Archive for November, 2016

Travel Consultant – What do we do?

One day, you look into your timetable and realize that you’re going to have a long holiday. Why don’t we travel somewhere? Why don’t we come to swim in the deep blue sea in Pacific Ocean and bath under the sunshine on a beautiful island? Or go climbing/hiking in the mountainous area? Meeting new people, learning a new language and see how large the world is. Yes, you decide to have a great trip ever!

You eager to explore the cities, the beautiful landscapes, the unique culture, etc. You started searching about the place you would like to come. Unfortunately, before bathing in the real ocean, you have to swim in an information ocean first – things to do, what to eat, where to live. There are too many choices and  other people’s comments on TripAdvisor and doesn’t help much- you don’t have enough time to read everything and you become frustrated, don’t know what you’re looking for. More than that, Monday is coming and you’re too busy with your schedule, housework, meeting, exam and other things. It is the moment you need a Travel Consultant.

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Becoming a Travel Consultant, like other jobs in the service department, the most important skills are listening – we listen to our customers like we’re listening to our friends sharing her/his problems and wishes. A good travel consultant will assist you, ask you some important questions, and based on your information, will suggest the itinerary, amend it until you satisfied. They recommend appropriate hotels, quoting the price and answer almost the questions related to your trip. Checking the availability, book the services, prepare needed documents, keep contacting with suppliers and make sure the service is done properly during your trip. Informing changes and handling problems occurred. That’s the main work of a travel consultant.

So, have you ever curious about the pros and cons of this job?


To be a Travel Consultant, we need to practice calming skills. We are trained to be patience, patience and patience – always be kind and cautious with our customers. Looking at our neat and polite emails, you may not know some stories behind it.

Sometimes, it can be a hotline call coming at midnight, or an urgent request. Working with customers coming from other countries, we follow the time zone of our customers.

Sometimes my friends kept asking what I was doing on my phone while having coffee with them. Or refuse a dinner date because a new request arrives at 6.pm, right before the check-out time.

Sometimes it’s about a sudden storm, that makes the itinerary become a mess, or the cruise trip has been canceled. Then when our guests get angry, it will be our apology the very first.

Sometimes it was a disappoint when we follow 20 emails to assist our guests, chatting and discussing at any time, then they turned their back away, not leaving a line to say goodbye. Or the feeling of feckless in the peak season when all the cruises or hotels are full of occupancy – and we have to say sorry because we didn’t help much!


Life, love, and job – they all seem like a chocolate bar – bitter and sweetness mixing together. Among the depress days, there are joyful days.

It is because we’re working in the service department, that we have lovely colleagues, who are understandable and ready to support us anytime we need, not about knowledge and work, but about balancing life and creating motivation.

And we also have a great network connection with so many suppliers, that willing to help to check the availability at midnight and arrange urgent services. We are not alone!

The inspection trip is always the interesting part – we’re offered the good accommodation with cheap prices, taste delicious food, go to the new places, see the famous sightseeing – that make us feel lucky (even just one or two trips for a year in low season, we’re still happy for that).

On an inspection trip to Trang An - Ninh Binh

On an inspection trip to Trang An – Ninh Binh

But, above all, the best motivation is our customer’s compliments. Believe me, there is nothing – even free trips and the salary – greater than good comments. It is so meaningful when we know our work is appreciated and we’re helping someone to have great experience and memories in their life.

Even you don’t book the services with us, we always thank you if you drop a line sharing your decision. We can’t express our thanks to the gifts from our customers. It might be just a small statue or a box of chocolate, or stories about your country – we love everything.

gift from customers

gift from our customers -source: internet

My close friends and colleagues said that it’s hard for me because I sometimes over sensitive, but I would rather love doing a job giving me feelings  and inspiration, and Travel Consultant is a job like that up until now.

How do you think about Travel Consultant? Do you have anything to confess? I would love to hear your comments. Thank you for reading and hope you a great day.



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Hoian, Da Nang is an ancient city of Vietnam. Travel to Hoian, you will have a chance to see hundred-year houses and the charming beaches in Cua Dai and Cu Lao Cham. It is usually said that the best tie to travel to Hoian is the dry season. Personally, I prefer Hoian in wet days. Had a week in this old quarter in October when Hoian is usually in the flood, I find that it is much cooler than I thought. Now, I will share some exciting and useful experiences about traveling to Hoian in the monsoon season. Indochina tours Vietnam

Picturesque scene of Hoi An in flood days

Picturesque scene of Hoian in flood days -source: internet

When is the monsoon season in Hoian?

From September to mid-December is the monsoon season. During this time, floods often go through so the local people and tourists in here usually travel by boat.

