A great year for Vietnam’s tourist attractions in the spotlight of global media.

2014 was a really successful year for Vietnam’s tourism in global media. Many of our destinations  appeared in the top lists of  leading magazines, such as National Geographic, New York Times, the Huffington Post and more.

HA LONG BAY

Hạ Long (“descending dragon bay”)  a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, is one of the most gorgeous and famous travel destinations in Vietnam. In November 2011 it was chosen as one of new Seven Wonders of the World by New7Wonders website.

In 2014 the reputable tourism websites Global Grasshopper and Reuters selected Ha Long bay as one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world.

Halong-Bay,-Vietnam

Cua Van fishing village which is just next to the bay, was also listed among the world’s most inviting coastal destinations by Travel and Leisure magazine.

images998613_langchai3

The US Forbes magazine also recommended that tourists view the bay by seaplane to enjoy its stunning beauty from the sky.

S

SON DOONG CAVE

The pictures of Son Doong cave – the world’s biggest cave which has a length of 9km and a height which can embrace a 40-storey building were highlighted by US magazines –  New York Times, National Geographic and Huffington Post  in 2014 as some of the most splendid pictures of the year..

1-eb9c6

Hang-Son-Doong-2

PHU QUOC ISLAND

 The famous Italian newspaper La Repubblica praised the charm of Phu Quoc Island as a small paradise with white sand and blue seas. The newspapers also advised tourists to experience this island instead of more popular beaches in Indonesia and Thailand.

In addition, experts from National Geographic ranked Phu Quoc fourth on its list of 15 “must see” destinations. The magazine suggests that the best time to visit the island is during the winter month, from December to March.

 du-lich-nghi-duong-phu-quoc14_1376984456

Da Nang

Recently, the coastal town of Da Nang was chosen by TripAdvisor as one of the most appealling destinations in Vietnam.

danang

Hanoi

According to Smart Travel Asia tourism magazine, Hanoi was eighth on the list of top tourist destinations in Asia for 2014, this was the second consecutive year Hanoi appeared on the list.

 Hanoi-A5

ganh-hang-rong-29

Hoi An

Tourpia magazine extolled the ancient town of Hoi An as one of the world’s most exquisite places, and as one of the top destinations for the year. The magazine ranked Hoi An as the fourth best travel destination, trailing Venice (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherland) and Bruges (Brussels).

trang-mat-lung-linh-o-do-thi-co-Hoi-An_5

PhoCoHoiAn

Collect and edit from: Dantri.com

Photo: Internet 

 

 


Vietnam ~ Visa updates for tourists

Visa fees for cruise passengers entering Vietnam drops to $5 per person.

Instead of the surprisingly high fee of US $45, international cruise passengers now have to pay only US $5 per visa, when they go ashore for a local tour, according to the new measures approved last week by the Prime Minister.

The measures come after renewed  immigration regulations, effective January 1st 2015. Previously the process was complicated, time consuming and costly  for international tourists traveling to Vietnam by cruise ships  who wanted to join overland tours when their ships called at a local port.

A number of foreign cruise lines, and local travel firms that specialize in arranging  overland tours for cruise passengers, expressed concern over the new rules, saying it  would discourage the tourists  from buying overland tours as they were required to fill out a visa application form, pay US $45 for each visa and then wait a lengthy time for immigration officers to process the applications. This left little time for the tours and the cost deterred many tourists.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung late last week told the Ministry of Public Security to work with the relevant agencies to streamline the visa process for passengers on board foreign cruise ships, and instructed the Ministry of Finance to lower the fee.  Accordingly,  Immigration Officers will now issue a landing slip to visitors upon arrival, for a fee of US $5,  if they want to go ashore for sightseeing.

Local tour operators now expect the relevant agencies to quickly issue documents to implement the PM’s new measure, thereby encouraging cruise lines to bring their passengers into the country.

Vietnam-visa-processing-time

7 more countries are now on the list of Vietnam’s visa exemption

Vietnam is now applying  30 day visa exemptions  for all  tourists coming  from ASEAN (except for Brunei which only have a 14 day visa exemption).

From January 1st, 2015, visa exemptions will be applied  to seven other countries, namely Russia, Japan, Korea, Denmark,  Norway, Sweden and  Finland. Tourists from these countries can stay in Vietnam for a maximum 15 days without visa. The measure is applied to every kind of passport and for every tourists. This rule will be effective for 5 years from January 1st, 2015 to December 31st 2019. The extension will be applied according to the laws of Vietnam.

