Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity. Regions located near the tropics and in the mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.
Three quarters of Vietnam’s territory consists of mountains and hills. Vietnam is divided into four distinct mountainous zones.
Vietnam has a variety of mineral resources. Located beneath the subsoil are precious stones, coal and valuable minerals such as tin, zinc, silver, gold and antimony. Vietnam also has large deposits of oil and gas on its offshore islands and on the mainland.
Viet Nam’s diverse natural environment, geography, history, and culture have created a great potential for the tourism industry. Viet Nam consists of long coastlines, forests, and mountainous regions with numerous magnificent landscapes. As well, Viet Nam has along history and diversified culture with variety of ancient architecture constructions, and wonderful legends.
Area: 3,324.92 sq. km
Population:6,448.900 thousand habitants (April 2009).
-10 Urban districts: Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Tay Ho, Thanh Xuan, Cau Giay, Long Bien, Hoang Mai, Ha Dong.
– 1 Town: Son Tay.
– 18 rural districts: Dong Anh, Soc Son, Thanh Tri, Tu Liem, Gia Lam (Hanoi); Ba Vi, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Hoai Duc, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Thach That, Thanh Oai. Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa (former Ha Tay province) and Me Linh (a former district of Vinh Phuc province).
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Muong, Tay, Dao…
Hanoi is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the center of culture, politics, economy and trade of the whole country.
Hanoi is located in the Red River Delta, in the center of North Vietnam. It is encompassed by Thai Nguyen to the north, Vinh Phuc and Ha Tay provinces to the west and south, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Hung Yen provinces to the east and south-east.
Hanoi means “the hinterland between the rivers” (Ha: river, Noi: interior). Hanoi’s territory is washed by the Red River (the portion of the Red River embracing Hanoi is approximately 40km long) and its tributaries, but there are some other rivers flowing through the capital, including Duong, Cau, Ca Lo, Day, Nhue, Tich, To Lich and Kim Nguu.
Hanoi is situated in a tropical monsoon zone with two main seasons. During the dry season, which lasts from October to April, it is cold and there is very little rainfall, except from January to March, when the weather is still cold but there is some light rain. The wet season, from May to September, is hot with heavy rains and storms. The average annual temperature is 23.20C (73.70F) and the average annual rainfall is 1,800mm. The average temperature in winter is 17.20C (62.90F), but can go down to 80C (46.40F). The average temperature in summer is 29.20C (84.60F), but can reach up to 390C (102.20F).
Hanoi is a sacred land of Vietnam. In the 3rd century BC, Co Loa (actually belonging to Dong Anh District) was chosen as the capital of the Au Lac Nation of Thuc An Duong Vuong (the King Thuc). Hanoi later became the core of the resistance movements against the Northern invasions. Located in the middle of the Red River Delta, the town has gradually expanded to become a very populations and rich residential center. At different periods, Hanoi had been selected as the chief city of Vietnam under the Northern domination.In the autumn of Canh Tuat lunar years (1010), Ly Thai To, the founder of the Ly Dynasty, decided to transfer the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La, and so he rebaptized it Thang Long (Soaring Dragon). The year 1010 then became an historical date for Hanoi and for the whole country in general. For about a thousand years, the capital was called Thang Long, then changing to Dong Do, Dong Kinh, and finally to Hanoi, in 1831. This sacred piece of land thereafter continued to be the theatre of many fateful events.
Throughout the thousand years of its eventful history, marked by destruction, wars and natural calamities, Hanoi still preserves many ancient architectural works including the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples. Famous sites include the One Pillar Pagoda (built in 1049), the Temple of Literature (built in 1070), Hanoi Citadel, Hanoi Opera House, President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum…
Temple of Literature
Hanoi also characteristically contains 18 beautiful lakes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, and Truc Bach Lake…, which are the lungs of the city, with their surrounding gardens and trees providing a vital source of energy.
Many traditional handicrafts are also practiced in Hanoi including bronze molding, silver carving, lacquer, and embroidery. Hanoi has many famous traditional professional handicraft villages such as Bat Trang pottery village, Ngu Xa bronze casting village, Yen Thai glossy silk…
By road: Hanoi is 93km from Ninh Binh, 102km from Haiphong, 153km from Thanh Hoa, 151km from Halong, 474km from Dien Bien Phu, 658km from Hue, 763km from Danang, and 1,710km from Ho Chi Minh City.
By air: Noi Bai International Airport, over 35km from the city center, is one of the biggest airports of the country with various international and domestic routes. There are domestic flights from Hanoi to Danang, Dien Bien, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang and international flights to many countries in over the world.
By train: Hanoi Railway Station is Vietnam’s main railway station. It is the starting point of five railway lines leading to almost every province in Vietnam.
Area: 4,595.2 sq. km
Population: 793.5 thousand habitants (2010)
Capital: Hoa Binh City
Districts: Da Bac, Mai Chau, Ky Son, Cao Phong, Luong Son, Kim Boi, Tan Lac, Lac Son, Lac Thuy, Yen Thuy.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Muong, Thai, Tay, Dao…
Mai Chau – Hoa Binh
Hoa Binh is a mountainous province in the North. It is bordered by Phu Tho and Ha Tay in the north, Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa in the south, Ha Nam in the east, and Son La in the west. The topography is combined by mountains and narrow valleys. The annual average temperature varies between 23 and 25oC.
