June 28, 2013

Useful tips when climb up to the top of Indochina: Mount Fansipan in Vietnam

So finally I’ve decided to do that trekking trip to the top of Mount Fansipan, the peak of three countries in former Indochina (Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia), located in the North of Vietnam, in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.
Top of Indochina:  Mount Fansipan

Trekking up to the top of the highest mount to hug that triangle metal piece saying “Fansipan 3,143m” has become a long time tradition among young Vietnamese people. And obviously, Fansipan is also a kind of tourist attraction since it is very close to Sapa, a famous destination for tourists in the North of Vietnam, and a few adventurous and athletic travelers love to combine their Sapa trip with this Fansipan Mount trekking.

Before the trip my travel mates and I had quite a naive thought about the trek. We thought “it’s foot path and we can literally walk up to the top of the mountain(!), only 15km up and 15km down, will be easy, everyone is doing it, we’ll be fine”. However, the whole trip actually turned out to be an intensive training of physical rock climbing, which no one had told us before.

1. Tours and train tickets:

It is quite easy to organize for the trip. All you need to do is do is to book a package tour, then to buy train tickets. To go to Fansipan and Sapa, you need to buy train tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai then go by bus from Lao Cai to the town. And Sapa is so popular for both foreign and domestic travelers that train tickets sell like hot cakes, especially at weekends. Thus, you’d better go for them at least 2 weeks in advance, or else you may risk having no places at all. 
In the hard sleeper class of the train Hanoi – Lao Cai
Vietnamese trains are quite good if compared with the trains I knew in India or Poland. There are mainly 4 classes: soft sleeper (4 beds in one cabin), hard sleeper (6 beds in one cabin), soft seating and hard seating. Advice is to go for the sleeper or soft seating so that you can sleep a bit on the train (there are only night trains going to Lao Cai). 

2. Tips before the actual trip:

- If you don’t do exercise very often then I’m telling you that you need to do exercise intensively at least 1 or 2 weeks before the trip because it’s going to be brutal rock climbing, 15km up and 15km down, so don’t expect any leisure! And be prepared: there is no fun about this trip, you will just climb up and down, but there’s nothing on top of the mountain, there’s only that metal little thing and the pride of conquering the toughest route ever. 

- Bring warm clothes! Trust me, it’s freezing up there during night time (if you feel athletic you can do the trek within a day, but if not then you’ll have to spend one night in a camp at the height of 2,800m like we did).

- Bring as few things in your backpack as possible, only necessary stuff (such as warm clothes, new socks, scarf, and flash light that can be tightened on your forehead in case you have to go in the dark). It is not easy climbing up with a heavy backpack behind (unfortunately, we did), because the porters have to bring a lot of things on the way up and will not offer carrying the backpack for you.

- Best time to do this whole trekking thing is April and May when the weather is good, not cold (and especially) not rainy, and you will also have a clear view of the beautiful valley with flowers in bloom.

- However, if you are just as unlucky as we were and go on a rainy day then remember to bring rainwear with separate coat and trousers so that it doesn’t obstruct your attempt to climb up (we brought ponchos, which was not so wise). Also bring plastic socks so that your feet won’t get wet (be warned that you will have to wade in mud high up to your ankle). We had to put on plastic bags instead, but that helped.

- Wear sports shoes that can stick, your life depends on it! The rocks are super slippery.

3. Our trip:
I did the trip with my friends. Let the photo stream tell our story:
The path looked really nice when we still had energy to enjoy.

The route started to get tougher but also extremely beautiful. We needed to keep our shoes dry, so no chance to wade in the clear water of the stream (yet). There were many pretty little streams like that on the way.

