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Binh Lieu’s untouched beauty lures visitors



Binh Lieu district in Quang Ninh province, which is well known for its hills covered in ravishing white reeds, is emerging as a magnet to visitors, especially during autumn, the most beautiful season of the year.

Binh Lieu’s untouched beauty lures visitors hinh anh 1A terraced rice field in Binh Lieu (Photo: VNA)

Quang NinhBinh Lieu district in Quang Ninh province, which is well known for its hills covered in ravishing white reeds, is emerging as a magnet to visitors, especially during autumn, the most beautiful season of the year.

Compared to other more famous tourist destinations in Quang Ninh such as Ha Long Bay, Co To, or Quan Lan, Binh Lieu is just an obscure name. But this cannot hide the attractiveness of the region, especially to younger tourists.

Located in the northeast, more than 100km away from the centre of Ha Long City and right next to the border with China, the mountainous district has a peaceful atmosphere and spectacular landscapes of untouched beauty.

In July and August, the district is decorated with the golden colour of terraced fields as they enter harvest season, while in March and April, trẩu flowers (Vernicia Montana) bloom, which are only found in Binh Lieu, and the whole region bursts in an array of stunning colours.

Though it is beautiful in every season, many will like it best in the autumn.

When autumn comes, the hills of Binh Lieu are covered with white reeds, creating spectacular romantic views for travellers. Thus the area is known as the ‘Reed Kingdom’.

These white reed hills can be found on border patrol road at an altitude of 700m, just west of Binh Lieu. To get there, tourists have to travel from Binh Lieu Town to Hoanh Mô, and then to Ngan Chuong Village in Luc Hon Commune.

From here, tourists can start the journey to visit the border route, which is about 16km long. Many majestic landmarks are numbered and prove popular places for young travellers to take photos.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy wonderful views of terraced fields, small villages hidden behind mountains and clear blue skies.

The small road leading to the reed fields is right on top of a high hill, and it is likened to walking on a back of a giant dinosaur. It is known locally as ‘the spine of the dinosaur’.

It is also considered the biggest challenge of the whole journey as it leads to the peak of the highest mountain of Binh Lieu.

In the past there there was no road and travellers had to walk through many hidden dangers. However, a more than one-metre wide road was completed in 2018 and it is now more convenient, including 2,000 steps and guard rails on both sides.

To reach the landmark, it takes about 2 hours.

Besides natural beauty, tourists can also experience and witness the lives of local ethnic minorities.

A total of 96 percent of Binh Lieu’s population are ethnics, the highest concentration of minorities in the whole country. The Tay accounts for the majority, 51.27 percent. Others include the Dao (28.21 percent) and San Chay (15.25 percent).

Each ethnic group retains its own cultural values and unique dishes elaborately cooked with local ingredients. Some outstanding local dishes are five-colour sticky rice, black chicken, arrowroot noodles, and stir-fried wild bamboo shoot.

The patterns on the clothing of each group also vary, with the Dao embroidering using colourful thread, while the Tay and San Chi preferring to dye their fabrics in indigo and blue.

The mountainous district also has its own intangible cultural heritage, notably festivals including the Luc Na festival and the singing festival in March. During the festival, visitors can watch locals playing folk games like tug of war, and enjoy their unique traditional songs.

Relatively unspoilt by development, the cultural features of the ethnic communities in Binh Lieu are mesmerising, and the untouched landscapes make it an amazing place for tourists to explore./.



Travel demand to surge during coming holidays



Outbound tours are preferred by Vietnamese travellers for the coming holidays starting on April 29, according to travel agents and tour operators.

Travel demand to surge during coming holidays hinh anh 1Tourists at a beach in Da Nang City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City
– Outbound tours are preferred by Vietnamese
travellers for the coming holidays starting on April 29, according to travel
agents and tour operators.

Working people will enjoy five consecutive days off from April 29 to May 3 to
celebrate the commemoration of the Hung Kings (the nation legendary founders)
that falls on April 29, the National Reunification Day on April 30 and
International Labour Day on May 1, which has prompted a surge in tour bookings.

Tran Phuong Linh, marketing and IT director of BenThanh Tourist, said some
customers can arrange to extend their holiday to nine days for long-haul
outbound destinations.

BenThanh Tourist reported an increase of 30-40% in tour bookings for the coming
holidays compared to last year.

Tours to Hong Kong and Taiwan have been fully booked one and a half months
ahead of the Reunification Day and International Labour Day holidays, Linh

Saigontourist is offering more than 200 inbound and outbound tours for the

The company expects to serve more than 100,000 leisure and MICE (meeting,
incentive, convention, exhibition) customers.

Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, marketing director of Vietravel, said more than 3,000
customers have booked tours for the Reunification Day & International
Labour Day holidays, with outbound tours accounting for 70% of overall tour

Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan
Island, and Dubai are favourite destinations, Khanh said.

Nguyen Minh Man, marketing and communications director of TSTtourist, said
domestic tours to islands and beaches as well as tourist destinations in the
Central Highlands, and central and northern regions were mostly chosen for the
coming holidays.

The company expects to serve 2,000 customers during the holidays, Man said.

The Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) will operate additional 52 train
services between April 28 and May 3 to meet rising travel demand for the

In the north, it will add 22 train services connecting Hanoi with Lao Cai, Hai
Phong, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Dong Hoi, and Da Nang.

