Archive for April, 2017

I have arrived in Myanmar on a very auspicious date, the Burmese new year, or Thingyan, the most celebrated festival in the country. Thingyan, Myanmar Water Festival, takes place toward the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia. Taking place from April 13 to 16 each year, the Buddhist festival of Thingyan is celebrated over four to five days, culminating on the Lunar New Year Day.

Commonly referred to as the Water Festival, Maha Thingyan allows people to celebrate the Burmese New Year. Despite this, Maha Thingyan is observed in mid-April on the Gregorian calendar. While the Water Festival is a Buddhist event, the Burmese government has made it a legal public holiday. This ensures that many Burmese citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the Water Festival. Maha Thingyan is a time for happiness and friendly attitudes.

Thinngyan is the most unique and colourful with the merriest occasion in Myanmar. Standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets, people splash water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. The people throwing water each other since the Myanmar believe that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. The water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins. On New Year’s Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.

Thingyan Celebrations:
Thingyan Eve: The first Thingyan celebrations begin on the day before the Water Festival. Thingyan Eve, or A-Kyo Nei, is a time for observing Buddhist beliefs.

Fasting: Many Buddhists observe Thingyan Eve through fasting. People who decide to fast for Thingyan Eve usually eat a single basic meal prior to noon. This meal is often very bland.

Observing the Eight Precepts: During Thingyan Eve, Buddhists are expected to observe the Eight Precepts of Buddhism. These Eight Precepts are similar to the Five Precepts. While observing the Eight Precepts, Buddhists must do the following: Refrain from killing living creatures, Refrain from stealing, Refrain from sexual activity, Refrain from lying or using incorrect speech, Refrain from using alcohol or drugs, Refrain from seeking entertainment, Refrain from eating during fasting periods, Refrain from sleeping on high places

Offerings to Monks: Many people in Myanmar celebrate Thingyan Eve by visiting a Buddhist temple. When visiting these temples, it is considered proper to leave an offering of green coconuts and bananas. These kinds of offerings usually consist of a single green coconut surrounded by a circle of bananas.

Washing the Buddha: Burmese people will also wash Buddha statues with sacred water that has been scented with flower extract. When washing Buddha statues, people start at the top by drizzling water over the head.

Night Celebrations: After the religious formalities of Thingyan Eve have been observed, Burmese people begin to relax and enjoy themselves. There are many lively celebrations that occur during the night of Thingyan Eve.

Music, Song, and Dance: While the Eight Precepts prohibit Buddhists from enjoying entertainment of any kind during the daytime, people are allowed to party to their hearts’ content as soon as night arrives. In nearly every village, city, and town in Myanmar, large stages are erected for the purpose of enjoying entertainment. These stages are made of wood and elaborately decorated with papier-mache and paint. Woman will dance to classical and contemporary music while wearing flower skirts. In addition to these flower skirts, Burmese women often wear padauck blossoms in their hair. The padauck blossom is also commonly referred to as the Thingyan flower due to its rarity and use during Maha Thingyan.

Parade of Locals: After enjoying live music and dancing, people celebrating Maha Thingyan parade the streets of their town or city while enjoying alcohol and the company of their friends and family members. These parades often consist of vehicles and decorated floats. Gyat, a form of Burmese rap, is commonly performed during these parades. Gyat is fairly controversial because it is a popular way of expressing distaste for social and political issues through music.

Water Festival Celebrations
Thinngyan water festival time is the merriest time for Myanmar young and old. Almost the whole populations are in the most joyous mood; roam around the city in cars or on foot to throwing and splashing water each other. Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range – only monks and the elderly are safe.
The primary event of Maha Thingyan is the Water Festival. This huge event is meant to celebrate the descent of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, to Earth. The beginning of the Water Festival, or A-Kya Nei, is marked with the firing of a water cannon into a public area. While the cannon is fired, people run out to collect the water with pots and buckets. The collected water is then poured over the ground. This is followed by a short prayer. Just like Thingyan Eve, these religious rituals are followed by festive activities. Water throwing with toy guns, balloons, and hoses takes place in many areas of Myanmar.

