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Archive for December, 2016

E-visa (electronic visa) is an official document permitting entry into and travel within a country. Applicants obtain their visas via e-mail after entering required information and making payments by a credit or debit card. Now, it is considered to be the most convenient way to apply a visa for tourist comparing to traditional sticker (from Embassy) or popular way in many countries now – Visa On Arrival (stamping on arrivals).

According to many official newspaper in Vietnam, on 22 November, Vietnam’s National Assembly overwhelmingly approved a plan to allow foreign tourists to apply for electronic visas (e-visas) starting on February 1, 2017.

Under this program, tourists will be able to apply online for 30-day, single-entry e-visas by paying a non-refundable application fee online.

The Vietnamese government is working to decide which nationalities will become eligible for the program and which Vietnamese border gates will allow foreigners to enter by applying online.

Vietnam’s foreign tourist arrivals jumped by a quarter in the first ten months of 2016, hitting eight million, according to figures from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. At the end of this year, we have had ten million tourist arrivals. It is an unexpected number for Vietnamese tourism industry and it is the main reason for government to invest more and more in tourism industry. E-visa will be the first program of developing our tourism in 2017. The government had allocated 200 billion Vietnamese Dong ($8.97 million) to speed up the implementation of visas through an electronic visa application system which is slated to go into effect in January 2017 or latest in February of 2017.

Earlier, on 1 September of 2016, Vietnam extended visa exemptions to tourists from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Belarus, the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

If you have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Turkey or obtained an India ETA visa, you may be familiar with the process. The goal is to make entry into Vietnam easier, and less costly to increase tourism. Fees for the future E-visa have not been established. But I think that it will be the same with a total cost of a fully Visa on Arrival (VOA) around 45 USD for one month single entry visa (USD 10 Visa Approval Letter, USD35 for stamping fee at immigration counter at international airports). However, with E-visa, you will not have to find a agent to receive a Visa Approval Letter and wait at the airport for stamping fee or filling Visa Form. You will do everything on your laptop and receive a full E-visa from government via e-mail after 3 working days then you just have to print it out to present at Immigration staff at international airport in Vietnam. E-visa is not new in SEA but only Cambodia and Myanmar use this way to support tourist. Cambodia is very successful with E-visa before. I believe that our website and process will nearly the same with the way our neighbor doing. You can see more detail about Cambodia E-visa at this official link: evisa.gov.kh

I hope that Vietnam will be attractive destination for traveller all over the world in 2017 with the thoughtful attention and reasonable investment from the government. E-visa is the one of many long-run programs from government to supporting tourists to Vietnam in 2017. We will keep updating information of E-visa for all of you.

If you interest, please follow our relevant the topic at: Indochina tours Vietnam

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I studied diplomacy at university then surely tourism was not my major, yet, right after graduation I decided to be a travel consultant. After two years in this industry so far, I know that my choice is right.

It is definitely not an easy job as being an inbound travel consultant, you will work with people from different countries all around the world with different time zones, cultures, habits and sometimes even languages (in this case google translate will be a helpful tool). And do not like other popular occupations, a travel consultant is sometimes required to work even on holiday or at night. Still, forget about all the challenges, there are many little joys that make me enjoy being a travel consultant every single day.

For further interest, please follow our relevant the topic at: Indochina tours Vietnam

Firstly, the chance to learn about different cultures. It is very lovely to finally put a face to the name when clients manage to meet up with me briefly during their time in Hanoi. After just working with each other via email, sometimes even for months, meeting clients in person is always a nice surprise for me. The funny thing is that through formal exchanging emails, some thought that I was a middle aged lady and then I turned out to be a young girl at my early twenties, we often have a good laugh over that one. Besides sharing about their travel experiences, we often also talk about a lot of things, from the different education system between the two countries, average wages and sometimes we even complain about government’s tax. It is very interesting when the first time my clients who are now my dear friends from Italy give me a couple of pecks on the cheek when it’s time to say goodbye. This is just one in a million things that I found different from an asian country like Vietnam. Being a travel consultant give me a great chance to discover different cultures in the world and that makes my job an enjoyable one.

