Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ready for Active Travel Indochina – Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

What could be a great option for someone have retired like you, who'd like to try something different, something more fun and exciting maybe? How about going for an active travel experience?
"Boy, when I retire, all I'm going to do is lie around in a hammock all day" – this is probably what you have said and thought about all these years while working your way through life, but now that you have retired or planning to retire, do you really find the concept that satisfying? The answer could be no.

So what could be a great option for someone like you, who'd like to try something different, something more fun and exciting maybe? How about going for an active travel experience?

Traveling in Twilight

Whoever said you need to be an on-the-go person to sign up for an active vacation after retirement could not have been more mistaken. From adventurous kayaking in Halong Bay or historical trips on Ho Chi Minh Trail and Angkor Wat explorer- there is something for everyone out there
Just that you may need to hit your nearby gym at least twice a week, or ask your yoga teacher for classes immediately.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Here are some more options to help you plan a perfect active travel vacation:

- Fitness boot camps in Luang prabang, Lao or Ha Giang, Vietnam
- Golf vacations in Vietnam & Cambodia
- Kayaking in World Heritage sites such as Halong and Nha Trang bay, Vietnam
- Cycling trips through the countryside in Mekong Delta or Hoi An of Vietnam, Luang Prabang of Laos or Angkor Wat of Cambodia
- Hiking vacations on the top of Fanispan Mountain, Vietnam
- Walking tours of various World Heritage or historic sites of the world like Angkor Wat of Cambodia
- Museum trips in Hanoi, Capital of Vietnamand especially in Phnom Penh of Cambodia
Trek Fansipan Mt, Vietnam
Trek Fansipan Mt, Vietnam
Travel Agencies

Travel experts prefer classifying adventure tourism in two categories- "soft" or "hard" (also called "gentle" or "demanding"); but don't get caught up in these jargons. Make up your mind as to whether you would like to go kayaking, mountain climbing, biking, motorcycling or would you prefer enjoying the blue ocean in an obscure island in Phu Quoc, Vietnam.

Once you've made your choice, you can begin your research by browsing through websites and on-line travel agencies that will help you pick the right tour package.
Here are some of the names you might find handy

Walking the World
50plus Expeditions
Seniors Go Travel
Forty Plus Adventure
ActiveTravel Asia is one of names that has been organized more adventure trips for American Veterans travel to Vietnam war in the past from 2006. From motorcycling tours on Ho Chi Minh Trail to trekking trips in some ethnic villages of Sapa, Vietnam, they offer tour packages in Indochina.

Ready to Leave?

Here are some tips to help you organize your trip:
Confirm the legitimacy of your travel agency with associations like-American Society Of Travel Agents (ASTA) and United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)
Check if they can customize your tour per your requirements
Find out whether your budget covers all the expenses
Remember to carry your travel and health insurance papers with the other entire document

A Few Words on Outdoor Safety

Find out as much as you can about the place you are traveling to Carry things like waterproof reflective survival blanket, Global Positioning System (GPS) units and mobile phones Check if your medical kit is well stocked with all the necessary drugs and first-aid supplies
For more tips on how to stay fit on the move, you can browse through the TravMed website

Be a Fit and Healthy Globe Trotter

There is nothing like traveling with an agile body and mind. To ensure this:
Eat healthy and drink plenty of water
Carry ginger pills to abate motion sickness
Stop and stretch every alternative hour while driving for long hours

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vietnamese Tour Companies support Eco and Responsible Travel in Vietnam & Indochina

Eco and Responsible travel now are the way of traveling while respecting and benefiting local environment, cultures, practices and economy. It also highlights significant elements of how to improve standard of living for ethnic poor communities, educate local people to protect the environment, help in reducing carbon emission, and helping nature by planting trees, protecting endangered animals.

Besides that responsible tourism can also include efforts to help humanity by giving to the people in need, by volunteering time and knowledge, treat them or take care of their special needs.

Eco Travel in Vietnam

A group of companies that have founded responsible travel club in Vietnam ( and Indochina include ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA( ). They co-operated with NGO’s such as SNV (Netherlands Development Organization) and Caritas Switzerland and created their products which are included the activities that not only give travelers the chance to discover the destinations in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, but show them who to improve local standard of living and protect the environment while their travels.

Some of the ATA tours are, Ha Giang Tour or Adventure in Northern Vietnam: An Eco-experience. The former is a 14 days, 10 nights tour which combines sightseeing with visits to local communities and ethnic cultural villages. During this tour you will be using motorbikes en route. During the tour the travelers will stop at some villages and learn how NGOs are helping in preserving the Vietnam culture and heritage and how travelers can contribute towards it.