If you are planning to Myanmar tours, Thingyan is undoubtedly the best time of the year to visit. Besides the fun-filled activities and the festive atmosphere, you’ll be sure to meet lots of Burmese, who are always friendly saying “Mingalabar”

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Part 2: Others scams

2.1 Street Vendors of All Kind

Say it again: Overall, Vietnam holidays deals is a relatively safe in however like most countries, it has its share of traveller annoyances such as books sellers, ladies with fruit baskets, shoeshine boys…

They are some vendors who sell books in boxes at cheap prices but those books are photocopies. You would not know as these “books” are wrapped up. Some of those are also of low quality – errors in pages, etc.

They are ladies with fruit baskets: Walking in the Old quarter in Hanoi, meet a lady with her fruit basket? There are other vendors who will invite you to take a photo with them. Once taken, they will demand a fee, a tip, or a purchase of their products. Want a photo? being handed the baskets for you to try putting onto your shoulder to have a photo taken? Hey, a few dollars will be asked or they going to keep yelling at you. What a nuisance! It is a set scenario made by a group of women. They are of course a fake fruit basket women. Real ones will never have that light loads. Action: Ignore, and you will be hounded until you pay. Get away from them. If they approach, you stay back. If they put the baskets on your shoulder, just say NO, detour them and keep on ( this is popular in Hanoi old quarter).

They are shoe repairer. Some guy approaches you out of nowhere and applies glue to your shoes. Next, he would take out a thread and tell you that your shoes are about to fall apart, which he can repair for $1. If you didn’t realize, that glue is actually a solvent that dissolves stitches. Should you say yes, he would then proceed. However, the trouble does not end when the job is completed, as he will be demanding $10 or more.

⇒ How to avoid:

– A firm but polite “No” to the vendors. In certain circumstances, just pretend you do not listen and walk away.

– Do not open your purse or wallet in public. If you want to buy something, keep your wallet close, know exactly how much you need so you can take it out quickly, and put your money straight away afterwards.

2.2 Overcharging and Confusing Currency

This is common around the world, but it is much more easily implemented here due to the large note denomination.

Confusing Currency: There are so many damn denominations in Vietnam, notes range from the virtually worthless 200 VND up to the 500,000VD note. There are 10 denominations in total.  At the current rate of exchange, 1 US dollar is worth 22,500VND.  So imagine your surprise when you exchange $1000. It makes you feel as though you are one of the wealthiest people on earth. As a newcomer to the country you must be very careful to check the money you are handling as some of the bill colours are quite similar.  For example, you’re in a dark club and you hand a blue note thinking you’ve paid for your 110,000VND cocktail only to be embarrassed that you’ve given the waitress a 20,000vnd bill instead of a 500,000. A very valuable tip is  try to keep your money in different places on your persons when out and about.  You make yourself an appealing target to thieves and pick pockets if you pull out a wad of cash.

Overcharging can occur in many different forms, such as over conversion of currency, giving less change by rounding up/down, not giving any change by insisting on a tip, or even changing the fare once the service is completed. After choosing goods in the shop, you need to make sure the price before taking it. There are many cases fake prices higher than the real value of goods, especially in markets, some shops. The solution for this situation is bargain lower cost many reduce a haft of a price they said. Maybe you conflict others currency between USD and “dong”, let’s check carefully. Some restaurants in Vietnam have the scam list their price doesn’t appear on the menu. If guests ask about the price, they usually avoid the answer or answer vaguely. When meals end, the staff in the restaurant will give bills for customers, the price is usually unacceptable, which is so much expensive compared to the quality of food and the market price. Tourists cannot declare to them as they ate the food already and must pay the bills to leave.

