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.

December 12, 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.

December 05, 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.

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.

November 16, 2012

21 things to do in Cambodia


Cambodia is totally wonderful. It’s smaller than it’s neighbours and it’s just getting back on it’s feet after a pretty hectic time with the Khmer Rouge and all. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to do. Here is a list of  21 things to do in Cambodia – must see places and activities in Cambodia in no particular order.
1. Catch a Tuk Tuk
Cambodia has probably the world’s best tuk tuks. They’re essentially little cushioned chariots pulled around by a guy on a motorbike. Tuk tuks give you a chance to sit back, relax and take in the view of bustling street scape of little ole Cambodian.  Plus it’s much cooler than walking.

2. Have a drink at foreign correspondent’s club
The FCC in Phnom Penh sits on the river bank and looks out at the mighty Mekong River. Sitting on the FCC balcony at the end of a stinking hot day (which is most days) is the perfect way to cool off and unwind. It also helps that drinks are cold, strong and half price everyday 5-7pm. They also serve food which is pretty tasty.

November 13, 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

Entrants can send their photos to event@activetravel.asia  with title and a short description of where and how the photo was taken. Photos must be original works of the participants along with the entrant’s name, email, address, phone number.

All photos will be review by the ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA, photos which are eligible with the terms and conditions of this competition will be posted on ATA’s Facebook Fan page, and ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA Blog & Vietnam Adventure News.

This competition will start from November 12, 2012 to January 31, 2013 and the awards will be announced on January 10, 2013.

PRIZE
The highest prizes:
The second prize is a two day cycling tour of ACTIVE TRAVEL ASIA for photo that has the amount of LIKE ranked highest after the first.

Incentive prizes: Five coupons, each worth $50 will be awarded to five senders of submitting first photo to the contest.

For more information about Terms and Conditions to join the contest, please visit our official photo contest website at http://blog.activetravel.asia/p/activetravel-asias-photo-contest-2012.html and the Fanpage www.facebook.com/Active.Travel

About ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA): launched in Vietnam in 2006, one of the Indochina's leading adventure travel companies, offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland touring and family travel packages. ATA’s packages and tailor-made private itineraries will take travelers through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia. 

About Halong Emotion Cruise: The best way to discover the natural beauty of the bay is onboard Halong Emotion, designed to give you the best service you could possibly wish for. Halong Emotion combines charm and great comfort to meet the growing demand of travelers looking for luxurious cruises in the Bay

About Oriental Sails CruiseORIENTAL SAILS has becoming a well-known company who offers overnight trips to Halong Bay. Starting with only 1 cruise Oriental Sails I (16 cabins) in 2009, after more than 3 years we are now a group of 2 superior Oriental Sails cruises, 1 deluxe Calypso Cruiser and Luxury Star Light Cruiser which is launching in February 2013. Oriental Sails can satisfy most of your demand from middle range to high class when you choose us to enjoy beauty of our World Natural Heritage and assert that we are the best choice for your Halong Bay Trip.

Supported by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA – Actively explore the hidden land!
Hanoi Office:
Add: Floor 12 Building 45 Nguyen Son Street, Long Bien district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +844 3573 8569
Fax: +844 3573 8570

November 07, 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.

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.
  
                                        
        

October 24, 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.

October 11, 2012

10 things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang in Laos is one of the most visit places in Asia before it turns into another common tourist place. On my visit there, I had a chance to explore and experience the best of Luang Prabang which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so here are 10 things you can do in Luang Prabang in no particular order.

1. Luang Prabang Town in General
Explore this beautiful and well maintained town by foot to see the amazing  heritage buildings in traditional Lao and Dutch designs which take you back in history. Hotels, restaurants, cafes and guesthouses utilize these buildings for their businesses around Luang Prabang Town and one can easily do all of this by foot. There are absolutely no modern buildings or anything above 2 floors in this unique town.

