Top 5 Not-To-Be-Missed Things to Do in Yangon, Myanmar

If you have an opportunity to visit Myanmar one day, there could be no reason why you don’t put Yangon - the largest and possibly most beautiful city of this charming country - in your bucket list. A trip to Yangon guarantees you the chance to not only admire breathtaking attractions but also explore unique Burmese culture. Still have no idea of where to start your Burma tour packages? Consider our Top 5 Things to do in Yangon listed below.

1. Sightsee by Yangon Circular Train

Beyond various types of vehicles in Yangon, the Yangon Circular Train is considered to be the cheapest and most unique choice, which surely offers you the opportunity to have an interesting scenic trip around the city. Although the train takes passenger 3 hours to finish one round, it is a great chance to not only admire the beauty of Yangon as well as its tranquil outskirt areas but also meet and observe daily activities of a lot of friendly locals in a trip.



2. Visit Chaukhtatgyi Paya

Known as the kingdom of Golden pagodas, Myanmar will surely wow you by its large number of Buddhist structures. Whenever you’re in Yangon, you shouldn’t miss Chaukhtatgyi Paya Temple, containing the giant 65-meter Buddha Statue. You will also have chance to witness charming architecture and learn more about mysterious things of Burmese Buddhism.


3. Admire Yangon City Hall

Once arrived at the city of Yangon, a visit to Yangon City Hall will be unmissable. It was considered as a fine example of Architecture in Myanmar, built by U Tin – a talented Burmese architect in the 20th century who also designed the Central Railway Station and Basic Education Highschool No.2 Bagon. It is very easy to reach the City Hall thanks to its heart-of- -city location. You can also have many photo chances from all sides of the Hall and great view of the city as bustling traffic scene moving around you.

➤ Discover more exciting spots with our Yangon tours here:  http://yangondaytours.com/


4. Relax at Kandawgyi Park

If you are looking for a place to relax after days travelling around Myanmar or hours sitting in the office, then a short visit to Kandawgyi Park will definitely delight you. The Park is situated in the center, providing a fresh atmosphere for Yangon with a large area of lush green trees and the large Kandawgyi Lake, promising the chance to stretch your legs, enjoy cool breezes and observe daily activities of local people. 

Especially, when the night falls, you will be amazed at many beautiful restaurants and the twinkle giant Karaweik floating on the lake. Every year, some traditional festivals are also held here, which attracts a large amount of tourists and people from all regions of Myanmar to come and have fun together.


5. Discover Yangon’s Markets

It is said that when you want to learn more about the culture of a specific region, visit its local market. Indeed, like in other tourist cities in Myanmar, Yangon’s market is considered as a never-boring place. There are many of them in the city, but the most famous ones are Bogyoke Aung San and Mingalar market, which guarantee an access to a wide range of goods, clothes, souvenir, local specialties etc.

You can easily join in a Yangon culinary tour in the market to taste some of the best Burmese street food at never-better prices.

Furthermore, the trip to these local markets helps you extend knowledge about not only special products of Yangon but also the unique Burmese culture.

3 Best Places for Paddling in Ninh Binh

Considered as one of the most ideal destinations for ecotourism in Vietnam, Ninh Binh owns a wide range of attractions to explore the natural beauty of Northern Vietnam. However, there are various ways to discover this beautiful land; the most popular one must be paddling. Today, let me suggest a list of 3 best places for paddling in Ninh Binh for your Vietnam excursions.

