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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, July 15, 2010

Laos: Drifting amid lost dreams

With 17 years' experience navigating the Mekong River, Mr Puoy is reckoned to be the best riverboat captain in southern Laos. The watery labyrinth he works in contains a reputed 4000 islands, so he needs to be pretty good.

Sunset in Dondet, LaosSunset in Don Det, SiPhanDon, Laos

But right now, at the end of a harsher than usual dry season, the region's Laos moniker Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands), seems just a tad inaccurate.

In a fading tropical dusk, Mr Puoy is steering the imposing teak-trimmed hulk of the Vat Phou through a dynamic environment of sand bars and swirling eddies, ripples and rapids.

Rustic nets are being cast in graceful arcs from low-slung boats bobbing just centimetres above the waterline, as local ferries transport monks, buffaloes and backpackers across the Mekong's silvery expanse.

Like any good riverboat, the Vat Phou comes with an interesting backstory. It used to transport teak and rice down the Mekong, and was once owned by a Laos princess.

Recently rock royalty Sir Mick Jagger chartered the whole shebang, replicating our own itinerary of visiting local villages, French-colonial towns, and Khmer temples.

In a telling reminder of the area's remoteness, apparently no one recognised rock's most iconic hips and lips.

David Beckham would no doubt be mobbed by the kids playing on the Mekong's sandy makeshift football pitches, but in one of Indochina's quieter corners, music's most kinetic 65-year-old was just another skinny falang with a flash camera.

Si Phan Don hasn't always been drifting off the edge of the map. On the tiny islands of Don Det and Don Khon lies evidence of a grand French plan to transform Asian trade in the 19th century. Linked by a bridge from French colonial times, the twin islands are now a sleepy haven for backpackers who arrive for a night and stay for a month.

Amidst the scrawled signs for bumpy onward transport to Vietnam and Cambodia, a compact French locomotive and a few metres of rusted track are all that remain of Paris's designs.

Downstream the Khon Phapeng waterfalls thunder towards the border with Cambodia. During the wet season the cataracts swell to a width of 11km, and year round, travel and transport upstream is impossible.

The French planned to link the Mekong's southern and northern banks by Don Det's toytown railway, eventually hoping to expand the lucrative trade caravan all the way from Beijing to Saigon and the South China Sea. The weed-strewn and rusted hulk of a locomotive remains a poignant counterpoint to lost colonial dreams.

More colonial ambition lingers in the sleepy riverside town of Champassak. Before the Pathet Lao Socialist revolution in 1975, the town was the seat of Laos royalty, and amid the Chinese shophouses and wandering cows and buffaloes are glorious French mansions. The faded ochre residences are now dusty and overgrown, but still stately and elegant, if curiously out of place in the shimmering tropics of Laos.

More layers of history reside at the nearby Wat Phu temple, arrayed on the gentle slopes of the Phu Pasak range, and trimmed with mini-glens of frangipani. Sanskrit and Chinese inscriptions confirm the Unesco World Heritage site was inhabited in the 5th century, but the star focus in contemporary terms is the pair of gracious Khmer temples - male and female - that predate Cambodia's Angkor Wat by several centuries.

Compared to the tourist bustle of Siem Reap, this is a sedate and relaxing scene, with just a few Lao tourists ascending the temple's 180 steps slowly in the afternoon heat.

By the 12th century, the focus of Khmer society had moved on to the architectural overachievement of Angkor Wat, and this sleepy but spectacular slice of Indochina again drifted into languid obscurity until the thwarted 19th century dreams of Paris merchants. And despite a recent visit by an incognito rock superstar, it's still in little danger of becoming the Next Big Thing.

Four thousand islands, they reckon. On a river cruise this laidback and relaxing, who's counting?

CHECKLIST

Getting there: One of the best ways to get there is to go on Cathay Pacific to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and then connect with Vietnam Airlines.

Cruising: Mekong Cruises runs three-day trips on the Vat Phou in southern Laos, and two-day cruises ending in Luang Prabang on the Luangsay in northern Laos. Accommodation is in well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins. All meals are included, with a focus on Laos, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

Source: nzherald

Recommendation for travelling in Laos:
Laos Travel Tips
Luang Prabang Trek

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vietnam, Cambodia among World’s Top 30 Honeymoon Destinations

Once synonymous with war and genocide, Vietnam and Cambodia are coming into the second decade of the 21st Century as one of the world’s premier honeymoon hot spots.

