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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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ha Long Bay takes 2nd place in top 10 best boat journeys

Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been ranked the 2nd among the 10 best boat journeys by the UK’s Lonely Planet Travel Magazine.


Ha Long Bay

“Bobbing on the emerald waters of Halong Bay and moving through its 3000-odd limestone islands is simply sublime. The tiny islands are dotted with beaches and grottoes created by wind and waves, and have sparsely forested slopes ringing with bird tunes.

There are more than 300 boats based at Bai Chay Tourist Wharf waiting to sweep you away to the World Heritage waters. Day tours last from four to eight hours, though (recommended) overnighters are also available” the magazine written.

Norwegian Fjords gets the first place. Next positions are Amazon River, South America; Franklin River, Australia; Quetico Provincial Park, Canada; Kerala’s backwaters, India; Milford Sound, New Zealand; Island-hopping, Greece; Disko Bay, Greenland; and Galapágos Islands, Ecuador.

Ha Long Bay is a popular travel destination in the Northern Province of Quang Ninh. Covering on an area of around 1,553 km2, the hot tourist spot has including 1,969 islets, most of which are limestone.

In 1994, Ha Long Bay was recognized as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. It has jumped to second place among the 28 finalists of an online voting for the world’s new seven wonders and helping to bring 5.3 million visitors to Quang Ninh in the first eight months of the year.

Source: Vietnamplus

Supported by Indochina Sails

Monday, December 20, 2010

Indochina Sails attends Luxury Travel Market in France and International Travel Trade in Spain

Indochina Sails announce to attend Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, France from Dec 6th to 9th 2010 and International Travel Trade Fair in Madrid, Spain from Jan 19th to 23rd, 2011 to promote the newest and biggest luxury cruise in Ha Long Bay named Indochina Sails Premium. It is grand opening in Nov 2010.

Indochina Sails is the first and biggest company to offer luxury overnight cruises on the bay. Indochina Sails is now widely known as the number one choice for discerning travelers, operating a fleet of six luxurious built wooden junks and cruises. Two of them are newest additions in 2010, named Premium Valentine with 2 deluxe cabins and Indochina Sails Premium with 24 deluxe and suite cabins. They were designed in time-honored traditional style, with contemporary and luxurious cabins and facilities.

From December 6th to 9th 2010, the Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) is going to be held in Cannes, France. Indochina Sails aims to promote Luxury Cruises in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam in the luxury segment, which is addressed to people who want to live a unique experience, with personalized service, privacy, tranquility and simplicity about World Heritage in Vietnam.

ILTM Asia is a 'by invitation only' event, offering a tailor-made diary of one-to-one meetings, exclusive insight into luxury travel trends and developments, plus an enviable business and social networking calendar of events to help you engage with your luxury travel's elite.

After this show, Indochina Sails is going to attend Fitur - the International Tourism Trade Fair, which celebrates its 31st anniversary from January 19th to 23rd 2011 in Madrid, Spain.

Fitur is a meeting point for tourism professionals, an opportunity to establish lines of action, innovating to answer the changing demands of the market and to form strategies and business alliances to energize/consolidate the tourism business.


1. The Luxury Travel Market in Cannes (ILTM)

Attendee: Le Phuong Nhi – Director of Sales and Marketing

Stand number E181 – Asia Section

Email: dosm@indochinasails.com
Website: http://www.indochinasails.com

ILTM link: www.iltm.net

2. International Travel Trade Fair in Madrid (Fitur)

Attendee: Le Phuong Nhi – Director of Sales and Marketing

VietNam Booth – Asia Section

Email: dosm@indochinasails.com
Website: http://www.indochinasails.com

Fitur link: http://www.ifema.es/ferias/fitur/default_i.html

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two months in Southeast Asia - Travel Vietnam, Laos, Thailand

Since my second backpacking trip through Europe, I wanted to journey to Southeast Asia.

I chose to visit Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and developed a loose itinerary, starting in Bangkok, Thailand.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Bangkok was everything I expected. The number of people everywhere was staggering, but before long I got used to the crowds, the heat and the food.
I visited many temples and shops, including the Grand Palace and the famed Khao San Road. The Grand Palace was amazing. Inside there were countless statues of Buddha. To my disappointment, Khao San was the typical tourist trap, with vendors selling T-shirts and bootlegged CDs.

After a few days I headed to Phuket, where I played beach bum for a few more days before flying to Saigon, Vietnam.

Scooting around Vietnam

Now, that was exactly what I pictured an Asian city to be - scooters everywhere! Crossing the street in Bangkok was like crossing a street in Des Moines compared to trying to cross the street in a Vietnamese city. The first time in Saigon was a big leap of faith. The trick is to just walk and keep your head turned to oncoming traffic.