Trang An
Widely well-known for being a beautiful UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites, Trang An is one of the most ideal places for paddling lovers. The complex contains a huge system of limestone landscape surrounded by primitive forests including stunning mountains, islets, caves, dating back to 250 million years ago.
The one-and-only way to discover Trang An is to paddle small local boats, which are controlled by an experienced local. However, there are 3 pairs of paddles on each boat, so you will have a chance to try that interesting experience yourself or with your friends on boat.
A cruise in Trang An will sure offer you the opportunity to explore its magnificent scenery as well as a rich biodiversity of wild species and plants. You will also have a chance to paddle through at least ten mysterious caves of different lengths and appearances to see a wide range of natural stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes while soaking your hand into the cold-as-ice fresh water. Furthermore, joining in a paddling trip to Trang An also helps you to extend your knowledge about culture, history and religion in Vietnam by passing by many Buddhist temples and pagodas.
Thum Nham Bird Park
Another ideal spot for scenic paddling in Ninh Binh is Thum Nham Bird Park, which is located not too far from Ninh Binh city. Visiting this fascinating natural park, you will have a chance to not only paddle in nature but also enjoy various types of activities such as trekking to a lot of unique caves, visiting fruit gardens, exploring primitive forest. However, the main activity here is to watch a kingdom of wild bird. Thung Nham is home to a lot of species including painted stork, heron, cormorant, bulbul, etc and other wide mammals, reptiles, fishes, many of them are listed in the Red Book (Vietnamese List of Endangered species).
You will feel it comfortable and relaxing to enjoy the natural beauty of Ninh Binh, which is completely separated from the hustle and bustle of the big cities.
Tam Coc Bich Dong
Located right next to Thum Nham Bird Park, The World Heritage Tam Coc Bich Dong attracts a large amount of worldwide tourist for a long time thanks to its peaceful location and unique biodiversity. 
Tam Coc means 3 Caves in Vietnamese; Bich Dong is the name of a stunning cave in the complex. Visiting Tam Coc, you will have a scenic paddling trip in a picturesque kingdom with mountains, rivers, forest. If you pay a visit to this spot in summer, you will be able to witness a dreamy scene of immense yellow wet-rice paddies, which allows you to take some best pictures of Northern Vietnam. During the tour, you will be able to see many majestic caves including But Cave, Mua Cave, Fairy Cave etc. Moreover, there are some sacred pagodas and temples deep inside the complex for you to learn more about Buddhism in Vietnam.
There are many other mysterious attractions in Ninh Binh, have a look at our packages here:
http://excursionvietnam.com/ninh-binh-tours

A Series of Pretty Homestays in Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh Valley Homestay, Ninh Binh

Built in a vast valley of a tranquil countryside in Hoa Lu district, surrounded by calm rivers and majestic mountain, Ninh Binh Valley Homestay is undoubtedly an ideal place for those who are engrossed with the charming nature. Staying at the homestay, you have a chance to watch the stunning sunset that promises to “melten” your little heart. 


The bungalows feature the environmentally friendly design, so they are constructed by wood, bamboo, leaves, etc. Noticeably, these bungalows are cool in summer and warm in winter. Therefore, if you want to “escape” away from the hot weather or the cold air, you should definitely give these houses a try. There is one thing interesting that, you can hold panoramic views of green nature from all corner of the bungalows. Thus, you surely have unforgettable experiences when visiting this amazing houses. 

Many tourists consider Ninh Binh Valley Homestay as an ideal place to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city and set aside all concerns and worries of life.  As a result, they can spend the whole week staying at the homestay without being bored. Perhaps, they just need a cool and quiet space to engross in their favorite book. Additionally, they have a chance to enjoy tasteful local specialties. They are all enough for a good trip and a full relaxation. 

Address: Dong Cung, Khe Ha Village, Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province

Chezbeo Valley Bungalows, Ninh Binh

If you are no longer interested in luxury beach resorts featuring fresh breezes from the sea and fond of a tranquil and rustic place in which you can indulge yourself into the stunning nature, you should definitely give Chezbeo Valley Bungalows a try. Imagine that you wake up in the early morning in the quiet atmosphere, lush green trees that is different from the hustle and bustle of the city life, you might “have a crush” on it right away. It surely “satisfies” your need of full relaxation. 


Situated in Kha Luong village, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh City, near Tam Coc  - Bich Dong tourist site, Chezbeo homestay enables you to access to famous tourist attractions in Ninh Binh easily. From Hanoi, you might get there by motorbike to explore interesting destinations. 

