[Upcoming Trip] – Explore Hidden Islands of Can Gio

Thiềng Liềng is an island in Thạnh An Village, Cần Giờ District, in the Southeast of HCM city. Being far away from the centre of HCMC, there are not many people knowing about its existence. Therefore, its rusticity still holds its charm over years. The people there mostly attach their lives to salt fields and fish or oyster farms. The most common means of transportation there is their feet, boats and sometimes bicycles; very few motorbikes are noticed, let alone any other big trucks on this small island. Surprisingly enough, many people there have earned their fame on Vietnamese traditional music, namely ‘Đờn ca tài tử’ which is very common in the Western Vietnam.

Thiềng Liềng Island

So, this time, we are gonna returning to this remote island to experience living like the local there. We are gonna commute like them, work like them, stay like them, eat like them and entertain like them. In the second day, on the way back, we will visit another remote island called Thạnh An Island where some of you may have visited there if you joined our trip there last year.  

Check out the short schedule as following:

But first please register yourself in advance. We need your information to proceed booking tickets and doing some preparation for the best and safest experiences for you.

Limited slots and promotion available for students. Please scroll down for more information.

How Much Is Your Expense?

*Vietnamese:

  • 1,400,000 VND (If the group is 14 people)
  • 1,800,000 VND (If the group is 06 people)

Including:

  • Transportation (car, ferry, boat)
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Homestay at the locals’ houses
  • Water
  • Vietnamese speaking guide
  • Vietnamese travel insurance

*Non-Vietnamese:

  • 1,700,000 VND (If the group is 14 people)
  • 2,000,000 VND (If the group is 06 people)

Including:

  • All things mentioned above for Vietnamese
  • English speaking guide
  • Foreigner travel insurance

**Excluding: Other fees out of those above-mentioned things.

Special offer: 30% discount for students.

It Would Be Sad That You Cancel

If you cancel your registration, you will receive refund based on the time of your cancellation.

  • 07 days before departure date: Refund 60% of the total fee.
  • 04 days before departure date: Refund 30% of the total fee.
  • 03 days before departure date: No refund.
Let Us Know You’re In:

Step 1. Register by filling in the form below.

https://goo.gl/forms/KhXpNUaneJiP2yRf2

 

Registration deadline: 02 days before departure date.

Step 2. Complete your payment via:

***Bank Transfer: The information of bank account will be sent to you via email.

***Direct Payment:

Contact Minh Nguyen

  • Phone: 0366725720
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minhvuongainguyen

***Your registration will only be counted after completing your payment.

>>>Let’s take a look at our previous trips:

Thanh An Island (Can Gio) | Giang Dien Waterfall (Dong Nai) | Tay Ninh | Bac Lieu

Salt field in the early morning
Fish farm
Let’s catch oysters!

Where’s the Pho? A True Vietnamese Home-cooked Meal

As shameful as it is to admit, I have to say that I spend an inordinate amount of time on Quora (especially when I know I have very important things to do, because that’s just how a procrastinator is). I once stumbled upon this question, which I found equal parts amusing and bemusing: “My Vietnamese girlfriend can’t cook Pho. Does that mean that she’s not good at cooking?”

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Phở is the most famous Vietnamese food on Earth. Another truth is that Vietnamese restaurants have popped up in every corner around the world (thanks a lot, globalization!). The consequence of that, however, is that those restaurants, and the reputation of Pho, paints a very misleading picture about what Vietnamese people actually eat at home.

Source: sbs.com

The stuff that you see on the menu at a Vietnamese restaurant, all the Pho and Pho cuon and Bun cha and Banh xeo – those are the food that we Vietnamese have when we eat out. Not everyone knows how to cook Pho, because a perfect bowl of Pho is like art. It’s something that you perfect over time, most often through generations, and it takes an immense amount of effort.

So what do Vietnamese people cook at home?

Vietnamese culture puts a heavy emphasis on balance and harmony, and that is evident in how we eat. That balance and harmony is present in the spices we use, the ingredients we pick out, the flavours of each dish. It is also present in the elements of a meal.

A complete meal should have five elements: rice, one or two savoury dishes (from meat, seafood, tofu, etc.), one vegetable dish, soup and the sauce (often fish sauce mixed with lime juice and chilly). Everything is placed at the centre of the table and is shared by everyone. Of course, people don’t have enough time and effort every day to ensure there are five dishes on the table all the time, but we at least want to make sure we are consuming rice, meat and veggies in one meal.

Source: Pinterest

The rice we use are often white rice, and the most popular types are either Vietnamese-grown rice, or Thai jasmine rice. Modern knowledge about health and carbs have steered many people towards alternatives such as brown rice or black rice if they can afford it.

As for savoury dishes, the main meats that we use are chicken, pork and beef. Seafood (clams, shellfish, fishes, etc.) and river fishes are abundant and affordable. Tofu is not a vegetarian-only sort of food (as it is often regarded in the West) but just another type of protein. We Vietnamese boil, steam, stir-fry, deep-fry, stew, braise and do just about everything under the sun to our meat. A typical dinner table probably has about two or three different cooking methods going on.

Vegetables and root plants are integral parts of Vietnamese cuisine. It started out that meat was a luxury in Vietnam, a luxury that most people couldn’t afford. Vegetables, meanwhile, was plentiful and readily available. Even now, as Vietnam is on the track of developing, vegetables and root plants remain integral elements to our meals. They balance the fat and heaviness of meat, they are a great source of vitamins and fibre, and they are healthy, so what’s not to love?

The concept of soup in Vietnamese cuisine is quite different from what you normally imagine to be soup. For us, soup in everyday meal is more of a broth with vegetables and meat, or the water from boiled vegetables. Ever tried boiled water spinach soup with tomato and a squeeze of lime? You are missing out!

Source: Blog Sinh Vien Nau An

Then last but certainly not least, is the sauce. Or to be more precise, it’s dipping sauce (nước chấm). The central element to Vietnamese dipping sauce is fish sauce, mixed with a few cut of chillies, a bit of lemon juice and a few drops of water. Depending on the dish, you can also add sugar, pepper, garlic, vinegar, etc. The sauce is an irreplaceable part of a Vietnamese meal; in many cases, it is what makes or breaks a meal!

So you see, what Vietnamese eat at home and what are sold in Vietnamese restaurants are very different things. If you have the chance to try a home-cooked meal, take it. I am sure you will not be disappointed.

[Upcoming Trip] – Ta Nang Phan Dung Trekking (08-09/12)

Welcome you to our 11th travel – Ta Nang Phan Dung Trekking.

Ta Nang – Phan Dung is one of the most beautiful trekking routes in Southern Vietnam. In this journey, you will find yourself in the middle of windy lush hills with some buffaloes and horses grazing grass. Sometimes, you will go through the pine forest, cross the streams, and observe the amazing waterfall. The most interesting point is that you are gonna set your feet in the intersection of three provinces – Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan and Lam Dong. A lot of fantastic scenery awaits for your cameras. So be prepared!

But first please register yourself in advance. We need your information to proceed booking tickets and doing some preparation for the best and safest experiences for you.

Limited slots and promotion available. Please scroll down for more information.

Schedule:

Fee:

The sooner your payment is, the higher promotion you get 😉

*Vietnamese:

  • 25/11 – 30/11: 2,400,000VND
  • 01/12 – 05/12: 2,600,000VND

Including:

  • Transportation (sleeping bus, shuttle bus, motorbike ride)
  • Entrance tickets.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Bottled Water
  • Camping tools (tents, sleeping bags, etc.)
  • Guides and supporters
  • Travel insurance
  • Management fee

*Non-Vietnamese:

  • 25/11 – 30/11: 2,700,000VND ($116)
  • 01/12 – 05/12: 2,900,000VND ($124)

Including:

  • All things mentioned above for Vietnamese
  • English speaking guide
  • Foreigner travel insurance

**Excluding: Other fees out of those above-mentioned things.

Registration deadline: 05/12/2018.
Cancellation Refund Policy:

If you cancel your registration, you will receive refund based on the time of your cancellation.

  • 25/11 – 30/11: Refund 60% of the total fee.
  • 01/12 – 04/12: Refund 30% of the total fee.
  • 05/12 – 07/12: No refund.
Registration Process:

Step 1. Register by filling in the form below.

https://goo.gl/forms/fnQPBT9Gghf512Qt1

Registration deadline: 05/12/2018.

Step 2. Complete your payment via:

***Bank Transfer: The information of bank account will be sent to you via email.

***Direct Payment:

Contact Minh Nguyen

  • Phone: 0366725720
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minhvuongainguyen

***Your registration will only be counted after completing your payment.

>>>Let’s take a look at our previous trips:

Thanh An Island (Can Gio) | Giang Dien Waterfall (Dong Nai) | Tay Ninh | Bac Lieu

 

Staying Sleepless with Saigon, Why Not?

This article is the last-minute tip for those passengers or tourists who aren’t able to find accommodation for the first night travelling to Saigon. Don’t worry, Saigon will kindly host you a safe place somewhere. Follow my lead, I’ll show you the spots to rest your exhaustion.

Saigon – the generous night owl’s nest.
Saigon at night. photo; lozi.vn

I am as young and wild as many of you. I enjoy travelling and partying and sometimes when the night gets too wild, I have no choice but waiting outside until the dusk activates the city’s busy flow. I am sure this happens to all of you once in a while, regardless of wanderlusts or party-animals.

Here in Saigon, staying outside the street at night is not safe, at all. Dear wanderlusts, don’t even think of this idea – it’s my sincere advice. But where will you stay in Saigon at night for free if you are yet to find your lodging? Or if you have to catch a plane/bus in the early morning? Don’t worry! I’ll show you some (secret) tips right away!

24/7 cafes – Seeing Saigon nightlife in the box.

You can easily find many of those cafes around the town. Some even offer benches for night owls to have a quick nap. All you need is to order a drink, and stay as long as you want.

SNOB coffee chain:

These cafe shops open 24/7 with great interior designs and Saigon views. However, since the cafe shops are so well-known to the Saigonese youth, they can get crowded sometimes very late at night. But if you’d like a nice place to get to know the local’s nightlife, this is the place to be.

Seeing Saigon nightlife in a box @SNOBcoffee
photo: @zacmillionie

Address: – SNOB Coffee Trần Hưng Đạo  –  147A Trần Hưng Đạo St, District 1.
                – SNOB Coffee Minh Khai           –  185 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai St, District 1.

Opera Tea Club:

Opera Tea Club offers benches and cushions and a fairly quiet space to sleep. Feel free to enjoy these amazing benefits because you are exhausted enough from a long travel day.

Opera Tea Club – A Feel-Free-To-Sleep Coffee
photo: @wilbowoarry

Address: – 1st Floor, 39 Lý Tự Trọng St, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1.

Thức coffee chain:

The chain is quite popular in town. You can find one of their stores in many places around Saigon. The places are quite small and often stuffed. Thức cafe is suitable for late night football match audiences. You’re a big football fan? Welcome home! Come, enjoy the matches and get as much wild as you can. The more, the merrier!

A small and cosy box full of Saigonese to warm your soul through the night.
photo: dendau.vn

Address: – 37/11 Lý Tự Trọng St, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1.

               – 48 – 50 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng St, District 1.  

               – 182 Pasteur St, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1.

KAI Coffee: 

Let me tell you a small story. Last year, I had a crazy night outside partying. When it finished, it was 2:00 in the morning, and by chance, I stopped by this place. Not only that I had a place to stay for the night, but I also received the cutest paper heart from the barista working at KAI coffee. Even though I was too drunk to remember anything had happened before, the paper heart was still the most memorable gift that it made me drop a smile every time I rode my motorbike cross this cafe. 🙂

🙂
photo: me

Address: – 139 Nguyễn Thái Bình St, Nguyễn Thái Bình Ward, District 1.

Convenient Stores – The ideal place for your late night munchies!

Convenient stores such as Family Mart, 7 eleven, B’s mart, and so on are ubiquitous in Saigon. Many stores have tables for customers to stay in. Moreover, most stores have wifi, air conditioning and a large number of food items including warm serving food. I stayed in those stores overnight sometimes when I partied too hard that my mom locked me outside the street! That’s why I recommend you those stores. It’s not a problem for the staffs if you stay in for long hours. Please kindly enjoy the food and drinks, and get yourself some rest. It is often quiet at late night in these stores.

Convenient stores are ubiquitous in Saigon. You can bump into them without even seeking one.
Challenge: find a 7eleven in Saigon!
photo: @traammiao
Other Choices:

Airbnb, Couchsurfing and other travel websites such as Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia, etc. are not strangers for wanderlusts, plan your trip to Saigon beforehand and get greatest deals from them. Prices for accommodation in Saigon is quite affordable, starting from $9.

Enjoy your time in Saigon! Don’t forget to spend some crazy wild nights in this sleepless town. I hope you’ll have one of the most wonderful memories here.

.Levi.

Phu Quoc – The Black Pearl of South Vietnam

How many places in the world can you watch the sunrise and sunset in the same spot?

The answer is not many. The popular (and perhaps much commercialized choice) would be Kanyakumari beach, located in the southern-most part of mainland India. Here, two seas and one ocean meet, creating a point of great geographical significance.