This is an action of the Vietnamese Government to encourage the development of national tourism.

Collect and edit from Saigontimes and Vnexpress 

 

 

 


Hanoi home-hosted meal

There’s no doubt Hanoi is a paradise for food lovers. This has been proved by the hundreds of articles, blogs, TV programs, guidebooks, and reports in the international media about this awesome destination. From Banh My to Bun Cha and countless street food vendors, to the best fine dining restaurants, featuring authentic and fusion cuisines. All of them make Hanoi a must for gastronomy travelers.

But let us take you to a historical part of Hanoi for something else: It’s a home-hosted meal with  a local Hanoian family on Kham Thien street, a street that suffered badly during the war.

We wanted to experience this on your  behalf, and after negotiating our motorbikes through the busy streets on a Saturday morning, we arrived at an amazingly elegant house. Mr. Van, the owner,  greeted us like a grandfather welcoming  his grandchildren!

“Come on in! Take a seat and enjoy the tea!” Said Mr.Van, who is 72 years old, while offering his nice green tea to each of us! “Well, this used to be a nice spacious area, but after the war and the redevelopment of the city, it is now quite crowded! Thanks to  Buddha most of my neighbors are still here, and despite the density of the population now, our neighboring remains tight and as good as in the past!” And from here his story of the time before, during, and after the war, led us to a lively chapter in the history of Kham Thien street.

We were all so moved while his story continued on.  How happy life was before the war, when Kham Thien was a street of entertainment for “those who had money”, then when the war came, how he joined the army, and how the B52 bomb-raids destroyed the street and killed many of his neighbors. Later, how people returned and rebuilt the street.

Our conversation was temporarily interrupted as Mrs. Dau (Mr. Van’s wife) asked us to be seated at the dining table, where she placed all the mouth-watering food she had prepared for us! Grilled pork made to her own recipe, “cha ran la lot” – minced pork wrapped in La Lot and deep fried, ground beef topped with lemon-grass, pork-ribs cooked with bamboo shoots, Cha Ca Hanoi an Hanoi style  grilled fish, green papaya salad, bok-choi stir fried with garlic. All of these delicious foods were cooked by Mrs. Dau, using her own recipes, like a mother cooking for her children!

Having admitted that we could find the same food out there in different Hanoi restaurants,we all agreed that none would taste quite the same!

13

Another meal Mrs. Dau prepared for guests

Our meal went on excitedly with “yum”, “oh, how nice…” and other praise, together with questions to Mrs. Dau about her recipes so that we can make these wonderful dishes at home.  Mr. Van and Mrs. Dau explained to us how they raised their children, how they managed to build such a nice home and how busy they are now, looking after their grandchildren so their  “kids” can go to work.  They also asked us about our families, parents and kids, and lots of laughter ensued with our amusing stories. So happy were we with the conversations that we did not realize we had eaten everything on the table!

Next, to our surprise Mr. Van took out a Đàn Bầu, a unique Vietnamese mono stringed instrument, and started to play some old folklore songs. The music took us back to our childhoods in the countryside, with the banyan trees, the village wells, and the rice fields with water buffaloes, together with all the old games we played.

IMG_1490

Mr. Van is playing Đàn Bầu

This happy time was over too soon! Saying goodbye to Mr. Van and Mrs. Dau on the doorstep we asked if they would be willing to  host lunches or dinners for international tourists, and eagerly they immediately said they would! Mr. Van and Mrs. Dau said that now they are retired, and their grandchildren are at school all day, they would truly welcome  entertaining the tourists.

1

Mr. Van, Mrs. Dau with her daughter and grand children with foreign guests

14

So, food lovers and cultural travelers, don’t miss this wonderful chance to see the real Vietnam! A home-hosted meal in Hanoi awaits you, together with the entertaining company of Mr. Van and Mrs. Dau.

Just send your request to us,  Indochina Pioneer , and we’ll introduce this special family to you for an experience you will not forget!

Written by: Le Sy Quyen


Newsletter 20 Dec – Indochina Pioneer’s updates

Dear our beloved clients,

Season Greetings from Indochina Pioneer team! Well, we believe that you’re now enjoying your Xmas shopping and having fun with your family. We Indochina Pioneer team in Hanoi are also busy preparing the best for our clients who enjoy Xmas at our home country!