Hoi An Beach, Quang Nam - VietnamHoi An Beach, Quang Nam - Vietnam

Virtuoso, a leading luxury travel network in the U.S., recently unveiled the 30 Top Honeymoons chosen by some of its most experienced honeymoon specialists. And Vietnam and Cambodia were prominent on the list.

“We’re in the midst of a remarkable journey,” said Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, general manager of The Nam Hai in the central of Quang Nam province, one of the resorts featured in Virtuoso’s ‘Romantic Southeast Asia’ honeymoon promotion. “From all over the world, people are dropping into this region for a distinguished honeymoon.”

Honeymooners have been in the Caribbean or Greek and done that. Now, they’re raising the bar on their expectations.

In its current honeymoon campaign, Virtuoso looked to TheKnot.com, the No. 1 online wedding planning resource, to create an email and website promotion that will be viewed by millions of registered brides-to-be., the No. 1 online wedding planning resource, to create an email and website promotion that will be viewed by millions of registered brides-to-be.

Angkor Temples, CambodiaAngkor Temples, Cambodia

The nine-night escape to Vietnam and Cambodia includes stays at The Nam Hai in Hoi An, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and Siem Reap’s Hotel de la Paix — three of the premier properties in Southeast Asia — for reasonable price per couple. Renowned regional tour operator, Trails of Indochina, takes care of the ground transportation.

The trip is arranged by TravelCorp International’s Luke Breaux, one of 24 featured Virtuoso honeymoon specialists. The U.S.-based consultant has 15 years experience arranging memorable itineraries for visitors to Southeast Asia.

“Vietnam and Cambodia possess a kind of cultural and exotic appeal that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Laubichler-Pichler. “Between its abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, dramatic beaches and world-class accommodation, the region has everything a couple could want.”

Situated on 35 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens, The Nam Hai is an all-villa property managed by GHM and featuring 60 one-bedroom villas and 40 pool villas ranging from one to five bedrooms, each with its own infinity pool.

Opened in 1901, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi reigns as the Grande Dame of Vietnamese hospitality and one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic hotels. In 2009, the hotel became the first in the Sofitel portfolio to acquire Accor’s Legend brand distinction.

Located in the heart of Siem Reap, close to the cultural and historic heart of Cambodia, Hotel de la Paix is a luxury boutique hotel within easy reach of colorful markets, vibrant nightlife and the breathtaking complexes of Angkor Wat, often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.

Source: Vietnambusiness

Suggestions for traveling:
Hoi An – Quang Nam
Angkor Wat Highlights

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Great Red Spider Vietnam Motorcycle Tour with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA - Part 3

Coming to the last part of Spider Group's story, let’s discovery the fascinating scenery with the wide open feeling when they were riding and other 2-day relaxing in Ho Chi Minh city before they came back home.

- The Great Red Spider Vietnam Motorcycle Tour with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA - Part 1
- The Great Red Spider Vietnam Motorcycle Tour with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA - Part 2

The Great Red Spider Vietnam Motorcycle Tour with ACTIVETRAVEL  ASIAThe Great Red Spider Vietnam Motorcycle Tour with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

Wednesday January 27th
Well we left Kon Tum this morning for another 280 KM or so ride and now we have arrived in Buon Ma Thuot, from now on referred to BMT. We left KT and hit the road. The sun was shining brightly and very hot all day. The ride was good, but long, especially since we took a couple wrong turns and ended up adding about 30KM's to our trip, which may not seem like much but is nearly an hour. This city is the capital of the Dac Lac province and the site of the last battle of the Vietnam war in 1975.....which was long after the Americans left.

This region is well known for its coffee and in fact Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world behind Brazil. And.....Vietnam has the largest per capital consumption of coffee in the world. This is hard to imagine after the coffee we have been having each morning. We passed through rolling hills the entire time with numerous coffee plantations. They are beautiful large green bushes with many white flowers. They put off a very pleasant aroma that fills the air. Driving along the roads in this area, we go by countless homes with the green coffee beans spread out on the front "driveway", if you will, drying. Some are very fresh and green, some are red and some are clearly nearly dried and more brown in color.

We also passed through many kilometers of rubber trees and there are pix of them in this section of the update. Seems like a very antiquated process but, nonetheless, there were literally thousands of trees for many KM's dripping slowly the rubber from the trees into small pans attached to the trees.

We have all decided that the North of Vietnam is has a lot more going for it than that part of the south we have seen.
  • Roads much better
  • Much cleaner
  • Better scenery
That said, we did have a good ride and stopped in Pleiku, which Bruce Wingman was stationed for a small amount of time during the war. We ended the day by riding on the most dusty, traffic jammed road we have yet to be on, which was under construction. It was a mass of cars, people, dust, trucks, buses and us of course. When we got the hotel we each went to rooms and when we turned on the showers, the black dirt just ran off our bodies.

