Friday, August 22, 2014

A Tour to Ngoc Vung Island

Ngoc Vung Island is about 50km away from the tourist wharf of Ha Long. Ngoc Vung (halo of a gem) Island in Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province has a natural beautiful landscape, attracting a great number of visitors.

Its name comes from the fact that in the old days this area had many categories of rare and precious oysters whose pearls brightened the whole area. Today, people in the surrounding area still dive for oysters to retrieve the pearls, although the oyster-rearing farms for pearls are developing.

Rowing kayaks to explore Cong Do fishing village.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mui Ne rated 2nd most beautiful beach in Southeast Asia

Mui Ne Binh Thuan
Mui Ne beach in the central province of Binh Thuan has been rated by travel guide Canadian Travellers as one of the 11 most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia.— Photo

BINH THUAN  (VNS) — Mui Ne beach in the central province of Binh Thuan has been rated by travel guide Canadian Travellers as one of the 11 most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia.

It ranks second behind only Koh Lipe, a Thai island in the southern Andaman Sea.
The magazine says: "Mui Ne... has slowly been becoming the top getaway in Vietnam, but while a few boutique resorts have popped up along the white sand beaches, the area has yet to go tourist crazy.
"The beach is right by the town of Phan Thiet, a humble little fishing port. If you like fresh seafood, wander into town to sample the local catch of the day."
From third in the list are Tanjung Rhu (Malaysia), Menjangan Island (Indonesia), Ko Yung (Thailand), Koh Rong (Cambodia), Coron (Philippines), Kuta (Indonesia), Camiguin (Philippines), Gili Trawangan (Indonesia), and Ko Phangan (Thailand). — VNS 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hanoi Tumeric Fish with Dill - Cha Ca La Vong

Cha Ca La Vong

This legendary iconic dish of Hanoi is listed by a few books and TV Programs to be one of the things you have to try before you die.

Video by: Helen
Chanel Youtube:

Full recipe at (Xem cong thuc day du tai)

500 g tilapia/ling/snakehead/catfish fillet cut into 1x2 inch cubes
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp minced galangal
2 tsp rice flour
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tsp mam tom (Vietnamese shrimp paste) or fish sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp ground pepper

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ngoc Lang temple – an old trace on the ancient land

Ngoc Lang temple (Ngoc Lang village, Binh Ngoc commune, Tuy Hoa city) has been a cultural-historical site for a long time, a cultural-belief activities’ venue of the local community associated with Ngoc Lang land’s formation and development.

Comtemporary NgocLang Temple

Ngoc Lang temple is situated in an area of about 3,000m2, surrounded by lush fields and gardens, lots of houses. The temple faces the South,  opposite Da Rang river, and Da Bia mountain far like a front-shielding.

Ngoc Lang temple is built in accordance to the traditional architecture, including three chambers, tile-roof, roof top decorated with “luong long trieu nguyet” (two dragons at two sides of the moon), the front side was simply decorated with three National language’s words “Dinh Ngoc Lang”, while the inside, above the main doorwith three Chinese words “Ngoc Lang Dinh”. Either side of the two walls is the remains of the old architecture from the late 19th century, 0.4 m thick, built of compounds.

On the walls of the corridor’s two ends still remain two “phu dieu” panes of the door-guarding deity with the majestic look. The altar inside the temple worships the “bai vi” of those leading to the development of  the new land and establishment of villages, including Le Van Xuyen, Le Thi Loi and Le Luu. Ngoc Lang temple also worships the White Horse deity, a Vietnamese people’s important belief.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend at Khoang Xanh & Thác Đa

Khoang Xanh - March 2009
Sunday 15 March 2009 - I traveled with my parents and their friends to Khoang Xanh and Thác Đa, which are located 50km from Hanoi's center. Both places are famous for the waterfalls and hot spring/mud bath services, however we are now in the dry season, so there are not much water at the waterfalls.

We left Hanoi at 6:30am and arrived back on the same day at 6:30pm. I climbed up the rocks at Khoang Xanh, but there were not much to see so I decided to go down. The lake and another little waterfall are the places where I met a local photographer and he helped me take some beautiful photos of my orange traditional dress Áo Dài. Often I choose a bright place for taking photos, but this photographer advised me to stand in the shadow and his advice really worked this time. When I offered him a tip, he refused and walked away. I am always touched by the kindness of friendly locals wherever I travel.