I spent three weeks in Vietnam traveling from south to north. The highlights were eating the food in Hoi An, enjoying Hanoi’s famed Bia Hoi beer gardens and eating snake, and seeing the rock karsts of Halong Bay.

I had many choices of border crossings into Laos from Vietnam but I chose the crossing near Vinh in central Vietnam. This meant that I had an eight-hour bus ride from Hanoi to Vinh followed by a 14-hour bus ride to Phonsavan, Laos.

Phonsavan is famous for its “Plain of Jars” fields. These are fields of stone jars, each about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide, scattered everywhere. Other jars are scattered in jungles surrounding Phonsavan.

Floating through Laos

After a day in Phonsavan I headed to Luang Prabang for a few days and then to Vang Vieng. My time in Vang Vieng was some of the best. There I went on a two-day trek that included hiking over mountains, spelunking through caves and kayaking the Nam Song River that runs through the town. The town has become a hotbed for young tourists who tube down the river. The river has a number of bars along its banks. Some have zip lines, bungee jumps and slides for the patrons to enjoy and all blare techno music.

Cambodia was the biggest surprise of the trip because I knew the least about it. The biggest draw to Cambodia is Siem Reap where Angkor Wat is located. Many people go only to see Angkor Wat but there are many more temples around Siem Reap and Cambodia. I felt like I was on another planet when I went to Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise over the temple.

I spent two months in Southeast Asia and there are still parts I didn’t see. I enjoyed every minute. Many people ask if I felt safe. I did.

Recommendation in Halong bay, Vietnam: Indochina Sails

Two months in Southeast Asia - Travel Vietnam, Laos, Thailand

Since my second backpacking trip through Europe, I wanted to journey to Southeast Asia.

I chose to visit Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and developed a loose itinerary, starting in Bangkok, Thailand.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Bangkok was everything I expected. The number of people everywhere was staggering, but before long I got used to the crowds, the heat and the food.
I visited many temples and shops, including the Grand Palace and the famed Khao San Road. The Grand Palace was amazing. Inside there were countless statues of Buddha. To my disappointment, Khao San was the typical tourist trap, with vendors selling T-shirts and bootlegged CDs.

After a few days I headed to Phuket, where I played beach bum for a few more days before flying to Saigon, Vietnam.

Scooting around Vietnam

Now, that was exactly what I pictured an Asian city to be - scooters everywhere! Crossing the street in Bangkok was like crossing a street in Des Moines compared to trying to cross the street in a Vietnamese city. The first time in Saigon was a big leap of faith. The trick is to just walk and keep your head turned to oncoming traffic.

I spent three weeks in Vietnam traveling from south to north. The highlights were eating the food in Hoi An, enjoying Hanoi’s famed Bia Hoi beer gardens and eating snake, and seeing the rock karsts of Halong Bay.

I had many choices of border crossings into Laos from Vietnam but I chose the crossing near Vinh in central Vietnam. This meant that I had an eight-hour bus ride from Hanoi to Vinh followed by a 14-hour bus ride to Phonsavan, Laos.

Phonsavan is famous for its “Plain of Jars” fields. These are fields of stone jars, each about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide, scattered everywhere. Other jars are scattered in jungles surrounding Phonsavan.

Floating through Laos

After a day in Phonsavan I headed to Luang Prabang for a few days and then to Vang Vieng. My time in Vang Vieng was some of the best. There I went on a two-day trek that included hiking over mountains, spelunking through caves and kayaking the Nam Song River that runs through the town. The town has become a hotbed for young tourists who tube down the river. The river has a number of bars along its banks. Some have zip lines, bungee jumps and slides for the patrons to enjoy and all blare techno music.

Cambodia was the biggest surprise of the trip because I knew the least about it. The biggest draw to Cambodia is Siem Reap where Angkor Wat is located. Many people go only to see Angkor Wat but there are many more temples around Siem Reap and Cambodia. I felt like I was on another planet when I went to Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise over the temple.

I spent two months in Southeast Asia and there are still parts I didn’t see. I enjoyed every minute. Many people ask if I felt safe. I did.

Recommendation in Halong bay, Vietnam: Indochina Sails

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crystalline waters shine in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Last April, I finally had a chance to get a glimpse of the country where my maternal grandfather fought in the Vietnam War. Based on the stories my grandfather told me while I was growing up, I arrived in Vietnam expecting to see evidence of the war. InstAead I was surprised to see how modern the country is.

