Thứ Ba, 4 tháng 12, 2012

7 Reasons to head out to Vietnam

Known with many famous tourist sites with natural beauties, tranquil villages, ancient pagodas, beautiful lakes, Vietnam has been a popular tourist destination in the world. Not convinced as yet? Here are the top reasons why Vietnam should be your next destination. 

Reason # 1: A stunningly beautiful country

Vietnam is just beautiful, its geography, topography, landscapes, and especially 3265 km of coastline. Magnificent mountains, Red River and the Mekong deltas, rivers and primary forests make the country an amazing land to visit. The top destinations for ideal Vietnam travel is the 2000 fascinating naturally sculptures rising up from emerald water in Halong Bay. Or head to the Northwest and enjoy the spectacular scenery of terrace rice fields in Sapa, occupied by different tribes. In the central region, Vietnam boasts its best beaches on earth and ready for your golden holidays in Cua Dai beach, Nha Trang beach or Mui Ne beach. In the Mekong delta, tourists get amazed by amazing ways of life from floating villages and floating markets.



Reason # 2: World Heritages

It is not difficult to find out key highlights of Vietnam. The small country is proud to have rich heritages, from natural ones to man-made spiritual. So far Vietnam has 7 UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites which contribute to its appealing beauty, including Hue Complex Monuments, Hoi An ancient town, My Son Holy Land, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Halong Bay, The Cultural Space of Gong in the Central Highlands, the Royal Court Music of Hue. Other intangible heritages that attract tourists are Xoan singing, Folk songs and Ca Tru.

Reason # 3: Friendly and Hospitable People

Vietnamese people are the most hospitable and friendly in the World. This feature is popular in all regions of the country. You can find happy faces everywhere from cities to the countryside. You will have a chance to talk and chat with them happily. Foreign kids with blond hair and blue eyes will be most adored by Vietnamese women. Visiting their home, guests will often be offered all kind of fruits and food prepared with great attention for free.

Reason # 4: Multi-ethnic Cultures


The country is populated by 54 groups of people living happily and sharing unique cultures. Each of the group has their own cultures, languages, customs and clothes which make Vietnam a multi-cultural destination. For example, the black H’Mong ladies’ clothes are in black color while the Red Dzao ladies’ clothes are colorful with red scraps on their heads. Visitors will learn different ways of life and it is just making their Vietnam holidays more interesting.



Reason # 5: Best Cuisine on Earth

Vietnamese cuisine is just awesome, and hardly could any visitors have negative comments on Vietnamese food. There is admirably a great balance between vegetable and meats, as well as a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste. Vietnamese food can be considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is appreciated for the freshness of the ingredients and for the minimum use of oil which makes this cuisine very healthy. Hardly do families use processed food for daily meals. Most visitors to Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City will try to plan for a half day cooking tour to learn hands on cooking skills.

Reason # 6: Amazing Development
One reason that draws more visitors to Vietnam is its steady and rapid economic growth. It is not a war anymore. After some 3 decades of open door policies, the country is now in the middle income country. In cities, sky scrapers, high office buildings, residential towns and services are booming. Most visitors will be surprised to see luxurious cars and items are on the markets in this once war torn country. More and more foreigners work in Vietnam, which is seen as a tiger in Southeast Asia.

Reason # 7: Top Security in the World


Last but not least is the country’s top security in the World for your dream holiday. Vietnam is now one of the safest countries in the world. There are no fears for long term strikes, protests, terrorism, guerilla attacks, bombings, kidnaps or killings that affect your holiday. With one party, Vietnam is highly controlled with its own system. In particular, foreigners in Vietnam are highly protected by the legal systems and authorities. Vietnamese government will give a very strict penalty to Vietnamese people who cause damages to foreigners. 


Source: Info.vn

See more:

Vietnam tour

Thứ Năm, 29 tháng 11, 2012

Monsoon rains in Hue

At this time of the year visitors to Hue in central Vietnam are very impressed by light rains falling almost without let-up for days. They view the prolonged drizzles as a unique feature of the old imperial city. In their eyes such famous cites as the Royal Palace, Phuc Duyen Tower, Linh Mu Pagoda and Truong Tien Bridge always look stunningly beautiful, rain or shine.








Source: dtinews

Thứ Ba, 13 tháng 11, 2012

View Vietnam from the train

Hanoi to Saigon by train, in 9 minutes Mark Smith, better known as The Man in Seat 61, travels the length of Vietnam by train. Source: Telegraph

Thứ Hai, 5 tháng 11, 2012

How to Tour Cambodia & Vietnam


By Fiona Wilkinson

The easiest way to tour Cambodia and Vietnam is to take one of the many all-inclusive packages available, which can include everything from your flight, to hotel, meals and accommodation along your chosen route. If you have more time, going-it-alone is a more relaxed way to travel, and will give you the flexibility to chose your route and length of time you want to stay in each place. Traveling around Cambodia and Vietnam as an independent traveler is relatively safe and easy.

        1. Book a package tour if you are pressed for time or do not want to travel on your own. These range from eight, 14 or 16 to 18 days or longer. Organized tours can include: Angor Thom and Angkor Wat, Banteay Srey, a boat trip on Tonle Sap Great Lake, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Hochiminh or Saigon, Chinabeach and Halongbay. You can choose between luxury or standard accommodation, and all meals and entry fees are usually included.

        2. Look for an adventure tour. These can include beach, kayaking or golf tours. You can take a cycling tour, a historical tour or a cruise down one of the region's many rivers. There are also spa tours of the area's most exotic spas, or take a trekking tour if you are feeling more adventurous and energetic.

        3. Buy a good travel guide if you decide to travel on your own. Traveling between Cambodia and Vietnam is relatively easy. There are direct flights daily between Vietnam and Cambodia, either to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. You can also travel overland between the two, crossing at one of the three border posts. These are open daily between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Visas are available at the border for a small fee.

        4. One of the most popular crossings is by ferry or boat via the Chau Doc/Kaam Samnor river-border on the Mekong River. It is a nice trip and you can see floating houses and local daily village life on the way. It takes around six hours to reach Phnon Penh from here, and visas can be obtained at the border here too.

