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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.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to spend a weekend in Hanoi

There are so many things to see in Hanoi the real question is not ‘How to spend a weekend in Hanoi” but how much can be possibly be fitted into one weekend?

A good place to begin is the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex. This attraction was developed around a old French palace. The first unique feature is having to enter the museum passing through a system resembling post-9/11 airport security. Guards ensure visitors do not stray from the accepted area during tours that can require several hours if all areas are visited. The first area, devoted to Ho Chi Minh photos and biographical information has explanatory data in English, French and Vietnamese.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Travel to Vietnam – Top 10 Things to do

1.Take a tour around the legendary Halong Bay
Paddle around Halong Bay in Quang Ninh which is similar to the islands found along the , this is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful areas, Halong Bay has fascinating limestone formations, coves for night-time excursions, sheer cliffs, grottoes, arches and scores of small islets. There are plenty of activities such as Kayaking that are well worth taking time out for as this is one way to really appreciate the beauty of the area as well as a good way to see the fauna and flora without disturbing the nature around one.

2. Get your shirts and suits tailor-made at Hoian
Visit Hoian. From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoian was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab traders. These people came to trade primarily for the high-grade silk, which is still produced in the area, and ceramics. The area is now one of four world heritage listed sites in Vietnam and there are lots of interesting things to see and do in the area.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

“A memorable first visit to Viet Nam”

As their name suggests, ATA is at their best doing active travel; take advantage of it to get away from the crowds and experience Vietnam in a more direct and authentic way.

We arranged a private, two week, multi-tour package in Vietnam with ActiveTravel Asia (ATA) in October 2011. ATA staff, especially Sunny, worked with us to put together a customized itinerary that met our needs and interests. The result was a remarkable and challenging vacation of dramatic landscapes, intense cultural exposure, physical activity, great food, and beautiful people. Our trip had three major components: a 5D/4N sea kayaking tour of Ha Long Bay (including Cat Ba Island), a 3D/2N trek with homestays in the Sa Pa area, and a 2D/1N bicycling tour with homestay in the Mekong Delta

Monday, May 14, 2012

Getting lost in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Hectic, noisy, chaotic, adjective, adjective. Describing Hanoi's oldest district is somewhat of a waste of breath. No need to ramble on about where exactly to go in the Old Quarter either, as the weaving and winding streets are best explored by aimless wandering. No destination. No pre-planned route. Just left, right, or straight ahead. 
There is no road "less travelled" in this part of town. They're all loaded with scooters, cars, bikes and people so the main bit of advice we'd give is to watch your step but be assertive when crossing the road. Don't second guess your moves, look both ways, and enjoy the fact that yes, you are standing in the middle of the road with dozens of scooters whizzing by on both sides. 
Hanoi is hot in the summer time. We're talking 30 to 35 degrees Celsius at a very, very high humidity, so for a walking tour take lots of water and expect to sweat. The sweating is worth it, as the view of street life you get by covering the district on foot is fantastic. The neighborhood has over 1,000 years of history coursing through its meandering street veins, pumping with life representing both the past and present.
For those able to stand the heat, one full day exploring should do it. For those with less heat tolerance, taking two days at around four hours each day is recommended. Or simply visit during the cooler Fall or Spring months.
Electrical wires string along many streets in hap-hazard fashion. Much of the infrastructure looks like it is being held together by duct tape.

Old buildings line Hang Dao road, just north of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Rush hour in Hanoi's Old Quarter is an experience. You must be on your toes at all times as the streets fill with scooters, bikes, cars, and people. The rules of the road are "pay attention and whoever flinches first loses the right of way."

The sidewalks can be just as chaotic as the middle of the street. Locals stake out their spots with small plastic stools and the wares of whatever trade they're plying. The ever-present scooters are parked at all angles. Small dogs skitter about. People bargain and negotiate for goods and food, and fans sprout from everywhere.

A family sits and chats in the hot Hanoi summer heat in front of their tombstone business.

The Hoam Kiem lake park is a green, shady spot locals like to use to escape Hanoi's seemingly ever-present frenetic energy. The northern tip of the small lake borders the Old Quarter on P Dinh Tien Hoang road.

One of the Old Quarter's street markets.

A woman relaxes in the market. Expending as little energy as possible is a common strategy for fighting the heat.

Vendors in the market are mainly women.

A woman barbecues on the sidewalk in 32 degree Celsius heat. Hanoi has a rich street food culture, worthy of a book let alone another article.

Crabs and sea snails ready to be bought.

Locals eating a quick noodle meal.

Various animals roam freely in some parts of the Old Quarter. This scrawny little chicken looked too sad for even a bowl of soup.

An old stuffed deer sneering in a rictus death grimace from a shop window. A sight only seen by walking the streets for hours. Similar random sightings can be expected when least expected.

The Old Quarter has many streets dedicated to specific trades. This was the toy street. Others to be found included streets dedicated to shoes, clothing, tombstones, antiques, and scooter repairs.

These tourists opted for a more comfortable whirl around the Old Quarter. Though it is good to be wary as these rides are often overpriced

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Ha Long Bay Visit

May 7, 2012  

Before I moved to Vietnam, one of the things that most impressed me about the country were pictures I had seen of Ha Long Bay. The beautiful pictures showed romantic views of limestone islands sitting in gorgeous blue water, and I knew this would be a place that I would have to visit!

Much to my surprise, when I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City I realized that this magical place was pretty far away. Unfortunately, after a year of working in, and traveling around, this impressive country I had yet to accomplish my goal of visiting the bay. Recently, while on a business trip to Hanoi, I took a few extra days and finally got to Ha Long Bay.
I booked a tour with a local Hanoi travel agent recommended by a friend. I knew that I didn’t want to go for a cheap, low budget tour on my first visit to the bay so I decided to go for one of the nicer, but still affordable, options. When I had everything booked I could barely sleep because I was so excited.

