June 30, 2014

Cycling North Vietnam

By Dan Moore
They may not capture the children who run to the roadside, posed for a high-five as we pass by. Or the old women who try to cycle faster than us, laughing and balancing small mountains of rice on their own bikes all the way. They don’t show the locals who slow their scooter-pace, only to ask where we are going and where we are from, never driving off without first volunteering to pull us the rest of the way. And of course, you can’t hear the hundreds of ‘hallos’ called out to us each day, or the fits of giggles that follow when we wave or smile back.

Unfortunately we aren’t too good at simultaneously taking photos and cycling Vietnam – we’re working on it, we promise. In the meantime, here are a few images from our first few days of biking North Vietnam. They still offer a pretty good snapshot of our surroundings in the beautiful, mountainous north.

 Cycling Vietnam
Northern Vietnam
 Cycling Vietnam 1
Northern Vietnam
 Cycling Vietnam 2
Northern Vietnam
 Cycling Vietnam 3
Northern Vietnam
 Cycling Vietnam 4
Northern Vietnam
 Cycling Vietnam 5
Northern Vietnam
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Northern Vietnam
 Cycling Vietnam 7
Biking Northern Vietnam


June 27, 2014

Active Travel Northern Vietnam

By Peter Brown 
After a painfully long flight I landed in the Hanoi airport, and immediately hopped aboard an overnight train heading north. I shared a sleeper cabin with a French couple, and a girl from Quebec. They were all very nice, and we chatted for a couple of hours before hitting the hay. But I’m a light sleeper, and falling asleep on the clanging, jostling train car proved to be impossible- CA-CLUNK, ca-clunk! CA-CLUNK, ca-clunk! CA-CLUNK, ca-clunk!

Sapa
Sapa, Northern Vietnam
I woke up at the Lao Cai train station, near the border with China, and found a car to drive me an hour west, through foggy, winding roads, to the mountain town of Sapa. The town was a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns: farmer’s markets glowed green with leafy vegetables, motorbikes zigged and zagged over every paved surface, and groups of indigenous women wore their customary handmade attire and patrolled for tourists to whom they might sell embroidered bags and Technicolor scarfs.

I spent the next three days trekking Sapa. My days were spent with Sung, a wonderfully peaceful woman from the Black Hmong tribe, who spoke fine English thanks to years of guiding western tourists around those parts. Sung took me to waterfalls, jungles, terraced rice paddies, small villages, across precarious bridges and along muddy mountain trails.

My favorite moment with Sung had to be when she took me to a little lunch spot in the village of Lao Chai. She sat me down in the main dining area (which consisted of picnic benches under a wooden canopy) and then she disappeared into the kitchen. When I realized she was eating lunch with the cooks, I sheepishly poked my head around the corner and asked if I could join them. I guess most tourists prefer the picnic benches, but I was alone, and much preferred getting to know Sung and her friends. They pulled up a chair for me and the cook brought over some of the most delish sautéed greens I’ve ever had, along with some tasty spiced pork and rice, and a can of coke. While eating, I peppered them all with questions about their daily routines, and Sung translated. They laughed at how excited I was to hear about everyday activities like planting rice and raising buffalo. To top it all off, I sat beside a window with a view I won’t bother describing, just look at the glorious picture below.

After exploring the North for three days, I got back on that overnight train and returned to Hanoi. Once in Hanoi, I quickly found my way kayaking Ha Long Bay. Several hours on the bus brought us to a harbor, where our group boarded The Calypso, a worn, but pleasant boat that would take us deep into the fantastical mountain islands that have made Ha Long Bay a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Calypso was one of dozens of boats making the trip, and so a fleet of us set sail for the islands. The Calypso provided us with lovely bedrooms, and meals, and the crew even gave a nice little cooking lesson and a Tai-Chi class the next morning.

Kayaking Halong Bay
Kayaking Halong Bay
The crew must have noticed the date of birth on my passport when I checked in, because after dinner the main lights turned off, strobe lights turned on, Vietnamese techno blasted from the speakers, and a birthday cake appeared before me. It was ridiculous. But it was a fun night. The other guests were good sports to sing Happy Birthday to a guy they hardly knew.