        5. There is a good train and bus system in Vietnam and Cambodia. The railway links many of the region's main towns. It is an affordable way to cover a lot of the countryside. Tickets can be bought at the main stations or at a travel agency. You have a choice of air-conditioning or non air-conditioned carriages, sleeper and soft or hard seats, depending on the length of your trip.


Thứ Năm, 1 tháng 11, 2012

Travel tips: Getting by train to Sapa


From Hanoi it is a 9-hour train journey to Sapa.

Vietnam Rail operates some of the cars, but other cars in the train are operated by private companies (Tulico, Ratraco, Victoria Hotels, and others). Some of these cars are significantly nicer than the standard cars. You may need to arrange with a travel agency to get tickets on these tourist cars, but any traveler can purchase tickets for the VNR cars at the Hanoi train station.

Cheaper tickets, especially in hard sleeper class, can be hard to come by at times, as tour companies and travel agents will snap up these to foist on their own customers (too frequently a promised soft sleeper berth will turn into a hard sleeper when it comes time to board). To avoid rip offs better go to the train station by yourself and get the ticket from the ticket office. This is the only way to make sure that you will get what you have paid for. Travel Agencies in Vietnam are known for their bad business practice. Another possibility is to ask for help at your hostel (if it's a good one).



Insider travel tip:
Although one cannot be assured of finding a place, it is often possible to arrive at the station a short while before boarding time, as there are usually young men hanging around trying to hawk unfilled berths at the last minute. The price of these tickets will fall dramatically as departure time draws near.

Prices vary according to both the type of seat purchased and the season during which you are traveling. The times around Vietnamese holidays are particularly expensive and tickets cannot be assumed available for same day travel, so book ahead if possible. Travelers are recommended to purchase a berth in a soft or hard sleeper car, though the trip in soft seat class is not intolerable (that's what we did and it was ok). For a bed, expect to pay in the area of 150,000-250,000 dong (one-way). There is usually a dining car serving good, surprisingly affordable noodles (8000 dong) and rice porridge (6000 dong), but it's always wise to bring your own snacks and drinks as well.

The train ends at Lao Cai. From there, dozens of shuttle buses will be waiting outside the station to take you the remaining distance to Sapa, usually at a 'fixed' rate of 25,000 dong. It's often possible to bargain down to 20,000 dong or lower, depending on demand. The ride is about an hour of beautiful views (if the weather is good, it may be an hour of fog at other times) more than 1000 meters up into the mountains.

You may want to book a return ticket when you buy your outward journey, as picking up tickets in Lao Cai is harder than in Hanoi. The staff do not speak as much English, and they possibly only sell tickets for travel on the same day so sleepers may already be sold out unless you go first thing in the morning. Pay attention to the time of your return train. Trains leaving Lao Cai around 7PM will arrive in Hanoi at 4AM. If you don't make prior arrangements to return at an early hour, you may find yourself sitting outside of your hostel, waiting for the desk to open.

Another possibility is to get a bus ride to Dien Bien Phu at the northern border to Laos. That's a complete day in the bus, riding through terrific landscapes!

Source: traveldudes


 

Thứ Năm, 6 tháng 9, 2012

Vietnam’s best tourist attractions

 VIETNAM - Many visitors to Vietnam have been impressed by the unique beauty of the scenery.

The first place to see the crack of dawn

Mui Dien in Phuoc Than village, Hoa Tam Commune, Dong Hoa district, in the south-central province of Phu Yen is the first place in Vietnam to greet the dawn.

Visitors will have the chance to see the first rays of the rising sun and its reflection in the sea. The best view is from the 26-metre light house, which was built by the French in the late 19th century.

It is very convenient for tourists to get to Mui Dien by car as there is a road leading up to the peak from the bay, not far from the sand dunes at the foot of the hill. In the evening, visitors can enjoy eating grilled fish while listening to the tales of the lighthouse watchmen.

The hottest region

Cua Rao is located in the Lam River Junction, 60 kilometres from Phu Mat forest, but its temperature always goes up to 37OC after 9am. During winter days, it is still very hot with a blazing sun. 

The changing Sand Dunes

The White Sand Dunes is a top attraction at Mui Ne in Phan Thiet town, in southern Binh Thuan province. Affected by Northeastern and Southwestern winds, they change rapidly, both in shape and colour.

In addition, visitors can enjoy the full contact of sand boarding. 5am-6am is considered the best time for this sport.

The longest oversea bridge

The 7-km Thi Nai Bridge, which connects Qui Nhon City and Phuong Mai Peninsula has become the longest oversea bridge since it was completed in December 2006.

From Qui Nhon City or the Phuong Mai Peninsula, visitors can enjoy seeing the charming bridge over the blue river and the reflection of the Thay Boi (Fortune-teller) tower in the calm water, as well as the Swallow Ground (Bai Nhan) and the Bird Hillock (Con Chim) in the distance.

The longest house

Built in 2002, the 85-metre long thatch-roofed house in Gia Lanh ethnic village, Krong Na Commune, Buon Don District in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak is considered the longest in Vietnam.

The interior of the house is decorated in the unique traditional style of the Central Highland people, with rafter, papoose and cooking fire. Visitors pay VND15,000 (US$0.7) for entry and another VND150,000 (US$7) if they want to spend overnight there in one large, common bedroom.

  Cathedral with the biggest bells

Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, located in Paris Commune, district 1, Ho Chi Minh City, is a magnificent cathedral which was built with material imported from France.

 The cathedral has a set of six large bronze bells weighing 28.85 tons, in the musical syllables of sol, la, ti, do, re and mi. All these bells, which were cast in France, are considered the biggest in Vietnam.


The biggest Jesus Statue

Built on Tao Phung Mountain in Vung Tau City, the 32-metre-tall Jesus Statue is the biggest with his arms stretching 18.4 metres long, on a 4-metre-high concrete base with a beautiful carving of the last supper of Jesus and his 12 apostles.

Inside the statue, visitors will be able to climb a 133-step spiral staircase to his arms and stand on his shoulders to enjoy panoramic views of the sea and mountain.