Many places also quote in USD to make overcharging easier for them – either by rounding up to USD (which is higher than the value in Vietnamese Dong) or by demanding payment in Dong while using an unacceptable exchange rate. Also beware when a vendor tells you 10, it could mean 10 USD, 10,000 Dong or even something else! Besides this, always ensure that the fee is for everyone in the group and not for each individual.

Finally, be extremely careful with the cash in your wallet, keep them out of sight from the public and from the shopkeepers.

⇒ How to avoid:

– Always exchange you money in legal money exchange rate counter rather than with individuals on the street. Be ridiculously meticulous with counting (and holding on) to currency you’re not familiar with.

– Before you enter Vietnam it’s very important to know exchange rates and a rough estimate of how much things should cost. Double check how much money you’ve had exchanged and don’t just pay for things without already knowing about how much it should be. Carrying a small calculator or using the calculator on your mobile phone is a good choice.

– Always carry a range of bills, the smaller the better, so that they have no chance to short change you.

– Always confirm what currency a price is in and pay in the currency they’ve quoted. If a price is quoted in dollars and you choose to pay in Vietnamese dong, always double check the exchange rate used to make the conversion.

– Be meticulous with counting any time money change hands and never accept torn or damaged bills which are usually difficult to spend later.

– Get familiar with Vietnamese dong. Even though all the denominations are different sizes and colors, it can still be hard to differentiate the similar ones. For instance, the 200,000 and 50,000 denominations are slightly varied shades of red.

Do not let list of scam scare you. Vietnam is an extremely safe place to travel and its people are overwhelmingly hospitable, friendly and honest. Please remember that tourist scams occurs in tourist areas, even though it seems like there are a lot to be afraid of, these will just ensure you enjoy your time in Vietnam to the fullest. So go visit, just with these tips in mind.

You can see more: How to avoid scams during your holiday in Vietnam? Part I

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Are you keen on cave discovering? If the answer is yes, then Quang Binh, Home of Kong: Skull Island is definitely should be put on your bucket list. Within a day, visitting two caves including Paradise Cave and Dark Cave is a good choice to fill your day with great fun. For more detail information, you can click: Indochina travel

Paradise Cave which is located in Phong Nha – Ke bang National Park’s core zone has long been well known as the longest dry cave in Asia. My fist impression when I entered Paradise Cave is that it looks very like a landscape paiting with naturally primitive features. Since its first opening in 2010, the natural and yet, still pristine beauty of Paradise Cave has made this cave a wonder that many travellers have been enjoying. Many people who travel from Nothern Vietnam, stop over Quang Binh before reaching the further Southern parts of the country often agree that even when they already had the chance to explore Amazing Cave, Thien Canh Son Cave in Halong Bay, they never reget to add more time for cave discvering in Phong Nha – well worth a visit!


Paradise cave- source: internet

The Dark Cave – on the other hand is a great adventurous and action-packed activity. Young and active travellers are interested in visiting this cave, and this place also fits perfectly if you travel with teenage kids as Dark Cave offers harnessed zip lining over a greenish-blue river, then swimming into the mouth of the cave which is approximately 30 meter away, cave exploring through the dark with only the head torch on your mining helmet to find the way, enjoying a mud bath in the buoyant mud baths deep in the cave, washing clean with a swim in the lake inside the cave, then kayaking back across the river to to challenge yourself on the hanging obstacle course and open ziplines. The cave is named Dark Cave for it is one of only a few caves that has had no artificial lighting equiped. All in all, an exciting place to check out.

dark cave

dark cave- source: internet

To cover both caves within a day, you are highly recommended to start the excursion right after breakfast and the tour finishes around late afternoon. Also, do not forget to pack below items to join all above mentioned activities: swimsuit and towel, sunblock , sunglasses, insect repellent, flip-flops, etc.

