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Caving hits record high as Vietnamese tourists seek Covid-19 escape

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Caving hits record high as Vietnamese tourists seek Covid-19 escape

Adventurers go deep inside Son Doong, the world’s largest cave in Quang Binh Province, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngo Tran Hai An.


The number of Vietnamese exploring caves in Quang Binh Province, dubbed the ‘Kingdom of Caves’, last year reached record highs amid the Covid-19 pandemic, tour operator Oxalis reports.

Oxalis, the only private company licensed to explore and conduct adventure tours in the central province, welcomed 6,000 Vietnamese nationals last year, increasing thrice against the previous years.

The total number of cavers, however, was down 50 percent from the previous year to 7,000 as inbound tourism plunged due to travel restrictions.

Of the 7,000 visitors, 1,000 were foreign cavers who had entered Vietnam prior to the government halting international flights in late March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nguyen Chau A, CEO of Oxalis, said the company, with about 500 employees, focuses exclusively on adventure tours to explore caves in Quang Binh, including Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, and Tu Lan.

With international flights and foreigner entry remaining suspended except for special cases, local businesses are focusing on boosting domestic tourism.

Currently, around 185 slots remain available to tour Son Doong in 2021, and 287 Tu Lan tours are up for grabs, according to Oxalis.

Son Doong opened to tourists in 2013. It comprises at least 150 individual caves, a dense subterranean jungle and several underground rivers. British magazine Conde Nast Traveler named Son Doong one of seven must-explore wonders of 2020.

Tu Lan, a popular setting for film shoots, was discovered in 2010, with two entrances stretching 2.2 kilometers. Tourists usually explore Tu Lan along with other caves in the system, including Chuot, Hung Ton, Ken, and Kim.

To ensure safety, the company does not receive visitors from pandemic-hit areas as recommended by the Ministry of Health. Cavers joining the tour are required to submit medical declarations.

Vietnam has recorded 831 Covid-19 community transmission cases in 13 localities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, since Jan. 28 when its latest outbreak began after a 55-day clean streak.

Vietnam has recorded 831 Covid-19 community transmission cases in 13 localities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, since Jan. 28 when its latest outbreak began after a 55-day clean streak.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/places/caving-hits-record-high-as-vietnamese-tourists-seek-covid-19-escape-4240685.html

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Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

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Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Thanh Nien Street, located between West Lake and Truc Bach Lake, is brightly lit at dusk.

The street is renowned for its beauty, with the blackboard trees that line it providing ample shade and its ancient temples adding a sense of spiritual tranquility.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Tran Quoc Pagoda is seen at 7 p.m.

Located on a small peninsula on the east side of West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, at nearly 1,500 years, is known as the oldest pagoda in the capital.

Adding to the architectural beauty and historical significance of the pagoda is a Bodhi tree said to be the “offspring” of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment in India.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Long Bien Bridge, a symbolic Red River crossing, was designed and built by French firm Daydé-Pillié in September 1898. It opened to traffic in 1902, running more than 1,691 meters, with a rail track in the middle and road transportation on either side.

During the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the bridge had some of its parts damaged and even destroyed by enemy bombing. The Vietnamese government fixed the damage, building the spans still in use today.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Octagon House, built in 1901, used to host the French army’s trumpet shows. The structure lies inside the Ly Thai To flower garden area, encompassing the streets of Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Lai, Le Thach and Ngo Quyen.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Turtle Tower, an iconic symbol of Hanoi in the middle of Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake, shines at night.

Hoan Kiem Lake, which spreads across 12 hectares (30 acres), is named for the legend of a golden turtle god showing up at the lake to take back a sword it had given King Le Loi in the 15th century to help fight Chinese invaders.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Hanoi’s St. Joseph Cathedral is located at 40 Nha Chung Street. Built between 1884 and 1888, it has been a place of worship for Catholics in the capital for more than a century.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

The Chuong Duong Bridge interchange at night.

Connecting Hoan Kiem District and Long Bien District, Chuong Duong Bridge is 1,230 meters long with four two-way traffic lanes.

Built from 1983 to 1986, the bridge was the first in Vietnam designed and built without foreign technical assistance.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Hanoi Museum, part of Vietnam National Convention Center, is located on Pham Hung Street in Nam Tu Liem District. The building was completed in 2010 with an inverted pyramid design.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

A view of Landmark 72 and other high-rise buildings amid the foggy cityscape.

Landmark 72 on Pham Hung Street is the country’s second highest building, after Landmark 81 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Hanoi sparkles with nocturnal serenity

Nhat Tan Bridge, also known as Vietnam – Japan Friendship Bridge, was inaugurated in January 2015. It runs a length of 8.9 kilometers (5.5 miles) across Red River and has five spans representing the capital’s five ancient gates.

