9 Interesting Facts about Mekong River

Mekong is one the most mysterious rivers in the world which attracts attentions of many worldwide articles and scientists. Let's learn some interesting facts about Mekong River.

1. Huge area
Mekong River, of which length up to 4,350 km (the 12th longest river in the world), covers a huge area of 307000 square miles or 795,000 km square, discharges 475km3 of water annually.

2. How many countries does the river flow through?
Mekong River can be seen in 6 countries in the world including China, Myanmar, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It plays an extremely important role to the economic, cultural, historical developments of those countries as well as the life of local people. 

3. The very first person to find Mekong
In 1540, a Portuguese man named Antonio de Faria first discovered the river himself. After that, some expeditions were made by European people but not really successful because their purpose is only to do business. However, the first official discovery trip was by French scientists, when they found some breathtaking waterfalls.

4. Biodiversity
Mekong River owns a rich biodiversity of rare species including some ‘river monsters’ such as giant catfish and stingray. Especially, the Irrawaddy Dolphin, one of the rarest species in the world, only some living in the area of Tonle Sap River.

5. Important route
It has been a long time since this river was found that local people and businessmen from the 6 countries uses Mekong as the one and only route for good-trading. This helps them to easily transfer heavy stuffs or products like raw wood, furniture, electric devices etc. Nowadays, Mekong River still remains its importance, especially for Tourism in Indochina. Indeed, tourist can book Vietnam to Cambodia cruises on Mekong river to easily transfer between the 2 countries.

6. Different names
Although the river is widely well-known for the name Mekong, people from different countries named it differently. Thailand and Laos people call it Mae Nam Khong meaning Mother River, Cambodian People call it Mékongk. Chinese people call it Lancang Jiang meaning Turbulent River while Vietnamese people named it Cuu Long (Nine Dragons).
7. Mekong River Basin’s Population
There are over 60 million people living in the basin of Mekong River.

8. Mekong River irrigation
Mekong River is considered to be a friend of Indochina farmers. Especially in Vietnam during dry seasons, they have to rely on its plentiful amount of water to irrigate their crops.

9. Floating markets
Floating market is one of the most interesting things when you visit Indochina countries. Some famous markets are in Vietnam called Cai Rang and Cai Be. They are the places for local people to buy and sell local good including fruits, flowers, vegetables, food, animals etc. The ridiculous thing is that only floating means of transport allowed because all the shop are all on single boats. Visiting the markets, you will have a chance to enjoy best tropical fruits in Vietnam with reasonable prices, observe activities of local people and take good photos of bustling trading scene.

If you want to discover deeply these unique floating markets or the life of people in Mekong River, our Mekong river cruises will offer you that opportunity. 
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Eat, Sleep and Enjoy Myanmar on a Budget


I decided to spend 800 USD for a 9 day trip to Burma in which $400 US for essential payout and the rest for unexpected situations. Before departure, I had read many backpackers’ blogs about Myanmar travel guides and they all come to a conclusion: this country recently opened its door for tourism after decades suffering under the dictatorship, the infrastructure doesn’t meet the requirement of booming tourism. Therefore, the lack of accommodations is common and the price is particularly higher than other neighbor countries. You will have to pay 90USD for a standard room with basic facilities. This makes me worry the most when I choose to travel to Burma in the peak season (November to February, the weather is not too hot with less chance of raining).


Eat

In my opinion, Myanmar food is pretty easy to eat. However, its culinary is influenced by other neighbor countries’ cuisine as some dishes are similar to Chinese food, some is like Indian dishes and some tastes like Vietnamese meals. Thus, a Korean tourist said that Burmese cuisine has no distinctive characteristics.


You can have a breakfast at the hotel or wander around the street to find your own favorite items of food. The cost is pretty cheap with a wide selection of local dishes such as noodles salads, Shan style rice and fried cakes. Markets are also the perfect place to satisfy your hunger. 3 of us had a nice meal with only 1,800 kyat (1.3 USD). For lunch and dinner, you can go check out some food stalls or restaurants with a diverse menu of Burmese specialties to Western courses. 


