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532 Search Results for "northern"

  • jyoti

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  • First Beach Trip San Francisco First Beach Trip San Francisco

    • From: nkristis
    • Description:

      We took our one year old for his first beach trip. We headed to Sausalito first for lunch and shopping then head to the beach. It was you typical Northern California beach weather which is pretty cold so if you head out there bring a sweater. 

       

       

    • 2 weeks ago
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  • 26th Annual California Confere 26th Annual California Conference for the Advancement of the Ceramic Arts

    • From: nkristis
    • Description:

      We are gearing up to attend the city wide California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts again. This year's event is April 25-27th. The entire charming downtown city of Davis becomes a pop up of over 40 galleries of professional and student works. It's fun to stroll and find up and coming artists and support old favorites. Registered individuals can attend three days of works shops with professional artists of all styles. This year's event features Esther Shimazu, Stephen Braun, Tom Arie Dorn, Wesley Anderegg, Kevin Snipes, Paollo Porelli, Jennifer Brazelton, Arthur Gonazlez and Donna Billick. Details can be found at www.natsoulas.com 

    • 2 weeks ago
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  • 10 Luxury Family Holiday Desti 10 Luxury Family Holiday Destinations 2014

    • From: dharmender
    • Description:

      As travel to the four corners of the world has become more accessible, an abundance of choice has been created for the family traveller. Yet at the same time as the globe opens up, the options available for a rarefied experience narrow. 

      For family holiday makers in search of luxury, the chance to provide their children with culturally rich excursions that expand their world view are proving to be key drivers in determining choice. To help, here is a list of ten destinations that offer children and adults alike the chance to indulge in the luxury of experience in the maximum of comfort. 

      Barbados 

      The culture the exotic island of Barbados is defined by is its West African, British and Indian historical legacy. This ensures that cricket, afternoon tea and Christianity remain staple passions of the local Bajans, who need no excuse to proudly boast of the fact that there are more churches than bars on the island. 

      The aesthetic too is shaped by this legacy, as the old stone churches and sugar plantations characterise the scenery of this Caribbean gem as much as the glorious white sandy beaches and dreamy ocean views. In terms of luxury hotels, Sandy Lane provides a plethora of activities and facilities to cater for every family need. 
       

      Dubai 

      As recently as 20 years ago, Dubai as we know it simply didn’t exist. Now, however, it’s a bustling ever-changing metropolis set in the heart of the Persian Gulf. A destination of complete opposites, the tranquillity of the desert close by provides a taste of traditional Arabia that is of stark contrast to the ultra-modern shopping malls and extravagant opulence found in the city. 

      Excursions and activities for the whole family are integrated into Dubai’s vibrant tourist economy. For example, one of the most expensive and extravagant hotels found anywhere in the world, the Burj al Arab, now runs the the Jumeirah project; a turtle rehabilitation programme that in its final stage allows children to release the reinvigorated reptiles back into the sea. 

      Egypt 

      Since the dawn of its ancient civilisation Egypt is a country that has been synonymous with luxury. And with its wide range of world class hotels and facilities, this statement is as true today as it ever was. 

      For family travellers looking to indulge into the rich history of Egypt, the city of Luxor provides the ideal central location to plan your adventures from, with the Valley of the Kings nearby. Similarly, as Egypt is home to two of the Seven Wonders of the World in the form of The Great Pyramid of Giza and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the timeless options for families in search of cultural enrichment are plentiful. 

      France 

      From the romance of Paris right through to the mountainous vistas of the Alps, France is home to a rich and varied landscape. In terms of culture, food and drink is central to the way of life. Therefore France is the perfect country to refine the palette of young and old, with dynamic markets, top class restaurants and hidden eateries aplenty.      

      The Evian resort, just 3km away from the gorgeous Lake Geneva on the Swiss border, provides a fantastic family choice regarding accommodation. For more information on the Evian resort and the activities on offer there, visitwww.totstoo.com/destinations. An additional consideration for those with a very young family intent on embarking on a foreign holiday is the relatively short travel times between the UK and destinations in France. 

      Italy 

      An expedition to Italy offers families a varied spectrum of classical ruins, impressive architecture and fine food, that as a collective represent an amalgamation of culture and history which any place in the world will struggle to compete with. 

      Venice and Florence are just two of many cities that offer a multitude of iconic and beautiful experiences. Whilst Lake Garda which resides within the foothills of the beautiful Dolomites, presents a package of gorgeous hotels, stunning scenery and outdoor pursuits to satisfy even the most demanding of luxury family holiday makers. 

      The United Kingdom 

      For those families with a large brood, travelling abroad in search of a luxury experience can be a daunting and stressful experience. This is why many are choosing keep their holiday plans restricted to local shores, as destinations can be reached simply by jumping in a car or on a train. 

      Rural escapes like the Yorkshire Moors, the Cotswolds and the Jurassic Coast provide rugged and beautiful landscapes full of adventure and opportunity for exploration. Furthermore, cities such as London and Liverpool offer vibrant, multicultural environments that provide an illustration of what defines modern Britain.  

      Seychelles 

      Even though the land mass is small, the Seychelles landscape is diverse, encompassing mountains, tropics, coral islands and  isolated beaches that are the epitome of paradise. For tourists that hold nature close to their hearts, the islands are home to the world renownedCousin Island Special Reserve, a national park teeming with wildlife that is famed for its approach to conservation and eco-tourism. 

      As tourism is the lifeblood of the island, there is a number of beautiful and facility laden hotels and resorts optimised for family comfort. All things considered, the Seychelles offers a unique opportunity for families to explore and absorb the rarest of things; paradise on earth. 

