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Chăm dance at Ponagar Temple towers lures visitors



The culture and sports sector in the south-central coastal province of Khanh Hoa has hosted Cham dances at the relic complex of Ponagar temple towers in Nha Trang in recent years, to attract more visitors to the beach city.

The troupe of artists who perform Cham dances are from the Cham ethnic minority group in Mỹ Nghiệp craft village in Phước Dân town, Ninh Phước district, Ninh Thuan province, which borders Khanh Hoa to the south.

Ponagar temple towers were built following the unique architecture of the Cham ethnic minority people and have existed for more than 1,200 years.

The relic site attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Through the dances, visitors can understand part of the unique culture of the Cham ethnic minority people. 

Ponagar is currently the only place in Khanh Hoa province to host Cham dances every day. The activity is among attractions for tourists. 

According to the relic sites preservation centre, after COVID-19, Ponagar has drawn 1,500-2,000 visitors each day./.



Hanoi welcomes 332,000 visitors during Lunar New Year holiday



The capital city of Hanoi served 332,000 tourists, including 32,000 foreigners, during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from January 21 – 26, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

Hanoi welcomes 332,000 visitors during Lunar New Year holiday hinh anh 1Hanoi welcomes 332,000 visitors during Lunar New Year holiday. (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi – The capital city of
Hanoi served 332,000 tourists, including 32,000 foreigners, during the Lunar New
Year (Tet) holiday from January 21 – 26, according to the municipal Department
of Tourism.

Total revenue from tourism activities topped 1 trillion VND (42.6 million
USD), the department said.

The number of tourists increased dramatically at key monuments,
museums, parks, ecological zones, and resorts in the city.

Notably, Van Mieu (the Temple of Literature) – Quoc Tu Giam (the first university in Vietnam) and the Huong
pagoda received about 80,000 visitors each. Meanwhile, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the
Special National Relic of Co Loa, Duong Lam ancient
village – the Son Tay ancient citadel received 19,700; 18,000 and 15,000 visitors, respectively.

During the holiday, a series of art performances and cultural programmes were held at relic sites and tourist attractions, while many new tourism
products introduced to attract visitors.

According to Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang, the
agency has paid special attention to inspect the observance of regulations on
tourism in tourist areas, aiming to better the quality of services./.


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Fancy food with the Midas touch



ALL THAT GLITTERS: The melt-on-your-palate gold jelly puts a perfect end to a wonderful dinner. VNS Photos Mỹ Hà

by Nguyễn Mỹ Hà

I would never have walked into the Dolce at Wyndham Hanoi Golden Lake if it weren’t for a dinner I had planned with extended family. Dubbed the Gold Hotel, the Dolce is famous for its gold-coated walls, if seen from outside, or ornate gold decoration in the lobby and other places, including tableware and other necessities.

There’s no defining line about how much gold is enough to assert wealth and class, but too much certainly seems something for shallow show-off brats. 

Showing off was exactly what came to my mind when we entered the lobby, where it seemed there was always someone or some team working on a photo shoot. We sighed in relief when we finally got into a private dining room by the larger hall. 

The aura inside was the total opposite of what was outside, these days before the biggest holidays of the year, Tết (Lunar New Year), where traffic jams up even the biggest tree-lined streets in downtown Hà Nội. By Giảng Võ Lake, where the Gold Hotel is located, a recreation centre of the city, it was even more chaotic.

Wyndham has three restaurants on its premises, which besides its expensive gold-sprinkled à la carte menus, also offer lunch (VNĐ550,000) and dinner (VNĐ800,000) buffets. 

ITALIAN CLASSIC: The spaghetti bolognese will impress even the pickiest little eaters. 

The most famous is the F29 Golden Beef restaurant, where you get served the best steaks money can buy, including Japanese Kobe ribeye or fat Wagyu tomahawks. It’s a place that deserves a review of its own by a gourmet steak expert. 

The gold lighting in the limited yet spacious dining area gives a warmer, happier glow than regular light. In fact, both the lighting and gold tableware comforted us. More so did the golden basket of bread on the table. The mini bread made for a great starter with its reddish creamy beetroot butter. 

BAKERY BASKET: Fresh crispy bread on the table.

Next came a garden salad, a great mix of crispy lettuces and herbs and dressing, an ideal palate refresher. After that, the waiter brought a large plate with halves of sandwiches filled with rich truffle pâté.

The little sandwich was soft and smooth like velvet, and the strong flavours of the precious fungi stood out with its earthy smell of a vast damp jungle sneaking into the room, and then… gone. Quickly as it came, it vanished. 

RED RELISH: The beautiful reddish butter coloured by beetroot and pepper served in gold-rimmed butter bowl. 

Other dishes we had, included the classic spaghetti bolognese (VNĐ270,000), which was very good. And the juicy steak we had was a USDA-certified ribeye (VNĐ870,000), with mushroom sauce and assorted vegetables, cooked perfectly medium-rare. My kid wished she could have some mash on the side, or a baked potato even better. 

FUNGI FLAVOURED: Truffle pate sandwich was a great meal enhancer after some cold and hot appetizers.  

As our talking slowly dwindled toward the end of the meal, we felt great that we had survived dining here without falling for the dubious charms of any of the gold-leafed steaks or gold-sprinkled hakau. We were doing so well, not lavishing on anything tacky like sliced meat coated in gold. The restaurant has a dish on the menu, black hakau shrimp dumplings, listed as 24K gold-wrapped steamed shrimp dumplings at VNĐ116,000 a piece. We didn’t have that either.

But, in the end, our gold moment came with dessert: the 24K black herbal pudding (VNĐ160,000). The jelly looked beautiful with its striking black-gold colours, though you needed to generously pour honey to your liking, as the jelly tasted a little bitter without it. 

When you start spooning up the jelly and the gold twinkles in the black water, it gently jiggles as if you’re sitting by a moonlit lake trying to catch the moon’s reflection on a mid-Autumn festival night. 

It makes the jelly tastes better, as its bitter-sweet flavours resemble that of real life, as if tasting real lake water, though that would surely send you directly to the doctor.

Wishing a very happy Tết to all! VNS

MEATY GOODNESS: The tender USDA-certified ribeye medium rare tastes as good as it looks. 


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Spiritual sites to visit in spring around Hanoi



Travelling to the temple at the start of the year is an essential activity for the Vietnamese people that has become a cultural beauty to this day. This is the time when people from all over the country go to the sanctuaries to visit, sightsee, and pray for the best luck of the year. ​

Spiritual sites to visit in spring around Hanoi hinh anh 1Visitors to the Huong(Perfume) Pagoda are carried down the Yen stream by boats. (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi – Travelling to the temple at the
start of the year is an essential activity for the Vietnamese people that has
become a cultural beauty to this day. This is the time when people from all
over the country go to the sanctuaries to visit, sightsee, and pray for the
best luck of the year.

Some of our recommendations might be the perfect place for you and
your loved ones to spend the spring.

Perfume Pagoda

Huong (Perfume) Pagoda is located in Huong Son commune, My Duc district,
about 60km southwest of Hanoi.

It is one of the largest and most unique religious sites in the capital with a
complex of pagodas, shrines and communal houses scattered on Huong Son (Perfume
mountain). The Huong Tich (Traces of perfume) pagoda, which can be found inside
the Huong Tich grotto, is considered to be the holiest and most significant
location in the entire complex.

Many people visit the pagoda every year to take part in its festival, the
largest in the country, which takes place from January to the end of March of
the lunar calendar.

It is believed that the Bodhisattva Kwan Yin attained enlightenment at the
Huong Pagoda, hence various ceremonies and artistic events are staged there
during the three-month festival.

Thousands of pilgrims and visitors, including many from abroad, make the
journey up the Huong Son mountain range to experience the peace that has moved
poets for decades and even one of the Trịnh warlords to pen odes to the area’s
heavenly beauty.

Dong Pagoda

Dong (Bronze) Pagoda can be found on top of the 1,068-meter-high Yen
Tu mountain in Uong Bi district of Quang Ninh province.

The pagoda was built in the 17th century, with the initial architecture
consisting of only a modest bronze cast.

Previously, the only way to get to Đồng Pagoda was to traverse thousands of
stone stairs and mountain roads for nearly 6 kilometres to reach the peak of Yen

Nowadays, the cable car has been used by the Yen Tu Scenic Area Management
Board to assist visitors from all over the world to arrive at Dong Pagoda
without much difficulty. Guests may get a bird’s eye view of Yen Tu mountain
from the cable car and then set out on foot to reach the summit of the sacred

The Lunar New Year is the finest time to visit this location. This is the time
for highly spectacular events in Yen Tu, drawing thousands of travellers from
all across the country to visit and pray.

Tam Chuc Pagoda

Tam Chuc is Vietnam’s biggest pagoda complex, located in Kim Bang district,
Ha Nam province, about 60 kilometres from Hanoi.
This is one of the spiritual spring tourism spots that draw a
large number of visitors who come to pray for good fortune.

With its front side facing Luc Ngan lake and its back resting against That Tinh
Mountain, Tam Chuc Pagoda occupies a magnificent position. Limestone peaks rise
up everywhere around the pagoda, adding to the area’s already impressive

Tam Chuc Pagoda’s spiritual tourism complex is split into four sections: the
reception centre, the monastery proper, the experience hub, and the natural

Like many other sacred sites, the pagoda is at its most stunning in the milder
months of autumn and spring.

According to the Tam Chuc Pagoda Management Board, on January 25 or the fourth
day of the Lunar New Year, around 10,000 visitors and Buddhists came to visit
and worship at the pagoda./.


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