Destinations

Unique in its history and its desire to regain independence, Vietnam is now an extremely famous for tourists and become one of most preferred destinations in the south east Asia.Vietnam (or Vietnam , or Vietnam , or Vietnam) is located at the Indochina peninsula , bordering Cambodia, Laos in the west and China to the north (Check Vietnam Map ). The most famous sites ares the Mekong Delta and Halong Bay. However, it seems inconceivable to deny the majesty of the mountainous region of northern Vietnam, particularly Sapa, or the island of Phu Quoc, off the coast of the Mekong Delta.

Central Coast

These foreign influences, some imposed , as well as the multi-ethnic character of the Vietnamese people give the country a culture both mixed and singular . The result of this mixture is intended therefore original . It is characterized by a respect for the traditions and religions. Its cuisine is one of the finest and fragrant in Southeast Asia.

Finally, since its reunification in 1975 , Vietnam is constantly evolving . The country is modernizing , prosperous gradually but remains restrained by communism. Similarly, there is a gap between the torpor of mountainous northern and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City.And it goes hand in hand with its dynamism , Vietnam is also open to the world . Tourism develops there without reaching the heights. Also , the country still shows a certain authenticity . There is something rustic in Vietnam, this is probably due to the small number of large cities.In short , Vietnam is not limited to its rice fields, conical hats or its remnants of war ( also not visible ) . Tonkin (North ) to Cochin ( South ) through Annam ( Hue ) , there is much to discover in this country.

From mandarin road that crosses the country from north to south , you can see the sea and the white sand beaches . Mountainous and forested landscapes , karst rocks scenery , exceptional site of Halong Bay with more than 3000 islands emerging from the Gulf of Tonkin, the vast mangrove in the Mekong Delta , Vietnam deploys from north to south beautiful scenery. It’s ideal place to enjoy a tour for relaxation and a adventure land for Vietnam trekkingtour in the middle of jungle, see our lastest article about Vietnam How to travel like a superstar in Vietnam… on a budget.

Vietnam is rich in a very long history that has provided architectural wonders inherited from antiquity and provides a high fashioned multiple legacies that have been reinterpreted in a unique fusion. Marked by large tears of the world in the twentieth century , Vietnam is the country’s memory , where battlefields devastated by unprecedented violence , memory and recollection demand today .

Visit Vietnam today , it’s an unique experience : A very old world must deal with new constraints. However, the country remains true to himself, without losing nothing of its inner rhythm .

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How to travel like a boss on a budget in Vietnam

Have you ever wished that you could live the lifestyle of the rich and famous? Being able to visit the most sumptuous locales and enjoy the best facilities the Vietnam has to offer?

How to travel on a budget in Vietnam

How to travel on a budget in Vietnam

Well, pretty much everyone wishes they could be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for a day, but unfortunately, most of us don’t have the means to enjoy the jet set lifestyle. However, there are some ways that you enjoy a superstar holiday in Vietnam, but at a fraction of the price.

Most people associate private jets and charter flights with superstars and the jet set lifestyle. But did you know that it was actually possible for people like you and me to enjoy the benefits of a private flight at a reasonable cost? Prices on charter flights may vary between 800$ and 5000$ per hour, so depending on the quality and distance of the flight, it might actually be a good deal.

The secret is to book as a group instead of an individual. At the end of the day, if you live on the west coast and you wish to book a charter flight to a popular destination like Hanoi or Hochiminh City per instance, you could save tons of money if you book a group of 10 and more for the flight.

Since it is not a long distance and that you’ll be dividing the cost 10 ways, you could actually end up paying less than a regular flight without having to go through all the inconveniences of commercial airlines. That means no noisy passengers, no kids, and complete freedom and privacy for you and your group.

Here’s a nice tip to save money on your next flight and bypass baggage claim all together.  Lots of people make the mistake of bringing too much luggage with them. That makes the screening process that much more exhausting and inconvenient. But did you know that if you limit your luggage to one carry one bag only, you can save money on the checked baggage fee which will allow you to spend more on your trip?

