4 Mysteries of Sapa Cuisine

Located in the northernmost of Vietnam, Sapa is widely well-known for not only its natural and cultural beauty but also its unique culinary characteristics. Sapa cuisine as well as specialties always surprises tourists thanks to their mysterious local flavours and ingredients. Today, I would like to present to you 4 mysteries of Sapa cuisine for your upcoming trip to this beautiful land. 

Sapa cuisine

1. Seasonal Fruits

Sapa has a wide range of fresh vegetables thanks to the ridiculously cool climate, which offers tourist an opportunity to taste many fruits they have never had before in their Vietnam excursions. Particularly, there are a lot of seasonal herbs and vegetables growing in Sapa only or they were discovered by local people many years ago. Therefore, Sapa is said to be the kingdom of fruits in northern Vietnam including fragrance peaches, Sapa apple, red plum, etc.

Sapa cuisine 2

2. Cooking Secrets

Sapa cuisine is totally one of the most outstanding of its kind in Vietnam which consists of many specialties that you will never forget during your Vietnam culinary tours. The secret is hidden behind skillful techniques and experiences of some ethnic minorities in Sapa who owns a long-term tradition of cooking from generation to generation. As always, they keep looking for their culinary ingredients from Northern forest and mountain which are really healthy and flavoursome, some of them can even cure serious diseases.

Sapa cuisine 3

3. Farming Methods

Just like other countryside areas in Vietnam, local Sapa farmers grow their plants and feed their poultry and cattle in traditional ways. Most of the farmers in Sapa are too poor to built large solid cages for their animals, they only have leaf-covered bamboo house for big cattle like cows and buffaloes, and set other animals and poultry free in the wild instead. As a result, those not-being-captured ones grow more healthy because they can feel free to eat whatever they want. Thus, their meats reach the best, making the cuisine in Sapa more and more nutritious.

Sapa cuisine 4
Source: Hellovietnamtravel

4. Homemade Stuff

It is said that nothing is better than homemade stuff. Indeed, local people in Sapa have got many natural advantages to find the best ingredients in the wild for their homemade products. One of the must-try specialties here must be handmade wine, which is made of various ingredients including rice wine, corn wine, grape wine, apple wine and even snake wine etc. Once have tasted the wine, you will feel that it is really good for your health and even helps you enjoy your meals to the fullest.

Sapa cuisine 5

Overall, each regions has its own flavors and fascinating culinary mysteries. However, a trip to Sapa definitely promises to bring you nothing but a charming diverse cuisine together with a true local techniques in cooking.

Travel Guide to Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is the old capital city of Myanmar with more than 2000 temples built close to each others which is similar to Angkor, the air in the city is filled with antiquity, which gives a feeling of sacred and peaceful times, the old temples covered in the mist are incredibly mysterious. Especially in Bagan, you can take many beautiful photos from high places.

TRANSPORTATION

It takes about 10 hours to travel from Yagon to Bagan. The bumpy road slows us down a little bit but it also gave us enough time to mentally recovered and be ready to watch sunrise at 6.30 am from the temple of Shwe San Daw (the map of Bagan is available in motels) right after we get off the vehicle. In Bagan there are many transport options for you to choose such as wagons, bicycle, electric bike, or a cab. The price of transportation is negotiable with the service providers, or you can ask the motel receptionist for most reasonable prices. If money is not a problem with you then you can preorder an air balloon tour for sight-seeing at the cost of $, the views will completely amaze you.


Book a balloon tour at: https://goo.gl/4VLVew

FOOD

There are not many unique dishes in Bagan, you should carry your own food such as sausages, hams, canned fish, or cheese..etc if possible.

ACCOMODATION

You can stay at the Golden Myanmar Motel around Old Bagan (Most motels in New Bagan are expensive). The motel is close to a bus stop, it provides free wireless connection , hot water, air conditioner, and it is very quiet , the employees are able to speak English very good and the price for a double room is about $30, there is a groceries store just 3 blocks away from the motel which provides a wide range of food and drink, and a free breakfast.

Ox-cart Taxi in Bagan. Image by https://luxurymyanmarrivercruises.com/
Note: Be careful not to be overly charged by cab drivers who are willing to take 10k kyat from you for just a 5 minute drive to your motel.