Source: travelweeklyasia

See also: 

Discovery Indochina tour

Thứ Ba, 17 tháng 7, 2012

Phnompenh - pearl of Asia

Phnom Penh is the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the 'Gem' of Indochina. The capital city still maintains considerable charm with plenty to see. It exudes a sort of provincial charm and tranquillity with French colonial mansions and tree-lined boulevards amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modernity of other Asian capitals. A mixture of Asian exotica, the famous Cambodian hospitality awaits the visitors to the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.  





See more: Phnompenh tour





Thứ Tư, 27 tháng 6, 2012

Video: Vietnam Central in foreign's eyes

The majority of travellers who visit Vietnam usually come through Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. While these 2 heavyweights of Vietnamese tourism still hold their ground, travellers are starting to spend more of their time and dollars in the central cities of Hoi An and Da Nang. The are close together and any trip to one should require a trip to the others. Today we’re going to feature these 2 beautiful cities, each with their own vibe and attractions.

Danang - Hoian Travel




See more: 

Vietnam central tour

Thứ Sáu, 22 tháng 6, 2012

Doan Ngo Festival (Tết Đoan Ngọ)


Doan Ngo Festival”, also called “Tết giết sâu bọ” (translated as Festival for “Killing the persons’ inner insects”), is the second most significant festival (to the Lunar New Year Tet Holiday) of Vietnam. What does these names mean?   Literally, Tet refers to festival, Doan means the start, Ngo is the seventh animal of the Chinese zodiac- the horse. Doan Ngo festival is also known as Tết sâu bọ (sâu bọ = worms, pests) or Tết tháng 5, to be celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

 The name “Tet sau bo” derives from the fact that farmers, on this day, get rid of all pests to start growing their crops for the new season. Therefore, creatures and people must become stronger in both their health and their souls to overcome this. On this occasion, the whole family have to get up early and eat fermented sticky and fruits. The worshipping is held at noon, hour of Ngo. The tradition of eating dumplings, especially lye water dumplings, extends from the belief that the dumplings will cleanse one’s body of any unwanted “parasites”.

Two irreplaceable dishes  

The two traditional types of food to be eaten on this holiday are banh u and com ruou. Banh u is pyramidal sticky rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves. They are often stuffed with beans and banana leaves’ essence, creating its dominant flavor.

Com ruou, which literally translates as “rice wine,” are little balls of fermented rice bathed in wine. Com ruou is associated with the myth telling that a long time ago, there were two orphan brothers living together in a small village. They were popular among the locals for their intelligence and kindness. Also, in that village, there were two snakes Thanh Xa and Bach Xa, which after long lives, turned into spirits.  Falling in love with the brothers, they transformed themselves into beautiful ladies to lure the men. Their desire soon became true, Thanh Xa got married the older

 They lived happily together until the men grew unhealthy each passing day, scared of daylight and lived in festering darkness. The locals suspected the presence of a bad spirit, and one day, luckily, a Taoist hermit passed by the village. After being told the affliction, he conducted some spirit type tests and found out that the men’s house had a case of the evils. Brewing a wine potion, he told the locals to feed it to the men. The brothers must eat the potion’s solids and liquids in the early morning of the next fifth day of the fifth lunar calendar.  As soon as the men tucked into their special breakfast, their wives were turned into their real appearance of snakes, before disappearing in a puff of smoke, freeing the brothers.  Since that day, people have eaten “ruou nep” on Killing the Insect Day, in the hope of driving away bad spirits.

    The process of making Com ruou is not quite complicated but time-consuming.  In order to have good com ruou in Doan Ngo Festival, the famers must harvest the reaped rice from a paddy, dried and pounded carefully to keep the most nutritious part of the rice. At first, the rice is steamed twice for about 30 minutes and left for a while to get cool. After that, It is mixed with yeast, before being left for two or three days to ferment, depending on the weather.  Com ruou is eaten early on this day to fight the “worms” in one’s stomach.

Just try it, you will see that Com ruou brings you a strong and quite delicious taste. In the Vietnamese traditional concept, com ruou can kill any parasites in the body. Vietnamese people, from adults to kids, mostly like eating com ruou, yet, adults are more inclined to gain its curing effects with a grain of salt.

Up to now, besides the Lunar New Year Holiday, Doan Ngo Festival plays a significant role in every Vietnamese life for practical and holy meanings. Enjoying the atmosphere of Doan Ngo Festival, you will get to know more about its value and spirits.

Source: Vietnambeauty

You might like to read:


Popular Vietnam festival

 

Chủ Nhật, 17 tháng 6, 2012

Cu Chi tunnels in a half-day tour

The Cu Chi tunnels are a site worth seeing if you are visiting Saigon. However, since they are roughly 70km round trip from the city centre, visiting them on a tour can take the majority of a day. When time in the city is limited they may seem unreachable, but fear not: you can get there and back and still have half a day to spare.

Start by hiring a taxi for the trip. You should do this the night before because you are going to want to get an early start to the day. The taxi will cost around 800,000 VND, giving you a round trip to the tunnels and a taxi for six hours; each additional hour will cost 50,000 extra. Have the taxi pick you up at 6:00, putting you in Cu Chi when it opens at 7:00.

Being early is an advantage because you beat the larger tour groups, which is great because you don’t have to wait for them to slowly go through the narrow tunnels. Also, since you came to the tunnels independently, you are not part of a larger tour group, giving you a more intimate experience with your tunnel guide.



Because you won’t be waiting for the tour group stragglers, you’ll have much more time in the tunnels for pictures, and if you’re lucky your guide may be a bit of a photographer himself. One thing to watch out for, however, is that because you will be one of the first people through the tunnels, the bats that inhabit these underground areas may not yet have been scared off to other hiding spots. Be prepared to feel a bat brush by on your crawl through.

After you explore the tunnels, you will still have plenty of time to check out other nearby attractions such as the memorial temple, Cu Chi village, the shooting gallery, and even grab a bite to eat. Then it’s back to your taxi and Saigon, where you will still have the rest of the day to explore.