Wats in Laos

2. Pak Ou Caves
Or simply known as the Buddha Caves, this is a must-visit for all travelers as the 25 kilometer scenic river journey will be one to remember. Seeing everyday life along the great Mekong River on route to the caves is something special here. At the Pak Ou Caves, thousands of Buddha statues are placed inside the caves which is an amazing sight. Entrance fees are separate here.

Pak ou Caves

October 01, 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.

September 27, 2012

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

September 22, 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.

September 07, 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 Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia 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.

Terraced fields in the communes of Phung, Luoc, San Sa Ho, Ho Thau, Nam Ty and Thong Nguyen have become the pride of Hoang Su Phi.

Hoang Su Phi terraced fields will be recognized as national relic on September 16, 2012.

Hoang Su Phi district is around 110km from Ha Giang city.

The district is on the upstream of Chay River, the largest and oldest river in the region. Let’s admire the beauty of rice harvest season in Hoang Su Phi.

A perfect day in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a gorgeous town in northern Laos and often the first stop for many travellers coming from Thailand. It’s common for travellers to only spend a day or two here before moving on, so if you’re on a tight schedule here’s our suggestion for a great day in LuangPrabang.

Alms offering
Begin the day nice and early by getting up to see the monks pass through the streets and collect offerings from the locals and tourists. For a better description check out this post from our friends Got Passport.

Breakfast 
Enjoy a large breakfast at Luang Prabang Bakery – one the nicest starts to the day we’ve had in a long time and served with a super strong Lao coffee.

Kouang Si Waterfall 
Take a tuk tuk out (you’ll have plenty of offers) and enjoy a hike to the top to take in the amazing views. Cool off afterwards in the perfectly coloured pools below, there’s also a small waterfall you can jump from and a rope swing for the more adventurous type. More info from Mike who was with us that day.

Lunch 
On return to town and hungry after the hike grab a baguette from one of the many street vendors around town – the chicken one is amazing.

Nam Khan River beach
Take a walk over the bamboo bridge and relax in the sunshine by the river side. Good for a paddle but there’s a strong current so be careful swimming.

Drink
Follow the path up from the river beach to Dyen Sabai bar & restaurant and enjoy a beer in this amazingly relaxing
setting looking over the town. Try not to fall asleep here, many do.

Sunset
Climb the many steps up Phu Si and enjoy a stunning view of the city, river and surrounding mountains as the sun sets across it all and becomes even more spectacular.

Market 
Finish off the day strolling through the market and enjoy one of the many street buffets on offer, most offering freshly barbequed fish and chicken as well. Great food for next to nothing.

Best seat in the house
If somehow you have any energy left I suggest more tasty beer Laos while watching the world go buy in one of the chilled out bars on the markets edge.

September 05, 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? You can show your respect for a culture by being educated about its ways, beliefs and taboos. Here are a few general guidelines:

1. Always ask permission before taking photos of tribespeople.
2. Don’t touch totems at village entrances or sacred items hanging from trees.
3. Avoid cultivating a tradition of begging, especially among children.
4. Avoid public nudity and don’t undress near an open window.
5. Don’t flirt with members of the opposite sex.
6. Don’t drink or do drugs with the villagers.
7. Smile at villagers even if they stare.
8. Ask your guide how to say ‘hello’.
9. Avoid public displays of affection, which might be viewed as offensive to the spirit world.
10. Don’t interact with the villagers’ livestock; avoid interacting with jungle animals, which might be viewed as visiting spirits.
11. Don’t step on the threshold of a house, prop your feet up against the fire or wear your shoes inside.

Where to meet Southeast Asia’s minority cultures

If you want to meet minority cultures, you’ll often have to get away from popular tourist centres; how far you’ll have to go depends very much on the country and how popular it is with visitors.

The trekking industry in Thailand is very developed and a minority visit can be a disappointment for some, but much depends on the operator organising the trip. Northern Vietnam and the Xīshuāngbǎnnà region of Yúnnán have emerged as popular places to experience minority cultures, but as in Thailand, visitors need to travel further from the trail to have a genuine experience.

