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Old Quarter

The Old Quarter, near Hoan Kiem lake, has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households specialized in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specializations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce.

Old-Quarter hanoiOld-Quarter Hanoi

The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here also. A night market (near Xuân market) in the heart of the district opens for business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.

Hanoi night market

This market spreading from Hang Dao Street to Dong Xuan Market creates a busy and crowded walking street. on weekend evenings, a lot of people come here to stroll or go shopping, which becomes a habit.

Dong Xuan MarketDong Xuan Market

As a commercial street, you can find everything concerning clothes and recreation. Clothes, sweets, “o mai” (salted dry fruit), decorations, toys, stationeries, sundry goods are respectively sold o­n Hang Ngang, Hang Dao, Hang Buom, Hang Duong, Luong Van Can, Hang Ma, Ngo Gach and Hang Ca Streets. All goods and facilities can be found from Dong Xuan Market to Hang Giay Street.

People come here for shopping or just strolling in the crowd to feel the atmosphere of the night market and the habit of Hanoians. Children are excited about going shopping with their family, sitting o­n their father’s shoulders, holding their mother’s hand, walking in a stream of people, playing with sand pictures and painting statues. It is so romantic to see lovers hand in hand walking o­n the street, smiling, taking pictures, buying some pieces of clothes at weekends. There are lots of foreign tourists who go sight-seeing or shopping. It is easy for them to find Hanoi or Vietnamese style souvenirs at low prices.

Food stalls often sell “banh beo” (bloating fern-shaped cake), bacon, grilled “nem chua”, sausages, Hai Phong bread, Donner Kebap, cakes, sweet porridge of northern provinces or Hue city. At the end of the night market street, next to Dong Xuan market, there is a night eatery with a wide range of food, such as “lau”, grilled food, “banh khuc” and steamed sticky rice.

Happiest couples: Vietnamese named the most satisfied lovers in Asia

Happiest couples: Vietnamese named the most satisfied lovers in AsiaA Vietnamese couple pose for photos among peach blossom flowers in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham

They rarely think about leaving their partners and do not argue often. Except when it comes to money.
Vietnam has proved an ideal place to be in a relationship, with a new regional survey naming Vietnamese the most satisfied lovers.

They rarely argue with their partners. When they do, it's mostly about money and their children.

A new Prudential survey, conducted by independent research firm Ipsos, asked people in Asia how much their primary relationships fulfill them. Vietnam came first with the highest score of 83 percent, followed by people in the Philippines and Indonesia. The region's average was 68 percent.

Every week, 8 percent of people in Vietnam think about leaving their partner, the lowest rate in Asia compared to the highest rate of 28 percent in Thailand.

Vietnamese also argue very little. The survey found almost one in four Asians argues with their partners every week, but it happens with only 7 percent of the people in Vietnam.

The survey interviewed more than 5,000 adults from 10 Asian markets. Japan was not included.

Happiest couples: Vietnamese named the most satisfied lovers in Asia

Of course it's not always a smooth sail. If you are looking to maintain a happy and long-lasting relationship here in Vietnam, try to stay away from money issues.

According to the survey, money causes 55 percent of people in Vietnam to argue with their partners, the highest rate in Asia. That might be partly because Vietnamese couples are the most likely to share joint bank accounts, at the rate of 78 percent.

Drinking and smoking are also likely sources of arguments in Vietnam, leading to issues in 51 percent of relationships.

Vietnam, with a population of 93 million, has some 15.6 million tobacco smokers, mostly men. Vietnamese are also among the heaviest drinkers in the world who spend an average of VND2.4 million ($100) on beer every year, around 5 percent of their income.

A 2015 study by Vietnam's health ministry said drinking is the major cause of home violence in the country, causing 34 percent of all reported violence and abuse cases.

Vietnam is generally known as a happy and friendly nation. It ranked fifth in the Happy Planet Index results in 2016. Lifestyle magazine Esquire last month named Vietnam one of the best places to visit in 2017, where it says the culture of optimism is delightful.

No recent official statistics are available for the divorce rate in Vietnam. Local media reports in recent years, citing various sources, often put the rate at around one divorce in every three marriages.

Source: Vnexpress

Let's get it on: 5 reasons why Vietnam makes you a better lover

If you're in the mood for love, you won't have far to look.