This half-day option works best if you are in a group of three or more, because you can save time and split the taxi fare. For a cheaper tunnel excursion try the bus. Go to Thanh bus station (opposite Ben Thanh market) take bus number 13 for 7,000 VND (from Saigon to Củ Chi) and then take a second bus, number 79 for 5,000 VND(Củ Chi- Dầu Tiếng). Remember to check returning bus times before enjoying the tunnels.

Source: travelfish

See more:
Cu Chi tunnel tour

Thứ Năm, 31 tháng 5, 2012

The Perfect Cup of Coffee in Vietnam

Once upon a time, coffee wasn’t a part of Vietnam. Coffee in Vietnam was introduced by the French during their period of colonization. Along with crusty loaves of bread, sweet pastries and creamy pâté, coffee remained after the country gained independence, and began to integrate itself into the Vietnamese culture.
Traveling to Vietnam, you will be immersed in a coffee culture that appears to have been there forever.
The highland areas of Vietnam offer an ideal climate and elevation for the cultivation of coffee beans. For this reason there is a diverse range of coffee species that are produced – each bringing offering a unique savoring taste.
Nowadays, coffee is one of Vietnam’s biggest exports and they are second only to Brazil in world coffee production.
 

The RoastingAfter harvesting, coffee beans in Vietnam are often roasted dark. They are not quickly blackened, but slowly roasted over low heat for a long period of time.
This roasting technique, as well as the way the coffee is brewed, is integral to the full bodied flavor that Vietnamese coffee is so famous for.

 The Brewing

One of the most popular ways to brew a cup of coffee in Vietnam is using a very simple, single-cup gravity drip system. The device starts off with a metal cup that has tiny holes at the bottom.

Ground coffee is placed on the bottom of the cup and pushed down with a small circular piece that fits within the cup. The metal cup is placed over a real coffee cup and hot water is poured into the metal device.

Most likely, when you order a cup of coffee in Vietnam, it will be served this way.

 What kind of coffee should I drink in Vietnam?
 
Ca phe sua da – One of the most popular brews, especially when taking a break from the intense rays of the sun, is black coffee mixed with a dose of sweetened condensed milk and served on cubes of ice. The result is a rich chocolatey blend.
Ca phe sua nong – Identical to the brew mentioned above, except this variation is served hot.
Ca phe den nong – To get the real sense of Vietnamese coffee try a cup of robust pitch black coffee devoid of any additives.
Ca phe chon (Weasel Coffee) – Have you heard of “poop coffee?” This gourmet coffee which is similar to kopi luwak in Indonesia (though from a civet cat) is among the priciest beans in the world.

 Essentially coffee beans are fed to weasels who fail to digest them and end up depositing the whole beans in their feces. Someone then has the pleasure of digging out the beans and after that they are ready to be served! OK, there’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s just a quick briefing.

I had a couple of cups of weasel coffee in Hanoi, and I was truly impressed. The coffee was brewed strong, but even though I drank it completely black, there was absolutely zero acidity and none of that sourness that might come from a regular cup of black coffee.
So how can I fully enjoy drinking a cup of Vietnamese coffee?

You might remember that Vietnam takes things to the street, and coffee is among the leaders in that field.

Hanoi coffee shops are everywhere to be seen and impossible to miss. Grab a 6-inch stool, and pull yourself up to a street coffee shop in Vietnam. Order a couple of rounds, and you’ll be ready to start the day. In another few hours, stop again and order another!

People don’t just drink an energy buzzing shot of java in the morning, many partake throughout the entire day. A quick ca phe sua da is a battery charge that allows you to keep going, fighting the traffic, working, or plugging away on whatever task may be at hand.

By the way, as I sit here writing this, I’m happily sipping on a cup of black Vietnamese coffee!

Source: backpacker

Thứ Hai, 28 tháng 5, 2012

5 best buffet restaurants in Hanoi

When visiting a foreign country, many tourists may feel confused about where to try as many kinds of exotic foods with the highest quality as possible. Thus, buffet restaurants provide customers with the chance to taste a wide range of cuisines at a reasonable price and professional services. There are many kinds of buffets restaurants in Hanoi: from traditional, Western, to hotpot and dessert ones.

1. Sen restaurant chain

There are three restaurants in Sen’s chain in Hanoi: Sen Tay Ho, Sen Ha Thanh and Sen Nam Thanh. Sen Tay Ho locates near West Lake Water Park on Lac Long Quan Street, with a huge open space of 12000 square meters, and surrounded by a romantic garden.

In the heart of Hanoi is Sen Ha Thanh- a 3-storey restaurant with different styles that can serve 300 customers. Sen Nam Thanh is the newest and highest-quality one in the chain. The buffet’ price depends on time of the day (lunch or dinner, weekdays or weekend), ranging from VND290,000 to VND420,000. Sen Nam Thanh has the highest price and Ha Thanh the lowest, but most do not fall below $10 or over $20 (excluding drinks).

Buffet theme: There are various dishes, from Asian to Western ones, including grilled lobsters, pho, bun oc, sushi and fresh salmon. With nice dining space, diverse menu, good quality and reasonable price, Sen restaurant chain attracts both Vietnamese and foreign customers.

Address:

Sen Tay Ho: 614 Lac Long Quan, Hanoi
Sen Ha Thanh: 177 Bui Thi Xuan, Hanoi
Sen Nam Thanh: 84 Nguyen Du, Hanoi

2. Ngoc Mai

 Located on the 17th floor of Ruby Plaza, Ngoc Mai Restaurant is best choice for customers who love enjoying good food while watching Hanoi from a high view place. The restaurant is designed in luxurious, warm and romantic way, serving up to 100 customers, with a VIP room for personal space.

There are various cuisines from Vietnamese food to Australian beef, Japanese Sashimi or crocodile meat; separated into different corners: Japan, Salad, Seafood, Countryside market, etc. The price for each person is around VND250,000-300,000.

Address:

17th flr, Ruby Plaza, 44 Le Ngoc Han, Hanoi.