September 03, 2012

Adventure tour will be developed in Cambodia

Cambodia is a place where you would never fall short of fun and excitement. The beautiful lush green fields, winding mountain ways, and long stretched beaches allow the local people as well as the tourists to indulge into a number of Adventure and Recreation in Cambodia.

Some of the most popular options for Adventure and Recreation in Cambodia are: Mountain Biking, Hiking, Scuba Diving, Water Sports, and Golf.


1. Mountain Biking in Cambodia
One of the most adventurous and exciting leisure activity of Cambodia is mountain biking. Riding through the rugged ways and paddy fields to the Angkor Wat is one of the most popular and interesting mountain biking trails in Cambodia.

2. Hiking in Cambodia
Following some of the most popular hiking trails in Cambodia you can reach to the highest point of the kingdom and witness some of the most fascinating views of the whole country.

3. Scuba Diving in Cambodia
Scuba diving and snorkeling are two of the most popular options for Adventure and Recreation in Cambodia. Koang Kang, K. Khteah, K. Chraloh, K. Ta Kiev, Sokha Beach, Ochheuteal Beach, Independence Beach, and Victory Beach are just a few destinations to name that have the most favorable condition for snorkeling and scuba diving. The unspoiled sea allows the tourists to view as much as 40 meters below the water surface.

4. Water Sports in Cambodia
Water sports are very popular in all over Cambodia. The pristine beaches allows the Cambodians as well as the tourists to indulge into various water sports like white water rafting, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

5. Golf in Cambodia
Golf is a newly introduced game in this part of the world. There are a few golf courses offering world class amenities like 18 hole courses, restaurant cum bars serving small refreshments, changing room etc. most of the luxury hotels and travel agencies offer packaged golf tours, that also includes a transfer to and from the golf course. The most popular golf courses of Cambodia are: Cambodia Golf & Country Club in Sang Kreach Tieng of Phnom Penh, Angkor Golf Resort and Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap, Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club in Kob Srov District of Kandal Province.

Recommendation:
Trek Rattanakiri
Motorbiking Adventure Cambodia

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. Almost any food item can be cooked quickly and effectively using it. Simply wrap the food item in the foil, and place it on a grate over the campfire. Some of the most popular foods to cook with aluminum foil include hamburger meant for burgers and pasta dishes, whole potatoes, almost any type of vegetable, and chicken parts. Obviously, cooking times will vary depending on what you’re making. A good rule of thumb for this easy, all purpose campfire cooking method is to assume cooking times to be similar to that of using a grill. Read another post on uses for aluminum foil while camping to learn more.


Preparation Before the Trip
Before the invention of the microwave, people used more primitive heating methods to cook leftovers. Following this logic, preparing certain foods in advance can seriously cut down on time and effort spent cooking during your next camping trip. Before you leave, make some simple, hearty foods that fit nicely in the cooler and can be reheated easily over a campfire. Scrambled eggs, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper, and biscuits can all be cooked at home and stashed safely in Tupperware containers for later use. Best of all, their reheating time at the campsite is minimal, giving you plenty of extra time to enjoy the beautiful spot you’re camping at – wherever it may be.

Use a Time Tested Cooking Tool
Let’s face it; non-campers are a little spoiled when it comes to cooking. With microwaves, stoves, and electric ovens at their disposal, they can prepare food a lot more quickly and easily. But you do have an advantage when it comes to campsite cooking; easy camping meals can be made even easier with the use of a Dutch Oven. An all purpose cooking vessel, the Dutch Oven has a tight fitting lid to seal in heat and a very sturdy construction. Almost anything that fits in one will cook nicely. Some popular easy camping meals to make in it include chili, beef stew, and just about any soup you can come up with.
With a little preparation, making easy meals while camping really isn’t all that tough. So, instead of slaving over a hot fire for lengthy amounts of time on your next camping trip, employ the tricks above to allow more time for fun.

August 22, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA release more options for summer promotion 2012


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. 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.