Travelers also get to explore the local culture as part of responsible travel through cultural ceremonies. ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA and Caritas expect to educate ethnic communities in Quang Ba, Ha Giang how to accommodate travelers and protect travel resources. Children in Ha Giang do not have the much resources to educate themselves and this helps in giving them some form assistance to get educated and also make you feel good about your contribution to these children.

The above is just one of the ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA Responsible Travel products. There are several others which are coming soon in 2011 include countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos .

Friday, November 19, 2010

Angkor Tops List of 'Most Recommended' World Heritage Sites


A recent UNESCO / Trip advisor Survey reveals Angkor is the most recommended World Heritage site by a quarter millions travellers worldwide and that 72% would do more to help heritage conservation if they knew how.

Cambodia tours

TripAdvisor revealed the results to date of the biggest analysis ever conducted of UNESCO's World Heritage sites around the world.

The two year partnership between TripAdvisor, and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre launched in October 2009 to raise awareness of and gain travellers' support to preserve natural and cultural sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Within the partnership, TripAdvisor will also donate up to $1.5 million (USD) of support to the World Heritage Centre to help monitor the conservation of the world's most important cultural and historic sites.

Via on-site and email campaigns, TripAdvisor has, to date, collected nearly a quarter of a million (244,690) feedback submissions from travellers who have visited 789 of UNESCO's recently expanded list of 911 World Heritage sites. The results provide a unique insight into the views and recommendations of travellers themselves. As part of the partnership, TripAdvisor shares the feedback to the World Heritage Centre so that it may better engage UNESCO member states in matters of site conservation.

TripAdvisor travellers have given the nod to Angkor, Cambodia as the number one recommended UNESCO site to visit in the world, describing it as amongst other quotes, "Absolutely breathtaking" and "One of the wonders of the world." The second and third most recommended World Heritage sites are both in Italy and are respectively the Historic Center of Rome, the properties of the Holy See, and the Historic Centre of Florence.

The TripAdvisor travellers' feedback also highlights those World Heritage sites they consider need the most attention. At the top of UNESCO's sites in 'Worst Condition' comes the Kasbah of Algiers in Algeria, described as a "crumbling site". The site includes remains of old mosques, Ottoman-style palaces and traditional urban structures.

Because countries often hope to draw additional tourism following the inscription of their sites onto the WH List, traveller feedback from TripAdvisor can help them address some of the issues raised and improve tourism to their sites.

TripAdvisor is encouraging the contribution of reviews and opinions from its large and passionate community of millions of members to provide much needed information about the condition of World Heritage sites so they may be better protected. In order to compile traveler feedback on nearly 900 World Heritage sites across the globe, UNESCO's World Heritage Centre invited TripAdvisor, via its millions of members and technological expertise, to provide traveler insights and support to the Centre.

As part of the two-year campaign, TripAdvisor has also pledged to donate up to $1.5 million U.S. of support, including a cash donation that will be allocated to UNESCO World Heritage initiatives. Travelers can learn more about how to help at

According to TripAdvisor travellers, the "Top Ten" most recommended sites are:

2). Historic Center of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See, Italy

3). Historic Center of Florence, Italy

4). Historic Areas of Istanbul, Turkey

5). Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, Scotland

6). Historic Center of Prague, Czech Republic

7). Venice and its Lagoon, Venezia, Italy

8). Works of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona, Spain

9). Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Cathedral,

London, England

10). Historic Center of Vienna, Austria

Monday, November 15, 2010

Explore Vietnam Adventure Tours with Active Travel Vietnam

Vietnam is an astonishing amalgamation of diverse culture, natural beauty and captivating historical events. All these combined together makes Vietnam a perfect tourist destination.

Vietnam … intriguing history and mesmerizing culture!!!

Vietnam is an astonishing amalgamation of diverse culture, natural beauty and captivating historical events. All these combined together makes Vietnam a perfect tourist destination. A tour to Vietnam is desirable by all age group with varying interests and liking. Bestowed with a never ending coastline of 3200kms, Vietnam is full of scenic beauty and cultural feasts.

Floating Market, VietnamFloating Market, Vietnam

An expedition from “Rice Bowl” in Mekong Delta to the hustle bustle of Vietnam’s happening city Ho Chi Minh prior to heading the eye catching beaches of Nha Trang, Ca Na and Ninh Chu captivates you with the unexploited beauty of this country.

You have an extensive option of booking a tour to Vietnam through various tour operators. If you are an adventurous person then an adventure tour to Vietnam can certainly be quite fulfilling experience. On the other hand a beach vacation in Vietnam can be other most appealing option for tourists who love water and exploring beaches.

In the south of Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City which was formerly known as Saigon. It plays a huge role in captivating your imagination as a city of historical value and traditions. While exploring south of Vietnam the Cu Chi tunnel is must visit.

Hanoi, VietnamHanoi, Vietnam

In North the capital of VietnamHanoi is a prime destination for tourists. Embedded with diversified culture and European style the city is famous for its arts and lakes. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Halong Bay and the 36 street areas are some of the other most frequently visited spots in Vietnam.

