Phu Quoc Island: A “waning heaven”

A beach on Phu Quoc island

A beach on Phu Quoc island

Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island. Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, the island is part of Kien Giang province. The district of Phu Quoc includes the island proper and 21 smaller islets. Phu Quoc is called a “Tourist Heaven”.

Under the government’s scheme, by 2020 Phu Quoc will be a sea ecological tourism centre, attracting 2-3 million visitors a year.

However, this “heaven” is losing its value through the exploitation and disfigurement of its natural assets.

In the name of tourism projects, many businesses have been destroying the natural landscapes of Phu Quoc. They are exploiting sand on the coast, causing coastal erosion, and menacing the scenery with concrete works.

In the Dinh Cau area, to expand its beach to serve tourists, the Phu Quoc Tourism JS Company exploited Con village in Duong Dong Town, which was famous for its beautiful, natural beach.

The firm sucked sand from the coast near Con village, causing a landslide, threatening Con villagers. Chairman of Duong Dong town Duong Minh Hung said that around 140m of coast has collapsed, endangering 17 houses.

However, of greater concern, the beautiful beach of Con village has been ruined. After two months of sucking sand from the beach, a “gulf” was created at the site which had been a nice beach in the past.

In Hang Yen, An Thoi town, a company named Gold Star destroyed the protective forest, sucked sand and built a dike to enlarge its beach.

Phu Quoc’s beach is being cut into small pieces by tourism projects.

Tourism companies are also trying to build high-rise buildings and hotels on the coast with weird designs, obscuring the view of the Phu Quoc sea.

Around 4km of coast from Duong Dong town to Cua Lap has been the “victim” of concrete. The Huong Bien Hotel built a stone dike of over 1m in height and nearly 500m length along the coast, breaking up the wonderful beach in front of the Dinh Cau area.

The Sai Gon-Phu Quoc Hotel also built some concrete works on the most beautiful beach in Phu Quoc. Many concrete architectural works cover a large area of land on the island.

Many construction works on Phu Quoc are copied from foreign ones, and look very strange, such as the Ngan Sao tourism site. On 300sq.m of beach, the investor built imitations of famous works in the world, like the sea lion of Singapore, the Opera House in Sydney, Australia as well as a Dutch windmill.

Source: VietnamNet

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Ha Long Bay tops new world wonders voting group

Ha Long bay in a beautiful day. Photo:

Ha Long bay in a beautiful day. Photo:

Ha Long Bay – one of Vietnam’s two UNESCO natural world heritage sites – had by May 25 risen to the first place in Group G in the voting for the New 7 Wonders of Nature.    

The bay, twice recognised by the UNESCO for its landscapes and geological values, surpassed Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar beach to lead the 25-entry group, which includes sea landscapes and beaches.   

A total of 261 national and international sites, divided into seven groups, are vying to enter the top 77. In this second stage, each country is allowed only one entry for selection, except for those entries that are located on a common border shared by two or more countries.

As scheduled, the voting will last until July to choose the top 77. Then 21 sites will be selected by the organising board for the final stage, slated for between 2010 and 2011.

During this time, the New7Wonders World Tour will visit all 21 sites. The New 7 Wonders of Nature will be unveiled in the summer of 2011.       

During the first phase of the campaign, which ran from July 2007 to December 31, 2008, three of Vietnam’s tourist hot spots were nominated, including Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – another UNESCO Natural World Heritage, and Mount Fansipan.

Source: VNA

Australia helps Vietnam to combat HIV/AIDS

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Australia will provide additional aid worth 300,000 AUD to help Vietnam in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Australian HIV Ambassador, Murray Proctor, has announced.

Proctor, who is also Deputy Director General of the Australian Agency for International Development Aid (AusAID), is on a visit to Vietnam to study HIV-related issues in the country, according to the Australian Embassy.

Proctor said that HIV is still spreading throughout the world and Australia will help Vietnam to fight it and assist HIV-affected people.

He said the new aid will be added to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS along with other donations, to enhance the role of Vietnam’s National Committee on HIV/AIDS, Drug and Prostitution Control.

Australia has previously granted 11 million AUD to HIV prevention ork and treatment for people infected with the virus in Vietnam.