Halong bay view

But honestly, the thing that really impressed me was the food, and the bakeries in particular. Although we have bakeries in Korea, the coffee and bread in the bakeries of Vietnam overwhelmed me with their flavors, a mix of tastes and textures from France and Asia, surely a remnant of the country’s colonial past.

I was in Vietnam at the invitation the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and Asia Europe Foundation to report on an Asia-Europe Meeting workshop that took place from April 28 to 29 in Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province in the northeastern corner of Vietnam. At the workshop, ASEM workshop participants agreed to forge stronger ties through cultural diplomacy linking Asia and Europe.

On the last day of the workshop, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry took us on a cruise of Ha Long Bay, which covers 1,553 square kilometers (600 square miles) and has 1,969 islands. After the 10-minute ride from the Halong Plaza Hotel where we were staying we arrived at the pier and boarded a waiting cruise ship.

The other passengers and I sat down at tables set out on the deck and were treated to a feast that was a mixture of Western and Asian cuisine. Around us, thousands of limestone islets rose out of crystalline emerald waters that glistened in the sun.

Pham Sanh Chau, director general of the department for cultural relations and UNESCO under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, said Ha Long Bay is the first World Heritage Site in Vietnam. UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1994 and again in 2000 in recognition of its natural beauty and geological value.

“Ha Long Bay deserves to be named as one of the seven new wonders of nature because it’s like paradise. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world,” Chau said. “It’s not an area just for tourism. It also serves as buffer zone against climate change. It’s rich in marine biodiversity and many scientists say this should be a geological park.”

As we sat back with our plates full of food, fishing boats large and small passed us on their way to their next catch. People exclaimed in excitement when they saw a small tent set up on the waters of Ha Long Bay. The tent, we learned, had been built to accommodate fishermen in need of a break or a place to sleep.

Our trip around the bay was nothing if not idyllic, but our tour guide explained that tourists who visit the area usually take overnight cruises to Ha Long Bay. The cruise starts with lunch aboard the ship and continues with stops at various caves for kayaking and swimming. Guests then sleep on the boat that night.

Because of my tight schedule, I had to return to my hotel that night and wasn’t able to take advantage of what sounded like a lovely diversion, but before I did I took a tour of the boat’s lower deck, where the sleeping rooms are located. The rooms are cozy and designed to accommodate two people. Each one is fully furnished with a bed, sofa, shower booth and toilet, just like in a hotel.

Although my journey to Vietnam was short, I picked up a few tips for my next trip that I’d like to share. First, you don’t have to set an alarm because there is an endless stream of honking motorbikes whizzing by every morning in Hanoi and the noise is enough to force your eyes open. Most Vietnamese people start the day early and most offices open at 7:30 a.m.

Second, you need to be extremely brave when crossing the street. There are no street lights like the ones you find in other major cities. When you try to wade into the traffic that is rushing by, drivers of cars and motorcycles swerve around you without slowing down. On my first day in Hanoi, I stood on the street for 10 minutes waiting for the right time to cross when I finally found a group of Vietnamese women intent on jaywalking.

Third, although the traffic is insane, make sure you stroll around the city on foot. This is the best way to experience a typical day in the life of the Vietnamese people. Women balance poles laden with heavy baskets of vegetables and flowers on their shoulders, passing people who squat on the sidewalk or sit in plastic chairs, sipping tea and eating pho (beef noodle soup) at outdoor food stalls. This is where you can feel the energy of the people.

If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, I recommend you go to Hanoi first, take a tour of Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter and then take the overnight cruise of Ha Long Bay.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

Recommendation in Halong bay, Vietnam: Indochina Sails

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indochina Sails donates Cua Van School in Halong bay , Vietnam

On 12 March, 2010 the Staff and Management of Indochina Sails made a gift of twenty new desks and chairs, along with a large assortment of school supplies to the students of the Cua Van Floating Primary School. The school is located in the Cua Van Floating Fishing Village and has about 70 students aged from 6 to 14 years old. The village itself is home to about 600 people, who live there permanently, on about 130 floating houses.


Cua Van Primary School in Halong bay, Vietnam

The school is an important part of our daily itinerary. We visit the Fishing Village every afternoon and on days that school is in session our guests are allowed to visit. It is a fascinating experience, as you can see from the pictures. The schoolrooms and equipment are very basic, and the dedicated teachers do a fantastic job with limited recourses.

In the past, Indochina Sails has made cash donations for the betterment of the village in general. However, recently, one of our staff suggested; “What if we collect some money ourselves and try to fix up the school somehow to make it better for the kids?”

