Indochina travel guide that you should not miss

Vietnam Cambodia travel guide provides you the important information needed to plan your adventure in the heart and soul of Indochina. More and more people are curious about the two countries with fascination history, culture and grandeur history that has been to the worldwide traveler’s bucket list since centuries ago.

Vietnam-Cambodia guide for backpackers

1/ Vietnam-Cambodia border crossing

Vietnam shares three international border crossings with Cambodia at the following points:
Moc Bai (Vietnam) to Bavet (Cambodia) is the longest border crossing between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh.
Vinh Xuong (Vietnam) to Kaam Samnor (Cambodia) is a popular crossing amongst independent travelers. Many take a fast ferry boat from Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta as far as Phnom Penh.
Tinh Bien (Vietnam) to Phnom Den (Cambodia) near Chau Doc gives access to southern Cambodia. It is mainly used by locals and there’s little in the way of transport at either side of the border.

2/ Visa procedure

Procedure to obtain a visa on arrival is simple and convenient at these borders. E-visa is also available on Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affair website.

3/ Transportation

The most popular transportation used to cross Vietnam Cambodia border is buses. There is no stop on the trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

4/ Living costs

Travel budget can vary between countries when they travel, but Indochina can be delightfully inexpensive, and as eating out is very reasonable.

5/ Internet access

Complimentary Wi-Fi internet access is available in almost all international standard hotels in the region. Please be aware that there will usually be no access on board boats or in more remote homestay or lodge accommodation.

6/ Best time of year to plan your Vietnam-Cambodia travel

In the broadest sense, the best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia is from November to April. This is because temperatures and humidity fall across central and northern Vietnam and rainfall becomes less frequent in both Vietnam and Cambodia.

The dry season, from November to April, is when the cost of traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia tends to rise. The cozy of traveling is particularly acute during the week-long Vietnamese Tet Festival in late January or early February. If you would like to travel during this period, you should book travel arrangements as early as possible. For a quieter visit to Vietnam and Cambodia, travel between May and early October.

We hope that you can have some wonderful ideas to discover this part of Indochina. The Vietnam-Cambodia travel will open your eyes to the delights of Indochina and leave you awe-struck by these magical locations.

Wat Si Muang - Ideal Stopover for Travel in Vientiane

Known as the Buddhist country in the East with grand architectures of temples and pagodas, Laos would be an ideal destination for discovering the mysterious beauty of sacred temples, especially Wat Si Muang Temple during your stays on the way of Vientiane travel.

Legend of the temple Wat Si Muang

Wat Si Muang or Si Muang Temple was constructed in 1566 in the place where the central pillar of the city was to be placed. This is the most sacred temple in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, which Laotians often go for praying. In the Lao meaning, Muong means mother, and Si was the name of the young pregnant woman who volunteered to sacrifice herself to appease the angry spirits before constructing the temple. 

Therefore it is revered as the Mother Temple of Vientiane. As the legend, when establishing the city of Vientiane, the King had chosen the site at Si Xac Ta Nat district to place central pillar, which used for claiming the sovereignty of the country. The King had made an appeal to his subjects who can devote their life to create the pillar for the nation.  After that Si Muang, a young pregnant woman had been sacrificed herself by jumping into the deep hole that holds the central pillar of the structure in order to relieve spirits’ angry.  Then, the hole was surrounded by brick (slag) into the small hill (5m high, 15m long and 11m wide). And the name of Si Muang is originated from then; she is also considered the guardian God of the city. Coming to the temple, you will see the statue of Si Muang behind the building and old bricks.

Besides, the temple owns the mysterious feature about a pair of crane bird dwelt on the fake mountain behind the building. There are many legendary stories relating to this pair of crane bird, and people believed that this bird only appears in the peaceful country. 

Unique Structure of Wat Si Muang

The temple is complex building with the area of 2 ha consisting of the main shrine of worship Buddha, and the area of worship mother Si Muang. It was built firstly in 1566 but destroyed in 1828 by the invasion of Siamese. Also, the temple was built on the remains of the old temple of Khmer. Behind the main temple, there are still ruins of Khmer temple including door and stupa with Khmer feature. 

