HOI AN – HUE 2 DAYS 1 NIGHT TOUR

hoi-an-nighttimeHue is one of places which has many cultural heritages. Up to now, there is no places like Hue where still remains a lot of original historical vestiges such as : Royal palaces, beautiful tombs of Nguyen Kings, tens of pagodas constructed more than 300 years ago. Besides, Hue is a place where the royal music,sophisticated handicraft and traditional famous dishes originated. Hue, the ancient capital of vietnam, is classified by the government as a very precious property and on December 1993 Hue was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

DAY 1: HOI AN – HUE (OPEN BUS) (-/L/-)

07.45 – 08.00 Bus pick up at hotel & transfer to Hue ancient capital which perhaps best known

for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in the UNESCO’s World Heritage

12.00 Arrive in Hue City. Pick up & transfer for lunch at local restaurant

13.30 After lunch, transfer to visit Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Then take a boat trip on the romantic Huong (Perfume) river to visit Hue’s best-known religious site, Thien Mu 7-storey pagoda.

17:00 Transfer to hotel for check-in. Free at leisure. Overnight in Hue.

Note:

• There is no guide accompanying pax on bus from Hoi An to Hue

• For safety reason, pax are requested to wear lifejacket during cruising tour on Huong river

DAY 2: CITY TOUR IN HUE & SEE OFF (B/L/-)

07.00 Have breakfast at hotel.

07.45 – 08.00 Our tour guide and car will pick you up & transfer to visit Minh Mang, Khai Dinh & Tu Duc kings’ mausoleum. Then visit the incense making village & conical hat making village

12.30 Lunch at local restaurant

13.30 Transfer to Hue airport take next flight. End of tour./.

hue

pho-co-hoi-an-2

Included:

Ø Transportation Ø Local guide Ø Entrance fees Ø Meals as mention  Ø City tour in Hue.Ø Open bus from Hoi An – Hue

Exclusive:

Ø Drinks Ø Airticket Ø Tips Ø Tourist insurance Ø Personal fees Ø Hotel

________________________________________________________

For further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hanoi Youth Hostel
Add: 5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com
Hotline available 24/7:     (+84) 972004080

book-now

Vietnam Visa on arrival at Airport

Hanoi Youth Hostel offers a full service of Vietnam visa including visa on arrival service, visa extension & visa renewal. We offer the best solutions to any requests you may have.
Visa on arrival service:
In order to get your Vietnam visa, travelers must pay two kind of fees: SERVICE FEE  & STAMPING FEE .

1. Service fee:
Service fees need to be paid in advance to process the visa Approval Letter in 2 working days. Visa Approval Letter is a letter issued and confirmed by Vietnam Immigration Department.  By showing the approval letter at Vietnam Airports upon arrival, you can pick up Visa and get visa stamped on your passports. At the airport, the corresponding authority will verify the details on the approval letter based on your passport and travel documents. As long as you make sure you input the correct details when applying, you will surely be granted entry upon arrival in Vietnam with the approval letter. Without the approval letter, travelers CAN NOT check in the international flights to Vietnam.

visa-banner

2. Stamping fee ( paid in cash at the airports )
You can get Visa Stamp when arriving Vietnam International Airports and you will pay stamping fee directly to Immigration Department at airport.

How to order this service?

Please send us an email to kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com mentioning your personal details. Following is required information to obtain Vietnam Visa:

 * Your name exactly as per passport: it is your full name on your passport.

* Your date of birth: in Vietnam, the date format will be DD/MM/YY

* Your nationality or passport: the passport you are using to enter Vietnam (should be valid for 6 months at least from the date of arrival).

* Your passport number: exactly as shown on your passport and should be valid for 6 months at least from the date of arrival.

* Date of arrival: applicants must fill exactly Date of Arrival. You can just enter Vietnam later but not earlier than the approved date.

Photos: passport photos are required at Vietnam airports only.

_________________________________________________________

For further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hanoi Youth Hostel
Add: 5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Working hours:  8:00 AM – 10:00 PM  everyday.  (GMT +7)
Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com
Hotline available 24/7:     (+84) 972004080

Note:

There will be NO hidden and NO extra charge with our service, all are included.