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Receiving lovely little gifts from clients is also a joy of being travel consultant. Have not yet travelled to many countries, still my friends often jealous with my little collection of souvenirs from Australia, Canada, Italy, Israel, etc. My little treasure including an australian aboriginal plate, 1972 6 coins of Israel Official Mint Set Collection, keychains with unique image of Napoli, Italy and many other lovely souvenir. It is always a big surprise and happiness when clients take their time to choose such meaningful gifts and bring them from a million miles away to Vietnam for me.

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A lot of opportunities to travel for free. Being a travel consultant means that you have to know well about the routes and services including hotels, cruises, restaurants, etc. During the low season, we are offered many chances to inspect nice cruises on Halong Bay or Mekong River which others may need to pay hundred of dollars to go on. Each year, we take turn to go on oversea inspection trips in Indochina region, from Cambodia, Burma to Laos and Thailand.

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For those who love travelling and interested in cultures learning like me, being a travel consultant with above mentioned joys will be a very suitable job

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Are you early morning people? What time do you wake up everyday and start your new day? Have you ever tried exploring a city at around 3.00 a.m when you are traveling?

Trust me, even you haven’t been waken up early ever in your lifetime, you should try this when you are in Hanoi. I am not sure how worth other places are but it would be 100% worth for you to explore Hanoi by this time of the day. There is so much life going on in Hanoi in the early morning hours and then fade out of existence as the sun begins to rise.

If you interest, please follow our relevant the topic at:  luxury Indochina tours

What can you find in Hanoi by this time? Let me tell you, you will have the opportunity to see the chaotic early morning markets, the changing of the honor guard ceremony, joined the Taichi Class at Hoan Kiem Lake, and had breakfast with the locals in the Old Quarter. All that before 8:00am! Interested?

Long Bien market

The Long Bien market is a fruit and vegetable wholesale market located next to the historic Long Bien Bridge, spans the Red River. This is the largest and busiest fruit markets in Hanoi. Commercial shoppers to double basket hawkers shop for steals of deals in bulk quantities. The market begins around 1:00am and really comes alive around 3:00am. If you arrive after 6:00am you’ll likely only find those cleaning away the litter of the day as all the vendors head off to eat breakfast and tally the morning’s earnings.

Arriving to the market, you can find mountains of fruit, containers of vegetables, and piles of herbs and spices.  There was a continual flow of shouting, motorcycle zooming, honking, and always some sort of commotion within a few strides. Beside vegetable, you can find meats, fish, spices, flowers, and other food goods at this market, but the main reason to visit is for the fruit and vegetables.

The composure of the Long Bien Market should be one of the craziest and most entertaining that you have ever witnessed!

Quang Ba Flower Market

Quang Ba is the largest wholesale flower market located in the West of Hanoi – closed to the West Lake – the largest lake of Hanoi as well.

Quang Ba sells various type of fresh flower mainly shipped from everywhere in the country each day. Most of customer visits the flower market are commercial wholesale buyers and later in the day there are more individual sales to local people who are buying the flowers for celebrations, memorials, and offerings… Flowers price here are very reasonable but the price may raise than usual a little bit on holidays especially on Full Moon, first day of month in Lunar Calendar and on Tet holiday

Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

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Ba Dinh square is where Ho Chi Minh mausoleum located. This is the sacred place to local people coz this is where the body of Ho Chi Minh or respectfully called Uncle Ho to Vietnamese people embalmed.

Witness the white-clad Honor Guards in front of the mausoleum change always brings a special feeling to me – a local person. Also, every morning at around 6.00A.m, the National flag of Vietnam will be hung by the Guards and to be collected at the end of each day at around 9.00 P.m

Tai Chi Hoan Kiem Lake

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A visit to Hoan Kiem Lake is a good idea at any time of the day, but in the morning you’re likely to catch the locals out and about exercising, jogging, dancing, and doing their morning Tai chi. The Taichi Class mostly gathers Old ladies practicing every morning. You can ask them to join in the class and learn Taichi. It would be quiet interesting your young people.