There are several online Vietnam tour packages available for you to choose from. Exploring Vietnam can be quite an experience which may leave your senses filled with its natural beauty and places which are still untouched and unexplored.

Related adventure tours in Vietnam:

Northern Highlights
Taste of Ho Chi Minh Trail
Mekong Explorer

Monday, November 8, 2010

EMW suggests Five Favorite Vietnam Travel Websites

Travel sites abound on the web--and vary widely in focus, scope, and reliability. Here are five we've tried and liked.

Active Travel Vietnam
: This appealing, readable site promotes its adventure travel tours (biking, hiking, kayaking, motorcycling, etc.) but also provides plentiful, practical information on travel in Vietnam, focusing on outdoor excursions but including guides to cities, beaches, national parks and reserves; travel tips; culture and customs; and hotel listings.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Lonely Planet : Like the popular guidebooks, this travel site sets the standard for comprehensive, practical advice on traveling. Along with the expected travel tips, hotel recommendations, and “must sees,” the site provides a wealth of historical and cultural information not available on most other sites.

Reid On Travel : Vietnam This full free web guide created by veteran Lonely Planet author Robert Reid is packed with information on what to do and see in Vietnam. Reid’s observations are smart and funny and his “One-Day Planners” allow you to get the most out of a scant 24 hours in a city. Bills itself as “…the most in-depth, independently researched guidebook online for any destination.” Check it out and judge for yourself.

Trip Advisor : Features advices from real travelers, via reviews, blogs, and forums, on an exhaustive array of listings: flights, hotels, restaurants, cruises, recommended reading, and things to do, including cooking classes, tailors, museums, shopping, spas, ancient ruins, bird sanctuaries, caves, puppet theaters…the list goes on.

Virtual Tourist : Provides reviews, tips and photos posted by real travelers and Vietnam locals. Far from comprehensive, but engagingly idiosyncratic and likely to have something new to offer even the most jaded of travelers.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA hosted Australian Motorcycle Travel group in Vietnam in Oct 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) have hosted a group of Australian Motorcyclists to take the motorcycle trip in Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam. This trip started from Hanoi and finish in Hoi An, Quang Nam province in Oct 20, 2010.

With 7-day motorcycling tour in Ho Chi Minh trail in total 11 day trip from Hanoi to Hoi An, Quang Nam province, this motorcycling grading of tour is considered as Moderate to challenging by ATA.

The legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail was the supply line used by North Vietnam to link North and South Vietnam during the American War. Soldiers, ammunition, weapons and supplies were carried by hand, bicycle and truck for hundreds of kilometers through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that covered Vietnam’s mountainous border with Laos. A testimony to the ingenuity, fortitude and commitment of the northern Vietnamese, the trail slipped from use at the end of the war and was taken back by the jungle.

Recent road work that follows original sections of the trail has changed this. Besides incredible driving, deep in the Vietnamese countryside; this ride takes in the charming ancient trading town of Hoi An, Khe Sanh battle site and DMZ. Travelers also take time to stay overnight in a traditional Thai hill tribe and visit to some tribal villages on the way.

Australian motorcyclists is group of the 8 motorcyclists and love motorcycling trail especially on the historical trail during Vietnam War in the past by motorcycling.

Travel Tips
- Motorcycle travel tips: Vietnam motorcycle travel tips
- Motorcyle guide & trail:Ho Chi Minh trail & travel guide
- Motorcycle tours: Motorcycle tours in Vietnam

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting lost in Hanoi, Vietnam

October 31, 2010
By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer - Troy Media

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost amidst the Hanoi’s bustling streets and the countless mopeds and bicycles moving around.

But don’t get discouraged, even if you want to immediately hop on the nearest van and set off to the more tranquil and eerily beautiful Halong Bay. While not at first glance obvious, Hanoi has several attractions that are worth seeing and its charm will grow on you if you give it a chance. So, rather than escape the hubbub straight away, don’t be afraid to get lost in the city for a while: I guarantee you will enjoy what it has to offer.

Rich cultural heritage
Its modern developments may be completely devoid of beauty and allure but the charm of Hanoi’s rich cultural and historical heritage more than make up for it.

Check out the city’s Old Quarter and experience what it was like to live in the 13th century in this part of the world. Its narrow and winding roads were not simply ordinary thoroughfares; they are also representative of the social status of its residents. Merchants were grouped with merchants, carpenters with their fellow carpenters and sculptors with the other sculptors. Check out the street names and you will have a pretty good idea of the guild it was specially designated for.

Walk around the compact area and you will discover wonderful enclosed markets and ancient structures which now house charming cafes, boutiques and shops. Take a moment to notice how the shops are very narrow at the entrance but seem to go on and on in length. That is how merchants tried to escape taxes. But these shops are not just for show now: there is actually plenty of interesting and lovely merchandise for sale, from intricately designed jewellery to exquisite silk textiles to superb handicrafts among others.

Visit Ho Chi Minh
Walking south from the Old Quarter you will soon discover the laid-back calm of Hoan Kiem Lake which is right at the nucleus of the city centre. This is a perfect place to get your bearing while you enjoy the picturesque view of the placid waters and lakeside atmosphere.

For a bit of history, visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. His remains are encased in glass and are open to the public. Note that he is an esteemed and beloved hero so expect rigid security measures and a non-negotiable dress code. If you don’t care for mausoleums, you can just visit the nearby Ho Chi Min Museum.

Another popular attraction in Hanoi is the One Pillar Pagoda in the Ba Dinh District. It was built in honour of Emperor Ly Thai Tong. The pagoda is artistically built to resemble the shape of a lotus flower. Also a major historical and religious landmark in the city is the Temple of Literature. It has served disciples of Confucius for centuries and still continues to be a major pilgrimage site for believers. It dates back to the 11th century but it has retained its grandeur and splendour to this day.

The major attractions of Halong Bay, Sa Pa and Bac Ha are just hours away from Hanoi. So, you can easily be on your way after your short tour of the city

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Path To Somewhere

If it’s all about the journey and not the destination, there is a “journey to a journey” involving quite a few ups and downs, not to mention twists and turns, that awaits the nature lover in Vietnam’s northern region.

The destination is a path, 40 kilometers long, that winds its way through a dense bamboo grove in Thanh Hoa Province. In order to reach the Suoi Muong bamboo path, there’s a long way to go, past high mountains and deep valleys. A motorbike is an indispensable accessory.

Mai Chau, Hoa BinhMai Chau, Hoa Binh

Let’s get going from Hanoi and head to Hoa Binh, where Muong Lat Street along the Laos border leads to the mountainous western part of Thanh Hoa. The first village on the road is named Thanh Son, where backpackers can tuck in for the night in local homes after a simple supper. As we go further, more villages appear, as do the first bamboos. Here, the road is named Suoi Muong after a local stream.

Along the red-soil road, which gets narrower toward the end, are tall, dense bamboo grasses that cast their green shadows on the Ma River flowing alongside. Then the bamboos disappear, and the Mau Village market comes into view, several minutes from the pier across the Ma River.

Stationed at the pier is a woman in her sixties. Her teeth are dyed in black, a beauty aid for Vietnamese women in the old times and a tradition to protect their teeth. “I row until four in the afternoon, then go home to rest,” said the ferrywoman who has been doing this job nearly 20 years and knows everyone in the area.

There are close to 30 streams, big and small, in the area and they put in an appearance after every turn along Suoi Muong road that is 100 kilometers long. But not every stream has a boat to take you across. Sometimes, people have to wade into the water first and lead others waiting to take their bikes across.

Vietnam Motorcycling TourVietnam Motorcycling Tour

And the adventure is only the beginning. Some parts of the road are piles of rock, some are slippery soil, some are in between the cliff where the bikes have half a meter width to drive on. The bike driver needs to be firm and the pillion rider should be ready to jump off at all times to help push the motorbike. It can be discouraging, but if you’re in a mood to take things on, the tough road is the perfect challenge.

The Ma River continues to flow alongside, playfully switching from the left to the right and vice versa. On some parts of the road, the river is so close you can lean over and wash your hands in the flowing waters.

It’s best to make this journey early May, when it’s not raining and the bamboos are in their post-spring prime. November or December is also good as the monsoon has passed and the bamboos throw in a dash of yellow. The journey is an absolute no-no during the first days of rainy season as the road gets very muddy, the rocks get very slippery and the streams get very fierce.

Every 10 or 15 kilometers on the road is a village where such necessities as instant noodles, eggs, soaps, cookies and sweets can be procured. Most villages are home to ethnic minority groups who invariably bade visitors passing by their stilt houses to come in and rest, freshen up and even use their ovens to cook.

Not far from Chieng Nua, one of the villages, is a cemetery on a cliff that dates back to the 11th century. The place is also home to vestiges of the Dong Son Culture, a prehistoric Bronze Age in Vietnam, and temples worshiping heroes of the Lam Son revolution during the early 15th century against Chinese invaders. The journey can take longer, but patience is rewarded when, almost unnoticed, the magnificent bamboo path is there in front, casting a mysterious aura and allure.

Long and slender, the leaves sparkle in the sun and make joyful rustling and creaking sounds as the breeze blows through them. The play of light and shade is soothing and exciting at the same time. Where does the path lead? But that’s it. There is nowhere to go but where the path takes you. In fact, the path is “home”. You have arrived.

Source : thanhniennews.