While in Ha Long Bay we stopped off to see a giant cave, and some of us went sea kayaking through tunnels to explore a lagoon in the center of a ring shaped island crawling with monkeys. My imagination couldn’t get enough of the scenery, and so I found a little time for watercolor painting.

Before I knew it we’d landed back at the harbor, and were boarding the return bus to Hanoi. I had an amazing week of traveling around northern Vietnam.

June 26, 2014

Unforgetable homestay and trekking Sapa, Vietnam

By Anna Baldwin

My next stop after Hanoi was to jump on the night train in search of the stunning paddy fields of Sapa. As the train pulled out of the station I said goodbye to the noises, lights and smells of the bustling Hanoi streets and settled into my cosy cabin as we set off north towards China. The cabins are generally made up of four beds- 2 sets of bunk beds- but often if travellers want a bit more privacy and space we are able to book the whole cabin for them. I was lucky enough to be joined by a lovely German couple, along with their local guide, and we spent the next couple of hours talking and exchanging food as the train made its way deeper into the vast countryside.

The train soon lulled me into a deep sleep, and before I knew it we had arrived at Lao Chai station, our last stop on the train before it returned south to Hanoi.

Although it was barely dawn, the station exit was surrounded by taxi drivers, guides and hawkers ready to pounce, but I soon found my local guide, Dong, who pulled me through the crowds and into our 4X4.  Within a few minutes we were off on the hour-long drive to Sapa town. It was a stunning drive as we slowly climbed higher and higher towards Sapa, where we soon reached a height of 1,600m! Surrounded on all sides by paddy fields dotted with numerous tribal villages, Sapa is very much a mountain town, with its steep roads filled with shops selling trekking gear and rows of balconied wooden houses overlooking the dramatic landscape beyond.

Trekking Sapa 1
Impressive trekking Sapa
After some breakfast and last minute tour preparations we set off with our wonderful local porter Sing, who was to carry all our food and drinks for the next three days, and we drove to the beginning of the trek – Ta Van village.

We soon left behind the Dzay village of Ta Van and set off along the valley. This is where I truly tested my balancing skills, as we made our way along narrow paths and the edges of the paddy fields which lined the mountainside. Luckily two lovely local ladies came to my rescue; half my size and twice my age, they obviously make a habit of adopting the most hopeless-looking trekker to make sure they don’t fall face first into the flooded paddy field below.

Trekking Sapa Vietnam 1
Black H'Mong ladies
The route took us through a number of different tribal villages, from Red Dao to Black H’Mong, who wear mainly black clothing as their name suggests.  The dye in their clothing often runs and so, as a result, their hands are also stained a little black.

After a long but stunning trekking Sapa, we eventually arrived at Seo Trung Ho Village, our base for the night. Never before had I seen such a dramatic, remote location for a village. In one direction you will find a magnificent waterfall thundering away behind the village, and the other provides breathtaking views across the valley with the misty mountains in the distance. There’s not a tourist in sight…

Trekking Sapa , Vietnam 2
Terrace field , Sapa Vietnam
After an evening of rice wine and delicious home-cooked food, I went to sleep in my homestay Sapa with the sound of the waterfall and the light patter of rain.Rice wine and home-cooked food, not a bad combination after a good day's trekking Sapa tour.This light patter was hugely magnified by morning as I woke to find we’d had heavy rainstorms all night and the waterfall was twice the size!

This resulted in making our morning route a little too unpredictable with the wet conditions, so it was decided we would do that morning by motorbike. Another unforgettable experience trekking Sapa tour – driving down from the village into the valley, through the river, and up onto the other side, slowly picking our way through the roads with awesome views all the way down the valley to the distant mountains. Suddenly the sun came out and the clouds disappeared, and I could see for miles. As we drove further along the valley I looked back and was thrilled to see the magnificent ‘’Roof of Indochina,’’ Fansipan Mountain, the tallest mountain in all of Indochina. I thought – I’ll save that one for next time trekking Vietnam



June 25, 2014

Exploring Countryside Mai Chau, Vietnam by Bike

By  Tim Russell
Northern Vietnam is worth a visit for many reasons – the charming capital Hanoi, the incredible scenery of Halong Bay, the stunning landscapes of Ninh Binh – but for many visitors, the mountains and rice terraces of the northern mountains are the biggest draw.

The mountain town of Sapa and its surroundings are without doubt the best spot to enjoy Vietnam’s northern scenery at its grandest, but given that getting there & back requires two overnight train journeys, expensive helicopter flights or an epic (but spectacular) road trip, many visitors simply don’t have the time to go there, which is where Mai Chau comes in as a handy and more convenient substitute.

Spectacular Mai Chau valley 
Situated a short-ish and mostly scenic 3.5-hour drive from Hanoi, Mai Chau is comparatively accessible and can thus be done as a 1 or 2-night trip, possibly combined with Kenh Ga & Ninh Binh on the way back to the capital.

That’s exactly what I do, heading out of Hanoi early one bright morning and heading south-west through increasingly beautiful and mountainous scenery until, after heading over one last mountain pass, we drop down into Mai Chau valley, with tiny villages with smoking chimneys dotted against a background so green it is hard to believe it is actually real.

A village of traditional stilthouses
My destination? Pom Coong, a White Thai minority village where several villagers operate family homestays, allowing guests to share their charming stilthouses whilst they go about their usual business of farming, cooking and weaving. And what wonderful hosts they are – arriving just in time for lunch, I’m presented with various local dishes (the grilled pork, sourced right from the village itself, is particularly tasty) and some cold beers, before the man of the house appears with a bicycle and encourages me to follow him on a personal tour of the neighbouring villages & countryside. I quickly realize that Pom Coong is actually pretty touristy – few of the other villages have more than one or two houses offering homestays and next time I vow to pick one of those. It’s a great area for cycling though – mostly flat (though hillier routes are available for more serious cyclists than I) along narrow paths through scenic stilthouse villages inhabited by locals who are rarely exposed to foreign tourists (the advantage of using one of the villagers as a guide rather than a professional tour guide I guess).

Friendly White Thai kids
We arrive home late afternoon, just in time to watch the women of the family preparing dinner and refusing all offers of help – it seems my job is simply to sit & drink beer & watch the sun set behind the mountains, a position I am more than capable of filling. After another superb home-cooked meal, I wander to the main village square to buy a couple of woven wall hangings for my office and to watch a traditional music & dance performance which, though I’m not convinced they’d be doing it if there were no tourists here, feels a lot more authentic and heartfelt than other such performances I’ve witnessed in the past.

Then it’s time for one of the high points of the trip – bed. Why? Because I’m sleeping upstairs in a stilthouse, on a thin mattress under a mosquito net, with the cows & pigs snuffling around downstairs as a cool mountain breeze blows in through the window. I enjoy an utterly blissful night’s sleep and, were it not for the irresistible odours of fresh coffee & fried eggs drifting upstairs at 6.30am the following morning, would undoubtedly have slept a lot longer. (NB for those who really don’t feel like roughing it to this extent, more luxurious accommodation is provided by Mai Chau Lodge, a 4* property with pool, sauna and all the usual facilities.)

Locally woven fabrics are an essential purchase
Breakfast done, and it’s time to “catch” today’s lunch – one of the free range chickens that roam around the village at will. This, much to the delight of the French children staying in the house next door, is accomplished using a bow & arrow, and my host is a veritable Robin Hood when it comes to archery, dispatching his chosen target with skill & accuracy.

Whilst the unfortunate victim is prepared for the pot, I head off for more cycling & photography, returning just in time to enjoy the fruits of the morning’s hunt – food always seems to taste better if you’ve seen it alive. I then bid a sad farewell to my wonderful hosts, and head back to my car for the journey back to Hanoi, via Kenh Ga, more about which in a future post.

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Biking Hidden Paths of Mai Chau & Ninh Binh tour.This trip offers a great opportunity to see the two area of outstanding nature beauty; the North West highlands of Mai Chau and the limestone mountains of Ninh Binh. Biking is a great way to see this fascinating and visually stunning part of Vietnam, offering both physical activity and the unique opportunity to observe a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. As we ride in Mai Chau we encounter Muong and White Thai minorities and are guests in their traditional stilt houses allowing us to see firsthand how these minority peoples live. In Ninh Binh we explore the beauty of “Halong Bay on the rice fields” on bikes.
Highlights: 



  • Awesome scenery
  • Tam Coc - the "Halong Bay on the rice fields"
  • Homestay in Thai village
  • Traditional foot massage

June 24, 2014

Trekking with Locals in Sapa, Vietnam

By Rob
I sit here totally exhausted but with a huge smile. Today I went trekking in Sapa, Vietnam with a local guide. It was a rare clear day and couldn’t of possibly had a better opportunity to venture into a world somewhat unfamiliar to myself. It was one of those cool experiences you won’t forget.

My buddies left today, alarm went at 7am, they shook my hand while I was in bed. Then like any true gentleman, I got out of bed and enjoyed coffee with them before they left, only proper thing to do. Drank a few more and did some web work before rolling out on yet another “solo adventure”.

Local village ladies in Sapa Vietnam
Hit up the local market, eat some pho with some village people and begin wandering while wondering what to do with myself. I decided “Phuket, I’m going to go visit that village”. About 20 steps later, I ask these local ladies what way it is, suddenly they are all following me and offering to come with me. I give this one lady a pinky swear that I’ll go with her and buy something, I had a cool $5us burning a hole in my pocket anyways. Slowly but surely the other 6 women taper off until it’s just “T” and myself.

Ladies relaxing in sapa vietnam
We cruise down the road and off the beaten trail, I keep thinking “ok, she must live somewhere near here, soon”. .. How mistaken I was, turns out she lives 12KM of harsh terrain away. There are a few villages in the big valley near Sapa. One is 7km, one is 10km and one is 12km. She lives on the outskirts of the 12km one, up the steepest and most erosion ridden paths one could imagine. I carried her basket most of the way, these ladies are TOUGH. T is 50 years old and walks 12km up hill to get to Sapa and then 12km back 2-3 times a week. Sometimes she takes a taxi but ONLY if it was a good day in sales and she is insanely tired.

Trekking in Sapa Vietnam with a local guide
We walk, we walk, we walk. I can’t describe the way there without doing it an injustice. It was truly a spectacular sight and sensational on the senses. We went through all the tourist hot spots and just kept going. By the end I was SERIOUSLY dragging my feet and sweating like a gorilla in full business attire on an local bus in Bali sans a/c during dry season. It is warm here in the sun and I had on my warmest clothes because I didn’t really pay attention to the weather when I left for breakfast.

Small village in Sapa Vietnam
We arrive and she actually has a pretty sick pad. I mean it’s basic but it’s quite big and she has tones of pigs, chickens and a dog. What is crazy is that 15-20 people live there, wow. She gave me the full tour and then I noticed some plants. Next thing you know I’m sitting on her front stoop high in the mountains near Sapa with massive bags at my feet. I sat there for what felt like an hour or so until my lungs officially refused to stop taking in air.

After that we eat a nice meal with her family and drank a bunch of rice wine. At this point she asks if I want to buy anything, I hand her 100,000vdn and say “I don’t need anything, this is for the experience”.

Inside villager house Sapa Vietnam
What a totally random, incredibly awesome and unique experience I had to day. This is what I love most and seriously don’t bother with a guided tour when you get to Sapa. Just meet a nice lady and “go from there”, they will all offer to take you home and many sleep the night. I could have but I was like “ok, this was cool but I already have a room.” I’m glad I did it but I’m also glad to hopefully never have to take that trek again, it’s tough.

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Sapa Trekking & Homestay tour.At an elevation of 1,600 meters, Sapa is a delightful former French hill station situated in the mountainous region of Vietnam's northwest, close to the Chinese border. The region is home to many ethnic minority groups, each wearing traditional and colorful attire. This trip includes a trek through the hills and valleys of the Sapa region, discovering several different minorities along the way. You will experience overnight accommodation in the hospitable villages of Giay and Tay ethnic minorities. The apparent hardships are worth it though as we walk through some of the most spectacular scenery that Vietnam has to offer and experience unique villages culture.
Highlights: 

  • Awesome scenery
  • Rice terraces
  • Colorful minority groups 
  • Homestays in minority villages

June 23, 2014

Impressive bends on Happiness Road

The 4C highway from Ha Giang town through Quan Ba, Yen Minh to Dong Van rock plateau is especially attractive to tourists with its bends. 

Highway 4C with 185 km in length through the rocky plateau of Dong Van, Ha Giang is named Hanh Phuc (Happiness). This is the road which was formed by the effort and even the blood and bones of thousands of young volunteers from the 50s – 60s of the 20th century.

Impressive Happiness Road
For adventurous travellers and those who love exploring the highlands, Hanh Phuc Road is a special journey. The towering passes like Bac Sum, Cong Troi (Heaven Gate), Can Ty, Mau Due will bring them to cloudy Lung Cu, and especially the famous wall Ma Pi Leng, which will be always worthy for their effort.

Leaving peaceful Ha Giang city with the Km 0 landmark of Highway 2 to conquer the Hanh Phuc road on the rocky plateau, after 20 miles of relatively flat road is the Heaven Gate Pass. Standing on the peak of Heaven Gate, tourists will see Tam Son town in the heart of the valley, with villas and beautiful houses stretching to the foothills. The Quan Ba mount, which is in the shape of a young girl’s breast, looks striking amid the Tam Son vast field.

Impressive Happiness Road
Riding a motorbike through passes and hills, tourists will see peaceful scenes in the valleys. The villages of the highland ethnic groups in Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac have changed. People have no longer grown poppies but corn on the arid rock.

Dong Van Plateau is not only a geological park of the world, but also a land containing the typically historical evidence of upland people of Ha Giang province. Before the Hanh Phuc Road was built, Quan Ba was separated to the plains by the Heaven Gate pass.

Impressive Happiness Road
Located adjacent to Hanh Phuc road and 14 km from Dong Van town today is evidence of the Wang clan. The King of H’Mong people Vuong Duc Chinh was the first who ruled the ethnic minorities here.
Commercial exchange between the H’mong King with the North is clearly shown in the architecture of the residences of Vuong family. The whole building is surrounded by stone walls of over 1m thick, with the height of 2.5 to 3 m. A huge volume of rare wood and blue stones was used to build this massive work.

When the Nho Que River is completely hidden under the canyon, Meo Vac town appears. The lives of the people in the North-most region of the country are still very poor but the bud of "happiness" is blossoming on the stones.

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Motorcycling West to East Northern Vietnam tour.This motorcycling trip reveals a different route to get from Son La to Thac Ba. It offers adventurous riders stunning scenery and great tribal culture exploration. The route is not yet popular thus you do not share the roads with other tourist but mainly share the roads with the locals who are on their Honda to the farm. The perfect itinerary and the support crew ensure you get the most out of the trip in terms of comfort, enjoyment and adventure.
Highlights: 




  • Stunning scenery
  • Challenging roads
  • Thac Ba Reservoir
  • Colorful ethnic minorities

June 21, 2014

Northwest beaut through Dutch photographer’s lens

Travelling throughout the Northwest region, Dutch photographer Mick Palarczyk took photographs of the land and the people.

Beautiful scenery in Tam Duong, Lai Chau.
Black Dao women in Tam Duong with complex hairstyles. Children's hats decorated with coins, believed to have the ability to dispel evil spirits.
Two H’mong girls at the Bac Ha Fair, Lao Cai.

Hmong Hoa women in Bac Ha.

Lac Village in Mai Chau (Hoa Binh), surrounded by rice fields in a romantic valley.
A stilt house of the White Thai people in Lac Village.
The road in the village of White Thai people in Mai Chau.
Black Thai women bathe their children near Nam La River, Son La.

The "water wheel" in the Nam La River.

 Source: VNB
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Different Sapa - Different Trek tour.This trip gives you the best Sapa has to offer but not in the normal way. The traditional treks start in Sapa and finish back in Sapa. This special trek starts in Ben Den and finishes in Sapa. The trek is tougher but not less enjoyable since you trek through the hills and valleys of the Sapa region, discovering several different minorities along the way. You will experience overnight accommodation in the hospitable villages of Dzay, Tay and Dzao ethnic minorities. The apparent hardships are worth it though as we walk through some of the most spectacular scenery that Vietnam has to offer and experience unique villages culture.
Highlights 
  • Awesome scenery
  • Tough trails
  • Colorful minority groups

June 20, 2014

Tips for travelling Angkor Wat by Bicycle

Biking the Angkor Wat complex is the best way to experience the temples and to interact with the locals, here is how I did it all while avoiding crowds as much as possible. 

Biking Angkor Wat

  • Take a bike at least one day, you will be rewarded with a great experience and it’s not that tough.
  • Bring sunblock and bug spray.
  • Check the weather, sunrise can sometimes be a little cool depending on the time of year.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated, there are plenty of places to get food and drink along the way.
  • Select a rental bike with working gears. The complex is pretty flat but you will appreciate the gears on the 30K Grand Loop.
  • Bring a headlamp and tail light for your bike. There can be a lot of traffic for sunrise and at one point while making our way for sunrise my brother nearly walked into a hole in the ground.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous try hitching a ride with a passing motor bike, they go pretty slow but it’s a little dangerous so use caution. I hitched a ride with a truckload of locals when I put my hand out and one of the young men onboard grabbed on and towed me down the road back to town while all of the others boys and girls were laughing at the spectacle.
  • There are lots of people selling food, drinks and souvenirs and they can get a little annoying if you let them. My approach with both children and adults selling souvenirs was to engage them in conversation and get them off the topic of sales with simple questions in english like, where are you from, how old are you (for kids only) and what is your name. I think that they enjoyed the attention and it offered a brief break from selling souvenirs. The khmer people are very kind and I enjoyed some great conversations by taking this approach.
  • Take care of your ticket, it is checked often and if you loose it you will have to purchase another.
  • There was some confusion on when the temples actually open to the public but we set off and were never denied access even though we arrived around as early as 5:30am.

Source: Flipouting

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Biking Angkor Wat tour.This 3- days cycling tour brings you to explore Siem Reap in Cambodia, not only its highlighted Angkor Complex, but also small local villages, markets, pagodas, to have an opportunity to interact with local passers-by and immerse in Cambodian cultures.
Highlights: 
Beautiful cycling roads
Impressive Angkor Wat

June 17, 2014

Dong Van Plateau - Incredible Natural Beauty

Dong Van plateau is known as one of the 77 geological parks in the world and the second in Southeast Asia after the Langkawi Geological Park in Malaysia.

With an immense area of limestone mountains and deserts of rugged rocks, the plateau is also called the land of rocks.

Yet, the locals have, for thousands of years, attached their whole lives to their native land and earn their living on small pieces of land on the rocky mountains.

Going to the northern mountain provinces, tourists may see rocks on both sides of the road. In the background of the grey colour of rocks is the green of crops on small plots scattered on the rocky ground. The plants seem to absorb all nutriments from the thin layer of land on pot-holes to bud and turn into verdant carpets, covering the rocky area

Every year in March when it is still cool, ethnic groups, mainly the Mong people prepare for a new crop. To make the seeds sprout and grow well, they must toil in the fields for several days. They use a special farming tool to dig deep in pot-holes on the mountain, then carry the soil from the foot of the mountain and put them in every pot-hole before sowing seeds.  

Over the years, generations of ethnic groups held on to the dry and rocky land and wherever they go, the green spreads and gradually replaces the grey of rocks, showing a strong vitality in the poor area. Here, despite the harsh weather together with the shortage of fertilizers, the plants still grow well, blossom and give fruit, repaying the locals for their diligence and hard work.