1. Cheap hotels

Nothing says romance like a free toothbrush and a pink bar of soap. Lovers can reliably find their own private heavens here for a lean $2.50 (per hour). So you never have to worry about waking up your parents.

2. The traffic

Hear us out. The gridlock, frustration and danger of trying to push a personal vehicle through a wall of 250,000 motorized Vietnamese people will teach you a thing or two about patience. And patience is the most essential virtue for anyone considering a romantic relationship, buster.

Vietnam transportCommuters are seen during rush hour on a street in Hanoi

3. The weather

It’s pretty much always too hot or too rainy to ever go outside or stand still. That means lots of time spent indoors or on a motorbike—even with people you’re just getting to know. Love happens fast out here, boyeeeee.

The weather in vietnamCouples enjoy Hoi An during a flood.

4. Aphrodisiacs are everywhere

Seafood. Goat tits. Durian. (Psst. Durian works, dude.)

5. Matchmakers

They’re everywhere! Literally every person you meet will want to know, right away, if you’re taken. If not, they’ll run you through a list of eligible partners. If you're lonely in Vietnam, it’s probably because you refuse to leave your apartment.

vietnam cultureBrides and grooms ride cyclos on their collective wedding day

Source: Vnexpress

 

10 most beautiful places in Vietnam: Rough Guides list

10 most beautiful places in Vietnam

Your favorites may not make the cut, but rest assured that Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa will be there.

Rough Guides, one of the most respected travel guides, has just released the top 10 most beautiful places in Vietnam, as voted by its readers. There will be some surprises and possibly a few snubs. But we can't name every single place that we love right?

10. Cat Ba

The island has managed to keep a relatively low profile even though it's right there in Ha Long Bay. With a national park covering half of the island, Rough Guides describes it as “a paradise for travelers who come here to hike, climb and kayak (the waters and coral reefs are protected too).”

Cat Ba National Park. Photo from Vuonquocgiacatba 

9. Da Lat

The central highlands city is known for its “French Colonial-era villas” and “a cool and temperate climate." The website forgets to mention its incredible street food.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Nguyen Ngoc Luan

 

8. Da Nang

The coastal city, Vietnam’s rising star in tourism, is usually praised for its friendliness and high-quality services. With icons such as the Dragon Bridge, the Han River and the Marble Mountains, Da Nang is another great choice in central Vietnam, aside from the next-door Hoi An.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Chu Ngoc Anh

7. Phu Quoc

It is hard not to be enchanted by this magnetic island of the south. Travelers from around the world fly in to enjoy its sun-kissed beaches and amazing (and cheap) seafood.

 

6. Ha Giang

Known as the country’s best place for motorcycle riding, the beauty of mountains and valleys seems so much closer from the saddle.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Tran Anh Tuan

 

5. Ho Chi Minh City

Last year the city was ranked 18th on a global list of fastest growing tourist cities by MasterCard. The southern metropolis offers visitors diverse choices, from the buzzing daily life and delicious coffee to festivals and sporting events.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Y Ho Nhu

 

4. The Mekong Delta

We think many places of the Delta deserve their own entries in this list. But it's still great when Rough Guides readers love the region for its culinary offerings and unspoiled bucolic beauty.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Pham Tri Long 

3. Ha Long Bay

We probably don’t have to explain about this choice. Just look at the picture.

Photo from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism 

2. Sa Pa

The northern highlands region as a whole is so charming. And this little town is clearly the jewel of the crown.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Vu Ngoc Hoang 

1. Hoi An

The winner: this centuries-old ancient town tops the list thanks to its “heady mix of wooden-fronted merchant houses, graceful bridges and ornate temples.”

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Le Tien Dung

 
 

Surprise omissions

Readers of Rough Guides may have overlooked these destinations. Or maybe the list should have been expanded because a top 10 is simply not enough. So we add them here for you.

Quang Binh

What makes the central province stands out is its majestic cave system. The "Kong: Skull Island" film crew chose it as the fictitious birthplace of their giant gorilla.

Son Doong Cave

 

Ninh Binh

Although it may not be as famous to Western tourists as it is to the locals, or at least not yet, Ninh Binh and its poetic scenery is definitely worth a try.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Ninh Manh Thang

 

Hanoi

It’s a big surprise not to see Vietnam’s capital in the top 10 list, especially after Pinterest listed it as one of the most popular places for global travelers. Check out the Old Quarter and the city’s street food options to be amazed.

