Friday, December 28, 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

Friday, December 21, 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.

Old Quarter
It is colorful and crowded in Christmas holiday. Especially, tourists like to visit Hang Ma street where you can find any necessary things for your decoration in the Christmas tree or your house. You can also find numerous gifts and cards here with the diverse and unique styles and kinds. The streets will be full of things relating Christmas from the beginning of December so you can visit here if you want to enjoy Christmas atmosphere sooner.

Hanoi has a lot of lakes, however there are two famous ones named Hoan Kiem Lake and West Lake. These places attracts tourists when coming to Vietnam, even not in any holiday.

Hotels and Restaurants
Most of hotels and restaurants will celebrate Christmas with the different activities from parties to music show. With the high-star hotels and restaurants, they usually offer the most luxury buffet party and hilarious music performance and give the presents for the guests.

Shopping malls, supermarkets and markets
There will be a chance to go shopping because most of shopping malls, supermarkets and markets will have the big promotional campaign in this occasion with hundreds of new arrivals and numerous of goods are discounted.

Art shows and new films
On Christmas Eve or some days before, there are a lot of program under the theme Christmas for children, the youth, etc. People also like to go to the movie theater to enjoy the new films about Christmas. Besides, in the international organizations and universities, there are a lot of activities celebrated in Christmas Eve or some nights before. That will be free for all people to come and join.

Thursday, December 20, 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!

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.

Wednesday, December 5, 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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trying medicinal bathing with the Dao people

Medicinal bathing is a local feature of the indigenous Red Dao in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai. In Ta Phin Commune (Sa Pa District), tourists can spot many families drying herbs in their front yards.

Legend has it that on the last day of the year the Dao boiled leaves from the forest for medicinal bathing before welcoming the new year in. As this practice proves both effective and salubrious, a majority of Kinh people have considered it a unique feature of Red Dao culture. Each barrel of water usually contains at least 10 types of herbs, even up to 120. Every bathroom has a wardrobe to keep personal belongings and visitors feel quite relaxed to bathe in the typical wooden tubs filled with hot water and the aromatic smell of different herbs.

There are two types of bathrooms: a single for one wishing to bathe alone and a double for couples to share.

Stepping out from a steam-filled bathroom, Christine Smith - an American tourist - says; "I feel so relaxed, like being full of energy". Christine is no exception. Other Western tourists also feel the same about medical bathing in Sa Pa after a long trip through north-western provinces. Ly Ta May, 30, says bathing with medicinal herbs is a traditional practice of the Red Dao.

“In our village, either in winter or summer, the whole family boils a big pot of medicinal herbs to fill wooden tubs for themselves to bathe in the hope of curing ailments such as knee, hand, and foot pain, muscle pain, headache, back pain, excess alcohol, fatigue, poor blood circulation, and skin diseases.
“If women take to bathing with these herbs after giving birth, they will recover quickly and have a better blood circulation and beautiful skin”, she says.

Red Dao people in Sa Pa are famous for curing bone, joint, and muscle pains, common cold and flu symptoms. Collecting medicinal herbs is no easy task, says Chao Man May from Ta Van Village. “Medicinal herbs grow along the streams or in the forest. If you want to pick them, you’d rather go deep into the forest”, she says.

Like other Dao women, May has spent time teaching her young daughter about how to pick medicinal herbs where they often grow, and how to tell  the difference between the medicinal plants and poisonous varieties.

“This is very important because some poisonous herbs look much like medicinal ones. Only after about five or six trips to the forest, can my daughter find the right herbs”, she says.

She says the best time for picking medicinal herbs is in the early morning, as the dew preserves the essence of the sky and earth in them.

The Dao only take the branches and leaves, leaving the roots intact for growth until the next time of pruning.

The final step is to chop and dry the herbs in the sun so that they can be used for a long time. However, according to May, using fresh herbs is better than dried herbs.

