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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Visit Tiger Cages, Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Tiger Cages, Con Dao Islands, Vietnam. Picture source. Ngoisao

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Visited Tiger Cages, Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Located close to the equator (45 minute by air from Ho Chi Minh City), and described by The New York Times as ‘…one of Southeast Asias most untouched and breathtaking getaways‘, Con Dao archipelago enjoys a warm tropical climate.

Despite the ugly history, Con Dao now is the most favorite beach scene of international and adventurous Vietnamese travelers.  Deep blue water with best coral reefs, lush forest with typical sub-tropical wildlife, rolling hills and sharp cliffs, friendly people…mark the islands as pristine spot for ones who love beach, nature and slow life.

Being well protected by bodyguards, security staffs, and Six Senses resort staff, still  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt ‘s pictures appeared on local news today as they visit the Tiger Cage, former prison in Con Dao.

With their surprise visit, Brangelina and their children had turned Con Dao Islands and its tourism hit on top of the local and the world news.

For Con Dao islands adventure and Vietnam holiday, contact our Travel Specialists

+ [84] 977 19 11 19
Tiger Cages, Con Dao Islands Vietnam

Tiger Cages, Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Tiger Cages, Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

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Con Dao Islands,Vietnam

Con Dao Islands,Vietnam, Grandeur Journeys


Great news for Con Dao Islands and the country’s tourism as Jolie and her kids hat off to Con Dao Islands. Would love to share the news for all ones who love beaches and nature. Next one who visits Con Dao may be you! For Con Dao Islands and luxury holidays in Vietnam, reach me at


Jolie in Vietnam

Jolie and her family are in Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Jolie, Pitt back in Vietnam with adopted son

Last updated: 11/11/2011 13:00

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie is in Vietnam with husband Brad Pitt for her first known visit since adopting an orphan from the country four years ago, local media reports said Jolie and fellow film idol Brad Pitt landed in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday night with their adopted son Pax Thien and five other children, VNExpress online newspaper reported, quoting an airport source. The Oscar-winning American, who starred in the “Lara Croft” films, adopted the boy as a three-year-old from a Ho Chi Minh City orphanage in 2007. She and Pitt have two other adopted children, from Cambodia and Ethiopia. VNExpress said the family would travel to Con Dao, a holiday destination off Vietnam’s southern coast. The airport refused to comment to AFP and the orphanage could not be reached. Pitt, Jolie and their six children were in Tokyo on Thursday, where Pitt held a news conference ahead of the Japan release of his new movie “Moneyball”.

Thanh Nien News, Vietnam


Saigon Meditation Night, Invitation

Saigon Meditation Night, Invitation



Date: Sat 12th November, 2011
Time: 14.00 – 21.30
Venue: Long Thuan Garden, Ho Chi Minh

You are warmly welcomed to join us for the Full-moon Zen Meditation
to evoke self-happiness
to share love and sympathy
to gain and to give the meaning of life

For details info and reservation, please contact
Hai Van ( Mr.)
Grandeur Journeys, Vietnam
m. 0977 19 11 19


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The Good News Gongs, Vietnam Central Highlands Gongs

Central Higlands Young Gongs Team, Nguyen Binh

The Good News Gongs

Dinh Keo’s efforts in teaching youth in Gia Lai Province to play the gong is helping to preserve this unique aspect of Central Highlands’ culture

The sounds of a young cong chieng (gong) band in Kong Chro Commune have inspired amateur listeners and long-time lovers of the music alike.

The 30 children have blown new life into the nation’s antique art and drawn listeners to their small corner in Gia Lai Province.

Throughout the Central Highlands of Vietnam, gong ensembles have traditionally participated in ceremonies tied to the daily lives of the region’s diverse ethnic communities. The musical styles are, in no way, alike. Ritual functions, genres and techniques vary widely.

In most of these communities, however, these instruments (wrought from bronze and silver) are regarded as a divine medium—capable of bridging the gap between humanity and the supernatural world.

“The gong plays an integral role in the culture of the ethnic people of Gia Lai Province,” said Phan Xuan Vu, manager of Gia Lai Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “The instrument’s unique cultural legacy dates back hundreds of years but it has been strongly affected by modernization.”

According to Vu, the gongs traditionally played a central role in the indigenous religious ceremonies of various small rural communities. As those communities move further into mainstream Vietnamese society, their ancient beliefs, practices and instruments are often left behind.

Some, however, are holding out. In the remote and impoverished village of Kong Chro, Dinh Keo, an aging gong artisan, is doing his best to train a whole new generation of musicians.

In 2006, a five-year-old boy named Pram wandered into Keo’s workshop.

The boy seemed more interested in his instruments than playing out in the midday heat. So Keo began to teach him how to properly strike the instrument.

More children began showing up to his workshop, hoping to learn now to play the instruments. Keo said that the idea of gathering a gong class for children splashed through his mind when he noticed that the traditional, handmade instruments were being sold and stolen throughout the impoverished community.

With help of the village patriarchs, Keo began training these little students. Pram remains his youngest apprentice – to this day, he can only handle the smallest gong (around 25 centimeters).

“You must be patient and encourage them to understand and have a passion for the gongs,” Keo said. “It takes a lot of time and effort to work with the kids, aged five to six. Their mothers helped a lot when they spent nearly a month weaving beautiful costumes for their kids to wear in competition.”

More and more little students began flooding into the class. Soon enough, Keo formed a band.

In 2009, the tiny gong team arrived at the first-ever International Gong Festival in Pleiku dressed in matching multi-colored cuffs and red patches.

The team won praise from both local and foreign tourists for their soaring performances.

After just one year, Keo’s gong team, aged 10-14, could confidently participate in any cultural festival, throughout the country. What’s more, a group of female singers has been formed in the village to accompany the band.

Keo said he is satisfied with this new generation of traditional artists.

He worries, however, about the fate of the aging generation of gong makers. So far parents have relied solely on him for his expertise and advice.

“Now we must rely on the kids, for they are both the origin and the future,” Keo said. “Faced with the possibility of losing a cultural asset, the children will be great warriors – they have not been absorbed into foreign culture.”

Keo has worked hard to spread his mastery of the instrument.

After years of training Dinh Glich and Dinh Chrum in the art of gong making, the men frequently return from their neighboring communes to help teach his classes.

Keo says that his greatest wish is to found more and more young gong groups in the Central Highlands. He says he’s willing to go anywhere to help make it happen.


Tran Hieu
Source. Thanh Nien

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Vietnam Coffee Tour, Experience The Local Coffee Industry

Vietnam Coffee Tour. Passions and Culture Exchange


Vietnam Coffee Tour

Highlights: experience exotic wild nature and ethnic villages, learn about the making of rare and expansive Weasels Coffee, ride an elephant along Lak Lake, explore the forest, enjoy a gong show

This journey will bring you to Buon Ma Thuot, the largest city in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, an unexplored area with great adventure and trekking potential. We can see wild nature, meet hospitable residents, visit villages of the M’Nong ethnic people, ride an elephant along Lak Lake, explore the forest, enjoy a gong show and drink wine through pipes together with other people. We also visit local farm to experience the making of rare and expensive Weasels Coffee, that we know as coffee ‘beans’, passed though the civet largely undigested and the resulting beans, when washed and sun-dried, had undergone a remarkable change to produce a uniquely smooth and delicious flavor. Perhaps this was because the civet would choose only the best and ripest beans to eat, but also because the beans had been modified by enzyme reactions on their journey.


Grandeur Journeys

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Hoian Flood in Sep, 2009

Hoian Historic Flood, Sep 2009

Historic Flood in Hoian, Sept 30, 2009

Hoian , a former trading port dating from the 15th century, is a major tourist town in Vietnam suffered high flood during the end of Sep, 2009.

Rains came heavily over the Hoian and east mountains with strong winds from the ocean in several days before the flood came.

The water came quickly during the night eve till the next morning.  All the picturesque narrow streets of tightly-packed old temples, craft shops and restaurants were submerged in filthy brown water from the high mountain, mainly. Local residents said water had reached halfway to the ceiling on the ground floor of their homes. Almost people are trapped on their upper floors. The water matches that of 45 years ago, according to folk historic records.

In 1999, ancient Hoi An had suffered historic flood which marked the water at 7m high.

The whole town center  was cut off and accessible only by boat, with strict conditions. The major An Hoi Bridge which link the old quarter to An Hoi fishing village was cracked, forcing people to cross in single file.

Un- expecting and unpredictable flood hit the local economy deeply. Almost the shops clothes and fabric are soaked up with water. Some shops lost almost everything.

Estimated about 6,000 Vietnamese and foreign tourists remained in the town but they were all had been moved out of the flood zone safely.

