Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vietnam National Parks

Vietnam has a diverse and bountiful flora and fauna discovered best in its national parks. Vietnam national parks extend from the Red River Delta in the north to Mekong Delta in the south and are alluring destinations for nature lovers. These parks with their predominantly tropical vegetation and impressive habitat of animals are enjoyable Vietnam holiday destinations.

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Cat Ba National Park – This island park in Halong Bay spreads over 26,000 hectares including 9,000 hectares of water mass. Largely made of limestone, this island has a rugged topography with several waterfalls, grottos, and caves. Though extensively foliaged, there are areas that are bare and devoid of vegetation. During rainy season the number of streams increases making the island more attractive. Treo Com, Thung Luong, Viet Hai and Hoi Trung Trang are such seasonal streams. Many of these streams flow into grottos and caves and subsequently into the surrounding sea through underground routes.
Among the water bodies in this national park, Ech Lake stretching over three hectares is most notable. 90 percent of this scraggy island is between 50 and 200 metres elevation with Hien Hoa at 302 metres and Cao Vong at 331 metres being the highest points. Primates and ungulates are the principal mammals to be found in Cat Ba. It takes about a day to explore this island and is a perfect Hanoi excursion.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – This complex karst landscape in Vietnam dates back 400 million years and is supposedly the earliest such formation in Asia. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park with an area of over 85,700 hectares is located in the centre of Annamite Mountains and extends up to Laos border to its west. This UNESCO World Heritage site is amongst the fascinating limestone formations in the world. Karst features include several underground rivers and astounding caves. Here you get to see terraced caves, dry caves, intersecting caves, and dendritic caves. Phong Na with a length of more than 44km is the longest. You could penetrate up to 1.5km inside this cave in boats.

Together with its limestone formations, the plant and animal life of this national park in Vietnam is equally magnificent. There are more than 550 species of animals compromising 72 varieties of fish, 81 families of amphibians and reptiles, 113 kinds of mammals, and 302 bird varieties. Among mammals, Asian elephant and wild dog, black bear, tiger, giant muntjac, sao la, and gaus are notable. Fauna includes primary as well as secondary forest lands, tropical savannah, tropical evergreen, and tropical deciduous.

Cuc Phuong National Park – This Vietnamese national park is oldest of this country and has earned the status of International Botanical Garden. Unlike other national parks, this bio-reserve has a more diversified landscape with hill slopes, terraced farms, mountains, forests, and water bodies. Located close to ancient capital city Hoa Lu, this national park boasts of nearly 120 species of reptiles, 307 species of birds, and more than 130 varieties of mammals. You could explore over two thousand species of plants.


Cham IslandCam Island accessible from Hoi An city is another UNESCO Bio-reserve. This national park is especially famous for its marine life. Water around his island abounds in more than 80 species of molluscs, four tiger shrimp species, and over 130 varieties of coral.

Romantic Vietnam beach vacations

Vietnam beach vacations are the most romantic and exciting considering the natural beauty and enticing water activities. Vietnam beaches not only draw tourists form within Vietnam, but also from different parts of the world. Your beach vacation could be a Vietnam honeymoon trip, or a fun-filled family holiday; the choice is varied. From north to south, Vietnamese coastline extends for about almost 3500 kilometres and has exquisite beaches catering to the demands of every type of holiday maker.

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Vietnam lies entirely in the tropics and has a climate that is favourable for beach vacationing round the year. Some beaches are famous for their idyllic ambience while others for their marine activities.
Muine Beach – Mui Ne is a charming Vietnam beach offering you a combination of both water activities and reclusive holidaying. You could let your body be washed by sea surf as you lay on the white sands of Mui Ne. A masseur could give you invigorating massage on the beaches as you enjoy the morning sun. In case you are of the adventurous type, then Fairy Springs provides an excellent opportunity for trekking. Fairy Springs stream offers you an exciting trek from mouth to source through rock formations and sand dunes. It is possible to make this trek barefoot or with slippers on. A guide would be helpful. If you love water activities, you might attempt windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing. Beginners could take a lesson before attempting any of these. Enthusiasts could take equipments on rent.

Phan Thiet Beach – Phan Thiet is the perfect choice for a quiet Vietnam vacation. This is a fishing village near Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and easily accessed within three hours. This Vietnam beach resort is frequented by Saigon inhabitants on weekends, and by foreign tourists as and when they arrive. Unlike other beaches in Vietnam, Phan Thiet is laidback and tranquil. Depending on your preference, you could choose to stay in multi-cuisine luxury resorts or rustic thatched apartments.

Phu Quoc Beach – Situated off the coast of Mekong Delta, this island features an interesting mix of white sandy beaches, forest lands and pepper plantations. Forests in this island are of national importance and are protected. This once again is a peaceful beach and a prefect getaway from city life. This seaside escape has a generous distribution of hotels of every category. You could choose among Vietnam boutique hotels, budget accommodations and mansions belonging to French colonial period. Phu Quoc is a relatively new Vietnam honeymoon destination and attracts tourists from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.