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You have just returned from Sapa on a night train and had a quite good sleep after a long ride.  Then you do not feel worth getting a day-use hotel for such a short time until your trip to Halong Bay, Ninh Binh or Hanoi City Tour is coming. You are thinking of the nice breakfast and café for a rest to get ready for your day trip. Or more simply, you are sick of the daily breakfast at your hotel and need a change for an early morning breakfast. If so, this article is written only for you. Let’s explore the world of breakfast with Indochina tour
  1. Pho Huyen – Hot noodle soup

For Hanoian, the morning will be incomplete without a hot and tasty bowl of “pho” – noodle soup whether in a chilly day or a scorching day. This small restaurant specializes in serving the best chicken noodle with both hot noodle soup and mixed noodle. After your hungry belly is already filled up, you can enjoy a cup of hot milk coffee right at this location and observe the peaceful streets turning into bustle streets  that is promised to be one of the most memorable moment in Hanoi.
Image result for pho huyen noodle chaulongImage result for pho huyen noodle chaulong

If your time permits, a quick visit to the Chau Long Market nearby and combine with a trip around Truc Bach Lake will be a nice option for a full taste of local city life. The Chau Long Market is a traditional wet market with mostly fresh vegetables, fish, meat and certainly, seasonal fruits so you can catch a lot of nice photos of selling and buying activities from both locals and expats. Therefore, you may easily understand why this becomes an usual place for a Cooking Class inside the Old Quarter.

  • Address: 31 Chau Long, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh
  • Highlights: The mixed chicken noodle is a “must-try” dish of this small and clean restaurant.
  • Price: from 50,000 VND
  1. Quan Cu

The name “Quan Cu” reminds each Vietnamese people of the old restaurant with the real Northern flavor. The restaurant only serves a limited choices of the “Bun Thang” (Hot chicken vermicelli noodle with egg and pork), “Pho Ga” and “Xoi Ga” (Chicken rice) for breakfast but many locals determines this is the best Bun Thang in their lives.

At the old days, the Bun Thang is cooked after the Tet – New Year Holiday as this soup is made from all of the leftover: from pork cake, boiled chicken, shrimp  to vegetables. The light flavor helps relief after a couple of days eating rich protein food.  However, this stunning cuisine becomes a precious one for Hanoi food lovers as at first sight, the bowl looks so simple with several ingredients  but to prepare for the eye-catching performance, it requires a long process with dozen of ingredients such as herbs, pig bones, mushroom, shrimp paste. Nowadays, Bun Thang is not only for Tet as people have less time to prepare for such a special food like this.

Image result for bun thang quan cu

If staying in Hanoi, you should give it a try once in a life time to know the origional taste of Northern Vietnamese noodle.

  • Address: 31A Phan Dinh Phung Street
  • Highlights: As you may find it worrying about a bit shrimp paste put into the Bun Thang bowl. But the secret of this dish stays at the thing that the awful smell will be erased by the hot soup pouring into the bowl.
  • Price: from 50,000 VND


  1. Xoi Yen – Glutinous rice

I have heard quite a lot of complaints from my tourists that why they are served “pho bo”, “pho ga” or kind of soup everyday at every place throughout Vietnam. So now enjoying such a dry dish which is sticky rice – “xoi” will be a good replacement to provide your body a huge source of energy. Let’s pass by the Xoi Yen restaurant which is considered to be the 1st Xoi in Hanoi.

The basic sticky rice served is often Xoi Xeo – ground mung bean sticky rice with fried onions and a plenty of choices for authentic and yummy topping:  shredded chicken with mushroom, steamed chicken breast, minced pork, pork cake, fried/braised egg or Chinese sausage and various veggies. Having a glass of soy bean milk is much better to avoid the filling up feeling.Related image

  • Address: 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Str., just a couple of blocks from Sword Lake.
  • Highlights: The restaurant has an English menu with fast service and a nice balcony sitting area on the 2nd If you are vegetarian, this place also satisfies your needs. However, the mixed xoi (xoi thap cam with all the the topping above) is more than enough for a man’s belly.
  • Price: from 25,000 VND
  1. Banh cuon Thanh Van – Steamed Rolled cake

Bánh cuốn (literally “rolled cake”) is a dish from northern Vietnam. It looks like a crêpe roll made from a thin, delicate and wide sheet of steamed rice flour filled with ground pork, minced wood ear & mushroom.