Your food journey to Burma cannot be completed without visiting a tea house. Burmese people love tea. They drink black tea sweetened with milk which is usually served with some side dishes. Tea house in Burma is not only a place to quench the thirst but to experience a part of local life. Yangon is a perfect place to explore Burmese cuisine with a wide range of food selections. Join now our Yangon food tour to experience the quintessence of Burmese culture.

Sleep

My only concern about accommodation in Burma was the price because I spent half of my journey travelling alone and the cost for a single room was nearly equal to the double. However, everything turned out fine eventually. 

Not too difficult to find: It is not necessary to book hotel in advance in Myanmar due to the majority of them do not have the internet and they are not likely to reply your email. As long as you know where to find cheap accommodations, the problem is solved. Here are some of my recommendations: In Mandalay, cheap hotels are located in the centre, particularly in Road 85 (only main roads in Myanmar are named, the smaller ones are numbered). Nyaung Oo is where you can find low – priced lodges in Bagan and in Nyaungshwe is around the market (2 minutes walking from the bus station). The price will decrease as the accommodations are far from the markets or situated in the small streets. I didn’t spent any nights in Yangon so I am not recommenced any particular spots. Hence, according to the Lonely Planet the China town features many hotels with reasonable price.      

Not too expensive: I stayed at Joe Joe Lay guesthouse (Mandalay) and Eden Motel (Bgan) for 10USD/night per person. I also spent a night at Winner guesthouse in Bagan with 2 of my friends and all we had to charge was 40 dollars for a room with a shared bathroom (they also have single rooms for $11 – 14 US/ night). When visiting Inle Lake, I stayed at Diamond Star Hotel in Nyaungshwe for 10USD a single room with shared bathroom. 
The price has included: Breakfast (usually eggs, toasts with butter and jam, fruits and coffee). Joe Joe Lay Guesthouse, in particularly, had the best breakfast with fruits, orange juice and a Burmese dishes changing daily.  

Hotel’s quality: pretty good for backpackers. The room is old but clean with basic amenities. Water and the laundry service are very cheap.  

Hotel’s Services: The staffs are very enthusiast and friendly. They are always willing to help you to plan your trip, arrange transportations or book the tickets, etc. with the smile on their face. Staffs in Diamond Star Hotel even woke up at 5 in the morning to prepare breakfast for me to go watch the sunrise in Inle Lake. 

Moreover, as the overnight buses usually arrive in Inle at dawn, the hotels here have their own way of charge. As long as they have spare rooms, they will allow you to check in at 4a.m and check out at noon in the following day and charge as 1 night only.

Although I traveled in the peak season, tourist accommodations did not seem to be lacked thanks to the effort of the country to develop the infrastructure in recent years. There are now a great number of hotels and guesthouses around the famous destinations for you to choose. I arrived in 2 places at 3.30 a.m and still found a hotel for myself with a great price.  

So, How Much Do We Need?

My total spending in Myanmar was about 250USD. Apart from looking for cheap accommodations and low – priced food, I chose bicycle as my main means of transport (instead of taxi) when travelling a distance less than 3km. Travelling in the night by coaches or pick - up trucks. Therefore, with the budget of $30 – 40US/day, you can completely enjoy your trip in Burma even in the peak season. And if you travel in the low season, the price will get cheaper because there are not many visitors. In summary, Myanmar is definitely suitable for tourists on shoestring, especially backpackers.   


Travelling alone definitetly has it own interesting factors and unexpected situations also. For a tailor made holiday to the golden land, book now Myanmar Tour Packages or join in Burma River Cruises

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Breathtaking Borderline in Binh Lieu

The majestic borderline on the edge of the cliffs, the sea of clouds suddenly under the feet, the rapids and cool streams... all these are in Binh Lieu. Binh Lieu is a highland border district of Quang Ninh, more than 100 km northeast of Ha Long City. Dubbed "Sa Pa of Quang Ninh", "Sa Pa of the Northeast", this destination is becoming more and more known in the relocation community. Binh Lieu makes people feel attracted because it owns nearly 40 km border with beautiful borderline, it can be the most beautiful in the Northeast.


The borderline along the border crossing the high mountains, surrounded by acacia forest, jungle, cinnamon fragrant, under the valley is the village. Long time ago in the winter, snow fell on this road. The majestic mountainside frontage and the long stretch of road make it easy for travelers to get attracted. This is also a "paradise" border markers, from the 1300 mark at the intersection of Lang Son, Quang Ninh with Guangxi (China) to milestone 1327. Many landmarks in particular, each visit the landmark Is a private trip. You should not miss the most beautiful 1300 milestone in the white wipe season, which is famous for its rather difficult trekking trail, considered the "dinosaur backbone" of the North East.


Just like the " dinosaur backbone " Ta Xua of the Northwest, the trail drawn on top of the mountain winding up as infinite, after passing through pine forest, forest architecture, requires strength and determination. In return, the beauty of the wild flowers, mountains and forests with the pride of touching the landmark will make your journey unforgettable.


Binh Lieu owns more than 1,000 m high mountains, Cao Ba Lanh with legendary rock like bell ring, or top Cao Xiem - "rooftop" of Quang Ninh. Cao Xiem has a long wall of stone compared to the "Great Wall of China" and the inox marking 1,429 m elevation attracts many young people trekking.


Streams, waterfalls are also one of the specialties here. Khe Van Waterfall with three cascades of waterfall, Suc Cau Waterfall, Mooc River, Khe Tien River and many small beautiful and unspoiled waterfalls, bring many beautiful stories. This is the habitat of the Dao, San Chi, Tay, ... Binh Lieu has many beautiful terraced fields, yellow dyed each season, which makes it unique, though not spectacular as the Northwest.



This place is developing many homestay of compatriots. However, if you want to experience the wilderness, you can also choose to camp. The Cao Xiem Mountain area of Cao Ly is quite suitable for a memorable camp, where the "white goats huddle around the hill". Cao Ly is also a hunting spot for "rustic" territory. If lucky you can also meet the sea of clouds here on beautiful days.



However, the border areas is quite desolate and hence you should pay attention, select locations and have contact with local people.



Do not forget to visit Dong Van highland market in Dong Van Commune, where Dao people, San Chi busy exchanging products, watching the unique costume with peacock pattern.



Northeastern Forest dishes here are noodles, grilled fish ... Especially, there are famous stir fried pho noodles and rice noodles, cinnamon oils…


The appropriate time to explore Binh Lieu is spring, summer season (March), rainy season (September), the season of white flowers (December). The route from Hanoi to Binh Lieu via Highway 18 and 18C is about 260 km.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Where to Stay in Hanoi?

There are a few places in Hanoi that can bring visitors experience full of fun, to help you feel the full atmosphere of the streets of Hanoi – they are small pretty homestay. Where should you stay in Hanoi? Homestay will be one of the great answers.

Le Bleu Indie

Situated on Tong Dan Street, Le Bleu Indie is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful homestay in Hanoi. Le Bleu India is an apartment in a French-built mansion. With classic French architecture combined with unique decor, Le Bleu Indie evokes an old-fashioned feeling that is very modern.


Le Bleu Indie now has two separate bedrooms. With a few recycled items, Le Bleu India's owner creates a very private, cozy and cozy bedroom. Another characteristic of Le Bleu India is that there is a balcony overlooking Tong Dan Street. Traveling to Hanoi and staying at the Le Bleu Indie homestay, visitors will be able to feel the full air of Hanoi when watching a corner of Hanoi street from the balcony.

Lacaito

Another homestay which is also as small as Le Bleu Indie is Lacaito. Similar to Le Bleu Indie, Lacaito was also renovated and redecorated from a small apartment in the old French villa. Lacaito consists of a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen and a balcony, but impresses as soon as entered by the design style in a beautiful nostalgic atmosphere.

Lacaito uses mainly furniture made from rattan, bamboo and wood material, which is a feeling of simplicity and simplicity. Besides, Lacaito's floor and the kitchen wall are paved with old-fashioned brick tiles creating a unique impression. In addition, Lacaito also has a balcony with a small garden. This will be an ideal place for visitors to sip a cup of coffee in the morning, catch the sun, read a book or have a party at night.

