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Located 20km from Hoi An town and about 40km far from Da Nang City, Cu Lao Cham is a fascinating destination that I chosen to make the trip last week. I did not buy a tour of any travel agency but I organized the trip with support of my friends.

Cu Lao Cham Island

To reach the island, our group had to change through 3 routes during 2 hours: bus from Da Nang to Hoi An, taxi from Hoi An bus station to Cua Dai wharf and boat from the wharf to Hon Lao – one of 8 islets of Cu Lao Cham.

I was immediately impressive with beautiful scenery of Chong beach. Since I came in the weekdays, this place is so quiet and perfect for me to rest. I swam, enjoyed sunbathe in the morning and dived in the afternoon. The water is so clean that I could see fish swimming around me.

I did not see any plastic bags during my tour on this island. I asked a local and he said it is a campaign here to ask the locals and visitors not to use plastic bags here to keep environment clean. A 10 point is for the idea and followers.

I love this island also because of fresh sea food with specialists such as Rock crab, “Vú nàng” snail or Abalone. The friendly Cham people also make any visitor would love to be back here at least once. Finding a motorcycle on the roadside with the plugged key is normal story and no scare to be stolen.

I will list this place in my to-do-visit list every year and will return next year with my family in summer holidays.

On 1 st July, 2014, the Vietnam Heritage magazine in cooperation with Cannon Vietnam launched the “Vietnam Heritage Photo Award 2014” contest.

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After 2 successful contests held in 2012 and 2013, “Viet Nam Heritage Photo Awards 2014” contest is truly promising chance to draw much interest from public tourism opinion.

In series of the contest in 2012 and 2013, the contest in 2014 is designed to raise attention of foreigners who are planning their trip in Vietnam and then they will, of course, ask themselves that “wow, Vietnam has many must – go and do – not – miss places”. It might be said that all aspect of Vietnam’s beauty will be reflected fully. An Italian tourist – Mr David Lee shared his view on Twitter “I saw a picturesque photo of halong bay which was sent by my Vietnamese friend, he joined the Vietnam Heritage Photo Award 2012. After catching this photo, going halong bay is one of my big desires. And now it becomes true … it is so amazing. It is more beautiful than I expected”
In this year 2014, all natural beauty will be focused. If you are out –door photographers, you should focus much on nature (landscapes, marine resources, geography, wild animals, plants and the environment in general), tangible culture (architecture, sculpture, arts, traditional handicrafts and villages) and intangible culture (music, dance, festivals, folk games, religious and other customs).

Now let’s join this contest and widen Vietnam images to the world.

Source: http://www.visitourvietnam.com/

To ensure a safe and successful trip before conquer the top, climbing lovers should consider the following points.

1. In Vietnam, the dry season from November to April of the year is an appropriate time for climbing. You have to carefully research the terrain to determine appropriate time to move in order to achieve the ultimate goal. Especially you should ask for help from those who have experience or from local people.

2. Personal item for trekking tour should be minimal but also enough. Pants, shirts, waterproof jackets, freeze proofand breathable clothes, lightweight shoes; knee, ankle, elbow protector floppy hats, lightweight raincoat. Other items depend on expected route: there are paths available or have to pave the way, there are people carrying your luggage and guide or not, the time of the trip. Knife and flashlight is also indispensable items.

How-to-climb-mountain-safetly-2

3. Beside necessary food for the journey, the food must be capable of providing high energy (chocolate, snicker). Water is extremely important; you should have a water tank with a straw to be able to drink in the process of moving constantly. Properly drinking water helps you to save energy and offset the energy at the right time. Lemon juice mixed with glucose, a little salt is perfect for trekking journey.

4. With the hard route, be prepared for the trip by GPS; mark the road in case of getting lost. On the top of mountain, there is no cell phone signal; the use of walkie-talkie is also an advantage.

5. Organize small groups to go, suitable for difficult and dangerous route. Do not ever forget to put personal safety first, so not make risky decisions which can be dangerous to yourself and other members.

Source: http://www.visitourvietnam.com/guides/how-to-climb-mountain-safetly.html

Snap shot of Vietnam

My friend told me she applied visa on arrival with Eviva Tour Vietnam and was very happy with their service. I followed her advice to get visa via this company. With their sales team, getting Vietnam visa is very easy and fast. Besides, their website is very informative; therefore, I referred some of their tour information to make a Vietnam tour by myself.
I arrived Sai Gon and was shocked with the traffic here. This is the first time I have ever seen so much traffic and so many bikes. Traffic lights were also seemingly non-existent. Crossing the road was so scary but also a special experience for me. It’s likely I’m carrying my life in my hands and legs. Luckily, I come back in “one piece”.