Besides, we have just deciced to add more option by adding 75 minutes massage body at Touch Hanoi Spa. By choosing suitable massage treament, we aim to help travellers feel relax after active time of running, trekking, or ridding on road.  

This promotion is valid for bookings from May 01, 2012 to Sep 30, 2012, applied for tours which cover Vietnam in its itinerary and price for over $500. 

Summer promotion provides all adventure lovers real experiences in Vietnam without concerning about accommodation, food, and activities. 

We hope to meet you there!

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.

August 18, 2012

Chol Chnam Thmay Festival


The Chol Chnam Thmay Festival is the biggest festival of the Khmer people which can be found in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand...It  is also the New Year festival of the Khmer people as Tet of the Viet people. It is held at the pagodas and local homes.he festival is prepared very carefully. Khmer people clean and redecorate their house and buy necessary food for the holidays.




Parents, grandparents and children gather and sit front of the altar. They stop all farm work, and relax. The three festival days are held in a joyful and exciting atmosphere.

The first day is called Thngay Chol Chnam Thmay. This ceremony can be held sooner or later in day, as long as it will be in good time, according to the the Khmer’s opinion.

The second day is called Thngay Von-Boch. Each family ​​offers morning and lunch meals for the monks.

The third day named Thngay Large-Sak, main festival day also the last day of the festival, similar to the first two days, after offering the monks breakfast, people make a bath for Buddha to clean out the old things, dust of the old year, to welcome the new year with a clean body.

In the evening, there are fireworks and other activities, such as kite flying and fire dancing. The boys and girls perform the Roam Vong dance and sing Du Ke.

The Chol Chnam Thmay festival’s purpose is to see the end of hot sunny season and to welcome the rainy period. It shows the Khmer people’s aspirations to forget the old year’s misfortunes and hope better things in a new year.

August 11, 2012

Amazing Festival in Cambodia


Cambodia has a wealth of traditional and international festivals. Most of these are a time of great rejoicing for the predominantly rural populace, many of whom flock to the capital to join in the celebrations and witness the organized fireworks displays which accompany the festivals. It is at these times the nation unites with a shared common understanding of values and traditions and they are looked forward to with great expectation. Even in times of hardship people try even harder to make these times special. All the traditional festivals are influenced by the concepts of Buddhism, Hinduism and royal cultures. The following are the most important of the celebrations organized throughout the year.





Water festival (October or November)

This vast festival is probably the most extravagant festival in the calendar. Over three days starting with the last full moon day in October or the beginning of November up to a million people from all walks of life from all over the country flock to the banks of Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers in Phnom Penh to watch hundreds of brightly colored boats with over 50 paddlers battle it out for top honors. The boat racing dates back to ancient times marking the strengths of the powerful Khmer marine forces during the Khmer empire. In the evening brightly decorated floats cruise along the river prior to and complimenting the fireworks displays. there is often a parallel festival at Angkor Wat and although it is smaller in scale it is just as impressive due to the backdrop of Angkor Wat.

August 07, 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.


August 06, 2012

Classical dance in Cambodia


Classical Dance of Cambodia The epic poem of Rama (Ramayana) is believed to have been revealed to a Hindu holy man named Valmiki by Brahma, the god of creation. This religious literary work, dating from about ad 4, is known in various versions throughout India and Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, the story has been set to music and dance and performed by the Royal Ballet since the 18th century.



Although the epic is also known in the villages, where it is translated orally or dramatized in the popular shadow puppet theater, the ballet was traditionally a courtly art performed in the palace or for princely festivals. The music of the ballet is performed by the Pinpeat orchestra, which is made up of traditional xylophones, metallophones, horizontal gongs, drums, and cymbals.