The Red Dao’s treatment secrets have been passed down from generation to generation. Today, some medicinal remedies are given in Sa Pa as a special tourist service

Preparing water for medicinal bathing is time-consuming. It is boiled with both fresh and dried herbs in liquid form for people to soak up through the skin.

Dr. Tran Van On from Ha Noi University of Pharmacy says: “Each remedy of the Red Dao usually consists of between 10-120 different kinds of herbs, depending on regular or irregular medication”.

After many years of research, On has helped other Red Dao people process several kinds of herbs into pulverized substance for future use. The Red Dao’s medicinal bathing has become one of the northern mountainous province‘s attractions, even though it is still a mystery to foreign tourists who first set foot in Sapa.

>> Read more: Top trekking tours in Sapa by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

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.

Tuesday, October 23, 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.

Tuesday, October 9, 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 realize 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!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA offers new cycling tours in Vietnam for 2013

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA), one of the leading adventure travel companies in Indochina, announces to offers new cycling tours in Vietnam for 2013. 

These cycling tours will focus on itineraries of Ba Khan Rustic – Mai Chau Valley, Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Cuc Phuong National Park, Hoa Binh Lake & Moc Chau… Travelers who are looking for a budget scenic tour of Southeast Asia combined with greater mobility and adventure, a mountain bike tour may be right up travelers alley because “Bike touring is the perfect holiday: cheap, fun, and good for your health and kind to the environment.", as Mark Hodson from the Sunday Times said.

Following are the three new cycling tours:

Cycling & Home-stay in Ba Khan Rustic 2-days (Hanoi – Ba Khan Rustic – Mai Chau Valley – Hanoi) is a 2 days tour depart from Hanoi, the beautiful capital of Vietnam, to Ba Khan Rustic then to Mai Chau Valley. Tourists will be overnight in home stay in a stilt house that looks over Hoa Binh Reservoir, lying in a green valley of paddy fields dotted. The rest of the day travelers can swim in the lake, walk around the village or relax in the garden of the house.  

Highlight:  Ba Khan Rustic - A new and unique

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vietnam Mid-Autumn Children's Festival

Mid-Autumn Children's Festival or Tet Trung Thu is a wonderful time to visit Vietnam. The festivities last for several days and there is singing and shouting. Children wear masks, parade happily in the streets and bang their drums. Parents buy lanterns and toys for their children and prepare their favorite dishes. Special cakes are made and exchanged, and fruits are plentiful.

The festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, the day of the first full moon closest to the autumn equinox when the moon is at its fullest. The autumn equinox always falls on September 23. This year, the Children's Festival will occur on September 30. At the spring and autumn equinoxes the duration of day and night is equal and the sun appears directly overhead at noon at the equator. After September 23 the days become shorter and the nights grow longer.

During the Children's Mid-Autumn Festival, although the moon is then at its greatest

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

Wednesday, September 19, 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.

In May 2010, Huyen left Malaysia to some countries in Asia and Africa. She stayed in India for four months, then three months in Nepal 3, another three months in Israel.

In two years travelling over different lands, Huyen always looked for ways to save money for the trip. As a member of the Couch Surfing network in the world (sharing accommodations), Huyen was provided with free accommodations in the countries she visited by other members of the Couch Surfing network. They also helped her integrate into local communities to learn about their lives and culture.

Huyen was also willing to sleep at bus stops, on the street, and on the beach as long as they gave her the sense of security. She even slept in police stations several times.

"Once I slept on the beach of the Red Sea (Israel). The weather was very hot during the day but it was very cold at night. I had to wear all of my clothes in my backpack but I was still cold. In Nepal, I had to sleep at police stations several times. I had to be very patient to explain for local people that I was traveling. Perhaps I looked naïve so they had compassion for me," Huyen said with a smile.

She regularly walked, for up to 40-50km a day, or hitched a ride because according to Huyen "hitchhiking is very simple. I stood on the road to catch people for a ride."

