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  • Local Beach Local Beach

    • From: isthatitsme
    • Description:

      This is a local beach with a small fishing village around in rural Jamaica on the south coast. 

    • 3 months ago
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  • School Days School Days

    • From: Kruzer57
    • Description:

      An early 1900's one room school house on Beaty Road about 2 miles north of Highway 72 west of Gravette, Arkansas.

    • 4 months ago
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  • Some Must- Do Activities On Yo Some Must- Do Activities On Your Trip To Kerala

    • From: surajkulkarnih
    • Description:

      So it's that time of the year again when you've packed your bags and are raring to go and find yourself heading to God's Own Country – Kerala. Rejoice! For you are now at one of the most exotic travel destinations in the world.

      There's a lot just waiting to be discovered here, what with a plethora of fun activities vying for your attention to choose from - ranging from mystic houseboat rides to the blissful Ayurveda massages for calming your excited nerves to even experiencing the thrill a snake boat race. Read on to know more about how you can make your visit to Kerala a memorable one and what you can do to ensure that when you get old, you have many exciting tales to tell your grandchildren about this sojourn:

      Stay on a houseboat: I bet you've heard a lot about these houseboats already and once you're away from the concrete jungle and the hustle and bustle of city life, you should make the most of it. Connect with nature and romanticize the wilderness with your stay in the backwaters of Allepey, Allapuzha or Kumarakom on a luxurious houseboat. Of course, you always have the option of staying in a hotel, but where's the novelty in that? In case, a long stay on unchartered waters is not your cup of tea, don't lose hope. You can try going for a backwater cruise on the Vembanand lake, which is the largest lake in Kerala and also a popular picnic spot and check out the flora and fauna there. Sounds like good fun! The best time for this activity would be during winters.

      Cheer at a snake boat race: Onam is the most popular festival in Kerala and is celebrated with sheer pomp and joy each year in the months of August-September. The whole of Kerala comes alive in a festive fervor for 4 days with music and dance, decorating houses, Onam Sadya (feast) and even boat racing. The boat race is a very integral and important aspect of Onam wherein about 100 oarsmen row huge and beautifully decorated snake boats and men and women celebrate by cheering the snake boats skim through the water. I'm sure you can't wait to be part of this festivity. Be there, do it!

      Bring out the adventurer in you: If you thought Kerala was only about houseboats and boat races, think again. On your visit to the beautiful hill station Munnar, trying your hand at paragliding is an absolute must. And don't worry, you don't need to be trained for it. Glide over the magnificent hills of Munnar with the help of an instructor. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it's true!

      Embrace Ayurveda: Give your tired mind and body a new lease of life with the famous Ayurveda massage therapies that are ever so popular with tourists visiting Kerala. Just lie down and relax and let the experts do the rest for you. Bring harmony to your soul and experience the soothing herbal massages that rid you of your stress and ailments. There are many centers and spas all over Kerala which offer this facility with packages at competitive rates. So go ahead, pick a package of your preference and feel the magic as it happens. Monsoons are considered to be the best time to indulge in Ayurvedic therapies in Kerala.

      Get enthralled by folk art: Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Thullal, Oppana, Margamkali are just some of the forms of classical folk dances performed in Kerala. Each dance form is unique and has a story and a style of its own. Some of these dance forms have become popular worldwide, but what better place to witness an enthralling dance performance than in the place of its origin!

      A Fall isn't always a bad thing: Case in point being the beautiful Athirapally waterfalls. This place could well be dubbed as India's Niagara Falls as these 80 feet high falls are sure to give you an adrenaline rush. The best time to visit here would be in the monsoons and we recommend that you trek your way up and down the falls. The soothing sounds of the cascading waterfalls and witnessing the huge mass of water coming crashing down is something that only a lucky few get to experience in their lifetime. So make sure that you, too, are that lucky one!

      Wild ambitions: Get in touch with your wild side at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary with a jungle safari or go bamboo-rafting on the Periyar lake. You could also energize yourself with a visit to the countryside by taking a canoe ride across the serpentine canals in the quaint villages of Kerala. (For more information, check out a good resource on the place like http://irisholidays.com/.)

      Mortal Combat: Regarded as one of the most ancient and scientific forms of martial arts in the the world, Kalaripayattu is still practiced in Kerala. It is supposed to be one of the important aspects of an Ayurvedic physical treatment called Kalarichikitsa. Some of the moves of this form of combat are sure to leave you astounded and amazed. So make sure you don't miss witnessing this celebrated form of martial arts.

      History's mysteries: Indulge in some intellectual fact finding with a visit to Kerala's St. Angelo Fort, Fort Kochi, Bekal Fort, Edakkal Caves, Mattancherry Palace, Jew Street, Ariyannur Umbrellas among other attractions. All these places will take you back in time and tickle your imagination by giving you a taste of how things used to be.

      Beaches: Drown your stress and sorrows in the picturesque beaches – be it the scenic Varkala beach or the Kovalam beach (don't miss the Lighthouse here), the mesmerizing Beypore beach, the ancient Ezhimala beach or the serene Bekal beach. Lose yourself in the sun and the sand on the sunkissed beaches of Kerala.

      Eat, Drink and Be Merry:If you are one of those people who live to eat, then your love for food will only increase as you relish Kerala's mouthwatering cuisine. Their food items are enriching with some authentic flavors of the South. Coconut is a favorite additive here and is added to most of the food preparations be it their vegetarian or non-vegetarian meals. 'Toddy'- a drink made of liquor and water with sugar and spices is a popular beverage in the rural areas and a Kerala specialty. Do try!