A bus picked me up in Hanoi in the morning and we made the long drive to the boats. I was surprised how long the drive took as I originally thought that Ha Long Bay was closer to the city. Still, the ride was comfortable and we made it to the water with few complaints. Plus, while we drove along, we got the chance to introduce ourselves to the other travelers who would be joining us on our adventure.

We boarded a small boat at the somewhat chaotic and crowded marina and rode out to the larger boat we would be spending the night on. The boat was beautiful with a rustic, wooden exterior that fit perfectly with the timeless location that surrounded us. Although the boat looked like a more traditional vessel, inside it was equipped with all the modern amenities that you would expect in a modern hotel room. The beds were comfortable and the rooms were surprisingly large for being on a boat.

Slowly, the boat moved into the area of the towering islands. Although I had seen many pictures I was unprepared for how truly impressive the rock formations are in real life! They were truly amazing to look at and compared to nothing else I had ever seen.

Eventually, the boat came to a stop where the rocks formed a kind of natural harbor. Here we exited and got the opportunity to check out a large cave toward the top of one of the large islands. The inside of the cave was massive, bigger than any other cave I had been to and I was surprised that it was in as good of shape as it was, considering the amount of tourists that pass through it daily. While I thought the cave was nice, the best part was the view it afforded from its high location. The boats resting on the calm water next to the islands were truly a sight to see, it reminded me of something you would see in a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie!

After exploring the cave, we had a couple of hours to kayak around in the clear, blue water. I had really been looking forward to the kayaking and it didn’t disappoint. Although the outside temperature was cooler than in HCM city  I was surprised by how warm the water was as I paddled along.

Once we were finished it was time for dinner on the boat. We ate some delicious seafood as the sun sat around us and the rocks were bathed in an orange light. Once night fell I retired to my room where I peacefully went to sleep. I rested peacefully as the water was gentle and there was barely a sound outside.

In the morning we watched the sun rise over the landscape, had a simple breakfast and cruised out of the bay. Overnight, clouds had crept into the area and we got the chance to see a more mystical, foggy side of the bay. This was charming in its own way and I felt like an early explorer discovering a new land.
Finally we made it back to the mainland, boarded a bus and returned to the city. I didn’t want to leave such a magical place but I knew this would be the first of many trips as I don’t think I could ever spend enough time in this picturesque land that is truly a natural wonder.

Angela Schonberg
Source: Tuoi tre news

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top Five Places in Vietnam That Are Not Hanoi or Saigon

Sure, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) are spectacular, but there’s much more to Vietnam than just those two destinations. Vietnam is filled to the brim with exotic sandy beaches, untapped cultural landmarks and all the rural culture you can handle, from the absolutely stunning beaches and growing nightlife of Nha Trang, to the historical old town of beautiful Hoi An. For those with the adventurer’s sense of traveling, there are more than enough reasons to extend your stay in Vietnam. Here are our top 5 places to go in Vietnam that are not in Hanoi or Saigon.

1. Hue

Hue - Vietnam

One of the best regarded cultural landmarks in the country, Hue is packed with wonderful temples, palaces and pagodas, a true delight for those who want to soak in the country’s rich history. Head over to the Imperial Citadel for Hue’s prime attraction and explore its moats’ gates, shops and pavilions. Then follow up the Citadel with the Tombs of the Emperors, also located along the banks of the Perfume River. Cost aside, the walls of the tombs of Thieu Tri, Gia Long and Minh Mang, surrounded by warrior statues and opulent mosaics are a tribute to Vietnam’s great past leaders.

2. Nha Trang
Nha TrangVietnam

If white sandy beaches and island hopping are the name of the game for you, then look no further. Nha Trang is an increasingly popular destination for those looking to catch a little rest and relaxation while taking in the exotic backdrop of gorgeous Vietnamese coast. Take yourself on a full day boat tour for just $6 that includes lunch, music, snorkeling and trips to the local aquarium, before whisking you away to an island beach. The town has also become more and more developed over the years, with a respectable nightlife, including an interesting night market, an ice bar and delicious sea fare all around.

3. Hoi An
Hoi An, Vietnam

It is no wonder why the 16th and 17th-century former port city of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site — it is one of the most picturesque places on the planet. Filled with breathtaking Chinese-style shop houses, each building is as unique as the next. The small but winding city is packed full of great places to do all of your shopping, including garment shops that will hand design pants, shirt, coats, shoes and dresses for pennies on western retail prices. And for the icing on the cake, a 30 minute bicycle ride gets you to a pristine beach with the bestseafood fare around.

4. Sapa
But Vietnam is more than just beaches and cities, take the mountainous and rugged beauty of Sapa. Known for its ethnic heritage and tremendous views, Sapa is a trekker’s paradise. First things first when you go, get to the mountainous view point of Heaven’s Gate – you will never see anything like it ever again. If you go via tour group, it takes about half a day to get there, but the journey is lovely. Afterward, take a tour of the village of Cat Cat, very close by Sapa itself. Here you will get a great sense of the local Vietnamese that inhabit the area, as well as natural sites including art shops and a waterfall – a lovely little hike.


5. Dalat
Located in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam, Dalat is quite different from any of the other hotspots in Vietnam, as it essentially Vietnam, but built by a Frenchman, a virtual cross between both worlds. The city itself is charming, with a small lake at its core and great peaks in the background. The best way to go here is to take buy a packaged day tour, but if not, make sure you take the cable car to Thien Vien Truc Lam Monastery, see the palace of the last emperor, Bao Dai, and take a ride out to the inspiring countryside

Dalat, Vietnam

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