Accept Credit/Debit Cards

 

Learning to Love ‘the People’s Food’ in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

By MATT GROSS
(The New York Times)

In the summer of 1996, fresh out of college, I moved to Ho Chi Minh City for one simple reason: I loved Vietnamese food. At restaurants in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, I’d grown fond of the staples of the cuisine — grilled meats, startling herbs, crunchy vegetables — and particularly of pho, the aromatic beef noodle soup that is Vietnam’s national dish. As graduation approached, I knew I wanted to live overseas, and Communist Vietnam, which had just opened its doors to the West, was the obvious choice. In fact, it didn’t even feel like a choice at all — it felt like destiny.

But as I quickly discovered, liking a cuisine is not the same as understanding it. My first sense of this disjunction came a couple of weeks into my stay, when I settled in for lunch at a downtown restaurant. The manic energy of the streets — the flood of motorbikes, the clanging construction crews, the gawking tourists — had dissipated in the midday heat. Time to eat, and nap and breathe and think, away from the tropical sun.

This respite is likely the only reason that I happened to notice the man with the gun. He was across the street, standing in the clear sunshine. He was Vietnamese, in his early 40s. He wore sunglasses. And at his side, he held what I assumed was an Uzi. Then he disappeared into a storefront. If the street had been full of 100cc Hondas, as it had been an hour earlier, I would’ve missed him entirely.

It was an odd sight, and I wanted to ask someone — anyone — about it. Was the man a gangster? A cop? Then my food arrived, and I forgot all about him. I hadn’t known what to order, but something on the menu caught my attention: luon nuong mia, freshwater eel wrapped around sugarcane (held in place with a chive bow) and grilled over charcoal. As I bit, I fell in love. The eel was rich and oily, caramelized from the charcoal heat, infused with the tang of garlic and fish sauce and the sweetness of raw cane. And the cane itself, when I gnawed it, released a burst of sugary juice tinged with the meaty slick of the eel.

This, I knew, was what I couldn’t get back home. This was why I’d picked up stakes and moved to Vietnam. The eel was so great that I wanted to turn to my neighbors and tell them that it justified everything.

But I had no neighbors. I was alone in this restaurant — alone and confused. After all, this seemed to be a quality spot; the eel was proof. So where was everyone? What was I doing wrong?

Those first months in Vietnam were full of such confusion. All around me, I was fairly sure, were amazing food experiences waiting to be had, yet I couldn’t figure out what to eat, how to order, and where, and when, and why. At lunch, for example, I’d often order pho at the renowned Pho Hoa Pasteur. But when I told my students in my English classes, they looked confused. To them, pho was breakfast, not a midday meal. I’d protest: Plenty of Vietnamese people were at Pho Hoa Pasteur! My students would backtrack, perhaps wanting not to contradict their teacher, or just to make me feel comfortable. Oh, sure, they’d say, you can eat any food anytime you want. Khong sao — no problem.

But it was a problem. And I knew its roots. At Vietnamese restaurants in America, all kinds of foods are served together — noodles, soups, stir-frys, spring rolls. But in Vietnam, restaurants are often devoted to a single dish: pho, banh xeo (a rice crepe stuffed with pork and bean sprouts), goat hot pot. Adapting to this was hard. Knowing only a small subset of dishes, and only a few words of Vietnamese, I didn’t even know what to commit myself to. I knew that I should just blindly walk in, point to whatever I saw on other tables, and enjoy the result, but fear and shyness kept me at bay. Is there anything more alienating than not knowing how to eat?

Too often I wound up at the non-Vietnamese restaurants in the backpacker and tourist districts. They were often good: excellent Italian fare, thanks in part to fresh tomatoes and basil; a devoted expatriate clientele demanded serious Japanese; and a century of French colonialism meant that pâté, red wine and onion soup were vernacular dishes. But these meals all reminded me of my ongoing failure to penetrate Vietnamese culture.