Image result for banh cuon thanh van

The complete hot dish is only serve when you order and usually consists of chả lụa (Vietnamese pork sausage) and bean sprouts, with the dipping sauce called “nước chấm” and inevitably some special fresh herbs eating together.

While waiting for your food or enjoying the banh cuon, you may have a chance to see the cook to skillfully demonstrate the whole amazing process, from spreading out the raw wet rice flour to wrapping the cooked rice sheet with meatball, mushroom and serves those on the dish without forgetting slices of fried onions on top. You can ask for a steamed egg if need but it may take a several more minutes to wait.

  • Address: 12 Hang Ga Str, Hoan Kiem
  • Highlights: It is certainly the Banh Cuon: soft as silk, a bit chewy, a bit oily with sweet-sour-spicy-salty dipping sauce.
  • Price: from 20,000 VND

I believe that the list of detailed food for an early morning adventure may be of your expectation to embark on a busy day ahead.

Good morning Hanoi and happy traveling!

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We had our tour to the Toul Sleng prison and the Killing Fields in a summer afternoon of July. The car drove on the crowded streets of Phnom Penh, get through markets, residential area and the clutter constructions. After about 20 minutes driving on a route of 20km, we got the Toul Sleng, also known as the S21 concentration camp. You can join our trip with Indochina tours

At the entrance, tourists can borrow the portable radio and headset with the guidance leaflets – the fee is included in the entrance ticket. There are many languages available to choose – English, France, Spanish, Vietnamese, etc.

While waiting for our tour guide to buy the entrance tickets, I looked around the area and noticed that the camp was surrounded by the high, old walls with barbed wire. S21 used to be a school before it was occupied by the Pol Pot’s Government as a concentration camp. Passing the souvenir shop selling T-shirts & canvas bags, we reached the main campus. The atmosphere was weird, it was so quiet and gloomy. A concrete courtyard with a row of white graves, the perpendicular gray blocks, in stark contrast to the bustle and noisy scenes in the outside of the walls.

Although the weather in July was full of sunshine and temperature in  35 degrees Celsius, when I put the headphone in, the abyss sad music from the radio made me tingle. The time run back 40 years ago, told us about the darkest history of Cambodia.

Follow the instruction on the leaflets, I visited each place – the room for confining prisoners, the torture camps, the buildings dedicated to chain people, where innocent and miserable were not supplied by any foods or drinks for a long time, barely naked, chained by the leash like animals, suffered and pained by the ferocious torture, deprived all rights as a human. How sad to know all of these actions just to satisfy the morbid thoughts of a small group to build a dictatorial authority.

The past was recreated truly and vivid like it just happened yesterday. We even can see the dry blood stains scattered on the floor. Some special tools for torturing still there, and the black and white photos of the victims with many different expression obsessed me so much.

We continued to move to the Killing Fields – where there are mass graves of genocide victims. Here comes a high tower with numerous skulls and bones and other body parts were found in the graves after the battle. The skulls are arranged in different area – women, men and children. We followed a small trail, winding the public graves. The notes on the signboard showed us each grave, where the people were buried alive, where the Pol Pot’s army killed women and children, the death tree where people were hanged.  A lot of scraps of cloth can be seen. Even some bones can be seen on the ground. Nobody knows who they are, names, hometowns or what did they do.

We got on our car to back to the downtown. None speak or laughter, no selfie pics like when we visited the Royal Palace in the morning. We follow own thoughts, the plaintive music from the audio seems like ringing in our ears. Behind the car window, naive Cambodian were hustled back home after a hard working day. The frangipani swinging in the wind, ending an emotional day in Phnom Penh.

Although this site is a must see in Phnom Penh, should consider for children and people who are having psychological problems.

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Cambodia is widely known as the home country of majestic Angkor temples with must-see Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, ‘Citadel of the Women’ – Banteay Srei with very nice architecture or the famous Ta Phrom temple with its giant trees where Angelina Jolie filmed the movie Tomb Raider. For those who are interested in history – the capital city of Phnom Penh with Royal Palace and historic sites of Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 prison) and the “Killing Fields” of Choeng Ek is definitely an attractive destination as well. More than that, Cambodia also has Battambang – an totally different place which its uniqueness, yet often ignored by tourists.

If you interest, please follow our relevant the topics at:  Indochina tours Cambodia


With almost 3 hours driving from Siem Reap or around 5 hours travelling on coach from Phnom Penh, you will reach Battambang – the Cambodia’s second largest city which is located on the Sangkae River. From the very first moment, Battambang attracts me by unique French colonial architecture, Wat Ek Phnom pagoda with giant budda statue and impressive carvings – reachable from city centre within 20 mnitues by car and Kamping Pouy basin with fresh air and lotus flowers, etc


Especially, bamboo train is also a unique experience here. A short ride on this simple vehicle is a fun experience even in light rain. Especially, it is very interesting when your driver needs to dismantle and reassemble the trolley and runners when another trains is in the rail. If Battambang is on your list then bamboo train is absolutely a not to be missed activity. A small note, if you are very sensitive to mosquitos and other insects, it is better to do the bamboo train before late afternoon. Else, when it is getting dark, you may get trouble with these “friends”


For travellers who are big fans of street food and prefer eating outside at small vendors instead of fancy restaurants, there are plenty choices near the river at night. You may see some small local kids come and beg for food – a different aspect of the country that will hardly be seen in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

If you are wondering where to stay when visiting Battambang, here are some suggestions for accommodation in this city:

  • Bambu Hotel Battambang – address: Phum Romchek 5, Sangkat Rottanak, KO Street, Battambang, Kingdom of Cambodia. This is a lovely boutique hotel with combination local Khmer and French colonial architecture. The hotel offers 16 clean and comfortable rooms and a salt water swimming pool available exclusively to staying guests only.
  • Battambang Resort – address: Wat Kor Village, Cambodia. If you are seeking for a more luxurious place, Battambang Resort will be a nice choice, especially for those who enjoy quiet atmosphere and prefer to escape from the centre of town activity in Battambang.

All in all, with its own charms which are hardy to be found in any other places, Battambang is a special destination that worths a visit if you have time in Cambodia.

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Travelling is meaningful journey, bringing new and valuable experiences to life. After each time, I feel more mature, I change in positive ways about my outlook on life as a whole. I want to share something interesting if you’re happy or sad, alone or even in a group. You can always take a trip to regain your balance in life.

One of the best excursions I highly recommend that you can take is to Mai Chau. In this heaven on earth, you can let yourself get away from these crowded backpacker hubs, and to immerse in authentic natural and cultural setting of Mai Chau. You will stay in very comfortable lodge next to rice paddies and close to authentic ethnic minority villages of the Thai people. You really feel like you’re stepping back into a simpler world and that’s what makes it truly special. I really enjoyed the quiet and peaceful space even if it can be touristy sometimes. Just take a bus from Hanoi, visit here and explore yourself

Valley Mai Chau, Hoa Binh

Valley Mai Chau, Hoa Binh – source: internet

From Hanoi- the capital city of Vietnam, it takes you more than 3 hours by car to Mai Chau. Maybe it is a long trip, but after that time, you will feel not disappointed in the magical landscape here. Mai Chau- a mountainous district is familiar to the travellers who have traveled the road to explore the Northwest. Located in Hoa Binh province, Mai Chau is the home of 6 ethnics such as Muong, Thai, Kinh, Tay, Dao, H’Mong but Thai ethnic is the majority because they have occupied the valley for hundreds of years. Mai Chau climate change year round not too big, so you can come here all the time of the year. April and November are two of best moments in the year for travelling.