So here are some sizzling updates from us this week!

AN AWESOME DEAL FOR 8 DAY TRIP TO SOUTHERN VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA!!

This 8 days tour feature the best of Mekong Delta – Vietnam and the Angkor Wat – Cambodia, and it’s only $588/person! More of this is the excellent personal service offered by Indochina Pioneer team. Hurry up sending your request, as the deal does not stay long!

We recently had some inspection to Dao Thuc Village and Sapa, and you may want to read our reports:

A MUST FOR YOUR TIME IN SAPA: A TREK AND HOMESTAY NIGHT IN TAVAN VILLAGE

This is “an experience of a life time” write up from one of Indochina Pioneer team after her homestay experience in Ta Van Village of Dzay Minority, down in Muong Hoa Valley. This Sapa homestay experience is well recommended.

DAO THUC – ONE OF THE BIRTHPLACE OF VIETNAMESE WATER PUPPETRY

An inspiring short tour to Dao Thuc Village and watch the real water puppet show, and this resulted in 2 more new day tours offered by Indochina Pioneer team in 2015. Photos and video clips are featured in this blog post too!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – OUR WEBSITE CONTENTS ARE WELL PROTECTED

Indochina Pioneer has officially registered to Digital Millennium Copyright Act – A part of the US Copyright Law.

From now the contents of our website including text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services.

That is for now, and see you next time! Enjoy your festive season!

 


Homestay in Ta Van – An experience not to be missed when visiting Sapa

Located in Sapa district, Lao Cai province, just 8 km away from Sapa town, Ta Van is a small village nestled between two mountain ranges, Hoang Lien Son and Ham Rong. It is surrounded by rice field terraces, often right in front of the houses. Recently Ta Van has been become a favorite destination not only for local people, but also for international tourists.

The way to Ta Van village

Leaving behind the busy Sapa town, tourists set off for a totally authentic experience by staying in a local house (called a homestay) with the ethnic residents of Ta Van ,  most of whom are from the Giay ethnic minority.

Following Cầu Mây and Mường Hoa Street, travelers will no longer see the bustling scenes of street vendors. Instead, you will be lured by the amazing landscape of green mountains, rolling rice terraces, and the white streams flowing  between huge rocks in the valley below. Among the infinite background you will see homes of the local people, situated amidst the beautiful scenery.

DSC_0923 copy

images

Tourists are trekking from Sapa to Ta Van

The misty atmosphere here is typical of mountainous areas like Sapa.  On a sunny day, the view becomes even more beautiful, with beams of sunlight streaming over the trees and rooftops. However, when the sky is cloudy the mist will magically swallow everything in sight!

If you love to hike you can try walking  from Sapa town, which will take approximately 4 hours to reach Ta Van village! Otherwise, travelling by car, you reach Ta Van Bridge and continue by foot to the  village,  observing the daily life of the ethnic Giay people along the way.

Ta Van people

Giay people, as everyone in Sapa knows, are very friendly and gregarious, and the owners of 40 homestays here are no exception. Being kind, helpful and sensitive to guests’ demands, they make everyone feel welcome and part of their family, ensuring your stay in Tan Van is a very  rewarding and memorable experience.

I had a chance to experience a 2 day/1 night trip in one of the 40 homestays here, the home of Mr. Sẩu and Mrs. Sói. Mrs. Sói is one of the most friendly, warm-hearted and hilarious hosts. Anyone having the chance to stay with her will certainly not forget it!

From the first hello to the last goodbye Mrs. Sói shows her guests nothing but enthusiasm and kindness. She loves to spend time talking and drinking with guests at night around the fire, and sometimes gives them a bottle of local wine as gift! Travelers coming here are also impressed by her excellent cooking skills. Dinner consists of delicious traditional  Vietnamese dishes, while  breakfast includes many Western dishes such as crepes, bananas and coffee.

DSC_0766 copy

Indochina Pioneer team were having dinner with the host

DSC_0764 copy

Dinner with Vietnamese styled food by Mrs. Sẩu Sói

DSC_0946 copy

Western breakfast style with crepes, banana, condensed milk and coffee

Homestay accommodation

Among 140 houses in total, 40 of these houses provide homestay services for the tourists.

Travelers stay in the same house with the ethnic host family. Most houses in the village are  of traditional Giay architecture, specifically with a wooden altar placed opposite  the homes entrance. The main house is made from wood while the clean restroom is built in the modern style. Guests can choose to sleep in a bed on the ground floor or on a mattress on the half-storey. Giay people are extremely clean and tidy, so wherever you sleep, although very basic, it will certainly be clean and comfortable.