Distinguishingly characterized by the nearby lotus pond, surrounded by majestic mountain, the homestay allows you to admire the spectacular nature and enjoy the blooming flowers at the same time. Moreover, you definitely stay at mountain – view rooms or lotus ponds – view rooms based on your need.


Like many other eco homestays, this place does not air conditioners, it uses electric fans and natural wind instead. The price of a room at Chezbeo homestay is reasonable, about 360,000 VND (18$) per night. However, you should bring insect repellent to avoid being bitten by mosquitos at night.

Address: Kha Luong Village, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province

Hoa Lu Eco Homestay, Ninh Binh

Located in Trang An village, Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, only 6 kilometers from the city center,  Hoa Lu Eco Homestay enables tourists to visit famous tourist spots of Ninh Binh.


Staying at Hoa Lu Eco Homestay, you definitely immerse yourself in charming nature, relax on the balcony of the house heading out to the clear river and green trees.


There is one thing interesting that the main guest of this homestay are foreigners, so you might grasp your time to practice to English speaking skill and make friends

Nguyen shack, Ninh Binh


If you are a big fan of the famous film named Tam Cam – Untold story, you would probably realize that the beautiful Nguyen Shack Homestay is the setting of the film. Located near Hang Mua, surrounded by spectacular limestone mountains and a vast lake in which the schools of fish swimming all day long and flocks of bird swoop down the surface of the lake in the early morning, this stunning homestay is undoubtedly an ideal destination for a full relaxation. 


The homestay captures the eyes right the first time you get there thanks to unique architecture. You will have a chance to nestle in the pretty roofed “huts” surrounded by the majestic mountain and calm lake instead of staying at cement  - built houses. How amazing!


Top 5 Foods You Should not Miss While Visiting Hanoi

Banh Cuon (Steamed rice pancake rolls)


“Banh Cuon” is made from rice starch and chopped pork, Jew’s ears, and dried onions. This dish is always eaten with a bowl of sauce which is made from fish sauce, lemon, chili, sugar, and drinking water. It is one of the most popular dishes for breakfast but you can also enjoy it whenever you like. Unlike the sauce in Sai Gon that is always sweet, the sauce in Hanoi is sour and spicy and added in dried fried onions and Cha Lua (Vietnamese ham). To enjoy this tasteful dish, you might drop by food stands and restaurants on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1 and those on Pham Van Bach Street, Tan Binh District.  A portion is priced at 1$ – 2$. Reasonable!

Oc Luoc (Steamed snail)


It’s worth mentioning that food stands in Hanoi do not offer various kinds of dish that made from snail as those in Sai Gon. Hanoi steamed snail recipe is cooked with lemongrass and lemon leaves, then, accompanied by the special sauce made of garlic, ginger, and chili. This sauce promises to release a wonderful flavor in your mouth. If you want to enjoy this snack, you might drop by  La Chanh food restaurant on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1.  A portion of oc Luoc for 2 people is priced at 2$. 

Banh Goi (Vietnamese crispy dumplings)


Featuring crispy wrapping and tasteful filling of vermicelli, grinding jelly’s ears mushroom, eggs,.. Banh Goi (Vietnamese cripsy dumpling) definitely make eaters craving for it. It’s worth mentioning that the dish is served with a special sauce made of suger, lemon, fish sauce, and pickled papaw. To enjoy this “mouth – watering” dish, you might drop by restaurants serving northern dishes on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1 or on Vo Van Tan Street, District 3.  A portion for 2 people is reasonably priced at 2$. 

Bun Oc (snail vermicelli soup)


Bun Oc (snail vermicelli soup) is simultaneously sold with Bun Rieu because of the similarity in processing way, tastes and spices (fried thick chili). However, Bun Oc uses small tangled vermicelli and soup is made from pork bones, vinegar, and tomatoes. Moreover, the cooks offer different kinds of snails for their customers to order. 

To enjoy this tasteful dish, you might drop by the northern cuisine restaurants and food stalls near Tan Son Nhat international airport at only 2$. 

