Thursday, November 6, 2014

Top Often-Destinations for Vietnam Adventure Tours

With stunning scenery and impressive culture, these famous destinations in Vietnam will offer travelers exciting adventure trips.

1. Sapa

This Vietnam’s destination is too famous such an extent that it is always present in Vietnam tourism brochure. However, if just wandering around Sapa town, travelers will miss a chance to have a memorable trip. Sapa town just likes a miniature Hanoi, accompanying colorful minority groups. Thus, let’s carry a rucksack and to be ready for a trekking expedition to remote villages. Scenery, people, culture and everything will be much more fascinating. Trekking trails will lead through jungles, mountains, fields, streams, hidden soil-trails only used by locals, and rest at ethnic minority villages. Along paths, adventurers will encounter “real” minor people, who are doing life activities, or working to earn their living. Specially, contemplating firsthand Sapa rice terrace (which was estimated as one of the 30 most beautiful places in the world by Mother Nature Network), and other stunning scenes is completely different to seeing from an automobile or a hotel at a far distance. Let’s leave cozy hotel-rooms and stay overnight at a homestay to experience a distinctive life with locals: arduous, but funny and valuable.

Head off a hiking & homestay Sapa to the most marvelous valley – Muong Hoa and other villages. Visit here.

trekking Sapa

2. Mount Fansipan

With an altitude of 3,143m, Mount Fansipan is the highest in Indochina, and also dubbed as “The Roof of Indochina”. Fansipan conquest is the dream of many young Vietnamese. For ones who indulge in climbing but not too so fantastic to conquer Everest, Fansipan may be an appropriate choice.  This mount is just 9km from Sapa to the southwest. Therefore, as travel to Sapa, travelers can take a hike to this mount on the same occasion.

The journey with a long trail will be greater, more challenging, but also more beautiful views. However, once immersing in natural pureness, and enjoying the victory of setting foot on this peak, hardship seems to have disappeared. The hike will pass jungles and mountains, so travelers can easily learn local knowledge about the Vietnam’s nature and hill-tribe culture. Yes, learning from reality.

Toughness, strong will, and determination, those are the meanings Mount Fansipan conquest.

Consulting at activetravelvietnam.com, Conquer Mount Fansipan - Sinchai Route - A long trail with a lot of fabulous scenes.

conquer Fansipan

hiking Fansipan

3. Mai Chau

Escape from busy cities, let’s experience an extremely peaceful life in Mai Chau. This area is the home of Thai, Muong and H’mong people, which are Vietnamese ethnic minorities. Just only 135 km from Hanoi, it is so easy to reach here. Naturally, it has spectacular scenes and also the original cultural identity like descriptions on websites. But peace is the most impressive. Peace in just landscape: rice terraces, tea plantations, streams. Peace in just the life of locals. Residents here work hard on fields, on forests, on weaving looms…

Mai Chau’s culture is gentle and lyrical. The rhythm of life is also slow and tranquil. By trek or bike around villages, travelers will feel these. Choosing less touristy roads and villages for the itinerary, it will be much more interesting.

If opt homestay, travelers will stay at traditional stilt houses and do housework with locals. Yummy cuisines are always ready for guests. At night, the space becomes throbbing by blithe melodies and rhythmical dances. The trip ends with a good sleep in this peaceful heaven.

Get away to peaceful Mai Chau, travelers can take a trekking or biking tour through exotic villages. 

biking Mai Chau

Mai Chau tour

4. Mekong delta

Vietnamese people usually say “thang canh co bay”, meaning that land is too large that stocks can fly straightly to endless. This is just one of images of Mekong delta. Located in northwestern Vietnam, this land is the country’s greatest rice basket. The region is covered by an interlaced canal system. So the residents were familiar with waterway-life long ago.
Locals are gentle and rustic. Scenery is tranquil. Travel to Mekong, travelers will refresh your mind.

The richness and vastness make this plain region have an abundant culture. Taking part in various activities, travelers will understand relatively about this culture.
Cycling around fields and villages is a nice way to see the everyday life of locals. On the roads, travelers can talk to them and try experiencing some of their jobs. Many other places can be visited along biking trail, namely temples, orchards, local primary schools, or local households. Particularly, travelers can visit and discover traditional trade-villages of coconut-candy, rice-paper, rice-wine, snake-wine, pop-rice, pop-corn, etc.