So, the idea was born. Donations were collected from every member of our staff, and added to that was a donation from the company’s Management Team. We then asked the teachers how best we could use the money to help the students.

Mr. Jerry Bowes, the General Manager of Indochina Sails makes donation in Cua Van Primary School in Halong bay, Vietnam

If any guest coming to Ha Long Bay would like to help the young students of the Primary School we suggest you bring donations such as pens, pencils, markers, crayons or chalk. Also, coloring books for the younger students and notebooks for the older ones. And what kid wouldn’t like some sweets!

Indochina Sails

Add: 27, A6, Dam Trau Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: 84-4-39842362
Fax:84-4-39844150
Email: info@indochinasails.com
Website: http://www.indochinasails.com

Friday, April 9, 2010

Halong bay

Halong bay view

Since December the 14th 1994 at the 18th session of the World Heritage Commission in Phuket- Thailand Ha Long Bay has been inscribed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The decision of recognizing Ha Long Bay as a World Heritage area confirms the exceptional and universal value of this landscape.

For Vietnamese people Ha Long Bay is not only a great landscape but it is also a sacred and longstanding symbol of the country. In the Vietnamese people's consciousness the stone islands in Ha Long Bay are not only limestone but biotic. When the Nation was in danger Mother- dragon and her children landed and stay forever to depend the country.

Vietnamese Vinh Ha Long (?Where the Dragon Descends to the Sea?), bay on the northwest coast of the Gulf of Tonkin, near the city of Hong Gai, Quang Ninh province, northern Vietnam. Situated 102 miles (164 km) southeast of Hanoi, the 580-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometre) area contains some 3,000 rocky and earthen islands, typically in the form of jagged limestone pillars jutting out from the sea, and several caves and grottoes.

The system of grottos in multiform islands in Ha Long Bay are really heavenly palaces in the world. But Ha Long is not only beautiful within range of the traveler?s vision but also within their profound mind with respect to the far- off past and changes of nature and cultural history.

Visiting Ha Long Bay travelers can see the remains left by primitive people at the last 20000 years. Three famous prehistory cultures continuously developed in this landscape from the late Paleolithic age to age to early metal age. They are the Soi Nhu culture Cai Beo culture and Ha Long culture.

The most impressive of the grottoes is the Hang Dau Go, a huge cave of three chambers, while the Thien Cung Caves are also very impressive. The name Ha Long means ‘where the dragon descended into the sea’, and refers to a legend about a dragon that created the bay and islands with its flailing tail. There’s even a modern legendary creature, the Tarasque, said to haunt the area.

Taking a tour of the bay is the main activity here; most book a tour at a cafe or hotel in Hanoi. If you want to arrange things independently, be ready for lots of hard sell from touts in Halong Bay City. To see a lot, choose a fast boat. If you want a romantic experience but with the risk of getting hardly anywhere, look for one of the old junks. You have to charter the whole boat, but there are usually enough travelers around to make up a party and keep costs down.

The main town in the region is Halong City, which is in two halves, bisected by a bay. Bai Chay (the western part) is the more scenic and has the most hotels, restaurants and persistent touts. Hon Gai (the eastern part) is connected to Haiphong by a ferry. Masochists might try seeing the bay on a day-trip from Hanoi. Another option is to travel to Cat Ba Island, where you can arrange a tour of the bay with less hassles.

The name Ha Long Bay is literally translated as “Bay of Descending Dragons.” Prior to the 19th century, this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old historical books often referred to them as the seas of Giao Chau, Luc Chau, Luc Thuy, Van Don, Hai Dong or An Bang. Not until in the late 19th century did the name of Ha Long Bay appear on the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf chart or in press articles in French and in Vietnamese.

A legend has been handed down in the local area relating to the name Ha Long Bay, which says: ?Long ago, in the first founding days, the Viet people were attacked by foreign aggressors. The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and a herd of Child Dragons to help the Viet fight the invaders. While the enemy vessels were lauching massive attacks against the mainland, the dragons descended in flocks from the sky. They spat out innumerable pearls which, in a moment, were changed into innumerable jade stone islands linked together into firm citadels that checked the enemy?s advance and smashed their vessels into pieces. The Viet won at last.

After the invaders were driven out, Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons did not return to Heaven but stayed on earth, right at the place where the battle occurred. The spot where the Mother Dragon landed was Ha Long, and where the Child Dragons came down was Bai Tu Long. The place where their tails violently wagged was called Long Vi, the present-day Tra Co Peninsula with its soft sandy beach stretching dozens of kilometers.?

Source: newsfinder.org

Supported by: Indochina Sails

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