3. Fanny Ice-cream

 Fanny has been known as one of the oldest restaurants in Hanoi, which has been offered French ice-cream for more than ten years. Although the ice-cream here is extremely delicious, its price is higher than average price level. However, Fanny has brought customers a chance to enjoy its ice-cream until they are full by the ice-cream buffet taking place on the first Friday of every month, with only VND 95,000. The buffet party will start at 6.30 p.m. and the restaurant is quickly filled with ice-cream lovers. Besides more than 20 kinds of ice-cream – the main dish, people can also consume ice-cream with syrup, chocolate, coffee, wine, crepes or fresh fruits.

Address:

48 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

4. Bo De Tam

 If you are a vegetarian or simply care for your health, you will be amazed at the vegetarian buffet at Bo De Tam restaurant. The buffet is held twice a month, on the first and 15th day according to the lunar calendar, including 35 dishes followed different topics. Vegetarian food is kept fresh, without any preservative substance or food coloring, and cooked with mineral water. Carefully-decorated cuisines are very eye-catching with the colorful veggie and mushroom. Customers can also order food from the menu in normal way, or buy take-away food boxes. Delivery service for lunch is also available.

Address:

68 Pham Huy Thong, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
89 Nguyen Khuyen, Dong Da, Hanoi
63 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay, Hanoi
32 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
19 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

5. Seoul Garden

 First established in Singapore in 1983, nowadays, Seoul Garden is a famous global restaurant brand, which has appeared in many countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, offering the best “ Grilled food and No-smoke hotpot” service. The restaurant is designed modernly, with a warm and friendly atmosphere and well-equipped with the latest smoke absorber and deodorize system. There are more than 200 dishes served, including grilled dishes and many kinds of hotpot. Seoul Garden’s staff is trained by Singaporean experts, and the restaurant promises to provide the best and professional service possible.

Address:

33 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi
5th floor - Vincom tower - 191 Ba Trieu

Other buffet choices to consider:

Pepperoni restaurant has cheap and filling buffet of pasta and Italian style food: soup, ceasar salad, lasagna, pasta with either white sauce or bologna, for only $4 per person. Deals are valid from Monday to Friday, 11AM - 1:30PM only. For dinner, the restaurant chain offers pizza buffet, a hurray-hurray for typical American food.

Address: 29 Ly Quoc Su / 114 Nguyen Chi Thanh / 15 Nguyen Du / 37 Phan Dinh Phung

Kichi-kichi is an all-you-can-eat hotpot place, where food are placed in small plates and running around on a rotary. You will have your own pot to put your favourite food items into. Prices start from 159,000 or $8 per person.

Address:  40 Ton Duc Thang / 1A Tang Bat Ho

Source: VNO

See more:

Saigon restaurants guide 

Thứ Tư, 16 tháng 5, 2012

5 Cambodian dishes you've got to try

Squished between culinary heavyweights Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is often overlooked when it comes to food. But once you've sampled Khmer cuisine, you won't turn back.

Here are 5 dishes to start you off.

1. Bai sach chrouk - pork and rice

 Served on street corners all over Cambodia early every morning, bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice, is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes that the country has to offer.

Thinly sliced pork is slowly grilled over warm coals to bring out its natural sweetness. Sometimes the pork will be marinated in coconut milk or garlic -- no two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.

The grilled pork is served over a hearty portion of broken rice, with a helping of freshly pickled cucumbers and daikon radish with plenty of ginger. On the side, you'll often be given a bowl of chicken broth topped with scallions and fried onions.

Try it at: 786 St. 474, Phnom Penh

 2. Fish amok

 Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes, but you'll find similar meals in neighboring countries.

You won't find the same enthusiasm for the dish outside of Cambodia, though, or the addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor.

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.

At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.

Try it at: K'nyay, Suramarit Boulevard between Sothearos Blvd. and St. 19, Phnom Penh; +855 23 225 225




3. Khmer red curry

 Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand, Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based, but without the overpowering chili. It's much easier to enjoy.

The dish features beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.

    This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor's Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of their ancestors. Khmer red curry is usually served with bread -- a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.


4. Lap Khmer -- lime-marinated Khmer beef salad

 A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef be nearly raw -- but at restaurants it's generally served grilled.

Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or "cooked" ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.

Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.

Try it at: Romdeng, 74 St. 174, Phnom Penh; +855 92 219 565

5. Nom banh chok -- Khmer noodles

 Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles."

Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food, and you'll find it being sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.

Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that is usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.

Try it at: Russian Market, Phnom Penh

Source: cnngo


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Thứ Ba, 8 tháng 5, 2012

Vietnam travel tip: Do and Don't




 Vietnam's culture demands that you observe certain strictures, although the Vietnamese are generally very forgiving of unintentional faux pas. Petty urban crime and military sensitivity aside, the Vietnamese are very welcoming to their visitors. Vietnamese hospitality will make you feel right at home, more so when you keep the following tips in mind.

Dress conservatively wherever possible. The Vietnamese are generally modest about clothing, and look askance at visitors wearing far too little in public. Dress lightly if you must, but not overly so - avoid tops with plunging necklines, spaghetti-strap tops, and short shorts where possible.

This goes double for visiting temples and pagodas - keep your arms and legs covered, and hide as much bare skin as you can. It's extremely rude to go to such places while insufficiently dressed.

Don't show off; keep a low profile. Flaunting wealth is impolite; don't look like an Ugly American with far too much gold and far too little sense. Don't carry more money than you need when walking in public. Don't wear too much jewelry. Not only is this good manners, you also reduce the risk of becoming the next victim of a drive-by bag snatcher.

Don't talk about the Vietnam War. Avoid talking about politics altogether. The Vietnamese have mixed feelings about the "American war", and are understandably averse to bringing it up in the presence of American citizens.

Don't cause Vietnamese to "lose face". The concept of "saving face" is extremely important in East Asian social relationships. Avoid behavior that causes embarrassment to another party, and hold back behavior that can be misconstrued as overly aggressive. Don't force money on other parties. Don't wheedle or insist. Most importantly, don't lose your temper in public; try to be cool and collected whenever possible.

Don't be too camera-happy. Ask people's permission before you take their picture - not all of them want their picture taken. This goes double for pictures in rural ethnic villages. This goes triple for military installations and equipment!

