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  • What About Vietnam | Travel Podcasts | Series 3

    S3-12 From Tourist to Resident Episode 12 What would it be like to live in a foreign country? Go to Episode S3-08 Food Adventure Episode 8 Fun Hanoi foodie adventure to blow your mind Go to Episode S3-04 Dishes of Danang Episode 4 Must try local dishes with Vietnam Food Safari Go to Episode ​ ​ ​ Go to Episode S3-11 Saigons Covid Recovery Outlook Episode 11 Lockdown insights and upcoming travel advice Go to Episode S3-07 Positive tourism Episode 7 Leaving a positive footprint through social enterprise Go to Episode S3-03 Saigon HCMC Districts Episode 3 Samantha Coomber guides us through Saigon's districts Go to Episode ​ ​ ​ Go to Episode S3-10 Top 5 Travel Podcasts Episode 10 These episodes remind me why I started this journey Go to Episode S3-06 Diving in Vietnam Episode 6 Jeremy Stein takes us diving in the best locations Go to Episode S3-02 Mu Cang Chai Episode 2 Colourful landscapes of the village of Mu Cang Chai Go to Episode S3-09 Photographic experiences Episode 9 Rich in history and culture and yet bursting to change. Go to Episode S3-05 Ha Giang Loop Episode 5 Ha Giang Loop adventure, Vietnam's final frontier Go to Episode S3-01 Travel Industry Experts Episode 1 Insights into Vietnam travel beyond 2021 Go to Episode

  • What About Vietnam | Travel Podcasts | Series 3, Episode 8, A foodie adventure in Hanoi that will blow your mind

    A foodie adventure in Hanoi that will blow your mind Episode 8 S3-08 Food Adventure 00:00 / 23:08 If you are a foodie and looking for something adventurous in Vietnam; Something fun and a bit out there! My guest Fleur Sharpe has the goods! Let’s just say, the menu for lunch in Hanoi took a turn for the wild side when Fleur and her husband decided after checking the reviews, that eating at a snake restaurant in Hanoi, could be just the thing!! Let’s go for the top of the range she said - “Let's see what a Cobra tastes like”. With a bottle of French Champagne under their arm, off they went in the middle of summer to the Hung Restaurant in Hanoi. I really hope you find this adventure as funny and side splitting as I did. If you’d like to find more about Fleur and the cooking classes she runs online you can find here here - Out of gallery Download Transcript PDF Read the transcript here

  • What About Vietnam | Travel Podcasts | Series 3, Episode 5, The Ha Giang Loop - Vietnams final frontier

    The Ha Giang Loop - Vietnams final frontier Episode 5 S3-05 Ha Giang Loop 00:00 / 30:17 In this episode we take you to the Ha Giang Loop - with my guest - Tom Stone. “The Ha Giang Loop”, as it is referred to on many a travel website and Instagram page is a region of approximately 350Km located in north Vietnam. About 5 hours drive or 300kms from Hanoi. It is commonly referred to as a bike riders paradise. One of the most photographed scenery of the whole loop, is the Ma Pi Leng Pass which links the towns of Dong Van and Meo Vac, and is carved into the side of the mountains. My guest Tom Stone, who now lives in the main town says “If you are prepared to make the journey”, you won’t be disappointed.” Tom has been running tours in the Ha Giang region for nearly 12 years. Find out :- - What to expect on “The loop” - Forms of transport - Best times of year to travel - Considerations when booking a tour - Accommodation misconceptions Its a big episode talking about a big area ….definitely worth checking out. Out of gallery Download Transcript PDF Read the transcript here

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Blog Posts (18)