       

      There's something for everyone at Kerala. So, what are you waiting for? Get your checklist of these activities ready and tick away while you live it up at this Southern Paradise of India!!!

       

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    • 5 months ago
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  • Get your motor running: 5 grea Get your motor running: 5 great motorcycle trips

    • From: Emmsey90
    • Description:

      Produced by writer, blogger and journalist Matthew Crist in association with road traffic solicitor Motor Defence Lawyers.

       It’s something that most four wheeled motorists may not understand.

      But the thrill of riding some of the most bike friendly roads in the world, just you and your “steel horse” for company, is one of the greatest experiences known to man, woman or beast.

      If the bypass on the way to work, or an evening jaunt on the expressway, just aren’t doing it for you – here are five of the most spectacular and thrilling routes available for the ultimate thrill seeker.

      Snowdonia National Park

      Starting in Shropshire on the border between England and Wales, you will ride north on a route dotted with splendid views and fascinating history. After a slow, twisty start, this route runs through a predominantly rural area with stunning scenery on all sides. On a clear day you’ll glimpse views of the magnificent Mount Snowdon, as well as its surrounding peaks.

      The area is dotted with Edward I's still imposing castles, such as Harlech and Caernarfon, the latter of which is a world heritage site. You can even get the Snowdonia Mountain Railway to the top if you’re feeling the strain after the twists and turns of the A5.

      Pacific Coast Highway, USA

      This is one of the most famous road trips going and presents beaches, cliffs, redwood forests, sleepy seaside towns and world-class dining along this snaking and undulating road that can provide thrilling sport riding and more relaxed cruising.

      As one of the best known routes in the world, expect to see plenty of other riders out there, as well as getting caught behind the usual caravans and mobile homes.

      Ceuta to Marrakesh, North Africa

      Bikers on this route venture along an exotic corridor of ancient citadels, bazaars and desert landscapes. After rolling off the ferry at Ceuta, riders travel through the wild Rif Mountains to Fez then climb the, sometimes snow-capped Atlas Mountains, to hit the Sahara at Erfoud.

      Meandering west through the Todra Gorge, the route passes palm groves and the imperial city of Marrakesh and all this historic venue has to offer. Bikers attempting to complete the loop would do well to remember it’s another 200 miles back to Ceuta via Casablanca – but well worth the trip.

      Trollstigen, Norway

      Trollstigen is a mountain road in Rauma, part of the route connecting Soggeberget and Valldal. It has an incredibly steep incline of 9% and no fewer than eleven hairpin bends, all up a steep mountain side. The road was opened on July 31, 1936, by King Haakon VII after 8 years of construction. The road up is narrow with many sharp hairpins, and although it has been widened in recent years, vehicles over 12.4 metres long are prohibited from driving the road – making it perfect for motorbike riders.

      Umbrailpass, Italy

      The Umbrail Pass, on the Swiss-Italian border, connects Santa Maria in Val Müstair with Bormio in the Adda valley. The Passo dell'Umbrail ascent is 13 km in length, which climbs over 1,000 meters. On the Italian side, it connects to the main highway, which connects the Stelvio Pass.

      Snow capped mountains. Lush green hills and incredibly clean Alpine air. It’s all here for the rider to take in on this epic journey, with plenty of places to stop and take in the breathtaking scenery. With such a steep climb, look on the Brightside - it’s all downhill once you reach the summit. 

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    • 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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  • The Best Things to Do In Vietn The Best Things to Do In Vietnam

    • From: cosianatour
    • Description:

      Vietnam is one of favorite places in Asia. So much history, so much natural beauty, and the Vietnamese people themselves are renowned for their graciousness and good cheer.

      A hopeful current is buzzing throughout much of the country, and it's a thrill to watch the chaos and order play out their yin and yang amidst honking horns, noodle stands, crumbling colonial remnants and high-rises. Here is the list of the best things to do in Vietnam.

      #6 -- Access ethic tribal minorities at villages nestled in the lush hills near Sapa, and share a cup of tea with locals in their rustic mountain homes.

      #5 -- Hanoi city tour to the Old Quarter & enjoy Hanoi street food.

      Hanoi Old Quarter Street Food Tour

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      #4 -- Take a private cooking class with a gourmet chef to learn about Vietnamese cuisine.

      #3 -- Navigate the alleyways of the ancient port town of Hoi An by bicycle, to explore the syncretic cultural influences of Southeast Asia's most important port from the 17th through 19th centuries.

      #2 -- Cruise the waterways of the Mekong Delta to glimpse the timeless rural scenes of farmers working the fertile land and fishermen with their nets. Stop in a home to see them making rice paper, one at a time, with a ladle and griddle.

      #1 -- Take a private overnight cruise through Halong Bay on a restored junk, a traditional Chinese sailboat. This bay is on anyone's short list for the greatest natural scenery in Asia. From sea kayaking into caves to visiting locals in their fishing villages on tucked-away islands, Halong Bay is a must on any trip to Vietnam.