Many impressive Buddha statues are placed in the temple campus such as six standing Buddha statues and one reclining, in which Shakyamuni Buddha statue is the most outstanding here. 
The main temple has two rooms; the 2nd room used for worshiping, especially there is a huge stone block inside instead of Buddha statue. It is one of the two main pillars defending the Vientiane city (the other one is placed in That Luang).

The temple is decorated with sophisticate and intricate paintings and reliefs with the stories about Mother and the Buddha Legendary.

Opening hours and Admission fee:

•    No entrance charge; however, you have to pay for parking your bicycle or motorcycle on the grounds of the temple.
•    Opening daily from 6h00 am – 19h00 pm

How to get to Wat Si Muang Temple

Follow along the eastern direction of Thanon Setthathirath or Thanon Samsenthai towards the Friendship Bridge. You can take a walk or hire a bike for 10.000kip/day or tuk – tuk for 20.000 kip. 
Location: Situated at the end of Thanon Setthathirath in the Eastern.

Maybe you care: Laos local tour operator

8 Great Places in An Giang to Get Nice Photos

The pool of Victoria Nui Sam Lodge

Considered the best hotel in An Giang, Victoria Nui Sam Lodge is nestled among pristine natural scenery and surrounded by canals and ancient temples.

Victoria Nui Sam Lodge was built in minimalist style which is modern, harmonious with the surrounding nature, charming visitors by its natural rustic character rather than the lavish luxury amenities. Specifically, each door is designed in French style, leading to the outdoor private balcony area measuring 12m², overlooking an open space of poetic rice paddies below.

Ta Pa mountain and lake

Located less than a kilometre from Tri Ton town, Ta Pa Mountain features a wild and mysterious beauty. On the 200-m high mountain, there is a big Khmer temple and a beautiful lake surrounded by cliffs. On top of the mountain, there’s a crater with emerald water, called Ta Pa Lake. The 17-m depth lake is residual traces of the quarrying in the past. Although it is just an inadvertently result, it has become a beautiful landscape, attracting many visitors.

Ta Pa lake is surrounded by tall cliffs with crystal clear blue water. In nice days, the lake is like a sapphire and flat as a mirror, and that’s why Ta Pa lake scenery is so stunning to tourists.

Binh Thien Lake – God Lake

Located around 30 km from Chau Doc, Binh Thien Lake, also called God Lake, An Phu district, An Giang province, near the Cambodian border. It’s wonderful in flooding season with yellow flowers and green water hyacinth stretching like a carpet. Around the lake is a traditional village of Cham people with authentic cultural values.

Ta Pa fields

Ta Pa fields in Tri Ton district in the flood season looks like a huge rug with green rice fields and lovely high palm tree rising on the blue sky. Looking from above, Ta Pa is an untouched vividly green carpet with rice paddies and towering palm.

Chau Doc floating village

The most unique tourist attraction in Chau Doc is a floating village - the unique cultural style of the wetland. Canoes and boats are the main means of transportation of every family in this floating village. Here, each raft is like a floating house connected together stretching along both banks of the river. Each owner has at least 3-4 rafts and often accompanied by a raft for them to stay nearby. In particular, recently some people make floating houses to live on the river. Family life is in the raft of 4m wide and 7-8m long.

Hang temple

Located on the mountainside of Sam Mountain, Hang Pagoda is an outstanding monument of An Giang Province, built in around 1840 - 1845. From the foothills to the temple, visitors must pass 300 stairs to the gardens of the temple. In the garden there is a small lake full of lilies and many other flowers blooming. Also in this area there is a shrine devoted for Buddha Maitreya. In the front garden, there’s a statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and four guardians looking toward the foothills. In front of the temple there are two finely carved stupas. Standing on the temple, visitors can have a panoramic views over the mountain, immense rice fields and green melaleuca tree lines.