After a few months, I moved from my sixth-floor rented room to another on the fifth floor. The new room was larger and air-conditioned, but I took it for the simple reason that it had a tiled patio that was ideal for takeout alfresco lunches.

But what to bring home? Ham-and-brie sandwiches? Thai ground pork with holy basil? On a stroll down nearby Bui Vien Street one day, I spotted a man grilling pork chops outside a com binh dan, an institution that translates as “the people’s food.” Com binh dan are everywhere in Vietnam. For less than a dollar, you can have a plate of rice and a serving of, say, pork belly braised in fish sauce and sugar, water spinach (rau muong) stir-fried with garlic, or a soup of bitter melon stuffed with pork and mushrooms

But com binh dan had never appealed to me. Maybe their folding tables, plastic chairs and worn silverware looked too shabby. Maybe the pre-made dishes, sitting in the humid open air, turned me off. Maybe I needed to read a menu. Or maybe I was just afraid. My palate could handle a challenge, my fragile psyche couldn’t.

When I smelled the suon nuong, or pork chops, however, everything changed. Marinated in garlic, sugar, fish sauce and shallots, they gave off an intense aroma of fat and caramelization, one I couldn’t turn away from. So I ordered to-go — suon nuong on a mound of rice, with rau muong and sliced cucumbers — and carried the plastic foam box to my fifth-floor oasis, where I ate in utter bliss.

The com binh dan around the corner quickly became my go-to spot for good, unpretentious food. Usually, I’d get the perfect suon nuong, but the shop also had squid, stuffed with pork and braised until soft, as well as crispy-fried fish. And a fried egg could be added to anything.

Eating on my patio was nice, but more and more I ate at the com binh dan’s flimsy tables, noticing how other customers ate — with chopsticks, with fork and spoon, or with a combination. I studied the way they prepared dipping sauces, either by filling dishes with dark fish sauce and a few shreds of red chiles, or by pouring nuoc cham, a mix of fish sauce, water, lime juice and sugar, from the plastic pitchers placed on each table. (I’d thought it was iced tea — whoops!) People ate without much ceremony. This was good cooking, but it was also a refueling stop. As I watched and copied them, day after day, I didn’t even realize that, for the first time, I was eating like a regular person.

Nor did I realize that mastering this one meal would have collateral effects. Now that I’d locked down lunch, I could eat breakfast and dinner however I wanted. No longer did I have to feel guilty about starting the day with black coffee and fresh croissants; in a few hours, I’d be feasting on pork chops.

I could also experiment at dinner, testing dosas at the new South Indian restaurant, partying with friends in the Siberian Hunting Lodge, or feasting on braised snails and grilled mussels in a converted auto garage near the Saigon River. Whether these meals turned out delicious or dull, authentic or artificial, I knew that the next day I’d be eating a people’s lunch.

There was, however, one casualty of my growing cultural adeptness. Now that I better understood lunch, the restaurant that served sugarcane eel no longer fit into my eating life — by then I knew it was not a lunch spot, and come dinnertime there was so much else to explore. I never returned. The luon nuong mia, so fixed in my memory, seems like a heat-induced hallucination, almost as illusory as the man with the Uzi. Except it was all real, as real as the charcoal smoke that still billows forth from the com binh dan on Bui Vien Street, on a thousand other streets throughout Saigon, and wherever regular folks gather to eat.

(Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/travel/learning-to-love-the-peoples-food-in-ho-chi-minh-city-vietnam.html)

__________________

Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

Hanoi’s ancient silk weaving village of Van Phuc

A day trip from Hanoi to the two famous traditional handicraft villages, including Van Phuc Silk Village will be a perfect trip to explore the traditional crafts of Vietnam as well as learn more about Vietnamese culture.

Entrance gate of Van Phuc Silk Village - Hanoi day trip

Van Phuc Silk Village is located about 10km from the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake. Up to now, it has been still remained the original features of an ancient village of Vietnam with age old banyan trees, wells and communal house.

For a long time, people have known the name of Van Phuc for its traditional sericulture, weaving and silk products. Visiting the village, tourists are surely attracted by various beautiful shirts, crafts, ties, dresses and many other items of Vietnamese silk. Particularly, the silk of Van Phuc is different from others since it is weaved by very simple looms, which is the genuinely traditional Vietnamese way of making silk fabric.

Old looms from early 19th century - Hanoi day trip

Loom to weave silk in Van Phuc Village - Hanoi day trip

People say that silk has been considered as an extreme luxury, on par with rhinoceros horn, ivory and precious handworks in Vietnam for several centuries. It has long been a universal byword of luxury, which is often worn by the richest and most powerful citizens. Perhaps many people might wonder where the cradle of Vietnamese silk lies. Of course, Van Phuc Silk Village is proud to be the origin of Vietnam’s best silk and silk-making industry, dated back to the long-lasting history of more than two thousand years. Witnessing many ups and downs, the village’s silk craft has revived in order to meet the increasing demand for silk of both domestic and foreign markets.

Today, the fine and lustrous cloth that originates from the cocoon of the silkworm is more affordable to “ordinary” folk. Furthermore, silk is currently enjoying a fashion renaissance, particularly since its many varieties can be made into a wide range of designs suitable for all facets of modern life. Should you intend to have a silk pair of formal clothes made, just come here and select the materials that suit you, and professional tailors will bring you satisfaction!

Drying silk in Van Phuc Village - Hanoi day trip

Silk in Van Phuc Village - Hanoi day trip to traditional handicraft village

Like other visitors to the village, you will be surprised at this “silk shop town”, where almost all houses along the paths have been turned into shops selling silk products. The village is now home to 1,280 households, with 90% involved in silk production and business. More than 2 million meters of silk are produced here each year. Most importantly, coming here offers you a good chance to explore the Vietnamese traditional industry of silk-making.

No tourists here are left discontented when they glimpse the variety of glistening silk products. They are always confronted with an initially bewildering array of silk items, from raw materials to garments, and a myriad of silk accessories. The local silk is known for its smooth and lightweight appearance, and of qualities that enable it to be dyed more colors to suit a variety of skin tones. In order to cater to the changing demands and tastes of customers, Van Phuc silk producers are expanding their silk and garment repertoire: traditional glossy, embroidered silks, double layers, wrinkled silks, and of course, more colors, hues and weights, for which they have invented new techniques in dying and thermo-processing of the threads.

People are fancy of Vietnamese silk of Van Phuc - Hanoi day trip

Silk products are sold in Van Phuc  - Hanoi day trip

If you are going to buy something from Vietnam to bring back as a gift for those at home, all types of silk and clothes made of silk of your choice are available in the village. Though the days when Vietnam’s silk was reserved for nobility are long past, what will never change is the sense of romance and luxury imparted by silk, a luminous type of cloth. With 2000 years of history behind them, the silk weavers of Van Phuc Silk village are still busy, weaving dreams.

short trip from Hanoi to traditional handicraft villages will be a great chance for you to explore the silk of Van Phuc as well as the pottery of Bat Trang, two famous treasures of Hanoi.

(Source VNE   http://eleganthanoi.com/hanois-ancient-silk-weaving-village-van-phuc/)

 

___________________________________________________________

Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

What to Expect in Halong Bay

By Sherry

Ha long bay junk boat

I stared out the window of the van and watched as the city gave way to suburbs, to industry, to rice fields, that would eventually deposit us in Halong Bay. As I watched our driver play chicken with big trucks, dodge motorbikes, and zip by the slower bicycles and buffalo – I thought that not much had changed in Northern Vietnam in the last 5 years since I had been there. Sure, the suburbs of HaNoi were planned a bit better with more space, but all in all there seemed to be about the same number of motorbike to car ratio on the little 2 lane roads. The 2 lane roads were still used in the same way – lines were pointless as any space that was needed was used to weave in and out of traffic turning the official 2 lanes into an unofficial 3 and 4 lane road at times.