Why should you travel to Hoian in the flood season?         

Hoi An in the flood days

Hoian in the flood days -source: internet

In the monsoon months, the weather becomes colder, you can avoid sweaty days as in other time. If it’s not rainy, you could walk around the quarter and enjoy fresh air and peace of the town with ancient houses next to each other. If you come at the time that Hoian is flooded, remember that it is often at least ground floor levels of some houses. That means you would have some difficulties in living, however, you would have a very exclusive experience of boating around the water quarter. To head for historic houses or museums, or spend your whole day in tailors’ shops ordering up the perfect outfit would be comfortable for rainy days.

People travel by boat in the flood

People travel by boat in the flood – source: internet

The days that I was in Hoian, it rained a lot. Hoian looked like a fishing village with a strange beauty that I hadn’t seen. I had to stay in the 2nd floor of an accommodation. Had worried about such weather as I couldn’t swim and I was afraid of water, I thought I could not waste my own vacation like that. So I decided to lend a boat to explore the town in a different way that I hadn’t done before. My boat came by all the corners of the ancient quarter, its appearance is totally different. While contemplating the amazing scene, I was having a funny talk with the local person on the boat. In the late afternoon, my boat dropped in the 2nd floor of a small cafe. To spend hours seeing the town in peaceful beauty with a cup of coffee beside couldn’t be more wonderful. As the sun went down when the whole town was covered by darkness, I loved sitting in front of my window seeing the light reflected in the water surface. So amazing! It seemed as I was staying overnight in a floating cruise on the river. You see, traveling to Hoian in the monsoon season would be the fantastic thing that you should try.

Tourists feel excited to boat around in rainy days

Tourists feel excited to boat around in rainy days -source: internet

In addition, in low season, a visit usually offers the benefits of lower prices and comfortable space because of fewer tourists.

The monsoon season is coming. If you love to visit Hoian in an exclusive way in rainy days, just make your plan right now!

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Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh

By Air

It takes only 1 hour to fly from Sai gon to Phnom Penh . Currently, Vietnam Airlines is available with one flight daily departure from Saigon to Phnom Penh, depart at 16.10 and arrive Phnom Penh at 17.00.

Angkor Air is offering now 3 flights, daily departure at 8.30, 12.20 and 18.30 for you to choose.

By Boat

If you’re the person who likes to discover new things and see the life of local people, a tour upstream Mekong River will be the best choice.  Please note that to cruise on a boat, you will not depart directly from Saigon river, but it will take 2 hours driving from Sai gon to Cai Be, where your boat is able to embark. The cruise tours usually cover this transportation in the package.

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The first option is a 3 days – 2 nights cruise trip on Mekong Delta, then stay in Chau Doc (the border province) one night and take the speed boat next morning. The Victoria Chau Doc hotel is the most luxury hotel in this area, located next to the river and it has a very lovely restaurant. You will feel like you’re coming back to early 1900s while staying in this hotel.

Lovely view from Bassac Restaurant in Victoria Chau Doc hotel

Lovely view from Bassac Restaurant in Victoria Chau Doc hotel

There are some cruises for you to choose, such as Victoria, Hang Chau, Blue Cruise. The speedboats daily departure at 7.00 and arrive Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh at 12.30. From here you can walk or take a short taxi to your hotel, as the Quay is very close to the center.

Else, if you prefer staying on a cruise for 3 nights, you can choose a trip with some cruises. The cruise is more luxury with higher price and depart twice a month. You will arrive the Quay at Phnom  Penh at about 8.00 on the 4th day, so still have time to wander around the city.

Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap

Travel to Angkor Wat

Travel to Angkor Wat

By Air

There are more choices for you with Vietnam Airlines with 2 direct flights, depart at 16.25 and 19.05 daily from Saigon.

The Cambodia Angkor Air is offering 3 direct flights, daily departure at 8.20, 12.00 and 16.00.

It only takes 65 minutes to flight from Saigon to Siem Reap.

By Boat

Jahan cruise

Jahan cruise

Is it possible to travel by boat from Sai gon to Siem Reap? The answer is yes.

There are some luxury cruises available for this route, cruising for 7 nights from Sai gon to Siem Reap. Choosing this tour, you will have the totally different experience on the river. You will stop at some places to visit and see the normal life of local people, visit handicraft villages, the temples and come back to the cruise to enjoy your relaxing time. You also have chances to see the sunset and sunrise on Tonle Sap, the biggest lake on the Mekong river. The boat will arrive Siem Reap Port at 9.00 and you will transfer to your hotel, continue your trip to discover the breathtaking Angkor Complex.


