Just 50km away from the central Hanoi, Quan Son Lake is a perfect place for nature lovers to enjoy a weekend out of the city’s dirt and noise. Quan Son used to be a part of Ha Tay Province. However, since the whole province was merged with Hanoi (which made Hanoi now become one of the largest capitals in the world) Quan Son Lake has been turned into a part of the capital itself.
Generally speaking, Quan Son tourism is still under-developed. Almost no services or activities yet, not so many people know about it either, and I guess only locals are going here because this place is nowhere to be found in any English materials. Up to now Quan Son is still wonderfully non-commercial, there is no hawkers, no beggars and no English language(!)
A lot of people refer to Quan Son as “Ha Long inland” because of its numerous mountains arranged beautifully on the surface of the water. It is said that the lake is about 850 hectare large with more or less 100 limestone mountains. Read the rest of this entry »
Phu Quoc has been famous among travel experts as the most beautiful island in Vietnam (obviously the biggest island of the country too). Although it has been a long-time tourist attraction, the island is quite under-developed and the roads here are such disasters. Either they have not been built at all or just half-way built and no one is actually working on building them. However, the beautiful beaches compensate for it all. And actually the road trip may turn out to be a memorable adventure.
(More info about the island, accommodation and things to do at the bottom of the post)
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Image source: www.citypassguide.com
Once again I’m leaving my city Hanoi to look for a new adventure elsewhere. Poland, then India, and the next challenge now comes from my own country. Yes, the destination is called Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), a city in the South of Vietnam, also the biggest city of the country. I remember sometime ago a Saigon friend said to me that “Hanoi seems like another country to me”, I think I can now tell him the same thing “I feel like a stranger here in my own country”.
This is not the first time I’ve been to Saigon, but the last time was already 3 years ago when I was just a visitor touring around the city. So much fancy about Saigon then! Taller buildings, wider streets, friendlier people, better services, etc. But things have changed so much since, and especially when you live here it is a lot more different and more REAL than when you are only a tourist.
Hanoi with its classic beauty has always been the endless inspiration for many song writers and composers. No other place in Vietnam has ever been mentioned in such large amount of Vietnamese songs. And not only Hanoi born composers wrote about Hanoi but Southern composers also expressed their love to Hanoi with numberless lovable melodies. One song by An-Giang born writer Hoàng Hiệp had become so popular to Hanoians that many of us got the habit to call it “Hanoi’s song” for a very long period of time..
The song was chosen to be the official rhythm of Hanoi TV Channel everyday in many years and was loved by so many Hanoians. Although we don’t listen to it often nowadays any more we always feel deeply touched whenever the melody’s played and then find ourselves mumble along the rhythm “Wherever we go, Hanoi always stays in our heart..” And below comes the beautiful melody of “Nhớ về Hà Nội” (Memory about Hanoi) by singer Hồng Nhung.
I am a Vietnamese from the Northern part of Vietnam and if compared with Southern people Northerners are considered quite conservative, even today. Thus, in the frame of this blog I would not say generally “Vietnamese people” but I will talk particularly about the travel habit of Northern Vietnamese of which I am one..
We all know that before the Doi moi (1986) Northern part of Vietnam was totally “blocked” from the Western world. The only connection we had was just the communist fellows such as China, Cuba and Eastern Europe. So people from Northern Vietnam at that time just moved from Vietnam to those countries to study and work with the only passion – coming back to help build up a strong communist society in their motherland (!).
But since the Doi moi (or no, later! From my limited knowledge then I would count from 1994 when my youngest uncle went for his master in Australia) let’s see how the situation has changed! We started to go to Western Europe, Northern America and Australia! And we began to enjoy going to those countries, and actutally we “enjoyed” going to the developed countries so much that for now whenever someone say “I’m going abroad” then the expected destinations would always be somewhere in the US or Europe (Western part preferred!) Many people nowadays (even the youngsters at my age) have summed up the meaning of the word “abroad” into 1/3 of the world with such way of thinking. Well, the world is not big but it’s not that small either.