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Posts Tagged ‘travel to Vietnam’

One of my favorite quotes is that FAMILY  stands for Father And Mother, I Love You. Our parents, especially mother have raised us, taken care of us and been worried for us since the day we were born. There are thousand songs, films, poems and art works which have been written to show the respect and admiration for our beloved parents. And in this month, the fifth month of the year, we are going to celebrate the special day for the special woman, our mama. Have you had any plans for the most important and beautiful woman in your life?

Family

Family- source: internet

When I was a kid, I did not know about this day. Mother’s Day has just come to Vietnam for few years, but it has become very popular. It seems to me that everyone wants to express their love to their mothers. However, the way each person chooses is different. Some think they have to buy for their moms beautiful and expensive gifts; while some, including me, think that spending quality time with them is the most wonderful present we can give.  Doing something together, making something together or even just lying on the sand together and talking about nothing can all become sweet memories, which go with you forever. If you have not found the suitable activities to do with your mums, the list below may help.

  1. Travelling together
Recreate sweet childhood memory with mum

Recreate sweet childhood memory with mum – source: internet

If possible, why don’t you travel with your mum? It will be a lot of fun, as you and your mother will have a plenty of time staying together. Travelling to somewhere also provides a new environment, so creates a new atmosphere between you guys. Then maybe, while lying on the beach under some palm trees, you can have enough courage to tell her how sorry you were when you made a mistake few years ago and how appreciated you have been when you know you have her by your side. And maybe, under the moonlight in a strange city, your mother will be comfortable, and even brave enough to tell you that she was also very sorry to accidently hurt your feeling when you were in high school. She could tell you that she has always been proud of you; even though she might speak some harsh words. Maybe…Just give each other a chance and God knows what wonderful things might happen.

Take photo with your mum

Take photo with your mum- source: internet

  1. Inviting your mother to where you live

This choice is similar to the previous one, but it provides the more insightful view of point. This option also brings advantages to someone who has a tight working schedule and cannot have a week break to travel somewhere else.  By inviting your mother to visit you, she can have a taste of your current life. She can know the other side of you. Suddenly, she might recognize that her little Johnny has become a grownup man, who has a promising career, many wonderful friends and a healthy life style. This time, instead of your mother, who had planned and prepared for your trip, now is your time to show her how much capable and thoughtful you are.

If you are unable to take her to some tourists attractions in your city, you can book some tours for your mother, let her explore by herself. Please do not worry that you have left by her own, let’s think it different way. Why don’t you see it as an opportunity for your mother be young again, come back the time she was 20s, and enthusiastic to discover new land and make more friends. And by registering a short tour, maybe day tour, she might tell you many wonderful stories when you and you mother have dinner together. What’s a fantastic idea!

If you are currently staying and working in Indochina, which consists of  Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia ; and you are looking for some reliable travel agencies to plan some wonderful tours for your mum or both of you, maybe you can try to contact my friends. They are professional and friendly; and maybe, they can design and provide you just what you need, or maybe more than what you need. Please try by Travel Indochina Vietnam and tell me what you think!

Travel to Sapa, Vietnam

Travel to Sapa, Vietnam -source: internet

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Diep Son Island is located in Van Ninh district, which is part of Khanh Hoa province, 60km from Nha Trang beach city. The group of islands is located in the waters of Van Phong bay – one of the most beautiful bay in Nha Trang. Despite being very close to the mainland the islands remain pristine and idyllic. There are no motorbikes, and electricity is only available from 6-9pm. Roughly 100 households populate the islands.

Diep Son Island is a great place to visit

Diep Son Island is a great place to visit

What be witches most visitors who come here is Diep Son path submerged under the sea, it connects three islands with Van Gia town. At 6am, when the tide is low, a sand path appears. It’s about 500 meters long, 8 meters wide near the island but narrows to 2-3 meters width the further it is from the island. When the tide is high, the path disappears 1 meter under the water.

The islands are known for its special path, called Diep Son Thuy Dao.

The islands are known for its special path, called Diep Son Thuy Dao.

Walking along Diep Son is exciting and slightly nerve wracking as you are walking in the middle of the mighty ocean. Around 10am, the water level begins to rise. Villagers rush back home, but the visitors get excited as now they can freely explore this special path that is slowing being swallowed by the blue water. Enjoy the unique and magical sensation of walking  along. The white clouds, green islands, blue sea, and the magical white sand path combined create a scene reminiscent of a charming landscape painting.