Nha Trang Beach – Nha Trang is perhaps the most renowned beach in Vietnam. This white beach is ideal for Vietnam water activities. From scuba diving to kite surfing, this seaside resort is famous for its number of sunshine days. Divers would be enthralled to discover coral reefs, underwater caves and other weathered structures. In case your age does not permit intensive water activities, then leisurely boat rides and cable car trips would impress you. The choice of Vietnam hotels is immense in this city on East Sea.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unique and Fulfilling Vietnam Sapa Tours

    


Sapa is distinct from other Vietnam destinations by its mountainous terrain and cultural assortment. Sapa tours in Vietnam take you to picturesque hilly regions in northwest Vietnam. Sapa at an altitude of about 1650 metres is located in Hoang Lien Sun Mountains near China border. ‘Tonkinese Alps’, as it is commonly called, is an astounding combination of terraced rice farms, hill slopes covered by luxuriant tropical vegetation, and a totally unpolluted tranquil ambience. These mountains are also home to Fansipan, the highest peak in this region. Thus, you should ask your Vietnam tour operator to include Sapa in your family Vietnam travel plan.

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Sapa in Vietnam allows you an opportunity to explore the diverse cultural patterns of ethnic communities staying in north western region of this nation. A vacation in Sapa also offers a fabulous prospect of Vietnam adventure activities such as cycling, trekking, and riding. You could spend your holiday by putting up in a luxury hotel or opting for home stay as per your preference. If a hotel accommodation offers you the luxuries of a comfortable stay, a home stay assure a rustic experience and a chance of enjoying Vietnamese lifestyle.

Sapa trekking – Trekking in and around this hill station offers you an excellent chance of discovering the panoramic landscape consisting of vibrant green terrace farms, orchid plantations and tropical flower gardens. As you trek along the hill tracks, you discover hamlets, amiable villagers and smiling school-going children. These treks in Sapa allow you to try out local cuisine. Gorging on delicacies like ‘com’, ‘banh chung’, ‘pho’, ‘gio lua’, ‘banh cuon’, and ‘cha ca’ in the quaint yet homely eateries is a memorable experience for Sapa trekkers. You could take a guide along for familiarizing you with these surroundings.

Sapa home stay – The best way of discovering this peaceful and pristine place is through a home stay. Home stay in Sapa is, in fact, a highlighting activity in Vietnam. A home stay allows you to learn about the livelihood of local inhabitants, their food habits and customs. While staying with them, you could become friendly and even learn preparing a few dishes. Vietnamese cuisine is delicious as they are prepared from fresh farm products. Fish, meat, poultry and diary items are also fresh which make local recipes delectable. This can make your holidays in Vietnam truly memorable.

Visit to Bac Ha and Can Cau markets – Bac Ha is a tribal town in Tonkinese Alps. The Sunday market is famous and draws people from all over this hilly territory. A morning walk through winding hilly tracts takes you to the local market. Here you could enjoy a hot mug of coffee sitting in a restaurant overlooking the market place. You could buy fruits, vegetables or items of your choice from here and ask them to be cooked in your home stay.

About twenty kilometres from Bac Ha towards China border is Can Cau village. The market here is colourful and throngs with activity on Saturdays. In addition to fruits and vegetables, flowers and clothes are also sold. In your Vietnam holiday for family, you could collect a few locally tailored dresses. Costumes crafted by villagers of Phu La, Nung and Flower Hamong are worthwhile collections.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Vietnam festivals to enjoy

    


The vibrancy of Vietnam is reflected aptly in its festivals. Vietnam festivals are full of colour and merriment with people of all ages participating in great zeal. From Red River Delta in the north to Mekong Delta in the south, these festivals of Vietnam are held throughout the year. Therefore, irrespective of the time of year you choose for your Vietnam holiday, you can expect to experience the local flavour of some of the festivals.

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Tet – Tet, lunar New Year, is perhaps the most famous Vietnamese festival having a universal participation. This event held some time in late January or early February coincides with spring. It is a time for family bonhomie and they try to spend a few days together during this festival. Normally, a three–day affair, Tet involves drinking, eating and rejoicing together with family and friends. Gifts often including cooked food are exchanged during this celebration. Soups and stewed dishes of vegetable, fish and meat are usually enjoyed during Tet. Mai, Quat and Dao implying apricot, kumquat, and peach flower shows respectively are another notable Vietnam attraction of New Year.

Lim Festival – This festival unique to Lim village close to Hanoi coincides with the thirteenth day of the first lunar month as per Vietnam New Year. This is essentially a religious festival involving male and female teams. Teams of men and women exchange dialogues and verses accompanied by music. ‘Quan Ho’ songs are sung throughout the region in boats, pagodas and along hill slopes. Quan Ho is a Vietnam folk song popular in Red River Delta in the north.

Quan the Am – This is a Vietnam cultural festival held on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month. This event held in Ngu Hanh Mountains near Danang was initiated in 1962 with the opening of Avalokeswara Boddhisattwa idol in Hoa Nghiem cave in Vietnam Marble Mountains. The principal festival is preceded by a religious ceremony that involves prayers, offerings, and rituals. The main festival includes rendition of folk songs, lion dancing, floating lamps on rivers, painting and operas. This Vietnam celebration held over three days attracts visitors from all parts of the country.

