Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Vietnam travel

Vietnam travel

Hanoi’s speciality with green rice flake cake

Hanoi is famous for its speciality green rice flake cakes which are sold in Hang Than street. Hang Than is just among more than 20 culinary streets in Hanoi which has about 70 streets with their first name of Hang.

This 300 metre long street houses more than 30 green rice flake cake shops. The Nguyen Ninh trademark is the oldest and most popular brand for green rice flake cake. The name was established in 1865 by late Tran Thi Luan and adopted it’s current name of Nguyen Ninh in 1928.

There have been 5 generations of Nguyen Ninh making green rice flake cake so far, said Mrs Nguyen Thi Hiep, a fourth generation family member.

As explained, Nguyen means origin, Ninh is called after Yen Ninh village which is now Yen Ninh street, near Hang Than. Therefore, Nguyen Ninh green rice flake cake means the cake originated from Yen Ninh village.

Nguyen Ninh’s secret of making the cake is its pure ingredients without additives and mixture. Green rice flake cake is made of green rice flakes, green peas and sugar. Green rice flakes must be from Vong and Lu villages (in the past) or from rice land of Thai Binh (at present) and green peas are carefully selected in Ha Tay province.

As tasting a green rice flake cake, especially made by Nguyen Ninh, one can experience the full flavour of simple villages, a very different and typical Hanoi speciality./. Cinet

Monday, 20 August 2012

A peaceful life in Vietnam's Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta, Vietnam
A house boat in the floating market

Driving about two-and-a-half hour by bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City, we arrived in the Mekong Delta. Booked a day tour with other tourists from Asia and Europe. Like them, I looked forward to seeing Vietnam’s floating market with my own eyes, itis really beautiful and peaceful.
Upon arrival at our destination, Cai Be, our group boarded a spacious motorboat and cruised along Vinh Long as we headed to the market area. It was different from what I had pictured in my mind.
I thought we would be navigating through numerous small boats filled with various produce. I wasn’t sure if it was because we arrived there late in the morning, but all we saw were houseboats with the produce displayed on top.
The boats were big enough to accommodate living quarters, and each sold a particular product — we saw pineapples, watermelons and sweet potatoes for sale. Our English-speaking tour guide, Mr. Nguyen mentioned that the houseboats have addresses as well to identify what area they're from.
Though I came prepared with my own eco-bag, we didn’t have a chance to go shopping in the floating market. Our guide said that the prices would be somewhat expensive as the people there knew that we were tourists. So, instead of shopping, we just enjoyed sights. Along the way, Mr. Nguyen pointed out the different "san" houses or houses on stilts lining the river's edge.
After a while, we stopped and got off the boat to explore the countryside.

 the bees
Almost rubbing elbows with the bees

A day in the life

I got a glimpse of the pastoral life in the Upper Mekong Delta and it could have been a scene from any countryside in the Philippines. We walked along a narrow paved street and visited small shops where locals sold products made from native materials.
At our first stop, our guide showed us where the store got its fresh honey and even gave us the opportunity to get really close to the bees. We had hot tea with honey and sampled sweet treats on the side such as candied ginger and winter melon. After a short break, we visited a family that made a business out of selling coconut candy.
Like the Philippines, Vietnam  also bounds with coconut trees. We saw the family manually crack a coconut open, grate its meat and get the milk out of it—the candies' main ingredient. Each member of the family has a role and even the kids help out. They make, pack the candies and sell it right there. They even gave out samples to entice tourists.
While walking down the road, we saw a place that had a 14-kilo python in captivity that visitors were allowed to carry and touch. I dared to do so and the reptile just felt like a heavy scarf on my shoulders. Some of the people in our group had a photo op with the snake as well, and even sampled snake wine, which claims to have health benefits and is supposedly an aphrodisiac, too.
Next door was another family business — this time pop rice. We witnessed how they make “popcorn” out of rice grains: a big wok is heated using dried longan as fuel, then the grains hit the wok, where they become crispy and airy. In the Philippines, the snack is known as ampao.

 Creating spring roll wrappers by hand
 Creating spring roll wrappers by hand

Another establishment made spring roll wrappers. Again, there were no high-tech machines but traditional instruments that looked a hundred years old or so were used. The locals made it look effortless, but our guide said it actually takes years to perfect the skill. While there, we were able to taste different variants—one had coconut milk and another had a ginger flavor.
Our tour concluded with a simple lunch at a no-frills resort. Then, we had some time for ourselves and I wandered around the garden while the others relaxed on hammocks. This tour was an eye-opener for me. I really thought, if the Philippines has the same resources, why can not we include such activities in our tourism program as well?. Hope that we take our cue from Vietnam and promote the Philippines along with local livelihoods.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Hanoi - The first cultural centre of Vietnam

Hanoi authorities said they will turn the city into a cultural centre by 2020 – the first of its kind in Vietnam. They want the capital will become a cultural model for other cities and provinces.
The plan is to develop a system of museums and centres to preserve Vietnamese culture.
Statues, squares and parks will be enhanced and theatres, cinemas and libraries developed along with the performing arts and system.
A 60,000 square metres area of the ancient Thang Long Royal Citadel at 18 Hoang Dieu Street will be turned into a historical and archaeological park. It is expected to open in 2016 of Vietnam travel.
The Old Quarter will be preserved and restoration of old temple, pagodas and community halls completed bay 2015.
The authorities claim they will move 70 percent of the people now living in the popular tourist area to new urban areas.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Traveling to Nha Trang for the best time

The best time for traveling to Nha Trang would probably be March or April. The least windy months of the year are May, April and June. In general Nha Trang is not windy ennough to windsurf, with the exception of Doc Lep beach ( 35 km north of Nha Trang), which is usually reserved for experts.
The weather in Nha Trang is warm and comfortable anytime during the year can be favorable for a trip to the tourism city. In summer often lasts from May with sunlight and hot weather, suitable for natural tourism such as ecotourism, ocean tourism or water sports; while the other months could be pleasing for tourists to visit cultural and historical places such as Ponagar Temple Tower, Vinpearl or The Nha Trang Aquarium.
While most of the South of Vietnam is turned into water for half of a year by monsoon winds, Nha Trang experiences only four “wet months”, from September till mid-December, which are also a time to reconsider visiting Nha Trang. In the first eight months of the year, this coastal city enjoys a warm and beautiful weather and so any day between January and August is good time to start your holiday with Vietnam travel in Nha Trang.
Though long dry season gives beach lovers a big time budget to enjoy the sun-sea-sand in the area, tourists are advised to visit here before the late of June to avoid high humidity and tropical heat in two hottest months of the year (July and August).
The best time to visit Nha Trang in Vietnam tourism would be from February till April, when temperature is kept around 26-27 degree Celsius, and precipitation stay at the lowest level of the year. Spring months are also the best time to dive here. Some coral-rich dive sites that diving enthusiasts should not miss out on are Small Hill, South Reef, and Moray Beach After, all around Mun Island.
If your trip is scheduled for July or August, remember to give Hòn Bà (30 km far from city center) the first position on your tourist attraction list. The mountain with cool climate all year round is absolutely a great place to hide from the summer heat.
Autumn travel in Nha Trang is not recommended. Though it is not cold, rainy, tropical storm and typhoon may annoy most of tourists. Visitors in Vietnam tourism planning to visit the area from September till December should keep your eyes on the local weather forecast.