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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, December 27, 2012

Vietnamese cuisines stir the world in 2012


Bringing rice and bacon, an omelet with Vietnamese flavour in the final round of the MasterChef US, has won blind girl Christine Ha the championship. Vietnamese cuisines also set many records in 2012.

1. Christine Ha becomes MasterChef US 2012
In September 2012, Christine Ha – of Vietnamese-origin, 33-year-old blind girl from the University of Houston won the top spot of the MasterChef US, third season. Ha defeated 24-year-old chef Josh Marks to win the final prize worth $250,000 in cash, a cookbook publishing contract and the MasterChef trophy.
In the finale, Christine Ha and Josh Marks had to prepare three dishes in two hours. Josh Marks chose lobster poached in butter, lamb with sauce of curry and vegetable and bacon pecan cake. Christine Ha made Thai papaya crab salad, rice with bacon, omelet with Vietnamese flavor and ginger and coconut cream.

The meal was described by Christine Ha as "a symphony of flavors." They are simply but made the jury was surprised. Many Vietnamese dishes were also introduced by Ha at the MasterChef.

2. 10 Vietnamese dishes recognized as Asian records
On August 20, in Faridabad, Indian, the Asian Organization Record recognized 10 Vietnamese dishes as the Asian records based on the criteria for Asian Cuisine Value. 

Among them, Hanoi contributed three famous dishes - pho, bun thang and bun cha. HCM City had broken rice and goi cuon. The remaining dishes consist of Haiphong’s crab pancake; Ninh Binh’s rice crust; Nghe An’s eel vermicelli; Hue’s beef vermicelli; Quang Nam’s noodles; Gia Lai’s dried noodle; and Vung Tau’s khot cake.

3. 50 Vietnamese famous specialties
In September, in the "First journey to search Vietnam’s specialties 2012" held by the Vietnam Record Book Center, 50 dishes of various regions in the country were listed as the popular specialties of Vietnam.
Hanoi contributes six cuisines to this list, Thua Thien - Hue 5, Ho Chi Minh City 3, Quang Nam 2, Quang Ngai 2, Ca Mau 2, etc.

On this list, in addition to the familiar dishes such as: broken rice, vermicelli and grilled chopped meat, Hue’s beef vermicelli and goi cuon, there are some very strange cusines such as: Binh Thuan’s hotpot, Nghe An’s eel soup, Lai Chau’s six cuisines from pork...

4. Ho Chi Minh City’s street food praised
In the top 10 cities in the world with the most attractive street food, selected by the Vancouversun (Canada) in August 2012, Ho Chi Minh City ranked sixth. Asia also contributed 3 other representatives -Penang (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Singapore.

According to this newspaper, the art of cooking of the Vietnamese goes into the memories of many western tourists, especially street food. Just a short tour around the Ben Thanh market to Binh Tay Market, visitors are able to find the answer why people are fascinated by street food here so much. Street food in Saigon is a mixture of many different culinary cultures, especially the French taste based on the traditional flavors and ingredients of the Vietnamese.

5. Vietnam's 10 most valuable fruit
In the "First search of Vietnamese specialties" in August 2012, the Vietnam Record Book Center listed the top 10 delicious fruits of the country. These fruits are granted the "Certificate of trademark registration" by the Intellectual Property Office.

These fruits are very familiar and famous: Lo Ren star apple (Tien Giang province); Thanh Ha litchi (Hai Duong); Vung Tau’s litchi with yellow flesh; Ben Tre’s green skin grapefruit; Binh Thuan’s papaya; Hung Yen’s longan.
The criteria for selection of the best fruit are not only delicious, but also meet the standard for export. 
Source: dtinews

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best places to enjoy Christmas in Ha noi



Christmas is popular in Vietnam nowadays, however, only in big cities or tourist destinations, there will be a lot of activities to celebrate Christmas. From the beginning of December, all the streets in big cities are decorated with the Noel’s patterns. Besides, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and amusement parts also give a lot of activities which will be take place during the time of Christmas holiday.


The weather in December is cold, it’s suitable for Christmas atmosphere. In Hanoi, there are a lot of places for you to enjoy Christmas:

Central Churches
Almost each district has one church, however, people usually come to Saint Joseph Cathedral (“Nhà thờ lớn” in Vietnamese) at 40 Nha Trung, Hoan Kiem. This is a wonderful place to enjoy your Christmas night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vietnam is home to some of the best spots in the world for adventure travel

Imagine a country where the major cities are dynamic but not polluted, the people are genuinely friendly and the rural areas are still unspoilt?  Vietnam with unique climate, fascinating history, stunning coastal getaways, majestic mountains and tempting food is definitely the country for you!


