsoon in Vietnam is each year and how brave and persevere Son Tinh aka Vietnam people to the power of nature.

Coming back to the topic, the anniversary will be held in several Hung Kings’ Temple across the center; however, the biggest one which attract most will be at PhuTho – the old capital back when Hung King still in power. The festival in Phu Tho attracts about almost 3 million people from all the provinces in the country. Each person come with the wish of showing respect to the Kings and learning about the history of Vietnam.

Often, the festival will happen on March 10th lunar calendar every year and this year will be April 16th. This day is now officially became National Holiday Day so everyone will have a day off work and have the chance to show the respect to the King in their own ways.

For you, my friends who come to Vietnam on this occasion, let try the two cakes: Chung and Day; although it’s  often made in New Year, the cakes are still available in small street stalls or at the market for you to have a taste.

 

 

 

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We have been received many questions about Vietnam visa, so we will show you how to get a visa for Vietnam. There are two different ways:

1/ Getting Vietnam Visa-On-Arrival (recommended): All you need to do is to  get Vietnam visa-on-arrival at the immigration checkpoint in Vietnam international airports and wait for an Approval letter within 2 days or even 8 working hours or 4 working hours. You can ask any Travel agent in Vietnam to have an online application form. The Approval letter is used to get on board and together with your passport and 2 photos to get your visa stamped at Vietnam airport. Indochina tours Vietnam

2/ Getting Vietnam visa at Vietnam Embassy: Before coming to Vietnam. You can contact Vietnam embassy directly for applying Vietnam visa, or get your visa stamped at embassy with pre-approved letter with code (Vietnam Embassy Visa) to pick up Vietnam visa stamp at embassy from Vietnam Immigration Department. For the purpose of tourist travels, you will need a tourist visa. Getting a Vietnamese visa is relatively cheap in comparison to any other countries. The fee is ranging from just 50 – 150 USD.

For a tourist visa, you will need to submit:

1) Entry permit form (which can vary from one Vietnamese embassies or consulate abroad to another).

2) Two photos (usually 4cm x 6cm or 3 cm x 4 cm)

3) Your original passport

4) Visa fee
The form and the fee can vary by country, so please check directly the Vietnamese embassy or consulate to which you are applying. A business visa usually also requires a letter of support from your sponsor agency or company in Vietnam. In person, the process usually takes 2-3 days, and by mail, the process usually takes 2-3 weeks, depending on the service you use, although times can vary considerably by embassy or consulate. If you are mailing, please note that you need to make arrangements to have your passport with visa returned to you.

For assistance, you can process your visa through a travel agency or tour company in Vietnam, with an additional fee, although this is not usually necessary unless you need visa on arrival services.

Fill in the Visa Application Form

Some notes to fill in the Visa Application Form to get Vietnam visa. Please fill in the Application form truly and completely.

Section 1:

  • Application Options: Choose the right Vietnam visa types.
  • Passport details:

– Fill in your name as in your passport and separate your first name, last name and middle name.

– Select your gender

– Fill with your date of birth in Vietnamese date format: DD-MM-YYYY

– Fill in your current nationality as in your passport.

– Fill in the number of your passport with which you are applying for the visa. It should have at least 6 months of validity remaining from your exit date.

Section 2: Contact and Travel Information

– Fill in your email address with which you want to receive your approval letter.

– Fill in an alternative email if applicable.

– Fill with your date of arrival by AIR, please check out this link for date of arrival explaination.

– Fill in your flight number. If you have not booked your ticket yet, you can leave the box blank. It is to verify that you will be arriving by air only.

– All other boxes below are optional, you can leave it unchecked.

To sum up, it’s very simple to get a visa for Vietnam. We do believe that the simple visa process also plays a great part in attracting tourists to a country, and Vietnam has been doing a good job of it.

Then we would like to share common mistakes when apply for a visa to Vietnam on arrival:

#1 – No visa on arrival without applying online: many people think that they can get a visa directly at Vietnam international airport without applying online. That is NOT true, you may end up with delaying/cancelling your flights or waiting at the airport until the visa is approved. So, you will need to apply online for an approval letter in order to pick up your visa at Vietnam airport.

#2 – Visa extension: many people think that it is easy to extend a visa once they are in Vietnam, however, in fact, it is not that easy, and extending a visa may be a costly and time consuming process. So, if possible, just apply for a 3 month visa in advance instead of a 1 month one to save money on visa extension.

