Best Vietnam Tours

Sponsored
Saigon Food Tour

Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Zimbabwe – Bulawayo

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

The first month of 2017 has taken me back to Bulawayo.  I returned to the lovely Holiday Inn and was not disappointed.  Everything is just as i remember it being on my last visit…friendly staff that go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable, sincere smiles on peoples faces and a very... Read more »

The post Zimbabwe – Bulawayo appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Vietnam tour 5 days 4 nights

Vietnam tour 5 days 4 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

If you have 5 days off from your work and plan to travel around to discover our country, why don’t you choose us – Viet Fun Travel to be your guide. We focus the tours from the South Central to the South of Vietnam in these segment with a variety of choices which ensure to bring a great time for you.

Read more »

Vietnam tour 6 days 5 nights

Vietnam tour 6 days 5 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Spending 6 days 5 nights exploring Vietnam with Viet Fun Travel definitely a right choice for your entertainment. We designed a chain of attractive destinations of our country with a justifiable price that will make your memorable experiences. 
Read more »

China Eastern - Business Class Deal - Too Good To Be True?

by homergator @ FlyerTalk Forums

My business partner and I are going to China in March. We are flying into Guangzhou for work, but wanted to fly over to Beijing for a few days at the end of our trip. I am a bigger guy and I wasn't looking forward to the economy seats...I don't...

Morocco phone/ sim

by princepinkerton @ Fodor's Forum

i purchased an android phone here in Canada with no phone plan,etc, to use exclusively for travel purposes. My next trip is to Morocco and I was...

Vietnam Sightseeing

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam is still opening up to tourists on an almost daily basis. I have listed some of the more popular local attractions throughout Vietnam below, which will then give you some idea as to how to plan your holiday in this fascinating country.CanthoCantho is the political, economic, cultural and transportation centre of the Mekong Delta. Rice husking mills provide the main source of income and the area is linked to most other main centers in the Mekong Delta via the waterways and road/rail systems.Boat Trips are available that take you across the water or through the local canals on many interesting sightseeing excursions that definitely require a camera. Larger boats venture up the Mekong River and this is a definite MUST DO if you are in the area.Cantonese Congregation Pagoda was built on a different site originally but now stands where it is today. The pagoda occupies a splendid location facing the Cantho River.Central Market is where you should go to stock up on fresh produce either direct from the farms or the fishing grounds nearby.Floating markets are the Delta's prime attractions. Unlike those found in Bangkok, these markets aren't for the benefit of camcorder-toting tourists. Early each morning the Bassac River and its tributaries swell with vendors in sampans, houseboats and longtails jammed with fresh Delta produce: jackfruit, mangosteen, durian, papaya, mango, bananas, pineapple, guava, fresh vegetables and smuggled sundries from cigarettes to shampoo. The best market to visit is about 30 km south of Can Tho in Phung Hiep.Ho Chi Minh Museum is the only museum in the Mekong Delta devoted to this ruler. It is a large museum, if you haven't been to a similar one elsewhere, is worth a visit. Chau DocChau Doc is a riverine commercial centre and is not that far from the Cambodian border. Once known for it's dug-out canoe races it is now better known for it's Cham and Khmer temples in its environs.Chau Doc Church was constructed in 1920 and although small is interesting and for those of the Christian faith they hold mass here seven days a week.Chau Phu Temple was built in 1926 and is decorated with both Vietnamese and Chinese motifs. Inside are funeral tablets with the names and biographical information on the dead.Floating Houses, are well worth a few photos and it's worth it to hire a boat to see them better. Mosques in the area consist of the Chau Giang Mosque and the Murbank Mosque. There are others in the area but those mentioned are the largest,. Visitors are permitted but please respect the faith and do not enter them during 'calls of prayer' which occur 5 times a day unless you are of the Islamic faith. Sam Mountain is the place to go if you want to see dozens of temples, pagodas and the like and is well worth visiting. Located about 6 km from the city. Not only do temples abound but the trek to the top of the mountain is also popular though one can go by motorised vehicle if you so desire. Tay Anh Pagoda is renowned for its fine carvings of hundreds of religious figures most of which are wooden. The building reflects both Hindu and Islamic influences and outside stand a black elephant (with 2 tusks) and a white elephant (with 6 tusks) as well as various monks tombs etc.Temple of Lady Chua Xu faces Sam Mountain not far from the Tay An Pagoda and was founded in the 1820's. The original was built of bamboo, but this has been replaced over the years and the last reconstruction took place in 1972.Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau who was a high ranking officer that served the Ngyen lords and later the Nguyen Dynasty is buried here. Nearby are several other tombs of similar officials serving under Thoai Ngoc Hau.Cavern Pagoda also known as Phuoc Dien Tu is about halfway up Sam Mountain and is well worth a visit.DalatThe city of Dalat is the main centre of the Southern Highlands region. In the past it was renowned as a cool, green city with a park-like environment. This is changing fast, as the economy booms and life speeds up. Still, Dalat is definitely worth a visit and it's a good base for trips into the surrounding highlands, which remain tranquil. In Dalat, make sure you visit the Hang Nga Guesthouse & Art Gallery, nicknamed by locals the Crazy House. It's created by artist and architect Mrs Dang Viet Nga (known as Hang Nga).Dalat is famous for its coffee shops, and is extremely popular with domestic tourists and honeymooners. You can fly to Dalat from Ho Chi Minh City. The airport is 30km from town; express buses also link the two cities.The Emperor Bao Dai's Summer Palace is stuffed with interesting art and everyday objects, and is well worth a look. It's also interesting to stroll around the old French Quarter.The Valley of Love, 5km north of the city centre, is a bizarre place where you can hire a paddle boat on the lake or a horse from one of the Dalat Cowboys (no relation to the Dallas Cowboys), who are, indeed, dressed as cowboys. There are some pleasant walks or rides (on horseback or bike) in the countryside around the city, but be aware that areas signposted with a C-sign are off-limits to foreigners.Prenn Falls are worth a visit and are located at the foot of Prenn Mountain Pass. The 10km long pass is on the route from Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City.Further out, you can visit the villages of some of the hill tribes, such as Lat Village and the Chicken Village (with a huge statue of a chicken).

Leaving Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

My last week in Hue was a mixture of excitement to be going home and sadness that I was leaving everyone that I have met there. Especially the kids. I found it really upsetting. I had to say goodbye to my TX class and i knew that I would be upset but I hadnt expected such a reaction from them. The little girl Hien who had been quiet and distant in the beginning had gradually warmed to me. It was her 13th birthday (i think) while i was there and i threw a party for her. she hadnt had a party before. i got them all gifts, not just her, so they didnt feel left out and we had a great time. when i say i think she was thirteen it is because in vietnam when you are born sometimes you are 1. other times you are 0. its completely mental. she looks about ten. but she thinks she is 13. anyway, we had a great last lesson. when it cam time to say goodbye they were all really sweet and seemed sad that i was leaving. they gave me the prize red chilli that thye had grown in their vegatable garden. it doesnt sound much but it was a big deal as they treated this thing like a pet and carried it around everywhere and stuff. i think it was the best thing that had ever come out of their garden. i really liked the older ones who i felt i had got to know quite well because they were able to communicate better in english. it must be hard for them to have someone come into their life, just start to get to know them and then it is time to leave again and for the whole process to start again. hien was the only girl in the class and by the end was quite taken with me in the way that i used to be with older girls at school. she made me bracelets and tried to write my name n the board for me arriving and drew me pictures in her spare time. i miss them already. for the last lesson i taught them how to write letters and bought them envelopes and stamps. hopefully they will find a way of posting them.
so then i left Hue.... although my ridiculous amount of excess baggage proved to be no problem...the actual journey to the airport was. the bus from hue to da nang that i had to get was super late and they had over sold tickets which caused a big fuss. poor vietnamese people doing the journey had to give up their seats for the westerners. although totally unfair, i was kind of relieved as someone would have had to physically remove me from the bus before i would have given up mine...even though i was sitting beside an incredibly smelly man!!! he was vile.
once we eventually got going, half an hour late, we still stopped for a frigging 35min break at the cafe down the road that the bus company has a deal with.(it is only meant to be a 2 hour journey). but if they bring the bus to the restaurant they get a cut of what we spend, and the opportunity to make some more cash whether we were late or not meant we were stopping! all of this is done in the open, they dont even try to hide the fact that they are doing it because they get a cut. the vietnamese arent ashamed of living in tin huts and sleeping on rags. there is no shame in being poor. nor is there any shame in their desperately trying to milk every western tourist for all they can get! i have been ripped off right in front of my eyes every day for a month. its mildly irritating. but it seems to be the vietnamese way. and i guess i can afford it.
anyway, by this point i was seriously agitated and freaked out that i would miss my plane. got off the bus and eventually got a taxi... why is it when u dont want one they stalk you by crawling along the curb beside you and when u do want one they are playing hard to get! anyway, got to the airport (more of an aircraft hanger really) at 5.40 (for 6.30 flight) although, as usual, there was no sense of urgency and it seemed i had been panicking for nothing. the flight was good. even aeroplanes seem luxurious to me now....table service...clean cutlery...chilled white wine...even a blanket! i think i must have been overtired as i got really sad on the plane. just thinking about the kids. and how the trip was over. and the general tragedy of vietnam. it seems so unfair that i can just fly in and out of their life and they are stuck there. the babies will be adopted but for the older kids they have no choice but to stay in that orphanage untill they are 18. then if they do well they will have a shop and scrape by. its a continuous struggle. no one wants the kids over 4. and kids that have any surviving relatives often cant be adopted. only the ones who have nobody. at TX last week some of the kids who did have distant relatives got to visit them for a couple of days. 4 of my kids stayed behind. they dont even have a cousin to go see. and when i asked them how they felt when the others go home they said 'even more lonely than usual'. the people across the aisle must have though i was mad as i sobbed my way to singapore.
as soon as i arrived i felt almost awkward at how stark and clean everything and everyone was. came to the hotel, checked in my room and immediately ran a bath to soak off all the grime and dirt i feel like i have picked up. i swear to god i think this tan is probably half dirt! sickened myself by eating too much breakfast out of sheer greed and went to the city to explore. it was the weirdest sensation to be walking around a city, bustling with people and taxis and shops....gucci...prada...louis vuitton. its surreal that two hours away my kids are sleeping on mats. i dont mean for one second that it wasnt great to be there, in fact from first impressions i think singapore is absolutely amazing, its just bizzare to get your head round.
i had better go as someone needs to use this computer but one quickother thing that is quite funny. last weekend in vietnam heather and i went to hanoi and toured ha long bay. it was brilliant. we stayed in a proper hotel in the city and turned out that jamaica were playing vietnam at football in the stadium round the corner. the players were staying in our hotel and we got chatting. they were really nice and offered to give heather and i tickets to the game. we couldnt go as we had to head home but it was nice to meet them. anyway, now i am in singapore and in my hotel is the oman team who are playing indonesia. i had to move rooms...it turns out to their floor, and this morning at breakfast they invited me to a lunch and to go and watch them play tomorrow night. isnt that weird that i meet two football teams in a week. do you have any idea how many girls in glasgow would love this!!!!!

Scott Neeson left Hollywood to save children rooting in Cambodia's garbage dumps

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

He sold his mansion, Porsche, and yacht and set off for Cambodia to provide food, shelter, and education to destitute children.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Scott Neeson's final epiphany came one day in June 2004. The high-powered Hollywood executive stood, ankle deep in trash, at the sprawling landfill of Stung Meanchey, a poor shantytown in Cambodia's capital.

In a haze of toxic fumes and burning waste, swarms of Phnom Penh's most destitute were rooting through refuse, jostling for scraps of recyclables in newly dumped loads of rubbish. They earned 4,000 riel ($1) a day – if they were lucky.

Many of the garbage sorters were young children. Covered in filthy rags, they were scruffy, sickly, and sad.

Clasped to Mr. Neeson's ear was his cellphone. Calling the movie mogul from a US airport, a Hollywood superstar's agent was complaining bitterly about inadequate in-flight entertainment on a private jet that Sony Pictures Entertainment, where Neeson was head of overseas theatrical releases, had provided for his client.

Neeson overheard the actor griping in the background. " 'My life wasn't meant to be this difficult.' Those were his exact words," Neeson says. "I was standing there in that humid, stinking garbage dump with children sick with typhoid, and this guy was refusing to get on a Gulfstream IV because he couldn't find a specific item onboard," he recalls. "If I ever wanted validation I was doing the right thing, this was it."

. And here is the rest of it.
Doing the right thing meant turning his back on a successful career in the movie business, with his $1 million salary. Instead, he would dedicate himself full time to a new mission: to save hundreds of the poorest children in one of the world's poorest countries.

Much to everyone's surprise, within months the Australian native, who as president of 20th Century Fox International had overseen the global success of block-busters like "Titanic," "Braveheart," and "Die Another Day," quit Hollywood. He sold his mansion in Los Angeles and held a garage sale for "all the useless stuff I owned." He sold off his Porsche and yacht, too.

His sole focus would now be his charity, the Cambodian Children's Fund, which he had set up the previous year after coming face to face, while on vacation in Cambodia, with children living at the garbage dump.

"The perks in Hollywood were good – limos, private jets, gorgeous girlfriends, going to the Academy Awards," says Neeson, an affable man with careworn features and a toothy smile. "But it's not about what lifestyle I'd enjoy more when I can make life better for hundreds of children."

He sits at his desk barefoot, Cambodian-style, in white canvas pants and a T-shirt. At times he even sounds like a Buddhist monk. "You've got to take the ego out of it," he says. "One person's self-indulgence versus the needs of hundreds of children, that's the moral equation."

On the walls of his office, next to movie posters signed by Hollywood stars, are before-and-after pictures of Cambodian children. Each pair tells a Cinderella story: A little ragamuffin, standing or squatting in rubbish, transforms in a later shot into a beaming, healthy child in a crisp school uniform.

Neeson has more than 1,300 sets of such pictures; that's how many children his charity looks after. Every one of the children, the Australian humanitarian stresses, he knows by sight, and most of them by name. "You go through a certain journey with them," he says.

Houy and Heang were among the first who started that journey with him in 2004. Abandoned by their parents, the two sisters, now 17 and 18, lived at the dump in a makeshift tent.

"We felt sick and had no shoes. Our feet hurt," Houy recalls in the fluent English she's learned. "We'd never seen a foreigner," Heang adds. "He asked us, 'Do you want to study?' "

Today the sisters are about to graduate from high school. They want to go on to college.
Neeson maintains four residential homes around town for more than 500 other deprived children and is building another. He operates after-school programs and vocational training centers. He's built day cares and nurseries.

His charity provides some 500 children with three meals a day and runs a bakery where disadvantaged youths learn marketable skills while making nutrient-rich pastry for the poorest kids. It pays for well over 1,000 children's schooling and organizes sightseeing trips and sports days for them.

"I drive the staff crazy," says Neeson, who employs more than 300 locals, many of them former scavengers. "If I come up with a plan, I want to see it implemented within 48 hours. If I see a need, I want to do something about it. You don't want to see suffering prolonged."
He sees plenty of both need and suffering.

After decades of genocide and civil war, millions of Cambodians live in abject poverty. Many children are chronically malnourished, and many never even finish primary school.

On a late afternoon, as garbage pickers begin to return to their squalid dwellings of plastic sheets, tarpaulins, and plywood, Neeson sets out on his daily "Pied Piper routine."

Navigating a muddy path, pocked with fetid puddles and strewn with trash, which winds among clusters of derelict shacks and mounds of garbage, he picks his way around a squatters' community. Everywhere he goes, children dash up to him with cries of "Papa! Papa!" They leap into his arms, pull at his shirt, cling to his arms, wrap themselves around his legs.

"Hey, champ!" he greets a boy who clambers up on him. "He needs a dentist so badly," he notes, referring to the boy's rotten teeth. His charity offers free health care and dental services to the children and their parents.

In 2007 Neeson won the Harvard School of Public Health's Q Prize, an award created by music legend Quincy Jones. In June he was named "a hero of philanthropy" by Forbes magazine. ("Well, I finally made it into Forbes," he quips. "But no 'World's Richest' list for me.")

When Neeson spots certain kids, he hands them their portraits from a sheaf of newly printed photographs he carries around.

"I want them to have mementoes of themselves when they grow up and leave all this behind," he explains. They give him their latest drawings in return.

He stops at a windowless cinder-block shanty inhabited by a mother and her three teenage daughters. The bare walls are adorned with Neeson's portraits of the girls in school beside their framed Best Student awards.

"I'm so proud of my children," says Um Somalin, a garment factory worker who earns $2 a day. "Mr. Scott has done wonders for them."

Neeson rescued one girl from being trafficked, another from domestic servitude, and the mother from a rubber plantation, after he had come across the youngest girl living alone at the dump. "We always bring the family back together," he says. "We help everyone so no one slips through the cracks."
The need is great: Life here can be unforgiving. "This girl has an abusive father. This one here fell into a fire when she was 6. That guy got shot. That one there lost an arm in an accident," Neeson says, reeling off details.

Then, flashlight in hand, he doubles back down another path – and steps into what seems like a different world. Behind a high-security fence, children sit in neat rows in brightly painted classrooms, learning English and math in evening classes. Others play on computers in an air-conditioned room.

Until recently, the site where Neeson's new school now stands was a garbage dump.
"When I started working for him, I was surprised how much he does for the children," says Chek Sarath, one of his helpers. "He places their well-being above his own."

Neeson stops by young children who have their eyes glued to a Disney cartoon playing from a DVD.
"I miss a lot about Hollywood," Neeson muses. "I miss Sundays playing paddle tennis on the beach with friends and taking the boat out to the islands.

"Sundays here, I'm down at the garbage dump. But I'm really happy."
• Learn more about Scott Neeson's work at www.cambodianchildrensfund.org.

Donate / get involved

UniversalGiving helps people give to and volunteer for top-performing charitable organizations worldwide. Projects are vetted by UniversalGiving; 100 percent of each donation goes directly to the listed cause.

To support programs in Cambodia and elsewhere, UniversalGiving recommends:
Asia America Initiative builds peace, social justice, and economic development in impoverished, conflict-plagued communities. Project: Support a healing center for child victims of war.

Globe Aware promotes cultural awareness and sustainability. It seeks projects that will help people live happy, healthy, and independent lives. Project: Teach English in Cambodia.

Plan International USA works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children. Project: Give school supplies to children in need.

• Sign up to receive a weekly selection of practical and inspiring Change Agent articles by clicking here.

South Island Christmas Trip 2018

by wkusz @ Fodor's Forum

Hello! I'm just getting started planning a trip to the South Island over the Christmas/New Year's Holiday (Yes, I know - busiest time but is the...

Vietnam tour 9 days 8 nights

Vietnam tour 9 days 8 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Come to colorful Vietnam for 9 days! Viet Fun Travel will help you to discover our country with a reasonable price. Scroll down below for more information to choose your best itineraries.

Read more »

Day Two - In Hanoi

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

We woke up today at 5am, not bad considering we manageed to sleep through the night. Only thing is we totally passed out 6:30pm the night before! Had breakfast here at the hotel and got ready for our first adventure out. We first stopped by at Hoan Kiem Lake where I enjoyed first thing having a bird totally crap on my head! Poor Martin was trying not to laugh as we pulled out the alcohol wipes and purell. And yes they were in my back pocket, no messin' around especially with Avian Bird Flu. The travel clinic kind of missed "what to do when a bird poos on your head"! :)It was already stupid hot by 9:30am and had to keep walking to keep cool and finally sought refuge in a mini grocery store that had air conditioning. We ended up buy a $1.50 bottle of lotion just cuz. After that the strolled the streets of Old Hanoi which is where most the touristy shopping is. No surprise to my friends that my first purchase was a silk purse.Since we were in the area we headed over to Martin's cousins again to enjoy some lunch. After lunch we rode on the back of their scooters and zipped over to visit with another one of Martin's family members.We were then dropped off at one of the new malls here to check out what the shopping is like. Tired from the heat, humidity and pollution we opted to sit in cafe for a bit to get our bearings back.Headed back to the hotel for a quick snooze and now it's 7:00 pm and we are trying to figure out what to do for dinner. MIght end up getting room service again since we are both still very much out of it.Tomorrow we are going to visit one of the Pagoda's around here and maybe a couple museum's. We will be doing a day trip to Ha Long Bay on Wednesday so we hope to have beat the jet lag by then (well actually just Martin... my first stab at him on this journal :)

Easter Sunday in Rome

by RoxAnn24 @ Fodor's Forum

We will be in Rome on Easter weekend. We booked a tour on Saturday, but we want to see the Coliseum on Sunday. Does anyone know a private company we...

Bangkok, Thailand Da

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Bangkok, Thailand Day 3 ***I got up pretty late today after my late night out to the night bazaar so I got to meet the lady who cleans the rooms on my floor. I really have to mention her here. She is so efficient and polite. The mattress is maybe three quarters her weight and yet she effortlessly picks up each corner of the mattress to swipe the sheets in. She’s pretty small, probably only reaching my shoulder but she does her work really fast. And the thing is at the various places I stay at, I always see at least two or three ladies cleaning each room but she’s alone and she takes care of all the rooms on my floor. I’m really amazed at her work ability. If only I could bring her home.Anyway, I’ve been feeling increasingly tired…I think it’s because I’ve been travelling for the past week and a half and just busy visiting places and doing stuff that it’s wearing me down and not to mention the heat. The thought of going out, walking to the BTS in that heat really puts me off. So I’ve decided to stay in again today which I really shouldn’t because of time limitations. Before, I left for this trip, I had already planned to visit Ayuthaya, visit a friend and do some shopping. By staying in today, I had effectively taken Ayuthaya off my plans.So having made that decision, I stayed indoors, did some reading, watched TV and slept. I did go out for lunch though. I went back to the alley near my hotel for some food. At about 6plus in the evening, I decided to venture out for more food. I decided to go to Mahboonkrong (MBK) for dinner and hopefully do a little shopping.The shops at MBK start to close at about 2030 so I didn’t get much shopping in after dinner. I left MBK at about 2100 and decided to head to Patpong to walk. While sitting the BTS to Patpong near Sala Daeng station, I saw the Ferris wheel at Suan Lum Night Bazaar still in operation. It’s not close!! So I decided to go to Suan Lum instead because I didn’t have the chance to do much shopping last night. I got down at Sala Daeng BTS and walked to the Silom MRT station to sit a train to Lumpini MRT station. The MRT is a subway while the BTS is a network. Offhand I think, Sala Daeng and Sukhumvit stations are interchanges for the MRT and BTS. A map of the stations can be obtained at the BTS.Anyway, Suan Lum Night Bazaar is still open, I’m so happy. According to one shop owner whom I asked, she said the date of the Night Bazaar’s closure is not confirmed yet. I hope that they don’t close the Bazaar. I love the place and atmosphere.The Ferris Wheel at the Bazaar.The open air food court at the Bazaar. There is a stage where singers sing to entertain the crowd. Nice atmosphere.A mobile ATM. A very good idea.At about nearly 11pm, I decided to go back to the hotel. I walked outside the Bazaar to hail a cab back. There was a taxi line forming so I opened the door of the first cab. My first question to the taxi drivers in Bangkok are always…Meter? To my dismay, the first four cabs I asked didn’t want to switch the meter on. I was thinking if this carries on, I will have to take the train back. I will never give in to these unscrupulous drivers who are out to cheat tourists. Anyway, finally I found a very nice driver who was willing to take me on the meter. And I think he saw me opening and closing the taxi doors in front because when he was driving off, he started to scold them. He kept calling them mafia drivers and said they were bad. I am so amused by this driver. He was really nice and chatty. He speaks some English so he was asking me where I was from and how long I had been in Thailand etc. After some conversation, he started to scold the mafia drivers again. Such an interesting cab driver. When I got off the cab, I paid him the amount the four drivers in front asked for, which is twice the meter fare. Again I’m not stingy but it’s the principal behind it. The taxi company states that taxis are suppose to be on meter but these drivers don’t follow the rules. They stand on the fact that we are tourists and try to cheat us. They assume every tourist who goes into the country is rich which isn’t true. And even if some tourists are rich, does that mean they can cheat them? And seriously we as tourist have to play our part. Some of us justify the extra by saying it is ok because in our own currency, it’s probably just a few cents. Why haggle or be stingy over a few cents when it means a lot to them. But it’s the principal. And because one or two tourists are willing to pay, they spoil the market for every other subsequent tourist because the taxi drivers get the impression that tourists are rich, can afford and are willing to pay. If you really think you want to give the driver a couple of baht more, do it as a tip. That’s what I do. No matter where I go, be it in Cambodia, Vietnam or Thailand, I always try my best to pay market rate and I never take rides with those who try to cheat me. If after the ride, I think the driver went the extra mile, I’ll tip him.I think those who read my blog think I am an uptight b***h, always complaining about this and that but at the end of the day it’s about making a stand for what I believe in. And I think for too long, a lot of us have given up standing on our principles for various reasons. I once was that way too but a good friend who believes in standing firm on her principles has led me to re look at what my values are, what I’m willing to concede and what I’m not. Thanks J.UPDATE: I chanced upon an article on Suan Lum Night Bazaar. The article said that May 1st is the last day of the Bazaar, however the shopkeepers are protesting against it and have stated that they will not close. The matter is now in court as to whether Suan Lum will get to stay or not. So for those who want to visit the Bazaar, do ask around if the Bazaar is still open before making a trip down. If anyone has confirmation that the Bazaar has closed or is still in operation, please post a comment here for the convenience of other visitors. Thank you for your help.

Shopping and beaches

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

After a five hour journey we arrived at Hoi an but this time we just took the normal seated night bus and although the driver was all over the place again it wasn't as bad.Now this a place that all three of us really liked.We were in heaven,for a week every day we went to two or three different restaurants trying the the local food (plus they all cooked western food for the days when Jan couldn't face it)if we wasn't eating we were looking around all the shops and getting some clothes made to measure or buying something for our appartment in Mallorca.Afew times Me,Jan and Robbie would meet up with two or three groups of people of different nationalities that we'd met during the day for a big meal and some drinks at night.Jan and myself decided to go on another cooking course after enjoying the one we did in Thailand near the start of our trip.This time though we were learning vietnamiese specialities.Then after cooking it all we sat down for a big meal with the rest of the group.After another twelve hour seated night bus we arrived at the start of the proper beach areas of vietnam,Nha trang.This again was another area which we really liked although it is alot more touristic and reminded us abit of parts of Spain.The same thing happened here as in Hoi an and we met alot of nice people,shared stories ,ate good meals ,got drunk and went shopping,it was great.So far all of vietnam has been brilliant and basically one big piss up, where we've met lots of different people,tried lots of new foods,been shopping and learned alot about vietnams past,and i'm pretty sure thats how it going to keep going.Appart from the first day here the weather has improved alot too which is nice.

Vietnam Travel Directory

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Vietnam travel directory, provides you Vietnam travel links, hotels Directory, directory listings, add travel url,Vietnam Travel index, Vietnam Travel agents, Vietnam Tour operators ... Vietnam Hotel Guide, Vietnam Hotel Directory, Vietnam Hotel BookingVietnam Hotel
Vietnam Travel Directory Vietnam Travel, Vietnam Hotels, Vietnam Holiday, Vietnam Tours, Vietnam Vacation - Find ... Submit your site on Our Travel Directory for free
Travel Directory

Vietnam 1 day tours

Vietnam 1 day tours

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

What if you have 24 hours free in our beautiful country, Vietnam? What if you just want to pack your bags, get out of your room and try something new for a day? The desire to travel and explore is as old as mankind, acknowledge that, we are here, Viet Fun Travel willing to be a guide to bring you the amazing, excited One Day Tours that cater to a wide range of interests with a reasonable price and a flexible schedule. Country getaway or city escape, let’s us be your guide . From the North to the South, we have:

  • Up to the northwest of Vietnam, the Sapa – Bac Ha market tour will guide you to a place with crooked scenery and rich cultural diversity along the border of China.
Read more »

PM congratulates U23 Vietnam team on AFC champs final berth

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

PM congratulates U23 Vietnam team on AFC champs final berth (Source: VNA)  In his phone call to Secretary General of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Le Hoai Anh, who is now in China, PM Phuc commended the undauntable competing spirit of the Vietnamese players. He affirmed that the historic victory was a significant event of […]

How to Hire a Travel Agency in Hanoi, Vietnam

How to Hire a Travel Agency in Hanoi, Vietnam


TripSavvy

How to find a trustworthy travel agency in Hanoi, Vietnam. What to ask and what to expect. A list of travel agencies of some repute based in Hanoi.

A trip to the sea.