  • Social Enterprise Travel in Vietnam

    Social enterprise travel in Vietnam is a relatively new concept, having been awarded legal status in 2014. With the tourist market opening up in recent years, such organizations have bridged the gap between traditional and modern worlds. This helps the economy without leaving its most vulnerable people behind. For travelers with a sense of adventure, they also offer a unique experience, away from the tourist trails. Below we’ll look at the concept in detail, as well as hear from blogger Emily Lush, who utilized social enterprise networks on her own travels in Vietnam. Contents (Click to go to section) 1. What is social enterprise in Vietnam? 2. Successful social enterprise examples in Vietnam 3. Why do social enterprises exist? 4. Social enterprise funding 5. A different experience for travelers 6. Getting involved 7. In conclusion: the future 8. FAQs What is social enterprise in Vietnam? In Vietnam, social enterprises are organizations that reinvest at least 51% of their profit into a social or environmental cause. As a result, social enterprise companies hold a unique place within society. They’ve made huge gains in tackling some of the country’s biggest social issues, including women’s rights, ethnic minority rights, and human trafficking. Successful social enterprise examples in Vietnam The list of social enterprises in Vietnam is long, but to give examples, KOTO – which operates in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – is a training restaurant, working with disadvantaged youth. Another is Zo Paper, a Hanoi enterprise focused on revitalizing the dying art of handmade paper. At present, only a handful of ethnic minority people in the north have retained this skill. Without such an enterprise, it’s unlikely to make it into the next generation. There’s also Reaching Out Teahouse in Hoi An and Da Nang’s Happy Heart Restaurant – both established to provide work for disabled persons. Other successful examples include tour companies, souvenir shops and accommodation. Why do social enterprises exist? The main objective behind a social enterprise business is job creation. A huge percentage of Vietnam is made up of rural areas and farmland. Many live a way of life that’s been largely unchanged for centuries. It’s vital work, but difficult and makes little profit. Enterprises help to sustain a rural way of life whilst opening the door to new opportunities. Others create jobs for people with physical or learning disabilities and the long-term unemployed. Social entrepreneurs always create a business with a specific goal or target group in mind. Social enterprise funding Setting up a social enterprise often involves external funding from outside investors. Organizations also rely on donations and grants. Given that it’s difficult for companies to be given bank loans, there’s very much a reliance on tourism in order for them to stay alive. Nearly a quarter of the country’s social enterprises operate partially in overseas markets – by selling unique, handmade goods – and such expansion could be vital to the sector’s future. A different experience for travellers Social enterprise can offer a different experience for travellers, as travel blogger Emily Lush explained via our podcast. “Because of the way it’s structured, social enterprise gives travelers a lot of opportunities…to have deep experiences, speak and learn from people firsthand.” People travel for different reasons of course – some just to party and have a good time, and there’s nothing wrong in that. But instead of ticking off the main spots on the tourist trail, you can discover a world few travelers have partaken in. “I was really interested in learning more about the remote communities in the north,” Emily continues. “To be able to go deeper into (off-the-beaten-track) places was very personally rewarding.” Although Vietnam’s north hosts its capital city in Hanoi, beyond it lie villages galore and an immense mountain range, bordering both China and Laos. In amongst the mountains and valleys, many of the country’s 54 separate ethnic minority groups are based. All have their own language, style of dress and individual culture. Emily based herself in Hanoi and used the city as a starting point for setting off on a host of rural adventures. “Two places in particular stand out, and I visited both with social enterprise groups. One is Ha Giang, east of Sapa. It takes a long time to get there, but given the mountain roads and amazing scenery, it features a lot in photos. You can jump on a motorbike and go hustling around those dangerous roads yourself. But with the social enterprise, we were able to do tours by car, with a private driver and guide who is embedded in the local community. I also went to Da Bac, three hours from Hanoi, and not known to tourists at all. In Da Bac there is a project run by the NGO called Action on Poverty. I went over there to check out their homestays. They work with a network of villages, around a reservoir, and have worked with a range of families to set up homestays in beautiful, traditional wooden homes. One thing that I did which is very memorable was take a traditional red dao herbal bath. You sit in a wooden barrel filled with water and medicinal herbs, grown in the village. You sit in the bath and soak, with a view of the rice fields outside. It was very beautiful.” It’s worth touching on cost at this point. There are many travelers who come to Vietnam expecting everything on the cheap. It is possible to have a low-cost adventure in the country, but keep an open-mind when traveling with a social enterprise company. Given where the money ends up – helping people in some way – you may find prices a little closer to those you’re used to back home. Although haggling is a traditional part of Vietnamese culture, buying from social enterprises is not the place to do it. Getting involved Anyone interested in a social enterprise experience should visit Emily’s website as a starting point for ideas. “There’s another site called Grassroots Volunteering, which has a bit of a directory,” says Emily. “And one called CBT Vietnam. They work in Sapa and focus on homestays.” In conclusion: the future Prior to the pandemic, social entrepreneurship was playing an important role in making sure tourism developed in a sustainable way. However, even prior to 2019, Vietnam’s premier tourist attractions were its cities and coastline – and there’s so much more to this beautiful country than that! For anyone wanting a unique experience or an off-the-beaten track adventure in the future, social enterprises can enable such adventures. Be sure to take advantage of these fabulous organizations before the rest of the world catches on. FAQs How many social enterprises are there in Vietnam? A British Council Study in 2019 listed 19,000 different social enterprises in Vietnam. Where are Vietnam’s social enterprises based? Around 50% of Vietnam’s social enterprises are based in its two biggest cities – Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. The other half are in rural regions. What are the main challenges for social enterprises in Vietnam? Discounting the impact that Covid has had on Vietnam’s tourist industry, the biggest challenge is to attract new customers or clients, as well as developing new products and services. What’s the main objective for Vietnam’s social enterprises? For those starting a social enterprise, job creation is the main objective for 60% of organizations. On average, each social enterprise in Vietnam employs 42 direct employees, with work enabling up to 2000 people.

