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Discover Halong Bay - World Heritage of Vietnam

If Hanoi is the grand old dame of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City is the brash young floozy, then Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An are the alluring mistresses you encounter along the way.

How to find safe travel in Halong Bay

Having read the news about tourist boat sunk in Halong Bay, Vietnam some days ago, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to give out some advices about how to travel safely and enjoyably in Halong Bay.

Cruising Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay looked picturesque and was sunny and warm. Indochina sails, Ha Long bay , Vietnam We got up early today as we need to catch the bus for our trip to Ha Long Bay, about 3 hours west of Hanoi.

Kayaking and Cycling in a World Heritage Bay

Halong Bay is one of the most spectacular, and therefore heavily 'touristed' attractions in Vietnam. Kayak on Ha Long bay, Vietnam .

A Look into Beautiful Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay has been declared a UNESCO World heritage site and it really deserves the designation. It is one of the most exciting unusual places I have been to in my life.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas atmosphere is everywhere in Vietnam

How is Christmas in Vietnam celebrated?  Despite Christmas not being traditionally celebrated in Vietnam, the Christmas spirit has certainly arrived in recent years, with decorations proudly lacing many an office and apartment building. Today, Christmas is one of the major festivals in Vietnam and celebrated with much enthusiasm by people of almost all religious communities.

In big cities, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Christmas is a big event and celebrated a little bit differently from the European tradition. The Christmas decorations here are more or less similar to the Western Christmas beautifications. About one or two weeks before Christmas, churches, high-rise buildings, shopping centers, shops and streets in the cities are striking by colored lights. Many young boys and girl go to these places to take photos with the beautiful decorations.

Unlike Christmas in the United State, where most of celebration in the home with home cooked   meals and family gathering, the Vietnam hold the event outside. On Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas Day – December 25th, there is a large focus in the church. People go to many churches around the cities or towns to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. For the Christians, it is a solemn ceremony. For others, this is an interesting spectacle. The biggest, most crowded and beautiful church in Hanoi is the Saint Joseph Cathedral and in Ho Chi Minh City is the Notre Dame Cathedral (or Notre-Dame Basilica). Both of these cathedrals are in the center of the cities. In other cities or provinces, they do not have many interesting activities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, but with the Christians, Christmas is still the most important occasions in a year.

Another interesting way in Vietnam enjoins Christmas in Halong bay, one of the world nature wonders. Spending the Christmas Eve in the traditional Vietnamese Junk would be much better than staying in the city. Santa will arrive by dingy at midnight bringing some small gifts for everyone on board. To sing Christmas songs together, you won't forget about a special christmas in Vietnam.

For more information about cruise in Halong bay, please visit: http://www.indochinasails.com/

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tips for cruising with children in Halong Bay

It is a great experience when your family can spend time travelling together. However, travelling with children can cause some difficulties for parents. Here are some tips that parents should know when joining a cruise in Halong Bay:


Travelling with children, parents should have a list that their children need like:

Food: it is obvious that the chefs on board prepare meals for your children (the same menu with parents), but for the small babies, you should add: milk, tea or cookies, snack…
Clothes: make sure that you bring warm clothes in the winter and comfortable clothes in the summer for the children.
Others: you also should bring some medicine in case your children are not fine.

Safety on board

The safety on board is very important, especially for children, parents should:

Always take notice of the children, keep them in your sight.
Make sure that children do not climb on the handrail or the railing on boat. Children are not allowed to stand on the bow.
Ask the staffs on board to show you the life vests for children.

Activities on board

Children can join the activities on board like: cave visiting, kayaking, swimming or fishing village but they need their parents’ attention. Before each activity, children need to be told in advance about the safety so that they are more careful to follow the instructions.

Children also need to be well- equipped with life vests during all the activities.

The role of the tour guide and staffs on board

Take care more, playing and chatting with them.
Ask the parents if the children need to have dinner early as they need to go to bed earlier than adults.
Check with the parents if the menu for adults is also suitable with children; otherwise, the alternative food should be prepared.
Prepare some games for children.

For more information about cruise, please refer:  "http://www.indochinasails.com/"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Halong Bay Water-based Activities

Surrounded by thousands of limestone mountains, Ha Long Sea creates a charming beauty for the bay and makes it unbelievably unique. Coming to Halong Bay, you will be entering a world of water wonders.

