Friday, March 30, 2012

In Touch with the Real World: Vietnam Bicycle Tour

Because the technology makes traveling easier than it was hundreds years ago, today people fly from places to places to experience the different cultures in various countries. Vietnam, however, is one place that people think it is the place left in the world that is so close to the “reality.” Many destinations have not yet been explored by travelers.

Vietnam is a bicycle-friendly country. Many people use bikes to commute in Vietnam. Bicycle travelers, Bill Fridl, Patrick Morris and David Foster chose their ways to discover the country. They cycled in Vietnam between 1995 and 2000. If you choose this method to sightsee in Vietnam, time can be the issue. Plan a trip with time flexibility to ensure a good quality trip. Cycling in Vietnam, time and energy are what you need. Knowing basic techniques to take care your bike would be a plus, and you can usually find some locals to help you with the bicycle problems. However, the language barrier could be a challenge.

 The bicycle brings more adventure excitments

Thursday, March 29, 2012

9 coolest adventure travel items

Calling all Bear Grylls wannabes – you could try and “take on the wild” like the Chuck Norris of the outdoors, but you will probably only end up with frozen toes and a shattered ego.

Instead, kit yourself out with some super-cool adventure travel products; it’s not cheating, it’s winning.

1. Scuba cam

Save the underwater cameras for snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. This Wide Angle Scuba Cam is for researchers or extreme divers who want to take stunning panoramas beneath icy deserts like the North Pole or close-ups of jaws during a too-close-for-comfort Shark Dive. This camera is embedded in the apex of the snorkel which is handy for anyone trying to swim for their life.
Perfect for getting a shot of your own bubbles.

This Wide Angle Scuba HD dive mask records HD 720P video (1280x720) with 5-mega-pixel still images. It’s equipped with a micro SD card slot. The mask has lever-style buttons, which eases changing modes while wearing diving gloves.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sai Gon, Vietnam: Through the eyes of an adventure world traveler

From the airport to the city is very quick – about 15-20 minutes.  Saigon is a much faster pace with more cars and even more motorbikes & pushbikes (approx 3 million bikes).  It is the commercial capital and more modern than Hanoi.

Yes, you can call it Saigon as that is the name of the central city or district 1.  Ho Chi Minh City is the city encompassed.

Reunification Palace is quite interesting. Remember satellite pictures of tanks crashing through the gates in to the palace grounds back in 1975 and the Vietnamese raising their flag of independence.  Apparently the person who captured all that on film was an Aussie who was hiding up a tree!  A guide comes in handy in this place.  We saw it from the top – living quarters in true retro style right down to the bomb proof basement where all the old phones and telex machines are still sitting. 

In the War Remnants Museum we were left to wander through ourselves.  A guide is not necessary but a box of tissues is.  The photography in here leaves you feeling so shattered.
Cholon is the Chinatown of Saigon.  We were guided through the wholesale market  of Binh Tay– again the camera was whirring non-stop.  Love those markets!

I particularly liked the Thien Hau Pagoda which is where a lot of boat people came to pray to the Goddess of the Sea before they set off to countries unknown.  The ones that made it have sent back money to this pagoda so it is very well kept.  Hundreds of spiral incense burning from the roof and colours that capture your heart.

 Duc Ba Church 

A walking tour of the centre of Saigon is an easy half hour.  We started at Notre Dame Cathedral and strolled down the main street of Dong Khoi to the Town Hall, along the way passing some fabulous buildings of history and importance.   Transport yourself back to the early 70’s and imagine the journalists in the American war congregating at the Rex and Caravelle hotels at 5pm everyday to file their stories and have a drink at the roof bars.  Both hotels have withstood the ravages of war and are popular places to stay.

There are some very trendy bars in Saigon and plenty of expats frequenting them.  Q Bar opposite the Caravelle Hotel is particularly good. I was really surprised by the amount of expats working in Vietnam.  Anything from banking, advertising and tourism to teaching, engineers and VSA.

 Cu Chi tunnels

Cu Chi is approximately 1.5 hours drive from central Saigon.  We stopped enroute to see rice paper being made and to look at some duck farms.  The tunnels at Cu Chi are amazing.  Imagine digging 250kms of tunnels by hand!  They had ingenious methods of letting smoke out without alerting the enemy to where they were.  Also ingenious were the entrance/exit ways slightly larger than A4 paper.  The tunnels have now been widened by three times to allow Westerners to get down in them for a look!  We didn’t see the firing range but it is possible to let off a few rounds yourself (for a price).

 Boats with different shapes and sizes on Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta was fairly busy with boats of all shapes and sizes.  We went to an island and had fresh fruit and tea, then to another island where we saw coconut candy being made.  Got in to a smaller sampan and cruised up a narrow canal to a place where we sampled rice wine and fresh honey.  Back in My Tho we had lunch at a restaurant then headed back to Saigon.  Delving deeper in to the Mekong is recommended – our tour was too short for this but there are some good tours that include an overnight in the Delta in homestays or basic hotels.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Taking it easy motorcycling on the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail

Tired of the scorching heat in the city? Why not grab a motorcycle and drive off in to Viet Nam's beautiful, cool countryside? Motorcycle adventures are gaining popularity among young, adventurous Vietnamese and foreign travelers. No stops, no fixed schedules, just jumping on the bike and going- these are just some of the reasons why people are opting for motorcycle travel over traditional train and bus journeys.


The legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail was the supply line used by North Viet Nam soldiers to link the north with South Viet Nam during the American War. Soldiers, ammunition and supplies were carried by hand, bicycle and lorries for thousands of kilometres through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that covered Viet Nam's mountainous border with Laos. "I was very emotional as we drove along the road filled with so much history," Villa says.