ENTERTAINMENT

1. The old capital city of Old Bagan, where there are many temples that would take us more than 2 days to fully visit all of which. Due to our lack of time, we had to hire a cab for 45k kyat from 8 a.m to 7 p.m, which is better because the driver is familiar with where to go first and from where we are able to watch sunrise and sunset, However some places charge visitors $15 for an entrance ticket. 

New Bagan is not an attractive place to visit because there are just motels and some traditional villages such as kite-painting, drawing..


2. Popa mountain which is 50km away from Old Bagan, suitable for a half-day sight-seeing experience (Because in the following evening we would be travelling to Inle) the price for a cab is also 45k Kyat. This is a temple on a high mountain, the cab will take you close to the mountain peak, and you have to climb about 700 steps of a stone ladder to get to the top of the temple, during your tour you will meet with countless mischievous mountain monkeys who are always staring at you and ready to receive nuts when given (There is a staff team who takes care of it). The cab driver will take you to a native residence who is specialized in making Vodka and jams, you will be given a chance to try and to spray the thanakhan powder upon your face, which is a really interesting experience.

For some good reasons, Bagan is chosen as one of top places to visit in Myanmar, even luxury holidays such as river cruises on Irrawaddy River. Check out a best river cruise with Sanctuary Ananda at https://luxurymyanmarrivercruises.com/cruise/sanctuary-ananda/ or contact us to get best offer!

The best time pass activities in a long train journey

Flight journey costs a lot but a train journey values a lot. Yes, this is really true if you love to spend few days on the train watching the culture, architectural excellence, natural wonder and more passing by. Train journey gives you a great opportunity to study the culture and character of different people from different locations. If you are looking for the best time pass activities in a long train journey, then here are them for you.

Enjoy good sleep
Don't wonder why to sleep. If you are on to train for a long train journey after a tedious work or from a busy business schedule, then it is better to take a good sleep to calm your mind and body. There is no doubt, movement of the train give you the experience of a rocking cradle. Take a cup of coffee after the sleep to feel rejuvenated and refreshed and to enjoy the real spirit of the travel.

Keep your favourite books
Get your favourite book before you get into your seat. It is certainly a good idea to complete one or two novels before you reach your destination. The movement of the train and the breeze passing by gifts you with a fantastic time to get indulged in the real spirit of the novel.

Music on the go
This is one of the fantastic ways to spend time on the train. Make use of tablet, laptop, iPad or phone to listen to your favourite track. Enjoy the cool wind to get some fantastic moments of experiencing the favourite music. Thanks to the internet service providers. Tune your favourite FM store or download the favourite tracks to enjoy music on the go.

Take time to taste the delicious food
Food seems to be a serious problem for most of the train travellers. At present, the problem is completely solved by train food delivery services. Yes, you can book your food online through your mobile and that too within minutes. Make use of the mobile app to get the menu and book the favourite dish. If you are traveling with friends or family, make the food time a good experience by taking some snaps and sharing it.

Have chat with strangers
This is another important time pass with good values. Yes, have a chat and share the experiences. It is something really values and provides you with a great learning experience.

Watch the wonders
The real happiness of train journey lies in watching the fields, towns, villages, rivers and other amazing sceneries. If you start watching something filthy or boring, you can turn back to books or music. 

Watch a movie
Keep some of your favourite movies with your iPad or mobile. There is nothing going to happen if you forget to make it. Now you can download your favourite movie within minutes. It is really good to watch a full movie when you move with the fantastic movement of the train.
Now you better know how to enjoy the long train journey. Have a happy train travel.

Grab a piece of spirituality with the essence of Buddhist culture!

Myanmar, with its peace keeping Buddhist culture is considered to be one of the most pious countries around the planet. The aesthetic value of this country includes the saintly tradition and authentic culture showcasing the morals of Buddhism. The country embraces the essence of harmony and peace through its various spiritual sites. With a beauty of glittering gold pagodas and temples to the ravishing Artwork, Myanmar is a great place to explore for Gallivanters in terms of spirituality. Let us find out how to inhale the essence of spirituality in the culture and tradition, while in Myanmar.