Exciting water sports

Immense water surface in Ha Long is home to a number of water sports such as rafting, kayaking and swimming. Tourists who love adventures can try water motor driving or parachute-pulled canoeing offered on Bai Chay or Tuan Chau beach. While high speed of the water motors brings about thrilling moments, a parachute-pulled canoe tour gives tourists a bird-eye view to spectacular scene of the bay below.

For those wishing to spend more time on sightseeing and discovering the bay by themselves, kayaking is surely the perfect choice. The most impressive moment is when the kayak began moving into the cave. The further one goes inside, the darker and cooler it is. The cave is filled with falling stalactites, and sometimes, one has to crouch down in the boat to avoid hitting his head on them.

Scuba Diving in Halong Bay- New and Exciting

Spacious underwater world in Ha Long with diversified marine creatures is a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving. The period from April to December, when the temperature of water ranges from 26-29 degree Celsius, is the best time for these kinds of sport. Just put on scuba glasses, diving fins, scuba cylinder, and then jump into the water, a wonderful ocean worldwouldinstantly be opening in front of tourists’ eyes. Thousands of splendid corals such as sun mushroom, leather or stag-horn and colorful fishessuch as sergeant major or Clark’s anemone would definitely amaze anyone.In addition, internationally- licensed and friendly scuba divers and assistants promise safe dive and
unforgettable experience to tourists.

Soft sandy beaches fringed with coconut palms are not only ideal places for sunbathing or relaxation but also for energetic sport activities like beach volleyball or football. Besides matches played for fun and good health, occasional international competition such as Asian Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships draws attention of many locals and travelers.

Overnight on luxurious junks

Luxurious junk is movable accommodation, a perfect combination of upscale hotel and convenient transportation. Guests can enjoy marvelous beauty of the world heritage site any time they want while lying on the bed, enjoying coffee on the boat terrace, having lunch in dining room or sunbathing on the top deck.

Besides taking tourists to the highlights of Ha Long Bay, the tour offers them interesting sports and entertainment activities such as scuba diving, kayaking or Vietnamese cooking class.Particularly, tourists who love to wake up early to appreciate the bay’s beauty in the dawn can also join morning Taichi class on the deck.

Floating fishing villages

Famous for unique scenery with thousands of limestone islands floating on the water, Ha Long attracts tourist by its cultural value as well. In recent years, visiting floating fishing villages in Ha Long such as Vong Vieng or Cua Van have been more popular.

The locals here live on floating houses and mainly earn a living by fishing and marine aquaculture. They go fishing in the morning, selling their catches to bigger boats, which later sell the catches to the mainland. On the way of sigh-seeing around Ha Long Bay, travelers can see some floating markets of the local peopleselling goods for daily use such as vegetable, fruits, rice and fishes.

Tourists can get an insight into the locals’ life byvisiting fish cultivation area. It would be much more interesting if one can have ahome-stay and try daily work of fisherman like rowing boat, casting and hauling the fish net, sitting on coracle and listening to folk songs at night. Besides, there are plenty of souvenirs made from shells and pearls by the locals available for choices. Despite language barrier, friendly and cheerful locals would surely make guests feel comfortable like staying at home.

Supported by Indochina Sails – The most luxury and safest cruises in Halong Bay

Hanoi Office
Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
Email: info@indochinasails.com
Website: www.indochinasails.com (http://www.indochinasails.com/en/)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Enjoy Lobsters When Visiting Halong Bay

When you are on your favourite Vietnam Tours and you think you have marvelled enough on the beauty of Halong Bay, then you have only satisfied one of your senses. Of course the landscape, the emerald sea, the more or less 2000 limestone karst and the beautiful junk boat cruises leave nothing but beautiful visual memories. World travellers say that if you want classical music and refined culture you go to Prague, but if you want amazing wonders of nature you go to Halong Bay. This was a fact recognized worldwide as Halong Bay was officially named one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2012. On top of that, since 1994, the bay was already listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But do you know that the perfect Halong Bay experience of your best Vietnam tours is more than what meets your eyes?

Once you reach Bai Chai City when your Vietnam Tours adventure brings you to Halong Bay it is recommended that you take a journey down gourmet lane as you take a sample of the city’s delicious seafood selections. All the seafood is fresh as they were ordered by the restaurant owners early in the morning directly from the boat of fisherman docking on the beach. This means you can be sure that the flavour of the sea is still not lost on the lobster that is going to be served to you. If you want the surest way to eating the freshest lobster, then go to restaurants that have lobster tanks where you can choose a live lobster to be cooked exclusively for you by the resident chef. You will enjoy a sumptuous meal of lobster cooked Vietnam style and this means that only fresh ingredients are used to cook your live lobster.

