An arduous but rewarding journey north

Green with envy: Cao Bang Province is famous for its natural beauty, with both mountains and jungles. — VNA/VNS Photos Phuong Hoa A group of travellers makes its way up to Cao Bang to see one of the country's legendary waterfalls, admiring the scenery along the way. Le Thu Huong reports. We left Ha Noi after lunch on a steamy hot summer day. Everyone in our group was excited because we had read about Cao Bang and its spectacular Ban Gioc Waterfalls near the border with China. From our school textbooks, we had all learned that the waterfall is one of Viet Nam's most magnificent, and we needed to get there at least once in our lifetimes. Everyone was so excited, we never thought about the challenges that awaited us on the road. The road from Ha Noi to Cao Bang is about 300km crossing Thai Nguyen and Bac Kan provinces. The road from Ha Noi to Thai Nguyen is in great condition and we passed 80km in no time. From Thai Nguyen to Bac Kan, the road turned worse, and we couldn't go as … [Read more...]

Quang Tri veteran brings home the bacon

Pigging out: Tran Dang Truyen checks on his pigsty. Tran Dang Truyen, a veteran in Quang Tri Province, built a small fortune from scratch after those around him called him crazy for leasing a large swath of abandoned land to raise pigs and fish. Thanh Thuy reports. Tran Dang Truyen, 76, became famous partly because he stubbornly accepted a dare to build a hut and work in an overgrown field. He was born into a poor household and had many brothers. In January 1965, he joined a militia force operating under orders from Quang Tri Province's irrigation office to protect the La Nga dam in Vinh Linh during the American War. From October 1968 to October 1971, he was part of the youth volunteer force of the Youth Union of Vinh Linh, fighting for and repairing the dam that bore water to the farmers. After southern Viet Nam was liberated, he worked at the Ben Hai irrigation management station, now known as Vinh Linh Irrigation Company. He retired in 1989 with five young children to support … [Read more...]

Farmers give tourists glimpse of daily life

Festive crowd: Locals participate in the rural market festival at Thuy Thanh Village. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh Residents of Hue's Thuy Thanh Village are taking advantage of the burgeoning tourism industry to improve their lives. Vu Hao reports In Thuy Thanh Village, tourists are captivated by the tile-roofed ancient Thanh Toan Bridge, which is no less famous than the ancient Truong Tien Bridge of Hue. Built in 1776 by the sixth descendant of the Tran royal family Tran Thi Dao, the bridge bears a unique wooden structure: "house above, bridge below". It has seven compartments, while the roof is made of crystal gem tiles. Thanh Toan is said to be the rarest, most artistic and most valuable of all ancient bridges in Viet Nam. Along with the biennial Hue Festival, Thuy Thanh Village also organises the rural market festival, which re-enacts the atmosphere of an ancient market with sales and purchases and display of agricultural products, arts and crafts. Travellers are invited to … [Read more...]

Fatfish: an ocean of seafood, smoked meat

Appetising: Pizza is made for a special occasion for gastronomers at Fafish Restaurant Da Nang's Fatfish restaurant offers a spectacular view of the river and two bridges, a unique, pool-inspired design and beautifully presented meats. Hoai Nam reports. Facing the Han River, Fatfish Restaurant and Lounge Bar always has some cool air blowing, the sun shining and beautiful landscape. Gastronomers can hardly find a place more picturesque with the Rong (Dragon) and the rotary Han bridges spanning over the river in Da Nang city. Decorated with natural furniture and bamboo- decorations, the restaurant features an ocean of fish and the bar in the centre emerges as a ship deck. The restaurant was designed as a pool with fish patterns on the walls, tables, staircases. Visitors can seat and imagine that they are in a pool with fish swimming around. The restaurant owner intentionally use fish and bamboo decoration in almost all corners of the three-storey building. Fatfish smells of … [Read more...]

Children with bone disease find relief

Addressing ailments: Ton That Hung (centre) and a doctor examine an OI child after she was given a crocodile gel treatment. — VNS Photo Le Minh by Ha Nguyen A Crocodile Village in HCM City is using glue made from crocodile bones to treat an untreatable disease often found in children Osteogenesis Imperfacta (OI) is a disease for which medical science worldwide does not have any effective treatment but in the Sai Gon Crocodile Village in HCM City's District 12, caretakers can do so, and are actually doing it. The story began when Ton That Hung, director of the Lilac Crocodile Company and deputy head of the Xuan Loc Agriculture Co-operative, happened to read an article on OI children, which aroused a lot of compassion in his heart. "I thought a lot about the OI children and wanted to find a way to rescue them. I tried to seek out books and documents to read and at the same time exchanged views with medical experts in Arthritis and Musculoskeletal. "Finally, I found that one … [Read more...]

