Thứ Ba, 9 tháng 1, 2018

If were on the streets of any city, town or even village in Việt Nam in the weeks or even months before Tết, you would know something was in the air.

If you knew Việt Nam well, you would also know it is the most important festival of the year for all Vietnamese people, whichever part of the world they live in.

And you would know that it was a time that everyone looks forward to with great expectations of having a great time with family and friends, renewing relationships, not to mention all the special food and drinks.

However, something that goes unsaid almost all the time is that when there are great expectations, there’s great pressure, too.

And this pressure can take some gloss off the most important time of the year.

So, with 37 days to go for the latest Tết (Lunar New Year) Festival, preparations are underway all around the country, and children are typically the most excited, though adults don’t lag far behind.


An essay written by a primary school student has been shared on social networks in recent days. As surprising as the essay is the nods of agreement that it has gathered.

She does not like the Tết holiday, the discerning little girl wrote. There was no happy laughter in the house, she wrote, because her mother was too busy decorating the house and cooking things to prepare for the festival. She was frequently irritable with her husband and children. Her mother and other family members were tired, the girl wrote, adding that she did not need a perfect Tết. She was happy when her mother smiled.

It would be a facile thing to say that this girl is an exception to the rule. I think there’s more to it, and it lies in how we approach the festival.

Many Vietnamese women have complained that they are fed up with having to prepare, shop, cook, clean and do other chores ahead of and during Tết. They are exhausted and the festival is no longer a holiday or festive occasion for them.

As a woman doing all these things, I can sympathise.

“I am afraid of Tết now. Every year, I am exhausted preparing (on my own) for Tết, and the enjoyment is missing, really," said Trần Phương Lan, a government employee.

“Being angry with husband or children is inevitable because they do things that I do not expect,” she added.

Traditionally, Tết brought people together to celebrate a sacred, meaningful event. It was an occasion when members of a family, no matter where they were and what they did to earn a living, got together and prayed in front of the ancestral altar, wishing for everyone’s health and happiness. A lot of work, like preparing the festival’s specialties, were done by a lot of people together, and there was the laughter and gaiety missed by the unhappy little girl.

I think we adults are to blame for the changed situation, because we have shifted the focus on to the outward presentation, and not the underlying spirit and meaning. Sometimes we have conflated the two, as though outward perfection was needed to achieve the spirit and meaning.

But many women are too picky in preparation for this event so they push themselves into hard work and their family members are accidentally swept into tiredness too.

“Oh, it is the same in my family. My parents are always busy, too, cleaning and decorating the house and rushing to the market or a supermarket to buy many things for Tết,” said Kiều Khánh Linh, a fifth grade student.

“And sometimes I feel sad, because my mother gets angry with me when I ask something while she is busy cooking,” she said.

Don’t sweat it

Thankfully, some people are showing how Tết can be enjoyed by just trimming the elaborate preparations and focusing on the spirit of the occasion.

They still maintain the tradition of preparing offerings for ancestral worship, but don’t spend much time shopping and cooking before and during the holiday.

Quỳnh Hương, an emcee with HCM City Television,  announced on a social networking site that she liked a simple Tết with time to care for the family and herself.

“We need to rest, enjoy the family being together, sharing happy stories and exchanging best wishes rather than being busy all the time as we used to. That’s what makes for a happy Tết,” she said.

Vũ Nhật Minh of Hà Nội agreed.

“I think we have many ways to celebrate the New Year, while not forgetting the country’s traditional culture and values. We can travel, for instance. Travelling is also a way for family members to get closer,” he said.

Of course, there are those who may not agree with Minh or Hương. The most important festival of the year warrants that we are fully prepared, they say.

“I am happy to be busy preparing for Tết, although it is a bit tiring. It brings the warmth of the New Year,” said Nguyễn Thị Mỹ, a resident of Hải Phòng City.

She said she liked preparing traditional foods like s bánh chưng (square glutinous rice cakes) or dưa hành (pickled onion) that many families have given up making, because they can get in a market or supermarket.

This is true as well. Each family and individual can decide how best to celebrate and enjoy Tết. We do not have to exclude any activity or pressurize ourselves into including everything.

But we have to recognise that most of the burden of preparing is shouldered by women. While the rest of the family should give them much more support, the women should also help children better understand what they are doing, and take the initiative in including other family members in their preparations.

We need to get Tet back to where it belongs – a place where fond memories and feelings for a lifetime are created, year after year.

Thứ Sáu, 5 tháng 1, 2018

Coming to Laos, going to Kuang Si Waterfall and almost no visitors want to leave because of its beauty. Kuang Si waterfall is far from city center 37km to the south. Beautiful path is zigzag winding but quiet and impressive green mountains.

The Kuang Si waterfall in Laos.
Kuang Si waterfall is a complex of three falls, in which the center fall is 60m tall with water pouring down as white foaming, tossing hazy water spray creates an impressive scene among jungle with noisy and roaring sounds…

This is one of attractive tourist destination in Laos with the beautiful natural lakes which are listed among the most beautiful natural lakeson planet. According to, Kuang Si falls ranked no 1 of attractions in Laos ( ) which have a lot of good feedbacks. 

Listed among the most beautiful waterfalls in the Earth, the Kuang Sigentle waterfall is only 50m width. The waterfall is surrounded by forests and mountains.

The most impressive of Kuang Si waterfall is water from the large waterfalls pouring down, and in turn of Kuang Si waterfall, it creates small steps of waterfalls like the terraced fields, then the water poured into the lake creating the unique natural swimming pool. All around the year, water from upstream pour into the lake and carry a huge amount of algae that "dyed" the water of the lake into magic jade green with incredible charming... 

In dry season, water of the fall is less and the ideal time for visiting is high water season when the scene of waterfall is the most impressive. Landscape here is very beautiful. Below the waterfall area has many beaches for visitors. 

Going to the Kuang Si waterfall, visitors not only feel free to visit the mountains and forests, but also climb and swim, bathe in waterfalls, lakes... In the fresh air of the Kuang Si ecologic zone, tourists can hear birds in harmony with roaring sound of the waterfall like a symphony that make the spirit more excited. 

Thứ Hai, 1 tháng 1, 2018

The 2017 Tết Flower Road. Next year’s event will take place from February 13-19. 

HCM CITY – The 2018 Tết (Lunar New Year) Flower Road on Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street in District 1 will open in February 13, Saigontourist, the organiser, announced on Wednesday.

This year’s Flower Road event, to be held from February 13-19, will be titled The Great Ambition, showcasing a modern city that still keeps its traditions.

The 720-metre long Flower Road will feature many tableaux composed of animals, plants, flowers, or gardens in addition to plants traditionally used during the Tết holiday, the Ochna Integerrima (popularly known as the Vietnamese mickey-mouse plant) with yellow flowers and peach blossom trees with pink flowers.

The themes of several decorations such as flower boats will be related to the Vietnamese countryside.

To celebrate the Year of the Dog 2018, the entrance gate will be decorated with statues of dogs of around 2 metres tall. The statues are modelled after the Phú Quốc dog, which are known for their intelligence, while statues of puppies will feature bobbing heads. 

Stalls for refreshments will line the pavements on Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street.

The Flower Road event has been held every Tết holiday for the past 15 years

Chủ Nhật, 17 tháng 12, 2017

The 2nd yellow flower tea festival will be organized on 5 – 7 January 2018 in Ba Che District, Quang Ninh Province.

Yellow flower tea (Photo:
The Ba Che District People’s Committee said that a variety of activities will be held during the festival, including an exhibition displaying the yellow flower tea trees in Ba Che District, One Commune, One Product (OCOP) products and typical dishes of Ba Che, and the other localities throughout Quang Ninh; an art program and folk games. The tea is a famous medical product of Ba Che district.

The event will not only introduce and sell Ba Che’s OCOP products, but also promote its potential and strengths.

Besides, it is a good occasion to honour the national identity, strengthening solidarity among people in the province and create a jubilant atmosphere to encourage them further develop Ba Che District.

Thứ Bảy, 16 tháng 12, 2017

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Located in the heart of Yangon, Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, a 70 year old market sprawls over a couple of levels along Bogyoke Aung San Road. Arguably, it is the most renowned tourist market and a pleasant shopping experience. Your Myanmar trip will be delightful because it will give you a great chance to shop for handicrafts, food, and jewelry while chatting with locals. You can also bargain for the best prices if you spot something you like. There are some 2,000 shops here selling anything from souvenirs to their famed lacquerware, Shan shoulder bags, puppets, slippers and gems.Bogyoke Aung San Market

Theingyi Zay (Market), Latha township

Theingyi Zay (Zay or Zei is the Myanmar word for Market), a sprawling market in Latha township is one of Yangon’s most goregous quarters and arguably one of the most unique market in Asia. The Theingyi Zay should not be missed on your itinerary in Yangon. Not only is the food outstanding but the local architecture and charming locals you meet. The market was first built in 1905 and is the biggest local market in the city. There are more than 1000 shops and stalls constitute the traditional wet and dry market that sells a bunch of local products from fishery products to dry commodities and textiles. Rice, fish paste, clothing, cosmetics, raw herbal medicines, beeswax and toys can be found in the shops inside the existing building as well as the blocks and streets around.

Anawrahta Road Night Market

Yangoon by night is charmingly gorgeous by the sparkling night markets especially Anawrahta Road Night Market. This central night market is one of the most renowned tourist attraction due to poor lighting that could range from a dim fluorescent lights to a few candles. While you might not exactly be able to see clearly what you’re buying, it’s a fun place to shop. The market starts before sunset as people return home. Fish, chicken and pork are sold right on the roadside, by colorful piles of vegetables, fruit and flowers.


The Chinatown market one of the busiest market in Yangon is located to the west of Sule Pagoda in the downtown part of the city. It takes in 18th Street through to 24th and is streaming with traffic, pedestrians, shops and markets. Street food is the most popular product as most roadside stalls serve snacks. There are also a bunch of local products such as gold and jewelry stores, cyber cafes, restaurants, temples and fruit vendors. The narrow streets leading off the main roads are a warren featuring baskets, paper goods, crafts, flowers and even songbirds.

Thiri Mingalar Market

Located outside the central of yangon, Thiri Mingalar Market is the biggest farmer market in this city. It is a great chance for you to encounter chaotic, smelly and lively market. You might stumble across mounds of cabbages, racks of bananas, trays of watermelons or piles of flowers. Crowds of trucks, tuk tuks, bicycles, laborers and shoppers create an energetic bustle arond Thiri Mingala. It’s a must see for tourists, and a great place to capture some colorful pictures.

Thứ Ba, 12 tháng 12, 2017

Sa Pa Winter Festival 2017 will take place from December 22nd to 31st to respond activities of Viet Nam National Tourism Year: Lao Cai - Northwestern Region.

Photo for illustration
The highlight of the event will be the snow discovery festival on the occasion of Christmas 2017 and New Year 2018 with diverse impressive activities such as love duet singing, ethnic musical instrument performances, traditional games and local specialties introduction.

Especially, there will be the Fire Dance festival of the Red Dao ethnic group, street festival with parade activities to showcase the beauty of unique ethnic costumes, lion and dragon dance on the central streets on December 31st.

According to the weather forecast, Sa Pa will be very cold this winter, so it is likely that ice and snow will appear in the mountainous areas like in Europe which attracts tourists a lot.

Thứ Ba, 5 tháng 12, 2017

With Myanmar opening to the outside world, visitors are discovering a cuisine that's been largely hidden from sight for the past 50 years.

With an emphasis on rich, predominately savory/salty flavors, influences from South and Southeast Asia and a repertoire of ingredients not found in any other cuisine, there's much to discover. As in most of Southeast Asia, Myanmar restaurants and stalls tend to specialize in a single dish or culinary style.

For a comprehensive taste of the cuisine, we've chosen these 10 Burmese dishes and snacks. Every visitor to the country should seek them out.

1. Tea leaf salad

Lephet thoke can be a meal, snack or appetizer.
Perhaps the most famed Burmese food is lephet -- fermented tea leaves.

The tart leaves are eaten on their own, typically as dessert, but they're also served in the form of lephet thoke, a salad of pickled tea leaves. To make the dish, the sour, slightly bitter leaves are mixed by hand with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, crunchy deep-fried beans, nuts and peas, a splash of garlic oil and pungent slices of chili and garlic.

The dish is versatile. It can be a snack, an appetizer or, coupled with a plate of rice, a meal. It's also considered a stimulant: the Burmese says that eating too much lephet thoke can prevent sleep.

2. Shan-style rice

Nga htamin's essential components: turmeric rice and fish.
Known in Burmese as nga htamin (fish rice), this Shan (one of the country's main Buddhist ethnic groups) dish combines rice that's been cooked with turmeric and squashed into a disk with a topping of flakes of freshwater fish and garlic oil.

Oily and savory, when served with sides of leek roots, cloves of raw garlic and deep-fried pork rinds, nga htamin becomes a snack that runs the gamut from pungent to spicy.

3. Burmese curry

Delicious burmese curry.
​A visit to a traditional Burmese restaurant is more than just a meal, it's a culinary experience.

As the name suggests, curry is the central element, but after you've chosen one -- typically a meaty, somewhat oily curry based around pork, fish, shrimp, beef or mutton -- a seemingly never-ending succession of side dishes will follow.

These include rice, a tart salad, a small dish of fried vegetables, a small bowl of soup and a large tray of fresh and par-boiled vegetables and herbs to be eaten with various dips.

Dips range from ngapi ye, a watery, fishy sauce, to balachaung, a dry, spicy mixture of chillies, garlic and dried shrimp fried in oil. At a Muslim-run curry shop, the soup might be a combination of lentils and root vegetables, while the sides might include a few crispy pappadum.

