Monthly Archives: Tháng Mười 2012

Top 5 Countries to Volunteer Outdoors in for Adventurous Travelers

Although travelers who seek adventure may not realize it, they have a lot in common with those who combine travel with volunteering. Adventure travel and volunteer travel both offer a unique perspective on a new destination. Whether you’re zip lining over a forest in Costa Rica or building a school for a local community in Russia, you are engaging with your travel destination on a whole new level.

If you’re an adventurer who’s new to the volunteering abroad world, don’t fret, there are an infinite number of ways to get involved in voluntourism. Some people may want to volunteer in the development office of an NGO in Peru or teach English to Chinese students. However, these more stationary positions might not be right for you. There are plenty of ways to get outside and explore a new place while contributing to the local community at the same time. These five countries offer many wonderful opportunities to volunteer for those with an adventurous spirit.

South Africa

South Africa

South Africa is a great place for a volunteer interested in conservation. More than 20,000 different plant species can be found in South Africa, making it one of the world’s megadiverse nations. Its wildlife also makes South Africa a popular safari destination. Volunteers can work on local wildlife reserves where activities may include building fences, clearing trails, tracking and counting wildlife, feeding animals, and more. Popular national parks include Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga and Addo Elephant National Park. With numerous exciting ways to spend your free time after volunteering, you will never get bored. The South African coast, a popular scuba diving destination, is a great place to volunteer with marine life, conservation, and just relax.

Ecuador

Ecuador is known all over the world for its beautifully unique landscapes and wildlife. The most popular types of volunteering in Ecuador are conservation and teaching. While the two can be mutually exclusive, there are also great opportunities to teach about sustainable practices when it comes to wildlife and environmental conservation. The Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands’ extreme biodiversity ensure that the outdoor explorer will stay busy in Ecuador. Various endangered and near-endangered plants and animals in Ecuador benefit from volunteer work that focuses on protecting these rare species (like jaguars, pumas, and the howler monkey.) Unfortunately, human development and tourism has had large impacts on the endangerment of these precious animals and their habitats. Anyone looking for an adventure in Ecuador should look into volunteering on a beach or in a forest in this beautiful country.

Cambodia

Cambodia Tours

Cambodia, located in Southeast Asia, is full of activities to keep a volunteer busy in their free time. Try viewing the cities and ancient ruins by bicycle or scuba diving to see the natural underwater wonders. A true Cambodian adventure goes beyond fun outdoor activities. As a volunteer you will live like a local while contributing to community development. Lend a hand in Cambodia to fight growing social issues that separate the rich from the poor. Volunteers are needed to support refugees and homeless, work in health clinics, teach children, and more.

Ghana

Ghana is another great place to get outdoors and experience one-of-a-kind sights throughout the country. Similar to the other destinations on this list, Ghana has a number of national parks and coastal areas where volunteers can get their hands dirty. Help protect endangered elephants, monkeys, and birds throughout the country in wildlife reserves and parks. Sports fans will especially enjoy volunteering in Ghana – children in Ghana are particularly interested in sports, which lends to volunteer projects in sports development and coaching. Playing sports with kids at local school is one of the most fun ways to contribute to youth empowerment. Whatever your interest may be, there are a number of ways to get involved with Ghana’s local community.

Thailand

Thailand Tours

A volunteer trip to Thailand isn’t complete without a cultural adventure and a volunteer project. The coast of Thailand and surrounding islands offer great breathtaking opportunities to snorkel, scuba, surf, and more. If water sports aren’t your thing, exploring Thailand’s tropical forests is another great way to spend your time. The different types of forest regions in Thailand are great for those interested in local conservation and the impact of tourism on the land and wildlife. Thailand has a number of elephant sanctuaries where you can get up close and personal with these giant animals who are exploited regularly. Give back to the local community by promoting sustainability, volunteering at a national park, or teaching English at a school or monastery.

No matter what kind of adventure travel you’re interested in, there are plenty of ways to explore the world while volunteering, too. Whatever efforts you can make to have a positive and meaningful impact on your host community are important. Step outside of your comfort zone and find an adventure volunteer program that fits your needs and interests.

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
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Burmese Days Tour

Day 1 – Arrive Yangon Myanmar Tours
Arrive in Yangon and transfer to hotel. Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is still a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating and authentic capitals of South-East Asia. After lunch, a city tour includes the National Museum, Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda’s 70m long reclining Buddha, downtown Yangon with its faded colonial atmosphere, Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park, India town and bustling China town. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2 – Yangon – Bagan
After breakfast at the hotel transfer to Yangon’s Mingaladon Airport for the flight to Bagan. Thousands of ancient stupas and temples in this area make Bagan, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia. From the 11thtill 13thcentury, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers of constructed huge stupas and temples, many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River. On arrival, morning sightseeing features the colourful Nyaung Oo Market, the Shwezigon Pagoda and its magnificent golden stupa, Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cavetemple with exquisite jatakas murals paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. In the afternoon observe the process of traditional lacquerware, one of the best-known Myanmar handicrafts and a speciality of Bagan. Visit Ananda, an architectural masterpiece of the early-style temple with two original standing Buddha images whose facial expressions change depending on the distance the statue is viewed from. The Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and the next temple to be visited, Thatbyinnyu, is the highest in Bagan, rising to 61m. End the day with a horse and carriage tour among the temples passing by the traditional village of Taungbi, Sulamani Temple and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork. Enjoy the sunset over the site from the upper terrace of Myauk Guni Temple. Overnight in Bagan. (B)
Myanmar ToursDay 3 – Bagan – Heho – Inle Lake
In the morning transfer to Nyaung Oo Airport for the flight to Heho. From Heho a one hour scenic drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Board a private motor boat to visit Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s best-known sights. The boat passes several villages built onstilts over the lake, which are mostly inhabited by Intha people, the famous leg-rowing fishermen of the lake. The tour also includes a visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the weaving village of Inpawkhon and a cheroot factory, where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. Overnight at Inle Lake. (B)Day 4 – Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
After breakfast, a morning sightseeing tour of Inle Lake by boat includes a chance to see the floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Every five days a colourful market that is visited by different hill tribes is held around the Inle area and it is normally possible to visit one of these depending on location. In the afternoon visit the renowned jumping cat monastery where in addition to the acrobatic cats there is a beautiful collection of antique Buddha statues. On leaving the lake transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon. On arrival, transfer to hotel. Overnight in Yangon. (B)Day 5 – Depart Yangon
After breakfast finish the tour with a visit to Myanmar’s holiest monument, the Shwedagon Pagoda with its golden stupa covered with 60 tons of pure gold leaf. In the afternoon there is free time for shopping at Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott’s Market, before transferring to ingaladon Airport for onward flight. (B)
DELUXE OPTION
DELXUE PRICING: in US Dollars per person for shared twin/double
+City
Hotel
Room Category
Yangon
Savoy
Deluxe
Bagan
Aureum Palace
Jasmine/Orchid Villa
Inle Lake
Inle Princess Resort or
Inle Resort
Mountain View Room or
Deluxe Villa
Rates are valid until 30 September 2011
Number of persons
1
2
3-4
5-6
7-10
11-15
Single Supplement
1 Oct 10- 30 Apr 11
1094
678
635
530
529
491
249
1 May – 30 Sep 2011
1019
631
587
482
491
443
228

