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Travel News 31/8

 VN agencies offer short inbound tours; Malaysia eyes Viet Nam tours; More ships visit distant island; Undeveloped Binh Ba Island boasts tourism potential; Whale Worship festival held in HCM City coastal district

VN agencies offer short inbound tours

 Travel companies in HCM City have rolled out several new one- and two-day inbound tours for the National Day (September 2) holiday.

Tran Thi Bao Thu, marketing director of Fiditour, said the number of people opting to travel during this year's holiday is up 10 to 20 per cent from last year.

Thu's company is offering nine one- and two-day domestic tours, mostly to famous sites in neighbouring provinces such as Dong Nai, Vinh Long and Binh Thuan.

At prices ranging from VND200,000 (US$10) to VND1.5 million ($70) per person, these tours are the most popular. Many workers, students, and teachers are interested in two-day tours to Ba Ria- Vung Tau and Tay Ninh Province that cost only VND1.2 million.

The The He Tre (Young Generation) Tourist Company is also offering new one-day tours to Can Gio, Cu Chi, and Binh Duong where visitors will be taken to sites on rivers by boat.

Green tours and home-stay trips to remote communities of the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta costing VND1.2 million to VND2 million ($100) are also popular.

Despite higher accommodation and travel prices, some travel agencies have had to cut their prices by 10 per cent to attract customers while still keeping their tours affordable, tourist companies have reported.

Leading operators like Saigontourist and Vietravel hope to attract a large number of local tourists this season.

Vietravel offers around 30 domestic and outbound tours and the company hopes to increase the sale of domestic tours by 10 per cent more than last year.

Tours to Da Lat, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc, at prices ranging from VND2 million ($100) to VND3.5 million ($160) exclusive of train and air tickets, are more than 80 per cent full.

As in previous years, theme parks and amusement centres like Suoi Tien Tourist Site and Dam Sen Park have announced live music and comedy shows and dragon dance performances to attract visitors in the city and from neighbouring provinces.

Tourist companies are also focusing on tours to northern provinces that have stunning landscapes, with tours costing around $350.

Many young people have chosen four-day tours to popular northern spots like Sa Pa and Ha Long, with costs at about VND5 million.

Malaysia eyes Viet Nam tours

Representatives of Malaysian travel agencies will begin taking familiarisation tours in two provinces and a city in central Viet Nam today to link tourist destinations there to Malaysia.

The tours, a first for the country's central region, aim to boost tourism in the provinces of Quang Ngai and Da Nang and the city of Hoi An. The visitors will experience the newly-introduced tourist services of kayaking and snorkeling in the coral reefs of Son Tra Peninsula, located 10km from here.

They will explore Hoi An and experience a night of lanterns there. Also in the itinerary are Sa Huynh Museum in Quang Ngai and centuries-old houses in Quang Nam.

More ships visit distant island

This central province has added two ships to its fleet of vessels ferrying tourists in and around Ly Son Island for the four-day vacation marking National Day, September 2.

Pham Thi Huong, vice chairwoman of the island district People's Committee, yesterday said the deployment of two more vessels would facilitate travel for an estimated 3,000 tourists.

The two ships will each carry 1,500 passengers and cargo from Sa Ky Port in the province to the island every day.

Last year, the island launched a tourist sea route between the island and An Binh islet.

Ly Son, located 30km off the coast of the province, is a tranquil destination with 2,100 inhabitants, most of whom make a living from cultivating garlic and spring onions and from fishing. Tourist destinations include well-preserved centuries-old houses and the Am Linh Pagoda, built to worship the souls of sailors who died during long voyages to Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands during the Nguyen dynasty in the 17th century.

Undeveloped Binh Ba Island boasts tourism potential

With its clean beaches and charming scenery, Binh Ba Island in Cam Ranh City's Cam Binh Commune is an attractive destination in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

Bai Nha Cu Beach, one of the island's most attractive beaches, has white sand, calm and clear blue waters.

The beach is an ideal place to see coral as it has some of the most beautiful coral on the 300ha island.

The coral is easily visible from the beach.

The island offers fresh air, a quiet atmosphere, and stunning sunset and beautiful mountains.

Located on Cam Ranh Bay, Binh Ba is known as the "lobster island" as its lobsters are considered the most delicious in the country.

The island is home to about 5,000 locals who live by fishing and farming.

It takes tourists about one hour by boat from Ba Ngoi Wharf in Cam Ranh City to the fishing port on the island.

Lao Cai anticipates 100,000 tourists for National Day

The northern province of Lao Cai, which is home to Sa Pa, a world-famous tourism site, looks forward to welcoming 100,000 tourists during the National Day holiday on September 2, according to the provincial Culture, Sports and Tourism Department.

Of the figure, about 60 per cent are expected to visit Sa Pa.

Located about 300km from Ha Noi, the province has many scenic sites with beautiful mountains, caves, forests, terraced fields, and markets of ethnic minority groups.

This year, the department has implemented programmes to promote tourism, including reduced price of tours and hotel rooms.

Whale Worship festival held in HCM City coastal district

The Nghinh Ong (Whale Worship) festival in HCM City's coastal district of Can Gio will take place from September 5-10.

Organised in Long Hoa Commune's Can Thanh Town, the annual festival is held to show respect to whales, which rescue fishermen from danger.

Fishermen also honour their ancestors and pray for a bumper fish catch.

The festival will include a procession at sea and on land by local residents in traditional costumes.

A visit to Rung Sac Martyr Cemetery and the release of colourful lanterns on the sea at night will also be organised.

There will be folk games, sports and music performances as well as a Mid-Autumn Festival for local children and an exhibition featuring Viet Nam's borders and sea areas, and the Can Gio mangrove forest – a world biosphere reserve which was designated in 2000.

The festival, recognised as a national Intangible Cultural Heritage, is the only fishermen festival in Can Gio District and attracts 30,000-40,000 tourists every year.

Moc Chau cultural tourism festival to open

Moc Chau district People’s Committee, in Son La province will host the 2014 Culture – Tourism Festival from August 31 to September 2.

A series of activities, including folk games, dances and traditional performances of local people in Moc Chau district, is scheduled to be held during the festival.

The festival will offer visitors a chance to discover the culture, cuisine, customs, handicraft and agricultural products of ethnic minority groups in the province through cultural camps.

On the occasion, some tourism destinations, such as Doi cave, Dai Yem waterfall, Ang mountain village’s forest and Mooc Ly military post, built by the French, are also ready to welcome festival visitors.

The event aims to promote tourism and the beautiful landscape, as well as the cultural identity, of Son La province and the northwest region.

Located in the valley of the Da and Ma rivers, about 300km north-west of Ha Noi, the northeastern province has a picturesque landscape created by mountain ranges, primeval forests and a valley.

The Moc Chau Plateau in Son La is famous for its cool climate, as well as its vast tea and flower farms. There are also 50,000 cattle in the area.

Eco-tourism and farm tourism seem to be ideal models for the plateau, as the number of visitors increases every year.

Rich culture created by different ethnic groups, including Thai, Muong, Mong, Dao, Kho Mu, Tay and La Ha, also contributes to cultural and community tourism in Son La.

VNS/VNA/ND/SGGP

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