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Well, not content with our last little jaunt (an attempt to do what many nomadic tribes failed to do – assault the Great Wall of China), we thought we could do with another nice relaxing break – this time by the sea. We chose a place called Qinhuangdao, two hours from Tangshan, near the sea, perfect. Of course, we didn’t bank on getting a little merry the night before (Thank you I don’t think Mr Muller!) and having to endure a 2 journey, hung over, stood up on a packed Chinese train!That aside, we got to the hotel and OMGFG!!!! Luxury! I had really forgotten what luxury was – but it wasn’t the plush interior that got me excited… oh no! It wasn’t the carpeted floors either! Not even the Gin stocked mini bar (although that did raise a big ole smile!). It was something you lot probably take for granted – A BATH!!!! Oh my gods, a real, deep, clean, hot water spouting bath! I almost had to change my underwear!Having got over the shock of the bathtub, we decided to explore Qinhuangdao’s sea front. It was amazing to see the sea again – hear waves, feel sand getting between the toes and of course the numerous huge tankers passing by. We were so over awed with the sight and spectacle that we almost didn’t realise that we had somehow ended up in Port Talbot! It was almost exactly the same! Beautiful beaches, amazing waters, and there, off to our left a huge dock loading all manner of ecological unpleasantries onto ships…Even that didn’t spoil the mood though – we spent our time wandering the beach, smiling amiably at the locals and staring, awestruck at the sheer number of things they sold that were constructed purely from sea shells and glue :o/ All in all we had an amazing time, and even found a workable swimming pool there! But the best of all came on the train ride home…Anyone familiar with the Chinese transportation system will know how difficult the journeys can be – had to book tickets 3 days in advance, and then all sold out apart from standing room (again!). We got on the train, expecting another two hours of standing in the carriage, but as the train pulled off Valmai was grabbed by the arm and lead down the corridor to a spare seat – amongst a group of devout Buddhists and two monks travelling to Beijing! We spent the whole journey back conversing in broken chinglish, sharing sunflower seeds and being force fed garden-pea flavoured ice lollys! I kid you not… Life on the road uh?So I’ll sign off this one with a thank you to that kind group who gave us seats (and seeds, and pea-flavoured lollys!) and to you, my Buddhist friends ‘a mi tuo fo!’

Discover Denmark Accommodation For Event Planners

by Christian Hobbs @ Uniqueworld

Denmark, the smallest and oldest kingdom of the Nordic countries, is characterised by its mild winters, cool breeze summers, beech trees, sandy coasts, crisp pastries, refreshing beer and high-quality, tasty sausages. Over the years, Denmark has grown to become a highly demanded location, especially among the British, due to its wide array of tourist attractions. […]

Week eleven - Ko Phi Phi - Phuket - Singapore - Perth

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Ko Phi Phi left me and the Great Scottish Girlies weak, tired, skint and looking forward to leaving. The island is essentially beautiful but the people are miserable, the infrastructure post Tsunami poor with smelly drains, the night life abismal and far too many noisy fellow travellers. Luckily on our last day, after we had recovered from the poisoning, we were able to go on our snorkelling trip. The sea was crystal clear, the sunset amazing and the fish weren't shy either. I was woken on the 4th night by what seemed like maurauding teenagers, drunk of course, after taking advantage of the free buckets at Tiger Bar. My stay ended with a CRUNCH: my foot up until my knee had gone through the floorboard. I had visions of my leg dangling in someone's room but luckily my toe had stubbed the hillside.I said goodbye to my fellow travellers, thanked them for a great time and felt guilty and resonsible for the poisoning. Yes is was me who chose the ill-fated restaurant because one of the hunky Australians from the ferry journey from hell was having his dinner in there. Phuket was a dump and the hotel which had featured in the Beach so noisy that not even my ear plugs kept out the din.Singapore as expected was high rise, hot, clean and sterile. It took me quite a while to find somewhere to stay and ended up in a Catholic run hostel so that night I said my hail Mary's and went to bed early. I was a complete girl on my first day and hit the Orchard Road for shops: Top Shop, Karen Millen, Gap, French Connection and M and S. It was heavenly seeing fashionable items again after the fakes of Asia and the naff Thai trousers and sarongs. It was mega expensive compared to home so I didn't actually buy anything. On the second day I was up early and out to see Chinatown and the quayside financial area on a small boat trip. I avoided Little India after sill being traumatised by starring Indian men and their equally scary moustaches.My welcome to Australia by the customs official was the best yet. "So you are on a two month holiday" he asked me to which I replied "yes" and to which he said "Good on ya" as he handed back my passport. What a lovely welcome. By the time I reached One World Backpackers it was 3am so it wasn't easy climbing into the upper bunk without waking up the 7 other people in the dorm. In the morning I was perturbed to discover that I was in the boys dorm and it smelt of boys but happy too that there were two other girls in there with me.Perth seems like home but that is probably beacause most people at the backpackers are English or Irish. We went out on Saturday night for a big one to celebrate Liam's 21st and then went to the beach at Scarborough on Sunday to laze in the Autumn sun which is just as hot as a summer day back home. Having said that it is cold here at night and it is strange being so cold again after the heat of Asia. On Sunday we joined in on the Australian culture of going out drinking on a Sunday and boy where they out in force. I was out with the boys for Liam's birthday weekender and had another good night out around Northbridge. Luckily everyone thinks that I am about 27 so they don't feel like granny had come out for the evening!

Visting hanoi and sapa

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

For me to visit a capital city like Hanoi in the north of Vietnam is very different from the typical capitals of S. E Asia. In Hanoi you will find lots of communist influences (as in the hammer and sickle symbols, statue of Lenin, Vietnamese red flags with the distinctive yellow star in the middle and reverence for Ho Chi Minh) set amidst often colonial French buildings and the typical Vietnamese tube building! They build many of their of their buildings in what we can describe as a tube style where the width of the building is narrow but the depth of the building can be very long. Staying at the old quarters which is where all the hustle and bustle is. At first you will be confused with the various streets and roads but after some time and with the help of a good map you can orientate yourself and walk around to find streets which seem to specialize in nothing but paper, in artwork, in metal products and even in coffins. The curious thing is that there does not appear to be any KFC, McDonalds, 7-11 or cinemas around either! Food is not a problem in Vietnam and you can get good and cheap food ( a meal can costs less than VND 10000) from the dirty road side stalls to the nicer cafes and restaurants. If you have no problem eating from the dirty road side stalls where people sit on small low stools(why they all have the low stools I don’t know), and eat their fantastic beef/pork noodles etc and then wipe their mouth with tissue and then throw it on the floor. The more modern cafes are not only nice in décor but serve good western often French food as well. This is what Singapore, KL and other capitals looked like in the 50s I supposes. There is already a non stop hustle of scooters and vehicles on the road where to cross the road is a great skill. For whatever reason the drivers there like to honk their horns at almost every opportunity. So not only do you get smoke pollution but also endless noise pollution. Slowly the western influences will creep in I am sure and eventually everything will become more orderly, Nike will conquer, Big Mac will enter the market and cinemas will entertain people, another 10 years or sooner it will look more like Bangkok. You can stay in Hanoi for a few days before the noise and the traffic will drive you crazy and after that it is time to take a 8 hour train trip to Sapa. Sapa is very much up north and in fact only a few km from China. In the late 70s when there was a a border conflict with China, china in fact invaded the Sapa before being driven out by the reknowned fighting spirit of the Vietnamese army. Don’t mess the Vietnamese army who have defeated the French, Americans and Chinese. Anywhere the reason why people go to the Sapa region for 3 reasons namely the scenery, the minority people that live there and the cool weather of the highlands. The scenery at Sapa and around there is beautiful with lots of rolling hills and valleys, stepped paddy fields, rice farms etc. Go in their winter season and the place can be often covered in clouds and when the stun does make its appearance and the clouds clear make sure you get the chance to admire the nice views before the clouds cover it up again. When the clouds and mist envelop the whole town, you can hardly see beyond 5 m at times in front of a vehicle or what’s in front of you as you walk. A whole building can disappear behind the mist. Needless to say if you enjoy the cold you will probably like that experience. Sapa is also the home region of the ethnic minority people of the Vietnam. Their dress code and their looks set them apart from the typical Vietnamese and the more prominent ones seem to be the black Hmong and flower Hmong people who still go about in their traditional clothing. They have been heavily influenced by the modern tourist and the black Hmong women and girls can be seen all over sapa trying to sell their products to the visitors. Be sure to make treks and visits to their village and markets like Bac Ha Sunday market if you want to see the ethnic people in their more natural setting and way of life as they go about I the hustle and bustle of a market that seems to sell all the essentials for living in the mountains. As I see the ethnic girls go about selling their products to the tourist, I cannot help but think what does the future hold for them. They do not seem to go to schools for education and they work tirelessly trying to earn a little money in even the biting cold from the tourist. What will they be doing in 5 years from now or 10 years from now. Can they survive in the progressing and more expensive world or will they change and adopt the ways of the modern people.

Vietnam Sightseeing

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam is still opening up to tourists on an almost daily basis. I have listed some of the more popular local attractions throughout Vietnam below, which will then give you some idea as to how to plan your holiday in this fascinating country.CanthoCantho is the political, economic, cultural and transportation centre of the Mekong Delta. Rice husking mills provide the main source of income and the area is linked to most other main centers in the Mekong Delta via the waterways and road/rail systems.Boat Trips are available that take you across the water or through the local canals on many interesting sightseeing excursions that definitely require a camera. Larger boats venture up the Mekong River and this is a definite MUST DO if you are in the area.Cantonese Congregation Pagoda was built on a different site originally but now stands where it is today. The pagoda occupies a splendid location facing the Cantho River.Central Market is where you should go to stock up on fresh produce either direct from the farms or the fishing grounds nearby.Floating markets are the Delta's prime attractions. Unlike those found in Bangkok, these markets aren't for the benefit of camcorder-toting tourists. Early each morning the Bassac River and its tributaries swell with vendors in sampans, houseboats and longtails jammed with fresh Delta produce: jackfruit, mangosteen, durian, papaya, mango, bananas, pineapple, guava, fresh vegetables and smuggled sundries from cigarettes to shampoo. The best market to visit is about 30 km south of Can Tho in Phung Hiep.Ho Chi Minh Museum is the only museum in the Mekong Delta devoted to this ruler. It is a large museum, if you haven't been to a similar one elsewhere, is worth a visit. Chau DocChau Doc is a riverine commercial centre and is not that far from the Cambodian border. Once known for it's dug-out canoe races it is now better known for it's Cham and Khmer temples in its environs.Chau Doc Church was constructed in 1920 and although small is interesting and for those of the Christian faith they hold mass here seven days a week.Chau Phu Temple was built in 1926 and is decorated with both Vietnamese and Chinese motifs. Inside are funeral tablets with the names and biographical information on the dead.Floating Houses, are well worth a few photos and it's worth it to hire a boat to see them better. Mosques in the area consist of the Chau Giang Mosque and the Murbank Mosque. There are others in the area but those mentioned are the largest,. Visitors are permitted but please respect the faith and do not enter them during 'calls of prayer' which occur 5 times a day unless you are of the Islamic faith. Sam Mountain is the place to go if you want to see dozens of temples, pagodas and the like and is well worth visiting. Located about 6 km from the city. Not only do temples abound but the trek to the top of the mountain is also popular though one can go by motorised vehicle if you so desire. Tay Anh Pagoda is renowned for its fine carvings of hundreds of religious figures most of which are wooden. The building reflects both Hindu and Islamic influences and outside stand a black elephant (with 2 tusks) and a white elephant (with 6 tusks) as well as various monks tombs etc.Temple of Lady Chua Xu faces Sam Mountain not far from the Tay An Pagoda and was founded in the 1820's. The original was built of bamboo, but this has been replaced over the years and the last reconstruction took place in 1972.Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau who was a high ranking officer that served the Ngyen lords and later the Nguyen Dynasty is buried here. Nearby are several other tombs of similar officials serving under Thoai Ngoc Hau.Cavern Pagoda also known as Phuoc Dien Tu is about halfway up Sam Mountain and is well worth a visit.DalatThe city of Dalat is the main centre of the Southern Highlands region. In the past it was renowned as a cool, green city with a park-like environment. This is changing fast, as the economy booms and life speeds up. Still, Dalat is definitely worth a visit and it's a good base for trips into the surrounding highlands, which remain tranquil. In Dalat, make sure you visit the Hang Nga Guesthouse & Art Gallery, nicknamed by locals the Crazy House. It's created by artist and architect Mrs Dang Viet Nga (known as Hang Nga).Dalat is famous for its coffee shops, and is extremely popular with domestic tourists and honeymooners. You can fly to Dalat from Ho Chi Minh City. The airport is 30km from town; express buses also link the two cities.The Emperor Bao Dai's Summer Palace is stuffed with interesting art and everyday objects, and is well worth a look. It's also interesting to stroll around the old French Quarter.The Valley of Love, 5km north of the city centre, is a bizarre place where you can hire a paddle boat on the lake or a horse from one of the Dalat Cowboys (no relation to the Dallas Cowboys), who are, indeed, dressed as cowboys. There are some pleasant walks or rides (on horseback or bike) in the countryside around the city, but be aware that areas signposted with a C-sign are off-limits to foreigners.Prenn Falls are worth a visit and are located at the foot of Prenn Mountain Pass. The 10km long pass is on the route from Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City.Further out, you can visit the villages of some of the hill tribes, such as Lat Village and the Chicken Village (with a huge statue of a chicken).

Siem Reap - Battambang - Bangkok - Ko Tao - Ko Pha Nang

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Week nine has been another week of callosal journeys and very uncomfortable ones at that: Siem Reap to Battambang in a speed boat that had no speed and took 7.5 hours, a taxi from Battambang to Poipet on the Thai border with another 4 hours to Bangkok in a mini van. Bangkok to Chumpon on a night bus followed by the last leg of the journey on a a ferry at 7am in the morning. That sufficied!The Lying Planet described Battambang as "an elegant riverside town showing the best preserved French-period architecture in the country". Surely someone mixed up the name of the town and the description. Instead it was tatty, dirty with nothing to do or see. The boat from Siem Reap to Battambang was small, noisy and had side slats to sit on which were hugely uncomfortable. Initially there was equal distribution down both sides of the boat of Cambodians and travellers but Capitan pointed at me to swap sides as the travellers were weighing down their side. All was fine until we passed another passanger boat and SWOOSH, SPLASH. Me and all the Camodian children were drenched as we were caught in a wave. The screams were replaced by laughter as we all assessed the muddy soaking. The floating villages along the Tonle Sap were interesting: shops, houses, petrol stations, schools and Police stations all built on water. The journey took extra time due to low water levels at this time of year so we were all very glad to get off the boat in Battambang.After a lovely vegetable Amok dinner the night before in the company of a nice Austrian couple Battambang had nothing more to offer. The day however started with a challenge: how to get out of town when the daily 12 o clock bus to Bangkok was not running due to the New Year. The hotel owner tried to exhorbantly charge me for a taxi but the words "you won't get it any chaper" meant Rabbitts had a mission to accomplish. I got a lift via moped with all my bags once again to the taxi stand at the other end of town and my driver found me a taxi to the border. Little did I know that for 10 USD I would have to share the taxi with 7 other adults, 2 children and a chicken! There were four adults in the back, a baby and a little girl sharing my knee with four more adults in the front. The driver shared his seat with a passanger wedged up against the door. The lady managed to breast feed the sweetest little baby boy and throw up into a bag at the same time whilst the driver drove for two hours one handed (it was automatic) and speak on his mobile phone. Luckily the chicken in the boot didn't suffocate nor leave any presents on my bag. The border was easily crossed but I was feeling quite unwell by now probably due to the greasiest omlet ever for breakfast. Water, aircon and a hunky hungover Canadian sat next to me sorted me out for the four hour mini van trip to Bangkok.Bangkok was celebrating the last night of Songkram so Jen who was in the mini van and I went and got soaked and covered in talk. We were undefended with no supersoakers but had the best sober fun for a long time making our way down the Ko Sahn Road. It was refreshing to see mainly Thais down a road which is normally so full of tourists and they were having a fantastic night. I stayed near the Ko Sahn Roadin the most unfriendly guest house ever: Four Sons. My first single bed was uncomfortable, my room tiny and not at all sound proof. I expected all of the above from Bangkok but it all contributed to my feeling of utter exhaustion. As a consequence The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho didn't get my fullest enthusiasm but as KV put things into perspective "it wasn't as if I had to go to work the next day" and so I pulled myself together. I called Lloyds Bank to sort out yet another disputed debit on my account, bought a USB card reader to replace the one I lost last week (sorry Dad) and succumbed to a filllet of fish and fries at Macdonalds in the MBK Shopping Centre. (utter shame on me)Leaving Bangkok involved another all night journey but what greeted us weary travellers at the other end was well worth a night on a bus and ferry: Ko Tao. The 7pm bus left us at Chumpon ferry port at 2am and after Sean the Super Snorer had kept us awake for part of the journey having to stay awake until 7am was a bit exhausting. It didn't matter too much though because I met two great Scottish girls: Tracey and Gill from Glasgow. Upon arrival at Sairee Beach I managed to find a smelly "luxury villas" hut for 200 baht a night as no one was interested in offering a non- diving Rabbitts a special deal or a free hut.I met up with G and T for our first sundowner and dinner that evening which was a theme consistant with the rest of the next week in Ko Tao. Maya restaurant with its lanterns and sand sculptures for Pad Thai and the Lotus bar for our fill of Chang beer and buckets. It was fantastic to stay somewhere for more than a few days after the mega journeys through Cambodia and also to have some great company. Tracey is very funny and Gill (Pap) loves to take lots of pictures so that explains the pictures of us laughing on Facebook.The week culminated with the Full Moon Party on Ko Pha Ngan which was rumoured to be cancelled due to elections being held on the same day. There was however no evidence of cancellation as the hundreds of bucket stall holders set up for business. I went to Ko Pha Ngan on my own and had to stay up all night as I didn't have any accommodation. I bumped into loads of people: Sean the Super Snorer and his large group, Will from Asia Divers, I hung out with the Chippendales from Canberra for ages, met some lads from Enfield and bumped into the lads from Hull who ran off in the other direction. Thanks boys for that number. Strange really when it was them who mentioned the Full Moon Party to me all that time back in Vietnam!

Bushtracks Expeditions

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training » Training

Earlier this year i had the opportunity to do some training for staff from Bushtracks Expeditions in Livingstone.  I got to train and work with an amazing group of people who have a real passion for their country and clearly LOVE sharing its beauty with any visitors.  If you ever find yourself visiting Livingstone, make... Read more »

The post Bushtracks Expeditions appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Philippines takes innovative tack to tourism promotion

by Rosa Ocampo @ TTG Asia

The Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB) will turn feasts and festivals into regular celebrations as well as craft a tourism icon to complement its stronger thrust in consumer and digital marketing – all part of its effort to offer more “innovative activities” to tourists. Explaining the new direction, TPB’s COO Cesar Montano, told TTG Asia […]

I am planning a trip to Vietnam with my wife and 10-year-old daughter in October for 8-10 days. I am a bit confused... - Outlook Traveller

I am planning a trip to Vietnam with my wife and 10-year-old daughter in October for 8-10 days. I am a bit confused... - Outlook Traveller


Outlook Traveller

I am planning a trip to Vietnam with my wife and 10-year-old daughter in October for 8-10 days. I am a bit confused...

ETDP Seta Verification visit and new accredited learners

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

It’s our time to brag once again!  Yes, we say this over and over again – “WE ARE SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF ALL OUR STUDENTS!”  Herewith is the list of students that have just been awarded competence. Unit Standard 117871 – Facilitate Learning Using a Variety of Given Methodologies Nomfusi Victoria Nkani Ndileka Mapuma Seema... Read more »

The post ETDP Seta Verification visit and new accredited learners appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Ostia Antica if we're also going to Pompeii and Herculaneum?

by PegS @ Fodor's Forum

Whee! My first actual thread in the new Fodor's format. :) So we're planning a fall trip with about 6 days in Naples and then 6 days in Rome. I'm...

Treasure of Mekong tours in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

16 days -15 nights: Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem ReapDay 1: Luang Prabang - Arrival (D)Upon arrival at the airport, you are met and transferred to the hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos . After a short rest, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Phousi Mount for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we explore Street Night Bazaar, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang.Day 2: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave - Kuangsi Water Fall (B/L)After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city's oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represent the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temple. We then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes.In the afternoon, drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the pools or walk along the forest paths, return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well known weaving village, return to the city by late evening, for observing the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight in Luang Prabang.Day 3: Luang Prabang - Hanoi (B/L)Free time for relax until time for transfering to airport for flight to Hanoi. Once again our guide will meet you and transfer you to Hanoi city. Lunch at local restaurant before check-in at hotel. After two or more hours relax, our cyclo tour do not make you more tired but more relax. After one hour ride around the trading area in Hanoi Old Quarter, the cyclo will stop you at Ngoc Son Temple for a short visit, then take one minute walk to Thang Long theatre for Water Puppet show. Overnight in hotel in Hanoi.Day 4: Hanoi (B/L)In the morning to visit Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, House on Stilt, One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc pagoda, Quan Thanh temple, Army Museum and Hanoi Flag Tower. Time for lunch and check-out. In the afternoon, visit Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (The First National University established in 1076). The next visiting place should be the Museum of Vietnam Ethnology in Cau Giay District or just go shopping around Silk shops and Art shops in Hang Gai street. Overnight in hotel in Hanoi.Day 5: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)Today we leave Hanoi to Halong Bay, "Dragon Descending to the Sea". Upon arrival, we will embark to a junk /boat for a cruise around Ha Long Bay. While the junk cruising caves, grottoes, floating villages and beaches on Ha Long bay, having fresh seafood lunch on boat. Stop for a while for an excursing to Surprise Caves, (Grotto of Surprises) and Swimming, Kayaking (kayak cost is not include in this package) if weather permitted. Have dinner on board. In the evening, enjoy the night fishing (if weather permitted). Overnight on board.Day 6: Ha Long Bay - Hanoi (B/L)In the morning, cruising more in the Halong bay before return to the Halong pier. Having lunch in Halong before return back Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.Day 7: Hanoi - Hue (B/L)Free time in the morning before transfer to the airport of Hanoi for noon flight to Hue. Transfer to a local restaurant in the city for lunch before check in. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the Imperial Citadel, constituted from the Real Fortress and the Forbidden City, and the market of Dong Ba. Overnight in Hue.Day 8: Hue - Hoi An (B/L)In morning we embark on a dragon boat sail along the Huong River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, and the tomb of Khai Dinh Kinh. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon transfer to Hoi An through the famous of Hai Van Pass. Passing Danang, the car will stop for the visit to Cham Museum. Cham Museum is the open air collection of Cham sculpture. Overnight in Hoi An.Day 9: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City B/L)In the morning, you will walk to visit ancient tiny town Hoi An. The visit will includes Japanese covered bridge, some Chinese Assembly Halls, and some typical Vietnamese houses of 18 century. In the afternoon, transfer to Danang Airport for evening flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi (B/L)In the morning drive to Cu Chi, one incredible city basement constituted from one series of tightened tunnel, used from the Vietcong during the war with the Americans. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon pause to the colonial buildings of Saigon like the Independent Palace, Post Office and the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Ben Thanh market. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City - Vinh Long - Can Tho (L)Our car will pick up at your hotel in early morning. Upon arrival at Cai Be, embark a private boat to cruise around Cai Be Floating Market to see local people being selling, buying, exchanging goods from their boats. Visit local garden and house to see orchard, rice crisped producing process, .. After lunch taking a cruise along river to see peaceful tranquil life of villagers, admire marvelous natural natural setting of Mekong Delta region. About 3 pm, the boat will arrival at Vinh Long, walking around to explore Vinh Long Market. Then transfer to Can Tho City. Over night in Can Tho. Day 12: Can Tho - Cai Rang - Chau Doc (B/L)Cruising along the small and picturesque tributaries by boat, we will see the Cai Rang floating market (the nicest one with heaps of rowing boats). Take in the beautiful scenery and the daily activities of the locals who lives along the Mekong canals and you will roam through the village to visit a rice husking mill and a rice noodles making shop. Then continue going to Chau Doc via Long Xuyen. Check in on arrival. Visit the Sam mountain to enjoy the a breath-taking view on the Vietnamese-Cambodian border with flat rice fields and nice canals, visit caved pagoda. Over night in Chau Doc.Day 13: Chau Doc - Phnom Penh (B/L)In morning departure in boat to Phnom Penh going back one of the arms of the Mekong. Arrival and lunch. In the afternoon, visits of the city, in particular of the National Museum, rich art of Khmer, of the Silver Pagoda, inserted in the fencing of the Royal Palace, Preahkeo Morokot & Central Market. Overnight in Phnom Penh.Day 14: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (B/L)In morning departure by flight to Siem Reap and transfer your hotel in the city. Angkor, luminous understood them of the great reign Khmer, is one of more important testimonies that the human genius knew to create in the field of the limbs, the architecture and the urban planning. Lunch at local restaurant. Then start tour to visit famous temple Angkor Wat with enjoying sunset from top of Bakheng Hill. Overnight in Siem Reap.Day 15: Siem Reap - Angkor Complex (B/L/D)Breakfast at hotel, then visit the Angkor Thom: South Gate, Bayon, Baphoun, Terrace of Elephants, Terrace of Leper King and Phimean Akas temple. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon, transfer to visit Angkor Ruins: Thommanom, chao Say Tevoda, Takeo, Ta Prom, Banteay Kdey and Sras Srang until Sunset. Dinner at local restaurant with Apsaras show & overnight in Siem Reap.Day 16: Siem Reap - Departure (B)After breakfast, transfer to take the Tonlé Sap for a cruise on the lake with the visiting to floating village to explore the fish man life. Then visit Chantier Ecole-Artisant d’Angkor. Free time for shopping before departure home.Type of tour: - Private tour. (This is the sample tour, you may go with all details above or we can modify to fix your way of travel) - Easy tourDeparture: Any dayFeature of tour: This Indochina vacation tour organize for travelers, who want to know the charmng of Angkor - Siem Reap and charming of Vietnam. You will understand Cambodia and Vietnam with:- Our history- Our literature- Our religious

Bored In Bangkok

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

We're still in Bangkok and beginning to tire of city life a little now. So much so that we have booked ourselves into a hotel with a pool so we can lie in the sun for a few days before heading to Vietnam. Maybe we should have bitten the bullet and gone for the express visa? We thought about going up to Chang Mai for a few days but the trains were fully booked with all but 3rd class standing remaining. As it's a 12 hour journey it wasn't really a viable option.So what have we been up to? Well we spent a wonderful evening with Aaron and Wayne who were proud as punch to show us around their new apartment and complex, complete with pool and gym. I hope they don't think I am condecending when I write this ....but they are 2 of nicest people I have ever met and make a lovely couple.We have been to Wat Po which is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok, and the only one I have also visited on my 2 previous visits. The sight of the huge reclining Buddha at 46 metres long never fails to impress me. We also took the river ferry to Wat Arun. The river ferries are another cheap way to get about with a ticket costing 15baht (25p) for any length journey.We feel like locals now in the city and Steve says he knows the way around Bangkok better than he does Nottingham!We took a day trip to Kanchanaburi and took a look around the JEATH musuem. (Japan, England, America, Australia & Holland) The musuem has documents, articles and photographs on how the 415km railway was built and exhibits the empty shell of the bomb that blew up the bridge over river Kwai. It is estimated that 16,000 POW's and 100,000 forced labourers from Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia died in building the bridge and railway. It was all very thought provoking, very sad indeed, and the cemetery even more so.After lunch we drove a further 60 minutes to the tiger temple. I had been really looking forward to being up close with the big cats and was distraught when the guide informed me the tigers get aggressive when they see the colour red or orange. Go on, guess what colour top I had on?Yup........red. A quick visit to a non tourist market stall soon sorted that, and I bought myself the only t-shirt that fitted me, in a lovely lime green, NOT! It was still skin tight but beggars can't be chosers. The tigers ended up being the hi-light of my week. As you can see from the photos I was in my element. The tigers are raised on a vegetation diet as to make them non aggressive, and after lunch when they are sleepy is when the monks allow photos to be taken with them. It is all strictly supervised so no-one comes to any harm.Steve has lost over 6kg in weight since starting traveling whereas I have put weight on. He says I starve him, I say it's the rubbish diet he had in the UK. Either way his clothes are hanging off of him but he looks great. That leads me on nicely to the fact he is constantly propositioned, I think the ladies and the ladyboys like his size and height.Steve here........Speaking of Ladyboys, we decided to go and see for ourselves if we could tell the difference by booking to see the Ladyboys Calipso show at the Asia Hotel, and what a top show it was. I'm still not sure now if I can tell the difference between the guys and the girls, in the 50 or so strong cast. We have posted a few pictures so you can judge for yourselves, some of the girls were stunning but all in all it was a great evenings entertainment.