Cha Ca La Vong (traditional Vietnamese fried fish)


“Cha ca” is definitely a typical fried fish in Hanoi, which is compulsorily processed with turmeric and cumin. To make this fresh and tasteful dish, fishes are well-marinated with spices before setting up hot pan and noodle on the table. When fish is cooked, we take it out and eat with noodle, dill, and “Mam Tom” (smelly fish paste) to get a better taste. You definitely savor this tasteful and fragrant dish at District 3. A portion for 2 people is priced at 15$.


Penang - The Ideal City for Capturing Nice Pictures

The island paradise island of Penang has long been famous for the ancient George Town, lively wall painting, etc. Therefore, you surely “grasp” one – of – all – kind pictures right you set foot in this amazing island. 


With a long and illustrious history under its belt, Penang’s capital city is earned the title of Malaysia’s favorite and colorful city. Named after King George III, walking down the streets of Georgetown is like walking through paths of history due to the presence of unique wall paintings and ancient buildings. 

As an acknowledgment of its well-preserved cultural and historical heritage, the city was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on July, 7th 2008.


After having a full stomach in the morning, you should take advantage of your time sauntering along the streets of the stunning George Town to discover the most famous wall paintings in East Asia. Bear in mind, you should get there early because of the hot weather.

Street paintings are of two types, namely 3D paintings aiming to deceiving our vision and steel bending paintings representing the traditional culture of local people. Moreover, you are definitely overwhelmed by weird and artistic paintings which are not illustrated on the map you are bringing with.


Strolling along the corner of the streets, rows of ancient houses with unique windows in which travelers might stay away from the bustle and hustle of the city life, you might probably think of the charming ancient Hoi An. Occasionally, you see flocks of birds swooping down the street and flocks of crows perching on the trees, rooftops or streets.

Having been a British colonial bastion and strictly controlled, Penang is currently preserving and conserving valuable architectures. To capture « one-of-all-kind » pictures of your journey, you should visit the ancient house named  Pinang Peranakan Mansion (29 Church Street),  a typical Peranakan house of the Peranakan (generation of people who were half Chinese and Malaysian). This house was served as Hai Kee Chan restaurant which features Chinese architecture with four rows of self-contained house forming a square.


When the sun goes down, Penang becomes bustling. Noticeably, shopping centers open until 10 p.m, so you can freely see, choose and buy souvenirs for friends and family.

Due to its importance in the past as a trading port, particularly with India, China, and Thailand, Penang is a melting pot of cultures and religions from right across Southeast Asia. It is the reason why you should spend the third day of your journey visiting famous ancient temples of Penang.

From George Town, you should definitely make a visit to the sacred "Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling", which has four ancient worshipping places in Southeast Asia, including St George's Church, Bodhisattva Kwan – yin Temple, India's Sri Mah Mariamman Temple, and the Kapitan Keling Mosque.


Then, you walk along Lorong Burma Street to explore the sacred Dhammikarama Burmese Temple. Being built in the early 19th century by the Burmese community, this worshipping place is the oldest Buddhist temple in Penang. It features the gilding roof and giant Buddha statue which fascinates visitors and pilgrims right they enter the temple.

The other « worthy-visiting » Buddhist Temple that you should set foot in is Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple which features the third largest reclining Buddha statue in the world of 33 meters. Built in 1845, the temple is considered as the « heart » of Penang’s Buddhism. Although its name is quite long and hard to remember, most visitors are interested in the « special » name that the local residents named this status, « Sleep » Buddha.


From the entrance gate, you see two impressive statues of Naga Snake, winding to the front of the main hall with the meaning of connecting the earth to heaven. Standing next to them are two « guardian » deities featuring a « fierce » look of the typical Thai architecture.

When worshiping in these sacred temples, pilgrims have to put off their footwear neatly in front of the yard before entering the main hall. After sauntering around the pagoda, both locals and visitors often offer glass candles to the Buddha to pray for peace and luck.


Additionally, you might take a bus to get to Kek Lok Si Temple (Cuc Lac Pagoda, address 1000L Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Aher Itam, opens from 7 a.m  to 21 p.m. This temple is entitled the largest temple in Penang, and the largest Buddhist work in Southeast Asia, playing an essential part in the religious life of the Chinese community in Malaysia.