Nui Ba Festival – Your Vietnam visit is never complete without witnessing Nui Ba festival held in Ba Den Mountains in the centre of Mekong Delta. This festival is held in remembrance of a girl who left her home to become a nun as she was forced by her father to marry an officer’s son against her wishes. She retreated to Nui Ba Mountains and stayed here till her death. She is now worshipped as St. Linh Son and has a black bronze statue erected. This two month long festival held between the last lunar month and the second lunar month involves prayers, offerings and discourses. You could stay in a pagoda and enjoy their delectable vegetarian dishes.

Mid-Autumn festival – This Vietnam ceremony held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month (September) is looked forward to by every citizen of this fantastic country, especially children. Held at a time when weather is embalming, and farmers are at rest, this festival is complete with entertainment, cakes, candles, and toys. ‘Banh deo’, a rice preparation, is a must for this festival. Colourful items like candles, fruits and cakes are sold in large quantities. Lanterns in innovative shapes are used to decorate homes. Children are offered toys and participate in marches and dances. Vietnam tours for kids are usually conducted during this time.

If you want to experience any of these festivals, plan your Vietnam vacation accordingly.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Exciting and Refreshing Vietnam Tour Packages

    


Vietnam, the easternmost of the Indochinese nations, is an irresistible tourist destination with amazing landscapes, captivating seascapes, and eternal values. Vietnam tour packages enable you to explore this land of ancient traditions and buoyant culture. This entire strip of S- shaped land along the Gulf of Tonkin, South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand from north to south west offers you a blissful vacation with your near and dear ones. A typical Vietnam package deal covers Hanoi, Ha Long, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi, and Mekong Delta.

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Vietnam travel packages organized by tour operators normally include economy class air travel from one region to another, vehicular transportation as indicated, specified boat rides, accommodation in select hotels, meals as mentioned, and guide services in selected locations. You could travel alone, with your partner or in a group to avail these package offers. International air fares, airport taxes, visa stamping fee on arrival, meals other than those specified and personal expenses like laundry, private visits etc. are additional.

HanoiHanoi offers you a marvellous combination of traditional Vietnamese charm and European modernity. Here, you discover Temple of Literature, the first university of this country dating back to 1070. Grand Opera House constructed in the second decade of the 20th century is a brilliant representation of Paris Palais Garnier. Tran Quoc, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace and Hoan Kiem Lake are other notable sights.

Ha Long – This bay is outstanding because of its innumerable limestone structures in varying shapes jutting out of the emerald green water of Ha Long. A day long Vietnam cruise in a luxury boat gives you an enthralling experience.

Hue – Representation of French imperialism is starkly visible in this Vietnam city. This imperial city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other places of interest include Thien Mu Pagoda, Nui Chua National Park, Phung Islet and 200-year old Thanh Tuan Bridge with tiled roof.

Da Nang – This city situated in central Vietnam is picturesquely located between mountains on its northern and southern sides and South China Sea to its east. This vibrant city has one of the most fascinating beaches in Vietnam.

Hoi An – Hoi An, an important port during 17th and 18th centuries, should be included in your Vietnam travel package because of its distinctive laid back ambience. Cham Museum with displays of stone sculptures and Marble Mountain are worthwhile sites to visit. Japanese Covered Bridge dating back to four hundred years is another noteworthy monument.

Nha Trang – Nha Trang perhaps has the best beach in Vietnam. The turquoise blue water bordering white sandy beaches creates a visual delight for Vietnam travellers. Tourists looking forward to Vietnam activities are assured of thrilling marine sports in Nha Trang.

Ho Chi Minh City – This city, earlier called Saigon, was once the capital of South Vietnam. War Remnants, Jade Emperor Pagoda and Ben Thanh Market are striking Ho Chi Minh City tourist attractions. Old Post Office and Cathedral of Notre Dam are examples of French colonial architecture.

Cu Chi Tunnels – This network of tunnels constructed initially by Vietnam guerrillas for fighting against French was later extended during Vietnam War.

Your Vietnam package remains incomplete without a Mekong cruise in the deltaic region. A river voyage along Mekong offers a fantastic opportunity of discovering the life, culture and traditions of this Indochinese nation.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Things to Do While in Hanoi, Vietnam

    


Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, has a history of two thousand years and a culture that is vibrant, spontaneous and gracious. The best way to feel the pulse of this city is through Hanoi activities. Be it summer, winter, autumn or spring, Hanoi things to do are assorted and interesting. Excursions to spectacular locations, luxury cruises, puppet shows and cooking classes are activities that would enthral you on your Hanoi visit.

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Hanoi city tour – Though Hanoi is a place that could be explored for days, tourists to this city for the first time should spend at least eight to nine hours to get a feel. You could use cars, bicycles or even walk to discover this city. The magnetism of Hanoi is indisputable and undeniable. Temple of Literature, Old Quarter and French Quarter are locations that offer you a peek into this city’s history. A Hanoi tourist can never ignore the eclectic combination of Indochinese and French cultures in this capital city. Hoan Kien Lake, also referred to as the Lake of Returned Sword, is a splendid site for Vietnam tourists.

Cycle Tour and a Puppet ShowA Hanoi cycle tour around the Old Quarter allows you to discover lanes and old buildings of the city. Even constructions belonging to French colonial period could be seen glorifying the streets of this city.

Hanoi water puppet show – It is a traditional form of performance art in Vietnam. Daily life of farmers, historical events and legends are represented through these plays. Even swimming contests of puppets are held as entertainment for the audience. An ensemble of sound, light, and music make these shows a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Sunrise tour with Cooking classDiscovering Hoan Kien Lake in your Hanoi sunrise tour is a wonderful experience in your Vietnam tour. You would find people working out or engaged in tai chi (a form of local exercise) in lake embankments. Having a bowl of ‘pho’ in your sunrise tour is a delectable experience. This noodle dish is available in street stalls and served hot. These street stalls also conduct cooking classes for Hanoi tourists. Hang Be market is the best place to shop for ingredients for Vietnamese dishes.

Van Giang village trip – Van Giang village is a one hour trip from Hanoi and is thronged by tourists to learn cooking of local cuisine. This village in Red River Delta is the prefect place to explore the ethnic culture of this great country. You could go to a typical hut with all ingredients for cooking lessons. This is the best place to take lessons on Vietnam food.

Boat trip to Hoa Lu and Kenh Ga – In Kenh Ga, a village near Hanoi, time has remained still for centuries. This floating village on the embankments of River Hoang Long is pristine, tranquil and picturesque. As you approach this village in a boat, you could only be awed by the sight of this village against the backdrop of limestone massifs. Hot spring in Kenh Ga is another memorable place to visit in this Hanoi boat trip. This spring rich in sodium, carbon dioxide and bicarbonate salts is excellent for skin and stomach ailments.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Top Vietnam Beaches

    


Vietnam with a coastline of nearly 3500 kilometres offers an enthralling getaway for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Vietnam beaches have something to offer for every kind of visitor; be it scuba diving, kite surfing, sailing or swimming, the waters bordering Vietnam shoreline is always inviting. Top Vietnam beaches are popular among both local travellers and foreign tourists. There are some beaches that are treaded frequently while there are others that are still pristine and untouched.

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Beaches in Vietnam are spread over central and southern parts along South China Sea to the east and south and Gulf of Thailand to the south west. Some of these beaches are famous for marine sport, while some are perfect for spending an idle Vietnam holiday.

Nha Trang - Nha Trang in south eastern coast is the most sought after beach city of this country. This beach is renowned for its prolonged periods of sunshine. This white sandy beach with lush green hills as its backdrop overlooking aquamarine waters of South China Sea forms an enchanting combination. Water sport lovers would love kite surfing and wakeboarding, while divers would find pleasure in scuba diving in the gentle waters of Nha Trang coast. The less adventurous types could settle for a boat ride. There are several beach front bars and restaurants that offer you a panoramic view of the white beach and turquoise water while you chill out with your favourite drink.

Doc Let - Doc Let about 48 kilometres north of Nha Trang is another famous Vietnam beach on the South China Sea coast. This is among the more peaceful beaches and offers a perfect respite from bustling city life. This secluded beach is ideal for tourists on Vietnam honeymoon vacation and for families who need exclusive quality time. You could put up in luxury resorts or a comfort Vietnam hotel depending on your likings and budget.

Danang - Danang Beach is notable for its water activities. This beach on the central stretch of Vietnam coast has enough opportunities for scuba diving, surfing, and sailing. White sandy shore line with coconut palms and pines set a brilliant combination with the aquamarine shade of South China Sea. China Beach, a popular stretch of Danang remains crowded with foreign tourists to Vietnam. Travellers spending Vietnam holiday in Danang are assured of a vibrant city life together with an enticing beach vacation.

Phan Thiet - Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City have access to Phan Thiet a fishing village on south eastern coast with South China Sea. This beach is unique because of its laidback ambience and cosy surroundings. Further its reddish sand makes Phan Thiet beach stand out among other Vietnamese beaches. Here you even have the opportunity of staying in a resort having rooms without television sets. This beach is especially designed to keep you completely segregated from real world for at least your holiday in Phan Thiet. An accommodation in a thatched roof guest house adds to your rustic variation.

Phu Quoc - Phu Quoc offers you an ideal retreat for a truly invigorating Vietnam vacation. Though it is an island off Mekong Delta, it offers unspoilt white beaches, forested lands, and unpaved roads. It gives you the much needed respite from hectic city life.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Things to Include in Your Cheap Vietnam Travel

    


Vietnam is an enchanting destination for an enthusiastic traveller. This Indochinese destination has strong influence of both Indian and Chinese customs and traditions. After about 150 years of French colonialism, there is a distinctive French aura in the life and culture of Vietnamese people. The urban centres of this country offer a splendid combination of Eastern and Western lifestyles while the rural centres have a typical Oriental charm about themselves. A cheap Vietnam travel package enables you to explore the magnificent country from Red River Delta in the north to Mekong Delta in the south and from South China Sea in the east to Hoang Lien Son in the north-west.

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This country with high mountains (Hoang Lien Son Mountains are an extension of the Himalayas), river deltas and flat plains has a varied topography even in its narrow east-west extent. You could work out a cheap Vietnam vacation with leading tour operators for exploring the entire country. Starting from cheap flights to Vietnam to affordable accommodation and economy tour packages, these operators have several options for a discerning Vietnam tourist. In general, tourism in this Indochinese nation is much cheaper as compared to other Oriental countries.