SUPERIOR OPTION

City
Hotel
Room Category
Yangon
Chatrium or
Park Royal
Superior
Bagan
Tharabar Gate
Superior
Inle Lake
Treasure Resort
Deluxe
SUPERIOR PRICING: in US Dollars per person for shared twin/double
Rates are valid until 30 September 2011
Number of persons
1
2
3-4
5-6
7-10
11-15
Single Supplement
1 Oct 10- 30 Apr 11
852
556
512
407
406
368
156
1 May – 30 Sep 2011
829
534
491
386
395
347
146

FIRST CLASS OPTION
HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149 Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
Website: www.huongviettravel.com | http://www.aseantravelandtours.com | http://www.visavietnamonline.com | http://www.huongvietjsc.com

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Categories: Myanmar Tours | Bạn nghĩ gì về bài viết này?

Myanmar Experience – Myanmar, Asia

As I came off the plane in Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, fresh from the mega modern city of Bangkok, I could feel that I had stepped into a land forgotten, a still timeless world, barely struggling to enter the modern age.

Yangon is a busy, dirty, sprawling capital with a decidedly Indian feel, chaotic with commerce, simplistic in function. Sidewalk markets spring up everywhere at differing times of the day, selling cheap clothing, produce, CDs and all manner of bric-a-brac. People everywhere chew betel and spit the red juice, a habit I’ve never been able to grow accustom to.

In the middle of this humanity stands the great Shwedagon Pagoda, a living, breathing testament to the great reverence for their Buddhist religion. It is the most opulent and grand shrine in Myanmar. Sitting at sunset, watching the pilgrims praying, a few tourists taking photos, I am reminded of the grandeur of another bygone age. Clearly it is not a place to linger.

I leave Yangon the following day via the surprisingly efficient Air Mandalay, to Bagan, where, over 3,000 temples and shrines dot the vast plain. Bagan has not woken up to the modern world, although it is stirring with a few tourist restaurants and internet spots in town. For the most part, the overwhelming feeling is of having left the world behind and stepped into a parallel world of horse carts, bicycles and a pace that seems in no hurry to go anywhere.

Having been to Angkor Wat last year and battled with hordes of tourists and an inability to see any of the temples without a crowd in tow, Bagan was infinitely more rewarding on many personal levels, equal in greatness and importance as an ancient archeological masterpiece. From Bagan, I once again hopped a low cost Air Mandalay flight down to Ngapali Beach in the south, not too far from the border with Bangladesh.

Ngapali is said to be the most beautiful of Myanmar beaches, and indeed it was pristine, clean and peaceful, but already showing signs of development. The finest beaches were to be found on several day trips by boat to offshore islands. Finding endless untouched powder sand beaches and perfectly clean muti-hued ocean, I was adopted by a sea gypsy family, with a 10-year-old girl and boy bringing me coconuts with bamboo straws during the day, inviting me to their grass home for a meal in the afternoon. Never once was I asked for money. I came into their world and, therefore, I was to be cared for. By far this was the high point of my time in the country, it will stay with me forever.

What surprised me the most was the ecological wholeness of the country. The rivers are blue, so clean. Even the great and storied Irrawaddy, running 500 meters wide in places, was the prettiest river I’ve seen in many years. Never was there trash on any beach or floating plastics in the ocean. Of course, the issue of the government of Myanmar is a difficult one. Many would say you shouldn’t go, but during my two weeks there, I saw nary a military or police presence, little, if any, of my money went to the government. No doubt being there helped the people in many different ways, economically, culturally and most importantly, exposing them to the possibilities and realities of the outside world.

Most people I spoke with agreed that the situation was improving, that Myanmar was opening up, at a measured pace. Being a confirmed wanderer for the past 35 years to over 45 countries, I was caught “off stride” by my experience. It was a trip back to the Asia of the 1940s and 1950s. Outside the cities you clearly felt like time had stood still. Watching the sun go down over the Irrawaddy River from the top of one of the many pagodas, it could have been hundreds of years ago.

Air Asia flies daily to Yangon from Bangkok for as little as $40.00. Air Mandalay flies direct from Chiang Mai to Yangon or Mandalay. Myanmar Airlines is the government airline, should be avoided, if possible. Twenty-eight day visas are obtainable at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, same day (expedited) or two days. It is highly recommended to have your travel agent arrange your visa to avoid a long day in line. Daily costs for hotels and food are less than in Thailand or Indonesia

Source: bootsnall.com

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
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Hidden North Discovery

Day 1: Arrival – HANOI (-/-/-) Hoan Kiem Lake
Meet on arrival at Noi Bai Airport, transfer to hotel for check in. Then you enjoy a tour by cyclo around the old quarter streets to discover the local people life.
O/N in Ha Noi.

Day 2: FULL DAY HANOI CITY TOUR (B/-/-)
Morning: A half day city tour includes Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with its house on stilts and One pillar pagoda. An orientation drive via colonial quarter to the West lake before taking a visit to Temple of Literature well known as Vietnam’s first university.
Afternoon: Transfer to visit the Ethnology museum. Enjoy your time to learn about 54 ethics in Vietnam.
Then continue visiting to the Hoan Kiem Lake with Ngoc Son temple. The rest of time for a cyclo ride in the old quarter streets to discover the local people life.
Evening: Water Puppet Show, the traditional unique Vietnamese art.
O/N in Ha Noi.

Day 3: HANOI – MAI CHAU (B/L/D)
Today, we start the adventure journey to the hidden North Vietnam by
In the morning, we start from Hanoi to Hoa Binh – the nearest place from Hanoi that we can see the ethnic minorities.
Upon arrival in Hoa Binh, we will take a 2-hour boat trip on Hoa Binh Lake for relaxation & viewing daily local life of Muong and Dzao People living around the lake. After lunch at Hoa Binh, proceed to Mai Chau. The valley of Mai Chau, with Thais’ s houses-on-stilts, is surrounded by rice fields, mountains and forest.
Free time in Mai Chau valley & view sunset behind the hills. After dinner in a family, we have the opportunity to take part to a traditional dance show.
O/N at house on stilts in Pom Coong remote village.

Day 4: MAI CHAU – SON LA (B/L/-)
This morning we are going to have a short trekking journey (or bike tour) to some of remote villages of Thai People inhabiting in Mai Chau valley. This trip to the northwest highland of Mai Chau offers a balance of cultural and physical activities set amongst some northern Vietnam’s stunning natural landscape.
Then transfer to Son La. During a long day traveling, you have the opportunity to enjoy the northern scenery.
O/N in Son La.

Day 5: SON LA – DIEN BIEN PHU (B/L/-)
The morning we visit Son La old Prison and some of nearby hill-tribe villages before we depart for Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence in 1954. The scenic route climbs over Pha Din Pass before dropping down to Dien Bien Phu Town where we have chance to visit the museum, A-1 hill and the former French command post with its trophy tank.
O/N in Dien Bien Phu.

Day 6: DIEN BIEN PHU – TAM DUONG (B/L/-)
Upon leaving Dien Bien we spend a full day traveling through Vietnam’s most mountainous region. Along the way there are some opportunities to explore the spectacular scenery with a mixture of terraced fields and hill villages and visit the Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang, Dao hill-tribe people.
O/N in Tam Duong.

Day 7: TAM DUONG – SAPA (B/L/-)
After a morning bumpy drive through the most beautiful hidden-north landscapes region, we arrive in Sa Pa. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, Sa Pa is a former French hill resort and home to some of Vietnam’s most colorful ethnic minority groups. Free afternoon to discover the town with its villas in French architecture, church and Ham Rong Mountain.
O/N in Sa Pa.

Day 8: SAPA (B/L/-)
Time to visit Sa Pa Market where the Red Dao, Black Hmong, Tay , Xa Pho ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding mountainsides or valley to trade their goods and enjoy a walk to some nearby hill tribe villages such as Cat Cat, Lao Chai and Ta Van villages.
O/N in Sa Pa.

Day 9: SAPA – BAC HA MARKET – BACK TO HANOI BY TRAIN (B/L/-)Sapa Town
We continue venturing into northern Vietnam with the next stop being Bac Ha Market, which also attracts a wide variety of ethnic minority groups including the Variegated Hmong, Dao, Phu La, La Chi, Tay. The experience of this congregation is colorful and unique.
Afternoon, enjoy a boat trip down stream Chay River and take visit to villages along the river, discover the local people life.
Transfer to Lao Cai Railways Station for overnight train back to Hanoi.
O/N on board.

Option 1: Bac Ha & Muong Khuong Market on Sunday
Option 2: Coc Ly Market on Tuesday
Option 3: Lung Khau Nhin Market on Friday
Option 4: Can Cau Market on Saturday

Day 10: HANOI RAILWAYS STATION – HALONG BAY (B/-/-)
06h00: Arrive at Hanoi Railways Station, transfer to hotel for leisure and breakfast.
09h00: Transfer to Halong Bay.
A 5-hour boat trip to visit Ha Long Bay, listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. This picturesque “Dragon descending to the sea” Bay has 1,969 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. Visit of a grotto then seafood lunch on board.
O/N in Ha Long.

Day 11: HALONG BAY – HANOI (B/-/-)
After breakfast at hotel, drive back to Ha Noi.
PM: At leisure for own activities.
O/N in Ha Noi.

Day 12: HANOI – Departure (B/-/-)
At leisure until transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure flight (check out hotel before 12h00).

Cost in US$ per person in the party (valid until 30 Sep’11) HIDDEN NORTH DISCOVERY
Standard First Superior
2 pax 1,204 1,301 1,382
3 – 6 pax 1,019 1,115 1,197
7 -10 pax 783 880 961
11 – 14 pax 685 781 863
Single supplement 219 316 385
Full board supplement 180 180 200

INCLUDING:
• Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
• Accommodation in hotels, guesthouses (twin shared room)
• Meal as mentioned: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
• English or French speaking guide
• Entrance fee to indicated sights
• Water puppet show, traditional dance show in Mai Chau
• Boat trip

EXCLUDING: Other meals, tip, drinks, airport tax, single room, personal expenses, insurance…

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
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Categories: Vietnam Travel Packages | Bạn nghĩ gì về bài viết này?

Vientiane Or Luang Prabang Full – Day Tour

OPTION 1: VIENTIANE HALF-DAY CITY TOUR Wat Sisaket
(No Lunch)
A.M or P.M Take a half day sightseeing tour of Vientiane, the capital of the Lao PDR, visit religious museums of Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple to have been survived from the Siamese war of 1828 and its cloister contains more than 8000 Buddha statues; Wat Ho Prakeo, the former home-temple of the Emerald Buddha statue or Pra Keo, but today it contains a collection of Buddha statues, antiques and all artifacts found in around Vientiane; That Luang Stupa, the single most important monument in Laos, which was built to cover the original small stupa containing a piece of the chest bone of Buddha; Patouxay (Arch de Triumph), built quite recently in commemoration of those who died during the wars in the past and it is today as the land mark of Vientiane and drive to outskirts of Vientiane to visit Ban Nongbouathong, the well-known village of Tai Deang ethnic sub-group for silk weaving textiles with natural dyes.

OPTION 2: LUANG PRABANG FULL-DAY TOUR Laos Tours
A.M meet at hotel and begin to visit the National Museum, the former Royal Palace which houses the collection of valuables including the famous Prabang Buddha statue, gifts received from foreign dignitaries…etc. Visit Hmong market for shopping in town. Drive to outskirts of Luang Prabang to visit Ban Xangkhong, the well-known village for making wood papers and also Lao silk weavings with natural dyes.
P.M take a sightseeing tour of the sacred city of temples, of which nearly fifty still remain in the town and surrounding areas. Visit Wat Visoun, the 16th century temple served as a small museum for religious artifacts; Wat Aham, the early 19th century temple, whose two guardian figures at the foot of the steps which represent two characters from the Ramayana — Hanuman, the Monkey God and a fierce Yaksa; Wat Xiengthong, the 16th century temple, which more than any temples in Luang Prabang, epitomizes all the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang architecture; Phousi Hill, the 328 steps leads to the summit of Phousi Hill that dominates the sky-line of Luang Prabang overlooking the finest panoramic view in the whole Luang Prabang.

Cost in US$ per person in the party (valid 30 Sep’09) LAOS DAY TRIPS
OPTION 1 OPTION 2
2 pax 50 72
3 – 5 pax 42 58
6 -9 pax 30 46
10 – 14 pax 25 42
15 pax up 22 32

INCLUDING:
• Transfers & tours with English speaking guide.
• Private air-conditioned transport + boat.
• Entrance fees for sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary.
• Baggage handling and porterage.
• Refreshing tower and drinking on tour.
• Service charge & government tax.

