Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and part of Van Don district

Mt.Phousi, Luang Prabang, Laos

The Phousi Mountain (Luang Prabang)

The Phousi Mountain is situated in the centre of Luang Prabangs. To climb up the mountain can be hard but it is definitely worth the trip. There is a formidable view from the top of the mountain where you can see "The Royal Palace", and the surrounding rivers and villages.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world.

Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma

Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma

The Shwedagon Pagoda officially titled Shwedagon Zedi Daw, also known in English as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a 99 metres gilded pagoda and stupa located in Yangon, Burma.

Thien Mu pagoda

Thien Mu pagoda, Vietnam

Thien Mu Pagoda is a historic temple in the city of Huế in Vietnam. Its pagoda has seven storeys and is the tallest in Vietnam.

Jan 27, 2015

36 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Buzz, buzz, buzz. Whether it’s the roar of motorbikes, the near constant opening of bars and restaurants, the chatty nature of its inhabitants, or the abundance of great coffee, there’s just something invigorating about Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest metropolis. It’s no surprise that Saigon, as most locals call it, exudes a youthful, inventive energy — after all, over half of its eight million dwellers are younger than 35. This dynamic spirit shines through in quirky cafes, innovative cuisine and boutiques selling homegrown fashion. And when you need a breather from all that’s new and fabulous, it’s easy to steal quiet moments in crumbling colonial buildings and contemplative art spaces.



FRIDAY

1. Who Crashed the Party? | 3 p.m.


The entrepreneurial Saigonese may seem unstoppable, but it wasn’t always this way. The Reunification Palace (entry 30,000 Vietnamese dong, or $1. 46 at 20,506 dong to the dollar), the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese government, looks just as it did on April 30, 1975, the day a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its gates, marking the end of the brutal 20-year war. History buffs and fans of modernism will appreciate its opulent, well-preserved interiors, which range from official rooms adorned with heavy silk upholstery and intricate lacquerware to the Gambling Room with its low-slung olive-green armchairs, where it’s easy to imagine officials plotting the war over booze and cards. A labyrinth of underground concrete rooms dedicated to the war effort is filled with maps, pastel rotary phones and humorously large radios.

2. Served Up | 5:30 p.m.


Rise above the din of Friday rush hour by heading to one of the city’s rooftop bars, built atop sparkling skyscrapers that provide a mesmerizing view of the city’s broad boulevards and chaotic traffic circles. On the 52nd floor, Eon Heli Bar, in the city’s tallest building, Bitexco Financial Tower, offers the highest perch for a sunset tipple. Luckily, happy hour prices aren’t as steep, with drinks like the Basil Gimlet (gin, Cointreau, fresh basil) half-priced at 145,000 dong. The nouveau riche gather at Chill Sky Bar, where cocktails conceived by the mixologist Le Thanh Tung are shaken at an illuminated outdoor bar, while 23rd-floor Shri is stylishly subdued. Intimate tables on the terrace are surrounded by potted frangipanis and the occasional songbird. Book ahead and leave the flip-flops behind.


3. Country Kitchen | 7 p.m.


With its chipped vintage dishware, bookshelves stuffed with tattered novels and vinyl records, and recycled wood tables, Cuc Gach Quan is a breath of fresh air in the city’s sleek facade. Tran Binh, the architect-owner, opened the restaurant in a French colonial building as an ode to his grandmother’s country home, blending nostalgia and Vietnamese home cooking with an eco-flair. Fresh ingredients are used in the expansive menu (there are 35 vegetables alone to choose from) with highlights like deep-fried tofu with lemon grass and chile and a crispy sea bass in passion fruit sauce (both 90,000 dong). A few streets away is a sister property, Cuc Gach Café, a midcentury-inspired space with a daily menu (100,000 dong) and fruit smoothies.

4. Celestial Vibes | 10:30 p.m.


A popular cafe by day, La Fenêtre Soleil turns into a chic house party on weekends, when live bands and D.J.s play everything from dancehall ska to psychedelic 1960s Asian pop. Hipsters, artists and 20- and 30-somethings flock to the romantic space — huge windows, mismatched armchairs, gilded mirrors and framed antlers on the walls — to sip red wine and dance the night away. Newly opened Observatory is positioning itself as a hub for the city’s alternative cultural scene, hosting live music and D.J.s in the evenings and art openings and readings during the day. Weekend parties continue into the wee hours — sometimes well past sunrise.