Your first stop is Ha Noi, the city with the history of roughly 1,000 years. Must see destination is the Old Quarter which eventually retains most of its ancient charm since French colonial period. Let’s enjoy the quite time with a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee in a very unique way which is served on the balcony of the coffee shop and be prepared for up-coming challenge!

Leaving the major city, cycling routes across the Karst plateau of Ha Giang will amazed you. The route is very tough and tricky, and the mountain pathways are almost vertical in places. The landscape and natural conditions across the 1,600m above sea level area offer the perfect conditions for memorable experiences.
Different from classical travelling tour, you will experience it in an untypical way. Local cuisine will astonish you! Ethnic men are also willing to teach you cooking their special food. As for accommodation, you will surely love to stay with a local family on their colorful tribes. To pass through place to place, you are going to do as a local person on your own foot or bikes. Be reminded that the area’s landscape is Karst plateau with numerous limestone mountains! 



Remote track can’t pass through mountains so that you will have to cross 45-km- pathway to Viet Nam yourselves by cycling. With the emergency backup for water, lunch and first-aid, you will ride through secluded valleys, verdant hills, hidden waterfall and switchbacks, which flows seamlessly into some sinuous riverside single track making for fantastic riding. Eventually emerge onto rough tarmac and climb before finally dropping down again to the hot springs of Viet Nam, where you can ease our aching muscles.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA launches “Big Save for Great Indochina Vacation” promotion for Christmas and New Year 2013.



Christmas and New Year Eve is in air, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA’s promotion now is available for all travels who book the adventure tour of ATA.


For the sight, the sounds and the taste of an unique and special Christmas and New Year Eve in Indochina (Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia) , ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) has launched “Big save for great Indochina vacation" promotion for all invaluable customers who are going to book a tour from December 15, 2012 to Febuary 15,2013. From the bottom heart, ATA would like to express gratitude and appreciation to all customers who traveled with ATA in the past and would be in the future with huge discount up to 10 % off and the hundred surprise gifts, already prepared for you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The reasons why come to Viet nam



Known with many famous tourist sites with natural beauties, tranquil villages, ancient pagodas, beautiful lakes, Vietnam has been a popular tourist destination in the world. Not convinced as yet? Here are the top reasons why Vietnam should be your next destination.

Magnificent terrace field
A stunningly beautiful country
Vietnam is just beautiful, its geography, topography, landscapes, and especially 3265 km of coastline. Magnificent mountains, Red River and the Mekong deltas, rivers and primary forests make the country an amazing land to visit. The top destinations for ideal Vietnam travel is the 2000 fascinating naturally sculptures rising up from emerald water in Halong Bay. Or head to the Northwest and enjoy the spectacular scenery of terrace rice fields in Sapa, occupied by different tribes. In the central region, Vietnam boasts its best beaches on earth and ready for your golden holidays in Cua Dai beach, Nha Trang beach or Mui Ne beach. In the Mekong delta, tourists get amazed by amazing ways of life from floating villages and floating markets.

World Heritages
Hoi An ancient town
It is not difficult to find out key highlights of Vietnam. The small country is proud to have rich heritages, from natural ones to man-made spiritual. So far Vietnam has 7 UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites which contribute to its appealing beauty, including Hue Complex Monuments, Hoi An ancient town, My Son Holy Land, PhongNha-Ke Bang National Park, Halong Bay, The Cultural Space of Gong in the Central Highlands, the Royal Court Music of Hue. Other intangible heritages that attract tourists are Xoan singing, Folk songs and Ca Tru.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quang Nam's ethnic villages top attraction for motorbike tourists

The mountainous district of Tay Giang, 190km west of Tam Ky City in the central province of Quang Nam, is increasingly becoming known as a prime destination for motorbike adventures. The area offers amazing scenery and the opportunity to glimpse the lifestyle of members of the ethnic minority group Co Tu, who make up the majority of the district's population of 13,000. 

                                    

Mark Wyndham, who runs a motorbike adventure tour company based in Hoi An, said the mountainous district had managed to preserve the original infrastructure and lifestyle of highland villages.
"Many foreigners who come to explore the region love this tour. The roads are easy to drive on since the province has developed infrastructure projects in mountainous areas, so international visitors can drive on their own from Hoi An to dozens of destinations in the central region," said Wyndham. "We are equipped with 45 motorbikes, scooters and off-road motorcycles to give adventurers as many options as possible. Our guides will even carry tourists if they do not want to drive themselves!"
A two-day trip through Dong Giang and Tay Giang districts is an easy option for motorbike adventures in the central region, he added.

Monday, November 12, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA announces to launch Vietnam travel photo contest 2012 for travelers from across the world.

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA), one of the leading adventure travel companies in Indochina, has launched the Vietnam photo contest 2012 for travelers all over the world named “Vietnam in your heart is…”

The participants will have chance to win attractive awards by submitting the best travel photo of their holiday experiences in Vietnam.

This contest is aimed to encourage participants share their unique photos and unforgettable memories taken in Vietnam. The photo must show their impressive experiences that made holidays in Vietnam to be the time of their lives.


The prize will based on the amount of LIKE on each photo and photo’s evaluations by ATA experts. The highest prizes for the winners are TWO great tours on Halong Bay cruise (3 days/2 nights) for 2 persons at Oriental Sails Cruise and Halong Emotion Cruise

Entrants can send their photos to event@activetravel.asia  with title and a short description of where and how the photo was taken. Photos must be original works of the participants along with the entrant’s name, email, address, phone number.

All photos will be review by the ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA, photos which are eligible with the terms and conditions of this competition will be posted on ATA’s Facebook Fan page, and ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA Blog & Vietnam Adventure News.

This competition will start from November 12, 2012 to January 31, 2013 and the awards will be announced on January 10, 2013.

PRIZE
The highest prizes:
The second prize is a two day cycling tour of ACTIVE TRAVEL ASIA for photo that has the amount of LIKE ranked highest after the first.

Incentive prizes: Five coupons, each worth $50 will be awarded to five senders of submitting first photo to the contest.

For more information about Terms and Conditions to join the contest, please visit our official photo contest website at http://blog.activetravel.asia/p/activetravel-asias-photo-contest-2012.html and the Fanpage www.facebook.com/Active.Travel

About ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA): launched in Vietnam in 2006, one of the Indochina's leading adventure travel companies, offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland touring and family travel packages. ATA’s packages and tailor-made private itineraries will take travelers through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia. 

About Halong Emotion Cruise: The best way to discover the natural beauty of the bay is onboard Halong Emotion, designed to give you the best service you could possibly wish for. Halong Emotion combines charm and great comfort to meet the growing demand of travelers looking for luxurious cruises in the Bay

About Oriental Sails CruiseORIENTAL SAILS has becoming a well-known company who offers overnight trips to Halong Bay. Starting with only 1 cruise Oriental Sails I (16 cabins) in 2009, after more than 3 years we are now a group of 2 superior Oriental Sails cruises, 1 deluxe Calypso Cruiser and Luxury Star Light Cruiser which is launching in February 2013. Oriental Sails can satisfy most of your demand from middle range to high class when you choose us to enjoy beauty of our World Natural Heritage and assert that we are the best choice for your Halong Bay Trip.

Supported by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA – Actively explore the hidden land!
Hanoi Office:
Add: Floor 12 Building 45 Nguyen Son Street, Long Bien district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +844 3573 8569
Fax: +844 3573 8570

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some essential tips in Motorbike tour


1. Reasons for choosing motorbike
Motorbike is considered the best means of transportation for traveling mountainous areas due to its convenience and initiative. With a motorbike, one is free to go wherever he loves, despite all kinds of road’s condition. He can stop whenever he feels like to take photographs or relaxing, instead of depending on the driver or tour guide. Motorbike helps integrating people with nature and fresh air, and one will never be afraid of motion sickness. If choosing a car, people are likely to waste hours sleeping in passenger’s seat with air condition, not to mention the car sick caused by consecutive slopes and mountain passes. Riding on the motorbike means living on every single kilometer of your itinerary! Moreover, one can ride a motorbike in any kind of terrains, and it is much easier to repair in case of breaking down.
  
                                        
        

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What is adventure travel?



Adventure travel often conjures up images of mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, scuba diving and four wheel driving. While these are certainly activities associated with adventure travel, adventure travel may involve something as sedate as a wine tasting Motorcycling tour in Ho Chi Minh trail, Viet nam. Adventure travel is simply to go above and beyond one’s normal known area, seeking out experiences which are unfamiliar. The travel destination may be as close as a few kilometers from your home, or it can be thousands of kilometers away in an exotic location in Africa or Asia.

 Maybe it has to do with the stressful and fast-paced lives we are leading, that adventure travel has become one of the fasting growing segments of the travel industry. More and more travelers are abandoning the usual beach resorts, and are actively seeking new experiences in their travels. These trips often bring significant personal discovery, development of new skills and knowledge and cross-cultural experiences.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why is travel good for children?

A family holiday can be a great opportunity as a parent to kick back or rekindle your own sense of adventure, but there are several ways in which our kids can really benefit from a great family holiday too which shouldn't be overlooked.

Not only will it allow them to experience different ways of life, it can also provide them with a valuable learning experience, hopefully enabling them grow up well rounded and tolerant. And the great thing is they won't even realise just how much their little brains are soaking up, all without a book or class-room in sight! Below are some examples as to how different holidays benefit the children...