Adventurers also should not skip a boat trip to floating markets, the special places with a boom of colors, sounds and scents. These market have a lot of beautiful agricultural products, especially fruits. Let’s come and observe how they trade, how they communicate, and how they speak for sale.

Mekong delta tours may please someone who are curious. Travelers can learn a plenty of local things, such as how to buy fruits and food, how to cook local cuisines, or how to make traditional conical hats. If love nature, let’s visit mangrove forests as Tra Su, where travelers can observe colonies of water-birds, bats and other rare spices.

Explore Mekong delta with many memorable activities. View here.

explore Mekong delta

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh To Hanoi Listed In Top 10 Toughest Bike Rides

The Top 10 toughest bike rides list was taken by Lonely Planet. These are top 10.

Ho Chi Minh to  Hanoi, Vietnam: The bike trip begins from lush plain of Mekong Delta, winding through stunning mountains around Da Lat, with hard climb through the Hai Van pass, then reaching Northern mountainous provinces. Besides absolutely abrupt routes, the searing tropical heat will make cyclists drop back into state of endless water refill. 

Travelers indulging in Vietnam cycling usually challenge themselves to take a biking Ho Chi Minh trails - the Vietnamese famous historical road. Active Travel Asia (http://activetravel.asia/) also recommend travelers exciting motorcycling tours (here) on this road. 

top 10 toughest bike rides 1
Photography by Nguyen Minh Son
Col du Tourmalet, France: This extremely abrupt distance on the Pyrenees’s highest road is a classical Tour. Starting in 1910, it has been included than any other pass on Tour de France – the famous three-week race. Arriving Col du Tourmalet is possible from two directions. The classic route from the west is 19 km in length, reach a hard climb of 1,404 m. The gradient is up to 7.4%.

top 10 toughest bike rides 2
Photography by Cyclingtips
L’Alpe d’Huez, France: This Alpine epic hauls around a seemingly endless series of hairpin bends stretching consecutively 13.8 km on the L’Alpe d’Huez mountain near Paris, will make cyclists choke.
top 10 toughest bike rides 3
Photography by Theclimbingcyclist.com
El Camino de la Muerte, Bolivia: As a hard challenging road, “El Camino de la Muerte” means “Road of death”, which sounds less horrifying in Spanish. This bike trip just for pro-cyclists descends a precipitous mountain pass, commencing at 4,700m and winding at 1,200m. Let’s face it. Solace cyclists with the truth that most deaths relates in cars rather than cycles. 

top 10 toughest bike rides 4
Photography by Rinconabstracto
Passo di Gavia, Italy: Passo di Gavia, in the splendid Italian Alps, is 26 km in ride length and climb a massive 2621m. The road is closed in winter due to thick snow. However, the climate can also be really harsh even in warm months. Summer is perfect time to conquer this class race’s hardest climbs. 

top 10 toughest bike rides 5
Photography by Londonbikers
Manali to Leh, India: This extreme ride through the Indian Himalaya is just only for experienced and sufficiently fit cyclists. Starting in Manali, the route leads through pine forests, ascending rugged and craggy slopes along dirt tracks and sealed trail, before reaching back switchback nearby Leh.

top 10 toughest bike rides 6
Photography by Sidnsam
Lake Louise to Whistler, Canada: This journey lasting in many days will take cyclists to an 11km slope in total of 1000 km, traversing the Rockies, heading straight into Canada’s Coast Mountain toward the resort of Whistler. Just thinking about it, travelers may feel backside ache.

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Photography by Beediverse
Cape Epic, South Africa: This off-road classic changes its route yearly, but the theme is always the same. Eight days of ascending mountain cycling through some of South Africa’s the most spectacular and rugged terrain, with 698 km in length and 15 km of slopes, Epic Cape makes La Tourmalet just like a ride in a park.

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Photography by Capetown.travel
Three Peaks Challenge, Australia: Try on your own, it’s really hard. Australia’s Three Peaks challenge takes place every year. The road contains 235 km in 13 km, crossing Tawonga Gap, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. To conquer this trail, it is necessary to have professional riders going alongside.

top 10 toughest bike rides 9

Alto de L'Angliru, Spain: Recently, the Vuelta d'Espana has earned a reputation as the most abrupt stage of both famous bicycle races - Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. Alto de L'Angliru, located in the Northern Asturias region, is disputably its toughest climb. It is just only 12.5 km in length, but the average gradient is a creepy 10.13%. 

top 10 toughest bike rides 10
Photography by Scoda.co.uk

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hoi An Sunset Cruise - New Fantastic Experience


Arriving Hoi An of Vietnam – the biggest trade port formerly and a stunning quaint city now, you can take part in many interesting discovery activities like cycling around Hoi An, visiting ancient building, taking a Hoi An cooking class, enjoying street food and particularly, cruising on Thu Bon river.

Hoi An’s architectural constructions are stunning. This is too obvious. Hoi An’s food is amazing. Do not need to argue about this. But Hoi An’s natural scenes and people in countryside are also nice. This is a great thing for discovery. Jumping into a boat and enjoy a Hoi An sunset cruise, this is one of the best ways to obtained a wonderful holiday in this ancient town.

The cruise on Thu Bon river – the heart of Hoi An will offer you diverse experiences and emotions. You can read in some document that Hoi An is situated in banks of Hoai river, and others say that Thu Bon river. The truth is that Hoai river is a tributary of Thu Bon river. 

On a traditional boat, the trip departs from a peaceful nice dock decorated by colorful lanterns. Actually lanterns are hung everywhere in Hoi An. The boat will lead you through ancient streets along two sides of the river. Green moss walls, grey tiles and other archaic images appearing in sunshine may make you imagine the life sights of a big city formerly.   

Hoi An sunset cruise 1

The boat gradually floats far away the central Hoi An and take travelers reach to outskirt life. Bring along a camera in hand, you can shoot nice photos as the sun going down behind mountains and all fishing activities on the river. 

Hoi An sunset cruise 2

You will observe fisherman catching fish before sunset. You can see many original jobs like casting net, cutting fishing rope and crab hunting. You also probably encounter strange and unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boats along the waterways of water coconut palm paradise. The bustling part in a day of local fishermen is in the late afternoon. When the sun is setting slowly down to the mountain, fishermen also set off their fishing and expect to harvest fish abundantly. The cruise will let travelers have chances to be knowledgeable about daily activities of fishery in Hoi An. If you want to understand more about the local life, you can try working as a Hoi An fisherman.

Hoi An sunset cruise 3

The sun is low in the sky and the wind is gentle. All views become effulgent. Romantic and peaceful minutes of the sunset pass slowly. Experiencing total serenity and listen to sounds of waves among splendid nature, these will be fantastic moments. By this excellent calm cruise, you can immerse in nature, relax and admire glorious sunset. 

Hoi An sunset cruise 4


Hoi An sunset cruise 5

When the boat go back to central Hoi An, it is the time the night is coming. Every ancient house along the river lights lanterns at doors and balconies. Dwelling lines and river face become glistening and fanciful, creating absolutely romantic scenery. The trip is still great even in last moments.     

Hoi An sunset cruise 6



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Characteristics Of Floating Markets In Vietnam

By Kimina
Floating market is a original feature of deltas of Mainland Southeast Asia, where has thousands of rivers and canals in various sizes. In Vietnam, floating market is a specific cultural part of the Southwest. If you tend to explore Mekong delta, you should not skip a cruise to floating markets

The market is held in rivers, among a vast waterway with hundreds of boat, junk and canoe of residents.

explore Mekong delta 1
A floating market in Vietnam
The floating market opens up a whole day, but it is usually the most bustling in the morning, when it is cool. The more it turns to noon, the hottest the weather is, the fewer customers are. So you should visit floating markets in early morning.

Boats are loaded fully of goods. Fruits are the most popular kind of merchandise. The peculiar point of boats is that in each one has several poles. People dangle products which they sell on these poles. Therefore, customers just only look at the poles, they can know whether the boat has things they need or not. By this original marketing way, customers from a far distance can see clearly items.

explore Mekong delta 2
Residents hang products they sell on poles.
These are general characteristics of Vietnam floating markets.

