VIETNAM TRAVEL NEWSLETTER 2013-IV

NEWSLETTER FROM EVIVA TOUR VIETNAM - HAPPY NEW YEAR

Dear our valued partners,

EVIVA TOUR VIETNAM would like to introduce you our latest newsletter with up-to-date information of new hotels, special festivals, special products, travel tips, travel policies and weather in December and January in Vietnam.

On the occasion, we wish you a prosperous new year - 2014!

http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngTUR IN SWEDEN AND ITB IN GERMANY

EVIVA TOUR VIETNAM will have its booth at 314, Hall 26C, ITB Berlin, 5-9 March 2014 and B0911, TUR Gothenburg, 20-23 March 2014 as an exhibitor. For appointments, please contact our Vice Director, Mrs. Nguyen Thuy Duong at sales@tourvietnam.vn or Skype and yahoo ID at duongnguyenthuy1980 or via her mobile phone +84 9 1230 4000.


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngHOT NEWS

Tourism year to focus on Highlands

The Central Highlands’ rich and unique natural beauty and cultural diversity make it an ideal site for travelers worldwide.

The Central Highlands has been recognized as a land of mysterious mountains and forests with a significant population of ethnic minorities whose varied customs and lifestyles.The region is also home to some of the most endangered species in Viet Nam and Southeast Asia, such as the Indochinese tiger, the gaur, the wild Asian water buffalo and the Asian elephant.

The mountains and forests of the Central Highlands will come into sharp focus at the year-long National Tourism Year 2014 event. Accordingly, the event, held in Lam Dong and other provinces in the region throughout next year beginning December 27 this year, will have "High Mountains and Thick Forests of the Central Highlands" as its main theme.

The tourism year will comprise nine programmers and 17 events, 13 of which will take place in Da Lat, the capital city of Lam Dong, and four others in Kon Tum, Gia Lai, DakLak and DakNong provinces. Major events of the National Tourism Year 2014 will include the Cultural Week to Celebrate the UNESCO Viet Nam Heritage Festival, a festival of brocade arts, a Central Highlands fashion show, a festival of Central Highlands wooden statues; and an international gong festival. A series of sporting events including an elephant race, a boat race, and several folk games will also be held during the year.

Da Lat also celebrates its 120th founding anniversary of Da Lat City and the 5th Da Lat Flower Festival will also be held to promote tourism in Lam Dong province. A Central Highlands Ethnic Minority Food Festival will be the gastronomic highlight of National Tourism Year 2014 - (Vietnamnews)

Da Lat is preparing for the Flower Festival

Da Lat is known as the land of flowers, one of the major tourist centers of the country with the system of old mansions and unique architecture and culture. With poetic beauty, friendly and hospitable people, the city attracts a lot of domestic and foreign tourists.

According to the Lam Dong Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the province has more than 60 attractions opened for free, which are natural landscapes, ancient architectural works, religious establishments, craft villages, indigenous villages and archaeological sites.

The local authorities have recently taken a lot of measures to bring cultural activities in the tourism business and to restore many historical monuments.

Beside the inherent attractions such as the system of lakes, streams, waterfalls, the Provincial Museum, the flower garden, the Da Lat Railway Station, a number of tourist spots have invested in new tourism products such as the Madagui forest village, Dambri waterfall, Love Valley, Lang Cu Lan resort, Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, Da Ron golf course, Sacom - Tuyen Lam golf courses.The Cultural Tourism Week 2013 will take place in Da Lat City from December 27 to 31, with four major events: the first Asean - Vietnam UNESCO Heritage Festival, the announcement ceremony of the Central Highlands – Da Lat National Tourism Year 2014, celebrating 120 years of establishment and development of Da Lat, and the fourth Da Lat Flower Festival. - (Vietnamnet)

Ben Thanh among world’s best food markets

Ben Thanhmarket is ranked 15th in the USA Today’s list of the "Best food markets around the world", a list of culinary destinations that invite guests to explore all of their senses and indulge in authentic and traditional foods. Whether you are looking for souvenirs to take home, a quick snack or a full traditional meal, these markets offer a delicious taste of culture.