Source: VietnamPlus

Beauty queens visit Vietnam

Ksenia Sukhinova is pictured in Vietnam. Photo: VNA

Ksenia Sukhinova is pictured in Vietnam. Photo: VNA

Beauty queens from throughout the world will have a fortnight of social engagements and charity work in Vietnam.

From May 28 until June 8, Miss World 2004 Maria Julia Mantilla Garcia, Miss World 2008 Ksenia Sukhinova and the reigning Miss Universe Philippines Pamela Bianca Manalo are on a project launched by US-based Rare Antibody Antigen Supply (RASS) with the theme of a Footprint of Charity.

The beauty queens will learn about Vietnamese people and do charity work in cities and provinces such as Ha Nam, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Hue, Quang Tri, Khanh Hoa, Hau Giang, Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City.

The first of two charity shows they will attend is at 8pm on June 2 in the Can Tho City’s Sport Centre. It promote Vong Tay Nhan Ai (Philanthropic Circle), a fund which supports medical aids for the poor in 13 cities and provinces of the Mekong Delta.

The other show, at 8pm on June 7 at 2-4 Square, Nha Trang City, will raise money for the Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund which encourages ethnic students.

RASS is sponsoring the trip, expected to cost 8 billion VND (500,000 USD)

Beauty queens will be back in October next year when the Miss World contest is held in Nha Trang City.

Source: VNA

Visitors love entertainment activities on Brisbane streets

A music band performs in Queen Street Mall

A music band performs in Queen Street Mall. Photo: Minh Nguyen

Various entertainment activities on Queen Street Mall have become one of main factors attracting visitors in Brisbane city.

Every weekend, artists from different places gather in the street where is considered as one of the most crowed in the city centre.

“I usually go here with my friends at the weekend,” said Than, an international student at the Griffith University’s Nathan campus. He likes the atmosphere of this place which are always exciting.

The Queen Street Mall, which is parallel with Adelaide Street, a main street of the city, is the place for both artists and visitors.

“My daughter shows me to go here, it is every interesting,” said Lee, an old Chinese woman, who came Australia to visit her daughter.

At the weekend, the streets are full of entertainment activities including singing, dancing, playing music instrument, circus and magician performances.

“Playing my guitar in a such crowed place makes me happy,” said an old man named Dun. The artist plays the guitar very well. Every weekend, he goes the street to play music not only for earning some money but also for his love of music.

These entertainment activities are launched in both day and night create more joys for local people and visitors.

By Minh Nguyen

Worry about relatives at home

Love in the case of swine flu. Photo: Telegraph

Love in the case of swine flu. Photo: Telegraph

When the widespread outbreak of the swine flue happens in some countries in the world, many people, especially international students at the Griffith’s Gold Coast Campus are worried out their relatives in their hometown.

First cases of the disease, which were revealed in Mexico, makes students from the American country concerned about that.

“I was so worried about my parents and my sister in my country when I read news on the disease,” said Elia Bazan, a Mexican student, studying master degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at the campus.

Her family are living in Mexico city, where a lot of local people have been effected by the flu. Many of them died.

Like Elia, Yuen, a Chinese student, also has been anxious about her relatives in her country. “I don not know much about the flu but I think that it is dangerous as SARS,” she said.

SARS or bird flu is one of the worst diseases happening in China in 2003. A case of swine flu was confirmed in Hong Kong in early this month.

At present, the swine flu has been prevented and controlled in these contries. Both Elia and Yuen called their families and feel secure about them.

By Minh Nguyen

 

Traditional cultures promoted

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The 7th cultural, sports and tourism festival of the Khmer ethnic group opened in Tri Ton district of the southern province of An Giang on April 11 to celebrate their traditional New Year – Chol Chnam Thmay.

The festival attracted a large number of artisans, artists and athletes from Khmer-inhabited districts such as Tri Ton, Tinh Bien and Thoai Son.

“I am happy to see that many Buddhist followers from the Kinh, Cham and Khmer ethnic groups are attending the event,” said monk Chau Son Hy, who presides over Sro-Ton pagoda. “I hope that the State will continue to maintain and develop the festival so that it is really significant to local people.”

Thousands of local people in the Bay Nui area came to support Khmer farmers playing football and volleyball. An exhibition featuring the Khmer’s daily life and traditional customs, culinary arts, dances and folk games were also held during the festival.

Compiled by Minh Nguyen from VOV( Voice of Vietnam)