National Museum of Vietnam history

The National Museum of Vietnamese History (Vietnamese: Viện Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam) is located in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi.

The National Museum of Vietnamese History (Vietnamese: Viện Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam) is located in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi, Vietnam.The museum used to be the museum of the Research Institute for Far-East history under French colonial rule (École française d’Extrême-Orient). Today, it is a museum showcasing Vietnam’s history with a very large display of every period. It is housed in a colonial French building. The building, designed by the architect Ernest Hébrard is considered as a successful blend between the colonial French architecture and traditional Vietnamese architecture.

This is an exhaustive repository of Vietnamese ancient and historical relics nicely displayed with some bare-bones explanations in English. Housed in a building that was the French consulate until 1910 and a museum in various incarnations since, this collection walks you from prehistoric artifacts and carvings to funerary jars and some very fine examples of Dong Son drums from the north, excavations of Han tombs, Buddhist statuary, and everyday items of early history. It’s the kind of place where schoolchildren are forced to go (and be careful if you see buses out front), and for anyone but history buffs, you might feel just as bored as the kids. For those on any kind of historical mission in Vietnam, I recommend contacting a tour agency and booking a knowledgeable guide for an excellent overview and a good beginning to any trip.

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Let’s visit Son La in February

The best time to visit Son La are February, May and December.

Rice field

Driving from Hanoi along National Highway 6 for about 320km, you reach the provincial town of the same name, Son La, on a plateau some 600m above sea level.

Son La province is a mountainous province. It has two grand plateaus also named Son La and Moc Chau, and an immese area of crop fields. There are a lot of valleys, high hills and mountains in Son La.

Son La features a tropical monsoon climate, which is characterized by torrential rains in the summer, cold and dry in winter. Like many provinces in Vietnam, Son La also suffers from the influence of the  hot and dry wind from Laos in summer which makes the weather intolerable sometimes.

The climate is divided into two distinct seasons. Winter lasts between October and March of the next year, and summer from April to September.

The annual average temperature is about 21.4oC, the highest temperature is 27oC and the lowest one is 16oC. The annual average rainfall is 1200 – 1600mm, and the average humidity is 81%.

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Cai Rang floating market in photos

Visiting Cai Rang Floating Market, tourists in Vietnam travel will have great photographic opportunities as all manner of produce is traded from boats, communicate with the local, visit local houses and enjoy fresh fruits.

Cai Rang Floating Market, nearly 6km from Can Tho City , is the most biggest and famous floating market in the Mekong Delta . In early morning, the waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with foods,fruits, vegetables, plants, etc… Sellers hang a sample of what they have from the top of a long pole so that buyers can see from a distance what they are selling.

Early morning at the floating market

 

Various kinds of vegetables 

Many  beautiful flowers on the boats

Hundreds of Dragon fruits

 

A numerous grapefruits

Factors for lowering land prices in Vietnam

There are three essential factors that affect the value of agricultural land: time for land allocation, restrictions on land conversion and the underdeveloped land market.

Major assets

As being mentioned before, the Constitution and the Land Law stipulates that land is owned by the people. Personal ownership of land has no value. The value of land is only for the access to the use of land, which is worth billions of US dollars.
It is estimated that the value of land in Vietnam is about $200 billion. The estimation method takes into account the following things: in 2009 the value of the stock market was $35 billion; fixed assets and equipment of $240 billion; supply of money $115 billion (of which $20 billion was foreign exchange reserves); gold reserves of $24 billion.
The main economic activities generated $94 billion and $127 billion was the total import-export turnover. By any measure, the cumulative value of land in Vietnam is huge.
For most Vietnamese farmers, land is a major asset and a fundamental part of their wealth. The current Land Law allows farmers the right to use, transfer, lease, inherit, mortgage/present land and use land as capital contribution.

Farmers cannot use agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. According to the law, farmers need the local government’s permission to use rice land to other agricultural purposes. The time of land use is limited. For individuals and households who cultivate annual crops and aquaculture, they are allowed to use land for 20 years and 50 years for perennial crops and forest land.