Lunch in the road to Fansipan

Actually the view from the camp would be very nice if it were not rainy or too foggy. And in fact in dry weather you can even do camp fire here.
Celebrate with a champagne!
Recommended Mt. Fansipan tour by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA
" Conquer Mount Fansipan - Sinchai Route "-  A big challenge for Mt. Fansipan's conquerers
Hanoi - Sapa - Fansipan Mt. - Sapa - Hanoi
5-day tour with 3-day climbing Mt. Fansipan
Trekking grade: Challenge

At 3143m Mt. Fansipan is the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina peninsula. This remote trek provides plenty to see and absorb, from the scattered rocks inscribed with drawings and designs of unknown origin, to the French influenced hill retreat town of Sapa with its minority groups, beautiful villas and cherry forests. Our trek to the top of Mt. Fansipan is challenging and will be fully supported every step of the way by our guides, porters and cooks who's local knowledge and understanding of the different hill-tribe cultures we pass along the way will add to the uniqueness of this exhilarating journey.


Awesome scenery
Great view from the summit
Challenging trails
Fully supported

June 27, 2013

Vietnam Caving & Home Stay_Unforgetable experience

 Reviewed by Pretty-Rough-Ranch, Eustace, Texas on Trip Advisor

I worked online with Miss Candy at ActiveTravel Asia to create a 3 day tour in the middle of our month long trip to Laos and Vietnam in January, 2013. From my first contact to managing changes occurring during the last moments of our tour, Miss Candy was quick, competent, professional and truly intent on making us happy. She did. Our ATA Vietnam caving/home stay tour was absolutely fabulous.
Son Doong Cave

My husband and I were scheduled to do the Son Doong cave tour. However, the day before we were scheduled to go on the jungle trek to the cave, the rivers flooded, became impassible and our planned trip was washed away. Not a problem! Within a couple of hours, Miss Candy had 3 new alternative plans for us - one including a refund which I am so glad we did not choose.
En Cave

We chose the trip that included a driver, English speaking guide, river boat trip, visit to En Cave, a 2-night Chap Lay homestay and a 7 kilometer hike into Paradise Cave, the longest dry cave in the world.

ABOUT MISS CANDY - Use her to plan your trip. Trust her. ABOUT ATA - Clearly a very well-connected company, just what you want when unexpected events occur. Trust them. It will work out.

ABOUT THE CHAP LAY HOMESTAY - We stayed in a guest house behind our host's home in the middle of a field outside a small Vietnamese village. We had a private toilet and shower, no hot water, slightly uncomfortable in January but would not be a problem at any other time of the year. The hostess and daughter-in-law cooked our meals (8-10 delicious food choices) over an open fire in a thatched roof kitchen and they let me watch and help. Even though we didn't speak the same language, we 3 women were still able to communicate and share the important details of our lives.

The men, through the interpreter, sat on the porch and talked. During the meals, when we were all together, our hosts were warm, open and gracious enough to answer all of our questions.
The Chap Lay setting was beautiful and peaceful. Watching the children and farmers and water buffalo at work was remarkable.

Paradise cave, Vietnam

ABOUT PARADISE CAVE - The hiking group included my husband and I, one couple from Japan, our English speaking guide and 2 porters. The 9am to 3pm trek took us through tiny spaces to gigantic cathedral-sized caverns. Using only headlamps, I think we saw and touched every type of cave formation possible. Words are inadequate to describe the awesome beauty of this cave tour. It was a stunning experience, one that I will never, ever forget.

ABOUT THE DRIVER AND GUIDE - They were at our service. If we said, "go over there", they went over there. If we said, "we would rather do this than do that", we did. Our wishes took priority over the ATA schedule, which is just how a private tour should be. Our interpreter was great. During conversations with others, his personality was completely in the background. But when asked for his thoughts and while explaining the history, he was charming and knowledgeable.

SUMMARY - My husband and I dislike group tours and wouldn't do one, but we also are well-travelled enough to know when to hire the experts who can make our trip a 5-Star event. Active Travel Asia were the experts we needed in Vietnam. I would highly recommend them.

ATA would like to inform that Son Doong Cave has been temporarily closed to public. The cave might be reopened by the end of this year. For now, for those who are seeking for an amazing caving experience in Phong Nha National Park we would like to recommend another option of 2 days trekking, caving and camping to En Cave.