July 27, 2012

ATA kicks off the New French Market With Séjours Indochine


In recent years, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA has increasingly co-operated with some French Tour Operators and French customers; therefore ATA have decided to open new French Market named “Séjours Indochine

Specialist of adventure tours in Indochina from 2006, including tours and activities motorcycle, bicycles, kayaking, trekking and grottoes discovery in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA has increasingly co-operated with some French Tour Operators and French customers from France, Switzerland, Canada and other countries. ATA is pleased to announce its new French Market named “Séjours Indochine” with official website at www.sejoursindochine.com, in order to better serve its French-speaking clients and to respond to its French-speaking markets which is in constant growth these recent years.

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.

July 19, 2012

Have you known Ma Pi Leng pass-peak beatifull in Viet Nam?


Ma Pi Leng pass'peak is one of the 4 highest peak in Viet Nam. It is located between Meo Vac Commune and Dong Van 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. Standing here, you will have a great view from the summit with Nho Que river winding. It is amazing feeling before you discovery other beautiful culture in Ha Giang like Mong people, Dong Van rock plateau...



Ma Pi Leng pass' peak is named Cong Troi (Heaven's Gate), is the best place for tourists in Vietnam travel to enjoy a panoramic view of the valley below.
The pass' peak is aptly named Cong Troi (Heaven's Gate), and 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 1960s and was said to be done almost entirely by the H’mong people.

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

July 12, 2012

Adventure Things To Do in Laos


Laos travel is not only beautiful, but also jam packed with adventure activities.  I’m a selective adrenaline junkie, and sports such as rock climbing and tubing in Laos get me going.  However, suggest jumping out of an plane, and expect me to run for the hills.  Southeast Asia travel continues to be incredibly rewarding and adventure things should try are listed below

Rock Climbing in Vang Vieng
Whether you are a novice or a pro, Vang Vieng has a rock for you to climb.  I had only tried this once before, tucked up safely in an indoor arena. This was completely different and infinitely better. Laos has some stunning landscapes and in Vang Vieng, limestone cliffs border the town and make for perfect climbs.
With a friendly guide who spoke just enough English for him to answer my burning questions: “Yes, the harness was safe” and “No, you will not fall”, I boldly had a go and heaved myself up the rockface.  There were no markers indicating where you go like an indoor arena, this was free for all, grab on and go.  I tried three climbs (5A-C) with the difficulty intensifying each time and though failing to make it to the very top, I loved every second.

Needless to say my sporty boyfriend whizzed up every wall and even surprised the instructor by trying one of the more advanced 6A ones.  What made this challenging

July 06, 2012

Motorcycling in Vietnam's Central Highland

There's something undeniably sexy about seeing Vietnam by motorcycle. Regardless of your level of riding experience, a trip by motorbike is doable if you're determined and patient. 

The Central Highlands route is still considered way off the beaten track; you'll encounter few English speakers and will need to brush up your Vietnamese (or acquire a phrasebook). It's a rewarding experience that can astound and inspire.


Who will you ride with: are you a solo rider, will you ride in a group, or perhaps you're more inclined to ride as a passenger with a touring company? Routes are known in advance, hotels are taken care of, and plenty of rest stops are made. If you opt to do the trip yourself, be prepared to spend more time organising logistics

June 26, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA has opened Travel Shop in the heart of the Old Quarter of Hanoi

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) has opened a new Active Travel Shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in Mar 2012 to provide wide selection of adventure tours, including hiking, cycling, motorcycling and kayaking departure from Hanoi. 

ATA allows Active Travel Shop to meet the increasing demand for professionally organized adventure tours of international independent travelers. This expansion is just the first step of a long-term plan that target at being one of the best adventure tour operators in Viet Nam. 

“We are going to open around 10 similar

June 20, 2012

Quang Binh to organize tourism month on caves discovery


In June, the tourism month on caves discovery will take place in Quang Binh to promote local tourism products to domestic and international tourists and call for investment to social-economic development in the province. This is an activity of Quang Binh province responding to the National Tourism Year of the North Central Coast - Hue 2012.