Ben Thanh market, a destination for many tourists, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area. Located in a lively area of the city, visitors can stop by the market to enjoy textiles, souvenirs, handicrafts and, of course, local cuisine. Many of the vendors are cooking up fresh food that's made to order, writes the American newspaper. Visitors stop here for a "real Vietnamese meal", like entire fish that are deep-fried. Many stalls also sell Vietnamese prepared beverages, like smoothies and iced coffee. In the evening, you can visit the market and sit at a number of sidewalk temporary restaurants serving local dishes like pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and banhcanhcua (crab noodle soup), it says.

Ben Thanh market possesses the most ancient architecture, which is praised as one of the most attractive tourist sites in the megacity. Constructed by the Brossard et Maupin Construction Company in 1912, it was earlier called New market or Saigon market to distinguish it from Old market. After 1957, it was renamed Ben Thanh market. The famous market has four entrances and four sections, a roof clock tower, and overlooks four main streets of District 1. At present, the market has more than 3,000 stalls that sell wholesale and retail items from food to luxury goods. Beside souvenir, fashion and footwear stores, visitors will see the zone for food with hundreds of cuisines sourced from every corner of the country.

From Hanoi’s pho to Hue’s banhbeo (rice cake), Vietnamese’s hutieu (noodle), spring rolls, and more, culture in Ben Thanh market is a wonderful mixture of cuisines of different regions to form a diversified and unique feature for the market, which are both familiar and new. –(Vietnam News Agency)

Cu Chi tunnels make CNN list of top underground attractions

The Cu Chitunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels in HCM City's Cu Chi District, was included in a story on the world's top underground tourist attractions by CNN, a global TV network channel.

The tunnels, which were dug in the late 1940s with a total length of 200km as of 1965, were used by Vietnamese soldiers during the fight against France and the US as living quarters, hospitals, supply routes, food and weapon caches.The tunnels now have a total length of 120km and are one of the city's most popular tourism destinations.  – (Vietnamnews)


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngSPECIAL TOURS – WILDLIFE TOURS

Wildlife Tours: Highland City - Buon Ma Thuot

Oneof the largest towns in the Central Highlands, Buon Ma Thuot is home to many tourist attractions, including Yok Don National Park and its rare wildlife, idyllic Lak Lake, several spectacular waterfalls, as well as numerous Ede and M'nong hill tribe villages.Like most places in the Central Highlands, Buon Ma Thuot saw some heavy fighting during the Vietnam War, but these days, it's all about the coffee. With ideal soil and climate conditions, coffee grown in Buon Ma Thuot is considered by many to be the best in the country. For tour details, please click here.

Wildlife Tours: Mai Chau - PuLuong Trekking Tour

Mai Chau, the mountainous townlet of the Thai people.Here is one of the most picturesque regions of Vietnam's Northwest and the PuLuong Natural Reserve, an area with outstanding beauty and biodiversity. On this 4-days trip you can experience the everyday life and culture of Thai and Muong ethnic minorities and spend nights with friendly locals. For tour details, please click here.


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngNEW DISCOVERY

Rare ‘Asian unicorn’ found in Vietnam forest after their disappearance 15 years ago

One of the rarest and most threatened mammals on earth has been caught on camera in Vietnam for the first time in 15 years, renewing hope for the recovery of the species, an international conservation group said Wednesday.

The Saola, a long-horned ox, was photographed by a camera in a forest in central Vietnam in September, the WWF said in a statement Wednesday.

The animal was discovered in the remote areas of high mountains near the border with Laos in 1992 when a joint team of WWF and Vietnam's forest control agency found a skull with unusual horns in a hunter's home. The find proved to be the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years, according to the WWF.

In Vietnam, the last sighting of a Saola in the wild was in 1998, according to Dang Dinh Nguyen, director of the Saola natural reserve in central province of Quang Nam.

In the area where the Saola was photographed, WWF has recruited forest guards from local communities to remove snares and battle illegal hunting, the greatest threat to Saola's survival, the statement said. The snares were set to largely catch other animals, such as deer and civets, which are a delicacy in Vietnam.