Cam Mountain (Forbidden Mountain)

Forbidden Mountain is located in An Hao Commune, Tinh Bien district, An Giang province. It’s about 710m over the sea level, also known as Thien Cam Son. This is the highest mountain of the majestic That Son area, a unique characterized land not only of An Giang province, but of Mekong Delta region. In particular, on top of Cam Mountain there are many great religious architectures such as 33,6-meter sitting Maitreya Buddha statue on the mountain top, Van Linh Pagoda, Great Buddha Monastery and interesting sights like: lakes, springs, caves, forest, ...

Tra Su cajuput forest

On the direction to the Tinh Bien district, about 100 km from Long Xuyen, you will see a red dirt roads leading to Tra Su cajuput forest. On the two sides of the road are endless rice fields and tall palm trees, especially it’s most beautiful in the brilliant tropical sunset.

In every October and November annually, tourists from all over the country from South to North flow to Tra Su cajuput forest to enjoy green peace and the flooding season.

With an area of about 850 hectares, Tra Su cajuput forest is covered by the green colour of the water hyacinth. This will be an experience you cannot miss while cruising on the immense water, enjoying the cool beauty of the forest, listening to the birds and reflected yellow flowers.

• Besides Vietnam, Myanmar is also a good place to visit in Asia. Consider our Myanmar Tours to explore this country. Some options for you: Myanmar luxury travel | Myanmar beach holidays

Top 10 Best Street Foods in Laos

Coconut cake, sliced fried banana, grilled salted fish, Lao coffee is the amazing food from sidewalk stalls for tourists.

Kanom Krok (coconut cake): These are small cakes made from coconut milk, sugar, flour and glutinous rice. Kanom Krok is coated in the molded iron pan cake.

Roasted salted fish: grilled fish is a popular dish in Luang Prabang. There are many types of fish with different sizes for customers to choose. Fish is salted then grilled over charcoal (about 4-6 USD / each depending on size).

Lao coffee: Lao Coffee taste very charming. Most Laotians do not drink black coffee that is mixed with powdered milk, sweetened condensed milk to add to the appeal. Hot sun, drink a cup of coffee with milk stone characteristic taste will blow Laos tired.

Barbecue: There are plenty of stalls selling all kinds of barbecue in the street. Different from other places in Laos, Luang Prabang street food has been changed to match the taste of foreign tourists. Barbecue stalls in the night market of Luang Prabang is considered the best..

Jaew mak khua (roasted eggplant): Jaew mak khua has bold flavor eggplant and spicy taste of chilli, usually served at sidewalk stalls. Roasted eggplant is mashed with coriander and many other spices with a mortar and pestle.

Fried Bananas: Bananas are fried deeply and served as snack after oil dries. You can stand in front of those stalls to see sellers slicing bananas, frying it deeply in oil until it turns to be yellow and crispy.

Laos noodle soup: A simple bowl of noodles with broth, noodles, and vegetables such as basil, bean sprouts, mint and chili.

Khao Jii Pate (bread with pate): Those who got bored of noodles in the neighboring Southeast Asian nations will feel happy to find French bread throughout the country of Laos. Filling of the bread could be egg, pate, salad and mayonnaise.

Yaw Dip (rolls): Rolls in Laos also includes many raw vegetables as mint, cilantro, rice noodles and greasy boiled eggs

Tam Maak Hoong (spicy papaya salad) This is a common dish in Thai but originated from Laos. Here, spicy papaya salad is called Tam Maak Hoong. Salad made with green cucumber, papaya, chilli, lemon juice and fish sauce. There are many Tam Maak Hoong stalls surrounding Lao night market.

• Useful Links for Travel Agents: Laos tour operator | How to work with Laos Finder

Top 9 Best National Parks in Vietnam

The beauty of the national parks in Vietnam recommended below will make you want to have an immediate trip to these parks.

1. Nam Cat Tien National Park

Nam Cat Tien National Park is about 160km from Ho Chi Minh city, located in three provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc. In order to get to Nam Cat Tien, you travel forward the National Highway 1A to Dau Giay T-junction, turn left toward the National Highway 20 ( the way to get to Dalat), continue travel further 58km to get to Ta Lai T-junction, turn left and continue go further 24 km to Nam Cat Tien.