Son Doong Cave located in Quang Binh is the biggest cave in the world

The tourism month will include a series of diversified activities such as: opening tourism routes to discover new caves in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park (Rao Thuong – Hang En route, 1,500m Phong Nha cave at night, Hang En and Sinh Ton Valley route); art photography exhibition on Quang Binh’s natural landscapes; traditional boat race on Nhat Le river; Quang Binh’s cuisine week; public art festival; VietnamLaos – Thailand international trade fair…

Travelers are exploring Son Doong Cave

To prepare for the tourism month, Quang Binh People's Committee directed departments, agencies, units to implement a number of activities as: preparing facilities to serve the boat race; developing content, theme of the public art festival; inviting enterprises to participate the trade fair; preparing photo books, DVDs to promote Quang Binh’s image to tourists…

Amazing feeling in the cave

In 2011, Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park welcomed over 250,000 tourist arrivals. In 2012, caves discovery tourism has been chosen as a main point in tourism development strategy of Quang Binh. The completion of Huu Nghi 3 Bridge connecting Kham Muon province (Laos) and Nakhon Phanom province (Thailand) will open new opportunities for Quang Binh to enhance attracting international tourists by road. A number of tourism cooperation activities in the East- West Corridor will also be promoted and promises to bring economic- tourism benefits for Quang Binh in the near future.

June 19, 2012

5 Things I’ve Learnt About Lao People While in Laos


I found the Lao people to be the most fascinating part of traveling through Laos. I was happily surprised to see how rich their culture was and how so many people were still living according to their old traditions.

Laos is NOT known as the land of smiles, but the people here are still so special, and very genuine in their own way. Below are 5 things that sum up my experience with the Lao people – and just to make sure, these are not facts but my own perception and experience from spending 3 weeks there.

1. Men Are Very Homely
Something I found very refreshing was how much time the men spent at home and with their children.


It was a very common sight to see men of all ages carrying around babies on their backs and in their arms, feeding them, hushing them to sleep and just general baby sitting – without the mother in sight.

They really took time with their kids and gave them attention, playing with them.
They also seemed very interested in other people’s kids, always toddling with the babies when sharing a songtheaw (bus á la tuk tuk style) ride.

2. The Kids Are The Most Adorable I’ve Ever Met
These little people are just the sweetest! Their doll faces and curious eyes are simply irresistible.

I’ve never met so many kids in a country who shyly whisper or loudly yell ‘hello’ to you from the street, river, moped or home.


They were so curious, and those who were brave enough – smiled, laughed and said hello to you over and over again until you were out of sight.
You cannot help but to smile and say hello back …

3. The Bus Drivers Have a Death Wish
When I mentioned the things I’ve learnt about Thai people someone asked why I didn’t mention the driving.

The Thai people are known for their careless driving, and the streets there were chaos, but at least the bus drivers had some common sense.
In Laos – they didn’t.


70 people in a 50 seat bus does not make sense, especially when you’re not using your breaks on the steep, windy mountain roads…
Chickens and roosters on the road? Who cares, they had it coming! Feathers were constantly sweeping past our windows … travel around Laos really isn’t for the faint-hearted!

4. They Want To Avoid Any And All Confrontation
The people are very gentle and kind in Laos, similar to the Thai people – but different.
It’s not the most obvious friendliness and they don’t take you in with open arms, they are more stand-offish. However, if you gain a little bit of trust, you will see that they’re actually very friendly people.


They are also, like the Thai people, afraid of confrontations. Sometimes it’s really refreshing, other times it’s really frustrating, especially when you just want to get a straight answer to a question.

Their way of dealing with it is usually to laugh it off as a joke – which makes for a pretty funny and confusing situation. You might not get a straight answer, but you always leave with a confused smile on your face.

5. Women And Men Work Together
This is something that I find very rare around the world. Usually women and men have their own places in which they work; but in Laos the roles are very mixed. The men and women work together.


It’s not uncommon to see men standing in stalls cooking street food and banana pancakes, and women working the street as road workers.
Both women and men work on tea and coffee plantations, and they both take care of the family.

It seemed as though they did what they were best at, if the man cooked better food, he was the chef, and vice versa.