- Market is the place where trade and exchange actually local produce of local inhabitants, comprising agricultural products and foodstuff. 

- Stores or boats normally do not have any sign. Sellers hang products which they sell on poles or over prows; sell oranges hang oranges, sell mangoes hang mangoes, sell coconut hang coconut, etc. People call these poles as “cay beo”. These “cay beo” are erected on prows or hang horizontally on boats. 


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"Cay beo" is erected on the prow.
explore Mekong 4
"Cay beo" is hang horirzontally
- If wanting to know the area which a boat belongs to, just regard into a side of the boat, which is written a province code abbreviated by two first letters. For instance, “Tien Giang” province is written as “TG”.

explore Mekong 5
Vinh Long province wass abbreviated as "VL" on this boat
However, there are still three circumstances:

1. “Hanging things which are not for sale.” They are just clothes. Residents of the floating market commonly live in boats, so their clothes are also dried in sun on boats.

2. “Things are for sale but not hung.” These boats are food or beverage stalls. That goods cannot be hung.

3.  “Hang one thing but sell another thing.” If you see only a few pineapples hung on a boat, this means that the owner want to sell this boat. So, hang pineapples, but sell the boat.

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Hang pineapples, but sell boats
Some famous floating markets you can visit are Cai Be (Tien Giang province), Phung Hiep (Hau Giang province), Chau Doc (An Giang province), Can Tho and Phong Dien (Can Tho city).

Any Mekong delta tour also set an excursion to floating markets for you. You can choose biking around Mekong countryside to discover the cultural life of local residents.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Backpacking Vietnam - Sapa

By Canadian Veggie
Sapa is a popular tourist town in the northwest corner of Vietnam that serves as a gateway for visiting the ethnic hill tribes that live in the area. Around Sapa there are rolling hills covered in rice terraces and many small Hmong and Dzao villages, where people still follow their traditional ways of life (although western influence and tourist money is slowly changing that).

trekking Sapa 1

Our guide, Mao, was excellent and we got a much more personal experience. After a quick bowl of pho in the market, we were off trekking Sapa. I thought it was going to be an easy trek when I saw Mao in big purple boots, but I was wrong – it wasn’t easy, it was just muddy. Mao took us off the main trail and along tiny trails used by the locals. Even though we had a guide, we also had two other women follow us, helping us whenever the trail became slippery or steep.

trekking Sapa 2

I enjoyed the scenery along our Sapa trek, even though the hills were shrouded in fog. The highlight of our hike though was talking to Mao about her life and discussing the interesting cultural differences of life among the hill tribes. Most of the tribes in the area originally migrated from China hundreds of years ago. The women seem to be the bread winners and still dress in traditional clothing, while the men are a bunch of slackers. Mao told us the guys have trouble learning English, so all the guides are women. The women also do a lot of the daily work and cooking.

The most interesting thing we learned from Mao was about the marriage customs. According to her, she’s been ‘married’ to her husband for a year (she’s only 17) and they live together, but they haven’t had a wedding yet. She was hoping that during the new year celebrations, both of their families would give their blessing and then they could have a wedding.

Our night in Sapa was spent at an intimate homestay in a small village. There were 12 other people and enough bed’s to sleep 30, so it was more of a rural hostel. However, the other guests were friendly and it was good to get advice on places to go on the rest of our trip. We had an excellent, candle-lit (the power went out) dinner and afterwards our hosts brought out “happy water” – home-brewed rice wine. It was served from a water bottle, and even though it was remarkably strong, it was also very smooth.

trekking Sapa 3

The next morning we got up early to come back to Sapa town and then a trip to Bac Ha, home to a popular Sunday market. The hill tribes (mostly Flower Hmong) converge on the city to swap fabrics, foods, and livestock. Unlike most of the other markets we visited in Vietnam, the Bac Ha market is largely geared at locals, with only a small section selling souvenirs. While we wandered around taking pictures, Mao went off shopping for dried beans and a purse.

Sapa trek 1

Sapa trek 2

Sapa trek 3

Sapa trek 4