Why the best way to absorb the culture of Vietnam and Cambodia is cruising this river

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Why the best way to absorb the culture of Vietnam and Cambodia is cruising this river

Vietnam and Cambodia offer a colourful culture, poignant history and verdant landscapes. These countries are ideally suited to travelling by water as many of the most rewarding experiences are tucked away in the countryside through which the Mekong River passes. With most leading cruise operators, all excursions are included in the price of your trip. Not only do these include visiting popular sights such as the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat and the Cu Chi network of wartime tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) but you’ll also have the chance to visit homes, schools, markets, monasteries and tiny villages. This immersive approach enables you to see how ordinary people go about their daily lives, eat the food they do and experience less-seen landmarks and rituals. It adds a compelling dimension to your holiday without the hassle of having to make any complicated plans yourself. Mix with the locals You’ll get a glimpse of everyday life on the riverbank from the deck of your modern ship as you drift serenely along the Mekong. Rickety wooden houses on stilts lean haphazardly against each other. Children wave excitedly and shout “hello”; their fathers are fishing and tinkering with boat engines and their mothers sell rice, fruit and flowers in the floating markets. Ashore, you’ll be taken off the beaten track to visit villages, where smiling people offer a warm welcome. You can find out how craftspeople work with silk, copper and silver, and learn how to make rice paper. You’ll get a taste of rural Mekong life on a rickshaw ride through village streets and on a cart pulled by an ox through paddy fields. There’s also the chance to be showered by lotus petals in a blessing by Buddhist monks at their monastery in Oudong, the former royal capital of Cambodia. Sample regional food Immersing your senses in the aromas and flavours of a region plays an important role in really getting to know a country. This is especially true in Vietnam and Cambodia, where the aromatic cuisine is a treat for the nose and taste buds. As well as sampling regional dishes aboard your river vessel, docking overnight in Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh gives you the chance to dine ashore and mix with the locals. The cities are places of manic energy and riotous traffic, and crossing the road is almost impossible. The easiest option is to ask a local to see you across, preferably a Buddhist monk. His orange robe is hi-vis and no one would dare to knock down a holy man. In restaurants, people tend to eat “family style”, sharing dishes. A typical Vietnamese meal will include rice, a meat or seafood dish, a vegetable dish, soup and fish sauce for dipping. The national dish is pho – a broth in which noodles, vegetables, and chicken, beef, pork or shrimp are added. Cambodia’s...

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Snow falls in Sapa in 2018

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The temperature has sharply fallen in Sapa in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai bringing snow. Luu Minh Hai, head of the provincial Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting, said that the mountainous areas of Lao Cai saw the temperature of below zero degrees centigrade on Wednesday morning. Sapa Town has been covered by snow, particularly in the O Quy Ho Pass area. Despite the chilling-bone cold, snow has attracted quite many tourists to Sapa. Authorities of Sapa District have urged local residents to take measures to mitigate the worst effects of the...

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Vietnam to issue one-year visas to US citizens

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Vietnam to issue one-year visas to US citizens

Vietnam is poised to extend the validity of single-entry visas for U.S. citizens to one year to facilitate their travel and foster trade and commercial ties between the two countries, the lawmaking National Assembly said Monday. U.S. tourists or business travelers currently can only apply for a three-month, single-entry visa for their Vietnam trips, and the American business community has repeatedly pushed for the term to be prolonged. A proposal to extend the visa term to one year was delivered to the National Assembly at Monday’s meeting in Hanoi by Vietnam’s newly elected President Tran Dai Quang and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. Vietnamese citizens who wish to enter the U.S. for business and tourism purposes are now allowed to apply for a multi-entry, 12-month visa, and Vietnam should do the same on the basis of reciprocity, according to the proposal. The proposition therefore calls on the National Assembly to approve a new diplomatic note on granting visas between Vietnam and the U.S., with the extended duration included. The new visa term will facilitate the travel of U.S. citizens and boost Vietnam-U.S. trade and commercial ties, according to the proposal. The proposition was discussed by lawmakers at the meeting. Deputy Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong, who chaired the event, eventually concluded that the legislative body “agrees to grant one-year visas” for U.S. citizens to enter Vietnam. The Standing Committee of the National Assembly will prepare a resolution to officially ratify the diplomatic note as proposed by the president and foreign minister, Phong...

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Trek to Fansipan after cable car installation

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Trek to Fansipan after cable car installation

The trekker would have to start 3 hours earlier than usual despite the dark, the cold and fog to be at the summit before the cable car is to open at 8:00. After the grand opening in February 2016, the cable car system between Sapa and Fansipan is a hot topic to debate among community and trekkers. Spending only US$ 30, anyone can touch the legendary summit at 3143 meters within 20 minutes. Most of the peope agree that the cable car installation would change the beauty of Indochina roof, even some people think that the cable car will kill the Fansipan with the picture of the crowd at the Fansipan top. With the experience of a real Fansipan trekker via the classic route, Mr. Kien Lam in Hanoi told us that “Fansipan would not die but our spirit would die slowly. The cable car would be a test for the trekkers’ determination and...