Mei Hideaway

If you are wondering about where to stay in Hanoi, Mei Hideaway is a great suggestion. Mei Hideaway is a pretty homestay located on Truc Bach Street. Although the area is quite narrow, but the space in Mei Hideaway is not a feeling of cramped, uncomfortable but also bring comfort, relaxation and lightness. This is due to the way the design and decoration of Mei Hideaway reached a high harmony, bringing simple, elegant but subtle beauty.


The Mei Hideaway has two bedrooms, a common living room including living room and kitchen. If you intend to stay at Mei Hideaway when traveling to Hanoi, you should contact the reservation early because of the small number of rooms, Mei Hideaway regularly is fully booked.

Satori Homestay

For those who love the romantic, sweet things, especially the female tourists, Satori will be a perfect choice when traveling to Hanoi. Satori is a homestay located on Quang Trung Street. Like most other homestays in Hanoi, Satori is not too large. However, instead, Satori always brings a sense of peace, warmth and comfort.

Satori has all 6 bedrooms and common living space. Each bedroom is about 16m2, decorated in a gentle, elegant style with the color combination between paint water, curtains and impressive mattress. Also common living space includes living room, kitchen and terrace. Guests staying at Satori can cook their own meals in the communal kitchen. Especially around the area of homestay Satori , a lot of delicious specialties of Hanoi are available, so do not forget to find and enjoy these dishes. To find out more about good food Hanoi, visitors can see more article "Where to eat in Hanoi?".

Le Bleu (Nha Trong Xom)

Surely tourists are wondering Le Bleu (Nha Trong Xom) and Le Bleu Indie have a link with each other because the names are quite similar. Yes, Le Bleu (Nha Trong Xom) is a very famous "brother" of Le Bleu Indie. Born to Le Bleu India, Le Bleu (Nha Trong Xom) quickly resonated as a beautiful homestay in the French villa on Tran Hung Dao. Along the French-style architecture, the Le Bleu space is decorated in a classic European style. The Le Bleu space is larger than the Le Bleu Indie, with many bedrooms, a living room with an old-style fireplace and a small kitchen overlooking the garden.


In addition to these homestays, visitors can also stay at some other nice homestay in Hanoi such as Phori's House (Quang Minh Town, Me Linh District, Hanoi), Au Frais (near West Lake, Hanoi), Tree House (Long Bien district, Hanoi), Hidden (Soc Son pine forest, Hanoi) ... Hope with suggestions on homestay in the article , you will have an idea about the best and most comfortable accommodation for your Hanoi trip.


Vung Tau Tourism – Cat Lo Port

Vung Tau is a dynamic and romantic coastal city. It is blessed with long coasts and diversified marine life. With the original natural beauty and modernity of a developing city, Vung Tau tourism becomes an attractive destination for tourists.


It is often referred to Hai Phong is a famous port city, but few people know that Ba Ria - Vung Tau province has the most ports in the country (the whole province has 53 large and small seaports including 10 big ports). Cat Lo Port is one of the largest seaports in the coastal city with the fishing logistic function of fishermen. If you have the opportunity to visit Vung Tau tourists once to the port of Cat Lo to feel the aftertaste of life here. No shimmering, beautiful as the Ho Tram, Ho Coc's idyllic seaport along with the pace of fishermen here will bring visitors a new experience.

Introduction of Cat Lo port - location and transportation

Like many other ports, Cat Lo port is the landing of the boats each time from the sea. Cat Lo Port is where fishermen are busy for a bumper fish season. Cat Lo Port is where the children go to their mother, waiting for the father to return to ... The poetic beauty, simplicity of a port as Cat Lo quickly became an attractive rendezvous for those who love exploring Vung Tau tourist destination.

The port is located at the mouth of the Dinh River at Ward 11, Vung Tau City. Cat Lo port on one side overlooking the peaceful Dinh river, on the other side facing the big sea. The port has a large area of about 6.7 hectares with spacious grounds. In addition, Cat Lo Port owns three large wharves for large, small boats.


Port is one of the economic points of Vung Tau city. Not only the berth of ships, Cat Lo port also develops various services such as preliminarily processing, transshipping seafood and storage of petroleum, ice ... Rather diverse with different services but birth Cat Lo port is quite impressive with fresh, green, clean beautiful attractive nature.

