Our Facebook

Lucky Adventure Travel Indochina – Summer Promotion 2013

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA has launched “Great summer holiday with lucky travels” for summer promotion 2013 in Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia. The program applies for all customers request tour on website from 25 March to 30 September 2013.

Conquering Fansipan Vietnam to be the champion

Fansipan is the highest peak of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, so it is called the “Roof of Indochina” while the local people call it Huasipan, which means large tottering rock.

Motorbiking Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam - an unforgettable travel adventure

Riding a motorbike from the North to the South of Vietnam was an amazing experience. Now, while I didn’t ride the motorcycle on myself (Anthony did an amazing job!) it is still something that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Discover Vietnam by cycling

People who had traveled to Vietnam agreed that it was an interesting experience in general, but the bicycle tours definitely brought more adventurous excitements.

A Look into Beautiful Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay has been declared a UNESCO World heritage site and it really deserves the designation. It is one of the most exciting unusual places I have been to in my life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kayak Halong Bay tours: The World’s Nature Heritage of Vietnam

Ha Long Bay (also “Halong Bay”) is in northern Vietnam, 170 km east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its scenic rock formations

If you thought the hideout in the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” was spectacular, imagine a place where there are 3,000 such limestone islands clustered together in the East Sea of Halong Bay. Paddle through caves into secret lagoons, drift down channels surrounded by cliffs and forest and sail out into the open sea. Relax on the deck of our luxurious double-sailed junk and look forward to seafood bought straight from passing fishing craft. Swim alone amongst the limestone islets under the stars and take a breather at a floating village hidden amongst the islands. Our fiber glass sea kayaks make for satisfying travel, whether you are an Olympic champion or first time enthusiast.

GETTING THERE

The best way to get to Ha Long Bay is to rent a car from Hanoi from a tour opganizer as ActiveTravelVietnam (ATV). It costs approximately US$100-US$120 return. There is also a tourist open bus service offered by travel agencies around the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. Cost is around US$8 net/person/way.

Public buses leave from Long Bien Station to the Bai Chay Station (other side of Red River, 5km from Hoan Kiem Lake) every 30 minutes from 6AM to 6PM and cost 50,000 dong/person each way. This is not recommended for foreign travelers, as these buses are often crowded, slow and unsafe.

THE POPULAR TRAIL (starting from Hanoi)

Day 1: You leave Hanoi for Halong Bay at 8.30am with a short break for refreshment at a handicraft centre. Upon arrival in Halong City you will board a Chinese-style wooden boat (locals call it “Junk”) for a fine seafood lunch and a short cruise to one cave. After a short exploration of the cave you start the kayak exploration of the bay, paddling through an amazing area of limestone islets, passing a floating village to reach Luon Cave, which is a tunnel thrusting through a mountain. Paddling through the tunnel to explore a beautiful secluded lagoon. End of the first with dinner and overnight in AC, private junk’s cabin.

Day 2: This kayaking day starts from Van Chai Floating village and then continue paddling to Dark Cave. The cave is a 200m long, dark tunnel thrusting through a limestone mountain. The tunnel is the only entry to a secluded and beautiful lagoon. You can also explore some other caves nearby. After lunch you paddle to Ba Trai Dao Lagoon, along a stunning and fairly rough sea channel, to explore its beautiful beaches. Then continue paddling to Lan Ha Bay, which is smaller than Halong Bay but much more interesting with lots of secluded beaches.

Day 3: Breakfast is served on the junk and you will enjoy the sundeck while the Junk navigates amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay to get back to Halong City. Lunch on the junk before heading back to Hanoi by bus.

WHEN TO KAYAK

You can do kayaking on the bay all year around but great time is between October and June. A typical kayaking day starts at about 8.00 am after breakfast. Lunch will be served on support boat. At the end of a kayaking day, we would return to the junk by 5 pm or 5.30 pm.

TRAVEL GEARS

On this trip ATV use hard-cell, tandem kayak. Paddle, life-jacket and dry bag are available. We recommend you to bring some extra gears such as Sun block, hat, anti-insect repellent, sunglasses, rain coat. The kayak tour with well-trained and experienced tour guide is always recommended for a best exploration.


For more information about kayaking on Halong Bay, visit these websites

vietnam travel, vietnam tours, Kayak Halong Bay, Halong Bay Kayking tours, Halong Bay junks,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sapa Overview

Sapa Overview magnify
This article offers main Sapa travel information, including Sapa history, Sapa travel tips, weather and ethnic minority people such as H’mong, Dzao etc… And other helpful guide likes orientation, maps, internet access, money, post.