Mai Chau valley is not only known as a beautiful natural place, but it is also famous for the beauty of rice field through the time. There are two crops in a year so that there are two periods of time which is good for photos hunters. If you come to Mai Chau in March or August, it will be green beautiful, and Vietnamese often compare it with the girl in the age of 17. The rice field will change from green to yellow in May or in October. The rice harvest time is coming soon. Coming to Mai Chau that time, you can see golden paddy-field stretch away to the horizon. The local farmers start harvesting on the fields. You can rent a bicycle or motorbike to explore the area. Biking through the villages and rice fields of Mai Chau, you can’t get over the beauty in all of this greenery. Checking out the amazing photos of valley view with golden rice fields from the beginning to the harvest time, you’ll understand how incredible view of Mai Chau. If you visit Mai Chau without a camera, I’m sure that it will be your missing because there are lots of things you want to take. Remember to travel Mai Chau in the right time to see its inconceivable beauty of rice paddies, water buffalo and people working in the field and take part in some farming activities. Let’s try once time to become the local farmer by growing or harvesting rice. That will be a unique and new experience you never forget in your life.

New experience with local farmers

New experience with local farmers – source: internet

You’re wondering where you will stay in Mai Chau? How about the hotel service or accommodation here? Don’t worry about it. There are a lot of choices for you. If you want to experience the local life, you should choose a stilt houses that are accommodated with bedding, fan, TV, etc. Most of Mai Chau’s stilts houses are located in Lac Village. Every house is high, dry and built with firm wooden pillars. From many years ago, the stilts houses were built in order to provide protection against rising water and dangerous animals. The floors are made of bamboo and the roofs are covered with rattan leaves. They all provide the same service at reasonable price so you don’t need to hesitate much to choose one. Staying here, you have chance to see all of daily activities of local people, find out more about the living style and customs as well. Stilt houses in Mai Chau usually have a private space for cooking service. Tourists can either select ready – made meals or order your favorite dishes. If you want to take a quiet place, hotels in Mai Chau are also a good choice for you. They are the same in appearance, except for Mai Chau Ecolodge which is more natural and good – looking. The services in those hotels are quite good, including massage and restaurant services…., you can find out more on tripadvisor.com. Team building is the most preferred outdoor activity if you are going in a big group. Some hotels in Mai Chau offer boating service in Hoa Binh Lake, which will bring interesting moments of discovering waterways to tourist. Besides, campaign is also an ideal option. Most of your hosts in Mai Chau can prepare campfire depend on your request. Your campfire is much more interesting and successful if you bring along some sweet potato, corns or sugar cane to grill on the fire.

One of the most favourite team building activities in Mai Chau

One of the most favourite team building activities in Mai Chau – source: internet

Besides joining some team building activities, you can visit some historical places to find out more about the history and the living style as well. The Thai ethnic museum is the best recommend to visit there. Opened every day from 8am to 9pm, Thai ethnic museum is considered as a living museum, attract a lot of visitors. Precious objects on display were collected by Thai people. All displayed objects mingle and supplement one another to create a colorful and diversified picture of cultural specific characteristics.

Travel to Mai Chau, you also have chance to try the traditional clothes of Thai and Muong ethnics. With only 1 dollar, you can hire many colorful clothes of different ethnic groups to wear and take some photos for memory. After that, let’s go to the local market, try some delicious foods with the specialties of the mountains including Muong porks, fish living in the stream, rice in the bamboo stick or colorful sticky rice…All of them are very tasty

Pretty girls in the traditional clothes of Thai ethnic

Pretty girls in the traditional clothes of Thai ethnic – source: internet

During the night, tourists can have short rest to enjoy some drinks or have a wonderful opportunity to join the dancing party of local villagers. Dancing is a part of life and festivals. Along with the rhythms of folk songs and folk dances which are performed by the local beautiful boys and girls, your excitement will peak with a festive atmosphere. The dances symbolize their daily dreams, health, happiness, prosperity and love. You don’t know how to dance. Don’t worry. The local dancers are willing to show you. You will have the best experience by enjoy traditional dance as well as drink Can wine- the local wine

Bamboo dancing show - the cultural features of Thai people

Bamboo dancing show – the cultural features of Thai people – source: internet

Are you interested in Mai Chau? I am sure you will have a memorable 2 – day holiday with this perfect choice of destination.

