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.

da nang - lang co vietnam


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

Long An mangrove forest

Ben Tre

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: 
Pha Luong peak - Moc Chau



Moc Chau in seasons of flowers

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

 Khau Pha pass

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


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.



#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


 Mount Fansipan

 O Quy Ho pass



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





#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.



#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.


#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




#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.

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.

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:

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.


Eo gio (Wind channel)

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.




Vietnamese source: Tri thức trẻ

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The World's Best Things in Myanmar

1. The world’s largest book
Kuthodaw pagoda (Kuthodaw means “royal merit”) settled on the foot of Mandalay Hill in Mandalay city, is just where preserves the world’s largest book. The book stands upright, sets in stone and spreads on the ground of the pagoda with 729 stone tablets carved Burmese Buddhist scripture.

 Kuthodaw pagoda

Each slab has its own roof and a precious gem on top in a small “cave” called “kyauksa gu” (stone inscription cave in Burmese). The caves are arranged around a central gilded pagoda (zedi). Stone tablets are all marble and inscribed meticulously by tiers of senior monks. Originally each stone was chiseled out and filled with gold ink to form letters and borders. It took 7 and a half year to complete this elaborate construction.

When the British later invaded the North, the gems and other valuables were plundered. The gold writing had disappeared from all 729 marble tablets, and they were now marked in black ink made from shellac, soot from paraffin lamps and straw ash, rather than in gold, and a few of the gems still remain.

It’s impossible to see the whole tablets in a day because Kuthodaw is too much spacious. To view thoroughly these Buddhist scripture pages, averagely a person needs a least a week.

A stone tablet, as a page of the book 

2. The world’s longest and oldest teakwood bridge

U Bein bridge spans over Taungthaman lake in Amarapura, 11 km to the south from Mandalay city, is just the world’s oldest and longest teak wood bridge.

In around 1850, when the capital moved to Mandalay, the residents in Amarapura made use of teak wood from the former royal palace to erect the bridge with the total length of 1.2 km consisting of 1086 main pillars and thousands of boards.

U Bein was curved in the middle to resist assaults of wind and water. The main pillars were hammered into the lake bed 7 feet deep. Most of the pillars were shaped conically to make sure that rain water fell down easily. The joints were intertwined. There are 9 passageways on the bridge, where boards can be lifted to make way for big boats and barges.

Every afternoon, U Bein is really crowded with locals crossing over it to return home and travelers admiring sunset from it. Hundreds of people including Buddhist monks walk or cycle from shore to shore. Some long benches were placed for all to rest, sight-see and chat. This bridge is considered as one of the best places for sunset view in Myanmar.
3. The world’s largest reclining Buddha

Situated 24km to the south from Mawlamyine near Mudon and opposite to the Buddhist shrine of Kyauktalon Taung, Win Sein Taw Ya is remarkable for its scale and it’s just the world’s largest reclining Buddha with 30m in height and 180m in length. It can be clearly seen for miles as leaving Mudon for Mawlamyine on the right side of the road.

This unfinished monstrosity is tucked away at the foot of a mountain range, surrounded by lush vegetation. Near to the Buddha image are 200 standing monk statues collecting alms and pagodas of varying sizes disperse the surroundings.

Still a work in progress, it contains 182 chambers on 8 stories with dioramas of the teachings of Buddha Burmese subtitled and sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Buddha and grisly images from Buddhist hell.

There is also a Buddhist shrine based in the giant head, and footwear should be removed before entering the shrine. The site is currently open to the public though it is still under construction.


4. The world’s largest ringing bell

Mingun bell positioned in Mingun of Sagaing region was the world’s heaviest functioning bell at several times in history. Until now, it has been in great ringing condition with no cracks. It does not make clangs but is rung by striking the outer edge.

According to the history, from 1808 King Bodawpaya ordered to construct a gigantic pagoda, a gigantic bell and a gigantic lion during his reign until he . Mingun bell was cast to go with Mingun Pahtodawgyi.

Cast in 1808, this 90-ton-bell became the world’s heaviest functioning bell from its first suspension in 1810 until 23rd March 1839, when it was knocked off its supports by a huge earthquake. The Mingun Bell was resuspended in March 1896 by a team from the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Then it was again the world's heaviest functioning bell until 1902. The Mingun Bell regained its status as the world’s heaviest functioning bell in 1942. It continued dominating the title of the world’s largest ringing bell until 2000.

The original weight of the bell is 55,555 viss, equivalent to 90,718 ton. This number is conveniently remembered by many Burmese people as a mnemonic "Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw" with the consonants representing the number 5 in Burmese astronomy and numerology. This weight and mnemonic words are written on the surface of the bell in white.


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