Đà Lạt, Sa Pa Named Among Best New Destinations - News on 16 December 2016


Đà Lạt, Sa Pa named among best new destinations for 2017

The resort towns of Đà Lạt (in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng) and Sa Pa (in the northern province of Lào Cai) have been included in a new list of the top 10 rising destinations in Asia by travel site TripAdvisor.

Đà Lạt is ranked fourth and Sa Pa, sixth. Called the City of Eternal Spring, City of Flowers, and City of Love, Đà Lạt is full of beautiful French-era buildings and surrounded by pine trees, flowers and vegetable farms. Tourists are recommended to visit Linh Phước Pagoda, Trúc Lâm Zen Buddhist temple and Elephant Falls, where they can try their hand at rafting, mountain biking and canyoning. Sa Pa, located some 2,000km further north, is known for its trekking trails.

The colourful town is recognised as the perfect oasis for travellers on strenuous mountain treks and rice paddy tours. Tourists can visit the Saturday night "love market", the Gothic stone church in the town centre and Vietnamese and European restaurants. The Travelers' Choice Awards for …

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Sài Gòn Cathedral Church to undergo roof renovation

HCM City authorities have approved a proposal to restore the roof of the Sài Gòn Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most popular tourist sites and a protected heritage site in District 1.

The restoration of the roof, which measures 91m by 35m, will be done in 2017-19 by the HCM City Archdiocese. According to Father Hồ Văn Xuân, a representative of the archdiocese, the restoration is required since some places have degraded due to the elements. The restoration would be done carefully to "keep the original beauty" of the cathedral, he assured.

The work will be done in three phases: the roof, the interior and finally the two bell towers. The walls of the cathedral, which have been defaced by vandals, will also be repainted. The church will continue to hold weekend masses despite the work. The Sài Gòn Notre Dame Cathedral was built by the French colonialists between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers that rise 58 metres (190 feet). - …

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HCM City looks to improve water transport

Inland waterways are becoming increasingly vital for economic development and HCM City should consider how to improve the efficiency of its waterway system, an official has said.

Waterway police patrol the Bach Dang Wharf in District 1, HCM City Hoang Hai City-and central-managed waterway routes and 319 large and small sea and river ports make up a huge waterway system that connects the key southern economic region with the outside world. “Therefore, waterway management and exploitation are very important for the city’s socio-economic development,” an official from the city’s Department of Transport was quoted as saying in the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.

Proper investment in waterways would help significantly reduce transport costs as well as ease the enormous pressure on the road system, he said. Expansion of waterways, unlike roads, is inexpensive, a big advantage for the former. …

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The most famous ancient house in Mekong Delta

People familiar with French author Marguerite Duras might not know that The Lover, her most celebrated novel and winner of the Goncourt Prize in 1984, was inspired by her girlhood in the Mekong Delta in Việt Nam.

There is a house in Sa Đéc city, Đồng Tháp Province, where a love story was set and has been retold almost every day for nearly a century, attracting many curious visitors. The house, at 225A Nguyễn Huệ Street, is Huỳnh Thủy Lê Ancient House, where the author's lover lived. The former owner of the house was Mr Huỳnh Thủy Lê, who is believed to be the male character in the novel.

The house has a history of over 130 years, and is now a popular tourist destination in Mekong Delta for literature lovers. The house was built in 1917, replacing a wooden home built in 1895. In 1972, the Lê family left the house, and after the war ended in 1975 it became a police station. In 2010, authorities declared it a historic site, making it a popular tourist spot. - …

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Double-decker buses to hit Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng

Double-decker sightseeing buses will hit the streets of Hà Nội and Đà Nẵng soon as part of a new initiative to boost tourism. A fleet of around 30 buses, including open-top double-deckers, will operate starting in January in Đà Nẵng, Trần Chí Cường, deputy director of the city's tourism department, said.

They will take passengers to attractions around the city. Tourism companies in HCM City, meanwhile, are not keen on the idea of double-decker buses plying narrow and congested streets. However, Nguyễn Khoa Luân, CEO of Ảnh Việt Media TV - Tourist Co., said there is great potential because many countries operate similar services successfully. The company is already running hop-on hop-off sightseeing tours in HCM City using minibuses. Figures from the World Tourism and Travel Council reveal that last year's tourism revenues directly contributed 6.6 per cent of Việt Nam's GDP…

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Binh Dinh distributes rice to natural disaster victims

December 15 – 2016 The central province of Binh Dinh will distribute rice aid to families affected by natural disasters this year, with an average 15kg of rice for each person. Vice Chairman of Binh Dinh provincial People’s Committee said the province will deliver 1,108 tonnes of rice provided by the government to 11 districts and towns hit by floods and droughts.

The provincial People’s Committee assigned the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to coordinate with the relevant agencies to receive and distribute rice to households under regulations. Four consecutive floods over the past months killed 17 people, injured five others and caused an estimated loss of 800 billion VND (36 million USD) in Binh Dinh. The province has asked the government for 300 billion VND (14 million USD) in aid to restore transport infrastructure and irrigation works, helping local people resume production.-VNA …

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Japan, VN hold environment policy dialogue

December 15 – 2016 At the conference, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan and Minister of the Environment of Japan, Michiyo Kakegawa, sought to enhance bilateral and regional environmental collaboration related to mercury, climate change, regional air quality, environmental education, decontamination, children’s environmental health, and environmental impact assessment.

This dialogue builds on a history of cooperation on environmental issues between Viet Nam and Japan, based on the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection signed in 2013 between the two countries.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan has expressed wish that Japan would continue boosting effective cooperation with Viet Nam in environment protection and climate change response. On the occasion, the two ministries signed a MoU on cooperation in environment protection and climate change for 2017-2019. By Vien Nhu …

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Vietnamese dong weakens as dollar surges following Fed rate increase

December 15 – 2016 The Trump effect has already started even though he's not in the Oval Office yet.

The Vietnamese dong fell against the U.S. dollar this morning after the greenback hit a 14-year high following the Federal Reserve’s move to lift interest rates. The dong fell to 22,799 per dollar at major banks today, hitting the bottom of the trading band of 3 percent around the mid-point set daily.

The central bank on Thursday set the official mid-point rate at 22,135 dong per dollar, or 11 dong weaker than the official rate set yesterday. Vietcombank, one of the country’s largest banks by assets, quoted a selling price of VND22,770 and a buying price of VND22,700, down 30 dong from yesterday. In a closely watched decision, the U.S. central bank, better known as the Fed, raised rates to a range of 0.50-0.75 percent late Wednesday local time and signaled more increases in 2017.

Reuters reported that the dollar soared to a 14-year peak against a basket of major currencies following the…

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City to move houses by canal

December 15 – 2016 Viet Nam News HCM CITY - More than 5,000 households that live along or on the south bank of the Đôi Canal in HCM City's District 8 will be relocated in 2018.

Lê Quỳnh Đài, deputy chairman of the district People's Committee, said the relocation of households would be invested under the PPP (public-private partnerships) mode. Many investors are keen to invest in the relocation plan, according to Đài, who spoke at a meeting this week in the city.

Lê Văn Khoa, deputy chairman of the city's People's Committee, said the relocation plan was one of the city's key programmes. The District 8 People's Committee has been asked to choose an investor who has ability, experience and working interest. If necessary, the district could petition the Prime Minister to have specific policies for the relocation, compensation and selection of investors to speed up the plan, he said. The city has encouraged investors to conduct detailed research about the relocation plan to ensure the rights of the …

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Head photo by: Mr & Mrs Backpacker