Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Travel Hit Lists’ Category

A large, prosperous coastal city, Quy Nhon boasts a terrific beach-blessed shoreline and grand boulevards. Its seaside appeal and tidy, litter-free streets make it the kind of place that affluent Vietnamese couples choose to retire to, spending their final days ocean-gazing and promenade-walking

If you are looking for a beach and you willing to get off the beaten track will enjoy Quy Nhon, a lively and pleasant coastal city in Bình Định Province in central Vietnam, virtually half way between the popular cities of Nha Trang and Hoi An. The city is known for its beautiful surroundings, Cham temples, and nearby beaches.

Easily reached by plane, bus and train, it’s surprising that more people don’t choose to spend more than the absolute minimum in Qui Nhon. It has a noteworthy beach in its own right, without any of the hustle or crowds. Visitors will have opportunity of breathing the pure fresh air from the sea, mountains and forests, feeling the caress of sea breezes and hot embrace of tropical sun, watching the skilled  craftsmen hand making beautiful artifacts, and tasting the peculiar specialities. But first and foremost they will be pleased with the warm welcome from the local folks.

Quy Nhon is certainly a good spot to sample some fresh seafood, but for most foreign visitors the city’s attractions are less obvious

Vast sapphire skies and fresh ocean breezes draw visitors to Quy Nhon, where you can enjoy empty beaches and the area’s rugged natural beauty. The public beach is immaculate and so far, development directly on the beach has been limited to only a few hotels and resorts on the south end of the strip. Besides, tourists who explore Eo Gio, Ky Co beach, Trung Luong and near by fishing villages discover both serenity and excitement.

To get more experience about Quy Nhon beach, you can click: Indochina travel Vietnam

Ky Co beach is arguably the most impressive beach in the region. Located 25km from down town, Ky Co is special because it bends like a sickle. Backed by mountains on three sides, the beach faces the deep blue sea. Visitors can travel here by boat, admiring the rocky and picturesque coastal landscape on the way. Another option is to reach Eo Gio (Windy Straight) by motorbike and board a small boat to Ky Co beach. We come here to swim in the crystal water, relax on the beach and enjoy seafood. There are also some caves to explore. Pineapple Beach offers colourful coral. Eo Gio is also worth visiting, blessed with a harmonious landscape of rocks, sky, cloud and water.

Ky Co Beach is nestled snugly in Nhon Ly Commune, 25 kilometers northeast of Quy Nhon City

Ghenh Rang ( Rang Rapid) is one of the most spectacular natural gifts bestowed upon this city. Lying 3km south down town, Rang Rapid consists of a series of rocky walls set near the sea. Ghenh Rang is a work by Mother Nature with a cluster of stones running along the seaside and undulating rock mountains, forming caves, dales with white sand on one side and the emerald sea of rustling waves on the other. After dark the rocks appear even more mysterious. Set below high mountains, the rocks and sea shine silver in the light of the moon and stars twinkle in the clear dark sky. These all creates a pristine Ghenh Rang, a charming spectacular and romantic painting.

Ghenh Rang is one of the most attractive destinations in Quy Nhon, located 3km south east of the city

Another natural marvel is known as the Queen Beach – a rocky beach covered with large rocks in strange rounded shapes. Visitors like to walk barefoot on these rocks, which resemble giant eggs. The colors are striking-white, red, grey or patterned…This rocky beach has an otherworldly beauty.

Hungry from exploring Quy Nhon’s spectacular landscape, visitors will enjoy this region’s famed fresh seafood and local dishes. The town has lots of cafés where you can relax, watch the sea and recharge in preparation for your next adventure.