Really active
Going on an active holiday can really give your kids newly-gained confidence when pushing their boundaries in for example activities, plus not to forget the stories to tell their friends back at home!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Responsible Travel Club of Viet Nam


The Responsible Travel Club (RTC) of Viet Nam is an informal group of tour operators dedicated to building responsible travel and sustainable tourism in all regions in Viet Nam.

What to experience?
If you want your travel to create real positive impact and value in the destinations, and at the same time experience genuine community based tourism, go with one of them. Each CBT tour tries to enhance the interaction between the local host and guests so they can exchange on their respective culture. For examples the local host and his family are invited to have meals with guests.
After three years of running an association of responsible tour operators working towards responsible and sustainable tourism, RTC has become a platform between Tour Operators and the CBT sites they are working with. RTC organizes annually an inspection trip for their members and invite NGOs working in developing CBT in Viet Nam such as SNV and WWF, FPSC Spain to join. During the trip, experiences from each party are exchanged, open and free discussions have become a connection for all stakeholders for mutual benefits.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vietnam in top 10 cycle routes recommended by National Geographic


The road from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam is recently listed as one of the best cycle routes in the world by the National Geographic. 

The prestigious National Geographic travel guide, Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, cataloguing the most famous and lesser known trips of a lifetime picked the World’s Top 10 bike trails on the planet, chosen for their beauty, length and excitement.
According to this list, Vietnam ranked fifth in the list, follow by Canada, Chile and Australia. It is described as suitable for who want to mix the bikes and beaches. Traveler will be passing through the 746 mile- (1,200 kilometer) route, between the country’s two biggest cities, taking along vast stretches of sandy coastline; it’s no picnic, as road surfaces vary considerably and there are many natural obstacles like the Hai Van Pass, the historical division point between North and South Vietnam. 

Recommended cycling tour by Active Travel Asia

With 8 Years of local travel Expert’s experience, Active Travel Asia (ATA) has a
deserved reputation for innovation, for quality of service and for providing once-in-a-lifetime active holidays including hiking and trekkingbikingmotorcyclingkayaking, overland tours and family travel packages in Indochina. ATA's accumulated expertise allows travelers to maximize traveler’s precious holiday time and to experience the very best of traveler’s chosen destination. The tour packages and custom itineraries will take travelers through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia.

ATA would like to suggest the most impressive cycling tour for travelers who want to explore Vietnam by bicycle. The Biking Ho Chi Minh trail tour brings travelers a great chance to learn about the Vietnamese modern history and see it beautiful nature.
The so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of the most renowned legends of the American War. The complicated road system winds along the Truong Son Range, which that facilitated movement of soldiers and war supplies from North Vietnam to battlefields in South Vietnam. Now the historic trail is being turned into a highway and hotels and towns are springing up speedily beside it. The route is incredibly beautiful with new mountain views around every corner, very little traffic, and virtually no tourists.

On the way, traveler will have chance to explore Pu Luong nature reserve, or amazing caves atPhong Nha Nation Park. The trip concludes in Hoian, a charming ancient town in centre Vietnam. 

When to travel: The custom trip is offered weekly year-round. But the best time to travel is from Sep to May. This trip is private and travelers can start any time they want.

Price: Starting at $1,425 per person for the group of seven. It includes AC bus for the whole trip, bike truck for the biking section, mountain bikes with helmet and biking gloved, boats in Phong Nha & Hue, hotels based on twin shared, mechanic for the biking section, English speaking guide for the whole trip, meals as indicated in the itinerary, water and snacks every day, sightseeing fees and entrance fees.


Supported by Active Travel Asia – Explore the hidden land!
Hanoi Office:
Add: Floor 12 Building 45 Nguyen Son Street, Long Bien district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +844 3573 8569
Fax: +844 3573 8570

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vietnamese girl travels to 25 countries with US$700



With only $700 in her pocket, Khanh Huyen traveled to 25 countries in Asia and Africa. In two years of travelling, the Hanoi girls learned how to cook many dishes, row, hike, act in films and write. 
After graduating from the high school for gifted students of the National University of Hanoi, Nguyen Thi Khanh Huyen decided to work immediately without studying at college.

When Huyen was tired of work her job in Malaysia, she flashed the idea to travel to some countries. However, the trip lasted for two years, taking her to 25 countries.


"When I was young, I used to say to my mum that I wanted to travel around the world. At that time she only smiled and though that I told a joke. I also thought that was my outburst and I could not do it. But it is amazing that I had such a long journey," Huyen said.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The 9 Best Things To Do In Vietnam


Vietnam is one of my favorite places in Asia. So much history, so much natural beauty, and the Vietnamese people themselves are renowned for their graciousness and good cheer. They harbor no resentment toward Americans despite a decade of bombings during the war. In fact they hold us in the highest favor - increasingly consuming our globalized bounty of pop culture - and welcome Americans with open arms.


