Sunday, September 21, 2008

Enjoy These Ten Places in Vietnam

Enjoy These Ten Places in Enjoy These Ten Places in Vietnam

By Jonathan Williams

Vietnam is a country that is situated in the Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China and Laos and Cambodia. Where it was once a country ravaged by war, now, Vietnam has opened its doors to tourists that it is now fast becoming a go-to place in Asia, and here are ten places that one should visit and see in Vietnam.

1.) Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

This mausoleum is located in Hanoi, and this is where the great Ho Chi Minh is entombed. It is very strict here, so one should follow the rules of no talking or loud noises and no photo taking once inside the mausoleum. If you want to visit the mausoleum, do not go there in short pants as you will not be allowed to enter.

2.) Ho Chi Minh Museum

If you found the solemnity in the mausoleum too stifling, then the museum can take some of that feeling away. Here, you will get to see photos and old letters during the time of Ho Chi Minh. Just do not mind some of the gruesome pictures of the war though.

3.) Ho Chi Minh's Vestige

After the museum, you can visit Ho Chi Minh's vestige. This is where the great man lived and worked. You will also get to see here the houses where he lived in, which are always kept clean as the day he died.

4.) One-Pillar Pagoda

This is a short walk from the mausoleum and the museum of Ho Chi Minh. It is also one of the must-see destinations in Vietnam. Watch out though as the grounds can be crowded with a lot of tourists at one time.

5.) Hoan Kiem Lake

This is a relaxing place to be if you want a quiet time alone. In this park, you can have a leisurely stroll with your loved one. You can also visit the Ngoc Son Temple in this park, which is a good source for Vietnamese history and culture, among which is the story of the giant turtle that is said to inhabit the lake.

6.) Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

This is a nice way to spend the day with your family. The theatre tells of Vietnamese history and legends through the use of wooden figures representing men and women and the ever-present dragons. The story is told through music and the puppets dancing.

7.) Floating Markets of Can Tho

For a completely unique experience, you should visit the floating markets of Can Tho. You can also take a tour of the area by renting a boat. Some of the floating markets are Cai Rang (sells wholesales mainly), Phong Dien (for retails), Phung Hiep and Tra On.

8.) Ho Xuan Huong

If you want to go boat riding, then you should visit Ho Xuan Huong, which is also called Xuan Huong Lake. This is located in Dalat and is a favorite among tourists who want to get some peace and quite. This is also a favorite spot of honeymooners as they stroll hand in hand along the banks of the lake.

9.) Thung Lung Tinh Yeu

This place is called the Valley of Love and is also popular among honeymooners. This is a wonderful place if you enjoy canyoning. If you have canyoning in mind, then this is the place for you as they have canyoning operators as well who will guide you on your trip.

10.) Ho Chi Minh City

This was popularly known as Saigon. Here, you will get to see a lot of fascinating places such as the Reunification Palace of the Independence Palace. There is also the War Remnants Museum as well as the Museum of Vietnamese History if you want to know more about the history and culture of Vietnam.

Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV - the place to share travel videos. Visit to view or share Vietnam travel videos.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 7 Picks For the New 7 Wonders

By []Neil Simon

As of this writing, the world has spoken: 77 finalists for the top 7 spot for the new top 7 wonders of the world. For today, in keeping with the 7-centric nature of the New7Wonders Foundation, I'm picking out my top 7 from the bunch.

Mind you, I haven't been to all 77 of the mentioned places, but that's not to say I don't know what I like. Here's my pick. (And hopefully, yours too!)

Great Blue Hole, Belize - This is a wonder all itself --- considered to be one of the world's strangest places, it is a great big dark-blue hole near Belize city. It is reported that most parts of this bizarre wonder still remains undiscovered. That fact alone leaves it as one of the top unique spots on earth that we must preserve.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam - This is just beautiful. I'd have to say Vietnam's Ha Long Bay definitely deserves to be at the top, or at least, as of today, the top spot. Many of the locals will gladly tell you the mythical origins of the various islets that are the lushest of greens. Long ago, apparently, when the forefathers were defending the land, the gods from heaven sent out a family of dragons to assist them. These dragons, apparently descended down where the bay is today and started spitting out jewels and jade. Upon hitting the lake, these precious stones turned into the various islets, forming a barrier against foreign invaders. "Ha Long" literally means descending dragons.

Vietnam - 2008.07.05 - 09 - Ha Long Bay

Mount Fuji, Japan - One of nature's truly triumphant wonders. Influencing artists and writers over the years, the great mountain has been featured in many texts and artworks over the years. Many tourists and climbers frequent the mountain yearly --- aside from being a true testament of great natural wonders, it is also considered sacred, and is rich in history, as ancient samurai are said to have trained near the base of the mountain.


Chocolate Hills, Philippines - Who doesn't love chocolate? Besides, if there's anything to be said about the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, it's the magical formation of the clumps of Earth into truly wonderful gobs of tourism. While it does take quite a bit of effort to get near them, all that disappears once you see these beauties. About a thousand-or-so of these natural hills are made even more special by the grass that covers them. During dry season, the grass turns brown, hence the name Chocolate Hills.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

Machu Picchu, Peru - Now an ecological reserve, it houses several unique flora and fauna and various ancient geological formations formed --- who knows when? The various buildings are believed to be of Incan origin make you wonder how people lived here, and where'd they go?

les touristes viennent par millions et sont tous �merveill�s par Machu Picchu

Dead Sea Lake, Jordan - Aside from the biblical significance of the place, being located in the area that is the lowest point of earth to have dry land, it has a totally different composition than regular sea water. Visitors and travelers are all astounded by the unusual buoyancy they have when swimming in the lake.

Dead   sea

Krakatoa, Indonesia - If spy supervillains were real, and if they truly had volcanic islands for a secret lair, I wouldn't be surprised if this was it. Having been said as the volcano that holds the record for having the largest explosion, ever --- it is a great force and beauty of nature that has to be preserved.

approaching Krakatoa

Neil Simon enjoys traveling a lot either all by himself or with his wife and his (now) grown-up kids. You can read more of Neil Simon's travel tips at []Travel Nooks

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Reasons to Visit the Philippines

By []Kamulo Nadnaden

1. Each country has its own unique feature. The Philippines is interesting in that it has 7107 islands divided into three major island groups - Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

2. That means there are plenty of beaches to choose from including the world's best white sand beaches. Boracay, Camiguin, and Dakak are amongst the more popular ones, while hundreds of virgin beaches remain undiscovered along the coasts of Mindanao, at the northernmost province of Batanes, and in the coastal provinces of Pangasinan and in Palawan. Plus, you can go to the beach anytime of the year.

3. The regionalism created by the different islands has produced a nation so varied culturally - from the Iva tans in the North to the boat people in the South. Each culture has their own set of interesting festivals too.

4. Filipinos are a friendly people and are known for their oftentimes excessive hospitality. Attend a public wedding celebration in the Cordilleras, or walk through a town celebrating a fiesta in the Tagalog region and you'll certain to be invited to a meal.

5. Almost 400 hundred years of Spanish rule, and 100+ years of American rule that mind you, extends to the present, has created a unique culture that combines the European flair for tradition and the American's penchant for anything new. 9 of 10 Filipinos speak English - one of the highest percentage amongst Asian countries.

6. As the country that introduced the karaoke to the world, Filipinos are known for their musical abilities and grace in dancing. Most major festivals include street dancing, and Asian singing contests are normally won by Filipino singers. Three of the four Asian finalists in American Idol history come from Filipino families and not one of them is named Sanjaya.

7. The Philippines is home to very unique group of animals such as the world's smallest monkey, the largest and smallest species of bats, 5 of the world's seven species of marine turtles, the monkey-eating eagle, the world's smallest hoofed animal, the tamarraw (pygmy water buffalo) and flying lemurs.

8. Shopping is cheap. Buy world class local products at just about 1/10 of the price you'd get for similar ones outside the country. Plus, the Philippines has 3 of the 10 biggest malls in the world.

9. It is home to several UNESCO world heritage sites such as the Baroque Churches, the historic town of Vigan, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.

10. You find the tastiest species of mango, the world-renowned coconut oil, bagoong (fish fermented sauce) - flavored dishes, kalderetang kambing (goat stew), various forms of pulutan (finger food), sorbetes (fruit flavored coconut-based ice cream), rice pastries, taho (beancurd with caramel syrup), the highly exotic balut (boiled, pre-hatched poultry eggs), tapey (Igorot rice wine), lambanog (coconut-based alcoholic drink) and San Miguel beer.

The author grew up in the tourist town of Sagada, Philippines. He writes on travel destinations in his hometown and in the Philippine islands. His website, Sagada Igorot Online is found at

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Looking for an Asian country to visit? The Philippine Islands, with its 7107 islands, friendly and English speaking people, exciting culture, and home to the world's biggest shopping malls, UNESCO heritage sites, endangered animals, and less popular but highly touted cuisine is your best bet. This article discusses the top reasons why one should visit this country also known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas.