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  • What About Vietnam | Visa Update

    Vietnam Visa Entry Policy Guide updated May 15th, 2022 Click the link below to view the up to the minute Visa Entry Information PDF. Please refer to this link for the most Up to the Minute info - https://vietnam.travel/things-to-do/information-travellers-novel-coronavirus-vietnam No Covid testing prior to arrival is required NOW as of 15 May, 2022.

  • What About Vietnam

    ​ ​ WHAT ABOUT VIETNAM ​ with Kerry Newsome ​ Photo Credit - Gerard Gerhard Series 2 Series 1 Latest Episode S4-2-fine-dining-vietnam 00:00 / 46:29 Series 3 Series 4 Xin Chao and Welcome to the No 1 Vietnam Travellers Podcast website SERIES 1 SERIES 2 SERIES 3 SERIES 4 Visa Entry Policy Guide 2022 SIGN UP for your FREE fortnightly WAV - Bulletin ​ Receive Kerry's personal quick and easy read about all travel-related things in Vietnam. Including special offers, Covid updates, new episodes coming up, and just things to keep you in the loop. ​ Yes. Sign me up Subscribe to What About Vietnam through your favourite channel Welcome to WhatAboutVietnam.com (WAV) as we like to call it! The place where you get to discover amazing traveller experiences in Vietnam Listen - to the "What About Vietnam" - Traveller Insights Podcast here or on your favourite channel. Search - by name of the episode, destination or experience to find the best Podcast, Blog, Transcript or Video to match your enquiry. ​Read - The Travel Podcast Transcripts and blogs about many different experiences you can enjoy in Vietnam. Save as a PDF or download to print. Watch - Our Trailer Videos on our NEW- YOUTUBE channel ​Reach out - Send us an email and let us know how we can help you with your travel enquiry. Let me and my guests be your personal guides, mentors, tutors, and fun experts. We all have a story to tell about traveling about, living there or working in Vietnam. Each episode has something for everyone. I hope you will come to know, love, and share this page and my podcast with others to help them discover the true beauty and wonder that is Vietnam. Kerry Newsome Hi, my name is Kerry Newsome and I am your host on the What About Vietnam Podcast. If you have a subject, destination or experience you would like to know more about, why not drop me a quick message here and I will do my utmost to get you the information you have requested. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the next show. Kerry ​ What About Vietnam is proud to be a member of Auscham Vietnam - Australian Chamber of Commerce And many other channels Submit Thanks for submitting! Find out about sponsorship & advertising opportunities Become a guest on our podcasts Reach out to to Kerry, our podcast host

  • Series04

    S4-01 Art in Vietnam Episode 1 The artist’s true technique of storytelling Go to Episode S4-02 Fine Dining Vietnam Episode 2 Vietnam is legendary for its street food and chefs Go to Episode

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Blog Posts (20)

  • Art in Vietnam - as a traveler to Vietnam what do you know about it?

    What do you know about art in Vietnam? It’s certainly beautiful and you’ll find art everywhere. However, it can be difficult to know what you are actually looking at when it comes to Vietnamese art. Often, as tourists, we try to cram as much as possible into a stay in Vietnam making it so that the artist’s or craftsman's true technique and storytelling is completely lost on us. Art and craft take many forms in Vietnam, as in lacquerware, paintings, silk, lanterns, pottery, fashion, and homewares. You will learn in this episode of What About Vietnam, that there is a difference between an “Artist” and a Craftsman, who may produce the same style or product many times, yet it takes true skill to do this. We discuss the differences. And then of course how to tell which art is real or fake? Believe it, or not. Not everything is a copy or fake! With the advantage of talented artist, Bridget March, we are going to take a look back about 100 years and really talk about how Vietnam has developed in the art world. You’ll discover how artists were once censored by culture police and that the chronological order of art in Vietnam paints a picture of the country's storied history. Perhaps not a complete picture thanks to symbolism, but we discuss how each element of landscapes holds interesting symbolic meaning. For example, representational mountains are about reaching to heaven. Rivers are about pathways in your life. And you will always see that the people within these landscapes are tiny, and that's because it represents man's small place in the universe. These paintings are very different from life and quite magical in that a Vietnamese person can look at this art and meditate over these symbolic meanings, which differs greatly from Western art. These small nuances are often missed by Westerners when they take in Vietnamese art, so the next time you’ve got the opportunity make sure to truly indulge and take a minute to appreciate these subtle reflective symbolic meanings. Name - Rice Harvest - Artist - Dien Viet - https://hanoi-artgallery.com/rice-harvest-1-sp286/ On this episode of the What About Vietnam podcast we also discuss how the art of black ink calligraphy is meant to be meditative, as well. When it comes to this kind of art it's not necessary that you think it's beautiful, but instead you meditate on the words or the meanings. These are meant to be daily meditations, reminding you to be good and thoughtful. Of course, one of the most interesting and classic forms of Vietnamese art is the lantern. The craft of making lanterns can be found throughout Asia, but there is a story that goes with them in Vietnam. We delve into the interesting story on the podcast and ongoing lantern trends. Yes, there are trends when it comes to lanterns and in Central Vietnam the trend is currently moving towards beautifully patterned lanterns that feature hand painting. Find out where to view these lanterns and so much more! I’d like to thank my guest on this episode of What About Vietnam, brilliant storyteller, and an artist herself of considerable note, Bridget March. She has published 3 books about Hoi An, Sapa and Saigon and has had 7 solo exhibitions of her paintings and drawings in Vietnam galleries and at International hotels. She also has her own delightful gallery, March Gallery Hoi An – See our special offer coming soon. For the list of Bridget March’s favorite galleries, check out her blog post listing them here. Or simply view the show transcript for links.