SATURDAY


5. Vroom Vroom | 8 a.m.


Join the sea of motorbikes with a tour by Vietnam Vespa Adventures, whose beautifully restored vintage Vespas will transport you to the city’s less-trodden spots (guests ride pillion). Led by a well-versed local guide, the half-day “Insider’s Saigon” option ($65) putters along to stops like the intersection where the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death in 1963 to protest the persecution of monks under the South Vietnamese government, coupled with intimate views of city life: an incense-filled temple in the old Cholon neighborhood; a park where bird owners gather on weekend mornings to sip coffee accompanied by their caged, tweeting pets.


6. Simple Pleasures | 12:30 p.m.


In Saigon, you can spend $100 or $1 on a meal and enjoy them equally — sidewalks, markets and mom-and-pop storefronts are home to many of the city’s best cooks. At Quan Hoa Dong, a fan-cooled eating spot one block north of the Ben Thanh Market, a mother-daughter team grill skewered pork to perfection for the bun thit nuong (60,000 dong), a must-try dish of rice noodles, fried spring rolls and fresh herbs. Nearby Thanh Binh is known for its crab claws — try them with the tapioca noodle soup (70,000 dong) or smothered in tamarind sauce (220,000) — and offers a large menu of classic southern dishes. Save room for a tall glass of sweet che thap cam (16,000 dong) — chipped ice, coconut milk and layers of tapioca pearls and soft beans — at Che My 2, a 15-minute walk.

7. Buy Local | 2 p.m.


Tempted as you might be to don the classic mandarin-collared ao dai tunic, why not take home a souvenir that’s a little more au courant? A good place to start is Ginkgo Concept Store, which focuses on sustainably made items from clothing by local designers (check out Linda Mai Phung’s organic cotton and silk line) to gorgeously packaged bars of Marou chocolate, Vietnam’s first single-origin, handmade chocolate using local cacao beans. Boho-chic Mai Lam offers avant-garde interpretations of traditional Vietnamese styles in intricately sewn, eco-friendly materials, on the city’s stylish shopping street Dong Khoi. Anna Vo is stocked with hound’s-tooth cropped tops and lace mini-dresses designed by a Milan-trained Saigonese fashionista.

8. Art on the Rise | 4 p.m.


Though Hanoi is considered Vietnam’s cultural hub, Ho Chi Minh City’s more open-minded atmosphere is now fostering its own creative scene. Housed in a former factory, Galerie Quynh is a contemporary gallery, putting on several shows a year that examine the Vietnamese psyche. The nonprofit San Art supports experimental work, while Craig Thomas Gallery is run by an American who’s been involved in the local art scene for over 10 years.

9. Global Tastes | 7 p.m.


The city’s progress has brought with it a new wave in taste, evident in the booming restaurant scene that spans a global palate. At Pizza 4P’s, down an alley off the main street, four friends from Tokyo bring the precision of Japanese cooking to thin-crusted Margheritas topped with homemade mozzarella, and pies inspired by their homeland, like the calamari-seaweed pizza (from 95,000 dong), baked in a wood-fired oven. On the former grounds of an opium refinery, Blanchy Street is run by two Nobu London-trained chefs, Martin Brito and Yogo Oba. In an intimate space with pretty tile flooring and wooden tables, the pair fuse Japanese and South American flavors with panache, serving such dishes as octopus carpaccio with jalapeño sauce (180,000 dong), along with a sushi and sake menu.

10. Beautiful People | 10:30 p.m.


At the Park Hyatt’s 2 Lam Son bar, a stunning example of old-meets-new with its latticed screens and glass bauble light fixtures, unwind with a ginger martini (210,000 dong) in one of the romantic, fabric-draped nooks or grab a street-facing cocktail table, watching the city’s youth zip by on mopeds. D. J.s perform on Fridays and Saturdays. Xu, which also houses a modern Vietnamese restaurant, attracts the see-and-be-seen set, who don high heels, short skirts and flat-ironed locks while sipping drinks prepared with ingredients like sugarcane juice and kumquats (from 120,000 dong) accompanied by thumping music and paintings of figures like Richard Nixon and Napoleon.

SUNDAY


11. Colonial Cuppa | 10:30 a.m.


Among the influences French culture has had on this former colony, two enduring examples are great coffee and architecture, which come together at L’Usine, down an alley lined with art stalls off Dong Khoi. Opened by a group of 30-something expat friends, the cafe-boutique is in a grand 1890s structure that was once the Hotel de Saigon. It is now restored to much of its original glory, with soaring cast-iron pillars and arched windows punctuating the light-filled space. With a Vietnamese coffee in hand — dripped through a sieve and mixed with condensed milk — and eye-catching housewares and clothing by local designers, it’s the perfect place to ponder Ho Chi Minh City’s storied past and bright future.


Jan 25, 2015

Weather in Vietnam

Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate. Broadly speaking, the weather in Vietnam is dictated by two seasons -- the southwest monsoon from April to September and the northeast monsoon from October to late March or early April.

People often equate monsoons with rain, but that is only partly the case in Vietnam, as a number of regional variations affect the rain. What is worth remembering though is the southwest monsoon is warm and wet and the northeast monsoon cool and not so wet.
As far as planning goes, the easiest way to get your head around it is to break up the country into three areas -- the north, the centre and the south. Temperatures are fairly constant throughout, with the exception of Hanoi and the far north (which can be very cold in December and January) and the Central Highlands (which can be slightly cooler than the rest of the country year-round).
Northern Vietnam has a cool to cold season (courtesy of the northeast monsoon from November to March) and a warm to hot wet season (from April to October). December and January in particular can get quite frosty in the far north of Vietnam -- pack accordingly. This time of the year can also see heavy mists that can run for days -- these can reduce visibility in places like Sapa and Ha Long Bay to frustratingly short distances. The wettest months of the year in Hanoi are July and August, the driest, December and January.
Central Vietnam is kind of a transitionary area climate-wise from the north to the south. As the coast line is shielded by the Truong Son mountain range the rains that come with the southwest monsoon don't make it to the coast, so between April and September, while the coastal area does see some rain, it does see less than other parts of the country.
This advantage is reversed though come the northeast monsoon when, between September and December, the northern section of Central Vietnam (Hoi An and Da Nang through to Hue and Dong Ha) receive considerable rain. This region can also be affected by typhoon season in the Western Pacific, which can see severe storms lashing the coast from August to November -- Hoi An in particular often floods in October or November. Further south though, the southern coastal strip from around Nha Trang to Mui Ne is less affected by the rain and sees a longer dry and sunny season.
Without the protection of the Truong Son mountain range, southern Vietnam, especially the Mekong Delta, gets plenty of rain and hot, humid weather during the southwest monsoon from April to September, with June and July being especially wet. At this time you'll most likely see some flooding in Saigon and the southern island of Phu Quoc can see persistently poor weather and rough seas.

There is no perfect time to visit Vietnam. Generally speaking, destinations in the north such as Hanoi and Sapa are great in October, November and December, as you'll see little rain and should have clear skies and temperate conditions.
The coastal stretch from Hue down to Nha Trang is great in the first half of the year, from January through to July, while Saigon and the Mekong Delta are best from November through to February or March.

Jan 1, 2015

Twin Taung Lake of Myanmar and the UNESCO’s world heritage.

Myanmar is planning to nominate Twin Taung Lake, where very rare Spirulina is found, for inclusion in the UNESCO’s world heritage list.
Renewable Energy Association Myanmar general secretary, Aung Myint, told local media that the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry will nominate Twin Taung Lake for inclusion in the UNESCO’s world heritage list, while the association will provide the required technical aid for the process.
He said: “Twin Taung Lake is a rare and has an amazing ecosystem. It has an astonishing energy resource. We need the worldwide recognition to preserve it.”
Spirulina, a blue-green freshwater algae that is rich in protein and can help boost the immune system and regulate cholesterol. It is found in the lake without mixing seaweed and other impurities. Blue-green spirulina is only found in Myanmar, Mexico and a few African countries.
The lake is in an extinct volcano and spirulina was found there in 1984. In 1987, a health supplement was manufactured using spirulina from the lake.
Twin Taung Lake is about 9 km from Budalin in northwest Sagaing.
Myanmar has made achievements in cultural heritage preservation efforts with its three Pyu ancient cities; Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Kestra recently being inscribed by the UNESCO into its World Heritage List for the first time in June.
Meanwhile, the cultural relics and religious buildings, located in
Natma Taung National Park, proposed by Myanmar for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, have also been put on a tentative list for consideration of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.
The other five sites on the tentative list are the North Mountain Forest Complex containing snow-capped Mt. Hkakaborazi, Myeik Archipelago of 800 islands in the Andaman Sea, Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Tanintharyi Forest Corridor and Ayeyawaddy River Corridor.
Myanmar is also trying to nominate another ancient city of Inwa to be included in UNESCO’s world heritage list and work on preserving the Inwa Cultural Heritage Zone near northern Mandalay is being undertaken now.
Visit us at Threeland Travel Myanmar to get further information about traveling around the world and exploring Myanmar; to have access to the best travel services and to meet our professional consultants who're always available for help. For any inquiry please contact us.

The First World Conference on Tourism and Culture will convene in Cambodia!

The First World Conference on Tourism and Culture will convene in Siem Reap Cambodia, 4 to 6 February 2015.
According to the UNWTO media release the inaugural event will bring together ministers of tourism and ministers of culture from around the world, experts and stakeholders from both sectors to explore new models of partnership between tourism and culture.
UNWTO claims cultural tourism can contribute to economic growth, social development and cultural preservation.
Over the course of two days, participants will explore different roles and mandates on five key topics – governance and partnership models, cultural preservation, living cultures and creative industries, cultural routes and urban regeneration through cultural tourism.
Confirmed speakers include King Simeon II, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, John Delaney, senior vice president of Seabourn, and Elizabeth Becker, award-winning author and former correspondent for the New York Times.
UNWTO general secretary, Taleb Rifai, said: “This milestone event will provide a unique opportunity for tourism and culture stakeholders from all regions to discuss how to further harness the power of tourism and culture to alleviate poverty, create jobs, protect heritage and promote international understanding, contributing to the post-2015 development agenda.”
The event is hosted by Cambodia in Siem Reap, home of UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat.
Visit us at Threeland Travel Cambodia to get further information about traveling around the world and exploring Cambodia; to have access to the best travel services and to meet our professional consultants who're always available for help. For any inquiry please contact us.

Danang plans to build a night zone!

Danang plans to build a night zone for shopping and entertainment in a bid to draw more tourists.
According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the night zone will cost close to USD600,000 to build and will have 200 booths offering food, clothes, and an entertainment area for teenagers upon completion.
The zone will stand on a 1.2 hectare land plot on the eas
tern edge of the Han River Bridge, along the Tran Hung Dao sidewalk. It will open at 1800 daily until very late into the night.
However, the date for the construction work has not been announced. Construction of the night zone will attract more travellers to the city, and spur tourism development.
Danang is growing into an important gateway to feed tourists to world heritage towns and beach resorts in the central region. In the long-run Vietnam’s central region will compete head-on with many of Thailand’s resort destinations as the resorts are less polluted while prices are competitive.
The Han River Bridge is a popular evening venue for tourists who prefer hotel rooms that offer a good view of the bridge and river.
During January to September, this year, 3 million tourists visited the city, an increase of 18.8% year-on-year. International arrivals expanded by 18.4% to 657,600, while domestic visits surged by 19.1% to more than 2.36 million.
Currently, there are 426 hotels with 15,465 rooms. Hotels of three-to-five-star hotels make up 71 with more than 7,260 rooms.
Visit us at Threeland Travel Vietnam to get further information about traveling around the world and Vietnam tours; to have access to the best travel services and to meet our professional consultants who're always available for help. For any inquiry please contact us.

Vietnam domestic air routes reduce the prices!

Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Administration has suggested there should be drastic fare cuts on domestic routes, claiming the dramatic drop in fuel prices should have prompted airlines to lower fares.
It made the proposal to the Ministry of Transport.
CAAV’s petition is based on the latest Jet A1 fuel costs , airfares, which has cut the flying costs per km per passenger from 23 US cents to 20 US cents.
According to the Ministry of Finance’s Decision 2967/QD-BTC, the maximum price for economy-class tickets on domestic air routes was calculated based on the price of Jet A1, which was estimated at USD130 per barrel with zero percent import tax.
However, the price of Jet A1 (including 7% import tax) has dropped to USD90.63 per barrel.
Given these fluctuations, the domestic fare cap on economy-class tickets should be adjusted accordingly, the agency noted.
The CAAV said that fuel costs account for approximately 39.5% of an airline’s overall costs. Hence, the airline’s total costs will drop by 17% following the aviation price decline.
Airlines are generally reluctant to drop fares when fuel costs fall, fearing the decline will be temporary and the time required to raise fares could be lengthy once passengers are accustomed to lower fares.
However, airlines are still charging fuel surcharges as an extra on the fares quoted and this fee could be lowered without impacting on the base fare.
Visit us at Threeland Travel Vietnam to get further information about traveling around the world and Vietnam tours; to have access to the best travel services and to meet our professional consultants who're always available for help. For any inquiry please contact us.

Dec 17, 2014

First international bus service from Vietnam to Cambodia.

Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong recently inaugurated its first international bus service to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
According to local media report, the service is operated by Phuong Trinh Joint Stock Company to meet a rising demand for reliable transport. Traders, leisure travellers and residents seeking medical check-ups will be the main customers.
Phuong Trinh Company director, Vu Quang Thanh, said the company will offer six roundtrips between Binh Duong and Phnom Penh from 0500 to 2300 daily. The return fare is USD23.
inside no 4Binh Duong, together with the southern province of Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City, are amongst the most attractive destinations in Vietnam for foreign direct investment.
In the past 11 months, it ranked third in terms of disbursed foreign direct investment with USD1.42 billion after northern Thai Nguyen province and Ho Chi Minh City.
The province is 48 km from HCMC and 231 km Phnom Penh.
Source: TTrweekly

VNAT website in Korean

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has launched a new Korean version of its website in a bid to diversify its content and promote the country’s tourism to Korean tourists.
The new version is available on VNAT’s website at www.vietnamtourism.com and is part of the National Tourism Promotion Programme.
The edition will provide Korean tourists with basic  tips on how to behave and enjoy Vietnam,  travel information on scenic spots, tourist services and background on festivals and events.
According to VNAT, the move should support Vietnam’s promotions to Korea’s outbound tourism market.
inside no 3More tourism promotions have been organised in recent years to attract South Koreans and direct flights between the two countries have made it more convenient for travellers.
Introduced in December 1997, the official VNAT website is a portal providing a wide range of tourist information, in various language versions including Vietnamese, English, French, Chinese, and Japanese.
Sousce: TTrweekly

Laos' national museum is restored!

Laos’ national museum, Ho Phra Keo, urgently needs public donations to fund restoration.
The Lao News Agency quoted Vientiane’s vice mayor, Saythong Keoduangdy, as saying the public was being encouraged to make donations for the renovation of Ho Phra Keo.
“This is the third time that Ho Phra Keo has been renovated. The first renovation took place during King Anouvong’s reign in 1816 and the second one during King SouvanaPhoumma’s reign between 1936 and 1942,” he said.
The building needs extensive repairs especially at the apex of the main hall, prompting the government to establish a National Committee to be responsible for restoration work.
It will cost around USD2.5 million and should be completed by the end of 2015.
Donations can be made at the Ho Phra Keo temple, which is located across the street from the Presidential Palace in Vientiane.
Since 1942 Ho PhraKeo has been the home of the National Museum.
Hor Phra Keo was formerly a temple constructed in 1565 as the personal chapel for the royal family, and was the home of the Emerald Buddha after it was brought there from North Siam (Thailand), which was part of the Lanna kingdom at the time.
The sacred jade Buddha image was  later confiscated by an invading Siamese army in 1778 and now resides in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. The temple in Vientiane was transformed into a museum.
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A steam train between Bagan and Kyaukpadaung is going to start.

A vintage steam train will ply tourists between Bagan and Kyaukpadaung in Mandalay starting next week.
The train will cash in on Mandalay’s popularity as the gateway town to visit the historic sites of Bagan and particularly rail fans, who enjoy stream train travel.
Very little advance notice has been given to overseas tour operators so it is unlikely that the train’s sales team will be able to muster group business in the short-term.
Tour operators are likely to adopt a cautious approach to see if the train is here for the long-term, or just another experiment that lacks a  marketing plan, or sales expertise to secure advance bookings through the international travel trade.
Price is a another consideration. The train will begin a single weekly service, every Tuesdays, effective 16 December and the 110-km return journey will cost a staggering USD250 per person.
The train will carry up to 120 passengers at a time and is pitched at high-end foreign tourists, looking for a different mode of travel to Bagan that harks back to Myanmar’s colonial history.
Bright View Steam Locomotive Tours director, Zaw Weik, was quoted by the Irrawaddy media as saying: “I am not only seeking business success, but also the improvement of the tourism industry.”
Included in the price is a short stop in a local village, meals and transportation by car to and from Mount Popa once passengers alight at Kyaukpadaung.
A typical return journey from Bagan to Mount Popa by private taxi costs USD34.
Bagan Tourist Guide Organisation president, Zaw Win Cho, told the Irrawaddy that the locomotive would be a popular draw card despite the ticket price.
“I think the cost is high, but wealthy  tourists will pay. There is a one hour hot air balloon ride here that costs USD360, but tourists still fork out the cash.”

Visit us at Threeland Travel Myanmar to get further information about traveling around the world and exploring Myanmar; to have access to the best travel services and to meet our professional consultants who're always available for help. For any inquiry please contact us.