Once she hitchhiked a truck in Ethiopia and overslept in the car. The car took her 200km over her scheduled destination. The driver dropped Huyen in a strange city that she had never heard of its name. But Huyen found out that this was a very interesting place after a few days discovering the city.

She traveled from one place to the other. When she was out of cash, she found a job to do. In India, she starred as a popular actor and played in commercial ads. In Nepal, she participated in organizing parties for a club. She wrote for a website in Israel, worked in a casino in Tanzania...

Huyen said that these jobs did not require in-depth knowledge, just a vivacious, dynamic, bold person. These simple works were paid for the hour, immediately, so she still had time to explore destinations.

"Each passing day I had different memories and different experiences. In two years, I learned many things which are as important as the knowledge that I learnt for 12 years at the school," Huyen said.

She said she learned many things such as designing websites, making a film in India, Buddhism in Tibet, rowing, hiking cooking dishes from different countries, making jewelry from recycled materials and others.

Travelling alone but Huyen never fell sad because she could quickly make friends with local people.

"When I was sad, I went to the market to find local people to get acquainted with them. I never stayed in hotels. I always tried to stay with local people," Huyen said.

On a bus in the evening in India, a young man invited Huyen to stay with his family for one night. But Huyen stayed there for a week and learned how to cook Indian cuisines learned about the culture, customs of Indian people. The family presented her gifts when she left.

In her journey, Huyen met accidents and risks. She had a motorcycle accident, causing leg fracture and she had to stay in Nepal for a month to care for the injury. She experienced persistent illness in the winter in the Himalayas. She was snatched, pick-pocketed and was nearly kidnapped.

At the border of Kenya and Somalia in the evening, a group of young people pressed a knife to her neck and robbed her backpack. Although she chased after them and shouted for help, people around did not help her. At that time, she fell helpless, resentment, and very alone.

"The trip really helped me mature. Situations taught me how to live independently, comfortably, strengthened my adaptability and endurance. I have become bolder and stronger after the journey," Huyen said.

Talking about her experience in preparing for the journey, Huyen said that the most important thing is preparing a good health and anticipate any circumstance that can happen on the road.

When she returned home with sunburned skin, ragged hair, her mother was poignant, but she assured about her daughter's self-reliance.

"Vietnam youngsters were wrapped carefully by their families so they are disadvantaged compared to their friends in other countries in the world. In many countries, young people are always facilitated by their families to travel," Huyen said.

Huyen plans to visit South America for a year. She is also building a tourism portal, wishing to turn it into a Lonely Planet site for the Vietnamese. She is also about to release a book that she wrote about her experience in the journey.

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.

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.

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? 

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.

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.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA release more options for summer promotion 2012

Accomodation 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.

Friday, August 17, 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 7, 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.

Saturday, August 4, 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.

2. Bun thang
Dishes made of soft noodle soup are diverse such as vermicelli and fried chopped meat, Bun Thang, vermicelli and sour crab soup, stewed vermicelli and boiled lean meat, etc. The popular dish is vermicelli and sour crab soup whilst Bun Thang is for con-noisseurs, unique and available in Hanoi only. A bowl of Bun Thang includes lean pork paste, thin fried egg, salted shredded shrimp, chicken, onion, shrimps paste, and a little Belostomatid essence. Especially, Bun Thang bouillon made from shrimps and meat must be very sweet and pure. Without enjoying Bun Thang when arriving to Hanoi, it somewhat seems to lack of a part of taste of Hanoi.

3. Bun cha
Bun Cha Hanoi is another great way to use what we have already made (thit nuong, a variation of nem nuong, and picked carrots and daikon). As the name implies, this dish originates from the city of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, but is very popular throughout the country. It is similar to Bun Thit Nuong, in that both vermicelli and thit nuong are used, however the difference is that it includes a cha (pork sausage patties) and both grilled meats are soaked in nuoc mam cham, allowing it to soak up all the flavors of the nuoc mam. The cha nuong in this dish is slightly different then nem nuong in that there’s less garlic and sugar and no baking powder, although if you made nem nuong, you can certainly use it to make bun cha Hanoi.

4. Banh cuon
Banh Cuon (Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls/Crepes) is the perfect holiday detox food. Banh cuon is a very light crepe often with ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and onions and eaten with Vietnamese ham (cha lua), steamed beansprouts, and cucumbers. Another variation arising from a village in Northern Vietnam famous for their banh cuon is called banh cuon “Thanh Tri” a style where the crepe is not rolled but kept in sheets without any filling, and sprinkled with fried onions.

5. Cha ca la Vong
One of Hanoi's most famous specialties is Cha Ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish pies). The dish was invented by Doan family and has quickly become so popular that the name of the street where it is served was changed into Cha Ca (fish pie) from its former name Hang Son (Paint Street). To have tasty pie, the fish selected is Hemibagrus with solid fresh, less bones and good scent. Fish bones are left away to keep fish meat only, then seasoned with fish sauce, pepper, saffron and galingale. After that, the processed fish is grilled by coal heat and turned upside down to make both sides baked.
When serving, an oven of coal is needed to keep Cha Ca always hot. It is served with rice vermicelli, dried pancakes, roasted peanuts, sliced onion leaves, basil and shrimp paste with lemon and chilly.Hanoians often eat this dish while sipping some alcohol in the cold weather. If you are in Hanoi, you should come and explore the grilled fish pie yourself.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Floating markets – The essence of the Mekong Delta

 The Mekong Delta is renowned for its floating markets which are typical of the Phung Hiep and Cai Be districts.

On arriving in the Delta, you can travel by motorised boat to visit the Cai Be floating market, and experience the colourful trade of goods between their vessels.

The farmers from around the region bring their goods, mostly consisting of fruit and vegetables, to the markets to sell them to local dealers. These dealers then distribute the products to shops in the neighbouring towns and to wholesale dealers from larger towns.

As the adjacent image indicates, wholesalers trade from the larger boats by hanging their produce from a pole. This way, buyers on the smaller boats can easily see where they have to go to purchase the goods they need. In this example we see a vegetable market.

On the floating markets you not only find people buying and selling fresh produce, but you will also find floating restaurants, bars, gas stations, and many other stores. Canals in the area are simply the easiest and fastest means of transportation.

The biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta is the busy market of Phung Hiep. The market opens from 4 am through to 11 am. To visit the floating market you should stay in the Mekong Delta area, wake up early and take one of the first boats in the morning.

On a typical day, you might see coconuts, mangoes, a heap of turtles, a box of snakes or even a pot-bellied pig being paddled from a riverside village to be haggled over in the floating market. By sunrise, the waterways are clogged with the sampans of buyers and sellers. Bamboo poles hoisting various goods are numerous. Shoppers come by land and water, and as they stumble from boat to boat, they often interrupt their shopping to enjoy bowls of noodles, on open fires in the special ‘fast food’ sampans.

Cai Be, one of many well-known floating markets in the western region of southern Vietnam was formed in the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. The market is always busy, bearing all the characteristics of the locals’ life in the western region. All the goods are transported to the market by rafts and boats.

The floating market lies in the Tien river, next to the three provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre. The market is divided into two parts: buying and selling. Approximately 400 to 500 boats filled with fruits, vegetables, and other products are anchored along the banks of the river. Again, the merchandise sold in each boat is hung on a pole in front of the boat to attract customers. From the floating market, goods are shifted for selling at inland markets or small boats take them for delivery along canals in the Plain of Reeds.

From 3 am, rafts and boats are crowded because Cai Be is one of the biggest wholesale markets in the region. Traders live on the river and many link friends and family with boats over generations, not unlike a mobile home. On each boat, goods are hung on poles that are called dialectically “cay beo”. Hundreds of such poles point sky wards. Boats also operate like “taxis,” which are very convenient for tourists. Along the criss crossing canals, people in the Plain of Reeds take not only goods of each region to the Cai Be market but also their unique cultural characteristics, creating such a beautiful river collage.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Terrace rice fields in Northern Viet Nam

It is the high time many tourist booking us package tour to Northern Viet Nam just for taking photo of golden terraced rice fields here. It just about 250 kilometres from Hanoi and so most of people prefer motocycle coming here. 

The journey to the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai is to explore boundless golden terraced rice fields, resembling a staircase to the sky, in Mu Cang Chai district which used to be an opium poppy hub. The yellow steps to the sky, and the hospitable ethnic people, who have flattened hills to grow rice and construct irrigation systems on the mountain tops, are unforgettable images.

The first stop in Yen Bai is Tu Le town, Van Chan district, Tu Le's beauty is shown through lonely fields on mountain sides, small wooden houses appearing vaguely at different heights, boundless fields surrounded by the three mountains of Khau Pha, Khau Song and Khau Tan, and calm big

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Have you known Ma Pi Leng Pass?

Ma Pi Leng Pass, located between Meo Vac Commune and Dong Van plateau in Ha Giang province. It is a 15-kilometer canyon road above the Nho Que River, which weaves its way like a silver ribbon through limestone ravines.It is also named Cong Troi (Heaven's Gate), is the best place for tourists in Vietnam travel to enjoy a panoramic view of the valley below, particularly on a late afternoon when you can see a beautiful sunset overlooking the river.

Ma Pi Leng is at the height of nearly 2,000m above sea level. The construction of Ma Pi Leng (which takes the form of a crouching horse) began in the 1960’s, and was said to be done almost entirely by the H’mong people.In the beginning, to accomplish their tasks, construction workers had to carry explosives and move along the sides of the mountain by securing themselves to ropes.The earliest passes were wide enough only for horses pulling carriages and people to walk through. It wasn’t until much later that the authorities allowed the widening of 
these passes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Colorful Lantern Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Rows of shop houses spotting Chinese tiled roofs and yellow stained walls line the narrow alleys. Red lanterns hang from rusty ceilings, while creepy lalang tree branches hang from above. Red-and-green rickshaws stand alongside the traditional five-foot way and local ladies wearing conical straw hats amble along the streets balancing baskets of fruits on their shoulders. By the river banks, old men float on their crumbled wooden boats, waiting for the catch of their day.

This is Hoi An, an ancient city oozing old world charm, offering time travel for the curious ones. Set along the Thu Bon River, Hoi An was an international trading port back in the 17th century – Chinese, Japanese and European traders used to converge here, their traces now seen from the eclectic architecture in the Old Town. In the 18th century, Hoi An was considered to be the best destination for trading in all of Southeast Asia. Japanese believed the heart of all of Asia, referring to the dragon, lay beneath the earth of the city. Thanks to appropriate measures, the architectural styles in Hoi An have been extremely well preserved, thereby earning the town  UNESCO World Heritage status.

Once here, it’s easy to see why. Hoi An’s beauty is obvious: from the 17th century edifices to the hectic market and calm river banks, the city has an inimitable flair. Naturally it has attracted hordes of tourists, but thankfully it has still retained a sense of identity. Over the past few days, we’ve been wandering through its Buddhist pagodas, shrines, alleys and walkways. Here’s a look at some of our favorite

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Destination Must-See in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – globalgrasshopper, a popular site for international tourists, has listed the top ten must-see destinations in Vietnam.

1. Son Tra peninsula

Son Tra Peninsula, about 10km from the center of Da Nang City to the north-east, is a special gift of the god to Da nang. It is an ideal place for tourists in Vietnam travel to the city, to get away for the day and enjoy the real feeling of a different Vietnam.

Son Tra looks like a mushroom of which the cap is Son Tra Mountain and stalk is a beautiful sandy beach that affords an ideal area for bathing, swimming, playing sports and fishing.

Son Tra acts as a giant screen protecting Da Nang from storms and cyclones coming from the sea. Son Tra is put under the national protected forest regulation since it is a natural preservation area.

