Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 summer coolers of Ho Chi Minh City

1. Coconut juice:

Coconut juice is a helpful beverage in such hot weather like Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City, there are two kinds of places where you can get coconut juice: in a cafe or from the street vendors. In a cafe, a coconut costs you about $2. The good thing of having a coconut in such coffee shops is the cool and fresh atmosphere, because most coffee shops in HCMC is well-equipped with air-conditioner. Visitors can just enjoy the light sweet taste of coconut juice and relax. Another advantage is you can eat the coconut flesh by using the spoon and swirling inside out.

Unlike coconut from a coffee shop, coconut from street vendors is much cheaper. It costs less than $1 for each whole coconut. However, instead of sitting comfortably in the coffee shop, when drinking coconut juice from street vendors, you will just remain standing and finish your drinks because there is no seats available. Some people riding a motorbike often stop by a street vendor, buy a coconut, drink the juice and leave without eating the coconut flesh. Bargain is advised in case the price is much higher than expected.

2. Sugar cane juice:

Sugar cane juice is a popular drink in Ho Chi Minh City. With a small blending machine attached, a sugar cane juice shop does not take up too much space. When walking around the streets, you may accidentally see some or even many of them. Small chairs and stools are arranged around the small vehicle where people usually sit and talk with their friends while having drinks.

Sugar cane juice is just a simple and stress-relieving drink for it can cure thirsty, temporary hunger and sugar low situations. Besides, it is cheap. It can’t cost you more than 50 cents for a glass of sugar cane juice. Recently, some people makes some changes and mix some fruits into sugar cane juice while blending, such as: strawberry and orange, which increase the flavour and thus price of a drink up to 75 cents.

Places to try sugarcane drinks: Ben Thanh market is an easy place to find sugar cane juice at affordable price. If you like discovering around the city, you may see others on the street walks almost anywhere.

3. Smoothies:

Smoothie is another popular and widely available option when you are thirsty. Because Vietnam is a tropical country, there are plenty kinds of exotic fruits, some of which you may never try before. A smoothie is popular due to its good effects on people’s health, especially the skin.

Fruits contain lots of vitamins which are benevolent to your skin and your body as well. Unlike smoothies made in foreign countries, in Vietnam, fruits are blended with condensed milk. That’s why it may taste sweeter and richer than usual but more addictive, for sure. Besides, depending the seasonal availability of the fruits, some can be found in June but aren’t available in September.

Smoothies can be found at any coffee shop or even on the streets. The average price is $1-$1.5/ drink. Take-away is also available at some places. If you have special diet, such as sugar-free diet, you’d better go to a coffee shop and order your special smoothie rather than having one from the street vendors because the sweetener might not be available at these places.

4. Iced Coffee:

It would be a great mistake if one does not mention coffee when talking about local drinks in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese people often drink coffee to start a new day before going to work. They can either drink it at home (home-made coffee) or at the coffee shop or even on the streets. Coffee shop in Vietnam varies from designs, architecture to pricing.

Coffee from street vendors (again?!) is the most affordable one. It costs you about 25 cents for a tall. In upscale coffee shops, price is much higher up to $2-$4/ a cup of coffee. However expensive it is, the atmosphere and backgrounds with light music all the time can make it up. Is there anything better than sitting in a relaxing environment, savoring coffee to start a new day?

Coffee in Vietnam may be stronger than any other countries’. If you are not a good coffee drinker, you may try a little bit first or else you may stay awake all that night! In hot weather, a ca phe sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) will certainly does the job.

5. Nuoc Sam:

Herbal tea or Nuoc Sam is a very typical drink of Ho Chi Minh City. It is made from boiling the water with some special herbal plants. These plants have a good effect on balancing self-temperature in hot weather and cool down the body as well. They can be bought at oriental medication shop along Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, District 5.

If you have time, you can buy some and make it at home. Just boil the water with the plants for a few minutes, let it cool down in open air, then put in the fridge for later use.

 Vietnam Herb Tea

For busy people, you can find some on Cach Mang Thang Tam street after passing the Cong Truong Dan Chu roundabout. It costs less than 25 cents for a Nuoc Sam, a fairly cheap price.

After drinking, you feel like your body has been recharged and revived. Fresh taste of Nuoc Sam attracts lots of people. They can’t resist having a second drink. These shops are often designed for stopping-by or take-away. It might not be a great idea if you are planning to sit there for a long time!

Top 10 best Honeymoon destinations in Vietnam

Perfect love, sublimated feelings are the feelings that people will enjoy the beautiful day of their honeymoon. Which destinations will you choose to send your love to your lover in order to have the most magical holiday of your life? With the natural charm, vibrant colors, delicious food and inspiring scenery, Vietnam honeymoon tours will bring the couples unforgettable and meaningful experiences.  Here are 10 best honeymoon destinations for your ideal honeymoon tours in Vietnam.