    • Blog post
    • 6 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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  • BIKING TO BENG MEALEA: HOW TO BIKING TO BENG MEALEA: HOW TO SEE MORE OF RURAL CAMBODIA

    • From: activetravelasia
    • Description:
      Written by Backpacker Becki

      It took me over six hours to cycle to the jungle ravaged temple of Beng Mealea – a journey that would normally take an hour by public transport. Call me crazy, but there is something so wonderful about biking through the Cambodian countryside and avoiding the main, paved high-way routes.
      My new-found love of cycling evolved once I had moved to Siem Reap, where I bought a bike as a means to ferry myself to and from work. But then I soon realised… in Cambodia a bike is your ticket to endless exploration.
      This is when I started craving more of an adventure.My 20 minute bouts of exercise to and from work presented me with the same scenery and my random bike rides were becoming limited.
      From simple countryside outings and the Angkor Wat temple circuit to tours that last days and which get you out of the city, there is something to suit everyone, whether solo or as a family. They seem a little pricey but the cost includes the bike hire, water, some food and temple entry. Sometimes paying a small price is worth not losing your head when you are lost in the middle of nowhere with limited or no Khmer language skills!
      Out of all the day trips, I booked the one which looked most challenging and which would take me to a temple I had not yet visited – the 75km ride to Beng Mealea. Crazy is fun, right?
      I was informed that the tour would be last approximately nine hours (from 7am – 4am). I assumed this to be a few hours of bike riding, a break for lunch and the temple visit, and then a few hours to get back. Instead we set out on a ride that would take us directly to Beng Mealea around 2pm where we would later get a tuk tuk home. It was MUCH further than I thought, but with a brand new mountain bike in my possession for the day, I was ready for the challenge.
      With a mixture of awe and agony, it was an awesome day. When using public transport to get to Beng Mealea you use a lot of main roads and pass through a village area on the approach to the temple. But when biking, you quickly turn off the first main road and begin a six hour off-the-beaten-track journey that takes you through some of the most stunning Cambodian countryside; where fisherman and ox cart farmers line the green, watery flatlands and where orange dirt tracks and luscious palm trees guide the way.
      I’ve seen a whole heap of Cambodian countryside, and I spent a lot of time at work out in a local village, but this remains one of my best and most beautiful experiences yet of rural life. So much so I had to constantly stop just to take it all in and take some photos. My guide was patient and provided good insight, and for the entire journey (bar five minutes near the start) not one other tourist was in sight. Just me, my Khmer guide and the beautiful local people who waved and high-fived us throughout the journey.
      I won’t lie, at times it was tough. I got tired and felt irritable. I had to pull over near the end just to down a bottle of water and a packet of crisps just to regain a little energy! I wondered why I put myself up for a Tour De Siem Reap after spending no more than an hour on my shitty Mary Poppins style bike!
      But I did it. With a bike, you are the master of your own journey. You can choose when to slow down. You can choose when to stop and take hold of the scene in front of you. A tuk tuk or a car wouldn’t afford you with such an opportunity.
      And the temple? Well, that was truly magnificent. It’s only been open to the public in the last few years so it’s not too ’touristy’ and ruined. Yet.
      Not content with his awesome biking skills, my guide took me through a route of the temple where no one else could be found, where we climbed over toppled stones, wandered through lost corridors and swung on the branches that have weaved their way through and taken over the temple structure. We found peace at the end of a long and arduous day.
      Even if you are not a regular bike rider, try a long haul biking adventure. See a different side of Cambodia. Go see a temple you might have thought was too far out of reach. And my one piece of advice apart from drinking lots of water and taking things at your own pace? Don’t wear a white top for your mountain bike outing. It will only come back orange.

      Recommend Cycling Angkor Temples by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA:

      Highlights: 

       

      • Beautiful cycling roads
      • Impressive Angkor temples
      • Boat trip on Tonle Sap
    • Blog post
    • 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
    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
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  • Summer Day Summer Day

    • From: spurdog
    • Description:

      A glorious summer day in the front yard of the home I grew up in- Harpswell, Maine.

    • 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
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  • Advice on trekking to Everest Advice on trekking to Everest Base Camp

    • From: tibettravel
    • Description:

      When you get to the Everest Base Camp at the foot of the world’s highest peak on foot step by step, you must feel extremely proud of yourself. That is why the Tibet trek tour from Tingri to Everest Base Camp becomes one of the classic trekking in Tibet. Here is some advice on trekking to Everest Base Camp.

      1. Take your time.

      Remember, you are doing a trek at an altitude over 4,000m, you are not doing a race and nobody is judging how quickly you get up the hill. Acclimatize properly, drink plenty of water and if you need to take an extra rest day. Nobody is going to ask you how long it takes you to get to Everest Base Camp; they are just going to be amazed when you made it. Your guide and porter will not mind if you hire them for an extra day or two. They will be glad for the work. 

      2. Bring a book.

      Trekking from Tingri to Everest Base Camp takes several days and it can get a little boring at times. You may only have the energy to lie in bed and read a book, so bring a good one. You can buy books in Lhasa, capital of Tibet.

      3. Bring a water purifier or purification tablets

      Do not drink the water found in the rivers and lakes in Tibet when you are making a Tibet tour. The safety of drinking water in Tibet has been bothering rural Tibetans in Tibet's remote farming and pastoral areas. Drinking water in Tibet should be purified with iodine or other purification tablets to prevent intestinal complaints.

      4. Buy your gear in Lhasa

      You can buy all trekking gears in Lhasa, trekking poles, hats, gloves, socks, down jackets, sleeping bags etc. Everything you could possibly need to trek to Everest Base Camp is available in Tibet. If you need it or forgot it, you can get it.

      5. Bring chocolate and any treats that you want

      It is easily to lose energy when trekking on the high plateau. So it is best to bring some chocolates or any treats you want. Sometimes when the altitude gets to us, the only thing that feels good going down is chocolate. It is a good idea to have some with you and you can buy it in Lhasa.

      6. Give Yak and its owner the right of way at all times.

      You may hire yak to carry luggage for you or meet yaks and Sherpas during your trek. When a yak train comes, move to the mountain side to get out of the way. You don’t want to be nudged off a cliff by a yak. Sherpa’s and porters work hard on Everest, they are constantly taking supplies up and down the mountain. Help make their life easier by staying out of their way.

      7. Have a good first aid kit. 

      Altitude sickness is the biggest risk for travelers who travel to Tibet. Diamox is a must for altitude symptoms. Follow the directions and take 1/2 of a 500 mg tablet twice a day. Make sure to have decongestants, Advil or your choice of pain reliever, lip balm and sunscreen is a must. I had a woman give me salve for my sinuses to moisten them. My nasal cavities dried out and I suffered from severe nose bleeds which were quite scary. I will always have a lubricant for my nose from now on.

      8. Keep batteries close to your body at all times.

      Sleep with them in your sleeping bags. It is difficult to find a place to charge batteries. The cold temperature drains batteries quickly, so you need to extend their life by keeping them warm.

       

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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
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    • 10 months ago
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  • ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA recommends f ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA recommends for customers when riding in Vietnam

    • From: acitvetraveasia
    • Description:

       

      Vietnam is a frontier destination and a motorbike ride on a motorcycle through its rugged mountains is an unparalleled adventure. Be amongst the first to explore a land steeped in natural beauty and rich cultural heritage and experience face-to-the-wind just what this wonderful country has to offer.
      Motobiking Vietnam
      Riding in Vietnam is not for the feint of heart. It has the second highest rate of traffic fatalities in the world and is the second most dangerous place on earth for motorcyclists, just after India. There are approximately 40 traffic fatalities per day in the country. The way people ride in Vietnam is very different from yours : no rules! To ensure an authentic taste, make sure to ignore any Traffic Rules you know. This should help to achieve a fine balance between two-wheeled fun, fine roads, beautiful landscapes and complete and utter chaos.
      1. Do and don't

      These following rules are practical and informal:
      Do:

      - The traffic looks very crazy at first, but it’s not that bad. It’s like a river and when you are in it you have to flow. First rule is no rules.
      - Larger vehicles have right of way. Avoid anything bigger than you and slow down.
      - Use signal and the most important thing is the horn. People don’t care about the noise of horns.
      - Use both brakes at the same time with more back brake as if you apply more front brake it slips
      - Our guides were born and grow up in Vietnam, so they understand Vietnamese traffic. Follow the guide, ride behind him for safety.
      Do not:

      - Speed limit in Vietnam is very low (25-80km/h). Don’t break the speed limit.
      - Don’t ride on one wheel (free wheelie).
      - Animals are everywhere in the country or mountain roads. Dogs and chickens are the most then come water buffaloes, cows, pigs and horses…If you kill a dog or a chicken don’t stop, cry and feel sorry, it’s not your fault. Slow down and don’t hit water buffaloes, cows, pigs and horses, simply they are too big!
      - Do not drink and drive.
      Important:

      - Be careful with spilt oil from trucks and buses at curves on the mountain roads, extremely slippery and we have had at least four small accidents related to this matter.
      - Your guide leads the group and he gives you hand/body language if there are big pot holes, trucks, blind curves or any danger. He can see you in the mirrors and if you want to stop use the signal or simply pull off but be careful with riders behind you. If you got lost, just stop and wait for someone to find you or call us.
      - If the police stop you (this rarely happens), your guide will not come back. He will wait for you, out of sight up the road. Just keep talking English or whatever you want and they’ll soon give up and let you go in less than five minutes.
      - If a bike is technically broken, we will replace with the same type of bike or the next available model.
      2. What to bring:

      You don’t need to bring everything with you on the trip, pack essential things in a small bag (medium size, max 10kg) and put it on the back of the bike.
      Here are items we suggest for motorcycle touring:
      - Clothing: rain gloves, Wellington boots (rubber boots for rainy season from April to September), summer gloves, balaclava, T-shirts, socks & underwear, long sleeved shirts, turtleneck shirts, extra jeans, a light jacket, leather chaps, zip-lock bags, riding boots, bandannas, sunglasses, goggles, and contact lens solution.
      - Personal items: basic toiletries, emergency cash, sunscreen and earplugs.
      - Emergency items: a first aid kit, emergency contact number, list medical conditions, list medications, a flashlight, chargers and a duct tape.
      - Miscellaneous: a small towel, a bath towel, trash bags, camera and cargo net…and probably some gifts for children.
      3. Group Size

      Motobike Vietnam
      The maximum group size for rides in the north is from 5 to 8 people per group (limited to 6 motorcycles), riders or pillion passengers. This will enhance your experience and ensure a high degree of personal attention. Rides down the Ho Chi Minh Trail, however, can accommodate much larger groups because we use a support vehicle at your request (extra fees applied). Small groups enable us to trek into remote areas with minimal intrusion to the local cultures. Riding in a large convoy with all the inherent complications and delays is just not our way.
      The best group size is from three to four riders, not too many and not too little. More people means more fun but too big a group means less information the guide can provide as he needs to take care of your safety. Our largest group ever was 12 riders but we divided into two groups and two guides came on the trip.
      Recommended Vietnam motorcycling tours by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA
      - Motorcycling Northwestern Trails

      Discover Vietnam’s rugged and scenic northwest and its people first hand. By taking to the roads and riding from the capital Hanoito the remote area of the northwest we can see life as it truly is for the Vietnamese. 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 ofSapa, challenging roads, stunning scenery and many different colorful minority groups.
      Highlights
      Stunning scenery
      Challenging roads
      Stunning Pha Din Pass and Tram Ton Pass
      Terraced valley of Sapa
      Colorful ethnic minorities
      Details program are available here
      - Taste of Ho Chi Minh Trail

      This trip offers a stunning motorcycling route with great exploration of nature and culture of northern Vietnam. The trip is organized for first time rider and easy adventure.
      Highlight
      Awesome scenery
      Homestay in villages
      Beautiful quiet road
      All inclusive
      Details program are available here
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  • Ba Be Lake And National Park P Ba Be Lake And National Park Private Tour (3 Days/ 2 Nights)

    • From: khuongvn
    • Description:


      Ba Be National Park is located in north-east Vietnam in an area of hilly and picturesque landscape. Together with diverse ethnic cultures, we experience the intrigue of tribal life in charming villages and seeing their traditions and cultures, explore the riches of the national park and get away from the tourist trail – discover it all on this adventure.