EXCLUDING:
• Travel insurance against any personal injury of illness and damage of the property incurred during the course of this trip.
• Personal expenses such as: drinks, phone calls, laundry, tip…etc.

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
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Categories: Laos Tours | Bạn nghĩ gì về bài viết này?

Suntan Laotian

People thought I was a lunatic for coming all the way to Laos, a landlocked nation without any beaches, for a “vacation”?

Even I thought I was out of my mind.

After a couple of days lying on the grass in the hazy egg-yolk-shaped sun of Vientiane, a Southeast Asian Wild West town, though, I was bronzed as a Buddha and ready to haggle in the marketplace for a Siddhartha statue. The real reason I’d come here instead of the idyllic beaches of Thailand, such as Krabi and Ko Samet, was classified information. But boy was I tan! My burnt reflection in the mirror, combined with a Spaghetti Western squint, lent me the ephemeral aura of a local.

Actually I was really in Laos to add another country to my laundry list of world conquests. (We all collect places.) I suppose I was also here for a little R and R: “Reading” and “Riting.” Occasionally I escaped into the shade of the bars along the Mekong or coughed up some kip (the Laotian currency) for a Beer Lao or a spicy laap (minced meat salad) at the Mixai Eat-Drink Restaurant. The idyll was added to by water buffalo along the banks, the droning of outrageously monotone frogs, and the conversations of devil-may-care travelers, expats, and embassy personnel. Here, as I whacked mosquitoes and listened to backpackers brag about their travels, I found the fading grandeur of the old Indochina. I felt like an old colonialist in my tan Banana Republic khakis and sturdy Rockports, chucked into a charmed land of rice and men.

I had spent a month on an adventurous white-knuckles tour of Vietnam, doing the entire snake-shaped country from Saigon to Hanoi, and was sort of tripping out on my antimalarial Lariam. (I stopped taking it.) As Lariam scrambled my thoughts, paranoia replaced placidity, and occasionally, as an American visiting a former enemy, images of The Deer Hunter came to mind. I also imagined the populace were trying to kidnap me and install me as their king. Lariam had also affected my ability to read: I tried Pico Iyer’s Video Night in Kathmandu, and all the colorful adjectives seemed to be leaping off the page like colliding Rorschach images in a kaleidoscope. I needed someplace quiet to relax and regain my equilibrium.

The Buddhist nation of Laos, Lan Xiang (Land of a million Elephants), which didn’t seem to have any elephants (nor malaria), proved to be a good prescription for paradise–a sort-of land-locked Shangri-la in the sun. Of course, it had its problems. Much of the country’s highways were plagued by bandits and rebels, which made traveling overland off the beaten track, in a land with few paved roads and many unexploded bombs, a little problematic. But it was oh so quiet. So I decided to stay in the capital and treat it as a Buddhist retreat.

Perhaps because of a rice diet, perhaps because of history, the Buddha was slimmer here than in some countries. Laos has had its lean years and is one of the least explored countries in Southeast Asia–partly because, with its long history as pawn to foreign powers, its communist rulers wanted to keep it that way. During the Vietnam-war-era, CIA-sponsored “Secret War,”, more American bombs were dropped on Laos than in all of World War II, yet Laos, one of the most peaceful Buddhist nations on earth, is not one to hold a grudge. As a sign of the times, according to my Lonely Planet guidebook, the ubiquitous loudspeakers everywhere once issuing patriotic communist rhetoric now spew out “commercial advertisements for laundry powder.”

Tourism was relatively new to the country. It was great not being assaulted by maniacal hawkers selling postcards, cold drinks, and sarongs. It was great also seeing the Kho San Road crowd, with their tattoos, tongue piercings, and dreadlocks looking slightly miffed not knowing where to get magic mushrooms for their omelettes. “Which way to the Golden Triangle?”

These are the credit-card ascetics, Westerners in Eastern garb who can be found making cash advances throughout Southeast Asia. All of them have American Express cards tucked away somewhere: “Don’t give up all your worldly possessions without it!” But I instead talked to local Laotians who kept telling me with third-world politesse, “It is good you are taking much pictures of our country” and “I think you are very smart, American man” and other such slightly off-kilter pleasantries. By getting it wrong they were somehow getting it right, unlike some of my fellow American travelers: “Dammit, where are the shops!”

Everywhere I went I saw images of the Buddha. I wanted one as a souvenir. It’s actually illegal to export Buddha statues out of Laos, but I figured if I hid one somewhere in my backpack maybe I could smuggle one out. In the market I had blundered into one day like a magnet for trouble, there were shelves upon shelves of the normal rotund deities with beatific smiles you see on sale throughout Southeast Asia. But what I was looking for (specifically) was a Siddhartha statuette in what’s called the “Calling for Rain” posture, with his hands down at his sides and fingers pointing to the ground…which was unique to Laos. I finally bought a thumb-sized Buddha that fit the bill.

For those with an Eastern bent, stupendous stupa-studded Laos is the perfect place to brush up on your Buddhism. Most Laos practice Theravada Buddhism (the Middle Path), introduced by Siddhartha Gautama in the 6th century, which avoids extremes of austerity and sensuality, and has three basic tenets: dukkha (suffering), anicca (the transience of all things), and anatta (the nonessentiality of reality). Of course, the ultimate goal is to achieve nirvana, the extinction of all suffering caused by desire.

Arriving at Pha That Luang (Great Sacred Stupa) in Vientiane, the most important religious complex in the country, which resembles a dream by Walt Disney on LSD, I smiled at some saffron-robed monks and entered. The monks waied me; I hied them, mangling my hands together in a “here’s the church, here’s the steeple” configuration. Many of the wats feature two uniquely Laotian types of standing Buddhist statues: the aforementioned “Calling for Rain” posture, and the “Contemplating the Boddhi Tree” posture, with his hands crossed at the wrists in front of the body. Lined up along the walls of wats the Laotian Buddhas resembled those shapely Venetians from Italian sci-fi flicks.

Back at the Syri Guesthouse, in the Quartier Chaoanou, I noticed everyone in the common room, sitting around on their ankles with Cokes in front of them, right outside the door to my bedroom. No way could I get through without first joining in. Though nominally communist, Laotians are way spiritual. (No Marxist “religion is the opium of the people” here in a land where real opium is the opium of the people.) A saffron-robed monk of uncertain age and regal demeanor was chanting. He appeared to be making contact with the other side.

So here was some sort of Buddhist ceremony I’d lucked into.