With a map, two bikes, and bags packed with jungle essentials such as: clothing, Wellington boots and first-aid kits, the two Germans started on their journey. They began on the outskirts of Ha Noi, where the journey was quite easy and peaceful at first. On the first day, there was nothing but a calm, smooth road and the sunset on the horizon. As they made their way through the city of Da Nang, Villa and Marjak visited the Non Nuoc tourism site where they met Pham Van Hung, a motorcycle and dirt bike tour guide who leads trips along the trail.

Choose a suitable bike and ready for the journey

Taking advantage of their chance meeting, the two foreigners began their real adventure the next morning. As they passed through Pa Hon Village (Dong Giang District) they could not help but admire the stunning views. They took pictures of every little detail of the ethnic village, and asked Hung to take their pictures too. One thousand snapshots later, they left picturesque Pa Hon.

At midnight, they arrived at Prao, a mountainous town in Dong Giang District. Even though it was late, they still found the strength to wander around the town.

Smiles of local children 

"I like to drench myself in the secluded atmosphere of the mountains, and in every detail of people's lives here. You can only enjoy these things by travelling like this. I love the spontaneity, I love that I can stop wherever I want, which I cannot do with a strict schedule on a booked tour led by a guide wearing a tie. My guide on this trip is not so bad either," Marjak shared.

The next morning, they continued their adventure from Quang Nam to Thua Thien – Hue.
I also met up with a Dutch couple Marcus Kamp, 33, and Bree Angelique, 28, who recently returned from their own journey along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the opposite direction as the two Germans, from Hue to Quang Nam. They each had a dirt bike and went with two tour guides named Duong Tien Hung and Le Van Son. On the first day of the trip, Kamp and Angelique enjoyed the fresh air under the trees along the A Roang – A Tep Pass between the two provinces while listening to their guides introduce the fascinating tales of Cong Troi (Heaven Gate) and of this legendary road during the war. They stopped in Ta Vang Village (Tay Giang District). Kamp could not help sharing his emotions: "The strange feeling when we set foot in the traditional village of the Co Tu ethnic group was amazing. It definitely boosted our enthusiasm for the bike trip."

They explained that they met about a dozen expats who were also travelling on bikes during their two day trip along the trail. All of them were ecstatic about the amazing views of Truong Son Mountain and the surrounding jungle. What amazed them even more was the life and culture of the people they met along the way.

A beautiful day on the road 

Marco Bouwer, a 31-year old German tourist who rode the trail shared: "We are really relaxed and comfortable in nature, away from the heat and traffic that overwhelm the cities. Also, the people were friendly and curious. We often caught them looking and laughing at us, which in a way was pretty funny. We didn't mind."

If you find yourself in the mood for a spontaneous adventure, you do not have to get online to plan your journey alone. Contact to the travel agent for full services and have chance to go with enthusiastic guide who can tell you thousands of stories along the road.  Ho Chi Minh Trail is the perfect route for those want to experience the motorcycling and adventure tours.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vietnam’s best beaches

Vietnam might have been late to Southeast Asia’s beach party, but it was worth the wait. The country has more than 3,400km of coastline, with infinite stretches of powdery sand, hidden coves, lovely lagoons, impossible boulder formations and tropical islands ringed with yet more beaches.

Nha Trang

The heavy weight champion of Vietnam, Nha Trang has been knocking out visitors for years. True, the town is brazen and brash, but the beach is bold and beautiful and a gateway to a cluster of quieter islands.


Mui Ne

Set on a seductive swathe of sand, Mui Ne is an absolute charmer with swaying palms and towering dunes. Get pummelled on the beach by a masseur or pummelled by the waves with some water sports - this place blends action and inertia to perfection.


Phu Quoc

Simply the most beautiful island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc is liberally sprinkled with picture-perfect white-sand beaches and cloaked in dense, impenetrable jungle. Long Beach is sophisticated, Ong Lan Beach is romantic, and Bai Sao is simply irresistible.


Con Dao

The Con Dao Islands have been protected from over-exposure by their isolated location off the coast. Enjoy it while it lasts, with their smattering of resorts and an overdose of idyllic beaches, as this is sure to be the next big thing in Vietnamese beaches.


Doc Let

While the rest of the world is sunning itself in Nha Trang, slip up the coast to this little teaser, home to some atmospheric resorts and some squeaky white sand; a place to get away from it all.


Ho Coc

Vung Tau to Phan Thiet is almost one long beach, but much of it remains mercifully inaccessible to the masses. Sample its potential with a retreat to Ho Coc, a glorious sandbar about midway along this stretch.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Summer promotion 2012 - Book and get 1 night FREE at 3 star hotel

Accommodation 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. Double 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 and enjoy 1 night at the hotel or you would like to arrange accommodation on your own, we offer you a meal FREE for 2 people at every destinations on your tour.

How to get this great promotion ?

So easy, just make your decision and book tour with us.
This promotion is valid from May 01, 2012 to Sep 30, 2012, applied for tours in Vietnam and costs from $500 only.

The promotion provides all travelers real experiences in Vietnam without concerning about accommodation, food, and activities. This makes it suitable for all types of groups and those who love any kind of adventure tours.

We hope to meet you there!

Please access our website to discover all the great tours which have been dedicated just for you.
- ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA).
- ACTIVE TRAVEL VIETNAM (ATV).
- ACTIVE TRAVEL CAMBODIA (ATC).
- ACTIVE TRAVEL SHOP (ATS).

or contact us at: info@activetravel.asia for more information


In case you need further information about the hotel, please find more details follow this link:(http://www.hanoicalypsohotel.com/vi-VN/home.aspx)

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA, offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland tours and family travel packages. Our tour packages and custom itineraries will take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy an unforgettable active vacation. We run the most adventure tours available in the area. Our active trips are designed for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.