Guests can easily reach Cat Lo port by taxi or motorbike. The port is quite central, not too far from the highway so it is very convenient to move. The ideal time to visit Cat Lo port is the dawn or sunset. The lyrical scene of early morning and sunset paintings will surely make visitors feel great.

Interesting experiences at the port of Cat Lo

Feel the peaceful atmosphere of the ocean: Cat Lo Port not only owns a simple but beautiful scenery. Besides the cool climate is also here is a big plus for tourism Cat Lo port.

Guests can feel the wind blowing from the ocean to cool each morning. Zoom out to the sea is immense sea of endless people to remove the anxiety to drop in the vast nature. For tourists who love photography on the island, Cat Lo is an excellent destination with beautiful view.

Feel the aftertaste of daily life: Cat Lo Port is an economic port, serving fishermen's main fishes so the pace of life in the port is quite bustling and fun. Guests will be able to inhale the fresh air here and feel the aftertaste of life in the harbor.


The scene of the busiest ships dock "drawing up" a vivid picture of life. Besides, the port also carved out the lives of fishermen here - busy, noisy but also peaceful to strange. For those who are away from the sea for a long time, a little smell of shrimp, fish smell fish also feel strange skin. Meet the familiar figure of the rustic fisherman also makes people feel close, warm ...

Besides the experience of the life of the port of Cat Lo tourists can experience the boat on the sea. From Cat Lo you can buy a boat ticket to visit Con Dao - a beautiful island that is majestic with historical vestiges. Incorporating the Museum of Vung Tau and Con Dao city visitors will certainly add to their knowledge of rich history.

Cat Lo Port - one of the ports that make up the Dinh River and the Vung Tau City is an interesting tourist destination that visitors can visit and explore. Cat Lo port is not as luxurious, so poetic as other destinations, but the pictures of the train back to the sea, the children waiting for mother, the seafood market here promises to bring exciting experiences.


Overwhelmed by The Beauty of Trang An

Driving along National Highway 1, about 4km south of the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, you will come to Trang An, where limestone strips, valleys and interwoven rivers create a mysterious, mysterious space.


The boat wharf is where tickets for strolling around the country Trang An. The cloud, green mountains, silver water… all are like in a watercolor painting. Small boats hovering on the river Sao Khe. Caves are lit to help visitors easily observe. Every time through a cave visitors will feel different beauty. At the same river, you can see both the blue or green color of the water.



Trang An is one of the most well known destinations of Ninh Binh. The scenery here is made up of rivers flowing through the limestone mountains, forming numerous mysterious natural caves, mysterious.




Ecological system in Trang An is also very rich and it is not difficult to catch the diving leagues for prey in the river. Aboriginal villages and ships in King Kong are set up to serve visitors. The aboriginal village and the ship in the King Kong movie are set up for the sightseeing.


Come to Trang An you can just drop your soul into the nature here, have been in contact with foreign friends and proudly introduce to them a Trang An is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Summer on Koh Rong Island

I dreamed of a trip to a place where there was a blue jade beach, the bridges extended to the sea. And so happy, it became a reality.


After nearly an hour of high-speed boat, my group and I were on the beautiful Koh Rong Island. From the pier to the hotel, I was not surprised and amused by the clear blue water.

Water is so clear that I could see the bottom. We came to the island is also late afternoon, take a walk around a round. Along the coast of the island has a large row of large folding chairs for guests to lie. Free rest. You can enjoy the relaxing moment with your back here.


I went back to the hotel to take a rest and have dinner with everyone in the delegation. Coco Beach Resort is selected by the delegation, with many rates such as dorm 300,000 VND (14 USD)/ room, room 2 800,000 VND (110 USD)/ room, room for 4 people is 1.2 million VND (48 USD) / room ...


We prepared our own dinner. Everyone was happy and excited about an unforgettable experience. Many people in Koh Rong - Cambodia know English, or Western-style shops open the service. You can easily communicate with basic English, or use gestures to express.
If Koh Rong Samloem Island has a peaceful peaceful environment suitable for relaxation, you will feel a different feeling when coming to Koh Rong Island. The night is very busy here. The bar, restaurant grows along the beach with vibrant music. Come to Koh Rong, remember not to sleep early, but take the time to go to the beach, drink your own Angkorian beer and enjoy yourself in the vibrant, fun, different music.