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Fansipan cable car is to open in Feb 2016

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Fansipan cable car is to open in Feb 2016

The cable car system is ready to use in February 2016. The Sun Group has announced that they will open the cable car in 2nd Feb 2016. Be the first to experience the cable.   WORKING HOURS Start: 7:30 A.M End: 17:30 Date to start: 2nd Febururay 2016 PRICE Adult and child (taller than 1,3 m): US$ 33.00/person/ one way Child: US$ 22.00/person/ one way   HOW TO GET TO SAPA STATION Taxi: From the town center (Sapa Church), the Fansipan Legend is about 3 km, it costs US$ 3 to travel by taxi Walk: please go to Thac Bac Street and go straight about 1 km, then turn left onto Nguyen Chi Thanh Street for 1,7 km more STATION Sapa Station area includes the station, Van Sam Buffet restaurant, Hoa Dao restaurant, Moc La cafe, shopping center and pagoda Thien Tu Fansipan Station area includes the station, shopping center, Do Quyen restaurant, Pagoda Thanh Phong and the Fansipan peak Road Path meeting point station in sapa town Fansipan Cable Car, Legend Fansipan Cable car Cable car Sapa station Parking area, Fansipan Cable Car 2016 Pagoda Sapa Station Sapa Station on the Fansipan Cable Car, Fansipan Cable Car, Fansipan Cable Car, It normally takes people one or two days to reach the peak of Fansipan mountain on foot. The three-rope cable car system, invested by SunGroup, will carry passengers from the bottom to the highest point of the mountain in 15-20 minutes. It will come into operation on Vietnam Tet Holiday 2016 The world’s longest three-rope cable car system, extending from the northern Lao Cai Province’s Sapa Town to Fansipan peak, will open for passengers in February 2016. The project’s investor SunGroup announced this at a recent meeting with the leaders of Lao Cai Province and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV). The construction of the cable car is being carried out in the first phase of the Fansipan Sapa tourism complex. The construction began on November 2, 2013 and is expected to be complete by National Day (September 2) in 2015. The cable car can carry a maximum of 2,000 passengers per hour, with each cabin accommodating 35 passengers. The cable car will transport passengers from the base of the 3,143-metre Fansipan mountain to its highest point within 15 to 20 minutes. Currently, it takes one to two days to trek to the top of the mountain. WHERE TO BOOK Please contact Sapa Travel to have the cable car tickets to Fansipan in 2016 Office in Hanoi: representative by First Choice Travel– 18 Lane 32, Chua Ha Street, Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam Mobile: (+84) 912217448 Email: info@travelsapa.com Web: http://www.travelsapa.com Booking office telephone:...

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Vietnam Mountain Marathon results 2015

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Vietnam Mountain Marathon results 2015

The participants from 45 countries have join the Vietnam Mountain Marathon in Sapa by Topas Travel & Denmark Embassy in Hanoi. Sanya Khanchai (from Thailand) and Samantha Young (from USA) are the male & female winners for the 70-km racers. We proudly welcome Mr. Sanya Khanchai to VMM 70km. The ultra-champion of Thailand, now signed up for Vietnam Mountain Marathon ready to race to his limits.   Vietnam Mountain Marathon 24-27nd of September 2015. (Race day 26th of September) Welcome to the hardest run in Vietnam! VMM is Unique trail running of 10km, 21km, 42km or 70km in a spectacular mountain region of north Vietnam. Welcome to the mountains of Vietnam to thousands of yellow rice fields, water buffaloes and colorful ethnic minority groups. The small dirt roads and narrow trails will take you through the majestic mountains and valleys that are only used by locals. Each route will encompass challenging climbs, exhilarating descents and a true glimpse of local life through the rice fields and ethnic minority villages. In general The trails – with cumulative positive vertical meters ranging from around 1000m (21km) to round 3000 meters (70km) – will be on a marked route, tagged at crucial navigational points. Water and fruit will be available at aid stations every 10-15km. Runners doing the marathon or the ultra-distance must bring their own additional energy bars, gel or personal food and other important mandatory equipment (see equipment). Given the altitude and general hard conditions this cannot be your first Full or Ultra Marathon. Very strong sun or heavy rain is always a possibility in the mountains. Any participation in this unique event is completely at your own risk and you will be required to sign a waiver in order to participate. After the race we will enjoy the very special social life of mountain runners and a good meal around a big bonfire where we can share our running experiences, the mountains and the twinkling stars above. Bring your family, your friends or join this unique event on your own. You don’t have to be a fast runner, but you better be tough and looking for a unique adventure of hiking or running. You can also extend the journey and make the race a part of a longer active adventure in Vietnam. How to get to Sapa: Airport/Train/Bus We recommend all runners to buy a 3 or 4 days runners package from Hanoi, to the mountains and back to Hanoi. From Hanoi International Airport In order to reach the Bus Stop for your journey from Hanoi to the mountains, you need to calculate emigration at the airport, maybe 30min, plus 1 hour of driving from the airport to the Bus Stop. We can arrange your airport pickup to the Bus Stop or to your hotel in Hanoi center at the price of 15US$ per person. Take the VMM bus...

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