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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, April 25, 2013

Impression about Vietnam on a cycling tour.

On a cycling trip across north Vietnam, Kevin Rushby finds that….
By Kevin Rushby
We were on a cycling trip that would encompass homestays and national parks, taking us from the Mai Chau valley some 100 miles south-west of Hanoi and close to the Laotian border, south-east towards the coast and the city of Ninh Binh. If you imagine the shape of Vietnam as rather like a giant upright prawn, we were going to do a neat cross-section just at the base of the head. No day would involve much more than 20 miles – about the limit for our nine-year-old – and there was always a support vehicle to pick up stragglers. The route would, we hoped, give us a complete range of Vietnamese experiences, from tribal homestays and untouched jungle hills to fast-developing towns. 

Mai Chau was definitely at the less developed end of the Vietnamese spectrum. All around us the rice fields were being harvested by ladies in conical straw hats. Others were wafting nets to catch crickets or filling baskets with bundles of water hyacinth. In places, songbirds in bamboo cages had been hung in the shade of trees to ward off wild, food-stealing birds. The valley floor was almost completely devoted to rice, and generations of careful landscaping have left it almost flat. At the sides, perhaps a kilometre apart, the tangled secondary forest rose sharply to serrated peaks. There, at the junction of the horizontal and vertical worlds, people had built their houses on stilts. Curls of smoke rose from among them, where rice husks were being burned. 

Biking Mai Chau, Vietnam
We rattled across a rusty suspension bridge and through a village. Every house seemed to lie at the centre of a perfect storm of picturesque food production. There were fish ponds and ducks. There were neat vegetable gardens filled with beans and cabbages. There were orchards of longans, rambutans and persimmon. Even the scrubbier patches were stocked with areca palms, which provide betel nut as well as support for prickly dragonfruit stems. Under the houses were recently harvested crops – rice, peanuts, taro roots and bamboo – plus all the paraphernalia of further operations: fish traps, coops and cages. What was significantly absent was any plastic litter or mess. 

A few miles on, we left the bicycles in a hut and walked uphill to a tiny hamlet of wooden houses on stilts. Climbing the steps to one of them, we entered a traditional house of the White Thai tribe, a people who had come from Thailand several centuries ago and whose way of life seems largely unchanged. The floor was bamboo slats, worn to a glossy smoothness by years of bare feet. There was little in the way of furniture, just a huge low bed, a couple of benches and an altar for the ancestors. On the ceiling was a hand-painted tribute to Ho Chi Minh and in every window hung a chirruping bird cage. We had stayed in a similar house the previous night – the whole valley has embraced the homestay idea, giving the farmers a valuable side income. Success, however, has made some homestays more like guesthouses.

Homestay Mai Chau, Hoa Binh, Vietnam
This one was certainly authentic. Green tea was brought and served in small bowls, then a toast of rice wine. 
Lunch came on a large tray: bowls of noodles cooked with carp from the pond, tofu, slivers of bamboo and other strange leaves and roots. It was a magnificent feast in a country whose cuisine is one of the high points of human culture.

On our third day, after some gorgeous mountain scenery, we had reached Vietnam's largest and oldest nature reserve: Cuc Phuong national park, a 50,000-acre area of forest slung over a stunning landscape of jagged mountains. It is home to 97 species of mammal and more than 300 species of bird, but after a six-mile trek and a 20-mile bike ride, we had spotted precisely one stick insect and heard exactly one gun shot.

Cage after cage of small furry creatures represent the last few examples of species endemic to Vietnam, most of them langurs, a long-tailed leaf-eating monkey. This is a country where tigers and elephants have been more or less wiped out and superstitious crazes for rare animal meats have sent dozens of species spiralling towards extinction, including five of the 11 species of langur. 

Cuc Phuong Jungle, Vietnam
Next day we rode into a landscape that is becoming more common in Asia: a strange melange of the traditional and natural with the newly industrialised, newly touristified. There would be achingly beautiful wetlands dotted with water buffalo and backed by jagged peaks, then a cement factory. There were sleepy, algae-encrusted Catholic churches and ancient temple gateways, then new concrete pagodas with huge coach parks. We passed fishermen in traditional hats setting bamboo fish traps and fishermen using truck batteries and electrodes. All around, limestone outcrops rose in jagged profusion, like pods of humpback whales.