From the bus station, you walk 15 minutes reach the pagoda located on the top of the mountain and facing the sea. This temple features 10,000 delicately sculptured statues, 7- floor tower and vivid flower garden all year round. It is interesting that the pagoda offers colorful ribbons priced at 1 RM so that visitors could write down their blessing for themselves and their families.


The most famous tourist attraction on the island must be Penang Hill, 3 km from Kek Lok Si Temple. At the height of 800 meters above sea level, you can enjoy panorama of the charming Penang at sunset and nightlife from the observatory at the hilltop. Additionally, you might visit the botanical garden, old train station, The Guard House, love bridge, etc.



Visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda in Vietnam

Bai Dinh Pagoda complex includes an ancient pagoda and a new pagoda built in 2003. Located on the slopes, surrounded by vast valleys, lakes, and mountains, the pagoda does not only serve as a sacred place of worship but also a famous tourist attraction. 




More than 1,000 years ago, there were three successive dynasties, namely the Dinh dynasty, Tien Le dynasty, and Ly dynasty in Ninh Binh. The point is that these three feudal dynasties worshipped Buddhism and considered Buddhism as the national religion, so Ninh Binh is the custodian and curator of many ancient temples, including Bai Dinh Pagoda lying on the Trang An mountain.





It’s worth mentioning that the new pagoda is prominently characterized by the massive architecture that is embedded with tradition and intertwined with the spiritual life of the Vietnamese. That might be the reason why it has long been a famous destination for both Buddhist followers and young travelers, especially pack backers. Moreover, Bai Dinh pagoda seizes the title of one of the largest pagodas in Southeast Asia honored by foreign media. 




5 Worthy - Experiencing Things in Vietnam Recommended by an American Newspaper

Of course, there is no shortage of interesting experiences during the visit to the amazing Vietnam, but Thrillist, a tourism newspaper recommend foreign tourists 12 following activities.

Coffee


Coffee was firstly brought to Vietnam by French colonialists, however, it’s recipe has been changed to satisfy the taste of the locals over the years. Featuring the bitterness, this fragrant drink is often mixed with condensed milk to form Vietnamese coffee recipe. In addition to milk coffee,  tourists can enjoy other flavored variations of coffee such as yogurt coffee, fruit coffee, or even eggs coffee. Give it a try, this amazing drink promises to make you “obsess” its taste for such a long time. 

Sapa, Lao Cai


Sapa has been known as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the northern mountainous area of Vietnam over the past few years. The rapid development of tourism has definitely formed a new “look” for most of the town. Visiting Sapa, you have a chance to admire stunning scenes that promise to “mesmerize” you right away such as valleys and terraced rice fields stretching across the mountains. In addition to trekking, you definitely ride a motorbike to explore far more from the center of the town. If you need an energetic and sympathetic tour guide, the local young guys are totally worth considering. 

Ban Gioc Waterfall, Cao Bang


Situated in Trung Khanh district, about 90 kilometers from Cao Bang city and 400 kilometers from Hanoi, Ban Gioc Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Vietnam. As a result, it attracts a significant number of tourists within and outside the country each year. Making a visit to this charming waterfall, you definitely have unforgettable experiences.

Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake, Hanoi


Nestled right in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake has long been famous for its peace and tranquility that distinguishes with the hustle and bustle of the city. As the name would suggest, the lake was named after a legend that the king returned the sword for the turtle right there. Therefore, almost all tourists within and outside the country make a visit to the lake at least once during their visit to Hanoi. 

The Old Quarter, Hanoi


Characterized by the hustle and bustle of the urban life, the Old Quarter in Hanoi unintentionally makes local residents difficult to walk down the street. If you are “skilled” enough to avoid the approaching motorbikes passing the red light or saunter along the pavement, you will definitely pick up the charm of the local daily life and have opportunities to enjoy the most famous street dishes in Asia.