Book collector opens architecture library

Twenty-nine year-old Nguyen Cong Hiep has collected books on architecture ever since he was a student. With about 1,000 books, he opened a library in April, 2014. It is the first private architecture book library in the country open to the public. It specialises in architecture and other related fields, such as photography, sculpture, tourism and art history. He plans to develop his library for HCM City and Da Nang City. Do Hai Au spoke to him about the library. Why did you open your library to the public ? I have collected books since I was a second-year student. Architecture books are very expensive. I always prioritise buying books. Until my fourth and fifth year at college, I owned a modest collection of books, but going by what a student could spend, these were a remarkable number of books. At that time, the collection was about 100 book titles. I began to think about sharing my books with others. I wrote a blog aiming at introducing and exchanging books. It was the first step … [Read more...]

Unsung heroes

NGUYEN VAN TO Association Chief of People's Cultural Standards A martyr in anti-French Resistance War. Nguyen Van To was born on June 5, 1889 in Ha Dong (now Ha Noi). When he was small he learnt Kanji, and later French in the Interpreters' School. After graduation, he worked in the Far East Archaeology School in Ha Noi, studying literature and Vietnamese ancient history. With his Oriental-Occidental erudition, he was respected by his French and Vietnamese colleagues. He used to be the Chief of the People's Cultural Standards Association in 1938 when the Association for the Dissemination of quoc ngu (national language) was set up. After the 1945 August Revolution, he was the Minister of Social Relief Work in the Provisional People's Government. He was elected to the National Assembly, 1st Legislature and was the first Head of the Standing Committee, i.e. the Chairman, and later the Minister of State in the Resistance War Coalition Government. He was captured and shot dead on October … [Read more...]

Seaweed Pasta

with head chef Kenji Tam from Fortuna Hotel Ha Noi Experience the delicious Seaweed Pasta, a recipe by head Chef Kenji Tam of Emperor restaurant. The authentic flavour of fresh Italian spaghetti is perfectly combined with special chef's home-made Nori seaweed paste. Simple yet delicacy, the seaweed pasta will indulge your palate with the unique taste of the sea. Ingredient: serves 2 200g spaghetti 4 tsp Nori seaweed paste A little Nori seaweed50g baby mushroom 50g Shiitake mushroom 1 tsp olive oil1 tsp garlic, crushed 1 nos dried chilli A little salt To make home-made Nori seaweed paste: 5 pcs Nori seaweed 150cc waterA little salt1/2 tsp sugar 2 tsp Kikoman soy sauce 2 tsp Mirin (sweet sake) 1 tsp sake Method: For Nori seaweed paste: Cut Nori seaweed into small pieces, then put into the pot with the water, boiling at the medium heat.After the Nori seaweed become soft, add all ingredients into the pot.Turn down the heat to a low level to stew the mixture.Add more salt until the … [Read more...]

What being a pedestrian means in Viet Nam

by Thuy Dung "Walk! Walk! You can walk! It's easy." You probably associate these words with your earliest memories of taking your first steps. However, these words were spoken in a very different context recently. Rather than words of encouragement, they became a tool for intimidation when a Western man shouted at a Vietnamese girl riding her bike on a street in the Old Quarter, where motorbikes are banned from travelling between 7pm and 11pm on weekends. The girl told another Vietnamese person that she had completely understood what the foreigner had said to her but explained, "I just didn't like it." The pedestrian had continued to block her path until she eventually agreed to get off her bike and walk. A video recording of the incident went viral overnight. Most of the Vietnamese people posting on social networks completely supported the actions of the Western man since it was the girl who had invaded the pedestrian area, an action that is regarded as a bad habit. One of my … [Read more...]

Kaleidoscope (Aug 30, 2015)

by Gia Loc Award-winning video promotes river preservation Pham Quoc Anh Duy, a student at Can Tho University, and a member of the Mekong Delta Youth Initiative, says he decided to make a video after hearing neighbours' complaints about the diminishing number of fish species in the Hau River. Duy enlisted the help of students to make the video to show to leaders in the Greater Mekong Subregion. At the 2015 ASEAN Youth Video Contest, it won the top prize, a trip to the 2015 ASEAN Summit. Pollution from nearby factories and households, as well as new dam construction, has contributed to the decline in fish species in the river, a branch of the Mekong, which runs through Can Tho City. Duy has asked Can Tho University and its faculties of aquaculture and fisheries to post the video on their websites to raise student awareness. Ly Quoc Dang, head of the Delta Youth Initiative, says the top prize includes a trip for the video makers to meet leaders of the region's countries in November … [Read more...]

Teed Off (Aug 30, 2015)

with Robert Bicknell Well, Tiger had his moment of glory for a few rounds, just enough to get his blood flowing and enough to get the golf writers excited. Ya see, if Tiger is back, then their job is much easier. All they have to do is put the words "Tiger Woods …" and it immediately sells more magazines, newspapers, internet ads and youtube downloads (if you don't know how to download video from youtube, there an app for that). Suffice it to say that Tiger's season is over and the writers have to go back to working for a living, which includes spelling "Spieth" correctly, understanding "vertigo" and learning a slew of new names, mostly Australian, which will soon appear on the PGA Tour leader boards. I am a little miffed because Ben Styles at The Bluffs (Ho Tram Strip) promised me some advance notice on the player list for the upcoming $1.5 million Asian Tour Ho Tram Open in December. Unfortunately, Darren Clarke (yes, THE Darren Clarke) was so excited about his invite that … [Read more...]

Provinces requested to brace for natural disasters

The Hanoitimes - The standing office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control issued a notice on August 29, asking localities across the country to apply necessary measures to ensure safety for locals in lower areas or flood- and landslide-prone ones. According to the notice, the municipal and provincial Steering Committees for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control have been urged to closely monitor the development of calamities such as flood, flashflood, and landslide. Photo for illustration The central steering committee required the northern provinces of Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc and Phu Tho to inform people and investors of floodwater letting out via the floodgate of the Tuyen Quang hydropower reservoir. According to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Centre, heavy rain will rage through the northern region from August 31 to September 3. In the Gulf of Tokin area (including Bach Long Vi, Co To, Van Don, and Cat Hai … [Read more...]

Venezuelan President starts official Vietnam visit

President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro Moros is on an official visit to Vietnam from August 30-31 at the invitation of President Truong Tan Sang. His visit is meant to strengthen bilateral ties by sharing initiatives to expand investment and fostering close support at regional and global forums. Vietnam and Venezuela set up diplomatic ties in December 1989. Since then, the two countries have continuously consolidated their friendship and collaboration via growing contacts and all-level delegation exchanges. They have reached agreements on joint projects on petroleum and oil exploration, construction, solar energy, public lighting, and culture during the meetings of their Inter-governmental Committee. So far, a wide range of agreements have been inked between the two governments and their sectors, including those on visa exemption for diplomatic passport holders, cooperation in science-technology, energy, education, culture, tourism, and agriculture. Two-way trade between … [Read more...]

About 800 firms join Vietbuild Expo

Enterprises in the construction industry will showcase their latest products at the Vietbuild International Exhibition 2015 to be held in Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from September 1 to 5. The exhibition, the second of its kind held in the city this year, will feature about 800 domestic and foreign companies from Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), Sweden, Japan, Italia, France, Germany, Australia and other countries. The expo will have 2,300 booths displaying new and advanced products used in real estate, architecture, and interior and exterior decoration, including those for smart homes and electrical equipment. Property transaction floors will offer projects at preferential prices targeting low-income earners, said Nguyen Dinh Hung, chairman of the Vietbuild Construction International Exhibition Organising Corporation. Conferences and business meetings will be held on the sidelines of the expo, he told a press conference held in … [Read more...]

Vietnam becomes fourth largest importer of RoK products

Vietnam has usurped Japan for the first time to become the fourth largest importer of products from the Republic of Korea (RoK), in the first seven months of this year. According to statistics from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) published on August 30, the RoK’s exports to Vietnam reached US$16.35 billion while the amount to Japan was worth US$15.48 billion. The RoK’s shipments of wireless communication device components to Vietnam shot up by 29.9% from the same period last year. A RoK official said that exports to Japan plunged by 19.3%, spurred by Japanese yen devaluation and low oil price. In the same period, the RoK raked in US$79.13 billion from selling products to China, US$41.92 billion from the US and US$16.87 billion from Hong Kong (China). Last year, the RoK generated US$22.35 billion from shipments to Vietnam, lower than the amount gained from Japan which stood at US$32.18 billion. … [Read more...]