Breakfast and Vietnamese Coffee with the Locals in the Old Quarter

Apart from Western people preparing breakfast at home, most of Vietnamese people have breakfast outside. In the morning, you will find many people sitting on the small plastic chair, having traditional food of Vietnam for breakfast at the mini restaurant or food stalls. The most favorite breakfast to local people should be Pho, Bun – another type of noodle, Banh mi or Xoi.

Following the breakfast should be time for a cup of coffee or ice tea. Afterward, the new day of a local people should begin.

If you finish your trip by visiting the Hoan Kiem Lake, don’t forget to have Pho at Thin mini restaurant which is right opposite to the Ngoc Son Temple – the oldest and most famous Pho restaurant in Hanoi. It costs around 2 – 3 USD for a delicious bowl of Pho. Then just like local people, trying a cup of coffee or tea at any street stall you find to start your new day experiencing the places of the city …

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You are from a country in different continent and not so familiar with weather with weather in a tropical country like Vietnam. Your time for travelling is flexible and you just want to find the best time in term of weather to visit Vietnam, from Northern, Central to Southern part of the country? Then March should be your choice!

If you interest, please follow our relevant the topic at: Vietnam travel tours

March has long been consider as one of the best months to tour in Vietnam when the lunar Tet holiday is over (if you travel in late January – February, it may fall into Vietnamese Lunar New Year when some major landmarks are closed and holiday surcharge is applied). Also, weather conditions during March are expected to be at their best with dry and bright days throughout the country:

Northern Vietnam

Popular destination in Northern Vietnam are the capital city of Hanoi, the must-see Halong Bay, Ninh Binh with World Heritage Site Trang An Ecotourism Complex and the moutainous areas including Sapa, Ha Giang. Travellers can expect plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies, and even when temperatures start to increase in early Spring, it remains cool and pleasant with little if any rainfall (average temperature is 19 °C). Temperatures in the mountainous region are lower, yet higher than earlier months in the year with ideal conditions for trekking

Sapa

Sapa

Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam is always charming with the romantic ancient capital of Hue, my favourite town of Hoi An – the place attracts all travellers with its lovely corners or Nha Trang – home of crystal clear beaches, Dalat & Central Highlands. During March, Hue is also forecasted to be warm and dry while the beaches from Danang to Hoi An are in full summer mode, basking in constant sunshine with average temperature of 28 degree Celsius. If you are interested in Dalat and the Central Highlands, the good news is conditions are also excellent. Around 3 hours drive from Dalat, Nha Trang is often enjoying blue skies and higher temperatures in March too.

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Hoian in Vietnam

Southern Vietnam

A trip in Vietnam is not complete without Saigon, Mekong Delta or some relaxing days by the beach of Phu Quoc Pearl Island, Mui Ne. In March, it is running hotter than previous months, yet the peak is not expected till early April. The conditions remains dry and the beaches which are reachable from Ho Chi Minh City by car including Phan Thiet, Mui Ne, Ho Tram and Long Hai – as well as the southern island of Phu Quoc remain the best choices in Vietnam with average temperature of 29 degree celsius – perfect for beach activities and water sports.

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Phu Quoc

All in all, in term of weather, March is absolutely an ideal time for travelling along the entire length of Vietnam. Still, maybe because of this reason, this months is often chosen by many groups which make March a busy period. If you decide to visit Vietnam in March, you are highly recommended to plan the journey early and reserve hotels, cruises soonest as good options are often fully booked months before.

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Going to Ha Giang province in late Autumn – early winter, you can contemplate Tam Giac Mach flower blooming on a border area.