Sanctified Pagodas:

Pagodas form a major part of the religious sites in Myanmar. There are plenty of pagodas to visit in the country. Few of them include:

·Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Grab a piece of spirituality with the essence of Buddhist culture!

Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most famous and renowned Buddhist site. Its eternal beauty ranges from 27 metric tons of gold usage to thousands of diamonds and other precious stones and gems. It is known for the antiques of the three former Buddha’s and preserving eight hairs of Gautama Buddha. Visiting this place in the cool dawn may surprise you with the setting sun colors of the golden sputa.

·Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda in Inle Lake

Grab a piece of spirituality with the essence of Buddhist culture!

This pagoda is located in the pleasant atmosphere of Inle Lake in Shan state and can be visited by the medium of boat. The charming and quiet surrounding contributes to the beauty of this pagoda. In October, a very joyful festival celebration takes place in this state which is considered to the largest and most renowned celebration of the Shan state. It is definitely a place not meant to be missed!

Tranquility of Temples

There are a considerable good amount of temples in Myanmar. Let us focus on one of the main and very renowned temple in Bagan.

Ananda Temple in Bagan

This temple is a wonderful creation of King Kyansittha in the 11th century. It is build with a traditional Mon architectural fashion, and is 35 feet high. It is one of the largest and most beautifully designed temple in Bagan with 30 foot tall Buddha images facing the four cardinal directions that exhibits the four successful wisdoms of Lord Buddha. There is a temple festival that is celebrated in January and February which marks as the biggest event in the city illustrating many traditional performances. Visiting this temple should be a must on your list.

Monks of Burma

Myanmar’s tradition and culture revolves around Buddhism and its teachings. Children in Myanmar are raised as Novice monks from a very early stage. They are made to live and gain their understanding of the culture in the Buddhist monasteries along with all other children forming a very close bond with each other. People in Myanmar honor Buddha’s teachings by chanting and praying throughout the day. This forms as an integral part of their tradition.

Amongst all the Buddhist follower countries, Myanmar has the highest proportion of sacred monks and nuns with around 80 to 90 percent of the population in the country preaching Buddhism as their core religion and practices. From the age of 7, every boy in the country is expected to live in a monastery and learn the Buddhist culture and teachings for a few weeks and return to the normal life willingly. The ethical conduct teaches the children lessons of life.

Worshipping Buddhism in the country

Theravada Buddhism is the main religion and preaching followed in Myanmar. In the life of a common man in Myanmar, the hold of religion is reflected in every aspect of his living and conditions around. Myanmar consists of considerable number of temples and monasteries including a special community of monks. They follow a proverb that states- "To be Burmese is to be Buddhist". Life of people in the country is centralized around the three principles of Buddhism -

Thila that states Morality, Dana that states Charity and B'wana that states Awareness.

To live up to the principles of this religion is not an easy path to follow. However, the people of this country are persisting in their beliefs from past many centuries.

Art showcasing the Buddhist of Myanmar

The presence of Buddhism in Myanmar has led to creation of stunning artwork since long period of time. It is mainly focused on Theravada Buddhism. The Buddhist art began to flourish in Burma with ‘Pyu city states’ where they used to build solid stupas which are now looked upon for building beautiful Burmese temples in the current century. Also, the Pagan Empire developed the stupa style as well as Gu-style hollow temples. The Architectural boom in innovation included the pointed arches, pentagonal temple plan as well as the vaulted chambers.

The images of Buddha are designed in 3 most popular styles - The Ava style, The Mandatory style and The Shan style. All the images are a must watch considering their beautifully formulated styles and designs.

So, get ready backpackers to explore the spiritual state of the Myanmar.

Wat Saket - The Temple of the Golden Mount Bangkok

Being nationally known as the place of cremation of 60,000 victims of plague, the oldest temple of Bangkok, Wat Saket, the Golden Mount Temple has attracted a significant number of worshippers, followers, or even tourists strongly believing that all wishes will turn into reality. 


In addition to familiar temples such as Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Phra Kaew, Thai Land is also nationally and internationally famous for Wat Saket Buddhist Temple, also known as Golden Mount Temple. Located right in the heart of the capital, the temple is housed on a low hill. Standing from a distance, tourists definitely realize the temple by a glittering gilding stupa at a height of up to 58 meters. Moreover, Wat Saket is surrounded by lush trees, so it makes visitors comfortable and releases the hot weather of the tropical region at the same time.

