Blog posts of '2016' 'December'

Vietnamese comics win silver award at 9th International Manga Awards in Japan

The comic ‘Truyen Thuyet Long Than Tuong’ (Legend of the Dragon General) has been honoured with the Silver Prize of the 9th International MANGA Award.

Painter Nguyen Thanh Phong speaks at the awards ceremony in Japan on February 26 Painter Nguyen Thanh Phong speaks at the awards ceremony in Japan on February 26

Painter Nguyen Thanh Phong representing authors of the comic received the prize at a ceremony held at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ HQ in Japan on February 26.

The book, Long Than Tuong, is based on historical events in the Tran dynasty, which ruled Vietnam from 1225 to 1400, coupled with modern twist. Instead of illustrating using computer-generated graphics, the authors drew completely by hand, a process which is time-consuming but makes the images more vivid.

Author-Thanh-Phong-and-Long-Than-TuongLong Than Tuong

Two volumes of the series, which is the brainchild of playwright Nguyen Khanh Duong and painters Nguyen Thanh Phong and Nguyen My Anh, together with researcher Tran Quang Duc, have been published since November 2014.

Painter Phong will represent the group at the award ceremony and interact with international authors there.

"Our first volume won the silver prize, which is not the highest award," Duong said. "But it has been selected from hundreds of entries from all over the world. That's why we are very moved and proud."

The International MANGA Award is presented by the Japanese ministry to MANGA artists who have contributed to the promotion of MANGA around the world.

Chairman of the jury board is the Japanese top cartoonist Machiko Satonka, along with the board’s members who are leading comics artists and comics publishers in Japan.

This year’s event drew the participation of 259 entries from 46 countries and territories.

A total of 14 winners, including one Gold Award work and three Silver Award works were selected. The Gold Award went to an entry from Israel entitled ‘Divine’.

The Award has been held annually since 2007 with the aim of introducing Japanese culture and promoting international exchanges through comic culture that is widely popular around the world.


How much money will you really spend in Hanoi?

The city, known for cheap food and accommodation options, is much more affordable than many other Asian destinations.

Dong Xuan night marketDong Xuan night market

Are you wondering how much you may need for a day in Vietnam's capital city?

Statistics show each international tourist in Hanoi spends on average $110 per day meanwhile daily travel expenses by a local tourist is estimated at $55.

The numbers are much lower than those of leading tourist cities in the region, which is probably the appeal of the Vietnamese city.

Data may vary from various sources, but according to a MasterCard survey last year, tourists to Seoul spent $258 per day, compared to $255 in Singapore and $262 in Beijing.

Meanwhile, a tourist to Bali often spends around $125 per day, according to the Indonesian central bank.

 Street food in night market Dong XuanStreet food in night market

Vietnam is a top travel destination for food lovers, even if you’re on a budget. If you want to eat cheap and keep the cost to travel Vietnam down, stick to local Asian eateries and street food. We had a lot of delicious and cheap vegetarian street food, even though beef noodles are the most commonly found. Noodle soups, rice and crusty bread rolls are the most common Vietnamese dishes.

Food gets expensive if you plan on trying to eat in more tourist-orientated restaurants or any Western food establishment. Avoid Western food as it is always over-priced and won’t be anything like what you’re used to at home. Plus, Vietnamese food is incredibly delicious so I’m not sure why you’d ever want to eat Western food over it anyway!

Most Expensive Eat: Tamarind Cafe in Hanoi – $16.80 for two people
Least Expensive Eat: Breakfast rice with shredded coconut from a street vendor in HCMC – 91¢ for two people

The city has also planned to introduce double-decker tour buses early next year and has rolled out a $2 million global ad campaign on the international news network CNN.

It hopes that all these efforts will soon pay off and bring the total tourism revenue number to VND120 trillion ($5.3 billion) by 2020.

Vietnam greets 10 millionth tourist in 2016

Foreign visitors surged 25 percent from last year, reaching an unexpected, all-time high.

Vietnam welcomed its 10 millionth foreign tourist of 2016 on Sunday afternoon, marking a booming tourism year that exceeded all expectations.

Michael Tonge of the United Kingdom was greeted with flowers at Phu Quoc airport by central and local authorities.

Tonge said he had seen many tourists return from Vietnam who were thrilled with its beautiful beaches and amazing food.