Once you have tasted the best lobster on your Vietnam Tours travel in Bai Chai City, it is time to enjoy your lobster to the next level. On Halong Bay’s biggest island, you will experience fine dining on board a floating restaurant. And what could be better than eating your favourite seafood on top of the bay that offers its own bounty. On Cat Ba Island, seafood is ordered from floating villages that have their own aquaculture. Residents of these floating houses tend lovingly their fish cages full time since it is attached to their house and that means only seafood of top quality is going to be served on your table.

After enjoying a hearty meal of lobster on the floating restaurants, why not treat yourself to a relaxing foot massage. A half hour foot massage cost only $3.00 and they are available in several places in Cat Ba town. You can also go to the North West side of town and roam around the market place. The seafood section will give you an idea of how rich and bountiful Halong Bay is to its own people as you will see so many varieties of fish caught locally. You may not believe this but about 200 species of fish and more than 400 kinds of molluscs provide the daily sustenance of locals. They also can absolutely satiate your hunger for extraordinary seafood on your Vietnam tours excursion to Halong Bay.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your plate and fork and be ready to enjoy lobsters in the very beautiful Halong Bay.


For more information, please visit us: http://www.indochinasails.com

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sa Sung in Halong

There are many special foods in Ha Long Bay . Almost people will talk about Sa Sung firstly when talk about special food here.

 Sa sung (Vietnamese: Sá sùng) is a kind of sea worn. It is found in some sea areas in Vietnam such as: Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Con Dao… Its environment is sand. It lives on deep hole under sand. Length of Sa Sung is about 10 – 15cm with blow red. It looks like earth worm but it is bigger. In its bowler is full of sands. Early morning is the best time for local people to catch Sa Sung. While earning food Sa Sung lets a lot of traces on sand. Therefore, local people easy to find down it inside holes following that sign.

Coming to Quan Lan, a island of Bai Tu Long-Quang Ninh, you should not lose chances to see catching Sa Sung- this kind of organism is the main material make noodle soup dish of Ha Thanh delicious. You should enjoy a dish of fried san sung with pine apple, it is very nice.

How to cook this dish Sa Sung?

In each region, Sa Sung is cook in different ways.

Dried Sa Sung is similar to dried cuttlefish. It is a kind of ephemera, so that it contains a lot of nutrition. You have to wash them carefully, take sands out of their bowler. You should wash them under water until Sa Sung has the ivory white color. Then, you will make it dried.

In Quang Ninh and other northern provinces, they use Sa Sung as dried shrimp to cook with noodle soup or vermicelli. Local people also make this kind of organism into many delicious dishes such as baking with pepper and salt, or eat it raw with spice. This kind of food is very nutritional. In Con Dao or Vung Tau, Sa Sung is fried or baked.

Sa sung has its natural sweet taste, so you do not have to add sugar or glutamate. You only add a little salt. The native here said that if you have once chance to try this food, you will never forget it.

Prices of Sa Sung

In Quang Ninh , its price is 500.000-600000 VND per kg.

In Con Dao, it is 150000-160000 VND per kg.


Supported by Indochina Sails - The most luxury and safest cruises in Halong Bay
Hanoi Office
Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
Email: info@indochinasails.com

Friday, November 9, 2012

Special Foods In Halong Bay

Culinary is one of part that can’t miss in each of trip. When travelling to any destination, most of tourist not only visit beauty spots, search about cultural, historical values but also discovery and enjoy culinary there. In facts, they often use a significant time to enjoy special foods at the local. It’s not an exception when visitors come to Ha Long Bay. Coming here travelers will be satisfied with seafood and Vietnamese traditional foods. For Vietnamese traditional foods, visitors will have chance to taste and compare with other regions about flavor. Because it’s difference among areas about methods, spices… . For seafood – strength of this place – let’s enjoy to feel sophistication of chef here although they can be the local people without cooking training courses.

 It might be a little overstated to say that half of Ha Long cuisines are dishes made from sea snails, but this is to emphasize the significant contribution of this irresistible food stuff to Ha Long gastronomy.
There is no precise estimation on how many types of sea snails are edible in this beautiful bay. Huan, a local fisher said that he had seen about 20 kinds of see snails so far. The fisherman continued his story about sea snails by listing their name respectively, however, after three repeating times, this unprofessional tour-guide decided to try out directly that extraordinary creature would be the best way to “taste” Ha Long.