French Architect Tied to Disgraced Chinese Politician Arrives in Beijing

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

BEIJING -- The French government said on Monday that its diplomats visited a French architect over the weekend after he arrived in Beijing from Cambodia in connection with the case of a disgraced Chinese politician and his wife, but French officials disputed earlier accounts that the Chinese had taken him into custody.

After news media reports on Saturday that the Chinese had taken the architect, Patrick Henri Devillers, 51, into custody, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said that Mr. Devillers was being "housed" in "proper conditions" and that he was not in prison. "He is well; he's in great health," said the spokesman, Bernard Valero.

An official at the French Embassy in Beijing said French diplomats would visit Mr. Devillers again this week. But officials did not specify his whereabouts or say whether he was free to leave China.

  Devillers was one of a group of Westerners friendly with the now-disgraced Chongqing party chief, Bo Xilai, and his wife, Gu Kailai, as they gained greater political standing in China in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mr. Devillers helped lay out a new street grid for the city of Dalian when Mr. Bo was its dynamic mayor, and he later was a business partner with Mr. Bo's wife.

The Chinese couple's downfall began after another Westerner who had been part of their circle, Neil Heywood, was found dead last November in a hotel room in Chongqing. The cause of death was initially ruled to be alcohol poisoning. But in February, Mr. Bo's police chief, Wang Lijun, went to the United States Consulate in Chengdu and revealed that Ms. Gu may have helped arrange Mr. Heywood's murder, drawing international attention to the case and opening a rare window into power struggles within China's top leadership.

The scandal quickly broadened. Mr. Bo, whose populist agenda had already alienated some of the leadership, was stripped of his post amid suggestions that he had an extensive surveillance network that reached the party's top echelon. He has not been seen publicly in months and is believed to be held in Beijing. Ms. Gu is also in custody in connection with Mr. Heywood's case. Mr. Wang has not been seen since he was escorted from the Chengdu consulate.

Mr. Devillers's whereabouts had been a mystery for months, until a reporter for The New York Times found him in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in May. At the time, he said he had no interest in getting involved in the investigation by the Chinese into the Heywood murder.

But he then appeared to become the object of a tug of war between France on one side and Cambodia and China on the other. China is Cambodia's biggest foreign donor, and it enjoys Cambodia's loyalty in many disputes.

On June 13, Mr. Devillers was arrested in Phnom Penh at China's request. Cambodian officials, aware of protests from France, said at the time that they would not send the architect to China without proof of wrongdoing. He was released at the request of China last Tuesday, the Cambodian authorities said, and he boarded a plane for Shanghai the same day.

Before leaving, he made a video for the Cambodian authorities in which he said that he was leaving for China voluntarily and that he would go to Beijing. It showed Mr. Devillers sitting on a couch and answering questions in French from what appeared to be a Cambodian official holding a microphone.

"I reiterate that I'm leaving freely to this destination," he said.

Scott Sayare contributed reporting from Paris.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc leaves for ASEAN-India summit

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Photo VNA) With the theme “Shared Values, Common Destiny”, the ASEAN-India summit is considered a significant occasion to further boost the already flourishing ties between Vietnam and India. The event will also be a demonstration of Vietnam’s coordinating role in the growing relationship between ASEAN and India.

New Exotissimo Vietnam Tours offer in Hanoi and saigon | Travel Daily Asia

New Exotissimo Vietnam Tours offer in Hanoi and saigon | Travel Daily Asia


Travel Daily Asia

Exotissimo unveils two new programs in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, featuring cross-cultural exchanges…

1st Tour of Duty in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

OKI have been on the move this month, my last entry was in Laos I believe so I ll go from there! I flew from Ventine Laos (the capital city) the same day that I had arrived there. I really had not heard anything good about the city so I said goodbye to my 3 English buds that I was with and hopped on a jet plane for Hanoi, Vietnam! Flights in Asia are so cheap, it is much better to fly in some cases just to avoid the border towns. I have heard many stories of corrupt boarder crossing guards theat dont get paid much so they will try and get more money out of you. Anyway my flight was good I flew with an American and a Canadian girl that I had met a few weeks before. I landed in Hanoi and got crammed into this little bus that was supposed to take us to the Old Quarter, which is the main backpaker area in Hanoi. The guy would not leave until every seat was full so I waited like an extra hour till he filled his little mini bus. Then we were off in the absolute MADNESS that is traffic in Hanoi! There are motorbikes like flies all around any proper car or bus on the road, lanes dont mean anything, and the horn is the most important feature on any vehicle! Its an amazing experience, the bus driver would bob and weave his way through traffic and if he came up on a slow gravel hauling truck he would hold his horn on and flash is high beam lights on and off till the truch found room to move over while also blaring on his horn at motorbikes (with 3 or 4 people on them) telling them to move! When we would pass the truck finaly the drivers would smile at each other and move on! Un believable! Any one reading this think of what you would have done if you were the gravel truck driver after our bus passed, I bet you wouldnt have smiled! That is how the Vietnamese are! In Hanoi I seen mabey 2 or 3 sets of lights, on the route I took anyway, but most intersections are not controled at all! Imagine the first intersection at the bottom of the hill in St Albert with no light controls! Anyway I arrived at my hostel (after my death ride through Hanoi) which was nice. I spent one day trying to get my bearings, all the streets look the same and are very very narrow! They carry amazing things on the motorbikes here, I seen one guy had 3 pigs, full sized pigs strapped on either side of the bike and one behind him, and he was cruzing down the highway! I seen something unbeliveable every day! I went and vistited the war memorial museum in Hanoi and got to see a whole lot of old American and Vietnamese weapons and aircraft from the war. The Northern Vietnamese forces shot down captured and destroyed 33000 American and Southern Vietnamese and French planes in the war! There was Tanks and a crashed B 52 Bomber and even weapons dating back to the french colonial wars in Vietnam. These people have been at war since the early 20th century! The French were trying to occupy Vietnam when there wasent World Wars or the Vietnam War. Ho Chi Min was the communist hero of Vietnam, he made them independant from any foriegn control. He is on all their curency, and in pictures in most peoples houses. He was loved so much he was ( just like all other communist icons in history) embalmbed and is in his own building in Hanoi where all could view him. I couldnt see him because he was in Russia for 3 months getting "maintained" hair cut and toenails clipped! Haha.I then took a train north to the village of Sappa and spent 2 days treking around through ethnic villages and taking in the beautiful scenery! They are amazing people they have nothing but moutians and hills in the area but they have acutally stepped out the hills making small plots in which to grow rice. They use bamboo to run water to the rice paddies from a river and it trickles down the steps of paddies and fills them for growing! Really amazing people, we thing we have some small houses sometimes, there were 11 people that all lived in this little shack that I went to in the Cat Cat village, no bigger than 15ft by 15ft, with a small loft. They had a hole in the roof for light, and mom and dad had a thach bed. All the kids that werent potty trained just ran around naked from the waist down. All of them were happy, despite their rough living conditions absence of material goods, it was so great to see this! I will think twice about complaining now after seeing and talking to these people! The girls would get married and have kids by 20, they thought it the wierdest thing that I wasnt married! I walked with this one girl for 5 hours on our treck she had her 4mo old strapped on her back with a large colourfull cloth. He didnt make a noise the whole time, he slept and ocasionally looked up at me and stared with his dark eyes! Her name was Nei ( i think) but she told me that when they get married the girls wear large hoop earings instead of a ring. I seen a few of the older women and they all had big elongated ear lobes!I took the train back after a couple days and spent one more night in Hanoi. I then hopped a bus for Halong Bay which is east of Hanoi. It is a beautiful array islands that line the coast, almost all are like small mountians jutting up from the ocean. I borded a little vessel that toured us through the islands and took us to the biggest Island called Cat Ba Island. I stayed there for 1 night and got to know some amazing people that were on my tour with me. The first was Lawrence he had the best accent I have heard to date, he sounded like Geeves the butler or Jeffery from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He would always be singing in his opera like voice and had a great knowlege of the Vietnam War. I also had a couple with their two kids who were 5 and 3 years old, the mom was Bolivian and a lawyer and the dad was Dutch and a business man. They lived in Mongolia and helped out farmers and other businesses grow and become more efficent. The kids amazed me they spoke english, spanish, dutch, and some mongolian! I also met a couple that was headding down to Oz to get married and live there! They had just lived in London for 6 years and had some great stories! We spent the next night on the boat, and had a great dinner on the boat as well, they had a dining room and a nice sun deck on top that you could jump off into the ocean! I learned to play 500 and met even more people that night! Even a HD Mechanic from Oz!I took the bus back to Hanoi and said good bye to my friends on the tour group and caught the next bus to Hue, a city 12hrs south of Hanoi. I got a great bus, it was a sleeper bus and all the seats were stacked like bunk beds and reclined way back into a bed. I got on the bus and all the beds had been taken so they had over booked the bus by one. I was quite happy to just catch the next bus the next day, but the driver and the ticket lady were yelling at each other in vietnamese and there was some mass confusion and eventually the ticket lady paid off one of the local passengers and gave her a mat on the floor to sleep on and another local man took her bed and I took his. Needless to say I felt pretty bad for her.I did arrive well rested in Hue and I hope she did too!

Miss Saigon?

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Just arrived in Saigon today. Spent ages at the vietnam border for some reason...they love a bit of red tape...like the french.Phnom Penh was good. I really liked it there. Went on the piss by the river with an English Guy and a German girl. Started at the Foreign Correspndants Club and then movd on to several lower class places.Have a magic 50 dollar note that ended up back in my wallet after i spent it which is fantastic. TYhat means i only spent 2 dollars in 4 doays.....im well up for that magic happening over and over again.anyway, we made our way out of Cambodia today. Met a Northern Irish couple and are now drinking in the backpacker district in Saigon. HAvent tried the local brew yet but the tiger is going down nicely.Hope to spend a month here in Vietnam and really looking forward to it.Cookie monster and sneerky are now officiallyt he dirtiest teddies in asia and are due a big wash.Tried to upload pics yesterday but puters too slow. We'll get it done tomorrow. the giant rat stopped to pose in front of me yesterday but i couldnt get the camera out of my bag fast enough. I think i was starting to consider him my pet so it's as well we've moved on.Anyway, we'll be in touch tomorrow.Til then.bye ybe

Vietnam Airlines plans more flights to Changzhou on U23 Vietnam’s final

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

 e Quang Hai scores two goals in the semi-final match against Qatar (Source: AFC) It said on January 23 that it will cover all travel and accommodation expenses for trips to the final match of the AFC U23 Championship for two relatives of each player of the U23 Vietnam team from January 26 – 28. It […]

Hue, Hoi An, and English camp

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Hello hello hello,So it's been an exciting couple of weeks recently. 2 weeks ago, my group took a trip to the Central Coast of Vietnam. We took the train from HCMC to Quang Ngai. After 2 weeks in homestay, it was so much fun to spend 14 hours on the train. In Quang Ngai, we had the opportunity to meet Sandy's paternal grandmother. It was such a great day. Her grandmother lives in a small village, where not many tourists go. Everyone seemed very excited to see us. We also got a group of about 15 kids to sing a Vietnamese children's song with us. So much fun! They were so cute!After that, we got to spend two days on the My Khe beach near Quang Ngai. We celebrated Scott's birthday there by having dinner on the beach and then went swimming in the South China Sea. It was definitely one of those "holy shit, I'm in Vietnam" moments.While in Quang Ngai, we also visited the site of the My Lai massacre. That was a really intense experience. After learning so much about that event throughout school, and then being at the site where this horrific event actually occurred, it was very interesting. It was interesting to me that several of the students in my group didn't know that an American pilot had helped end the massacre.From there, we drove to Hoi An. A very cute little town, but it's being overrun by tourists. At times I literally felt like I saw more Western tourists than I did Vietnamese people. But it was still a fun city.From Hoi An, we went to Hue, the old imperial capital of Vietnam. We visited the citadel there. It had some beautiful architecture but a lot of it was destroyed during the war.Next we drove to Da Nang, which I believe is where I'll be spending some time during my independent study project. While there we toured the Cham history museum and also visited My Son, an ancient Cham religious site. Champa was a kingdom in Southern Vietnam. My Son was beautiful. It was set among the mountains and was just amazing. Unfortunately, many of the buildings were bombed during the American War, including the tallest tower of the site. Among the buildings, we found large holes in the ground that were caused by B-52 bombs dropped during the war. It was still an incredible place to see.After that we returned to HCMC and moved back into our homestay. I think my family was excited to have me back! It was a relatively uneventful week until Saturday arrived.Part of the University curriculum in Vietnam is that students are required to be part of a Youth Association or a student union group. Well this weekend, for 6 universities in HCMC, the youth association from our university put on 'Cross-Border Camp 2006.'In total there were almost 250 students attending this camp. Each of us, along with our homestay sibling were placed on one of 14 teams. Each team was assigned a country and were responsible for putting on a skit/song that represented our country. My team was Vietnam and I was roped into singing Trong Com, a Northern Vietnamese folk song that translates into Rice Drum. I don't sing, so needless to say this was very interested. The written goal of the camp was to promote cultural diversity and cultural exchange, but basically it was English Camp. The weekend was a chance for all the Vietnamese students to practice speaking in English. I really had no idea what to expect when we left. During the day, there were lots of games, and we went swimming. At night, there was a forum where the Vietnamese students discussed cultural diversity. That was definitely interesting to listen to their thoughts about Vietnam. After that though, was the main event. It was like this GIANT talent show. There was singing, dancing, skits...you name it, it was there. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in the US. Putting it into words really does not do justice to what I actually experienced. One of my favorite moments was when my group sang "This land is your land." It was crazing singing this American propaganda song at times seemed to be at times a Communist party youth rally. The whole event was definitely one of those things that I can now appreciate in retrospect. At times I got a little frustrated and annoyed throughout the day, especially when I was hearing the Aaron Carter album for the 7th time, or when I was trying to sleep and Aqua-Barbie Girl came on. At first glance, it was definitely annoying how structured the event was but that was definitely coming from my ethnocentric, American perspective. Now, I am so glad that I went because I definitely experienced an aspect of Vietnamese youth culture that I never would have understood before.So yeah, I hope I didn't ramble too much! On another note, I am so excited because my family is coming to visit in May! Well, almost everyone. Josh and Lynn, you have a good excuse on why you're not coming! (Can't wait to see the baby!)Hope everyone is doing well. For people back home, good luck with the end of the school year and on finals!Hope to hear from people soon!always,

Shopping in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam has some fantastic shopping opportunities, so it’s well worth setting aside half a day or so to properly peruse. Hotspots include Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, each of which has a temping selection of everything from avant-garde art to sumptuous silk suits.
Some of the best buys are as following:
Vietnamese Art & AntiquesThere are several shops to hunt for art and antiques. Both traditional and modern paintings are a popular item. More sophisticated works are displayed in art galleries, while cheaper mass-produced stuff is touted in souvenir shops and by street vendors. A Vietnamese speciality is the “instant antique”, such as a teapot or ceramic dinner plate, with a price tag of around US$2.
As Vietnam has strict regulations on the export of real antiques, be sure the items are allowed out of the country. Most reputable shops can provide the necessary paperwork.
Vietnamese ClothingVietnam is emerging as a regional design center and there are some extravagant creations in the boutiques of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Ao dai, the national dress for Vietnamese women, is a popular item to take home. Ready-made ao dai costs from US$ 10 to US$20, but custom numbers can cost a lot more. There are ao dai tailors nationwide, but those in the tourists centers are more familiar with foreigners.
Hill-tribe gear is winding its way to shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It’s brightly patterned stuff, but you may need to set the dyes yourself so those colours don’t bleed all over the rest of your clothes.
T-shirts are ever popular items with travellers, cost from US$1 to US$4.
Non (conical hats) are favorite items for women in both rainy and sunny times. The best quality ones can be found in the Hue’s area.
Vietnamese HandicraftsHot items on the tourist market include lacquerware, boxes and wooden screens with mother-of-pearl inlay, ceramics, colourful embroidery, silk greeting cards, wood-block prints, oil paintings, watercolours, blinds made of hanging bamboo beads, reed mats, carpets, jewellery and leatherwork.
War SouvenirsIt’s easy to by what looks like equipment left over from the American War, but almost all of these items are reproductions and your chances of finding anything original are slim. The fake Zippo lighters engraved with platoon philosophy are still one of the hottest-selling items.
TIP: BargainingBargaining should be good-natured, smile and don’t get angry or argue. Once the money is accepted, the deal is done. Remember that in Asia, “saving face” is very important. In some cases you will be able to get a 50% discount or more, at other times this may only be 10%.

Vietnam tour 2 weeks

Vietnam tour 2 weeks

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

In these 14 days tours, you can have it all the same sights covered in “Vietnam 1 week tours” but there’s more time in each destination, so that can help you feel deeply and gain lots of experiences to tell when turning back home.


Read more »

Until Next Time Vietnam...

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

The cycling part of my last journal entry finished on somewhat of a sour note due to the fact that I had ingested more mountain dirt than food over the previous three days. However, I said that I would look forward to better days and fortunately they arrived sooner rather than later.When I hit the road again, the sensation of the super smooth surface beneath my wheels felt so unfamiliar that I thought that something was wrong with the King Brown. The sight of three lanes in each direction plus a shoulder wide enough to be another lane was equally unfamiliar, so much so that I thought that I must still be fast asleep and dreaming in my hotel bed. However, as per usual, the King Brown was running to perfection and I was well and truly awake with a feeling akin to that which a baseballer gets when he warms up with three bats and then goes out to bat with one; my legs felt lighter and the road passed beneath me with ease. Cycling had become enjoyable again.After a few days of these much improved conditions, I rolled into Mai Chau on the back of a 20km downhill. A town much like any other in rural Vietnam, Mai Chau sees its fair share of visitors due to the fact that the local White Thai tribes have opened their homes up to tourists as guesthouses. I found myself in a beautiful wooden and bamboo home complete with a balcony overlooking the vast rice fields in the valley below where local villagers toiled beneath the huge mountains towering above. The accommodation was authentic, meaning basic. My bed consisted of a mat on the floor of a large communal bamboo-floored room, but it came with all the creature comforts one needs including electricity and cold beer. In any case, I spent the majority of my time there lounging in the balcony hammock, which is the most under-utilised piece of furniture in the world, particularly in Oz where the climate just screams for them.For anyone feeling a bit stressed or suffering from anxiety, my suggestion would be to forget shrinks and prescription drugs and to buy a hammock and stretch out for half an hour a day because once snug in that cocoon, it is impossible to do anything but relax.I could have spent quite some time in such a chilled-out, slow-paced and downright beautiful environment, but i wanted to be in Hanoi for Christmas where I was to meet cousin Luke. Besides, I would be passing through this way again in not too long.Seeing Luke step out of his airport taxi after fumbling with all of his dong as he paid the driver, was fantastic. We gave eachother a typical awkward, manly, half-handshake, half-hug that put our inhibitions on display, went for some noodle soup and a much-needed chat and a laugh (it's ok, I made him give me a decent embrace a couple of days later in the street).With Luke just finishing another year at uni and me having been on the road for six months, we felt the need to celebrate and soon became creatures of the night, returning to our hotel at 7, 8, 9am and sleeping until dusk. This meant seeking out the pubs and clubs that remained open late, either defying local law or simply paying off those who enforced it. These establishments gave the outward appearance of being closed, but upon opening the door, one would find groups of rowdy, drunken backpackers playing jenga, seasoned travellers with blackened feet laying on cushions smoking sheesha while listening to Bob Marley or a bunch of baby boomer expats rocking out to a DVD of a live concert by The Who.Whatever the crowd, there was always a good night to be had.Christmas in Hanoi was somewhat of a non-event with a few decorations placed on shopfronts to gratify the tourists, so it was good to see that New Years was widely celebrated and done so in style. Luke and I ended up at Titanic, a floating nightclub in a beautiful setting on the Red River. In saying that, not much time was spent enjoying the scenery, at least not the type that didn't shake their stuff on the dance floor. It turned out to be a fantastic party; the music was pumping, there was plenty of dancing to be had and the crowd was a very friendly mix of Hanoians and Westerners. It was a great way to bring in the massive year of 2008!It also marked a turning point for Luke and I whereby we decided to try and get back to some kind of normality and see Hanoi during the light of day. This meant engaging in some slightly more tame, though no less enjoyable, activites such as visiting the botanical gardens and hiring a giant swan in which we pedalled around West Lake, something we both agreed was very romantic.I also used this recovery time to do something I haven't done in two years; get a haircut. So in true Vietnamese style, I sat out on the footpath looking into a mirror that leant against a concrete wall while my barber/bia hoi drinking buddy, Cuong, removed the locks I had worked so hard for. By the time it was over I looked like a cross between a paedophile on crimestoppers, a teenage goth and Prince Valiant, but what do you expect for $1?Finally, we decided it was time to take our leave from Hanoi where the weather over the previous two weeks had been overcast, grey and often downright cold, in search of sunshine and open spaces. Luke signed up for a tour of Halong Bay while I pedalled off in the direction of the Laos border. We met again 10kms from Mai Chau when I saw Luke hanging out of a bus window as it crawled past me on the steep incline of a mountain. I whizzed by it 15 minutes later going down the other side.Luke took to Mai Chau as much as I had, for this was his first sight of rural Vietnam, which is in total contrast to the urban parts of the country. As we sat on the patio enjoying a cold Tiger, he decided that we should climb one of the mountains that stood over us in the distance. He assured me that he could see a path leading to the top, though try as I might, I could see no such path, only dense jungle on steep mountain slopes.Regardless, the following day we set out under the midday sun and proceeded to climb Luke's path, that was in fact a dried creek bed. It ended up being a challenging though rewarding hike that provided great views over the plains below and the rolling hills beyond. We did have aspirations to reach the summit, but no matter how many times we walked for "just 15 more minutes" amongst foliage that was getting thicker and thicker, it never appeared to get any closer. So eventually, satisfied and buggered, we began the slippery descent.We parted ways again the next day as Luke stayed behind to attempt to buy a motorbike so that he could follow his dream of riding in front of me while I choked on his exhaust. We are still yet to meet up again and I'm not sure exactly where he is, but I know he successfully crossed the border on a moto because the Lao immigration officer had no problem with me going through his documents.After a couple of days of tough riding through the scorching hot mountainside where the jungle was as dense as anywhere I've been, I arrived at the tiny, little-used border town of Nam Xoi. The following morning, after four months or two-thirds of my entire time on tour, I farewelled Vietnam......................just as I was starting to get used to being constantly felt-up aswell.Perhaps it's the close living quarters or the tight family and community ties, but something I have noticed throughout my travels is that the people within these asian cultures are far more affectionate towards one another than those of us in the West. It is not uncommon to see two male friends walking down the street with their arms around one another or five crammed onto a bench that should really only seat three or two girls holding hands while riding their bicycles home from school. It is only in Vietnam however, that this physical affection has been extended to me, usually from men who have just had their daily quota of rice wine.It would start when they noticed my hairy arms, which they would all take turns to stroke and compare to their own hairless limbs. They would then move down to my calves and thighs, which would be cause for particular excitement if they knew I was a cyclist. They would give them a firm, tight squeeze and make strange grunting noises. If I was lucky, that would be the extent of the encounter that left me feeling like some exotic animal in a petting zoo. If not, I would soon find hands reaching down my shirt to caress the curls of my hairy chest.Even after the initial excitement, hands would linger and it would not be uncommon for me to be sitting around a table, being practically forced to down shots of rice wine (just what I needed at 9am to wash down my breakfast before a big ride) while the man next to me stroked my thigh beneath my shorts.There will be things I will miss about Vietnam and there will definitely be things I won't, this experience encompasses both sides of that spectrum.Most notably, what I will miss is the amazingly diverse scenery and the equally diverse inhabitants of these places, from beautiful, white-sand beaches to lush, thick, green jungle to vast rice plains to enormously overbearing mountains to the absolutely unique characteristics of The Gulf of Tonkin. It truly has been second to none for the tour and I am so thankful that I've had the opportunity to experience it all on such an intimate level.Goodbye Vietnam.

ETDP Seta Verification visit

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

We are so proud of yet another successful verification visit.  With a 100% pass rate, we are proud of the service and assistance we offer every single student or client that we work with.  Well done to everyone. Unit Standard 117871 – Facilitate Learning Using a Variety of Given Methodologies Augustine Kihiko Jabu Mdakane Kenalemang... Read more »

The post ETDP Seta Verification visit appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

US, Cambodia to Resume Child Adoptions

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

Cambodia announced Monday that it has agreed to resume child adoptions with the United States beginning next year.

Cambodia's secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Long Visalo, announced the move, a decision that reverses a ban on foreign adoptions that has been in effect since 2009.  He said after a meeting in Phnom Penh with the U.S. special advisor for children's issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, that adoptions will resume on January 1.

Long Visalo says that only 200 Cambodian children at most will be allowed to be adopted each year by U.S. families.

“We have now set on a quota, like for instance, we allow the U.S. to adopt between one hundred up to two hundreds children, annually.  No more than that," said Visalo.

Visalo said Cambodia has put regulations in place to ensure safe adoptions.  He said his country passed a law in 2009 to better regulate adoptions, following criticism that some children were being sold to adoption agencies and others were ending up in human tracking rings.

“We pay great attention to the future of those kids and we also take into consideration those who wish to adopt a child.  Some don’t have a child and wish to adopt one, and they meet our legal requirement so we have to do it," Visalo said.

Ambassador Jacobs is on a trip through Asia to discuss international adoptions as well as child abductions.

Toum Tiou Cruise: Saigon to Siem Reap

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Legend Toum and Tiou * The Toum Tiou derives its name from a traditional Khmer tale of star-crossed lovers, the Cambodian equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Toum being the boy and Tiou, the girl. * This beautiful love story turned tragedy features Tiou's mother, an ambitious woman who wants to marry her daughter off to the king and Toum as the awkward lover. The king, good-hearted and understanding, eventually gives up on the marriage to make Tiou happy. It ends tragically when a frame-up involving the mother and the governor leads to the death of one of the two lovers, the other committing suice to follow suit. * This story is taught from primary to high school. Many songs and pieces of traditional music allude to the pair of ill-fated lovers.Construction * This traditional locally built boat started out as a freighter with a metal hull and a capacity of 150 tons, with two large but low-ceiling decks in order to maximize storage space. Like all boats of this type, it went up and down the Tonle Sap and Mekong, stopping at Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng. * We stayed as close as we could to the original line of the boat, because we wanted to retain its slightly curved and elegant lines. * The Toum Tiou is 38 meters long and 6.5 meters we in the mdle. It has 10 rooms in all (3.3 m x 2.5 m), 4 on the first deck and 6 on the second, each air-conditioned and with a bathroom (2.5 m x 1.4 m) including toilet, shower and sink. The water on board is taken from the river, passed through a powerful filtration system and chlorinated in the final step of the treatment. * In order to make the best possible use of the common areas from the standpoint of both size and variety we have installed a library-reading room on the lower deck. There is also a covered space at the front of the mdle deck, a restaurant to the rear anda half-covered sundeck on top. INTRODUCTIONSiem Reap, Phnom Penh and Saigon are the key destinations that we use to offer you trips into lands of disconcerting beauty, with an incomparable historical heritage and legendary traditions. Cambodia's waterways are more than a convenient way of getting around; they are the country's lifeblood. Take a trip on them and you get an unparalleled in-depth look at the real country, becoming totally immersed in something both gentle and spectacular that cannot be experienced by any other mode of transportation. The shallow draught of the Toum Tiou makes it possible to reach the very heart of the remotest of villages where the sense of discovery is often reciprocal. Is it the travelers or the Khmers who are most surprised by the encounter ?

Vietnam Transport

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam TransportBy Air to/from Vietnam Vietnam Airlines operates international flights to/from the following destinations: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Dubai, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Siep Riem (Angkor Wat), Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Vientiane.TIP: Fares are significantly lower for those flying to Ho Chi Minh City. Although flights are available from the capitals of most Southeast Asian countries as well as from Sydney and Melbourne. The best place is from Bangkok as visas are easiest to obtain there.Airport Tax International airport tax is US$14. The airport tax for domestic flights is VND 30'000 (in some cases VND 15'000). Remember to leave enough money for the International Departure Tax if you're flying out of Vietnam. They prefer dollars to Dong at Saigon airport - the exchange rate is extortionate if you're paying in Dong!Domestic FlightsIt is much easier and safer to travel between cities by plane and buy your tickets in Vietnam as they are cheaper. Most routes have a daily flight and are easily available and booking isn’t necessary.Northern Airport Flight Service has helicopter flights to Ha Long Bay. There are 2 flights per week at 8:00 and 15:30 on Saturday, departing from Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi (not the international airport). You can get the tickets at the Metropolitan HotelNha Trang has daily flights to/from Ho Chi Minh City.National Airport Code CityBMV Ban Me ThuotDAD DanangDIN Dien Bien PhuDLI DalatHAN HanoiHPH Hai PhongHUI HueNHA Nha TrangPQC Phu QuocPXU PleikuSGN Ho Chi Minh CitySQH Na SanVIH Qui NhonVII VinhVKG Rach Gia * Airlines * Vietnam Airlines (International) 116-118 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City. Tel (08) 292118 * Vietnam Airlines (Domestic) 27b Nguyen Dinh Chieu St. Ho Chi Minh City. Tel (08) 299980 * Air France Dong Khoi and Le Loi St. (Caravelle Hotel), Ho Chi Minh City . Tel (08) 241278 * Aeroflot 4H Le Loi St. Ho Chi Minh City. Tel (08) 93489 * Thai 116 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292118 * Philippine Airlines Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292200 * MAS116 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 30695 BicyclesIt is fun to rent a bicycle and to ride around. Rates are around US$ 2 for a day. It is also possible to buy bicycles and even mountain bikes, but beware of the quality. Maintenance is widely available, but original spare parts are rare. Instead, any spare part that "fits" will be used.BoatsThere are some boats between the mainland of Vietnam and the islands. Rach Gia to/from Phu Quoc takes 6 to 10 hours and costs around VND 90000. Officially, it should leave every day at 8 am in Rach Gia and at 10 am in An Thui. In reality it waits until there are enough passengers. This can mean day...so be prepared. Ha Tien to/from Phu Quoc This is officially not allowed, since the boat crosses Cambodian waters so if you catch one of these the risk is your own as to whether you get put behind bars for your efforts or not. Vung Tao to/from Con Dao There is a boat between Vung Tao and the island Con Dao. One way takes about 13 hours.Buses Traveling by road from Cambodia is a slow and expensive alternative to flying. The bus system runs almost everywhere within the country, with stations built around the country dividing the territory into regions. For longer trips buses tend to be slow and unreliable it is therefore generally advised that travelers fly in instead. Nha Trang/Ho Chi Minh City Express and regular buses link Nha Trang with Ho Chi Minh City; express buses take about 12 hours.Mini Buses It is possible to rent a minibus if you so desire and if there are a few of you, it possibly works out to be a cheaper way of getting around the country, though risky, due to the high number of accidents in Vietnam.CyclosAn excellent way to tour any city in Vietnam is to rent a cyclo. Rates start from around VND 15000 to VND 30000 for a ride of up to 10 minutes in Saigon. Locals pay half that price. You can also get a tour of one hour for US$1. In Hanoi prices are more related to the distance and are a bit more expensive. Each town seems to have it’s own price structure, so ask around to get some idea at the time.TIP: Make sure that you hold onto any belongings when traveling in a cyclo as passing motorists and the like have been known to grab these as they pass.The routes a cyclo may use is being limited by the government because they cause traffic congestion, so what seems to be a short trip could in fact become quite a long one because of having to take an indirect route, especially in Ho Chin Minh City.Hire CarsCar rentals are currently not in existence. Cabs, which are unmarked cars without meters, can typically be rented for the day. The rates are about US$25 to US$150 (depending on the car, the place you rent it from, the region and your bargaining skills). As with any form of transport in Vietnam, driving is a risk you take due to the high accident rate in the country.Motorbike hireIt's easy to rent a motorcycle to get around. Usual rates are US$4 to US$7 for a day for a 50 cc to 100 cc Honda or Yamaha. If you rent a motorbike, make sure that you don't leave your passport with them and that in the contract they don't overcharge. Buy a big lock and chain as the motorbike theft rate is VERY high.If you are in a hurry, you can try to flag down a motorcycle for a ride on the back (most drivers are not adverse to making a bit of extra money) or ask a local to find a Honda ong (motorbike taxi) for you. The biggest problem is explaining the destination to the driver because pronunciation is everything in Vietnamese. Carry a pen and paper or a map.TIP: As in many Asian countries the standard of driving, to say the least, is atrocious and at times it will seem as if every vehicle on the road is going in the opposite direction to you. It is therefore generally advised that unless you are both a very experienced driver with a good medical insurance or a risk-taker, it’s NOT ADVISABLE to rent a motorbike at all.Ships and FerriesThere are no official passenger services. Travelers may be able to ride on a cargo ship to Ho Chi Minh City, Danang or Haiphong from Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore or France. Check with the local shipping and travel agencies for rates and availability.A ferry service runs from Cambodia to Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta.TrainsThere are currently no train lines running between Vietnam and its neighbouring countries. The Vietnamese railway system runs from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi along the coast and links with Haiphong and the regions further north. Odd-numbered trains travel south and even-numbered trains travel north.The fastest trains take at least 28 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. Reservations should be made a day or more in advance. The major setback to the railways is that tourists are charged many times more than Vietnamese people in the form of an outrageously high surcharge. For long distance traveling, it is best to fly.Nha Trang Express trains run to/from both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.Please note that the above time schedules and prices are subject to change and are therefore intended only as a guide.

Exo Travel | Reviews And Tours

Exo Travel | Reviews And Tours


Stride Travel

Read traveler and professional reviews on Exo Travel. Compare with hundreds of other tour companies. Find your perfect trip. Save time, hassle & money.

Treasure of Mekong tours in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

16 days -15 nights: Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem ReapDay 1: Luang Prabang - Arrival (D)Upon arrival at the airport, you are met and transferred to the hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos . After a short rest, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Phousi Mount for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we explore Street Night Bazaar, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang.Day 2: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave - Kuangsi Water Fall (B/L)After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city's oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represent the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temple. We then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes.In the afternoon, drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the pools or walk along the forest paths, return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well known weaving village, return to the city by late evening, for observing the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight in Luang Prabang.Day 3: Luang Prabang - Hanoi (B/L)Free time for relax until time for transfering to airport for flight to Hanoi. Once again our guide will meet you and transfer you to Hanoi city. Lunch at local restaurant before check-in at hotel. After two or more hours relax, our cyclo tour do not make you more tired but more relax. After one hour ride around the trading area in Hanoi Old Quarter, the cyclo will stop you at Ngoc Son Temple for a short visit, then take one minute walk to Thang Long theatre for Water Puppet show. Overnight in hotel in Hanoi.Day 4: Hanoi (B/L)In the morning to visit Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, House on Stilt, One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc pagoda, Quan Thanh temple, Army Museum and Hanoi Flag Tower. Time for lunch and check-out. In the afternoon, visit Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (The First National University established in 1076). The next visiting place should be the Museum of Vietnam Ethnology in Cau Giay District or just go shopping around Silk shops and Art shops in Hang Gai street. Overnight in hotel in Hanoi.Day 5: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)Today we leave Hanoi to Halong Bay, "Dragon Descending to the Sea". Upon arrival, we will embark to a junk /boat for a cruise around Ha Long Bay. While the junk cruising caves, grottoes, floating villages and beaches on Ha Long bay, having fresh seafood lunch on boat. Stop for a while for an excursing to Surprise Caves, (Grotto of Surprises) and Swimming, Kayaking (kayak cost is not include in this package) if weather permitted. Have dinner on board. In the evening, enjoy the night fishing (if weather permitted). Overnight on board.Day 6: Ha Long Bay - Hanoi (B/L)In the morning, cruising more in the Halong bay before return to the Halong pier. Having lunch in Halong before return back Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.Day 7: Hanoi - Hue (B/L)Free time in the morning before transfer to the airport of Hanoi for noon flight to Hue. Transfer to a local restaurant in the city for lunch before check in. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the Imperial Citadel, constituted from the Real Fortress and the Forbidden City, and the market of Dong Ba. Overnight in Hue.Day 8: Hue - Hoi An (B/L)In morning we embark on a dragon boat sail along the Huong River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, and the tomb of Khai Dinh Kinh. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon transfer to Hoi An through the famous of Hai Van Pass. Passing Danang, the car will stop for the visit to Cham Museum. Cham Museum is the open air collection of Cham sculpture. Overnight in Hoi An.Day 9: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City B/L)In the morning, you will walk to visit ancient tiny town Hoi An. The visit will includes Japanese covered bridge, some Chinese Assembly Halls, and some typical Vietnamese houses of 18 century. In the afternoon, transfer to Danang Airport for evening flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi (B/L)In the morning drive to Cu Chi, one incredible city basement constituted from one series of tightened tunnel, used from the Vietcong during the war with the Americans. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon pause to the colonial buildings of Saigon like the Independent Palace, Post Office and the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Ben Thanh market. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City - Vinh Long - Can Tho (L)Our car will pick up at your hotel in early morning. Upon arrival at Cai Be, embark a private boat to cruise around Cai Be Floating Market to see local people being selling, buying, exchanging goods from their boats. Visit local garden and house to see orchard, rice crisped producing process, .. After lunch taking a cruise along river to see peaceful tranquil life of villagers, admire marvelous natural natural setting of Mekong Delta region. About 3 pm, the boat will arrival at Vinh Long, walking around to explore Vinh Long Market. Then transfer to Can Tho City. Over night in Can Tho. Day 12: Can Tho - Cai Rang - Chau Doc (B/L)Cruising along the small and picturesque tributaries by boat, we will see the Cai Rang floating market (the nicest one with heaps of rowing boats). Take in the beautiful scenery and the daily activities of the locals who lives along the Mekong canals and you will roam through the village to visit a rice husking mill and a rice noodles making shop. Then continue going to Chau Doc via Long Xuyen. Check in on arrival. Visit the Sam mountain to enjoy the a breath-taking view on the Vietnamese-Cambodian border with flat rice fields and nice canals, visit caved pagoda. Over night in Chau Doc.Day 13: Chau Doc - Phnom Penh (B/L)In morning departure in boat to Phnom Penh going back one of the arms of the Mekong. Arrival and lunch. In the afternoon, visits of the city, in particular of the National Museum, rich art of Khmer, of the Silver Pagoda, inserted in the fencing of the Royal Palace, Preahkeo Morokot & Central Market. Overnight in Phnom Penh.Day 14: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (B/L)In morning departure by flight to Siem Reap and transfer your hotel in the city. Angkor, luminous understood them of the great reign Khmer, is one of more important testimonies that the human genius knew to create in the field of the limbs, the architecture and the urban planning. Lunch at local restaurant. Then start tour to visit famous temple Angkor Wat with enjoying sunset from top of Bakheng Hill. Overnight in Siem Reap.Day 15: Siem Reap - Angkor Complex (B/L/D)Breakfast at hotel, then visit the Angkor Thom: South Gate, Bayon, Baphoun, Terrace of Elephants, Terrace of Leper King and Phimean Akas temple. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon, transfer to visit Angkor Ruins: Thommanom, chao Say Tevoda, Takeo, Ta Prom, Banteay Kdey and Sras Srang until Sunset. Dinner at local restaurant with Apsaras show & overnight in Siem Reap.Day 16: Siem Reap - Departure (B)After breakfast, transfer to take the Tonlé Sap for a cruise on the lake with the visiting to floating village to explore the fish man life. Then visit Chantier Ecole-Artisant d’Angkor. Free time for shopping before departure home.Type of tour: - Private tour. (This is the sample tour, you may go with all details above or we can modify to fix your way of travel) - Easy tourDeparture: Any dayFeature of tour: This Indochina vacation tour organize for travelers, who want to know the charmng of Angkor - Siem Reap and charming of Vietnam. You will understand Cambodia and Vietnam with:- Our history- Our literature- Our religious

Tour Leader Training in Rio De Janeiro

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

It was great being invited back to Brazil to do Tour Leader Training for South American Tours again.  I had been to Brazil three years previously to train some of their tour leaders and really fell in love with the place. Timing could not have worked out better.  I arrived in Brazil worked hard on... Read more »

The post Tour Leader Training in Rio De Janeiro appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Newly Graduated Accredited Facilitators and Assessors

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

We are too proud Congratulations to our newly graduated students that completed the ETDP Seta Accredited Assessor and Facilitator Courses.  We wish all of you nothing but the very best!  You have worked well and deserve every bit of success.  If you are interested in completing the Facilitator, Assessor or Moderator Course, please contact us.... Read more »

The post Newly Graduated Accredited Facilitators and Assessors appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Scarce and Critical Skills list

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

The ETDP Seta provided a list of the main scarce and critical skills pointing out that the education sector is experiencing serious skills shortages.  The Seta’s plan aims to attract in each year, a new group of young, motivated and appropriately trained individuals into the profession; as well as improve the professionalism and teaching skills,... Read more »

The post Scarce and Critical Skills list appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Hello Cape Town

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

I found myself back in Cape Town to carry out some staff training at African Eagle (training some of their freelance staff to work for a UK company).  It is quite hard to remain focused in this beautiful city, especially in December…it’s hot, everyone is on holiday and everyone is at the beach!  None the... Read more »

The post Hello Cape Town appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Singapore Sevens to hit town as family-friendly event

by Pamela Chow @ TTG Asia

The HSBC World Singapore Rugby Sevens is pushing beyond its sporting roots to become a family-friendly festival that hopes to pull in travellers from around Asia. Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and government agency Sport Singapore, event organiser Rugby Singapore has been increasing outreach efforts to tie up with attractions and travel agents. […]

Vietnam tour 13 days 12 nights

Vietnam tour 13 days 12 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Come with us on the 13 days 12 nights tour to discover the colorful country – Vietnam! By the diversity in culture, cuisine, weather and scenery from Southern to Northern, you will be amazed when taking our full tour package!
Read more »

Hanoi Pit of Quality

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

For the benefit of several readers (well, Mark, Steve and Rob) I'm going to get all the Nam cliches out of the way in one go. So here they are: I haven't seen any vets like John Rambo, Magnum or Jim Robinson. I haven't found out who really robbed the Bank of Hanoi. I haven't developed a thousand-yard stare (yet). I haven't even been incarcerated in a Hanoi Pit of Hell.Instead I have been wandering around Hanoi drinking in what a thoroughly cool place it is. Hanoi is busy all the time, and rush hours are manic. There are mopeds everywhere. If you've ever seen the Wirral Egg Run (type it into Google if you haven't), imagine that amount of motorbikes but all riding in different directions all day and yet not actually crashing into each other.So as you can imagine, crossing the road is a bit of an art form. But in fact crossing the road is quite easy if you do as the locals do and just step out into the constant flow of mopeds hurtling towards you from all directions. The Green Cross Code man would probably turn in his grave but incredibly nobody gets hurt. I could stand on a street corner watching mopeds negotiate junctions all day. Its like a giant formation motorcyle team.The old quarter of Hanoi is the place to be for travellers, and has a decent mix of bars and restaurants with tons of decent hostels as well. I was a bit disappointed with the nightlife (not enough people to fill all the bars and restaurants) but that wan't enough to stop me from instantly liking the place.As a break from the noise and fumes we took a boat trip out to Halong Bay (I think its in Tomorrow Never Dies at the end). Unfortunately the weather was a bit on the crap side and we couldn't see much, but the gist is that its a bay (hence the name) with about 3000 small rocky islands in it. The low mist meant we couldn't see much of them but in fact it gave them a pretty eerie quality that I was quite pleased about.The boat trip was one of these overnight jobs, but unfortunately (like the bars) there weren't enough people to fill the vast number of boats that run every day. Still, we met some nice people on there and had a pretty nice evening, then met our first cockroaches all over the bottom deck where our cabins were. There weren't many of them but the sight was still enough to ellicit screams from Carly and Vicky (and me). Nothing we can't handle though, so after blocking every gap and crevace in the cabins with bog roll Graham and I did the manly thing and set of on Operation Roachhunt with our trusty torches and sturdy shoes. They really do make a horrible sound when they get squished.Anyhoo, we made it back to dry land safely and back to lovely Hanoi. I'm pretty lucky at the moment in that every place we've been to I haven't wanted to leave. Off to Hue next for some R&R.

China Eastern - Business Class Deal - Too Good To Be True?

by homergator @ FlyerTalk Forums

My business partner and I are going to China in March. We are flying into Guangzhou for work, but wanted to fly over to Beijing for a few days at the end of our trip. I am a bigger guy and I wasn't looking forward to the economy seats...I don't...

Shopping and beaches

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

After a five hour journey we arrived at Hoi an but this time we just took the normal seated night bus and although the driver was all over the place again it wasn't as bad.Now this a place that all three of us really liked.We were in heaven,for a week every day we went to two or three different restaurants trying the the local food (plus they all cooked western food for the days when Jan couldn't face it)if we wasn't eating we were looking around all the shops and getting some clothes made to measure or buying something for our appartment in Mallorca.Afew times Me,Jan and Robbie would meet up with two or three groups of people of different nationalities that we'd met during the day for a big meal and some drinks at night.Jan and myself decided to go on another cooking course after enjoying the one we did in Thailand near the start of our trip.This time though we were learning vietnamiese specialities.Then after cooking it all we sat down for a big meal with the rest of the group.After another twelve hour seated night bus we arrived at the start of the proper beach areas of vietnam,Nha trang.This again was another area which we really liked although it is alot more touristic and reminded us abit of parts of Spain.The same thing happened here as in Hoi an and we met alot of nice people,shared stories ,ate good meals ,got drunk and went shopping,it was great.So far all of vietnam has been brilliant and basically one big piss up, where we've met lots of different people,tried lots of new foods,been shopping and learned alot about vietnams past,and i'm pretty sure thats how it going to keep going.Appart from the first day here the weather has improved alot too which is nice.

Vietnam tour 12 days 11 nights

Vietnam tour 12 days 11 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

One of the most requested Vietnam trip, perfect for those travelling to our country for the first time is 12 days 11 nights’ tours. Those trips deliver endless opportunities to explore the extremes and gain your experiences about Vietnam’s history, culture and people.

Read more »

PM Phuc arrives in New York

by robert @ Uncategorized – Talk Vietnam

He will attend a conference where he will meet local businesses, deliver a speech at the Global Heritage Fund, and meet representatives of the Vietnamese community in the US. Over the past years, the US has become one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam, with bilateral trade increasing by about 20 percent each year. […]

Vietnam wants closer defence training cooperation with India

by robert @ Uncategorized – Talk Vietnam

Senior Lieutenant General Pham Ngoc Minh, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the VPA, made the affirmation at a reception in Hanoi on May 29 for Major General Anil Dere, who is leading a delegation from the Indian National Defence University to Vietnam. Cooperation in personnel training is one of the ways to promote […]

Vietnam’s aquatic product exports hit US$2.8 billion

by robert @ Uncategorized – Talk Vietnam

The US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea were leading importers of Vietnamese aquatic products, which accounted for 53.5% of the country’s export value. Also in May, Vietnam imported US$87 million worth of aquatic products, raising the five-month figure to US$508 million, up 28% year on year. According to the ministry, processing enterprises have […]

Boats and Trains

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

After four hours on a bus we reached Halong Bay. We passed lots of rice paddies with ladies wearing the famous Vietnamese conical hats, and passed some mopeds carrying some very unusual loads - see photos!! We boarded our junk boat, which just had our tour group, and found our cabins, which were a lot nicer than we had expected. We sailed out into Halong Bay for a few hours and it was so peaceful. It contained some beautiful rock formations and the sea was emerald green. In the afternoon we explored the 'Amazing Caves' and had a swim in the Bay. Throughout the evening ladies rowed up to our boat trying to sell oreos (chocolate biscuits) and pringles. Then we saw a lovely sunset and slept on the boat.The next morning we sailed back to port and spent another day in Hanoi.We visited the 'Hanoi Hilton' a prison that housed Vietnamese political prisoners during the French occupation, and still had a guillotine as an example of this time. In latter years it housed American prisoners-of-war. It was almost amusing reading about the way the Americans were apparently kept. It sounded like a holiday camp. I'm sure the prisoners wouldn't have described it that way!That evening we boarded the Reunification Express train, which took us overnight from Hanoi to Hue (pronounced Hway). This was an experience. We shared a cabin with some Vietnamese people. One passenger left at 1:30 am and we were joined by a lady and her baby. In the morning her husband joined her and we had to endure them eating a traditional Vietnamese breakfast. Luckily we had been prewarned that boiled eggs are not always boiled eggs in Vietnam! Infact they were boiled chicken foetuses, complete with heads, feet and feathers. This couple dug into them with spoons just like a boiled egg, eating it all, including the 'juice' that was produced! We waited until we reached our hotel for breakfast!

The March To Ho Chi Minh

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

This bus ride then, was a monster. Hoi An straight through to Ho Chi Minh, 25 hours, a new record...Fortunately sleeping wasn't a problem for me at this time as my health was still very mediocre at best. The prospect of 25 hours on a bus though, was rather demoralising and I needed help. It promptly arrived in the form of a weathered old man who walked down the aisle as if he'd just seen off both the French and the Americans single handed, and was now heading home for a brew. He saw the empty seat next to me and marched over. Giving me a stern and purposeful stare, he sat down and shook my hand. He knew what lay ahead and proceeded to give me a reassuring pat on the thigh as if to say "don't worry son, i'm here now, it'll all be ok". He didn't speak any English but immediately I felt better and was ready to take on the 25 hour marathon. Nothing could shake him, and he was on my side, there was nothing to worry about.With 24 hours and 50 minutes still to go then, he cracked. Barking orders down the bus he turned to me again, his face still solemn and serious. He shook my hand a second time, stood up and instructed a young local girl to take his place whilst he strode off down the aisle, presumably to sit somewhere else. This was a blow, particularly as in what appears to be a very Vietnamese trait, the local girl then fell asleep on me... Only one man could get me through this ordeal now - I sat back, closed my eyes, and listened to the wise words of the great John Denver for as long as the battery would last.25 hours later, via Mue Nui and Natrang, we crawled into Ho Chi Minh, tired and rather sick of buses. The big city straight after Hoi An was all a bit much for me in my fragile state, and although I liked the gritty, busy and French colonial feel, I was happy to stay just a couple of days before moving on again. After browsing another art gallery, I strolled around the Reunification Palace where the first North Vietnamese tanks headed to end the Vietnam War. A rather strange decor for a palace, it seemed more like the set from a 70's sit-com, although I was very pleased to find a copy of The Sports Almanac 1965 still on the shelf. The amusement I felt at the palace quickly vanished at the excellent, graphic, sobering and shocking War Museum, definitely worth a look for the many tragic tales and pictures of war time anguish which continue to this day.Tired and in dire need of a beach to relax on, I had at least made it down Vietnam with enough time to enjoy Cambodia and still make it to Malaysia, although southern Thailand would have to be sacrificed. This seemed a good plan as I thought it through over a drink with new friends Julie from Belgium, and Pete The Irish Drunk. Partying in Southern Thailand would be a bad idea given my woeful state of health, and certainly didn't appeal I decided, as I finished my second bottle of wine... Suddenly it was 5:30am, I'd accidently got hammered and my bus to Cambodia left in only 3 hours. Pleasant company, but a bad move, a very bad move...

Good afternoon Vietnam, (Hanoi)

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

We touched down in Hanoi, the Capital of Vietnam, mid-afternoon and took the transfer to our hotel in the old district of the city. We ventured out for a quick look around, quickly adopting our Chinese policy of lane-by-lane dodging of cars to dodge the mopeds - then realising that not looking and walking at a steady pace was slightly less alarming. I think the owners of Katie Melua's 9 million bicycles in Beijing have all moved to Hanoi and upgraded to mopeds...On our first night, we walked down to the beautiful lake at the centre of Hanoi and found our way amid the back streets deep into the old quarter and to Ma May Street which was delightful. All the shops/restaurants were refurbished to the traditional tube French Colonial/Vietnamese style houses and we sat on the balcony of one such house for our evening meal - the first meal which can be classed as delicious in over three weeks.The following morning, we went back to the old quarter for breakfast - we took a good walk through all the streets densely packed with people absorbed in their day-to-day business. Each street is named after the products which are/were sold in it - we saw Shoe St, Food St, Bag St, Silk St - there are apparently a total of 36 different streets each named after the products sold. My favourite street is Ma May Street - it is full of wonderful little restaurants and shops with street people selling flowers and fruit from large wicker baskets supported over their seller's shoulder by bamboo. We later walked to Hoan Kiem lake in the park and sat on benches relaxing for a while before heading off to find the Opera House in the French Quarter (with a lot of Art Nouveau style buildings) and then for lunch.In the afternoon we walked to Hoa Lo Prison, Maison Centrale, more famously known as Hanoi Hilton. It is best known as the place where the American POWs were held (incarcerated) during the Vietnam War but was designed by the French to hold the more outspoken/patriotic Vietnamese during their rule of the country. The guillotine was regularly used and heads were put on display to try to dissuade further uprisings. Unbelievably, prisoners were still tortured at this prison until 1969. To top it off, as recently as 1953, over 2,000 prisoners were being held at this prison in a space to fit 500. It was quite alarming.An amusing story we heard whilst inside was about a couple of US Air force officers who were captured and had concocted a story (rather than face torture) about two other members of their squadron who had been court-marshalled for refused to fly US missions against the north. Thrilled with the propaganda, visiting Japanese communists were told this and it filtered back to the US. Unfortunately the officers had named their imaginary pilots as Ben Casey and Clark Kent and when the Vietnamese found out they had been duped, the prisoners were tortured again!We met our new group in the evening - a total of 7 people including us - and went out for another fantastic meal. The group Kitty(NZ), David(NZ), Tracey(CAN), Jenny(US), Paulette(AUS) and our tour leader, another Tracey(AUS) immediately hit it off - we have been so fortunate with both groups.The following morning, we travelled northeast to Halong Bay. Arriving at the port around mid-day, we set off immediately and had a fantastic seafood lunch on the boat (a mix of a junk and a pirate ship!) We cruised along passed beautiful karst peaks in the water which with the misty sky made for some fantastic views although not such great photographs. We sailed through communities living on the water and visited some amazing caves resembling lunar landscapes - then on the way back stopped for a little swim, arriving back at the harbour early evening. We dined at a small local restaurant and had a brief look around the market before heading to bed.The following morning, the bus took us back to Hanoi and we decided to head to the Military museum to have a look at the old US aeroplanes and helicopters. Mark became terribly excited when he spotted a Huey and so we spent a while taking photographs before heading back to the hotel in preparation for our overnight train to Hue.NB: One of the girls on our new tour was supposed to be travelling with a friend through Vietnam but unfortunately her friend was in an awful mini-bus crash (killing 3 people) whilst on the road (the same route as us) to the The Great Wall of China.

