Archive for February, 2016


Peach Blossom – the special flower only blossoms in Tet

We just get back to work after Tet about 2 weeks and I have to say we still feel the atmosphere and the spirit of the holiday, which is a bit lazy and not fully concentrate on working.

As many years, Vietnam government have had in mind an idea of changing the Lunar New Year , to combine Tet with the New Year Eve with many other countries in the world.

They have their reasons and they are not completely wrong. We normally have 9 days of celebrating Tet. This could be too long, not to mention that Tet is after New Year Eve a month so we could get two holidays back to back and the affects to working time with foreigners because of the different celebrating period.

Tet also bring back old minded and behavior like a big feast, a whole month of playing, mass of worships and presents… Not to mention alcohol and the consequences of alcoholism. Not to mention gambling during Tet. Not to mention the fights when drinking, gambling. Not to mention the traffic accident in Tet …

If we want to join in the world economic and keep up with the world, this should be changed. They said we have made many changed many thing from the past, such as long hair, long nails, wooden clogs, using hieroglyphs… all of them can be changed so Tet is not an exception.

In tourism, Tet makes the cost of many services rocketing and even not available for you, causing lack of communication with your travel agents or can not visit any place because they are closed.

However, in the other hands, Tet is something special and meaningful to me and many other Vietnamese. There are many special things that we only willing and dare to do in this moment, like gathering together, saying loving word to our relatives, forgive any misunderstanding or dissidence, or don’t mind losses in helping others…

This is not about the date. This special feeling is only happened when we feel the weather start little rain, all flowers are blossoming and see the number 30 on our lunar calendar.

For tourist, you can have a change to see the unique in our cultural, enjoy a non-busy street during these days. And if you are lucky, you can join with a local family and blend yourself in our feeling to deeply understand it.

Another Tet has gone and we are now facing this question again. This time, we would like to hear your thought about this. Your opinion could make us realize to change this event or make us feel more confident to continue what we are doing. Look forward to any comments.


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Tipping in Thailand

Continuing our part “Tipping in Vietnam” – https://indochinavoyages.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/tipping-in-vietnam/, this writing will provide you some hints on tipping in Thailand as below:
Transfer from Airport or Train station to a near-by hotel
Car and mini- V an:
– tour guide = THB 100.- per vehicle
– driver = THB 50.- per vehicle
Micro- bus and Coach:
– tour guide = THB 200.- per vehicle
– driver = THB 100.- per vehicle
Transfer from Airport or Train station to a hotel further away (Pattaya, Hua Hin, Cha’am )
Car and mini- V an:
– tour guide = THB 200.- per vehicle
– driver = THB 100.- per vehicle
Micro- bus and Coach:
– tour guide = THB 400.- per vehicle
– driver = THB 200.- per vehicle
Half day sight-seeing tour
Car and mini- V an (1- 5 pax):
– tour guide = THB 100.- per pax
– driver = THB 30.- per pax
Micro- bus and Coach (>5 pax):
– tour guide = THB 50.- per pax
– driver = THB 20.- per pax
Full day sight-seeing tours
Car and mini- V an: (1- 5 pax):
– tour guide = THB 200.- per pax
– driver = THB 50.- per pax
Micro- bus and Coach(>5 pax):
– tour guide = THB 100.- per pax
– driver = THB 30.- per pax
Multi-day tours
Car and mini- V an: (1- 5 pax):
– tour guide = THB 100.- per pax/per day
– driver = THB 50.- per pax/ per day
Micro- bus and Coach (>5 pax):
– tour guide = THB 50.- per pax/ per day
– driver = THB 30.- per pax/ per day
Extra: to make the Group-journeys smooth and avoid losing time when all guests handle the tipping individually, our guide will propose to the guest to handle this for them. It includes services like tips to local boat staff, bus assistants, temple donations, local trekking guide, elephant mahout, etc. The Guide will explain this in detail in the Briefing and collect an amount per guest and keep administration which one of the guests will check and confirm at the end. We would suggest your Group-guests to prepare around Baht 70,- per tour- day/per person for this.

Enjoy your travel !

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Set in the mountain of the northern Thailand, Chiang Mai offers cool weather and natural beauty. Chiang Mai is surrounded by 13 national parks with diverse flora and fauna. Dozens of waterfalls, mysterious caves and old-growth forests draw nature lovers from around the world. Thailand’s “Rose of the North” is a cultural and natural wonderland with ethnic diversity, a multitude of attractions and welcoming hospitality.


Although Chiang Mai is one of the biggest cities in Thailand, it has neither elevated roads, an MRT system nor skyscrapers and shopping malls. Visitors feel a sense of calm in this lush and peaceful city. Those who love flowers should visit Chiang Mai between November and February. During this season there are blooms everywhere, from wild flowers on the hills to gardens full of famous Thai orchids. Indochina tours Thailand

The Yi Peng Loy Krathong Lantern Festival

The Yi Peng Loy Krathong Lantern Festival


The Yi Peng Loy Krathong Lantern is another famous cultural event in Chiang Mai. On a full moon night in November, thousands of lanterns are released into the sky. They resemble thousands of twinkling stars. People also place lanterns on the river to wish for luck and happiness at the festival. Chiang Mai is the only city in Thailand where people are allowed to light sky lanterns, thanks to its large open  spaces and lack of tall buildings.

A long neck woman at the ethnic village in Chiang Mai

A long neck woman at the ethnic village in Chiang Mai

Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai

Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai

An old city with a long history, Chiang Mai is home to many fascinating sites. Thailand is known as the country of Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha). Visitors of all religions tour the city’s famous temples and pagodas to admire their architecture and sculptures. The first place to visit is Phrathat Doi Suthep pagoda, known for its unique architectural design. This 600 year old pagoda is located on the top of Mount Doi Suthep at 1,676 meters above the sea level. Phrathat Doi Suthep has housed a sacred relic of Lord Buddha in a gilded temple since the 14th century. Many sophisticated Buddha statues carved from green stone are covered in glittering gold.

Phrathat Doi Suthep pagoda

Phrathat Doi Suthep pagoda


The best time to visit Doi Suthep pagoda is at sunrise or sunset when the site offers a scenic view of the whole city below

The best time to visit Doi Suthep pagoda is at sunrise or sunset when the site offers a scenic view of the whole city below

I like riding a bike up to the Doi Suthep pagoda

I like riding a bike up to the Doi Suthep pagoda

Visitors write their names on the tiny golden bells and hang them around the temple to wish for good luck. Every time the wind blows, the bells ring. Thai people believe that the Buddha hears this ringing and helps the wishes come true. The best time to visit Doi Suthep pagoda is at sunrise or sunset when the site offers a scenic view of the whole city below.

There are many beauty spots and festivals waiting to be discovered in Chiang Mai. This is a wonderful place to experience the traditional culture of the land of the Golden Buddha. I would not mind coming back here again. It’s one of my favorite destination.




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If you visit Hanoi in winter time, especially in January and February, you will have chance to live on the coldest days of Northern Vietnam with lowest temperature sometimes down to 7 degree celsius and unexpected rains. Still, every cloud has a silver lining, it will be a great chance to experience below activities:

Enjoy a hot bowl of noodle for breakfast: Having noodle for breakfast on cold days is the habit of many Hanoians. Especially, in the rain and cold weather, enjoying a hot bowl of noodle with delicious broth, beef or chicken upon your request and fresh vegetables will be a nice start for your day. You can find the best noodle at Pho Thin – 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District, price from VND 40,000 to VND 60,000 per bowl. Indochina holidays Vietnam


Sipping a cup of coffee while listening to the church bells: Just wandering around and stop at a cozy coffee shop around the church for a cup of hot coffee. The church bells ring at regular hours so reading a book or leisurely watching the streets in rain while listening to that peaceful sound is also a not to miss.


Eating sea snail: Hot boiled snails is one of the most attractive dishes in Hanoi on cold days. Hanoians often boil sea snails together with lime leaves, lemon grass and serve with dipping sauce. If you are wondering what to eat on Hanoi freezing cold days, go and try sea snails in the Old Quarter, you will definitely like it!oc

Hope that above suggestions will make your days in Hanoi warmer even when it is cold or raining outside.

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Whenever you want to try the new food, taste the authentic dishes and eat like a local? Let’s join a cookery class! In Hanoi, there are several options worthy consideration.

  • Koto Cooking class
    59 Van Mieu Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi
    T: (04) 3747 0337

Located on Van Mieu street, near Temple of Literature, the cooking center is inside KOTO restaurant. There is an interesting and meaningful story behind this place:
“KOTO stands for “Know one, teach one.” Learning should be passed on; knowledge is meant to be shared. This is the essential idea of KOTO founder, Jimmy Pham, a Vietnamese-Australian who, more than 10 years ago, opened a training centre in hospitality in Hanoi, giving disadvantaged youth the possibility to learn and thrive in their lives. Vietnam travel packages
As a social enterprise, KOTO has trained over 600 students in two training centres in Hanoi and Saigon, with 200 concurrently enrolled. In addition to its Foundation arm that focuses on raising funds to support its cause through charitable activities and initiatives, KOTO also operates an Enterprise arm, serving as a platform for real life hospitality training as well as a source of income to support the welfare and training of the students. KOTO Enterprise currently includes two Training Restaurants, an online bakery, a cooking class, and a catering service.
Many graduates of KOTO continue their career development by working at KOTO Training Restaurants and other businesses of KOTO Enterprise, supporting new trainees according to the motto—Know one, teach one.—and so the learning circle endures.”


Going to Koto,  you can join 4 different  classes: Spring Class, Strictly vegetarian, The Art of Pho (a popular Vietnamese noddles) and Traditional street food. Each course has 5 main  dishes.
The classes open in the morning and afternoon everyday. At first, you will have a walking  tour at the local market nearby, learn all about the  ingredients and the indigenous herbals.


A cooking lesson follows in the kitchen cook with the Vietnamese chef and everyone has the opportunity to practise right away.
At the end of the course, you  gain a heap of knowledge about Vietnamese  culinary  art.; then happily enjoy the food  prepared by yourselves.
Flying back home, you are a Vietnam  food  ambassador that are skillful at some most popular dishes. Vietnam Cultural Highlights 14D-13N

  • Anh Tuyet Restaurant, 25 Ma May street, Hanoi


It’s a popular place for both Vietnamese and foreigners to learn about Hanoi culture as well as explore the secret of authentic Hanoi food.
The restaurant is one of the well reserved ancient house in Hanoi old quarter. Going there also provides the chance  to  watch the traditional Vietnam  architecture style and cook the delicious food.
The class is taught by Ms. Anh Tuyet and her daughter Ms. Trang.
noitro.jpg  “Ms Tuyet’s restaurant and her delicate dishes are part of Viet Nam’s cultural heritage. The old quarter, ancient homes, traditional dishes and a friendly atmosphere all make Ms Tuyet’s a place that cannot be found anywhere else,”Anthony Bourdan – a well-known cook in Manhattan said.

  • Hanoi Cooking Class

4 Chau Long Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3715 0088 / (04) 3715 3277

The restaurant and cooing center was set up by Australian Tracey Lister. She used to be the main chef trainer at Koto and is co-author of the book Koto – A Culinary Journey through Vietnam and the upcoming Vietnamese Street Food  published in the UK and Australia.


It now is one of the cultural spot in Hanoi, with the next-door bookstore named Bookworm and many interesting activities on Tet holiday.



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