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Archive for January, 2017

The Legend of Bagan

The Legend of Bagan

I cannot say that I was born to travel,  but I often feel compelled to wander. Every year I make plan to travel as many destinations as possible. Some of these places, I visited just to know what they were like, and some of them I cannot wait to revisit. When I was asked where I want to revisit the most, my answer was Bagan, Myanmar without any question.

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This ancient city is over a millennium old and home to tens of thousands of temples, pagoda, stupas and Buddhist ruins of the ancient Burmese kingdom. Time, historical events, conflicts, wars and people have made these massive heritages fade into oblivion, leaving only about 2,000 structures across this 42,000 kilometer area. More than enough to attract travellers though, no?

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There are thousands of attractions in this city, but one cannot miss exploring the unique architecture, the ancient Buddha statues and time-worn Buddhist painting at Thatbyinnyu: the tallest pagoda, Ananda – the holiest pagoda, the famous temple Shwezigon, or daydream in the silvery sunset on top of the Shwesandaw pagoda. There are countless other pagodas you can only reach by horse carriage, through the winding peaceful dirt roads under the shades of ancient trees.

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But Bagan is so much more than its temples. The Buddhists here are kind, honest, gentle and hospitable and provide travellers with comfort even though the temperature in Bagan can sometimes reach 40 degrees Celsius. Do not forget to pamper yourself during the pure morning hours by the gentle Ayeyarwardy River, or simply lie on the grass and listen to the birds chirping by the river flowing past the Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary resort.

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Now, after four years, I still cannot explain why I was so impressed and fell in love with Bagan. Perhaps because it was easy to find empathy and see into your own soul in this quiet, spiritual and tranquil space. I will come back next year to visit Bagan!

When to go

Bagan is hot most of the year. The best time to visit is between November and February, when temperatures hit 30C (86F). Avoid March to May, when temperatures can reach 43C (110F). Rainfall is highest in June and October. In my experience, the photos are better from late Nov-early Feb, with the haze in the air getting in the way in mid Feb.  This is also the only time of the year that the famous Bagan hot air balloons launch.

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What to do in Bagan

Bagan is known for its landscape of Pagodas. While you descent you will already see hundreds and thousands of Pagodas as far as the eye can see. Obviously, that is also why you are going there and so far this is also the only thing you can do: Watch Temples, Payas and Pagodas.

The easiest way to go and check them out is by bike or car. Two days are good to see the biggest temples and some of the small ones and see the sunset. If you have a lot of time in Myanmar and don’t want to rush things stay for two-three days. If you decide to rent a bike and bike around the country I’d recommend to bike from one part of town to the next and do a whole round: New Bagan – Old Bagan – Nyaung Oo – New Bagan.

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Where to stay in Bagan

In short, you will find the most budget places in and around Nyaung U, the midrange places in New Bagan, and the priciest resorts around Old Bagan. Independent travelers will want to stay around Nyaung U, which offers the most restaurants and more of the bustling local life and markets.  New Bagan is pretty blah, and Old Bagan is filled with fancy resorts.

Have you been to Bagan or do you plan to visit it when in Myanmar? Let us know.

Photos credit by Tam Bui Photographer

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Phu Quoc has widely known as a romantic pearl island, an ideal destination for honeymoon trips and place to visit for those who are looking for a place to enjoy some relaxing days by the beach. This teardrop shaped island also attracts travellers who keen on discovering local fishermen lives by old fishing village called Ham Ninh – where for many generations the locals have been living off fisheries.

ham-ninh

Ham Ninh

Ham Ninh fishing village is a quiet, peaceful and almost pensive place, being surrounded by natural mountains, forests and ocean. You will hardly see large ships docking at the harbor, instead, small fishing boats of local people come and go while their wives sell fresh seafood by the wharf. After an early morning spent traversing the sea waves, some fishermen with sun kissed skin shake out their nets while other mend their boats – what a hard, yet also soulful life. Halong bay VSpirit Junk cruise

Ham-Ninh-in-the-morning

Ham Ninh in the morning

Ham Ninh fishing village is situated on the eastern coast of Phu Quoc island, which has just recently open for visits. Inhabitants of the village are settled down between the  ocean and a lush primeval forest and that make the wharf there is covered and protected from numerous of storms every year. It stretches around 600m long and runs toward the blue sea, this calm setting has long been the best port for fishermen on the island with boats full of fish and other shellfish. Fresh fish there is now being sold far and wide.

a-basket-of-crabs-in-Ham-Ninh

a basket of crabs in Ham Ninh

Travellers often come to Ham Ninh when they want to experience an authentic and typical fishing village. By the way, visiting the village, you will also have chance to enjoy a cool sea-beeze and admire the stunning view of the deep, blue ocean which has not yet ruined by mass tourism. Variety kinds of seafood such as oysters, crabs and sea cucumbers are caught by net. For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than having a freshly caught crab served with a dipping sauce of lemon, pepper, chili and salt.

If it is possible, you are highly recommended to extend more time there to see the place at dawn and even under the moonlight when the views are amazing.  At dawn, the vastness of the sea glistening in the sunlight impress everyone while during night is a great time to see the moon light reflecting off the bobbing waves.

Ham-Ninh-in-the-afternoon

Ham Ninh in the afternoon

There are recently opened some small shops which selling souvenirs for tourists, yet the traditional look of Ham Ninh fishing village still remains unchanged considerably. House roofs are made from leaves of palm and coconut trees and most of the boats are painted basically. All in all, Ham Ninh fishing village is a nice place to get away from busy and crowded life, to find peace for your soul.

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How to have a beautiful Ao Dai after traveling to Vietnam?

Many foreigners come to Vietnam and interested in the charming of Ao Dai and would like to have one in their wardrobe. Today I’ll show you how to have a perfect Ao Dai after visiting Vietnam.

Choose the material carefully

The first things you should notice is to pick up the suitable fabric for your costume. People usually use chiffon, silk or lace to make Ao Dai because of its light and feminity. However, for cold weather or elder people, velvet fabric is a good choice.

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Better choose the material carefully

Colours is also an important element. Due to your skin tone and your body shape, you should choose the color that fit. White skin tone can fit with any colors, while darker skin tone should go with yellow, brown, Bordeaux, etc. If you have an overweight body, should choose dark colors with light fabric to make a feeling of a slimmer shape.

Decorations for Ao Dai is also important. If you choose lace, better don’t have many decorations because it decorated itself. Floral print is also a good choice and the price is more reasonable. Else, for more sophistication, hand embroidered is an upgrade level.

Image result for lace ao dai

Lace – the feminine material

If you find it’s hard to choose, just tell the tailor and they will give you great advice.

Must be tailor made

Like other formal costumes, Ao Dai must be tailor made to be perfect. Don’t ever buy the Ao Dai in the shop just because you like it, even if you’re a model. Remember that it is made to fit with your shape and highlight your body curves, so if you would like to have a true beauty Ao Dai, please spend your time to go to a tailor shop.

Where and how long?

The best place to have a perfect Ao Dai is Hue – the charming old city in central of Vietnam. My Dad said to me that woman in this city had 22 Ao Dai in their wardrobe. Maybe he blew it up a bit, but I’m sure that now they have average 4-5 Ao Dai to wear in each special celebration. The price for tailoring in this city is also cheapest. However, there are also some good tailor shop in Hoi An, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city for you if you don’t have enough time to go to Hue. The shops can make your Ao Dai in from 24 hours up to 2-3 days or more (due to the decorations you choose) and they have shipping service all over Vietnam.

Here are some addresses that may help you to have a perfect Ao Dai:

Hue City:

Tham Tailor – 42 Tran Nguyen Han St., Hue city
Tel: (84-54) 3516286 – 0914.006.890

Hoi An:

A Dong Silk – 62 Tran Hung Dao, Son Phong, Hoi An

Website: adongsilk.com/

Thu Thuy Silk

60 Le Loi, Hoi An – (+84) 510 3861 699

23 Tran Hung Dao, Hội An –    Tel: (+84) 510 3911 321

Hanoi:

Ao Dai Hanoi -33 Tran Phu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Tel: (+84) 43 736 5551 – (+84) 0904802698

Ao Dai Phan Hai – 43 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Website: aodaiphanhai.com

Tailor shops in Luong Van Can Str. Old Quarter

Ho Chi Minh City:
Ao Dai Lien Huong – 111 Pasteur Str, Dist. 3, HCMC

Vo Viet Chung Designer (tailor made for Miss Vietnam for several years)

205 Ly Tu Trong , Ben Thanh Dist, HCMC

Tel:  08 39142008
Website : vovietchung.com

 

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Christmas is knocking on the door, and in Indochina Voyages we’re eager to celebrate a wonderful Christmas ever!

Although Christmas is not an official holiday in Vietnam, in big cities like Hanoi and especially Ho Chi Minh city, it becomes a day for everybody to hanging, and giving presents and love. Indochina travel Vietnam

This year, to prepare for a surprising day and to tight the friendship between our colleagues, we did a sortie game. We gathered together and each person will take a piece of paper written a name of a person in our team. The giver would buy a present and put it under the Christmas tree with a small name sticker of the receiver, but the name of the giver is a secret and it only revealed on day Dec 23rd.

Handmade-decorations-by-ourselves

Handmade decorations by ourselves- source: Nam Lucas

One week before Christmas, the office decoration started. We built the plastic pine tree from last year, shaped it properly and put the ornaments on. We also received some Christmas cards from our partners and they’re so lovely to put on the tree!

Lovely-cards-from-partners

Lovely cards from partners- source: Nam Lucas

Boxes are wrapped nicely with colorful wrapping papers and ribbons. Whitewall is also put on a new look with Santa Clause and other funny handmade cutting. It took us an afternoon to finish but we had a lot of fun together!

On the day, a small party had been set up with flowers, cake and fresh fruit. We gathered together, enjoy the food in the joyful melody of Christmas songs. We were curious about the givers and presents!

The moment finally came. Each of us found the gift and opened it with excitement. There were useful, funny, beautiful gifts and we were all happy. Giving a present and receiving so much emotion, we got a memorable day with our team.

We-wish-you-have-a-Merry-Christmas!

We wish you have a Merry Christmas!- source: Nam Lucas

See our funny Christmas video here: https://www.facebook.com/indochina.voyages/?fref=ts

How did you enjoy your Christmas? We wish you all a merry Christmas, a blessed holiday season. Wish for an  upcoming year fulfilled with joy, love and happiness!

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