#10 -- A hopeful current is buzzing throughout much of the country, and it's a thrill to watch the chaos and order play out their yin and yang amidst honking horns, noodle stands, crumbling colonial remnants and high-rises. Here is my list of the nine best things to do in Vietnam.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hoang Su Phi's terraced fields turned yellow now


Hoang Su Phi’s terraced fields will be recognized as a national relic. On these days, terraced fields have turned yellow.


Terraced fields are a popular cultivated form in Southeast Asian countries like VietnamLaosThailandPhilippinesIndonesia and some southern provinces of China.

In Vietnam, a terraced field is the production form of many ethnic groups in northern mountainous region like La Chi, Ha Nhi, Mong, Dao or Nung.

In Ha Giang province, terraced fields are mainly located in western districts. Researchers said that terraced fields appeared in Hoang Su Phi several centuries ago.


Terraced fields in the communes of Phung, Luoc, San Sa Ho, Ho Thau, Nam Ty and Thong Nguyen have become the pride of Hoang Su Phi.


Hoang Su Phi terraced fields will be recognized as national relic on September 16, 2012.

Hoang Su Phi district is around 110km from Ha Giang city.

The district is on the upstream of Chay River, the largest and oldest river in the region. Let’s admire the beauty of rice harvest season in Hoang Su Phi.




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where and how to meet minorities in Southeast Asia


Minority cultures in Southeast Asia are often time capsules of earlier lifestyles that have escaped the full force of globalisation’s effects. Consequently, they are a highlight for travellers to the region who want to get a sense of a country’s past…as it collides with the present.
But how do you ensure that while visiting, you don’t cause unintended damage or offence? You can show your respect for a culture by being educated about its ways, beliefs and taboos. Here are a few general guidelines:
1. Always ask permission before taking photos of tribespeople.
2. Don’t touch totems at village entrances or sacred items hanging from trees.
3. Avoid cultivating a tradition of begging, especially among children.
4. Avoid public nudity and don’t undress near an open window.
5. Don’t flirt with members of the opposite sex.
6. Don’t drink or do drugs with the villagers.
7. Smile at villagers even if they stare.
8. Ask your guide how to say ‘hello’.
9. Avoid public displays of affection, which might be viewed as offensive to the spirit world.
10. Don’t interact with the villagers’ livestock; avoid interacting with jungle animals, which might be viewed as visiting spirits.
11. Don’t step on the threshold of a house, prop your feet up against the fire or wear your shoes inside.
Where to meet Southeast Asia’s minority cultures
If you want to meet minority cultures, you’ll often have to get away from popular tourist centres; how far you’ll have to go depends very much on the country and how popular it is with visitors.
The trekking industry in Thailand is very developed and a minority visit can be a disappointment for some, but much depends on the operator organising the trip. Northern Vietnam and the Xīshuāngbǎnnà region of Yúnnán have emerged as popular places to experience minority cultures, but as in Thailand, visitors need to travel further from the trail to have a genuine experience. Laos is really taking off as a destination to meet minority groups, partly due to its ethnically diverse population and in part due to the relatively small numbers of visitors venturing off the beaten path.
Cambodia and the Central Highlands of Vietnam provide a home to some minority groups in the northeast, but as they dress like lowland Khmer or Vietnamese, they have been less exposed to mass tourism than elsewhere. As for the effects of trekking on the host tribes, many agree that individuals within the village might financially benefit when the trekking companies purchase supplies and lodging, but the overall pluses and minuses are considered to be minimal compared to other larger institutional forces.
Lonely Planet has a suggestion of the top 5 spots for a genuine interaction with a minority culture in Southeast Asia:
1. Cambodia: Ratanakiri
2. Laos: Muang Sing
3. Thailand: Chiang Rai
4. Vietnam: Sapa
5. Yúnnán: Xīshuāngbǎnnà
But there are many other important minority groups in the region, some rendered stateless by the conflicts of the past, others recent migrants to the region, including the many hill tribes.

Cham
The Cham people originally occupied the kingdom of Champa in southcentral Vietnam and their beautiful brick towers dot the landscape from Danang to Phan Rang. Victims of a historical squeeze between Cambodia and Vietnam, their territory was eventually annexed by the expansionist Vietnamese. Originally Hindu, they converted to Islam in the 16th and 17th centuries and many migrated south to Cambodia. Today there are small numbers of Cham in Vietnam and as many as half a million in Cambodia, all of whom continue to practise a flexible form of Islam. Over the centuries, there has been considerable intermarriage between Cham and Malay traders.