Your cheap Vietnam vacation could begin from Hanoi, the capital city of this nation. After arriving by your cheap flight, you could put up in a hotel of your choice. You might choose a hotel as per your preference and budget. Comfort hotels in Hanoi are adequately furnished and are endowed with all facilities that make your stay enjoyable. Well appointed guest rooms with Internet access, cable television, direct dialling telephone and attached bathrooms let you a comfortable zone for putting up. These hotels also offer fine dining facilities for guests. A more economical option would be to select a ‘bed and breakfast’ accommodation. This arrangement is perfect for holiday tourists and business travellers to Vietnam who go on a limited budget.
From Hanoi, you could avail cheap tours to Ha Long and Red River Delta. There are several acknowledged Vietnam tour operators who arrange same day excursions to Ha Long Bay and Red River Delta. In your excursion trips to Ha Long or Red River Delta, you would discover spectacular limestone islands protruding from the still waters of the bay, mesmerizing limestone caves, idyllic fishing villages and pristine paddy fields where time stands still.

After spending a few days in Hanoi, you could proceed to Ho Chi Minh in South Vietnam. Originally Seoul, the capital of South Vietnam, this city offers cheap tour options to Cu Chi Tunnels, Emperor Jade Pagoda, and Ben Thanh Market. The Cu Chi Tunnels is a single day excursion from Ho Chi Minh City. This network of tunnels extending nearly 250 kilometres was built during French colonial period and later extended during Vietnam War. This tunnel network included arms workshop, arms depot, meeting areas, resting zones, and kitchen. Mui Ne on South China Sea shore is a perfect beach resort where you could avail cheap Vietnam accommodation and enjoy all beach activities including, kite surfing, windsurfing, sailing and swimming.

Get a Taste of the Wonderfully Romantic Vietnam River Cruise

    


A Vietnam river cruise is a marvellous experience for you and your family. The outstanding river cruises are along Mekong River in South Vietnam and Red River Delta including Ha Long Bay in North Vietnam. There are also combined Indochina cruises that take you on a longer course along Mekong covering Vietnam and Cambodia. These luxury cruises in Vietnam are specialties of Indochina travel and must never be missed.

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These Indochina river cruises offer you a golden opportunity to explore peaceful fishing villages, lush green rice fields, magnificent temples and vibrant cities. Discovering the countryside of Indochina from the comforts of a luxury cruise is a rewarding occurrence to be shared with your near and dear ones. A Mekong River cruise is not only about discovering Indochina but also about discovering superlative hospitality. Well appointed guest rooms, restaurants serving multi-cuisine delicacies, lounge bars with incomparable collection of wines and spirits, and an overall flattering ambience make these yachts a formidable touring venture. Many of these vessels are endowed with libraries, swimming pool, gymnasium and even health spas to make your stay and voyage even more gratifying.

A typical Indochina luxury cruise along Mekong covers Siem Reap, Tonle Sap Lake, Phnom Penh, Sadec, Mytho and Ho Chi Minh City in about a week. Your River Mekong odyssey is complete with delicious food, soothing environment, inspiring performances and extraordinary comfort. For your staying, you could select among deluxe rooms, junior suites and family suites which are as luxurious as any star rated hotel. Food served in restaurants includes local delicacies, Continental items, and Asian varieties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in restaurants, and if required is also served in your room. Room service in these vessels is as good as any luxury Vietnam hotel. Generally spirits and beer are served round the clock, while locally prepared wine is served at lunch and dinner.

Throughout daytime, these boats take you from one tourist destination to another allowing you sufficient time to explore each territory. There are guides in these boats that help you identify places that you pass through on your river cruise. Depending upon the importance of a place, these boats halt for several hours. You could collect souvenirs and artefacts from villages and towns that fall in your course. Handicrafts made here have distinctive Indo-Chinese influence and are noteworthy gifts.

On board cooking workshops are arranged where you could learn preparing sumptuous dishes and even share the experiences of master chefs. Discourses on local life, culture, and history are also organised to keep you occupied in your boat trip.

As a day comes to end and the sun is ready to set, you could recline in a deck chair with a hot cup of tea and feast your eyes on the myriad hues of the horizon. When darkness sets in, the interior of your luxury boat gets totally illuminated so that you know its time for magic shows, dance performances and musical concerts. You are kept entertained throughout the evening till late hours. Even film shows are arranged with blockbuster movies or documentaries on local life and culture. Performance of Apsara dance is an enchanting experience on your Vietnam luxury cruise. So, do not forget to ask your Vietnam travel agent to include this wonderful cruise journey in your Vietnam tour package.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Go For Red River Delta Tour While Being in Vietnam

    Vietnam Tours | Vietnam Travel Blogs


Red River Delta tour in Vietnam ensures travellers of an enchanting experience. This delta in North Vietnam is resplendent with limestone cliffs, verdant paddy fields and ancient temples. This Vietnamese heritage with outstanding representation of local culture in the form of art, architecture and craft is an integral part of your Vietnam holiday.

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Red River Delta, though smaller in extent as compared to Mekong Delta, has higher population density. It is a biosphere reserve with the largest mangrove forest in Indochina with more than thirty species. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in addition to being a biosphere reserve is also a transcendent destination for handicrafts and marine activities. Whether you are a naturalist, scholar or artist, there is something worthwhile waiting to be explored in this unspoilt delta region.

Red River Delta in Vietnam comprises wetlands, mangroves, salty marshlands, beaches and estuaries. Mangrove forest works as a cover against sea swelling which is common in this area. In addition, these forests protect sea dikes from storms and sea surges. In your Vietnam family holiday, this delta offers you an exceptional getaway from usual city tours. This biosphere reserve is a genuine delight for bird watchers. The period from October to March is particularly delightful for ornithologists as migration of birds take place during this time. Nearly eighty species of aquatic birds and forty species of shore birds frequent this Vietnam delta region. Many bird species also breed in this migration season.

Red River Delta trip is best made from Hanoi. While on Hanoi tour, you could organize an excursion to the delta region bordering South China Sea. It takes you about two hours to drive down to this deltaic region from Hanoi. March-April and October-November are the best months to visit this coastal area. Winter could become windy and chilly on certain occasions while summer is not the right time for a Red River Delta travel plan. Rain in this part of the country is quite heavy and becomes a deterrent to travel. You should ideally make a Hanoi holiday plan outside May-September period as this is the rainy season.

Red River Delta Attractions

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is the prime attraction of this deltaic region. This city is an amazing combination of Oriental charm and Western modernity. There is a distinctive French feeling about this city as reflected in the architecture of buildings belonging to French colonial times.

Vibrant green rice fields against the backdrop of limestone massifs offers a charming experience in your Tom Coc tour. As you row down canals meandering through paddy fields, the only sound you would hear is that of the oars splashing the water. Time seems to have stood still in this languorous surrounding for centuries. You could even row through three limestone caves in Tom Coc. From leisurely Tom Coc to adventurous Cat Ba Island, Red River Delta in your Vietnam travel offers you this immense variation. You could test your adrenaline by climbing rocks or hiking through this national park. In case you are of the gentler kind, you could go for boat rides or bird watching. This should prompt you to contact a Vietnam travel agent now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Finding the Best Indochina and Vietnam Travel Deals


Your best Indochina travel deals offer an opportunity to discover Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This region of South East Asia is strongly influenced by both Indian and Chinese traditions and culture, lending a distinctive Indochinese flavour. Enchanting landscape, exuberant lifestyle and prosperous cultural trends make Indochina travel a lifetime experience.

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From the spectacle of foliaged islands of varying shapes, puzzling limestone caves in Vietnam, the brilliance of Angkor Vat temple and Apsara Dance in Cambodia to idyllic Mekong River fishing villages and amazing Plain of Jars in Laos, a tour to Indochina is complete in every sense. Your Indochina holiday needs to be planned in a manner so as to cover each of these places with their finery and enthusiasm. In your Indochina tour, select a plan that allows you to explore the best things in these three countries.

Best of Vietnam

Your best Vietnam travel plan should include Hanoi, Ha Long, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong delta cruise, Hue, Hoi An, and Danang Beach.

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a fascinating blend of old world Oriental charm and modern day lifestyle. This gracious city has the finest buildings dating back to French colonial period. A boat ride in Hoan Kiem Lake or a cycle tour in the Old Quarters offers a revealing experience about the city. Ha Long Bay is most easily accessible from Hanoi and is an amazing geological formation. Nearly three thousand limestone islands pierce the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay and create a phenomenal sight. Limestone caves are other outstanding physical formations for you to explore.

Ho Cho Minh City, previously called Saigon, throbs with activity. With monuments, dazzling shopping arcades and unparalleled eateries, this city is a vibrant Vietnam travel destination. Excursion to Unicorn Island and a Mekong luxury cruise are highlighting activities from Ho Chi Minh City. Mekong Delta is the granary of this country. Da Nang is famous for its beach and Marble Mountains.

Best of Cambodia

Cambodia is world renowned for Angkor Vat temple. Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site made famous by temples constructed over three hundred years from 12th century. This complex contains Angkor Wat, the largest temple as on date. In addition to this temple, there are other structures with bas relief and elaborate carvings of human figures, patterns, and animals. Combine your Angkor visit with Siem Trip sight tour in your Cambodia Indochina travel package. Siem Reap is famous for its paddy fields and sunset tours. It gives you a chance of enjoying local recipes and revelling in a rustic ambience.

On your visit to Cambodia, you must never miss S-21, an institute used by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge as torture chamber and prison. A trip to Toul Sleng Genocide Museum is nerve racking and disturbing.

Best of Laos

The entire city of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which should be made an integral part of your Indochina travel deal. Luang Prabang with Mount Phousi and Royal Palace Museum is a fascinating destination for Indochina travellers. The Pak Ou Caves with over four thousand wooden figures of Buddha in different postures is another inexplicable attraction of Laos.

Your best Indochina and Vietnam travel deal should ideally include all these places.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cu Chi Tunnels

    


Cu Chi Tunnels located near Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam is an underground network of highly secured passages extending for almost 250 kilometres. These were dug over a span of twenty five years beginning in the latter half of the 1940’s. In your Vietnam family holiday Cu Chi is a half day excursion from Ho Chi Minh City. This elaborate tunnel system complete with living quarters, hospitals, private meeting areas, arms depot, and even theatre halls was used by Vietnamese guerrillas during Vietnam War.

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Though these caves were extensively used during Vietnam War against US troops, they were originally built during the French War in late 1940’s. This tunnel network of approximately 250 km extended from Ho Chi Minh City to Cambodian border and was used for communicating among villages evading French troops. The importance of these tunnels grew in significance during the 1960s, when the war between Vietnamese troops and US Army was at its peak. The tunnel is several feet deep inside the ground at places and had dedicated water supply, kitchen, and storage facilities.

In your Vietnam customized holiday, Cu Chi could be a revelation. Vietnamese guerrillas carried out sudden attacks on American soldiers while confining themselves within these tunnels. This tunnel network originally built in the 1940’s was extensively repaired and extended in the 1960’s during Vietnam War. The total network almost measured 250 kilometres and passed beneath American troop camps. During times of heavy bombardment, the Cu Chi tunnel served as a safe retreat for Vietnamese troops. They spent several days within the confines of these tunnels. The caves in many places were dug by hand and allowed one person to crawl through. Once inside, you could only crawl one person after another and there is no way of turning around.

Life inside though secured was never comfortable for guerrilla troops. They had to come to the surface for food and provisions. Though there were weapon manufacturing facilities underground, raw materials had to be sourced from outside. These guerrilla soldiers spent their day time in these burrows and came out after sundown for supplies or looking after their agricultural fields. There were occasions when the troops have to remain confined for many days without adequate food and water to protect themselves from bombing and air raids. Inside the tunnels there was always the fear of poisonous centipedes, scorpions, insects and snakes. Incidence of disease was also very high among these guerrilla soldiers.  In fact, among 16,000 troop members, only about six thousand survived.

In your Vietnam holiday for family, a visit to Cu Chi would take you approximately five hours including journey time from Ho Chi Minh City. It takes about ninety minutes by bus to reach Cu Chi located nearly 40 km northwest of Hoi Chi Minh City. A car journey would save twenty minutes of your journey time. As buses leave at definite times and not regular, it is advisable to hire a car for this Vietnam trip. It would take another ninety minutes to visit the tunnels. For convenience of visitors, stretches of the tunnel are illuminated.

Things to Check when Booking Vietnam Hotels

    


Vietnam is an inspiring tourist destination and offers an assortment of natural wonders, cultural vibrancy, and historic landmarks. A Vietnam tour attracts naturalists, academicians, and adventure lovers in equal exuberance. You could work out a customized Vietnam vacation depending on your resources and extent of stay. In your stay in this country a Vietnam hotel plays the perfect host. In addition to offering a comfortable stay, these hotelsprovide delectable food, make travel arrangements, and even organise special events.

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Depending upon your places of stay in your Vietnam holiday, hotel booking could be made well in advance. In fact, it is advisable to make reservations well in advance, particularly when planning a Vietnam family holiday. An advance booking not only ensures better deals but also saves you from worries of putting up in a hotel of your choice on arrival. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Hue, Da Nang, Chau Doc, Hue, Sapa, Da Lat, and Phu Quoc Island are the chief cities that attract travellers to Vietnam. All these destinations have hotels of every preference and budget thereby allowing tourists to make a proper choice. There are hotels ranging from luxury class to budget category, hostels, guest houses, fully furnished apartments, and bed and breakfast arrangements for your Vietnam stay.

Things to Check while Booking

Price – Price is the basic criterion of selecting an accommodation and is always a primary consideration while planning a holiday. Price offered to customers by hoteliers depend on number of guests, period of stay, type of room opted, and time of travelling. Usually hotels in Vietnam offer reduced rates to tourists travelling in groups. Special package deals are extended to make tours affordable and attractive. Discounts are offered if bookings are made early. Off-seasonal discounts form another attraction for Vietnam tourists.

No hidden cost – Prices quoted by hotels should ideally be transparent without any hidden elements. Services charges, booking charges, or incidental charges if any should clearly be mentioned in Vietnam travel deals to prevent confusions. Additional charges should be disclosed to customers before reservations are made. Leading hotels in Vietnam offer prices without any hidden cost component. For online bookings, confirmations are also sent online or through SMS.

Services offered – Services offered by a hotel is important for a guest. Choice of restaurants, in-house entertainment facilities, travel arrangements, wellness centres, swimming pool, and games room are services that attract guests to a hotel. Prior to making reservations it is advisable to check the services that are provided to customers so that there are no confusions later on. For business travellers, availability of conferencing and business centre facilities is essential. Thus services provided by a Vietnam hotel are an essential parameter of booking.

Amenities – Guest room amenities is also an important determinant of putting up in a hotel. Well appointed guest rooms with proper furniture and furnishings, air-conditioning, satellite television, direct dialling telephone, safe deposit locker, writing table, refrigerator, running hot and cold water etc. are concerns of a tourist on a Vietnam luxury tour.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top Laos Tourist Attractions That Should Not be Missed on an Indochina Tour

    


Laos, officially Lao PDR (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), is renowned for its laid back approach. Inhabitants do not hurry and life goes on in a leisurely fashion in this Indochinese nation. People love representing the PDR acronym as ‘please don’t rush’ while describing Laos. This nation is also described as ‘forgotten’. Laos travel is ideal for a respite from the drudgery of city life and a getaway from your daily grind. A sunset cruise in the Mekong or an exploration trip to Pak Ou caves could make your Indochina holiday rewarding.

