Friday, 23 March 2012

Halong Honeymoon tour - Alova Gold Cruises

Choosing a tour to Halong Bay probably justifies a blog on its own but to cut to the chase we were recommended a two night trip with Alova Gold Cruise on Twitter and decided to go with it.

After exploring Hanoi and unsuccessfully attempting to see Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body (it was closed) we decided to retire early in preparation for the Bay. A good idea at the time and a good idea in hindsight.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 Relieved that it was a good choice

By reading the reviews of the various Halong Bay cruise operators you know that there are a lot of dodgy reviews and a fair amount of self promotion in the tripadvisor forums.

We ended up selecting the Alova Gold for a 2 day one night cruise - run by Go Asia Travel. Once we got on board the boat we were very happy to know we had made a good choice.
We were picked up from our hotel at the scheduled time and then spent the next hour doing the rounds of the other hotels around Hanoi. As you can guess 60 minutes later we drove past our hotel again on the way out of town. When going on these tours please everyone, just take an overnight bag and keep luggage to a minimum. We just packed day packs.

It is a good 4 hour drive to Halong Bay with the inevitable stop at the overpriced souvenir shop along the way. But the toilets were very clean here.
On arrival at Halong there was a little wait while the tender was brought in. Alova Gold doesn't birth at a jetty but we had to catch the tender out to the mooring. All part of the adventure.

On board, the ship is new. Launched in mid 2011. The rooms are tidy. The meals were certainly very good. Food quality was good. The all-male on board staff were polite.
The actual tours were as advertised. The kayaking was an exceptional experience.

In general, the tour operators are trying hard to make this work. We felt our tour guide was inexperienced and they could do better to have someone with a sense of humour and more engaged with us. He was probably the last person to know what was going on.
we had a wonderful Halong experience and would be very happy to recommend our friends.

Reviewed by Yinyang66 - tripadvisor' member on 31 Jan.2012 on tripadvisor

Friday, 25 November 2011

Lunar New year Vietnam Tours 2012

Travel companies offer enticing packages for Christmas, New Year. Most travel companies in Vietnam are currently offering a variety of attractive promotional programs for the upcoming holidays of Christmas, New Year and Tet Lunar New Year.  
Some typical product can be:
On the way to Halong bay, you will have time to visit Yen Tu famous pagoda. Following the 700 years old of historical, Yen Tu was a place which borne the legendary stories of Vietnamese King Tran Nhan Tong and Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen.
Every year at spring time, Perfume pagoda at Huong Son Commune, My Duc district, Hanoi province is attract thousands people from all over the country and many foreigners come here for sightseeing, festival worship, attend, visiting… Just only 60 km from Hanoi Center you can join in the longest pagoda festival of Vietnam. Perfume Pagoda Festival is presenting from 6th Jan to 25th Mar of the Lunar year. Visit Perfume Pagoda not only visit the Buddhism central with many temples and pagodas but also discovery the beauty of the landscape and culture of Vietnamese.
Under the Le Dynasty ( King Canh Hung : 1740-1786). Vietnamese people in the North of Vietnam were always had to fight again with Chinese invaders. The imperial sent Ong Bay – An bravery general and his troop came and helped people in here to opposed Chinese invaders. Ong Bay was death in the war. His body flowed on the Red river to Bao Ha. People in here berried his body on the bank of the river and built a temple for memory him. The temple was named Bao Ha temple and Ong Bay became the God of this land. At the attitude of 1650m, on the side of Hoang Lien Son range - facing the summit in Indochina. SaPa is the common hone of several minority tribes such as Black H'Mong, Red DZao; It is where you find the beauty of nature in valleys, mountains, streams, waterfalls and the warmly welcome of the ethnic people. Come to SaPa to enjoy the scenery and explore daily activities of the tribal people.
Located in the Truong Son mountain range 25 km to the South West of Da Nang at an altitude of 1487m and one hour by road from Da Nang lays the Ba Na Mountains. Its temperate climate, unspoiled forest, and spectacular views over the city of Da Nang's awe-inspiring bay and the Lao mountain range made Ba Na a past popular place to retreat for the French. Today the area still attracts locals and tourists alike.
YOUR ROAD TO HEAVENLY SCENERY… Sitting in the cable car cabin, mid air, looking upon the endless tree line of the forests, guests will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the lush jungle and waterfalls along the way. Experiencing the pristine ecological system of the Ba Na Mountains will bring you a sense of unforeseeable discovery. Beginning its inaugural service on March 25th of 2009, the Ba Na Cable Car carries guests to the mountain tops within minutes compared previously to almost an hour by road.  the best of Vietnam Tet Holiday Tours in the central area.
With Vietnamese, visiting pagodas at the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year) is one of the most important things have to do. In the spirit life, Buddhism is apparently part. People are believed in Buddha and usually praying for themselves and their mates. In the part, all of the dynasties under the feudal time always attach more importance to Buddhism. In the central part of Vietnam, Buddhism is very popular. You can see a hundred of pagodas in here. Take the Lunar New Year tour with GOASIA TRAVEL to visit Hue and Hoi An town and discovery the Buddhism in the Central part of Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the two largest cities and most populous, is also a center of economic, cultural and educational of Vietnam. Established on 1968, Ho Chi Minh City rapid development and has been named the "Pearl of the Far East", Orient Paris or the capital of the Indochina...
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda - Completed with aid from the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association in 1971, this is, by some measures, the largest pagoda in the city. Certainly, its eight-story tower, located immediately to the left of a high gate, is the tallest.  Each side of the tower is adorned with an image of the Buddha in high relief. To the right of the gate is a smaller, 5-m high tower, built of concrete blocks. The concrete is of such high quality and color that the structure appears to be made of granite. Across a 20-m courtyard is the large, squat main building. A steep staircase leads up to the sanctuary where five massive lacquer ware doors lead into the vast first room. The walls here are lined with well-executed paintings of scriptural scenes and explanatory note are posted alongside. Farther in is the main altar with a huge, seated Buddha, flanked by disciples.
Behind the sanctuary lies a solemn room, filled with photographs and memorials to the departed. Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy, presides from her altar here.
On the second floor, a cloister leads into an art gallery where local artists show their works. Rocks and topiary gardens flank the building.
Vietnam Tet holiday tours: Goasia Travel's tour guide and car pick up at your address to depart for Ninh Binh province (120 Kms).  Start tour to Trang An - Bai Dinh Pagoda.

Contact Goasia Travel for the best tours in Lunar New year 2012

Goasia Travel package tours

Goasia Travel package tours: Highlight of the North Vietnam

For serving utility to customers Goasia travel organized the special package tour on the North of Vietnam with highlight tourist sites such as: Hanoi city, Perfume Pagoda, Hoa Lu Ancient capital, Tam Coc, Halong Bay…
With this tour you can experiences alls, from the unique of the ancient capital to the beauty of the scenery, from the value of the daily life of local people to the value of historical, from the noisy of the city to the peaceful nature of countryside… Everything just in a package.

Day 1 Hanoi city tour (Meals: L/D):
8h00 a.m our bus and guide picks you up to visit Ho Chi Minh Complex with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh Museum and One Pillar Pagoda.hanoi City tours
A short drive to The Temple of Literature - The first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century to admire the beautiful construction and learn about Royal court and Vietnamese talents. Have lunch in local restaurant.
In the afternoon, visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. You can get the overview information about ethnic groups over Vietnam through the well organized displays both in indoor and out door exhibition.
Back to downtown and enjoy water puppet show before take 1 hour drive on cyclo to observe the daily life of Hanoian, along the narrow and bustling streets. Have dinner with Vietnamese typical foods. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2 Hanoi – Perfume Pagoda – Ninh Binh (Meals: B/L/D)
8:00 Our car and tour guide pick up at your address and then depart for Perfume Pagoda.
10:00: Arrive at Duc wharf, walk to Yen wharf to get on local boat and enjoy beautiful landscapes with streams and rice fields. Short hiking-up to the main cave on the summit (2.5km) to cast your view over the magnificent mountainous beauty or take cable car one way or round trip (Optional). Return to Thien Tru Yard for lunch in the local restaurant. You will enjoy all local Vietnamese foods.Perfume pagoda tours
After lunch time, visit Thien Tru pagoda to know the featured religious architecture of Vietnam. Our tour guide will tell you everything about Buddhism in Vietnam
15:00: Go boating back to Duc wharf and proceed to Ninh Binh city.
17:30 Arrive in Ninh Binh City. Check-in hotel and have dinner. Overnight in Ninh Binh.

Day3 Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Halong Bay (Meals: B/ L/D):
8:00 Visit Hoa Lu, the ancient citadel of Viet Nam in the 10th century, visit temples of two dynasties Dinh and Le, our tour guide will tell you the stories of 2 kings and Queen Duong Van Nga, the tragedy in royal family, after that visit the excavation area beside the Le Dai Hanh temple. Proceed to cycling tour from Hoa Lu to Tam Coc around 8 km along country rivers and rice fields. Arrive at Tam Coc wharf at tam coc tournoon. Have lunch at a local restaurant with direct view to Ngo Dong river in Tam Coc (you have chance to enjoy the delicious goat meat and elderberry - the special dishes in Ninh Binh).
12:30: Get on sampan boat rowed by the locals going among the villages, mountains and rice fields. Pass through 3 caves "Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba"
14:00 Get back to Boat Dock and proceed to Halong city. Arrive in Halong City at the late afternoon. Check – in hotel and have dinner. Free time to see Halong city by night.

Day 4 Discovery Halong Bay on Alova Cruise (Meals: B/L/D):
Breakfast at hotel and free time for shopping and buy the souvenirs
12:00 Check- out hotels then transfer to Halong Tourist Wharf. Boarding on Alova Cruise and start to discover Halong Bay.
14h00: Spend one hour on Bamboo boat on emerald water of the world heritage
15h00: Set sails to head to the sandy beach where emotional feeling erupts at one of the most splendid water world; you can swim and enjoy the seascapes with photos shooting.
17h30: Return to the vessel for your own leisure at room or on Sun deck, boat anchors at Sung Sot area – the safest place for overnight.
19h30: Enjoy dinner with Vietnamese typical foods. Then relaxing and overnight on boat.

Day 5 Halong Bay – Hanoi (Meals: B/L):
6h00:  Wake up for swimming or photos hunt at dawn
7h30: Have sunrise breakfast in the absolutely quiet lagoon.
8h30: Climb up the mountain to explore one of the most superb & beautiful Sung Sot cave.
9h15:  Return to the Vessel, check out and settle the bill, take time to relax while the Vessel is cruising back to Bai Chay Alova Halong CruisePort, leave your words in the Memory Book and have lunch
12h30: Say goodbye to Halong bay and take shuttle bus back to Hanoi
16h30: Arrive in Hanoi or transfers to airport. Trip ends.

Tour price:
Trip includes:
-    Transportation.
-    Meals in above
-    English/French speaking tour guide
-    Accommodation
-    Entrance fees.
-    Cruise in Halong Bay

Trip excludes:
-    All other services which are not mentioned above
-    Personal expenses are such as laundry, telephone, drinks, tips for guide, travel insurance …etc…
-    Flight from/to Hanoi

Trip notes:
-    Should bring with you: Sun cream, raincoat, insect repellent spray, walking and biking shoes, hat, medicine…etc.
-    Make sure that your passport is always with you.
-    Please let’s us know if you are vegetarian.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Best Hotels in Asia includes Sofitel Metropole and Nam Hai

Go Asia Travel: The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi and The Nam Hai Resort in Hoi An shared top billing as Asia’s best leisure properties for this year via an online poll by Hong Kong-based travel and trade journal Smart Travel Asia.

The Metropole Hanoi and The Nam Hai shared the first position in the travel magazine’s list of TOP 25 Leisure Hotels & Resorts.
The Nam Hai ranked second last year, while the Metropole third.
For booking at Sofiltel Metropole Hanoi and Nam Hai Resort contact at and

Coming second this year is the Peninsula in Hong Kong. The Amandari Hotel and the Bulgari Resort, both in Indonesia’s Bali shared the third.
In addition, the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City claimed 23rd on the list of top business hotels in Asia.
The results of the three-month Best in Travel Poll 2011 were culled from votes cast by the readers of SmartTravelAsia. Voters had submitted their own nominations from thousands of possible choices in Asia.

Aside from being named Asia’s Top Leisure Hotel and Resort, voters also ranked the Metropole 18th on the list of Asia’s Top 25 Business Hotels and 8th among Asia’s Top 25 Conference Hotels. The Nam Hai collected an additional award as one of Asia’s three Top Spa Hotels and Resorts.
Editor and director of Smart Travel Asia, Vijay Verghese, noted that the placement of two Vietnam properties at the peak of the leisure list of “aspirational brands” underscores the country’s increasing appeal as a holiday destination.

A total of six Vietnam properties made the poll’s lists, including the Park Hyatt Hotel Saigon, the Furama Resort Danang, and Princess d’Annam Resort and Spa in Ke Ga Bay of Binh Thuan Province.
News by VNN

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Charity Tours in Vietnam, Sapa Charity Tours with Go Asia Travel

Charity Tour to Ethnic Children in Sapa

Taking a charity tour to Sapa with Go Asia Travel. Although Sapa is known as a popular tourist attraction, many families’ living standard of Hmong, Dzao, Dzay ethnic groups are still below the average, they are lacking of hygiene food, water supplies, equipments to do farming. Most of children have to stay at home to help their parents to do housework, they do not have chance to go school. We will do charity in Lao Chai, Cat Cat village to help the children there to reduce the burden of life. See more Vietnam Charity Tours

Tour outline:
Day 1: Hanoi arrival (welcoming dinner and water puppet show)
Day 2: Hanoi city tour and night train to Sapa (Soft sleeper in AC wooden cabin) (B, L)
Day 3: Lao Cai Station – Sapa and do charity in Ta Van village (B, L, D)
Day 4: Do charity in Cat Cat village and night train to Hanoi (B, L)
Day 5: Relaxing and charity briefing before departure (B)

Tour itinerary: 