I was waved over by the manager. A nice cold Coke, most sacred of sodas, was placed in front of me. Incense burned, its smoke curling like ticker-tape. I crouched back uncomfortably on my ankles, when I naturally sit Indian-style.

The monk flitted about the room, marking places with charcoal, his guttural chanting sounding a little like an Orientalist didgeridoo. Ommmmmmm!

When the ceremony was over, I asked the manager what was it all about.

“It is a Lucky Ceremony!” she said. Her sly smile and arched eyebrow signified she was sort of on the make, if not for my wallet, then for something close by. We Westerners often mistake genuine friendliness for ulterior motives.

“Oh?” I was intrigued. As a Coppertone capitalist peering over the precipice, who also had trouble fathoming Laotian customs, I expected the ceremony to contain something elusive, ancient, and sage, something which plumbed the depths of the soul and shined a light on the human condition. Something, well, mysterious and arcane, at least.

Instead I received an honest explanation: “Yes, a Lucky Ceremony,” she enthused. “So more tourists will come here, and we make more money!”

I suppose even the Buddha had to make a buck occasionally?

Source: bootsnall.com

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
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Categories: Laos Tours | Bạn nghĩ gì về bài viết này?

Lanna Hospitality

Day 01: Arrival — Chiang Mai
Arrival at Chiang Mai International airport, meet and transfer to your hotel. Free on your own.

Day 02: Chiang Mai — City Tours
The journey northwards begins as we board a flight to Chiang Mai. After checking into hotel we drive west towards the famous Doi Suthep Mountain and embark on a walk leading us to Wat Prathat Temple near the summit. At an elevation of over 1,000 m , the temple grounds affords a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. We follow this with a visit to the old and new parts of the town featuring the great diversity. The “Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai has been always noted for exquisite handicrafts whose the combination with the traditional wares of the hill tribe people offers fantastic shopping opportunities. We drive this afternoon to the neighboring villages of Sankampaeng and Borsarng to see the various cottages industries including silk weaving, wood carving, silver ware and umbrellas making. (B, L)

Day 03: Chiang Mai — Elephant Camp — Tha Ton
An early morning we travel by car northbound to Mae Taman Elephant training center to see elephant training shows. Then we followed by riding on the elephant — ox cart riding return to the camp. Buffet lunch at the camp. Afternoon, visit Wat Tham Tub Tao in Chiang Dao before continue onto the sleepy riverside town of Thaton on the banks of Mae Kok River. We drive along winding road to a sleeping town of Tha Ton passing by the breathtaking mountain scenery make for an interesting day. Upon arrival at Thaton on the banks of Mae Kok River, we will visit Tha ton temple, located on the hill, from here you can see the view over the town. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. (B, L)

Day 04: Tha Ton — Long Necked Village — Doi tung — Golden Triangle — Chiang Rai
After breakfast we will drive along the borderline After breakfast, we continue drive to visit Akha and Padong long necked, the hill tribe villages before continue to drive up mountain to Maesai the northern most of Thailand.

We’ll continue drive to visit the Royal Palace and Botanic Garden at Doi Tung, Doi Tung is the site of a major environmental and socio-economic development project initiated by Her Royal Highness Srinakarindra the Princess Mother; mother of His Majesty the King of Thailand. You can spend the time to stroll around at the beautiful gardens. Then continue a famous Golden Triangle in which powerful warlords have fought for control the opium trade. We lunch at a local restaurant before visit the royal capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Saen is nestled on the Mekong riverbank which is now the border between Thailand and Laos. Overnight in Chiang Rai. (B, L)

Day 05: Chiang Rai — Bangkok
Today you will be free on your own activity until time transfer to the airport for your flight return to Bangkok, and connecting your flight to the next destination. (B)

Cost in US$ per person in the party (valid 30 Sep’09) LANNA HOSPITALITY
Standard First Superior
2 pax 542 580 676
3 – 4 pax 416 458 554
5 – 6 pax 357 397 492
7 – 10 pax 371 412 508
11 – 14 pax 313 352 449
15 – 19 pax 282 317 414
20 pax & plus 252 292 389
Single supplement 86 127 223
Full board supplement 110 110 110

PACKAGE INCLUDES:
• Accommodation at hotel as listed base on twin sharing basis
• Air conditioned transportation
• Tours as per itinerary including entry fee
• Elephant ride, ox-cart, bamboo rafting
• Meals as indicated on itinerary
• English speaking guide basis (others languages are available with extra cost)
• Drinking water, cool refreshments during the trip

DOESN’T INCLUDE
Other meals, tip, drinks, international airport tax, single room supplement, personal expenses, visa, flight in/ out Thailand, any optional additional tours or activities during free time…

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
Website: www.huongviettravel.com  | http://www.aseantravelandtours.com  | http://www.visavietnamonline.com  | http://www.huongvietjsc.com

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Categories: ThaiLand Tours | Bạn nghĩ gì về bài viết này?

7 Sustainable Ways to Dive Into Thai Culture

With its palm tree-lined islands, pristine beaches, and untamed jungle, Thailand makes a prime location for nature lovers, but mass tourism, all-night beach raves, and inner-city pollution have, until now, prevented the country from making waves on the eco-tourism radar. Thankfully, a growing trend of eco-friendly tour operators are shifting the focus back to the environment, embracing sustainable tourism that nurtures the country’s natural assets, encourages community-based tourism and preservation efforts, and best of all, offers some great guilt-free adventures.

1. Eco lodges, Chiang Mai

Thailand Tours

Eco lodges are fast becoming the accommodation option du jour in northern Thailand, with scores of tourists descending on the region to undertake treks to visit the area’s unique hill tribe villages, but be wary of their true eco credentials before checking in. Lisu Lodge in Chiang Mai is one of the best options, with its idyllic bamboo huts overlooking lush valleys, and tours that focus on cultural education and exchange, employing local village elders as their guides. The lodge takes its name from the Lisu Hill Tribe village in which it’s based and plays a crucial role in a community based project helping to conserve the heritage of the region’s hill tribes.

2. Nature treks, Chiang Rai

Thailand Tours

If you’re looking for an alternative to the hill tribe treks of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai makes another great starting point for hikers, located in the famed “Golden Triangle” region, where Laos, Thailand and Burma meet. Hiking to visit the nearby Hill Tribes is a popular choice, but there are plenty of alternative trekking possibilities in the region. Short trails or multi-day routes for all ability levels are available, and you can traverse slippery, wildlife-filled jungle, raft along the 80-mile long Mae Kok River, or climb to a mountain lookout for incredible views over the towns and valleys below. For best results, hire a local guide who’ll help you catch your own fish and teach you to cook it up in bamboo.

3. Eco-friendly fishing tours

Thailand Tours

Palm-lined bays teeming with squid come sunset, vast fishing lakes filled with an aquarium of fish, and ocean waters so clear you could catch a fish with your bare hands – Thailand is a fisherman’s paradise. For an eco-friendly tour, pile into one of the traditional long boats or a paddle boats and meander along the lakes and rivers or look out for the new electricity-powered eco-speedboats now available to charter.

For serious fishers, head to the Andaman Islands, a collection of Indian-owned islands northwest of Phuket where you can haul in massive tuna, marlin, and even sharks – the area is renowned as one of the best game fishing destinations in the world, and the strict environmental restrictions means there’s plenty of fish to go around.

4. Less-visited islands

Thailand Tours

The white-sand beaches, lush rainforest, and beach resorts crammed with bamboo huts make Thailand’s islands a hotspot for tourists, especially considering you can buy a luxury break here at a fraction of the price of resorts outside of Asia. Whether you head to a yoga retreat on Ko Samui, sip cocktails on the beaches of Phuket, or experience the famous Full Moon parties of Ko Pha Ngan, there’s an island to suit all tastes, but if you’re looking to avoid the mass tourism resorts and get a taste of life on a real Thai island, take your money to one of the country’s less-visited islands. How about hiking the jungles of the remote Ko Adang, snorkeling the colorful corals along the coast of the pint-sized Ko Kham, or experiencing the laid-back eco-conscious communities of Ko Libong?

5. Elephant sanctuary

Thailand Tours

Elephant trekking is big business in Thailand, especially in the jungles of the north, but before you sign on spare a thought for the animals themselves, who are often not cared for as well as you might be led to believe. While there are some tour operators that genuinely care for their animals, channeling your money into a sanctuary that rescues mistreated elephants and nurtures them in a natural environment is a much better way to get up close and personal with the trunked mammals without risking endangering them in the process. Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary is one well-reputed place run by a Thai-English couple where guests can get involved in the day-to-day care of the elephants, like feeding to bath time.  You can even get a chance to play with the baby elephants. Alternatively, the non-profit Pattaya’s Elephant village has provided homes for former working elephants since 1973 and provides a thorough education for those fascinated by the gentle giants.

6. Bicycle tour

Thailand Tours

While motorbikes and motorized tuk-tuks might provide the bulk of transport options in Thailand, there’s a burgeoning trend of cycle tourism starting up, with a number of eco-conscious tour operators offering bicycle rental or tours. From historical cycle tours cruising around the temples of Bangkok to multi-day treks traversing the varied terrain and remote villages of rural Thailand, there are plenty of options for budding cyclists, but if you’re up for a serious pedal challenge, you could always sign up for the annual long-haul bike ride Tour de Thailand, a 30-day tour running the length of the country to raise money for charity.

If you’re paying a visit to one of Thailand’s many islands, make use of the many bike rental outlets springing up and hire a bicycle for some solo explorations – a great way to burn off those Thai curries while doing your bit for the environment. Just make sure you check your bike over before you set off, as not all rental outlets are not well equipped in bicycle maintenance.

7. Bird watching

Thailand Tours

With almost 1000 bird species fluttering and swooping the treetops and plains of Thailand’s jungles and lakes, it’s unsurprising that the country has become a hotbed of bird watching activities. Look out for 13 species of hornbills, raptors, and fifteen species of kingfishers on a longboat trip around Khao Sok National Park.  Spot rail-babblers and great argus at Krung Ching Waterfall, and keep your eyes peeled at all times for the rare gurney’s pitta. Bird-spotting tours not only provide an eco-friendly way to get up close to the country’s wildlife, but tourist demand discourages deforestation, which means locals take a greater interest in protecting their natural environment.

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
Website: www.huongviettravel.com  | http://www.aseantravelandtours.com  | http://www.visavietnamonline.com  | http://www.huongvietjsc.com

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Grand Indochina Tour

Day 1: Arrival – HO CHI MINH City (-/-/-)Vietnam Travel Packages
On arrival at Tan San Nhat Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel for check in.
An afternoon city tour of Ho Chi Minh City includes the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office, a lacquerware factory, and the Chinatown with Binh Tay Market and Thien Hau Pagoda.
O/N in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2: CU CHI – TAY NINH (B/-/-)
Depart for Cu Chi and visit an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence. Proceed to Tay Ninh, the head quarter of Cao Dai region founded on 1926. On arrival we attend the fantastic mid-day mass when the followers fill the hall wearing colored robes, a symbol of the curious combination of the Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity and Buddhism.
O/N in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 3: MY THO & BEN TRE (B/L/-)
In the morning, transfer to My Tho, take a boat trip downstream to Ben Tre, where you have the opportunity to discover the local people life in Mekong Delta with coconut candy mill, fruit gardens followed by fruit tasting, rice paper mill… Biking or transfer by horse carriage on village road. Lunch at a local restaurant on island with local specialty of “Deep fried Elephant – Eared fish”.
Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 4: HO CHI MINH CITY – DANANG – HOIAN (B/-/-)
At leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for flight to Da Nang.
On arrival at Da Nang Airport, you are met and transferred to Hoi An, which was originally one of major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Visit of Hoi An Town with its low tiled houses of Chinese appearance, Japanese covered bridge, brightly painted temples and pagodas make it one of Vietnam’s most delightful places.
O/N in Hoi An.

Vietnam Travel PackagesDay 5: HOIAN – HUE (B/-/-)
Transfer to visit Marble Mountains with its beautiful grottoes and temples. Then continue to visit Cham Museum and proceed to Hue. The scenic 4-hour drive via Hai Van Pass offers spectacular views of mountains, the sea, idyllic beaches and villages.
O/N in Hue.

Day 6: HUE CITY TOUR (B/-/-)
Morning boat trip on Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda and Royal Tomb of Minh Mang. Then continue by car to visit the Royal Mausoleum of Tu Duc. Afternoon, time to visit Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945 and experience the local people life in Dong Da market.
O/N in Hue.

Day 7: HUE – HANOI (B/-/-)
A short morning flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. On arrival, we enjoy a half-day city tour with the Temple of Literature well known as Vietnam’s first university, and the Ethnology Museum then Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quanh Thanh Temple. Lastly, we have a cyclo ride around the old quarter streets to discover the local people life.
O/N in Hanoi.

Day 8: HANOI – HALONG BAY (B/-/-)
We continue visiting Ha Noi with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, House on Stilts. After having lunch at local restaurant, we drive to Ha Long Bay with stopover in Hai Phong, the biggest port town of northern Vietnam.
O/N in Ha Long.

