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

People who had traveled to Vietnam agreed that it was an interesting experience in general, but the bicycle tours definitely brought more adventurous excitements. There are two directions you can go. From north to south, you can visit Hanoi, Hue, Danang and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in that order. Or choose the other way travel from south to north. You can fly to Saigon and bike to Danang, Hue and Hanoi. I figure that if I am biking from place to place, I don’t want to go back and forth. Additionally, I want to at least visit and spend some time at the four big cities in Vietnam.

According to some experienced bicycling travelers, it will take about three weeks to finish the route, but it really depends on how much time you want to spend in these places as a tourist, meaning sightseeing and just hanging out to relax. The benefit and disadvantage of the bike tour is that you might feel the cultural shocks sooner than regular “tourists” because you are so close to the locals. 

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.

March 19, 2012

8 easy ways to be a healthy traveler

Make sure all of your 2012 adventure holidays get off to a great start by arriving in top health! Follow our tips and advice for staying germ-free whilst on board your flight

1. Always carry disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and wet wipes, which will come in handy when travelling with children and are great if you have an accident at 35,000 feet!

2. Bear in mind that the blankets and pillows on your aircraft might not be regularly cleaned so take your own.

3. Same goes for your aircraft seat and tray table, just think how many people could have sat there since they were last disinfected! Minimize contact with your face and use your own pillow for sleeping, especially if you sleep with your mouth open!

4. Put your shoes on for a visit to the toilets, do not go in barefoot or in just socks. Just think about it, four toilets for a couple of hundred passengers!

5. Eat plenty of fruit and veg before your trip and if necessary stock on vitamins and supplements as well. Clear your fridge before you leave and whip up a tasty smoothie or veg juice with your leftovers.

6. Don’t drink alcohol just before or during your flight (even if it is complimentary) as this will dry you out and alcohol is an immune-suppressant.

7. If you are germ-laden then be a considerate traveler and keep your germs to yourself.

8. Carry a first aid kit and include some cold remedies, painkillers etc as your destination may not sell what you need.

March 12, 2012

Staying Safe While Travelling in Asia

Asia still seems to be the top on the destination list for backpackers and gap-year aficionados. And why not? Nowhere else on Earth has the variety and scope of this remarkable region with pristine beaches, dramatic mountain ranges and lush rain forests. It’s also a perfectly safe area to travel around, as long as you plan well and use a modicum of common sense. Here are a few tips for your trip.

Before you go

Research, research, research. Don’t just take the word of one internet source, but investigate thoroughly the area you are planning to visit and make sure you are fully aware of all the entry requirements, visa needs, inoculations and have organised sufficient travel insurance. From there look into your local transport options, currency types and potential accommodation. If the price and location of an establishment seems too good to be true, it probably is. While user led review sites such as Trip Advisor can focus on the negative, you can usually surmise if a certain hotel or hostel is best avoided.

Take a look at the customs and tolerances of the countries on your itinerary. Some areas may be more lax on soft drug use for instance, while the next country over may view such things as worthy of a long prison stay. Be wary at borders and airports, with drugs being such a lucrative business in that part of the world, the last thing you want to become is an unsuspecting drug mule. Keep your luggage with you at all times and make sure it’s locked securely.

Staying Safe

While crime against westerners is fairly rare in Asia, it always pays to be alert. Scams and pickpockets can operate in the big cities when renting scooters and motorcycles, as more disreputable firms have been known to ‘steal’ the vehicle rented to you, forcing you to pay for a replacement. And if you are paying someone to drive you to a location, be sure of the price before you set off.

The region is one of the safest for female travelers, but be aware of local customs, especially in rural areas, where displaying too much flesh is frowned upon. The same rule applies when visiting Buddhist temples and Mosques, ensure you are appropriately dressed. And, as everywhere including at home, don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Not that you ever would.

Staying Dry

While crime and political upheavals are easy to avoid if you use common sense, the weather can’t be relied upon so readily. The region features a vast array of temperaments and while extreme conditions such as typhoons are rare, they can occur. May to November is the rainy season and monsoons can conjure up high winds and heavy rain. Don’t pack your suitcase with thongs and flip-flops only. Ensure you have adequate clothing to deal with any eventuality.

March 05, 2012

Ba Be – one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world

Ba Be Lake is part of Ba Be National Park with 21 famous eco-tourism and cultural sites in the north-east region. 

Formed more than 200 million years by three big tributary lakes: Pe Lam, Pe Lu and Pe Leng, Ba Be now covers around 500 hectares, 178m above sea level. It is 17-23 m deep, and even 29m at some points.
At the World Freshwater Lake meeting held in the US in 1995, Ba Be was listed among 20 freshwater lakes that need protection.

In 1997, Vietnam asked UNESCO to recognise Ba Be as a world heritage site and in 2004 it became an ASEAN heritage park.
In 2011, Ba Be received a UNESCO certificate recognising it as Vietnam's third Ramsar site – designated wetlands of international importance.

Source: VOV