Hmong

The Hmong are one of the largest hill tribes in the Mekong region, spread through much of northern Laos, northern VietnamThailand and Yúnnán. As some of the last to arrive in the region in the 19th century, Darwinian selection ensured that they were left with the highest and harshest lands from which to eke out their existence. They soon made the best of a bad deal and opted for opium cultivation, which brought them into conflict with mainstream governments during the 20th century. The CIA worked closely with the Hmong of Laos during the secret war in the 1960s and 1970s. The US-backed operation was kept secret from the American public until 1970. The Hmong were vehemently anticommunist and pockets of resistance continue today. The Hmong remain marginalised, distrusted by central government and mired in poverty. Hmong groups are usually classified by their colourful clothing, including Black Hmong, White Hmong, Red Hmong and so on. The brightest group is the Flower Hmong of northwest Vietnam, living in villages around Bac Ha. The Hmong are known for their embroidered indigo-dyed clothing and their ornate silver jewellery. There may be as many as one million Hmong in the Mekong region, half of them living in the mountains of Vietnam.

Jarai

The Jarai are the most populous minority in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, northeast Cambodia and southern Laos. Villages are often named for a nearby river, stream or tribal chief, and a nha-rong (communal house) is usually found in the centre. Jarai women typically propose marriage to the men through a matchmaker, who delivers the prospective groom a copper bracelet. Animistic beliefs and rituals still abound, and the Jarai pay respect to their ancestors and nature through a host or yang (genie). The Jarai construct elaborate cemeteries for their dead, which include carved effigies of the deceased. These totems can be found in the forests around villages, but sadly many are being snapped up by culturally insensitive collectors.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do you know how to prepare a meal for the next trip?


Traveling in an adventure style will let you have an experience to eat outside such as campaign in a forest or a mountain . So, learning how to make easy camping meals can save you a ton of time on your next camping trip. Though outdoor cooking can be fun, it’s never good to miss out on other outdoor activities because you’re stuck making food for everyone. Use the following guidelines to minimize the work and time it takes to make great meals on your next camping trip.


Foil is Your Friend
If there’s one essential item you need to make camp cooking easier, it’s aluminum foil. Almost any food item can be cooked quickly and effectively using it. Simply wrap the food item in the foil, and place it on a grate over the campfire. Some of the most popular foods to cook with aluminum foil include hamburger meant for burgers and pasta dishes, whole potatoes, almost any type of vegetable, and chicken parts. Obviously, cooking times will vary depending on what you’re making. A good rule of thumb for this easy, all purpose campfire cooking method is to assume cooking times to be similar to that of using a grill. Read another post on uses for aluminum foil while camping to learn more.


Preparation Before the Trip
Before the invention of the microwave, people used more primitive heating methods to cook leftovers. Following this logic, preparing certain foods in advance can seriously cut down on time and effort spent cooking during your next camping trip. Before you leave, make some simple, hearty foods that fit nicely in the cooler and can be reheated easily over a campfire. Scrambled eggs, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper, and biscuits can all be cooked at home and stashed safely in Tupperware containers for later use. Best of all, their reheating time at the campsite is minimal, giving you plenty of extra time to enjoy the beautiful spot you’re camping at – wherever it may be.

Use a Time Tested Cooking Tool
Let’s face it; non-campers are a little spoiled when it comes to cooking. With microwaves, stoves, and electric ovens at their disposal, they can prepare food a lot more quickly and easily. But you do have an advantage when it comes to campsite cooking; easy camping meals can be made even easier with the use of a Dutch Oven. An all purpose cooking vessel, the Dutch Oven has a tight fitting lid to seal in heat and a very sturdy construction. Almost anything that fits in one will cook nicely. Some popular easy camping meals to make in it include chili, beef stew, and just about any soup you can come up with.
With a little preparation, making easy meals while camping really isn’t all that tough. So, instead of slaving over a hot fire for lengthy amounts of time on your next camping trip, employ the tricks above to allow more time for fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA release more options for summer promotion 2012


Accommodation is one of biggest concerns before traveling? It is turning to dust now with ATA’s Summer Promotion 2012.



Travelers will get 1 night at 3 Star Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter (Calypso Boutique Hotel) for FREE. Deluxe room with luxury equipments and services are designed to ensure that you will have the unforgettable trip with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA.

In case you cannot visit Hanoi or you would like to arrange accommodation on your own, we are delighted to offer a dinner for 2 people at every destinations on your tour.

Besides, we have just deciced to add more option by adding 75 minutes massage body at Touch Hanoi Spa. By choosing suitable massage treament, we aim to help travellers feel relax after active time of running, trekking, or ridding on road. 

This promotion is valid for bookings from May 01, 2012 to Sep 30, 2012, applied for tours which cover Vietnam in its itinerary and price for over $500.