The first flood in my life experience marked itself with sad memories of Hoian


Hai Van
Grandeur Journeys,


Nguyen Thai Hoc street, main business street in Hoian in the flood, Sep 2009

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Tour Leader Awards 2011, Explore UK

Explore UK, Tour Leader Awards 2011 – Tour Leader Awards 2011 Runners Up

The results have been ann ounced for the 2011 Explore Tour Leader Awards, with Nepalese leader Sudarshan KC being voted the overall winner. The runners up were Jorge Mario Rodriguez, Tran Van Hoan and Louise Van Zwanenberg, with Wael Wanas receiving the prestigious Shirley Meacock Spirit of Explore Award.

Tour Guide Awards 2011
Tour Leader of the Year 2011: Sudarshan KC

tlasudarshanSudarshan KC was chosen by a panel of judges after he was shortlisted following nominations received by Explore customers. When choosing him as their winner the judges praised the quality of the customer feedback that he received, the rare ability he has to create a real sense of family in his groups, as well as his ability to make tough decisions.

Sudarshan will receive a £1,000 prize, half of which he will donate to charity. He has chosen a school just outside Kathmandu to benefit from the donation. Sudarshan Says;

It is very hard to choose the place to help, but after going through couple of places, I think i will give the money to one of the schools  just outside Kathmandu .It is called Image Academy in Manamaiju Village Development Commitee. I wanted to help the poor children of this school by providing stationary and may be we will change the black board of some of the classes.

Explore received a staggering 848 nominations for 250 different tour leaders for the Tour Leader of the Year Award. Once both sets of nominations had been shortlisted, it was up to a panel of judges to choose the two winners. The judging panel met on 12th July and was made up of Ashley Toft, Managing Director and Carolina Gryngarten, Head of Operations at Explore; Amar Grover, travel journalist; Polly Davies, travel agent from Marco Polo; Sylvia Curry, loyal Explore customer, and Pam Meacock, Shirley Meacock’s daughter and loyal Explore customer.

The standard was incredibly high, and members of the judging panel commented how hard it was to decide the winner and three runners up, who were Jorge Mario Rodriguez, Tran Van Hoan and Louise Van Zwanenberg. Each receive a prize of £500, half of which will go to a charity of their choice.

Jorge Mario Rodriguez: Guatemala

Guide Award 2011, EXplore Uk
Jorge Mario Rodriguez

What impressed the panel was the consistently amazing feedback Jorge gets from customers, with many stating that he is the best leader they’ve ever had. Jorge has taken to the role of tour leader fantastically well and the Explore Operations Managers have been impressed with his understanding of the Explore ethos and the way he spent time really getting to understand all the details of the role. Jorge tells us about his charity:

In regards to the organization which I would like to benefit, it is a very small institution called AMBI.  Amor y bienestar, by its acronym in Spanish, “love and wellbeing”. It is a small nursery home where parents can leave their children as they go to work. For many people of a low socio-economical level, especially in the poorest areas of the city, taking care of their children can be a problem when they need to go to work.  There are cases of single mothers that just have to leave their kids inside their homes (that most of the times are just a room) with the door locked meanwhile they go to work.  Of course they can´t afford not to go to work and what concerns the parents the most is that if the kids are left alone and able to go out into the streets they could become prey for gangs who will recruit them and insert them into a life of crime.  And because of this, the best choice is to leave them children behind locked doors with all the adyacent dangers that this represents for the kids in the event of an accident or any other kind of calamity. This is why I believe this small nursery institutions are of crucial help for the unprivileged. In the particular case of choosing AMBI as a beneficiary, the fact is that I do personally know some of the people who work there.

Tran Van Hoan. Vietnam Tour Leader Awards 2011

Tran Van Hoan: Vietnam

The judging panel noted the fact that Tran Van Hoan goes to such great lengths to help customers when things don’t go to plan or when they lose personal possessions. He also come across as a wonderful ambassador, not only for Vietnam, but also for Explore. The panel was also impressed with the fact that he has led tours in Cambodia, and seems to have the respect of the local people there, and gets great feedback from customers, even though it is not his home country. Tran tells us about his chosen charity:

I chose the Go Vap Center for Nursing Children Support. I choose this organization because they have a clear objective and are willing to receive and support children without any conditions. They are not really international or national (I mean international which is receiving many supports from other International Organizations around the world). However, they have many policies and methods of training but their budget is very limited, that’s why I support them.

Source. Explore UK

Tran Van Hoan ( Second from the left), Explore UK Tour Leader Awards 2011 and Vietnam Tour Leaders

Tran Van Hoan ( First one from the right), Explore UK Tour Leader Awards 2011 and Vietnam Tour Leaders

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