The Amazing Mrauk U City - The Former Capital of The Kingdom of Arakan

The golden city of Mrauk U, which has been also known as "the forgotten city" is top – ranked “worthy – visiting” destinations during your trip to the friendly and hospitable Myanmar. The local residents, ancient temples, walls, or even bricks in Mrauk U have “unknown” power to mesmerize tourists to this ancient city. 


If you are overwhelmed by the stunning scenery of Angkor Wat temples of Cambodia, you would probably be deeply in love with the unique beauty of this amazing city. Despite various legends related to the city, it was once the capital of the most “wealthy” empire in Asia in the 15th  century.
By the 18th century, the city served as one of the most “bustling” trading places in terms of rice, ivory, horses, spices, and cloth. The merchants gathering at the city mostly came from India, Persia, and even Arabia.

Hundreds of years later, however, Mrauk U began to drop its status because of religious conflicts. Gradually, this name sank into oblivion. Although the city is not as crowded as it in the past, it still amazes tourists by pristine and majestic nature.

For that reason, a group of archaeologists decided to explore and preserve that place so that it was recognized as world cultural heritage site by UNESCO as Angkor Wat temples did. Thus, Mrauk U city is more “alluring” to tourists within and outside the region than Angkor Wat temples. 


The former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said: "Mrauk U can be seen as the most reflective mirror of the history and culture of Rakhine state". Thus, you surely grasp unforgettable experiences when traveling this historically and culturally beautiful city.

Thanks to the support of Mr. Kofi, Myanmar government has nominated Mrauk U to UNESCO to become a world natural heritage. Immediately, the information has received the support of people over the world. The process may take several years to complete. However, Burmese people believed that they can turn a “forgotten” city into one of the most attractive tourism destination in Asia.

It is worth mentioning that Myanmar needs more than only a recognition of UNESCO to “revise” the “golden age” of Mrauk U. U Nyein Lwin, director of Mrauk U National Museum and his team will play a key role in “introducing” Mrauk U city to the world.

He said that the mission was quite challenging while they do not have much time. Lwin's team will have to carry out the most accurate studies in population of the city and predict the number in the future to ensure that their livelihoods and cultivation do not have negative effects on the ruins.


Financial support has been secured from three countries namely Italy, China, and Australia. However, Lwin stressed that that amount is insufficient.

Back to the history, Mrauk U was favorably named “Golden City” by merchants from Portugal and the Netherlands from the 15th  to the 18th  century. The local life at that time was bustling and luxurious. There is one thing interesting that Samurai warriors who were the pride of Japan were also seen in Mrauk U as mercenaries or bodyguards for kings.

Significantly, many temples and pagodas remain unchanged from that time. Among them, the most prominent ones must be the giant Shitthaung temple containing 80,000 Buddha statues and the nearby Koe Thaung temple featuring more than 90,000 Buddhist paintings on the rocks.

If you want to grasp “one – of – all – kinds” check - in pictures during your travel to Myanmar, you should definitely make a visit to the ancient Mrauk U city. There is one thing interesting that although the dew in Mrauk U is thick but it does not form clouds.  Thus, it unintentionally contributes to “sharpen” its own beauty.

Even at 7 o'clock, you definitely see the low fog “stranded” at the peak of the temples. Thus, it looks like a hammock right at the middle of the sky.


Visiting Mrauk U city, you definitely see old women whose face is covered by tattoos as the local tradition. Interestingly, although the residents have to work hard to survive, they do think of being a theft to have a more comfortable life. According to an unknown tourist who did share her journey to Myanmar on Facebook, the locals have tracked to find him to return money when he dropped 200 USD.

To get to this ancient city, visitors must catch a flight from Yangon (about 750 kilometers from Mrauk U), then take a boat ride along the calm Kaladan River in a few hours.

Each year, Mrauk U attracts only 4,000 tourists within and outside the country. Meanwhile, the temples in Bagan, the neighboring city grasps 70 times as many tourists” Mrauk U and Angkor Wat has more than 2 million annual tourist turn.

Thanks to the prominent features, the ancient Mrauk U promises to regain its leading status in Asia that is currently being captured by Angkor Wat temples.