[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!

[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.

Coconut Religion – The Unique Ritual Power That Once Ruled the Kingdom of Coconut.

Đạo Dừa/ Hòa đồng tôn giáo (Coconut religion or Religion of Unity) was once famous in Cồn Phụng (Phoenix islet), Bến Tre. Nowadays, even though the religion is almost dead and only a few old people follow it, many people are still curious about its unique name as well as its founder.

The origin:

Coconut Religion was founded in 1963 by Mr Nguyễn Thành Nam (1909-1990), as known as Sir Coconut Monk. In the 1900s, Mr Nam was a scholar born with a silver spoon in his mouth. After having graduated with a diploma of Chemical Engineering in France, he came back to Bến Tre and started his soap business. The company shortly went bankrupt. Soon after that, Mr.Nam left his family to start his own religion. At that time, people reported him meditating on tops of coconut trees and consumed mostly coconut water for daily nutrients. That’s why he’s got his name Sir Coconut Monk.

Ông Đạo Dừa – Sir Coconut Monk
photo: https://dongsongcu.wordpress.com.

In 1963, Sir Coconut Monk started spreading his doctrine to the locals. The religion is based largely on Buddhism and Catholic beliefs, along with the preaching of Sir Coconut Monk. It quickly adapted to the community and soon gained followers. At its peak, Coconut religion had around 4,000 followers.

The practice:

The advocates of Coconut Religion were mostly men. They practised praying and consuming only coconut products for their daily diets. However, polygamy was allowed for advocates as they could get married up to 9 wives. Under the government of the former Republic of South Vietnam, monks were exempted from joining the national army. For that reason, Đạo Dừa had gained so many followers, mostly young men at the age of 18 to 35 whose desires weren’t to serve the country’s service.

Advocates praying for peace in the temple.
photo: mapio.net

The advocates donated a large sum of money for Sir Coconut Monk to build his own temple in Phoenix Islet.  The temple is named Nam Quốc Phật (Vietnamese Buddha). Along with the temple, there is a large square with nine dragons columns – which stands for Cửu Long (the Mekong region). Behind, the Peace tower consists of two tall buildings which stand for Hanoi-North and Saigon-South.

Nam Quốc Phật, the temple of Coconut Religion.* photo: https://mapsights.com, taken by Lance and Cromwell

*The gate, with Crucifix on the left and Vietnamese Buddhist sign on the right, expresses the will to unify the two main Vietnamese religions.

The (phantom) legacies:

Sir Coconut Monk had been notorious for his so-called “ultimate” religion since the Southern Vietnam government existed. In 1967, Southern Vietnam began the new electoral campaign. Sir Coconut Monk, with his willing for peace for the humanity, had stood for election for Presidency! He promised to pacify the Vietnam War within 7 days had he been nominated Presidency. Nonetheless, he refused to answer how he could make that happen. Sir Coconut Monk had been then sent to Biên Hòa asylum to run a mental health check.

Sir Coconut Monk at Chợ Quán (Biên Hòa) asylum after his mental health check.
photo: baomoi.com

After that “historic” event of Coconut Religion, the government had banned him from seeking intervention from other countries to help develop his religion nationwide. Despite having sent many letters to President Diệm, President J.F.K, President Charles de Gaulle, and so on,  he never had a reply from any of whom he asked for help. Moreover, both the governments: the Republic of South Vietnam and Communist Vietnam had identified him as a threat of rebellion and had banned him from going abroad. Sir Coconut Monk had been caught at the border trying to pilgrimage to Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap (Cambodia).

Sir Coconut Monk and foreign reporters.
photo: https://blog.nfb.ca/blog/2017/04/28/photo-friday-different-view-vietnam-war/
The tragedy:

During the end of Vietnam war, Sir Coconut Monk had failed to flee outside the country. Thus, he had been forced to go to a rehabilitation camp. After a short while, they had released him on bail because of his mental issues record. Ever since the fallen of South Vietnam, the new government had identified Coconut Religion as a cult. Sir Coconut Monk continued to run Coconut Religion under the law despite the government’s strong attempts to prevent it from expanding.

On 12/05/1990, while the crowd were practising Coconut religion at Sir Coconut Monk’s private property, the government broke into his house and issued Coconut Religion a ban from spreading superstition to the community. At the tipping point of the conversation with the government, Sir Coconut Monk left upstairs to “pray for peace”, but one of his followers pulled him back to confront the government. Unfortunately, the pull was too strong for Sir Coconut Monk that he fell off the ground. Sir Coconut Monk departed the next day of a serious traumatic brain injury, aged 81. Since the death of the creator of Coconut Religion, the number of followers has ceased drastically from thousands to very few people.

Sir Coconut Monk’s stone stele at his own temple.
photo: doisongphapluat.com
Ending:

For the locals, Sir Coconut Monk was an “accidental legend” of Bến Tre. In the kingdom of coconut, people do not worship this ‘creator’ anymore. Instead, they will tell either ridiculous or odd anecdotes about him. You can witness his legacy when coming to Phoenix Islet by coming to the temple and talking to his followers. I am sure there are yet things to learn about this interesting religion. If you haven’t registered on our upcoming trip to Bến Tre, do not hesitate to contact us! We wish to bring you the best discovery experience in Vietnam.

Levi.

[Event] – Ben Tre Weekend Trip: Coconut Trip

Welcome you to our 8th travel – Ben Tre, the coconut land in Southern Vietnam. This tour was particularly designed by a Ben Tre local with the aim of offering the most local experiences for participants.

Let’s COCONUT it by:
  • Row boating across small canals in Tiền River (Mekong Delta.)
  • Visit a coconut candy factory and try fresh coconut candies.
  • Visit the remaining constructions of Ông Đạo Dừa – the Coconut Monk.
  • Trying making ‘Bánh Xèo’ by yourself.
  • Experience picking coconuts.

Wait! That’s just a part of the trip, we will also:

  • Sit on horse carriages to observe fruit gardens.
  • Visit the honey bee raising area.
  • Listen to ‘Đờn ca Tài tử – traditional music in Mekong Delta.
  • Catching and grill snakehead fish.
  • Try ‘Chuối đập’ (lit. pounded bananas) – a speciality of Bến Tre
  • Visit Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda, a national historical site, one of the most visited pagodas in Southern Vietnam.
Time: 9th September 2018
Maximum number of participants: 13 people
Schedule:

Fee:

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

  • 20/08 – 26/08: 850,000VND (36.50USD)
  • 27/08 – 01/09: 950,000VND (40.85USD)

Including:

  • Transportation (16-seated van)*
  • Services: electric carts, horse carriages, and row boating.
  • Entrance tickets.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and snacks
  • Drinks and water
  • Tour guide fee

*Note: We will transport by the van if there are more than 10 participants. Otherwise, taking a public bus is another option. In that case, your two-way bus tickets will be covered instead.

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

Cancellation Refund Policy:

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

  • 20/08 – 26/08: Refund 60% of the total fee.
  • 27/08 – 01/09: Refund 30% of the total fee.
  • 02/09 – 09/09: No refund.
Registration Process:

Step 1. Register by filling in the form below.

https://goo.gl/forms/X7GIUPHDPTtAalUt2

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: 01666725720
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minhvuongainguyen

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

Before registration, please read the following terms carefully.

1/ In each trip, there is a main guide who is in charge of planning, arranging everything, contacting people, and guiding during the trip. The guide cooperates with us via the Local Supporters Program. All of the expenses of the guide will be shared among other participants in the trip. That’s why in your fee includes the fee for the guide. The guide of this trip is Nguyen Thi Yen Nhi.

If you agree with the above-mentioned term and feel interested in the trip, register ASAP! First come first served. Please fill in the the form below.

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

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