Summer promotion provides all adventure lovers real experiences in Vietnam without concerning about accommodation, food, and activities.

We hope to meet you there!

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA, offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland tours and family travel packages. Our tour packages and custom itineraries will take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Motorcycling and trekking at Hai Van Pass


Once, with two wheels and some free time, I had the chance to see the stunning Hai Van Pass.
The sun was hot, but the sky, ocean, and road were all clear, providing amazing views for photographers. The road climbs into the east side of Bach Ma National Park, overlooking Danang and Lang Co bays, spilling out into the East Sea. The winding road, mountain switchbacks (sometimes 180 degrees), and steep grades call for some serious focus on driving, but it’s all worth the trek.


I left Danang in the morning and started the ascent into the mountainous pass. Covered from head to toe from the scorching summer sun, I wondered if now was the best time of year to be making the journey. But as I ascended into the mountains, climbing higher and higher into the pass, the air turned cooler and cleaner, I then pulled off at a giant rock, climbed atop and looked out over the water. Danang city appears more beautiful than ever in the distance. It was worlds away from the hustle and bustle down below (though I did get coerced into having a café sua đa (iced milk coffee) after my rock climb.


As I went higher into the mountains, the road turned steeper and sharper with the sun rays growing stronger to make travelers stay and find solace in the shade of roadside trees. As the pass flattened out, I saw a string of restaurants and cafes surrounding by vendors and hawkers and decided to run to the other side of the mountain on Lang Co beach. Enjoying the downgrades, I let my motorbike do most of the work, and soaked in the amazing scenery stretching as far as to the horizon. Finally when I reached Lang Co beach there was nobody in sight on a white sandy oasis.

After spending there, I rode back up to the pass for another descent. From the top to the Danang side of the pass, my luck ran dry and my rear tire went flat. Amazingly, out of the blue, this could have happened anywhere. I found myself sipping cafe sua da as a roadside hut while waiting for a man with a tire repair kit to patch my worn inner tube. I had no problem with a hefty bill as I could never let a flat tire ruin my amazing day trip. Cruising down the mountain with the sun shining over my shoulders, I saw Danang coming into view with the Lady Buddha and Thuan Phuoc bridge glowing off in the distance to welcome me back from my amazing travel.


Whether you are going to see Hue or Danang, My Khe or Lang Co beach, or any scenery in the central Vietnam, a cruise along the Hai Van Pass is an unforgettable memory.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top 5 foods should try in Ha Noi


Vietnamese cuisine has many different dishes to sample and some of these dishes originated in Hanoi. In Hanoi you can enjoy traditional food in restaurants or road side stalls. Fresh ingredients are normally used which are brought from the market every morning. Noodle soup cooked in many different way, there are 5 foods you should not miss when traveling in Ha Noi.

1. Pho (Noodle food)
Pho, a typical dish of Hanoi people, has been existing for a long time. Pho is prepered not only in a sophisticated manner but also in the technique which is required to have sweet but pure bouillon, soft but not crasded noodle, soft and sweet smelling meat. Only in cold days, having a hot and sweet smelling bowl of Pho to enjoy would make you experience the complete flavor of the special dish of Hanoi.


Monday, August 6, 2012

10 reasons to choose Hanoi’s beer




Much has been written about beer - "bia hoi" in Vietnamese. It's a foamy, light-alcohol beer found mostly in northern Vietnam. Made fresh each day with few preservatives, the dregs are chucked down the gutter at close of business each day.

This quick turnover and easy brewing means it's exceptionally cheap -- about 20 cents a glass, though Vietnam's rapid inflation may see that rise before publication -- and the establishments that serve it are also relatively basic.

1. Bia hoi is cheaper

Far, far cheaper  than its Czech-inspired counterpart. Though both cost peanuts compared to most places back home there's a certain satisfaction in knowing your dozen beers cost only US$3.


2. People are friendlier

It's a rare night you'll spend with friends clustered round the low-slung plastic stools of a bia hoi where some blinking, red-faced bloke won't lurch up to your table to repeatedly grasp your hand and yell, "Helloo! Hello! Helloh?" then invite you to join his mates for some rounds of cheap, rice-based spirits.

Foreigner drink beer on the pavement of street in Hanoi Old Quater

3. You can relax 

Smoking, slurping, dumping chicken bones on the floor -- all are acceptable behavior here. Nay, they're encouraged.

4. The food

Some bia hois serve execrable rubbish, but plenty serve excellent, freshly prepared dishes for very little cost.


Banana flower salad (nom hoa chuoi), barbecued chicken (ga nuong) and fried rice (com rang) are stalwarts. Just watch out for the mixed hotpot (lau thap cam) or pig stomach (da day).