Oh, and the latest 31 Card Game and who got the single update is in from yesterday and today. Bruce now has 4 wins after a face off with Kenny for the pot last night. And, Bruce also won the draw for the single room tonight meaning he would have it for the THIRD time. But being the good guy he is, he donated it to Dave Morocco Dryden.

Tomorrow is our last day of riding. We are headed for Nha Trang, which is directly east of here about 200 KM's and supposedly has the most beautiful beaches in all of Asia. We plan to leave early so we can get there for an early afternoon lunch and enjoy the place. We plan a going away party Thursday night in Nha Trang for our bike guide Kenny, our driver Luc and our mechanic Qin who will not be going on with us on Friday to Ho Chi Minh City.

Tomorrow is our last day of riding. On the one hand it seems like we just started the trip and its sad to be at the end of the ride. On the other hand, I think we are all happy to get back to civilization, a soft clean bed, a hard and hot shower and the little things that make travel more enjoyable. We are all looking forward to getting to Nha Trang and also onward to HCMC.

Thursday January 28th
Today we leave BMT for Nha Trang, the beautiful resort coastal city for the final push of our Hanoi to Nha Trang, 1,800 KM Journey. Five years ago or more I read a book entitled "Up Country." It was the story of a guy who rode a motor bike from Hanoi to Saigon investigating a murder that occurred during the Vietnam war. I promised myself that I would one day do a motorbike ride in the same fashion. After coming to Vietnam many time for business, this was the experience of a lifetime, a way to check off something in my Bucket List. A sense of accomplishment and happiness for sure.

As we pulled out of BMT this morning, everyone was aware that it was the last day of our long ride together. Strangers other than Steve, we became good friends, had great laughs and enjoyed a great experience together. The ride from BMT was across the high plains of Vietnam, the Highlands as they call them. About an hour into the ride, we rode up into the last set of mountains we would see before descending to the sea and the port of Nha Trang.

Dave Dryden reminded us that this road was the site of the largest exodus of people in the Vietnam war. When Buôn Ma Thuột fell in the final battle in 1975, thousands, if not millions of South Vietnamese fled down the road we rode on today. Fleeing for their lives from the North Vietnamese army.

The ride through the mountains was beautiful. A reminder of all the gorgeous mountains, passes and beauty that we have seen throughout our trip. As we descended down the steep hills we began to get a whiff of sea air every now and then and we know our journey was coming to a close.

Then as we rounded a bend and a steep decline, there it was, the ocean and the most beautiful scene we could have possibly imagined. We rode hard and reached the last 10 KM's of road that ran right along the seacoast. What a great last ride that was. The wind in our face, the cool air, the smell of the sea. We really soaked it up.

Later we had our farewell lunch with Kenny, Loc and Qin our guide, driver and mechanic. We toasted some beers and sent them on their way back to Hanoi. The bikers then went to a beach bar and reflected on the trip, our new friendships and the exciting next few days we have to enjoy Ho Chi Minh City. Its been a great trip, with great guys and memory of one sort or another for each of us.

Enjoy our last biking day pix and videos below, and be on the look out for our updates from Ho Chi Minh City in the next couple of days.

Friday and Saturday January 29th, 30th Ho Chi Minh City
We left Nha Trang on Friday late morning for a short hour flight to HCMC. Upon arrival we were very surprised to have a special greeting, arranged by the AB importer and distributor, Walter Gannon. He sent his large Bud Bus and Bud Angels as they call them to greet us at the airport and give us VIP travel for the 45 minute ride to our hotel.

We chilled out in the afternoon and mostly just walked around downtown HCMC. We are staying at the Caravelle Hotel, in the center of the city. There is lots of activity here. Then in the evening, Walter arranged for a reception in our honor at the Park Hyatt Hotel out on a veranda. It was USA-like BBQ and he invited all his management to come and join us. He also invited the US Ambassador to come and he did. He is in a group shot with us standing next to Bruce. After a fun evening at the reception, we returned to the hotel for a good night sleep.

Today on Saturday we had a tour of several places. The War Museum which was a horrible place where we saw the harm and torture that all sides in the conflict performed. We visited the Presidential Palace, most known for the scene when the VC tanks burst through the gates and took over South Vietnam, officially ending the conflict. We visited the Notre Dame Cathedral which is a replica of the one in France. We also saw the famous Post Office with its fabulous design.