However, the food of this city makes me fall in love with it. I loved Ben Thanh Market for its food stalls and pretty kitchenware. Quan An Ngon was highly recommended for its variety of Vietnamese dishes. Hoa Tuc was a lovely Westernized restaurant and I would have loved to attend a cooking class if I have enough time.

Additionally, I managed to fit in culture visiting the War Remnants museum and took a walk around the old town. I then trekked out to the Cu Chi tunnels on the local buses. After around 3 hours, I finally arrived and spent the afternoon watching videos, crawling through the unbelievably small tunnels.

Hoi An is a peaceful town where beach resorts line the coast and I can cross a road without any fear at all If you come here, book a beach yoga session if that’s up your alley and then visit the Ancient Town, an well-preserved area with bright yellow walls, joyous lanterns, lots of tailors, and delicious food choices. Banh Mi Phuong is a good bread that was filling with meat, some salad vegetables. Walking along the river till dark, breath the fresh air and offer 1 USD to the elderly lady selling candle-lit paper lanterns, releasing into the river and watch it join its other lantern friends – it was a feeling of serenity and appreciation. I loved this vibrant little town!

I arrived the capital of Vietnam in a cold morning. I could not wait to try Pho for my first lunch in Ha Noi. And it is the best dish I have ever had so far.
I am writing this whilst sitting in a quiet car, going to the airport to come back home. This is a wonderful trip with unforgettable memories about a country with friendly and enthusiastic people.

SourcE: http://getindirectory.com/articles/snap-shot-of-vietnam-511239.htm

A great trip depends on many factors. Perfect destinations with special things and good quality of service will make your trip become amazing. But if you want your trip to become perfect, carefully prepare anything required. Here is a check list of things you should bring when you leave your home and head to Vietnam.
A. 3 months before you go.
1. Check your passport to ensure that it is valid with at least 6 months prior to the date you will arrive in Vietnam.
2. Check you are in good health for travel, there is no requirement on health when travelling in Vietnam.
3. Follow and search all Vietnam Travel information including visa requirement, destinations, food, hotel, etc. on Facebook, Twitter or websites like evivatour.com.
B. 1 month before you go.
1. Prepare necessary travel insurance, book Vietnam visa on arrival. There are several companies providing Vietnam visa service with good quality such as Eviva Tour.
2. Scan all your important documents and identification and email it to yourself and a friend at home.
3. Begin learning a few Vietnamese greetings.
3 basic words: “Hello” – “Xin chao”; “Good bye” – “Tam biet”; “Thank you” – “Cam on” .
4. Start practicing using chopsticks.
5. Have your phone unlocked if you are planning to use your phone in Vietnam especially if you use Iphone, Android phones.
C. 1 week before you go.
1. Get a few passport pictures for your Vietnam visa and or you also plan to travel Lao, Cambodia.
2. Collect and record any important, emergency phone numbers .
3. Bring your lightweight, quick-dry clothing on summer, your warmer comfy clothes on winter months, as well as your sun hat, swimsuit.
4. Bring flashlight, alarm clock, sunglasses, insect repellent.
5. Prepare any medications, toiletries.
6. Change money in US dollars (crisp $100 bills is best) .
7. Prepare your raincoat.
8. Prepare footwear: sandals, hiking shoes, walking shoes, etc. .
9. Double check your camera and photography equipment.
D. 1 day before you go.
1. Reconfirm your flight.
2. Try to get some sleep,because the excitement is building and you will have a long flight.
3. Say your farewells.
4. Zip up that suitcase and head to Vietnam.
Good luck!

Source: http://globallistingsite.com/articles/what-you-need-to-bring-when-travel-to-vietnam,-456825.htm

Prior to the trip to Vietnam, many people may feel reluctant to go because of worrying about language barriers, tourist traps and culture differences. As a tourist, you will always be vulnerable to certain things; however, with a sensible planning and taking extra precautions of your surroundings, you can have a smooth trouble-free trip.
When to go
Holiday to Vietnam is possible all year around. It always has some part of the country with nice weather for you to explore. However, keep in mind that the seasons vary across the country. The Northern part of Vietnam (e.g. Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa) has 4 seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter, while the South has only 2 seasons – dry or rainy. The further to the south, the hotter and more humid the weather is. Temperatures in mountainous areas in the North can get below 10 Celsius degree in winter while the average temperature in the South is about 24- 31 Celsius degree year around. For countrywide exploration, the best times are probably March to early July. Storms and downpours normally happen in the end of July and August. Anyway, you should also be prepared to encounter some rain whenever you decide to travel.
What to bring
– Bring specialized medicine for your need. Although regular medicines such as vitamins, sunscreen, insect repellent, diarrhea medication, or aspirin are widely available in every drugstore, some specific medicines can be hard to find in Vietnam and the price of them might be third or fourth time more expensive than in your home country. There is no free medical treatment available in Vietnam and the standard of local health facilities is below international standards.
– You can buy clothing and shoes there. However, Vietnamese are Asian, so their clothes are often in small size. Good news is that you can buy European size in shops with sign “Viet Nam Xuat Khau” – shops selling exported clothes.
– The country’s total length is about over 2500 km stretching from north to south. Therefore Vietnam is characterized with both a tropical and a temperate climate. Remember to bring a hat, sunglasses with UV protection and be prepared for adverse weather conditions.
– Electrical plug in Vietnam are mostly 220V with 2 holes, so a kit of adapter plugs is recommended.
How to transport
– The roads are chaos: With thousands of motorbikes carrying families, fridges, and even pigs. Be brave, keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road as motorbikes find their way around you and quite frequently run along the roads the wrong way.
– For manys, motorcycle taxis are the only way to truly discover the crowded streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, considering the traffic chaos in these cities, bike-riding is only suitable for strong-hearted travelers, otherwise, you had better choose taxi as the safer option.
– Stay away from random taxis, motorbike taxis and cyclos. For motorbike taxi and cyclo, it is best to agree on the price of the ride (with the suggestion of local people) before hopping on it as the price is likely much higher once you decide to go without knowing it. For taxi, scams may happen when drivers try to drive the longer way to the destination or taxi meters are set to run extremely fast. Some recommended taxi company is Taxi CP – Tel: (04) 3826 26 26 or Mai Linh – Tel: (04) 38 222 666.
– Finding tickets for flights/ trains in Vietnam during public holidays, especially Christmas and Lunar New Year are hard and expensive. If you will be in Vietnam during these times, make reservations well in advance. The chaos often begins a week before Lunar New Year and can last for about two weeks after it.
What to do
Prior to your journey, research destinations a little first on the Internet. A good resource is tripadvisor (tripadvisor.com), lonelyplanet (lonelyplanet.com) where tourists share their travel experiences in Vietnam. This way you can have some ideas of itinerary and places of interest. If you have trouble in planning a suitable trip for the length of your stay, the best way is contact with recognized, reputable tour operators in Vietnam such as Eviva Tour which offer many innovative trip styles which range from sight-seeing to free exploration or even staying with locals.
How to behave
– The Vietnamese will highly appreciate if they see you respect their customs. When you visit pagodas, temples or spiritual places, you should dress smartly. Never wear shorts, mini shirts, tank tops, bare shoulders or flip-flops as this is considered to be extremely offensive. Sometimes, shoes needed to be left outdoor. If unsure, just follow what the locals do.
– Instead of offering money directly to beggars, offer a small useful gift, such as food or clothes, otherwise the rumor will spread round and many of them will try to approach you.
– Be aware of your surroundings. Always keep an eye to your cash, credit cards, and passport. Do not wear valuable jewellery and do not show off your expensive high-tech devices. You might be the target of pickpocket or scam.

Source; http://linkpartnersdirectory.com/articles/tips-for-first–time-travelers-to-vietnam-366900.htm

Gorgeous Sapa Vietnam

On my stopover way of traveling, there are places whose bewitching charm makes me regret when left by the bewitching charm of it. Sapa is a place like that.
Sapa was the second destination of Vietnam after Ha Long Bay during my trip 2 years ago with my Vietnamese friend who was working in a travel agency named Eviva Tour. She has much experience on tour and hence, I had a terrific trip and was totally attracted by Sapa natural beauty.
I visited Sapa in the autumn of September and saw such marvelous rice paddies, yellow terrace fields, which have become a hot theme for photographers. Could not use any word to describe the beauty and how I felt at that time; just spoke “WOWW…” It is totally deserved in the list of top 7 most magnificent terraced fields in the world.
In my memory, Sapa contained many hidden wonders of nature, natural landscape with mountain terrain of hills, green trees, creating a picture of a harmonious layout, with poetic scenery and attractive landscape such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave, etc.
A special thing in Sapa culture is the love market in every Saturday evening. This place is a matchmaker for many couples after the umbrella dance and pan-pipe performance. The visitors can join and discover the local culture.
My travel plan in next year will visit here again, but in spring to observe the romantic landscape with blooming colorful flowers. I strongly believe that I will have another memorable trip with support from my Vietnamese friend and her colleague of Eviva Tour.

Sources: http://globallistingsite.com/articles/gorgeous-sapa-vietnam-446795.htm

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