For more detail information, you can access: MAI CHAU ESCAPE 2D-1N

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In previous chapters, I have mentioned many tasty dishes made of 2 special noodles, bun and pho. Today, let’s me be your foodie tour guide again for another 8 minutes. I bet this time, you will not regret, for sure. Many of my friends are sweet teeth, so we can gather together and find new places offering wonderful dessert. Here is our best list.

Traditional sweeties

Hanoi has many sweet foods, so it is a big mistake if you have not tried one when visiting this beautiful city. Basically, like many Asian countries, most of Vietnamese sweeties are made of sticky rice or its powder.

Floating Cake

Floating Cake- source: internet

Han Thuc (Cold Food) festival was few days ago. On that day, people often eat Troi Cake and Chay Cake. Troi cake is a ball of sticky rice powder with palm sugar inside. Many cute white balls will be boiled and served cold. When they are well cooked, they will be floating on the water so it also has other name which is Floating Cake.  Chay Cake is similar to Troi cake, but instead of palm sugar, it is filled with mung bean or green bean paste. Chay Cake also has a second name, Lean Cake. Both of them will be sprinkled with some sesame on the top. They are sooooooo delicious as all the ingredients blend into each other well.  The sweetness from sugar, the stickiness of glutinous dough, and the rich, nutty flavor of sesame can make you eat the dish unstoppably.

Banh Chay

Banh Chay- source: internet

You can find those foods in many street vendors appearing in almost every corner in Hanoi. However, if you want to sit down, there are 2 shops offering those foods in high quality, according to may experience. The first one is right at the corner of Luong Van Can and Hang Bo Street. It is small but always crowded. The price range is from 15000 VND to 30000 VND per dish. I think you might not be able to eat over 30000 VND as this shop’s products are quite too sweet for some people. My friends love it but I think they have too much of sugar. The second one is located near Ham Long Church. It takes quite a bit of time to walk from the centre to there, but if you have scooter, your iron horse will bring you there in just 10 minutes. The price in this shop is similar to the one on Luong Van Can Street.

New emerging sweet foods

Dark Brown rice (Black Rice)

Dark Brown rice (Black Rice)- source: internet

Hanoian loves food, generation after generation, so it is easy to understand why there are always new sweeties in this ancient city. The thing I like most is Sua Chua Nep Cam (Yoghurt with Black Sticky Rice). It is sweet but not too sweet; it also has a light flavor of yoghurt blending perfectly with Black Sticky Rice. Can you imagine it? It is super good for someone like me, who loves sweetie but hate obesity, love sweetness but hate being sweat when doing work out, like eating wonderful food but want to have a strong heart. Since this food provides a lot of fiber and many nutrients from dark brown (black) rice and yoghurt, I can happily and peacefully enjoy it without feeling deeply regret later.

You can find Sua Chua Nep Cam in mostly café and dessert shops, especially the ones for teenagers. In Giang Café, which is famous for egg coffee also offers this lovely food.

Giang Café

Giang Café- source: interent

I hope after reading this article, you will have a few ideas about where to eat in Hanoi. I know it is hard to choose as Hanoi has too many wonderful foods to discover, so maybe my friends who run some interesting tours for foodie can help you. You can contact at Indochina tours Vietnam. Last but not least, don’t forget to read the next chapters, I hope you will have a colorful time in Vietnam. See you soon!

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