The peninsula is famous for its plentiful plants and fauna as well as the attractive scenery. It is said that fairies used to come here for singing, dancing and playing chess so Son Tra is also called Tien Sa. On this mountain, there still remain more than 30km² of natural forests, nearly 300 types of plants and several hundred kinds of fauna, including rare animal. From the top of the mountain, you can see the overall view of Da Nang City, Marble Mountains, Ba Na – Mount Chua.

Suoi Da (Stone Stream) lies by the side of the foot of the mountain, fine sandy surfaces run round the peninsula, several breaks of waves are running steadily up and down and washing up on the stones heaped up around the seaside. All are attractive spots for tourists. It is so majestic and it is so romantic, it is so wide and it is really beautiful.

2. Royal tombs of Nguyen dynasty
The Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) is the last of the Vietnamese dynasties. In total, there were 13 emperors, only seven of which had tombs however: Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Duc Duc, Dong Khanh and Khai Dinh.

King Khai Dinh tomb is considered the most beautiful

The seven imperial tombs are located in a hilly region southwest of the Citadel. The tombs of Minh Mang, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh and Khai Dinh belong to the major touristic destinations in Hue.

Each of the tombs was constructed during the reign of the emperor it was named after. All the tombs are equipped with statues and monuments in perfect Feng Shui harmony to create a natural setting, in the architecture of which the respective emperor's philosophical tendencies are often reflected.

The general elements incorporated in all the tombs are: walls, triple gate (Tam Quan Gate), Salutation Court, Stele House, temples, lakes and ponds, pavilions, gardens, and finally the tomb.

3. Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc is part of the southern province of Kien Giang province. The island is 50 km long (from north to south) and 25 km wide (from east to west at its widest part).
Surrounded by more than 40 km of white beaches decorated with coconut palms, Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island. Its western coastline is sparsely populated while the interior is largely covered with jungle and mainly deserted.

A stay on Phu Quoc Island would not be complete without visiting one of the factories producing nuoc mam (fish sauce), one of the most popular ingredients of the Vietnamese cooking as well as one of the pearl farms with panels describing the formation of pearls and shops selling pearl jewelry.

The island has a unique species of dogs, the Phu Quoc ridgeback, which has a ridge of hair that runs along its back in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. Much of this island’s nature is still protected. Around 70 percent of the island, an area of 31,422 hectares, became a national park in 2001. The rainy season on Phu Quoc is from July to November and the peak season for tourism is midwinter, when the sky is blue and the sea is calm.

4. The Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of 39,000 square kilometers. The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.

Coming to Mekong delta, visitors will discover the daily life of local people and diverse landscapes.

The Mekong Delta has recently been dubbed as a 'biological treasure trove.' Over 10,000 new species have been discovered in previously unexplored areas of Mekong Delta.

The Mekong Delta, as a region, lies immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City, roughly forming a triangle stretching from My Tho in the east to Chau Doc and Ha Tien in the northwest, down to Ca Mau and the East Sea at the southernmost tip of Vietnam.

The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam displays a variety of physical landscapes, ranging from mountains and highlands to the north and west to broad, flat flood plains in the south. This diversity of terrain was largely the product of tectonic uplift and folding brought about by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates about 50 million years ago. The soil of the lower Delta consists mainly of sediment from the Mekong and its tributaries, deposited over thousands of years as the river changed its course due to the flatness of the low-lying terrain.

5. Tram Ton Pass (Heaven Gate)

Tram Ton Pass is Vietnam’s highest mountain pass. On a clear day, the views are spectacular. Don’t be deterred by mist in Sapa. Conditions on the pass are frequently different to those in town. The temperature can also rise quite a bit on the pass as you break away from the cooler air of Sapa.  

Thach Bac or Silver waterfall is a compulsory stop for local tour groups and can be pretty busy. The falls are beautiful but probably only warrant a visit if time permits and in conjunction with a visit to Tram Ton Pass 3kms further along the road.

6. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the central province of Quang Binh, about 500 km south of Hanoi.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is noted for its cave and grotto systems as it is composed of 300 caves and grottos with a total length of about 70 km, of which only 20 have been surveyed by Vietnamese and British scientists; 17 of these are in located in the Phong Nha area and three in the Kẻ Bàng area.

After April 2009, total length of caves and grottoes are 126 km. Before the discovery of the Son Đoong Cave, Phong Nha held several world cave records, as it has the longest underground river, as well as the largest caverns and passageways.

The park derives it name from Phong Nha Cave, containing many fascinating rock formations, and Ke Bang forest. The plateau on which the park is situated is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in Southeast Asia.

This national park was listed in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2003 for its geological values as defined in its criteria viii. In April 2009, the world's largest cave, was discovered by a team of British cave explorers of British Caving Association.

>> Trekking to Hang En cave
>> Zip-ling, kayaking and caving in Phong Nha - Ke Bang national park

7. Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes.

Ha Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate. The geo-diversity of the environment in the area has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea shore biosystem. HaLong Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Historical research surveys have shown the presence of prehistorical human beings in this area tens of thousands years ago. The successive ancient cultures are the Soi Nhụ culture around 18,000–7000 BC, the Cái Bèo culture 7000–5000 BC and the Hạ Long culture 5,000–3,500 years ago. Hạ Long Bay also marked important events in the history of Vietnam with many artifacts found in Bài Thơ Mout, Đầu Gỗ Cave, Bãi Cháy.

In 1994, the core zone of Ha LongBay was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site according to criterion vii, and listed for a second time according to criterion viii.

>> Kayaking in Halong bay

8. One-pillar pagoda

The One Pillar Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples.

The temple was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, the king was childless and dreamt that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Ly Thai Tong then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple in gratitude for this in 1049, having been told by a monk named Thien Tue to build the temple, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, similar to the one he saw in the dream.

The temple is built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, It was rebuilt afterwards.

9. Da Dia Rapids

Da Dia (Stone Plate) Rapids are located in Tuy An District, Phu Yen Province, central Vietnam. With strange rock formations, foamy rapids, a fissure with multi-colored fish and a deep cave, etc. Da Dia Rapids was listed as a National Heritage Site by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Da Dia Rapids is a baffling and beautiful riddle of nature, and set in stone for all time. It’s like a giant jigsaw, irritatingly made of the same shaped pieces, and forming a solidified structure that has proved more than just a curiosity for thousands.

The stones in Da Dia Rapids are bazan stones of dark black and light yellow. There are large stones of tons and small stones with different shapes such as round, pentagon, and polygon and so on.

In the middle of the rapids, there is a small fissure filled with rain water and sea water. In this fissure, rocks stick out at odd angles. Hence, when travel to this area, visitors can also enjoy the fresh air and refresh after a long drive.

Visiting Da Dia Rapids – you will have chance to learn about many species of marine creatures, especially jam seaweed is a type of kelp which is sticks to the stones, looking like a network and the local use it as a special food.

10. Hue ancient capital

On 11th December 1993, the UNESCO recognized the architectural ensemble of Hue as a World Cultural Heritage. That is the first time a Vietnam's city ever received such a title. The ancient capital of Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), the final feudal regime of Vietnam. Situated 638 km to the south of Hanoi, only with 6777 ha in area and 280,000 in population, this historical ancient capital has become one cultural and tourism center of Vietnam and the world. 

The most amazing thing about Hue is the blend of royal-folk architecture and romantic nature. This romance is all evident in the beauty of the Huong River, Ngu Mountain, chanties and folklore songs, ancient citadels, palaces, temples, pagodas, ancient garden houses, special cuisine only found in Hue, court music and dancing, Hue chanties on the River Huong and especially in the souls of the people here.

Beautiful nature, ancient architecture, and elegant people are combined together to make Hue a heaven of poems, music and paintings, and a World Heritage that serves as an everlasting inspiration for generations of artists.