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Tipping according to a percentage of the bill is not expected but it’s enormously appreciated. For a person who earns US$50 per month, a US$ 1 tip is about half a day’s wages. Government-run hotels and restaurants that specifically cater to tourists usually have an automatic 10% service charge – whether much of this (if any) actually goes to the low-paid staff is questionable.

In general, if you stay a couple of days in the same hotel it’s not a bad idea to tip the Staff who clean your room – US$0.50 to US$l should be enough. You should also tip drivers and guides, especially on trips out of the city.

Men you deal with will also greatly appreciate small gifts such as a pack of cigarettes (women almost never smoke). But make sure it’s a foreign brand of cigarettes:! people will be insulted if you give Vietnamese cigarettes. The 555 brand (said to be Ho Chi Minh’s favourite) is popular, as are most US brands. Most of the usual kinds of gifts (chocolates and sweets, coffee-table books etc) are acceptable, as long as they are foreign-made.

It is considered proper to make a small donation at the end of a visit to a pagoda, especially if the monk has shown you around; most pagodas have contributor boxes for this purpose.

Many foreigners just assume that even Vietnamese person is out to rip them off. That just isn’t true -you needn’t bargain fen everything, but there are times when bargaining is essential In touristy areas, postcard vendors have a reputation for charging about five times the going rate. Many cyclo and motorcycle drivers also try to grossly overcharge foreigners – try to find out the correct rate in advance and then bargain accordingly. Bargaining is common – ever with the police i you are fined!

Remember, the concept of ‘face’ is important in Asia. Bargaining should be good-natured – smile, don’t raise your voice and don’s get argumentative.

Some seem to take bargaining too seriously, and take it personally if they don’t get the goods for less than half the original asking price. By publicly venting their frustration, people just end up looking foolish. Don’t let yourself get angry. Once the money is accepted, the deal is done-if you harbour hard feelings because you later find out that someone else got it cheaper, the only one you are hurting is yourself.

Thomasville’s central location and well known respect for the military played a key role in the state placing the North Carolina Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial along I-85 in Thomasville. The Memorial is conveniently located at a state maintained rest area and a wreath laying ceremony there kicks of the Memorial Day Celebration each year. An alphabetical listing of each North Carolinian killed or missing in Vietnam is etched into the face of the 1,647 bricks that comprise the Memorial.

The North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located at mile marker 100 off of Interstate Highway 85 between Greensboro, NC and Charlotte, NC. It is approximately 30 miles south of Greensboro, and approximately 5 miles North of the Lexington, NC exit. Access to the memorial is through the rest stop. Handicapped access is provided with a ramp running down to the rear of the memorial itself. Non-handicapped access is by way of a circular stairway running down to the main entrance to the memorial.

The memorial is a brick wall with a center panel containing the names of the North Carolinians killed or missing in Vietnam; their country of origin is written at the base of the memorial. A red brick path leads visitors from the main entrance to the park’s commemorative plaque then onto the memorial

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu was one of most elegant women of the 20th century.In the 1950s and 1960s,she was first lady of South Vietnam. She was born in 1924 in Hanoi,Vietnam.In fact, she was compared with ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (former first lady of the United States), Dewi Sukarno (ex-first lady of Indonesia), Grace Kelly ( former princess of Monaco) and Eva Duarte de Peron (former first lady of Argentina).In the 1960s, Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu popularized the traditional Vietnamese “ao dai” (long dress). She currently resides in France, where she is writing her autobiography.She speaks fluent English, Vietnamese and French.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is the home to Historic City of Hue-one of the ancient wonders of the world. During the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), Hue was the capital of Vietnam. More than 10 palaces in Hue provide some of the best remaining examples of Vietnamese architecture in Asia. It is the monument that best symbolizes Vietnam. Hue has been recognised as a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Hieu Ngan Tran is one of the Vietnam´s best known and well-loved athletes. She is a taekwondo athlete who competed in the women´s featherweight category at the 2000 Olympic Games and won the silver medal. The silver medal for Vietnam was the first ever won by that country in Olympic competition.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is famous for its hospitality, and the average visitor will have no difficulty in adapting to local traditions.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The Vietnamese film industry has been honoured at film festival and award ceremonies around the world. The prizes attained include the Golden Lion for best film awarded by the Venice International Film to Anh Hung Tran´s Cyclo (1995) ; the Jury Prize awarded by the Sundance Film Festival to Tony Bui´s Three Seasons (1999); and the Grand Jury Prize awarded by the Pusan International Film Festival to Luu Hynh´s The White Silk Dress Press (1999).

