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Vietnam Might Fail to Meet Goal of 18m Foreign Visitors in 2019 Due to Slow Growth

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A slowdown in the growth of foreign tourism in the first seven months of the year is putting the goal of 18 million international arrivals iat risk.

According Dan Tri, at a conference held in Da Nang on August 16, Nguyen Ngoc Thien, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, addressed issues concerning drawing foreign tourists to Vietnam in 2019.

In the first seven months, 9.8 million foreign tourists visited Vietnam, an increase of only 7.9% compared to the same period last year. This growth rate signals a decline, as at the same point in 2018, the number of visitors from abroad had increased by 25.4% compared to the same time period in 2017.

One of the major reasons is that the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad has generally declined in the face of China’s economic slowdown. According to a report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the number of visitors from China to Vietnam dropped by 2.8% compared to the same period last year.

Thien told the news source that in order to achieve the tourism goal of 2019, from now to the end of 2019, Vietnam has to attract an average of 1.5 million foreign visitors each month.

Tuoi Tre, meanwhile, reported that VNAT aims to promote Vietnam in Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian countries. In the first six months, there were two tourism fairs organized in China, and one in South Korea. Vietnam will continue to host economic, sport and cultural exchange events in these two areas during the next five months.

Additionally, many proposals were presented at the conference aimed at the sustainable development of Vietnam’s tourism sector, including encouraging cooperation between tourism companies and those in other sectors to build more tour packages and tourism promotion programs and the opening of new air routes to important tourist attractions.

 

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Floods in Central Highlands, Phu Quoc Cause $43m in Damage

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The Central Highlands and Phu Quoc recently suffered from extreme flooding following record-breaking torrential rain.

According to the Natural Disaster Prevention Central Committee, three days of flooding across provinces in the Central Highlands caused 10 deaths and left one missing person. More than 12,000 houses and 20,000 hectares of crops are submerged, on top of the 120,000 cattle and poultry swept away by the floods, as reported by VnExpress.

Landslides occurred along many roads, irrigation canals and dams causing, severe damage, including at two hydroelectric reservoirs in Dak Nong Province. The estimated cost of the damage is VND1 trillion (US$43 million), of which VND107 billion (US$4.6 million) occurred in Phu Quoc.

Regarding the causes of flooding, Director of Central Highlands Hydrometeorological Station Ta Dang Hoan told the news source that areas have experienced abnormally heavy rain: “This region has always suffered from torrential rain, but never seen such an extreme level of rain in a short period of time like recently.”

The main cause of the heavy rain is the southwest monsoon, in addition to influences from tropical depressions.

The narrow rivers and streams in Dak Lak and Lam Dong cannot withstand the rapid urbanization that is affecting drainage systems. Hoan added: “Deforestation and excessive wood exploitation could be a major cause of flooding in Central Highlands areas.”

Lam Dong suffered the most out of five provinces in the region. Director of the Department of Agriculture and Development of Lam Dong Province Nguyen Van Son claimed that besides the impacts of climate change, flooding is also due to the enhanced greenhouse effect.

According to the Director of Hydro-meteorological stations in Kien Giang Province, Le Xuan Hien, in the first nine days of August, Phu Quoc saw its most rain since 1978, at 1,152 mm, compared to the average 458 mm.

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10 contemporary art galleries in Ho Chi Minh City

An increasingly popular hub for artists and art buffs, Ho Chi Minh City is a fantastic place for contemporary art fans. Here are our top ten contemporary art galleries perfect to explore there.

 

1. Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts

One of the largest places in the city to view art, it’s easy to while away a few hours here. Featuring mostly contemporary art, this place has its finger well and truly on the pulse of the local art scene.

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2. The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre

Another large arts space in a warehouse-style setting, huge contemporary art displays give visitors a little wow-factor here. There is also an interesting calendar of events just waiting to be explored.

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3. Apricot Gallery

One of the biggest names in the art world in Vietnam thanks to its branch in Hanoi too, the Apricot Gallery in Ho Chi Minh City is found over an impressive five storeys. This is the place to view a wide ion of contemporary Vietnamese art.

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4. Lotus Gallery

This narrow gallery space makes an interactive artwork of its featured pieces by displaying them on sliding rollers. This has been a favourite on the Ho Chi Minh City art scene for almost 30 years, showcasing contemporary art by a range of Vietnam’s talented artists.

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5. Galerie Quynh

This contemporary art gallery is in a small but perfectly formed space in the city. This art spot is a particular specialist in paintings, sculpture and multimedia works by local artists.

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6. Saigon Outcast

Definitely one of the most popular contemporary art spaces in the city, Saigon Outcast has amazing graffiti on most surfaces. It’s also a place to go for drawing classes, film screenings or even just a drink in the beer garden.

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7. Salon Saigon

This intimate contemporary art space features a carefully curated array of art by local artists, and an invigorating calendar of talks and special events. It’s also a place where you can browse books while sipping tea.

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8. Coeverything

More like a concept store than an art gallery, this is a space where different elements of Vietnam’s artistic flair come together. As well as modern artworks by Vietnamese artists, it’s a place to find locally-made stationery and a whole range of hand-made crafts.

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9. Hey Camel Ceramics

A store rather than an art gallery, this is definitely a place worth visiting for contemporary art lovers in Ho Chi Minh City. An amazing collection of hand-made ceramics and canvas bags with witty designs can be found here – which make for perfect contemporary art souvenirs to take home.

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10. Artinus

This eccentric 3D art gallery might not be to the taste of serious contemporary art collectors, but for those looking for a different experience of art, this is the place to visit. Here visitors can immerse themselves so they actually become part of the art, making for some incredible photos to take home too.

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Indulging in the Natural Splendors of Phu Quoc

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Phu Quoc’s rapid rise in popularity has come, in part, thanks to people’s desire to escape claustrophobic cities and their accumulation of traffic, construction noise and hectic routines, and connect with nature.

And while the 574-square kilometer island off the coast of Cambodia is more spacious than many people imagine, development has ramped up drastically, with numerous international flights resulting in increasingly crowded stretches of resorts on the island. Large sections, however, remain relatively pristine, especially on the northern end, where Fusion Resort Phu Quoc rests near the national forest.

“Here, try this!” my Fusionista, the resort’s version of a personal concierge, Nguyen, says while leading me to my room. Plucking a light purple fruit from a tree, she explains: “This is a sim berry, a specialty on the island.” The somewhat tart, subtly floral berry grows naturally on the expansive property, along with a variety of colorful flowers, palm trees and bushes. The carefully manicured grounds make a great first impression and serve as the ideal location for a romantic getaway or family-focused vacation.

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During a visit earlier this month, Peter Neto, the resort’s general manager, explained that in the not-so-distant past, when the island was largely undeveloped, this northern region was neither good for growing crops nor especially near any suitable port for fishing, and thus it remained largely untouched. It retains that sense of remoteness and privacy to this day.

“Fusion’s design team envisioned a resort where guests would feel at home from the moment they walk in,” Neto explained when discussing the layout for the resort, which consists of 130 private villas spread across 24 hectares. Each villa has its own private pool and the natural, gradually sloping walls that surround each one allow guests to rest in the spacious gardens and savor a sense of isolation. The shade trees lining the walkways and large room windows revealing verdant swaths of grass instantly remind people of what they are missing out on when living in a concrete-cluttered metropolis.

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The property is bordered by a river on the north side and 240 hectares of native jungle to the south. The 5.3 km private road weaving through the thick forest and down the beach is perfect for hiking, running or cycling with one of the bikes available for all guests. Among the other opportunities to enjoy the outdoors are a tennis court and adventure club for kids filled with games and activities.

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Additionally, the wide stretch of meticulously managed oceanfront allows visitors to play volleyball, go kayaking or simply lounge at the beach bar sipping on a tropical drink while watching a beautiful sunset.

While the ocean, of course, offers people a chance to swim, Fusion also features two large public pools. One is a relaxing spa pool, and the other an infinity pool that seems to spill directly into the sea, which makes it among the resort’s most popular Instagram spots, especially as a sunset softly enflames the tips of waves in the background.

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The plants growing on the grounds are far from just ornamental. The pepper is collected and used for essential oils in the spa, along with the aloe vera employed in various treatments. A popular bee farm not far from the resort provides Fusion with honey for use in its three dining locations. It is also sold in the gift shop for those looking to bring home a sweet reminder of their vacation harmoniously spent with nature.