Cao Xanh market and Bai Chay market are the most popular spots where sea snails are supposed to be sold with the best quality. Wandering around Bai Chay, which is crowded with people eating on the sidewalks, every one can see a panel with the title: “Ha Long snail super market” that excitingly catches visitors’ eyes. Having a look through the restaurants’ menus, visitors would surely be surprised at the diversity of sea snails here.

With only one bowl of sauce made from fish-sauce, ginger, peppers and lemongrass, each type of snails with different unique flavors and different ways to enjoy would make anyone’s mouth water. Eaters enjoying snails are advised to drink hard beverages such as alcohol to avoid stomachache.

Ngan or Arca to make the wine

Visitors must be excited when served special liquor named “Ngán – Arca Wine” (“Ngán” is a species of Veneridae). This special drink is actually a mixture of typically Vietnamese rice wine and “Ngán” blood, which is supposed to benefit men’s sexual ability.
After the mixture is completed, the wine transforms into a light red color with totally a different flavor. Spirit followers cannot wait to drink it, to feel an immediate absorbent into their bodies.

Another well-known alcohol named “Hoanh Bo” should definitely not be missed when visiting Ha Long. With low volume of alcoholic, the liquor is not tough to conquer, yet some people who consumes too much Hoanh Bo need 2-3 days to sober.

Ha Long is also famous for squid-sausages, which is told to be delicious and fragrant only when processed by restaurants here. The food is a fusion of hashed squid and mysterious spices that only the chefs know, molded into round pieces and then fried in boiling oil. This special dish can be found anywhere along the shore from Quang Ninh to Hai Phong, but nowhere has the same level of deliciousness like in Ha Long.

The diversity of shrimps, from the luxurious one like lobsters to the other common shrimps, is another outstanding feature of cuisine in Ha Long. To many local people, a dish of streamed shrimps, served with lemonadized salt and a dish of freshly spicy vegetables, is an ideal meal for a joyful friendly union.

Source: Internet

Supported by Indochina Sails - The most luxury and safest cruises in Halong Bay
Hanoi Office
Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
Email: info@indochinasails.com

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vietnam wants waterway tourism safety

The number of life jackets on tourist boats accommodating guests overnight must be twice the number of passengers on board, according to the draft of a circular to be issued by the Ministry of Transport.

The forthcoming regulation will require all passengers on board to be equipped with sufficient life jackets in the bedrooms, while the remainder must be available in dining, bar and working decks.

When coming out the rule will apply to all overnight tourist boats, and floating restaurants and hotels.

Under the draft, overnight tourist boats in lakes, rivers and coastal waters must be equipped with at least eight life-saving buoys, with each side of the boat having four.

Life saving equipment must be easily seen on board the boat and must have detailed instructions on them. If lifesaving jackets cannot be placed near passengers due to the vessel’s specifications, ship owners must increase the number of life saving appliances.

To ensure safety, exit doors must be always unlocked and available to passengers at all time and exit directions must be highlighted for them to recognize in case of emergency.

Owners must equip their ships and floating facilities with loudspeakers to announce emergency situations to each cabin. Announcements and directions must be in both Vietnamese and English.

Source: Vietnam tourism

Supported by Indochina Sails - The most luxury and safest cruises in Halong Bay
Hanoi Office
Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
Email: info@indochinasails.com

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kayaking in Halong Bay – Things to know

Halong Bay attracts thousands of passengers every month. Nearly five hundred cruises run every day and hundreds of passengers stay on board every night. Halong Bay is famous for its natural beauty and thousands of limestone islands and islets.

When you are on board, you admire the majestic beauty of the Bay but when you GET closer to the limestone islands, discover the beauty yourself, you admire its nature. But… how to get closer? The best way is joining kayaking activity.

Kayak in Halong Bay?

This is a small, relatively narrow, human-powered boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double blade paddle.

How to use a kayak?

Kayaking is generally assumed to be very safe in these calm waters of Halong Bay but there is still some areas and warning that you should avoid and listen to the tour guide. Kayaking is not difficult; however, to enjoy it completely, you need some tip:

 Preparation do not skip this stage
  • Suitable clothes: T-shirt and short, swimming suit in the summer; warm clothes in the winter; wet shoes, hat, sunglasses
  • Necessary things: Water, sun cream, dry bag, camera, insect repellent
  • Life vests

Medical box and food (for the long duration)

  • Follow your tour guide: it is very important
  • Listen to the route, time and rules
  • Learn how to use the kayak even it is not your first time kayaking, wear the life vest and use the dry bag
  • Strictly follow the leader (tour guide) about the moving rules
  • Check with your tour guide the weather, tide and wind strength to have the best and safest route.
  • Keep a suitable distance with the others, not too far, keep in sight with the others
  • Keep away from the places which have strong flow, against the wind; take advantage of the wind strength and flow.

