Wednesday, February 22, 2012

18 Tips for harmonious family travels

Keeping the whole family happy and content for two solid weeks was always going to be a huge ask! But make some plans and get the ground rules in place and the toddler tantrums and teen dramas will be minimised (hopefully!)

1. Slow right down– Children work on a whole different timescale and anyway it’s not about ticking off the seen items on your to-do list. Chill out and take it slow.

2. Kids Eat Free– Save money on family meals by looking out for deals where kids eat free or two people eat for a set fee.
3. Plan ahead– Make a rough itinerary suitable for all the party, allow plenty of interesting stops for all ages and include a few rest stops too! But prepare to be flexible too as your choice of activity might not be ‘cool’ enough!

4. Take Your Own Stroller– Using your own baby stroller or pushchair at some theme parks and attractions can save you from hiring one.

5. Go prepared– Make sure you have a capsule first aid kit, a few snacks and drinks. Also pack any toiletries you might need; wipes, tissues, spare clothes etc

6. Multi Day Passes– Find out if attractions offer multi day passes or discounts and take advantage of them.

7. Focus– Turn the mobile off and enjoy quality time with your family. This is your vacation too, so enjoy it.

8. Use The Pool– If you’ve paid extra for a hotel for a pool then make sure you use it. Or consider booking a hotel without all the usual amenities if you won’t use them.

9. Child Spending– Set your children a daily or weekly budget on what they spend on souvenirs and gifts to save any bickering later on.

10. Get back to nature– Try camping and make educational trips fun, which will probably work better with younger children. Spot and identify wildlife, plants and birds.

11. Student Discounts– Many attractions offer student, children, senior and family discounts. Check in advance and carry your ID with you.

12. Lead by example– Encourage your children to explore and try new things. Try that zipline experience and sample those local ‘speciality’ dishes – adventure is the spice of life!

13. Capture the moment– Take a few photos, video or even keep a scrapbook.

14. Routine– Try to stick roughly to your home routines, such as bedtimes but do allow some flexibility as a holiday is meant to be fun after all.

15. Discount Vouchers– Many local newspapers and magazines offer local attraction deals such as 2 for 1 entry etc, which will save families money. Also look out for promotional leaflets in hotels.

16. Loyalty Vouchers– Other organizations also have offers from their partners – make sure you’re signed up to receive post from your credit card companies, supermarkets etc.

17. Make it count– If you want to go off and explore an art gallery by yourself then make sure you do it; you don’t have to be together 24/7. Likewise try to spend some quality one-on-one time with each of your children.

18. Rules– If you are going to let your children explore by themselves make sure you have ground rules in place. Make sure they know when and where to meet up with you and make sure they have working mobile phones for emergencies.

Floating on the Delta

Every visitor to Can Tho will inevitably spend at least a morning at Cai Rang floating market, a vibrant, colourful and revealing symbol of the MekongDelta’s largest city.

Life at Cai Rang floating market rises before the sun. By 5am the market is up and running. It is essentially a floating, wholesale greengrocer’s. Traders come from across the Mekong’s network of waterways and canals to buy and sell fruit and vegetables.

The floating market is like a village. People come for the wholesale market but additional trades flourish as a result of this mercantile gathering. You can buy breakfast – half-hatched egg, hu tieu or pho noodle soup, chao ca (rice porridge with fish). You can also find medicine, clothes, cosmetics, and many other odds, and ends. You can even find people selling lottery tickets.


The floating market on Mekong Dealta

The boats also double as homes. People hang washing ‘on the line’ or place potted plants on the deck. Inside you will find furniture – tables and chairs, and beds.

Some locals tell us that the floating market is not as crowded as it used to be as many merchants sell their products on the river bank. Although it is still an appealing destination for visitors, many of the traders want the market to be managed more carefully in order to preserve the market and improve living conditions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Top 10 Things to Do While Visiting Ho Chi Minh City

If you are planning a visit to Vietnam, you are probably wondering what the top 10 things to do in Ho Chi Minh City are. Hence and as a former resident of Ho Chi Minh City, here is my list of the top 10 things to do while visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

1. Visit the newly refurbished War Remnants Museum. Housed in the former home of the US Information Service and once known as the War Crimes Museum, the War Remnants Museum offers visitors the official Vietnamese view of the Vietnam War. Nevertheless, its three floors of exhibits are well worth visiting to give you an idea of just how destructive the Vietnam War was along with the lingering effects from the use of Agent Orange. In fact and near the entrance to the museum, there will usually be several people who purportedly suffer from the effects of agent orange and you will be encouraged to donate to a fund intended to help them.

War Remnants Museum
2. Take a tour of the Reunification Hall.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beach gems tucked away in Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay is part of the Halong Bay community but unlike its more famous neighbor it boasts some amazing sandy beaches. 

Tourists take a kayak trip in Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island.

Located east of Cat Ba Island, a World Natural Heritage site which is famous

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA completed the survey of responsible tourism project in Pu Hu Nature Reserve, Thanh hoa province, Vietnam.

The survey team spent 3 days 2 nights on exploring the jungle Pu Hu by trekking. This marked the first steps to discover and develop the potential tourism in this area.

This is the next step of responsible tourism project called “Protection of the

Friday, February 3, 2012

The real dirt bike on the northwest Vietnam

Bike tours to the rugged region of Vietnam offer a more direct experience of the life of its people.

It is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but discovering Vietnam’s rugged and scenic northwest on a motorbike is more than an exhilarating experience.

Those who have undertaken it say it enables them to see “life as it truly is for the Vietnamese people.”

Dramatic landscapes and sweeping panoramas become more direct and intense when the visitor is not enclosed within a vehicle. Watching the rural population doing about its business also becomes a more intimate affair.

“We started the itinerary to four mountainous provinces – Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lao Cai – in the northwest region with a 130 km ride to Mai Chau,” said Andre Prince, who took the 7-day journey with six friends from Canada.

Mai Chau, Vietnam

Together with a tour guide, they left Hanoi at 8:30 a.m. and rode the dirt-bikes (175cc and 250cc Yamahas and Hondas) west