The road is 0.5 meters from sea level, about 500 m long. Walking amid the ocean is a very memorable experience

The road is 0.5 meters from sea level, about 500 m long. Walking amid the ocean is a very memorable experience

The road to Diep Son will take us drive along Van Phong bay

The road to Diep Son will take us drive along Van Phong bay

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Diep Son Islands is a group of three small islands, belonging to the town of Van Gia.

Diep Son Islands is a group of three small islands, belonging to the town of Van Gia.

Travelling with friends give us beautiful memories

Travelling with friends give us beautiful memories

Cakes are offered by locals on the island

Cakes are offered by locals on the island

TIPS:

1/ The ideal time to visit the islands: From December to July, when the sea is calm and during dry season.

2/ How to get to Diep Son Island: To get there, from Nha Trang you can rent a mortorbike to Van Gia – Rental prices are about $6 – $10 per day depends on the kind of bike. Arriving at Van Gia, you can park your bike at Van Gia fishing port, and from here you will take a boat or canoe to the islands (Canoe is highly recommended as it takes only 15 minutes).

3/ Eating: There is one restaurant on island where you can order foods and drinks. If you don’t like that, you can get into the village and ask locals to cook for you. Don’t miss enjoying seafood!

4/ Attraction: A rustic island attracted with the humble residents and beautiful natural landscape. Diep Son path, a road submerged below the sea level that appears from 7am to middle day. Taka a walk around the islands and explore its pristine beauty. Visit local homes on the island which are very rustic and idyllic.

5/ Notes:

– The island is unexplored and does not offer many services, so it is not suitable for families travelling with children.

– Remember to maintain the cleanness of the island and collect your garbage before leaving

– Do not use the local belongings without their permission

– Protect your belongings as well.

I hope Diep Son is an interesting destination for those who love and wish to preserve the beauty of the island.

Go and explore!!!

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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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Each year, after the New Year Year about 2 weeks, everybody in Vietnam is getting excited and looking forward to our biggest holiday – Tet.

We need to work harder than normal days, concentrate to finish all the undone jobs and also arrange some future works after the holiday to have a long holiday without worrying about anything at work.

However, we are “lucky” to have our office not in the Old Quarter like others, but right next to a big kumquat garden. During January, they are always busy for customers who comes to check and buy a nice and fortunate kumquat to bring home for Tet.

Kumquat is an unique mascots in Tet in the North of Vietnam with Peach Blossom, while Apricot Blossom is represented for the South.

During a years, for 12 months, this garden has witnessed many changes, after each months. From the worst to the most beautiful that not many offices in Hanoi can have.

This was what happened after Tet in 2015. Trees had been bought and the garden looked like a mess!

Then the farmers start fixing it with new soil, using calcium carbonate to prevent worms, gathering left trees to arrange them in line.

New trees are arrived for the coming season. The thing is after Tet, these tree didn’t die. You can choose to throw it away or sell it back to the farmer or hire them to take care of your tree for the next Tet if you really like it’s posture.

These trees have to be green for the whole year and not have fruits until one month before Tet. This is a special technique of the farmers and they spend about 11 months to take care their garden while having a second job like others people.

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Finally, when we are about one week to reach Tet at the moment, these trees are ready to bring home and getting decorated to stand out in the living room.

We could be distracted by this lovely view but our team are proud to have it outside our window! Happy a New Year of Monkey! Wish you are always full of energy and happiness like him!

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For all the vegetarians worried about not being able to eat anything but rice in Hanoi – don’t worry! Today, we will gives you the insiders view on eating vegetarian cuisine in the capital.

“An chay” means no meat and is an essential phrase that usually gets the point across. Make sure to say it a few times or write it down. An chay means to eat vegetarian and although it is a useful word to know, I find “An Chay” to be more effective. Unless you are eating in a vegan restaurant, nuoc mam or fish sauce is served with pretty much everything and dishes without it can seem slightly bland. So I recommend carrying sachets of soy sauce to compensate. Vietnam Cultural Highlights

The following is a list of street food and small restaurants where a vegetarian can somewhat integrate one’s self into the wonderful culture and atmosphere that is Vietnamese food.

Street Food

  • Bun Dau: 55 Phat Loc Lane or Trang Tien Lane, Hoan Kiem
bun dau - noodle with tofu

bun dau – noodle with tofu

Freshly cooked by roving street stalls throughout the day, bun dau is a saviour for vegetarians in search of street food. So long as you like tofu. A plate of cold bun (noodles) is served with an abundance of fresh herbs, lime, chilli and freshly fried tofu that is crispy on the outside and smooth as silk on the inside. Make sure to specify “no meat” otherwise watch out for fried pork masquerading as tofu. Like many Vietnamese dishes, this will come with shrimp or fish-based sauce on the side, easily avoided if you wish. Vietnam travel packages

  • Banh Cuon Chay: 14 Bao Khanh Street or Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh at 66 To Hien Thanh Street.
banh cuon

banh cuon

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making banh cuon

Banh cuon is a rice paper crepe (of some sort) that is understated and, in my opinion, usually underrated. Here, you can see them making the fresh crepes by rapidly spreading and flipping the thin white sheets over a steamer. The result is a subtly-flavoured, warm slimy dish that tastes much better than it sounds. It is served with herbs, chilli and a steaming bowl of fish-based sauce on the side. The banh cuon chay comes with dried onion – We strongly recommend taking soy sauce to compensate for the fish sauce.

  • Fried Rice / Noodles
fried rice

fried rice

If you are not too concerned about:  meat touching your food or the occasional sprinkle of fish sauce, then you can usually grab a tasty dish at any of the small places serving fried rice or noodles where they will happily cook you up a plate of something with a few veggies and no meat. The noodles are usually the better option (particularly fresh pho noodles), but avoid ordering my which are just fried instant noodles. Instant noodles have a high salt content.

Restaurants

  • Trúc Lâm Trai: 39 Lê Ngọc Hân Street, Hoan Kiem
  • Chay Dưỡng Sinh – Homefood: 26 Trần Bình Trọng Street, Hai Ba Trung
  • Com Chay Nang Tam: 79A Trần Hưng Đạo Street, Hoan Kiem
  • Loving Hut: 192/4 Quán Thánh Street, Ba Dinh

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Useful Vietnamese phrases:

  • an chay: vegetarian
  • com chay: vegetarian food
  • nha hang com chay: vegetarian restaurant
  • rau: vegetable
  • khong co mi chinh: no MSG (when in north)/khong co bot ngot: no MSG (when in south)
  • khong co trung: no eggs
  • khong thit: no meat

Enjoy!

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If you are have chance to visit a traditional Vietnamese family, especially in rural area, you might see an ancestor altar that is well located and arranged at the center of the house. The origin of altar comes from the ancestor worship which is typical for the culture of Vietnam.

Ancestor worship – one of Vietnamese beliefs shows respect, gratitude to the ancestor who had born and built posterity’s living. It includes of rituals, worship and other activities to indicate the reverence of generation at the present time to the first generations, grandparents and parents of their family who had passed away.

A popular sample of Ancestor altar

A sample of Ancestor altar in the countryside

Vietnamese ancestor worship has appeared since long time ago, based on the trust of immortal souls after deaths. According to the belief, the body and the soul are both associate and separate. They’re associate when they alive and separate when they die. When a person dies, his body dissolves into the land, but the soul still survives and moves to another world. This world is contrary to the living world and called with different names such as: coi ma (ghost world – of Ede ethnic group), hell, or heaven,… The purpose of building the other world is to satisfy the expectation of a better world. Vietnamese also believe that the dead people with magic power still visit and bless their posterity. So that the living people worship ancestors, show their respect, gratitude and ask for ancestor’s blessing of a happier and wealthier living. Ancestor worship has become not only a belief, the ethics of man, but also an important part of Vietnamese spirit living, especially in rural area. In fact, this belief is one of national traditions and although it is not compelling, it still appears in almost everywhere in the territory and deeply in every generation’s mind.

Vietnam is a country which has a rich, wide variety of ethnics and religions, so the ancestral cult has differences between areas, ethnics and religions. Worshiping ancestor has relationship with other religions such as Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism… Before the August Revolution, Confucianism was the backbone of Vietnamese society, affected and developed ancestor worship system. When the influence of Confucianism decreased, Buddhism bounded to ancestor worship more. So, especially in the North of Vietnam, people consider this belief as one part of Buddhism. The altar often worships both Buddha and ancestor. Catholicism didn’t allow Christians to worship ancestor not until 1964.

Vietnam has 64 ethnic groups, living in different areas, under different living conditions, that make the variety in the practices. The observing ancestral cult of Viet (Kinh) group seems to be the most popular, typical, outstanding, and represents for the belief of the whole nation.

Ancestor worship can be divided into 4 types according to its sphere:

+ Nation: Worshiping Hung King – the first King who created and built the nation.

+ Village: Worshiping Thanh Hoang Lang – the Deity who has huge contribution to the village.

+ Lineage: Worshiping the forefathers of the ancestry.

+ Family: Worshiping the passed away people of the family.

Different from the Western culture, in the past, Vietnamese consider that the death-day is more important than the birthday. So, annually, Vietnamese choose the death-day to celebrate a commemorative anniversary for the deceased, known as death-day or death anniversary.

Ancestor worshiping is an important ritual in wedding ceremony

Ancestor worshiping is an important ritual in wedding ceremony

On every first day and 15th day of the month, the family prepare offering to their ancestor. The offering of fresh flowers, fresh seasonal fruits are presented on the altar then the head person of the family burn incense and pray. In death anniversary or big occasions of the family, bigger offerings will be prepared with flowers, fruits and dishes as a normal meal of the family. Vietnamese people consider this ritual as a way to communicate with ancestor.

The Vietnamese life is changing day by day, the culture is also more colorful with the coming of Western wave. However, the belief of Ancestor Worship is inside every Vietnamese person and always reminds us of our origin.

 

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You are travelling in Vietnam during the middle of eighth lunar month? You are lucky enough to enjoy the most colorful festival of the year – Trung Thu or known as Mid Autumn Festival!

Trung Thu is the biggest festival in Autumn, which is celebrated on 15th of eighth lunar month (flexible in middle Sep to early Oct). The story saying that in this night, we can see the moon clearest, biggest; and it’s time for family, friends to gather after the harvest and pray for the next successful crops. In a way, it’s considered as Thanksgiving in many Western countries.

But if you ask me “What’s the meaning of Mid Autumn Festival?” My answer would be: “It’s children festival and it’s the time for us – the adults to listen to the children laughing”. On this day, children are expected to receive traditional gifts from parents (lanterns, toys, moon cake…).  Every family have a small party with fruits, moon cakes, the children in a neighborhood go from houses to houses and enjoy the party together. In the evening of Trung Thu, dragon dancing parade around the neighborhood in exciting beat of drum and cymbals, followed by the children with their lanterns. The parade ends with a children party in communal hall.

A Trung Thu party with Dragon Dancing

Trung Thu party with Dragon Dancing

You might have your best picture if your trip fall about 1 week before and during the Mid Autumn Festival. Colorful lanterns, toys brighten up the streets. Every kid would love to have a lantern on this day and the lantern has become the most typical symbol of the festival. The traditional lantern is made of colorful paper and bamboo sticks with a candle at center.

You can easily see five point star lantern – the most classic toy

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Five point star lantern

Or with modern cartoon characters

Lantern

Cartoon lanterns

Banh Trung Thu – or Moon Cake has never been missed in Trung Thu Festival, like Banh Chung in Tet,  champagne in New Year or roasted turkey in Christmas. The shops start selling Moon Cake a month in advance. Moon Cake is also used as a gift to friends, family and even to business partners.

Moon Cake at Indochina Voyages Office. Thanks to Indochina Junk, King Express Train and Mr. Tim Lee

Moon Cake at Indochina Voyages Office. Thanks to Indochina Junk, King Express and Mr. Tim Lee

For the one who is planing for the next trip, you might question yourself “Should I visit Vietnam during this time”? Definitely YES! The temperature is cooler, less rain while hotels, cruises and airlines still running very good deals! Furthermore, you will have chance to enjoy the spirit of Trung Thu festival in every corner  of the street, in every family. Do not forget to buy a Moon Cake, enjoy it with Vietnamese tea and also spend the evening joining the children parade. Happy travelling!!!

Tips:

Trung Thu ( Mid Autumn Festival) in 2013: 19 September 2013

Trung Thu ( Mid Autumn Festival) in 2014: 8 September 2014

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