Day 9: HALONG BAY – HANOI (B/-/-)
A 5-hour boat trip to visit Ha Long Bay, listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. This picturesque “Dragon descending to the sea” Bay has 1,969 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. Visit of a grotto then seafood lunch on board. Drive back to Hanoi. Evening: Water puppets show, the unique Vietnam traditional art.
O/N in Hanoi.

Day 10: HANOI – HOALU – TAMCOC – HANOI (B/-/-)Vietnam Travel Packages
Transfer to Hoa Lu, the sight of Vietnam’s capital during 10th and 11th century. Visit of Dinh and Le Temples, and then continue to Tam Coc, a boat trip on a river through “Ha Long inland” – the quiet and peaceful landscape of rice fields surrounded by limestone formations to visit three grottoes of Tam Coc. Drive back to Ha Noi.
O/N in Ha Noi.

Day 11: HANOI – LUANG PRABANG (B/-/-)
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to Noi Bai airport for flight to Luang Prabang, the ancient first capital of Lane Xang kingdom, the center of religious life in Laos and today the World Heritage City. Arrive in Luang Prabang and transfer to our hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, we take a sightseeing tour of the sacred city of temples, of which nearly fifty temples still remain in the town and surrounding areas. Visit Wat Visoun, the 16th century temple served as a small museum for religious artifacts; Wat Aham, the early 19th century temple, whose two guardian figures at the foot of the steps which represent two characters from the Ramayana – Hanuman, the Monkey God and a fierce Yaksa; Wat Xiengthong, the 16th century temple which, more than any temples in Luang Prabang, epitomizes all the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang architecture; Phousi Hill, the 328 steps leads to the summit of Phousi hill that dominates the sky-line of Luang Prabang overlooking the finest panoramic view in the whole Luang Prabang.
O/N in Luang Prabang.

Day 12: LUANG PRABANG & PAK OU Cave (B/L/-)
Following breakfast, we depart hotel to the boat landing, and take an excursion (a few hours) by boat, upstream on the Mekong to visit Pak Ou cave in the side of a lime stone cliff and opposite of the mouth of the Mekong and Ou rivers. The sanctuaries at Pak Ou consist of two large caves, both repositories for thousands of Buddha images, which range from mere centimeter to two meters in height.
En route, Lao typical villages are barely visible behind a screen of foliage. Slender canoes bobbing by the shore, bamboo poles and floats mark the location of nets and fish traps. Our first stop will be at Ban Muangkeo, a well-known village for Lao traditional rice whisky, namely Laoh-Khao to be distilled. We are welcome to taste it and also take away. Lunch is served at a riverside restaurant.
We arrive back at Luang Prabang in late afternoon, and continue to drive outskirt of town to visit Ban Xangkhong, a well-known village for its wood paper making and also Lao silk weavings with natural dyes.
O/N in Luang Prabang.

Laos ToursDay 13: LUANG PRABANG – KUANGSI WATERFALL (B/L/-)
An morning breakfast, before we take a drive (30 km South) to visit Kuangsi Waterfall, which, though not very high, is spectacular and really beautiful with its green surroundings as the preserved National park. We stop en-route, stop to visit a fresh produced market namely Talad Phosy, and also visit Ban Na Oune, a small village of a hill-tribe group “Hmong”, probably the best-known minority group in Laos. Just before arriving at Kuangsi waterfall, there is another village of Khmu minority group, namely Ban Tha Pane that we will visit.
Our picnic lunch is served at the shady park nearby Kuangsi waterfall. There is plenty of time for relaxing and a swim in cool water, before we head back to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. The rest of the day is spent by visiting various craft-shops, including silver smiths’ and also Hmong market in town, where some skilled embroidery-works of Hmong ladies can be seen.
O/N in Luang Prabang.

Day 14: LUANG PRABANG – VIENTIANE (B/-/-)
In the morning, visit the National Museum, the former Royal Palace which houses the collection of valuables including the famous Prabang Buddha statue, gifts received from foreign dignitaries…etc. Transfer to Luang Prabang airport for flight Vientiane.
Meet on arrival and you are welcome to Vientiane, the city of the moon – an ancient city, situated on the bend on the left bank of the Mekong as the largest city and the capital of Laos. Transfer to hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, we take a sightseeing tour of Vientiane, to visit religious museums of Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple to have been survived from the Siamese war of 1828 and its cloister contains more than 8000 Buddha statues; Wat Ho Prakeo, the former home-temple of the Emerald Buddha statue or Pra Keo, but today it contains a collection of Buddha statues, antiques and all artifacts found in around Vientiane; That Luang Stupa, the single most important monument in Laos, which was built to cover the original small stupa containing a piece of the chest bone of Buddha; Patouxay (Arch de Triumph), built quite recently in commemoration of those who died during the wars in the past and it is today as the land-mark of Vientiane.
O/N in Vientiane.

Day 15: VIENTIANE – PHNOM PENH (B/-/-)
After breakfast, a short flight to Phnom Penh.
Upon arrival at Phnom Penh airport, meets and transfers to hotel
Upon arrival at Phnom Penh airport, meets and transfers to hotel
Visit the Victory Monument and the National Museum, the Royal Palace, built by the French in 1866 on the site of the old town, and Silver Pagoda, which located within the Royal Palace ground.
You will then end your tour with a visit to Wat Phnom Temple, Phnom Penh’s namesake, from where you can enjoy views over the tree lined avenues of the city during sunset
O/N at hotel.

Day 16: PHNOM PENH – SIEM REAP (B/-/-)
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to Phnom Penh airport for departure to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at Siem Reap airport, meets and transfers to hotel
Visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate (with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk), Bayon Temple(unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King
In the afternoon, visit the most famous of all the temples on the Angkor plain: Angkor Wat. The temple complex cover 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five tower symbolize Meru’s five peaks, the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat symbolizes the ocean beyond
Sunset from Phnom Bakheng, one of two hills dominating the plain of Angkor, from where you will have a spectacular view of the Western Baray and Angkor Wat
O/N at hotel.

Day 17: SIEM REAP (B/-/-)Cambodia Tours
Breakfast at hotel
In the morning, you will continue your temple visits. Included are Prasat Kravan (with its unique brick sculptures), Srah Srang (“The Royal Boths” was once used for ritual bathing), Banteay Kdei (surrounded by four concentric walls), Eastern Mebon (guarded at its corner by stone figures of harnessed elephants, some of which are still in a reasonable state of preservation) and the “Mountain Temple” of Pre Rup.
In the afternoon, transfer to the archaeological site and continue to the temple tour. Visit Ta Prohm, one of the most beautiful temples in the area. Ta Prohm has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery
Then, visit Takeo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevoda temples
O/N at hotel.

Day 18: SIEM REAP (B/-/-)
Breakfast at hotel
Morning, drive to Kbal Spean. Walk 45 minutes through the forest to the top of the hill to reach Kbal Spean, the “Thousand Linga River.” Discover the 10th-12th century sculptures chiseled into the rocky riverbed, the Royal Bath and the waterfall
Then, continue to the enchanting temple of the Banteay Srei, nearly everyone’s favorite site. The special charm of this temple lies in its compact size, remarkable state of preservation, and the excellence of it decorative carvings
In the afternoon, visit Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to the “anastylosis” restoration method being used. The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people that inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscriptions have been found at this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period, similar to Angkor Wat. The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple
Return to Siem Reap at the end of the afternoon
O/N at hotel.

Day 19: SIEM REAP – Departure (B/-/-)
Breakfast at hotel
Visit the floating village of the Chong Khneas, located 10 kilometers south of Siem Reap. Take a traditional wooden boat for a ride on the Tonle Sap, the “Great Lake” of Cambodia and the largest in Asia
In the afternoon, visit “Les Artisans d’Angkor – Chantiers Ecoles” of Siem Reap and time at leisure at the local market (if time permits)
Transfer to Siem Reap airport for departure to the next destination.

Cost in US$ per person in the party of (valid 31 Dec’07) GRAND INDOCHINA TOUR
Standard First Superior
2 pax 2,207 2,242 2,586
3 – 6 pax 1,964 2,033 2,388
7 -10 pax 1,721 1,840 2,172
11 – 14 pax 1,617 1,750 2,118
15 – 19 pax 1,604 1,744 2,107
20 pax & plus 1,546 1,692 2,051
Single supplement 332 516 829
Full board supplement 306 340 510

INCLUDING:
• Accommodation in hotels (twin shared room)
• Air tickets: Saigon – Danang, Hue – Hanoi, Hanoi – Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang – Vientiane, Vientiane – Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh – Siem Reap.
• Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
• Meal as mentioned: B = breakfast, L = lunch
• English or French speaking guide
• Entrance fee to indicated sights
• Boat trips
• Cool waters & towels on the car/van/coach

EXCLUDING:
• Visa fee to Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia
• Travel insurance against any personal injury of illness and damage of the property incurred during the course of this trip.
• International air tickets to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and from Siem Reap (Cambodia).
• Departure airport tax.
• Personal expenses such as: drinks, phone calls, laundry, tip…etc.

HUONG VIET TRAVEL – MEMBER OF PATA, ASTA, IATA
Add: 20 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (84-4) 37162149    Fax: (84-4) 37161738
E–mail address: sales@huongviettravel.com
Website: www.huongviettravel.com  | http://www.aseantravelandtours.com  | http://www.visavietnamonline.com  | http://www.huongvietjsc.com

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Categories: Cambodia Tours | Bạn nghĩ gì về bài viết này?

Highlights Of Yangon And Surroundings Tour

Day 1 – Arrive in Yangon Myanmar Tours
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your our Guide who will accompany you as you transfer to the hotel.
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes it one of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia.
This afternoon, your sight seeing begins with a visit to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, which houses a 70-meter reclining Buddha. Continue to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. The central stupa is over 90 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf- a breathtaking and colorful sight which dominates the city skyline.
Overnight in Yangon.

Day 2 – Yangon
After breakfast, you will transfer to Yangon Railway station to take local circular train journey to the outskirts of town (45 minutes ride). The slowly traveling train gives you a unique opportunity to observe the lively and colorful life of the rural Burmese people. Disembark to visit Insein market where a variety of street vendors sell colorful wares. Enjoy exploring the market and meeting the friendly locals before returning by road to Yangon.
This afternoon enjoy a city tour by car or rickshaw around the colonial area which is filled various historical buildings. Stop for a drink at a local teashop, a great place to soak in the local culture and lifestyle, before traveling along the famous Strand Road to the riverside.
Continue to Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where you can browse through the wide selection of Myanmar handicrafts and other goods (Note: closed on Mondays and public holidays). As today comes to a close, take a stroll around colorful Chinatown and visit one of Yangon’s Chinese temples.
Overnight in Yangon.

Myanmar ToursDay 3 – Yangon – Bago or Twante – Yangon
Today you have the choice of visiting two nearby townships to Yangon.
Option 1:
After breakfast at the hotel, depart Yangon for the scenic road journey to Bago. Located 80km northwest of Yangon, Bago was the capital of the 6th century Mon kingdom and is filled with historic temples.
Your visit in Bago includes Shwethalyaung Temple which houses a beautiful 55-meter long reclining Buddha. You will also visit the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar and its 114 meter spire is taller than the one at Shwedagon Pagoda. Before departing Bago, visit the well-restored former palace, Kambozathadi, which was the marvel of Asia when it was originally built in the 16th century.
On the way back to Yangon, stop at the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan. This beautiful, peaceful cemetery is the final resting place for over 27,000 Allied soldiers.

Option 2:
After breakfast, your excursion begins with scenic drive to Thwante through Hlaing Tharyar Township, offering a glimpse of life in the countryside outside the capital. Arrive at Thwante, a small village specialized in traditional pottery.
Enjoy the scenery as you take a horse cart ride through the small villages and past sights such as the local market. Stop at a ceramics making area where more then twenty family workshops produce ceramic pots using centuries old methods.
After lunch, visit Shwesandaw Pagoda and the local jetty before returning to Yangon.
Overnight in Yangon

Day 4 – Depart Yangon
After breakfast, free at leisure with car and guide at disposal until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (B)

Cost in US$ per person in the party (valid 30 Sep’09) YANGON & SURROUNDINGS
Standard First Superior
2 pax 285 293 331
3 – 4 pax 274 285 322
5 – 6 pax 210 220 256
7 – 10 pax 204 215 251
11 – 15 pax 178 190 225
16 – 19 pax 165 175 213
20 pax & up 156 167 205
Single supplement 40 50 87
Full board supplement 75 75 75

INCLUDING:
• 3 nights accommodation on half twin room basis with daily breakfast
• English-speaking guide
• All transfers with private air-conditioned vehicles with driver
• 1 lunch at local restaurant on day 3
• Entrance fees for the visits
– Yangon : National Museum, Shwedagon Pagoda, Botahtaung Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Museum
– Bago : Zone Fee

EXCLUDING:
• International ticket to/from Yangon
• Meals others than mentioned
• Visa arrangements for Myanmar
• Entrance fees for visits not mentioned in the program
• Drinks and personal expenses
• Tips and porters at the hotels
• International airport departure tax Yangon (USD 10/pax at present)
• Any other items not mentioned

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