Trung Luong

Eo Gio

Eo Gio

Trung Luong

Trung Luong beach

Enjoy fresh coconut while visiting Trung Luong – Quy Nhon Beach

Eo Gio is the best place to take photos

Beach at down town of Quy Nhon city

_lucas_

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

In Vietnam, when the summer comes it’s time for companies to have holiday or company trip. Every year, companies have planned and searched for great locations/destinations for employees’ summer vacation.This is a great opportunity for whole team to know more each other and strengthen the bonds of friendship from different teams and departments, and also to charge energy, because happy workers can contribute more for the company.

The objectives for company annual trip are our executives can escape for a while from busy and stressful environment at the office. In this trip someone can relax their  body and mind and in the same time can spend a good quality time with their family. It’s also can strengthening a good relationship between executives and their family. Other benefit of this trip is our executive can work more focus and keep motivated to do they daily works. That mean happy worker can contribute more for the company.

Hai Hoa beach has white sand and blue water

This year, Indochina Voyages Team has planned an annual trip for our company in May. This trip involves the company executives with the spouse and children. We decided to visit Hai Hoa beach, is a well-known beach in the North of Vietnam. With the literal meaning of its name, Hai Hoa (means “Peaceful” ) beach in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa boasts the serenity that only beautiful natural scenery can provide (It is located  at Hai Hoa Commune, Tinh Gia District, Thanh Hoa Province, around 200 km from Hanoi). Its tiny white-capped summer waves attract thousands of local tourists in peak season.

Bai Dong

Bai Dong

The reason why we choose this destination because unlike other noisy and commercialized tourist hubs, visitors to Hai Hoa Beach enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of its stunning landscape and the fresh taste of its seafood. As it is quieter than some other beaches in the central region such as Sam Son beach, Hai Hoa is a boom for local people, the beach still possesses white sandy dunes and green, forested ranges near crystal clear blue waters.

On the first two days, we went to Bai Dong, a new beach in Thanh Hoa province, 30km from Hai Hoa. This place is not as crowded as other popular beaches. With peaceful scenery and  blue sea and white sand, the beach is still wild and naturally beautiful.

Hai Hoa beach in the morning

Hai Hoa beach in the morning

The second day was a fun-filled time for Hai Hoa beach. We swam, played football, and climbed up to the mountain. Apart from sunbathing or relaxing on the beach, drinking coconut juice, and chatting with friends over a glass of beer and savory snacks of seafood. Before dawn there is a flurry of activity that involves everyone, both young and old, after fishing boats return to their shores. Nets are gathered and washed as conversations continue, women weigh and sell fresh fish and children play cheerfully around.

Seafood market in the morning

Seafood market in the morning

Hai Hoa beach in the afternoon

Hai Hoa beach in the afternoon

At dawn, the beach is seemingly lit by a ball of fire that bounces off the ocean’s surface. Small fishing boats dock at the beach to sell fish, crab, and shrimp from their overnight catch. You can also surf the waves that surround the pristine island of Hon Me, not far away from the beach or  you can try to fish for cuttlefish at night.

In the summer morning, we did not miss the chance to catch the sunrise over the sea. Just at 5am, many people noisily call each other to wake up and run to the sea. The dawn is “dyed” a reddish purple in the horizon. It is a great feeling when you inhale the salty taste of sea and walking on the flat sand, seeing the fishing boats returning to the wharf in the early shimmering sunbeam.

Coming to Hai Hoa, you can also find Hon Me island offshore, and Soi mountain and Chay mountain in the South of the beach. Not far away from Hai Hoa, there are many other beaches, such as Hai Thuong beach, Nghi Son beach or Bai Dong beach…

blule water on Bai Da

We had great time together there. When leaving Hai Hoa, it is sure that we will eagerly wish for coming here again to return to the nature, and to immerse ourselves in the wild and poetic sea.

If you want to get more information about Hai Hoa beach, please view: Indochina tours Vietnam

Read Full Post »

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 travel Myanmar, 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”

Read Full Post »

I can make sure that it is not easy to find a country like Vietnam in SEA area. Vietnam has all of needed elements to be a country of tourism industry. When you plan your holiday to a third-world country or a developing country, these questions will appear in your mind: Is it a safe country and the people living there will be friendly with foreigner tourists? Will I have any problems as a single woman traveler? If that country will be suitable for a family holiday? Will this place is worthy and affordable for my travelling budget? Will this place walk over almost every travel category and I can spend all of my holiday days in this country?