Our new graduates

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

THT are proud to announce our next group of students that have worked hard and are now competent in the unit standards they studied. If you are interested in doing the ETDP Seta Accredited Facilitator, Assessor or Moderator course via self study/correspondence, give us a call on 0825989083 or email celeste@ththospitalitytraining.com this can be used... Read more »

The post Our new graduates appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Leaving Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

My last week in Hue was a mixture of excitement to be going home and sadness that I was leaving everyone that I have met there. Especially the kids. I found it really upsetting. I had to say goodbye to my TX class and i knew that I would be upset but I hadnt expected such a reaction from them. The little girl Hien who had been quiet and distant in the beginning had gradually warmed to me. It was her 13th birthday (i think) while i was there and i threw a party for her. she hadnt had a party before. i got them all gifts, not just her, so they didnt feel left out and we had a great time. when i say i think she was thirteen it is because in vietnam when you are born sometimes you are 1. other times you are 0. its completely mental. she looks about ten. but she thinks she is 13. anyway, we had a great last lesson. when it cam time to say goodbye they were all really sweet and seemed sad that i was leaving. they gave me the prize red chilli that thye had grown in their vegatable garden. it doesnt sound much but it was a big deal as they treated this thing like a pet and carried it around everywhere and stuff. i think it was the best thing that had ever come out of their garden. i really liked the older ones who i felt i had got to know quite well because they were able to communicate better in english. it must be hard for them to have someone come into their life, just start to get to know them and then it is time to leave again and for the whole process to start again. hien was the only girl in the class and by the end was quite taken with me in the way that i used to be with older girls at school. she made me bracelets and tried to write my name n the board for me arriving and drew me pictures in her spare time. i miss them already. for the last lesson i taught them how to write letters and bought them envelopes and stamps. hopefully they will find a way of posting them.
so then i left Hue.... although my ridiculous amount of excess baggage proved to be no problem...the actual journey to the airport was. the bus from hue to da nang that i had to get was super late and they had over sold tickets which caused a big fuss. poor vietnamese people doing the journey had to give up their seats for the westerners. although totally unfair, i was kind of relieved as someone would have had to physically remove me from the bus before i would have given up mine...even though i was sitting beside an incredibly smelly man!!! he was vile.
once we eventually got going, half an hour late, we still stopped for a frigging 35min break at the cafe down the road that the bus company has a deal with.(it is only meant to be a 2 hour journey). but if they bring the bus to the restaurant they get a cut of what we spend, and the opportunity to make some more cash whether we were late or not meant we were stopping! all of this is done in the open, they dont even try to hide the fact that they are doing it because they get a cut. the vietnamese arent ashamed of living in tin huts and sleeping on rags. there is no shame in being poor. nor is there any shame in their desperately trying to milk every western tourist for all they can get! i have been ripped off right in front of my eyes every day for a month. its mildly irritating. but it seems to be the vietnamese way. and i guess i can afford it.
anyway, by this point i was seriously agitated and freaked out that i would miss my plane. got off the bus and eventually got a taxi... why is it when u dont want one they stalk you by crawling along the curb beside you and when u do want one they are playing hard to get! anyway, got to the airport (more of an aircraft hanger really) at 5.40 (for 6.30 flight) although, as usual, there was no sense of urgency and it seemed i had been panicking for nothing. the flight was good. even aeroplanes seem luxurious to me now....table service...clean cutlery...chilled white wine...even a blanket! i think i must have been overtired as i got really sad on the plane. just thinking about the kids. and how the trip was over. and the general tragedy of vietnam. it seems so unfair that i can just fly in and out of their life and they are stuck there. the babies will be adopted but for the older kids they have no choice but to stay in that orphanage untill they are 18. then if they do well they will have a shop and scrape by. its a continuous struggle. no one wants the kids over 4. and kids that have any surviving relatives often cant be adopted. only the ones who have nobody. at TX last week some of the kids who did have distant relatives got to visit them for a couple of days. 4 of my kids stayed behind. they dont even have a cousin to go see. and when i asked them how they felt when the others go home they said 'even more lonely than usual'. the people across the aisle must have though i was mad as i sobbed my way to singapore.
as soon as i arrived i felt almost awkward at how stark and clean everything and everyone was. came to the hotel, checked in my room and immediately ran a bath to soak off all the grime and dirt i feel like i have picked up. i swear to god i think this tan is probably half dirt! sickened myself by eating too much breakfast out of sheer greed and went to the city to explore. it was the weirdest sensation to be walking around a city, bustling with people and taxis and shops....gucci...prada...louis vuitton. its surreal that two hours away my kids are sleeping on mats. i dont mean for one second that it wasnt great to be there, in fact from first impressions i think singapore is absolutely amazing, its just bizzare to get your head round.
i had better go as someone needs to use this computer but one quickother thing that is quite funny. last weekend in vietnam heather and i went to hanoi and toured ha long bay. it was brilliant. we stayed in a proper hotel in the city and turned out that jamaica were playing vietnam at football in the stadium round the corner. the players were staying in our hotel and we got chatting. they were really nice and offered to give heather and i tickets to the game. we couldnt go as we had to head home but it was nice to meet them. anyway, now i am in singapore and in my hotel is the oman team who are playing indonesia. i had to move rooms...it turns out to their floor, and this morning at breakfast they invited me to a lunch and to go and watch them play tomorrow night. isnt that weird that i meet two football teams in a week. do you have any idea how many girls in glasgow would love this!!!!!

Vietnam tour 16 days 15 nights

Vietnam tour 16 days 15 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Spending 16 days 15 nights exploring Vietnam with Viet Fun Travel is definitely a right choice for your entertainment. Don’t oscillate to contact us to have a wonderful trip!

Vietnam has a great potential for the tourism industry by its diversity in history, geography, natural environment, and culture. Our country also consists of long coastal, forests, and mountainous areas with multiple magnificent landscapes.
Read more »

Princess Cruises ups capacity for Vietnam sailings

by TTG Asia @ TTG Asia

Princess Cruises will boost its guest capacity in Vietnam by over 40 per cent in 2018 from 2017 as demand for Vietnam sailings grows. In 2017, Princess Cruises carried over 58,000 guests on 22 sailings to Vietnamese ports such as Phu My, Nha Trang, Da Nang and Cai Lan. This year, Princess Cruises’ six ships […]

ASEAN travel associations work towards a closer partnership

by Mimi Hudoyo @ TTG Asia

The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) Board has made an unusual move of bringing together several travel industry associations at ATF 2018 to facilitate a more coordinated approach to resolving issues such as market penetration and courtship of Muslim travellers. Cheah Swee Hee, ASEANTA president, pointed out that this decision has resulted in a “merrier” ASEAN […]

Miss Saigon love you long time

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

CAUTION: skip this entry if you supported the war with Vietnam.Ann and Andrea signed up to go see the Cu Chi tunnels with me this morning, so we all got up early, ate breakfast at the hotel, and were ready to meet our tour group at 7:30. The man rushed us outside, practically running, to an empty air-conditioned bus, where we quickly got comfortable as we rode through the streets of Saigon. We stopped shortly after near a travel agency, to pick others up. We ended up parking there for nearly an hour! It was somewhat annoying having been rushed from our hotel and then made to sit patiently while everyone else took their sweet time. Andrew noticed an STA Travel just a few shops down! I got out and took a few pictures, and got a business card from the travel advisor working inside. I knew that STA was all over the world, but it was definately cool to see it in a foreign country first-hand.The bus was completely full by the time everyone finally got on. The ride took around two hours, but we stopped on the way in a small town that had a lacquer factory run by people handicapped by Agent Orange. It was very sad to see...most people affected by agent orange had the lower half of their bodies completely deformed. The dozens of people working here had tiny, short, skinny legs or legs that bent at unnatural angles. Some couldn't walk; others needed crutches to get around. The one thing all these people had in common was that their hands still worked perfectly, so they were able to make a living by creating works of art to sell to tourists. The artwork was beautiful..they made things like tiles, wall hangings, vases, different types of wood carvings, mirrors, and other handicrafts inlaid with mother of pearl and other materials. My favorite was made with tiny pieces of eggshell. The end result of the eggshell pieces looked someone like sand...very textured, with many colors (the eggs were burned as to make different shades of brown) plasterd artistically on a black background.I had seen photos of what agent orange did to people during the war at the War Remnants Museum, but it was completely different first hand. These people were all pretty young; agent orange had affected their fathers who fought in the war, some as Viet Cong, and the deformities were passed to their children. The affects will go past this generation, if these people have children, and will continue for an unknown amount of time. Seeing them made me feel awful. But it was also wonderful to see that they had found something positive to do with their lives.Our tour guide on the bus and at the tunnels spoke perfect English, but described everything in a very negative way towards Americans. I'm not vert patriotic and never have been, and have disagreed with much of the decisions our country has made throughout history, but the fact remains that I could have had family members die in that war. The tour guide didn't sugar coat a single thing about how many American soldiers were "exterminated" by the Viet Cong, and called us "the enemy" the whole time. He spoke of a few specific VC fighters at Cu Chi who, he claimed, killed dozens of people on their own. One person was said to have killed 118 all by himself. It wasn't easy to hear that these fighters were awarded titles and prizes as "War hero American killer" and other equally offensive titles. He described how Cu Chi had been a peaceful city but that the Americans wanted to destroy it, as if there was no motive behind it and we had just wanted to eradicate an entire village. He then spoke darkly of how women and children were targeted and killed, but in the same breath would boast of women and children fighters who purposely attacked American forces. It seemed somewhat contradictory...if you don't want your women and children killed, then don't allow then to fight your war.Probably the most disturbing part of the tour was an entire exhibit filled with torture mechanisms. I don't remember reading any of this from school, but the Viet Cong set out tons of traps that aimed to main a soldier or kill him painfully. I have photos of each and will describe each one as the caption. The basic idea behind most of these traps was when a soldier stepped on one or put pressure on it, either their foot would sink down into sharpened metal spikes and become trapped, or their whole body would fall through onto sharpened bamboo sticks or metal sticks arranged in different ways. The background of the exhibit was painted showing different white American men falling into these traps. Very disturbing.When I ignored the tour guide's words about Americans specifically and concentrated on learning how the VC survived it became very interesting. The tunnels below the ground have three layers, the first at three meters below, the second at six, and the last at eight to ten meters below ground. The tunnels were tiny and got smaller the lower one got. The entrances to the tunnels were very small and disguised under lots of foliage. Because so many westerners that come to the tunnels are somewhat large, the government decided to open one entrance to the tunnels so they could fit. Luckily I fit into the small one, and was the second volunteer to get into the entrace hole. We had the option later of actually crawling through each level of the tunnels, and not being very claustrophobic I decided to try it. I had to bend all the way horizontally at the waist to even fit, and these were the large tunnels! Withing the first three feet, completely enclose in the tunnel, some people way in front of us decided it would be a good time to pose for a photo and held the line up for over a minute. I panicked, not being able to move at all in any direction. If the line had been moving I think I'd have been ok, but as it was I could tell I would hate the experience, so I turned around, pushed past everyone, and went back overground and waited while everyone else went through. To add injury to insult, a Chinese man behind me, who had NOT been stuck in the tunnel but just waited in line to get into the tunnel, took my picture on the way out. I can just read the photo caption now: "Stupid American can't handle largest Cu Chi tunnels!"My favorite part was actually somewhat disrespectful of the memory of the place, both for the VC and the American side, but was offered on site so of course I tried. A shooting range had been set up where tourists could choose to fire an M16, AK47, or a variety of other huge guns (including a machine gun!) for a small price. My dad used to take me to shooting ranges when I was younger so I'd had some experience before, but a .22 doesn't exactly shoot like the M16 did. The noise was incredible...I jumped every time I heard a shot being fired. People all around me were shooting too, and I never got used to hearing the incredible noise these guns gave off. I shot two bullets from the M16, then was happily done. I hadn't realized how much power was behind the weapon, and shuttered to think what it would do to what or whomever it made contact with.The gift shops on site at the tunnels had one thing I hadn't seen yet...rice wine. I had heard of rice wine many times but didn't realize what was actually in it. BEWARE...it's nowhere near as innocent as the name sounds! Rice wine is really like a hard liquor, yellowish in color that tastes somewhat like whiskey (so I'm ntold, there was NO WAY I wanted to see first hand). All very normal, until you look at the bottle...the bottle, depending on size, is filled with SNAKES. There was one main snake that looked like a cobra in each bottle, and a variety of smaller snakes that looked like long beans at the bottom. Some of the bottles had scorpions in them as well. The main large snake always had either a smaller snake or the scorpion in its mouth. I took lots of pictures as to ruin as many people's appetites as possible. Enjoy!We took the bus straight home this time, not stopping on the way. Starving, Andrea, Ann, and I decided to get a late lunch before Andrea and I had our group meeting at 4. I found out that our hotel served pizza (!) and, telling myself it would not taste like normal American pizza and not to get my hopes up, ordered a small vegetable pizza. It came out looking...delicious! And it tasted delicious as well! I did feel guilty getting American food on only the second day away, but justified it by thinking I wouldn't have a chance to get American food for at least another week.We met the people in our group soon after. Our tour leader is named Richard and he is from Australia. In fact, almost all the people in our group are Aussies, except for two from the UK. I am the only American and sound terribly out of place when I talk. Pear-hops I shall ac-qwuire an axe-cent myself whilst in the come-pany of these ah-thers.We had a cyclo tour through the city, and actually didn't repeat any stops from the one I'd had the day before. We went into the richer part of the town, which was very nice with large buildings, and saw the most expensive hotel in all of Vietnam: the Hyatt, which STARTED at $1,500 PER NIGHT. WOW. We also saw the post office, which sounds boring but was actually gorgeous. Built by the french with all french materials, it was enormous and airy and painted with pastel colors. Notre Dam cathedral was across the street, which was also beautiful but looked somewhat old. Because of the french influence on the country, six million people are still Christians. The cathedral didn't really fit in with the rest of the city; it was taller and almost seemed ostentatious in comparison to the simple buildings around it. I'm sure the french planned it that way.I mentioned before how there are no street laws (that I understand at least) and how the drivers basically go when they please, just shifting around other vehicles without accidents. I still had not seen an accident until the cyclo ride. And guess who that incident involved? Yes, me. My cyclo was going along, minding its own business, when out of nowhere came a bike with two people on it. My driver yelled but it was inevitable...we were going to hit. It was seriously like slow motion in the movies, when everything slows way down and the voices get lower and slower. At the very last second, all four of us looking in horror, the front edge of my cyclo and the side of the bike bumped. I think the word "bump" might be overpowering; "tapped" might be more appropriate. We barely touched. The moment the noise from the "tapping" occurred, all hell broke loose. The two men drivers began yelling at each other very loudly while the woman on the back of the bike looked on, shocked. They yelled, gesturing wildly, for a good two or three minutes, all the while ignoring me and the woman. "Don't worry," I said sarcastically, turning to my driver. "I'm fine, thanks for asking." He ignored me and continued to argue. Finally we peddled off, not a word said to me about the incident.After the cyclo tour we stopped at a street market for dinner. Andrea and I were not hungry after our late lunch and instead decided to shop. I ended up purchasing a Burberry purse (HA like it's real!) for $10, a t-shirt for $6, and an Adidas shirt for $4. Andrea purchased some nice belts and other things for her kids at home. I'd wanted to upload more pictures onto traveljournals last night; as of now I've taken over 200 of them, but the computers are so slow it takes about two minutes per picture to upload. I decided to actually sleep, for the first time since the day before leaving, the whole night and instead went to bed. I'll try and upload as many as I can next time I have internet access.Tomorrow we leave Saigon and head for the Mekong Delta. I'm sad the leave the city. I loved the hustle and bussle and the speed at which everything moved. I loved the people as a whole, even though two specific individuals rubbed the wrong way. This would definately be a city I'd love to return to.

Vietnam’s football fans take to the streets after Asian Cup final progress

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

It’s been nearly ten years since a football team brought this much joy to the nation. Vietnam beat Qatar 4-3 in their second consecutive penalty shootout of the tournament, after a gripping 2-2 draw in extra time. Vietnam had already made history before Tuesday’s match in Changzhou, China, having become the first Southeast Asian team […]

New list of Accredited Students

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

We are extremely proud of all the students that have recently received their Statement Of Results from the ETDP Seta.  You have all worked so hard and done so well.  THT Hospitality Training (Pty) Ltd would like to wish each and every one of you all the very best in your future.  For any person... Read more »

The post New list of Accredited Students appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Russian defense chief visits Vietnam amid talk of missile deals in the region

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

Vietnam’s Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) meets with Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu in Hanoi on Tuesday. Photo by Vietnam News Agency Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu was completing a four-day tour of Southeast Asia. Russia’s defense minister arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday as part of his Southeast Asia tour to discuss deals […]

Travel Vietnam on a Luxury Tour - Luxury Escapes | Magazine

Travel Vietnam on a Luxury Tour - Luxury Escapes | Magazine


Luxury Escapes | Magazine

Vietnam is hot right now, and we don’t just mean temperature-wise. Long time playground Southeast Asia is seeing more and more travelers add Vietnam to their itinerary, and it’s not hard to see why. Dotted with spectacular bays, amazing historical sites, friendly people and delicious food, Vietnam has something to offer everyone. We’ve done our … Continue reading "Travel Vietnam on a Luxury Tour"

Philippines hits out at Cambodia in China row

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

MANILA — The Philippines said Tuesday it had summoned Cambodia's ambassador to explain comments he made accusing it and Vietnam of playing "dirty politics" in trying to solve a maritime row with China.

The move appeared to further deepen divisions within the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), more than two weeks after a ministerial meeting hosted by Cambodia ended in disarray over the sea dispute.

Foreign Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said Cambodian ambassador Hos Sereythonh was asked Tuesday to personally explain his comments, but he failed to turn up claiming he was sick.
"We will continue to summon him until he is able to come," Hernandez said in a statement.

. And here is the rest of it.
"We want him to explain what he meant when he stated that the 'inflexible and non-negotiable position of two countries of ASEAN is dirty politics'."

The comments were in a letter Hos sent to the editor of the Philippine Star, one of the country's leading newspapers, on Monday.

In the letter, Hos accused the Philippines and Vietnam of working to "sabotage and hijack the joint communique" during the ASEAN meeting.

Hos argued that the Philippines and Vietnam should not blame Cambodia for ASEAN's failure to issue an end-of-meeting statement spelling concerns in the region, a first in its 45 year history.
Hos accused the two countries of playing "dirty politics".

Hernandez on Tuesday charged that Cambodia, a close ally of China, rejected at least five final drafts of the joint statement that would have addressed the maritime row.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast natural resources.

But ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan, have overlapping claims in the area.

Tensions have escalated this year, with China becoming embroiled in diplomatic rows with the Philippines and Vietnam.

Diplomats had said the Philippines called on its fellow ASEAN members at the Cambodia meeting to support it against China.

Indonesia's foreign minister subsequently launched a mission to save the bloc's 'cohesiveness', resulting in a belated statement affirming commitments to a proposed 'code of conduct' over the South China Sea.

Hos could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Triponyu.com steps beyond peer-to-peer boundaries

by Mimi Hudoyo @ TTG Asia

Indonesian peer-to-peer marketplace Triponyu.com, which connects savvy independent travellers with local hosts of travel experiences in the country, is now looking to expand its market reach through partnerships with tour operators and participation in travel marts. Triponyu.com was established by four milliennials from Solo, Central Java in 2016, and officially launched in mid-2017. Augustinus Adhitya, CEO of Triponyu.com, […]

European firms stay positive on Vietnam’s business climate

by robert @ Uncategorized – Talk Vietnam

The index hit 78, seven points below the fourth quarter of 2016, but this does not mean that businesses are under alert or will not continue to explore such a high-potential economy as Vietnam, said EuroCham Chairman Jens Ruebbert. The survey showed most businesses (90%) are either maintaining or increasing their investments in Vietnam, adding […]

ROK province sets up representative office in Vietnam

by robert @ Uncategorized – Talk Vietnam

It is not an organization that is legally allowed to do business or generate earnings. For these purposes, the Province would need to open a cooperation, joint stock company or establish a joint venture. The Gyeongbuk region is home to 5.5 million people and over 13% of the nation’s manufacturers including global conglomerates Samsung, LG, […]

Vietnam Travel Directory

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam travel directory, provides you Vietnam travel links, hotels Directory, directory listings, add travel url,Vietnam Travel index, Vietnam Travel agents, Vietnam Tour operators ... Vietnam Hotel Guide, Vietnam Hotel Directory, Vietnam Hotel BookingVietnam Hotel
Vietnam Travel Directory Vietnam Travel, Vietnam Hotels, Vietnam Holiday, Vietnam Tours, Vietnam Vacation - Find ... Submit your site on Our Travel Directory for free
Travel Directory

Vietnam Transport

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam TransportBy Air to/from Vietnam Vietnam Airlines operates international flights to/from the following destinations: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Dubai, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Siep Riem (Angkor Wat), Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Vientiane.TIP: Fares are significantly lower for those flying to Ho Chi Minh City. Although flights are available from the capitals of most Southeast Asian countries as well as from Sydney and Melbourne. The best place is from Bangkok as visas are easiest to obtain there.Airport Tax International airport tax is US$14. The airport tax for domestic flights is VND 30'000 (in some cases VND 15'000). Remember to leave enough money for the International Departure Tax if you're flying out of Vietnam. They prefer dollars to Dong at Saigon airport - the exchange rate is extortionate if you're paying in Dong!Domestic FlightsIt is much easier and safer to travel between cities by plane and buy your tickets in Vietnam as they are cheaper. Most routes have a daily flight and are easily available and booking isn’t necessary.Northern Airport Flight Service has helicopter flights to Ha Long Bay. There are 2 flights per week at 8:00 and 15:30 on Saturday, departing from Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi (not the international airport). You can get the tickets at the Metropolitan HotelNha Trang has daily flights to/from Ho Chi Minh City.National Airport Code CityBMV Ban Me ThuotDAD DanangDIN Dien Bien PhuDLI DalatHAN HanoiHPH Hai PhongHUI HueNHA Nha TrangPQC Phu QuocPXU PleikuSGN Ho Chi Minh CitySQH Na SanVIH Qui NhonVII VinhVKG Rach Gia * Airlines * Vietnam Airlines (International) 116-118 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City. Tel (08) 292118 * Vietnam Airlines (Domestic) 27b Nguyen Dinh Chieu St. Ho Chi Minh City. Tel (08) 299980 * Air France Dong Khoi and Le Loi St. (Caravelle Hotel), Ho Chi Minh City . Tel (08) 241278 * Aeroflot 4H Le Loi St. Ho Chi Minh City. Tel (08) 93489 * Thai 116 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292118 * Philippine Airlines Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292200 * MAS116 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 30695 BicyclesIt is fun to rent a bicycle and to ride around. Rates are around US$ 2 for a day. It is also possible to buy bicycles and even mountain bikes, but beware of the quality. Maintenance is widely available, but original spare parts are rare. Instead, any spare part that "fits" will be used.BoatsThere are some boats between the mainland of Vietnam and the islands. Rach Gia to/from Phu Quoc takes 6 to 10 hours and costs around VND 90000. Officially, it should leave every day at 8 am in Rach Gia and at 10 am in An Thui. In reality it waits until there are enough passengers. This can mean day...so be prepared. Ha Tien to/from Phu Quoc This is officially not allowed, since the boat crosses Cambodian waters so if you catch one of these the risk is your own as to whether you get put behind bars for your efforts or not. Vung Tao to/from Con Dao There is a boat between Vung Tao and the island Con Dao. One way takes about 13 hours.Buses Traveling by road from Cambodia is a slow and expensive alternative to flying. The bus system runs almost everywhere within the country, with stations built around the country dividing the territory into regions. For longer trips buses tend to be slow and unreliable it is therefore generally advised that travelers fly in instead. Nha Trang/Ho Chi Minh City Express and regular buses link Nha Trang with Ho Chi Minh City; express buses take about 12 hours.Mini Buses It is possible to rent a minibus if you so desire and if there are a few of you, it possibly works out to be a cheaper way of getting around the country, though risky, due to the high number of accidents in Vietnam.CyclosAn excellent way to tour any city in Vietnam is to rent a cyclo. Rates start from around VND 15000 to VND 30000 for a ride of up to 10 minutes in Saigon. Locals pay half that price. You can also get a tour of one hour for US$1. In Hanoi prices are more related to the distance and are a bit more expensive. Each town seems to have it’s own price structure, so ask around to get some idea at the time.TIP: Make sure that you hold onto any belongings when traveling in a cyclo as passing motorists and the like have been known to grab these as they pass.The routes a cyclo may use is being limited by the government because they cause traffic congestion, so what seems to be a short trip could in fact become quite a long one because of having to take an indirect route, especially in Ho Chin Minh City.Hire CarsCar rentals are currently not in existence. Cabs, which are unmarked cars without meters, can typically be rented for the day. The rates are about US$25 to US$150 (depending on the car, the place you rent it from, the region and your bargaining skills). As with any form of transport in Vietnam, driving is a risk you take due to the high accident rate in the country.Motorbike hireIt's easy to rent a motorcycle to get around. Usual rates are US$4 to US$7 for a day for a 50 cc to 100 cc Honda or Yamaha. If you rent a motorbike, make sure that you don't leave your passport with them and that in the contract they don't overcharge. Buy a big lock and chain as the motorbike theft rate is VERY high.If you are in a hurry, you can try to flag down a motorcycle for a ride on the back (most drivers are not adverse to making a bit of extra money) or ask a local to find a Honda ong (motorbike taxi) for you. The biggest problem is explaining the destination to the driver because pronunciation is everything in Vietnamese. Carry a pen and paper or a map.TIP: As in many Asian countries the standard of driving, to say the least, is atrocious and at times it will seem as if every vehicle on the road is going in the opposite direction to you. It is therefore generally advised that unless you are both a very experienced driver with a good medical insurance or a risk-taker, it’s NOT ADVISABLE to rent a motorbike at all.Ships and FerriesThere are no official passenger services. Travelers may be able to ride on a cargo ship to Ho Chi Minh City, Danang or Haiphong from Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore or France. Check with the local shipping and travel agencies for rates and availability.A ferry service runs from Cambodia to Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta.TrainsThere are currently no train lines running between Vietnam and its neighbouring countries. The Vietnamese railway system runs from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi along the coast and links with Haiphong and the regions further north. Odd-numbered trains travel south and even-numbered trains travel north.The fastest trains take at least 28 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. Reservations should be made a day or more in advance. The major setback to the railways is that tourists are charged many times more than Vietnamese people in the form of an outrageously high surcharge. For long distance traveling, it is best to fly.Nha Trang Express trains run to/from both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.Please note that the above time schedules and prices are subject to change and are therefore intended only as a guide.

​Ho Chi Minh stock exchange suspends trading again over software glitch

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) suspended all trading activities for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, citing a software glitch that prevented the exchange from completing its closing procedure on Monday afternoon. All trading activities were suspended at the HoSE through Tuesday with the exchange operator announcing that the suspension would remain effective […]

Hot, Happy, Hungover, Halong Bay

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Well now. Just back from a 3 day trip to Halong Bay and it was fantastic. The sun even decided to come out and we got a roasting today on the boat back.Day one (wednesday) we got a boat at Halong Harbour. OUr group was a ixed bunch of old people and young people. We had an israeli couple iin their 40s and a retired spanish couple who were really nice (and mad to go to Karaoke).Had lunch on the boat and it was a bit cloudy but the 3000 islands in the bay look impressive in any weather. We visited some big cave and then later got into the water for kayaking and swimming which was great crack. Then we all piled back onto the boat for a nice feast and a few drinks.Day 2 we were woken at 7 for breakfast and then brought to Cat Ba island and checked into a hotel there. We were brought to HOspital Cave which was hidden in a mountain to treat vietnamese soldiers during the war. Our guide in there was some mad former army general and he kept lining us up and singing to us. It was all pretty weird but cool.Then we had a trek up a mountain which was nice (sweaty). the Spaniards werent impressed at this but there ya go...tyhey made it safely. Thankfully didnt get attacked by any eveil monkeys on the way as i was a bit worried aobut that.after lunch we went off in a boat again for a brilliant afternoon of kayaking anywhere. just paddled for ages around all the islands and under sea arches and into lagoons. Its soooooooo beautiful and peaceful there.Then today we got the boat back to the mainland and it was roasting so all just lay up on deck for the morning. Kieran had a bit of a fright cos he jumped off the boat for a swim but got caught in a current and was being dragged quite quickly away. took us a while to cop that he was actually not enjoying this and we eventually got down to find him holding onto the ledge of the boat by his fingernails. Dont know how it happenbed cos noone really wanted to get in after that but it was grand...only a slight pull after that. Although the driver started the boat before everyone was back on and then kids started crying and mothers were shouting and it was all very dramatic altogether.back in Hanoi now. Wandering around the cafes and markets. The locals were going nuts for an u23s football match between Vietnam and Thailand (2-1)Dont know what we are doing next. Maybe Sapa, maybe not.til then,byebyeybye

Vietnam 1 week tours

Vietnam 1 week tours

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

1 week tour is waiting for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us to have yourself a wonderful trip to the colorful Vietnam!
Read more »

Gene analysis connects Cambodian EV-71 to Asian outbreaks

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

Jul 27, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – A preliminary genetic analysis of enterovirus serotype 71 (EV-71) isolates from Cambodia suggests that the virus is part of ongoing EV-71 outbreaks in Asia and is similar to those in other countries in the region, including Vietnam.

Writing in a ProMED Mail post yesterday, Philippe Buchy, MD, PhD, who heads the virology unit at the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia, wrote that the lab analyzed three randomly selected isolates from patients in different parts of Cambodia over 4 weeks.

Genetic sequencing showed that the viruses aligned with sequences from strains isolated in Vietnam in 2011 and 2012, in Shanghai in 2011 and 2012, and from those in other Asian countries that have been submitted to GenBank. He added that phylogenetic analysis suggests that the EV-71 sequences from Cambodia cluster with EV-71 genotype C4 strains recently isolated in Vietnam and are closely related to those detected in China.

Buchy said further genetic studies continue, but it's useful to know that the strains in Cambodia are part of an ongoing outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) across the region, an important consideration given that Cambodia doesn't have enough data to gauge the true case-fatality rate of its EV-71 outbreak.

ProMED Mail is the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

In a comment accompanying the post, ProMed moderator Craig Pringle, PhD, a virologist and emeritus professor at the University of Warwick in England, proposed that, based on the institute's phylogenetic findings, some of the subgenotypes should be reclassified. This would include designating the C4 subgenotype as a new genotype D, he said.

He said scientists await the results of further isolate analysis, especially of genotype C4 and any possible relation to clinical severity.

In other developments, Beat Richner, MD, founder and head of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals in Cambodia—where many of the country's EV-71 patients with encephalitis and severe lung complications were treated—yesterday lashed out for the second time against the World Health Organization (WHO) for statements it made during the outbreak.

He said the WHO statements created panic and gave the impression that steroid treatment made some of the children's conditions worse.

In a letter posted on his Facebook page, he wrote that all 72 children treated at Kantha Bopha had encephalitis, which must be treated with steroids to ease brain swelling. He pointed out that HFMD lesions are a symptom that can be caused by an array of viruses and that the severely ill patients the hospital treated didn't have the lesions.

Richner said the patients' cause of lung destruction in the last 6 hours of their lives still isn't clear.

Vietnam tour 14 days 13 nights

Vietnam tour 14 days 13 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

In these 14 days 13 nights tours, you can have it all the same sights covered in “Vietnam 1 week tours” but there’s more time in each destination, so that can help you feel deeply and gain lots of experiences to tell when turning back home.
Read more »

Vietnam international visitor figures down for May

by robert @ Uncategorized – Talk Vietnam

According to data provided by the General Statistics Office, the number of international arrivals dropped significantly by 9% tallying in at 972,000 for May, the first month this year the numbers fell below one million. There were 1.2 million more inbound travellers this year through May versus the same period in 2016 for a cumulative […]

Discover North Vietnam 7 days, tours

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Day 1: Hanoi arrival (D).Our guide will meet you at Noi Bai airport and escort you to a hotel in the center of Hanoi. The tour will start in the afternoon with 2 hours cyclo tour around the Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple and Old Quarter streets. You are then attend the Water Puppets show. Enjoy welcome dinner and overnight in Hanoi.Day 2: Hanoi - Ninh Binh (B/L/D)Vietnam TourEthnic people8:00 A.M you will visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Residence, One-Pillar pagoda Tran Quoc pagoda, Quan Thanh temple, Army Museum and Hanoi Flag Tower. In the afternoon, departure to Ninh Binh. On the way, visit Hoa Lu - ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10 century and the remaining two temples of Dinh King & Le King. Dinner and Over night in Ninh Binh.Day 3: Ninh Binh - Ha Long bay (B/L)8:00 our car will drive you to Tam Coc, then take a sampan on winding streams deep in rice fields and limestone rocks to visit Tam Coc cave. After lunch leave Ninh Binh for Halong bay. On the way, the car will stop for the short visit to Tran temple and Pho Minh tower in Nam Dinh province. Dinner and Overnight in Halong.Day 4 : Ha Long Bay - Hanoi (B/L/D)Hanoi Hoan Kiem LakeHoan Kiem LakeBoat trip through majestic HaLong bay. Enjoy beautiful landscape of HaLong Bay, naturally formed by islands and islets, explore natural caves or sunbathing. Enjoy lunch on board. Return to Hanoi in the afternoon with stop over at Phu Lang Pottery Village at Bac Ninh. In late evening take the night train to Lao Cai - Sapa.Day 5: Lao Cai- Sapa (B/ L/D)You will arrive at Lao Cai at about 6.30. Short car trip to Sapa of about 40km from Lao Cai. Check in a hotel in Sapa. Relax or optional visit in the morning. In the afternoon, 2 hours trekking to visit Catcat village, home of a Black H'mong hill tribe, which is just 7 km from Sapa town. Overnight in Sapa. Day 6: Sapa (B/ L/D)Halong bayHalong Bay8:00 taking a jeep trip to Lao Chai - Ta Van village, Home of Dzay and Black Mong hill tribes. While trekking around the village, meeting and talking with local hill tribes to learn more about their daily life, customs and traditional habits. Optional visit around Sapa town or take a rest before taking car trip back to Lao Cai train station. Get on the train return to Hanoi.Day 7: Hanoi (B)5:30 our car will pick you up the the train. After breakfast, take a bath and relax at Sunny hotel for a while (check-out time is at noon) before the car will take you to airport for departure home or more visit the South of Vietnam.Type of tour: * Private tour. (This is the sample tour, you may go with all details above or we can modify to fix your way of travel) * Easy/Adventure tour * Departure: Any dayFeature of tour: The life of urban, suburban, country side and hill tribes Vietnam people. The beautiful landscape of North VietnamPrice in USD per person

Sun bathing in Nha Trang

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

The journey to Nha Trang was a bit of a trek. We left Hoi An fairly early in a taxi, to Danang, about 45 minutes north of Hoi An. We then embarked on a train journey which should have taken about 7 ½ hours, but actually ended up taking about 12 hours. We were traveling in the first class seats, but these are not the most comfortable of places to spend 12 hours. We also had no where to put all of our luggage and ended up with most of it under our feet. The price of the ticket also included some form of food. I did remove the foil lids from all of the little pots on my tray, but only indulged in the rice, which I thought was pretty safe, where as the rest of the pots I could not be at all sure about! There was also a young child sat in front of us, who was asleep when we got on the train. However after a couple of hours, he woke up and needed to go to the toilet. His mother did not wish to take him to the toilet and instead produced an empty water bottle from somewhere which the young boy proceeded to pee into, through a conveniently cut hole through his trousers (he later used the hole for others things but I will leave that to your own imagination)! This was bad enough, but then she placed the now half full bottle under the seat around my feet! We then had a few hours of the boy playing around in and around his seat and playing hide-n-seek with us, which passed a bit of time. This did however get a little boring after a while and myself and Jeff did have to go for a wonder to find the bar!Anyway, after a very long day we eventually arrived in Nha Trang, where we were met by a very small taxi and a guy on a moped to take us to our hotel. I hoped in the taxi with the girls and all the luggage whilst Jeff hoped onto the moped! We were not entirely sure that we were going to see him again, but he pulled up at the hotel about 30 seconds behind us with a big grin on his face telling us that he had had a great time.Compared to Hue or Hoi An, Nha Trang has very little charm. It has basically grown into a sea side beach result, catering for watersports and a reasonably good night life. It’s a good place to be for a few days, lying on the beach and exploring the good bars in the evening. We basically ended up spending a long weekend in Nha Trang. Friday was spent lying on the beach at the sailing club, which is a pretty nice place to find yourself. The beach was a very nice long sandy beach, but the waves were a bit rough for swimming or bodysurfing unless you are an expert in this field. So of course that meant the myself and Jeff felt that we should give it a go. This was all great fun even if we did get a few bruises in the process and have to empty out about 2kg of sand from the lining of my swimming shorts!The following day we decided to take a boat trip around some of the surrounding islands. The trip was run by a company called T M Brothers, which basically turned out to be to local clowns calling themselves the Trouble Maker Brothers. Anyway, it seemed like a bit of a laugh, and after a bit of snorkeling and jumping / diving off of the boat, it was time for a very good lunch, before the live entertainment on board the boat started. To the delight of everyone the entertainment consisted of the brothers and the rest of the crew turning into a band and covering an incredibly large number of decent old records. The drum kit was made up of a washing up bowl, some form of large water drum and another bowl of some sort and was surprisingly effective. Part way through the performance another boat came alongside and this oldish guy steps onto our boat and proceeds to entertain everyone with some form of crazy dancing. This whole crazy, funny and kind of surreal experience made us all feel that we were really getting decent value out of the trip. We then had what they described as ‘happy hour’. This basically involved one of the T M Brothers getting into some form of raft (attached to the boat by a rope as the currents are quite strong) with a bucket of bottles of wine. Everyone then jumped into the water with a life ring of some description and went and held onto the floating bar or each other, so as not to drift away. They the proceed to pour the most revolting wine down your neck. A very amusing experience.That evening we had arranged to meet everyone from the boat trip at the sailing club. On the way to the sailing club, we went out for a pretty good meal. It was on leaving the restaurant that Jeff had his first encounter of the evening. Basically he had walked over to the other side of the road, to check something out, so I was left walking down the road with the three women. At this point a young boy of no more than about 12, comes riding up on a bike which was far to big for him and I think the conversation went something as follows:Young Boy: ’Three lovely lady…you lucky man’Graham: ‘Yes I am!”Young Boy: ‘You big banana’Graham: ‘What?’ (In dis-belief at what I’ve just heard from a 12 year old)Young Boy: ‘You big banana’Graham: ‘Thanks…would’nt you like to know’ (still in shock)At this point Jeff rejoins the group:Young Boy: ‘He you friend?’Graham: ‘Yes’Young Boy: ‘He no lady…he small banana’At this point everyone else is in hysterics.Jeff: ‘What?!’Young Boy: ‘You small banana…you lady boy!’Jeff: ‘I don’t think so!’Young Boy: ‘Yes…you no lady…you lady boy’As he says this, he proceeds to basically feel in between Jeff’s legs to check out his claim.Young Boy: ‘Yes…no banana…you lady boy!’We then tried to explain to the boy what a lady boy was and that perhaps he himself was a lady boy. He assured us though that he was no lady boy and wanted to take the three ladies to a hotel room and give them all twins, which we thought was quiet impressive. Anyway, we eventually got away from this ‘young stallion’ and found our way to the sailing club where a good night was had by all.It was on the way back to the hotel when Jeff had his second unfortunate incident of the evening. It basically involved him being propositioned, felt up for the second time that night and then effectively chased by a transvestite or two at three in the morning. A highly amusing scene I can assure you!Sunday was spent in a similar fashion to a typical Sunday at home. Getting up late, feeling a little, scruffy, wondering around trying to get some fresh air. Then sitting in a bar, drinking plenty of soft drinks, eating some good food and reading the papers. We had eventually recovered in time to catch our night train to Ho Chi Minh City. All in all a fairly good weekend.

Vietnam tour 18 days 17 ngihts

Vietnam tour 18 days 17 ngihts

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Nothing is more worthy than explore the historical monuments and find back the old memories in 18 days for those who spent their past time in Vietnam War. Viet Fun Travel is proudly brought to you this meaningful tour.

ü Vietnam Commemorative War Tour 18 days for Veterans
Read more »

Travel Information of Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

1. GENERAL INFORMATION
Vietnam borders with China in the north, Laos and Kampuchea in the West, and the Pacific Ocean in the east. Its lies in the centre of South-East Asia. Vietnam's territory stretches from Lung Cu village (Ha Tuyen province) in the north to Rach Tau hamlet (Minh Hai province) in the south. It is a S-shaped pennisula, with thousands of off-shore islands and archipelagoes; the biggest of which are the Hoang SA (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagoes. Vietnam's mainland covers 331,689 square kilometres .
According to archaeological discoveries made at Do Mountain, it is believed that life in Vietnam began as far back as 300,000 years ago. Officially, the history of Vietnam stretches back 4,000 years when it was founded by the Hung Kings. It was then named Van Lang.
When speaking upon the history of Vietnam, it is important to note the large role played by the French in Vietnam. It began in 1858, when the French took over Danang in southern Vietnam. Over time, more and more territory was won over by the French. It wasn't until 1954, when the French surrendered to to the Viet Minh, ending the French Indochina War, that the French colonial control in Vietnam ended.
The immediate image in the minds of most people at the mention of Vietnam is that of the war fought against the United States some twenty years ago. Most people think of the country only in terms of the American conflict in Indochina. The war ended nearly twenty years ago, and today, despite lingering signs of past American involvement, the situation in Vietnam is markedly different. People have finally begun to look at the country from another perspective, now that travelers and tourists from the West are being welcomed into what was once a forbidden country. It may take a bit more effort and tenacity to plan an excursion into Vietnam than it would for another Southeast Asian country, but Vietnam has much to offer in terms of culture and sights.
Top
2. WEATHER CONDITIONS
The weather in the southern part of Vietnam is tropical. It is monsoonal in the north, bringing a hot, rainy season from mid-May to mid-September and a warm, dry season from mid-October to mid-March. Occasional typhoons from May to January bring extensive flooding to the middle regions of Vietnam.
Top3. PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The vast majority of the population is Vietnamese with minute percentages of Chinese. The Viet culture originated on the delta of the Red River and the Ma River where the Viet people cultivated paddy fields. They led a simple farming life in small villages, usually living around a communal house. Today the people living in the countryside follow this lifestyle. The Viet people are influenced by Confucianism, in particular the principle of respect for their elders.
In spite of the immense suffering of the Vietnamese and the somewhat ruined state of the country, they are generally warm and friendly, and surprisingly, the Vietnamese bear little if any resentment or bitterness toward Americans. Children in the streets will commonly greet visitors with the name Lien Xo, which means Russian, but they will easily be corrected if you respond, "Hello!" or "Good morning" and explain you are an American, European or Australian, etc.
Ethnic Groups: The country is predominantly 85-90% Vietnamese, 3% Chinese, ethnic minorities include Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham, and other mountain tribes.
Languages: Vietnamese is the official language; French, Chinese, English, Khmer and tribal dialects (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian) are also spoken.
Religion: Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Islamic and Protestant.
Top4. LOCAL CUSTOMS
Be firm, yet diplomatic when dealing with officials who will often be very rigid. In the case of misunderstanding, patience is the best policy.
Small gifts such as cigarette lighters, pens, foreign cigarettes, liquor, perfume and even shampoo are greatly appreciated by anyone you wish to make friends with in Vietnam.
Out of politeness, always ask permission before taking photos of people. The same rule of thumb also applies to photos taken in places of worship. Permission will almost always be granted.
A gentle handshake is the most appropriate manner of greeting.
Be very discrete about giving anything to beggars frequently encountered in Ho Chi Minh City. If anyone is seen giving handouts to a beggar, he or she may end up being pursued by a mob of other beggars. This does not help create a good image for foreigners; it gives them instead the reputation of being easy to hit up for money.
Beware of pickpockets. Keep your ID and passport in a safe place and carry only photocopies of those items.
Remove your shoes before entering Buddhist pagodas. Small donations placed in the boxes found in temples are appreciated. It is acceptable to keep your shoes on within Chinese pagodas.
Never let the soles of your feet face other people or any sacred monument, such as a statue of Buddha.
Top5. CURRENCY
The Dong (D) is the official currency in Vietnam. Exchange rate is approximatley 1 USD = 15,000 Dong (Sep 01)
Bank notes currently in circulation are in denominations of 100 / 200 / 500 / 1,000 / 2,000 / 5,000 / 10,000 / 20,000 and 50,000 Dong
Notes under 200 Dong have little value and are rarely used.
The U.S. dollar is more or less a second currency in Vietnam. Other foreign currencies are not readily accepted. A large supply of US$1, US$5 and US$10 are almost essential for tipping, for small expenses and for hotel bills. U.S. money is so common that change will frequently be given in dollars.
You may bring in an unlimited amount of foreign currency as long as it is declared on the forms provided by customs officers. Foreign currency can be exchanged for dong at your hotel or at the State Bank of Vietnam.
Top6. THINGS TO KNOW
Population: About 78 Million People Capital: Hanoi Flag: The flag of Vietman is red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center. Shop Hours: Shops run from 7 or 8am to 11 or 11:30pm. Some are open from 1 or 2pm to 4 or 5pm. Bank Hours: Most banks are opened from 7am or 8am to 11am or 11:30am Some are open from 1pm or 2pm to 4pm or 5pm. Holidays January 1 Solar New Year's Day January/February Tet (Tet Nguyen Dan). The most important Vietnamese annual festival. This marks the new lunar year and the advent of spring. This is a three-day holiday, usually at the end of January or the beginning of February (according to the solar calendar) February 3 Anniversary of the Foundation of the Communist Party of Vietnam April 30 Liberation Day, the day on which Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) fell to Hanoi in 1975. This holiday is commemorated nationwide. May 1 Labour Day May 19 Birthday of President Ho Chi Minh September 2 National Day of Vietnam
Time: +7:00, Vietnam is 11 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 14 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, but it is enormously appreciated. A 5-10% tip for a meal is a very small amount of money, but to the average Vietnamese, it could easily equal a day's wages. Avoid tipping too much, as it will set a precedent for others.
Restaurants: Government-run restaurants catering to tourists add a 10% service charge to the bill.
Porters: Porters, if they are available, can be tipped with American coins.
Hotel maids: Government-run hotels catering to tourists charge an automatic 10% service fee.
Taxis: Generous tips are not necessary. A small gratuity, however, is expected by cab drivers.
Top7. VISAS AND PASSPORT
Passports and visas are required for entry into Vietnam. The best place to obtain a visa for Vietnam is Bangkok. The visa will specify where you will be arriving and where you will be leaving, in addition to how long you can stay.
Formerly, tours had to be booked to obtain a visa, but this is no longer the situation. Potential visitors to Vietnam must fill out three applications for entry and exit visas, accompanied by three passport photos 4cm x 6cm. One of the applications must be sent to the most convenient diplomatic or consular mission of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The other two applications/photos are carried with you and handed in at the first point of entry.
If you require Asia Travel to assist you in the application, please send an email with the following information to:asiatrav@asiatravel.com:
Surname and first name Date and place of birth Nationality Present place of residence Profession Time and point of entry and exit
Some Embassies of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam:
Australia 6 Timbarra Crescent O'Malley ACT 2603 Tel (062) 866059
France 62, rue Boileau 75016 Paris Tel 4524-5063 or 4527-6255
Mexico Sierra Ventana 255 11000 Mexico, DF Tel 540-1612
Thailand 83/1 Wireless Road Bankok Tel (02) 251-7201
United Kingdom 12-14 Victoria Road London W8 5RD Tel 937-1912
Top8. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS
Duty-Free Items Visitors may import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of liquor and an unlimited amount of film. Commercial goods and items of high value being taken out of Vietnam require export permits from the Customs Service. Antiques may be confiscated permanently. No local currency may be taken out of the country.
The Customs Service Headquarters 21 Ton Duc Thang St. Ho Chi Minh City Tel 90095
Top9. TRAVEL TO THE COUNTRY
Airports Noi Bai International Airport Hanoi Tan Son Nhat Airport Ho Chi Minh City Fares are significantly lower for those flying to Ho Chi Minh City. Although flights are available from the capitals of most Southeast Asian countries as well as from Sydney and Melbourne, the best place is from Bangkok as visas are easiest to obtain there.
Airlines Vietnam Airlines (International) 116-118 Nguyen Hue Blvd. Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292118 Vietnam Airlines (Domestic) 27b Nguyen Dinh Chieu St. Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 299980 Air France Dong Khoi and Le Loi St. (Caravelle Hotel) Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 241278 Aeroflot 4H Le Loi St. Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 93489 Thai Airways 116 Nguyen Hue Blvd. Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292118 Philippine Airlines Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 292200 MAS 116 Nguyen Hue Blvd. Ho Chi Minh City Tel (08) 30695
Trains There are currently no train lines running between Vietnam and its neighboring countries.
Buses Traveling by road from Cambodia is a slow and expensive alternative to flying. It is highly advisable that travelers fly in instead.
Ships and Ferries There are no official passenger services. Travelers may be able to ride on a cargo ship to Ho Chi Minh City, Danang or Haiphong from Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and France. Check with the local shipping and travel agencies for rates and availability. A ferry service runs from Cambodia to Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta.
Top10. TRAVEL WITHIN THE COUNTRY
Cars Car rentals are currently not in existence. Cabs, which are unmarked cars without meters, can typically be rented for the day for US$30 to US$40. Trains The Vietnamese railway system runs from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi along the coast and links with Haiphong and the regions further north. Odd-numbered trains travel South, and even-numbered trains travel north. The fastest trains take at least 36 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. Reservations should be made a day or more in advance. The major setback to the railways is that tourists are charged many times more than Vietnamese people in the form of an outrageously high surcharge. For long distance traveling, it is best to fly. Buses The bus system runs almost everywhere within the country, with stations built around the country dividing the territory into regions. Buses tend to be slow and unreliable.
Top11. SIGHTSEEING
Ho Chi Minh City This is the largest city in Vietnam. It is the industrial, commercial and cultural center of the country. The central city area is still called Saigon.
WAR CRIME MUSEUM This museum exhibit crimes committed by the Americans during the war. Photographs of the famous My Lai massacre, human embryos, genetically deformed babies and innocent civilians being tortured can be seen on display. An array of US armored vehicles, artillery pieces, bombs and infantry weapons are displayed in the courtyard. You can also see a guillotine used by the French to de itate troublemakers in the riots of the 1920s and a model of the famous tiger cages used by the South Vietnamese to house VC prisoners on Con Son island. The War Crime Museum basically reveals a different side of the stories about wars - the innocent victims of modern warfare. HISTORICAL MUSEUM Built in 1929 by the Societe des Etudes Indochinioses, it was formerly named Blanchard dels Brosse. A big statute of President HoChiMinh stands in the main lounge of the museum. The museum has an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the primitive age, bronze age, the Tran dynasty and the Le Dynasty. Take a look at the array of musical instrument especially the special monocord of the one string musical instruments. There are many valuable relics taken from Cambodia's Angkor Wat. REUNIFICATION PALACE In 1868, the Norodom Palace (original name) was built for the French Governor-General of Indochina. A striking modern architecture was built when the original buildings were damaged by bombs. Rebuilt in 1962, it comprises of a ground floor, 3 main floors, two mezzanines and a terrace for helicopter landing. The palace includes many tastefully decorated rooms such as the reception room, the cabinet reference room, the study rooms, the credentials presentation room and the banquet room. It also has a basement with a network of tunnels connecting to the telecom centre and war room and one of the longest tunnels which stretch all the way to the Revolutionary Museum. The grounds outside contain one of the first tanks to burst through the gates of the palace to signify the end of the Vietnam War as well as the fighter plane which dropped further bombs towards the end of the war. Independence Palace was renamed the Unification Palace to denote the spirit and strong will for national independence and reunification Ben Thanh Market The Ben Thanh Market, formerly the main railway terminal, is the largest of the markets scattered throughout the city. A wide variety of goods are available, from imported electronics to imported perfumes. Notre Dame Cathedral This Catholic church was constructed in 1883 and is located near the Tu Do (Dong Khoi) Street, the former red-light district. Presidential Palace This building is now called the Reunification Hall. The center was built as a modern administration center and is where the war and the American involvement in Vietnam ended in April 1975, with tanks invading the compound. Guided tours will take visitors through the various rooms within the complex. Cholon Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown. Sights include the Binh Tay Market, the An Quang Pagoda (District 5) and the scenic Thien Hau Temple. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda A modern Japanese-style Buddhist temple, easily one of the largest and most impressive in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tay Ninh
Cu Chi Tunnels An extensive network of nearly 200 miles (322mi) of Viet Cong tunnels used in the French Indochina war and American war. The tunnels have complete facilities, from kitchens to printing presses and even street signs, all of which were used to aid the NLF (National Liberation Front) military. Tours involve a description of the tunnels, after which tourists are allowed to crawl about the maze. Located in Tay Ninh (suburb of Ho Chi Minh City), 24 miles (39km) northwest of central Ho Chi Minh City. CAO DAI TEMPLE Cao Daism seeks to create the ultimate religion by fusing Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianist and Catholic beliefs into a synthesis of its own. Witness the solemn ceremony of the unique religion - Caodaism at Caodai Holly See at its noon tide prayer service with followers dressed in red, blue, yellow and white robes. There is the divine eye above the altar, the religion's official symbol. The temple has nine levels which signify the nine steps to heaven, each level marked by a pair of multicoloured dragons.
MEKONG DELTA One of the world's largest delta, the Delta Region is formed by the various tributaries of the mighty Mekong River which begins its journey to the sea in Tibet and winds its way for 4500 km through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. The vietnamese name for the Mekong is Cuu Long which means "nine dragons" and this is represented by the nine exit points of the Mekong River as it flows into the sea. The land of the Mekong Delta is renowned for its richness. Known as Vietnam's breadbasket, it produces enough rice to feed the entire country with a sizeable surplus leftover. Take a sampan ride that meanders through small villages and experience the simple lives of the Mekong people
Vung Tau Beach Located at the mouth of the Saigon River is the popular Vung Tau beach resort. Pineapple Beach is probably the most pleasant, with its villas and generally tranquil atmosphere. The temples are a definite must-see. The Niet Ban Tinh Xa is the largest temple in Vietnam. Tourist accommodations are available at the Hoa Binh Hotel, as well as the Thang Loi, Thang Thai and Tho Nguyet.
Nha Trang The central region near Nha Trang features some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. The ocean waters are transparent, and the sands immaculate, attracting more and more visitors in recent times. Tours cover the Cham Ponagar complex, the north tower of which was built in 817 A.D. Ruins of the long-deceased Champa still stand as a testament to this once prominent kingdom.
Dalat The mountain resort among the Central Highlands has scenic surroundings as well as remnants of the French colonial era. The Ethnic Minority Museum is certainly worth visiting for those interested in the costumes, gongs, ornaments and other artifacts collected by locals from the Lam Dong province. As another point of interest, there is even an old abandoned nuclear power plant.
Danang City Known as Tourane under the French, Danang is a seaport of endless stretches of unspoiled sandy beach midway between Ha Noi to the north and Ho Chi Minh City to the South. The city was also the center of civilization of the Champa Kingdom, a kingdom which flourished In the area as early as the 2nd century A.D. Appealing stone sculptures (from the 4th-14th centuries) of Vishnu , Shiva and other Gods of this Kingdom can still be found in the Cham museum located in the center of the city Towards the coast south of Danang are five large hills known as the Marble Mountain. Mysterious caves within the mountains shelter altars delicated to Buddha, Bodhisattvas and The different genies arising from the popular beliefs of the area's inhabitants. With its own international and domestic airport, Danang provides an ideal stopover based for excursions to the ancient town of Hoi An, the imperial city of Hue and My Son-site of the Ruins from the Cham civilization.
Cham Ruins For those interested in seeing all that these fifteen towers have to offer, plan on spending a minimum of one day. These towers are located at My Son in the Duy Xuyen district. Cham Museum The Cham Museum built in 1915, expanded in 1935 , completed in 1936, is in a lovely setting And has large, open well lighted rooms with around 296 statues and artifacts of the Cham People dated back to the 7th century. Marble Mountains Consisting of five limestone peaks, about five (8km) miles south of town. They can be explored by following the paths leading to the peaks. Non Nuoc Beach China Beach, one the most wonderful beaches of Vietnam , was once an in country rest and Recreation centre for the US military during the Vietnam War.
Hoi An Ancient Town Forty-five minutes by land south-east of Da Nang is the ancient town of Hoi An, which was one of the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia for merchants from China, Japan and afar for a couple of centuries ago. Originally a seaport in the Champa Kingdom, by the 15th century It had become a coastal town under the Tran dynasty. Also served as the hub of East-West c ultural exchange, Hoi An's ancient past is superbly preserved in its fascinating temples, pagoda, shop houses and home which make up the town's old quarter. Walking in the streets of this ancient town, one can observe the influence of the architecture, Sculpture and decorative styles of China and Japan and the skill of former Vietnamese architects Who have absorbed their influences and created something similar yet somehow uniquely different.
HUE Hue, the imperial city, the citadel-city of Phu Xuan was originally built up during the end of 17th Century and became a political capital as well as the Imperial City of Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 till 2nd September 1945 when the Communist Party, leaded by President Ho Chi Minh had declared the Independent of the Nation and took over the power from the defeated Japanese Governor. Nowadays, this small & poetical city of 280.000 habitants becomes one of the main tourism site of Vietnam destination by its splendid tombs of the Nguyen emperors, several notable pagodas especially the Thien Mu Pagoda, the remains of Citadel as well as the romantic Perfume River where a cruise tour with Hue music performance in the moonlight was always provided since long time ago. Normally, visiting Hue within a day is a bit rush but still enough time to cover the main attractive sites such as The Citadel, The museum of antique, the tombs of Khai Dinh and Tu Duc emperors and a 02 hours cruise with stop over at Thien Mu pagoda.
Citadel & Forbidden City This forbidden city of 10km. perimeter has 4 main entrance gates and well defended by kilometers of rampart was built in 1804 by the first emperor Nguyen Anh on a site chosen by geomancers and look likes a Chinese forbidden city in Beijin. Some parts of this forbidden city were totally destroyed during the war where now are under reconstruction providing UNESCO & Japanese non-government associations' fund. Lucky thing is most of the main area such as the citadel (the Imperial Enclosure), Flag Tower were remain intact where received hundred of visitors daily. The Museum of Antique (Imperial museum) This beautiful hall which house the Imperial Museum was built in 1845. The most precious artefacts were lost during the war (1954-1973) and the liberation day (1975) but ceramics, furniture and royal relics are remain until the present time. Khai Dinh Emperor's Tomb This is the final monument of the Nguyen Dynasty. The complex features ceiling murals, frescoes and a dragon staircase. Located on the slopes of the Chau E Mountain, six miles (10km) south of town. It takes almost 10 years (1920-1931) to finish this grandiose concrete tomb which is completely unlike the others tombs where there was a mixture of typical Vietnamese & French colonial architecture. After climbing 36 steps passing by rows of elephants, horses, civil & military mandarin you will be reached the main building where a full original artefacts are displayed to the public. Tu Duc Emperor's Tomb The most impressive of the tombs and pagodas at Hue. Located at the tributaries of the Perfume River, seven miles (11km) south of Hue, this complex has beautiful architecture, intricate decor and military statues. This majestic and serene tomb with lake view, grove of pines, temples, living house area is the most expensive tomb which was completely terminated after 5 years by thousands of labor-worker (1863-1868) for this intellectual-poet emperor. Minh Mang Emperor's Tomb The most impressive of the tombs and pagodas at Hue. Located at the tributaries of the Perfume River, seven miles (11km) south of Hue, this complex has beautiful architecture, intricate decor and military statues. Thien Mu Pagoda & Perfume River Cruise Unlike the typical boat used to provide in the past the present Hue cruise is providing a motorized boat which carry a 2 hours cruise along Perfume River including a 30 min stop over Thien Mu pagoda. This pagoda located on the hillock overlooking the Perfume River, built in 1844 by Thieu Tri emperor, 21m-high octagonal tower with seven-storey is one of the most famous structures in all over the country and become an unofficial symbol of Hue until now.
Hanoi
One Pillar Pagoda Built in the 11th century, this pagoda sits on a stone pillar in the middle of a pond. This is one of the more unusual structures in Vietnam. Lenin Park (Thong Nhat Park) Built over a former marsh, this park surrounds a large lake containing a statue of Lenin, often the object of jokes among the locals. The park itself is quite beautiful. Tran Nhan Tong Street. National Preserve of Cuc Phuong This national park is one of the last tropical primeval forest reserves on Earth. There are 64 species of fauna and thousands of species of flora, many of which are extinct everywhere else in the world. Bizarre and fascinating species of animals from flying lizards to monkeys dwell within the park's 61,000 acres. Caves and grottoes, where various artifacts have been discovered, are located in the mountains within. Ha Nam Ninh Province. It is located approximately 62 miles (100 Km.) southwest of Hanoi. Thu Le Park Located northwest of Hanoi in the Thu Le village.
Haiphong
Cat Ba This island is the largest in the Cat Ba archipelago. It is potentially one of the major beach destinations in Southeast Asia. This region has beautiful beaches and pristine waters. Within the mountains are caves and grottos. Located 36 miles (58km) east of Haiphong.
Halong Bay One of Vietnam's most beautiful areas, Halong Bay has fascinating limestone formations, coves for nighttime excursions, sheer cliffs, grottoes, arches and scores of small islets.
Top12. DINING AND DRINKING
Vietnamese food varies from region to region. Almost 500 traditional dishes have been recorded! Rice and noodles are staple foods, served with nearly all meals. The most popular dishes are nema rán (spring rolls), bún thang (noodles with sliced pork, eggs, shredded chicken and shrimp), shellfish steamed with ginger and sea crabs fried with salt. Among common ingredients used are: shark fin, duck, pork paste, fish, spices, fruits, vegetables, crab meat, lobster and oysters.
Imported beer is available in Vietnam, although a number of domestic beers are brewed. Rice wine is very popular, and there are many brands available. There is a variety of fruit wines such as apricot, orange or lemon. Soft drinks are processed from the many varieties of tropical fruits available. Water from the tap should be avoided, even though it has already been filtered and sterilized at 10ºC. If you must drink it, boil the water first.
Top13. ENTERTAINMENT
Vietnam is not the place to go for the latest in nightspots, but a number of large hotels have nightclubs and dance halls. Bars are fairly easy to find, even in smaller hotels. Try asking the locals for the current popular spots.
Top14. EMERGENCY NUMBERS
Police: 03 Ho Chi Minh City Police Station 161 Nguyen Du, Quan 1 Tel 99398 or 97107 Open from 8am-11am and 1pm-4pm Hanoi Police Office for the Registration of Foreign Visitors 63 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi All visitors must register with the police within 48 hours of arrival. If you are on a tour, this should have been taken care of (but check anyway). Fire Department: 08 First Aid: 05 International Dialing Access: Available at major tourist hotels and post offices Country Code: 84 City Codes: Hanoi: 04 / Ho Chi Minh: 08 When calling from within the same city, delete the city code from the number. When calling to another city from within Vietnam, use the entire city code. When calling from outside Vietnam, delete the first digit (0) from the city code.
Top16. USEFUL PHRASES
* Greetings - Chao ong (ba) * How are you? - Ong (ba) co khoe khong? * Fine, thanks - Cam on rat tot * My name is ... - Tên tôi là ... * I don't understand - Tôi không hiêú * Restaruant - nhà hàng * Telephone - diên thoai * Hotel - khách san

