Vietnam welcomes Russia tourists 2013

russia tourist

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has said that it plans to promote tourism in Russia, aiming to welcome 300,000 Russia tourists in 2014.

To realize the target, the administration will participate in the 2013 Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT-2013) held in Russia from March 20 to 23, the daily Hanoi Moi reported on January 24.

During the exhibition, Vietnamese travel agencies and localities will introduce popular sites of Vietnam, tourism products and services, especially the 2013 National Tourism Year to Russians.
russia tourist

Along with Japan and the Republic of Korea, Russia has emerged as a major market for Vietnam’s tourism industry in recent years.
The market showed a significant increase of nearly 71.5 percent year-on-year in 2012, with 174,000 Russians visiting Vietnam. Their favourite destinations are Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces in the southern central region.

Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa has operated three daily direct flights carrying tourists from Russia’s Far Eastern region from late October until April 2013.

Between 70,000-100,000 Russian holiday-makers are expected to come to Khanh Hoa during the period.

Khanh Hoa still leads the central region in attracting Russian tourists, welcoming more than 53,000 visitors annually.

Con Dao in the top 9 of the world’s most mysterious islands


Con Dao is considered as a place with a diverse range of species and still looks pristine and wild.

The travel magazine Lonely Planet recently published a list of nine most mysterious islands in the world, including: Torres Strait (Australia), Yaeyama (Japan), Con Dao (Vietnam), Iles du Salut (Guiana, French), Ulleungdo (South Korea), San Blas (Panama), Penghu (Taiwan), Bay and Hog islands (Honduras) and Ssese (Uganda).

Vietnam’s Con Dao is considered a tourist paradise growing from a “hell on earth”, which specializes in captivity of Vietnamese political prisoners who participated in the fight against colonial and imperial domination in the past.

Nowadays, Con Dao has become a national tourist site, with 16 large and small islands where are the homes to tropical forests.

The water here is turquoise, with the incredibly diverse marine species, from dolphins, sea turtles to beautiful coral reefs.

Tourism development here is controlled in moderation so as not to damage the pristine, wild islands.

Here are some pictures of the islands in the top 9:

Con Dao condao2 Con Dao Con Dao condao5 condao6 Con Dao condao8

In crisis, people celebrate Tet in home cities, air tickets unsold

air ticket

Numerous air tickets for the flights to depart on Tet days from HCM City to Hanoi, Da Nang and Vinh City have been left unsold. Meanwhile, more air tickets for the flights at non-peak hours have been put on sale.

Contrary to all predictions, the travel demand of people is very weak this year. The economic downturn has forced people to cancel the travel plans for Tet holiday. Though Tet would come in just three weeks, a lot of air tickets for the flights from HCM City to the provinces in the central region and the north remain unsold.

Strange thing: air tickets unsold

No need to hunt down for air tickets or queue up on Internet to register ticket purchases, no need to pay money for intermediaries to buy tickets, one now can easily book tickets for the flights on Tet holiday.

Thu Hang, a worker of a media company in district 1 in HCM City, said she was so surprised when she found out from the official websites of airlines that seats on the flights on key air routes still have been vacant, including the ones of the flights on rush days, just before Tet.

air ticket

Meanwhile, Le Thuy from Nam Dinh City, who works in HCM City, feared that she would not be able to book tickets for the flights to Nam Dinh City; therefore, she decided to book tickets very soon, in November 2012.

Thuy felt happy when she successfully bought tickets at reasonable prices of VND2,974,000 dong per ticket. Therefore, Thuy has been exceedingly astonished when hearing that her sister has just bought a ticket at a much lower price.

“It’s quite a strange thing. You have to pay higher when you book ticket sooner,” she said.

Demand weaker due to economic difficulties

The official websites of Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines on January 16 showed that high numbers of tickets still have been available.

A booking agent of Vietnam Airlines also said the travel demand in 2013 is very low. Tickets have run out only for the flights on some special air routes, while a lot of tickets have been available on the backbone routes, including the Hanoi-HCM City route.

Reducing airfares may help boost sales

While the demand gets weaker, because people tend to choose other mans of transport to save money, airlines all plan to provide more flights this Tet as a result of the stiff competition in the domestic aviation market.

A senior executive of Jetstar Pacific has noted that the demand has been very weak since the beginning of the year.

A family with four members would have to pay some VND20 million on air tickets alone to fly from Hanoi and HCM City and vice versa. Van Trang in Tan Phu district in HCM City said a trip to the homeland to celebrate Tet would cost her the sum of money equal to many-month salaries.