The culture of Hoa Binh combines several ethnic groups with their own languages, traditional literature, and festivals. Tourists especially enjoy the ethnic specialty dishes including rice cooked in bamboo and grilled meat. At night, visitors can stay in stilt houses at Lac Village in Mai Chau Valley, enjoy watching traditional dancing, music performances (bronze drums, gongs), and Thai minority singing and dancing. The remote Muong, Dao, Tay minority villages draw visitors who like study the life of ethnic groups. Beautiful brocade and forest products are interesting souvenirs. Mountainous terrain with Thac Bo, Hoa Tien grottoes, Ret Cave, Pu Nooc Primitive forest and many clean springs are suitable for swimming, climbing, walking, and hunting. Visitors are also fascinated by superb beauty of Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Power Plant, the largest one in Vietnam. Boating on Da River is an enjoyable feeling. Apart of these, scientific tests have shown that the mineral water at Kim Boi Hot Spring is good for drinking, bathing and treatment.
Road and water transportation are convenient. There is National Highway No. 6 from Hanoi vie Ha Tay to Hoa Binh, Son La, National Highway No. 15 from Mai Chau to Thanh Hoa, National Highway No. 12B from Hoa Binh to Nho Quan (Ninh Binh). Hoa Binh Town is 82km from Hanoi. Da River is 5km from Hoa Binh City.
Son La Provincial Museum
Location: Son La Provincial Museum is located in the centre of Son La City, 328km from Hanoi.
Characteristics: The Son La Provincial Museum was originally a penitentiary built by the French in 1908; thousands of Vietnamese patriots were imprisoned here.
Son La Prison
At first, it was only a small provincial prison. But between 1930 and 1945, thousands of Vietnamese patriots were imprisoned here. Key individuals who later became main leaders of the Revolution for National Liberation were incarcerated in the Son La Prison. In 1962, it was classified by the Ministry of Culture as one of the numerous revolutionary heritage sites in the Vietnam.
The penitentiary was partially rebuilt after 1952 bombings and visitors can visit the subterraneous tiny cells with food-serving hatches and leg irons. The museum also exhibits precious objects introducing the historical and cultural traditions of 12 ethnic groups living in Son La Province. Son La Provincial Museum welcomes tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Dien Bien Phu City
Area: 9,562.9 sq. km.
Population: 504.5 thousand habitants (2010).
Capital: Dien Bien Phu City.
– Town: Muong Lay
– Districts: Tua Chua, Tuan Giao, Dien Bien Dong, Muong Tra, Muong Nhe, Dien Bien, Muong Ang.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Thai, Mong, Dao, Giay.
Dien Bien Phu – Victory Statue
Dien Bien Province is on the North – West Vietnam. It is next to Lai Chau, Son La provinces, Laos and China. The province has many mountains stretching along north-west and south-east direction. Muong Thanh Valley is largest one of this region. The topography includes forests, high mountains, narrow valleys, small plains, and springs.
Climate: Dien Bien is mountainous tropical area. There are the dry and the rainy seasons. The average temperature is about 21oC – 23oC.
Dien Bien possesses charming natural scenery such as Pa Khoang Reservoir, Tham Bang Cave, Ban Phu Citadel, Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory.
Dien Bien are also proud of many historic sites: Noong Nhai Vestige, Muong Phang Forest, especially, Dien Bien Phu Vestige with a global well-known victory in 1954.
Traveling from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu, it takes 1 hour by plane. But by road, travelers go over kilometers of mountainous road and cross Pha Din Pass. The stretch of road goes uphill and downhill alternately with many sharp bends. It is a memorable event for everybody in this superb mountain.
The network of road is convenient include:- It takes 478km from Hanoi following National Highway No. 6 to Tuan Giao and then the 279 to Dien Bien Phu.- It is 195km from Dien Bien Phu to Ma Lu Thang border gate (Lai Chau) following National Highway No. 12.- The National Highway No. 279 links Tuan Giao to Tay Trang border gate vise Dien Bien Phu.
Beside that, there is Muong Thanh Airport in Dien Bien Phu, connecting Ha Noi – Dien Bien Phu.
Area: 1,389.1 sq. km.
Population: 900.6 thousand habitants (2010)
Capital: Ninh Binh City
– Town: Tam Diep.
– Districts: Nho Quan, Gia Vien, Hoa Lu, Yen Mo, Yen Khanh, Kim Son.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Muong, Thai, Tay.
Tam Coc – Ninh Binh
Situated on the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh separates the North and the Central Vietnam by Tam Diep Mountain Range. It is surrounded by Hoa Binh, Ha Nam provinces on the north, Nam Dinh Province on the east and Thanh Hoa on the west and the south.
Ninh Binh’s topography is divided clearly into 3 parts: the mountainous area in the west and northwest; the delta and coastal area in the east and south. Ninh Binh has Day, Van Sang rivers, and Non Nuoc, Canh Dieu mountains. Annual average temperature is 23.40C.
In Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital (in Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District now) was chosen as the first capital of Vietnam feudal centralism regime and the Dai Co Viet’s political, economic and cultural centre with the name of Kings Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Dai Hanh and Ly Thai To in 10th century. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (Hanoi now), opening a new era for Vietnamese people. Ninh Binh owns beautiful Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Dich Long, Hoa Son, Tien caves, Van Trinh Grotto and other special landscapes following:
Cuc Phuong National Park is home of varies of strange flora and fauna. Especially it is enjoyable to touch the thousand-year-old cho xanh (parashrea stellata) and sau (Dracontomelum Duperranum or Dancorra Edulis) trees, 50-70m high. The park is also suitable to watch birds, butterflies and orchid flowers.
Phat Diem Cathedral is a solemn and interesting architectural complex, reflecting the skilful and excellent stone carving art of the Vietnamese workers. Ninh Binh’s people have created such famous and traditional products as Kim Son’s fine arts, Hoa Lu’s high-class embroidery, hanger products and rocky sculpture products for export, Gia Vien’s rattan and bamboo knitting products, etc.
Located 90km far from Hanoi, Ninh Binh has convenient waterway and road networks of transportation. The Reunification Express Train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City stops at Ninh Binh City. National Highway No.10 connects to Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa provinces and National Highway No.12B links to Hoa Binh Province.
Ha Long Bay (World Natural Heritage)
Situated in the north-east region of Viet Nam, Halong Bay is a part of Bac Bo Gulf and comprises the sea area of Halong City, Cam Pha Town and a part of Van Don island district, Quang Ninh Province. It borders Cat Ba Island to the south-west, the mainland to the west with a 120km-long coastline.
Halong Bay covers a total area of 1,553km², including 1,969 islands of various sizes, 989 of which have been given names. There are two kinds, limestone and schist, which are concentrated in two main zones: the south-east (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay) and the south-west (belonging to Halong Bay). The average geological age of the islands is between 250 and 280 million years old.
Halong Bay has been called by the great national poet Nguyen Trai: “a marvel of the earth erected towards the high skies”. While exploring the bay, tourists will feel lost in a legendary world of stone islands which shapes change depending on the angle and the light. There are many names given to islands according to their shapes and forms such as Hon Dau Nguoi (Human Head Islet), Hon Rong (Dragon Islet), Hon Canh Buom (Sail Islet), Hon Trong Mai (Cock and Hen Islet)… But the beauty of Halong Bay does not consist only in the forms of its mountains, islands and the colour of its waters, but also in its infinitely rich system of grottoes and caves such as: Thien Cung (Heavenly Palace Grotto), Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto), Sung Sot (Surprise Grotto), Tam Cung (Three Palace Grotto), Trinh Nu (Virgin Grotto)…. Each is a grandiose and refined natural architectural creation.
The most remarkable geological events of Halong Bay’s history in the last 1,000 years include the advance of the sea, the raising of the bay area and the strong erosion that has formed coral and pure blue and heavily-salted water. This process of erosion by sea water has deeply engraved the stone, contributing to its fantastic beauty. Present-day Halong Bay is the result of this long process of geological evolution that has been influenced by so many factors. It is because of all these factors that the tourists now visiting Halong Bay are not only treated to one of the true wonders of the world, but also to a precious geological museum that has been naturally preserved in the open air for the last 300 million years.
Value of biological diversity
Results of scientific research show that Halong Bay features ecosystems of a tropical ocean region such as ecosystem of coral reefs with 232 species of coral distributed mainly in the areas of Cong Do and Bo Hung. It is also home to 81 species of gastropoda, 130 species of bivalvia, 55 species of polycheta and 57 species of crab. The ecosystem of salt water-flooded forests chiefly concentrated in the zones of Tuan Chau, Cua Luc and Ba Che has the most diversified collection of species of salt water-flooded plant in North Vietnam. Also living in this ecosystem are a great many species of animals: migrating birds (200 species), polycheta (169 species), seaweed (91 species), reptile (10 species). Halong Bay also has ecosystem of tropical rain forests with various rare and precious creatures: deer, weasels, squirrels and in particular, white-tabby and red-haired monkeys. In addition, there is a system of small caves along the sea, which are the living and development places for many animals and plants: seaweed, water plant, algae, fish and shrimp. Deeper into the water, there are also many species of shrimp, fish, abalone and other sea-specialities.
Historical and cultural value
Halong is a place closely linked to Vietnam’s history with such famous geographical names as: Van Don (site of an ancient commercial port); Poem Mountain (with engravings of many poems by emperors and other famous people of the past); and Bach Dang River (the location of two fierce naval battles fought against foreign aggressors). This is not all, Halong has been proven by scientists to be one of the first cradles of human existence in the area, with such archaeological sites as Dong Mang, Xich Tho, Soi Nhu and Thoi Gieng…
On December 17, 1994, Halong Bay was recognised as world natural heritage for its natural beauty at the 18th meeting of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Thailand. On December 12, 2000, Halong Bay was recognised as world natural heritage for the second time based on its geological value at the 24th meeting of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Cairns, Australia. The recognised site covers an area of 434km², comprises 775 islands and forms a triangle: with Dau Go Island (Driftwood Grotto) to the west; Ba Ham Lake (Three Shelter Lake) to the south and Cong Tay Island to the east.
