A photographic trip through Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

30 07 2014

Michael Cross travelled with InsideVietnam Tours earlier this year on his own Indochina Encompassed trip through Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Combining some of the cultural sights with a bit of hiking and adventure on two wheels, Michael has kept a fantastically detailed travel blog from his trip which he has kindly shared. Here are a few images that give a good taster of his trip. Enjoy!

 

 

Siem Reap Navitu Hotel

First stop Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

The famous temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Alms for the monks

Luang Prabang, Laos – Waking up early to see the monks dawn alm offerings

Kuangsi Falls

Spectacular Kuangsi Falls, Laos

Luang Prabang night market

Tasty food at Luang Prabang night market, Laos

Luang Prabang temple

A beautiful temple in downtown Luang Prabang, Laos

Cucphong national park

Trekking through the jungle in Cuc Phong National Park, Vietnam

Sampan Ride

Sampan Ride through the Van Long Nature reserve, Vietnam

Sapa lake, Vietnam

Mist on the lake,  Sapa, Vietnam

Paradise cave vietnam

Paradise Cave in Phong Nha National Park, Vietnam

Dragon Boat on the Perfume River

Dragon Boats on the perfume river in Hue, Vietnam

Tu duc mausoleum

Tu duc mausoleum, Hue, Vietnam

Bike ride Vietnam

Fun on the bike to My Son, Vietnam

Cham ruins at My Son, Vietnam

Cham ruins at My Son, Vietnam

Heavenly falls

Heavenly falls, Nam Cat Tien. Vietnam

Vietnam city hall

Ho Chi Minh City Hall, Vietnam

 Thanks  for sharing your blog Michael. Looks like you enjoyed yourselves?!

Take a look at the detailed blog here, alongside more fantastic photos too. 





Perfect Day in Phnom Penh

23 07 2014

Our tour leader Tara spends a lot of her time in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. She shares a few of her favourite things to do whilst in the city…

Getting to know the heart of a city means spending time in it; In Phnom Penh’s temples, markets, streets and life. Looking, learning and loving it.

monks in Phnom Penh

1) Waking up early and getting out there pays off, whether you’re a monk going on alms round, or a traveler wanting to witness this daily ritual.

Local morning market in Phnom Penh

2) Don’t miss out on the colours, smells and textures of a local morning market!

Phnom Penh Fortune Teller

3) Want to know about your Fortune? Shake the wooden sticks carefully until one drops out.  

Then find a local to translate it for you :)

Travelling to Phsar Thmey market on the back of a motorbike

4) Head to Phsar Thmey market on the back of a motorbike. When in Rome…

Perfect day in Phnom Penh

5) Dresses, flowers & flowered dresses. Bags and bike brakes. You need it, you’ll find it!

 

Hairdresser in Phnom Penh

6) No hair dressers appointment needed. Any time, any place.

Perfect Day in Phnom Penh

7) Try some of the more intersting food on sale….or maybe not.

Perfect day in Phnom Penh

8)  Watch painter’s gain spiritual inspiration

Perfect Day in Phnom Penh

09)  The squares and riverside boulevard come alive late afternoon

Perfect Day in Phnom Penh

10)  The trouble a tour leader goes through to find the best places to eat…

The Mighty Mekong River

11)  The Mighty Mekong River

Always a perfect day in Phnom Penh. Come and discover it for yourself on the ‘Vietnam and Cambodia Uncovered’tour with Tara.





Top 10 impressive things we’ve seen carried on motorbikes in Vietnam

18 07 2014

There are a lot of scooters and motorbikes in Vietnam which are seemingly the transport of choice for many. Unlike cars or trucks, there is not so much storage space for carrying things….that doesn’t stop the locals though. Here are a few pics of people carrying off dangerous scooter stunts from travels in Vietnam…my personal favourites being the pig and the wardrobe….

1) No idea, but there’s a lot of it

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2) An entire family

Top 10 impressive items carried on a motorbike

 3) A lot of feather dusters

007 (2)

4) Lots of Fruit

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5) Large (flammable) gas cylinders

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6) Some trees

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7) A very long ladder

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8) A wardrobe

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9) A table

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10) A pig

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You might also be interested in the video of Vietnamese super women carrying huge loads on their shoulders….





We Love Vietnam’s Beaches!

11 07 2014

Here in the UK we are enjoying a fine summer, but it’s likely that the British sun will go back into hiding before too long. With that in mind I thought I would jot some notes on where you can find year round sunshine, and a seemingly endless ribbon of white sandy beaches. So if you are looking for your next beach fix let me recommend some options.

We know that Vietnam is rich in culture, has some of the finest food in the world, is full to the brim with national parks, minority communities and villages, mighty rivers, fruit orchards & rice fields and has a limitless supply of temples, markets and monasteries –  but having a few days on the beach during your trip really is the cherry on top.  So if your after culture & relaxation, here are some suggestions as to where you should go for white sand beaches, clear blue warm waters and a spot of sun worship.