5. Interesting local spirits

Vodka Hanoi (cheap, rice-based vodka with a slightly greasy aftertaste) is a standard but many places also stock ruou ong den -- rice wine infused with the whole bees' nest, not just the nectar -- or ruou dua, rice wine left to ferment in a coconut shell (it tastes a hell of a lot better than Malibu, believe us).

The hangover's never worth it, mind.

6. Street life

Usually these beer barns are open-walled and tables and chairs often spill onto the street. You may get a lungful of motorbike exhaust with your fried spinach, but you get a nice view as well. Others back onto lakes or parks, or the Mausoleum.

7. Watery, weak, but unique

It's rare in the south but unheard of in the rest of the world. Fresh, brewed daily and cheaper than any other beer, anywhere. That has to count for something in a world of generic, international brands. And it's no more watery than Bud or Coors, anyway.

8. Colonial heritage

Think of this: the French colonial oppressors brought bia to Vietnam to stop people wrecking themselves on dodgy rice spirit.

This is where bia hois originally came from. The pilsner beer halls are a result of people studying in former communist nations back in the days when everyone still knew the words to the Internationale.


But the leftovers of colonial rule -- the bia hois -- are still working men’s brew halls while the results of the egalitarian international brotherhood are there mostly for the rapidly emerging middle class.

9. It's egalitarian

Bia hoi gets more egalitarian yet. A bia hoi can be nothing more than a tiny grandmother sat roadside with a table, chairs, a keg and a few glasses.

Using technology no more complicated than a rubber pipe she sucks some frothy beer from the keg, so you can usually have a drink morning, noon or night. As Vietnam modernizes, beer for breakfast has become less common, but it was once a grand tradition.

10. No hangover

Though some drinkers will vehemently disagree, bia hoi doesn't usually leave you with a pounding hangover.


It's low alcohol content means it takes a concerted effort to get drunk enough to feel dreadful the next day. Most problems come from people getting a stale batch, something you have to watch out for. Drinking at busy places is a better idea.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bac Ha “Little Sapa” in the North

Sapa is the gateway to North West Vietnam with dramatic scenery, plenty of accommodation, cafes, pizza bars and souvenir shops. But if you’re more interested in the less touristy side of the highland region, head to the small town of Bac Ha, an ideal location for remote treks and colourful weekly markets.


Flower H’mong come to trade at Bac Ha Markets

Two hours by car from Lao Cai Train Station, Bac Ha is 700m above sea level and home to about 70,000 people. In the surrounding highlands there are 10 ethnic groups that live in the area including the colourful Flower H’mong, the Dzao, Xa Fang, Nung, Thai and Thulao.

One of Bac Ha’s main industry is the manufacture of home brew. The locals have made an art form of distilling rice wine, cassava wine and corn liquor – a word of warning, the hooch can be so potent it can ignite and result in embarrassing dance movements – I know this from experience.

Bac Ha Markets
Tourism is still in its infancy in Bac Ha and during the week the town has a deserted feel. But on Sunday morning, the town moves into overdrive when visitors flood in to mingle with the Flower H’mong selling their wares and socialising at the weekly morning markets.

The Flower H’mong travel overnight from their villages to Bac Ha to sell clothing, handicrafts, textiles, shoes and the local hooch. You can also buy water buffalo, pigs, horses, dogs, chickens and native animals that probably should not be for trading due to international laws. The market day is also a party for the H’mong men who group together to swap stories and get pickled on hooch, they also love dragging in the odd tourist into their gathering.

The hairdresser at Can Cau Markets


Can Cau Markets
Twenty kilometres up the road and only 9km from the Chinese border is Can Cau, home to one of the largest open air markets in the region specialising in live stock. The markets attract a large number of Chinese traders who look like they’re interested in the dog and exotic animal trade. The market is well worth a visit and is only open on Saturday morning which makes for a perfect itinerary as you can overnight in Bac Ha on Saturday night and get up early before the hoards of visitors arrive to catch the Sunday Bac Ha Markets.

Trekking to local villages
Bac Ha is a convenient place to explore the surrounding villages and see how the ethnic communities live. There are less touristy trekking and home stay trips available in the area where conditions are basic but the hospitality is generous and makes for a memorable experience. For day trecks you can visit Ban Pho village which is about a 7km return trip or Na Ang a 6km return walk and Na Hoi is a 4km return walk.

Selling chillies at Bac Ha Markets

Orientation
Make sure you’ve sorted out your finance before arriving as there are no banking facilities for tourists in Bac Ha. There is a post office and internet is available at some of the hotels and internet cafes (which are usually packed with teenagers playing games). Bac Ha is not a good place to handle travel logistics, so make sure you have all your ducks in order before arriving.



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