Vietnam greets 10 millionth tourist in 2016Michael Tonge from the U.K. is welcomed by Vietnam's foreign minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien in Phu Quoc on Sunday. Photo courtesy by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Andrej Marek Balzer of Germany entered the country immediately after Tonge and also received a warm welcome.

 Vietnam greets 10 millionth tourist in 2016

Vietnam greets 10 millionth tourist in 2016

Last year, the country welcomed just 7.9 million tourists and expected just 8.5 million this year.

Authorities are now celebrating the record arrivals, as well as the biggest annual improvement of all time – 26 percent.

The industry made VND400 trillion ($17.6 billion), contributing 7.5 percent to the GDP and definitely offering one of the few bright spots in an economy that’s highly likely to miss its annual growth target.

Tourism minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien attributed the strong growth to an unprecedented 20 percent increase in arrivals from Europe. Visitors from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. can now visit Vietnam for 15 days without a visa.

Vietnam is also offering visa exemption to tourists from South Korea and Japan, which are the second and third-largest feeder markets after China.

Hoping to give the tourism industry a bigger push, the Vietnamese government has approved an online visa system for travelers on short holidays or casual business visits.

The new visa rule, which is expected to come into effect this February, will not apply to all visitors, but be limited to Vietnam’s top feeder markets.

Tourism authorities are expecting an additional 15-percent increase in international tourists next year (11.5 million arrivals) and revenues of VND460 trillion ($20.2 billion).

Thien said the growth momentum will hopefully turn tourism into a key economic driver by 2020, when it will contribute 10 percent of the GDP.


Related news:
The best of Vietnam through photos this week

The best of Vietnam through photos this week

Explore some of the most stunning photos in Vietnam.

1, SaPa
The northwest market town of Sapa is colorful and charming, providing the perfect oasis in the midst of a strenuous mountain trek or rice-paddy tour.
sapa vietnam

Sapa - Vietnam

2, Halong Bay

halong bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

3, Trang An Ninh Binh
The Trang An Tourism Complex in the northern province of Ninh Binh was officially included in the world heritage list on June 23 by the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

trang an bai dinh

Trang An Ninh Binh

4, Hanoi's West Lake

hanoi's west lakeHanoi's West Lake on a peaceful day

5, Life on the fast track

Life on the fast track

6, Cantho Vietnam floating market dock flowers

Can Tho CityA floating market for flowers in Can Tho City

7, Nha Trang

Nha TrangNha Trang is always a perfect place to take photos with your loved one

8, Saigon

saigon vietnamThe mesmerizing colors of a Saigon night


Related news:
Vietnam greets 10 millionth tourist in 2016

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is Vietnam’s most distinctive Catholic church with strong traditional Vietnamese design elements and a rich history. This region has been a stronghold of Catholicism in Vietnam for centuries and continues to host dozens of active churches.
Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is located in Kim Son District of Ninh Binh Province. It has oriental architecture. This cathedral is far about 120 kilometers from Hanoi to the south, built in 1875s to 1898s. 'Phat Diem' means generating beauty, named by Nguyen Cong Tru. The church was built during the 24 consecutive years.

With the technical level and traffic conditions of the late 19th century, the method to transfer thousands of tons of stone, hundreds of ironwood trees to Phat Diem in order to build the cathedral is very difficult. Kim Son is the new land, before, it is very muddy. So as to solve subsidence of this area before building, people moved a small mountain to Phat Diem. Visitors can see So Mountain; it is a part of the mountain which had been moved to Phat Diem.

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is a complex comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh (bell house) and three artificial grottoes. At first sight, visitors are easily attracted to square lake on the main road to the cathedral. In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with statue of Jesus Christ. Phuong Dinh easily becomes the next eye-catching monument, with stone carvings on both sides of the walls. It is 25 m high, 17m wide and 24m long with three stories. The first floor is covered by large green flagstones.

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

The middle and upper floors house a large drum and a big bell respectively. As visitors leave Phuong Dinh, they will see a great cathedral which was built in 1891with the official name “Nha tho Duc Me Man Coi”. The cathedral is 74 meters long, 21 meters wide and 15 meters high with four roofs. It was built of 6 rows of monolithic ironwood. Within the cathedral are four small churches of different styles. Next to the grand cathedral is a stone church with initial name “Nha Tho Trai tim Vo Nhiem Nguyen Toi Duc Me” but now people usually refer to it as” Stone church” because from its walls, pillars, ground, bars to tie beams are made of stone. The inside of the church has many sophisticatedly carved reliefs, with chrysanthemum, bamboo, fir tree and apricot tree that symbolize four seasons in a year. Around Phat Diem Cathedral, there are a lot of beautiful stone caves and artificial mountains.
With artistic design and skillful technique, Phat Diem Cathedral is a pride of many local Ninh Binh people.