#3 – Spelling / Typo mistakes: Many applicants fill in the Application form with WRONG details: full name on passport, passport number or date of birth. Normally, that may not be a big problem, however, in some cases; they will be refused by the airline at the departure airport since the information on the letter of approval does not match those in the passport. So, make sure you enter everything correctly and carefully.

#4 – Visa on arrival at the border: Visa on arrival works for air travel only, it means there is NO on arrival visa for overland/border crossing or sea/water entry. So, in case you DO NOT enter Vietnam by air, just make sure you have the visa in advance.

#5 – Arrival date: many people think that the visa validity will start from the date they enter Vietnam, not from the date they provide, however, it is NOT. The visa validity will commence from the date you provide in advance, not from the date you will enter the country. So, just make sure that you make a clear plan of when to enter before ordering a visa to Vietnam.

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Vietnam is one of famous destinations around the world to travel and it attracts hundreds of tourists every year. Here is some transportation that you should use to see the whole maleficent Vietnam.

Travel Vietnam by plane

One of the most convenient ways to discover Vietnam is to get the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. If travelers travel by other transport, it can take several days and months to get the destinations. However, a 2-hour flight can excite tourists because of its cheapness and popularity. Indochina tours Vietnam

Travel Vietnam by plane is one of the most convenient ways

Travel Vietnam by plane is one of the most convenient ways –

Source: Wikipedia

Due to the development and tourism attractions, there are many airports and flights available for travelers to book. If you desire discovering Danang, Hai Phong, Nha Trang or any ideal destinations in Vietnam, you can go from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to get the best and quickest way with domestic flights.

Travel Vietnam by bus

If you have much time and you desire travelling around Vietnam without comfort, going by bus is a great way to choose. Some public buses to get around the cities and country serve almost all of cities in Vietnam, tourists can see in every street with big colorful buses. Be careful with travelling in long distances because it will waste time and have dangerous roads. For example, the way from Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City by bus takes more than 8 hours with 172 miles.

Getting around Vietnam by bus is a good way to visit in short routes

Getting around Vietnam by bus is a good way to visit in short routes -Source: rentacarvietnam.com

However, choosing the way to travel around the cities in short distances by bus is a great choice. Public buses travel between the bus stations in every city in Vietnam. The fare is cheap and you can have a chance to interact with local people, practice Vietnamese language, for example. Notice that the roads in Vietnam are crazy and you can be nervous sometimes when being in the bus.

Travel Vietnam by car

In Vietnam, it is not usual when foreigners rent a car to travel. Therefore, if you have a group of more than five, renting a driver and guide your team would be great way to get a tour.

Renting a car in Vietnam is not usual to travel and take risk

Renting a car should always be with a driver  – source: bestsellingcarsblog.com

Trust me; you will not want to travel around Vietnam by car because of crazy drivers and dangerous roads. In addition, the transport rules in Vietnam are different from other countries in the world.

Travel Vietnam by train

The trains in Vietnam are more expensive than the buses but its comfort and flexible time schedule would be worth travelling. Usually, the train arrives from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, which is the most popular way to travel between the two biggest cities in Vietnam. Tourists will spend more than 30 hours but if they book an overnight train, travelers can sleep with air-conditioned and comfortable bed. Remember that you should book the ticket as early as possible because it would be sold out in peak season.

Travelling by train is a great way in Vietnam with comfort - source: reddit.com

Travelling by train is a great way in Vietnam with comfort – source: reddit.com

In addition, there are several short routes running through Vietnam to visit some beautiful cities. Therefore, be wise to choose the transport you want to travel in Vietnam.

Travel Vietnam by motor scooter, cyclo

Motor scooter is a popular transport in Vietnam; make sure that you confirm a reasonable price before starting to travel. Moreover, be careful with your driving, the roads are crazy and if anything negative happens, there are strict punishments allowed.

In some big cities in Vietnam, there will have some cyclos to travel

In some big cities in Vietnam, there will have some cyclos to travel – source: alotrip.travel

In some peaceful cities: Hue, Dalat, Da Nang, you can enjoy slow driving to go sightseeing many unique landscapes. Moreover, riding by a cyclo trip would be perfect when you travel around Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the drivers will bring tourists to every corner of the city.