Twenty years after its discovery, little is known about Saola and the difficulty in detecting the elusive animal has prevented scientists from making a precise population estimate.

At best, no more than few hundreds, and maybe only a few dozen, survive the remote, dense forests along the border with Laos, WWF said. - (The Huffingtonpost)


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngWEATHER

Vietnam climate is so diverse that there is almost no definition of an average temperature for the whole country as well as there are no absolute good or bad seasons to visit Vietnam. Base on your plan and duration of staying in Vietnam, you can choose a place to travel. For special tour requests of adventure, bird watching and others, please contact us for further consultancy.

Weather in December, 2013

December couldbe the best time to explore Vietnam. The temperature is lower and slight rain will keep you cool and comfortable in Vietnam. Northern part of Vietnam could be your perfect choice if you like mountains and adventure. However if you love beaches then you can go to South Central or South of Vietnam. South of Vietnam is ready to welcome lots of tourists all over the global with gently breezy and cold weather. Average temperature of Vietnam stays between 15°C to 22°C and just five days of rain and low humidity will create a perfect weather condition for your journey.

The good weather condition continues in the North-West with moderate temperatures and little rain. Throughout the regional temperatures are relatively low (average temperature is around 19°C). The weather condition remains dry with clear days however it can be cold in evening and there are mist sometime which can diminish your vision, especially so suitable clothing such as windbreakers is recommended.

Whilst conditions undoubtedly start to improve in Central Highlands regions with a significant drop in rainfall, stormy weather is still a possibility especially early in December (average temperatures are about 24°C). It is time for flower blossoms in Da Lat, therefore, do not miss the upcoming Da Lat Flower Festival in December.

Weather in January, 2014

The January month inthe North area is influenced by cold weather and as you go towards the South you will experience warm weather. If you want to hide from the sun then city such as Ha Noi would be the perfect place for a vacation in Viet Nam. January is the festive month in Viet Nam when celebration of Lunar New Year is about to come. January is the perfect time when you can enjoy your stay here in Viet Nam as across the country people are in festive mood and look happy. In the North, the temperature drops to 10°C whereas the north is warmer and the temperature drops to 16°C during the night.

Temperatures in the North-West will remain quite cool with average temperature of 18°C. Rainfall is at its lowest in January although a misty haze is not unusual, especially in coastal areas. In the far area, weather conditions are dry but chilly and sometimes foggy, especially at night, so suitable clothing is recommended. Meanwhile, the weather in the centre of Vietnam is improving as the wet season draws to an end and prolonged rainfall becomes unlikely, especially during the 2nd half of the month.


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngUPCOMING FESTIVALS

Huong Pagoda Festival

Located in My Duc District, 70 kilometers away from Hanoi to the south, Huong Pagoda Festival is among the greatest Buddhist festival in northern part of Vietnam.This festival lasts for three months from the first to the third month in Lunar Calendar. In fact, the official opening day for the festival is on the 6th day of the first Lunarmonth. Huong Pagoda Festival includes two major parts: the ceremonies and leisure activities. Ceremonial rituals consist of incense offering procession and Zen ceremony in which Monks and Buddhists offer incense, flowers, candles and fruits. During the ceremony, there are two monks performing beautiful and flexible dances. On the other hand, leisure activities include boat cruise along Yen Stream for sightseeing, climbing mountain and exploring holy caves. It is believed that climbing up the top of HuongTich Mountain will bring you fulfillment and great success in life. Visitors to Huong Pagoda Festival have a great chance to taste famous delicacies which are bamboo shoot, Sang vegetables, grinding roots and the irresistibly fresh flavor of apricot juice.


The Kitchen Gods – Tet Tao Quan

Well-known for the long-lasting history and rich culture, Vietnam is the land of festivities and celebrations. December of Lunar Calendar (normally January of Gregorian Calendar) is usually the busiest month as everybody is in a rush to prepare for some biggest festivals of the whole year. Besides Tet Festival, Tet Tao Quan on the 23rd of December is considered one of the most essential festivals in Vietnamese religious beliefs.

The meaning of Tet Tao Quan is all about preparing a grand farewell for three Deities on their journey to the Heavens, and the ceremony is held at every Vietnamese household. On the 23r day of December, normally, grandmothers and mothers of the family will cook a lot of delicacies such as new harvest steamed sticky rice or plain porridge. They clean and decorate the altar with fresh flowers and fruits. On the altar also laid three votive paper caps, the yellow one in the middle for Mrs. Tao and two black ones for two Mr. Tao.




http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngNEW HOTELS AND RESORTS

JW MARRIOTT HOTEL HANOI – 5* (opening on October 2013)
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hanjw-jw-marriott-hotel-hanoi/

From the expressive architecture outside to the authentic signature JW Marriott services inside, this Marriott hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam welcomes you to experience the new definition of contemporary luxury, located in the new central. JW Marriott Hanoi has 450 rooms, European and Asian restaurants, ballrooms, fitness center and many other amenities. The hotel also provides the largest meeting space in Vietnam with an area of 2,400 square meters on the same level.About 26.7 kilometers south of NoiBai International Airport, JW Marriott Hanoi has an area of 80,000 square meters and is adjacent to the Vietnam National Convention Center.


AMANOI – AMANRESORTS - 5* (opening on 1st September 2013)
http://www.amanresorts.com/amanoi/home.aspx

Named for the Sanskrit-derived word for "peace" and no'i, meaning "place" in Vietnamese, Amano'i is a tranquil retreat situated on a white-sand beach overlooking secluded Vinh Hy Bay on the coast northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. Next to the Central Pavilion is the Cliff Pool, one of two swimming pools. The second is located at the Beach Club which overlooks the white-sand beach and offers dining and lounging areas, as well as a range of water sports equipment.Amanoi's fitness options include a spacious, light-filled Gymnasium, a Pilates Studio and a lakeside Yoga Pavilion. There are also two outdoor tennis courts and a number of scenic walking, running and trekking routes on the property.

PULLMAN HANOI HOTEL – 5* (opening on September 2013)
http://www.pullman-hanoi.com/

Within close proximity to government, diplomatic and business offices and a 10 minute drive to the traditional charm of Old Hanoi the hotel’s location provides easy access to discover the city.

The Pullman Hanoi offers guests a choice of 242 recently refurbished rooms with the Signature Pullman bedding in Deluxe and Executive rooms, a 24 - hour dining restaurant and bar, comprehensive meeting facilities for up to 700 delegates, Fit Lounge and complimentary WIFI.


ANANTARA HOI AN RESORT - 5* (opening on September 2013)
http://hoi-an.anantara.com/

Scenically positioned on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An Resort in Vietnam is a charming boutique retreat in the historic port town of Hoi An. Designed with French, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influences that reveal Hoi An’s fascinating cultural diversity, split level rooms and suites open onto porches with comfortable daybeds, overlooking the river or a garden courtyard. Anantara Hoi An Resort key features: 93 rooms and suites in split level design with daybed porches, Vietnamese cooking, language, painting and lantern making classes, swimming pool and children’s pool enclosed in a garden courtyard. Come Anantara Hoi An Resort to savour authentic local dishes and popular world flavours in elegant and casual settings beside the river. Meet up at the heritage inspired wine bar for an atmospheric view of Hoi An’s street life.


ESSENCE HOIAN – 4* (opening on August 2013)
http://www.hoianessencehotel.com/

Located on Hung Vuong Street, on the edge of Hoi An’s old town and not far from the Japanese Covered Bridge, this brand new 4+ star resort-hotel with 5 star service nestles on the edge of quiet lush green paddy fields away from the crowds of the old town. Guest rooms have either balconies or large windows bringing you close to nature in a luxurious and comfortable setting. A couple can enjoy their stay in a Deluxe room or Suite while a Family room with balcony or a Luxurious Pool View Suite with connecting rooms are large enough for a family of 4/5. We provide private transfers from Da Nang airport or rail station, daily buffet breakfast, morning Tai Chi, afternoon tea and sunset cocktails as well as many other complimentary services and amenities.


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngTRAVEL POLICIES

Visa procedure

There are two common ways to get Vietnam visa, including visa on arrival and visa at Vietnamese representative offices.

1. Apply for Vietnam visa from Vietnamese representative offices aboard

General steps are as follows.

Step 1: Get and fill the visa application form from Vietnam representative offices. Note that the visa application form may vary from embassy to embassy, so you need to take the form from the embassy where you will get the visa. For Viet Nam Embassies, please click here.

Step 2: Submit the form filled with your original passport, 2 or 3 photos and visa fee. Note that you may be required to send your passport off to Vietnamese representative offices located far away from your place via EMS.

Step 3: Get the result via EMS or come directly to the office. If you apply directly at the embassy, your information will then be sent to Hanoi for approval, so it takes about 5 - 10 working days (depending on the country you apply).

Apply for Vietnam visa from Vietnamese representative offices aboard is effective for air, land and sea travelers

2. Apply visa upon arrival

The following steps are required:

Step 1: Apply online and make payment. You need to fill in the secure online form. It only takes a couple of minutes and pay the service fee. For service fees, click here.

Step 2: Get the "Visa approval letter" within 1 or 2 working days via email.

Step 3: Bring "Visa approval letter", passport, 2 photos and stamping fee (in cash) to get your visa stamp at the Vietnam international airports. For stamping fees, click here.

Please notice Vietnam visa on arrival is applicable for air travelers only


http://www.tourvietnam.vn/theme/images/arrow-next.pngGENERAL TIPS FOR TRAVELLING IN VIETNAM

Currency exchange

The dong is Vietnam’scurrency which is dominated including 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000; and 500,000 dong notes. US dollars are accepted and can be exchanged at leading banks in Vietnam such as Vietcombank, ANZ, ACB, VIB Bank and others or some hotels and jewelry shops but the exchange rate is not so favorable on the street.

Travelers' cheques are accepted in banks, money changers and some hotels although most travelers now use debit cards because of the increased number of ATMs. It is best to take US Dollar travelers' cheques to avoid additional exchange rate charges and expect to pay a high commission.

In terms of credit cards, there is an increasing number of outlets accept MasterCard and Visa. However, outside main towns and cities, credit cards are rarely accepted. Although, there are plenty of ATMs in major towns, they can be scarce in rural areas. ATMs issue Dong, and the single withdrawal limit varies, depending on the bank, ranging from VND 2,000,000 to much larger amounts.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organize a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult your bank on the most appropriate currency to carry in Vietnam and whether your ATM card will work in Vietnam. Incidents of card swiping have occurred throughout Vietnam and you should keep your credit card in sight at all times. Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home. While travelling, do not carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewelery and cameras are tempting targets for thieves.

Shopping tips

It is great to go shopping in Vietnam in December and January because Vietnamese Lunar New Year is coming soon so everything is on the shelves.

There is a diverse range of products, from wooden wares such as wooden buttons or sindora beds to lacquer paintings, bowls and chopsticks, bamboo screens, stone tea sets, woven tapestries and tho cam handbags. However, things may get more expensive than usual.

Photography

It is a great time for photographing in Vietnam.Print film such as Kodak, Konica and Fuji is widely available. Good processing facilities exist in the major centers. Slide film and Hi8/V8 video cassettes are not widely available in provincial Vietnam. While taking photos of locals and officials, it is probably best to indicate your wish beforehand. Vietnamese people are friendly and happy to be photographed. Some historic sites charge between $US and $US10 if you wish to take videos. Replacement cards are available for digital cameras. In big cities, digital photographs can be printed and downloaded to disks for very reasonable rates.



Ha Noi
83A Tran QuocToan St., HoanKiem Dist.
t. +84 4 3942 6585
f. +84 4 3822 8008
e.
sales@tourvietnam.vn

Ho Chi Minh City
M1906 Central Garden, 225 Ben Chuong Duong St., Dist. 1
t. +84 8 3838 9567
f. +84 8 3838 9568
e.
sales@tourvietnam.vn