The first boat in our group had entered the cave for the return trip when the woman paddling the second boat called out. There, on the top of the crags, silhouetted against the late sun, was a family group of langurs. More arrived, moving with total grace and vitality in their mountain fastness. There was, I estimated, around half the world's remaining population on display. For several minutes we all watched them leaping around, and it felt good to be with local people who were as pleased as us. Our cross-section of modern Vietnam had, I felt, ended on a suitable high note.

Eventually we left the langurs and passed back through the cave, in time to see the magical sight of thousands of egrets flying over to their roost. We sat by our bikes and watched them settle as the light faded.

Way to go
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA can provide the trip for you which include bike, hike and kayak tour of northern Vietnam, which combines Hanoi, Mai ChauCuc Phuong national park, Ninh Binh and Halong Bay.
The highlight
- Awesome scenery
- Tam Coc - the "Halong Bay on the rice fields"
- Homestay in Thai village
- Jungle trails

Further information
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, overland touring and family travel ackages. The packages and tailor-made private itineraries will take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia.

Add: Floor 12th, Building 45 Nguyen Son St., Long Bien Dist.Hanoi, Vietnam
Hotline: +84 97 98 00 588
Tel: +84 4 3573 8569
Fax: +84 4 3573 8570
Email address: info@activetravel.asia

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Motorcycle Adventure in the Mountains of Vietnam

 By Joseph Ferris

My Minsk motorcycle
Vietnam is my favorite country. Lots of people “backpack” through Vietnam this way without ever actually strapping on a backpack. Of course, many people enjoy this style of travel and leave Vietnam satisfied, but if you would like to experience a more authentic, friendly and adventure, I suggest choose motorcycle tour through the mountains northern Vietnam.

In the countryside of northern Vietnam the Minsk motorcycles rule the roads. I went to Sapa, Lao Cai, the beautiful French Hill station. Sapa is a popular destination and most backpackers on the train to northern Vietnam will be heading there. Not to be missed are some smaller mountain towns to the east of Sapa. One rainy morning I visited a hillside market located only four miles from the Chinese border. The Minsk can easily handle the rough terrain of northern Vietnam. I swiftly passed by the stuck Land Cruisers and found them still waiting on my return. After spending a few days in the eastern tribal region, I drove to Sapa, and a few days later continued west along the Dien Bien Phu loop road.

The scenery on the trip is amazing. The town of Sapa sits perched on a dramatic mountain valley. A short drive from Sapa is Mt. Fansipan. With an elevation of 3143m, the peak of Mt. Fansipan was shrouded in the clouds as I drove over the pass.

Ethnic Minorities in your way
There are many colorful ethnic minorities living in the mountains along the loop road. In Sapa, the girls from the local ethnic minorities will offer to guide you on hikes to their villages. These girls speak English amazingly well, learned only by listening to the foreign tourists. I never went along on one of their hikes, but it was reported to me to be a great experience. You will encounter many other different ethnic minorities along the way, each with their own style of distinctive and colorful traditional dress. This area of Vietnam is well off the beaten track. As you travel through the mountains you can rest assured that the ethnic minorities will be dressed in their costumes not to satisfy the demands of a mass tourist industry, but because of tradition.

The southern half of the loop journey passes through the more industrialized hinterland of Hanoi. At this point there are more options for how to return to Lao Cai. I chose to go north of Hanoi, throw away the map, and navigate by the sun until I met with the northbound route back to Lao Cai. I reached the mountains south of Lao Cai with only minor trouble, getting lost only a few times, and enduring two days of rain. Although there is not much to see in this area, the people are very friendly.

