About our Locations
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is located at the heart of the southern part of Vietnam, between the northern edge of the Mekong Delta and the South Eastern region of volcanic red soil. Being a transformation between the two terrains, Ho Chi Minh City is intertwined with natural forest, vast plains, long coast and hundreds of rivers and canals.
Over the past three centuries, Saigon, once praised as the “Pearl of the Orient”, was known as an important trade center for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants. It had also been christened the “Paris of Asia” for its wide boulevards lined with stately trees and magnificent French villas. With a population of 9 million it is the largest city in Vietnam, and a major hub for commercial, tourist, cultural and scientific activities.
Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. Hoi An is a town oozing charm and history, having largely escaped the destruction of successive wars. Once a sleepy riverside village, it’s now quite definitely a tourist town – with hotels, restaurants, bars, tailors and souvenir shops dominating the old centre. Hoi An is pedestrian-friendly while the Old Town is closed to cars.
Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains a sense of history that envelops you as you explore it. In the past Hoi An has been used by the Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the large remaining Chinese community. Remnants of these past traders’ influences can still be seen lining the streets of Hoi An. There are nine different types of historical sites in Hoi An with an average age of 200 years. They include private houses, family chapels, community halls, communal houses, temples, pagodas, bridges, wells and tombs.
Hanoi is often referred to as the grand dame of Asia. Hanoi lay in a deep slumber after Vietnam’s partition in 1954 until the effects of economic reforms kicked in four decades later. The city survived American bombs and Russian planners to emerge relatively unscathed in the early 1990s as an example of a French- conceived colonial city. Huge mansions line grand boulevards, and lakes and parks dot the city, providing a romantic backdrop to the nonstop soundtrack. The city is still reminiscent of Paris, as the smell of baguettes and café au lait permeates street corners.
During the two Indochinese Wars in the 20th century Hanoi had been heavily damaged, but there is virtually no evidence of that now and the particularly thin, tall, often awkward-looking buildings that you see on streets are not a result of bombing, but are created by landowners who own only a thin slice of land. Hanoi has a number of lovely parks and big lakes which inspired the ancient architects to build graceful temples nearby, and Museums with precious exhibits of Vietnam’s Fine Arts, Ethnology, History and Recent Wars that attract not only historians but foreign visitors and local people.
Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s natural wonders and is the most beautiful tourist destination of Vietnam. Ha Long Bay features more than one thousand awesome limestone karsts and islands of various sizes and shapes along the 120-km coastline of Bai Chay Beach.
Majestic and mysterious, inspiring and imperious: words alone cannot do justice to the natural wonder that is Halong Bay. Imagine 3000 or more incredible islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty.
Its waters are host to a great diversity of ecosystems including offshore coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forests, small freshwater lakes, and sandy beaches. The folk tale has it that the dragons descended from heaven to help locals by spitting jewels and jade to the sea, forming a natural fortress against invaders; these precious stones are represented by the lush green outcrops. Several islands boast beautiful grottos and caves with contiguous chambers, hidden ponds and peculiar stone formations. The bay is about 170 kilometers northeast of Hanoi and 3,5 hours by road.
Siem Reap (see-em ree-ep) Back in the 1960’s it was the place to be in Southeast Asia and saw a steady stream of the rich and famous. After three decades of slumber, it’s well and truly back and one of the most popular destinations on the planet right now. The life- support system for the temples of Angkor, Cambodia’s eighth wonder of the world, Siem Reap was always destined for great things, but few people saw them coming this thick and this fast. It has reinvented itself as the epicentre of the new Cambodia, with more guesthouses and hotels than temples, world-class wining dining and spas.
At its heart, Siem Reap is still a little charmer, with old French shop-houses, shady tree-lined boulevards and a slow-flowing river. But it is expanding at breakneck speed with new houses and apartments, hotels and resorts sprouting like mushrooms in the surrounding countryside. The tourist tide has arrived and locals are riding the wave. Not only is this great news for the long-suffering Khmers, but it has transformed the town into a pulsating place for visitors. Forget the naysayers who mutter into their beers about Siem Reap in the ‘old days’, now is the time to be here, although you may curse your luck when stuck behind a jam of tour buses on the way back from the temples.
If you’ve read anything at all about Angkor Wat, you’ll probably know at least three things: Angkor is one of the most beautiful and suggestive place on the planet, the Angkor Wat Temples area is much bigger than the Angkor Temple alone, and last, nothing is homogeneous, the temples having been built in different times, during a four centuries process.
We will be posting more details about this trip, how to book, the package prize and registration details in the coming weeks. Please check back with us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org