Area: 678.6 sq. km
Population: 52.5 thousand habitants(2007)
– Townlet: Sapa
– Communes:Ban Khoang, Ta Giang Phinh, Trung Chai, Ta Phin, Sa Pa, San Sa Ho, Ban Phung, Lao Chai, Hau Thao, Thanh Kim, Ta Van, Su Pan, Suoi Thau, Ban Ho, Thanh Phu, Nam Sai, Nam Cang.
Located 38km from Lao Cai City, Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai Province. Sapa District is very well-known with Sapa Townlet, a beautiful and romantic resort.
At the height of 1,650m above sea level, the average temperature of the area is 15-18oC. It is cool in summer and cold in winter. Visitor to Sapa in summer can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. In the morning and afternoon, it is cool like the weather of spring and autumn. At noon, it is as sunny and cloudless as the weather of summer. And it is cold in the evening. With no advance warning of a thunderstorm short and heavy rains may come at noon on any summer day. Subsequently, a rainbow appears, transforming Sapa into a magic land, which for years has been a constant source of poetic inspiration, lights up the whole region.
The best time to witness the scenic beauty of Sapa is in April and May. Before that period, the weather might be cold and foggy; after that period is the rainy season. In April and May, Sapa is blooming with flowers and green pastures. The clouds that settle in the valley in early morning quickly disappear into thin air.
Sapa has many natural sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave.Sapa is also the starting point for many climbers and scientists who want to reach the top of Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,143m. Hoang Lien Mountain Range is also called the Alps of the North Sea area since Fansipan Mountain is not only the highest peak in Vietnam, but also in the Indochina Peninsula. The pyramid-shaped mountain is covered with clouds all year round and temperatures often drop below zero, especially at high elevations.
The first thing you notice when approaching the resort town are some detached wooden mansions and villas perched on a hill top or hillside, behind thick pine forests and almost invisible on this foggy morning. Old and new villas with red roofs now appear and now disappear in the green rows of pomu trees, bringing the town the beauty of European towns.
Fresh and cool air in Sapa is an idea climate condition for growing temperate vegetables such as cabbage, chayote, precious medicinal herbs, and fruit trees such as plum, pear…
Sapa is home to various families of flowers of captivating colours, which can be found nowhere else in the country. When Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival, comes, the whole township of Sapa is filled with the pink colour of peach blossom brought from the vast forests of peach just outside the town. Sapa is regarded as the kingdom of orchids. Here, orchid lovers are even amazed by the choice, when trekking in the forest filled with several hundred kinds of orchids of brilliant colours and fantastic shapes, such as Orchid Princess, Orchid of My Fair Lady’s Shoe. Some orchids are named after lovely singing birds such as the canary, salangane’s nest, and more.
Red Zdao People – Sapa
Cat Cat Hydro Power Station, Foreign tourists in Sapa Market
Sapa is most beautiful in spring. Apricot, plum and cherry flowers are splendidly beautiful. Markets are crowded and merry, and are especially attractive to visitors. Minority groups come here to exchange and trade goods and products. Market sessions are also a chance for locals to promenade and young men and women in colorful costumes to meet, date or seek sweethearts. Visitors to Sapa will have opportunities to discover the unique customs of the local residents.
Area: 70.99 sq. km
Population: 339.8 thousand habitants (2009)
– Wards: Phu Nhuan, An Cuu, Truong An, Phuoc Vinh, Vinh Ninh, Phu Hoi, Xuan Phu, Vy Da, Tay Loc, Thuan Loc, Thuan Thanh, Thuan Hoa, Kim Long, Phu Hoa, Phu Cat, Phu Hiep, Phu Hau, Phu Binh, Phu Thuan and Phuong Duc, Huong So, An Hoa, An Dong, An Tay, Huong Long, Thuy Xuan, Thuy Bieu.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh)
is one of places which have many cultural heritage. Up to now, there is no place like Hue remaining a lot of originally historical vestiges as in this ancient Capital City.
On the northern bank of Perfume River has relics consisting of palaces, which were constructed as arc defensive ramparts with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 architectural works which were extremely reflected the life of Emperors and mandarins under reign of Nguyen. Situated in the middle of hills on the southern bank of Perfume River are very beautiful tombs of Kings Nguyen. Among these tombs are the four famous ones with the name and the arrangements of the tomb reflected each Emperor’s points of view, personality and tastes. This is majestic Gia Long Tomb, imposing Minh Mang Tomb, poetic Tu Duc Tomb and magnificent Khai Dinh Tomb.
Hue is also an important center of Buddhism. In Hue and its surrounding still exist tens of pagodas constructed more 300 years ago, and a hundred of temples and pagodas built in the early century. Besides, Hue is a place where the royal music is originated, and a place with traditional famous dishes and sophisticated handicraft.