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Luang Prabang – This city with numerous temples, houses with colonial architecture, and an effervescent night life is now a UNESCO World Heritage City. This peninsular city between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers is charming with wooden houses, French houses of colonial period, golden hued roofed temples and narrow roads.

Wat Xieng Thong – This is Lunag Prabang’s most outstanding temple. Constructed in the 16th century by King Setthathirath, this site is famous for a statue of reclining Buddha.

Vang Vieng – Vang Vieng located midway between Luang Prabang to its north and Vientiane to its south is a picturesque town on the banks of River Nam Song. Surrounded by limestone mountains, this riverside town teems with activity. The mountains offer climbing and cave exploration opportunities in your Laos tour. For the more relaxed travellers, a Nam Song cruise is the best way to spend a Laos vacation.

Mekong River Cruise –
Mekong, the principal river of Indochina, flows for its greatest length through Laos. This river in addition to being the chief transportation channel of this country also offers the most enthralling leisure. A Mekong cruise from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai is an awesome experience in your Laos holiday.

Si Phan Don – In the southern stretch of Mekong River in Laos, the waters become inaccessible because of the presence of Khone Falls which stretches for about 10km. In the southern stretches of this river, there are about four thousand islands, which is a picturesque sight.

Plain of Jars – Around Phonsavan in Central Laos, the Plain of Jars is an intriguing site. Stone jars with diameters and heights varying between one and three metres are found in clusters of a few to hundreds. Except for one with the structure of a human figure, the other jars are simple. The origin of these jars and their purpose are unknown.

Pha That Luang – This is amongst the most magnificent monuments to be discovered in your Laos vacation. This ‘Great Stupa’ built with several terraces begins from one representing materialism at the lowest level and culminates to nothingness at the highest level. Pha That Luang constructed originally in the 16th century was destroyed in 1828 and rebuilt by French colonists in 1931.

Pak Ou Caves – These caves on Mekong River and to the north of Luang Prabang are famous for miniature idols of Buddha made from wood. These carvings of Buddha in different poses are arranged in wall shelves.

Wat Phu – This temple complex of Khmer reign has structures built between 11th and 13th centuries. The entire compound though in a state of ruins creates a mystical ambience of broken down pavilions, stone crocodiles and huge trees.

Vieng Xai – Vieng Xai, counterpart of Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam, is an extensive cave network used by Communist Army during Vietnam War. These caves were complete with military barracks, hospital, shops, bakeries and even a theatre hall.

Thus, while planning your Indochina tour, you should categorically tell your Vietnam travel agent to include Laos in the package.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reasons for Visiting Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Vietnam

    


Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is also the largest city of this country. In addition to being the political center, this city is also the nation’s commercial capital and cultural hotspot. In your Cambodia Vietnam holiday, Phnom Penh offers an eclectic mix of modern day city life and traditional Oriental charm. Travelers to this city either on holiday or business would be fascinated by its historic significance, cultural diversity and economic activity.

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From multi-storied commercial centers and bustling market places to magnificent palaces, ancient pagodas and sleek eateries, Phnom Penh has something or the other for all kinds of travelers on Indochina tour.

Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda – This palace built over hundred years ago was the residence of the Cambodian king. Till date, the palace is the residence of King Norodom Sihamoni and used for holding rituals and court ceremonies. The Royal Palace compound spread over 98 acres include Chanchhaya Pavilion, Napoleon III Pavilion, Throne Hall, Phochani Pavilion, Khemarin Palace, Villa Kantha Bopha and Damnak Chan. All these structures were constructed over several years, under rule of different rulers.
Silver Pagoda got its name from silver tiles used for paving the floors of the main temple. The actual name of this shrine is Wat Preah Keo Morokat meaning ‘temple of Emerald Buddha’. This pagoda is inside a premise having several other buildings such as monuments, galleries and libraries. The entire premise is a part of the Royal Palace compound.

Independence Monument – This monument in the shape of a lotus bud with several cobra heads was opened to public in November 1962 to celebrate independence. This structure constructed in similar lines as Angkor Wat was designed by master architect Vann Molyvann.

National Museum – This museum near the Royal Palace has a distinguishing red appearance. With more than five thousand exhibits of Angkor statues and artifacts, this museum is a worthy visit in your Indochina holiday. ‘Leper King’ is the most illustrious collection of this museum.

Wat Phnom – According to local belief, this hill site is the founding place of Phnom Penh.  This hill is virtually a picnic spot with visitors and vendors thronging all through the day. Wat Phnom gets its name from ‘wat’ meaning temple and ‘phnom’ implying hill. As per legend, Lady Penh fished out a tree from a river flowing alongside this hill. From inside this tree, four statues of Buddha were found and later a temple built.

River Cruises – In your Indochina travel plan, a luxury river cruise in Tonle Sap River offers you a fascination view of the entire Phnom Penh city. From Tonle Sap River, your boat moves on to River Mekong allowing you sights of vibrant fishing villages. You could choose among day time cruises, sunset cruises and dinner cruises to make your vacation enchanting.

Apsara Dance – Your Indochina vacation is incomplete without witnessing Cambodia’s traditional ‘Apsara Dance’. This essentially is a form of dance-drama with a message for the audience. This Khmer dance form could be classified into: i) folk dance, ii) classical or court dance, iii) male masked dance and iv) shadow theater.