Ha Noi

You will be surprised, and will not understand why the couples should spend their honeymoon in Hanoi. No blue ocean, no majestic mountains, nor the warmth of fresh water from the hot spring ... but Hanoi has the private "specialty" which nowhere has. Holding hands walking on the ancient streets in the autumn of Ha Noi with the fragrance of Milk flowers in the chilly air is the unique memory. Spend your honeymoon holiday in Hanoi to know why Hanoi Autumn is so popular. Hanoi has many hotels but the couples should choose the resort far from the city center because those resorts have quiet space and very nice rooms.


Sapa is always beautiful in four-seasons. Sapa has a majestic, dreaming and romantic beauty. Spend your honeymoon tour in Sapa, you not only have a chance to enjoy the fresh air of a region of the northwest, but also visit the old French villas, 100m high Silver waterfall, learn the life of H 'Mong people in Cat Cat Village. Specially, you can take part in the “Love market” on Saturday and climb the “Heaven Gate”, “Cloud Yard” to record the images of Sapa town engulfed in fog. Sapa hotel price is not expensive, however to enjoy the fully honeymoon, couples should choose the 3 or 4 star hotels.

Ha Long

The strength of Ha Long Bay is not the sea bathing, but the feeling of sailing on the luxury cruise ship on the Bay will make the honeymoon holidays full of funny and exciting memories. Watching the sunrise over the Bay or having dinner with your partner on the boat, watching the green and fresh vast water, undulating and hidden islands will bring the couples romantic feelings. Halong Bay is a major tourism city. Therefore, it is easy to book the satisfactory hotel. However, you should consider booking hotel at Bai Chay, Tuan Chau or in Ha Long city center.

Hoi An

Hoi An has quiet and romantic beautiful with old houses, quiet streets, the dishes bringing Quang – people‘s soul will certainly be a nice space for couples to make their love sublimated. In addition, two of you can also immerse yourself in the fresh water of Cua Dai Beach. The best time to visit Hoi An is the full moon day. There will be power off and burn the lanterns, you can enjoy the ancient town of shimmering Hoi An.

 Da Nang
Normally going to Hoi An means that tourists will go a strip: Hue - Hoi An - Da Nang; however, if two of you do not want to extend the time on the road, it can be shortened by visiting only Hoi An and Da Nang. Two of you will be amazed at the beauty of a green city with many attractive tourist destinations as the Han River, Bana Hills, Cham museum... You also get pleasure swimming on the blue beach, endless stretches of sand.

Nha Trang 
Although not having a dreamy and romantic beauty as Da Lat, Nha Trang gives the couples a spacious space, a peaceful moment. Going to NhaTrang, the couple can join in roam freely on the white sandy beach, drowning in hot mineral springs, mud pools immersed in or under running water massage thousand rays. In addition, you will experience the exciting journey on the Vinpearl cable or playing all day with hundreds of games on the island. After delighted time to play, you can be hand in hand exploring the exciting world of water at Tri Nguyen Aquarium, breathing in the cool air falls Ta Gu, Yang Bay waterfall or learn of the mysterious of Ponagar tower.

Da Lat

Da Lat has never become boring for couples. Although this city has been travelled many times before but in the big day of your life, you will still enjoy Da Lat to select a destination for the honeymoon. Admire the landscapes associated with faithful and loyal love, sipping morning coffee at dreamy Ho Xuan Huong side, hand in hand go on the quiet street in Da Lat when night falls in the colder air will make your love is more passionate relationship. Since early in October, the hotels in Dalat are launching promotional package for honeymoon.

Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a right choice paradise for any couples. Dubbed the resort capital, even if you have limited budget or you are rich, there entirely has a possible choice for a resort like the real honeymoon.

Phu Quoc

If you want to spend your honeymoon in a private space, or sometimes you want to avoid the noise, Phu Quoc is the best destination you should choose. You can go to Phu Quoc by boat or plane. In Phu Quoc, many hotels have car free shuttle from the airport and back, very convenient. However, like any other tourist destinations, you should also book the hotel soon to avoid wandering to find that hotel prices are higher.

Con Dao

Con Dao has many beautiful landscapes and beaches. As one of 21 Vietnam national travel parks, Con Dao is the paradise for honeymoon days which more couples choose now. You will admire the scenic beauty is clean and beautiful beaches in the world, the rich seafood ... you also get to experience the feeling of exploring deep ocean diving, coral viewing and fishing.