      Finnish Lapland 

      It’s not just the prospect of seeing Father Christmas that makes Finnish Lapland a magical family holiday prospect. Situated near the Arctic Circle, the country is one of the few places on earth that is ideal for viewing the spectacular skies that the Northern Lights produce. 

      Surrounded by amazing alpine surrounding, Hotel Kakslauttanen presents the perfect winter bolthole complete with a range of family-centric activities nearby. These include snow rides led by both huskies and reindeers that traverse icy roads and a possible visit toSanta’s resort.

      It goes without saying that for the best experience families should visit during the festive period, and although this will be expensive, children will be provided with an experience they will never forget. 

      Oman 

      Sweeping deserts and idyllic coastlines provide the unadulterated beauty that has seen Oman fittingly referred to as the Jewell of Arabia. Juxtaposing modernity and tradition the country of Oman delivers a holiday experience that is unique to anywhere in the world. Although because of the extreme heat experienced in the summer months, the best time to visit Oman is between October and March. 

      The influx of wealth to the country has ensured that holidaymakers are able to enjoy access to an innumerable range of world-class, child-friendly facilities, which include resorts, shopping districts, attractions and hotels that cater for every family need conceivable. The most accessible part of the Oman coast resides near the capital of Muscat, where there is the opportunity to embark on dolphin watching tours that will cast each generation in a state of awe and provide an unforgettable experience.  

      Greece 

      For children who are old enough to appreciate it, a visit to Greece offers the chance to appreciate the uniquely rich cultural heritage of a country that has shaped much of what continues to define western civilisation. 

       

      Made up of over 2,000 islands, Greece includes golden sandy beaches, seafront taverns and amazing hotels, including Westin Resort Costa Navarino. From here families can engage in water sports and other activities, as well as using it as a hub for nearby excursions which take in the countries rich historical legacy. 

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  • Antrim, Northern Ireland Antrim, Northern Ireland

    • From: chayes
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    • 5 months ago
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  • Morada Sunglow Morada Sunglow

    • From: dbrown1793
    • Description:

      A Morada is a church of specific design used by the Catholic Penitente sect  in northern New Mexico. This one (now privately owned ) in Arroyo Seco northeast of Taos, compliments the sunset light on the Sangre de Christos mountain range after an autumn snow. The light in this area is transcendent which explains why such artistic luminaries as Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams were drawn to this region.

    • 5 months ago
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  • Maggie Among the Redwoods Maggie Among the Redwoods

    • From: Martrese
    • Description:

      My husband & I took our whippet Maggie to northern California so I could run the Avenue of the Giants Marathon. She seemed to enjoy the splendor of those majestic trees almost as much as we.

    • 6 months ago
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  • Maggie Conquers a Fallen Redwo Maggie Conquers a Fallen Redwood

    • From: Martrese
    • Description:

      My husband & I took our whippet Maggie to northern California so I could run the Avenue of the Giants Marathon. She seemed to enjoy the splendor of those majestic trees almost as much as we.

    • 6 months ago
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  • 9 Stunning Landscapes of Vietn 9 Stunning Landscapes of Vietnam

    • From: activetravelasia
    • Description:
      At just three percent of the land mass of the United States, what most surprised me during our time in Vietnam was the diversity of the scenery. From white sand beaches and turquoise water to black rock forests and mountains that hug the clouds, here are some of the most amazing landscapes we came across.
      With a coastline of over 2025 miles, it's no surprise that Vietnam has a ton of beautiful beaches. And when the rest stop during your bus trip looks like this, you don't have much to complain about.
      Rest stops in Vietnam are sometimes on beautiful beaches
      The biggest beach destination in Vietnam is likely the town of Nha Trang, which boasts all day boat tours and all night parties. If you're missing Miami while in SE Asia, this is the closest we found. The beach in the main town is pretty nice, but the offshore islands are where you want to head if you're looking to snorkel or dive. With perfect visibility, good quality coral, and thousands of multicolored fish flitting about, having a great day is easy, especially since the all day island-hopping tour costs approximately $6.
      Great beach for snorkeling near Nha Trang
      But Vietnam's coastline isn't all sparkling white sand and clear blue water. Our favorite coastal landscape was the sand dunes around Mui Ne, which come in both red and white varieties. Whether you jump, run, or slide, it's hard not to let the beauty of the dunes overwhelm you. Stretching for what seems like miles, the dunes are something you'd expect to find in Africa. Instead, they're here, only a few minutes away from one of the best places in the world to learn to kitesurf.
      Red sand dunes of Mui Ne
      Most countries with a coastline have beaches, but they don't all have rice terraces, especially ones that look like this.
      Rice terraces of Sapa
      The terraces in Sapa were carved over two thousand years ago by hand and are still inhabited primarily by the Black Hmong tribespeople. These mountain dwellers live off the land, planting and harvesting rice year in and year out in order to sustain their families.
      A Black Hmong man takes a break from working in the rice terraces outside of Sapa
      Tourists can explore the terraces by taking a multiday trekking tour with a Hmong guide. You'll stay in homestays run by the local villagers, get knee deep in mud, and appreciate rice way more than you ever have.
      Wide view of Sapa's rice terraces
      Further north and to the east of Sapa lies the unexplored Vietnam of the Ha Giang province. You need a permit to stay the night and a camera with lots of battery power to take all of the photos of the immense scenery that surrounds you as you drive by on your motorbike. The most beautiful part of the road, and arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world, is the leg between Dong Van and Meo Vac. Here the road darts in and out of rock crevices and up and down mountains and valleys.
      Windy road in Northern Vietnam
      Children in traditional tribal outfits scream "hello" from above and below as they carry double their weight of sticks in bamboo baskets. Men wear high-necked black tunics and matching berets and women wrap electric pink scarves over their hair, giving the game of "I Spot" a whole new meaning.
      Rock forest in Northern Vietnam
      Perhaps the most quintessential scene of Vietnam is the floating limestone karst formations of Halong Bay. Best seen on a multi-day boat tour, these rocks rise out of the still water and emerge through the mist forming, if you look hard enough, the shape of a descending dragon. At least that's what the locals tell you, and how Halong Bay gets its name. Kayaking through some of these formations is a must, as is sitting back on your boat tour and letting the scenery and mist envelop you.
      Kayaking Halong Bay
      Source:huffingtonpost

      ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like recommend Motorcycling adventure in Northern Vietnam  tour.The mountainous area of Northern Vietnam has long been famous for its beautiful scenery and great diversity of ethnic minorities. With our adventure motorcycling trip you will make a big loop to experience all the bests that area can offer. Starting in Hanoi you will explore Northwest before jumping into Northeast, back to Hanoi after a day relaxing in Ba Be Lake. The perfect itinerary and the support crew ensure you get the most out of the trip in terms of comfort, enjoyment and adventure. Along the way we encounter dramatic landscapes and sweeping panoramas as the rural population goes about its business. Highlights include the terraced valleys of Sapa, beautiful Ban Gioc Waterfall and many different colorful minority groups.
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    • 6 months ago
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  • Lao Cai’s top ten beautiful mo Lao Cai’s top ten beautiful mountains

    • From: activetravelasia
    • Description:
      The northern province of Lao Cai is among of the localities in Vietnam with unique terrain, including many lovely mountains.
      The highest mountain of all is Fansipan, followed by Ngu Chi Son in Sapa. The mountainous regions are concentrated around the districts of Sapa, Bat Xat, Muong Khuong, Bac Ha and Si Ma Cai.
      Most districts in the province have their own mountains that are attached to legendary stories.
      Hoang Lien Moutain Range has other famous mountains such as Pu Luong at 2,985m height, Lung Cung at 2,918m height and Sa Phinh at 2.871m height.
      Located in the east of the province is Tay Con Linh Mountain Range from Ha Giang Province.
      Cao Son and Con Voi mountain ranges is the living place for the ethnic minority groups of Tay, Nung, Dao and Mong.
      Fansipan is the highest mountain in the Indochinese region
      Ngu Chi Son commonly considered the most beautiful mountain in the north-west
      Ba Me Con Mountain in Bac Ha Town
      Phu Gia Lan Mountain in Khanh Yen Town
      Nhiu Co San in Y Ty
      Nice landscapes around Co Tien Mountain in Muong Khuong District
      Cao Son Mountain

       

      Pu Luong Mountain
      Con Voi Mountain Range beside Chay River
      Ham Rong Mountain in Sapa District



      Source:dtinews
      ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like recommend Conquer Mount Fansipan - Sinchai Route tour. At 3143m Mt. Fansipan is the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina peninsula. This remote trek provides plenty to see and absorb, from the scattered rocks inscribed with drawings and designs of unknown origin, to the French influenced hill retreat town of Sapa with its minority groups, beautiful villas and cherry forests. Our trek to the top of Mt. Fansipan is challenging and will be fully supported every step of the way by our guides, porters and cooks who's local knowledge and understanding of the different hill-tribe cultures we pass along the way will add to the uniqueness of this exhilarating journey.
      Highlights

       

      • Awesome scenery
      • Great view from the summit
      • Challenging trails
      • Fully supported
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    • 7 months ago
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  • Ultimate Road Trip: Vietnam's Ultimate Road Trip: Vietnam's Northern Loop

    • From: activetravelasia
    • Description:
      Written by Adam Hodge 
      Anyone who has been to this country (and even some of those who haven't) will no doubt be skeptical about the words "Vietnam" and "road trip" in the same sentence. It's true: In a city like Hanoi, the traffic can make you freeze up like an opossum. But outside of the cities, where vehicles are few and far between, the scenery is unforgettable, the culture vibrant, and the road trip experience unparalleled.
      Driving the legendary Northwest Loop is the best way to get a glimpse of the rural side of a country in the throes of relentless, voracious development. In the less-visited north, you can explore the Vietnam of rice terraces, karst formations draped in verdant jungle, purple mountains, and thundering waterfalls.
      START IN HANOI

       
      Hanoi
      The Northwest Loop begins in Hanoi. If you're going to tackle this route in a car or truck, it's best to get a 4WD. Most of the route is sealed, but heavy rains can occasionally wash small rocks and debris onto the road in the mountains. And speaking of rain, since you're in the mountains all bets are off when it comes to the weather. It's true that Vietnam's dry season runs from October until April, but if you try this during "rainy" season in the summer months you can still get away with it. And remember, as you get higher up, the temperature will drop, so you may use both the A/C and the heater in the same trip.
      But be warned, the small twisty roads were drawn into the hills for the pleasure (and ease) of two-wheeled travel. The trip can be done on a 125 cc semi-automatic "motoscooter," which are incredibly easy for even non-riders to get a handle on quickly. You can rent one in Hanoi for less than $10 a day from an outfitter like Flamingo Travel, who provides helpful English-language service. Flamingo also provides guided tours for those who don't want to tackle the country alone.