Remember, the internet is your friend when it comes to finding hot deals on various amenities. A lot of people think that sites like voyagevietnam.co or Priceline are a waste of time and that you’ll end up in a subpar room in the middle of nowhere. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can sometimes find gems on these sites, so don’t overlook them next time you’re booking a flight or hotel room.

Superstar travels on a budget are possible if you know how to go about it. Consider booking a charter flight with a group of your friends, visit local travel agency site such as voyage vietnam to find deals and pack light if you want to save on baggage claim. This way, you should be able to enjoy 5 star travel in Vietnam with 3 star money.

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A 35 kilometer bike tour through Flanders Fields was appealing to me for 3 reasons: I am a history geek, I love a physical challenge, and I love traveling to obscure destinations. A ride around Flanders Fields offers all three, plus chocolate and pommes frites to reward my efforts. How could anything go wrong?

FLANDERS FIELDS

We decided to visit Ypres as a day trip from Brussels. The Belgian rail system is convenient and affordable, so we opted for a scenic train ride instead of renting a car. As soon as we stepped onto the train, we realized our plan to kick back and enjoy the scenery wasn’t going to happen. None of the guidebooks had warned us that Belgian trains haven’t been updated since the 1970′s, and as soon as we sat down we knew it was going to be a long and uncomfortable ride. Upholstered in hideous, sticky pleather (reminiscent of the wood paneling in a 1970′s station wagon), the seats felt like church pews that had been carved from steel rods. Worse still, they face the seat across from them, so we spent most of the time pretending not to notice the teenagers across from us, sharing ipod ear buds and singing out of tune.

After 3 long hours, we arrived in Ypres. We had booked rental bikes prior to our arrival, now all we had to do was find the Hotel Ambrosia (they offer bike rental for 12 euros a day), and we’d be on our way. The town of Ypres is hardly more than a village. The streets are lined with charming two story townhouses that look like they were built as a backdrop for a WWII film. Eager to stretch our legs, we took our time and wandered the streets, feeling that we had time traveled into pre-war Belgium.

The fiercest fighting of the First World War occurred in the Ypres Salient, a hilly area just north of Ypres. Trench warfare, machine guns, and poison gas all but decimated the town and the hilly areas that surround it. Wooded areas and farmland were turned into muddy swampland, and craters from artillery fire became large, deep puddles (now used as watering holes for grazing cattle). Nearly a million soldiers were killed in the Ypres Salient during a war of attrition that lasted for three and a half years.

Despite Winston Churchill’s wish to keep the town in ruins as a reminder of the travesty that occurred there, the locals rebuilt everything to look exactly as it did before the war. The main market square has an old world ambiance, with cobblestone streets and quaint shops lining the streets. The old cloth hall, now the In Flanders Fields Museum, marks the center of town.

After stopping for lunch (and a chocolate snack for the ride), we stopped into the museum gift store to purchase a trail map. It was the first of several mistakes we made that day. The map showed the bike trails as yellow squiggles, with no road names or landmarks to demonstrate exactly where they were, only a random assortment of numbers. The numbers mark battlefields and cemeteries, which match descriptions in an accompanying pamphlet. The map also offered convoluted directions, written in a strange first person narrative, We cycle from Bellewaerde Ridge to Meenseweg. From Meenseweg, you can take a left and cycle to ‘t Hoe to visit a well-tended war museum with a tavern and lovely British cemetery. 

Thanks to our flawed map and my hesitant riding style (it was my first time on a bike in over 10 years), we took a few wrong turns and wasted nearly an hour trying to find our way out of Ypres. Finally, we began to see signs of the Western Front, now pocked with craters and gravestones.

Reminders of the war are around every corner in Ypres. Poppies were the first flower to grow in the fields after the devastation of the war, and now they are a symbol of the region, symbolizing hope and rebirth. We were in Belgium a week before Armistice Day, and there were fresh poppies scattered along all of the memorials, cemeteries, and trenches.

The first battlefield we encountered was the John McCrae site, named after the famous Canadian poet and medic. Belgium is so flat that any small increase in elevation was considered a major tactical advantage.  The allies used the little hill as an artillery position, and later on in the war as a second line behind the front. It is a surreal experience to stand on the embankment, with the canal on one side and farmland on the other, and imagine what this area looked like during the war.

In spite of our map, we managed to find the Yorkshire Trenches hidden in the center of what is now an industrial park (amateur archaeologists found the park in 1992). The original Yorkshire Trench was dug in 1915, and concrete walkways mark all of the underground tunnels and shelters (most of which are accessible to tourists). Seeing the trenches in person brings the war back to life, and the devastation is almost palpable. It wasn’t long before we were ready to move on.

Most of the sites in the area are former battlefields and cemeteries, tucked away into what are now potato fields and dairy farms. Every monument told a unique tale of bravery and horror, and we kept stopping to stare at the scenery. It is nearly impossible to imagine such a bucolic setting as a backdrop for some of the deadliest and cruelest battles Europe has ever seen.

We rode around Ypres and the surrounding areas for nearly 4 hours and finally gave in as the sun started to set. We covered far less ground than we’d planned (only 15 of the planned 35 kilometers) mostly because we spent a lot of the time completely lost, but we also lingered much longer than we expected to at many of  the sites. Almost as soon as we had decided to turn back to Ypres, we were already upon the town itself.  This was another reminder of just how close all of these battles were to the tiny town.  Just under a million men had died over this stretch of little more than a few kilometers.  The emotional, and, let’s face it, physical toll (cobblestones are not kind) of the ride was surprising.

We stopped for a pint on the way back to the train station, enjoying the cozy atmosphere of a small town pub, and watched as the town faded into darkness. We sat there for a long time, feeling a long way from anywhere, and very close to history.

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I was really disappointed with my experiences in Prague (with the exception of the Prague Ballet, which was, if you’ll excuse my French, abso-fucking-lutely amazing). I have only admitted travel defeat once before on this blog, and I hate to do it again. I love traveling, and I’ve fallen in love with nearly every place I’ve been lucky enough to visit, but Prague left me cold. I wish I could have visited the city 10 or 15 years ago, before the budget airlines brought in the tacky stag and hen-dos from Britain, followed by the “let’s go to Prague because it’s cheaper than the rest of Europe” American tourists.

Czech, Prague The Prague we visited was not only crowded with (more annoying than usual) tourists, it was designed to cater to them in a way that makes the city feel bland, and, quite frankly, a little seedy. We were so over it by the third day that we slept in late, then hung out in our hotel room eating donuts and watching old episodes of Parks and Recreation for a few hours before we managed to talk each other into giving the city just one more try. That was a first in our 2 years of traveling around Europe.

I promise you, it wasn’t for lack of effort. We searched high and low for the least touristy local haunts, and we wandered for hours in the bitter cold trying desperately to find the Prague we had imagined. In the end, it wasn’t all bad. We did find a few things we liked.

The Prague Toy Museum

We initially decided to go to the museum because it was indoors (January in Prague is unbearably cold), and because we suspected it was a sight that would be overlooked by the hordes of tourists around Prague Castle. I loved all the old Barbies in their old-fashioned, yet incredibly stylish outfits. The whole museum took less than half and hour, and for an entry fee of roughly $3 a person, the price was right.

Czech Beer Halls

We stopped in at a traditional beer hall for a few nightcaps one evening and discovered a taste of traditional (and very fun) Czech culture. Live music, singing, smoking, and lots of beer blend together in a jovial atmosphere. Waiters circle the restaurant carrying giant trays of beer (they only serve one kind), and a fresh pint appears in front of you as soon as you empty your glass. The ‘tab’ is nothing more than a receipt with tally marks on it. Just be careful, because those beers will keep appearing until you make it very clear that you don’t want another…

The Lennon Wall

The Lennon Wall is a piece of Czech history that was well worth a wander in the cold. The wall has been covered in John Lennon inspired graffiti and political messages since the 1980′s (which drove the communist regime absolutely nuts). Authorities have never managed to keep the wall clean for more than a few hours, as the artists always come back to redecorate.

Weird Graffiti

I loved the graffiti in Prague. There was just something about it that made me forget the touristy vibe of the city and appreciate that there’s always more below the surface, even if we weren’t able to find it on this trip.

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