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Stiff drinks lift male spirits

By: Nguy Ha Posted: August-23-2009 in
Nguy Ha

“This transforms an 80-year-old man into an 18-year-old boy. When a husband drinks it, his wife will absolutely worship him. After drinking one small cup, you can have sex for a whole night without rest.” Hoa, a seller of medicinal wine shop says.

Both men and women prick their ears up to listen to conversations with friends or vendors of ‘medicinal’ wines. All men want to be heroes in bed, and the effects promised by these home-brewed herb or animal based wines offer some two million Vietnamese men suffering from erectile dysfunction hope, according to the country’s leading urologist, professor Tran Quan Anh.

Back to Bac Ha

By: Nguy Ha Posted: August-23-2009 in
Nguy Ha

Lao Cai Province has long been famous for the former French hill station of Sapa, renowned for its all-year-round temperate climate, beautiful landscape and colourfully dressed ethic people. But another place that is well worth a visit is the rugged provincial market of Bac Ha, with its vividly garbed H’mong people and sweet smell of corn wine will leave you with more unique, unforgettable experiences.

For Whites Only - Vietnam

By: Sarah Johnson Posted: August-23-2009 in
Sarah Johnson

Racial profiling is a common practice at English language centres in Vietnam, making it difficult for many Viet Kieu teachers to get a foot in the teaching world.

It’s a mundane afternoon at the office. Van Anh, a receptionist, sits staring at her computer when the phone rings. She answers, “Hello. Ho Chi Minh English School, how can I help you?”

A girl with an unmistakable English accent inquires about a job.

“Ah, you want to be a teacher here? Well, yes we have plenty of vacancies. Send your CV to our headquarters, we’re always looking for new teachers.”

A New Mekong Delta Boat Trip

By: Tim Russell Posted: August-10-2009 in
Tim Russell

We’re always looking for new trips to excite even the most jaded Vietnam travel veterans, and with that in mind I headed down to Ben Tre at the weekend to check out a new boat trip itinerary.

As previously discussed, Ben Tre offers a quieter, less developed alternative to the busier waterways of My Tho & Vinh Long, and indeed during the 4+ hours I spent on this trip I didn’t come across another tourist.

Saigon’s New Bar District

By: Tim Russell Posted: August-06-2009 in
Tim Russell

Vietnam may have many qualities as a tourist or expat destination, but traditionally nightlife hasn’t been one of them. A handful of seedy pubs or bland hotel bars, local nightclubs playing naff techno, and everything shutting down at midnight. And in the last couple of years it’s often felt as if there was a concerted plan to make Saigon’s nightlife even worse, with popular venues such as Why Not and No5 (in its Ly Tu Trong incarnation) closing down, and flash, ephemeral “lounge bars” opening and closing every few days.

MAG helps secure safety of UNESCO World Heritage site

By: MAG Posted: August-03-2009 in

Spectacularly beautiful, featuring towering limestone formations and pristine forests, it’s no surprise that Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province is a UNESCO World Heritage site attracting around 300,000 visitors a year.

But until recently communities there could not access all the agricultural land they needed as it was heavily contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Mr. Nguyen Xuan Doan, who lives within the park, remembers: “We never dared to dig the ground too deeply because there was so much UXO.

First underwater bomb destroyed

By: MAG Posted: August-03-2009 in

MAG has helped to destroy a 500-pound bomb that local fishermen found embedded in a coral reef at the seaside resort of Da Nhay in Quang Binh province, central Vietnam.

Thirty families from the surrounding area were temporarily evacuated and road traffic was stopped on the Ly Hoa mountain pass section of National Highway Number 1 ahead of the demolition, which created a huge explosion spreading pieces of the bomb over hundreds of metres.

Vietnam's Wine Industry Uncorked

By: Henno Kotzé Posted: July-31-2009 in
Henno Kotzé

I wrote this article a while ago, had it lying around gathering computer mites and whatnot, so I thought I might as well stick it up here. Even though it’s quite old, most, if not all of it, is still relevant to the country today. I’m especially a fan of Jim Cawood’s philosophy on wine and the trends in the market. He has a regular column in AsiaLife, and his wine boutique Vino stocks a small but exclusive range.

The Quest for Great Restaurant Service

By: Tim Russell Posted: July-31-2009 in
Tim Russell

Last Wednesday I took a potential partner for dinner at Saigon bistro The Refinery. The food and service were, as ever, amongst the best you’ll encounter anywhere in the country - unlike pretty much anywhere in Vietnam, the restaurant’s staff manage to provide service that’s confident, laid-back and friendly, while remaining efficient and professional. That’s something that Vietnamese waiting staff regularly fail to pull off, more on which shortly.

A Weekend in Ben Tre

By: Tim Russell Posted: July-17-2009 in
Tim Russell

Walk into any tour operator in Saigon & ask for a 1 or 2-day Mekong Delta trip, & chances are they’ll all propose exactly the same itinerary, involving My Tho, Vinh Long, a couple of ersatz ‘tourist villages’ (a term that fills me with horror!), an unsatisfying lunch, and back to Saigon before you’ve even caught your breath.


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