Proposed cyclo ban in the capital draws criticism

The proposed ban of cyclos on the city streets of Hanoi is a denial of a tradition and part of a culture that has existed for many years, said one tourism expert.



Cyclos serve sightseeing tourists 


Deputy Director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, Pham Trung Luong, made his opposition to the ban public while speaking to a DTiNews reporter after local authorities made the recommendation of banning the vehicles in order to improve the traffic situation. Continue reading

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Cheapest cities in the world: Summer 2013

Based on hotel accommodation, taxi trip, cocktails and dinner for two, the cheapest cities in the world have just been revealed by the third annual TripIndex survey from travel giant TripAdvisor. And the cheapest destinations for summer 2013 in order are;

1. Sofia in Bulgaria

Sofia in Bulgaria

Sofia in Bulgaria

The cosmopolitan city of Sofia is capital of this Eastern European gem, which has attracted budget-conscious travellers for years.  Bulgaria is better known for its beautiful beaches and superb skiing facilities, but following the revelation that it’s the cheapest city in the world right now, I predict Sofia city breaks to really take off! The compact city is home to the UNESCO listed Boyana Church which dates back to the 10th century. Then there’s the nature and adventure capital of Bulgaria; Mount Vitosha where keen hikers, climbers and skiiers will be in their element. And then there’s the superb Sofia Art Gallery which showcases unique Bulgarian art. Continue reading

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Vietnam travel firm wants visa waiver for Russians extended


A local beside three Russian tourists at the 2-4 Square in Nha Trang Town, the central province of Khanh Hoa


Vietnam’s tourism authorities should extend the visa waiver program for Russian tourists from 15 days to one month, a travel company’s representative told a conference on Sunday.

Longer free stays will attract more tourists, especially the elderly who want to avoid the winter in Russia for long periods and people who want to spend summer vacations with their children, said Mikhail Simonov, director general of Anh Duong Travel Company.

Simonov made the statement at a meeting on Vietnamese central coastal provinces’ tourism organized in Khanh Hoa Province, the Thoi bao kinh te Sai Gon (Saigon Times) reported.

According to Simonov, Russians consider Vietnam’s beautiful coastline an ideal destination for long vacations, as their home country is situated in the temperate zone.

In fact, more and more Russians have been extending their stays in Vietnam, he was quoted as saying.

One of the major tour operators focused on the Russian market, Anh Duong now operates 10-15-day tours for Russians to coastal destinations like Nha Trang, Da Nang and Hoi An year around.

The company operates two flights from Russia to Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa province every day during the low season. The number of flights doubles during the peak season, which starts in October.

Official figures showed that last year over 174,000 Russian tourists visited Vietnam, up more than 71 percent compared to 2011.

Despite an overall decrease in international tourists to Vietnam over the first five months of this year, Russian tourism increased 57.8 percent over the same period last year, to nearly 137,000 tourists, the Saigon Times reported.

Focus on sea tourism

At the conference, Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of the Vietnam Administration of Tourism, urged central coastal provinces to focus on their beaches that have possibilities to develop high quality resorts and services,Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

He also advised them to develop island tours in combination with cruises.

According to Tuan, the provinces have become destinations among foreign tourists, but failed to offer unique experiences or apply effective marketing and management methods and thus, have not seen many tourists return for second visits.

Tran Du Lich, head of a consultancy group for the central coast area’s development and cooperation, agreed.

He said the area hosts beautiful and unique beaches, but considering their potential, the ways they are being used for tourism are not “remarkable.”

Most of the provinces offer a similar experience, so they failed to attract tourists, according to Lich.

Central coastal provinces need to invest and develop sea and island tourism to compete with other countries, said Tran Dinh Thien, director of the Vietnam Institute for Economics.

It was reported at the conference that the central coast tourism grew over 13 percent per year between 2008 and 2012.

Last year, the area attracted nearly 17 million tourists, including over four million foreigners, and earned over VND18 trillion (US$855 million) from tourism. 

Source: Tuoitre

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Hanoi named the cheapest destination in Asia


The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi has just been named the cheapest city in Asia and the second cheapest city in the world!

The respected TripAdvisor TripIndex for Summer 2013 compares costs across 49 cities in Europe, Americas, Africa, Oceania and Asia. In the comparison are a 4 star hotel, taxi trip, cocktails and dinner, all based on two travellers.

In summer 2012 Hanoi was in number one spot with a total cost for the four items at 141.22 USD. This summer, the total cost is 176.14 USD, which is 35 USD more. Sofia in Bulgaria has overtaken Hanoi this year as the cheapest destination in the world overall with a total cost of 158.42 USD (just 18 USD less than Hanoi).

Overall Hanoi has the cheapest dinner for two people out of all 49 cities at 36.71 USD, thanks to a fantastic array of local restaurants in the city. There are a few international restaurants but the majority of the dining in Hanoi is focused around authentic Vietnamese cuisine, with street food remaining a popular option for food on the go.

Daily life in Hanoi proceeds at a frenetic pace and there’s always something going on. The Old Quarter district provides a fascinating insight into the former French colonial rule, with rich period architecture, narrow streets ad traditional shopfronts. The museums are a great way to while away a few hours, with the  Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam Women’s Museum and the Fine Arts Museum my particular favourites. At the center of Hanoi is the serene Hoan Kiem Lake where you can (almost) forget the constant buzz of mopeds. And you can’t leave Hanoi without visiting the two key sites of the former leader Ho Chi Minh himself. His official residence is fascinating: with his books, furniture and cars on display. In fact he chose to live his last years in the modest wooden house on site rather than in the Presidential Palace. And the soviet-style Hi Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-see where Uncle Ho lays embalmed whilst travellers and locals shuffle by.

If we’ve inspired you to explore Vietnam, check out our exciting tours, from day trips to 17 day experiences, from just £38/59 USD. All tours are run by local operators who know Hanoi and Vietnam like the back of their hand: giving you an authentic Vietnamese adventure!

After Hanoi, the next 3 cheapest cities in Asia are: Bangkok in Thailand (6th place), Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia (7th place) and Mumbai in India (16th).

And with more direct flights than ever to Vietnam, it seems that summer 2013 is the perfect time to visit Hanoi.

Source: Puretravel

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