Considering the centrality of nature and green space to the bliss of one’s stay, Fusion places great importance on protecting it. Through small acts like replacing all plastic straws with paper and rice alternatives and abandoning single-use shower essentials, they help each guest leave a much lighter footprint. They also have grander visions, including teaming up with the World Wildlife Foundation and other Phu Quoc resorts to reduce and reuse plastic, as exemplified by the large fish statue on the sand that serves as a receptacle for recovered rubbish. They are also researching a system that will allow them to do away with all plastic bottles used in the resort.

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Whether looking to spend some quality time with friends and family or a special couple’s retreat, the clean, nature-filled expanses of Fusion Phu Quoc make for a perfect setting. The elegant, understated rooms with soothing jet bathtubs and shell-accented walls create a cool environment great for lounging if one prefers the indoors over a private backyard and pool. In contrast, the large grounds foster a variety of activities for the adventurous. Such diverse ways to savor nature and experience serenity make Fusion a truly special destination.

 

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Vandalized by Loan Sharks, Pho Hoa Pasteur Announces Temporary Closure

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The shop owner’s brother-in-law is suspected of racking up the debts that attracted the vandalism.

Eight acts of vandalism over the last month, including throwing pig organs, paint and mắm tôm on the facade of District 3’s famous Pho Hoa Pasteur, forced it to shutter starting Thursday, August 3. During the most recent attack, Media reports that customers were hit with the stinky detritus and Linh, the owner of the more than 50-year-old noodle shop, admitted the assaults were harming business. He posted a multi-lingual apology for the temporary closing, citing “interior construction.”

At the time of the closing, rumors swirled regarding the owner’s brother-in-law, Tuan. Linh said he ran a phone and automobile accessory shop nearby and owed VND8 billion (US$340,000) to creditors. Tuan was unable to repay the debt in a timely manner, so — in true Vietnam fashion — the loan sharks resorted to threatening his family members to get back their money. Linh claimed Tuan had nothing to do with the ownership or operation of Pho Hoa Pasteur, and it was thus unfair that his collectors were targeting the phở restaurant.

While originally unable to locate Tuan, on Monday, August 5 police detained him at his District 3 home. The 44-year-old is allegedly cooperating with authorities and is suspected of falsifying documents to obtain property to sell. Authorities arrived at his house with search warrants, some of which related to various vehicles he’d recently purchased.

The individuals who carried out the attacks were captured on security footage and allegedly identified. In a press conference held this afternoon, the HCMC Police Department said that they have detained five men suspected of carrying out the vandalism and two others for aiding them.

Located at 260C Pasteur, Pho Hoa has been a local mainstay for decades. The casual phở joint is popular among locals and tourists alike and is featured on numerous travel blogs and guidebooks.

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Vietnamese style of massage. What to expect in Ho Chi Minh City

Each country has its unique massage methods, so does Vietnam. Not with a lot of oil like Swedish massage, not too much stretching and deep pressing like Thai, massage in Vietnam seems a mixture of a little Thai, Swedish and hot stone, foot and body together.

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Story of Vietnamese massage

I’ve no idea where and when the massage came to Vietnam but from the feudalistic time. The concubines or servants for the King or sorts of had to do something similar once their owners ordered. Then, there were people earning a living just by being a street masseuse when most of their clients were men. They did their work right on street pavement.

Along with the “open door” policy, where free entrepreneur was allowed and encouraged, facilitated massage establishments were opened and operated as to meet the demand of that new market economy.

At that time, there was quite a negative rumor running around the masseuses who are mostly young girls. Everyone doubt that there could be something hanky-panky happened between the girl and her clients (mostly men) in the massage room. It was ironically a lose-face situation then if your friend/relative saw you stepping into a massage shop in Vietnam. The doubt was correct as the majority of massage parlours then were where men looking for happy-ending service.

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Today, there are more and more proper-run establishments opening. Believe or not, massage business has been mushrooming in all the big cities of Vietnam for over 20 years now. Of course, people don’t see it with a curious eye anymore.