The temple was originally built under of Ayuthaya Kingdom (1350-1767) and underwent several restoration and renovation under the reign of King Rama I (1782-1809). The temple is characterized by the relics of the Buddha, so it draws a large number of Buddhist worshipers and followers all year round. To reach the temple, visitors need to go through over 300 winding steps like a snake. However, the destination is quite accessible thanks to the large passage, moderately high and safe steps, and instructing and warning signs.

The path leading to the tower of Wat Saket Temple is charming enough to fascinate all visitors, especially nature lovers and photographers. Standing at the tower, you can greet the panorama of the shimmering and splendid Bangkok featuring the perfect combinations of the ancient and modern significances, skyscrapers, and glittering gilding stupas.

It is hard to find out the most sacred temple in Bangkok, so both local and foreign visitors still flock to Wat Sake Temple to pray for the good luck, good health, good business, etc. They strongly believe that the temple makes their “in - need wishes” come true partly because of the long history of the temple. 
At the end of the 18th century, the capital of Thailand suffered from unprecedented epidemics that caused the death of thousands of people. The corpses were lined up in Wat Saket temple for cremation, then gradually piled up, making it a good meal for vultures. Later, the temple was chanted by monks to pray for the dead. This event makes Wat Saket temple calm, and tranquil that is quite different from other worshipping places. 


In November, the temple hosted a large festival following the burning incense to the Buddhist relics. During the festival, the peak of the tower is covered with a huge red cloth, accompanied by a magnificent candle-lit procession marking the beginning of a joyful festive week. Therefore, if you visit the temple in this time, you might grasp a rare opportunity to admire a large-scale festival throughout the year.

The festival attracts a great number of visitors, including worshippers, followers, and even tourists who gather at the yard of the temple from the festival’s beginning until the late night for a whole week. If you get there in the late afternoon, you might face to traffic stuck. Therefore, you should go to the temple as soon as possible.

Something that needs to be considered when visiting the Golden Mount Temple

Opening hours: 9 a.m – 5 p.m daily. If you buy tickets at 5 p.m, you can still go around the temple until 7 p.m

Entrance fee: 20 baht / person (over 10,000 VND).

Clothes: neat and polite.

Visiting the temple, visitors can light candles, burn incense, arrange the lotus into the vase, and pray. Because these services are available at any time, you might put cash into the donation box.

Tourists might follow the wooden stairs to reach the top of the tower and greet the panorama of the whole Bangkok at sunset. How amazing!





The 5 Best Places in Danang to Take Photographs

Entitled one of the most “worthy-living” cities in Vietnam, Danang has been attracted a significant number of both local and foreign tourists throughout the years. Of course, there is no lack of attractive tourist spots in this dynamic city, but for the reason of the interesting ones that have not been popular with travelers, I would recommend 2 destinations as followed:

Strolling around the garden of memories at the Dong Dinh Museum


Housed in the second half of Hoang Sa Street (Son Tra peninsula), Dong Dinh Museum is considered as a garden of memories featuring the harmonious combination of forest ecology and cultural space of the Arts. The museum displays collections managed by the meritorious artist Doan Huy Giao.



Visiting the museum, tourists should definitely give the garden house of Xu Quang (including Quang Nam and Quang Ngai) a try, which is characterized by fruit trees and lush green grass. Thus, tourists can admire and explore the traditional culture and tradition of Xu Quang people through this miniature. As the name would suggest, the museum is named after a kind of coconut tree that grows at Son Tra Nature Reserve called “Dung Dinh”.




The collection of the museum consists of two ancient wooden-pillar houses of Kim Bong architectural style and a modern house that the architects take full advantages of forest ecology to be built on a gentle hill.

Greeting the panorama of the sea at Tien Sa Lighthouse 


In addition to Nghe cape, Ban Co mountain peak, and Linh Ung pagoda that enables tourists to hold panoramic views of the sea, Tien Sa lLghthouse (also known as Son Tra lighthouse) is definitely worth mentioning. Located at the peak of Son Tra Mountain at an altitude of 223 meters, the lighthouse allows tourists to run through the winding road on Son Tra peninsula then greet the panorama of the immense blue sea.


Entitled one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Vietnam, built in the 1950s of the 20th century, located at a height of 15.6 meters, Tien Sa lighthouse is responsible for helping and guiding boats operating in Hue - Da Nang waters orientate and define their location at sea. Standing at the lighthouse, you definitely grasp an overall view of the majestic mountains and charming beaches that promise to allure to tourists right they step onto it.


Suggestion for travel: you might follow Hoang Sa Street to InterContinental Danang Resort. Then you face signs which show the easiest way to Tien Sa lighthouse by turning right. Traveling 2 kilometers further, you turn right at the three-way intersection then go straight to reach the destination.  


The Most Beautiful Islands in Vietnam

Of course, there is no shortage of charming islands in Vietnam, but for the highly complimented ones by both tourists and travel websites, I would recommend following 5 islands. They promise to provide tourists with an unforgettable summer vacation right they set foot in them.

Cu Lao Mai Nha (Mai Nha Island), Phu Yen

Located at An Hai Commune, Tuy An, Phu Yen, Mai Nha Isle is favorably compared with the “Robinson” island. Although the Isle isn’t far from the shore, it is an amazing place to explore the primitive beauty of Phu Yen. The best time for a trip to this exhilarating isle is from March to August when the sea is calm.


Coming to this breathtaking isle, you will feel absolutely astonished by the magnificent wild nature mountains greenly covered with trees. Especially, there are no tourism services, no electricity, no hotels, lack of freshwater on the island. Therefore, you are required to carefully prepare foods, drinks, tents, and gadgets when visiting this isle.

The front beach is the soft white sand with pristine blue water, suitable for bathing when going picnic. Meanwhile, the back beach owns a large rock formation and, 10- meter deep caves near the brink which enable you to go fishing. Furthermore, there are many live coral reefs around the island which promise to drive diving lovers crazy right away.

Cu Lao Re (Big Island), Ly Son Island District, Quang Ngai

Being one of two islets of Ly Son Island, Cu Lao Re, also known as Big Islet, has fascinated holidaymakers with the pristine charm and tranquility that promises to mesmerize them right they set foot in it. Additionally, the island serves as home to local residents and farming land, in which they grow garlic. It is the long - lasting and characteristic occupation on this charming island. Talking about the beautiful tourist spots on the island, Thoi Loi Peak, in which we can hold an overall view of the charming sunrise, is definitely worth mentioning. Noticeably, the national flag also flutters in this breath – taking Peak. Walking along the concrete road which is still at work, you might go straight to reach the amazing Hang Cau (Cau Cave), in which you can explore the spectacular mountain formed by lava with the strands of wind erosion. From here, taking a right turn on the sea road, you reach the lighthouse, where you can greet the very first rays of the sunshine on the island in the early morning.



Climbing up to 190 winding steps (equivalent to 11 floors), you are at the summit of the lighthouse. Back to the road that you did follow, going round the island, you approach To Vo gate, an ideal place to watch the stunning sunset. Therefore, tourists flock to this gate in the late afternoon to enjoy one of the best moments and scenes of the day. Next to this alluring gate is Hang Pagoda, featuring the statue of Buddha Kuan - Yin heading out to the sea. According to the local residents, Buddha Kuan - Yin plays an essential part in their spiritual life, who does not only take care of their children when they are on the shore but also protect them against the sea monsters.

Traveling the island, you should definitely make a visit to Tien Beach, surrounded by magnificent cliffs to indulge yourself into the pristine blue sea water and engage in coral diving alike.


Nam Du Islands - A Summer Destination of Paradise in VietNam

Being naturally favored 21 islands, Nam Du Archipelago, a Maldives of Vietnam Nam, has strongly attracted its tourists with charming beaches and magical sea world.

As a part of 2 communes, namely An Son and Nam Du, the farthest archipelago of Kien Hai district, and 80 km to the west of Rach Gia City, Nam Du remains unspoiled. It includes 21 islands, of which 11 ones are inhabited.

An ideal time to explore the “breath - taking” beauty of Nam Du is from the end of December to the end of May. During this time, the islands are very pristine with soft white sand and fresh sea air. Therefore, you definitely deeply fall in love with this amazing island right away.To get there from Ho Chi Minh city, you might get on a high-quality coach to Rach Gia ferry, then, board a ship to the island. It might take you 2 hours to reach the destination. 

There are numerous “must-explore” islands in Nam Du, namely, Hon Ngang, Hon Mau, Hai Bo Dap, and Bai Cay Men, but for the reason of the highly complimented ones, we would recommend following destinations that promise to satisfy your “hunger” of sea admiration and exploration. 


Nam Du Lighthouse


Nam Du Lighthouse is located at the peak of Hon Lon (Cu Tron) in An Son commune. This is considered the highest lighthouse in Vietnam thanks to the hill of 300 meters high above sea level. Although the lighthouse is not too majestic, it is the most ideal place that tourists definitely greet the panorama of the whole charming island and take “one-of-all-kind” pictures at the same time. 

Chuong Beach

As a charming beach, however, Chuong Beach was not naturally favored a “marvelous” home to coral as that of Nha Cu. The beach highly impresses its tourists by, the crystal blue sea water that can be compared with a natural giant mirror created by the mother nature, the peaceful and poetic scenery, and rustic daily life of the locals instead. The images of boats floating off the shore and berthing at dawn are naturally engraved on our mind. Thus, this beautiful beach is an ideal destination for couples and young tourists who are “craving” for indulging themselves into peaceful and tranquil nature and taking “virtual” check-in pictures at the same time.


Traveling a few kilometers further, you would probably access to two exhilarating rock beaches. Da Den Beach (black rock beach) features impressive stones of various shapes. As the name would imply, the beach is named after the color of the rocks. When the beach is bathed by rays of sunshine, the stones under the sea is sparkling with many eye-catching colors. Noticeably, some of them are characterized by the strange patterns and the same color as that of red marble. Additionally, you should definitely make a visit to Da Trang Beach (White rock beach) that take you 15 minutes of walking from Da Den Beach. Bai Da Den is home to various sizes of stone that scatter along the beach. Interestingly, the beach almost features rocks, so tourists often take several stones as souvenirs of the sea journey.

Nam Du Humiso tourist complex

Being naturally favored a landscape complex of beaches, coral reefs, a primeval forest featuring trees of hundreds of years old, and other charming scenes, the peak of Nam Nu Humiso enables tourists to greet the panorama of the amazing Nam Du Archipelago.

Visting Humiso, tourists have a chance to fully enjoy relaxation, pick up fresh air, and alluring scenery. If you stay here, you might sleep at bungalows heading to the sea or tents. How amazing!


Get there, you should definitely wake up in the early morning to greet the firsts rays of sunshine of the day when your hear might be melted by the breath-taking scenery facing you. It will be more wonderful if you take a cup of coffee when watching the stunning sunrise.  Then, you might wander around to explore the sea, engage in scuba diving to discover the diverse marine life, in general, and the colorful coral reefs, in particular. You should also give mountain climbing a try for the reason that above Humiso locating a hillside heading out to the sea, and a trail in which tourists can explore plants and animals in the forest.

In the late afternoon, you might stroll along the beach to enjoy the sunset, go fishing and enjoy fresh seafood. And, you could camp, participate in interesting games right on the beach, or sing a song in the evening. There are a lot of things to do to enjoy your day on the island.

Bai Soi Beach

Located in Hon Lon, Big Island (Cu Tron) of Nam Du Archipelago, Soi Beach is an ideal destination for those who love to indulge themselves into the unspoiled landscape.

The beach offers resorts and restaurants which stay away from the bustle of the residential area. These resorts and restaurant are built by natural materials, provide tourists with panoramic views of the sea, and offer coral diving right on the beach.


In addition to the distinguishing characteristics of charming and romantic space and architecture, Bai Soi Beach also has restaurants featuring different menus served by professional chefs of reasonable prices.

If you stay at the beach, you should definitely wake up early to watch the stunning sunrise. The point is that you just need to lay leisurely on your bed, open sea-view window to enjoy that wonderful scene.

Additionally, tourists who do not stay at resorts on the beach can have a swim and bath here with the cost of 1$ / person (including fee for fresh water bathing and resting)