When asked why the air tickets have become cheaper than the tickets sold many years ago, a senior executive of an airline said in principle, the sooner passengers book tickets, the cheaper tickets they can get. However, it happened that passengers usually changed their plans.

Since passengers would not fly on the initially set days, airlines have to slash the airfare by a little to attract passengers.

HCM City to upgrade Bach Dang Wharf for river tourism

Ho Chi Minh

HCM City authorities will upgrade the wharf and the pier of Bach Dang Wharf and map out a zoning plan for other wharfs and piers in districts 1, 8, 9, Can Gio and Cu Chi to develop river tourism, a city official said.

HCM City

Nguyen Viet Anh, director of the Travel Management Division of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said most of river tours in the city start from Bach Dang Wharf. The municipal government therefore has asked District 1 to upgrade Bach Dang Wharf and re-allocate piers to prepare for developing river tourism into a key service for the hospitality industry in 2013.

Besides, the five districts of 1, 8, 9, Can Gio and Cu Chi and the HCMC Department of Transport will jointly draft the zoning plan for building wharfs and piers as well as developing destinations to boost river tours in the localities.

“Related sides are working on the zoning plan and will submit it to the local authorities this quarter,” Anh said.

The city at first will build a pier in the tourism park named Mot Thoang Viet Nam (A Glimpse of Vietnam) in Cu Chi District besides upgrading other piers in Vam Sat and Dam Doi in Can Gio District, Tam Thon Hiep and the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve.

“The city plans to upgrade deteriorated piers this year and build new ones later, with investment capital set to be funded by local budget and investors,” he told the Daily.

HCMC now has river tours connecting Bach Dang Wharf with districts 2 and Binh Thanh. The city is looking to develop one river route heading to District 8 as “the urban river route” running through districts 4, 6 and 8 to create a landmark for the local river tourism.

Two more international air routes to Danang

international air routes

Lao Airlines on Tuesday officially launched direct flights from Laos’ Pakse to Danang nearly one year after piloting flights to the central coastal city, while Dragonair of Cathay Pacific also says it will open the Hong Kong-Danang service on March 28.

international air routes

The Laotian carrier operates three weekly services between Pakse and Danang on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, using 68-seat ATR 72 planes.

The flight connects Vientian, Savannakhet, Pakse and Danang. It leaves Pakse at 2:05p.m. and arrives at Danang at 2:55p.m., and takes off in Danang at 3:55p.m. and lands in Pakse at 4:45p.m. Tickets are priced at VND2.2 million each for a single route or US$106, while one round-trip ticket sells for VND4.01 million or US$191.

Huynh Duc Trung, deputy director of travel management division of Danang City’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the launch of the route is made possible due to great efforts between the two localities via a series of road shows, fairs, seminars and exhibitions. Specially, Lao Airlines has made great contribution to the route opening by conducting surveys and opening two pilot flights on the route on March 29 and April 1, 2012.
Besides shortening the distance between Pakse and Danang, the new service also helps satisfy rising travel demand to Danang from Vietnamese Laotian customers in Pakse, Savanakhet and Vientian along with visitors from Thailand’s Bangkok, Mukdahan and northeastern region.

On the same day, Dragonair also announced to launch the service connecting Hong Kong and Danang with three flights a week starting March 28. The subsidiary of Cathay Pacific will use Airbus 320 for the new route heading to Danang from Hong Kong every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Dragonair now is operating ten flights on the Hong Kong-Hanoi service and vice versa, with Danang the second destination of the carrier in Vietnam.

According to Patrick Yeung, managing director of Dragonair, Vietnam now is considered an attractive destination in terms of investment and tourism, so the new air route will make it easier to increase the number of tourists between Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Futhermore, the Hong Kong-Danang service is also expected to help Vietnamese travelers to be able to use Dragonair services to travel to China or other destinations in the international networks of Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong as a transit hub.

Air Mekong continues increasing flights during Tet holidays

Air Mekong

The low-cost carrier Air Mekong will continue to add more flights to meet passengers’ demands during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays.

Air Mekong

Accordingly, the airline will increase 4-8 flights a day in weeks before and after the Tet festival, bringing the number of flights to 98, between Ho Chi Minh City and Quy Nhon.

Meanwhile, it plans to operate over 200 flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Buon Ma Thuot/ Pleiku and between Hanoi/ Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc/ Con Dao.

From January 7th to 15th, Air Mekong will provide cheap tickets at VND 399,000 and 888,000, excluding fees and airport charges, between Buon Ma Thuot/ Pleiku/ Quy Nhon to Ho Chi Minh City and between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for flights departing from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City between February 1st and 10th, and vice-versa between February 13th and 20th.

