"If you have time for but one
  province in China, Yunnan should
  be it.
- Lonely Planet


Volunteer in Kunming, Yunnan,
a city with year-round Spring weather. Trips to 26 cultures &
5 nearby countries.

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has been rising to become a more and more popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. With a wide range of primitive land with varied geographical features, Vietnam, a land combining newly developed tourism with time-honored traditions and culture, plus burgeoning resort infrastructures, has opened her arms and is welcoming tourists with a  variety of interesting tourist attractions.

Looking like a long English letter S, Vietnam stretches along the Indo-China Peninsula.  The nation is clothed by marvelous landscapes; the Pacific Ocean is at its eastern side, and the lush tropical forest-covered Truong Son mountain range on the west side. With coastlines of more than 3000 km (1864 miles), Vietnam offers beach goers lovely beaches and great coastal views.

With over 4000 years' civilization and 54 ethnic groups, Vietnam presents enchanting diverse folk customs and cultures that will always be a charm for people who are interested in  exploring. Vietnam never fails to surprise visitors with its diverse entertainment, beautiful beaches, tropical landscapes, high-rise buildings, splendid royal palaces, and the kings tombs.

According to legend, Vietnamese trace their origin to being the offspring of the king of sea, Lac Long Quan, and the Princess of the Mountains, the Auco. However, its history is far less rosy than the legend goes. In recorded history, Vietnam was under Chinese rule for almost 1000 years finishing in the 9th Century. It was in the 19th Century that Vietnam was occupied and ruled by the French until the Second World War when the Japanese troops brought the nation under control. After a period of civil war between the pro-communist north and the  American supported anti-communist south, the two Vietnamese were finally united.

Like anywhere else, culture and arts tell why people behave a certain way instead of another way. Being greatly influenced by Chinese cultures, the diversified religious belief system comprising Chinese originated Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, Christianity from the West and its local Tam Giao, which means three religions, is a belief system that mixes Taoism, Chinese folk religious beliefs and primitive Vietnamese religious ideas.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has listed four tourist attractions, the Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoian, and MySon to be World Heritages because of their extraordinary settings.

The north is better known for mountain peaks, and the Red River flows into Vietnam from China's Yunnan province shaping the beautiful Red River Delta. Hanoi is located in this region. It is a city with a rich history, as well as the capital city of the nation. Vietnam is undergoing rapid development in recent years, and the tribute should go to the newly employed "open door" policy. In Hanoi the traces of modern civilization can be detected  everywhere--towering buildings, lined-up vehicles, traffic jams in rush hours. Economic prosperity has fastened the speed of development in other areas; among which are cultures, education, and tourism. Fortunately the good things from the past are preserved; people are still wearing smiling faces, the traditional dress, Ao Dai, is still one of the most favored chosen, there is still a pollution-free environment and forests where people can appreciate the nature’s beauty. All this keeps Vietnam on the list for enthusiasts of the ever popular eco-tourism. The highly praised Ha Long Bay is near Hanoi (about 160 KM or 100 miles away). 

The central part of Vietnam features many ethnic minorities and their diversified cultures and customs and has varied landscapes, volcanic mountains, hills, lakes and beaches. The ancient empire settled its imperial city here in the city of Hue. Hue served as the former capital site for the emperors of Vietnam. The architectural style best represents the highly honored value of perfect harmony of nature and human beings, best exemplified by Buddhist buildings such as pagodas, temples and monasteries. Unfortunately much ancient architecture has been destroyed during Vietnam’s chronic warfare. The remaining ruins, tombs, and pagodas are what we have to imagine the past glory. 

Hoi An has been listed by UNESCO as one site of world heritage. It is praised to be an ancient town well preserving the authenticity of an international trading port from the15th to the 19th Century in Southeast Asia. It is a fascinating small town in which you can take your time exploring the ancientness and recalling the beauty of hundreds of years ago.

Ho Chi Minh City          

On the Mekong River, Ho Chi Minh City is the major commercial center in southern Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon, the city was renamed for leader who made a great contribution to maintain the sovereignty of the Vietnamese by leading the nation as it fought against France and the United States.

There are several good places to visit when you are in Ho Chi Minh City. The Pagoda of the Emperor of Jade is the Chinese temple showing how Vietnam has been influenced by Chinese culture. The market of Chlion is an ideal location to view the city’s trading activities. The Hôtel de Ville gives a magnificent presentation of the architecture during French colonial years. You can also visit the twin towers of Notre Dame Cathedral which has been regarded as one of the most distinctive familiar landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City since the 1880s.

The Mekong River, a most fascinating river running through six nations (China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam), finally enter into the South China Sea. The Mekong River delta is the largest plain in Vietnam with fertile soil and is, therefore, one of the predominant bases for Vietnam's food supply.

Normally from late January to early February is the period of time when Vietnamese people celebrate their traditional New Year, Tet.  The week-long activities are observed carrying both religious meaning and people's expectation for a properous year ahead. Festivals like this that have long historical backgrounds and religious origins are numerous throughout the year.  Many of the festivals have their counterparts in China; some are even called by the same name and celebrated in the same way.




Impact Abroad provides International Volunteering & Community Service Opportunities
to people in the western world to help children in Yunnan, China

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