      Tour code: BB02

      Day 1: Ha Noi - Ba Be Lake (L,D).
      Departing from Hanoi, we embark on a route up into mountain areas north of Hanoi, today we visit (Đền Đuổm ) Duom Temple is majestic temple was built during the Ly dynasty to memorize the national hero Duong Tu Minh, onwards to Ba Be National Park, one of the largest natural lakes in Vietnam, home to many kinds of birds, scenic valleys, towering rocky outcrops, underground river tributaries, a gigantic cave and local ethnic minorities, including the Tay, Red Dao and Hmong.
      Following an exploration of a spectacular cave, we hike around small villages and along the riverfront. The night is spent with a local family in the traditional house of a Tay family to experience their way of life.


      Day 2: Boat Trip and Easy Trekking  (B, L, D).
      The day begins with a morning trek in the park, we descend into the scenic valley, home of the Tay minority people and encircled by rock formations. In the afternoon we cross the rolling hills and pass Hmong and Red Dao villages.

      The scenery is extraordinary, with rural farmland, and rugged mountains jutting out of the tangled jungle growth. We end our day in the same local family for the night.

      Day 3: Ba Be Lake - Ha Noi (B, L).
      This is a spectacular boat trip on the lake. We stroll along the riverfront, visit some lovely villages and hike the upper reaches of the lake, in an area marked by massive limestone cliffs and mountains. After lunch in a local restaurant we also pay a visit to the Thai Nguyen Minority and Culture Museum where we can learn something about the culture and traditions of the different minority groups in Vietnam, it is our journey back to Hanoi, arriving there at around 6pm. (Breakfast and lunch are included).

      The facts…
      Physical activities:

      Hiking and trekking with:
      - a 3-7 km hike on Day 1.
      - a 4-6 km trek on Day 2.
      - a 5-7 km hike on Day 3.

      From July to September, the climate is usually humid and hot.
      From October to June brings cooler and more pleasant weather.

      Transport:
      - boat.
      - vehicle.


      Tour Guides:
      Our experienced and friendly Tour Guide(s) speak excellent English or French.
      They are extremely knowledgeable about local cultures, history and the environment.


      Meals:
      - 2 breakfasts.
      - 3 lunches.
      - 2 dinners.
      We choose local ingredients, typical of the way people eat in the area, at local restaurants, markets or homes.
      We also cater for Vegetarians but please request this at time of booking.


      Accommodation:
      - home-stay (2 nights).
      A clean and comfortable home-stay with mosquito nets provided.

      Tour price: please contact us

       
      Tour price includes:
      + Private door-to-door pick-up & -off services.
      + All private transfer and transportation
      + Home-stay with daily breakfast
      + Experienced English or French speaking guide.
      + Private boat trip
      + Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast ; L: Lunch ; D: Dinner)
      + All sightseeing tickets.
      + No extra charge after confirmation
      + 24/7 hotline support guaranteed

      Tour price excludes:
      + Personal expenses, tips and gratuities
      + Travel insurance
      + Beverage
      + Other services not mentioned above.

      What to take:
      + Pack essentials, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, comfortable walking shoes. Take a small day pack for hiking and trekking.
      + It is essential to bring your passport on this trip. We also recommend packing: insect repellent, sun cream, raincoat and sun hat...

       

       

      For further information, don’t hesitate to contact us:.

      Hotline:

      (+84) 1676 161 008

      Email:sales@thebtourist.com

      Website:

      www.babenationalpark.com.vn

      www.thebtourist.com

       

       

       

      THE B-TOURIST TOURISM SERVICE AND TRADING COMPANY LIMITED

       

      Head office: No. 03, Lane 150/141, Giap Nhi Street, Thinh Liet  Ward, Hoang Mai District, Hanoi, Vietnam

      Tel: (+84) 4 3 6425 420

      Fax: (+84)4 3 6425 421

      Email:info@thebtourist.com

      Website: http://thebtourist.com 

       

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    • 1 year ago
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  • Morven Park at Christmas Morven Park at Christmas

    • From: mswag2nh
    • Description:

      Morven Park, Leesburg, VA.  It's all at the park . . . Morven Park!

      Historic House, Carriage Museum, and Equestion/Sports Fields in Leesburg, VA.  Great Christmas display, complete with a huge Christmas tree inside.

    • 2 years ago
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  • Vietnam is home to some of the Vietnam is home to some of the best spots in the world for adventure travel

    • From: acitvetraveasia
    • Description:

      Imagine a country where the major cities are dynamic but not polluted, the people are genuinely friendly and the rural areas are still unspoilt?  Vietnam with unique climate, fascinating history, stunning coastal getaways, majestic mountains and tempting food is definitely the country for you !

      Your first stop is Ha Noi, the city with the history of roughly 1,000 years. Must see destination is the Old Quarter which eventually retains most of its ancient charm since French colonial period. Let’s enjoy the quite time with a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee in a very unique way which is served on the balcony of the coffee shop and be prepared for up-coming challenge!

      Leaving the major city, cycling routes across the Karst plateau of Ha Giang will amazed you. The route is very tough and tricky, and the mountain pathways are almost vertical in places. The landscape and natural conditions across the 1,600m above sea level area offer the perfect conditions for memorable experiences. 

      Different from classical travelling tour, you will experience it in an untypical way. Local cuisine will astonish you! Ethnic men are also willing to teach you cooking their special food. As for accommodation, you will surely love to stay with a local family on their colorful tribes. To pass through place to place, you are going to do as a local person on your own foot or bikes. Be reminded that the area’s landscape is Karst plateau with numerous limestone mountains!

      Remote track can’t pass through mountains so that you will have to cross 45-km- pathway to Viet Nam yourselves by cycling. With the emergency backup for water, lunch and first-aid, you will ride through secluded valleys, verdant hills, hidden waterfall and switchbacks, which flows seamlessly into some sinuous riverside single track making for fantastic riding. Eventually emerge onto rough tarmac and climb before finally dropping down again to the hot springs of Viet Nam, where you can ease our aching muscles. 

      Not for everyone, not forever

      From the madness of Hanoi to the untamed beauty of Ha Giang -- each of our destinations offered a unique glimpse into Vietnamese culture. It's not for everyone, but for those willing to brave the unknown, the country is ripe with untapped adventures.

      Hurry though. Sprawling resorts are popping up, and the booming tourism business has many young people learning how to cater to the nuances of Western culture more often than celebrating their own. Vietnam is a country on the cusp. In another decade, it may be a cookie-cutter tourist oasis. But for now, the spirit of Vietnam remains.

      About ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA:

      ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland touring and family travel packages. For more information, please contact us for tailoring your very own tour via :

       

      ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA)

      Telephone: +844 3573 8569

      Fax:  +844 3573 8570

      Email: info@activetravel.asia

      Website:     http://www.activetravelvietnam.com      http://www.activetravelcambodia.com

      http://www.activetravellaos.com

      Address: Floor 12 Building 45 Nguyen Son Street, Long Bien district, Hanoi, Vietnam.

       

      ACTIVE TRAVEL SHOP

      Telephone: + 84- 9798- 00588.

      Email:shop@activetravelshop.com

      Website: http://www.activetravelshop.com

      Address:No 9 Hang Buom Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Viet Nam. 

      http://www.activetravelvietnam.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=20 

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    • 2 years ago
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  • 11 Days Experience China Tour 11 Days Experience China Tour to Beijing-Xian-Guilin-Shanghai

    • From: topchinatravel
    • Description:

      Day 1

      Arrival Beijing
      Arrive in Beijing, the capital city of China. Be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.
      Meals: No Meals 
      Accommodation: In Beijing

      Beijing, China capital and one of the great travel destinations of the World, offers sights and cultural relics found no where else on Earth. The city has a character all its own; there are quadrangles, small alleys, tricycle, boiled mutton, roasted duck, arts and crafts, Peking Opera, The Great Wall, the 2008 Olympics venue and a vibrancy that is the distinctive flavor of Beijing.
       

      Day 2

      Beijing
      Depart from your hotel in the morning to visit Tiananmen Square, the World largest urban square and the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Then visit the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon. Peking Opera is available for your optional night entertainment.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Beijing

      Forbidden CityAs the biggest city center square in the world, Tiananmen Square covering 44 hectares in the heart of Beijing. It is the place where history-changing events and ceremonies occurred. A few steps away, come to visit the Forbidden City, which was the Imperial Palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and, it is one of the largest, and certainly the most completely restored, ancient architectural complex in the world. Walk in the footsteps of Emperors; come to the museum and see with your eyes, and feel with your hearts; you'll begin understand what life in this richest of feudal realms was like for the Imperial Rulers, their concubines and their slaves.

      After enjoying a delicious lunch, continue on to the Temple of Heaven. Departing from the Imperial vermilion and gold hues of the Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven is decorated in blue, the color of the Heavens. The perfect harmony between the architectural environment and nature can be felt here; you might easily imagine the vivid spectacle of a great sacrifice to the Heavens for a good harvest. The magnificent Hall of Prayer of Good Harvest is one of the most important and impressive building in China.

      In the evening, we offer you an opportunity to enjoy Peking Opera as an optional activity. Expert performers convey powerful emotions to the audience through song, dance, facial make-up, exquisite masks and costume, skilled use of body language and sympathetically integrated musical accompaniment.
       

      Day 3

      Beijing
      Today you will have the opportunity to traverse the ancient steps of Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall first, then Ming Tombs (Changling Tomb), the once lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Peking Roasted Duck is available for your optional dinner.
      Meals:
      Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation:
      In Beijing

      Mutianyu Great WallMutianyu Great Wall was first built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, making it older than the Badaling section.  It is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi and Jinshanling in the east. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt, mainly with granite and is one of the best-preserved sections with the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall, being 7-8 meters high and 4-5 meters wide with 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long section. It served as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.

      Then, you will have chance to visit the Ming Tombs which located in the northern suburbs of Beijing. Altogether there are thirteen tombs of Ming Dynasty Emperors from the period after the capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. You visit the Changling Tomb, burial site of Emperor Yong Le, the biggest and first built at this historic site. The Lingsi Palace in Changling Tomb's second yard really deserves a visit. This is unique, a magnificent palace made of camphor wood. The ceiling is colorfully painted and supported by sixteen solid camphor posts. The floor is decorated with gold bricks.

      For today dinner, how about taste the famous Peking Roasted Duck, as it is the best-known dish in Beijing. It is very tender and unforgettably delicious. You will visit a local restaurant to enjoy a full meal and learn the proper way to experience Peking Roasted Duck. From the whole roasted duck to the soup of duck bones, you will enjoy a banquet made from every part of the duck. Moreover, the chef will demonstrate his skill of cutting the skin of the duck for your entertainment.
       

      Day 4

      Beijing    Xian
      In the morning, take a Hutong Tour by rickshaw to visit the ancient lanes and alleyways of Beijing. Be transferred to the airport for the flight to Xian in the afternoon.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Xian

      HutongIf exploring the Forbidden City has improved your understanding of the lifestyles of China ancient Imperial Court, then this relaxing Hutong Tour will give you an insight into the lives of ordinary Chinese people and reveal their social culture in today Beijing City. The narrow streets of old Beijing are known as Hutongs. You will take a pedicab tour along the Hutongs and see the 100-year-old houses, courtyards and a vanishing way of life in today's Beijing.

      Wonderful time always passes so quickly, in the afternoon, you have to take a flight to Xian, the city that steeped in history and still giving up secrets, is your gateway to ancient Chinese civilization. In its 3,100 recorded years of evolution, it has been home to 13 dynasties. Xian was also the end of civilization for those setting out on the famous Silk Road. Today Xian is a vibrant, modern city, but surrounded by history, even underfoot! So there can be no underground railways due to the obligation to preserve the wealth of ancient treasure still awaiting discovery.
       

      Day 5

      Xian
      Enjoy your full day visit to the Terracotta Warriors, one of the world most important archaeological finds, with troops, horses and carriages in battle formation and the massive City Wall. Before dinner, have a nice walk in the North Square to view the fully illuminated Big Wild Goose Pagoda. There is also the option to attend fantastic Tang Dynasty Show (dinner included).
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Xian

      Terracotta WarriorsAs an ancient capital city to 13 dynasties, Xian has a rich recorded history, frequently enhanced by the evidence of new discoveries, like the 1974 unearthing of the fabulous Terracotta Warriors, the long forgotten army created to guard Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb. In accordance with ancient beliefs, this grand project was mounted at enormous cost by the cruel and tyrannical Emperor, only to be attacked, plundered, burnt and buried after his funeral by the peasants who'd labored under the whip to build it. Then, over two thousand years later, this 'Eighth Wonder of the World' was rediscovered by farmers digging a well. The fine troops, horses and carriages in battle formation are a National ancient art treasure. Three excavation pits are now opened to the public and a fourth is nearing completion. You can, like US President Clinton, now gaze in wonder upon this historic site, listed by UNESCO in 1987 as a world cultural heritage.

      The first landmark visitors will encounter in Xian is the ancient City Wall, which stretches round the old city. Xian was always a walled city, and today wall represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The first city wall of Chang'an was begun in 194 BCE. The existing wall was started during the Ming Dynasty in 1370; it is massive, measuring 13.7 km in circumference, 12 m in height, and 15–18 m in thickness at the base. The South Gate and North Gate are the two main entrances to the inner city. The city itself is neatly arranged along the city wall. This impressive structure is just a precursor to the remarkable discoveries awaiting visitors to Xian. 

      The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and travelers Xuanzang. Now this well-preserved holy place for Buddhist has been the symbol of Xian. 

      Tang Dynasty Show with Dinner that was created for "emperors only" in ancient China. You can enjoy the sumptuous dinner while watching a fabulous dancing and singing performance of the Tang Dynasty. This is not only a performance of Chinese traditional dancing and singing, but a re-enactment of Chinese ancient ceremony and culture.
       

      Day 6

      Xian    Guilin
      Finish up your Xian tour by visiting the famous Shaanxi History Museum. After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport to board a short flight to Guilin.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Guilin

      Shaanxi History MuseumAs the regional capital and doorway to the Silk Road, Xian was one of the richest, most well-protected cities in all of China. The famous Shaanxi History Museum introduces the visitor to area rich culture, from Emperor Qin Shihuang to the present day in this walled city. The museum is house in a striking Tang Dynasty-style pavilion and features an enormous collection of 113,000 historic and cultural relics. This is where you experience history, with chronological dynasties exhibits that take you through the ancient dynasties.

      After the tour in Xian, you will have a different experience for the visiting in Guilin, which is famous for its serene landscape, Karst limestone formations, mist-covered hills and bamboo groves. It is home to more than ten ethnic groups. On the way from the airport to your hotel, you will find dozens of pretty hills everywhere in the city of Guilin. It is a city of hills and green trees and boasts one of the most photographed areas of China.
       

      Day 7

      Guilin      Yangshuo
      In the morning you will be driven to the Pier for the Li River Cruise (about 4 hours, lunch served on board). Savour the fairy-tale scenery while cruising down the meandering river to Yangshuo. After disembarkation, have a walk along the famous West Street. In the evening you can enjoy the optional night show of Impression of Liu Sanjie.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Yangshuo

      Li RiverIn the morning, be driven to Pier for your Li River Cruise. A double-decker river boat is waiting for you. The landscape from Guilin to Yangshuo is truly a masterpiece of nature. The crystal waters, straight-out-of-a-painting mountains, peaceful farm fields, hard-working-but- ever-smiling fishermen and wandering water buffaloes inspire poetic musings of Guilin charming life. Under the blue sky, your river boat transports you in an unending daydream.

      You will end up your cruise in Yangshuo, is a small oriental but Western-influenced town with a history of 1000 years. The West Street in the town earns its name since almost every one in West Street can speak fluent English and every restaurant or bar offers menus in several languages. You will feel no borders or distance here and will soon fall under the spell of this charismatic, welcoming small-town atmosphere. Moreover, West Street is flanked by fascinating little shops and vendor stands selling a broad variety of superior quality souvenirs, perfect gifts for friends and relatives. West Streets charms increase when night comes; countless bars, cafés and bistros open till midnight with dynamic music and live bands to ensure you can have a really memorable night with your new-found friends.

      Some guests may also hear about the night show- Impressions of Liu Sanjie performance. The site is only one mile from West Street in the world's largest natural theatre which utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage, flanked by twelve mist shrouded hills and the heavens as its backdrop. Mist, rain, moonlight, the hills and their inverted reflections in the river all become the ever-changing natural background, so you will enjoy a unique experience each time you attend. In the 'Impressions of Liu Sanjie', you will be presented with stylized scenes and events from the daily life of the Zhuang people living around the Li River. From these pageants, you will gain a realistic sense of Sanjie's birthplace and appreciate the beauty of the folk songs. If you are able to take photographs under low-light conditions, you are assured of some stunning images from this performance.
       

      Day 8

      Yangshuo    Guilin
      In the morning, have an excursion (if you are interested, can have a biking) around the countryside of Yangshuo to admire some of the most stunning scenery like the Moon Hill and the Big Banyan Tree. Drive back to Guilin after lunch
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Guilin

      Yangshuo's scenic and quiet countryside- flora, fauna, rice paddies, small bridges and so many awaits you to see. Taking mini van or bicycle is an ideal way. Besides the beautiful rural scenery, you can also enjoy farm food and explore the ancient way of planting rice, which has been practiced by Chinese for thousands of years. 

      Day 9

      Guilin    Shanghai
      Before flight to Shanghai, you will have a half day city tour to Elephant Trunk Hill, the symbol of Guilin City and then the colorful Reed Flute Cave, the showcase of distinctly-colored stalactites and stalagmites. After lunch, be transferred to Shanghai in the afternoon by air.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Shanghai

      Elephant Trunk HillReturn to the city center for the next tour attraction, pagoda-capped Elephant Trunk Hill, or Xiangbishan, the symbol of Guilin. Observed from a distance, you will see an elephant-like form standing majestically at the confluence of the Li and Yang Rivers, with its trunk arching into the clear waters, a fantasy elephant eternally quenching a gargantuan thirst; lifelike in shape and energetic in posture.

      Reed Flute Cave is named for the special reeds, used for making flute instruments that grow near the cave entrance. The caves are a feast for the eyes. The natural beauty of a profusion of stalactites and stalagmites, stele, stone pillars, stone curtains and stone flowers creating an infinite variety of extraordinary scenes, creatively illuminated, is bound to evoke gasps of admiration. It is fitting then, that Reed Flute Cave is commonly praised as Nature's Grand Art Palace.

      Wonderful time always passes so quickly, in the afternoon, you have to take a flight to Shanghai. From scenic place Guilin to that modern city, you have a lot to expect. It is the bustling economic heartbeat of China that enjoys all of the comforts and amenities of a fully modern metropolis. But at the same time, it still has scenic ancient sites reminding the rich history of old Shanghai
       

      Day 10

      Shanghai
      Today, enjoy your full day city tour that start with the visit to the Jade Buddha Temple, then move to Yuyuan Garden, a Chinese classic garden in city downtown, and the nearby old street. Next have a bird-eye view of the city after ascending Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the World. The highlight of the day is perhaps the stroll along Shanghai's famed waterfront promenade, the Bund, to admire the illuminated buildings lining the Huangpu River.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Shanghai

      Today you'll find a Buddhism shrine - Jade Buddha Temple, which is located in a crowd of Shanghai City. It was first built in 1882 in Jiangwan on the southern outskirts of Shanghai. In order to make it convenient for the adherents to visit, it was bodily moved to Shanghai City at the present sire in 1918. It is named for its two bejeweled white jade Buddha. It receives thousands of visitors and worshipers everyday while keeps its sanctity and charming. Carved from a whole piece of white jade, the sitting jade Buddha statue is translucent with a solemn expression, displaying the excellent skill and extraordinary art of Chinese people.

      Oriental Pearl TV Tower Night ViewYuyuan Garden has a lot of stories for it was severely damaged in the 19th century and was restored in 1961. This garden was first built in the 16th century by provincial governor, Pan Yunduan, in honor of his father who was the then government minister. It has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools, and flora that are all connected by corridors and passageways. The delicate design and exquisite layout of the whole garden reveals a strong impression of 'garden in the garden, whole in the part.

      Completed in 1995 to a highly innovative design, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower has become a symbol of excellence in architecture and is a favourite sight for tourists in Shanghai. At 468 meters, it is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the World.

      The tower is composed of the tower base with three batter posts, and three standing pillars, within which are elevators, holding 11 steel-structures creates the poetic conception as described in the old line "large and small pearls dropping onto a jade plate".

      The Bund is the showcase with the old buildings of colonial-era leftover along Huangpu River. The renowned waterfront district is the city's most famous landmark. The word BUND is of Anglo-India origin meaning embankment on the waterfront. It is also the popular site to enjoy the night view of the city
       

      Day 11

      Departure Shanghai
      Your China Experience is over all too soon as you transfer to the airport and board the homebound international flight, bidding a fond farewell to this ancient land.
      Meals: Breakfast

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