As a unique city of Vietnam still remains its form of City under Middle Age and the constructions of monarchic, Hue has become a big and invaluable museum. Therefore, vestiges in Hue ancient capital have been classified by the government as a very precious property and on December 1993 Hue has been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Area: 1,283.4 sq. km
Population: 926 thousand habitants (2010)
– Districs: Hai Chau, Thanh Khe, Son Tra, Ngu Hanh Son, Lien Chieu, Cam Le.
– Rural districts: Hoa Vang, Hoang Sa.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Co Tu, Tay…
Danang City is located in middle of Central Vietnam, between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, separated from Laos by the western Truong Son Mountains. It is surrounded by Thua Thien-Hue along the northern border and Quang Nam on the southern border. It is embraced by the East Sea with 150km of seacoast.
Topography is rather complex. The south is impressive Hai Van Pass with Mang Mountain 1,708m, Ba Na Mountain 1,487m. The east is Son Tra Peninsula, an ideal site of yellow sand beaches, historical remains, and rare bird and animal species. The south is Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountains). The seashore is Hoang Sa archipelago with a large fishery.
My Son Holly Land
Danang is located in the zone of typical tropical monsoon, temperate and equable climate. The city’s weather bears the combination of the north and the south climate characters with the inclination to the former. There are two seasons: the wet from August to December and the dry season from January to July, cold waves are occasional but they are of average and short lasting. Average humidity is 83.4%.
Average temperature is about 260C, the highest is 28-300C in June, July, August, the lowest is 18-230C in December, January, February. In Ba Na Mountain, the temperature is 200C. Average rainfall is 2,505mm per year that concentrates during October and November.
Danang is an ancient land, closely related with the Sa Huynh cultural traditions. Many imposing, palaces, towers, temples, citadels and ramparts, the vestiges from 1st to 13th are still to be seen in Cham Museum
Danang has other various interesting attractions as Ba Na Tourist Resort, Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountains) as well as the Linh Ung Pagoda, Han River, and My An, Non Nuoc beaches, stretching on dozens of kilometers…
Road: Danang is 108km from Hue, 130km from Quang Ngai, 763km from Hanoi, and 947km from Ho Chi Minh City.
Air: The Danang International Airport is 2.5km south-west of the city center. There are domestic flights to some cities. There are direct flight from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Siem Riep, Taipei and Singapore to Danang City by Vietnam Airlines, PB Air, Siem Riep Air way, Far Transportasion and Sil Airway.
Train:Thong Nhat Express train, which connects Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, stop in Danang.
Water: There are marine routes to international and domestic ports. Tien Sa and Han River ports are located in a very wonderful position.
Area: 251 sq. km
Population: 362 thousand people (2008)
– Wards: Vinh Hoa, Vinh Hai, Vinh Phuoc, Vinh Tho, Ngoc Hiep, Van Thang, Phuong Son, Xuong Huan, Van Thanh, Phuong Sai, Phuoc Tan, Phuoc Tien, Phuoc Hai, Phuoc Long, Loc Tho, Phuoc Hoa, Tan Lap, Vinh Nguyen, Vinh Truong.
– Communes: Vinh Luong, Vinh Phuong, Vinh Ngoc, Vinh Thanh, Vinh Hiep, Vinh Trung, Vinh Thai, Phuoc Dong.
Ethnic groups: Mainly the Viet (or Kinh).
The coastal city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province, Central Vietnam, lies on the trans-Vietnam highway, 1,278km from Hanoi, and 448km from Ho Chi Minh City. Nha Trang is endowed by nature with deep, quiet and warm waters all the year round, surrounded by archipelagoes, islands, mountains and white sand beaches – a wonderful and attractive tourist resort.
Nha Trang Beach
To the north of Nha Trang stands the Chong mount which looks like a wide open hand over the sea. Far offshore, the Yen (Swallow) Island appears with lush green colours where salangane nests have been harvested for years to make the traditional “bird’s nest” tonic and food.
The 7km white sand beach of Nha Trang is often called Vietnam’s Mediterranean Area, considered one of the jewel along Vietnam’s long stretching coast line. Nha Trang is sunny all year round, with an average temperature of 23?C due to northern winds.
The rainfall is less than anywhere else in the country and the area is not threatened by storms since it is protected by the Truong Son Mountains and Ca Pass. From Ca Pass, one can see Ro Bay (Vung Ro), Hon Do…
Hon Tre Island is 36km? and belongs to a group of islands located southwest of Nha Trang. It takes two hours to reach Hon Tre Island by rowboat and only 20 minutes by ferry.
Nha Trang benefits from topographical advantages of the sea, islands, mountains, and deltas. West of Nha Trang, there are endless mountain ranges where a wide variety of animals and birds live.
Nha Trang has many specialties. Especially, bird’s nest soup, or swallow’s nest soup is very famous in Nha Trang and round Vietnam. The magnificent coral seabed in Nha Trang makes it ideal for scubadiving and snorkeling.
Nha Trang Bay is recognised as one of 29 most beautiful bays in the world.