What about the children?
  •  Follow the tour guide and their parents
  • Sit still in the kayak, do not move in front of or behind
  • Wear the life vest
  • Wear the hat and sun cream

Handle unexpected situations:
  •  Adjust the speed of the whole group if any of the member is out of sight
  • In case the kayak capsizes, passengers need to swim a bit, and then take the water out of the kayak with the help of the tour guide. He will catch thekayak; take the water out by putting your kayak on his in the T- shape. After that, he will put the kayak back into the water; keep it still so that passengers can be on the kayak again.
  • If there is an expected storm, find the safest place in the sheltered areas, beaches… to avoid the storm. In case passengers are in the middle of the sea and cannot find a safe place, passengers need to be gathered to make a raft
  • If you are not sure about the route you are going, you should keep in touch with the others and paddle around the mountain, you will not be lost. Passengers should know for sure the route, search on the map.
  • It is better if passengers have mobile phone, radio or any means of communication (often for professional kayakers)

Supported by Indochina Sails - The most luxury and safest cruises in Halong Bay
Hanoi Office
Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
Email: info@indochinasails.com

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halong Bay_Unbelieve!

Coppy right PJandMike

Well yes I am back - I know you have all missed me whilst I have been scanning off on Halong Bay. So here goes, we get picked up on time by the cruise company and start picking up the other passengers. This is where the fun began as we had one gentleman who was Australian (name of Nigel), he had a very loud voice and very funny. 

 It’s very interesting that the passengers on board were multi cultural i.e. a couple from the gold coast in Australia, a couple from Spain, a couple from Singapore, a couple from France, 2 couples from Turkey and a lady from Korea - told you we were multi-cultural. 

The cruise did not look exactly like the pictures from outside but we found out that the Vietnamese government has instructed all the big cruise boats on Halong Bay must be painted white. Anyway, after this was our only disappointment on the trip as our cabin was at the front and had a balcony with sun beds - how lucky are we or what! 

So after dropping our bags off we take a boat ride on a smaller boat to see the floating village of Vung Vieng and then onto a pontoon where they show you how they Implant oysters to achieve pearls - that amazed me as I never knew they did this I always thought you were lucky if you had an oyster with a pearl in - how I thought they would have enough pearls to make necklaces, earrings etc I don't know. 

So after the little excursion we go back to the cruise ship and have a sunset party of sangria which really helped the Spanish couple to integrate. 

Then we had a cooking class and yes you guessed it we made spring rolls - I should be an expert at these as remember I made them in Cambodia. As you are all well aware by now of my competitive nature I was really up for this cooking class and not only wanted to make the best but also the fastest. 

After dinner there was squid fishing but as we were told that it is not squid season I could not see the point in standing at the back of the boat with fishing net and no chance of catching a squid. 

So next morning, We went to a little bay and jump kayak. We are taken by our guide Duan (English name Tim) in our kayaks to a little cave which the water is filling up and it is pitch black. I start to panic as we are in a double kayak Mike is shouting at me to go left - remember I don't know my right from left and in a panic situation I can tell you I really do not know it and so I go right and we are stuck under the top of the cave. We have a torch but as I said I was panicking and could not turn this on - so Mike is shouting at me turn the torch on I am shouting back I cannot turn the thing on! What a palaver! All I could think of is we are stuck and the water is coming into the cave so Mike agreed to turn around. So after the cave we kayak around the bay through some really nice BIG natural stone arches. 

We then return to the boat for lunch. After lunch we are taken to a secluded beach with only a few people on and you can only get to by boat. This was where the fun started - there was a group of Vietnamese men who kept on covering themselves in sand and hollering - it was like none of them had seen sand before. Then they get in the sea and take their trunks off - they were really enjoying themselves - it was great to watch. 

So up early this morning and after breakfast we go to visit the Amazing Cave - yes that is what it is called. After this we are taken back to shore and here we are back in Hanoi at the same hotel - which is good as we left our big bags here, we are sad to leave Owen and Vicki the couple we spent yesterday with as they were great company but we will be keeping in touch with them.

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