The Queen of the Mountains, Sapa sits overlooking a beautiful valley, lofty mountains towering over the town on all sides. Welcome to the destination in northwest Victual way to another world of mysterious minority cultures and luscious landscapes. The spectacular scenery that surrounds Sapa includes cascading rice terraces that spill down the mountains like a patchwork quilt. The mountains are often shrouded in mist that rolls back and forth along the peaks, offering tantalizing glimpses of what lies in wait on a clear day. The valleys and villages around Sapa are home to a host of hill-tribe people who wander town to buy, sell and trade.



In a beautiful valley close to the Chinese border, Sapa is a former hill station built in 1922. History has not always been Sapa, and the series of conflicts that swept over Vietnam nearly saw it wiped off the map. From WWII, successive wars against the French and the USA, not forgetting the more recent border skirmish with China in 1979, took their toll. The old hotels built by the French were allowed to fall into disrepair and Sapa was forgotten by all but a handful of residents.

With the advent of tourism, Sapa has experienced a renaissance. Bad roads have been upgraded, many streets have been given names, countless new hotels have I up, the electricity supply is reliable and the food has improved immeasurably. Inherent in all of this prosperity is cultural change for the Montagnards, many of whom are now well versed in the ways of the cash economy and are reaping the financial rewards of the tourism influx. The downside is a building boom that has seen one hotel after another raise the roof in a continual quest for better views. Height restrictions are rarely enforced and the Sapa skyline is changing for the worse.

Another inconvenience that will not change is the weather. If you visit off-season, don*t forget your winter woollies. Not only is it cold (like 0oc), but winter brings fog and drizzle. Quite why the French alighted on this spot is difficult to comprehend: it must have been one of those rare clear days when the views are to die for. The chilly climate does have its advantages, however. The area boasts temperate zone fruit trees bearing peaches and plums, and gardens for raising medicinal herbs.

The dry season in Sapa lasts from around January to June. January and February are the coldest (and foggiest) months. From March to May the weather is often excellent, and the summer is warm despite the rains between June and August. The window from September to mid-December is a rewarding time to be in Sapa, though there is a bit of lingering rain at the start and the temperature dips by December.

Sapa would be of considerably less interest without the H’mong and Dzao people, the largest ethnic groups in the region. The billowing red headdresses of the Red Dzao are visible all over town, a surreal sight amid the accelerating development. The H’mong are more numerous and canny traders. Their villages may look medieval but most will have a mobile phone and an email address to stay in touch. Traditionally, they were the poorest of the poor, but have rapidly learnt the spirit of free enterprise. Most of the Montagnards have had little formal education and are illiterate, yet all the youngsters have a good command of English, French and a handful of other languages.

If possible, try to visit during the week, when Sapa is less crowded and more intimate. Crowds flock to Sapa for the Saturday market, but a smaller market is held every day. There is plenty to see on weekdays, and there are lots of interesting villages within walking distance of the centre.

Orientation

There is some confusion regarding Pho Cau May and D Muong Hoa. Note that places on the western side use Pho Cau May as their address while locations on the eastern side use D Muong Hoa.

MAPS

The Sapa Tourist Map is an excellent 1:60,000 scale map of the walking trails and attractions around Sapa, plus an inset of the town. The Sapa Trekking Map is a nice little hand-drawn map showing trekking routes and the town, produced by Covit. Both cost 20,000d.

Information

INTERNET ACCESS
Internet access is available in countless hotel and travel offices around town, usually from 5000d per hour.

MONEY
The banking situation has improved considerably in Sapa, with a real bank complete with an ATM. Most hotels accept US dollars, but expect a worse exchange rate than in Hanoi.

BIDV Tel:872 569; Ngu Chi Son Str – Open: 7-11.30am & 1.30 - 4.30pm Currently the best all-rounder in town, with an ATW, plus exchange of travelers cheques and cash. It is by the lake in the new part of town.

POST Main post office Ham Rong Str International phone call can be made here, but for postal services ifs better to hang on and consign things from Hanoi, as it is much faster. Internet access is also available.

If you are fond of discovering an insividual Sapa, please visit the website:

activetravelvietnam.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boat trip in Halong Bay, unforgettable!!!

Once in the north of Vietnam, we had to decide whether going to Sapa or to Halong Bay because our one month tourist visa was running out soon. Two factors determined our choice: on one hand, the bad weather conditions in the northwest region of Vietnam, on the other hand, a tropical storm which had flooded and incomunicated the northern region of Sapa, leaving hundreds of deads and homeless people behind. We could only go then for a boat trip in Halong Bay. As it is usual on our trip, we asked for advice in many different travel agencies and checked the internet to make our move independently with all the info available. This is how we found Indochina Sails, a tour operator based in Halong bay, who offers tailor made boat trips for independent travellers.