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The traditional beauty in modern life

Along with the globalization, the Vietnam modern fashion absorb the new aspect of foreign fashion, especially from Western countries, due to its convenience in working. However, Ao Dai still plays an important role in Vietnamese woman wardrobe. Ao Dai has been becoming a must have item of woman, in all ages. Holidays Indochina

Ao Dai- the beauty of student

Ao Dai- the beauty of student

Teenage girls wear white Ao Dai as uniform. The colour symbols for the innocent and virgin of the young girls.

Brides wear red, lace Ao Dai in their most important day. Similar to China and some other Asia countries, Vietnamese people also think that red colour brings luck and happiness. Also, the bride will become the star of the party. Bridemaids wear same or different colours, with less decorated and details. In some region in Southern Vietnam, the Groom also wear silk Ao Dai instead of Western suits.

Traditional beauty of Ao Dai in modern life

Traditional beauty of Ao Dai in modern life

Mother in law and guests usually wears Ao Dai in the wedding party, but not red colour. Middle age woman ‘s favourite fashion is jewel or embroider style, mix with pearl jewelry and wavy and low bun hair style, that makes them looks more elegant. For winter, a fur coat or apron is used to keep worm.

Since early this year, the new style of Ao Dai has been becoming hot trend. The top is cut of to be short, just touch the knees. It is best match with leggings or skinny jeans, combine with highheels that makes young lady looks more active and modern. Floral printed details is very popular in the spring.

Ao Dai is modernized

Ao Dai is modernized

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It is very simple now for anyone who loves traditional British afternoon tea culture can treat themselves right here in Hanoi. Enjoying a nice hotpot of tea with yummy mini desserts in a luxurious space with slow pace of life will be an unforgettable experience while traveling in Hanoi. Here is a list of best afternoon tea places in Hanoi that you should give it a whirl as “A cup of tea makes everything better”.  Travel Indochina

The Lounge – JW Marriot Hotel Hanoi

JW Marriot Hotel is famous for being the finest and most luxurious 5-star hotel in Hanoi with its modern style and elegant decoration. Located inside this hotel, the Lounge is the latest establishment that provides a sweeping panorama of the evolving skyline and the best afternoon tea in Hanoi. A set includes a nice pot of tea, several savory snacks and pastries. The mini  savory sandwich and fresh rolls is a highlight. The pastries & sweet treats are lovely with mini white chocolate and passion fruit tart which is a nice balance between acidity and richness. A tea set for two, elegantly set with five sweet and five savory bites, will set you back VND 450,000 (US$21,5)

Time & Address: Saturday & Sunday, 2 pm – 5pm at The Lounge, JW Marriott Hanoi No 8 Do Duc Duc Road, Me Tri Ward, South Tu Liem District  Hanoi  Vietnam

Le Club – Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel is the French colonial-style hotel located in the heart of the city with its luxurious & authentic interior flooded with natural light. Here you find one of Hanoi’s greatest culinary experiences: the unmissbale Metropole’s afternoon tea. You can choose from the chocolate buffet (cake stand after cake stand overflowing with irresistible chocolate delights) or the more formal option (cakes, sandwiches, the odd chocolate treat). Another choice for whom are not interested in ordering the afternoon tea set, you can pick some dessert items and tea seperatedly.

Time & Address: Afternoon tea set is served from 03:30 pm to 05:30 pm. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: 15 Ngo Quyen Street Hoan Kiem District

Price: VND 465,000++/set.

Sunset Bar/ Diplomat Lounge – InterContinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel

Trying afternoon tea party in West Lake scenery will be an experience that is unmatched anywhere else in Hanoi. Intercontinental Hanoi West Lake offers 2 options for afternoon tea set that you can choose: The 1st one is located near the lobby and the pool, called Diplomat Lounge, the 2nd one is located on its own island of West Lake, named Sunset Bar located, where you can have a spectacular sunset views from 4-6 pm.

The Sunset bar is rated much better than the other one because they have obviously better tea set with mini bruschetta, sandwiches, small bites of opera cake & chocolate, and even Vietnamese Banh com (young rice cake). However, having a sip of tea in the Diplomat Lounge is a memorable experience in a winter afternoon which you must try once in a life time!

Time & Address: 2.30pm – 6pm. Sunser Bar / Diplomat Lounge – InterContinental West Lake Hanoi – 5 Tu Hoa, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Price: VND 250,000 ++/person


A’telier Lounge – Apricot Hotel

The Hanoi Apricot Hotel is the newly opened 5-star hotel in Hanoi with the grand view to Hoan Kiem Lake. Formerly the Phu Gia, this hotel had been a popular spot for business elite since 1920s. Its own interiors are crisp and light, taking their cue from the French colonial era, with marble floors, extravagant chandeliers and classical furnishings.

