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Discover Halong Bay - World Heritage of Vietnam

If Hanoi is the grand old dame of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City is the brash young floozy, then Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An are the alluring mistresses you encounter along the way.

How to find safe travel in Halong Bay

Having read the news about tourist boat sunk in Halong Bay, Vietnam some days ago, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to give out some advices about how to travel safely and enjoyably in Halong Bay.

Cruising Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay looked picturesque and was sunny and warm. Indochina sails, Ha Long bay , Vietnam We got up early today as we need to catch the bus for our trip to Ha Long Bay, about 3 hours west of Hanoi.

Kayaking and Cycling in a World Heritage Bay

Halong Bay is one of the most spectacular, and therefore heavily 'touristed' attractions in Vietnam. Kayak on Ha Long bay, Vietnam .

A Look into Beautiful Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay has been declared a UNESCO World heritage site and it really deserves the designation. It is one of the most exciting unusual places I have been to in my life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mekong delta & river tours, Vietnam - Down in the Delta

Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta is a charming destination with a fascinating mix of Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese and Cham communities.

An Giang province is often one of the worst affected regions when floods hit the Mekong Delta, which is why unlike other provinces in the Mekong Delta, rice-exporting is not the most important trade here. The main driving force in the province’s economy is catfish farming, a fish which contributes to around a fifth of Vietnam’s total seafood output.

Mekong river market, Vietnam


Mekong River Market, Vietnam


The highest concentration of “floating houses” with fish cages can be observed on the western banks of the Chau Doc River near where it meets the mighty Mekong. Nguyen Van De, a local resident from the floating village, takes us on his boat for a quick tour around Chau Doc River. On the tranquil river, we cruise past neat rows of houses, which all have fishing cages underneath them.

There are nearly 2,000 floating houses in the village. Some of the more sturdy houses are made with bricks and wooden frames and covered by fibre grass tiles. However, a few more flimsy looking constructions are made out of bamboo and coconut leaves. We clamber off the boat onto the wooden deck of a house. A piece of wood has been left open so you can peer down into the fish cage where a large school of fish jumps up and down.

Much to our surprise, the residents seem to have all the mod cons and assets families would have on land: We can see satellite dishes, televisions and motorcycles while all residents seem to own a mobile phone. De can raise about five tonnes of cat fish in eight months. His children can easily get to school after a short boat trip to Chau Doc town too. Life here seems good. Past the floating village, we find Con Tien (Fairy Island) where a community of around 3,000 Cham people live. According to relics at Mubarak Mosque, the Cham community set up their settlement on the island in 1691.

Just like any other popular spots for tourists, right at the entrance to the Cham village is a souvenir shop selling Cham silk handbags and scarves! We check out a store owned by a woman called Ysa, who is a surprisingly laid back seller. According to Ysa weaving was one of the prerequisite skills for a well educated girl in Cham society. She has been weaving since she was only 15 and set up the store back in 1998. All of her products are handmade with traditional weaving equipment.

She employs 20 women from the village and claims she earns a stable income. According to Ysa, traditionally, while the women weaved and took care of domestic chores, Cham men sailed down the river to trade. Thanks to a common religion and shared customs Cham traders had plenty of success trading with Malays. A colourful culture Chau Doc town is a swirling mix of ethnicity and religion. With Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese and Cham communities, you will find institutions dedicated to Confucianism, Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism and even Sunni Islam as well as churches for Christians and followers of Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religions.

One of the most famous religious buildings is Ba Chua Xu Temple on Sam Mountain. Two hundred years ago, Sam Mountain was said to be covered with a forest and full of wild animals. Only pirates and bandits dared to go there. One day, a group of Siamese men came across a beautiful red stone statue on the summit of the mountain. Although the statue was small, none of them could lift it up. The men quickly grew frustrated and in a blind rage, they smashed the statue and departed.

But in a nearby village, on the same day a girl went into a strange fit — her face was flushed red and her head shook violently. She started to speak and called herself Chua Xu Thanh Mau (the Holy Mother of the Region). She commanded villagers to climb the mountain and fetch her statue back to the village. The villagers found the statue on the top of Sam Mountain but they could not move it either.