Danang & Hoi An

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343 Hoi An-78

Vietnam’s central beaches are good to visit between late March and early September. 45km of white sand stretches between just north of Danang & just south of Hoi An offering a huge range of accommodation options, from the beach shack basic to the beyond beautiful and catering to every budget in between. Cua Dai is the closest beach to Hoi An and is the perfect base for exploring the ancient trading port of Hoi An with a beach stay.

 

Cham islands – Undeveloped & Unspoilt

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Although there are no hotels on the islands the Cham islands offers excellent snorkelling between April – August and is a nice day trip from your base in Hoi An.

 

Nha Trang

Nha Trang

nha trang beach vietnam

Arguably Vietnam’s most famous beach destination Nha Trang, is large city overlooking the bay. Good to visit pretty much year round, but with a chance of rain during October & November. Nha Trang offers city centre beach hotels, secluded resorts accessible only by speedboat and a number of quality hotels dotting the shore up and down the beach. If you’re looking for a more commercial centre – Nha Trang won’t disappoint.

Mue Ne & Phan Thiet

Phan Thiet

Mui Ne is a popular beachside destination for those wanting to escape Ho Chi Minh, with a three-hour train ride from the city making it an easy and accessible option. This small town is full to the brim with beach goers, resorts and cafes and it the epitome of a beachside town. Just further out of town you will find some emptier stretches of beach perfect for more secluded relaxing.

During the rainy season in the central regions (October – December), Mui Ne enjoys warmer and drier climates making it a good beach option for those travelling during these months. Due to the protective sand-dunes between Mui Ne and Phan Thiet, Mui Ne’s rainy season is considerably lighter.

 

Southern Islands; Con Dao & Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc

Good to visit between October and May these islands offer some of the finest beach stays in Vietnam, and are just a short flight from the mainland. Fresh seafood & cocktails aplenty these islands offer my favourite choices of beaches in Vietnam – secluded, luxurious resorts and wonderful scenery – utter bliss.

Whatever time of year you are thinking of heading to Vietnam you will find a beautiful beach to relax on. Which beach you visit will depend on the time of year you travel  – let us know if we can help you decide which is the best for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Vietnam’s animal cafes

3 07 2014

Last year was the ‘Year of Friendship’ between Japan and Vietnam and it seems that there are some influences from Nippon, cropping up in Vietnam.

Japanese Cat Cafe

Japanese Cat Cafe

Vietnam’s greatest export is coffee, which it takes very seriously. There are plenty of cafes to sup your coffee at, but there have been some changes of late. One of these recent influences from Japan is the pet café. You have probably heard of the cat cafes / bird cafes / reptile cafes etc, where people who do not have the chance to own their own beast of choice, have the opportunity to pet one temporarily whilst sipping their green tea and chomping on cheese cake.

Not to be out done in Vietnam, there is a whole assortment of altertnative cafes opening up in Saigon these days. In fact, they are popping up all over the place.

You might like to try stroking cats with your coffee. The Ailucat café in Saigon has a around 20 feline friends to choose from as you sup your coffee.

Ailu Cat Cafe, Ho Chi Minh

A little more lively than the cats is the Stardogs, dog café in District 7. Not quite as relaxing as a coffee with a cat, but the chance for dog lovers, who don’t have dogs to love dogs.

Stardogs (image from KyleLe.net)

You might want to enjoy a bit of cold blood with your hot coffee? In which case head to Café Babo in Saigon’s Phu Nhuan area to enjoy your coffee with various reptiles – snakes, Lizards the lot.

reptile cafe, saigon

Cafe Bobo (picture from VietnamNet)

The Japan influence is even more obvious with the recent opening of an ‘anime cafe’ in District 1, Saigon.

The Other Person Cafe

So, if you thought Japan was the king of alternative cafes, then think again, because Saigon is embracing alternative cafe culture…..I think I’ll go around the corner for a quiet coffee…





6 Tip Top Tips. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & Burma.

9 06 2014

Somebody recently asked me for some top tips for travelling in Asia, and I thought I would share my thoughts on this blog. Whatever you get up to, Asia is unlikely to disappoint – but here are my suggestions for making the most of your time away!

1) Eat Local!

Although the fancy hotels and restaurants offer great menus, street food and small pop up stalls offer a true taste of Vietnam. Cheap and plentiful – sitting on a tiny plastic chair at the side of a busy street and choosing random dishes off a plastic menu is the best fun! Accompanied with a cool beer and a bit people watching – eating local is definitely my recommendation!

Hanoi (41)

 

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5 things you didn’t know about Laos

4 06 2014

1) 1865 km of the Mekong river flows through Laos, and it is home to the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia, and one of the widest in the world – the Khone Phapheng Falls. The falls (which are more like rapids) are split into hundreds of channels by little islands that are dotted around the river – giving it the nickname the ‘4000 islands.  During the wet season they are a truly breathtaking sight.

Khone Phapheng Falls

The Mekong river is also home to some very unique species such as the endemic Mekong giant catfish and an extremely rare (freshwater) subpopulation of the Irrawaddy dolphin – only 85 remaining!

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