We ended the tour with a lunch at a local restaurant which was excellent and had an old guy playing piano throughout. Then we had a farewell coffee with Dave Dryden who is flying out of HCMC back to London this evening. The rest of the crew will be hosted tonight for dinner by Amy Wu, former AB China and now the General Manager for the Circle K convenience business for Vietnam.

We depart the hotel at 4:00am Sunday morning to catch our departing flight, which leaves at 6:00am local time to Hong Kong and then on to Chicago. So this will be the final update for the Red Spider Motorcycle Tour. We hope everyone enjoyed following us on our exciting adventure. We had a great time, but everyone is ready to come home and see family and friends again.

Source: peterb.yolasite.com

Vietnam Motorcycling recommendation:
Motorcycling tours in Summer Promotion 2010
Motorcycling travel guides
Motorcycling tours in Vietnam

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Travel tips for adventure holidays in Vietnam

Imaginative travellers looking to head to south-east Asia might want to make Vietnam a priority stop-off, as a website has provided tips on how to survive a stay in the country.

Vietnam adventure holidays

Ha Giang Province Vietnam

Suite101 has reported that following the culmination of war in recent years, the nation's economy has started to "boom" and visitor numbers are on the increase.

It has thus offered some guidance on the best ways to stay safe and save money while journeying across the place.

An easy - and relatively cheap - way to get between destinations is to fly, the portal has advised, although those who do not fancy taking to the sky can travel by rail - along such routes as the Reunification Express.

Sturdy walking shoes are a must for those wanting to venture around by foot, along with sunscreen, shorts and loose clothing - although access to some temples and restaurants may require people to cover up.

Suite101 recently recommended a boat trip along Vietnam's Mekong Delta to individuals hoping to experience the country's diverse food and culture

Source: imaginative-traveller.com
Adventure Travel Resource

Friday, April 9, 2010

Six places you never thought you could afford include Ho Chi Minh city Vietnam

Dreaming of a far-flung vacation? This year, those out-of-reach destinations may be surprisingly affordable. Last year, we covered six places you never thought you could afford. This year, we've compiled another six hot spots, with a twist—while these locales may be expensive to get to, the in-country costs make the vacation budget easy. In fact, we've even compared these far-flung locales with more traditional vacation destinations to show you just how budget-friendly globe trotting can be. Read on to start planning this year's vacation of a lifetime.

Notre Dame Cathedral backside, Ho Chi Minh (Sai Gon)

Notre Dame Cathedral backside, Ho Chi Minh (Sai Gon)


Editor's Note: All price comparisons feature round-trip airfare, including taxes and fees. Hotel prices reflect the room's base price, are based on double occupancy, and do not include taxes and fees.

Buenos Aires

History, food and wine, art, and nightlife—there may be no better value-packed destination this year than Buenos Aires. Nicknamed the "Paris of South America", Buenos Aires can give you a cultural experience with both Latin American and European influences. And with the country celebrating its bicentennial in May, it's an ideal time to visit.

The country, still recovering from the peso crisis of 2001, offers a great value for overseas travelers, particularly Americans. At press time, $1 US gets you 3.86 Argentina pesos (see USATODAY.com's currency converter for current exchange rates), so your money goes far in-country. Frommer's notes that while the Argentinian economy has been steadily recovering, a Buenos Aires vacation still typically costs about 30% less than popular destinations in North America or Europe.

Airfare from New York City starts around $700 round-trip, taxes included, for travel in April and May; three-star downtown hotels can be found from $56, and one-bedroom downtown apartment rentals start at $250 per week. For two people traveling together, you can ballpark about $1,650 to $1,800 for airfare-and-accommodations for a seven-night vacation this spring.

Let's compare that price tag to a week in Paris during the same time period. Airfare from New York starts around $650 in April and May, a three-star hotel near the Champs-Elysees/Belle Epoque district costs $109 per night, and a one-bedroom Montmartre apartment can be rented for $436 per week. All told, a seven-night Parisian vacation starts between $1,750 and $2,100 for airfare and accommodations for two people traveling together. In this case, the base price for the Buenos Aires vacation cost about $100 to $300 less than Paris.

The real sticking point in Paris, however, is the currency exchange rate. At press time, $1 is worth just 0.73 euros. According to Parislogue, daily food expenses can cost up to $109 per person per day for three meals. Of course, that's budgeting on the high end, but already-pricey city costs and an unforgiving exchange rate can really add up.

Keep your per-day costs in mind when comparing destinations for your upcoming vacation—especially if you're the type of traveler that likes fine dining, shopping for souvenirs, and patronizing attractions with admission fees. In this case, you may find the far-flung destination is a lot more budget-friendly.

