Travel Updates – February 2024

It’s mid-spring in Indochina, considered the best time for many outdoor activities, from beach to mountain, photography to cruise.
While the Vietnamese are still busy with numerous festivals after the Lunar New Year, Cambodians and Laotians enjoy their daily peaceful life in such nice weather. We’re happy to host a photography group to Cambodia and Laos this February, which is a really good kick start for the New year!
BEST TIME FOR
photography tour in Siem Reap

The dry season in Siem Reap starts from December through April, but the best time for photographers to spend hours waiting and capturing moments of sunrise to sunset is during February. It’s when the sun shines daily over the glorious temples of the Angkor kingdom, under the clear blue sky, and the temperature is way more comfortable compared to March or April. Siem Reap doesn’t only have Angkor Wat. Apart from the renowned Angkor complex, an overnight escape to the ancient Koh Ker then Preah Vihear will provide numerous photo opportunities as well as a vibe of the Khmer Empire’s mysterious past.

UNTOUCHED LAOS
– Don Khong and 4,000 islands

Just across the border with Cambodia, Si Phan Don with thousands of islands is a great place to escape from popular tourist attractions. Among its 4,000 islands, Don Khong is the largest and Northern-most island. The island is home to 99 mountain peaks and a plethora of historical sites, including 15 temples and structures from the French colonial era. Beside that, Don Khong is also famous for a wide variety of Mekong fish, together with other specialty products such palm sugar, palm leaf hats, and Lao Kao Gum – a potent alcohol.

 

Don Khong can be easily connected with the main cities by flights or land border crossing. The nearest airport is at Pakze (PKZ), about 02 two-hour drive to Si Phan Don area. The more adventurous option is by land border crossing from Cambodia site. It takes 5 hours to drive along the tranquil villages from Siem Reap to the border town, Stung Treng, then cross the land border to reach the Laos side, following by another 50-minute road transfer to Don Khong.

"For Chinese community around the world, as well as in Vietnam, Lunar New Year celebration lasts at least half month of Lunar January”​
ANOTHER NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
– Lantern festival (Tet Nguyen Tieu)

For the Chinese community around the world, as well as in Vietnam, the Lunar New Year celebration lasts at least half a month of Lunar January. The Lunar New Year is not only a Tet that brings joy and enjoyment, but also has spiritual meaning, commemorating the merits of ancestors and sages, and wishing for the best from the beginning of a New Year. There are many festivals taking place during these 2 weeks. One to be mentioned is the Lantern Festival which officially kicks off from the twelfth to the fifteenth with numerous activities such as parades in traditional costumes and mascots of Gods, lion and dragon dances, calligraphy, lantern lighting, and such. Visiting Chinatown these days, you can join the parades and feel a promising New Year waiting ahead.

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Hanoi countryside tales by traditional crafts

Today, drive an hour along the Red River to Ha Noi’s neighboring countryside through immense rice fields and fruit farms. Visit the village that birthed Vietnamese incense upon arrival. This village’s incense, made from over 30 herbs with skills passed down from generation to generation, is known for its pure, light scent. A guided stroll through the hamlet with older residents will take you to various family-run workshops to see the entire incense-making process and hear about the glory days of this traditional craft. Help the host make incense.

Take another short drive to a rural community behind endless rice fields and duck farms. The locals’ 200-year-old fish-pot crafting heritage includes bamboo weaving. Walk around the village to see the typical Northern countryside architecture: dark brown tiled roofs, three-room houses with elders sitting in front weaving fish-pots and chatting. Visit a local artisan who rode his bike across Vietnam to proudly promote his village’s unique traditional craft. Create your own fish pot with his help and give it as a present.

Notes:

  • Availability: Morning
  • Suggested time: 08:00
  • Duration: 6 hours

*Optional to add Nha Xa silk village
*Incense making at Thon Cao, Hung Yen. Fish-pot making village at Thu Sy, Hung Yen.
*Possible to have lunch at Hung Yen