Come and discover the magnificent complex of Angkor ! Located a few kilometers from the city of Siem Reap, this archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Site, plunges you into Cambodia’s past. Put yourself in the shoes of Indiana Jones and explore this huge complex that once was one of the capitals of the Khmer Empire.
Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are the two most famous areas: while Angkor Wat was beaten as a “state temple“, Angkor Thom was the royal city. Both witness to the greatness of Angkor, one of the largest medieval cities in the world.
Like all other Khmer temples, Angkor Wat was built of stone, a material destined to last for eternity. The stone used for most of the Angkor temples was the sandstone extracted from Mount Kulen located about 20 kilometers from the site. If the temple is grey today, imagine that it was formerly covered with magnificent colors. Today, there are still some traces of red paint whose pigments have withstood the onslaught of time unlike the white or blue that have disappeared. According to the researchers, the walls of the temple were once covered with white paint while the roofs were golden: Angkor Vat was undoubtedly spectacular !
This temple houses 1832 devatas! Sometimes decorated with jewels, elaborate headdresses and superb costumes, they are a testimony to the refined Khmer’s art. Also called Apsaras, they are female divinities that can be described as nymphs, celestial courtesans who charming the gods with their dances and songs.
Bayon is the main temple of Angkor Thom, it includes forty-nine towers carved of giant faces with troubling smile. Of Javanese inspiration, the influences are also Hindu, worshiping Shiva and Vishnu. This temple of state was probably aimed at gathering all the energies of the kingdom and all the religions.
The 300-meter-long Elephant Terrace has a wide variety of sculptures such as representations of elephant processions decorated with lotus flowers around the trunk, Garudas and lions. The most impressive sculptures are at the north of the terrace: elephants with almost real size, as well as.
On the 8th of March, the film Kong: Skull Island was released in cinema for the delight of the Vietnamese spectators who ran to the movie theater !
Shot in the country’s most beautiful natural sites, the film highlights the splendor of Halong Bay, Ninh Binh and Quang Binh province known for its magnificent caves.
The director of the film, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, is glad to introduce the surrealist landscapes of Vietnam to spectators from all over the world and to provoke the desire to visit the country. Kong: Skull Island put the spotlight on Vietnam, that hopes to boost tourism thanks to the magnificent images taken by the filmmakers team.
A communication operation was launched in the capital, Hanoi, where many Vietnamese are taking part in the promotion of the film with photo montages of King Kong in the most beautiful places of the country. Here are the photos !
King Kong chilling out in the Mekong’s Delta.
King Kong having a moment in Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoï.
Mmmh let’s have a nice Bun Bo on top of the northern mountains…!
That’s not the Empire State Building, is it ?? Ho Chi Minh City, is waaaaay better !!
Some travelers hesitate to travel to Vietnam during this traditional national holiday. This is largely explained by the points quoted below. And yet, if you know the keys, your stay in Vietnam during New Year will be wonderful and filled with unforgettable memories.
- Closure of stores and offices:
Traditionally, Vietnamese people enjoy the Tet holiday for 4 days (From the last day of the year to the 3rd day of the new year) to meet and visit friends, relax, have fun…. Almost all stores and offices are closed during this period.
Note: If you travel with a travel agency: no problem because they had information before Tet holiday to send you in restaurants which will be open.
If you are traveling alone: you will have the pleasure to taste the street food, or you can ask a local travel agency which restaurants are still open, or even go shopping before Tet holiday for the preparation of these 4 days if you stay in an apartment where you can easily cook.
- Food :
You will be invited by friends throughout the holiday. This may torture your stomach and make you gain weight, just like during Christmas in the west.
Note: Watch your weight with a scale every day, prepare medication against diarrhea, fever, hangover,… (remember that drug stores also will be closed during these 4 days).
- Substantial increase in prices :
During this period, prices tend to increase (double or even triple) while needs are increasing (purchase, entertainment, transport, …) and even the production cannot adapt sufficiently to the demands. This price increase will last from the first day until the sixth day after the Tet.
Note: Do your shopping before Tet holiday when the prices haven’t increased yet.
- Local tours :
Local markets and some handicraft workshops will be closed during the Tet festival.
Note: enjoy landscapes, pagodas, temples, where you will discover the special atmosphere of Tet holiday. Or just stay in local house is a good choice that will help you discover the customs of Vietnamese people during this Tet period.
- Reservation airline’s ticket and train’s tickets :
Tet holiday among other festival are the opportunity for locals to return to their hometown and village which translates into long queues for booking tickets. The lack of availability is not a big surprise. And even if you have booked by calling, your ticket might not be considered and could be cancelled. Therefore, make sure to pick up your ticket in time.
Note: Booking your ticket a month before to be sure to get a seat.
- Visiting locals:
The majority of Vietnamese people believe that the first visitor on the first day of Lunar New Year decides the state of the family throughout the hole year. Therefore, Vietnamese people choose in advance their first visitor according to their age which suits to the age of all members of the family.
Note: if you want to visit someone’s house, you must avoid visiting on the first day of Lunar New Year or at least call before asking for permission.
It seems like Tet in Saigon is simpler than Tet in Hanoi. Saigon people love to travel while Hanoi people like to meet their family.
Climate: During Tet holiday, it’s cold and rainy in the North. And in the South, the weather is dry and there is sunshine. This results in a flagrant difference of dressing between the two cities.
Floral decoration:the peach blossom in the north (pink flowers). The apricot flower in the south (yellow flowers).
Tet cake:Basically, two cakes with the same ingredients. Banh Chung in the North shaped as a square, Banh Tet in the South shaped as a cylinder.
Appetizers:Hanoi people like salted and fermented onions. The Saigonese love salted and fermented bean sprouts.
Taboo: Hanoi people avoid eating eggs during Tet holiday, due to their shape similar to the number Zero. While the Saigonese consume caramel pork with eggs.
Soup: Pork Skin soup in the North and stuffed bitter cucumbers soup in the South.
Fruit Platter: In the North, the banana is a symbol of happiness just like the other 4 spring fruits. But in the South, the banana means failure in work or study.
Worship: the Hanoi people catch a carp to worship during Tet and releases it once they finish the ceremony. The Saigonese do not have this type of custom.
Home: Hanoi people invite you to take a cup of green jasmine tea. The Saigonese invite you to take with them an alcoholic drink.
Tet: Southern people travel a lot during Tet holiday, while in the North, they prefer to spend time with their family.
For the holiday, in addition to traditional Tet flowers such as the apricot, chrysanthemum, carnation of India… most families possess a Bonsai which shaped and sized vary depending on the tastes of the family: dragons, phoenix, deer, …
While discovering Cai Mon garden, you will have a chance to taste fresh fruit depending on the season. Enjoy this magical moment, where you can even pick-up tropical fruits straight from the tree. A great way to get a taste of Vietnam throughout its delicious fruits.
After visiting the orchards in Cai Mon garden, you can explore the surrounding villages to learn more about the arboriculture, discover Ben Tre’s specialties or just let your soul fly away with popular South Vietnamese traditional music.
HAVE A NICE TRIP !
For those who travel to Vietnam for the first time, for those who would like to dive into the effervescent life of the young cities or to the sweetness of the rural hamlets, we present you some tips to circulate like a real Vietnamese.
On top of popular transportation such as cycling, scooter, bus, taxi, you can find special means such as:
- Motorbike taxi or Xe Om (hugging motorbike):
You can easily recognize a man who is a motorcycle taxi, on the sidewalk. He always keeps 2 helmets beside him, sometimes he is lying on is moped with a hat covering his face, sometimes he is siting with cross-leg on the pillion holding a cigarette in his hand. They can be in a group playing chess next to their motorbikes. It is absolutely necessary to bargain the price before going and then pay on arrival. With good negotiation skills, the cost for a motorbike taxi will be 4 times cheaper than a regular taxi. With bad skills it can be higher than a taxi fair, it’s all on you….
- Lambretta :
You can find Lambrettas in the suburbs, not in the city center. The rate is similar to the public bus although it is less comfortable and it makes too much noise. For travelers who like photography and for those who have trouble with closed bus, the Lambretta will suit you as you get fresh air and can take beautiful pictures while sitting.
It will be very unfortunate if you don’t try a rickshaw tour during your stay in Vietnam. They are numerous in Hue, Hanoi and Hoi An city. While on a rickshaw, you will dive into the craziness of the traffic and discover lots of things that will make your trip incredible!
- Horse carriage:
The horse carriage in Dalat is romantic and decorated with beautiful ribbons. Very amusing rhythmed by the horse’s steps. This horse cart is ideal for wedding trips.
Poetic and mysterious pirogues slowly moved like a flower on the river. That is a typical image of the highlands in the center of Vietnam.
- Vélo-lanpau :
You can see numerous vélo-lanpau in the Mekong Delta – a simple but charming way to get around.
Apart from the similarities of daily life, culture and climate, these two Asian brothers, Vietnam – Laos have very different cultural aspects.
1. Meals:Vietnamese people eat rice, Laotians people eat sticky-rice, Vietnamese use chopsticks, Laotians prefer eat with their hands.
2. Traffic:Vietnamese honk fairly often, Laotians people honk when necessary.
3. Costume : “Ao dai” in Vietnam and “sing” in Laos.
4. Type of transport : “xe-ôm” motorcycle-taxi in Vietnam and “tuk-tuk” all over Laos.
5. Demand for alms : in Vietnam, it is rare and the devotes don’t usually sit down to wait for the monks as they do in Laos.
6. Beauty treatment : Vietnamese always wear a mask and gloves before going out, but Laotians people let the sun shine on them.
7. National flower : the lotus in Vietnam symbolies the nobility, the indomitable will against all adversity; The dok champa in Laos symbolizes joy and sincerity.
8. Autostop : : In Vietnam, 8/10 person will stop. In Laos about 1/100 person.
9. Bargaining: Bargain 5 times for a good in Vietnam while in Laos it is only one time.
10. Greeting : you can hear “Sabaidee” (hello) all the time during your trip in Laos, and the Vietnamese people will great you by “Hello” or just by a simple friendly smile.
Vivez comme un vietnamien : levez vous tôt, vers 5h du matin, faites un peu d’exercice dans un parc, mangez un bol de “Pho” pour le petit-déjeuner et flânez sur les troittoirs en dégustant un verre. Quel genre de boissons les locaux aiment-ils boire? Laquelle de nos suggestions choisiriez-vous?
1. Chè nóng – Thé chaud :
Vous pourrez voir ce type de thé dans le nord du Vietnam, et plus spécifiquement à Hanoï. L’image d’une vieille dame assise sur un petit étal de bois et tenant dans une main une tasse de thé chaud et dans l’autre une pipe de tabac. Il s’agit d’une scène quotidienne dont vous pourrez être témoin à chaque coin de rue et qui vous touchera. Et vous, est-ce que ça vous tenterait d’apprécier une tasse de thé chaud au lotus ou jasmin et de fumer une pipe en discutant avec des amis ?
2. Trà đá – Thé glacé :
Dans le sud du Vietnam, vous pourrez commander du “Trà đá” un peu partout : dans un restaurant, un glacier, une boulangerie, un coffee shop, etc. Le thé glacé est indispensable pour les locaux qui boivent plus d’ice tea que d’eau. La raison est simple, c’est frais, vite servi, bon marché (voire gratuit), et ca permet d’épancher sa soif rapidement.
3. Nước mía – Jus de canne à sucre :
Ecoutez patiemment le bruit que fait une canne à sucre pressée par une machine lors d’un après-midi ensoleillé, en dégustant ce jus typique et populaire. En plus de son goût formidable, le jus de canne à sucre est excellent pour la santé grâce à son sucre naturel. Cela donne beaucoup d’énergie mais ça prévient également de certaines maladies comme les calculs rénaux, le diabète, la jaunisse, la grippe, etc.
4. Cà phê – café :
Vous pourrez facilement trouver une petite tasse de café noir chaud à Hanoï ou un grand verre de café au lait. Chaque jour cette boisson est consommée par les locaux à différents moments de la journée et occasions. C’est pourquoi de nombreux coffee shops sont ouverts un peu partout dans les villes. Le café peut être déguster un peu partout : dans un parc, sur un tabouret, sur le trottoir ou même debout contre un mur. Le café est une des raisons pour laquelle la population vietnamienne est si énergique. Il faut également savoir que le Vietnam est un des plus grands exportateurs au monde de café.
5. Lait de soja :
En plus du lait de soja, vous pourrez également trouver du lait de cacahuètes ou du lait d’haricots verts dans les chariots sur les trottoirs. Prenez un verre de lait de soja chaud ou glacé selon vos goûts. N’hésitez pas à demander d’emporter votre boisson.
6. Citron salé :
Presque tous les vendeurs de rue ont du citron salé dans leur chariots. Ce type de jus aide à rafraichir le corps après avoir marché des heures sous un soleil de plomb. Et vous savez quoi ? Boire du jus de citron salé est un des meilleurs moyens pour perdre du poids. Essayez le avec de la glace, du sucre, de l’eau et cette boisson va vous éveiller les sens.
7. Sinh Tố – Jus de fruits frais :
SI vous voulez avoir une belle peau, les jus de fruits frais sont parfaits. Il en existe plusieurs types mais nous vous recommandons le jus de noix de coco aux cacahuètes ou le jus de sapotille au café. Le jus préféré des locaux est le jus d’avocat au lait.
8. Rau má, dắp cá, et d’autres jus faits de racines ou de feuilles :
Après avoir essayé toutes ces boissons populaires dans notre pays, n’hésitez pas d’essayer des boissons un peu étranges faites de plantes. Ce type de boissons peut être difficile à boire au début car vous n’y êtes pas habitué. Mais c’est vraiment très bon pour la santé, et pourquoi pas être un peu aventurier ?
9. The last drink !!!!
Nous vous recommandons de boire de l’eau minérale ou de source. L’eau est le meilleur choix pour notre corps et est essentielle dans un pays aussi chaud que le notre.
Faites attention ! Ne buvez pas toutes ces boissons en un jour, votre estomac en serez fâché ! SANTÉ !!