The law also sets the land limit for each household in each soil type. For annual crops, the land limit in the North and Central Region is two hectares and three hectares in the South. For perennial crops, the land limit is 10 hectares in the plains and 30 hectares in the midlands and mountainous.
In fact, the farmer’s land use rights are restricted, narrowed and closely supervised.
The value of agricultural land depends on the demand for land use in the present and in the future. This demand will depend on the efficiency of agricultural activities, and the number and quality of services to support agricultural production.
Land prices are also affected by the institutions that regulate the forms of land use and limit the ability to convert land use purposes.
The main agricultural activities include production of food (rice, fruits, vegetables, maize and cassava), livestock, aquaculture and industrial crops (rubber, coffee, pepper). Farmers can increase the value of their land through investment in raising production capacity of land, such as improving irrigation systems, the fertility of land, practicing good husbandry, fertilization, controlling weed and invasive species, to protect crops and livestock from disease and insects. Farmers can enhance or maintain the value of land by working with neighbors to improve the anti-flood infrastructure, plant trees or build protection perimeter, maintain roads for production.
The above discussion shows that the non-agricultural activities affect the productivity of agricultural land and thus affect the value of the land. Agricultural costs are affected by the quality of infrastructure services (transport, storage, irrigation and communications), the level of competition in the market for the input, the output of agricultural production, and the availability of appropriate market information. Labor productivity of farmers, their families and agricultural support services depend on the quality of public services in health, education and security (to protect the property of people).
Finally, the prices of output are directly affected by income growth of urban areas and the expansion of the export markets for agricultural products.
Land used for non-agricultural purposes, namely for urbanization and industrialization, also affects the price of agricultural land.
Along with the process of modernization and economic restructuring, land use for non-agricultural purposes will increase the opportunity cost of individuals and society as a whole if land continues to be kept for agricultural production. Income and population growth in urban areas promotes the demand for real estate in the area adjacent to the main urban areas and the areas on the corridors connecting these urban areas. This demand makes about 600,000 hectares of agricultural land be converted into non-agricultural land in recent decades.
A fundamental part of the value of the converted land is “the rental conversion.” This land rent depends on the location of the land, the growth of the local economy, the quality of the accompanying infrastructure, and the potential for industry, commerce and other potential. This land rent is also affected by the “overflow effect” from the market of the property that can replace.
The “overflow effect” has directly connected the value of land with macro-economic management. In the period of macroeconomic stability, as being proven by stable economic growth, balanced budgets, low inflation, moderate money supply growth, balance of payments stability, reasonable exchange rate, and the ability to repay foreign debt on a sustainable basis, the holder of property (both domestic and overseas) have very little desire to adjust the portfolio. They are easily satisfied with existing forms of accumulation, having regard to the liquidity and risk by holding combination of different properties including the local currency, banking credit, stocks, gold, real estate, foreign currencies and other assets including land.
However, with budget deficit, domestic credit supply being much higher than real economic growth, high inflation, the exchange rate remaining high compared with real value, balance of payments worsening, and public debt growing faster than GDP, the property owners will be looking for safe solutions. Vietnamese people tend to switch to investing in gold, foreign exchange, imports and real estate. Extending the land market in the 1980s brought the ability to obtain land use rights in the above portfolio.
Macroeconomic management in Vietnam has caused the inflation trend that makes those who have assets adjust the portfolio. And this trend has been persisted from the 1990s to the present. More specifically, in the period 2005-2008 when the economy grew at 7.8 percent per year, total credit increased by an average of 34 percent per year. This is partly related to the “official” budget deficit and non-budgetary expenditure and is equivalent to 5 percent of annual GDP.
Inflation increased from 8.3 percent in 2005 to 23.1 percent in 2008. At the same time, the current account deficit in the balance of payments increased from 1 percent up to 10.3 percent of GDP and the nominal exchange rate fluctuated from VND15,907/$1 in 2005 to VND17,486 /$1 at the end of 2008. Inflation rate fell down because the world economic crisis made the reduction of demand of the external market. Land and real estate prices, thus, also reduced.
The factors such as the increase of income, productivity and export expansion, urbanization and industrialization in general make the increase of land value. However, farmers are the group that benefits the least. Limitations on agricultural land reduces the productivity and value of land.
Three key limitations
There are three essential factors that affect the value of agricultural land: time of land allocation, restrictions on land conversion and the underdeveloped land market.
For cropland, the land use right certificate is valid for 20 years. Under the 2003 Land Law, the deadline is 2013. Short time of land allocation make people are not interested in long-term investment in land to increase the productivity of land. Vietnam will learn a lot if it is interest in international studies, which show that short-term allocation of land will inhibit investment and reduced farm incomes.
Deeper consequences of the short-term allocation of land is the obstruction of the inheritance, mortgage of land use rights. Many farmers can die within 20 years, and if they know that their children are entitled to inherit their land in the remaining term will reduce the value of land. The Land Law of 1993 says that the Government may extend the time of land allocation after 2013. However, this also implies that farmers will only be voluntary land tenant.
The restriction of the ability to convert paddy land for other agricultural purposes also reduces the value of land. Numerous studies in Vietnam indicate that income from rice is usually 3-5 times lower than the income from other seasonal products such as vegetables, fruit and seafood. The Government has paid attention to this matter and the Prime Minister has asked two state-owned food corporations to calculate the floor price to make profit for rice farmers of at least 30 percent.
This requirement makes clear the inequity of land use restrictions. Having to plant rice means farmers have to support the Government to achieve rice self-sufficiency in national food security policy. Farmers do not get the tangible reward for their service for the common benefits. 30 percent of the profit is calculated based on the narrow definition of the actual production cost so in fact, people are not being paid properly for their efforts.
With income from rice production of only about $28/person/month, half of the farmers who plant 4 million hectares of rice in Vietnam are adjacent to the poverty threshold of the country.
Land use restrictions also reduce the attractiveness of land in the market. Low-income prevents rice farmers from accumulating land for production. More importantly, while the land is locked with rice planting, people are not interested in buying more land. They realize that if they expand land and when their land is revoked, compensation will not reflect the real value that they have to pay when buying.
The above injustice in the above restrictions will be further demonstrated when a number of farmers participating in the game with the current system. Although there are many risks, some farmers have accumulated more land by dividing their land into many “red books” in the name of their relatives and friends.