I stopped frequently to dry off, warm up and drink coffee with the local people. At one rest stop, the owner of the small cafe served me tea and then ran off to fetch her daughter. The daughter was home on vacation from college in Hanoi, and would practice her English by acting as our interpreter. Initially I was not so sure if her husband felt the same. He later appeared dressed in his old NVA militarily jacket. Giving me a hard stare and a stern look he asked me that if being an American, I was afraid that the Vietnamese would kill me. Through his daughter I told him of course not, and that I considered the Vietnamese to be the nicest people I had ever met. He broke out in a big smile and proudly declared, “very good!” The rest of the family also seemed very pleased by my answer and we had a pleasant afternoon of talking, eating fruit, and waiting for the rain to stop.

The entire family rushed out clapping and cheering in disbelief. I assume they had given me up for dead and banked my deposit. That night they fed me, let me take a shower, and arranged my train ticket back to Hanoi. Those two weeks had been amazing, and probably the biggest influence for why I regard Vietnam as my favorite county and I continue to daydream about future trips.

Practical advice for a successful motorcycle adventure

For the perfect trip, you should prepare both the physical and mental carefully. To be back home intact, you should follow some rule of Vietnam like riding on the right of road, turn on the signal when turn right or left, move slowly at intersection, school, and hospital. You also can refer adventure tours of trust travel companies to be less risk such as ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA, which have 7 years experience in operating motor biking tour.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Top Biking Adventures in Vietnam

As a country with every terrain imaginable, Vietnam offers a memorable bicycling adventure for any and all peddlers, regardless of experience or condition. The flat expanse of the Mekong Delta grows to rugged mountains in the central expanse and then blends into the widest variety of difficulty north near Hanoi.

Traffic and Bicycle Laws
Along with standard laws like not causing traffic problems by racing or zigzagging, Vietnam has few laws targeted specifically toward the bicyclist. It is important to remember not to carry cumbersome loads, carry children over age seven with you or ride more than two abreast. No sort of helmet or lighting is required, but bicyclists are not allowed to ride with open umbrellas. One can only guess what happened to make this law.

Common Trips
For those interested in adventure and active trips, there are some routes that will take you through and explore the backcountry while providing some modicum of modern amenities. ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA_one of the travel companies offering cycling tours in Indochina_ is received good reviews of adventure travelers.

Biking Mekong Delta

The easiest of these is around the Mekong Delta. With a terrain nearly devoid of any rise, these trips are easier, but by no means less scenic, than the others. Traveling through the expanse of rice paddies dotted with the occasional copse of trees, the rider will be joined by children cycling to or from school or women returning from the market. People in the villages will be pleasantly surprised to see a foreigner riding into town and a circuit from Ho Chi Minh to any of the surrounding villages is an easy ride. With the flat terrain and abundance of villages it is easy to take a trip of any length, whether only a day or two weeks, a rider can tour without backtracking.

Biking Mai chau, Hoa Binh province
The northern area allows for more wooded scenery while still allowing for easier trips. For the more adventurous, the northern area provides a greater degree of difficulty through the hills surrounding Hanoi. This trip offers a great opportunity to see the two area of outstanding nature beauty; the North West highlands of Mai Chau and the limestone mountains of Ninh Binh. Biking is a great way to see this fascinating and visually stunning part of Vietnam, offering both physical activity and the unique opportunity to observe a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. As we ride in Mai Chau we encounter Muong and White Thai minorities and are guests in their traditional stilt houses allowing us to see firsthand how these minority peoples live. In Ninh Binh we explore the beauty of “Halong Bay on the rice fields” on bikes.

Biking Ho Chi Minh trail
A new trip for the adventurous would be along the historical Ho Chi Minh trail. 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.

Weather in Southeast Asia is a big consideration and it is recommended to go from Late September to December or March to late May. The weather in the southern area of Vietnam stays warm and humid averaging 26°C with its rainy season from June to September. BE WARNED: Vietnam sees monsoonal rains starting in June, peaking in August and tapering down in September. This season varies depending on location; Hanoi in the north generally has a rainy season that peaks earlier while Ho Chi Minh City may not see its rains slack until early October. Vietnam, especially central Vietnam, often floods and can hold up a trip for a week before the waters recede.

The hot season will see temperatures averaging 30°C, with the south staying warm all year round and the north seeing winter trends averaging 15°C. Depending on the time of year, it would be advisable to take a jacket to keep off the chill, especially if riding in the highlands, and a hat to protect against the sun.

Other Considerations
Visas must be applied for at least six months prior to entry date. Tourist visas are granted for one month, but may be extended after arrival in Vietnam, and only allow one entry into the country. Tourists must fill out arrival/departure papers and declaration papers, keeping both with the passport at all times. It is also recommended having a few extra passport-size photos with you as local authorities may request these and it is always a good idea to stay on the good side of authorities.

With over two-thirds of its roads unpaved and those paved roads sporting an abundance of potholes, the road conditions almost require a mountain bike. 
The lush landscapes and warm hospitality provide anyone with a good biking tour of Vietnam. Take the time to look around and smell the proverbial “roses”.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mai Chau among top ten fresh destinations

Mai Chau, a small town in the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh, Vietnam was named one of the top ten "fresh" Asian destinations.

Mai Chau Valley, Hoa Binh, Vietnam
Mai Chau was described as "a semi-isolated village in Vietnam...surrounded by limestone cliffs and green rice paddies, populated largely by members of the ethnic White Thai tribe..."
The annual list was compiled editorial team, who studied booking patterns, read thousands of customer reviews and spoke with local experts.

These destinations all had high growth rates and attracted many foreign travellers as well as increasing amounts of vacationing locals.

Ethnic people in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh, Vietnam
Mai Chau was described as "a semi-isolated village in Vietnam...surrounded by limestone cliffs and green rice paddies, populated largely by members of the ethnic White Thai tribe...Vibrant, verdant green rice paddies surround the town on all sides, and dramatic hills rise up on either side of the valley. The town itself isn't particularly stunning, but it's when one gets out into the countryside or head up into the hills that the breathtaking views get better around every corner. There are also several interesting markets to check out, as well as some nearby caves."

With many foreign tourists, Mai Chau is the interesting ideal for trekking trips or cycling options to discover the natural beauty of the region and exotic culture of minority groups.

Recommend Biking tour or Trekking tour in Mai Chau  by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

Trekking Mai Chau 
Trekking in Mai Chau

This trip offers a great combination of cultural expedition and trekking. We trek for three days through the spectacular scenery, visit remote and stay overnight in local homes where we have the chance to get to know these hospitable villages. From the mountainous region of Mai Chau, we travel back to the nation's capital, Hanoi.

  • Awesome scenery
  • Homestays in villages of ethnic minorities
  • Beautiful trails
Biking Hidden Paths of Mai Chau & Ninh Binh

Biking in Mai Chau
This trip offers a great opportunity to see the two area of outstanding nature beauty; the North West highlands of Mai Chau and the limestone mountains of Ninh Binh. Biking is a great way to see this fascinating and visually stunning part of Vietnam, offering both physical activity and the unique opportunity to observe a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. As we ride in Mai Chau we encounter Muong and White Thai minorities and are guests in their traditional stilt houses allowing us to see firsthand how these minority peoples live. In Ninh Binh we explore the beauty of “Halong Bay on the rice fields” on bikes.

  • Awesome scenery
  • Tam Coc - the "Halong Bay on the rice fields"
  • Homestay in Thai village
  • Traditional foot massage

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Discovering Pu Luong Natural Reserve

The houses-on-stilts nestled between the mountains, the yellow terraced fields and green primitive forests., white cloud around…making a natural and wild picture dream. That is scenery you may see when arriving Nature Reserve (NR) Pu Luong.

Pu Luong Natural Reserve, Vietnam
Located in the two districts of Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc in the northwestern area of Thanh Hoa Province, Pu Luong Natural Reserve has preserved a primitive landscape and plentiful and diversified flora and fauna. With the above natural values, it has now become a fascinating destination for those who love to discover the beauty of nature.

Pu Luong Natural Reserve, covering an area of 17,662ha, is the largest low area of limestone mountain forests left in the north of Vietnam with three major forest types: thick forests on low land and low mountains; forests on limestone mountains and floristic compositions of bamboos, Neohouzeaua and bushes.

