Saturday, May 1, 2010

Shells of villas in Bac Ninh

VietNamNet Bridge - In Bac Ninh province, hundreds of villas worth millions of dollars stand unfinished and empty. 

Built on speculation some years ago on 200 hectares of prime farmland just a little too far from Hanoi, the villas have failed to attract buyers. Only two have been completed and occupied.

Local people call them ‘ghost villas,’ reports the VietNamNet photographer.

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I chose to write about Viet Nam as I felt an unusual and uncharacteristic longing for this country, though I had no attachement to it, nor any of its inhabitants. The longing turned into reality a couple of years ago, and as a result became even more pronounced, - prompting a second visit. As I reflect, and immerse myself in the memories of these visits, I am aware that the similarities between Viet Nam and Egypt are not coincidental. Both countries were heavily influenced by French presence, and to this day, that presence is felt in the architecture, the infrastructure, and the cuisine of both countries. But so much more in Viet Nam that in Egypt, as the latter wishes to eradicate any ties to its non-arabic past.


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Hue: the Imperial Capital City


Vietnam-Japan cultural exchange in Hoi An

The ninth Vietnam-Japan cultural exchange event in Hoi An will be held on August 20-21. (Detail)

Festival promises ethnic delight

Different tour packages will be presented during a festival at the Moc Chau Plateau in the north-eastern province of Son La from August 27 to September 2.(Detail)

Vietnam Coastal Village Festival held in Ninh Thuan

More than 500 artisans, artists and athletics from Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces are attending the Vietnam Coastal Village Festival which opened in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan on August 2.(Detail)

Festival promotes culture, tourism

More than 10,000 tourists and locals gathered on Lang Co Beach in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on July 9 for the opening of the Lang Co Festival 2011. (Detail)

Festival for south-central and central highland region closes

The song and dance festival for the south-central and central highland region has closed in Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen province, leaving deep impressions on visitors.(Detail)

Lang Co festival takes place at weekend

The Lang Co Festival 2011 – the World Beautiful Bay will be held in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on July 9-10 to promote tourism and encourage investment in the Lang Co-Chan May economic zone.(Detail)

Festival features three regions’ cuisine

A festival showcasing delicious and special dishes of all three regions of the country opened in Tuy Hoa city, the central province of Phu Yen , on July 6.(Detail)

Vietnam-Japan cultural exchange to be held in Hoi An ancient city

Hoi An ancient city People’s Committee will coordinate with the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam and the Japan Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam to organize the 9th Vietnam-Japan cultural exchange on August 21st and 22nd.(Detail)

Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia Song and Dance Festival to open

The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has decided to organise the Song and Dance Festival of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in Quang Tri province in July.(Detail)

Sea Village Festival to take place in August

The Vietnam Sea Village Festival will take place in the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan from August 1-4. (Detail)

China, Laos, Vietnam engage in ‘con’ hurling festival

Jiangcheng district in China’s Yunnan province will host a traditional ‘con’ throwing festival on November 10-12 for participants from Vietnam, China and Laos.(Detail)

Central ethnic minority cultural festival kicks off

The Cultural, Sports and Tourism Festival for people in the Central and Central Highlands regions kicked off on July 1 in the southern central province of Phu Yen. (Detail)

Da Lat flower festival to feature wide range of activities

As many as 18 programmes will take place during the Da Lat Flower Festival to be held in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong from December 30, 2011 to January 3, 2012.(Detail)

Culture, Sports and Tourism Festival of Vietnam’s ethnic groups in the Central Coastal and Highland region to open

The Culture, Sports and Tourism Festival of Vietnam’s ethnic groups in the Central Coastal and Highland region with the theme “Sea and Island Tourism” will be held in Phu Yen Province by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Phu Yen Provincial People's Committee from July 1st to 9th 2011. (Detail)

Quang Binh Culture and Tourism Week 2011

The Quang Binh Culture and Tourism Week 2011 with many plentiful and diversified activities will take place from June 5 to 11, 2011 in Quang Binh Province. This is the first event held to welcome the new tourism season in Quang Binh.(Detail)

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International visitors to Vietnam in November and 11 months of year 2009

International visitors to Vietnam in November estimated 387,871 arrivals. Totally, international visitors in 11 months reached 3,400,088 arrivals, 12.3% lower than those in the same period of year 2008. (Detail)

Journey From the Fall

Customs & Habits

Customs of Chewing Betel and Areca Nuts and smoking thuoc lao

According to legends, chewing quid of betel and areca has been a custom since the Hung Vuong period and is connected to the antique legend of betel and areca.   (Detail)

Funeral Ceremony

“The sense of the dead is that of the final,” says a Vietnamese proverb, meaning that funeral ceremonies must be solemnly organized.    (Detail)

Worship of Ancestor Custom

A very popular belief among Vietnamese is the custom of the ancestor cult. In every household, an ancestor altar is installed in the most solemn location.    (Detail)

Wedding Ceremony

Getting married is an important event in a Vietnamese’s life. The procedure of the ancient wedding ceremony was very complicated. Current wedding ceremony procedures include the following steps: the search for a husband or wife, the proposal, the registration, and finally the wedding.    (Detail)

Villages – Guilds

 The Vietnamese culture has always evolved on the basis of the wet rice civilization. Thus, the lifestyle of the Vietnamese population is closely related to its village and native lands.    (Detail)




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Vietnam is still traditional despite its giant leaps forward. Please try to observe the following:

· Leave the cut-offs at home; dress modestly, and women should avoid plunging necklines.
· Don’t touch anyone on the head, children included.
· Don’t do anything with your left hand, which is considered dirty (lefties, I have no advice for you).

· Don’t give white flowers; any other color is okay.
· If you’re going out to dinner, communal dishes are shared by all.
· When eating, don’t rest your chopsticks on top of the bowl, but rather to the side.
· Don’t cross your legs when sitting on a chair.
· Don’t point (I have this terrible habit!!).
· If you wear a hat, remove it for elderly, monks, and ladies.
· Don’t tell people you are not married (if you are single, they will pity you; if you are living together, talk about your children).
· Don’t give children money, sweets, clothes, or any medicine.
· Appropriate gifts are pictures: you, your family, your country, the community; I had some fridge magnets with New York and the U.S. flag, colored markers that delighted the kids.

Best Way To Get Around:Take cabs everywhere; they are inexpensive, fast, and can get you to most destinations for under US$5 unless you’re going out of town.

If you are a very experienced motorbike rider, you may want to give it a try, but do keep in mind you are taking your life in your hands, literally.

Viet Namese Cuisine

Grilled pork ribs are a very popular dish in Vietnam and they are prepared in different ways. Detail...

O mai, sweetened and spiced dried fruit, is considered a typical delicacy of Hanoians and anyone visiting the capital will want to buy O mai as a gift for their relatives or friends. Detail...

Lobster and abalone are considered delicacies that not everybody has the opportunity to enjoy. Detail...

People in the imperial capital of Hue are very good at cooking so they have many recipes to unique and delicious dishes using salt with cereals, vegetables, meat and fish. One of these delicacies is rice served with salt. There are up to a dozen kinds of salt, such as muoi tieu (pepper salt), muoi vung (sesame salt), muoi sa (lemongrass salt), muoi rieng (galingale salt), muoi tom (shrimp salt) and muoi thit heo (pork salt). The dish is imbued with the culinary art of Hue and is a favourite of both the poor and the rich. Detail...

Hue rice vermicelli soup is a popular dish both in the north and the south of Vietnam. The dish has a typical sweet taste of mam ruoc (a special shrimp paste in the south), the aroma of lemongrass and the peppery flavour of stewed dried chilli. Rice vermicelli threads used for the dish must be white, soft and big. Detail...

Rice vermicelli and anabas soup is a favourite dish of many Vietnamese people. Detail...

Beef is processed in different ways to make delicious and nutritious dishes. One of them is beef muscle steamed with star fruit. Detail...

Hanoi is famous for its culinary arts. Visiting Hanoi, people have a chance to enjoy hundreds of delicacies and snacks. For instance, there are dozens of dishes served with vermicelli. These delectable dishes include Bun thang (vermicelli soup with chicken, egg and pork), Bun moc (vermicelli soup with meat balls, Bun rieu (crab noodle soup) and Bun ca (fish noodle soup). It is impossible not to mention most people’s favorite, Bun cha kep que tre (vermicelli with pork grilled over charcoal). Detail...

When speaking about this dish, people think of the greasy flavour of eel, the light, sour taste of thickened rice vinegar and the typical salty taste of shrimp paste. This dish is best served with rice or rice vermicelli in cold weather. Detail...

Tet (Lunar New Year Holidays) is a special occasion for family res and enjoying traditional delicious dishes, such as lean pork pie, Banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) and dried bamboo shoot soup, an indispensable dish during the feast for Tet of people in northern Vietnam. The dish shows the culinary cultural features of Vietnamese people who often make dishes from materials found in the forests and mountainous areas. Detail...

This is Ca phe sua da

This is Ca phe sua da
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