  • Explore Phu Quoc: a jewel in the heart of the ocean

    Beautiful beaches, lush forest and mountain scenery make Phu Quoc one of Vietnam’s prime destinations for travelers. As a place to kick back and relax or take off into the wilderness, the island has it all, and given its location, it’s a seafood lover’s paradise. Now, signs have come regarding the reopening of Vietnam’s tourist industry. And the first destination earmarked to welcome international travelers is Phu Quoc Island. To mark what we hope will be a return to a more normal world, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this special part of Vietnam below. Contents 1. About Phu Quoc 2. Where is Phu Quoc located in Vietnam? 3. Things to do in Phu Quoc 4. Phu Quoc beaches 5. History of Phu Quoc 6. Meet the Phu Quoc ridgeback 7. FAQs About Phu Quoc Phu Quoc Island is actually made up of 28 separate pieces of land, although most are uninhabited. The main region is 574 sq km. Tourism is the biggest industry, but Phu Quoc has over 100 fish sauce factories, and exports more than 400 tons of home-grown pepper every year. Above from left Vin Pearl, Grand World, La Verandah Resort dining and cultural style The island is a popular getaway for both locals and foreigners. Although there are some seriously large resorts there now, Phu Quoc hasn’t completely been overrun by the money-makers. It’s still possible to find small hotels and quiet spots simply by going further afield. Where is Phu Quoc located in Vietnam? When looking at the map, many are surprised to discover that the island lies just 15km off the coast of Cambodia, rather than Vietnam, but we’ll come to that little oddity later! Phu Quoc can be found in the Gulf of Thailand, 45km west of Ha Tien on the Vietnamese mainland. Things to do in Phu Quoc Most visitors go to Phu Quoc to relax, and it’s the perfect destination to do just that. The island is encircled by gorgeous golden sands, it’s easy to get around by motorbike, and you’ll find countless restaurants and bars surrounding the main resorts. If you fancy a break from all that luxury however, try these outings below. Above:Tranh Waterfall in Phu Quoc forest Suoi Tranh Waterfall One to save for the rainy season (or after a downpour), Suoi Tranh is found within the Ham Ninh Mountains and is just 10 minutes’ drive from Duong Dong. Make a picnic and take a half-day to hike around the area – there’s forest to explore, caves and plenty chance for peace and quiet. Call in at Duong Dong market on your way back! Vinpearl Land Amusement Park Anyone who’s visited Hoi An with children will likely know Vinpearl Land already. There’s an equally great day out to be had in its Phu Quoc setting. The entertainment park has shopping, an aquarium, indoor arcades and a wonderful outdoor water park. Phu Quoc National Park Making up 50% of the island’s northern region, Phu Quoc National Park is a wonderful area for outdoor and nature lovers alike. Although some of the park is closed off to visitors for research purposes, anyone wanting to visit the area can do so via Ganh Dau fishing village. Here you’ll find the Khu Rung Nguyen Sinh forest, with designated hiking trails and camping available. Phu Quoc beaches are pristine Phu Quoc beaches All of Phu Quoc’s most famous resorts are situated close to a beach, and given the region is an island, you’re never too far away from golden sand and clear blue waters. But if you’re looking for something a little different, or just fancy exploring the coastline, the following come highly recommended. Rach