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Hue in the rain

This is a new, attractive bid to lure visitors who are looking for a more real and romantic experience. The product ‘Hue’s rain’ from the workshop ‘Building brand names for Hue’s tourism’ was started in February with Vietnam travel news. Therefore, tourists will be invited to join tours to the landscapes of Hue Imperial City, walking under the rain on shaded roads.

A view of Ngo Mon Gate in Hue Imperial Citadel.

Authorities will erect installation artworks, souvenir shops, fine arts and craft villages on those roads to cater for the visitors.
Moreover, tourists will be taken on Thua Thien Hue-style tourist vehicles such as the cyclo and dragon boats with equipment to protect tourists from rain and help them to admire the surroundings.
Moreover, restaurants will serve food for the rainy season, especially grilled dishes. Tourist agencies will collaborate with cabarets to entertain guests with traditional music shows, so tourists can sense the romance of the raindrops, sip tea and listen to folk melodies.
Recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO, the former Hue Imperial Citadel built by the Nguyen Dynasty from 1805-1945 is one of the must-see destinations for those who take a trip through to the central coast.
The citadel compound is located on the north bank of the Huong (perfume) River, comprising three rings of ramparts: Hue Capital Citadel, Royal Citadel and Forbidden Citadel. The original look of the outer ring has amazingly remained intact with nearly 140 small and large constructions. Inside the second ring is the Royal Citadel with brick walls four meters high and one meter thick. There is also a trench system circling the citadel.
The citadel consists of more than 100 fascinating architectural works, with the most striking being the Noon Gate and the Thai Hoa Palace.
Inside the Imperial Citadel complex and behind the Throne Palace, the Forbidden Citadel was erected for the Emperor and his family. The whole site consists of about 50 architectural constructions of different sizes and seven gates.

The valley of light in Tuyen Quang

Time has elapsed, but the contributions made by Tuyen Quang Province from Vietnam travel news and its people to the cause of national liberation exist forever in the golden pages of the history. The locals are proud of their native land and they have made great strides. In recent years, this poor province has constantly achieved a two-digit growth rate in GDP (11% on average), with the industrial production value increasing by 19.6% and the export value by nearly 17%. The provincial economic structure has shifted in the direction of increasing the industrial and construction ratios and decreasing gradually the agricultural, forestry and fishery ratios.

The story about the Province’s breakthrough in raising dairy cows remains to a topical issue. After nearly three years of implementing a dairy cow-raising programme, the Province has more than 4,000 dairy cows and 900 cows for meat of high quality (Brahman breed), which constitutes a foundation to qualitatively improve the cattle herd. More importantly, the programme has made a drastic change in the people’s perception of structural shift in crops and animal farming and gradually built the animal husbandry into goods production.

