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Archive for the ‘Vietnam’ Category

Ho Chi Minh City’s Ben Thanh Market

February 18th, 2011 by

Ask anyone about Ho Chi Minh City’s must-visit area for a “shop ‘til you drop” experience and Ben Thanh Market is sure to come up.  It is undoubtedly one of the ultimate destinations in old Saigon.

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The market provides not only satisfaction for shopaholics but culture hunters as well.  The iconic landmark has a dash of French colonial charm and is one of the most indelible attractions in the city.
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Cultural Water Puppets Show Of Vietnam

November 19th, 2010 by

Upon completing our check in formalities at the Hanoi Plaza Hotel, we informed them that we were interested in watching the Water Puppets Show.  They immediately sent one of their staff members to the Thang Long Puppet Theater to purchase tickets as these get sold out easily.

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Water Puppetry is a known art in all of Vietnam.  This tradition originated around the 11th century in the villages of the Red River Delta where there were numerous lakes and ponds.  Its popularity reached its peak during the 18th century when guilds started to offer various performances. The water puppets, about a meter tall each, were made from the bark of a jackfruit tree and painted using plant extracts.   These wooden puppets were coated in lacquer to maintain their tip top shape even with constant contact with water.

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Vietnam In Seven Days: Caves Of Ha Long

October 1st, 2010 by

After a splendid night in Ha Long Bay on board the Oriental Sails, we went off to explore some of the area’s spectacular cave systems. Most visitors to the area rely on hotels in Hanoi for solid advice on quality tour operators to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Bo Nau Cave

Bo Nau Cave or Pelican Cave is 2 km southeast of Trong Mai Islet. As the name suggests, pelicans hide en masse within the cave to protect them from inclement weather. The distinctive entrance features three stones that resemble human-like shapes.

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Vietnam In Seven Days: Breathtaking Ha Long Bay

September 24th, 2010 by

Buying hand-sewn crafts definitely placed everyone in our tour group in a happy mood.  After filling our bags with unique souvenirs we decided to continue on our way.  The tour guide informed us that we were only about an hour away from our destination but it might take us a bit longer to get there because of the heavy rains.  Fortunately, it only took us about fifty minutes to reach the Ha Long Pier.

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We immediately found ourselves in the midst of what appeared like hundreds of tourists, tour guides, and workers all trying to get on the right boats all at the same time.  The unfolding scene was organized chaos.  Everything was definitely confusing but fascinating nonetheless.  From here, our tour guide ushered us to a small boat that was to bring us to our main boat for our Ha Long Bay Tour.

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Vietnam In Seven Days: Hand-Sewn Crafts

September 10th, 2010 by

After strolling along Hoan Kiem Lake, we decided to simply buy some fast food for our casual dinner back at the hotel.  We had to prepare for our Halong Bay Tour the following day and try to get enough sleep before our 6:00 a.m. wake up call.

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Our hotel in Hanoi was kind enough to store our luggage for free for the duration of our Halong Bay Tour.  The front desk highly recommended the Oriental Sails Overnight Tour.  The tour was offered at US$ 100 per person, which was not so bad for a one night cruise.  The tour guide met us at the hotel lobby at 7:00 a.m. sharp and ushered us to a private van.

After about an hour on the road, our tour guide announced that we were about to make our first stop.  We were brought to a souvenir factory which appeared like a cold chunk of gray concrete from the outside.  The moment we set foot inside the compound, we found ourselves in front of huge front gates which covered with photos of tourists from around the world.

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Vietnam In Seven Days – Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake

August 27th, 2010 by

Vietnam had turned out to be quite a surprise from the moment we got out of the airport and rode the private van sent to us for our airport transfer by Hanoi Capital Hotel.  For one, I never knew a million motorcycles can converge in such narrow streets and tight alleys.  It was then that I confirmed that the Vietnamese people rely heavily on motorcycles as a convenient and accessible means of transport.  Even young women in high heels cruise along the highways on speeding pink motorbikes and bright yellow Vespas.

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Upon arriving at our hotel, we were informed they were fully booked and couldn’t accommodate an early check-in.  Still dead tired from not being able to sleep a wink at Tan Son Nhat International Airport the previous night, I gladly accepted their offer to transfer us to a sister hotel.

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Vietnam In Seven Days: Journey To Hanoi

August 13th, 2010 by

The day that I have been looking forward to for the past three months has arrived.  With all bags properly packed, I rode a taxi to the airport.  It had been raining heavily for days so I figured it was better to start the trip as early as possible in order for us to get to the airport at least three hours before our scheduled flight.

Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 Photo by: georgeparrilla
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Vietnam In Seven Days: Preparing For The Trip

August 6th, 2010 by

I have always wanted to go to Vietnam.  There was a time last year when I thought I would finally go but in the end, the trip didn’t happen. No complaints however – my partner and I ended up visiting Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia in a span of ten days instead. We did promise ourselves to visit Vietnam this year however.

Halong Bay – Photo credit

For this post, I would like to share a simple checklist of what I took into consideration to make my “Vietnam in 7 Days” adventure hassle-free, within budget and a lot more fun.

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Cu Chi Tunnels of Ho Chi Minh City

August 4th, 2010 by

Vietnam still bears a heavy burden and countless scars decades after the end of one of the 20th century’s most vicious and violent conflicts. A remarkable, uncanny ability to bounce back from oppressive violence – yet again – and emerge resilient proves however, just how special a place Vietnam is.

Cu Chi tunnel exit, out side of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Conspicuous, physical reminders of the Vietnam War linger everywhere throughout the country. From elusive, still-active land mines to survivors, the horrors of war never seem too far away – despite the harmless, mindless fun millions of tourists now enjoy on the Nha Trang coast. Read the rest of this entry »

Dining Etiquette In Vietnam

June 4th, 2010 by

Vietnam has its own set of traditions and customs that must be respected by all its visitors. The locals would greatly appreciate it if we behave properly according to their own culture like with how we conduct ourselves while in Vietnam, how we dress, how we speak, and of course, with how we dine.

Photo by: shoppingfan

Read on to find out more about dining etiquette in Vietnam:

CHOPSTICKS – One must never leave chopsticks positioned vertically out of any food bowl whether it is plain steamed rice or noodles. This must also be remembered when visiting China. Vertical chopsticks is frowned upon because they look like incense sticks that are positioned vertically during a wake or a funeral. It is better to simply put both chopsticks on top of the bowl and position both sticks side by side.

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