      HIT THE OPEN ROAD

      After you've explored Hanoi's bustling Old Quarter (the Essence Hanoi is a great boutique hotel option) and filled up on Hanoi's legendary street food, it's time to brave the traffic on the highway from hell out of the city. This is a straight-shot, get-it-over-with drive to the first stopover. Look on the bright side: You will never again complain about traffic back home. Just under 30 miles southwest of Hanoi on Highway 6, you'll have the chance to turn left onto a skinny two-lane secondary road. Take it! This is what you've come for. The road weaves its way through rice terraces, bypassing the truck-heavy main drag. You'll meet up with H6 again soon enough, which you'll take the rest of the way to Mai Chau.
      Motorcycling Mai Chau
      Once in Mai Chau, take a day or two to explore the surrounding countryside, which is home to many of the White Tai ethnic minority. The lush, rice paddy-filled valley is a world away from the noise of Hanoi, the horns and hawker shouts replaced with gurgling irrigation rustling leaves. Here you'll find one of the best accommodation options in northern Vietnam: the terrific Mai Chau Lodge.
      When you leave Mai Chau, you will follow weaving valley roads and mountain switchbacks up H6 to Son La. The journey is not far, but you will stop so frequently to take in the view, so budget extra time. A good idea is to break up the day with pit stops in the small towns you'll find on the way, where you can refill with Vietnamese iced coffee or pho.

      CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

      After Son La, you can head directly to the big city in the north, Sapa, but you'd be wise to head to Dien Bien Phu on the QL279 turnoff instead, where you can view the site of one of the most decisive and game-changing military victories in modern history. DBP is where the French rule of Vietnam came to an ignominious end—think Custer's Last Stand in Indochina. Walk around Hill A-1, and then visit the ranks of unmarked graves in the war cemeteries. It's a grim reminder of the war-torn history of the beautiful surroundings.
      Motorcycling Northern Vietnam
      On to Sapa, the center of northern Vietnam. A former French hill station, the town overlooks a valley of waterfalls and rice paddies, and frequently finds itself in puffy white fog as clouds roll into the town center. This is great place for trekking and mountain biking. Trekking Sapa leads multi-day tours around the area, showing off the natural beauty and the culture of the local Hmong hill tribes. For a place to stay, try Thai Binh Sapa.
      Motorcycling Northern Vietnam
       
      It will take a solid day to drive back to Hanoi from Sapa, so it's wise to break up the trip into two pieces, sleeping the LaVieVuLinh ecolodge homestay near Thac Ba Lake on the way back. If you have time, though, spend an extra couple of days and head east to Ba Be National Park. This remarkable area is up for UNESCO status as a World Heritage Site, but is seldom visited because it is tough to access using public transportation. The park plays host to countless species of fauna, including bears, tigers, and the king cobra. Stay in one of the stilt-house homestays in Pac Ngoi village, which cozies up to the shores of Ba Be Lake, the freshwater centerpiece of the park.

       

      ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like recommend Motorcycling West to East Northern Vietnam tour.This motorcycling trip reveals a different route to get from Son La to Thac Ba. It offers adventurous riders stunning scenery and great tribal culture exploration. The route is not yet popular thus you do not share the roads with other tourist but mainly share the roads with the locals who are on their Honda to the farm. The perfect itinerary and the support crew ensure you get the most out of the trip in terms of comfort, enjoyment and adventure.
      Highlights: 
       
      •     Stunning scenery
      •     Challenging roads
      •     Thac Ba Reservoir
      •     Colorful ethnic minorities
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    • 7 months ago
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  • Sapa, Vietnam in my tour Sapa, Vietnam in my tour

    • From: activetravelasia
    • Description:
      Sapa, Vietnam
      Sapa is considered the second destination of Vietnam after Halong Bay. This town is located in the Northern mountainous area with the endless terraced field and interesting experience to visit the ethnic villages. You can easily catch up with the heavy rain and storm. However, with me – Jeremy Jones, this is not an obstacles but an exciting challenge though I have to prepare a lot more when the rain falls.
      Rain, rain, rain – it always rains
      If you are a unlucky guy coming to Sapa in the middle of storm rain or after a rainy week, then you are in the major. The muddy paths made everyone fell down at least once, and our luggage were sent quite a lot of souvenir from mud.
      The extraordinary Sapa landscape

      Seems like being aware of this, the stalls in the villages offered most of the things to prevent slipping in every kind of terrain. The sellers are quite smart ladies, and especially when you are buying in the tough weather, the price would be indefinable. A raincoat and a pair of rain boot would be the salvation even in just two days.
      Do not leave out homestays

      Every visitors to Sapa should spend a night or two at homestay, for not only experience the local life experience but also come into the rural life and visit the beautiful places of the land. The further the land is, the more beautiful the landscape. And the homestay will let you see those landscape.
      H'mong People in Sapa
      Most of the homestay is a spacious house with sleeping rooms being built next to the main house. People say only those who stayed for two nights could experience the traditional house in the second one. However, after six hours of experiencing, the most expectation for the pervasive numbness is a fare hot shower with common conveniences.
      Sapa Town, Vietnam
      A homestay in Sapa