New experience of adventure_En Cave & Phong Nha National Park Discovery

Dong Hoi Town – Phong Nha National Park – Dong Hoi Town
2 days trek & camping
Trekking grade:  Moderate to Challenging

Hang Én (Swallow Cave) in Phong Nha Caves in Quang Binh province in central. However, it’s paradoxical that few visitors know the site. The Swallow Cave is 1.645 m long and has three mouths. One is halfway up a mountain and two others are located on another mountain which has its foot on the south-east and north-west alongside Rao Thuong Stream. All of these make the cave different from other well-known caves in the country.

June 26, 2013

Mountain Biking Dalat, Vietnam’s Adventure Town


Adventure travelers, take note: Vietnam has some great mountain biking.

Mountain Biking Dalat

You’ll find it Dalat, a mountain town in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, a 6-hour drive from Saigon, or an 8-hour bus ride, the way many travelers get there. Known for it’s cooler, misty mountain air – an absolute gift if you’re coming from the sweltering heat of Saigon – Dalat is a popular getaway for tourists, but even more so for Vietnamese. The French influence on this place is unmistakable: they established it in the late 1800s as a holiday town, and not surprisingly, you’ll find gardens, wide streets, villas, a picturesque, manmade lake, and a communications tower that – comically, to me – closely resembles the Eiffel Tower.

Biking in Dalat Town
 Oh, the French. Among other Vietnamese towns, it sticks out like a sore thumb, but in a good way: planned, organized, charming, and…cooler. Honestly, I cannot overstate how welcome the weather here is. And, why anyone in Vietnam would choose to live anywhere else.

A few years back, my sister and her husband traveled to southeast Asia on their honeymoon, and Dalat was one of their favorite spots. Among other things, they did an all-day mountain bike ride, almost entirely downhill, from Dalat’s perch in the mountains to the coastal town of Mui Ne. LOVED IT. One of the best things they did, my sister told me.

As a cyclist and traveler, I recommend you may sign up for a tour with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) one of the Indochina's leading adventure travel companies. ATA offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland touring and family travel packages . These guys are the real deal: cool excursions, reasonable prices, well-trained guides, and tasty lunches (including, I might add, awesome baguettes purchased from the local market each morning). To get a sense for their stature in Dalat, all you have to do is look at the trip booklets in the front offices of all the other operators;  Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?

For a glimpse at mountain biking in Vietnam, in the highlands surrounding Dalat, scroll down to the photos below. 

Biet, getting it done on the biggest climb of the day

…and past small farming towns, high up in the mountains.
Rickety bridge crossing. 

Adventure charity biking tour_Cambodia with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

On June, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA held successfully “Windermere Adventure Challenge - Cambodia 2013” tour_ An adventure challenge in the name of charity by biking. This is their story about first day in 9 days trip, cycling Siem Riep & Angkor temples

Day 1 - Siem Reap & the Temples of Angkor
Team Itinerary Overview
- Arrive in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Temples - Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Bayon, Terrace of the Elephants)
- Ta Prohm
- Banteay Kdey
- Cycling distance: Approx 40km

Before starting

Something old, something new, something borrowed… and a hell of a lot of orange!
For some, the challenge component kicked in as we landed in Siem Reap with the benefit of very little sleep and then hopped straight on the bikes.
So we could tell the bikes apart, challengers were encouraged to ‘bring a bit of bling’ and they responded with a colourful array that went well beyond the normal bells and whistles.
Cath Zulian attached a row of bright yellow flowers to her bike bag, forgetting that she then had to lug the colourful array around while walking through the temples.
Graeme Moore attached a boxing kangaroo to the front of his bike, Cath Sharpe a crocodile head horn, Suellen Conway bright orange plaited hair extensions (appropriate for a hairdresser) and Krista Tomlinson had a pair of fluffy dice swinging from the handlebars. Geoff Bainbridge was more nondescript, with a cue ball tube cover doing the trick.

Our guide
We were introduced to our guides. Bobby, the owner of Active Travel, Cheak, Benrut and John Wayne – who quickly earned the nickname of Duke. 
Short Man explained that many of the friends are actually smaller than he is! A photo was quickly arranged of Short man and our own “Shorty” Brookes.
Bron explained as we came in on the bus that Siem Reap was Cambodia’s second largest city with a population of one million (second to Phnom Pehn’s four million) on the back of the tourist trade around the nearby Angkor Wat temple complex.

Bike around Siem Riep

There are very few high rise buildings  because no-one is allowed to build above the height of the temples as a mark of respect.
That respect became obvious when our tour of the temples began. At one stage Short Man made a passionate plea to take in the surroundings, because the scriptures on the walls were the documents of the country’s history.
“The many people who built these temples did not get to see them, and you are,” he said.
Angkor Wat means ‘city that is a temple’. It covers almost 500 acres and had one million Khmers within its boundaries in the 12th century. Its man-made moat provides a complex irrigation system that at one stage provided for two rice harvests
It is estimated that 166,000 candles have burned in a single ceremony.

The first stop was at the main Angkor Wat temple, then the Bayon temple of faces, where many of the group tried to pose kissing one of the stone figures, and lastly the spectacular Angkor Thom, made famous more recently when Angelina Jolie ran around it as Lara Croft in the film Tomb Raider.
Shorty Brookes and Cath Sharpe took the opportunity to go into a healing room, where you back up to a wall and beat your chest three times. The thumping noise echos and apparently cleans the soul at the same time.
The ride from the temples back into Siem Reap was spectacular. At one stage we wound single file through a bush track and then found ourselves immersed in busy Asian city traffic, where the only rule is that chaos rules.

 Highlights of the first day in Cambodia:
Suellen Conway
The last temple, with the trees all intertwined. I loved the fact that they are restoring it, that’s a lot better than seeing rubble.
Geoff Bainbridge
The afternoon was just great. The weather was beautiful and the temples got better as we went on. Everything became a bit surreal and easy. The ride home to Siem Reap was entertaining and the first beer when we arrived wasn’t bad either.
Samantha Smith
It was a real thrill riding through al those motorbikes and cars on the way back to Siem Reap, They just don’t know where they are going. The fact that we got there without being run over is a miracle.
Gaylene Howe
Finding my make-up bag, which I thought I had left at home, in my suitcase when we arrived. I had already spent $75 restocking at Singapore Airport though!

Windermere is one of the largest and oldest independent community service organisations in Melbourne. And ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA(ATA) is adventure travel agency operate with Windermere. ATA offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar TRUST adventure and RESPONSIBLE tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling.

You can find ATA via http://www.activetravel.asia/ or Fanpage Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Active.Travel

June 21, 2013

Luang Prabang Trekking_The great outdoor side of the ancient city


Northern Laos is famous for its natural beauty: rolling green hills and mountains interspersed with rice fields and countless water buffalo. From the moment we arrived in South East Asia, a trekking adventure through the countryside and staying with a local tribe family was top of our list of things to do. Once we arrived in Luang Prabang, we knew this was the place to do it.

Luang prabang, Laos
 Luang Prabang sits at the intersection of two mighty rivers: the Mekong (which we sailed down for two days) and the Khan, providing the lifeblood to this quaint, french colonial town. Luang Prabang also nestles itself within a range of lush green hills and mountains, surrounding the town and its twin rivers.

 We had heard that there were villages and tribes in the mountains surrounding Luang Prabang, and we decided on a two day trek with an overnight stay with a local Khumu family. What followed were two of the hottest and sweatiest days we have experienced yet, with hours of ascending (and then descending) a mountain, fighting off wild horses and pot bellied pigs, and seeing some of the most incredible views of Northern Laos. The highlight of our trip so far was about to begin.

 After a hearty breakfast of banana pancake and fresh fruit, we packed a day bag loaded with high factor sunscreen & mosquito repellent and set off on our adventure. As it later transpired, we had our own personal guide ‘Cha’. We jumped into a boat, and sped up the river towards the beginning of our trek.

 The first part of the trek took us through pristine rice fields, where we spoke with local farmers as they harvested their crop. It was one of those jaw dropping moments, hundreds of rice paddies melting away into the distance as rolling hills and mountains filled the skyline. We stood and marvelled for only a few minutes, but we’ll never forget it. It was one of the best moments of our trip so far.

Rice field in Luang Prabang
After an hour or so we stopped at the first of three villages on our trek. It was a small village of 10 families, but with the school holidays in full swing, we were excitedly greeted by shouts of ‘falang falang’ by many curious children. They were far more curious of us than we were of them, and followed us round for the short time we were there. We were sad to leave them, even after a brief stay! 

Children in Luang Prabang
 The village was of basic construction as you may expect, but it had a calm and serene feeling as villagers went about their daily lives of planting and harvesting the rice crops. 

 After leaving our new friends behind, we walked for an hour through more rice paddies and jungle, arriving at another small village of 4 families and a beautiful lake for lunch. Afterwards, we would begin the assault on our everest. 

 And so came our attack on the summit. The backpack was tightened. All talking ceased, the fun was over for now. Upwards we went, sometimes quite literally as we clambered over boulders, under fallen trees and along precipices and ravines. Three hours later after the darkness of the jungle, we started to see the sun again, the vegetation began to clear, we reached the top and had our reward. 

We stood in awe at the miles of rolling green mountains and ravines. We would have sat and marvelled but the track we were walking along wasn’t wide enough even to perch on. After a few fleeting moments, our time to descend came. We were already tired from the ascent, but what followed was a further two hours of gruelling trekking, descending and ascending in blistering heat. On came the factor 50 cream, hats and long sleeves top to protect us from the intense sun. That day the thermostat peaked at 40 degrees, it was hot.

Trekking Luang Prabang
Two hours later we completed our descent, we’d made it! Our guide told us the village was on the other side of a field. In the UK that means perhaps 10 minutes or so across a well cultivated field. In Laos, it roughly translates as ‘an hour through 10 foot high jungle with only the faintest hints of a track to follow’. 

At this point the sweat was running down our faces and backs, reeds and plants were constantly hitting us in the face, arms and legs and we were almost out of water. We assume this was the point where Laura accumulated over 20 mosquito and bug bites on her legs (lesson learned to wear trousers next time!).

And then finally, a clearing, and civilisation. We could hear children playing in the distance, and as we got closer hear cries of falang falang drifted on the breeze. We had made it, and boy were we glad. 

 We were staying with a Khumu tribe for the evening. The village itself was home to about 400 people, and we were again blown away by it. Bamboo huts on stilts, dried dirt throughout the village, and an assortment of hens, chickens and pigs wandered around as the villagers went about their daily business.

The local families welcomed us with a nod and smile, with the children in particular intrigued by our pasty white skin and long noses (their words not ours!). Our mother for the evening made our dinner, and as usual with our experiences of homestays, she cooked up some of the best food we’ve had in Asia: Pumpkin soup, followed by cabbage and spinach stew and sticky rice. Delicious; we wolfed it down after our arduous journey. 

 Over the two days we visited three villages, all of which seemed authentic despite our concerns of over tourism. We saw no tourists on our trek and homestays, no one tried to sell us anything whilst there, and aside from children running around us shouting ‘Falang’! Falang’! (their term for tourist), we were left to our own devices. 

Almost all of the villagers were universal in their greeting to us…a smile and a ‘sabaidee’. Our impression was they didn’t mind us coming to stay for a night, and seemed more curious, intrigued and slightly amused by us. The village also receive a donation for our stay, ensuring they are compensated for our experience. 

We booked through ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA(ATA), who offers a wide selection of Laos adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, kayaking, biking, motorcycling, overland touring and family travel packages. ATA’s packages and custom itineraries will take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Laos. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy an unforgettable active vacation. And we’d happily recommend them!

June 19, 2013

Kayaking Travel Great Tonle Sap Lake – Unforgotten experience in Cambodia

Siem Reap isn’t known for its water sports,  but one enterprising local has now made it possible to kayak down the more undiscovered parts of Tonlé Sap lake.

The Tonle Sap Lake (otherwise known as the Great Lake) is a combined lake and river system in Cambodia. It is the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia and the richest fishing lake in the World.

Kayaking on Great Tonle Sap Lake

We would like to invite you to join and experience the wonders of the Great Tonle Sap Lake by Kayak in the amazing floating village! 

There are two tours available, the full day or the half-day tour. Both take in Me Chrey floating village while the full day also includes a trip to a silk farm, to Pouk market which is famed for its grilled chicken, a visit to a pagoda which in the rainy season becomes a floating pagoda, and lunch at the house of a local family.
Kayaking on Great Tonle Sap Lake 

Our tour explores the spectacular Cambodian village life and is designed for all levels and abilities. We use modern kayaking equipment and our professional trained guides will lead you through this fantastic tour.

Unforgotten experience

Our journey begins by witnessing the beautiful rice paddies and the daily lifestyles of the local people before arriving at the boat dock. Here we will board a quaint local boat which will take us to the amazing floating village for your unique kayaking experience. On arrival, you will be amazed as you kayak gently through this floating village where you will be welcomed by warming smiles from the humble Cambodian people who live on this fantastic lake or you can cruise on the boat in the village and kayak gently to the Tonle Sap Lake with great scenery and seeing rare birds.

Our professionally trained guide will be able to explain the local customs on how the local people live, work, and trade before stopping a great spot for a stunning sunset (afternoon tour only) over great Tonle Sap Lake if you choose to do the sunset before transferring back by boat where our air conditioned vehicle will be waiting to transfer you back to Siem Reap town. 

Small groups and personalized service 
Friendly environment
Enjoy delicious Khmer delicacies in a wooden floating house  
Delivering safe & professional tour

Moreover, take a trip in this summer, travelers no need to worry too much about the price of tour. It is supported by the ATA’s summer promotion. In addition, in this time the flight ticket is always at moderate.

Summer promotion 2013:
ATA has launched “Great summer holiday with lucky travels” for summer promotion 2013 in Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia. The program applies for all customers request tour on website from 25 March to 30 September 2013. Variety gifts such as discount up to 15% on tour request, free city tour, free one night at a luxury cruise or at hotel, free meal at elegance restaurant and others are in listing lucky gift. 
For more information: http://www.activetravel.asia/special_offer/2013_summer_promotions.html

Travel Facts:

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland touring and family travel packages. For more information, please contact ATA for tailoring your very own tour via:
Telephone: +844 3573 8569
Fax:  +844 3573 8570
Email: info@activetravel.asia
Website: http://www.activetravel.asia/
Address: Floor 12 Building 45 Nguyen Son Street, Long Bien district, Hanoi, Vietnam.

June 18, 2013

My stunning kayak in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam was one of the destinations that I most wanted to visit in Southeast Asia, and I finally made it there last week!

I kayaked on the still, glassy waters of Halong Bay which was breathtaking, calming and humbling. Gliding peacefully and quietly on the water of this world heritage listed site, surrounded by nature at its untouched best, was an experience I’m truly grateful for.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong translates to ‘descending dragon’ and legend has it that Halong Bay was created by a dragon from the mountains. Although many sailors claim to have seen Vietnam’s very own Loch Ness monster, the ‘tarasque’, sadly I didn’t catch a glimpse of the gigantic sea creature.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

I’m told Halong Bay can be very busy during peak season so I feel lucky to have been in the area when many others weren’t, to really appreciate the tranquility.

Kayak through Caves
So there you have it – I hope you enjoyed some of the snaps of my stunning kayak through the grottoes. And now that the fun is over, it’s back to writing more food posts to share with you! I’ve got loads more up my sleeve so plenty more is coming your way.

I hope you’re enjoying reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them!