But did you know that there’s also a place in Vietnam where you can enjoy such spectacular view?

Ông Đội point
Source: Sun Group

That’s right! It’s situated in Phú Quốc island in Southern Vietnam, at Ông Đội Point. Only 45 minutes by plane from Hồ Chí Minh City and 2 hours and 10 minutes from Hà Nội, Phú Quốc has quickly evolved from a relatively unknown and often overlooked island to one of the most popular holiday destinations in Vietnam. Yet, despite the flocks of tourists and the many luxurious resorts built over the past few years, the island still retains its original charm and natural beauty.

Phú Quốc was first discovered in the 17th century by a Chinese family from Guangzhou, who later pledged loyalty to the Nguyễn Dynasty of Vietnam. It is the biggest island of Vietnam, boasting its own fresh water source and diverse terrains – including mountains, tropical jungles, pristine beaches, lagoons and barrier reefs.

Ông Đội point, where you can watch both the sunrise and the sunset in the same spot, is only one in the many fantastical scenery Phú Quốc has to offer. So what else can you do when you’re here?

1. Visit pepper farms and fish sauce factory:

The island is most famous for its peppers and fish sauce. Trust me, both of these are out of this world.

Phú Quốc pepper farm
Source: thegioihoinhap.vn

You can select tours that will take you to pepper farms, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about pepper trees and just about every type of peppers that has ever existed in this world. There are black peppers, grey peppers, white peppers and green peppers, to name a few. Phú Quốc peppers have forever ruined me from enjoying peppers at anywhere else.

Source: bookingphuquoc.com

Often included in these tours are there visits to traditional warehouses where the islanders make and store fish sauce in large barrels. You’ll get to drink fish sauce straight from the tap and learn the process of making fish sauce from the masters themselves. Fish sauce is the nectar of the gods and these islanders have perfected the art of creating it.

2. Enjoy amazing seafood at Dinh Cậu Night Market:
Source: Hanoi Tours

It’s not Vietnam if there’s no night market at some point. I have been to many night markets in different cities in Vietnam, from those high up in the mountains, or nestled in the midst of bustling metropolises, to those situated in charming seaside towns; however, none has yet to surpass the one I visited in Phú Quốc (with perhaps the exception of Đà Lạt, but that’s another story altogether.)

Located in the heart of Dương Đông Town on Võ Thị Sáu Street, Dinh Cậu Market only operates from 19h00 to 23h00. It is easily accessible and the best part is that you don’t have to remember the address or trying (hopelessly) to look it up on Google map. Just tell the taxi driver where you want to go and you’ll be there in the blink of an eye.

Now, if you’re a seafood fanatic like I am, then this will be a heaven for you. The stalls at this market boast a range of every imaginable seafood, from fishes, prawns, lobsters, crabs, to exotic looking creatures that might look dubious at first glance but will be sure to blow your mind. Everything is made fresh and perfectly seasoned. Grab a table, enjoy the food and have a few beers to go with it – you know you deserve it 😉

3. Swim on some of the best beaches in the world:

Okay, I digress – I might be a tad biased when it comes to this, but it certainly feels like some of the best beaches in the world to me. The good thing about Phú Quốc is that since it is a huge island, it has not only one but several beaches that you can visit, all unique in their own ways.

source: dulich24

Located 25km away from Dương Đông Town is Bãi Sao Beach, arguably Phú Quốc’s best. It has pristine white sand that stretches on for miles in a half-moon curve, jaggy rock formation rising towards the sea and a myriad of activities like kayaking, surfing or diving.

If you prefer somewhere more quiet and less popular, you can head to Bãi Khem, nestled deep between the jungle of Phú Quốc. Here, you can visit a fishing village, sign up on a night trip to fish squid out in the sea or just enjoy a nice afternoon in the sun. Did I mention that Ông Đội point is right close by?

Another place you can consider for a visit is the beach on Hòn Móng Tay, a small island 14km away from Phú Quốc. It’s dubbed as the Maldives of Vietnam, only less commercialized and touristy. You can catch a canoe to this island from An Thới port in Phú Quốc.

So these are three of the things that you can do when you visit Phú Quốc. The island is easily accessible by plane from Hà Nội and Hồ Chí Minh city, as well as by ferry from Kiên Giang province. Phú Quốc is also only less than two hours away from Singapore, Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities, making it a perfect location for either a long weekends, or a short holidays.

It is well-worth a visit, so what are you waiting for?