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Tam Giac Mach flower is called buckwheat flower – source: internet

Tam Giac Mach is called “buckwheat flower”. It covers for the sharp rugged rocks with warm incarnadine color, which is enough to attract you to discover its fascinating beauty. Tam Giac Mach is regarded as the specialty of the northernmost lands. Every year when monsoon comes, it is high time for you to come and watch blooming fields of buckwheat and beautiful golden paddy fields.  Along 4C highway, you can see many immense buckwheat fields in Lung Cu, Dong Van or shy flowers inside the house walls in Sung La, Pho Bang, etc. Tam Giac Mach Flower with fragile and lovely beauty is standing for natural energetic and courageous stone plateau. Vietnam travel tours

As for human life, buckwheat flower has a lot of use that will surprise you.

Human food

Boiled young buckwheat trunk is regarded as normal vegetable. It has distinctive taste of mountainous area which you have never forgotten.

Its seed is dried and crushed into powder to make bread – common foods in local markets, especially in Dong Van and Meo Vac.

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Cake made from buckwheat seeds – source: internet

If you come here in the autumn, you should not ignore this special dish. Firstly, when placing it into your mouth, you can fee a strange taste. It is like sticky rice cake but more sweet and fragrant taste. People can cook porridge from flour. It is so great when enjoying a bow of porridge under the cold weather. If you want to enjoy quickly taste of this plant, roast seeds and try, you can feel the special flavor of mountains.

A medicament

According to Oriental medicine, buckwheat can help people treat constipation, diarrhea, acne, infection and other formal diseases.

Based on the experience of local people, eating buckwheat leaves can help them hearing clearly and having good eyes. They often use buckwheat trunks and leaves as a medicine. In addition it also has the effect of lowering blood pressure, lowering blood fats and blood sugar. People eating buckwheat can avoid stomach ache. Buckwheat powder can be used as reliever. Moreover, buckwheat is the best food for the patient’s body which is severely impaired because it grows strongly under the harsh and arid weather conditions.

Natural beauty products.

Natural beauty caring is always a safe way to give women natural beauty. Buckwheat powder can be used as a cleanser which helps your skin become smooth and rosy.

Cooking wine

Buckwheat is the material to cooking wine which you cannot forgot after trying. It is said that local men have to know how to make this wine delicious and have unique flavor and local women cannot to do that.

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Buckwheat wine is the proud of local people in stone plateau – source: internet

Buckwheat is also often fermented to create unique taste. This wine is not spicy like other rice wine, not sweet like northwest one. It is a compromise between spicy and warm. Local people always proud of this wine and they are willing to tell you about it.

And all men want to be passionately in love, this wine can make be their unforgotten memory like love and want to drink anymore.

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Close your travel guide books with popular suggestions that all travellers may know, let’s try Bun Cha as Hanoians at local restaurants at much more reasonable costs and delicious.

Bun Cha Cua Dong

Bun Cha Cua Dong has long been judged by local people as the most “addictive” bun cha. Firstly, pork is grilled together with wild betel leaf thats makes it smell so good. And for those who have tried Bun Cha at many restaurants often agree that there is plenty of meat for a bowl.

For further interest, please follow our relevant at: Vietnam travel packages

Add: 41 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Price: VND 30,000.00 – VND 50,000.00

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Bun Cha Hang Quat

Bun Cha Hang Quat is very familiar with Hanoians. Although the restaurant is very small with just a few tables in a alley of Hanoi Old Quarter, it is always crowded thanks to tasty Bun Cha.

Add: 74 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price: VND 25,000.00 VND – VND 40,000.00

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Bun Cha Hang Than

Another nice place to try Bun Cha in the Old Quarter is Bun Cha Hang Than. With full of noodle and grilled pork, 35,000.00 VND for a bowl and quick service is a plus point for this restaurant

Add: 34 Hang Than
Price: 35,000.00 VND

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Bun Cha Phat Loc

Bun Cha Phat Loc is also known as Bun Cha Que Tre (grilled pork on bamboo stick with noodle). Pork is carefully selected by the lady owner who has already had 30 years experience, cut thickly – half lean half fat slices and then of course marinated with many spices before being grilled. I bet all gourmets will have an urge to eat bun cha while seeing the pork on skewers in the oven.