Photos by Nghiem Dinh Chinh

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/photo/places/hanoi-sparkles-with-nocturnal-serenity-4262828.html

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Golden Bridge in Da Nang tops the list of fresh wonders of the world

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The Golden Bridge in the central city of Da Nang has topped a list of the new wonders of the world by the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper.

Golden Bridge in Da Nang tops the list of fresh wonders of the world
The Golden Bridge in the central city of Da Nang has topped the list of fresh wonders of the world compiled by the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper. VNS Photo Le Viet Khanh

The list was based on a survey conducted by the Daily Mail among millennials, born from 1982 to 2000, and “created for the smartphone generation who have never had to wait for holiday photographs to be developed.”

The old wonders gained their status the hard way, surviving hundreds or even thousands of years, as sites of cultural, religious or artistic value, while the new wonders are designed to make an instant impact, according to the Daily Mail.

Topping the list announced by the Daily Mail, the Golden Bridge is an architectural work built by Sun Group at Sun World Ba Na Hills Da Nang and opened in 2018. It is designed as though a giant’s hands are supporting the 150m path for pedestrians, which overlooks the coastal city, wrote the newspaper.

The Daily Mail quoted Vu Viet Anh, the principal architect of the bridge, as saying that he wanted “to invoke the sensation of walking along a thread stretching through the hands of God.”

The newspaper also noted that in its short time since its opening, more than 20,000 posts have appeared on Instagram with the hashtag #goldenbridgevietnam.

The Golden Bridge has regularly been featured in a series of prestigious international outlets such as the Guardian, CNN and the New York Times due to its surreal beauty.

The Golden Bridge was ranked among the top 100 World’s Greatest Places in 2018 by Time magazine.

A year later, the Golden Bridge received the ‘Special Certificate for Excellent Works’ at the Property Guru Vietnam Property Awards 2019, held in HCM City.

The breathtaking bridge was honoured as the ‘World’s Top Iconic Tourist Bridge’ at the World Travel Awards 2020, dubbed the Oscars of world tourism.

Along with other impressive new wonders in the list like the Bosco Verticale (or ‘Vertical Forest’) in Milan, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, The Dubai Frame tower, the ‘Jungle Swings’ on the island of Bali in Indonesia, Jellyfish Roundabout in the Faroe Islands, the soon-to-open Underwater Sculpture Park off Miami Beach, the Golden Bridge is a new tourism icon of the world, particularly attracting the young generation.

With the recognition of the Daily Mail and international youths, the Golden Bridge has once again demonstrated the irresistible attraction of an iconic tourism project of international stature, contributing to making Sun World Ba Na Hills and Da Nang become one of the must-visit destinations of the world.

By leading the new wonders list, the Golden Bridge continues to be a testament to the vision and boldness of Sun Group – the leading corporation in Vietnam in resort tourism and entertainment and also the owner of world-famous resort masterpieces such as InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay and other Sun World branded tourist complexes located throughout the nation. 

VNS

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/golden-bridge-in-da-nang-tops-the-list-of-fresh-wonders-of-the-world-727659.html

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Dam Trau Beach on Con Dao Islands among world’s 25 best

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Dam Trau Beach on Con Dao Islands among world's 25 best

Dam Trau Beach on Con Dao Islands in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Photo by Shutterstocks/Tran Thinh.


U.S. travel site Travel+Leisure listed Dam Trau on Con Dao Islands, an increasingly popular tourist destination in southern Vietnam, among the world’s 25 best beaches.

“With distinct golden sand, soft swells, and shady groves of bamboo and evergreen trees, it’s the kind of place to spend the day gently swinging in a hammock with a beach read and walking in the surf with a freshly hacked coconut,” the site wrote.

Dam Trau Beach is situated at the edge of Con Dao National Park and near Co Ong Airport, four kilometers from Con Dao Town’s center in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The ideal time to visit this beach is from March to September when there are no big waves on the beach, so it is calm and ideal for swimming.

Travel+Leisure stated due to its location close to the airport, “commercial flights fly thrillingly close,” giving swimmers a chance to watch planes take off and land.

An aircraft flies close to Dam Trau Beach. Photo by Shutterstock/Tran Chi Thinh.

An aircraft flies close to Dam Trau Beach. Photo by Shutterstock/Tran Chi Thinh.

Other beaches included in the U.S. travel site list were Clearwater Beach in the U.S., Saud Beach in the Philippines, Railay West in Thailand and Elafonissi Beach in Greece.

Located around 230 kilometers (143 miles) southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the 16-island Con Dao Archipelago was once home to a brutal prison where French and Americans jailed and tortured many Vietnamese freedom fighters during the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, Con Dao is an emerging tourist destination in Vietnam.

Currently, Vietnam Air Services Company, commonly known as VASCO, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, and FLC’s Bamboo Airways are the only two carriers operating regular flights to the island.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/places/dam-trau-beach-on-con-dao-islands-among-world-s-25-best-4262773.html

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