 

DSC_0974 copy

Traditional rooftop of a house of Giay ethnic group

DSC_0853 copy

The way Giay people hold their knives in the kitchen

Services nearby

Without electricity, the houses located in Ta Van remain unchanged from times gone by. However, the village is a little more advanced with electricity, pubs, billiards, several massage parlours and herbal bath places. With the mixture of ancient and modern this small mountainous village will certainly serve as an interesting and unforgettable experience in Sapa.

DSC_0699 copy

On the shutter bus to Sapa

With the new high way connecting Hanoi to Sapa, shorten the travel time down to only 5 hours, a tour to Sapa is now much easier on daily basis, and once you’re there, why not try a night in this charming Ta Van village?

 

 


An excursion to one of the birthplaces of water puppetry

Okay! So it’s Saturday afternoon. To our surprise Quyen sighed and said it would be a boring weekend, and asked us to pick a destination for a half day escape. Just 1 minute later, Dao Thuc Village was targeted, and off we went!

To people loving the art of water puppets, Đào Thục will be a familiar name. It is one of the original places where people perform water puppet shows as a form of entertainment. Water Puppets have been part of the spiritual life of villagers for over 300 years. In this modern internet era, the villagers are still managing to preserve and promote their ancestral heritage.

Setting off from Hanoi, after a 45 minute drive, we reached this beautiful untouched village of Dao Thuc, in the middle of peaceful rice fields, after the harvest.

We immediately fell in love with the quiet atmosphere and fresh air here. Appearing in front of us was a typically landscaped Vietnamese village, a sharp contrast from the busy city of Hanoi. At the entrance of the village stood a large banyan-tree beside a small pond, next to which was a sacred Buddhist Temple. This is typical of most traditional Vietnamese villages.

DSC_0093

Thuy Dinh stage

After strolling around for a while we came to a house in the heart of the village, and were welcomed by Mr. Nguyen Van Chuong who was our host, the head of the hamlet, and the Director of the water puppet troupe as well.

Conversation was enjoyed along with a delicious authentic lunch. We were served roast pork, steamed chicken, pickles and salt eggplant, fried tofu in tomato sauce, stir-fried potato, soup of pork-rib and bamboo shoots, stir fried bokchoi with garlic and steamed rice . We were actually quite amazed and expressed our appreciation to Mr. Chuong’s wife for preparing this sumptuous meal for us at such short notice! (We only informed them of our visit 1 hour in advance!).

DSC_0020

Mr. Chuong (right) and Mr. Trach (left)

DSC_0021

Talking after authentic lunch

To Mr. Chuong, the Water Puppets at Dao Thuc have been through many ups and downs due to historic and economic conditions, yet the love of Water Puppets by the villagers has never relented.

Joining us at the meal were Mr. Nguyen Van Trach, a 57 year old artist who has spent more than half his life performing with water puppets, and Mr. Tran Thanh Nghi, who is now the key person extending the reputation of Dao Thuc Water Puppets.

Being born in a traditional village in the countryside, all of the artists in Dao Thuc are peasants. Even though the financial benefits from performing water puppet shows is not enough to earn a living, they are still dedicated and perpetuate this historic artform. We were told that the Dao Thuc Water Puppet Troupe has performed in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, South Korea, Brazil and many other countries for the last  two decades, and now the villagers are performing  in their own village on a daily basis.

“We are trying to make our Puppet shows more popular, hoping it will attract more international tourists to our village. This not only helps us maintain and develop our heritage, but also offers opportunities for the younger generation of the village to interact with the outside world, thus widening their view and encouraging them to make progress!” said Mr. Chuong excitedly.

DSC_0056

Our exciting leader in a water puppet workshop of local people

Water puppets are made of fig wood. This kind of wood is very light, making it easier for performers to control the puppets. Its durability in water is another characteristic making it the ideal material for water puppets.

Bidding goodbye and thanking Mr. Chuong’s family for such an enjoyable and informative lunch we leave to watch a full performance of the puppet show on the pond, which is actually the main stage for the shows. The pond is called Thuy Dinh, which literally means “The Temple Raised from the Water”. Audiences, including tourists and villagers, excitedly gather around the stage to enjoy every move of the puppets, and listen to the songs which illustrate the stories the artists tell.