They returned and asked for the little girl’s advice. She told them to send nine maiden girls up the mountain to carry the statue down. Sure enough the nine girls were able to lift the statue up and carry down the mountain. But at the foot of the mountain, the statue suddenly grew too heavy for the nine girls too carry so they laid it down. The village elders guessed that was the place that the Holy Mother wanted to be placed and consulted an oracle.

A shrine was duly built on the site on the 25th day of the fourth lunar month and ever since on that day pilgrims have come to Ba Chua Xu temple. Besides Ba Chua Xu Temple, Tan An Pagoda, which was constructed in 1847 by Doan On, is also worth a visit. The three-storey pagoda with the onion-shaped turret designed in the Muslim–Indian architectural style is on the side of Sam Mountain. On the top of the pagoda sits a striking white statue of the Supreme Buddha. From outside the pagoda is not that eye catching but the statues and carvings inside are wonderfully vivid and life-like.

By Hong Nhung/timeout

Recommended itineraries

- Mekong Delta river & Angkor Wat tour
- Explore Mekong Delta & river tour
- Mekong biking tours
- Family tours in Vietnam

Exploring water lifestyle of Mekong Delta Vietnam

When the conversation is about the Mekong Delta, people immediately think of tropical rivers, interlacing canals, immense rice fields and the floating homes


A view of floating Market in Mekong river, An Giang province.

Lazing on a small sampan, tourists can feel they are so tiny on the boundless river and under the shade of countless trees. Witnessing the trade on the floating markets surely makes an impression on those in the delta for the first time.

Upon reaching the raft village, tourists are introduced to the structure of the rafts which are designed as homes and as floating fish farms. Tourists can catch a view of farmers feeding fish and can be served indigenous dishes made from local fish.

Tourists should not miss a visit to a weaving village of the Cham people. Here, tourists can witness the dexterity and talents of Cham ladies who painstakingly weave on looms by the riverside.

On the way back, tourists should not miss the floating restaurants to enjoy specialties of the Mekong Delta in tide-water season. Floating on the immense rivers and taking a look at the lifestyle in the delta are unforgettable experiences.

Chau Doc town is about 300 kilometers from HCMC where one way bus fare is VND80,00-105,000.

VietNamNet/SGT

Related to Mekong delta, Vietnam
- Mekong River Cruises
- The Mighty Mekong delta Vietnam

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ha Long Bay: one of the world’s natural wonders

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said on October 8 that Ha Long Bay has been ranked as one of the 150 most beautiful natural wonders in the world by a French leading e-magazine.

Indochina Sails on Halong Bay by you.


Indochina Sails on Halong bay



An article portraying Ha Long Bay – a world natural heritage, was published in September in the Voyager (tourism) column of L’Internaute magazine.

The article noted that apart from its thousands of charming islands and beautiful caves, Ha Long Bay is also home to a wide biodiversity that includes eco-systems like mangrove forests, coral reefs and tropical forests.

The Bay, twice recognized by UNESCO for its landscape and geological value, has advanced to the final stage of a campaign to vote for the world’s seven new natural wonders by the NewOpenWorld.

It currently ranks 4th out of the 28 successful landscapes in terms of votes.

Vietnam is making an effort to promote and preserve the Bay to encourage the community, especially friends across the world to vote for it.

Reported by: VOVnews

Recommended for vessels on Halong bay, Vietnam:

Indochina Sails: info@indochinasails.com

Website:http://www.indochinasails.com

The little dragon- Halong bay, Vietnam

Often called the baby of Ha Long Bay, beautiful and diverse Bai Tu Long Bay holds its own.

Indochina Sails By Active Travel Vietnam by you.


Indochina Sails on Halong bay



The Vietnamese nation was invaded so often in ancient times that God was moved to send a dragon and its child to fight the enemies.

Mid-Autumn Children's Festival, Vietnam

Mid-Autumn Children's Festival or Tet Trung Thu is a wonderful time to visit Vietnam. The festivities last for several days and there is singing and shouting. Children wear masks, parade happily in the streets and bang their drums. Parents buy lanterns and toys for their children and prepare their favorite dishes. Special cakes are made and exchanged, and fruits are plentiful.

Full moon on halong bay cruises by you.



Full Moon Festival in luxury cruise on Halong bay


The festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, the day of the first full moon closest to the autumn equinox when the moon is at its fullest. The autumn equinox always falls on September 23. This year, the Children's Festival will occur on October 8. At the spring and autumn equinoxes the duration of day and night is equal and the sun appears directly overhead at noon at the equator. After September 23 the days become shorter and the nights grow longer.