Source: VnExpress

Bigger and brighter: Da Nang prepares for annual fireworks festival

This year, the famous competition returns in the central resort town with a new vision and bigger scale.

Sponsored

From a competition to a festival

Da Nang International Fireworks Competition (DIFC) has been upgraded to become the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival (DIFF). The festival is going to be held over the course of two months, from April to June 2017, promising bigger and better performances.

The DIFC was first organized in 2008 with only four teams. From then on, every two years, people in Da Nang looked forward to the two days in the year in which they got to see the elaborate shows, and welcome tourists from all over the world.

But two days were not enough, and a period of two years was too long. Both the locals and tourists want something big that could match the potential of this tourism city. Now the authorities have announced that the competition will come back as a two-month festival.

Instead of having only performances from the teams, the festival will be an event of culture, entertainment, arts and tourism. Tourists can breathe in the atmosphere of a bustling city and leave with great memories. Locals and tourists will now join the festival and bring it to life.

This year, the festival welcomes seven teams from seven countries: the U.K., Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, China and Italy, besides the home team of Da Nang.

Five fireworks nights, named after the five elements fire, earth, metal, water and wood, are scheduled for every Saturday. The nights aim to convey the message of the harmony between humans and nature.

With the theme, “Lighting up the Ngu Hanh Son” and six companion programs – the beach festival, fire festival, Cham culture festival, sculpture festival, food festival and beer festival – and various street performances, the DIFF 2017 will bring an experience that is infused with culture, creativity and grandeur.

bigger-and-brighter-da-nang-prepares-for-annual-fireworks-festival

New opportunity

The major transformation of the festival from a two-day competition is going to be a significant boost for Da Nang, which has been named “the Leading Festival and Event Destination 2016” by the World Travel Awards.

Huynh Van Hung, director of the city's Department of Culture and Sports, said that DIFF is expected to be a signature event of the city.

He added that the city is building its tourism brand around this event, which will help attract more tourists, improve their experience and reaffirm the creativity of this young and vibrant city

Tourism companies in Da Nang have been preparing to welcome tourists and make sure their different needs are catered to.

“Not all tourists will stay for two months. Companies should prepare tours to meet the demand of different segments of tourists so that they can have the best experience in the festival season,” said Huynh Tan Vinh, chairman of the Da Nang Tourism Association.

The city has also been improving its infrastructure in transport, healthcare, commerce an services to welcome the higher volume of tourists. It is striving to grow both economically and culturally in order to remain an attractive destination.

Source: vnexpress

Buffalo fighting festival 2017 in northern Vietnam

Bloodied, bruised and battered, and then to top it off, sent to the butcher.

More than thirty trained buffaloes battled for their lives at a festival in northern Vietnam where violent scenes once again took place before the blood-thirsty visitors’ eyes.

The Phu Ninh Buffalo-Fighting Festival took place on the 8th and 9th days of the first lunar month, which fell on Saturday and Sunday, in the northern province of Phu Tho.

The festival, which is a long-standing tradition, is an offering to pray for good weather, prosperity and happiness.

This year, the organizing committee did not ask owners to kill their animals once the fighting had finished as they had done in previous years, but some did anyway.

Two buffaloes in a fighting

Two buffaloes fighting in the arena.

Many tourists from different provinces and cities came to attend the festival

Many tourists from different provinces and cities attended the festival.

Buffaloes were wounded during the fierce fighting

Many buffaloes were wounded during the fierce fighting.

violent-scenes-overwhelm-buffalo-fighting-festival-in-northern-vietnam-ed-3

violent-scenes-overwhelm-buffalo-fighting-festival-in-northern-vietnam-ed-4

The fight between the two competitors continued before the enthusiastic visitors

The fight between the two competitors continued before the enthusiastic crowd.

violent-scenes-overwhelm-buffalo-fighting-festival-in-northern-vietnam-ed-6

Staff had to separate the buffaloes if their fight lasted for more than two hours.

Water partly helped buffaloes increase fighting strength

Water helped to cool down the heated animals.

The fighting was almost over

The fight was almost over.

Blood and wounds were seen on both winners and losers

Blood and wounds were seen on both winners and losers.

violent-scenes-overwhelm-buffalo-fighting-festival-in-northern-vietnam-ed-10

Despite warnings from the organizing committee, many buffaloes were still killed after the fighting. Their meat was sold near the festival with prices ranging from VND300,000 ($13.1) to VND600,000 per kg


Source from vnexpress

Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam, known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here in a glass case at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (albeit against his wishes).

Ho Chi Minh MausoleumHo Chi Minh Mausoleum

For visitors, a trip to Uncle Ho’s final resting place can be an extraordinary experience as it is not just an average attraction; it’s a part of a unique history.

Started in 1973, the construction of the mausoleum was modeled on Lenin's mausoleum in Russia and was first open to the public in 1975. The granite building meant a great deal for many locals as it ensures that their beloved leader ‘lives on forever’.

Inside the building’s marble entrance hall Ho Chi Minh’s most quoted maxim greets you: “nothing is more important than independence and freedom”. Then it’s up the stairs and into a cold, dark room where this charismatic hero lies under glass, a small, pale figure glowing in the dim light, his thin hands resting on black covers. Despite the rather macabre overtones, it’s hard not to be affected by the solemn atmosphere, though in actual fact Ho’s last wish was to be cremated and his ashes divided between the north, centre and south of the country, with each site marked only by a simple shelter. The grandiose building where he now lies seems sadly at odds with this unassuming, egalitarian man.

Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

Hanoi tourists and locals alike head to Hoan Kiem Lake when seeking a place to get away from the noise of the city. Peaceful and quiet, the lake surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda sitting in the centre on a small island.

Hoan Kiem Lake or Ho Guom (Sword Lake) is considered as "a flower basket" in the center of Hanoi. It's history relates to many legends, of which one is about how King Le Thai To returned the magic sword to the Tortoise Genie.

 hoan kiem lake in hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem lake means “lake of the returned sword”. This name is related to the famous historical legend of King Le Thai To. And before this legend, Hoan Kiem Lake used to be called Luc Thuy Lake (or Green Water Lake) since the water was green all the year round. In 15th century, it was named Hoan Kiem Lake after the legend of Emperor Le Thai To, which is somehow similar to the story of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake's.

This legend is really interesting. Close your eyes and turn back time to the Le Dynasty 6 centuries ago to witness the legendary story. During the war against the Minh aggressors, King Le Thai To was given a precious fairy Sword by the Golden Turtle God. After 10 years of continuous struggling, the King finally defeated the Chinese and reclaimed the nation’s independence. After that, on a nice day, while boating on lake Luc Thuy, a large turtle came towards him.

It immediately grabbed the sword with its mouth and submerged. The king mourned the lost of such a valuable sword, yet could not find either the turtle or the sword. He realized that the God must have lent him the sword to drive back the enemy, but then that his nation was free, the sword must be returned. Hence, King Le Thai To named the lake Ho Hoan Kiem or Lake of the Restore Sword after this episode.

Located at the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son ("Jade Mountain") Temple is one of the most famous temples in Hanoi. Tourists in Vietnam Tourism who travel to Hoan Kiem Lake should not ignore this special temple.

Ngoc Son Temple in hanoiNgoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple was built in the 18th century on Jade Island in the centre of the ‘Lake of the Returned Sword’ or Hoan Kiem Lake. Legend describes how an emperor was once given a magical sword which helped him defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty and in doing so saw the return of the Golden Turtle God to the lake. Today ‘Turtle Tower’ stands close to the lake in memory of this legend.

There are also endangered large soft-shell turtles swimming in the lake, and to see one of these gentle giants is considered very auspicious. The name of the temple translates to ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’ and is predominately dedicated to war hero General Tran Hung Dao who defeated an armed force of 300,000 soldiers sent by Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan in the 13th century to invade Vietnam.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi

The large central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site just in time for Hanoi’s millennial anniversary in 2010. The ancient site was the political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries.

Imperial Citadel of Thang LongImperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi, located in the heart of the capital of Viet Nam, is the most important and best-preserved part of the ancient Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty, marking the independence of the Đại Việt. It was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. It was the centre of regional political power for almost thirteen centuries without interruption.

The buildings of the Imperial Citadel and the remains in the 18 Hoang Diêu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads of influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south.

Location: Next to Ba Dinh Square, opposite the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and also near many important political buildings including the Vietnamese Presidential Palace.