The Mong people go to the field to prepare for a new crop.
A little of soil in pot-holes is used to grow  plants.

Farming on the rocky ground.
Edible canna is one of the major plants in the area.
Sleeping on her mother's back.
Fields on the mountain side.
The yellow of colza flowers is seen on the rocky mountains.
Source:VNP
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Different Sapa - Different Trek tour.This trip gives you the best Sapa has to offer but not in the normal way. The traditional treks start in Sapa and finish back in Sapa. This special trek starts in Ben Den and finishes in Sapa. The trek is tougher but not less enjoyable since you trek through the hills and valleys of the Sapa region, discovering several different minorities along the way. You will experience overnight accommodation in the hospitable villages of Dzay, Tay and Dzao ethnic minorities. The apparent hardships are worth it though as we walk through some of the most spectacular scenery that Vietnam has to offer and experience unique villages culture.
Highlights: 

  • Awesome scenery
  • Tough trails
  • Colorful minority groups
  • Homestays in minority villages

June 16, 2014

Amazing landscapes in Quang Binh

As a  land of harsh weather, the central province of Quang Binh is also bestowed with many beautiful landscapes.
Located at the boundary of the two provinces of Quang Binh and Ha Tinh, Deo Ngang or the Ngang Pass is a famous sight of central Vietnam. Photo by HTaingoc (Phuot.vn).
Nhat Le is the central beach of Dong Hoi City, the capital of Quang Binh Province. The beach is located at the Nhat Le Estuary, with a still-wild character, white sand and blue sea. Photo by Trinh Quang Minh (Flickr).

Nhat Le River is a historic landmark and famous landscape of Quang Binh. The river name means "the brilliance of the sunlight". Photo: Lequang304 (Xomnhiepanh.com).
Da Nhay is a famous beauty spot in Bo Trach District. There are beautiful beaches and rock mountains eroded by sea water, with cliffs of different shapes. Photo: Gion166 (Flickr).
Along with the Ngang Pass, the Gianh River is the geographic symbol of Quang Binh. This river used to be the boundary between Tonkin and Cochin (1570-1786) with the war that lasted nearly half a century (1627-1672) between Le Kings and Trinh Lords. Photo: MichaelR (Panorama).
The Son River flows out from Phong Nha Cave in the village of Phong Nha, Son Trach Commune of Bo Trach District.
The wharf on the Son River, where tourists begin their tour to the cave system in the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. The Park was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 2003. Photo by Huy Ngo Hoa (Flickr).
The Phong Nha Cave has been named the "most beautiful cave of Vietnam”.
Also located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Thien Duong (Heaven) Cave was discovered in 2005. With a total length of 31.4 km, it is Asia's longest cave. Due to the beauty of stalactites and stalagmites here, the cave is named Heaven.
Son Doong Cave is the largest natural cave in the world. This cave is situated in the system of caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang. Photo: National Geographic.
Sunset on the dunes Quang Phu in Dong Hoi. Photo: Lequang304 (Xomnhiepanh.com).
Ray Ho Dam near Dong Hoi City. Photo: Lequang304 (Xomnhiepanh.com).

Located near Hon Lam and Ngang Pass, Vung Chua is an amazing beach surrounded by a beautiful landscapes and many relics. This is also the resting place of legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap. Photo: Huuthanh.ng (Panoramio).
Source: VietNamNet Bridge
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend Trekking to Swallow Cave near Son Doong - World's largest cave tour.Son Doong Cave, En Cave (Swallow Cave or Hang En) are the most spectacular sights in Quang Binh province (Central of Vietnam). Fortunately, when trekking tour to Son Doong is only for testing and currently limited by government, we can have a great two-day trek to En Cave – the same way to Son Doong cave. The 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.
Highlights: 

  • Third world’s largest cave adventure – Hang En Cave
  • Camping inside for at least one night
  • Same trekking trail to Son Doong cave
  • Private departure – Just for you
  • No waiting list – Go any time
  • Fully supported – Fully inclusive