Ho Chi Minh City

A vacation to Southeast Asia is a bargain hunter's paradise, once you get past the airfare prices. Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City can provide travelers with worldwide cuisine, tailor-made shopping deals, and bustling nightlife, all on the cheap.

The U.S. dollar will get you about 18,685 Vietnamese dong (as of press time), and many travelers can comfortably get by on less than the equivalent of $50 per person per day. The region's countless options for affordable food, accommodations, transportation, and tours make sticking to a budget easy. The city's infamous street food carts offer delicious options for all three meals, but there are also plenty of higher-end establishments if you want to splurge.

Airfare from Los Angeles starts around $900 in April and May, and I found a three-star District 1 downtown hotel from $49 per night. For two people traveling together, base prices start at $2,143 for a week's vacation.

Let's compare prices to New York City, another major metropolis, commercial center, and major entry point for overseas travelers. Flights from Los Angeles start at $230 in April and May, and I found a three-star hotel in the Financial District from $175 per night. For two people traveling together, the base price comes to $1,685 for a week's vacation.

At first glance, Ho Chi Minh City seems more expensive—$458 more, to be exact. But let's take a closer look at your per-day costs. Realistically, travelers in Vietnam can expect to spend about $50 per day for food, attractions, and transportation. In New York City, that daily budget may be tricky (if not near impossible) to stick to. Consider that the average cost of a meal in the city is roughly $42; you're already planning for an inflated per-day budget. And back in 2007, the average price of a cocktail was $10. Going out for dinner and drinks could quickly cost you upwards of $100. Of course, there are ways to find cheaper eats, attractions, and transportation deals, but you've got your work cut out for you. That extra $458 in New York City may only go as far as a few meals, museum fees, drinks, and cab rides.

Consider, too, that Ho Chi Minh City provides the chance to travel halfway across the world for not much more money, as well as the opportunity to experience a different culture up close. Leaving your comfort zone and seeing a new country firsthand offers a whole host of benefits that can't be replicated stateside.

Once again, look at your travel habits critically when comparing possibilities. Do your tastes and activities tend to inflate your budget? How far will your money go once you're at your destination? Comparing average costs is a smart way to get the true value of your chosen location.

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, in southern Poland, offers an affordable alternative to other European capital cities. Teeming with art and architecture, historical artifacts, fine food, and nightlife, Krakow rewards its visitors with a value-packed experience. Tour an authentic castle and its dragon's lair, feast on pierogies and bigos, and visit ancient churches and synagogues, among other countless options in the greater metropolitan area.

Poland is still on the zloty, which is good news for American travelers wary of the euro. At press time, $1 USD gets you 2.80 zloty, which goes a long way in day-to-day expenses such as meals and transportation. Spring airfares from New York City start at $615, and a three-star downtown hotel can be booked from $59 per night. A week's vacation (airfare and accommodations) would cost $1,643 for two people traveling together.

Let's compare a Krakow vacation with a trip to Florence, another major European city known for art, architecture, and culinary delights. Flights from New York to Florence start at $820 in spring, and a three-star downtown hotel starts at $92 per night. Two people taking a week's vacation could expect to pay $2,284 for airfare and accommodations—about $640 more than a comparable Krakow trip.

Then, consider how far the dollar goes in Poland compared to Italy (which is on the euro), and Krakow becomes an even more desirable destination. Meals in Krakow can be had for just a few dollars per day. In 2007, my friend and I often went out for dinner and typically spent in the range of $30 total for a multi-course meal, including drinks and gratuity. Pub food and more modest options can be purchased for even less. Additionally, the Krakow Tourist Card offers transportation and attraction admission on the cheap. Choose a two- or three-day pass for 45 zloty or 65 zloty ($15 or $23), respectively, and get unlimited travel on city buses and trams and free admission at up to 32 Krakow museums. If you didn't already consider Krakow a bargain, the tourist card adds even greater value.

Panama City

Frommer's describes Panama as "deliciously free of crowds"—and what better endorsement do you need? Even if you're based in Panama City, a range of outdoorsy activities including watersports in both the Caribbean and Pacific, bird watching, and hiking, can fill a vacation. Mountains, rainforests, and beaches are plentiful, creating a spectacular setting for vacationers, regardless if you want to break a sweat or just relax by the waves.

The country's currency, the balboa, is interchangeable with the U.S. dollar. Additionally, the dollar is accepted nationwide, so no worries about exchange rates or inflated prices here. Better yet, food and transportation are very affordable, and Lonely Planet estimates travelers can get by quite comfortably on $60 per day. Penny-pinching travelers should have no difficulty budgeting even less. Regardless of whether you want to scrimp or splurge, the possibilities are affordable.

Flights from New York start at $355 in spring and I found a three-star Panama City hotel from $60 per day. A seven-day vacation for two comes in at $1,130.

Let's compare a week in Panama City to a week in Miami. While at first this comparison may seem to be a contrast between outdoorsy adventure and city nightlife, both destinations offer easy beach access, rich Latin culture, and a laid-back atmosphere. Flights from New York start at $162 in April and May, and I found a three-star hotel in Miami Beach from $114 per night. A seven-night vacation for two would cost $1,122—just eight dollars less than a comparable Panama trip.

That paltry savings, however, would be blown by Miami's high food and entertainment prices. It's not unusual for cocktails to cost $10 and up, and many clubs will have a cover charge for you just to walk through the door. Unless you want a vacation full of deli and fast-food options, most restaurants will have an average cost of $25 per person. And in this glitzy city, the sky's the limit for boutique shopping and other entertainment options. At least the beach is free... but compared to Panama, in this case you'll be spending a lot more to stay stateside. With a trip to Panama City, you'll be paying a comparable base price for a chance to experience the unfamiliar, and expanding your horizons by immersing yourself in a new culture.

Auckland, New Zealand

It may take awhile to get to Auckland, but this Middle-Earth-esque, adventure-packed destination offers rewards for those willing to make the trek. Hike, surf, bungee jump, or stargaze; taste local wines and cheeses; or take a glass-bottom boat ride to see nature up close. Most amazing of all, perhaps, is that this far-flung adventure can be cheaper than a trip to Europe.

The value is in the currency. At press time, $1 USD buys you $1.40 New Zealand dollars, which goes a long way toward containing your in-country costs. Round-trip flights from Los Angeles cost $765 for spring travel, and I found a three-star hotel from $78 per night. A one-week spring vacation for two would cost $2,076.

I then took a look at a spring vacation in Hamburg, Germany, a strategic alliance city to Auckland and one also known for an artsy, creative culture; an active sporting scene; and fine dining. Round-trip airfares from Los Angeles came in at $807 in May, and a three-star hotel in the city center cost $115 per night. Based on these prices, a one-week vacation would cost $2,419 for two people traveling together.

While Hamburg is already more than $300 pricier than the New Zealand trip, the major sticker shock is the daily expenditures under the euro. As discussed in previous European comparisons, the dollar is still weaker than the euro, and inflated prices for food and transportation can add up fast. According to the TEFL Professional Network, a fast-food meal in Hamburg can cost 7 euros (about $9.50) and a beer 4 euros (approximately $5.40). It's not unusual for two- or three-star hotel rooms around town to go for 140 euros ($189 U.S.). Add in a few non-fast-food meals, museum admissions, some upscale cocktails, and you see where the budget is going.

Mumbai, India

Once known as Bombay, Mumbai offers the full range of emotions to travelers willing to take a thrilling, eye-opening ride. Expect a vacation filled with highs and lows—the best restaurants, the sleekest hotels, and pulsing nightlife, side by side with unavoidable poverty, hot climate, and crowds. Your visit will be what you make of it. But while you're here, the one thing you won't be is bored.

Airfare from New York starts at $855 for travel in April and May, and I found a three-star hotel from $88. A week's stay comes in at $2,326 for two. Once in Mumbai, $1 USD gets you 45 India rupees, and it's not unusual to pay $12 or $13 for a mid-range restaurant meal for two. Bargain for one-of-a-kind finds at one of the city's many bazaars, or take in the city's colonial and art deco architecture with a self-guided walking tour.

Let's then compare a Mumbai trip to a London vacation. Both are the gateway cities to their respective countries, serve as important commercial and tourism centers, and have thriving arts scenes and fashionable nightlife. Airfare from New York starts at $523 in spring, and I found a three-star hotel from $140 per night. All told, the base price for a week's vacation for two is $2,026, about $300 cheaper than Mumbai (on first glance).

The currency, once again, is what will make costs add up. The U.S. dollar is only worth about 0.66 pounds, and considering London is widely known as one of the most expensive cities worldwide, we budget-conscious travelers have our work cut out for us. Lonely Planet notes that a "good meal for two with wine" usually costs 80 to 100 pounds ($121 to $151), movie tickets are 10 pounds ($15), and transportation can add up without pre-ordered discounts (such as an Oyster card). The one silver lining is that all public museums are free, so your per-day costs could be kept down provided you stick to those establishments. Additionally, too, London features exorbitant airport taxes, which may increase your overall airfare and the base price of your trip. Any way you cut it, though, that $300 base price savings (compared to Mumbai) will quickly be eroded once you try to enjoy all London has to offer.

Source: usatoday.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great Travel Summer Promotion 2010 in Vietnam and Cambodia

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) is offering Great Summer Promotion 2010 in Vietnam and Cambodia. These promotions are guaranteed by luxurious adventure tours, add-on values and reasonable prices. More http://www.sbwire.com/news/view/39632

có liên quan tới:

"ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) is offering Great Summer Promotion 2010 in Vietnam and Cambodia. These promotions are guaranteed by luxurious adventure tours, add-on values and reasonable prices"
- ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) Launches Vietnam & Cambodia Summer Promotions - SBWire (xem trên Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Great Red Spider Vietnam Motorcycle Tour with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA - Part 1

Series of blog entries from Burrows Red Spider group describe their great 16-day motorcycling trip in Vietnam with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA. Let's follow their trip day by day!

Red Spider bikers over the wood bridge

Saturday Jan 16th

They came from London, Birmingham, St. Louis and Chicgao....that gang of Red Spider bikers. All on a mission, to see new things, to meet new people and to have a great adventure and make friends. Today we made our first new friend..... JOSEF, who took our group picture at O'Hare. So we promised him a spot on the RS Website. We are enjoying our pre-departure time getting to know one another better.

Sunday Jan 17/Monday 18

Lost Luggage has haunted the Red Spider tour at the onset. BeerPong Bill, had his luggage get sent to Honolulu becuase of course the airline code for hong kong which is HKG is so much like HNL....gofigger. So beer pongs bag is yet to arrive. Morrocco Dave had his bag left in Hong Kong but it arrived here today Monday safely. And finally Red Spider Steve received his bag as normal but many items missing and now a part of the TSA Christmas party for 2010 no doubt.

Today we enjoyed a short day touring the Hanoi Hilton, and then had a great lunch and a few beers. Now we are fitted with our cycle helmets and chillin at the hotel. And Wingman with all bags in hand has been busy trying to find that perfect sweatshirt for his favorite sweetie.

Tonight we will hit the town locally and enjoyed some good local cuisine and some beers and generally some good laughs. Tomorrow, our Tuesday we do some morning sight seeing and then we...................are off folks to Mai Chau around noon for our first leg of the journey.

Tuesday 19


Road to Mai Chau

Its early in the morning here and jet lag and anticipation of the trip has the Red Spider gang up early. We will go to the lake where John McCain crashed his plane and a few other sites today before heading out to Mai Chau for our first leg of the trip. We stay in a local home tonight so the next website update may be a few days away. We will update when we can so be patient. We, and especially Beer Pong, hopes that Beer Pongs bag will catch up to us tonight. Wish us well and we send our greetings to all of you enjoying our trip.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday January 19, 20 and 21

Sorry that we have been off line for so long but we have not had any i-net connections for 3 days. And we have so much to catch up on. Since we left Mai Chau, the Thai community we have moved south by about 600 KM's to Tan Ky and now to Dong Hoi. Check the map on the "Tour" tab if you really want to know where that is. So what have we seen and experienced since we last logged on?


Arrival in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh, Vietnam

• we learned that vietnam roads are for bikes, people, motorcycles, cars, trucks, cattle, dogs, cats and people.
• We learned that the roads are used for not only transportation, but for bathrooms and for agriculture to dry anyting from corn to wheat, to bamboo and other things
• We finally got Beer Pongs Bag. What a happy moment that was after four days of United Airlines total screw-up
• We played the first of many 31 card games which bruce wingman won kicked butt on the first night
• We saw beautiful Thai villages, chopstick factories, the most incredible rivers and topography that you could imagine
• we saw "Indian Jones" type bridges and crossed two of them ourselves on the bikes.
• We went from orange groves, to sugar cane fields, to bamboo forests to tea plantations and always surrounded by the perpetual rice paddies with hard working people in them at all times of day
• We found some of the dumpiest hotels in the world but still had a good time
• We learned that driving at night in Vietnam is a bad idea and we wont do it again
• We decided that a rainy day is good day to load the bikes in a truck and take the van to the next destination rather than risk harm on a slippery road.
• We saw a spectacular river cave
• We had lots of laughs and a great time so far and only in day 3 and about 380 KM's of a 1,500 KM trip

Tomorrow, our Friday, we travel from Dong Hoi south to the infamous DMZ and end up in the coastal city of Dong Ha.