Day 1: Hanoi arrival (D, WP)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Go Asia Travel tour guide and driver will pick you up and transfer to your hotel in Hanoi. Relax after your journey before a ‘Welcome dinner’ at a traditional restaurant with Vietnamese cuisines. In the evening, you will have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry, an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture, over night in Hanoi Imperial hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi Capital with a quick look – night train to Sapa (B, L)
After breakfast, our tour guide will pick you up and transfer to visit Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Lunch will be served in a local restaurant before drive back to downtown for refreshment by Hoan Kiem Lake with a cup of tea or coffee. The tour is followed by 1 hour drive on cyclo to observe the daily life of Hanoian, along the narrow and bustling streets. Most of them are named starting with “Hang” plus the current on sale goods. Dinner is for your choice. 7h30pm, our guide will take you to train station for night train to Lao Cai, overnight on train.

Day 3: Lao Cai station – Sapa – Lao Chai village – Ta Van village (B, L, D)
Upon arrival in Sapa Town we have breakfast in local restaurant, after that, start a day trekking through the terrace fields to go further to the most remote and poorest village where local people meet lots of difficulties with their life. We visit their families; offer children foods, course books, clothes. We will meet local authority to support scholarship for the poorest children. Stay overnight with the local people in their house.

Day 4: Ta Van - Sapa – Cat Cat with charity program and night train to Hanoi (B, L)
Located just 3 km from Sapa town, Cat Cat is a home for Black Hmong ethnic group. They meet a lot of difficulty in clean water supplies. This causes some diseases such as diarrhea, intestinal diseases, mental retardation…We go there to give them medicine to reduce those diseases. We also give the children books, clothes and some money to help their parents reduce their hard work. You go back to hotel for showering and then our car will transfer you to Lao Cai station for overnight train back to Hanoi.
Day 5: Arrive back to Hanoi (B)
We pick you up at station and transfer to hotel in Hanoi for early check in, spend the whole morning for relaxing, shopping before going to airport. Hanoi Sapa Tour for Charity ends.

Be noted on Vietnam Charity package Tours:

Accommodation and foods: We aim to do charity, so staying in 3 star hotel in Hanoi is the best solution that makes you feel healthy and comfortable or even safe. In Sapa, you should stay overnight with the local to understand clearly their daily life and how they live. It will be the remarkable memory in this tour. You will enjoy the absolute local foods cooked by local people with hygiene and quality.
What to bring: You had better take sun cream, hiking boots, bottled water, and comfortable clothes. GAT travel’s staff will wrap all necessary charity offerings in to a box together with your offerings. We make sure all of this hand directly to poor children, cash donation should be handling to poor family, and you will do that directly.
Guide acted as interpreter: Our guide will help you with Vietnamese-English/French or reverse conversations with our staff’s support to pre-contact to local government and authority under the name of our company.

Tour Price:
Tour name:    Charity tour to ethnic children in Sapa
Duration:        5 days and 4 nights from Hanoi

Tour included:
- Accommodation: in local house
- Transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary
- Return train tickets: Hanoi - Lao Cai – Hanoi by A/C soft sleeper cabin
- Experienced English-speaking guides acted as interpreter
- Entry fees for all visits as mentioned in itinerary
- Meals as indicated in itinerary

Tour excluded:
- International and domestic flights
- Visas & visa fee, travel insurance, tips & gratuities
- Personal expenditure like shopping, drink, laundry, phone

Contact Go Asia Travel for the best deal of Vietnam Charity Tours; GAT travel do charity activities everymonth, if you like to join it, email to

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel - UNESCO Heritage in Hanoi

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel - UNESCO Heritage in Hanoi

Go Asia Travel - The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. It was the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption. The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains in the 18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads between influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south.

The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi, located in the heart of the capital city of Vietnam, is the most essential, central and best preserved section of the former Thang Long imperial citadel. It is in this central axis of the Forbidden City that power resided for thirteen centuries. This is where the political leader lived and ruled, whether this was the emperor in the pre-Nguyen dynasties, the Viceroy under the Nguyen dynasty, the high-ranking Indochinese military officers under the French, or Vietnamese leaders during the Vietnam War. The attributes of the nominated property bear a unique witness to the three key features that give it Outstanding Universal Value: longevity, continuity as a seat of power, and the presence of a layered record of vestiges, which includes both underground archaeological remains and above ground architecture, planning and decorative arts. This cultural layering reflects the high level of cultural diversity in this part of the world and the interchange of human values flowing from East Asia, other parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia and fusing in the heart of the Red River delta to form a rich and distinctive culture.
Many events of global importance, including the development of independent states and forms of government in the Asian region, the impact of colonialism and struggles for national independence, have had an impact on the site and can be read in the landscape.

For all Hanoi tours please contact Go Asia Travel in 17a Hang Dong st, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.