Source: goseasia.about.com

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- Vietnam tour discover

Thứ Tư, 25 tháng 4, 2012

It’s carnival time - Carnival Halong 2012


Thanh Tan talks to Vu Thu Thuy, deputy chairwoman of Quang Ninh Provincial People's Committee, about the forthcoming carnival in Halong, which will be the highlight of Halong-Quang Ninh Tourism Week to be held April 24 to May 1


Why did you choose the slogan, "Quang Ninh Combines the Best" for this year's Halong-Quang Ninh Tourism Week?


This year's Carnival Halong 2012 aims to explore and promote more effectively the ethnic cultural identities of the area as well as the potential of cultural tourism.

Quang Ninh province is a unique and sacred destination. With its imposing natural landscapes, peaceful land and hospitable people, Quang Ninh eras a lot of features to offer tourists. This is also an ideal opportunity for investors to explore the province's potential and seek attractive investment opportunities. That's why we came up with the titled for this year's carnival: "Quang Ninh Combines the Best."

The Halong-Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2012 is a chance to converge and exchange experiences and knowledge across many fields and industries between various provinces and cities around the country and abroad. This event shows our openminded attitude to strengthen our integration with local and international partners.

Carnival Halong 2012 promises to be an exceptional event once again - what will be new this year? Carnival Halong is the highlight of Halong-Quang Ninh tourism week. This year Ha long Bay is being honoured as one of the New Seven Wonders of the world and we will also promote our myriad ethnic cultures and focus on traditional values.



The carnival is organised, arranged and performed by Quang Ninh native people — all traditional folk performances are performed by local residents, highlighting our unique and diversified value of local culture. This year the carnival will bewitch tourists with its simple but mysterious natural beauty rather than luxurious or splendid creations. This is an effective way to preserve the traditional culture of Quang Ninh while expressing vitality and strength.

Carnival Halong 2012 will feature a large number of international and national art and cultural performance troupes - how many people will be involved?

There are more than 3,800 amateur and professional artists performing at this year's carnival, including over 600 models, actors and actresses, as well as 3.200 amateur actors and local ethnic groups, local businesses. The street parade also includes flower carrying slogans, "Quang Ninh Combines the Best", "Halong - A Legendary Wonder", "Quang Ninh: Historical and Festival Tourism", "Quang Ninh - Spiritual Tourism", "Quang Ninh - Sea & Island Tourism" and much more. A grand stand that can seat over 10,000 spectators has been built along the carnival route.

The carnival will feature the participation of domestic and international provinces and cities such as Hanoi, Haiphong, five northern key economic and sea-coast provinces, members of the East Asia Interregional Tourism Forum (EATOF) from Lao and South Korea, and representatives from Guangxi, Guangdong. Hainan and Yunnan of China, plUs the six cities whose wonders have been voted as new natural wonders of the world. Every activity will showcase the beauty of culture and revived tourist services to help attract more local and international tourists.



With a vast number of tourists flocking to the carnival - estimated to be in the region of 50.000 - how will local authorities ensure safety and security?

We have established a public order and security subcommittee created from seven related provincial departments and 14 districts to build a master plan to ensure security and safety for all activities held across the province during the Halong- Quang Ninh Tourism week.

In addition to ,the Halong Carnival and the ceremony to receive the title, "Halong Bay — the New World Wonder", our subcommittee has out-lined detailed plans and deployed comprehensive security forces, including police, army troops and border police, both on land and offshore, We have prepared carefully for the event several months in advance to help prevent crime.

Besides we have also intensified inspections to maintain public order, prevent fires and public disturbances at the carnival and near the fire-works area as well as to ensure road and water safety in the event areas and their surroundings. We will all try our utmost to maintain safety and public order so visitors can enjoy this meaningful event.

Source: timeout

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Thứ Hai, 23 tháng 4, 2012

Some quick tips for visiting Angkor Wat

 Without doubt, the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia are among the most beautiful and evocative touristic sights in the world.Here are some helpful notes before visiting Angkor Wat.

Find cheap accommodation in Seamreap

Spending a couple of days in Siem Reap is highly recommended. The hostel beds start at U.S. $ 1 per night and hotel rooms from $ 4 for a double. Spending $ 10 per night, tourists can also find a superior hotel in the town center, or they can choose extra luxury with prices starting at$ 300 for a double room.

Means of transportation for Angkor Wat
The temples cover a vast area, so choosing one from of the following options:
Rent bycles from your hotels: The price of it ranges from US$ 1 to US$ 3 per day. Going around 30km of road, in a very humid and very hot climate, thus it is quite fun but requires effort and sweat to visit around the complex. Another option which helps you save your time better is motorcycle taxi (price from US$ 6 to US$ 10 per day). Tuk – tuks might be the best choice for tourists for groups of two persons. The local driver will be very helpful for you during your trip. With price US$ 10 to US$ 15 for whole day (driver included), you can travel to anywhere you want.  

Travel ticket

There are three types of tickets: daily, 3 days and weekly. Depending on the length of trip, the price is from US$ 20 to US$ 60. Therefore, tourists should bring small US$ for buying ticket faster and your ticket with the printed photo on it, easier. The ticket will allow the entry to the site from as early as 5 am (for seeing sunrise) to late after 6 pm (for seeing sunset), thus do not miss returning the temple for capturing wonderful moments of Angkor Wat

 Check your necessary luggage:
Imagine a day walking around the complex in humid conditions. Please ensure that you bring necessary luggage such as walking shoes, hat, sun glasses and water. Also, do not forget your camera with charged batteries.  
 
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Thứ Sáu, 20 tháng 4, 2012

The complete Siem Reap experience

 It would appear that south-east Asia’s largest freshwater lake doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going.
The town this lake is accessed from — Siem Reap — is essentially famous for being the gateway to the temples of Angkor. But with more than three million people living on or around the lake in floating villages, the Tonlé Sap is a stand-out attraction in its own right. The lake is home to many ethnic Vietnamese who have emigrated to Cambodia over the past 50 to 100 years. Despite some tensions between this minority group and the local Cambodians, it’s a popular tourist stop off.