Tram beach Rach Tram is remote compared to many of the island’s beaches and is predominantly used by fishermen from the village close by. It’s not a place where you can jump under an umbrella and order an ice cream, but it’s a beautiful area for a stroll and some peace. Although there are plans to open up the tourist market there, it remains one of Phu Quoc’s most untouched regions at present. Find Rach Tram to the north of the island. Ganh Dau beach Ganh Dau deserves special mention. It’s not just a lovely beach and quieter than those found close to the main resorts, but you’ll get to see a fishing village and experience a taste of Phu Quoc before the mass development took shape. Look for Ganh Dau beach to the north-west and stop at the village’s fishing market and harbor en route. Vung Bau beach Also to the north, Vung Bau is not the quiet destination it once was. Recent developments have changed all that, with the major Fusion hotel taking over the center of the bay. However, the region remains quieter than much of the south, and it’s worth including here given the sheer beauty of the coastline and its rocky headland. Above Phu Quoc old port area and Cable car History of Phu Quoc Many visitors to Phu Quoc are curious about its history, given its closeness to Cambodia, so here’s a brief insight into how the island became Vietnamese. After being a part of the ancient Funan and then Chenia empires, the islands were home to the Khmer people for centuries. Vietnamese mainlanders didn’t reach Phu Quoc until the early 17th century. A major change in the island’s identity began in the 18th century, when civil wars were occurring across the country and Nguyen Anh of Vietnam’s last royal family used the island as a refuge. French influence across the region in the mid-19th century saw the Cambodian royals attempt to win favor with the Europeans by offering Phu Quoc as a gift. An agreement was later reached, which annexed the island into French hands, albeit with local governance. A complex set of agreements followed until the region was formerly attached to Vietnam under the French in 1949. And despite the end of French influence in the country, the treaty remains in place today. Phu Quoc Ridgeback Meet the Phu Quoc ridgeback We can’t leave Phu Quoc without mentioning one of its most-famous inhabitants – the Phu Quoc ridgeback. Dog lovers around the world may have heard of these rarities, when the first pair were purchased and taken back to Europe in 2015. Whether you’re dog-crazy or not, visitors to the island can consider themselves to have seen one of the rarest species in the world – just 800 are registered. Their introduction to the island is a mysterious one, but they likely descended from a French ridgeback and later developed their own unique characteristics. They’re easy to spot, given the Mohawk-esque ridge that grows along their spine. FAQs How do I get to Phu Quoc? The best way to get to Phu Quoc is on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City. You can also cross the Gulf of Thailand from Rach Gia or Ha Tien on a boat. How do you get around Phu Quoc? By motorbike! You’ll find some taxi services running on the island, but renting your own transport is the best option for those wanting to go beyond the confines of their resort. How big is Phu Quoc? The largest island is approximately 574 km sq. In total, Phu Quoc is made up of 28 separate islands, although most of these are uninhabited. How many people live in Phu Quoc? As of 2019, 179,480 people live on Phu Quoc Island.

  • Social Enterprise Travel in Vietnam

    Social enterprise travel in Vietnam is a relatively new concept, having been awarded legal status in 2014. With the tourist market opening up in recent years, such organizations have bridged the gap between traditional and modern worlds. This helps the economy without leaving its most vulnerable people behind. For travelers with a sense of adventure, they also offer a unique experience, away from the tourist trails. Below we’ll look at the concept in detail, as well as hear from blogger Emily Lush, who utilized social enterprise networks on her own travels in Vietnam. Contents (Click to go to section) 1. What is social enterprise in Vietnam? 2. Successful social enterprise examples in Vietnam 3. Why do social enterprises exist? 4. Social enterprise funding 5. A different experience for travelers 6. Getting involved 7. In conclusion: the future 8. FAQs What is social enterprise in Vietnam? In Vietnam, social enterprises are organizations that reinvest at least 51% of their profit into a social or environmental cause. As a result, social enterprise companies hold a unique place within society. They’ve made huge gains in tackling some of the country’s biggest social issues, including women’s rights, ethnic minority rights, and human trafficking. Successful social enterprise examples in Vietnam The list of social enterprises in Vietnam is long, but to give examples, KOTO – which operates in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – is a training restaurant, working with disadvantaged youth. Another is Zo Paper, a Hanoi enterprise focused on revitalizing the dying art of handmade paper. At present, only a handful of ethnic minority people in the north have retained this skill. Without such an enterprise, it’s unlikely to make it into the next generation. There’s also Reaching Out Teahouse in Hoi An and Da Nang’s Happy Heart Restaurant – both established to provide work for disabled persons. Other successful examples include tour companies, souvenir shops and accommodation. Why do social enterprises exist? The main objective behind a social enterprise business is job creation. A huge percentage of Vietnam is made up of rural areas and farmland. Many live a way of life that’s been largely unchanged for centuries. It’s vital work, but difficult and makes little profit. Enterprises help to sustain a rural way of life whilst opening the door to new opportunities. Others create jobs for people with physical or learning disabilities and the long-term unemployed. Social entrepreneurs always create a business with a specific goal or target group in mind. Social enterprise funding Setting up a social enterprise often involves external funding from outside investors. Organizations also rely on donations and grants. Given that it’s difficult for companies to be given bank loans, there’s very much a reliance on tourism in order for them to stay alive. Nearly a quarter of the country’s social enterprises operate partially in overseas markets – by selling unique, handmade goods – and such expansion could be vital to the sector’s future. A different experience for travellers Social enterprise can offer a different experience for travellers, as travel blogger Emily Lush explained via our podcast. “Because of the way it’s structured, social enterprise gives travelers a lot of opportunities…to have deep experiences, speak and learn from people firsthand.” People travel for different reasons of course – some just to party and have a good time, and there’s nothing wrong in that. But instead of ticking off the main spots on the tourist trail, you can discover a world few travelers have partaken in. “I was really interested in learning more about the remote communities in the north,” Emily continues. “To be able to go deeper into (off-the-beaten-track) places was very personally rewarding.” Although Vietnam’s north hosts its capital city in Hanoi, beyond it lie villages galore and an immense mountain range, bordering both China and Laos. In amongst the mountains and valleys, many of the country’s 54 separate ethnic minority groups are based. All have their own language, style of dress and individual culture. Emily based herself in Hanoi and used the city as a starting point for setting off on a host of rural adventures. “Two places in particular stand out, and I visited both with social enterprise groups. One is Ha Giang, east of Sapa. It takes a long time to get there, but given the mountain roads and amazing scenery, it features a lot in photos. You can jump on a motorbike and go hustling around those dangerous roads yourself. But with the social enterprise, we were able to do tours by car, with a private driver and guide who is embedded in the local community. I also went to Da Bac, three hours from Hanoi, and not known to tourists at all. In Da Bac there is a project run by the NGO called Action on Poverty. I went over there to check out their homestays. They work with a network of villages, around a reservoir, and have worked with a range of families to set up homestays in beautiful, traditional wooden homes. One thing that I did which is very memorable was take a traditional red dao herbal bath. You sit in a wooden barrel filled with water and medicinal herbs, grown in the village. You sit in the bath and soak, with a view of the rice fields outside. It was very beautiful.” It’s worth touching on cost at this point. There are many travelers who come to Vietnam expecting everything on the cheap. It is possible to have a low-cost adventure in the country, but keep an open-mind when traveling with a social enterprise company. Given where the money ends up – helping people in some way – you may find prices a little closer to those you’re used to back home. Although haggling is a traditional part of Vietnamese culture, buying from social enterprises is not the place to do it. Getting involved Anyone interested in a social enterprise experience should visit Emily’s website as a starting point for ideas. “There’s another site called Grassroots Volunteering, which has a bit of a directory,” says Emily. “And one called CBT Vietnam. They work in Sapa and focus on homestays.” In conclusion: the future Prior to the pandemic, social entrepreneurship was playing an important role in making sure tourism developed in a sustainable way. However, even prior to 2019, Vietnam’s premier tourist attractions were its cities and coastline – and there’s so much more to this beautiful country than that! For anyone wanting a unique experience or an off-the-beaten track adventure in the future, social enterprises can enable such adventures. Be sure to take advantage of these fabulous organizations before the rest of the world catches on. FAQs How many social enterprises are there in Vietnam? A British Council Study in 2019 listed 19,000 different social enterprises in Vietnam. Where are Vietnam’s social enterprises based? Around 50% of Vietnam’s social enterprises are based in its two biggest cities – Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. The other half are in rural regions. What are the main challenges for social enterprises in Vietnam? Discounting the impact that Covid has had on Vietnam’s tourist industry, the biggest challenge is to attract new customers or clients, as well as developing new products and services. What’s the main objective for Vietnam’s social enterprises? For those starting a social enterprise, job creation is the main objective for 60% of organizations. On average, each social enterprise in Vietnam employs 42 direct employees, with work enabling up to 2000 people.

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