      In the whole or part of the journey, all of the travelers are followed by the sellers in the village in the hope of selling something. These local ladies became the sufficient supporters when they showed us which way to go, holding our hand to “saving” us from falling down.
      In general, Sapa is a perfect destination for coming after a hard rain with every conditions of muddy marshy land that you could ever imagine. However for me, I wish I had known how the trip was to prepare myself more carefully and save some cloths for becoming clouts because of mud. I will definitely not prevent anyone from traveling to Sapa in the rain weather, but I would love to suggest them to prepare well. You will not regret.
      Recommended Sapa Trekking & Homestay by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA
      Hanoi - Lao Cai - Sapa - Hanoi 
      4-day tour with 2-day trek and 2-night homestay
      Trekking grade: Moderate
      This trip includes a trek through the hills and valleys of the Sapa region, discovering several different minorities along the way. You will experience overnight accommodation in the hospitable villages of Giay and Tay ethnic minorities. The apparent hardships are worth it though as we walk through some of the most spectacular scenery that Vietnam has to offer and experience unique villages culture.
      Highlights 

       

      • Awesome scenery
      • Rice terraces
      • Colorful minority groups 
      • Homestays in minority villages
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    • 8 months ago
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  • Riding Vietnam's mountainous n Riding Vietnam's mountainous north

    • From: activetravelasia
    • Description:
      We're on an eight-day motorcycling tour of north-eastern Vietnam, riding Honda XR250 trail bikes across the valleys and over the mountain passes of Ha Giang province and through the wild, remote and rarely visited mountainous "frontier lands" along the Chinese border, where roads are narrow, winding and steep, and the scenery is truly breathtaking.
      ROADS TO HAPPINESS: One of the group's motorcyclists in the mountainous Ha Giang province.
      It's a ride-it-yourself adventure, but we have two guides, Linh and Thon, who know where they are going, which is just as well, because we're having enough trouble just negotiating the traffic. Many of these "small ways and snake roads" - so called because of their sinuous shape rather than any abundance of serpents - aren't on the tourist maps and are definitely off the tourist trail.
      Linh and Thon also know how to carry out roadside repairs, skills that prove useful more than once. There are 12 of us in our group - nine experienced riders and three pillion passengers. We've known each other for years and most of us have travelled together before on various motorcycling road trips.
      But as we gather on the second-storey terrace of a Hanoi bar the day before we set off, our nonchalance starts to dissipate while studying the chaotic traffic that swirls below us, trying to determine whether there is any method in the madness (there's not!), counting crashes and watching first-time visitors to Hanoi with fear at the prospect of crossing the road.
      It's a bit of a blur, but somehow we manage to get out of Hanoi in one piece, and it's not long before we find ourselves riding along back roads beside rice paddies and meandering rivers, sharing the road with tractors, buffalo, dogs, chickens and ox-drawn carts, along with the stream of bicycles and motorbikes.
      As we ride through the villages and towns, we're treated like rock stars, kids and adults alike grinning, waving and calling out hello. At first we think it's because they don't get many visitors in these parts, which is true, but then we realise it's because we're riding bikes that are monsters compared with the tiny 50cc-150cc bikes and scooters they ride, and even the petrol station attendants can't resist climbing on our bikes to pose for photos whenever we stop to fill up.
      It may also be because we are somewhat overdressed - in Kevlar-reinforced jeans, protective riding jackets, leather boots, gloves and full-face helmets - compared with the locals in their sandals, short sleeves and nifty little hard hats with special holes at the back for ponytails - but I have no desire to experience a Vietnamese road-base exfoliation. Miraculously, in eight days and 1200 kilometres of rough riding, our group of 12 experiences only three tumbles, and none results in any injuries.
      We ride between 160 kilometres and 180 kilometres each day, which doesn't sound much - at home we ride that far just for fun on a Sunday morning - but at an average speed of about 40kmh, often less, it takes all day. By our third day, we've relaxed into the rhythm of the roads, have more or less got our heads around the organic nature of the traffic flow, and are high on the exhilaration (and adrenalin) of riding some of the world's best (and most challenging) motorcycling roads up and over countless mountain passes, the summits shrouded in mist, the deep-sided river valleys terraced with rice paddies, the distance filled with sawtooth ranges receding as far as the eye can see.
      One road in particular has us spellbound, the aptly named Road to Happiness from Ha Giang to Meo Vac via Dong Van, which includes the famous Ma Pi Leng Pass, a stretch so precipitous that workers had to be tethered to the cliffsides during its construction in the early 1960s.
      We eat lunch in cafes, throwing our scraps on the floor, along with everyone else's, and stop at roadside stalls for sweet milky coffee and fruit dipped in chilli and salt. When our seats become too hard or the view too beautiful to ignore, we pull over for a rest, which often ends up attracting a crowd, thanks to the wannabe magician in the group - he only knows one trick but it never fails to delight the local kids.
      We stretch our legs at village markets, where we rub shoulders with men in indigo suits and women in colourful embroidered costumes who have travelled in from remote mountain villages, usually on foot with heavy loads strapped to their backs, along the same steep roads we are riding.
      We spend our nights throwing back shots of lethal local rice wine with our homestay hosts before bedding down on mattresses on the floor beneath mosquito nets in one large communal room built on stilts, infinitely more comfortable than the few local hotels we stay at with the rock-hard beds they favour in northern Vietnam.
      At Ban Gioc waterfall we take a short ride on a bamboo raft and get so close to China we can chat to Chinese tourists on the other side, but Vietnam and China aren't exactly best mates, so we're warned not to step ashore on Chinese territory. The next day we get caught in a never-ending line of trucks carrying cheap goods across the border on a dusty road still under construction, which in Vietnam is no impediment to travel. You just weave your way around the road crews and hope like hell a road exists on the other side.
      By the time we get back to Hanoi we're road weary and ready to stop - eight days and 1200 kilometres is a long time to spend perched on a wire rack, even with a tower of cushions on top - but if you want to see, smell, hear, touch and really experience Vietnam, mixing it with the locals from behind the handlebars of a motorbike is about as full on as you can get.
      Need to know
      Riding a motorcycle in Vietnam is a high-risk activity. Check that your travel insurance covers motorcycling and be aware that as a foreigner you will be expected to pay compensation (in cash and probably on the spot) in the event of an accident, even if you are not at fault.
      It is not possible to get a temporary Vietnamese driving licence on a tourist visa, but an international driving permit (available from the NRMA) is usually accepted by police — although, officially, no foreign licence is valid in Vietnam, and harsh penalties (determined by the police) can apply for riding or driving without a licence.
      Trip notes
      Touring there from ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA
      The mountainous area of Northern Vietnam has long been famous for its beautiful scenery and great diversity of ethnic minorities. With our adventure motorcycling trip you will make a big loop to experience all the bests that area can offer. Starting in Hanoi you will explore Northwest before jumping into Northeast, back to Hanoi after a day relaxing in Ba Be Lake. The perfect itinerary and the support crew ensure you get the most out of the trip in terms of comfort, enjoyment and adventure. Along the way we encounter dramatic landscapes and sweeping panoramas as the rural population goes about its business. Highlights include the terraced valleys of Sapa, beautiful Ban Gioc Waterfall and many different colorful minority groups.
      Motorcycling adventure in Northern Vietnam 
      Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La - Dien Bien Phu - Sapa – Hagiang – Bao Loc – Cao Bang – Ban Gioc – Ba Be – Lang Son – Hanoi
      14-day trip with 12-day motorcycling
      Motorcycling grade: Moderate
      Highlights
       