The majority of tourists are Westerners, most of them Westerners, costing between $ 2 and $ 5 each. In the morning, there are fried rice, baguette, local noodles ... BBQ dinner is $ 5 (bread with pork or grilled chicken, seafood). Beer costs 1-2 USD, cocktail is from 2 USD, kebab is 3 USD.Here you should try Angkor style of Cambodia. And if you want to try Khmer, you can choose one in the menu. You and you have to try beef rice and chicken rice with vegetables, cooked with very fine cashew nuts, the price range is about $ 2-5 for a normal meal.



Dawn turns magical form. I should have gotten up early to see the sunrise on the island.After breakfast, we continue to visit the island.Beautiful morning on the island so pleasant.I go around the sea.For sea, I caught the swing Caught on the tree. Bring the book, sit here and then it is nothing more beautiful. Koh Rong has a beautiful beach, white sand and smooth, combined with cool blue water makes it easy to make people feel like a fairytale. 


Rarely have I seen so many piers. Probably due to the nature of the sea here is very shallow, to anchor the boat, the wharf is stretched far away from the mainland. Whether on or under the bridge, where is also where to photograph her live.


There are also many exciting games such as snorkeling (snorkeling, snorkeling, fishing, jumping, sunset, BBQ, fruit, fish, glowing fish), zipline ($ 25 USD season low, $ 35 high season, unlimited play), trekking through the forest, kayaking ($ 8 a day, $ 12 a day). You can paddle to the nearby small island 45 minutes, on the island there is a small temple on the top, this is the most beautiful place to snorkeling.



Some note to Koh Rong - Cambodia

Money: Cambodians spend riel (read Ria), 1 riel = 5.36 VND, or can spend US dollars (4000 riel = 1 USD).

Passport must be valid for more than 6 months.

From Sihanoukville buy a train ticket to Koh Rong Island: Round trip fare is US $ 20 round trip and return (remember your return trip at the ticket counter right at the pier).

5 Things to Buy After Travelling in Cambodia

Silk, palm sugar,Krama scarf, silver jewellery,  ... are items thattravellers should not bypass when travelling to Cambodia.

1. Silk


In Cambodia, the majority of silk products are still made by traditional method. Visitors can choose some souvenirs made of silk, for example scarves, head scarves, silk fabric, ... To buy quality gifts, you should have  look at KohDach island - which is known as the land of silk products, about 15km from Phnom Penh.

This is where you can visit and see firsthand how to make silk products as well as choose some silk souvenirs with unique motifs.

2. Krama scarf


Krama is specific scarf of Cambodia, woven from soft cotton, which helps absorb sweat and is an indispensable accessory of young backpackers. Besides using Krama as a covering, Cambodians also use it for many other things: carrying a baby, bringing anything, table clothing, lining chairs, decorating ... Common price is about 1 USD for one but it could be cheaper if you buy more than that.

3. Small carvings 


The beautiful small carvings in Cambodia that you can buy for friends include carvings on stone, wood, bronze, and even silver with the imageslike the Buddha, Apsara, famous places ... These are interior decorations favourite by many people. Inanimate rocks and wooden blocks seem to be extraordinarily soulful under the hands of artisans in Cambodia .

4. Silver Jewellery


Besides the souvenirs listed above, you can also buy products made from silver. In Cambodia, silver products have been widely used in religious ceremonies since 11th century.

With the development of tourism, in Phnom Penh and SiemRiep, specialized stores selling the products made from silver such as bracelets, necklaces, ...have mushroomed more and more, and visitors can choose lots of unique jewelleries as a gift for their loved ones.

5. Jaggery (palm sugar)


Palmyra is a specific tree that growswidely in Cambodia. Jaggery – a kind of surgar made from palm tree tastes sweet and it’s delicious for cooking. That is why many people choose to buy jaggery as a gift when traveling in Cambodia. In particular, when you buy jaggery here you will discover the truth that it never stiff enough to condense into blocks. Therefore, high quality and delicious jaggery is in liquid form, viscid and deep yellowlike a good types of honey.