Vietnam Activities and Sports

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Art Galleries can be found in all the main centres in the country and there are some very worthwhile pieces being produced as well as some pieces from old Vietnamese masters on display in many of the bigger cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.Entertainment Vietnam is not the place to go for the latest in nightspots, but a number of large hotels have nightclubs and dance halls. Bars are fairly easy to find, even in smaller hotels. Try asking the locals for the current popular spots.Beach Volleyball is rapidly increasing in popularity and Ho Chi Minh City is the place where the National tournament is held. If you want to join in, most beaches in and around the cities will have games going on, especially in the late afternoons...and many teams are only too happy to let visitors join in for a game or two.Bowling (Ho Chi Minh City) Saigon Superbowl located at 43A Truong Son, Tan Binh District is the place to go for this excellent family entertainment Give them a call on: 84+8+885 0188 ext 20 or go there or visit the Bowling Centre located at 285B Cach Mang Thang Tam, District 10. Their telephone number is: Tel : 84+8+864 3784Boat Trips These are particularly popular in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's southernmost region, which consists of an intricate network of rice paddies, swamps and forests interlaced with canals and rivers. River cruises also operate on the Saigon River (a good way to see Saigon) or the Perfume River (near Hue).Billiards -"Bi Da"-is popular throughout the country and most hotels have at least one table but if not you'll discover venues scattered throughout every city and a few of the outlying villages. It's a pleasant way to get to meet the locals and they are always ready to take on newcomers for a challenging game.Caving enthusiasts may head for the spectacular Pong Nha river caves, northwest of Dong Hoi or other mountainous areas around the country. It is advised that one doesn't venture into a cave without a guide as many are not properly monitored and it's not unknown for intrepid explorers to get lost and never return. Ask at a local tour centre for more information on this activity.Cinemas Unless you speak the local language there are few films shown in English, but occasionally there are and these will have sub-titles in the local lingo. If you want to see a film, it's best to ask at the ticket counter, if the movie is in your preferred language.Cycling Vietnam is ideal for long-distance cycling as much of the country is flat and the shortage of vehicles makes for light traffic. Caution is needed, however, especially on busier roads, as traffic can be very undisciplined. Bicycle hire is widely available.Diving Vietnam is becoming an increasingly well-known diver's paradise. The number of resorts is increasing at a fast pace. By far the most popular at this point in time though are Danang and Nha Trang. Unfortunately though, due to the over-fishing of Vietnam’s waters you won’t see vast schools of fish but rather individuals or smaller numbers. The fish are there though. Wreck diving isn’t really available due to the value of metal in the country anything that sinks is soon salvaged and put to other uses on land. On the other hand the corals flourish and the colours and varieties of both soft and hard corals is spectacular.Elephant Riding can be done in Dalat at Tuyen Lake and is a wonderful way to view the surrounding scenery. Hash House Harriers If you like running (and drinking beer...though not at the same time) then join in one of the HHH fun runs. It's a great way to get to meet the locals and a good way to discover parts of Ho Chi Minh City that you didn't know existed. Contact John Bennet on 842 0594 or 845 7594 for more information on this social activity or go and meet them at the Caravelle Hotel every Sunday at 2:30 p.m.Golf is as popular in Vietnam as it is in many other countries around the world and there are a number located around the country. Dalat and Phan Thiet have some of the better-known courses. Many are designed by world internationally recognised golfers such as the Ocean Dunes Golf Club located in Phan Thiet which was designed by Nick Faldo.Hiking There is good hiking in the beautiful countryside around Da Lat. Guides are recommended and can be hired locally. generally, the northwest is the best region for hiking. Other good destinations include Cuc Phuong National Park (near Hanoi); Bach Ma National Park; and Lang Bian Mountain (in Da Lat), where guides are compulsory. In the north, Cat Ba National Park on Cat Ba Island and Ba Be Lake National Park (which contains several lakes, waterfalls and caves) also offer beautiful scenery.Horse Riding is a popular sport in Vietnam and in fact the country has its own special breed called the Vietnamese Hmong Horse. There are many places that rent out animals either to go on short out-rides along a beach or through the local countryside or on long treks through rugged mountain ranges.Kayaking can be done in many spots throughout the country. Some of the better known sareas are to be found in the picturesque Halong Bay area though some other coatal and riverine areas also offer this gentle waterborne activity. It's a great way to see coastal fauna and flora and all but the smallest family members will enjoy a day out on the water in a canoe.Martial Arts is one sport that every second person in Vietnam seems to enjoy, either being involved in the sport itself or watching. There are numerous varieties practiced here from Laido, Kendo, Karate, Judo, Tae Kwando, Jui Jitsu amongst many others. To either view these sports or partake in the activities, your best bet is to go to open parkland areas in either the early morning or evening when many folk practice in the open air or contact a local sports club or martial arts centre within the area you plan on visiting.Museums abound in Vietnam and there is hardly a city or village that doesn't boast at least one such venue.Opera and Theatre A visit to Vietnam is hardly a visit if one doesn't go to at least one stage production while here. All the cities have a theatre and it's best to ask the local tour information at your hotel for information on what productions are currently showing and the prices etc.Parachuting is a great way to view the surrounding scenery where no one and nothing can interupt your view. There are a number of centres offering this activity such as Dalat, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Ask at your hotel or the local tourist information centre for more details.Sailing is one way to escape the bustle of the city and enjoy the wind in your hair while relaxing on deck with the family. The Nha Trang Sailing Club offers boat trips and can be found at 72 Tran Phu St. Nha Trang. Give them a call on 84.058 826528 for more information. (Most sailing is done on motorised vessles not yachts as the latter are few and far between in Vietnam.) Sepak Takraw is a relatively new sport in Vietnam though popular in countries such as Thailand. It involves kicking a ball, made of woven bamboo shoots (or more recently plastic), over a net. It is growing in popularity and is now part of the South East Asian (SEA) Games.Swimming If you aren't near a beach there are a number of public swimming pools located in most of the bigger towns or at the hotels and resorts. If your hotel doesn't have one, ask at a hotel nearby as some let the general public in for a nominal fee or ask the concierge at your hotel where a public pool is.Surfing is on the rise here and there are a number of places that rent out boards (though it's always better to bring your own). Nha Trang is a popular spot and boards can be rented in Tran Phu. Telephone 829100 (Hon Tam) for more information or call the Khanh Hoa Tourist Board besides the Vien Dong Hotel on 822753.Ten Pin Bowling can be done at many establishments in Vietnam. Saigon has a huge one with 32 lanes called the Saigon Superbowl, but there are many others scattered around the country such as in Hanoi. Ask at your hotel or the local information centre for more details.Trails and Trekking Visitors interested in the Vietnam War can walk part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a series of roads, trails and paths used as supply routes by the North Vietnamese during the war. It ran from North Vietnam southward through the Truong Son Mountains and into western Laos. The claustrophobic network of tunnels used by villagers and guerrillas during the war at Cu Chi (35km/22 miles from Saigon) and Vinh Moc can also be visited. There are numerous other trekking trails throughout Vietnam and your local tour office or hotel will be able to fill you in on this enjoyable pastime.Watersports In total, Vietnam has 3260km (2021 miles) of coastline. The most popular beaches are Vung Tau, just north of the Mekong Delta; and Nha Trang, near Da Lat, where the clear, turquoise waters offer good snorkelling and scuba diving. Snorkelling and diving equipment can be hired at most beach resorts. Other good beaches can be found at Phan Thiet (south-central coast); Mui Ne (noted for its large sand dunes); and the magnificent Ha Long Bay, where some 3000 islands, covered in lush vegetation and dotted with beaches and grottos, rise out of the Gulf of Tonkin. Acces to the islands is by boats, which can be hired in Ha Long City.Windsurfing is a great way to spend a day out on the ocean waves or on one of the larger lakes in the country. Phan Thiet is one of the more popular venues as is Nha Trang. Boards can be rented in a number of places and the Full Moon Beach Resort in Phan Thiet has a few for hire or can steer you in the right direction to a place closer to your location. Give them a call on (84) 62 847 008 for more information. Another reasonable spot is Vungtau but it's only real plus as a windsurfing spot is its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City.

Visting hanoi and sapa

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

For me to visit a capital city like Hanoi in the north of Vietnam is very different from the typical capitals of S. E Asia. In Hanoi you will find lots of communist influences (as in the hammer and sickle symbols, statue of Lenin, Vietnamese red flags with the distinctive yellow star in the middle and reverence for Ho Chi Minh) set amidst often colonial French buildings and the typical Vietnamese tube building! They build many of their of their buildings in what we can describe as a tube style where the width of the building is narrow but the depth of the building can be very long. Staying at the old quarters which is where all the hustle and bustle is. At first you will be confused with the various streets and roads but after some time and with the help of a good map you can orientate yourself and walk around to find streets which seem to specialize in nothing but paper, in artwork, in metal products and even in coffins. The curious thing is that there does not appear to be any KFC, McDonalds, 7-11 or cinemas around either! Food is not a problem in Vietnam and you can get good and cheap food ( a meal can costs less than VND 10000) from the dirty road side stalls to the nicer cafes and restaurants. If you have no problem eating from the dirty road side stalls where people sit on small low stools(why they all have the low stools I don’t know), and eat their fantastic beef/pork noodles etc and then wipe their mouth with tissue and then throw it on the floor. The more modern cafes are not only nice in décor but serve good western often French food as well. This is what Singapore, KL and other capitals looked like in the 50s I supposes. There is already a non stop hustle of scooters and vehicles on the road where to cross the road is a great skill. For whatever reason the drivers there like to honk their horns at almost every opportunity. So not only do you get smoke pollution but also endless noise pollution. Slowly the western influences will creep in I am sure and eventually everything will become more orderly, Nike will conquer, Big Mac will enter the market and cinemas will entertain people, another 10 years or sooner it will look more like Bangkok. You can stay in Hanoi for a few days before the noise and the traffic will drive you crazy and after that it is time to take a 8 hour train trip to Sapa. Sapa is very much up north and in fact only a few km from China. In the late 70s when there was a a border conflict with China, china in fact invaded the Sapa before being driven out by the reknowned fighting spirit of the Vietnamese army. Don’t mess the Vietnamese army who have defeated the French, Americans and Chinese. Anywhere the reason why people go to the Sapa region for 3 reasons namely the scenery, the minority people that live there and the cool weather of the highlands. The scenery at Sapa and around there is beautiful with lots of rolling hills and valleys, stepped paddy fields, rice farms etc. Go in their winter season and the place can be often covered in clouds and when the stun does make its appearance and the clouds clear make sure you get the chance to admire the nice views before the clouds cover it up again. When the clouds and mist envelop the whole town, you can hardly see beyond 5 m at times in front of a vehicle or what’s in front of you as you walk. A whole building can disappear behind the mist. Needless to say if you enjoy the cold you will probably like that experience. Sapa is also the home region of the ethnic minority people of the Vietnam. Their dress code and their looks set them apart from the typical Vietnamese and the more prominent ones seem to be the black Hmong and flower Hmong people who still go about in their traditional clothing. They have been heavily influenced by the modern tourist and the black Hmong women and girls can be seen all over sapa trying to sell their products to the visitors. Be sure to make treks and visits to their village and markets like Bac Ha Sunday market if you want to see the ethnic people in their more natural setting and way of life as they go about I the hustle and bustle of a market that seems to sell all the essentials for living in the mountains. As I see the ethnic girls go about selling their products to the tourist, I cannot help but think what does the future hold for them. They do not seem to go to schools for education and they work tirelessly trying to earn a little money in even the biting cold from the tourist. What will they be doing in 5 years from now or 10 years from now. Can they survive in the progressing and more expensive world or will they change and adopt the ways of the modern people.

Mekong Delta (Vietnam & Caombodia) - Toum Tiou Cruise

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

TOUM TIOU CRUISE: SAIGON to SIEM REAP10 Days/9 NightsINTRODUCTIONSiem Reap, Phnom Penh and Saigon are the key destinations that we use to offer you trips into lands of disconcerting beauty, with an incomparable historical heritage and legendary traditions. Cambodia's waterways are more than a convenient way of getting around; they are the country's lifeblood. Take a trip on them and you get an unparalleled in-depth look at the real country, becoming totally immersed in something both gentle and spectacular that cannot be experienced by any other mode of transportation. The shallow draught of the Toum Tiou makes it possible to reach the very heart of the remotest of villages where the sense of discovery is often reciprocal. Is it the travelers or the Khmers who are most surprised by the encounter ? ITINERARYDay 1 - Monday: Saigon – My ThoAt 7:45, in the Saigon Port at Dock No. 1 (in front if Ho Chi Minh Museum), Toum Tiou is open for embarking, together with clearance of departure formalities. Then at at 8:30, the cruise depart for My Tho. Lunch and leisure on board during navigation. At about 17h, when arrival at My Tho – Toum Tiou drops anchor on river in the proximity of Thoi Son Island. Local musician band embarks to play traditional music for 45 minutes. Follow is welcome drink and info meeting about cruise, crew introduction. Welcome dinner. Overnight onboardDay 2 - Thursday: My Tho – Cai BeAt 8h in the morning, local boats are coming alongside Toum Tiou to pick up passengers and transfer to the mainland. Departure for Vinh Trang Pagoda by car - Short panoramic tour of My Tho town on the way. Continuing for Dong Tam Snake Farm and My Tho Market. On the banks of a northern arm of the Mekong, My Tho, which translates as "fragrant herb", where tourists come to discover the beauty of the delta. It's a quiet, prosperous city of about 100,000 inhabitants, famous for its many fruit orchards, gardens and the huge rice fields that surround it. The climate is warm and pleasant year round. The surrounding countryside is home to one of the most luxuriant gardens of Vietnam, with its coconut palms, banana and mango trees. When return at the pier - Passengers cruise on the river to Thoi Son Island by local boat to visit the island, explore local people’s daily life and enjoy locally seasonal fruits. At 13:00 passengers re-embark Toum Tiou and leaves My Tho for Cai Be. Lunch and leisure on board. Late afternoon, Toum Tiou at anchor on river on the proximity of Cai Be. Dinner and overnight on board.Day 3 - Wednesday: Cai Be – Vinh Long – Sa DecAt 8h, local boats are coming alongside Toum Tiou, picking up the passengers and cruise around Cai Be FloatingMarket. Continuing for Vinh Long - a brick and pottery factory, the Binh Hoa Phuoc Islet Nursery of Fruit Trees as well a typical house and a show room of traditional farming tools. Vinh Long, which translates as "Majestic Dragon", is right in the middle of the delta, between two arms of the Mekong. The soil of Vinh Long is enriched by silt deposits, making it ideal for growing mandarins and other citrus fruits. Life is organized around the water. Houses on stilts, hawkers in boats, hundreds of small craft crisscross in all directions. The hospitality of the locals makes it a tourist destination par excellence. Return on the Toum Tiou, departure for Sa Dec.Lunch on board during the navigation. Arrival at Sa Dec at about 15.00. Short panoramic tour of Sa Dec and transfer to Trung Vuong primary school. Continuing to Kien An Cung Pagoda. Stroll around Sa Dec Market along Sa Dec River bank. This small city of 30,000 inhabitants is fascinating in its unspoiled authenticity and undisturbed by tourists. It provides a glimpse of the delta where a few colonial houses still remain, including the "Chinaman's house" (from Duras' novel "The Lover", also made into a movie). Return to the boat with stopover at a nursery of flower and bonsai trees. Famous for its horticulture (it has many varieties of fabulously exotic flowers) Sa Dec was known as the "Garden of Cochin Chine" during colonial times. At about 18:30 passengers re-embark, Toum Tiou leaves Sa Dec port and drop anchor few miles away. Dinner and overnight on the river.Day 4 - Thursday: Chau DocEarly departure for Chau Doc. Breakfast during navigation. Leisure and relax onboard. Arrival after lunch at Victoria Hotel Chau Doc jetty. Located to the north at the beginning of Mekong's famous delta, Chau Doc straddles both banks of the Mekong which fans out to the dimensions of a river mouth here. Floating fish farms have sprung up everywhere. Bamboo fish drying racks are set up a meter above the water's surface. The bourgeoning downtown area features some charmingly rustic colonial buildings, squeezed in by the marketplace - the colorful, vibrant heart of the city. As always, these busy parts of town, despite their sometimes strong odors, offer wonderful photo opportunities... At 14:30 departure for fish raising rafts and Cham minority village by local boat. Return to the Victoria hotel for a walk to Chau Doc market. Visit of Sam Mountain which peaks at 237 meters. Its well-known Buddhist sanctuaries offer an unobstructed view over the mosaic of glistening rice paddies below. To the left is Cambodia, the flow of the Mekong on the horizon breaks into an infinity of silver ribbons. Visit on the way of the Lady Chua Xu temple and Tay An Pagoda. Return to the boat after sunset. Dinner at the Victoria Hotel’s restaurant. Overnight onboard at the jetty of the hotel; passengers are free to enjoy the hotel facilities (swimming pool, sauna, bar) or stroll in Chau Doc.Day 5 - Friday: Chau Doc – Kôh Dek ChauIn early morning, Toum Tiou leaves for Vinh Xuong (Vietnamese border). Arrival at Vinh Xuong check-point – Formalities clearance for Toum Tiou to cross the border. At 13:30 Toum Tiou leaves Vinh Xuong check point for Cambodia. Lunch during the navigation. 14:00 arrival at Kaam Samnaar check-point – Formalities clearance for crossing the border. Toum Tiou leaves Kaam Samnaar check point for Kôh Dek Chau Island. Arrival at Kôh Dek Chau island, at 16.30. A short break along the way, it allows to get a fascinating, close-up look at daily life in Cambodia. On the fringes of civilization, the 600 people who live on Kôh Dek Chau will receive your visit with some surprise. School children will escort you along your way. You will go through the village that occupies the full length of the island, walking along a trail shaded by date palms. Toum Tiou leaves for Phnom Penh and drops anchor few miles away. Dinner and overnight on board.Day 6 - Saturday: Kôh Dek Chau – Phnom PenhDeparture of Toum Tiou for Phnom Penh. Lunch during the navigation. Arrival at Phnom Penh, formalities clearance. At 14:30 departure for the “KILLING FIELDS” – return to the boat around 18:30. Dinner on board.Local group performs on board “APSARA” show. Overnight onboard.Day 7 - Sunday: Phnom PenhHalf day city sightseeing tour including the Royal Palace and the National Museum. At 12:30 return to the ship for the lunch on board. Afternoon is the day free exploration on own. Suggestions can be made up on the interest of passengers. (FCC, Russian market, other boutiques (antiques), etc.) Diner and overnight on board.Day 8 - Monday: Phnom Penh – Kôh Chen / Oudong – Kampong TralachDeparture of the Toum Tiou for Kôh Chen (Chinese Island). Breakfast during navigation. Arrival to Kôh Chen, small village of whose inhabitants specialize in silver and copper smiting. They make ornamental items, including delicately engraved tropical fruits, used in traditional ceremonies at the pagoda or for marriages. The distant hills of Cambodia's old capital, Oudong, and its royal stupas can be seen a few kilometers away from the ferry. At the top of the hill, the ruins of Anthareu temple. Passengers re-embark the Toum Tiou at 14.45. Lunch on board on the way to Kampong Tralach. Arrival at Kampong Tralach to visit its wonderful Vihara belonging to Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To get to it, we cross Kampong Tralach Krom village along a small road perpendicular to the river, crossing some gorgeous stretches of emerald rice paddy as we leave the river behind. The Vihara dates back to early last century. It was probably built on an older site, as indicated by thelatérite foundations, and is home to some outstanding mural paintings. These, however, are starting tosuffer from weathering. They remain one of the last survivors of cultural destruction that continuesunabated due to widespread indifference. Standing by itself in the middle of rice fields, it is a modest pagoda that receives very few visitors. Its isolation may well be its undoing, as was the case for Wat Tani Pagoda in the province of Kampot. Passengers re-embark. The Toum Tiou drops anchor few miles away.Diner and overnight on board.Day 9 - Tuesday: Kampong Tralach - Kampong Chnang – Chnok TruDeparture of the Toum Tiou early in the morning. Sail to Kampong Chnang. Breakfast during navigation. Arrival to Kampong Chnang at about 9.00. Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap. Fish farming is also widely practiced in the area. The area is famous for its pottery ware, unchanged in style for centuries, which is produced in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. And not to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree (sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the area: a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes and palm wine. At noon, passengers re-embark the Toum Tiou. Lunch on board on the way to Chnok Tru. Arrival at Chnok Tru at 15.00. Local boats are coming along the Toum Tiou and picking passengers for the visit of thebiggest floating village on the Tonlé Sap River. Passengers re-embark. The Toum Tiou stays overnight in the proximity of Chnok Tru. Farewell cocktail (1 glass of local liquor or juice) with Master of Ship & Cruise ManagerCaptain’s farewell dinner (Enriched menu + 1 glass of wine). Overnight on board.Day 10 - Wednesday: Chnok Tru – Siem Reap1. High water, July - January.Departure of the Toum Tiou early in the morning. Time to pack and relax a half a day by crossing the TonléSap Lake. At 13:00, enjoy the last lunch on board, then passengers disembark.2. Low water, approximately February - June.Breakfast and relaxing morning on the boat, time to pack. Daily speedboat is coming along the boat and picks up passengers for crossing the Lake. At 13:30 arrival at Phnom Krom pier. Enjoy the last lunch in a restaurant in Siem Reap.

Vietnam tour 15 days 14 nights

Vietnam tour 15 days 14 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Long days trip as our 15 days 14 nights tour is such an ideal opportunity to discover new lands, learn new things and release old things like stresses, reset your mind and gain many great memories with your friends and family. Come to our country, you will easy to find Vietnam’s color, bustle and natural beauty bring a new adventure every day.
Read more »

Sapa Tours in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Sapa Tours
Sapa Trek & Bac Ha Sunday Market
Sapa Trek with Sunday Market Bac Ha - 3 daysSapa Trek with Sunday Market Bac HaThis 3-day 4-night tour is a wonderful offer from Footprint. Including not only trekking to the hidden villages and staying at their home, but also a visit to one of the most colorful tribal markets in Vietnam. Bac Ha is a rainbow of culture and local trading activities. Different tribes and villages all congregate here only on Sunday to do their business. Please schedule your departure from Hanoi on Thursday night so you too can participate in this renowned market...

Sapa Easy Trek - 3 days
Sapa Easy Trek tour - Vietnam trekkingThis is a perfect combination of trek and culture while visiting the hill tribes’ villages at a pace and style that compliments you. Journey away from the crowds and homestay a traditional Dao home. Learn and participate in village life and truly feel the warmth and hospitality of these incredible people. This is an unforgettable soft adventure to Sapa that should be part of everyone’s time in Vietnam, yet probably only offered by Footprint.
Sapa is a special place with an energy like no other. Take advantage of the secret spots we take you to, and make this an adventure you will never forget. This is the way travel truly should be...

Conquer the top of Mt. Fansipan - 4 days
Fansipan Sapa adventure trek in VietnamSapa is a beautiful former French hill-station. At an altitude of 1,650 m Sapa boasts warm days and cool evenings and all day fresh air. Nowadays, Sapa has become a favorite destination due to its inspiring scenery of mounatin ranges and terraced valley floors dotted with small ethnic villages. Sapa is home to several of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, each with their own distinctive dress, customs and dialects making it a colorful mosaic of culture.
Sapa is also renowned for its trekking. With South East Asia's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan (3,143 m) providing the perfect backdrop for some great trekking routes. This 3 day trek with outdoor camping offers all of the challenges and rewards of any hike. And, at the summit you be one of the few to have reached up and touched the clouds marking the roof of Indochina...

Sapa Moderate Trek - 4 daysSapa Moderate Trek Tour - trekking in VietnamCombing a mix of adventure and culture in this multi-day trek suites those who have a little extra time, are willing to get a little dirty, and want to explore . We will travel South of Sapa along the inspiring Muong Hoa valley and mountain streams, visiting villages of Hmong, Zay, Dao and Tay ethnic minorities.
Sources: Sapa Tours
http://www.footprintsvietnam.com/Tours/Sapa/

This trek can be difficult at times but is worth the effort as you will be taken off the beaten path, away from the crowds, and into the unspoiled Vietnam. Visit and stay with a Zay and Tay family and learn about village life. We promise that this trip will be unforgettable, educational, rewarding with a healthy dose of fun...

Cambodia's Banking Sees 31 pct Lending Growth

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

Loan demands from Cambodia's banking industry had surged by 31 percent in the last twelve months thanks to the growing business activities in trade, real estate, agriculture and manufacturing, a central bank's senior official said Tuesday.

As of June 2012, the kingdom's 32 commercial banks had lent a total of 4.92 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 31 percent from 3.75 billion U.S. dollars at the end of June last year, Nguon Sokha, director general of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), said, citing the NBC's data.

She said that 32 percent of the loan went to trade, 16 percent to real estate, construction and mortgage, 10 percent to agriculture, 9 percent to manufacturing, and the rest went to tourism and services sector.

In terms of deposit, she said, the customers' deposits at the banks had reached 5.64 billion U.S. dollars by the end of June this year, up 23 percent from 4.58 billion U.S. dollars in last June.

"Generally, loan demand has increased in all sectors that reflect better business environment in the country," she said, adding that the banking industry in the last twelve months was very healthy.

Too many Vietnamese, not enough brains.

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Long time no story tell. Hanoi was interesting we had some of our most frustrating travelling experiences here. We constatly struggled not to get ripped off from hotels right down to buying a bottle of water. Travelling by taxi or motorbike always proved challenging most of the time either the meter would jump from around 6--26 thousand in one second or you would end up miles from your destination and further away from where you originally wanted to go before the driver would finally chose to comprehend where you wanted to go so sometimes jumping out of the taxi without paying and slamming the door was the only thing you could do. Walking the streets was the most stressful part of any day, there were footpaths however they were covered in motobikes, goods from shops and more motobikes this meant that the street was the only option and not very relaxing. The vietnamese are crazy at the best of times but when they get behind the wheel of a car or on a motobike they become ten time worse, this proves hazards for a pedestrian. Who has the loudest horn has the right of way ie buses and trucks, then cars then motos then cyclo's. Hanoi was a contrast to the rest of Vietnam personally one I (Hamish) could have easily left of the itinary (in hindsight) had it not been the gateway to Harlom Bay and Sapa.

Vietnam tour 4 days 3 nights

Vietnam tour 4 days 3 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Want to spend more time to get close to Vietnamese culture and local people daily life, Viet Fun Travel bring you a great opportunity by designing the 4 days and 3 nights tour. Joining not only the day life but also the night life in a tropical country in Southeast Asia will give you many many memorable memories.
Read more »

Chiang Kong - Pak Beng - Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Time flies when you are having fun or so the saying goes and it certainly does when you spend two days on a boat down the Mekon as you gently slip into Lao time. The final leg of the Northern Thailand trip was spent on yet another local bus all the way to Chiang Kong. The town serves essentially as a border town to step into Laos. The next morning was confusing as I tried along with about 120 people to obtain a visa. As we were getting on our boat other goods were being unloaded namely loads of squealing caged pigs covered in their own mess. The French couple next to me said it put her off eating pork: enough said!The benches were hard but I was not going to buy a teddy bear pictured cushion so I was very grateful when Jamey and Ariel came to the rescue with a spare for me. We had a relaxing day meandering down the mighty muddy Mekon. It was sad to observe swathes of burnt forests but the untouched scenery was amazing. We all piled off the boat at Pak Beng and I ended up walking up the hill with Angie, as we had not pre-booked, to look at a place together. It turned out that Angie is from Witchurch Canonicorum. Off we went to find a beer after our tedious journey and were invited by some locals to sit at their table. Mr Son, Deth and Cegc kept the beer flowing as we asked questions about their culture. The heavens opened in the jungle that night and we made it home as the first drop fell - impeccable timing. The next day every one had bonded and were chatting away to each other so the 6 hours went much quicker. Claus and John kept me in Whisky as Angie and I discovered who exactly we knew in Bridport. After two days of dodging prominent rocks on the Mekon we arrived in the genteel Luang Prabang with it's beautiful architecture, café culture and tempting supply of shops.Laos is great for being outdoors and I have certainly been out there getting active: cycling, tubing, climbing and walking. The cycling trip in Luang Prabang was a classic. John and Claus hit the whisky not long after we left town and our trip deteriorated further when they found a group of lunching Laos outside singing with their synthesizer and drinking. It was very entertaining and I made sure that I didn't drink too much Beerlao as we had to get back on our bikes. Claus' tyre had already exploded within the first 2 minutes so we didn't want any more biking incidents. The next day we headed out to a gorgeous waterfall called Kuang Si and saw more small villages on the way.The mini van trip (new mode of transport) felt luxurious but cramped for 5 hours as we climbed steep roads and saw precarious bamboo houses perched over sheer drops. We were greeted by neat villages and free roaming children with the odd little boy carrying his sibling in a sling.Vang Vieng is in a lower plateau but surrounded by amazing tree covered cliff faces. We found some bamboo huts across the river from the main town over a wooden home made bridge. It felt like I was finally a backpacker in my minimal hut with only a bed and some inscects for company. The town is great for meeting lots of friendly traveller types and of course to go TUBING. I had the best Sunday ever sat in a tractor inner tube, floating down the river with Rob, Christina, Kier and Kylie. We barely floated 50 meters when we reached for a piece of bamboo to be dragged into the first bar for the first bucket of Vodka. We did make it to the last bar on the course but not the whole way as the distractions are too great: tarzan swings, volley ball and lunch kept us from reaching the final stage and we got our giant donughts and into a tuk tuk back to town. Shame on us.That night me and the tubers got caught in the worst storm ever. As we reached the Bamboo Bar on the little island the wind came from nowhere and we could barely make it inside the tin stucture for some shelter. We waited for an hour for the thunder and lightning to subside but getting back over to my hut on the rickety bridge was very scary. Unfortunately I hadn't closed my windows and my hut was full of water. Wet clothes and bedding isn't much fun when you are already wet and caked in sand. Note to self: always close your windows!

Vietnam tour 22 days 21 nights

Vietnam tour 22 days 21 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

When you have a plenty time and want to try to be a true adventurer? Choose our Vietnam Trekking Tour 22D21N for your perfect holiday. Let’s discover the unique and various cultures country!

This tour will begin from North to South.

Northern VietnamRead more »

Hoa Lu - Tam Coc- full day

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Hoa Lu, 100 km south of Hanoi, was the capital city of Vietnam under the Dinh Dynasty between AD 968 and AD 980. Some of the sanctuaries and tombs have survived the countless years and can still be visited today. Apart from the historical aspects, the area is also one of astounding natural beauty with limestone peaks whose splendor is often said to surpass that of Ha Long Bay. It is true that this area is often referred to as the Ha Long Bay on land. The tour includes being rowed along the Boi River, which makes for a truly unforgettable experience, passing between towering limestone peaks.Price: Joined group tour : Daily - U$ 20/ personIncludes: Transport, boat trip, entrance fee, lunch and guide.ITINERARY:Hoa Lu used to be one of the many old capitals of Vietnam before Thang Long – presently Hanoi – take its historical role. From an exciting town and centre of cultural and military activities of the Dai Co Viet Kingdom in 10th century, the area now is more wellknown for its landscape since almost relics of the urban excitement had been collapsed, except in the Temples of King Dinh and King Le. A trip to Hoa Lu should be started from Tam Coc ("three caves"), which takes more than two hours driving from Hanoi, and visitors may say that distance is not a matter after seating in a boat rowed by one or two local persons in Hoang Long river and see the first limestone mountains, which will run along their riverway for several kilometers. The boat will run, sorry, will be rowed, through three caves on the river, all created by wind and water from a legend time, while the sea had occupied this area. The tide-mark is still on the rock about 2m above the water, and in higher mountainwall the erosion have carved some strange shapes that now filled of green grass, delicious foods of the goats that local people breed everywhere. If you are lucky, sometimes you can see mischievous monkeys. The river trip is wonderful for photo hunters, especially when local people come to harvest the water rice planted along the river, or when they transplant some seedling for the next crops. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin – China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes. Thus Tam Coc is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land.From the wharf of Tam Coc you can go further till reaching Bich Dong Pagoda, a combination of three pagodas on the Lower, Middle and Upper levels of a pretty mountain. You will need to climb a little bit till you get to the top of the Upper pagoda and your eyes catch the overall panorama of the paddy fields between Truong Yen mountain. All the pagodas, or lean upon a cliff, or simply have some statues inside a large grotto, deserve the name "Bich Dong" (emerald-like grotto). A scene of the popular French movie "Indochine" had been completed here in 1991, remarking a rush of the French-speaking tourists to Vietnam, who usually do not skip Halong Bay and Tam Coc-Bich Dong where the leading actress Catherine Deneuve left her footprints. On the way back from Tam Coc – Bich Dong to Hanoi you can pay a visit to the last relics of the ancient capital Hoa Lu – the Temples dedicated to King Dinh and King Le, the two heroes who lived in 10th century and chose Hoa Lu to build the citadel of the capital city. From time to time, archaeologists have excavated buried parts of this citadel with rusty weapons and ceramics. The temples are said to be built on the old foundation of their original palaces in 11-12th centuries and restored in 17th century. Though the temples are not maintained entirely some precious antiques are still preserved well like the whole-stone dragon thrones, wooden bas-relieves and lacquered statues of King Dinh, Kinh Le, Queen Duong Van Nga who in turn got married both of the kings, and the princes of the two dynasties Low Season (5th May - 31st August)Size of Group 1 2 3 4 - 5 6 - 7 8 pax upCost/pax (USD) 180 120 95 80 65 50High Season (1st Sep - 4th May)Size of Group 1 2 3 4 - 5 6 - 7 8 pax upCost/pax (USD) 198 132 105 88 72 55Tour type: PrivateDeparture: Every dayInclusive: Transportation (private car/mini van), Boat, Entrance fees, Speaking guide (English or French), LunchExclusive: Drinks, Insurance, Personal expenses, Tips

Tourism Malaysia amasses deeper marketing war chest

by S Puvaneswary @ TTG Asia

Tourism Malaysia will get a bigger budget this year to support the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign, which will see a string of promotional activities beginning this year. While Tourism Malaysia’s director-general Mirza Mohammad Taiyab is keeping mum on the budget figure, he told TTG Asia at ATF 2018 that the amount would be bigger […]

South Island Christmas Trip 2018

by wkusz @ Fodor's Forum

Hello! I'm just getting started planning a trip to the South Island over the Christmas/New Year's Holiday (Yes, I know - busiest time but is the...

Sapa Tours in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Sapa Tours
Sapa Trek & Bac Ha Sunday Market
Sapa Trek with Sunday Market Bac Ha - 3 daysSapa Trek with Sunday Market Bac HaThis 3-day 4-night tour is a wonderful offer from Footprint. Including not only trekking to the hidden villages and staying at their home, but also a visit to one of the most colorful tribal markets in Vietnam. Bac Ha is a rainbow of culture and local trading activities. Different tribes and villages all congregate here only on Sunday to do their business. Please schedule your departure from Hanoi on Thursday night so you too can participate in this renowned market...

Sapa Easy Trek - 3 days
Sapa Easy Trek tour - Vietnam trekkingThis is a perfect combination of trek and culture while visiting the hill tribes’ villages at a pace and style that compliments you. Journey away from the crowds and homestay a traditional Dao home. Learn and participate in village life and truly feel the warmth and hospitality of these incredible people. This is an unforgettable soft adventure to Sapa that should be part of everyone’s time in Vietnam, yet probably only offered by Footprint.
Sapa is a special place with an energy like no other. Take advantage of the secret spots we take you to, and make this an adventure you will never forget. This is the way travel truly should be...

Conquer the top of Mt. Fansipan - 4 days
Fansipan Sapa adventure trek in VietnamSapa is a beautiful former French hill-station. At an altitude of 1,650 m Sapa boasts warm days and cool evenings and all day fresh air. Nowadays, Sapa has become a favorite destination due to its inspiring scenery of mounatin ranges and terraced valley floors dotted with small ethnic villages. Sapa is home to several of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, each with their own distinctive dress, customs and dialects making it a colorful mosaic of culture.
Sapa is also renowned for its trekking. With South East Asia's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan (3,143 m) providing the perfect backdrop for some great trekking routes. This 3 day trek with outdoor camping offers all of the challenges and rewards of any hike. And, at the summit you be one of the few to have reached up and touched the clouds marking the roof of Indochina...

Sapa Moderate Trek - 4 daysSapa Moderate Trek Tour - trekking in VietnamCombing a mix of adventure and culture in this multi-day trek suites those who have a little extra time, are willing to get a little dirty, and want to explore . We will travel South of Sapa along the inspiring Muong Hoa valley and mountain streams, visiting villages of Hmong, Zay, Dao and Tay ethnic minorities.
Sources: Sapa Tours
http://www.footprintsvietnam.com/Tours/Sapa/

This trek can be difficult at times but is worth the effort as you will be taken off the beaten path, away from the crowds, and into the unspoiled Vietnam. Visit and stay with a Zay and Tay family and learn about village life. We promise that this trip will be unforgettable, educational, rewarding with a healthy dose of fun...

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training » Training

Vietnam, an area of 2,095m2 and a population of 8 million people – what an incredible place to visit. I spent one week in Vietnam doing training for Exotissimo Vietnam.  Working with a great group of tour managers (from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) who are responsible for looking after tourists that visit this amazing country.... Read more »

The post Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

A congratulations is in order again

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training

We have reached that time again whereby we have to congratulate yet another batch of our learners.    The ETDP Seta came and carried out their verification visit and all our learners were found competent.  For anybody that would like to work on enhancing their skills, give us a call 082 5989 083 or drop... Read more »

The post A congratulations is in order again appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Exotissimo World Travel

Exotissimo World Travel


TNH

Domestic and International Travel Services for Expats and Vietnamese. Official agent for Club Med resorts, and for Renault and Peugeot TT cars in Europe.1 main Travel Agency (26, Tran Nhat Duat Street), 1 branch Agency (9 Xuan Dieu open Monday to Saturday from 09h till 18h.3 Travel Desks at Hilton, Intercontinental and Sofitel Plaza open from 08h till 20h daily, week-ends and holidays included!

Vietnam Travel Information

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Vietnam Information Most visitors to Vietnam are overwhelmed by the sublime beauty of the country's natural setting: the Red River Delta in the north, the Mekong Delta in the south and almost the entire coastal strip are a patchwork of brilliant green rice paddies tended by women in conical hats.There are some divine beaches along the coast, while inland there are soaring mountains, some of which are cloaked by dense, misty forests. Vietnam also offers an opportunity to see a country of traditional charm and rare beauty rapidly opening up to the outside world.href=http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/vietnam/
Vietnam Travel Vietnam ToursAs a local tour operator, Footprint can take you on a custom-made tour to destinations throughout Vietnam. From small group tours of historical Vietnam; to eco-adventures in Halong Bay; to cultural community-based tourism products in Ha Giang.We have been a Vietnam ambassador to thousands of travelers Worldwide, we pride ourselves as being your guide to experiencing the real Vietnam at your own pace and stylehttp://www.footprintsvietnam.com
Tong cuc Du lich Viet Nam - Vietnam National Administration of TourismOfficial Website of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, includes information about Vietnam people and country and tourism.www.vietnamtourism.com
Wikipedia VietnamVietnam was under Chinese control for a thousand years before becoming a nation-state in the 10th century. Successive dynasties flourished along with.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam

Sahara Desert Tour/Trek & Marrakech in early Sept.

by artyguy @ Fodor's Forum

A good friend of mine is hosting me in Marrakech for two weeks (early September)and thinking I'd like to check/photograph the Kasbahs, get a glimpse...

Ostia Antica if we're also going to Pompeii and Herculaneum?

by PegS @ Fodor's Forum

Whee! My first actual thread in the new Fodor's format. :) So we're planning a fall trip with about 6 days in Naples and then 6 days in Rome. I'm...

Vietnam tour 8 days 7 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Viet Fun Travel designed Vietnam tour 8 days 7 nights for you to discover around our beautiful and friendly country. With many unforgettable destinations, we believe that you will have many enjoyable moments!


Read more »

Cyclo Hanoi City Tour

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

8.00 am transfer by car to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, One pillar pagoda, Tran Quoc pagoda. After lunch, visit to Ethenology Museum, Temple of Literature. Wandering around Hoan Kiem lake then visit Ngoc Son Temple and enjoy one hour cyclo trip around the trading area in Hanoi Old Quarter. Tour end about 16.30 pm.Hanoi Cyclo TourCyclo TourType of tour: Private Departure: Every day, Except Monday (due to close of Mausoleum & Museum) Low Season (5th May - 31st August)Size of Group 1 2 3 4 - 5 6 - 7 8 pax upCost/pax (USD) 59 40 35 28 25 22High Season (1st Sep - 4th May)Size of Group 1 2 3 4 - 5 6 - 7 8 pax upCost/pax (USD) 65 44 40 31 28 25Inclusive: Transportation (cyclo, private car/mini van), Entrance fees, Speaking guide (English or French), LunchExclusive: Drinks, Insurance, Personal expenses, Tips

Brief Halong Bay 1 Day tours, Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

Depart at 8.00am at your hotel (in Hanoi). Drive directly to Ha Long city. Arrive at Ha long about 11.30am. Getting on boat at a private junk. While the junk cruising caves, grottoes, floating villages and beaches on Ha Long bay, having fresh seafood lunch on boat. Stop for a while visiting to Surprise Caves, en route. Finish the cruise about 15.30pm. Drive back to Hanoi, tour end at your hotel about at 19.00pm.Low Season (5th May - 31st August)Group 1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 - 5 pax 6 - 7 pax 8 - 12 paxCost/pax (US$) 145 90 75 60 50 45High Season (1st Sep - 4th May)Group 1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 - 5 pax 6 - 7 pax 8 - 12 paxCost/pax (US$) 159 99 83 66 55 50Type of tour: Private tour, Easy styleDeparture: Every dayInclusive: Private car/mini van, Private boat - min. 4 hour cruise, Entrance fees, English or French speaking guide, Sea food lunch with one non-alcohol bottle, coffee/tea after lunch, fruitExclusive: Drinks, Insurance, Personal expenses, TipPacking list: Passport, insect repellent, proper shoes

Sahara Desert Tour/Trek & Marrakech in early Sept.

by artyguy @ Fodor's Forum

A good friend of mine is hosting me in Marrakech for two weeks (early September)and thinking I'd like to check/photograph the Kasbahs, get a glimpse...

Cambodia

by noreply@blogger.com (y5s0q8de) @ Exotissimo Vietnam Tours

We arrived in Phnom Penh on 2 April and set out for a bit of sightseeing. First stop was the Tuol Sleng Museum (former Khmer Rouge/Pol Pot prison). It was pretty horrific - the cells were tiny, there were shackles and various tortune items in the cells. There were rooms with photos of the prisoners - many were women and children. Out of the 20,000 prisoners only 7 survived.We then went to the Killing Fields which was full of dug up mass graves. There was a very eerie feel to the place as we wandered around. We left there feeling very depressed, it was a very harrowing experience.We spent 2 days in Phnom Penh before heading to Siem Reap. There we spent a whole day going round Angkor Wat which is the largest and most famous Wat in South East Asia. It was pretty amazing, the architecture was stunning. It took us 1.5 hours to get round that one Wat. We visited 5 other temples in the area including the one where Tomb Raider was filmed, that was pretty cool. It had massive trees with roots you could stand in, some trees were growing on top of the temple ruins.It was hard work walking about all day in the heat, it is the hottest country we have been in so far. We rewarded ourselves with several $0.60 beers after that!We went to a wacky bar called the dead fish tower, it had loads of pockets of tables located on staggered floors, almost like suspended platforms at various heights - with no particians or walls! After a few beers that could be very dodgy, 1 too many and you could easily plummet to the ground into the crocodile farm (seriously real huge crocs!)A common theme in both Vietnam and Cambodia is the women and kids often go around in their pyjamas, they go to the supermarket, serve in their shops, have drinks all in their jammies! How great would that be, roll out of bed and go to work withour having to get dressed!Spent 5 days in Cambodia altogether. Next stop is to the Islands of Thailand for a month, heading to Koh Chang first.

Vietnam 2 day tours

Vietnam 2 day tours

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

Vietnam 2 day tours is one of the hottest best selling tours, suitable for your time and relaxation before getting back to work.

  • Start from Hanoi up to the northwest, Sapa Trekking tour through the hills and valleys, immersing yourself in the H’mong and the Dzay tribal life, feeling their cultures with the extensive rice paddy fields… 
Read more »

Vietnam win semifinal against Qatar in AFC U23 Championship

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

>>> Vietnam win thrilling penalty shootout against Qatar to reach final Let’s look at several moments from Vietnam’s dramatic win at Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre on Tuesday evening. Akram Hassan Afif of Qatar shoots during the semifinal. Vietnamese and Qatari players head for the ball. Almoez Ali of Qatar vies with Pham Xuan Manh of […]

Land of the Dragon

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

I am in Nanning, roughly three hours from the vietnam border, waiting patiently for my visa. the Vietmanese consulate is closed today and there isn't a whole lot to do here, so i am killing time in the chinese internet cafe. let me tell you a little about these cafes, i can't decide if they are totally rad or kind of creepy. Its a whole floor, maybe 4,000 sqare feet - no lie. Hundreds of computers and little chinese faces glued to the pale comfort of the glowing screen. They play games, they myspace, they talk to eachother online - for HOURS! and they smoke and drink pepsi. Actually, this isn't too different from working in cubicle-ville in the states - minus the chinese and the indoor cigarette smoke. God, i think i will have to replace a lung. But whatev.Met my very first solo female american traveller in Yangshuo, we hiked, we laughed, we talked in our dorm beds until late, it reminded me of college - but less beer this go round :) AND she lives in Colorado! how cool is that! Very. It was nice to have a friend.It seems like as i walk around i think of so many things to write about. It is an overstimulation of the senses, but sometimes when i sit to record it - i forget. The political, economic, and cultural climate is completely facinating. It is a little sad to me that i will be leaving china. but i am ready to be in a new country and ready for some beach time! China wasn't what i thought it would be. i don't know what i thought it would be. It is the land of the dragon - fierce, endless, and scaly :)China has taught me to be grateful. To remember as well as to forget. I am grateful for the lives we lead in the US. Grateful that we love - and can choose whom we love. Did you know, if you are reported to the authorities in some parts of china for being gay, you can go to jail. JAIL. You can go to jail for owning a picture of the Dali Lama. You can be sentenced to house arrest for being a Christian. You can be haggled by the mafia AND the politicians because you are in an inter racial relationship. I am not naive, i know terrible prejudices happen in the US as well. But, we are SO very lucky. So so so so lucky.

Halong and Hanoi Discovery Tour: culture vacation by Exotissimo Travei - TravelDragon

Halong and Hanoi Discovery Tour: culture vacation by Exotissimo Travei - TravelDragon


TravelDragon

Experience the contrasts of Northern Vietnam from the charming chaos of Hanoi to the relaxing... Avail. Year-round. Operator: Exotissimo Travei.

Vietnam tour 7 days 6 nights

Vietnam tour 7 days 6 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

If you are looking for suggestions to travel around and relax before getting back to work, 7 days off in your hand and finding hard to plan the trip, Viet Fun Travel will help you to do.

Discover the Southern Vietnam
Read more »

Shopping in Vietnam

by noreply@blogger.com (ju1abwey) @ Exotissimo Vietnam

Vietnam has some fantastic shopping opportunities, so it’s well worth setting aside half a day or so to properly peruse. Hotspots include Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, each of which has a temping selection of everything from avant-garde art to sumptuous silk suits.
Some of the best buys are as following:
Vietnamese Art & AntiquesThere are several shops to hunt for art and antiques. Both traditional and modern paintings are a popular item. More sophisticated works are displayed in art galleries, while cheaper mass-produced stuff is touted in souvenir shops and by street vendors. A Vietnamese speciality is the “instant antique”, such as a teapot or ceramic dinner plate, with a price tag of around US$2.
As Vietnam has strict regulations on the export of real antiques, be sure the items are allowed out of the country. Most reputable shops can provide the necessary paperwork.
Vietnamese ClothingVietnam is emerging as a regional design center and there are some extravagant creations in the boutiques of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Ao dai, the national dress for Vietnamese women, is a popular item to take home. Ready-made ao dai costs from US$ 10 to US$20, but custom numbers can cost a lot more. There are ao dai tailors nationwide, but those in the tourists centers are more familiar with foreigners.
Hill-tribe gear is winding its way to shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It’s brightly patterned stuff, but you may need to set the dyes yourself so those colours don’t bleed all over the rest of your clothes.
T-shirts are ever popular items with travellers, cost from US$1 to US$4.
Non (conical hats) are favorite items for women in both rainy and sunny times. The best quality ones can be found in the Hue’s area.
Vietnamese HandicraftsHot items on the tourist market include lacquerware, boxes and wooden screens with mother-of-pearl inlay, ceramics, colourful embroidery, silk greeting cards, wood-block prints, oil paintings, watercolours, blinds made of hanging bamboo beads, reed mats, carpets, jewellery and leatherwork.
War SouvenirsIt’s easy to by what looks like equipment left over from the American War, but almost all of these items are reproductions and your chances of finding anything original are slim. The fake Zippo lighters engraved with platoon philosophy are still one of the hottest-selling items.
TIP: BargainingBargaining should be good-natured, smile and don’t get angry or argue. Once the money is accepted, the deal is done. Remember that in Asia, “saving face” is very important. In some cases you will be able to get a 50% discount or more, at other times this may only be 10%.

Morocco phone/ sim

by princepinkerton @ Fodor's Forum

i purchased an android phone here in Canada with no phone plan,etc, to use exclusively for travel purposes. My next trip is to Morocco and I was...

EXO Travel Bangkok

by Celeste Jacobs @ Tourism & Hospitality Training » Training

This has been a whirlwind trip, but so good to see some people i have met before.  I have had the privilege of returning to Bangkok (i was here in February) and this time i was doing training for Titan Travel.  I am always great full for all these opportunities that i am given.  We... Read more »

The post EXO Travel Bangkok appeared first on Tourism & Hospitality Training.

Vietnam tour 3 days 2 nights

Vietnam tour 3 days 2 nights

by noreply@blogger.com (Viet Fun Travel) @ Vietnam Tours 2014 - Viet Fun Travel

3 days 2 nights tour is a great opportunity for you to gain more experiences about the beauty of the Mother Earth, local people and culture from multiple areas in Vietnam. With many flexible options and routes for you to choose, Viet Fun Travel willing to be a friendly company on your holiday trip.
Read more »

Exotissimo – East Asia DMC presents new incentive ideas and tours for corporate event planning!

Exotissimo – East Asia DMC presents new incentive ideas and tours for corporate event planning!


Uniqueworld

Vietnam NEW TOUR: Art tour of Ho Chi Minh City Be inspired by Saigon’s lively art scene. NEW TOUR: Half Day Hoi An Cooking Class at Morning Glory Professional chef serves up a range of Vietna…

Cambodia has no political prisoners, but politicians with criminal records: PM

by noreply@blogger.com (jeyjomnou) @ ANGKORCIVILIZATION

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly said Friday that the country has "no political prisoners, but politicians with criminal offences."

His remarks were made after the opposition party and human rights activists repeatedly appealed to the government to release political prisoners.

U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed the need for Cambodia to release political prisoners during a bilateral meeting with Hun Sen on Monday while he visited Cambodia to attend a series of the Summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). .

 Obama highlighted, for instance, one case of a radio broadcaster Mam Sonando who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

"Cambodia has no political prisoners, but politicians with criminal acts," Hun Sen said Friday during a ceremony to deliver land titles to residents in Preah Vihear province.

"They want me to intervene, but they allege that I control judicial system, so if I intervene to release prisoners, it means that I influence the judicial system," he said.

"The judicial system is independent, I cannot intervene," the premier said. "You committed criminal acts, you must be jailed."

Besides Mam Sonando's case, Cambodian court sentenced self- exiled Sam Rainsy, leader of the country's main opposition party, to 11 years in jail in absentia for two counts -- publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam and accusing Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong of being a member of the Democratic Kampuchea, or known as Khmer Rouge regime.

In addition, the court has jailed a handful of people involved in land protests or illegal land possession.

Opposition and human rights activists called the imprisonments "a political motivation."

Hun Sen warned that people in land disputes should not seek interventions from politicians or non-governmental organizations or he would not solve the issues for them. .

​Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News — January 24

by robert @ Talk Vietnam

Check out what is in the news today Politics — Vietnamese defense minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu agreed to beef up ties in national defense during the latter’s two-day visit to the Southeast Asian nation, which wrapped up today, January 24.   Society — Border guards in the southernmost province […]

Tours and Excursions for RTW Travel

Tours and Excursions for RTW Travel


AirTreks

Looking for a guided experience on the ground? Check out the providers we trust when we want to take tours and excursions at destinations around the world.

About - Contact - Privacy Policy - Terms of Service - Back of the Bike Tours