While my parents and their friends stayed at Khoang Xanh and danced with their own music (CD), I walked 2km with two girls to Thác Đa, which is another site near Khoang Xanh.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hanoi Seen from Above

In the period of integration, Hanoi seems to have a new appearance, more modern and dynamic that is clearly seen through a series of new construction projects, particularly since Hanoi expanded its administrative boundary (August 1, 2008 - August 1, 2013).
To meet the requirement for development, improve the lives of the urban capital residents and beautify the landscape of the capital, the city authority has focused on building a modern and synchronous infrastructure, new urban areas and trade centres.

Seen from above, Hanoi looks like a colourful painting, worthy to be the cultural, political, economic centre and the “heart” of the country.
Hanoi Seen from Above
Seen from above, Hoan Kiem Lake looks beautiful with colourful flowers. Photo: VNP’s file

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)

Bread and wheat products occupy a unique position in the cuisines of every country on Earth. From Europe to Asia, Africa to America, everybody loves bread, and certainly, Vietnamese is no exception. Although bread made of wheat and rice flour is not the tradition dish, it plays an essential role in Vietnam daily life.

Banh Mi

Vietnamese baguette in the past
Vietnam has a long history as an agriculture country with rice being the main staple. Not until 1859 when the French colonials entered Southern Vietnam did bread appear widely throughout the country.
An imported food, bread speedily became popular and assimilated in Vietnam. The most apparent evidence is the shape of the bread, which is typically small and long. Vietnamese bread originally came from the bread made à-la- Françe!, the kingdom of bread, yet Banh mi in Vietnam was first made for the working class such as drivers, porters, blue-collar workers. That accounts for the reason why “banh mi Viet Nam” had the shape of a baguette instead of a bun or roll. With the shape of a baguette, it would be much easier for people to hold it by one hand and eat while working. Through times, the plain French baguette has adapted in various ways to become the present “Banh mi Viet Nam”.

Distinctive “Banh mi Vietnam”
The very first thing about “banh mi Vietnam” that amazes foreign travelers is that they can hardly find Vietnamese-style baguette in a shiny shop, in which cakes and fancy Western bread with pretty high price are displayed for sale.

Banh mi Vietnam can be purchased right at the roadside stalls or from the street vendors, in many the alleys of the city or even in the bus terminals and train station. Small freshly hot baguettes are kept warm in the red hot coal brazier; or inside the bamboo basket fully covered with a woolen blanket.
Not only foreigners feel nostalgic when hearing the voices of street vendors resounding on every alley of Hanoi “Crisply hot bread for sale! Crisply hot bread for sale” (Bánh mì nóng giòn nào!) but Vietnamese loves that as well.
Years ago, when Hanoi was quieter, the cry of the street vendors is considered a symbol of tranquility. Even now, it still invokes special feelings among Hanoians, especially those who come back to visit Hanoi after a long time living far away from the city. Those sellers have become a typical image of the good old days, of the past full of unforgettable memories.

“Banh mi Viet Nam” is also special for its diverse tastes. Those who have taken a bite of Vietnamese baguette will never forget the crunchiness of the crust since it is very light, airy and crispy. Bakers making Vietnamese-style baguette does not add butter, shortening or chicken fat. The dough contains only wheat, rice flour and quick-rise yeast. “Banh mi Viet Nam” has a pretty low price, only VND2000-VND3000 per loaf, which answers the question why Vietnamese rarely bake their own bread at home.
Vietnamese baguette is also very versatile, and it can be served any time of the day. Moreover, depending on their personal taste, people can enjoy their Banh mi in their own way: with fried eggs, liver pâté, mayonnaise or even condensed milk. There are many “versions” of “banh mi Viet Nam” that each area has its individually famous kind, which can even stunningly astonish Western travellers coming from the motherland of bread.

If you are keen on making your own Vietnamese bread, click here for the recipe of Banh mi Vietnam.


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