How to Enjoy a Trip to Halong Bay, Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of stunning natural beauty and a turbulent history. In the northern part of Vietnam, near Hanoi and the country's border with China, lies Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The towering natural cliffs and islands that rise above the bay offer a picturesque view and the smooth water is an ideal surface for boats of all sizes.


Indochina Sails on Ha Long bay by you.


Indochina Sails on Halong bay



Step 1 Tour the bay. One of the most popular activities in Halong Bay is a boat trip across the bay. Peruse the range of tours and tour operators available until you find one that suits your needs and budget. For excellent views and a romantic atmosphere, take a sunset cruise. When out on a boat, take a jacket; the weather in this part of Vietnam can change rapidly.



Step 2 Rent a boat. If boat tours with large groups of people are not suitable, consider renting a kayak or smaller boats. You might choose to tour Halong Bay in a group of kayakers, or set out on your own. Be sure to ask about safety standards and ideal itineraries. Remember to bring sunscreen and plenty of water, as Vietnam’s sun can be harsh during the warmest part of the day.



Step 3 Bring your camera. Halong Bay offers countless photo opportunities. It has arguably the most stunning natural scenery in all of Vietnam, and is ideal for photos at all times of the day. For dramatic photos, head out to Halong Bay at sunrise or sunset to capture the reflection of the colored sky on the water, with the cliffs in the background. Be sure to bring extra sets of batteries and ask your hotel staff about the best vantage points.



Step 4 Learn basic Vietnamese phrases. Many vendors and hotel owners near Halong Bay will know a significant amount of English, but it is a good idea to memorize handy phrases in Vietnamese. Locals will appreciate that you took the time and effort to appreciate their culture, and you will likely receive kinder treatment. Bring a Vietnamese phrasebook on your trip to Halong Bay, and refer to it as needed.



Step 5 Be prepared for culture shock. Vietnam has seen an increase in tourism in recent years, but visitors should still be prepared for a vastly different culture. Because Halong Bay is a popular destination for foreign and national tourists alike, there is a significant infrastructure. If you arrive prepared to be patient in situations that will inevitably be frustrating, your trip will be infinitely more enjoyable.



Step 6 Travel safely. Vietnam is generally a safe and friendly country, but dangers exist in high-traffic tourist areas like Halong Bay. When in public, be careful to keep your bag across your chest and in front of you to avoid petty theft; keep wallets in a front pocket to avoid pickpockets. When choosing meals, be careful to choose food that has not been left to



Source: ehow



Recommend vessels for Halong bay cruises:



Indochina Sails: Email: info@indochinasails.com, http://www.indochinasails.com



Tags:Halong Bay cruises | Halong Bay tours | Cruise Halong Bay | Halong Bay Vietnam | Halong Bay Travel | Halong Bay Junks |

Cruising in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh has thousands of islands and many beautiful areas.

cruise on Halong bay by Indochina Sails by you.


Cruise on Ha Long bay by Indochina Sails



For nearly a decade, the nominee for a Natural Wonder of the World title has attracted more tourists since the bridge linking Bai Chay (Chay Beach) and Hon Gai (Gai Islet) was built.

In the bay area, there are many caves, beaches, restaurants, hotels and entertainment sites. Among its well-known scenic spots and tourist sites are Thien Cung, Dau Go and Trinh Nu caves, and Ti Top, Tuan Chau and Ba Trai Dao beaches.

Halong bay - Offshore paradise

Spending a couple of days floating on the waters of Halong Bay is always an unforgettable experience for Duc Hanh


I arrive in Halong at noon. The sun is high in the sky and burning bright. On the pier countless wooden junks, sailboats, speedboats and tiny bamboo boats bob in the water expectantly as tourists arrive from Hanoi in vans, cars and buses. Personally after a four-hour-stint on the road, I’m dying to get out the water and feel the sea breeze running through my air. I presume as normal with Halong tours we’ll be left “sitting on the dock of the bay” for the best part of an hour, but almost instantly a speed-boat arrives with a flourish and as soon as we pile on board we’re zooming towards our large and handsome junk, the Indochina Sails, which the captain proudly announces is 44m?long and 8.5m?wide – and indeed it seems a fine, seaworthy vessel to me!

Cruises on Halong Bay

Northern Vietnam’s climate is tropical. The dry season is cool, and lasts from October to April, while the wet season, from May to September, is warmer. The average temperature is 23°C.

Hanoi is not only the country’s capital but also the cultural centre of Vietnam. A modern city, it is home to over 600 pagodas and temples and offers visitors a chance to experience the culture and history within a constantly bustling urban setting.

From Hanoi, visitors can embark on an overnight train heading further north into the mountains of Sapa. Trekking through the breathtaking scenery over natural waterfalls, rice paddy fields and wild bamboo forests, you can also stay overnight in a traditional Vietnamese long house hosted by one of the many hill tribe families.

If you head east for three hours from Hanoi, you will reach Halong City, your gateway to the awe-inspiring Halong Bay, the treasure piece of Vietnam. Listed with UNESCO, this pristine turquoise bay comprises of almost 2,000 islands, and it is picturesque from every angle.

Explore Halong Bay

Ever since I saw the movie "Indochine," I've wanted to visit Ha Long Bay. I loved the haunting scenes where Camille and Jean Baptiste, her beloved French soldier (originally her adoptive mother's lover - it's a French film after all) float through the islands in a small junk. Camille's just killed a French soldier, they're fleeing the French army, and they're without food or water and are barely conscious, but it's all terribly romantic, like they are the last two people on earth, together at last.

My Ha Long Bay journey was not exactly cut from the same cloth. I was about 60 years too late for the sexy French soldiers. I took a package tour on a junk like everyone else, since it's the easiest and cheapest way to see Ha Long Bay from Hanoi. After researching a few companies


and reading lots of stories on-line about nightmare trips, I booked a 3 day/2 night trip with Active Travel Vietnam.




Halong Bay
Halong Bay

The first leg of the journey was a 3 hour bus ride through the North Vietnamese countryside where highly industrial meets pre-industrial. After we left the urban sprawl of Hanoi, the road was lined with giant factory complexes. Our guide proudly pointed them out as examples of recent foreign investment. In between the factories, in between the houses, and seemingly in every available scrap of land are the green, green rice fields. Huge power lines tower over them, factories abut them, towns surround them, but the rice fields do not yield. Vietnam is the second biggest exporter of rice (next to Thailand), and that’s after the immense amounts of rice consumed by a domestic market of 85 million people. It’s a lot of rice.

Halong Bay–The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

Kayaking on Halong Bay



Just got back from Halong Bay this afternoon and it was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful–even more than I expected. We left at around 8am from the hostel and were picked up by Active travel Vietnam _ the tour company that we’d booked with. We picked up 6 others, a Scottish couple living in Malaysia and a pair of couples from Spain. We then departed for Halong Bay, about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive. We also then met our tour guide Ngoan, a slim young woman who spoke pretty good English. She was no Wasa though! She briefed us on Hanoi and Halong Bay history and then told us about where to go in Hanoi to find good dog and cat meat. (We weren’t too interested). And she told us about how Vietnamese people like to string up live cobras from trees, skin them, and then drink their blood while it’s still hot from the dangling end, like some kind of bizarre tribal beer bong. Yummy.

An ode to Ha Long Bay on Indochina sails cruise

It was my fourth visit to Ha Long Bay, but the first time my mother and I could together float on the sea, from sunset to sunrise on a large wooden junk.
by Cam Giang






Follow the leader: Holidaymakers explore limestone rock formations in Ha Long Bay. Kayaking is just one of many activities tour operators offer in the area. — Photos courtesy Indochina Sails

A new paradise aboard with Indochina Sails



Ha Long – a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders- may have never been easier and more comfortable to discover with INDOCHINA SAILS. Let’s get aboard.

The boarding time is 11h 30 am. Passengers are welcomed with smiles and the sound of drums. The friendly staff provide each with a fresh cool tower and a welcome drink to refresh after a long travelling distance. One hour to take a short rest before lunch at magnificient seascape.

This traditional junk is special from its materials to decoration. It is made by Aroma woods, a relaxing perfume living in every corner of the ship. With 15 air-conditioned rooms of twin, double and single, Each room is luxuriously and neatly decorated in 4 star style. It is a truly perfect paradise for those who travel in couple, with friends or alone.

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