The park attracts tourists who like the serene feeling of natural scenery or adventurous feeling to seek peaceful place with rich flora and fauna. Coming to Nam Cat Tien, you can sleep in a tent with the price ranging from 3.53 - 8.83 USD/ tent.

Several activities that you can enjoy in Nam Cat Tien such as hard biking, visiting Ben Cu rapids, botanical garden, Bàu Sấu, Mỏ Vẹt waterfall … When visiting Nam Cat Tien Park, you should bring dark long-sleeved dresses, floppy hats, socks, flashlights, raincoats ...

2. Nui Chua National Park

Nui Chua National Park is located northeast of the Ninh Thuan province, Ninh Hai district. With an area of nearly 30,000 ha and the length of 57km, Nui Chua has a diverse system of creatures that are typical to the tropical dry forest and cannot be found in any other parts of Vietnam.  This place has a low rainfall, but it has “hanging lake” with the clear water all year-round as well as many large streams such as Lồ Ô, Đông Nha, Kiền Kiền that never run out of water.

The place where has the harmonious beauty of the forest and sea is very suitable for picnic trips. Amidst the quiet space of the pristine landscape, you will be given a great chance to immerse in the cool water, admire the romantic scenery, experience adventurous feeling on the cliffs or discover the stunning caves. If you set up tent and have camp overnight at the right time, you can also see firsthand sea turtles lay their eggs.

3. Bach Ma National Park

Bach Ma is a National Park in Thua Thien – Hue, located about 40km from Hue city. Before becoming a national park, Bach Ma used to be known for the rich biodiversity of many rare species of animals and plants.

For those who love natural scenery with the wild and peaceful beauty… then Bach Ma is really a treasure, it brings the pure beauty as a young girl of the mountain that can enchant any tourist. 
Bach Ma not only has the diversity of animals, but also has the lush vegetation with beautiful and strange flowers, all of them make a strong impression in the sight of tourists when they come here.

4. Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is situated on the territory of three provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, also Cuc Phuong was Vietnam's first nature reserve. This is a charming destination and preferred by both domestic and international tourists because of the biodiversity of species in the forest ecosystem and beautiful natural scenery.

Visiting the park, you can see rare animals as well as discover stunning caves such as Son Cung cave, Pho Ma cave… In addition, you will be given a chance to learn more about characteristics of culture of several ethnic minorities through artifacts such as stilt house, rice mortar, brocade loom… 

5. Ba Vi National Park

Ba Vi National Park is an attractive tourist destination, located near Hanoi city. If the bustling pace of modern life makes you tired, then you should have backpacking trips to enjoy the atmospheric space and peaceful scenery of jungle. Certainly it will help you to regain spirit and new energy.

Visiting Ba Vi National Park, you will be given a great opportunity to discover through lush forest, look for the wildness of natural scenery. You can discover some waterfalls hidden deep in the mountain or admire white floating clouds covering the peak of Vong Canh mountain, visit the animal conservation, watch colorful species of birds and the medicinal garden with rare plants. 

With fresh and cool climate, so the period from April to October is considered the best time to visit Ba Vi for sightseeing, camping and picnicking. Especially from mid-November to early December, you can have the chance to witness the sea of bright yellow wild sunflowers in Ba Vi National Park.

6. Ba Be National Park

Ba Be National Park is belonging to 5 communes, Nam Mau, Khang Ninh, Cao Thuong, Quang Khe, Cao Tri, in Ba Be district, Bac Kan province, and located about 50km from Bac Kan commune and 250km from Hanoi. This National Park is an ideal ecotourism site with exotic landscapes and biological diversity.

Coming to Ba, everyone wants to get to Ao Tien. The name "Ao Tien" was derived from the legend story of a hunter who was attracted by the charming beauty fairies having swim in the pond. Ao Tien situates at the corner of Ba Be lake, it is a small lake, located amidst the valley of the primeval forests, having underground waters between Ao Tien and Ba Be lake. This is a unique trait of Ao Tien, also it is the habitat of many species of aquatic plants, as well as other characteristics of Ba Be national park.