  • Jeep tours

    As a great way to mix up your adventure in Hoi An and Vietnam, we had to throw into the mix a tour on four wheels! Not just your ordinary 4 wheels. We are talking Jeeps. Jeeps made to travel all sorts of terrain and over all sorts of landscapes. One of the tours this company has on offer takes you way up into the mountains to visit a tribe called the Co Tu Tribe. There is some amazing scenery along the way and if you are looking for a unique experience to acquaint yourself with one of the most remotes tribes closest to Hoi An, this is the trip to do. See their website at If you would like to add this kind of tour into your experience and have one of our guides accompany you, then please email us at and we can arrange it for you.

  • Hoi An - UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Town

    Hoi An translates as "peaceful meeting place". The town could be viewed in some ways as a place that time forgot. It’s old world charm has had a fascination for tourists for a long time now. Some say if you want to see the real Vietnam from a historic perspective, this is the place to visit. While only a short drive from Danang, (less than 30 mins) it’s historic buildings largely remained unscathed by the Vietnam war. In 1999 the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, with buildings that display a unique blend of local and foreign influences. Most prominent in the city's old town, is its covered "Japanese Bridge" dating from the 16th-17th century. In fact most of the “must see” places in the town are jam packed into only a few streets beginning at the Japanese bridge or Pagoda bridge as it is also known. There are 5 famous Assembly Halls in Hoi An. 1. Quang Dong Assembly Hall 176 Tran Phu Street 2. Duong Thuong Assembly Hall 64 Tran Phu Street 3. Phuc Kien Assembly Hall – the biggest 46 Tran Phu Street 4. Hai Nam Assembly Hall 10 Tran Phu Street 5. Trieu Chau Assembly Hall 57 Nguyen Duy Hieu Beyond the Assembly halls, there is this amazing place called: THE OLD HOUSE OF TAN KI 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street This place is special for many reasons in addition to its amazing architecture, design and ornaments dating back to the 16th century. It is mostly recognised for its national heritage, as it used to be the place where heads of state from other countries would come to be welcomed to Faifo. As a tourist they will also show you how they have managed to save their building and magnificent furniture from the floods as they point you to the watermark lines showing how high the waters have come in the building during years when the old town has flooded. However, through Vietnamese resilience and ingenuity by lifting the furniture up into the roof they have managed to keep the building in good condition. For a good read on all the sites in the town and their history check out this blog About your ticket to the UNESCO Ancient town The UNESCO town visit involves purchasing a ticket at any one of the various entry points to the town. As a tourist you may often look very obvious to these stand holders, so they have been known to call out to you to make sure you have purchased a ticket. The ticket entitles you to enter the buildings and view the various rooms and various presentations. Without the ticket you can only view the buildings from the outside. The ticket is very cheap and well worth the money. The trick with the ticket is you don't have to visit all the sites in one day. Just make sure you bring it with you as they tear off a portion that belongs to the site you have visited on entry. If you have done the old town prior and don’t wish to do again, you just tell them this at the counter and they will nod with approval. And then just keep walking!! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE A TICKET JUST TO WALK THE OLD TOWN. It’s only required if you wish to go inside any of the UNESCO sites listed here. Please email us if you would like to include this into your experience of Hoi An and we will arrange a guide to join you and possibly take you to other places to make your day complete. Allow about 2 hours to do this tour thoroughly and check on times for the cultural dance shows as they vary from season to season.

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