By the time it all arrives, you'll be face to face with a spread of dishes that seems to include all the ingredients, textures and flavors of Myanmar.

After you've finished, you'll also get a traditional Burmese dessert -- a lacquer tray containing pickled tea leaves and nuts, or a jar of chunks of palm sugar.

4. Burmese tea shop meal

Sample Burma's great culinary options.
Myanmar's tea shops aren't just places to sip tiny cups of sweet, milky tea.

They also function as a crash-course on various cuisines of Myanmar -- dishes served often reflect the ethnicity of the shop's proprietor.

Tea shops run by ethnic Burmese are good places to dig into the world of traditional Burmese noodle or rice dishes such as htamin thoke, a type of rice salad.

Indian/Muslim-owned tea shops tend to serve South Asian-influenced, deep-fried savory snacks, such as samosas or poori (deep-fried bread served with a potato curry) or baked breads such nanbya (naan). The latter also often serve South Asian-style desserts.

Chinese-owned tea shops often feature baked sweets as well as meaty steamed buns and dim sum-like items.

5. Burmese sweet snacks

A delicious Burmese pancake.
Unlike sweet dishes in the West, Burmese sweets, known collectively as "moun," aren't consumed as dessert but rather as snacks, typically taken with tea in the morning or afternoon.

And unlike sweets elsewhere in Southeast Asia, moun aren't generally packed with sugar, instead getting their sweet flavors from ingredients such as grated coconut, coconut milk, rice flour, cooked sticky rice, tapioca and fruit.

Standout Burmese sweets include hsa nwin ma kin, small cakes of crumbly semolina flour with coconut milk, ghee and raisins; and bein moun and moun pyit thalet, Burmese-style pancakes, served sweet or savory, with a damp, hole-y consistency not unlike an English crumpet.

6. Deep-fried stuff

A deep-fried spring roll.
The Burmese have an obsession with deep-frying foods in oil -- in Myanmar, it's practically impossible to avoid fried foods.

The majority of snacks found on the street or in tea shops -- samosas, spring rolls, savory fritters, sweets, breads -- are deep-fried, and many noodle dishes are topped with akyaw, deep-fried crispy garnishes.

One deep-fried dish particularly worth seeking out is buthi kyaw, battered and deep-fried chunks of gourd.

When served hot, the thin, crisp batter conceals a soft, slightly watery interior of tender gourd, and the fritters are typically served with a sour/sweet dip made from tamarind that can be made savory with the addition of bean powder.

7. Shan-style 'tofu' noodles

Hto hpu nwe (warm tofu) isn't actually made of tofu.
One of the most unusual dishes in Myanmar is hto-hpu nwe, literally "warm tofu."

Associated with the ethnic Shan of northern Myanmar, the dish doesn't actually include tofu, but rather a thick porridge made from chickpea flour.

The sticky yellow stuff is served over thin rice noodles, chunks of marinated chicken or pork. It's topped with a drizzle of chili oil and includes sides of pickled veggies and broth. It's an odd and visually arresting combination, but, if you're a fan of savory flavors, one that will grow on you.

8. Nangyi thoke

​The Burmese love "dry" noodle dishes -- essentially noodle-based "salads" with broth served on the side -- and perhaps the tastiest and most ubiquitous is nangyi thoke.

The dish takes the form of thick, round rice noodles with chicken, thin slices of fish cake, par-boiled bean sprouts and slices of hard-boiled egg.

The ingredients are seasoned with a mixture of roasted chickpea flour and turmeric and chili oil, tossed by hand and served with sides of pickled greens and a bowl of broth.

9. Mohinga

Rice noodles served in a hearty, herbal fish-and shallot-based broth, mohinga is often called Myanmar's national dish.

Myanmar's unofficial national dish is mohinga -- fine, round rice noodles served in a hearty, herbal fish-and shallot-based broth, often supplemented with the crunchy pith of the banana tree.
It's beloved as a breakfast dish, but, sold by mobile vendors, it's a common snack at any time of day or night.

Optional toppings include a sliced hard-boiled egg and akyaw, deep-fried crispy veggies and/or disks of lentil batter. The dish is seasoned to taste with a squeeze of lime and/or flakes of dried chili.

10. Shan-style noodles

Myanmar's Shan State is famous for noodles.
​The dish most commonly associated with Shan State is this combination of thin, flat rice noodles in a clear, peppery broth with marinated chicken or pork, garnished with toasted sesame and a drizzle of garlic oil. It's served with a side of pickled vegetables.

Compared with most Burmese noodle dishes, it's relatively simple, verging on bland, but is reassuringly comforting and consistently delicious.

A "dry" version, with the broth served on the side, is also common.


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