Do not miss “Afternoon Tea for Two” experience in the A’telier Lounge at the lobby which is taken to a whole new level of luxury, making this the perfect choice for celebrating a special occasion for you and your family/ friends for the whole stay in Hanoi.

Let’s come enjoy the “Afternoon Tea for Two” among a wide selection of teas from around the world  especially Ronnafeldt to accentuate the Afternoon Tea experience. It is sure that the serving of freshly prepared mini-finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and preserves, homemade cakes and pastries and tea will be one of your best tates.

Time & Address: 2pm – 6pm. A’telier Lounge – Apricot Hotel – 136 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam

Price: VND 520,000 ++/2 persons


Oven D’or restaurant – Sheraton Hotel

Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is considered to be the peaceful oasis along the shore of the West Lake. When you want to catch the most relaxing moments in the midst of the bustling city, Sheraton Hotel is the best choice for you.

The Afternoon Hi-tea buffet in Sheraton is favoured for its savory dishes and sweet treat as it is a final part of the lunch starting at noon. All menus are inclusive of unlimited freshly brewed coffee, selection of tea, ice tea, ice coffee, chilled orange, guava or peach juice.

Time & Address: 12pm – 4:30pm. Oven D’or restaurant – Sheraton Hotel – K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu Road Tay Ho District Hanoi Vietnam

Price: VND 200,000 ++/person

Happy travelling!

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Recognized as natural reserve, Pu Luong straddles the two districts in Thanh Hoa province, an ecological treasure trove, this area has great potential for ecotourism, it is managed sustainably. The Pu Luong is an area of outstanding beauty, culture interest and high biodiversity value stretching from Mai Chau in the North to West to Cuc Phuong national park. While Mai Chau is now crowded with tourists, just 80km away, Pu Luong remains as calm as it was decades ago. Visitors venture off the beaten track will discover pristine forests, terraced rice fields and thatched-roof stilt huts. Indochina tours

The Pu Luong is an area of outstanding beauty, culture interest and high biodiversity value

The Pu Luong is an area of outstanding beauty, culture interest and high biodiversity value

Why Pu Luong

Pu Luong Region stretches all the way from Mai Chau to Cuc Puong National Park. The region is quite unknown among most tourists, but that does not make it less worth to visit. Pu Luong may attract you thanks to its stunning rice terrace fields, beautiful nature, breath taking mountain passes and traditional villages of ethnic minorities who still retain their unique cultural heritage and way of living. Pu Luong offers many opportunities for tourists, such as trekking in the forest and along the rice terrace fields, cycling through the reserve and visiting many authentic small villages. It is a real “off the beaten track” destination.


Best time to visit Pu Luong

The best time to visit Pu Luong is during rice harvest season, from September to November or February until May. This time, the plantation is lush and weather is pleasant. Pu Luong can be best accessed either from Mai Chau or NinhBinh.


What to do in Pu Luong?

In Pu Luong, visitors have different choices for their tours, such as discovering the beauty of the natural landscape, ecological forests with plentiful fauna and flora or learning the simple and interesting customs and habits of the Thai and Muong people. Adventurous visitors come here to escape modern life, this is the interesting ideal for trekking trips  or cycling options.

Trekking: Choose from a number of magnificent trekking routes, passing through outstanding rice terrace fields, stunning hills and valleys and fascinating hamlets giving a glimpse of daily life. There are several trekking loops to choose from ranging from a short 5 km scenic stroll to nearby villages to a challenging hike to conquer Pu Luong’s highest peak.


Rafting: Travel as a fisherman and cruise down a calm river on traditional bamboo rafts and watch local farming life by on either side. This peaceful way of floating through the Cham river is very unique and far from boring as beautiful scenery is everywhere around you. For the active, you can join in with your own paddle and experience the daily journey of the local fishermen. We recommend to combine this activity with the water wheels walk.


Cycling: The steep valleys and off-road tracks provide a breath taking route for any biker. Cycle past stunning rice terrace fields, narrow dirt tracks, hard-surface valleys and mountain passes. Transfer options are also available for those who want to enjoy the scenic trails without the challenge of a continuous upward climb on the return. Biking level differs from easy, moderate to advanced. Leisure cycling through local villages is also an ideal options, practically in the lowland of Pu Luong.


Relaxing: Besides all activities, we highly recommend you to relax and do nothing. Enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, relaxing with green field, read books, join our daily gardening, farming, watering and rice cultivation.


