Wednesday, April 6, 2016

10 Adventures in Laos

If you aren’t interested in familiar and much touristy spots like Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, let take 10 itineraries following to immerse in wild nature and enjoy peace.

1. Kayak in Si Phan Don

Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands) is surely a promising spot for kayaking thanks to the calm and gentle course, majestic natural scenery and beautiful villages along the Mekong river. This bunch of islands lies on the mighty Mekong River, includes superb Khone waterfall and a chain of reef that paralyze navigation of any boats. Threatened Irrawaddy dolphins can be found at the basin of the fall. Among islands, Don Det, Don Khone and Don Khong are largest, where focus rustic rest houses perfect for an escape from noise and bustling.  

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2. Discover ancient Khmer relics

If you are keen on Tomb Raider movie shot at Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia, or Indiana Jones adventure franchise, sure you will be excited when reaching Champasak province to explore vestiges of ancient Khmer temples dated the 11th to the 13th century and used to be a part of Angkor Empire. Wat Phou complex of shrines and palace isn't as large as Angkor, but it is quite deserted, silent and extremely occult with cluttered rubble, swamps, crocodiles crawl higgledy-piggledy and broken trunks. This construction was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

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3. Zipline through jungle

Zipline is definitely suited for daring travelers. At Bokeo nature reserve in northern Laos, flying over the old jungle and the valley on a 500m-high cable and it’s able to enjoy freedom among a vast, green space. This jungle also offers chances to sleep in tree-houses and observe endangered black-cheeked gibbons once in a lifetime. It is even home to many other rare species such as elephant, bear, tiger, water-buffalo and various birds. 

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4. Climb karst mountains in Nong Khiaw

Climbing mountains in Nong Khiaw, the area on the bank of Ou river in the northern country, has been permitted since 2002. After defeating the craggy karst peaks, climbers can have panoramic view to primitive and tranquil landscapes of imposing mountains and streams. 

For ones adore caving, let explore Pha Tok cave located 2km from the backward but serene Nong Khiaw village. It used to be the refuse of the locals during the Indochina Wars.

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Photo: worldtour-outdoorexperience.com

5. Row boat over a limestone cave

Tham Kong Lo cave is obviously a star in Laos travel. Situated in the heart of the wildest area in the country – Phu Hin Bin national park of Khammouane Province, this limestone cave stretches 7km, with some its parts are 91m high, and features a pure beauty of the green river and miraculous stalactites inside. It has a reputation of one of Southeast Asia’s greatest geological wonders.

A green, precious lake in the cave is deified by the natives as they suppose that the water surface reflects the skin color of Indra, a deity in Hindu culture. No one reaching Tham Kong Lo is without an incredible boat trip through this spiritual cave.

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6. Trek through jungles in “the land of hundreds of waterfalls”

As the name it is, the northern Laos owns many hundreds of small and big waterfalls pouring down like white silk pieces. With a trek through Nong Khiaw jungle, travelers can stop at peaceful Nong Khiaw village adjacent waterfalls.

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7. Explore Vieng Xai caves – where thousands hid from American bombs

This gigantic system of caves is one of the most important historic relics in Laos. In the war, over 2,000 people took refuge here to avoid bombards. Laotian people established sufficient infrastructure inside the cave, with bedrooms, offices, hospitals, elephant enclose, bakery, a market, a theatre, a printing press and even a bank.

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8. Learn to become a mahout

Riding elephants through jungles is a diffused activities in Laos. However, it’s more impressive if you can join in a mahout course training how to control an elephant. This class is hold at elephant camps around the famous city Luang Prabang. >> See Luang Prabang adventure

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9. Discover the country by bicycle

Laos is an amazing place for ones indulge in exploring new regions on two wheels. Cycling is the best way to sightsee scenery along the ways, talk with locals, and especially find out authentic things, exotic things, or less-known things that you may be hard to see if on a car or bus.

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10. Trek in Phongsali and encounter exotic tribes

One of most fascinating treks in Laos is to Phongsali, the northernmost province sharing its same border with China. Sited high on a small ridge-top plateau, this destination offers breathtaking panoramic views and a cool climate that can swing from pleasantly warm to downright cold in a matter of hours. Enjoying a trek in the surrounding hills, it’s easy to encounter ethnic groups with diverse and unique cultures.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Top Trails for Vietnam Discovery in 2016

So surprise when seeing stunning photos taken along trails stretching on this S-shaped country. Once riding through breathtaking, rustic, untouched but imposing regions in Vietnam, it will be the most memorable experience in life.

Here are the 16 best trails for Vietnam discovery in 2016. What makes you hesitate? Let snatch a motorbike and ride your own world. 

#1: Da Nang – Lang Co

Once set foot on Da Nang, don’t skip motorcycling on the trail Da Nang – Lang Co, just only 30km in length but splendidly beautiful. Its southern part features Hai Van pass – the highest and most imposing pass in Vietnam, while its northern part is Phu Gia pass appearing intermittently. Under Hai Van pass, it is Lang Co bay with fine, white sandy beaches stretch and interfuse with ultramarine water that makes anyone also love the bay right in first sight.

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Hai Van pass

#2: Saigon – Ca Mau

Crushing this route, it is just the way to conquer the southernmost point of the country. Atmosphere and landscapes dominating this trail are imbued in essence of the South, with boundless rice paddies, wooden bridges and bamboo monkey bridges span over opaquely alluvial canals, and orchards laden with fruits.

>> Recommended journey: Mekong delta exploring on bike

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Long An mangrove forest

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Ben Tre

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Ca Mau - the southernmost point

#3: Hanoi – Moc Chau – Ta Xua – Bac Yen

For ones who love coping with demanding challenges, it will be a pity if skipping this route, which leads to peacefully limitless flower grounds, and real heavens where sky and the earth blend into one… Let take an expedition to Pha Luong summit – the roof of Moc Chau plateau, or vanquish renowned spots like Kem slope, Cun slope and Thung Khe pass.

>> Ready to conquer: 
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Pha Luong peak - Moc Chau

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Moc Chau in seasons of flowers

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Ta Xua

#4: Hanoi – Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai 

With this trail, surmounting Khau Pha pass, the over-30-km pass rated as one of the four greatest passes in the North Vietnam, is a must. After crossing over ethereal fog covering Khau Pha, a majestic view will unfold with forests and mountains linking to picturesque rice terraces and tranquil villages of ethnic tribes.

>> Ride your world: Motorcycling west to east northern Vietnam

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 Khau Pha pass

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Mu Cang Chai

#5: Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu – A Pa Chai

Ideal time to ride on this trail is on the dry season from November to April. Eager more as it takes to meaningful place-names like the westernmost point of the country - A Pa Chai, one of the four greatest passes in the North namely Pha Din pass and the historical Command bunker of General De Castries.

>> For something unknown: Motorcycling on historical trail of North West

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Pha Din pass

#6: Hanoi – Hai Hau

A mere 2 days on a weekend for the trip Hanoi - Hai Hau will be truly worthy. With a distance of barely 120km, this trail soon become a famous “night stormy” route. What is awaited more than welcoming first sunlight of dawn beaming down Hai Ly ruined cathedral (in Hai Hau) and admiring Phu Nhai church - the largest church in Southeast Asia in a quiet morning.

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#7: Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hoang Su Phi

This is one of “mecca” routes to the native backpackers as well as adventurous travelers and trekking lovers, with Vietnam's the hot hub of trekking - Sapa. If just reaching here once, it’s impossible to discover all various landscapes spectacular in an amazing way, from superb, towering Mount Fansipan – the roof of Indochina, O Quy Ho pass – the king pass among the four greatest passes in the North, to Vietnam's the recent snow heaven – Sapa, and Hoang Su Phi - land of alluring terraced fields.

>> Let travel: Conquer Vietnam north pole

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 Mount Fansipan

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 O Quy Ho pass

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Hoang Su Phi

#8: Quan Ba - Yen Minh – Lung Cu – Dong Van – Meo Vac – Ha Giang city

Have you ever heard largest buckwheat fields in Vietnam spreading fabulously on the rock plateau, do you expect to conquer Lung Cu flag pole – the northernmost point of the country, or simply contemplate dreamy pine hills in Yen Minh and glide on meandering roads? If so, you will not be able to resist “charm” of this inspiring route.

>> Discover Vietnam's hidden Himalayas: Complete trekking in Ha Giang province

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#9: Hanoi – Tam Dao

Another wonderful trail for a weekend trip if departing from Hanoi, Hanoi – Tam Dao. Just nearly 2 hours motorcycling, you will be lost in a white cloudy paradise.

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#10: Hanoi – Nghia Dan

From November to the end of the year, Nghia Dan (in Nghe An province) will be mightily magnificent by vastest sunflower fields in Vietnam. This trip is also exciting with a visit to Kim Lien village, where Ho Chi Minh president was born and grew, and roaming on Mombasa grass fields, corn fields and farms of milk cows.

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#11: Saigon – Dalat

After overcoming 107 sudden turns in Bao Loc pass, let your mind find to the cherry blossom road, the less-known marvelous maple forest and weird house blocks Paris in style settled right in Vietnam, or feel the gentle cold, breezes pervaded pine scent of highland, and creep of long-abandoned ghost villas.

>> Ride now: Mountain biking in Dalat

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#12: Saigon – Binh Thuan – Lam Dong – Dong Nai

This trail offers diverse experiences: beating exactingly mountainous parts of Gia Bac pass on way to Di Linh, sinking into sea in Phan Thiet, admiring romantic landscapes in Dalat, turning urgently on Bao Loc pass, and sliding through green forests in Nam Cat Tien.

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Binh Thuan

#13: Saigon – Nha Trang

Shifting along coastal roads, it is a chance to get into eyesight completely ravishing scenery of sea and serene sandy beaches along the roads. Not only attractive views, abundantly fresh and inexpensive seafood for free enjoying certainly please even gourmets that nowhere is better.

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Nha Trang

#14: Saigon – Pleiku

Tasting tremble but being thrilling when crossing over the “death pass" Phuong Hoang. Dramatic mountainous landscapes and very special, very plain beauty of hamlets will make anyone also deeply attached and not want to leave.

>>  Head to Vietnam Central Highland: http://goo.gl/15s6Ee

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Phuong Hoang pass

#15: Sai Gon – Binh Dinh

This trail will receive travelers with acutely green sight of rice fields and orchards along Di Linh district, and pretty sea in Quy Nhon, where the famous Vietnamese poet Han Mac Tu rested in peace. On this journey, let stop a little to look over immense Thi Nai lagoon, where the longest sea bridge in Vietnam spans over, and savor safe and sound minutes as looking sea and mountains in Eo Gio (Wind Channel). All are deserved to get.

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Eo gio (Wind channel)

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Thi Nai bridge 

#16: Ta Nang – Phan Dung

It’s not untruthful to say Ta Nang – Phan Dung is the most beautiful trekking trail in Vietnam. With a length to even 55km, it stretches over three provinces of Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. The trail bring trekkers varied challenges: walking inside forests, climbing passes and hills, and wadding over streams. However, the present received is absolutely worthy thanks to green scenery beyond eye-view of grass and trees, brilliant sunshine, and tortuous paths. All seemingly lead hikers to an endless paradise.

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Vietnamese source: Tri thức trẻ