DSC_0078

Dragon water puppet on performing

DSC_0102

Local artists say hi to audiences after the show

A water puppet show was not new to us, however watching this show in its natural surroundings at the birthplace of water puppetry was something completely different! The spirited atmosphere, the smells, the light, the shade, the smiling people, together with the “innocent ways” of the local peasants, and the authentic stories told via the puppets made it a unique and very inspiring experience!

Only 45 minutes from Hanoi Center,  30 minutes from Noi Bai International Airport, the village of Dao Thuc with its charm, rich history, and warm hearted people, will no doubt be one of  Indochina Pioneer’s new destinations for 2015. There will be a half day tour, and a full day tour on sale from January 2015. We are also working with local families to plan some homestays for those wishing to enlarge this experience.

So if you’re planning a trip to Hanoi, you may want to add Dao Thuc to your list of places to visit!

Indochina Pioneer will make it a time to remember!


INTRODUCING INDOCHINA PIONEER’S NEW LOGO AND BRAND-KIT

Hanoi, Nov, 2014: Indochina Pioneer Co., Ltd is pleased to introduce its new Branding set, including the New Logo and Tagline, with standard designs for stationary and branding recognition.

The new design will mark a leap to the future for the Indochina Pioneer team. The Icon represents the mountains, rivers, roads and the blue sky that opens up new missions for us to achieve, and adventures for our clients to enjoy!

Logo of Indochina Pioneer Co., Ltd

Indochina Pioneer’s Official Logo from Nov, 2014

Indochina Pioneer brand-kit

The front of Indochina Pioneer’s new Envelop

Indochina Pioneer brand-kit

The Back of Indochina Pioneer’s new Envelop

Indochina Pioneer folder design

New Folder design 2014

T-Shirt for Indochina Pioneer

Indochina Pioneer’s T-shirt version 2014

Indochina is still the main destination where we operate tours, and with our growth, we are now officially offering new tours to Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand. To date, tours in Thailand and Burma have not been featured on our website yet, but will be soon. If you ‘re interested in the regions, please contact us for our awesome offers!

The key focus of our new branding is the pioneer, where we focus on discovering new destinations, and take our customer service to higher levels, adding best values to each tour on offer. We also support our clients to become the pioneers in experiencing local life in style during their vacations with us through-out Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Burma.

The new tagline specifically describes what we excel in, customized travel adventures! Indochina Pioneer has been doing this since 2009, with many internet rave reviews by our clients, with a remarkable number of clients recommended to the company by word of mouth and this has encouraged the team to move forward, to make the best even better, with the desire and love of their job, which is their duty of care.

To compliment this change of the Company’s logo and branding set, the Indochina Pioneer’s website has also been enhanced. We are confident the new website looks and functions better, and is inspirational to you all!

The Top 10 Tours: Is the new category, and will assist our new clients to select a journey from some of our past clients favorite adventures created by Indochina Pioneer. Based on the number of clients who have gone on those tours, the Indochina Pioneer team has selected the best choices and recommended them in this category.

The Faces of our Clientele: We are honored, and grateful that most of our clients become our personal friends after their vacation with us! Lots of them spend time giving us advice, helping us proof-read our documents, sending feedback to fine-tune our service. We are proud and honored to introduce them on this page and grateful for their continued support. Also, for any new clients, our friends on this page welcome you contacting them for advice, tips and sharing information.

Special Offers: The great news is that with our reputation, suppliers are now keen to provide us promotional discounts regularly. Each time we receive a good deal, we pass it on to them here to provide even greater value. This section is great for last minute bookings or for those who have only a short time to visit Vietnam. The 2015 tour prices have recently been updated.

What we do best at Indochina Pioneer is to customize tours to suit our client’s needs. If they like something from one tour and something from another tour, we will personalize their vacation for them to ensure they have the trip of a lifetime!


The tear of a dedicated policeman on his last shift

5_zing_1

As usual, on October 31, the Senior Lieutenant Colonel – Le Duc Doan prepared to start his working shift. But that was special because it was his last working shift in the position of a traffic policeman before retiring.

Mr. Le Duc Doan, born in 1959  in Nam Dinh province, has been a traffic Policemen since 1977, after studying in Russia. Chuong Duong Bridge is where he spent his last 20 years of career.

Not only being well-known as a dedicated policeman, who had never been absent from his working site, and had been always friendly, helpful to traffic participants, Mr. Doan are most respected and being grateful for saving more than 40 lives of those who intended to commit suicide  by jumping off the bridge, during his career.

One of his most memorable case was that a woman from Nam Dinh City wanted to end her life due to her family conflict. On his afternoon shift, he heard voices from some people that there was a woman wanting to end her life here. At that time, she had already climbed over the bridge and about to jump into the river. Being afraid that the woman would be panic and fall from the bridge, he got on a bus and asked the driver to run along the lane for motorbikes to get closer to the position of hers. Then on being about 5 meters away from her, all off a sudden, he got off and grabbed her hands and pulled her back to the bridge.

Everyone who wants to commit suicide here all had their own sad story. So did the woman. The unhappy marriage plus a lot of pressure on her daily life made her want to end her life here. After talking to Mr.Doan and receiving his advices, she came back with her family and continued to live. Up to now, they had two children and sometimes they stop by the police post to visit the policeman – their savior.

There are countless stories of Mr Doan saving people’s lives, resolving people troubles, releasing the traffic clogs on Chuong Duong Bridge, and even helping a pregnant lady to deliver her baby!

6_zing_1

Because of his enthusiasm and helpfulness, he was remembered by many people who was helped by him or even who just read about him on the newspapers. And this mental gift was his motivation to work as a dedicated policeman for all these years. Last year, he was rewarded as “The great citizen of the City” by Hanoi Authority for his efforts at serving people.

To Indochina Pioneer’s tour guides who have been taking tourists to Halong bay through Chuong Duong bridge, Mr. Doan had always been an icon of safety and good luck. As many other people, they remember the man with an austere face but always kept smiling, who helped their cars go smoothly without being stuck in the traffic jam.

QQCJatnlsf1w_VPRS.jpg

Passengers who go to Ha Long Bay with Indochina Pioneer might have seen the dedicated and friendly traffic policeman standing among moving vehicles to distribute traffic flow on the bridge to ensure everything go right.

“I felt something missing yesterday when I drove by his post! Mr. Doan has been our “safety-light” at Chuong Duong Bridge for so long and I know we will need sometimes to get used to with his absence” – said Long, our tour car driver.

nguoi-csgt-gia-bat-khoc-trong-ca-truc-cuoi-490x294

When the article of his last working day was published, many people who know him or have never seen him before sent him text messages to say goodbye and to thank him for what he had done for citizens. Before he ended his last shift, his tear fell for all the passing years and for the upcoming years without “guarding” on the bridge for the safety of people.

Happy retirement Mr. Doan. We, and all the Chuong Duong commuters, will miss you!


Dragon Bridge – Symbol for a rising city

Dragon-Bridge

Danang – one of 15 ranked-one cities of Vietnam has recently emerged as a resurgent city in every aspect: economy, technology, education as well as culture and tourism. The most well-known spotlight of the city, which is recently not only known by Vietnamese but also foreign visitors, is a 666-meter-long (2185 feet) dragon shaped bridge that breathes fire and spouts plumes of water.

Opened last year in Vietnam’s central coast city of Da Nang, the Rong Cao (Dragon Bridge) is an award-winning, U.S.-designed marvel of engineering that’s become a favorite of residents and visitors, and an icon of the prosperous future this once sleepy town has its eye set on.

Each weekend, after sunset, residents and visitors are treated to a pyrotechnic show that adds flair to what could have easily been a routine civil engineering project.The road is closed just before 9 p.m., with crowds thronging the six-lane bridge. An expectant hush descends, and then, with a roar, the dragon’s head spits fearsome plumes of fire, followed by hissing clouds of water vapor.

In the Asian culture, the dragon is considered a symbol of prosperity, and in no doubt is chosen to be an ideal image for a rising city, and has been taken to heart by the people who live here.

It is easy to find Dragon-themed trinkets  sold along the banks of the Han River, which the bridge spans, and nearby hotels take their name from the structure. Boat tours make the most of it — prows are painted with the dragon’s likeness. 

Cầu_Rồng

The legend

The dragon itself is modeled after one of the symbols of the Ly Dynasty, which ruled Vietnam a thousand years ago. In 1010, King Ly Thai To decided to choose Hanoi as the new capital of Vietnam at that time. According to legend, upon arriving in Hanoi by boat, he saw a golden dragon rise into the sky from the Red River. Seeing this as a good omen, he named the city Thang Long (soaring dragon). Since then, the dragon in many Vietnamese generations’ mind is one of the most important symbols in the culture of this land.