7. Cat Ba National Park   

Cat Ba National Park is an attractive ecological tourist site and especially preferred by those who love adventure tours. With the spectacular natural landscapes, rolling mountains and the rich forest ecosystems, Cat Ba National Park is recognized by UNESCO as the world biosphere reserve.

Coming to Cat Ba National Park, you will have a chance to participate in outdoor activities to discover nature such as trekking, observing the primates, bird watching, animal watching at night, bathing on the pristine beaches, or fishing…

8. Tram Chim National Park

 Tram Chim National Park is the home of several rare birds, especially the sarus crane, a famous species in the world. It promises to be an attractive destination on the way of discovering the western area of Vietnam. Tourists coming here will be relaxed while watching species of birds and gentle natural scenery.

The period from August to November (Lunar calendar) is the main tourist season in Tram Chim National Park. You not only admire the lush wetlands dotted with lotus pink and nymphaea rubra, but also enjoy special cuisine of the Western area such as grilled snakehead fish covered in young lotus leaves.

9. Chu Yang Sin National Park

  Chu Yang Sin National Park is situated on the territory of two districts: Lắk district and Krông Bông district, in Dak Lak province, far way 60 km to the east of Buon Ma Thuot City. If you want to find a charming ecotourism site, then Chu Yang Sin National Park would be a perfect choice.

Mountain biking, sightseeing pine forest, learning about wild birds or sailing dugout on the river, organizing picnic party are great experiences that you shouldn’t miss here.

• Not only Vietnam, travel to Bagan (Myanmar) is also a nice experience you should try. Consider our recommended tours in Bagan to discover many interesting things to do here, such as Thatbyinnyu temple Bagan

This 4 Korean Chicken Restaurants Are Making a "Boom" in Hanoi

Traveling to Hanoi you shouldn’t miss these delicious chicken restaurants below, which will probably bring you new experiences with tasty Korea’s food beside Hanoi’s food. 

1. Papa’s Chicken n Pizza

Address: B004 Manor, Me Tri, Tu Liem District Nam, Hanoi

Serving with various menus, the restaurant is quite preferred by many people, especially young people. Several delicious dishes you can try such as spicy noodles, cold noodles, rice cakes, and fried fish, etc. Especially you shouldn’t miss honey fried chicken, and cheddar baked chicken, which are the best dishes at the restaurant. 

The restaurant is decorated with spacious space, elegant style and has the suitable space for gathering. 

2. Hansol Chicken Factory

Address: 10A CT4 My Dinh Urban Area, Me Tri, Tu Liem District Nam, Hanoi

This is a popular site for Korean in Vietnam, which specializes in making delicious dishes made from chicken such as crispy sweet and sour chicken, traditional fried chicken, batter-fried chicken, etc with the affordable ranging from 60.000 VND to 320.000 VND (2.69-14.36 USD)/ dish.

The restaurant also designs the area for smokers and area for entertainment. 

3. Mr. Dakgalbi

Address: 2A Nguyen Khang, Cau Giay district, Hanoi or 50 Vu Trong Phung, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi.

The restaurant looks like the restaurants in Korea with small area making cozy atmosphere. Besides many other popular dishes, the restaurant is famous for chicken cabbage stir fry, a delicious food preferred by many people. Also, you can order panchan to eat with the main dish. 

4. Oppa

Address: 5A Trung Kinh, Cau Giay District, Hanoi.

The name of this restaurant is written in Korean, “Oppa” which means as a friendly invitation to customers of the restaurant. Also, the owner of the restaurant is Korean and all a la card menu are written in Korean so you can have a bit difficult to understand and order menu. However, the restaurant has professional and friendly staff.

If you get to the restaurant in group of people, you can order combo with many tasty dishes made from chicken.