Industrialization

But then I started to see them. Square, lifeless, cement structures – more big buildings and factories as we started heading East towards Ha Long Bay. I perked up when I saw the name Foxconn on the side of one of the white factory buildings and I asked our tour leader, Ngoc, if that was the infamous Foxconn of China/Taiwan and Macintosh manufacturing and he confirmed. Foxconn is a big manufacturer who works with many American electronics brands but most notably they manufacture the holy grail of our day – the iPhone.

This was definitely new to the area – it was odd to see this industrialization move into villages and rice fields. I wondered what happened to all of the farmers who used to be here not more than 5 years ago. Maybe they got factory jobs, maybe they went to work in the tourism industry in Halong Bay, or maybe they just gave up.

Halong Bay Tourism

When we arrived at the port in Halong Bay – we had left the industry of manufacturing and became part of the tourism industry. There are over 600 boats in Ha Long Bay serving local and international tourism. Why so many boats? Because the limestone formations are just that beautiful. You’ve probably seen the stunning pictures of the old wooden boats on Ha Long Bay – they entice you with their old world feel and charm of the Orient.

But before you get your expectations too set back in the ancient Orient and the world of spice trade and dynasties – know that sometimes the reality is a bit different.

I had seen pictures before and had even been to Halong Bay once before – but now as I peered out at the port with rows of boats docked, I realized that something had most definitely changed. All of these famous junk boats were painted white instead of the brown that I was accustomed to seeing in other tourism pictures. Ngoc informed us that all of the boats were required to be painted white a few years ago by the government. Not sure who decided that this was going to be a brilliant idea – but whoever they were – they were wrong. Everyone sees the pictures of iconic brown junk boats with their fanned out sails in the bay – looking picture perfect. But do know that it’s just that – it’s only for a staged picture. Unfortunately it’s those pictures that set our expectations – so I can imagine that some people are rather let down when they actually see the reality.

The reality is that all of the boats are now painted white – and because white unfortunately shows a lot of wear and tear they look pretty beat up and in need of a paint job. In addition, the sails are rarely used for sailing any longer on a day to day basis. Instead or sailing out to the limestone formations, a row of junk Boats chug out on a well worn path under the help of an engine – the sails are never put up. I only saw sails on 2 boats while I was there – and they were anchored.

No Swimming Or Diving

If you have idyllic visions of jumping off those beautiful white boats into turquoise waters, you may be disappointed. We were informed that tourists were no longer allowed to jump/swim off the boats. Another new government regulation which is a bit absurd if you ask me. I wasn’t real sure if this was an actual ‘rule’ or a suggestion. I also wasn’t sure what they are trying to prevent with that measure since the Vietnamese government never really seemed too worried about people’s safety in the past compared to Western standards. But the boats’ crews enforce the rule as they said that they get heavily fined if tourists are caught swimming off the boat.  We enjoyed soaking up the sun on the deck instead.

Is Halong Bay Worth It?

Despite the number of tourists, white boats, lack of sails, and restriction on swimming off the boat – that doesn’t at all take away from the scenery you will chug on by. The limestone islets are said to be over 500 million years old and are a UNESCO World Heritage sight for good reason – they are spectacular.  For me, photography is one of my main goals, so the scenery alone was enough for me to recommend Ha Long Bay. In addition, Evie and I had a marvelous time and overnight on the boat soaking up the sun, touring caves, and kayaking. The food on our boat was delicious and the sleeping conditions were good (we even had air conditioning!). If you are looking for a hard core sailing or kayaking experience, then Ha Long Bay might not be the best choice for you. But if you want some R&R and scenic photography – it’s perfect. And in order to properly set your expectations, I can assure you that there was no special staging for these photos I took – this is pretty much what you can expect when you visit Ha Long Bay – one of the most scenic stops in Vietnam.

 

Halong Bay Vietnam pictures

sunset halong bay

ha long bay junk boat

ha long bay sunbathing

halong bay limestone formations

ha long bay photos

Kayaking Ha Long Bay Vietnam

Sunrise Ha Long Bay Vietnam

ha long bay local

(Source http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/halong-bay-expectations/)

___________________________________________________________

Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com