Where to stay

1/ Pu Luong Retreat – An eco-resort with beautiful terraced field area. Located on a hillside, this 3 star eco-lodge is built in great balance of nature and offers stunning views of the valley below and Pu Luong Nature Reserve from afar. The property has 9 mountain view bungalows and a comfortable sharing wooden house on stilts. It also features a restaurant, a traditional spa house and a swimming pool.





2/ Home-stays

There are few home-stay options in and around Pu Luong Nature Reserve. For a more isolated, rustic, and spectacular home-stay, head into the nature reserve. Home-stays don’t get more atmospheric than in Bản Hiêu, a small but spread-out collection of thatched bamboo houses on stilts, built on a steep mountainside.

Do you want to stay in a total peaceful place, away from the mass, with outstanding beauty and bio diversity along with villages of ethnic minorities?

Come to Pu Luong Nature Reserve and be amazed!

Source : Pu Luong Retreat







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Ha Giang, one of the northern mountainous provinces, is famous for its many spectacular and romantic natural scenery. Besides, it is regarded as the cradle of many special foods such as Men Men, Pa Pa, corn wine, etc. One of them is “Thang Co”, which is considered delicious and unique food for people daring to try.

According to the H’Mong old, the name “Thắng Cố” – a different way of pronounce “Co Thang” or “Thảng Cố” –  is derived from Chinese. “Thắng” means soup, “Cố” means the big pan, so we can understand “Thắng Cố” as a soup cooked in the big pan.

The main materials are bone and meat and internal organs of horses. The traditional way to cook Thang Co is only to use horse meat, but today H’Mong also use beef and buffalo meat. Horse internal organs and meat are washed first, marinated then fry. The next is pouring water into the pan. After water is boiling in about one hour, add more boiled horses’ blood.

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H’Mong peple in Ha Giang cook Thang Co for many people to eat together in a big pan. The pan to cook Thang Co is often so big and old. They think that Thang Co is food for the fun party when gathering almost of relatives and friends, which makes this food special and meaningful.

Travel to Ha Giang, visit Dong Van town on the weekend to take part in the colorful market here, opening in the morning of Sunday. Joining this market, drinking corn wine and eating Thang Co are indispensable activity to explore culture here.


Thang Co is cooked over a wood burning stove

In the center of market, you will see many people gathering around a table, eating Thang Co and speaking to each other funnily. On the old furniture, a big pan have horse’s organs such as heart, lungs, nerves, heart, blood, and bones inside cooking with anise flowers, cinnamon twig, cardamom. You can easily feel the tasty and good smell. One of the unique features is the way to add spices. H’Mong people are interested in spices and make them special with almost 70 kinds of species and sauces. They focus on the broth of Thang Co, when cooking, all foam is always scooped out to help the broth clearer and more tasted. The added spices such as hemp, cardamom, cinnamon, anise and herbs makes Thang Co in Ha Giang become the most special. The H’Mong style to eat is quite different when squatting together around the pan to eat Thang Co and drink corn wine. They are very friendly and hospitable to be willing to warm welcome you to enjoy Thang Co as soon as the pan is steaming boil in the stove.


A hot Thang Co bowl is a warm gift of the mountainous area in the cold winter – source: internet

If it is the first time you have come to Dong Van market, you may be not interested in a steaming Thang Co pan with many internal organs and not try it. But if you dare to enjoy this food once, I am sure your trip will be an extremely memorable aftertaste. Enjoy this food will bring you many feelings. Firstly, you are curious why it is call Thang Co and the way to make it and how its states are. Then, you are wondering if you should try it. And finally, when you decide to eat, you are surprised by the smell of the simple gift of honest people from mountainous area.

The outstanding culture in the north mountainous area is displayed on going to market. Markets are the place not only for the selling and buying but also for meeting and gathering friends and relatives. After eating Thang Co and drinking corn wine, men sing and dance excitedly. Even if husbands get drunk after going to market, wives will not only be upset but also feel proud of that because it means that their husbands have many friends and are loved.


Gathering arround a steaming big pan to eat Thang Co and drink corn wine is the indispensable activity in the local markets in Ha Giang – source: internet

Nowadays, in order to serve more tourists, Thang Co has been changed a little in the way of process and is known as Thang Co hot pot. Thang Co is beyond the framework of the local markets, served in luxury restaurants. But if you want to have a real feel and study more about local cultures, take a trip to visit the markets in Ha Giang, Mu Cang Chai or Sapa, sit around the big pan and eat Thang Co in the simplest way, hear the interesting stories of H’Mong people who create this unique food attracting many tourists from all over the other parts.

If you have been Ha Giang, don’t be afraid of anything, just try once Thang Co to enjoy true taste of high lands and make your trip more experienced.

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