• Plan a perfect trip to Vietnam today:

Suggest 3 Super Cheap Delicious Street Food in Saigon

Not located in the convenient position of city center, but District 2 in Sai Gon of Vietnam always enchants visitors by amazing and cheap foods.

1. Flan cream

Flan cream, also known as caramel, is originated from the West and a favorite food of large people. It is not be hard to find a place to enjoy this dish. If you have a combined trip to discover the outskirts of Saigon in District 2, don’t forget to miss this nutritious dish with sweet aroma.

The ingredients to make this delicious are quite simple such as eggs and milk, but the processing is not easy. In contrast, it is quite sophisticated and requires skilled cooks to make the pie not too soft, has certain stickiness.

People also use different types of flavor, such as coconut milk, jelly, ice cream, and fruit attached to change the taste of the dish. And the most favorite flavor is coffee because of its cool, bitter taste.
The price is about 5.000VND (0.23 USD) for a pie of flan. 

2. Beef-ball soup

Beef-ball soup is a new dish and less popular in the city. For the date with friends, Beef-ball soup will be an “excellent way” when all of you are fed up with familiar dishes. The dish is made up by simple ingredients including beef-ball, radish pieces blended with sweet broth, but it is so cool, attractive by exotic taste.

The processors have to stew pork bone for about 3 hours or even more along with white radish, red radish to make sweet taste for the broth. The soup will become sweeter and clearer thanks to radish. And to retain the toughness of beef without being friable, people will pour beef in the final step along with a little chopped green onion and blended pepper on side when serving to the guests.

Especially the dish will be better if you use it with a little of chili sauce. Besides, you can make more flavors if you add more lemon squeezed into the sauce. There is only a stall selling this dish in Luong Dinh Cua Street (District 2). However, if you don’t want to go far from the center, you can find beef soup at Ben Thanh market.

Although Luong Dinh Cua street is situated far away from the city center, it is an ideal site for exploring cuisine as well as sight-seeing the District 2. The price is about 15.000VND (0.68 USD) for a cup of beef-ball soup.

3. Crab soup

Crab soup is a famous dish that never brings the feeling of boring. In Saigan on the rainy days, especially in the cool weather, a hot and fragrant cup of crab soup will be a perfect choice.

In Saigon, visitors can easily enjoy this tasty dish at anywhere. You can buy and eat at on-site there or take away. However, it is said that this dish should be enjoyed right at stalls roadside, next to the bustle of the city, which will bring the most interesting experiences.

The ingredients to make a condensed crab soup are not too sophisticated: flour blended with crab meat, chicken and materials including mushrooms, scallions, cilantro, and pepper. All of them contribute to make the dish more delicious, featuring with sweet-tasting.

• Copyright: Vietnam Tour Packages

The Photos: Top 4 Beautiful Flowers of Hanoi in June

Hanoi travel in June will bring you the new experiences when walking around colorful streets, which are full of flowers such as red Poinciana, purple Lagerstroemia flowers, Lotus.

1. Lotus flowers

Take a walk around Hanoi streets; you easily catch the image of street vendors, they are mostly women walking painstakingly and patiently with a heavy burden on their shoulders. Their goods are diversified; especially you will see the beautiful lotus flowers at this time of Hanoi, June, in each corner of the streets. Thus you can feel its alluring perfume into the air creating the pleasant atmosphere for Hanoi. 

2. The glorious red Poinciana

During the time of June, Hanoi sparkles with red flamboyant, a signal of summer coming. Therefore don’t hesitate to go down the streets and take some nice pictures to get memories about this beautiful city. 

3. The delicate purple of Lagerstroemia flowers

In this time, Hanoi adorned with a carpet of violet-purple Lagerstroemia flowers, which give Hanoi the dreamy appearance. However, it just exists in the life so short that people can have not a chance to feel its beauty. Maybe you can surprise when realizing its blooming which made somehow different from yesterday, but this flower is easily faded especially after raining.

4. Gorgeous flowers in the summer

Featuring with the yellowish flowers nested in the lush green leaves, it brings another appearance for Hanoi – romantic and gentle atmosphere.

• Maybe You Like: