Monday, June 21, 2010

Hanoi preservation

LookAtVietnam - Many religious monuments and temples, along with other infrastructure works in Hanoi, are in a race of thoughtless renovation and reconstruction to welcome Hanoi’s millennium anniversary by October of this year.
Today, Pham Khanh Toan will complete his contributions in transforming the Xuan Tao communal hall, or dinh in Vietnamese, into what is both a pagoda and a temple. The dinh is located in Minh Tao village, about 10 kilometres from Hanoi’s centre. 

In the yard, people are busy installing a pair of stone lantern pillars, which originate from China and are commonly used in public gardens, at the dinh’s gates. Toan, a builder and contractor, stands in front of a guardian statue made of ferro-concrete and coated by South Korean paint. He pushes his drill into the statue’s chin and the flute of the upper lip, then installs screws into the holes and fixes some black electricity wires onto them. Now, the statute’s young face looks a little bit older, with its new beard and moustache. more>>

Cruise the Far East: Vietnam and Cambodia on a slow boat down the mighty Mekong

The morning mist rises off the Cambodian town of Kampong Chhnang as the kids wait for their 'bus', mum cleans up breakfast dishes in front of daytime TV and dad gets ready for work. Not really unusual sights: but they are among 4,000 people bobbing in this floating village on the Tonle Sap River.
Best wheel forward: Amy takes a rickshaw trip in Vietnam
Sampans groaning with ripe melons float by on their way to the busy quayside market, while the children clamber into a boat to take them to their floating school and the men repair fishing nets ready for the day ahead. The women use the river as a washing-up bowl; behind them a large TV hooked up to a car battery flickers on the open deck.

Waterways in Cambodia are still the lifeblood of the country. Chugging past us, fishermen tug nets into dangerously low-looking boats, while women scrub clothes and their children squeal with laughter and jump from the muddy banks, waving at us. more>>

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lotus may become national flower

LookAtVietnam - Lotus is a highly probable choice for Vietnam’s national flower since it satisfies many standards to gain the title: it must grow everywhere, show the character and manners of the nation and is beautiful and durable.
Lotuses flood Hue city

Choosing a national flower has been considered for a long time. The selected flower will be considered as a cultural symbol and be used during holidays, festivals, especially in overseas events. But what id the scientific basis for choosing such a symbol? 
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on June 16 organised a workshop entitled “VietnameseNational Flower: The Necessity and Standards”. This is the first workshop of its kind in Vietnam, which introduced 13 standards for the national flower. more>>

Vietnamese cuisine to be featured on international TV channel

LookAtVietnam - Ten 45-minute episodes about Vietnamese food will be broadcast in October on prime time on Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and the American Travel, Living and Discovery channels.
Luke Nguyen prepares roast pork ribs on the pavement of Ton That Hiep Road, District 1, HCM City .

Last year, an Australian film crew shot 10 episodes of a series entitled “Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam in HCM City,” which focused on local specialties in central and southern Vietnam.

Luke Nguyen is a famous Vietnamese-Australian chef. In 2002, Nguyen and his sister opened their first restaurant, the Red Lantern Restaurant, serving Vietnamese food in Sydney’s Surry Hills. The Red Lantern soon won critical acclaim and a number of awards including the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association of Australia’s Best Restaurant awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008. continued>>

Saigon’s bronze urn casting village

VietNamNet Bridge – The An Hoi bronze urn casting village in HCM City has existed for more than 100 years. At this moment, there are around ten families still casting bronze urns to supply the southern market.
This woman has had 40 years of experience casting bronze urns.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tramcars to run in Hanoi next month

LookAtVietnam - The pilot project to operate tramcars around the Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi’s Old Quarter for tourists will be kicked off in July 2010.

The tramcar route will start from Dinh Tien Hoang Street and stop at 53 Hang Duong – Dong Xuan Market – 25 Hang Chieu – 9 Hang Vai – 97 Hang Buom – 80 Ma May – 42 Hang Bac – 6A Hang Bo – 22 Bat Dan – 47 Hang Quat – 14 Le Thai Tho – Bo Ho Post Office – Ba Kieu Temple.

Khoi told Hoan Kiem District to put this route into operation as of July and also requested that the Department of Transportation and Police Agency submit the rules for tramcar operation before June 20.  more>>


Hanoi, Je t’aime

Ngoc Linh’s miniature paintings were created in 1991 on old lottery tickets as at the time he couldn’t afford actual paper
People tell me that the artist Ngoc Linh is 80 years old but I’m not convinced. When I arrive at his door I come face to face with a sprightly man who seems far, far younger.

Born in Lang Son province, Ngoc Linh is ethnic Tay and was originally named Vi Van Bich by his parents. His grandfather Vi Van Dinh was chief of Ha Dong and Thai Binh provinces in French colonial times. His father studied in France before returning to Vietnam to open up a small business on Hang Dao street. more>>

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hue’s Asia night

LookAtVietnam - In the solemn atmosphere of Thai Hoa Palace at the Hue royal citadel, Asian costumes were honored on the evening of June 11.

Vietnamese ao dai.

Indian traditional costume.

Korean women in Hanbok

Lao girl in Longgi

A Mongolian man.

A Chinese girl.

Source: Tien phong 

Village pho recipes big hit in the city

The Ngoc Vuong chain is among the most famous traditional pho restaurants in the capital.

LookAtVietnam - Although dealing with her own hectic work day, the time it takes for Lai Hien Minh to search for a seat in the crowded Pho Lanh shop on Nui Truc Street during the lunch rush does nothing to convince her to leave for another restaurant with fewer customers. 

"To have a hot bowl of good quality pho (beef noodle soup) like this, squeezing into this shop is not a problem for me. Traditional pho bo Nam Dinh (noodle soup, a speciality of Nam Dinh Province) has been my favourite ever since it became a familiar trademark to gastronomes in Ha Noi nearly 10 years ago," she says. 
It seems that Vu Minh Lanh, the restaurant owner, has not had a day to relax in the entire 15 years his shop has been open. It has been crowded with customers ever since the doors opened in 1995.

"Although the dish originated in our village it was unable to fully develop there because the people had very low incomes; there wasn't a high demand for this type of food, which was relatively expensive. Consequently, many of us have had to set up businesses outside of our homeland," says Lanh.

Although Ha Noi has long been famous for a variety of pho trademarks, such as Pho Thin, Pho Bat Dan and Pho Ly Quoc Su, traditional pho Nam Dinh has managed to successfully gain a significant foothold in the capital. 
Nowadays, Ha Noi is overwhelmed with numerous pho bo Nam Dinh shops, some of which are throughout in all the city such as the Ngoc Vuong chain, the Pho Lanh shop on Nui Truc Street and Co Dang shop on Hoang Quoc Viet Street. It was young people from the current generation who made the food so popular that these days it can be found on virtually every street corner in Ha Noi. 
With the unique flavor and good servings, many traditional pho Nam Dinh restaurants have won favor in Ha Noi
According to many elders in Nam Dinh, there is no specific evidence of where this world famous Vietnamese dish was born. However, it has been established that Co Huu Vang was the first villager from the province to introduce an ambulatory noodle soup concession stand to Ha Noi in the 1930s.

One of the village elders, 80 year old Phan Dang, sold pho on Hang Trong Street in 1942 but then returned to Nam Dinh, only to return to the capital in 1953 to open a noodle soup shop on Lan Ong Street. Now his family owns four shops and two rice noodle houses.
Another elder, Co Hung, set the record of selling 3,000 bowls of rice noodle per day in the 1960s. His family owned five noodle houses called Pho Hung in different locations around Ha Noi. 
Soup makers have managed to hang on to the food making secrets that were passed down from previous generations. However, they have also altered the traditional recipes to suit eaters' tastes in different areas. 
In the past, rice noodle with well-done or half-done beef was the most popular, but changes have been made to meet current diner demands. New noodle soup varieties include pho ga (with chicken), fried beef and simple fried noodles.
The image of numerous ambulatory noodle soup concession stand staking out street corners has begun to disappear over the years. Now, many noodle soup shops and restaurants, both small and large, have sprouted up like mushrooms.
The high demand for this speciality among big city patrons combined with the economic benefits of having access to more customers have attracted a lot of Van Cu and Giao Cu villagers to make the move. 
Pho bo Nam Dinh has become familiar to gastronomers in Ha Noi for nearly 10 years.
Lanh's fellow-countryman Vu Ngoc Vuong has his own strong attachments to this trade, which was handed down to him from two previous generations. The success and reputation of his family's cuisine helped him to develop a series of three restaurants in Ha Noi and one in HCM City.
Ngoc Vuong restaurants welcome large numbers of customers everyday. Although they are open all day, the restaurants are the most crowded in the morning. Each one typically sells more than 1,000 bowls of noodle soup per day. continued>>

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Riding ostriches in Da Lat plateau

VietNamNet Bridge – After a 2-hour flight from Hanoi, visitors will arrive in romantic Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to see thousands of varieties of flowers and to ride ostriches.
 At the Prenn Waterfall tourist site, around 10km from Da Lat, ostriches line up as battle horses to wait for tourists. These ostriches are trained so they are accustomed to man. After climbing up onto an ostrich’s back and sit firmly on the harness, riders only need to lap on the bird to tell it to run.

'We need to tell people' about Vietnam

As long as he lives, Hogan Bryan will remember the moment he landed in Saigon, Vietnam.
It was 1966 and he was a carefree, young Army lieutenant whose poor vision had killed his dream of flying a Huey. He was headed for the 339th Transportation Company but didn’t know what he’d really be doing.
“You get off that plane, and I’ll never forget the heat, the immense heat,” recalls Bryan, who is 67 now and enjoying retirement on Okaloosa Island with his wife, Linda. “It was buildings and trucks and tents and airplanes. It was phenomenal.”
continued on>>

Vietnam Airlines joins the SkyTeam Alliance

Vietnam Airlines Boeing 777-26K ER VN-A144 (msn 33505) DME (OSDU)
, originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.

Vietnam Airlines (Hanoi) officially joined the SkyTeam global airline alliance today (June 10).
As part of the joining ceremony in Hanoi, attended by Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, senior government officials and representatives from SkyTeam member airlines, Vietnam Airlines unveiled its first aircraft in the SkyTeam livery to commemorate its membership in the alliance.
Copyright Photo: OSDU. Boeing 777-26K ER VN-A144 (msn 33505) lands at Moscow (Domodedovo).

ed: the airlines which make up Sky Team are: 

Hanoi introduces five tours to craft villages

Hanoi’s Department of Industry and Trade is putting together five tours of the city’s traditional craft villages to mark the 1,000 th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.

The tours, which are scheduled to start this month, include a one-day tour to the Chuon Ngo pearl inlay village, Thang Loi embroidery village, Ha Thai lacquer village, Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan village and an extended tour to Van Phuc silk and Son Dong sculpture villages.

A tour of Bat Trang ceramic and Kieu Ky gold-leaf villages is also planned.
The department has also selected a number of typical workshops and old houses of architectural interest to be visited during the tours.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Southern Fruit Festival 2010 opens in HCM City

LookAtVietnam - More than 400 species of fruit from orchards in 18 provinces and cites have been brought to the festival's fruit competition, which opened on June 1 at HCM City's Suoi Tien Cultural Park.

The safe, delicious fruit competition is a new activity this year to encourage gardeners to apply sci-tech advances to create high-quality fruit species. This is also a chance for gardeners to share their experiences.

The "floating fruit market" is also a new feature. Up to 70 boats filled with fruit are moored at the park's campus to serve visitors.

The festival will take place over three summer months, with various other activities. The most special events will be the fruit procession by 400 artists, an exhibition of ornamental trees and animals, display of a collection of stones that look like fruits, a fruit market, a fruit art contest among 100 artisans, and the introduction of 26 fruit-made cuisines.

Organizers expect that the festival will lure over 1 million visitors, selling over 1,000 tons of fruit.

The festival is an annual event held by the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Suoi Tien Cultural Park to introduce fruits of the south to local and foreign tourists.

Some pictures of fruits displayed at the festival on June 1:

Source: Dan Tri-Tuoi Tre

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hanoi Craft Week 2010 scheduled in August

VietNamNet Bridge - With the theme "Thousand Years Quintessence," the second annual Hanoi Craft Week will be held from August 4-9 at the Hanoi Friendship Cultural Palace to celebrate Hanoi's anniversary and the national tourism year in Hanoi.

With thousands of years of history, Hanoi is known as a land that epitomizes Vietnam. With the famous name "Land of One Hundred Jobs", Hanoi produces about 80 percent of the fine arts and handicrafts in the country. In recent years, traditional craft villages such as Van Phuc silk, Bat Trang pottery, Phu Vinh rattan and bamboo, Chuyen My mother-of-pearl and Ha Thai lacquer are more widely known both inside and outside Vietnam not only for their cultural achievements, but also for their social and economic values.

The upcoming Hanoi Craft Week 2010, held by the Hanoi Department of Trade and Industry and Abix JSC, will introduce the heart of Hanoi's craft villages. continued>>

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The hidden charms of a beach at the foot of the mountains

VietNamNet Bridge – Thousands of people flock to a cool beach in Quy Nhon City during the summer.

A shelter in the shape of a giant guitar at the beach.

Quy Hoa beach is situated between two low mountain ranges that merge with the blue sea, offering stunning vistas and mild weather that combines sunshine with the cool breezes blowing out of the forests from the mountains. To reach it, one has to ride down the road going from Quy Nhon to the neighbouring province of Phu Yen, make a turn on the first downhill road on the left and follow it.

The beach is closed off and there is a gate. The whole place has been developed into a complex. The entrance costs for the complex is VND5,000 plus another VND2,000 for motorbikes. At the entrance of the beach is a park with statues of world celebrities who dedicated their lives to fighting leprosy. 

Reach the beach: Quy Hoa Beach in central Viet Nam.
more on vietnamnet>>

Sleepless cafés in Saigon

LookAtVietnam - Vietnam has ca phe coc, meaning cafes on the sidewalk or in front of offices, which only open from morning until noon. Saigon has ca phe bui or ca phe bet, where customers can sit on the ground.

 A ca phe bui in HCM City.
Pham Ngu Lao road, which is called Pho Tay (street for foreigners), has a dozen ca phe bui to serve travelers.

A ca phe bui can be a plastic bag containing various things from bottles of green tea, plastic cups, straws and some kinds of soft drink, which is hung on the street. Customers serve themselves by taking a plastic cup and choosing their drink. Another ca phe bui is equipped with a spongy box and a plastic bag.

Tam, 27, an original Saigonese opens his ca phe bui at the foot of a tree on Le Lai road. This ca phe bui is taken care of by four family members, consisting of Tam, his wife, his sister and his mother. His family lives in a 15 square meter apartment in an alley. more on lookatvietnam>>

Shopping for love in Vietnam's mountains

Once a year, with his wife's blessing, Lau Minh Pao gets to have a guilt-free tryst with his ex.

Main Image

The love market village of Khau Vai is seen from the top of a mountain in Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province, 500 km (310 mi) north of Hanoi May 9, 2010.

Ethnic San Chi girls giggle while attending the "love market" in Khau Vai village in Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province, 500 km (310 miles) north of Hanoi May 9, 2010.
Hmong girls wait for their lovers at the Khau Vai 'love market' in Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province, 500 km (310 mi) north of Hanoi May 10, 2010

Ethnic Hmong wait for their lovers at the Khau Vai 'love market' in Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province, 500 km (310 mi) north of Hanoi May 10, 2010. 

A Hmong girl goes to Khau Vai 'love market' in Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province, 500 km (310 mi) north of Hanoi May 10, 2010

Their rendezvous' have played out more like strolls down memory lane than salacious flings, but they are part of a treasured tradition in this mountainous corner of northern Vietnam that may challenge some more linear concepts of love.
"In the past, we were lovers, but we couldn't get married because we were far apart," Pao simply as he waited for his date on a dark night in the village of Khau Vai in Ha Giang province.
Now when they meet, he said, "we pour our hearts out about the time when we were in love."
They are not alone. continued on reuters>>

Monday, May 24, 2010

Photo Gallery: Vietnam's Sapa worth the treck

It had been a very long night. But Sapa’s beauty was enough to make even the worst of the journey worthwhile. 

High in the mountains, we spent the days riding motorcycles through terraced rice fields and the nights shooting pool with locals and fellow backpackers alike.

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Travis Lupick In Vietnam's northwest, terrace rice fields line Sapa's narrow mountain roads.

Travis Lupick Friendly locals stop to sell crafts or just chat with tourists new to town.

Travis Lupick

More here>>

Travis Lupick