Cruising along in an old wooden boat with an equally ageing motor, I observed the locals going about their daily lives in their simple shacks, constructed from bamboo and sitting on mostly submerged stilts. Women sat on the front veranda mending fish nets; men worked on their boats and children played happily nearby.

I found this sobering reality something of a contrast with the sprawling opulence of Angkor Wat, which I visited one morning. Around 6am I found myself sitting on a rock in front of this magnificent edifice, its silhouette etched against the inky blue sky. As the sun scaled the horizon the intricate designs of this temple, once the centre of the Khmer civilization, came into full view.
A Hindu temple, Angkor Wat is regarded as the supreme masterpiece of Khmer architecture, with its elaborate bas-relief carvings illustrating scenes such as heaven and hell and the creation of the earth.
When in Siem Reap, it’s pretty much a fait accomplish that you will get ‘templed out’, but the good news is there are lots to choose from. The temples of Angkor, which are spread out some 65km around Siem Reap, were constructed between the eighth and thirteenth centuries.

 The temples are classified according to different styles, depending on when they were built. The styles are compared with one another according to aspects including the use of materials, the style of pillar, the pediments (at the front of the temple) and the lintel (the block of stones between the pediments and the pillar).
One of the most captivating is the small, pink-hued Banteay Srei, a 10th century sandstone Hindu temple. Another standout is Angkor Thom, the last and most enduring capital city of the Angkorian empire. Each of its grand gates features four giant smiling faces.
A great deal of restoration work has been done and continues to be done on many of the temples around Siem Reap, initially led by the French and later taken on by international agency UNESCO.
Siem Reap has evolved dramatically since the early 1900s, when the French rediscovered the city of Angkor after it had lain abandoned for centuries. Those planning a visit to this northern Cambodian town may be surprised to learn that it’s a pretty cosmopolitan place when it comes to wining and dining. The aptly named Bar Street is where many of these outfits are located. There are also a number of more socially conscious places to dine and shop, the profits from which are put back into local education and health.

When staying in Siem Reap, the night markets are a definite must-visit. Tourists spent a good few hours here, even opting for a fish massage, which involved dangling my feet in a spa while small fish nibbled away at my dead skin cells. It’s not for everyone, but every trip should include a few spontaneous experiences. Adventure travel, whether it’s extreme or soft, is in the end about having new and exciting experiences. For almost tourists, the town of Siem Reap provided that in spades. 

Source: travelweekly 

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Thứ Hai, 16 tháng 4, 2012

5 things you need to know before travelling to Sapa

Sapa, Vietnam  is not only famed for its mountains sceneries but also the hamlets of colorful ethnic minorities. In 2011, Sapa has been recommended ten best tourist sites for walkers by the reputed magazine Lonely Planet. Here are some useful notes for you before a Sapa tour.  

Sapa terraced field

 Best time to go:

 The best time to visit Sapa is from April to September though; each season has its own special qualities and surprises. In this period, you may have a great opportunity to see plum flower and stunning terraced fields. It is dry with the temperature is ranging from 15 – 25 Degree Celsiu. During the winter months, the temperature is much cooler and it is advised to bring a some warm clothing. Also, during the winter months there are periods of light rain, which brings in the fog or snow. This puts Sapa in the clouds and allows for some fantastic photos. Perhaps more and more tourists travel to Sapa during the winter because of its special weather. If you want to escape from the touristy hassle, winter is not an ideal period for you.

Package Preparation:
A light suitcase is recommended during travelling to Sapa. Making sure that you have packed everything you need to make your stay more comfortable is most important. Bring a small bag with the clothes change of clothes. You should bring something warm, as the nights will cool off, sometimes dropping as much as ten degrees. Other things you might want to bring with you are a mirror, toilet paper, your favorite tea or snack, flashlight and raincoat. 

Train to Sapa


Transportation:
It takes around 8 hours from Hanoi to Lao Cai. You may choose two ways: travelling by coach or train to Lao Cai then, take a bus to Sapa. It depends on your budget to choose the suitable way for you. By coach, the price is around US15.  It is ranging from US$ 20 to US$ 30 for a soft berth on a night train SP. There is also available cheap price on LC train but it is quite slower.

Attractions:
Most of Sapa attractions are not far from Sapa Center. You should prepare a small map of destinations in there such as Hamrong Mountain, Ta Van village, Taphin village, Bac Ha market. You can eventually travel by yourself but I recommend you book a Sapa tour by a good travel agent who will trek with you to visit minority villages. Staying overnight at home stay with Hmong or Dao people will be a valued experience for anyone who first travels to Sapa.  People here always warm welcome their guests. If you are a kind of adventure traveler, why do not choose a package tour to conquer of Fansipan Mountain which is considered as the roof of Indochina.   

At Bac Ha market

Cuisine:
Exotic food in Sapa is known as San Lung alcohol, wild life pork, stream fish and some special vegetables such as chayote, cauliflower. Although they can find these vegetables in other province of Vietnam but only Sapa serve you the best dishes with reasonable price.  It is very exciting for walking with your partner in a romantic Sapa night and enjoy special food.       

Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 4, 2012

Exciting Bunpimay festival in Laos

 In every April, Lao people usually happily hold Bunpimay festival. It is also one of the most interesting festivals which attract many tourists.
Bunpimay festival in Laos

 Bunpimay or tet te nuoc (Splashing water festival) is one of special characters of Asian Culture. It is called by different names in different countries, Songkran (Thailand), Chol Chnam Thmey (Cambodia). However, each of them has different activities which have origins from religion. At the beginning of the year, they splash water each other with hoping to have as much as luck and happiness in New Year.

Festival in Laos call Bun. Bun, that is blessed, as Bun is doing good means to be blessed. Bunpimay is usually hold from 13th to 15th of April yearly calendar. Following this, the festival is organized in three days. The first day is also New Year Ever. They clean their house, prepare fragant water and flowers for decorating their houses. On that afternoon, they gather at pagodas to hear Monk’s lecture and pray Buddhism for best wishes for the next year. Then they proceed to wash Buddism statues. They also wash their face by this water then splash this water into their clothes, houses for fortune. At the end of the ceremony, they will release animals such as turtle, fish, crab for wishing peace in the next year.

 Visiting Laos's houses in this occasion, the guest's house will tie a blue or red threat into your wrist which symbolizes for happiness and health. In Laotian's mind, more threads you receive, more happiness and wealthy you have. Then you will be invited for traditional food here. Sticky rice and “Lap” are traditional food of Laos people on Bunpimay festival. "Lap" is like a salad dish with meat and Thai Lao herbs tossed together.

It is appears that the most exciting activities are held on the last day. Before splashing water each other, they give each other the best wishes. Not only do they make wet their body but also they pour water into their houses, furniture and animals. Laotians think that it helps them to remove bad things and diseases in New Year. Therefore, it should not become angry if you are splashed water into your clothes on street on these days. As it shows that Laotians are very friendly and they also bless wishes for you. Do not miss this chance for joining activities of Bumpimay.

More information about Laos tours, you may contact info@asianwaytravel.com.  

Thứ Ba, 10 tháng 4, 2012

A great Phu Quoc weekend

It is a fifty minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc and, therefore, a great favorite with expats wanting to get away for the weekend and for the more astute traveler.

 Phu Quoc has had an interesting history dating from the 17th century where the locals earned their living from sea cucumbers, through to the French occupation in the late 19th century when rubber and coconut plantations were cultivated. During the Vietnam War the island was a base for a prison of war detention camp holding up to 40,000 communist prisoners.  I was interested in the history of the island and decided that it was worth a visit.

We were flying Vietnam Airlines (US$78 each way, look for specials to get cheap flights – off peak can be as low as US$40).   The propeller plane flew low over the sea as it approached the island and we could see the vibrantly colored fishing boats sleeping peacefully in the harsh sunlight.   It bounced down onto the tarmac amidst screams from the local passengers and then applause as the plane steadied itself and headed along the runway towards the airport building.

It is a twenty minute drive through Duong Dong (the largest town on the island) from the airport along narrow roads bounded by low lying scrub.  There has been recent growth in the type of accommodation offered on the island and most of them take advantage of the idyllic beach location.  The traveler can discover everything from inexpensive backpacker’s rooms to eco-resorts and a range of hotels to suit most budgets.

Whatever  your chosen accommodation you are sure to be within a few feet of the turquoise sea and the yellow sandy beaches rimmed by dark green vegetation where banana palms and hibiscus tangle with unidentifiable creepers and shrubs. We had arrived in the dry season which runs from December to May, with the hottest months being April and May.  July through to September is dominated by the monsoons and has a very high rainfall.   The early mornings and evenings were extremely pleasant and we enjoyed visiting many of the local restaurants where the specialty is inevitably the range of seafood which is found in the surrounding waters.  The seafood, particularly the prawns, is so delicious and fresh that they are sought after by mainland restaurants.  One restaurant menu we visited had a very interesting menu comprising

“Sautéed frogs stomach with chive flowers, Jumping snail and green mango salad, Zebra snails and banana flower salad, Painted sweet lips head hotpot and Pork porridge with century old egg.” We opted for a plain barbecued fish with stir fry vegetables.

We spent the majority of the weekend relaxing on the beach and swimming in the warm sea water.  There are lots of boating activities and we hired a canoe one day and a catamaran the next, a great hit with the children.  The beach has been netted to keep out the jellyfish that abound in the warm waters although we did see one very big one on the beach that had escaped the confines of the net.  Phu Quoc is predominantly a National Park and the surrounding sea is full of fascinating marine life which serves as a paradise for the enthusiastic scuba diver or snorkeler.  Small boats traverse the beaches every morning collecting those intrepid amphibians and dropping them off in the late afternoon.

If you want to explore the Island there is the local fish sauce factory, the product being sourced from the quantities of anchovy that are found around the island.  The smell is extremely overpowering so best to make it a quick visit.  There are also small black pepper farms along the roadside, when we visited the pepper had been picked and was drying in the sun on large plastic sheets.  A stall had been set up and the enterprising pepper grower was selling a range of pepper products to tourists.  In the garden the Star Fruit bushes were laden with fruit and were picked off, cut into wedges, and sprinkled with salt before being offered to customers.

There is also a pearl farm where a beautiful array of locally produced jeweler is available for viewing and sale.  Taxis are easy and cheap to hire to get to all the local attractions.

It was a very relaxing weekend, a destination ideal for the romantics and for a family with children.

Source: Saigontimes

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Thứ Hai, 2 tháng 4, 2012

Saigon motorbike taxi tips

 When I am in need of a ride, the quickest, and my favourite, way to get around Saigon is by using one of the many motorbike taxis, or xe oms. Drivers can be found on nearly every Saigon street corner sitting, or laying, on their bike. Catching a xe om, especially during rush hour, will save you a substantial amount of time and money compared to a taxi, as well as allowing you to experience the city’s traffic first hand. However, just like everything in Vietnam, life will be made easier if you know a few simple tips.

First, always remember to agree upon a price to your destination BEFORE you get on the motorbike. Since most xe oms speak little English, haggling may be, at times, difficult. Hand signals work great or actually showing them the amount you are willing to pay.

A motorbike ride should generally be half the price of a taxi ride, so if you are familiar with your destination this is a good starting point. If not, I generally take whatever price the xe om initially offers and cut it by 60%, usually settling at about half. If you’re trying to drive a hard bargain, don’t be afraid to walk away as he will likely call you back. But, remember how much you’re walking away for. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself walking a couple extra blocks over fifty cents.

Once the price is settled, that is the price you pay. All xe oms have an extra helmet, but if you're in town for a while, I’d recommend using your own if possible. You can find helmets for sale on the side of the street, as some of these loaners can be quite dirty. Now that you are on the bike, hang on to the back handle and enjoy the ride. Xe oms are experts at weaving in and out of traffic, driving on footpaths, and finding short cuts through Saigon’s numerous back alleys. These rides are one my favourite things about the city and the best way to get around Saigon.

Source: travelfish

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