      • Stunning scenery
      • Stunning Pha Din Pass and Tram Ton Pass
      • Terraced valley of Sapa
      • Ban Gioc Waterfall
      • Babe Lake
      • Colorful ethnic minorities
    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
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  • Low Tide Low Tide

    • From: peghaz
    • Description:

      Broad flats are exposed during low tides at Mont Saint-Michel in northern France.

    • 9 months ago
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  • Cool summer day Cool summer day

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      A cool summer day at the beach in northern Oregon.

    • 9 months ago
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  • tomar portugal tomar portugal

    • From: lelex26
    • Description:

      tomar portugal:Under the modern city lies the Roman city of Sellium. After the conquest of the region from theMoors in the Portuguese Reconquista, the land was granted in 1159 as a fief to the Order of the Knights Templar. Its Grand Master in Portugal, and Tomar's somewhat mythical founder, Gualdim Pais, laid in 1160 the first stone of the Castle and Monastery that would become the Head-Quarters of the Order in Portugal. The foral or feudal contract was granted in 1162 by the Grand Master to the people. The Templars ruled from Tomar a vast region of central Portugal which they pledged to defend from Moorish attacks and raids. Like many lords of the unpopulated former frontier region of central Portugal, the villagers were given relatively liberal conditions in comparison with those of the northern regions of Portugal, in order to attract new immigrants. Those inhabitants who could sustain a horse were obliged to pay military service in return for privileges. They were not allowed the title of Knight which was reserved to themonks. Women were also admitted to the Order, although they didn't fight.

    • 9 months ago
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  • Top 10 picturesque lakes in Ti Top 10 picturesque lakes in Tibet

    • From: tibettravel
    • Description:

      Almost every tourist traveling to Tibet would drop a visit to a holy lake in Tibet. The most frequently visited lakes in Tibet are the top three holy lakes, Namtso, Yamdrok and Manasarovar. In fact, there are thousands of lakes across the Tibetan Plateau. The following is a list of the top 10 picturesque lakes in Tibet.

       

      1. Lake Namtso

       

      Namtso, meaning a "heavenly lake" in the Tibetan language, is reputed as the most beautiful lake in Tibet and was selected as one of the five most beautiful lakes in China by Chinese National Geography magazine in 2005. It is situated between Damxung County and Bange County, 240 km away from Lhasa, capital of Tibet. The lake, covering an area of 1,940 sq km, lies at an altitude of 4,718 meters. It is the largest salt water lake in Tibet and the second largest salt water lake in China. Its purity and solemnness are symbols of Qinghai-Tibet Platean. Its touching beauty should not be missed by any visitor who makes a Tibet tour.

       

      2. Lake Yamdrok

       

      Located on the way from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp or Kathmandu, Yamdrok is also frequently visited by travelers. Lake Yamdrok is surrounded by numerous snow-capped mountains and has a power station at its western end which is considered to be the highest in the world. The lake is fan-shaped, and is around 72 km (45 miles) long. In Tibetan Yamdrok means "the Lake of Swans". Tourists and pilgrims can be seen walking or prostrating themselves along the lake's perimeter. On a steep mountain slope southwest of the lake lies Samding Monastery, which is the only Tibetan Monastery headed by a living female Lama.

       

      3. Lake Tangra Yumtso

       

      Lake Tangra Yumtso, the largest holy lake worshipped by ancient Bonpo of Tibetan Buddhism, is the third largest lake in Tibet. It is located in Xainza County, Nagqu Prefecture, northern Tibet. Lying at an average altitude of 4,600 meters, the lake covers an area of 1,400 sq km, with 70 km in length and 20 km in width.

       

      4. Pangong Tso

       

      Pangong Tso, meaning "long, narrow, enchanted lake" in Tibetan language, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in Tibet. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.