According to the statistics of Pu Luong Nature Reserve’s Management Board, the reserve has 1,109 species of vascular plants, under 447 branches and 152 families. There are 42 special-use varieties of plants of Vietnam and four species listed in the World’s Red Book. Furthermore, it is the place where there is the second largest population of Vooc mong trang (Trachypithecus delacouri) in Vietnam with 31-38 individuals, after Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh Province.

In Pu luong, tourists have different choices for their tours, such as discovering the beauty of the natural landscape, ecological forests with plentiful fauna and flora or learning the simple and interesting customs and habits of the Thai and Muong people.

Day life in Pu Luong
During their trip, tourists can see immense terraced fields and learn the traditional farming methods of the ethnic people or discover mysterious caves in Hang and Kho Muong Hamlets. One of the destinations that tourists should not miss is Hieu Hamlet. Following a path, not far from Pho Doan Town, tourists can see many water wheels, a typical tool of the Thai people. After crossing over a suspension bridge and climbing a slope, tourists finally arrive in the place where two waterfalls rush noisily. From afar, tourists can hear the rumbling sound of these waterfalls. Here, small branches of a stream run around the hamlet, through houses-on-stilts at the foot of staircases, to paddy fields and then merge into two grandiose waterfalls.

Water wheel_beautiful image in Pu Luong

After a day discovering Pu Luong, tourists can stay in airy and spacious houses-on-stilts of the local ethnic people. It is a form of eco-community tours that has strongly developed in the locality. The tours are held by the local people based on nature and culture with the aim of improving the living standards and protecting the environment. Sitting near the fire, both the host and the tourists can enjoy delicious dishes, such as Com lam (sticky rice cooked on bamboo tubes) and a salad of banana inflorescence. They can drink Can wine and enjoy traditional dances and songs of the ethnic people.

Trekking Pu Luong

Arriving in Pu Luong Nature Reserve where there are immense green forests and green terraced fields, tourists seem to be lost in a valley, completely separated from the outside world, with many mysteries expecting to be discovered. 

With many foreign tourists, Pu Luong Nature Reserve is the interesting ideal for trekking trips  or cycling options. Biking in Pu Luong is one of the best ways to discover the natural beauty of the region and exotic culture of minority groups. 

Source : Vietnamtourism

Recommend Biking tour or Trekking tour in Pu Luong Nature Reserve  by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

Biking Pu Luong Nature Reserve: On biking tour we will ride on the first part of the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail and spend 3 nights in villages of Thai people.  
  • Biking on the first part of Ho Chi Minh Trail
  • Homestay in villages of Thai people
  • Stunning scenery
  • Traditional foot massage

  • Unspoiled Pu Luong Nature Reserve 
  • Friendly ethnic minorities
  • Homestay in villages
  • Beautiful trails
  • All meals included

Monday, April 1, 2013

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT WEEK 1 (25/03- 31/03/ 2013)

A huge congratulation to ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA‘s lucky travelers in summer promotion program 2013.

Here are the winners in week 1  (25/ 03- 31/03/2013):

Winner Annoucement week 1

1. Discount up to 15% on the total cost.
           Isidoro Mazzoni, ATVR005.
           Tour: Trek Fansipan

2. Free 01 night hotel for two people (shared room):
            Simon Chapman, ATVR 001.
              Tour: Family Adventures in Vietnam

3. Free airport pick-up or drop off (one way)
            Hayley Windle,  ATVR003.
             Tour: Family Adventures in Vietnam

4. Free 01 package cruise for 2 persons on Halong Bay (2 days 1 night)
           Alfonso Carreras, ATVR006
           Tour: Trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve

5. Free 01 meal in restaurant for two travelers
          Malanie, ATVR004.
          Tour:  Biking Mekong

Please check the email if you are lucky winner.

Thank you so much for your participation!

Join with our event  “ https://www.facebook.com/events/125745387611125/” to receive lucky gifts for your jouney!

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