An Essence of Vietnamese Soul

Leave Vietnam for merely half a year and sometimes one will just be shocked by how many things have managed to change in such little time. But if he asks what has mostly stayed the same, 20 years plus after the country rejoins the world, the answer is likely going to be the wet market.

More than 70% of the country’s population is still employed in the agriculture sector. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and other big cities of Vietnam all have their “green perimeter” in which farmers grow their crops and herd their livestock. The close proximity allows for fresh produce to come in the cities everyday, in a matter of few hours. This makes for no shortage of recently-butchered meats and just-picked vegetables (see how much grocery costs in Vietnam).

Vietnam wet market and grocery

The majority of these foods are sold at wet markets scattered across towns. Big cities like Hanoi often house up to hundreds of such open fairs, which range in size, from small gatherings that take up only a few square yards, to several-hectares ones in some places like Hanoi’s all-too-famous Thanh Cong market.

A good chunk of the wet market is devoted to fresh produce. One does not come to such market for processed or packaged food. The commodities are mainly of fresh nature. There certainly are other oddities being sold, from bath products, silverware, to on-the-spot snacks and dried food, but “the Gods”, as Vietnamese customers are often referred to, like to have them fresh. This can explain why “Have it your way” Burger King finds it hard to live up to its own promise on the other side of the globe.

It is almost magical that the wet market comes into existence. Most are situated in residential areas, without official permission. People often have to close off entire streets to make room for the meets. While inconvenient to some, this offers great opportunities for most, as fresh food is sometimes only a walk down the stair away. For many who live in busy quarters, as traffic remains a head-aching problem, having to commute 2 hours a day to get food is simply out of the question.

Wet markets often meet very early and many sellers leave as soon as the women of modern Vietnam take off their aprons and head to work. Night is day for some farmers who often bring in their produce as early as 3 or 4am. The night dew adds a touch of beauty and that hint of freshness, but the main point is the lower temperature works to keep the food unspoiled. The fact that Vietnamese maintain their appetite for fresh food makes for a rather seemingly bizarre lifestyle. People get up early to go to markets, and to many that one hour wandering around is the only exercise they ever need. Hot breakfast served fresh after workout included.

Early morning market in Vietnam

Wet market not only serves the intended purpose well, gradually it has also grown into one important part of the Vietnamese culture, a tradition of sort. It has become a place where people meet and talk, enjoy the sight of familiar faces, and blend in with the flow of life. They come to indulge in the sights and smells, and bask in the glory of all that is so familiar yet so rich in culture. They are here to remind themselves that this is what the people have been doing for thousands of years. Many come just for the experience. There is even a specific term, chợ Tết (Year’s end meet), for which the very sound brings excitement to the Vietnamese. Chợ Tết has established itself as a staple of the Vietnamese Tết holiday. As noisily soulful as the market already is, Tết brings it to a whole new level, one that even the diehard fans find hard to fully explain to a foreigner. Among many others, chợ Tết is a cultural event of such significance that one simply can not miss during the period.

Good thing has to come to an end too. As major cities are undergoing major renovation, the wet market is seen as somethTing of the past and not befitting the modern images of Vietnam’s new economic powerhouses. Many are being disbanded, others moved and downsized. Skyscrapers and supermarkets, dry soulless hard concrete as they are, slowly replace the old joyful ground. Questions are being raised and opinions voiced as to whether to keep up with progress or to retain such unique identity. The debate rages on while some keep on tearing down pillars of traditional importance.

 It is a difficult task to mix the old and the new. In the meantime, Vietnamese are happily enjoying what fresh food they can, while they still can.

10 Best beaches in Vietnam for your vacation

With over 3000 kilometers coastlines, Vietnam has many beautiful beaches stretch along the country. Spending some days at one of the beaches in your tours to Vietnam is more fantastic.

In the South and Central of Vietnam, the weather is warm and hot all year round and you can choose beaches at these places any time of the year. It is cold in the North during winter and spring, so summer is fine for a Vietnam beach vacation in the North.

Here is the list of best 10 beaches in Vietnam, South to North:

1. Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is the largest island of Vietnam in 22 populations of small islands located in the Gulf of Thailand, formed Phu Quoc island district under Kien Giang province. Phu Quoc is called by the Chinese to set up settlements, which means "land rich".

Phu Quoc Tourism, journey to a tropical paradise is the choice for those who love nature and want to experience the island unforgettable moments along the blue waters and white sands of the island was named by the Pearl Island natural abundance is given to this beautiful island.

 2. Con Dao

Con Dao has many beautiful landscapes and beaches. As one of 21 Vietnam national travel parks, Con Dao is the paradise for your vacation which more couples choose now. You will admire the scenic beauty is clean and beautiful beaches in the world, the rich seafood ... you also get to experience the feeling of exploring deep ocean diving, coral viewing and fishing.
Con Dao Island is 97 nautical miles (180km) far from Vung Tau. There are two ways to go to Con Dao. They are going by road + waterway or air.

3. Vung Tau

Vung Tau located on the peninsula of the same name is the capital of the province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau. It is located mainland jutting out like a strip of land about 14km in length and about 6km in width. From here, people can see both the South China Sea at sunset and sunrise. As a coastal city and the coastline stretches 20km Vung Tau is becoming famous tourist place for local and foreign tourists. In addition, Vung Tau is also the land of traditional culture have a long history with the monument bearing the stamp of the historical period.

4. Muine – Phan Thiet

Mui Ne is one of the most beautiful beaches in South East Asia with blue sea and sandy hills. It also has lots of luxury resort suitable for your relaxation. Located 22km from Phan Thiet City on the east, nowadays Mui Ne has become an attractive tourist destination with wide immense white sand dunes and towering coconut trees bending around the coast. Mui Ne also impresses visitors by lush coconut groves stretching along the coast arc. The tall coconut body, threw himself off the coast creates a romantic backdrop for Mui Ne. You can sit under the cool green coconut to enjoy refreshing sea breezes from blowing.

5. Nha Trang

Although not having a dreamy and romantic beauty as Da Lat, Nha Trang gives the couples a spacious space, a peaceful moment. Going to NhaTrang, people can join in roam freely on the white sandy beach, drowning in hot mineral springs, mud pools immersed in or under running water massage thousand rays. In addition, you will experience the exciting journey on the Vinpearl cable or playing all day with hundreds of games on the island. After delighted time to play, you can be hand in hand exploring the exciting world of water at Tri Nguyen Aquarium, breathing in the cool air falls Ta Gu, Yang Bay waterfall or learn of the mysterious of Ponagar tower.

6. Quy Nhon

If visitors are familiar with the tour of Vung Tau, Nha Trang, and Binh Thuan, Quy Nhon will be an attractive destination for beach lovers and peace. Located in the southeastern province of Binh Dinh, the front side is the sea, and the back side is lush rolling mountains, Quy Nhon city has a wild and brilliant beauty that captivates the crowd.

A Quy Nhon beach has the coast of iridescent golden sand. It also has a sea of ​​whispering waves, suite the hotel, luxury resorts with sea breezes. From here, people can see the green coconut trees swaying in the wind, far overlooks one will see a bit of blue mixed with fresh ocean colors like emerald clear sky.

7. Cua Dai – Hoian

Located approximately 5 km from the ancient town of Hoi An, on the east of Da Nang. As a confluence of three major rivers in Hoi An is: Thu Bon river, Truong Giang River and DeVong River. Cua Dai coast with white sand beaches, blue water, small waves and always shining is the attractive tourist place for Vietnam beaches vacation. Cua Dai has fresh and green water, fine white sand. Cua Dai charm is the thing that visitors can explore more and see more and more attractive. The system is built resort with a friendly environment. Most folk village architecture was selected to adorn Vietnam Cua Dai charm.

8. Lang Co - Hue

Lang Co Beach which is a famous scenic province of Thua Thien-Hue. Lang Co Beach has the natural conditions and the most beautiful landscape of Vietnam's long white sand beach more than 10 km, sea water green beautiful immense, besides the vast tropical forests on the undulating mountains, situated between the mountains and the sea is vast Lap An lagoon full of mystery.

Lang Co beach is an ideal beach for your Vietnam beach vacation because of the average depth of less than 1m, its gradually slopping, white sand beach, and the average temperature in the bathing season of 25°C. In Lang Co beach, tourists can enjoy many kinds of lobster, butter –fish, shrimps and oyters…

 9. Nhat Le – Quang Binh

Dong Hoi city center about 2km northeast, Nhat Le beach beautiful celestial maiden title picture with natural airy, vast white sand and blue sea. Once immersed in the blue water, playing with the waves, visitors can enjoy the famous seafood specialties on the flavor quality of the city of Roses.

10. Tra Co – Mong Cai

 Tra Co - the beach was dubbed "the most lyrical Vietnam" - a natural beauty still intact, harmonious, idyllic white sand beach stretches smooth calm blue ocean waters in the four seasons. Here, you will find moments of peace, dreaming and daydreaming spoiled yourself in the sun, in the wind...

Landscape of Tra Co is not the same as what tourists have encountered in Ha Long, Do Son or the other beaches, by the sandy lane smooth blue sea air brings in the shadow of the central coast, but there are mountains shine her appearance brings the North sea. The mingling of the waters makes Tra Co has a mountain river gentle, lyrical and poetic beauty.