Police seize rotting chickens before being sold

The van was escorted to a police station for confiscation of the chickens. — Photo courtesy of local police QUANG BINH — Police in central Quang Binh Province stopped a van and discovered over 100kg of rotting chickens being transported to be sold as food. Traffic police late last week stopped the passenger van registered for operation on the Quang Binh - Da Nang route and discovered 104kg of chickens stored in cardboard boxes. The van's driver, Tran Chinh Truong, a resident of the province's Dong Hoi City, did not have legal permits for the chickens, according to authorities. He confessed to police that the chickens were to be served as food. The province's department of veterinary later verified that the chickens were rotten and could not be used as food. Police issued a violation to the driver and confiscated the chickens so they could be destroyed. — VNS … [Read more...]

VFF chief requests more spending on HCM City sci-tech

President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has suggested the southern metropolis Ho Chi Minh City raise its annual budget spending, from the current 2.06 percent to 4 percent, for sci-tech innovation. During a working session with the municipal authorities on August 30, Nhan commented that the city is on the right track to sci-tech development, citing a number of effective models underway in the city. In the coming time, the city should offer incentives designed for individual sectors, set up units majoring in applied sciences while utilising inventions by the Institute for Computational Science and Technology, he said. Director of the municipal Department of Science and Technology Nguyen Viet Dung spoke of the city’s advocacy for developing industrial and agricultural products having high added value and eco-friendly functions. Aside from its budget, funding for sci-technology development also came from science-technology … [Read more...]

Traffic accident kills two in central Quang Tri

Curious crowds at the accident scene. — Photo QUANG TRI (VNS) — Two men died after their motorbike collided with a tank truck while travelling from the Lao Bao border crossing to Dong Ha City in central Quang Tri Province. The motorbike was traveling in the opposite direction when the accident occurred on national highway 49 in the province's Huong Hoa District. Witnesses said the force of the collision threw the two men into the roadside drainage ditch. The dead were identified as 26-year-old Ho Van Bon and 32-year-old Ho Van Phac, residents of the mountainous Dakrong District. The motorbike was heavily damaged. Police are investigating the accident. Experts noted that residents of the mountainous areas tend to drive very fast and often do not monitor their speeds. —VNS … [Read more...]

Vietnam-Hungary Friendship Association awarded Labour Order

The Vietnam-Hungary Friendship Association (VHFA) was presented the Vietnamese State’s Labour Order, third class, for its significant contributions to the two countries’ relations at a ceremony in Viet Tri city, northern Phu Tho province, on August 29. Addressing the event gathering more than 600 association members, VHFA Vice Chairman Pham Viet Son said the association has worked to enhance collaboration and build mutual understanding between Vietnamese and Hungarian people across social affairs, politics, culture and economy. Vietnam always remembers Hungary’s assistance and support, in the past and at present, including the training of nearly 3,500 scientists and technicians, he said. Charge d’affaires Karolyi Marton from the Hungary Embassy in Vietnam reviewed the cooperation results, especially in education and training, and expressed his hope for additional joint activities to be launched to deepen the two countries’ friendship. Over recent … [Read more...]

Thua Thien-Hue receives over 2 million tourists in 8 months

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue welcomed over 2.1 million tourists in the past eight months of this year, including 735,900 foreigners, up 1.32% compared to the same period last year. These tourists added to the locality’s tourism industry revenue over VND1.88 trillion (about US$85 million), a year-on-year increase of 4.18%. Notably, the world’s third largest cruise ship Voyager of the Seas carrying more than 3,600 passengers docked at Chan May Port in the locality in August for the first time. Currently, the Chan May port is increasing its wharf from 310m to 360m with the aim to serve 13 ships with about 30,000 tourists from now to the year-end. The province plans to launch air routes connecting Hue city with other localities in the region as well as intensify internal and external collaboration and promotion activities to boost tourism. The Hue Monuments Conservation Centre will offer a variety of promotions to visitors during the third Golden Tourism … [Read more...]