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Madame Nguyen Thi Binh became the first female vice president of Vietnam in 1992. She became head of the Vietnamese women´s movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Like its Thai cousin, Vietnam is world-famous for its traditional cuisine. At Paris´s top restaurants, visitors can savor the true taste of Vietnamese cuisine.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam has long been famous for its magnificent temples and palaces.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Third World.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The development of traditional Vietnamese sports is vital to the preservation of Vietnamese culture. Takraw, or kick volleyball, is a traditional sport in Vietnam. In this sport, a ball is passed from player to player by hitting it with the head and feet. Takraw also is widely played in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The bio-diversity of Vietnam is one of its greatest riches.The country has six world´s biosphere reserves: Can Gio Mangrove Forest, Cat Ba, Cat Tien, Kien Giang, Red River Delta, and Western Nghe An.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The United States of America recognizes Vietnam as an independent country since 1995. In 1996, president Bill Clinton appointed Douglas Peterson to serve as United States ambassador to Vietnam.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is world-famous for its animal wildlife. This wildlife -which includes elephants, buffaloes, tigers, monkeys, rhinoceroses, snakes and turtles- attracts thousands of tourists to Vietnam each year.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam maintains diplomatic relations with 140 countries in the world, including France, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Canada, South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and Malaysia.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Ha Long Bay is generally considered to be the most beautiful scenery in the whole of Vietnam. It consist of 1,969 islands and islets situated in the Gulf of Tonkin. This zone is known for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. It is one of the most popular spots in Asia. Ha Long Bay has been recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam joined the United Nations in 1977.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. It is the most important economic, industrial and cultural center in the country.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The best-known Vietnamese works of art the thousands of pagodas found throughout the country.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The education has received increased emphasis in Vietnam since the country became independent in 1976. Certainly, Vietnam has greatly increased the number of schools in response to demands for educational opportunities by the people.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…In 2000, Bill Clinton,who was president of the United States (1993-2001), was given a hero´s welcome in Vietnam as he became the first American president to visit the Asian country.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The “ao dai” is the most popular national costume in Vietnam.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is one of the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Hanoi is well known for its famous restaurants. Some of the restaurants are built along the Red river to provide diners with a riverside view of Hanoi´s sunset.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam hosted delegates from 21 contries at the 2006 APEC Summit.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a World Heritage Site in Vietnam.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…AmeliaVega, Miss Universe 2003,went to Hanoi to attend the 2003 Miss Vietnam pageant.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam competed at the modern Olympic Games for the first time at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The 11th Taekwondo World Championship was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in June 2001.

DID YOU KNOW THAT….Like Carlos Noriega (Peru), Abdul Ahad Mohmad (Afghanistan), Jugdermedidiyn Gurragcha (Mongolia) and Salman al-Saud (Saudi Arabia), Pham Tuan was one of the best astronauts in the Third World. He was the first Vietnamese astronaut and the first Asian in space. Pham Tuan flew aboard the shuttle Soyuz-37 in July 1980. He was in space for more than 7 days. Pham Tuan was given a hero´s welcome when he returned to country after completing its historic orbital space flight.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is one of the best-watered areas in Southeast Asia. Five main rivers flow eastward across the country. They are Mekong, Red Can, Srepok and Black.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Hanoi hosted the Fifth Asia-Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM) in 2004.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam has rich mineral deposits (oil, coal, gas, manganese, bauxite and phosphates), large forests, and good farm.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The Scent of Green Papaya was the first great Vietnamese movie of the 20th century. This film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Category at the 1993 Academy Awards. The movie enjoyed the highest-grossing opening in Vietnam film history.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam has eight idols:Anh Hung Tran (film director), Pham Tuan (astronaut), Thuy Tran (modeling agent), Nguyen Thi Phoung (ecologist), Hieu Ngan Tan (sportswoman), Madame Ngo Dinh Nho (former first lady of Vietnam), Tony Bui (film maker) and Nguyen Thi Binh (vice president of Vietnam).

DID YOU KNOW THAT…More than 20 million people in Vietnam ride a bicycle.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam has an area about 1 per cent as large as that of the United States.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Le Duc Tho was a diplomat who always worked for a unified Vietnam. He was born on October 14, 1911, in Phan Dinh Khai,Vietnam. Certainly, Le Duc Tho worked with Henry Kissinger (secretary of state of the United States) to end Vietnam war, and in 1973 the two men were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The award citation said, “On January 23 of this year a ceasefire agreement was concluded between the United States and the Vietnamese Democratic Republic.At its meeting on October 16 the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Storting decided to award the Peace Prize for the 1973 to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the two chief negotiators who succeeded in arranging the ceasefire after negotiating for nearly four years…”

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam has been chosen to host the 2008 Miss Universe. Vietnam won the right to host the 2008 Miss Universe by one vote over Japan.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…President George W.Bush became the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam in the 21st century.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is about 8 times the size of Switzerland.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam competed at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha,Qatar. It finished 19th in the medal count, with 23 (3 gold), trailing China, South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Iran, Uzbekistan, India, Qatar, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Hong Kong, North Korea, Kuwait and Philippines.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is famous for its beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean: Bai Chay, Tran Phu, Nha Trang,China Beach,Mui Ne Beach,Hon Chong Beach and Bai Tam.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…The 7th Summit of the Francophonie was held in Hanoi,Vietnam

Vietnam is a nice and peaceful country located in the South East of Asia. With a long coast line from the North to the South and a lot of mountains and highlands, Vietnam has both sea and mountain attractions. Having the area of 331,688 square km and a population of more than 84 million people, Vietnam is one of the most densely-populated countries in the world.

Known as the heart of this beautiful country, Hanoi capital is one of the two biggest cities in Vietnam. This city is located in the Red River Delta in the North of Vietnam and is the economic centre of the whole delta. Hanoi is a cultured city with many traditions, old streets and houses. Even nowadays, when globalization is becoming more popular and Hanoi is influenced strongly by this trend, the traditions and many old features cannot be lost and are still an important and memorable part of this city.

In the middle of Vietnam, the most famous city is Hue. It was the capital of Vietnam during the feudal system’s time. Hue has many old temples and palaces which date back from many centuries ago, when the King was still in power. It is also famous for many kinds of unique food which are usually very hot and spicy.

Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest city of Vietnam and is located in the Mekong River Delta, in southern Vietnam. It was previously known as “Saigon” and that name is still used nowadays. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is a young city with much economic potential. Lots of foreign companies have invested in HCMC, which makes this city the most developed one in Vietnam. When coming to Saigon, you are easily tempted to do a lot shopping. There are many shopping centres as well as open markets in HCMC where you can find a wide range of goods at incredible prices. Most foreign tourists visiting HCMC will come to Ben Thanh market, the symbol of this active city. There you can find many traditional items as well as modern ones and you can bargain for your desired prices.

Besides the aforementioned cities, there are many other beautiful cities and towns with lots of attractions. Tourists can enjoy beautiful beaches in Vung Tau or Nha Trang city, green mountains and peaceful lakes with European pine forests in Da Lat, splendid waterfalls in Cao Bang and mysterious caves in Ha Long, Quang Binh. That’s the reason why Vietnam has been chosen as a favourite destination of millions of tourists all over the world. Hotel France

Bamboo flooring from Vietnam is unique and environmentally friendly, comparable to some of the best hardwood flooring. In Vietnam, bamboo flooring is known as bamboo parquet. As Vietnam and China are the major locations of bamboo harvesting, they serve as the major source of bamboo flooring exporters. Some of the best bamboo floorings in the United States are imported from Vietnam.

Even though the manufacturing processes are the same all over the world, the specialty in Vietnam bamboo flooring is that freshly cut bamboo strips are used for processing. Freshly cut bamboo has the added advantage of offering high-quality flooring material. The major portion of bamboo used in flooring is grown in the Pacific Rim.

The beginning of bamboo flooring industry is traced to 1990. It was then that Doug Lewis, the founder of bamboo hardwoods, moved to Vietnam to set up a factory producing bamboo flooring. Over the years, the bamboo market in Vietnam has grown, and many traders are joining the bamboo flooring market.

A number of companies in Vietnam are employed in the manufacturing and exporting of bamboo flooring. The manufacturing process consists of a number of steps, starting with the slicing of freshly cut bamboo shoots into strips. These strips are then treated with boiled water to remove the starch, and then they are dried. Finally, bamboo floorings are made by laminating the strips into solid boards. To protect the flooring from pests, it is treated with a preservative either before or after lamination. Urea-formaldehyde (UF) adhesive is usually used in the lamination.

Bamboo flooring is available mainly in two shades: natural and carbonized or amber color. The darker shade (caramelized) is obtained by the prolonged pressure heating of bamboo. The shade of bamboo flooring might differ with different companies, and it is available as single-layer and double-layer bamboo flooring.

High export-quality bamboo flooring from Vietnam exhibits hardness, brightness, and freshness and is now one of the most favored forms of flooring.

Vietnam is one of the hottest travel destinations in Asia. More and more tourists come to Vietnam every year because of its peace, friendliness and fast development. Tourists can enjoy visiting peaceful traditional villages, grand temples and pagodas or sunbathing on beautiful beaches in luxury seaside resorts. However, to enjoy the best of your travel, you have to know something about the art of bargaining in this country. Except grand hotels, big restaurants and luxury resorts where fixed prices are listed, you can bargain for anything in Vietnam.

Before going to Vietnam you should do some searches for a general idea about prices in Vietnam. The Vietnamese currency is the Vietnam Dong ($1 = 15800 VND). On the internet, you can easily find information about prices of going by taxi or some other means of transportation. However, for long distances, you have to bargain for a lower price because for some certain long routes, the price is not what is counted on the taximeter. If you go by taxi over a distance which is greater than 50 km, you should call the taxi company directly and ask for their price for that long route.

Going in a tour group arranged by a tourist agent is an interesting way to explore Vietnam. There are many famous tourism agents in Vietnam and most of them have their own websites. You can search on the internet for famous travel agents in Vietnam and book in advance if possible. However, if the online booking function is not available or you want to book for a tour when having come to Vietnam, you should ask for their fixed list of available tours and their prices in advance. Most well known tourism companies have their tours and prices listed on a large board in their offices. If you register for many tours of the same company, you can ask for a discount because it is a usual thing in Vietnam.

Vietnamese food is very delicious and well known all over the world. It is really a memorable experience to taste Vietnamese food right in Vietnam. However, you have to be careful when eating in restaurants. Even natives can be overcharged sometimes when they go to restaurants. There are some restaurants whose menus are just lists of dishes and don’t include the prices. In that case you have to ask the waiters to tell you the prices of the dishes in advance otherwise they may give you a big bill with amazing prices at the end of the meal.

It is a fun experience to go shopping in Vietnam. The goods are usually very cheap and there are large selections for buyers. Apart from grand shopping centers where prices are fixed and written already on the tags, most markets, souvenir stands and street vendors don’t have fixed prices for their goods and customers have to bargain. Sellers there always try to take advantage of foreigners whom they assume to be rich and have a lot of money. When you go to markets and souvenir stands, the prices they tell you are never true. The true prices are usually half or one third of what you are told. There are many sellers who can speak nice English. They will tell you that you are the first customer of their store today and they will give you the item at their buying price for some luck. Don’t ever believe them. The “buying” price they tell you is always many times more than the real value of the product.

Vietnam Airlines on March 1 officially announced a code share contract with Virgin Blue on April 1.
Under the contract, Virgin Blue will collect passengers in 22 destinations in Australia and fly to Vietnam through Sydney and Melbourne.

The above agreement will also allow passengers not to deal with check-in procedures and luggage transfers.

“This co-operation will help Vietnam Airlines provide diversified and convenient services to satisfy the increasing need for flights between the two countries,” said head of Vietnam Airlines’ branch in Australia , Nguyen Quang Phong.

According to Virgin Blue’s managing director, Brett Godfrey, passengers would enjoy many flexible services during flights from Vietnam to Australia .

Vietnam Airline offers flights between the two countries all days of the week, using B777 aircraft, with four from Sydney and three from Melbourne .

Vietnam Airlines, the national carrier that was established in 1989, has signed many developing contracts with large partners, such as Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Qantas Airways, l China Airlines, China Southern Airlines and several others.

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