Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hue citadel City

Hue City is one of places which have many cultural heritage. Up to now, there is no place like Hue remaining a lot of originally historical vestiges as in this ancient Capital City.
On the northern bank of Perfume River has relics consisting of palaces, which were constructed as arc defensive ramparts with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 architectural works which were extremely reflected the life of Emperors and mandarins under reign of Nguyen.
Situated in the middle of hills on the southern bank of Perfume River are very beautiful tombs of Kings Nguyen. Among these tombs are the four famous ones with the name and the arrangements of the tomb reflected each Emperor's points of view, personality and tastes. This is majestic Gia Long Tomb, imposing Minh Mang Tomb, poetic Tu Duc Tomb and magnificent Khai Dinh Tomb.

Hue is also an important center of Buddhism. In Hue and its surrounding still exist tens of pagodas constructed more 300 years ago, and a hundred of temples and pagodas built in the early century. Besides, Hue is a place where the royal music is originated, and a place with traditional famous dishes and sophisticated handicraft.

As a unique city of Vietnam still remains its form of City under Middle Age and the constructions of monarchic, Hue has become a big and invaluable museum. Therefore, vestiges in Hue ancient capital have been classified by the government as a very precious property and on December 1993

Buon Me Thuat overview

Buon me Thuot Map
Battle of Ban Me Thuot
The Battle of Buon Me Thuot was part of North Vietnam's Campaign 275 to capture

the Central Highlands following the victory at Phuoc Long on January 6, 1975.

Buon Me Thuot was selected as the first objective during the Central Military Party Committee session on January 9. In order to achieve their objectives, General Vo Nguyen Giap put emphasis on secrecy and surprise to force the South Vietnamese army to defend the northern areas of the Central Highlands, as major North Vietnamese units would launch diversionery attacks elsewhere.

Campaign 275

To keep all upcoming military operations secret, radio signals were kept silent and the only radio broadcasts made were misleading messages intended to suggest that General Van Tien Dung would attack Pleiku. The beginning of Campaign 275 was signalled by North Vietnamese attacks in Binh Dinh and Pleiku Provinces on March 4. In Binh Dinh the ARVN 47th Regiment struggled against the ever growing strength of North Vietnamese artillery and rocket strikes, the artillery positions supporting the 47th Regiment were overrun and destroyed. ARVN Fire Support Bases 93 and 94 were heavily bombaraded before the 4th Ranger Group and the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Brigade were able to conduct clearing operations along Route 19.

On March 8 the 9th Regiment of the VPA 320th Division battled with the ARVN 45th Regiment at Thuan Man, resulting in the permanent blockage of Route 14 by the VPA 320th Division. On the next day another North Vietnamese attack was launched in Quang Duc Province, where the ARVN 53rd Infantry Regiment was overrun. The diversionary attacks in Quang Duc convinced Major General Pham Van Phu that the main battle would take place in Dac Lac Province, so the 72nd and the 96th Ranger Battalions as well as the 21st Ranger Group were sent to Ban Don.

The Battle

Finally at 1:55AM on March 10, the Vietnam People's Army launched a violent artillery barrage on the city of Buon Me Thuot and Phung Duc airfield.

By morning the 320th VPA Division had penetrated the city and the ARVN managed to throw back Communist assaults on Hill-559 and Phung Duc airfield. At around mid-day North Vietnamese infantry supported by armour had moved into the southern sector of Buon Me Thuot, where heavy fighting took place resulting in the loss of five North Vietnamese tanks. General Phu's attempt to reinforce Buon Me Thuot with two Regional Force Battalions from Ban Don failed under heavy enemy fire. Fighting at the airfield destroyed twelve aircraft belonging to the 2nd and 6th Air Divisions, and only three helicopters were managed to be piloted out.

The 23rd ARVN Division continued their resistance around Buon Me Thuot along with the 2nd Company, 4th Company, 8th Armoured Cavalry, 1st Battalion, 53rd Infantry, 243rd and 242nd Regional Forces. On March 11, the North Vietnamese consolidated their control over the city. On March 12 the worn down ARVN soldiers and their families were evacuated.

Major General Pham Van Phu were ordered to Cam Ranh on March 14 to meet President Nguyen Van Thieu. During the meeting President Thieu revealed and outlined his plans to retake Buon Me Thuot, under this plan Phu would make use of what is left of his units from Kontum and Pleiku Province, and the 22nd Division from Binh Dinh Province. However, due to the deteriorating stength of the South Vietnamese military, Buon Me Thuot was never retaken as the Communists continued their push south.


The Central Highlands consists of Dac Lac, Gia Lai, Kontum and Lam Dong Provinces

has always been an important strategic military staging area and whoever control the Central Highlands will have the advantage. For that reason, the South Vietnamese military had always maintained a heavy military presence there. After the fall of Buon Me Thuot, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu ordered the northern provinces to be abandoned to 'lighten the top and keep the bottom'. The South Vietnamese army went into panic as soldiers and their families flooded the main roads in a mass exodus towards the coast. There was total collapse of South Vietnamese morale.
Vietnam airlines timetable to Buon Me Thuot - click here
T�y Nguy�n, translated as Western Highlands, is one of the regions of Vietnam. It contains the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk N�ng, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, L�m Đồng. It has a large population of ethnic minorities such as as the people of Malayo-Polynesian languages (Jarai and Ede) and the people of Mon-Khmer languages (Bahnar and K'hor). Therefore, the Degar organized the FULRO (1964-1992) and the Montagnard Foundation (1990-), and are continuing the Montagnard Independence Movement from Vietnam. Tay nguyen is the home to most prominent and also most endangered species of VietNam and Southeast asia: the indochinese tiger, the huge gaur, the wild buffalo, the banteng and the asian elephant.

Asian Elephant
The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus), sometimes known by the name of its nominate subspecies (the Indian Elephant), is one of the three living species of elephant, and the only living species of the genus Elephas. The species is found primarily in large parts of India, Sri Lanka, Indochina and parts of Indonesia. It is considered endangered, with between 25,600 and 32,750 left in the wild[3].

It is smaller than its African relatives, and the easiest way to distinguish the two are

the smaller ears of the Asian Elephant. The Asian Elephant tends to grow to around two to four meters (7–12 feet) in height and 3,000–5,000 kilograms (6,500–11,000 pounds) in weight.

The Asian Elephant has other differences from its African relatives, including a more arched back than the African, one semi-prehensile "finger" at the tip of its trunk as opposed to two, 4 nails on each hind foot instead of three, and 19 pairs of ribs instead of 21. Also, unlike with the African elephant, the female Asian Elephant usually lacks tusks; if tusks--in that case called "tushes"--are present, they are barely visible and only seen when the female opens its mouth. Some males may also lack tusks; these individuals are called "makhnas" and especially common among the Sri Lankan elephant population. Furthermore, the forehead has two hemispherical bulges unlike the flat front of the African elephant.

This animal is widely domesticated, and has been used in forestry in South and Southeast Asia for centuries and also in ceremonial purposes. Historical sources point out that they were sometimes used during the harvest season primarily for milling. Wild elephants attract tourist money to the areas where they can most readily be seen, but damage crops and may enter villages to raid gardens.

Picturesque Lak Lake

Located about 50km south of Buon Ma Thuot City and along National Highway 27, the 550ha Lak Lake is the largest body of fresh water in Dak Lak Province. Beautiful as a white silk strip and with picturesque natural scenery, the lake is surrounded by forest and attracts many visitors who come to explore and relax after a long journey through the sunny and windy Central Highlands.

The immense lake is thought to stage miniature representations of the four seasons each day. The clear blue skies and the Cu Yang Sin Mountain silently reflected on the blue mirror of calm water in the mornings are thought to represent the spring. The mid-day sun with its intense light and heat is thought to represent summer, the sinking sun in late afternoon with its flickering yellow light the fall and the night blanket of cold stars the winter.

M’nong (ethnic minority group) folklore says that once upon a time a serious drought plagued the region. A local hero named Y Lak sacrificed his life searching for water to save his people. He spent days and nights scanning the region for water until, exhausted, he found the lake and saved his village. The lake was named after him.

The legend represents the long history of M’nong settlement and development. The lake is considered a cultural-historical site for those who want to review the history of the Central Highlands as a whole and the large province of Dak Lak in particular.

The lake is a well-preserved environment for biodiversity with the 12,000m² surrounding forest containing hundreds of species of plants, animals, birds and reptiles.

King Bao Dai, the last ruler of the Nguyen Dynasty, realized the stunning beauty of the area and had a villa built atop a 200m hill overlooking Lak Lake. Today the villa is a tourist hotel.

Jun, a typical M’nong village, is also a place for tourists to learn about the locals. The word Jun, which means inheritance, can be explained by the way the lake offers its specialties and water for irrigation.

M’lieng Village, a special community on an island in the middle of the lake, is funded to preserve its cultural characteristics as one of the first rice-cultivating minority groups in the region.

Tourists can explore the area by elephant or bike to see some of the daily life patterns of typical ethnic minority groups of the Central Highlands. Boat excursions, kayaking, canoe trips and swimming in Dak Phoi Stream are also favorite activities.

Evening tourist parties feature grilled meat, bamboo-tube rice, ruou can (wine drunk out of a jar through bamboo pipes), dancing around the fire and gongs.

The new Lak Resort with its 16 bungalows and 32 rooms and services is a good choice for accommodations. 

(Source: SGT)

Lak lake - a silk fillet on mountains

Lak Lake, located at Lien Son town – Lak district, one of the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam. Lak Lake has an area of about 500 hectares, situated at an altitude of over 500m above sea level.
Residents living around the lake are mostly the M'Nong, villages like Le, Jun, M'Lieng still keep their customs and traditions, and retain a lot of precious things in the traditional long house-on-stilts like the K’pan(long bench used for visitors or artisants), the H'gor(female-drum), gongs,etc….

Surrounded by the primitive forests of the Central Highlands , Lak lake is a higlight of the region, so, when visiting here, tourists can enjoy the diversity of fauna - flora. According to statistics, there are 548 species, in which 118 families of them, 132 species of birds, 61 mammals, 43 reptiles, amphibians, including some endemic and rare. Besides, Lak lake is shelter of numerous species of aquatic life, fish and shellfish which are major economic resource for local residents living in the area around the lake. This is really a splendid lake; a destination of Ecology - Culture unique attractions with a natural poetic beauty of the surrounding mountains and forests. Come to Lake Lak, visitors not only have opportunities to explore the natural beauty, ride an elephant visiting villages, row a dug-out canoe sightseeing around the beautiful lake and see local people fishing by their own ways but also enjoy Gongs shows, exploring the cultural traditions of indigenous people - The M'nong.

If you want it, you can contact to my email: 87anhtuan@gmail.com
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Our Company: Vietnam Highland Travel - 24 Ly Thuong Kiet, Buon Ma Thuot city, Viet Nam

Nam ka - an ideal ecotourism destination

Nam Ka, a nature conservation area in Lak district, Daklak province has an area of approximately 24,555 hectares of core and about 1,100 hectares of buffer. The altitude is from 418 m to 1294 m, the average temperature from 200 - 250 C, average annual rainfall is 1800 mm and average humidity is 85%.
Nam Ka forest is evergreen forest with about 56 species of mammals, 140 birds, 587 species of plants. Including Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Leopard, Langur patch, Pheasant, Wild chicken, Monkey, Crested Argus and some rare species noted in the World Red Book... Nam Ka, humid tropical forest which is very special about the richness of habitats, populations of organisms and animals. Terrain is diversified, the abrupt change and alternating between high mountain - dense forests, low hills - the glade forest, bushs and valleys - fields, marshes, lakes, ... make the scenery of nature is very interesting.
Currently, Vietnam Highland Travel regularly organizes 3days/2nights tour with Trekking and Homestay. Joining this trip, travelers will be immersed in the wild with activities: Climbing, wading across streams and trekking through the primeval forest. In the evening, travelers will have the opportunity to interact with indigenous people and learn about features of Ethnic culture through staying, talking and cooking with local people in their family.
From Buon Ma Thuot city, driving via Highway 27 about 80 km then turn right, keep going about 16 km to Rai village. This is a small Ede ethnic village, located by the mountain of Nam Ka (1294 m), in Nam Ka commune - Lak district - Daklak province. Rai village has about 15 households and about 75 residents. People here live mainly on rice cultivation, raising cattle, pigs and other kinds of poultry. Besides, they also earn more money by hunting and gathering. Ede people practise matriarchy and their language belongs to the system of the Malayo-Polynesian language system. They come to Vietnam from Malaysia South Island by boat so their house architecture also built in the boat shape to remember their ancestors crossing the sea to the land. The family that we spend the night at Rai village is chief Ay Sel’s. This is a traditional long house-on-stilts of the Ede style with a staircase decorated a young moon symbolizing faithful and a couple of breasts symbolizing prosperity and matriarchy. Inside the house, a long K'pan bench is used for artisans who perform the Gongs or worship to the God (Yang). H'gor drum, an indispensable instrument in the living of the Ede.
From Rai village, trek about 14 km through the forest and paddle boating about 4 km, we will get in Jatu village, a village of the M'nong Bih. M'nong people, one of the native ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, M’nong has many small groups such as M'nong Gar, M'nong Nong, M'nong Bih ... who also practises the martriarchy and their language belongs to the Mon-Khmer language system. The M'nong has two characterized architectural styles of house that are the ground floor and the floor-on-stilts. The house where we stay overnight in Ja Tu village is the long house-on-stilts. The host is Ama Loan, he is also the chief of the village. Like Rai village, Ja Tu is a small village with about 14 households and about 60 people living together. They make live mainly by rice cultivating, raising cattles and gathering from forest.
About 15 km far away from JaTu village, we arrive at the tourist site of Lak lake, where we can visit local people, ride elephant, row dugout canoes before returning to Buon Ma Thuot city. End of a challenging trip with impressive memories and an unforgettable journey.
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Yokdon - a typical deciduous forest

Yok Don National Park (Buon Don district) situated more than 40 km to the west of Buon ma Thuot city with 115.545hectares where is the conservation of natural resources of precious national forest ecosystem. Especially, deducious forest, with rare animals, natural lakes, rivers, waterfalls.
This forest has many different species of birds, rare animals, many varieties of orchids and herbs. Including, 62 animals, 169 birds, 46 reptiles, 13 amphibians, 464 species of plants, mostly orchid pearl; besides 56 species of rare animals, there are 38 species in this park, 17 of them named in the World Red Book. Some common species of wildlife such as elephant, tiger, panther, bear, wild buffalo, fly mink, gaur, otters, jackals, pheasants ... and other rare birds like the eagle, and land royal phoenix. Yok Don National Park is a place that receives the wild elephants from Tanh Linh forest - Binh Thuan province in 2001.
Over the years, this is an attracting spot for domestic and foreign tourists. Tourism types here included: Hiking, camping, elephant riding, bird watching, or seeing animals at night by pick-up trucks.
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