       

      5. Lake Manasarovar

       

       

      Manasarovar, meaning "an invincible lake of jade" in the Tibetan language, is one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world. Lying at an altitude of 4,588 meters above sea level, the lake covers an area of 400 sq km, with the circumstance of 90 km. Together with Mt Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a pilgrimage site. There is a pilgrimage path around the lake and a circuit is a little over 100km, taking 4-5 days to complete. Chiu Gompa, 30 km south of Darchen, is a good starting point for a circuit around the lake. It is a must-visit for a tour in Tibet covering western Tibet.

       

      6. Basumtso

       

      Basumtso in Tibetan language means 'green water'. The lake definitely deserves that name: the views are breathtaking, and those glaciers, which cover on the upper reaches of the lake, are beautiful and at the same provide fresh water for the whole region. The lake covers an area of 26 square kilometers. You can see the beautiful snow-capped peaks reflected from the green waters of the lake. The beautiful view of the lake and the glaciers even makes some European visitors think of the inspiring Swiss Alps when they see the majestic view on the shoreline of this lake. Standing by the lake side, you can see fish shoaling in the water, birds circling in the air and beasts roaming in the forest. You can find a harmonious scene of animals living a comfortable and easy life in Basum with human. The World Tourism Organization listed the lake as a world tourist site.

       

      7. Selincuo

       

      Selincuo Lake located in Northern Tibet Autonomous Region and covering an area of 1,800 sq. km, is the second largest saltwater lake, second only to Namtso Lake. Lying at the junction of three counties, it can be seen from afar, a beautiful vast waterscape surrounded by golden grasslands of the Tibetan plateaus and snow capped mountains under clear skies. The natural sights here are absolutely breathtaking and after sunset the deep blue waters melt into one with the shadows of looming mountains, creating an air of mystery and intrigue.

       

      8. Lake Rakshastal

       

      Lake Rakshastal lies close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastaal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastaal does not share the lore of worship with its east neighbor. The name of the lake literally means "lake of the demon" in Sanskirt. It is also known as Ravana Tal, as it is considered to be the place of severe penance tapasya by Ravana, demon-like egoistic King of Lanka in Hindu theology. In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar, which is round like the sun, and Rakshastal, shaped as a crescent, are respectively regarded as 'brightness' and 'darkness'. Its salty water, a stark contrast to the fresh water of Lake Manasarovar, produces no aquatic plants or fish and is considered poisonous by locals.

       

      9. Cuona Lake

       

      Covering an area of over 400 square kilometers, Cuona Lake is regarded as the highest freshwater lake in the world. Cuona Lake means 'Heavenly Lake' to the locals. Numerous believers often come all the way to worship this holy lake. The water here is crystal clear with fish jumping freely. Together with the boundless plains and clear sky, the scenery surrounding Cuona Lake are of great beauty, attracting cranes, mandarin ducks, swans and other wild animals. Around the lake is the famous Qiangtang Nature Reserve where Tibetan yak, donkey, snow leopard and so on live.

       

      Cuona Lake is the nearest lake to Qinghai-Tibet Railway with the nearest shore only tens of meters distant, so passengers can enjoy the serenity of the lake with great ease.

       

      10. Peiku-tso

       

      Peiku-tso is located 40km to the east of Jirong county town and 250km from the Tingri County. It's just on the way to Ngari, between Zhangmu and Saga. With the elavation of 4,590 meters above sea level, Peiku-tso lake is the biggest lake in Shigatse area. It's a light salty lake with an area of more than 300 square kilometers. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, it is bright turquoise all year around. Traveler can make a detour to this lake when doing a tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu.

       

       

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    • 10 months ago
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  • Enjoy a Horse Riding Tour in T Enjoy a Horse Riding Tour in Tibet

    • From: tibettravel
    • Description:

      When you search Tibetan festivals on internet, you will find that there are many festivals in Tibet relating to horse race. Hence, we can conclude that Tibetan people is a nation loving horse riding. For travelers, why not enjoy a horse riding tour in Tibet to remote wilderness of Tibet to explore the hidden interests of Tibet.

       

      When you do a trekking in Tibet, you can hire a horse and enjoy a horse riding in the countryside of Tibet. For example, you can do a horse trek around the famous Mount Kailash in western Tibet or around the heavenly Lake Namtso. But it would be more interesting to ride a horse on the grassland in northern Tibet. You know, Tibetan people would hold Horse Racing Festival on the grassland in Nagchu in every August which is the best month to travel to Tibet.

       

      The Nagchu Horse Festival is the most important festival in north Tibet plateau. Nagchu is one of the highest, coldest and most windswept towns in Qiangtang Grassland. In this breathtaking spot on the road between Qinghai and Tibet, from August 10-13, more than 10,000 nomads, with their tents, children and animals come to participate and enjoy the colorful Nagchu Horse Festival. A gathering of traders, pilgrims, dancers, gamblers, drinkers, and picnickers, Nagchu is a cultural fair representing a wide range of ethnic and tribal groups. There will be horse racing and acrobatics, dancing and singing at night, and the chang, or Tibetan beer will flow freely. The Nagchu Horse Racing Festival will be held for a whole week in August 2013.

       

      Making a Nagchu Horse Racing Festival Tour in 2013, you are supposed to see:

       

      1. Thousands of Tibetan nomad spectators.

      2. Beautiful horse racing and yak racing.

      3. Competitors with well dressed ethnic Tibetan attire.

      4. Yaks and horses are well decorated with Tibetan styles.

      5. Buying and selling of horse attracts thousands of Tibetans far away from other parts of Tibet.

      6. Tradition dancing and performance of Tibetan operas.

      7. Well trained Tibetan Herdsmen displays horse riding skills.

      8. The grasslands are dotted with tents with full of Tibetan spectators forming a small town for a week.

       

      Except Nagchu Horse Racing Festival, Gyantse Horse Racing Festival Tour is also very popular among travelers. This festival is established in 1408 and the farmers and herdsmen from every parts of Tibet gather in Gyantse for horse racing, archery competitions, horsemanship display followed by few days' entertainment or picnicking. These days, ball games, track and field events, tug of war are also playing at the field for about a week. The businessmen from every part of the Tibet display some local products and butter system is still there.