halong-bay2.JPG

We booked a 3 days/2 nights trip and paid about 200USD each. We arranged more or less the plan for everyday: sail in the morning to a nice spot, go on the kayak for a while to hidden lagoons and caves and have a swim, then eat and do the same in the afternoon in another spot. Overall we wanted to avoid tourist places and crowds. We wanted to go further away than the normal tours go. We wanted to be alone most of the time and sleep in a different secluded place every night. We wanted many things and almost all of them were accomplished. You can contact Mr Tony, the operator, through his website or under info@activetravelshop.com.

our-boat.JPG

Halong Bay is spectacular and the weather conditions were great (sunny, cloudy and few big storms during the nights, which gave a feeling of adventure to the whole experience), as well as the arrangements of the organizer. Basically we had a wooden and bamboo sail boat for four people –we were travelling with two other spanish guys together- entirely at our service. We could decide where to go and where not to go, if we wanted to stay longer or not. We could stop the boat and take the kayaks or just jump off the boat for a refreshing swim in the middle of nowhere –with some restrictions, of course. The crew, Tim and Hum -at least this is how their names sounded to us- were great although we had kind of communication problems sometimes, when we had the feeling they had not understood what we were asking for. They cooked so well and so much that we are missing their food a lot now –we have to say that we ate the same lunch and dinner during the 3 days with slightly variations, but still great food!

halong-bay3.JPG

If we sumarize the trip, it was awesom!Just some tips if you are planning to do a similar tour: fix the route and what you are interested in seeing –it is enough to have an approximate idea, you can change plans once in the boat-. Insist on it once onboard. Ask for a map to be able to locate yourself at anytime –we didn’t do it and missed it- and corroborate you are doing what you were promised to. Ask in advance any question you may have and above all, enjoy the experience!!!

kayaking.JPG



If you interested in a wonderful trip like this you can visit Halong Bay cruises, Halong Bay junks, vietnam travel for more information.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trek Mai Chau - The heart of a beautiful valley

Trek Mai Chau tours by you.

Mai Chau Valley



Mai Chau is the heart of a beautiful valley that is a world away from the hustle of Hanoi. The modern village is an unappealing sprawl, but as you emerge on the rice fields and rural living is transformed into a real paradise. It’s a stunning area, and the most people here are ethnic White Thai, distantly related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China.

Although most local no longer wear traditional dress, the Thai women are masterful weavers who ensure that there is plenty of traditional – style clothing to buy in the village centre. You will see women weaving on looms under or inside their houses in the village. Much of the silk looks similar to that seen in Laos. The Thai of Mai Chau are less likely to employ strong-arm sales tactics than their H’mong counterparts in Sapa: Polite bargaining is the norm rather than endless haggling.

GETTING THERE

Mai Chau is 135km from Hanoi and just 5km south of Tong Dau junction on High Way 6. There’s no direct public transport to Mai Chau from Hanoi; however, buses to nearby Hoa Binh (25,000 d, two hours) are plentiful. From Hoa Binh there are several scheduled buses to Mai Chau (20,000d, two hours) daily. Usually these stop at Tong Dau junction; a xe om (motorbike taxi) from there to Mai Chau proper will cost about 15,000d.

Theoretically, foreigners must pay a 5000d entry to Mai Chau. There is a toll booth at the state-run guesthouse on the “main” road. More often than not, there is nobody there to collect the fee.

THE POPULAR TRAIL (Departing from Hanoi)

Day 1: You leave Hanoi for Mai Chau at 8.30 am. After 4-hr beautiful bus ride you will reach Pom Coong, a village of the Thai ethnic minority in Mai Chau valley. After a lunch in Pom Coong Village, you take light walk on village road to Xo, a village of the Thai ethnic minority. Dinner and overnight in a local house.

Day 2: After breakfast at the home stay you say goodbye to the host and walk to Buoc Village. On the way you would see villagers working on rice paddies and children going to school. Lunch on the way and in the afternoon, you will reach the beautiful village of Van. Homestay overnight.

Day 3: After breakfast at the home stay, you will walk on village roads which run between mountains and rice paddies. Reaching place for lunch stop, Van Mai village, around 11:30am. Lunch in a local house before taking a bus ride back to Hanoi. You would arrive in Hanoi around 5.30pm. Trip completes in Hanoi.

WHEN TO TREK

The best time to visit Mai Chau - Pu Luong is any time. One of the principal tourist lures of the area is its equitable climate. There aren’t any extremes of climate here, nor are there extremes of temperatures here. What you have are three principal seasons, hot, rainy and cold, with variations in temperature and the rainfall.

THE TREKKING DAY

A typical trekking day start at about 8.30 am after breakfast. Lunch times can vary depending on the terrain. We aim to reach the next overnight stop by 4.30 or 5. During the trek we will have short breaks for rest, snack and photographing.

Source: Trek Mai Chau vietnam travel, Trek Fansipan & Sapa Travel, Halong Bay cruises

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More