Kayak Halong Bay
If you inspire to explore Halong Bay by kayak, check out the exciting tour of Activetravel Asia.  ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA provides you with high quality traditional sea kayaks and equipment, delightful meals, kayak technique instruction, and an overall ecstatic time in paradise. You will learn about the natural world and the efforts to preserve it. The tour leaders are enthusiastic, experienced professionals with the ability to provide you with a safe and enjoyable outdoor adventure. 

Amazing limestone formations
Inclusive junk for overnight
Beautiful and different kayaking route

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

June 17, 2013

Four Vietnamese places among Top 25 Asia Destinations

HanoiHo Chi Minh CityHoi An and Halong are four of the Top 25 Travellers’ Choice Asia Destinations recognized by the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor.

Hanoi is rated fourth on the list while HCM City, Hoi An and Halong rank 15th, 17th and 25th, respectively.
Hanoi, Vietnam
“The charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving its Old Quarter, historic monuments and colonial architecture, while making room for modern development. Lakes, parks, shady boulevards and more than 600 temples and pagodas add to the appeal of this city,” is what the TripAdvisor website says about Hanoi.

Hochiminh City

The travel site also describes HCM City as Vietnam's largest, bustling largest hub which sets the cultural and economic pace of the country.

Hoi An on the central Vietnamese coast is a well-preserved example of an important Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th-19th centuries, and Halong is famous for its stunning limestone islands, rock formations and caves.  
Hoi an, Vietnam

The fifth annual awards recognise 412 outstanding destinations in 38 markets across the globe, including with separate lists for Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, and Central America, as well as China, Europe, India, Mexico, the Middle East, South America, the South Pacific, and the United States.

The awards are given in two categories: Top 25 Travellers’ Choice World Destinations and Top 25 Travellers’ Choice Asia Destinations. The Travellers' Choice Destinations awards recognize the top travel spots worldwide based on millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers. Award winners were determined based on the popularity of the destinations, taking into account travellers' favourites and most highly rated locations.

If you inspire to explore Vietnam, check out our exciting tours_Activetravel Asia, from day trips to many day experiences. All tours are run by local operators who know Hanoi and Vietnam like the back of their hand: giving you an authentic Vietnamese adventure!

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

June 13, 2013

Hanoi Named the Cheapest Destination in Asia

The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi has just been named the cheapest city in Asia and the second cheapest city in the world!
Hanoi, Vietnam

The respected TripAdvisor TripIndex for Summer 2013 compares costs across 49 cities in Europe, Americas, Africa, Oceania and Asia. In the comparison are a 4 star hotel, taxi trip, cocktails and dinner, all based on two travellers.

Overall Hanoi has the cheapest dinner for two people out of all 49 cities at 36.71 USD, thanks to a fantastic array of local restaurants in the city. There are a few international restaurants but the majority of the dining in Hanoi is focused around authentic Vietnamese cuisine, with street food remaining a popular option for food on the go.

Daily life in Hanoi proceeds at a frenetic pace and there’s always something going on. The Old Quarter district provides a fascinating insight into the former French colonial rule, with rich period architecture, narrow streets ad traditional shopfronts. The museums are a great way to while away a few hours, with the  Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam Women’s Museum and the Fine Arts Museum my particular favourites. 
Hoan Kiem Lake

At the center of Hanoi is the serene Hoan Kiem Lake where you can (almost) forget the constant buzz of mopeds. And you can’t leave Hanoi without visiting the two key sites of the former leader Ho Chi Minh himself. His official residence is fascinating: with his books, furniture and cars on display. In fact he chose to live his last years in the modest wooden house on site rather than in the Presidential Palace. And the soviet-style Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-see where Uncle Ho lays embalmed whilst travellers and locals shuffle by.

If you inspire to explore Vietnam, check out our exciting tours_Activetravel Asia, from day trips to many day experiences. All tours are run by local operators who know Hanoi and Vietnam like the back of their hand: giving you an authentic Vietnamese adventure!

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

Got any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments section below, or post them on twitter and Facebook.