Area: 390.5 sq. km
Population: 197 thousand habitants (2007)
-Wards:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
-Communes:Xuan Tho, Xuan Truong, Ta Nung, Tram Hanh
Ethnic groups: M’nong, Ma, Co Ho…
Dalat, capital of Lam Dong Province, is located approximately 308km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. At an elevation of 1,500m, Dalat bears the look of an Old French city. It was founded in 1897 when Doctor Alexandre Yersin recommended that the area be developed as a resort town. Dalat has many natural and artificial lakes such as Ho Xuan Huong, Than Tho, Da Thien, and Tuyen Lam bordered by lines of pine trees, which are a well-known feature of Dalat. A trip to Dalat is not complete until one goes to the Dalat Flower Gardens.
The temperate climate of Dalat is suitable for flowers such as orchids, roses, lilies, and camellias. Nowadays, tourists not only limit themselves to Dalat; they also visit the area of Langbian Highland and the ethnic minorities. Langbian Mountain’s highest peak at 2,165m is very tempting for climbers. From Lom Bieng Klo peak, one can see endless green mountains reflecting the silver rays of the sun. Many tours are organized in the area, including parachuting and climbing.
Ho Chi Minh City
Area: 2,095.5 sq. km
Population: 7,396.5 thousand habitants (2010)
– Districts: District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 5, District 6, District 7, District 8, District 9, District 10, District 11, District 12, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, Thu Duc, Go Vap, Binh Tan,Tan Phu.
– Rural districts: Nha Be, Can Gio Hoc Mon, Cu Chi Binh Chanh.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Khmer, Cham…
In the core of the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is second the most important in Vietnam after Hanoi. It is not only a commercial center but also a scientific, technological, industrial and tourist center. The city is bathed by many rivers, arroyos and canals, the biggest river being the Saigon River. The Port of Saigon, established in 1862, is accessible to ships weighing up to 30,000 tons, a rare advantage for an inland river port.
Climate: The climate is generally hot and humid. There are two distinctive seasons: the rainy season, from May to November, and the dry season, from December to April. The annual average temperature is 270C. The hottest month is April and the lowest is December. It is warm all year.
Many centuries ago, Saigon was already a busy commercial center. Merchants from China, Japan and many European countries would sail upstream the Saigon River to reach the islet of Pho, a trading center. In the year of 1874, Cho Lon merged with Saigon, forming the largest city in the Indochina. It had been many times celebrated as the Pearl of the Far East. After the reunification of the country, the 6th National Assembly in its meeting of the 2nd of July, 1976, has officially rebaptized Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City. The history of city relates closely with the struggle for the independence and freedom of Vietnam.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the big tourism center in Vietnam, attracting a large of visitors to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City has various attractions as Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf, Cu Chi Tunnels, system of museums, theatres, cultural houses… Recently, many tourist areas are invested such as Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa…, which draw numerous tourists.
Despite its quite recent past, Ho Chi Minh City nevertheless possesses various beautiful buildings, displaying a characteristic combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and European cultures. These include Nha Rong (Dragon House Wharf), Quoc To Temple (National Ancestors Temple), Xa Tay (Municipal Office), Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre as well as many pagodas and churches (Vinh Nghiem, Giac Vien, Giac Lam, Phung Son pagodas…). After more than 300 years of development, Ho Chi Minh City presents many ancient architectural constructions, famous vestiges and renowned sights. It is remarkable for its harmonious blending of traditional national values with northern and western cultural features.
Ho Chi Minh City is the main junction for trains, roads, water, and air transportation systems for domestic trips and for foreign destination.
– Roads: Ho Chi Minh City is 1,730km from Hanoi, 99km from Tay Ninh, 30km from Bien Hoa (Dong Nai), 70km from My Tho, 125km from Vung Tau, 168km from Can Tho, 308km from Dalat, and 375km from Buon Ma Thuot. The City has National Highway 13 which connects Vietnam with the rest of Indochina.
– Train: Thong Nhat express train connects Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, vie many provinces in Vietnam.
– Air: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, 7km from center of city, is the biggest airport with many domestic and international routes. There are flights from Hanoi and Danang to Ho Chi Minh City and between the City to many regions as well a lot of countries on over the world.
Can Tho City
Area: 1,401.6 sq. km
Population: 1,197.1 thousand habitants (2010).
– Districts: Ninh Kieu, Binh Thuy, Cai Rang, Thot Not, O Mon
– Rural districts: Phong Dien, Co Do, Vinh Thanh, Thoi Lai.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Khmer, Hoa, Cham…
Cantho City is located in the center of the Mekong Delta. It is contiguous to 5 provinces: An Giang on the north, Dong Thap on the north-east, Hau Giang on the south, Kien Giang on the west, and Vinh Long on the east. Cantho has a complex of rivers and canals such as Hau, and Can Tho rivers, Thot Not, O Mon canals. Among them, the Hau Riveris considered a benefactor of this region, since yearly floods deposit large quantities of alluvia to the rice fields.
Thank to that Cantho becomes “the green lungs of the Mekong Delta”.The climate is harmonized with few of storms. It is hot, humid all year. Rainy season lasts from May to November, and dry season lasts from December to April. The annual average temperature is 27oC.
Cantho is over its 200 years as the main town, once known as Tay Do and now one city of Vietnam. All of economic, culture activities closely relate to river and canals which like the ‘street’. Cantho has simple, poetic beauty with well-off villages under shade of coconut trees.It is wonderful to take a boat trip along the riverbanks on fine weather days. On the east bank of Hau River is Ninh Kieu Wharf, which is well known for its beautiful location. Other interesting places are Bang Lang Stock Sanctuary, Cantho and My Khanh Tourist gardens and Cantho Market.
Cantho is 34km from Vinh Long, 62km from Long Xuyen, 63km from Soc Trang, 104km from Mytho, 116km from Rach Gia, 117km from Chau Doc, 169km from Ho Chi Minh City and 179km from Camau.
Road: Cantho has National Highway No.1A, 91, 80 linking to An Giang, Kien Giang provinces.
Waterway: Cantho has Cai Cui international seaport. The city is the centre of waterway network of Mekong Delta. There are daily hydrofoils between Ho Chi Minh City and Cantho City.
Airline: There is Tra Noc Airport.
Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho
Cai Rang floating market, Pham Hoang Anh Dao discovers the old and new of Cai Rang market, the bustling centre of Mekong Delta trade.
Visiting Long Bien market, the famous wholesale market in Ha Noi(Buoi market), 25-year-old Minh Phuong is happy.
“It will sound strange and a little crazy when I explain why I come to Long Bien market,” Phuong said with a smile.
I come to the market to recall memories of my trip to Cai Rang floating market in the southwestern province of Can Tho, Phuong says.
“I am sure that the people working and living there will never forget Cai Rang market, just as Hanoians can never forget Long Bien market, even when they are not in Ha Noi,” she adds.
Phuong is a young girl in Ha Noi. Nearly one year ago, she had the chance to work in and around Ho Chi Minh City. During this time, she went several times to visit Cai Rang floating market. This was an unforgettable time in her life.
Cai Rang is a famous floating market in the country’s southwestern region. Like Long Bien market in the capital city, it’s a wholesale market selling fruit and vegetables. However, unlike its capital counterpart, this market resides on the river.
In the Cuu Long (Mekong Delta) region, there are many floating markets, such as Cai Rang, Nga Bay, Binh Dien, Phong Dien, Cai Be, Long Xuyen and Chau Doc. Cai Rang, however, is the most famous, because it has the most specific trading activities.
The Cai Rang floating market is on the Cai Rang river. If you go by road, it’s 6km away from Can Tho City. And if you’re travelling from Ho Chi Minh City, it takes about four hours to get to the market.
The market was born many years ago, after the local people’s habit of travelling and doing business by boat. Boats and junks in the southwestern region were important means of transportation, like motorbikes and cars in other regions.
“In the southwestern provinces, people mostly travel on rivers. In the past, people living on the river had to go to the land to buy goods. Now they can buy everything on the river.
Now, all trading activities are carried out along the river,” Phuong recalls.
The market is a destination for consumer agricultural products from 12 provinces in the Mekong Delta region. Aside from selling fruit and vegetables from Can Tho Province, the market also sells special agricultural products from neighbouring provinces.
The market opens everyday from 4am to 9am. In the early morning, hundreds of boats and junks come to the 1km-long floating market, all carrying a variety of fruit and vegetables.
Small and large junks travel on the river like motorbikes and cars on land. And everyone is busy trading. Being a wholesale market, the trading activities are carried out quickly; there’s no bargaining here.
Traders come to the market to buy fruit and vegetables and then bring them to other, smaller markets or to export them to China and Cambodia.
It’s difficult to hear people’s voices because of the loud sounds from the boat engines and the rolling of the river. That’s why each boat has one large stick, called cay beo, from which the sellers hang their products, called treo beo. Everything here hangs from the sticks.
“If they sell bananas and durian, they will hang bananas and durian on the stick so that a buyer can see them from a distance. It looks so fun,” Phuong says.
On many of the boats and junks, there are paintings and decorations. Looking at this, one can guess that they come from Vinh Long, Tien Giang or Dong Thap provinces.
Recently, to meet the demands of traders throughout the market, many new services have been created. Going to the market now, one can see many boats and junks selling breakfast and coffee. These boats are often small, so they can move through crowded areas to serve people.
This specific feature of Cai Rang floating market has attracted not only Vietnamese people but also foreign tourists.
Tourists often purchase a tour or hire small boats to visit the market. And they never forget to bring their cameras.
The people at Cai Rang market are getting used to the visitors and their cameras, so they are very friendly and ready to answer what questions they can.
At 9: am, the traders exit the market and move to bring fruit and vegetables to other retail markets. Once the scene on Cai Rang river ends, the boats and junks leave, and the river returns to its relaxed state. Until the next morning.
Upon leaving the market, tourists have a chance to buy some of the fruit they’ve seen, ripe on the poles. However, the most treasured possessions are the pictures they take and their memories of the local people at Cai Rang market.
Area: 4,049.2 sq. km.
Population: 1,075.3 thousand habitants (2010)
Capital: Tay Ninh Town
Districts: Tan Bien, Tan Chau, Duong Minh Chau, Chau Thanh, Hoa Thanh, Ben Cau, Go Dau, Trang Bang.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Khmer, Cham, Hoa.
Located in Eastern of the South, Tay Ninh shares border with Cambodia on the north with 240km boundary, Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc provinces on the east, Ho Chi Minh City and Long An Province on the south.
In the north, there is Ba Den Mountain, 986m in height. On the south, terrain is quite flat. The province has Vam Co Dong and Sai Gon rivers and Dau Tieng Lake.
Climate: The weather is hot, humid around year with annual average temperature of 27.50C, annual rainfall of 1,724mm. The dry season lasts from December to April and the rainy season lasts from May to November.
Coming to Tay Ninh, tourists are able to visit Ba Den Mountain, a famous complex of cultural and historical sites and beauty spots, and Binh Thanh Cham Tower, a monument of the Oc-Eo culture. Every year, Ba Den Mountain Festival attracts many pilgrims come to pray, sightseeing and enjoy the entertainment.
Tay Ninh is home of Cao Dai religion with Tay Ninh Cao Dai Temple, a complex of Great Temple, Chanh Mon Gate, four towers and Mother-of-Buddha Temple. The province also is base of revolution of South Vietnam during resistance against the Americans.
Cao Dai Temple
Tay Ninh Town is 99km from Ho Chi Minh City, 224km from Vung Tau, 129km from Bien Hoa. There are Moc Bai and Xa Mat border gates to Cambodia. Moc Bai Market is trade center of Vietnamese and Cambodian.
Vietnam’s ‘rice basket’, the Mekong Delta is a watery landscape of green fields and sleepy villages, everywhere crisscrossed by the brown canals and rivulets fed by the mighty Mekong River. Its inhabitants – stereotyped as friendly and easygoing – have long toiled on the life-sustaining river, with their labours marked by the same cycles governing the waterways.
The delta, which yields enough rice to feed the country with a sizable surplus, was formed by sediment deposited by the Mekong. The process continues today, with silt deposits extending the shoreline by as much as 80m per year. The river is so large that it has two daily tides. Lush with rice paddies and fish farms, this delta plain also nourishes the cultivation of sugarcane, fruit, coconut and shrimp. Although the area is primarily rural, it is one of the most densely populated regions in Vietnam and nearly every hectare is intensively farmed.
The uniquely southern charm with its welcoming introduction to life along the river is the real draw, and visitors can explore quaint riverside towns, sample fruits bartered in the colourful floating markets or dine on home-cooked delicacies before overnighting as a homestay guest. Other highlights include visits to local orchards, flower markets and fish farms. There are also bird sanctuaries, rustic beach getaways like Hon Chong and impressive Khmer pagodas in the regions around Soc Trang and Tra Vinh.
Those seeking an idyllic retreat will find it in Phu Quoc, a forested island dotted with pretty beaches, freshwater springs and empty dirt roads (ideal for motorbike adventures). Good diving and white-sand beauty have led to its growing popularity, with a mix of cheap bungalows and five-star resorts along an uncrowded coastline.
Cai Be Floating Market – Tien Giang
Tourists who like eco-tourism will find many places in Tien Giang Province that will interest them, including the Cai Be floating market.Tien Giang Province is now just over 40 minutes drive from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
For anyone unfamiliar, the floating market is a strange concept. However, visitors will understand as soon as they see the boats filled with vegetables, fruit and various consumer goods running back and forth along the river that runs through Cai Be town to make sales transactions, from early morning until late in the evening.
Tourists can hire a powerboat to sail along the river to experience exactly how buoyant and animated a floating market is. Cai Be market begins from about 5 a.m. as merchandisers purchase their goods there and then sail to other provinces. It is currently one of the biggest wholesale markets in the Mekong Delta region.
The wooden boats sell flowers and agricultural products, domestic goods and food. On the deck of one boat, we can see a family and even some dogs, pigs and chickens as the boat is their mobile home. The boats can stop to bank at land whenever and wherever their drivers like.
Tourists can also enjoy their breakfast, a hot bowl of Hu tiu My Tho (My Tho-style noodle soup) with a dark coffee, on the boats.
The special market forms on the place that meets the river flows of Vinh Long, Tien Giang and Ben Tre and gathers hundreds of boats which carry goods, especially agricultural goods from other provinces, including Vinh Long sweet potatoes and Hau Giang pumpkins. Cai Be Town, where those rivers cross, is renowned for its fruit including the terracotta colored oranges, the sweet Hoa Loc mangoes or Xa Li guavas.
Tourists need not ask what each boat sells, as products are clearly visible, allowing customers to choose the boat they would like to see.
Alongside the floating markets are houses and construction sites built close to the river or even on the banks, as people there mostly earn their living by fishing or selling products on boats. At sunset, sailing along the river to contemplate the old and new buildings casting shadows on the water will give tourists unforgettable memories.
After sailing on the river for a while, tourists can drop by a farmer’s house to take a rest, spending the day in fruit farms, tasting local cuisine and produce, and listening to old stories.
For those who have a tight schedule, visiting Cai Be floating market or the fruit farms will only take one day.