To facilitate the consumption of dairy products, the Province has established a joint-venture with Vietnam Share-holding Milk Company (VINAMILK) to build Tuyen Quang Milk-processing Plant with a capacity of 40 million litters a year in Long Binh An Industrial Park. One of the strong dairy cow- raisers in Tuyen Quang Province is Phu Lam Share-holding Dairy Cow Company in Yen Son District, which raises 2,000 cows imported from Australia.

Director of the Company Phung Van Hung said: “The average temperature in this place is 23 0C, the same as in Queensland of Australia; so the cows grow well and each of them weighs 500-700 kg. Now over 1,000 cows are being milked. They have a high rate of breeding. On average, cows of the first brood give 17-18 kg of milk a day”. The Company’s production has reached a high socio-economic efficiency, not only bringing jobs to the locals, but also improving the life of people of various ethnic groups, who earn money by growing and selling maize and grass to the Company.

The year 2004 witnessed an important landmark in the activities of Tuyen Quang Cement Factory which has become Tuyen Quang Share-holding Cement Company after its 25 years of development. The Company has invested in building a production chain of new technology. Deputy Director of the Company Tran Minh Chon said: “We are trying to raise the quality of our products to compete with other cement products on the markets and increase our capacity and output with an aim to monopolize the local market and sell our products to the neighbouring provinces.” Construction of another plant in the Province, namely Trang An Cement Plant with a capacity of 910,000 tonnes per year, has just been started.
Tuyen Quang is a mountainous province with great endowed forest potential. In recent years, the areas of planted forests have increased considerably, making favourable conditions for the forestry product processing industry to develop. In January 2005, after four months of operation, Tuyen Quang Share-holding Forestry Products Processing Company exported its first batch of 4,000 out-door chairs out of 6,000 chairs ordered by the Swedish IKIA Group to the European markets. This is a good start for the Company’s bigger plans.

Like many other provinces and cities in the country, Tuyen Quang attaches special importance to the model of building industrial parks and attracting outside investments. With large land, abundant materials and rich natural resources, the Province has great potential to develop different industries. With favourable conditions in land, water way and railway transportations, ports and water supply systems and telecommunication services, together with investment-incentive policies, Long Binh An Industrial Park, more than 10 km away from Tuyen Quang provincial capital, is very attractive to investors. Right after it establishment, many investors have registered to operate in this park. Today it has become an industrial park with various forms of production involving modern and high technologies.

A modern industrial project is taking shape at the foot of Pac Ta Mountain in Na Hang District. It is Tuyen Quang Hydro-electric Power Plant with a capacity of 342 MW on the Gam River, which will generate 1.2 billion KWh of electricity per year. Its first turbo-generator unit is expected to operate in 2006, joining the national grid to provide electricity to Na Hang District and other areas. In the Tay language, Na Hang means “the terminal land” and Tuyen Quang means “the valley of light”. Great changes have brought a new image to “the terminal land”, promising a bright future for an area renowned for its revolutionary tradition.

Dong Xuan – A famous market in Hanoi

Dong Xuan Market located in Dong Xuan street, Hang Khoai street and Cau Dong street in the West end of Hanoi Old quarter. If you continue walking down Hang Ngang street, you will reach the market after 4 blocks.

History

Although located in the heart of the Old Quarters, the market is fairly young compared to the surrounding streets. It used to be an empty lot in front of Huyen Thien pagoda. Old Hanoi residents step by step developed trade activities here because it is adjacent to the river which made it convenient for transportation of products.

On the night of July 14th, 1994, a fire has brought down the whole market, causing a damage of 300 billion VND. At present, you see the market today was recently built with the model after the architecture before the fire.

Shopping

Travelling to Vietnam of local residents, Dong Xuan is mostly reserved for bulk sale and distribution points for many retailers in Hanoi. Main products include electronic devices, household equipments and clothing. At the back of the market is the trading place for animals (puppies, kitties, birds, fish, etc.) and plants (mostly Vietnamese bonsai). Suppliers for the market come mainly from North Vietnam with many Chinese blends.

Eating
The Northern end of the market holds mainly eating venue, serving both day and night time. It is a wise decision to stop here for local cuisines such as “bun cha”, “bun rieu” or chipping in a hot pot in a fall/winter night.

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