Travel Vietnam by bicycle

Sometimes, the adventurous travelers decide to travel around Vietnam by bicycle. It could be said to be amazing and wonderful. In addition, it is very cheap to rent bikes in some big cities in Vietnam, especially Dalat, Hoi An, Hue usually have great spots for cycling.

Tourists can ride with some local young people and have a map to find the right way through Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

Travel Vietnam by boat

Travelling by boat in Vietnam now is more popular and special to take some time and be in the ocean. Halong Bay is one of the ideal destinations to travel by boat in Vietnam. It takes a one to three-day boat trip to get around limestone islands and caves. While being on the boat, travelers can experience some special cuisines and get a perfect way to Mekong Delta if you have more time.

10-3-16Halong-Bay

Travelling Vietnam is the best way to go by some transport such as plane, train, bus, motor scooter, bicycle, boat, etc. Each vehicle will excite travelers with different experiences but it will inspire you to love Vietnam.

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Duong Lam ancient village is located in Son Tay Town, far about 60 kilometers to the West of Hanoi. It is, where two famous Vietnam’s kings – Phung Hung (761 – 802) and Ngo Quyen (896 – 944) were born and grew up, deserves its admiration and Duong Lam village is a typical Vietnam culture to visit.

Many years ago, both of men led residents to fight northern invasion and then winning for national independence. They were victorious and be praised to be crowned kings. After their deaths, local people built temples in honor of their kings.

1-3-16The-gate-to-enter-to-Duong-Lam-ancient-village

This unique Vietnam culture village has a history of more than 1,200 years with several traditional houses dating back up to 400 years. One special feature of this village is that most of the buildings were made of laterite and mud, existed in a large amount in this town. Laterite was used to build walls, gates, wells, temple walls and many other things of the house. Mud was taken from ponds. Apart from its historical, culture and tourism values, Duong Lam ancient village has played an important role for experts and scientists to research resident communities in Vietnam. Indochina tours Vietnam

The houses were made of laterite and mud bringing special traditional features

The houses were made of laterite and mud bringing special traditional features

There are some essential factors to highlight Duong Lam ancient village as a unique Vietnam culture by its gate, banyan, well and communal house.

Well

The typical wells were constructed in a county town in Duong Lam village. It was believed that these wells would protect the whole family because they had maintained many imprints of the villagers.

Communal houses

A communal house in the sunset with yellow straw spreading on the ground

A communal house in the sunset with yellow straw spreading on the ground

The communal houses are worshipping place of the God, a founder of the village. It consists of five villages with five communal houses. Doai Giap and Cam Lam houses dedicated to Phung Hung king – the national hero winning the victory after fighting invaders under Duong Dynasty; Cam Thinh communal house dedicated to both founders of the village and great mandarin Cao Phuc Dien, a hero under Le Dynasty. Dong Sang house worships the God in Vietnam but it was destroyed by fire and then restored by financial aid from citizens. Tan Vien Son God was stayed in Mong Phu communal house. Nearby, Mong Phu house is a gathering location of the residents for cultural activities. Those communal houses were made by complex decoration details that brought a unique sculptural architecture in Vietnam culture.

Architecture of the house

The wooden house mainly contains five to seven spans with two wings. It was specialized by complex carved details in the form of some natural features such as flowers, leaves and clouds.

A system of doors is very strong and hard. Each span has four leaves with upper and lower joints. Thresholds were made of hard wood with its height is above 40-50 centimeters from the ground and 10 centimeters from the floor. This distance helps to bring fresh air to enter the house and avoid humidity for the thresholds.

Firm thresholds would bring fresh air to the house

Firm thresholds would bring fresh air to the house

For tangible culture tradition, Duong Lam village has had 21 relic sites including in several temples, pagodas and tombs and ten of which were recognized as national and provincial relics in Vietnam.

For intangible culture relic, it has preserved a variety of festivals, customs and Vietnam literature on the people and land of this village through different time of period.

For ecological environment, this unique Vietnam culture possesses few stunning scenes connecting with legendary stories such as Guom Hill, Ho Gam Hill and tales on the two kings: Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen.

These days, Duong Lam ancient village has been preserving, repairing and developing the value of Vietnam culture to contribute the natural cultural heritage and boost tourism activities.

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