The Lam Dong Culture and Tourism 2013 Week will be in Da Lat City from December 27-31.

The event, which will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the city, will also feature the famous annual Da Lat Flower Festival. A carnival dedicated to flowers and horticulture – a key economic sector of the region – will begin the flower fest. Alongside the display of floral installations, several flowers that cannot be found anywhere else in country will be on display.

The Culture and Tourism Week will also include an art and music performance highlighting the diverse culture of ethnic minority groups living in the Central Highlands region.

An exhibition on the natural beauty and tourist attractions of Da Lat as well as the region will also be part of the celebration.

Central cities win landscape awards

The central city of Da Nang and Hoi An Ancient Town have won two Asian Townscapes Awards (ATA). The official announcement and award ceremony was held in Fukuoka City, Japan on Tuesday.

The townscape awards are given for "materialising a living environment that is happy and fulfilling" for residents. They aim to honour cities, regions and projects that have played a significant role as models in landscape construction.

Among the criteria used to determine the winners are: harmony with the surrounding environment; safety, convenience and sustainability; respect for culture and history; high artistic quality and contribution to local development as well as the capability to become a model for other cities.

Joint-organisers of the award are: UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia ad the Pacific, Asian Habitat Society, Fukuoka Asian Urban Research Centre and Asia Townscape Design Society.

Ha Long Bay imposes set fees

The Quang Ninh Finance Department has announced new transportation and accommodation prices for tourists visiting Ha Long Bay.

The cost of hiring a boat to cruise the bay will vary between VND280,000 (US$13) and VND600,000 ($29) per hour. The price of package tours will run from VND700,000 ($33) to VND5 million ($238) per customer for every 24 hours.

The fares will increase by a maximum of 30 per cent during festivals and holidays.

The announcement is aimed at creating a transparent and safe tourism environment.

By the end of October, Quang Ninh had welcomed more than 6.5 million tourists, reaching more than 87 per cent of its annual target. The number of tourists also represented a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent. The northern province hopes to receive 7.5 million of visitors this year.

Tickets rise for Ba Na Hill trips

Ticket prices to the famous Ba Na Hills in Da Nang City in 2014 will increase by VND50,000 to VND500,000 (US$24) for non-residents and VND350,000 ($17) for city residents.

According to the Sun Group, owner of the Ba Na Hills resort complex, the increase in prices will support quality improvements and provide more entertainment options.

In 2014, several new projects will be implemented, including expanding the spiritual tourism area, upgrading historic areas, building four-season flower houses and a French village. These projects are expected to attract more visitors to Ba Na Hills in the following months.

HCM City to enjoy Winter Fair

A Winter Fair will be organised in HCM City's District 11 from December 19 to 22, providing numerous entertainment options for local residents and foreigners to celebrate the Christmas festival.

The fair will have outdoor and indoor spaces presenting unique cultural features and traditional cuisines of Viet Nam and other countries in the EU.

Many special programmes will be organised for kids at the event, which will also offer the option of participating in charity events that support disadvantaged children.

Winter Fair 2013 is also being presented at chance for domestic and foreign traders and companies to share experiences and business opportunities.

The fair will open at 6.30pm on December 19. It will have 80 companies presenting goods and services in more than 160 booths, and expects to receive 100,000 visitors. — VNS