In addition, the carrier will also open a booking auction at 15:00-17:00 on January 10th for 4 round trips between Hanoi and Con Dao, and 9 round trips between Ho Chi Minh City and Con Dao/ Phu Quoc, departing on February 11th to 13th, and announce lucky winners at 6pm on the same day.

Further information is available at the carrier’s website: and its officers across the country.

At present, Air Mekong is operating 13 routes to 9 local localities, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Buon Ma Thuot and Pleiku, using 4 Bombardier CRJ 900s.

Tourists hunt for cheap air tickets to prepare for trips in 2013

Cheap air tickets

Though the year 2012 would come to an end in a couple of weeks, a lot of people have been hunting for cheap air tickets for their tourism plans in 2013. In order to obtain low cost tickets, they have to book tickets many months in advance.

Cheap air ticket

Rushing to hunt for cheap tickets

Nguyen Duc Khanh, an officer of a company in Cau Giay district has planned his tours for him and his family for the next year already. And it is now the time for him to look for low cost tickets to turn his plan realistic.

“If you can obtain low cost tickets, you would be able to save your money. If you go to South East Asian countries, it would take you only several hours to sit on airplanes. Therefore, take pains to fly with low cost tickets,” he said.

“If you plan to go to HCM City, you just have to pay one million dong only if you can book tickets soon. The cost is much lower than train or car,” he added.

Nguyen Thanh Nga, an officer of a media company, said she has successfully booked two tickets to Da Lat on the flight to depart in September 2013, while she has to pay 300,000 dong only for return tickets for two.

Like Khanh, Nga believes that it would be better to fly with low cost tickets so as to get more money to pay for the services at the destination points.

“I went to Thailand earlier this year, also with low cost tickets. I had to pay 3 million dong only for return ticket,” she said.

“You can save big money to be spent on your trips if you book tickets soon, even though you would have to spend some of your time,” she added.

Nga is now a member of the company’s group of travelers who regularly organize tours with low cost tickets. She said that the low airfares allow them to organize more tours with the same sums of money.

Dang Thu Huyen, Chief Accountant of a real estate trading floor said she has been lucky enough to book tickets for the summer tourism plan of her family.

Huyen had to hunt for the tickets for three consecutive nights to obtain the tickets. Though she cannot succeed in all cases, because “the devil looks after his own,” Huyen still feels excited when joining hunting campaigns.

Low cost tickets have brought a lot of opportunities to young people to organize trekking tours or take outbound tours, which was just a dream in the past.

Nguyen Thu Trang, a media executive of Cleve Company in Ha Dong district, said that her group of friends goes abroad every year thanks to the low cost tickets. In 2011, for example, the trip to Thailand cost everyone less than fie million dong.

“It’s easy to visit South East Asian countries. You don’t need to have visas, you just need to book low cost tickets and start your trips,” Trang said.

Golden opportunities

Following the success of the two campaigns on selling air tickets at 10,000 dong per ticket, the private airline Vietjet Air plans to launch the third sale campaign in early December. It is expected that 10,000 cheap tickets for the flights to take off in 2013 would be put on sale.

Jetstar also prepares to run a program on selling air ticket at one dong only. Prior to that, it sold one-way ticket for the flights from HCM City to Singapore at 145,000 dong. The national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines has also launched a special program offering preferential airfares for the passengers who book tickets soon.

AirAsia, on the occasion of its 11th birthday anniversary, has opened the campaign of selling air tickets at 40 dollars for the Hanoi/HCM City – Kuala Lumpur flights, and 50 dollars for the flights to Bangkok.

Phu Quoc Getaway 5 days

phu quoc

Duration: 5 days/4 nights
Group size: from 2 pax
Tour type: private tour
Transport: car, boat
Route: Saigon – Phu Quoc – Saigon

phu quoc

Itinerary in details:

Day 1: Saigon – Arrival

Arrival in Tan Son Nhat airport, driver will pick you up and transfer to your hotel.

Free at your leisure and overnight at hotel in Saigon.

Day 2: Saigon – Phu Quoc (B)

Breakfast at your hotel then free time until pick up time and transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for the flight to Phu Quoc.

Upon arrival pick up and transfer to hotel for check in and free time. Overnight at hotel in Phu Quoc.

Day 3-4: Phu Quoc Free day (B)

Free day at your own leisure. Overnight at hotel in Phu Quoc.

Day 5: Phu Quoc – Saigon (B,L)

Free time until transfer to the airport for departure flight. End of services.

Tour includes:

  • Pick up and see off services in Saigon and Phu Quoc
  • Flight Saigon – Phu Quoc – Saigon
  • Hotels/resort accommodation
  • Daily breakfast

Tour excludes:

  • Visa & international flight
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunch/ dinner/ drinks/ personal expense

Tour Notes:

  • Similar service will be provided upon request
  • Beware of your luggage and money
  • Passengers are advised not to take along big luggage for convenience.
  • Inform in advance if you are vegetarian.
  • Bring passport to check in hotel and cabin
  • Things to bring: sun scream, swim suit, camera & good shoes.
  • All customers should follow tour guide’s instruction for your safety.

New Phu Quoc airport open to domestic flights


Phu Quoc Airport was opened to the domestic flights of Vietnam Airlines and Air Mekong yesterday, four years after the mammoth project offshore mainland Kien Giang Province got off the ground.

Air Mekong told the Daily yesterday that its Bombardier aircraft with 90 passengers on board took off from Tan Son Nhat Airport and touched on Phu Quoc International Airport in the Mekong Delta province.

Phu Quoc Airport

The private airline currently services twice a day on the HCMC-Phu Quoc route and three times a week between Hanoi and the new airport in Duong To Municipality in Phu Quoc District.

Vietnam Airlines had also its planes landed at the Phu Quoc International Airport yesterday. The national flagship carrier said in a statement that passengers had been informed of check-in procedures and baggage claim for its domestic flights from and to Phu Quoc at the new airport from December 2 instead of the airport in Duong Dong Municipality.

Vietnam Airlines called for passengers to arrange more time for their travel to the new airport on Phu Quoc as it is seven kilometers south of the heart of Duong Dong Municipality.

In the winter schedule, Vietnam Airlines conducts 67 weekly flights to and from Phu Quoc, including 56 services between HCMC and the resort island, four on the HCMC-Rach Gia-Phu Quoc, seven on the Phu Quoc-Can Tho routes.

Vietnam Airlines will fly between Hanoi and Phu Quoc from December 12, or three days ahead of a planned official opening ceremony planned by Airports Corporation of Vietnam for the Phu Quoc International Airport. Vietnam Airlines also plans use of Airbus A321 aircraft for certain flights between HCMC and Phu Quoc rather than the small-sized ATR72 planes.

The Phu Quoc International Airport can handle bigger aircraft, including Boeing B747-400 and some 2.65 million passengers a year.

The Ministry of Transport issued Decision 3096/QD-BGTVT on November 30 for shutdown of the old airport in Duong Dong Municipality from 11:59 p.m. of December 1.

Construction began on the Phu Quoc International Airport in November 2008. This airport project worth VND16.2 trillion (more than US$777 million) was previously scheduled for opening in the second quarter of 2012 but is only in place in the fourth quarter of this year. Covering more than 900 hectares, this new airport is designed to handle 20 aircraft at a time, including such modern planes as Boeing B777, B747s and even Airbus A380.

The HCMC-Bangkok daily flight will leave HCMC at some 11a.m. and arrive in Bangkok after one and a half hour. Meanwhile, the Bangkok-HCMC trip will depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport at about 1:30p.m.

The low-cost airline has launched for sale air tickets for the service on and at its ticket booths and sale agents nationwide along with the call center at 19001886.

VietJetAir now is operating seven domestic routes flying to Hanoi, HCMC, Haiphong, Danang, Nha Trang, Vinh and Thua Thien-Hue. It will open new services connecting HCMC with Phu Quoc and Hanoi with Dalat City next month.

VietJetAir is the first private carrier in Vietnam licensed for running domestic and international flights. The carrier is currently conducting 22 flights per day, with a plan to increase the number of daily flights to 42 by the year’s end.

Phu Quoc motorbike rentals thrive at new year


The local people on Phu Quoc Island have taken the new year into an opportunity to rent out their motorbikes to earn some extra money.
Because of the large number of foreign tourists visiting the island to celebrate the new year, motorbike rentals have been in demand.

On January 1, a large number of foreign tourists chose to either drive or hire motorbikes for sightseeing purposes. This has given locals a window of opportunity to add to their income. New Year’s Day saw a 20%-30% increase compared to normal days, enterprising lessors said.

The prices also increase during this time, with motorbikes being rented out at prices of VND150,000-200,000 (USD7.1-9.5), up around VND50,000-100,000 from usual days.

Hundreds of foreign tourists visited Phu Quoc this year, many of whom sought out ‘eco-resorts’.




A tourist from the Netherlands said that he and his friends were attracted to the island because of eco-tourism, commenting that, “This place provides us with a time to relax and be close to nature.”