       

      What you will see on Gyantse Horse Racing Festival

       

      1. Fast running horse competition

      2. A well decorated horse.

      3. Many horsemen with typical local Ethnic dress up.

      4. Hundreds of businessmen displaying the local products.

      5. Showing different skill during Archery competition.

      6. Hundreds of Tibetan spectators with typical ethnic dress up.

      8. You can still observe the ancient butter system there.

      9. Thousands of foreign visitors and journalist.

      10. Hundreds of Tibetan tents with full of spectators.

       

      If you have experience in riding horse, you can ask permission from the owner of a horse to enjoy a different horse riding on the Tibetan Plateau. But be careful. 

    • Blog post
    • 10 months ago
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  • ACROSS NORTHERN VIETNAM ON TWO ACROSS NORTHERN VIETNAM ON TWO WHEELS

    • From: acitvetraveasia
    • Description:
      By David Atkinson
      Motorbiking North Vietnam
      Traveling around Vietnam by motorbike, seeing breathtaking landscapes, beautiful mountain passes, interesting historical relics, colorful, friendly and happy people…makes you love Vietnam more and gives us extremely special feeling.
      I love the thrill of the open road. Shades on, foot to the floor and cruising through alien landscapes with the stereo cranked right up.
      But Vietnam was just about the last place I expected to find myself on a road trip. Self-drive isn’t really an option here.
      And, as for the State-approved backpacker bus trips, well, let’s just say that rubbing knees with the tie-dye clad hordes and eating in the tourist restaurant, where the bus driver always collects his kickback, isn’t my scene.
      Easy rider
      It sounded perfect. A way to get my engine running and get out on the highway while staying off-the-beaten-track and seeing the real Vietnam.
      Road to Northern Vietnam
      Activetravel Asia is one of the Indochina's leading adventure travel companies. They offer a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, overland touring and family travel packages. ATA’s packages and tailor-made private itineraries take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia.  They have made hundreds of trips into the backwaters of the far north, building up a comprehensive motorbike guide to northern Vietnam.
      “The bikes are old 50’s designs straight out of Belarussia. They’re the backbone of the country and used by everyone to haul goods around,” 
      “They don’t go very fast, use a lot of petrol and billow out a lot of smoke, but they’ll get you anywhere,” he adds.
      “Besides, they’re very easy to fix. If you’ve got a stick and a rock you can fix a Minsk.”
      Cruise control 
      With the sun in our faces, we join the highway near Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and start the slow climb northwards. As we progress at a steady 35km/h, overtaking lumbering trucks soon gives way to overtaking lumbering water buffalo who eye suspiciously as we file past the paddy fields.
      We stop for dinner that night in Tuyen Quang. It’s a dusty one-ass town dominated by trucker rest stops and so-called bia om or ‘cuddle beer’ outlets where the town’s two attractions make for natural bedfellows.
      As we settle down for the night in the shabby state-owned hotel, one of my fellow easy riders, Casey McCarthy from Texas, tells me why she has chosen a severe buttock buffing on a motorbike in the rain for her holiday.
      “I’d never seen a Minsk before Vietnam and, although it’s ancient technology, it’s a very easy ride,” she says. “I guess I just wanted to get away from those cattle-truck bus trips and a bike trip is the best way to see the countryside as you decide where and when you want to go.”
      The next day we’re up with the light and, after a hearty bowl of Vietnamese pho bo(a rice noodle soup with strips of beef), we’re back in the saddle and on the road for Ha Giang.
      As we stop for petrol at what looks like a roadside chemistry set, I ask Digby what kind of people are attracted to the idea of driving around rural Vietnam on a piece of Russian war-era machinery.
      “Half are motorbike riders back home or people with some previous experience but not all. I’d never ridden a bike until I came to Vietnam,” he explains, taking a little bottle of engine oil and mixing it with petrol.
      “Drive bikes and you will crash but drive slow enough and you’ll be OK,” he adds, handing over a dollar for two litres. “If we go over, we’ll just slide – unless we hit something. But it’s nothing like driving at 130km back home when you get washed up off the road”.
      Alien invasion
      Hagiang province, Vietnam
      The last 50km to Ha Giang is made up of winding country lanes. It’s a drive not best experienced at dusk when huge trucks with dazzling headlights tear around blind corners with scant regard for approaching fellow truckers, let alone a bunch of foreigners on motorbikes in dayglo jackets.
      As we make the final approach, it feels like entering a long-forgotten Wild West outpost. The locals stare at us like aliens just beamed down from another planet but Digby is used to it.
      “I regularly go to places where only a handful of strangers have ever been before. Just two weeks ago, I took a tour to a place where only three foreigners had ever visited before the new road was built,” he smiles.
      “Just as I was thinking that I’d been everywhere possible, the Vietnamese Government has launched a programme to build roads to each commune so a there’s now a whole bunch of new roads to explore,” he adds.
      “That’s why I do this. It isn’t so much a tour as a road trip where the guide is having as much fun as the customers.”
      More travel information about motorbike northern Vietnam at: http://www.activetravelvietnam.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=66
    • Blog post
    • 10 months ago
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  • sijilmassatours

    • Points:652
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