Add: 12 Phat Loc Street. Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Price: 25,000.00 VND – 35,000.00 VND

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Bun Cha Bach Mai

Another place to enjoy Bun Cha that should be noted on your list is Bach Mai. Locals often share with each other then agree that bun cha here is very tasty. The restaurant is opened daily from 14:00 pm – a bit too late for lunch, yet still very early for dinner and the lady owner is also a little snobby. Maybe because of this reason, this place is called “bun cha chanh” – snobby restaurant. Yet, rumour has it bun cha served here is delicious so people come here to enjoy this dish anyway.

You will be served a dish of rice noodles, grilled pork, sauce and herbs seperately while most of restaurants often dip pork into sauce. Personally, I do not find sauce here very special, yet gilled pork is promient. The meat smells so good, tasty. With the price of 40,000.00 – 50,000.00, relatively higher than bun cha at other places, bun cha Bach Mai is still crowded.

Add: 213 Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi

Price: VND 40,000.00 VND – VND 50,000.00

It would be great if you could try Bun Cha at all places mentioned above and find your own favourite one. If you just have a few days in Hanoi, let’s check on google map and find the nearest restaurant!

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Myanmar is now beginning the hottest destination to worldwide travelers come to Asia.

After the country opens the door to promote economy, tourism… many travelers are eager to explore this fascinated land.

Among the destinations in Myanmar, Bagan seems to be the most well-known place.

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Balloon over Bagan

Bagan is 4.5 scenic drive from Mandalay and Yangon or you can take the direct flight from Yangon to this city. This is the capital of Pagan from XI – XII centuries. All of temples are built around this time. The most famous temple/pagoda in Bagan that you shouldn’t miss are:  Shwedigon Pagoda, Kyansittha Cave Temple, Ananda Temple and Mingalazedi Pagoda – the best place to watch the sunset or sunrise in Bagan from the top of the temple however this activity has been stopped according to the new policy of local government to preserve the monuments of Bagan.

Bagan is divided into 3 places: Nyaung – U, Old Bagan and New Bagan. There are different hotels located at these places as well. Vietnam travel tours

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Map of Bagan

If you are still wonder where is the best place to stay in Bagan? What would suit your needs the most?  Depending on your purpose and your interest, this post will give you general ideas regarding the hotels in Bagan.

  • Nyaung-U: At the North West of Bagan. It is close to the airport, this place is also called backpacker area gather most of young travelers and affordable accommodation. Unfortunately this place is a bit far from the monument but there are many restaurants are around this area. The best hotel in this area would be Bagan Emerald Hotel. The rest accommodations are mainly guest houses
  • Old Bagan: At the Northwest of Bagan. This is the closest place to the monuments. Some hotels also have some temples inside the ground area but most of them are expensive hotel for up-market. Many local restaurants are around this area. The best accommodation for my experience so far would be the Bagan Lodge. Next would be Aureum Palace Hotel. Its location is in the middle of Bagan temples. The hotel has spacious room with great pool with view to the temples
  • New Bagan: at the Southwest. This place was built recently to house the local population who were removed from Old Bagan to form the new village. Most of middle range hotels are around this area and it is quiet easy to transfer to the monuments by car. Among the hotels around this area, Arthawka hotel is an excellent choice for middle range budget travelers. It is in a very quiet location. The room is spacious and very airy, staff is really nice and the pool is really great.

Depending on your traveling budget, you can choose the hotel that suits your need the most. You can also visit some reputable traveling forum to have a look at obvious comments from worldwide travelers before making your decision. However, remember that from October until the end of December, it’s always peak season in tourism therefore the hotels are always fully booked. If you travel in this period, make sure to finalize your travel plan soon and make the reservation at least a couple of months in advance otherwise, all good hotels aren’t available.

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