Therefore,it is believed that the Dragon Bridge can become a symbol for Danang’s growth and development as an important transportation, educational and cultural center in central Vietnam 

Dragon Bridge at Da Nang, Vietnam

Light performance

In addition to the weekend shows of fire breathing, which take place at 9 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, the bridge is illuminated each night with thousands of LED lights, which flow through the color spectrum, giving dynamic, dazzling views that reflect off the surface of the river.

The bridge was inaugurated on March 29, 2013, to commemorate the country’s rich history — both ancient and recent. The date was chosen to mark the 38th anniversary of the liberation of the city, and the end of the Vietnam War.

Its creators, the firms Louis Berger and Ammann & Whitney, were recipients of the 2014 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) National Engineering Excellence Award.

Development centerpiece

The opening of the bridge not only gives Da Nang an instantly recognizable landmark, it’s done much for the city’s development in a remarkably short time. Da Nang is a nice place, and the bridge adds identity to the city, helping it become more popular to foreign visitors when it was chosen to be on the list of 20 most beautiful bridges in the world. The award has contributed to the growing of tourism in Danang and also in Vietnam generally.

Besides the new fame of the bridge, Danang has many other advantages which make the city a new tourist attraction. It only takes 1 hour drive to Hoi An – one of the World Heritages, 2 hour to Hue – the ancient capital of Vietnam, hence Danang is a good hub to other travelling hot spots in the Central region. Danang also has the amazing beach – My Khe, which is called China beach by American GIs. Cheap hotel with high quality and delicious seafood are two other pluses.

So Danang with  the new iconic Dragon Bridge and a series of attractive places is for sure a recommendation from Indochina Pioneer. It is worthy to visit the city once in a life time.

Collected from CNN and Internet


We were treated like family!

Ann and I are pleased to share our experience whilst in the care of Indochina Pioneer(ICP). During our adventure to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, we were treated like family, and at every stage of our holiday, somebody was there to guide us.

Angkor Temples

Angkor Temples

We asked ICP to have someone collect us from each airport, they did, with our names on a card. When they delivered us back to an airport for our next flight, they stayed with us through check-in and ensured we got to the correct gate. Our drivers were always courteous and careful, and we felt safe the entire time whilst in their care. Our guides were knowledgeable, and would always be happy to tweak our itinerary to suit our needs. In fact, we would often ask to be collected early in the morning, allowing us to visit sites in the morning cool with fewer tourists. We would then return to the hotel to cool off, and the driver & guide would collect us later to continue our itinerary. Nothing was too much trouble.

Alms Giving - Buddhist monks collecting alms of rice and vegetables from the local population in Luang Prabang, Laos

Alms Giving – Buddhist monks collecting alms of rice and vegetables from the local population in Luang Prabang, Laos

All our internal flights (organised by ICP) went off without a hitch. One flight had been cancelled, and without us knowing, the ICP team had rescheduled us onto another airline/flight, all seamlessly. We had an endless selection of hotels of various standards. We choose a combination of 4 star hotels with a mix of family oriented accommodation, the mix was just right for us to experience the essence of these societies.

We wanted to get some special photographs, at certain times of the day/night, and always, our guide and driver were available to assist. This sometimes meant 4am starts, yet again, no problems for the ICP Team. Having locals to guide us through, they could always advise that special angle or just the right light to provide us with a wealth of treasured memories. We enjoyed and saw exactly what we had planned, and more. Our guides were able to share with us their own personal experiences and this enhanced our feeling of being part of a family.

The Ancient Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

The Ancient Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

With ICP, we loved the Product of tailored tourism within Indo-China. They offered the best Prices we could find for our highly specified tour. They knew exactly the right Places for us to experience, and were able to involve us at every step. They Promote their service in a way that is easy to understand, and their communications with us were always direct, prompt and informative, we had no doubts. And most importantly, they have a team of professional People on the ground with great administrative support. Our drivers were safe, and always on time, in clean air-conditioned vehicles. Our guides were local and knowledgeable and treated us like family.

There are lots of words to describe our experience. We always felt personally embraced, and in a positive manner and the experience was delivered passionately and professionally. We intend to return to Vietnam and Cambodia one day soon; and will use ICP again, in a heartbeat.

Ann & John Soutter

Lake Wyangan,

NSW, Australia