Friday January 22

Today we are off to Dong Ha, similar sound as where we are now which is Dong Hoi. On the way we will visit several famous spots from the Vietnam War and will pass thru the DMZ. We departed Dong Hoi, a city of about 500,000 people around 9:00am and headed to our first site in a light mist and drizzle which made the ride more interesting, but we maintained slow pace until the roads dried out.


Tunnel entrance DMZ

The first stop was the Truong Son National Cemetery....the Vietnamese version of Arlington Cemetery. More than 10,000 soldiers are buried here and we paid our respects. Next rode to the Vinh Moc Tunnel. An amazing place with three underground tunnel systems that the VC used to hide from Americans and plan attacks on the South. There are over 40 KM's of underground tunnels and some are more than 24 meters below the surface. Some of the bikers adventured into the tunnels, but Red Spider and Feel Good took a pass.

Then we moved on along the coast which was beautiful and headed to the 17th Parallell.....the dividing line in history between the north and the south. We viewed the memorials on both the north side of the river and the south side of the river built to honor the respective soldiers who gave their lives. We also visited the Doc Mieu firebase, which was a French installation perched high on a hill just over the boarder to the south and a great place to launch many rocket attacks on the north we suspect. Today we completed another 250 KM's of our trip bring us to about 550KM's in total under our belts.....or butts as the case may be.

Tomorrow we head for Khe Sanh Air Base among other things.

Saturday January 23rd

Today we go west from Dong Ha to the famous US Airbase called Khe Sanh. Go to "Part 2" for the next update

Source: peterb.yolasite.com

Travel Tips
- Motorcycle tips: Viet Nam motorcycle travel tips
- Motorcyle guide & trail: Ho Chi Minh trail & travel guide
- Motorcycle tours: Motorcycle tours in Vietnam

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Halong Bay - with enormous caves, Vietnam

Leaving Hanoi, the author and her friends traveled to Ha Long Bay. They had interesting experiences there.
Ha long bay, Vietnam
Our last morning in Hanoi I got up at 5am - Wayne and Kev decided to stay in bed - and walked down to Hoan Kiem Lake where, at 6am each morning, many people congregate to practise Tai Chi all around the shores of the lake which has the Ngoc Son Temple on a little island in the middle. (Thanks Julie for the suggestion - I wouldn't have thought to do it otherwise!)

Music was playing from PA systems - groups of 6-10 people (it seemed to be mostly older men) were standing in line slightly bent forward. Each person was massaging the back of the person in front of them; every now and then the person at the front moved to the back so everyone got their turn. Having never done Tai Chi in my life before I joined one of the groups and copied, as best I could, what everyone else was doing. It wasn't easy.

After it was all over the lady next to me told me that Tai Chi takes years to perfect. Afterwards some people began playing Shuttlecock and Battledore by which time I had to make my way back. Initially getting a little lost I was saved by the hotel card which had a map on the back!!

Leaving Hanoi we embarked on a tour bus which took us to Halong Bay, a journey of about 3 ½ hours.

Our companions on the bus came from Belgium, France, Corsica, Bali, Hong Kong, Adelaide and Christchurch - all of whom we got to know during the next day and a half. Halong Bay - a UNESCO world heritage site - consists of a dense cluster of 1,969 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean.

Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. We spent a night aboard a junk - we had an ensuite room with a double bed - docking twice, first to visit Hang Sung Sot cave then to board kayaks in which we did our own bit of exploration. (Thanks James for the lesson in kayaking!!)

The next night was spent at Tua Than Island which overlooked some of the bay. In the afternoon, when Kev decided it was too hot to leave an air-conditioned room I ventured out for a walk and ended up going into a Beauty Parlour/Spa where I had a pedicure, manicure (both complete with nailpolish), a haircut, shampoo and blow dry.

Vietnam is a land of contrasts, natural beauty and innovative people - it's also noisy and it always seems to be busy, busy, busy! While the great majority of people ride motorbikes which cost approx $US7,000, in Hanoi we saw two Bentleys being driven and they cost approx $US1 million each. At the bottom end of the scale are those who ride bicycles.

But despite the lack of material goods so cherished by most Australians the Vietnamese people appear happy and they couldn't be friendlier.

Today we said goodbye to Wayne who flies back to Australia to start work on Monday! Tomorrow Kev and I are off to Siem Reap, Cambodia - looking forward to some new experiences there.

Source: travelblog

Recommendation for trip in Ha long bay:

Ha Long bay cruise

Ha Long bay kayaking

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