Ha Long International Cruise Port in the northern province’s Ha Long Town, home to UNESCO-recognized world heritage site Ha Long Bay, is Vietnam’s first cruise port for tourism only.
Construction, in the form of public-private partnership (PPP), finished in late 2018 with an investment of VND1 trillion ($43 million) by Sun Group, a leading Vietnamese real estate developer.
The cruise port includes a bridge 785 m long and 11.5 m wide across Cua Luc Bay that connects to the mainland. Another bridge for arrival is 524 m long, with two ships carrying 8,400 passengers able to dock here simultaneously. The station of the port covers an area of 4,500 sqm with three floors totaling 13,500 sqm.
Before Covid-19 hit, the port, a great boost to Ha Long’s tourism, welcomed many luxurious cruises bringing thousands of international guests to the bay.
Van Don International Airport, over 50 km from Ha Long Bay, is the first private airport in Vietnam.
It was built in 2015 in Van Don District at a cost of VND7.46 trillion ($323 million) by Sun Group in the form of build-operate-transfer (BOT).
The 325 ha airport is designed to welcome 2.5 million passengers a year. Its parking system is set to include seven bays for airplanes by 2030 from the minimum four in 2020.
The runway of Van Don Airport is equipped with the ILS Cat II navigation system, which guides aircraft to land easily even in adverse weather.
In February 2020, Van Don Airport was selected by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam to specialize in welcoming passengers from Covid-19 pandemic zones. So far, it has received dozens of flights transporting thousands of people from Covid-19 hotspots like Indonesia, South Korea, China, Japan, the U.K., Germany and France.
The VND12 trillion ($519 million) Ha Long – Van Don Expressway, developed by Bien Cuong BOT Company in the form of BOT, started operation in December 2018.
The 60 km long expressway connects with Ha Long – Hai Phong Expressway and intersects with the main road to Van Don Airport, with designated speed of 100 kph.
Thanks to the expressway, it takes only about two hours to drive from the capital to Van Don Economic Zone, instead of the previous over five hours.
The VND13.6 trillion ($588 million) Ha Long – Hai Phong Expressway is 25 km long, 25 m wide, with four lanes and a maximum speed of 100 kph.
In September 2018, Ha Long – Hai Phong Expressway started operation. It has shortened the distance from Ha Long to Hanoi from 180 km to 130 km and from Ha Long to Hai Phong to only 25 km from the prior 75 km.
Bach Dang Bridge is designed to thrice resemble the letter H representing Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ha Long. The bridge has a length of 3.5 km and a reinforced structure that can resist level 8 earthquakes.
Cua Luc 1 Bridge started construction in April 2020, with a total investment of VND2.11 trillion, from the provincial budget. The project is expected to begin operation by the end of 2021.
Cua Luc 1 Bridge has a length of 4,265 m. It intersects with the road connecting Cai Lan – Viet Hung Industrial Park to Ha Long – Van Don Expressway. The end point connects with Highway 279 at Le Loi Commune, Ha Long Town.
The main section of the bridge is designed with steel arches filled with concrete and divided into six lanes, 33.1 m wide and a designated speed of 60 kph.
After Hoanh Bo District merged with Ha Long Town in early 2020, Quang Ninh Province prioritized investment in Cua Luc 1 Bridge to better connect both areas.
Ba Kieu Temple – a rare relic worshipping the Mother Goddess
Ba Kieu Temple, officially called Thien Tien (Heavenly Fairy) pavilion, is located on the east side of Sword Lake, facing Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi. This is the rare relic of Hanoi and Vietnam worshipping the Mother Goddess.
Based on the surviving ancient documents and epitaph from the Later Le Restoration dynasty, the temple belonged to Ta Vong Village, Tho Xuong District, then in the mid-nineteenth century, its jurisdiction was changed to Ha Thanh Village, Dong Cac Ward, Tho Xuong District, Hanoi province. The current location of the temple is in Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Ly Thai To Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi City.
The temple is dedicated to Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh and her two maidens named Quynh Hoa and Que Hoa princesses. Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh is one of the Four Immortals along with Tan Vien (the God of the Mountain), Saint Giong and Saint Chu Dong Tu in the pantheon of genii worshiped by the Vietnamese people.
|An ancient banyan tree next to Ba Kieu Temple.|
The temple was built in the Later Le Restoration and expanded in the mid Canh Tri reign in the 17th century. Being made of precious materials including wood from Xua jungle and rock from Nhue mountain from Chau Ai region in central Vietnam, through the hands of skillful craftsmen, Ba Kieu Temple became really a rare architectural masterpiece. The temple was built in the shape of the 工 (gong) of Chinese characters, which comprises Dai Bai (Chamber of Ceremonies), Phuong Dinh (Fang Pavilion) and the Hau Cung (Back Chamber).
Suffering the ups and downs of history, Ba Kieu Temple was damaged and has been restored many times, but still it retains the ancient features.
The special value of Ba Kieu Temple is created by the relics of the Le Tay Son, Nguyen dynasties it preserved until today. First and most precious among them is a large bronze bell (94cm in height, 45cm in mouth diameter) cast in the 8th year of the Canh Thinh reign (1800). The bell was offered by the marquis of Nhuan Trach Tran Duy Ung, a dignitary under the Tay Son Dynasty. There are also four stone shafts considered to be the important historical records:
– Hung Cong Bi (the stele of Hung Cong) erected in the 8th year of the Canh Thinh reign (1800) recording the donation of Tran Duy Ung – a mandarin under the Tay Son reign;
– Trung Tu Huyen Chan Tu Bi Ky recording the restoration of Huyen Chan temple which was built in the 19th year of the Tu Duc reign (1866);
– Thien Tien dien nguyen phung quan nhan the thu huong hoa Le toc to tien tong huong bi (the stele of second ancestral lineage of the Le family voluntarily receiving the hereditary care of Thien Tien pavilion and allowed by the villagers) established in the year of the Tu Duc reign (1874) records the 5 generations of the Le clan from the forefather Trong Le to the fifth Trong Tin;
– Le toc bi ky (The stele of the Le clan) found in the 8th year of Bao Dai reign (1933) records the Le Chat Ky and Le Van An both enjoyed the worship of the local people.
Still preserved in Ba Kieu Temple are the 27 papers conferring titles on Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh and her two fairy maidens Quynh Hoa and Que Hoa. The papers are the precious and rare artifacts, especially for the Mother Goddess worshipping. Among the 27 conferring papers, three issued in 1783 or the 44th year of Canh Hung reign and other three in 1787 under the Le dynasty, three by Quang Trung under the Tay Son dynasty (1792), and other three under the reign of Canh Thinh (1793). Over the reigns of Kings Minh Menh, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Đong Khanh, and Duy Tan of the Nguyen dynasty, the Mother Goddess was conferred fine names and ranked among Supreme Mother Goddess.
With outstanding values, Ba Kieu Temple together with the relic complex of Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake area have been the pride not only of Hanoians but also of all Vietnamese forever. Hanoitimes
Must-go places on Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang is a popular tourist destination throughout the year due to its blue sea, long sandy beaches, wild beauty, and delicious seafood.
Here are some of the best places for visitors to enjoy when heading to Phu Quoc:
|Located on the Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand marine economic corridor, Phu Quoc has been dubbed the “pearl” island.|
|The island enjoys a monsoon tropical climate with two seasons, the dry season that runs from November to April, along with the rainy season from May to October. The average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius, therefore allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty island’s at any time during the year.|
|Situated 46km from the mainland, the island can be reached by air from Ho Chi Minh City within one hour, with the journey taking two hours from Hanoi.|
|Ham Ninh fishing village is located in the eastern region of Phu Quoc Island. The village represents a new tourist destination and is famous for activities such as scuba diving, exploring corals, relaxing in the crystal-clear water, and fishing. Visitors are able to experience a bustling atmosphere early in the morning when fishing boats dock at the local port and sell various items, with crab being a local marine specialty.|
|Bai Sao, also known as Star Beach, is famous for boasting seven km of smooth white sands and blue water. Indeed, CNN Traveler selected Bai Sao as one of the 10 wildest and most peaceful beaches worldwide.|
|Enjoying the exquisite beauty of the country’s southernmost island at sunset is worth trying once in a lifetime. As the sun sets, it turns the sea into a majestic gold, making Phu Quoc’s sunset a priceless treasure. Visitors should therefore head to Sunset Sanato or Dinh Cau in order to enjoy the moment.|
|As the country’s largest wild animal conservation area, Vietnam Vinpearl Safari features 2,000 species of animals and 1,200 species of plants. Guests are able to enter at a cost of VND600,000 per person.|
|An Thoi Archipelago consists of dozens of islands. Here, tourists are able to find many coral reefs between two to four metres under the water, with the local marine life becoming more diverse at greater depths. Three popular services in the area are snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea walking. The package prices are also different, ranging from VND280,000 to VND350,000 for snorkeling, whilst scuba diving costs VND900,000 to VND1 million, and sea walking services are VND950,000 per person. Indeed, this allows guests to go to the very bottom of the ocean and get even closer to the spectacular corals and fish.|
|Phu Quoc night market is crowded with various stalls selling a wide variety of different commodities. Visitors to the night market can enjoy its peacefulness as well as the closeness, sincerity, and simplicity of local people on this beautiful island. (Photo: Internet)|
Hai Phong’s favorite baguette stall that offers only 2 options
A 42-year-old eatery in Hai Phong sells baguettes with only two filling options, but is packed every night.
When it first opened in 1978 it was in the northern city’s Hang Ga Alley, but later moved to 244 Hai Ba Trung Street, where the owners, a couple named Thang and Hieu, live.
Its only fillings are pate and butter but it is among the first places locals are likely to suggest to visitors with midnight cravings.
Pate stuffed bread on smoldering coals. Photo courtesy of Hoa Co Dai.
The bread is often mistaken for the typical Hai Phong breadstick since it is much smaller than the usual Vietnamese banh mi.
Hieu explained: “The size is just about enough for guests to crave for more; not too big but not too small either. It is good as a late-night snack.”
Furthermore, a typical Hai Phong breadstick is eaten with chili sauce while here meat floss and some melted lard are added instead.
Quoc Tung, 27, who lives on Van Cao Street, a few kilometers away from the place, stops by four times a week. The bread is addictive and the pate is flavorful and fatty, and much tastier than at other places, he said.
“Pate baguette is a popular dish that can be found anywhere, but it is really difficult to turn it into an addictive bite like this.”
Thang used to be a chef at a French hotel and so knows his way around European style pate and butter.
At first, the eatery did not have a name. As it gradually gained popularity many people started calling it “Old Couple banh mi“. The owners then made it its official name. They have now let their daughter handle the business.
The eatery sells 1,200 baguettes and 80 kg of pate a night, according to the owner. It is open from 6:30 p.m to 11:30 p.m daily.
A pate baguette costs VND12,000 ($0.5) and a butter baguette, VND15,000.
Hieu (top right), the 72-year-old owner, no longer sits in the front but remains inside to make pate and bread. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Nghia.
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