 

Massage while traveling

Some good establishments offer not only a full package but also a detailed menu for you to choose from. A package of 75-90′ should be right for everyone. It is starting from the foot with some herbal medicinal foot dip, the body, the hot stone and ending by the head.

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Tips to get massage in Vietnam

  • Make sure your belongings are well watched or safely placed while being during your massage in Vietnam.
  • Expect some private talks probably happening between the two masseuses. Feel free to advise them to stop for the good sake of your relaxing hours.
  • Even tip included, 90% of the case is nice to try for a further tip. The choice is on you, to give them a little more or to ask for the Manager.

 

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Vietnam to Host Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2020

For the first time, Vietnam is set to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix during the 2020 championship. This will be the debut race of the brand new Hanoi Circuit, and constitutes the first year of a multi-year contract with Liberty Media.

The circuit will be placed in the Nam Từ Liêm District of the capital Hanoi, and contains 22 turns and will run for 5.565km across 55 laps; making for a total race length of 306km. Pictured below is a map of the planned circuit route. Hanoi will be the third city in Southeast Asia to host a grand prix (after Kuala Lumpur and Singapore) and one of five Asian host cities in the 2020 championship.

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Circurt Map – Vietnam Host Formula 1 Grand Prix-in 2020

The first race is set to be held in April 2020, one of the first of the 2020 championship, right in the middle of tourism high season in Vietnam. Thus we recommend any Formula 1 fans aiming to see the race book their flights, accommodation and tours well in advance to avoid sold-out facilities or increased prices for the high season.

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F1 Grid – The drivers and teams racing in 2019
We encourage F1 enthusiasts who wish to make the most of a trip to Vietnam to watch the race to book their trip as soon as possible to ensure you get an amazing and authentic experience in Indochina at the best possible rate, making for a far more memorable trip than simply coming to see the race and leaving again.

Vietnamese Airline Flights Hit by Hong Kong Protests

Many flights of Vietnamese airlines have been cancelled or rescheduled for being affected by on-going protest chaos at Hong Kong International Airport.

National carrier Vietnam Airlines and budget carrier Jetstar Pacific have announced to change the time of some of their flights from and to Hong Kong today, August 13.

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Vietnam Airlines will delay two flights VN594 and VN595 on HCM City-Hong Kong for seven hours and 40 minutes compared to their scheduled departure. The carrier’s other flights from and to Hong Kong today will be conducted as scheduled.

Meanwhile, Jetstar Pacific has cancelled two flights BL160 and BL161 on the Hanoi-Hong Kong and Danang-Hong Kong routes respectively.

The affected passengers will be supported to change for other flights if they want.

Budget carrier Vietjet’s two flights VJ876 and VJ877 on HCM City-Hong Kong-HCM City routes will be also suspended.

All flights which departed from Hong Kong International Airport were cancelled due to the anti-government protests which entered the fourth day by Monday.

Vietnamese airlines have advised passengers to keep up-to-date with Vietnam and Hong Kong flight information for their trip.

Passengers should arrive at Hong Kong International Airport three hours before the departure time.

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VNA Gifts Round-Trip Tickets to Japanese Tourist Swindled by Xích Lô Driver

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Oki Toshiyuki, an 83-year-old Japanese tourist, was charged VND2.9 million for an approximately two-kilometer ride.

After the incident made the rounds online, the police tracked down the xích lô driver and the Japanese tourist in question in hopes of making things right, Nguoi Lao Dong reports.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism and Vietnam Airlines then decided to gift Toshiyuki and his Vietnamese daughter-in-law, Le Thuc Anh, a pair of Japan-Vietnam round-trip tickets as a gesture of apology.

According to local media, Toshiyuki traveled to Saigon with his daughter-in-law and two grandchildren to visit the city and his son. On August 3, Toshiyuki rode a xích lô from Ben Thanh Market to his hotel in District 1. After the ride, the Japanese man gave the driver VND500,000, but the driver said the amount was not enough. Before Toshiyuki could get more money out, the xích lô driver deliberately took a few additional bills from Toshiyuki’s wallet and rode away.

Dung, the xích lô driver in question, has penned a letter of apology to the Japanese tourist. Toshiyuki also expressed that he doesn’t want to pursue any legal action against Dung when asked by authorities.

 

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