Bai Dinh Pagoda - The largest pagoda in Southeast Asia

Bai Dinh Pagoda is famous for its great size and imposingness. The pagoda will be also set more record for the owner of the most Arhat Statues in ASEAN with 500 Arhat statues made of stone and stand higher than human’s head.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda from up high

Located behind a range of limestone mountains in Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province, the site with construction lying about in disorder and in the way, so it is difficult to imagine its beauty as well as its solemn to a pagoda in the true sense of the word as the tradition. However, its great size and imposingness can be felt by anybody when visiting it one time. Its back leans against the Bai Dinh Mountain with the height of 200m. The area for constructing Ba Dinh Pagoda is 80ha, which is located on the mass of “Bai Dinh Pagoda hallowed culture” belonging to Trang An Tourism Area. Currently, this mass is executing many items of Pagoda including Tam The (Past, Present and Future) Temple, Sanctuary and Bodhisatva Kwan Yin statue, Dharma Temple, Bell-tower, Three-door temple gate, and dormitory area for Buddhist monks, etc. In front of Pagoda valley, a hundred of excavators, bulldozers and power-shovels are digging land and build up a dike to make a huge semicircular lake, which will be taken water from the river crossing to create a landscape of “on shore and under boat” like the Yen Stream flowing under the foot of Huong Tich Pagoda.

Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda

The most important emphasizing point of these great religion works are Tam The Temple and Phap Chu Temple. Two temples cover a total area of 1,000 square meters . The height of Phap Chu Temple is up to 22m and it contains five partitions . In the centre of this temple is a bronze Buddha Sykamuni statue with 10 meters high and 100 tons heavy which is certificated as the biggest statue in Vietnam. This statue is casted by the pure bronze bought from Russian, casted and installed by the famous artisans of casting bronze statue in Y Yen, Nam Dinh . Moreover, there are several national records in this temple such as three largest horizontal lacquered boards(hoành phi) and three biggest “Cua Vong” ( a kind of door which is sophisticatedly sculpted and engraved ) .In Tam The Temple , there are three Tam The statues representing the past, the present and the future. Each statue is 12 m high and weighs 100 tons.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Another special feature in Bai Dinh pagoda is “Great Bell” with the weight of 36 tons was casted and located in Bell Tower. In addition, there is 70 -ton bronze drum on the floor of the Tower. What’s more, coming to Bai Dinh pagoda, visitors have a chance to see the biggest Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue in Bodhissattva Temple. This statue looks so marvellous with thousand hands and eyes to present the protection and universal salvation for common people.
Furthermore, visitors will be astonished at the collection of 500 Arahat statues on the hill on the right – hand side of Phap Chu Temple. The 500 Arhat statues with the height of 2.3m, carved by Ninh Binh stone have different positions and gestures that create magic space and lively atmosphere.
Without a doubt, Bai Dinh pagoda is masterpiece of both nature and men and it is the pride of Vietnamese people in terms of unique architecture, culture and historical value.

Halong Bay From Up High

Halong Bay From Up High

Halong From Up High

For one day tour to Halong, traveling by seaplane is considered as the most comfortable way. Instead of traveling 7 hours by car, the return flight from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes only 45 minutes and brings you the awesome panoramic view of Halong Bay.

Explore Halong Bay by seaplane

Explore Halong Bay by seaplane

Before taking a 15 minute scenic flight over Halong, get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life as you board a seaplane and get immersed in the outstanding aerial views over Hanoi as you fly 45 minutes to Halong Bay.
Explore Halong Bay in a completely different way, why not?
In Vietnam, travelers can have so many new and unique experiences thanks to the seaplane service for visitors traveling from Hanoi to Halong of the private Hai Au airline.

Taking off from and landing on the Tuan Chau Island Marian, this 15 minute sightseeing flight takes in all the highlights of Halong Bay with amazing views over the magnificent landscape of limestone pillars reaching up from the green waters.
See the islands of Cong Do, Bo Hon with their pretty lagoons and fly out to Dau Be on the edge of the Gulf of Tonkin.

Halong Bay Tours by seaplane suit people who want to save time for business. On other ways, due to traffic jam and the bad condition of Vietnam’s road, explore Halong Bay by seaplane seems to be the best choice.

And this is also very important destination on Halong bay tours to visit Bai tu long bay.

Furthermore, if you are seeking for overnight tours in Halong Bay, a Halong luxury 1 day tour will be a good choice.

See more:
Bai Tu Long Bay
Vung Vieng fishing village
halong bay-the natural world heritage of vietnam



Halong Thien Canh Son Cave

Thien Canh Son Cave is located in Bai Tu Long Bay. The travel route to Thien Canh Son Cave is going through thousands of limestone islands & islets & hundreds of small sandy beaches, so tourists have the feeling they are traveling in the paradise.

Thien Canh Son Cave

Thien Canh Son Cave

In the cave, is a wonderful beauty of stalagmites & stalactites – an image of a lotus, a picture of baby elephant.
The ceiling of the cave is covered with a layer of shiny ‘carpets’, numerous sparkling stalactites appear like “hanging lamps”.
Stone statues, stone elephants, seals, flowers – all seem to create an imaginary world as if in a dream.

Thien Canh Son Cave offers a wild and mysterious beauty. This is the reason why Cruises choose to bring guests here – to discover the geological value of the bay, and to enjoy a cozy dinner with family and friends in sparkling candlelight.
Thien Canh Son cave has a great scenery because combination between amazing stalagmites & stalactites and colorful light.
And this is also very important destination on Halong bay tours to visit Bai tu long bay.

Furthermore, if you are seeking for overnight tours in Halong Bay, a Halong luxury 1 day tour will be a good choice.

See more:

Halong Bay from up high
Vung Vieng fishing village
Bai Tu Long Bay


Vung Vieng is located in the heart of Bai Tu Long Bay, 24 km from the mainland.
You will not only be immersed in the quiet and peaceful location viewing the charming landscape, and discovering the cultural life of the fishermen but also will be instructed in the fine arts of sailing and casting fish nets.


Vung Vieng Fishing Village

Halong Bay’s inhabitants
The inhabitants of the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay lived their lives in coexistence with the sea even before it was discovered as a destination.
Their lives have become so attached to the bay’s waves and winds that they live in floating houses and form floating village lasted for generations.
There are 04 fishing villages in Halong Bay: Hang Village, Cua Van Village, Vung Vieng Village and Cap La Village.

Less touristy
Out of the four, Vung Vieng is the one with less visitors. Nestled among the limestone peaks, the village is sheltered from the ocean waves or strong winds, especially in typhoon season.
There are about 50 families living in clusters of houses anchored within the natural protection of surrounding mountainous islands.
The population is between 200 and 300 residents with nearly 100 children.

The village’s traditionally income came solely from fishing in exchange for food they cannot cultivate and water they have to import from the mainland.
Visitors to Halong Bay now bring them another supplemental sum by providing rowing boat services.
However, the floating village still keeps its the traditional character and enchanting beauty of boats, nets, houses and simple yet hospitable people…

Furthermore, if you are seeking for overnight tours in Halong Bay, a Halong luxury 1 day tour will be a good choice. 

Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay occupies three quarters of Halong Bay World Heritage site, as well as many islands in Van Don, Cam Pha District. 

Travelling to Bai Tu Long Bay is off the beaten track and promises to deliver many unique experiences, far from the heavily touristic sites.

Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay

According to legend, millions of years ago when Vietnam was conquered by invaders, the Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her child to help the people.
After winning, the dragons did not return to fairyland but decided to stay on earth.
The place where the Mother Dragon descended is now called Halong Bay, while Bai Tu Long Bay is where the Young Dragon descended.
These names are in Chinese and convey exactly the meanings mentioned above.

Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay

In this big area, visitors can find pristine natural landscapes. Even now, Bai Tu Long remains an extensive unexplored area.
In some ways it is actually more stunning than Halong Bay, since it is only in its initial stages as a destination for travelers.
Bai Tu Long has many attractions to visit: Cong Do area, Vung Vieng fishing village, Da Xep Park, Cong Dam area, Thien Canh Son cave and Tra Gioi beach. There are also some populated islands; Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Cong Dong, and Cong Tay with many beautiful beaches.
In addition, Bai Tu Long Bay National Park is rich in biological diversity, home to many different flora and fauna.

Furthermore, if you are seeking for overnight tours in Halong Bay, a Halong luxury 1 day tour will be a good choice.