In the south, it will add 28 train services connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Da
Nang, Quang Ngai, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet.

It will also run two more trains connecting Hanoi and HCM City during the


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HCM City looking to recover int’l tourist market



Ho Chi Minh City posted strong socio-economic recovery last year after a long period of grappling with COVID-19, with its tourism sector recording rapid and impressive growth.


The city’s tourism sector began to prosper following the Government’s decision to reopen borders and welcome international visitors from March 15, 2022.

It welcomed nearly 3.5 million foreign visitors last year and over 31.5 million domestic travellers.

Total tourism revenue exceeded 130 trillion VND (equivalent to over 5.5 billion USD) for the year.

Despite this recovery and the city proving to be among the most popular destinations nationwide, there remain a host of concerns.

Despite these obstacles, HCM City is maximising efforts to recover the international tourist market.

The city is focusing on investment to create new tourism offerings, upgrade tour packages, and promote tourism activities.

Though the tourism sector failed to reach its goals in 2022, results were still much more positive than in the previous year.

HCM City expects to welcome 5 million international visitors this year.

Though this goal is relatively modest compared to pre-pandemic levels, the local tourism sector is working to improve entry and visa policies as well as air and road transport links, and to promote tourism activities to welcome back a large number of foreign holidaymakers./.


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Unique beauty of Hang Pagoda in Trà Vinh



A panoramic view of Hang Pagoda. — Photo

Lâm Giang

As a province with many ethnic Khmer people living, Trà Vinh Province has a distinct beauty expressed through its unique architectural works.

Among the famous landscapes and monuments in the province, Hang Pagoda is a must-visit destination.

The pagoda, also called Kompông Chrây Pagoda, was established in 1637. It is 5km from Trà Vinh Town.

The 2ha-pagoda is completely covered in green forest.

It is called Hang (Cave) Pagoda because the western side gate, facing National Highway 54, is built like a system of three caves. The middle gate is a large cave, and the two sides are small caves. All three gates are solidly built with 12m thick walls, creating the feeling of standing in the gate like a cave.

The arched pagoda gate is an artistic architectural work that distinguishes Hang Pagoda from the rest of the Khmer pagodas in the province. It contains a deeply religious and historical value.

The cave gate is a ‘relic’ showing that Trà Vinh Khmer Theravada Buddhism has a certain inheritance of Brahminism because, in the old days, Brahmin monks often lived quietly in dark and deserted caves.

There are rows of ancient trees at the pagoda’s gate. — Photo

The main hall of the pagoda was built on high ground, with many steps leading up, decorated with many patterns and motifs. The roof of the main hall is composed of many overlapping layers, on top of which is a majestic tower.

Inside the main hall are two rows of tall columns, and in the middle of the hall is the altar of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Opposite the main hall is a population of 12 animals arranged in an arc shaped like a boat.

Like other Khmer pagodas, Hang Pagoda is not only a place of worship and belief but also a place of learning, moral education, and preservation of the traditional art and culture of the Khmer people.

In the pagoda, there is a fairly large school and about 20 small stilt houses for the Khmer in the area to come to pray and practice here.

The main hall of Hang Pagoda. — Photo

The properties of Hang Pagoda cover an area of about 7ha. It is really a primaeval forest with many endemic plant species such as bamboo, rare wood trees. They are crammed into many different layers, which are very valuable in terms of the biosphere and are a natural source of genes for future generations.

Another attraction of this pagoda to visitors is the wood carving workshop that has been operating for nearly 30 years, with many products that are famous in the Vietnamese fine art market and a strictly protected “bird sanctuary”, home to many different kinds of birds and bats.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the forest on the properties of Hang Pagoda has been inhabited by many bats and crows. At night they go out to look for food. During the day, they hang from the branches of the trees.

However, after that, not many bats were left for unknown reasons.

From the 1990s onwards, the forest of Hang Pagoda has become home to many kinds of birds. The pagoda sets out very strict regulations on protection of birds and trees in the forest, creating a peaceful natural environment for flocks of birds to live. There are nearly tens of thousands of birds of all kinds. Most are white storks, ivory storks, red-necked storks and herons.

Hang Pagoda is home to many birds and bats. — Photo

Loved and protected by people, more and more birds have arrived in the pagoda. They make their nests even in the newly planted bonsai area in front of the main hall and the monks’ house.

Visiting Hang Pagoda, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the monks of the wood-carving workshop to create unique artworks from tree roots.

Wood-carving artists at work at Hang Pagoda. — Photo

During nearly 30 years of operation, the art wood-carving workshop has produced thousands of works of different sizes. All works from the workshop are imbued with the traditional visual arts of the Khmer ethnics.

After visiting the workshop, tourists stroll around the pagoda. In the morning, the birds soar to the sky, spreading to find food in the fields and rivers nearby, creating a noisy atmosphere for the whole forest.

Trà Vinh boasts about 150 pagodas of the Khmer and nearly 60 pagodas of other ethnic groups. 

Visitors feel like they are lost in the “Land of Buddha”, being immersed in the unique spiritual and cultural space of the Khmer with unique ancient architecture of their pagodas.

For tourists who love to learn about spiritual culture, Trà Vinh is the ideal choice. VNS


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