This article will help you answer all of your questions. Besides, 3 things as below also made Vietnam be the best choice for travellers.

For more information about Vietnam, please click Indochina tours Vietnam

Happiest and safest country in SEA

Vietnam came in fifth in the Happy Planet Index 2016 ranking compiled by the UK-based New Economics Foundation, which dubbed it the happiest country in Asia. You can see detailed at this the official website of HPI: happyplanetindex.org/countries/vietnam

When you travel to Vietnam, you can find a smile of local people to tourists easily anywhere you visit even though they cannot speak English or did not say any words. Vietnamese is very friendly and most of us are happy with our life. Thailand – the most famous country in SEA is at 9th place.

friendly smile of Vietnamese

friendly smile of Vietnamese- source: internet

Let me give one example about friendliness and happiness of Vietnam. Do you remember about the visitation of US former president – Obama to Vietnam? Every local people smile to him and gave special greetings when he visited our country. Most of Vietnamese people cannot speak English fluently, but when they met Mr. Obama or saw his car, they waved the hand and loud some simple sentences in English: “Hi Obama”, “Welcome to Vietnam”, “How are you?” or even “I love you”. We are always looking forward to seeing the future and never see back to what’s happened in the history. Former US President ignored the prevention of security and shaked the hand and gave high-five to local Vietnamese after have dinner at a small local restaurant and enjoy Bun Cha – one of the most famous street-food in Hanoi.

tong-thong-obama-thuong-thuc-bun-cha-tai-pho-co-ha-noi

Obama president used to eat Bun Cha in Vietnam- source: internet

The country is also well-known for its safe, terrorism-free political environment. 70% of Vietnamese people do not follow a specific religious and you will never think so much if there are any restricted lists which involve to religious in this country. However, when you go to church, temple or pagoda, there are some rules of course. But most of them are not tight rules as other country in SEA as Thailand, Indonesia or Malaysia. Besides, we just have one party in government and there are not any internal war between parties and political crisis.

The most affordable country to travel in SEA

Are you planning a low-budget trip in Asia country which can cover every travel category? Welcome to Vietnam.

Hanoi is the big city and capital of Vietnam and it is the most expensive in Vietnam but when you compare to other SEA, you will release that the most expensive city in Vietnam is still very cheap and affordable for travelling. I want to show you some statistics of TripAdvisor  to prove for my above point.

The travel expenses in Vietnam are the cheapest

The travel expenses in Vietnam are the cheapest- source: internet

As you can see from this table that a three-day break to Hanoi – one of the most expensive city in Vietnam costs just under $500, according to TripAdvisor, while tourists have to pay at least $600 to spend the same time in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Bali (Indonesia).

Vietnam can cover almost travel category

Because of diversity of geography and cuisine, Vietnam can please many type of tourists. Let me show you some popular category with very famous places in Vietnam as below:

Historical sites: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Cu Chi Tunnels
Natural sites: Halong (New Seven World Wonders), Ninh Binh (World Heritage), Sapa (mountainous area), Pu Luong national park (a raw diamond of Vietnam’s tourism), Phong Nha Ke Bang (World Wonder with longest cave in the world), etc
Architectural sites: Old Quarter in Hanoi, My Son (world heritage), Hoi An, Hue- City of Citadel
Cuisine: Street food at night in Hanoi, you can also enjoy by yourself street food in Hoi An – Ancient Town. In my opinion, street foods there are very delicious too. Street-foods in Vietnam is very diversity and is not easy to list all of them. Different city, there are many types of street foods with different taste and cooking.
Beautiful beaches: in Hoi An – this is one of my favorite city with the mixture of old Asian architecture, night market, very beautiful beaches and friendliness. Besides, Nha Trang is a good option.

Phu Quoc Island -

Phu Quoc Island – “Paradise Island” in Vietnam- source: internet

Island: Phu Quoc Island – Paradise Island for relaxing activities and wild environment. Besides, there are many wild island which is not opened for foreigner or is not so famous for foreign tourists as Co To, Quan Lan, Binh Hung, Binh Ba, Nam Du, etc
Local life: You will have experiences on local life of people in big cities, rural area, floating villages, mountainous area with minority ethnics or Mekong delta area.

Cultural activities: Floating market in Mekong, water puppet show in Hanoi, etc.

You will have to visit Cambodia for temples and World Heritage, Thailand for unique pagoda or clear sea, Indonesia for lovely Islands, Laos for mountainous area or very local things while Vietnam can cover all of these. You just have to book a flight to Vietnam and you can have everything a traveller want to experience.

Read Full Post »

Colorful Bangkok

Colorful Bangkok

Great food, superb shopping and a vibrant culture make the Thai capital an ideal gateway for a journey to South-East Asia. Bangkok is a huge hub for Southeast Asia and is also an excellent place to kick off a trip. It’s a big bustling city and it’s best to see.

You could spend a lot more time exploring the city but I visited this capital many times before so 3 days in Bangkok is a good length of time for my visit. Each time I come  back I fall deeper and deeper in love with this amazing city.

For more information, you can click: Indochina tours Thailand

Beneath the dust and chaos, Bangkok is packed with things to do and places to see. From street-side restaurants with plastic chairs and road-side amulet stalls to top-notch restaurants and the world’s hippest rooftop bars. From exploring ancient temples to taking a  tuk-tuk tour through the Bangkok night. Bangkok has it all and there is never a dull moment when you hit the streets of this city.

Tuk Tuk is popular transportation in Bangkok

Tuk Tuk is popular transportation in Bangkok

Here is my sharing for 48 hours itinerary with the highlights of what to do in Bangkok.

Saturday: Temples and Historic Sites

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) – Wat Pho (Gigantic reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn.

Buddhism is the national religion and is practised by nine out of 10 Thais, who pay their respects at shrines at all times of day. The former home of the monarch, the Grand Palace is located right beside the architectural wonder that is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. You must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Wear shirts with sleeves, long pants or skirts and shoes. So no tank tops! If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks, so no bare feet. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entry that provides clothes to cover you up properly. You must leave your passport or credit card as security. Shoes should be removed before entering the main chapel. Also, when sitting in front of a Buddha image, remember to tuck your feet behind you to avoid the very offensive pose of pointing your feet towards Buddha.

From Grand Palace, walk about 10 minutes to Wat Pho, the gigantic reclining Buddha is amazingly beautiful covered in gold leaf and mother-of-pearl ornaments inlaid in his feet. Wat Pho is also Thailand’s headquarter for the teaching of traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage. After this walk around Grand Palace and Wat Pho, nothing beats a relaxing head or foot massage.

Then it is time to cross the river, so jump on a cross-river ferry from No. 8 Tha Tien to Wat Arun pier. On your way to the Grand Palace and Wat PhraKaew you passed this temple with the ferry, so you already know that it is spectacular and atmospheric with its steep piers reaching up in the sky. It is at its most impressive after dark when it is lit up and looks a bit magical and like a fairytale. Unfortunately, it closes before nightfall. This is my favourite temple in Bangkok.

In the late afternoon, take a ride to the Asiatique-The Riverfront, a new shopping and entertainment venue on the Chao Phraya River. I love this place very much. You can go shopping, enjoy a cocktail to see sunset on the river bank or have a great dinner with live music.

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

img_7379

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Sunset on the riverbank

Sunset on the riverbank

Asiatique Market & Shopping Mall

Asiatique Market & Shopping Mall

dscf0580

  1. Sunday: Modern Bangkok and Weekend Shopping

After this delicious breakfast and it’s time to head on to the famous and vibrant China Town that is located by the river. Go for a walk through the narrow streets and beautiful buildings in China Town, shop Chinese green tea and other Chinese souvenirs, and just watch the life on the streets. (How to get there: It is best to take a taxi or tuk-tuk to China Town – Estimated time: 1-2 hour)

Next stop is Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok. It has reached a landmark status as a must-see place for my visit all the time. Chatuchak Weekend market is probably the biggest weekend market in the world. Here you will find just about anything you can imagine, both useful and not so useful stuff.

If you are not in Bangkok a Saturday or Sunday, it is time to experience the modern side of Bangkok and visit the Siam area to go shopping. Take the sky train to Siam station or Chit Lom station. Siam is a shopping bonanza and we love it. You can spend hours and hours exploring the four big shopping centers that are located next to each other in the Siam area: Central World (has an ice skating rink at ground floor), Siam Paragon (has South East Asia’s biggest aquarium, Siam Ocean World at base level and the Exotic Thai store on 4th floor – perfect for gifts and souvenirs), Siam Center, Siam Discovery (has Bangkok’s Madame Tussauds on 6th floor), MBK.

China Town in Bangkok

China Town in Bangkok

Siam Shopping Center

Siam Shopping Center

dscf7952

Modern Bangkok

Modern Bangkok

Modern Bangkok

Modern Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

img_7276

There you go, this itinerary packed with what we consider it the “heart” of Bangkok. Two days is in our opinion not enough time to spend in this magnificent city. Four or five days are what I would recommend, then you have time to really enjoy yourself and your time in Bangkok and also have some time to relax.

Hope you enjoy this city as much as I do!

Photos credit by Lucas.

Read Full Post »

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.

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

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?

1a

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.

3

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.

0

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.

1

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.

5

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

8

7

6

0a

Read Full Post »

Phaung Daw OO Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

Phaung Daw U Pagoda is the most famous pagoda in Inle lake region. The pagoda houses five small gilded images of Buddha, which have been covered in gold leaf to the point that their original forms cannot be seen.  The Phaung Daw U Pagoda Festival is held annually for a total of 18 days. It is one of the most famous festivals in Myanmar. Both locals and foreign visitors come to visit this traditional festival in Inle Lake, Shan State. Annually, during the Myanmar Month of Thadingyut, usually between September and October, the 18-days festival is held. The festival is held with the dates according to the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar.

A large boat with a Golden Hintha (Hamsa) Bird creation is built. The Buddha Images tour around the Inle Lake from village to village taking the whole 18 days on the way. During the festival, only four of the Buddha Images are moved onto the royal barge. One image always remains at the temple. The decorated royal barge is towed by several boats moving by leg-rowers of Inle. The barge is towed from village to village along the shores of the lake in clockwise fashion, and the four images reside at the main monastery in each village for the night. The high point of the festival is on the day when the images arrive at the main town of Nyaung Shwe, where most pilgrims from the surrounding region come to pay their respects and veneration by boats. There are hundreds of floating boats from near and far. Indochina tours Vietnam

The order of the procession is subject to late changes as there is no fixed route for the festival. Your guide throughout your period in Inle Lake will take you to the best locations to enable you to join in the festivities.

Phaung Daw OO Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

Phaung Daw OO Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

The festival is held with the dates according to the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar. A large boat with a Golden Hintha (Hamsa) Bird creation is built

The festival is held with the dates according to the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar.

Elephant Dance Festival (Ky Auk Se)

In celebration of these magnificent beasts, locals dress up in life-size elephant costumes to perform lively dances and impressive acrobatics. The artistry, fun, and sheer talent involved in this festival is sure to impress any visitor.

What is the Elephant Dance Festival?

The festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, which coincides with October’s full moon. The festival is celebrated with intricate elephant costumes, each generally manned by two people. The costumes can take months to make and are crafted from a bamboo frame covered in cloth, paper, and foil.  The elephant costumes are further decorated in glitter, gold foil, satin, ribbons, and glass gems to create a true work of art. Workshops respect the artist’s mastery and each artist keeps his construction methods top-secret.

What to expect at the Elephant Dance Festival?

The festival lasts all day and includes both a parade and a dance competition. The day starts with a parade around the marketplace, with the elephants circling the market three times so that everyone can get a good look at the beautiful artwork. The competition begins in the morning and is judged by prominent town officials and distinguished local persons.

The elephants are judged on various details including the precision and harmony of the dancing, the teamwork of the dancers, the construction of the elephant, and the music and singing involved. Dancing can involve impressive acrobatics – imagine two people acting out an elephant standing on its front legs with its hind legs in the air. Winners are announced in the evening and the next morning pilgrims climb a nearby 975-foot-hill to offer cakes and fruits to their spiritual protectors.

Elephant Dance Festival (Ky Auk Se)

Elephant Dance Festival (Ky Auk Se)

The festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, which coincides with October’s full moon.

The festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, which coincides with October’s full moon.

2b

2d

Hot Air Balloon Festival 

As usual, the festival is held on full moon day of Tazaungmone. It takes at least for 5 days and widely famous for its hot air balloons with fireworks and fire  crackers, competing day and night during the festival. Nevertheless, the main significance of this festival is light, as many suppose this festival has existed even before the introduction of Buddhism in Myanmar, to honor the God of Light and the awakening of Lord Vishnu. Sparkle fireworks, fire balloons are sent to the sky and multicolored lanterns are lighted. It is also said that the Gautama Buddha would return to Tawadeintha on this day to visit his mother’s reincarnated spirit so people illuminate the path for him by lighting candles and lanterns. Also on this occasion, many people come back home to pay homage to elders. Almsgiving and charity consisting of sautuditha feasts are also common during this festival, regarded as merit-making activities.

Visitors can see competition, how beautiful and smart hot air balloons, fireworks and fire crackers that how high shapes and forms of animals such as elephants, ducks, fishes, birds, hens so also four legs animals like pigs, buffalos which are to be handmade of a kind of fire resistant paper for successfully long lasting while competing. The competition is celebrated in crowded people while others play happily traditional musical instruments and dance around. People from all parts of country love to come and enjoy this festival as the festival is one of the most popular festivals in Myanmar. tours in Vietnam

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival

It takes at least for 5 days and widely famous for its hot air balloons with fireworks and fire crackers, competing day and night during the festival

It takes at least for 5 days and widely famous for its hot air balloons with fireworks and fire crackers, competing day and night during the festival

Sky Lights

Sky Lights

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival

Mount Kyaiktiyo (Kyite Htee Yoe), famous for the huge golden rock perched at its summit, is one of the three most sacred religious sites in Myanmar, along with the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Temple. Pilgrims come here from far and wide to worship and add gold leaf to the rock, which seems to defy gravity by delicately balancing on the edge of the 1100-metre high mountain.

Golden Rock pagoda festival is one of the most famous one and nation-wide both for local and foreign visitors. It is held on the evening of December 31 in Golden Rock, Mon State. On the platform of Golden Rock pagoda devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha peaceful philosophy. The magical Golden Rock pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.

It is of considerable celebrity and attracts crowds of worshippers annually beginning from October to March which is the seasonal pilgrimage period for worshippers Especially on the full moon day of Tabaung, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles offered to the Buddha and thousands of worshippers gather around the pagoda offering fruits, foods incense to the Buddha. Sometimes reflected rays of color from the Buddha’s image were said to have been observed by the worshipers.

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival

Golden Rock Pagoda

Golden Rock Pagoda

4c

kyaikthiyo-bird-eyes-view

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »