Japanese Cuisine: more than just Sushi

If you just mention “Japanese cuisine” to your friend, it is likely that they will automatically think of the famous sushi. But in fact, this is just a very small part of the diversifying cuisine map of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Shojun Ryori

Shojun Ryori, also known as vegetarian foods, is a type of traditional Japanese food that is developed and inspired by the diet meal of the Buddhist monks. Forbidden from the act of killing animals for food, Buddhist monks invented their own menu of vegetarian foods. If you spend one night staying at a temple in Japan, you will be able to enjoy a Shojin Ryori meal as a specialty of the place.



Oyakodon is a Japanese style chicken rice dish that is loved all across the country. According to the Japanese, Oyakodon must be enjoyed when it’s still hot so the flavors have not diminished. But what makes the food great is the sauce gives it a distinctively chilly taste.



Apart from sushi, Okonomiyaki is ranked as one of the most popular Japanese foods. Okonomiyaki is made is a quite simple method. The cook mixes various ingredients together and grills the mixture on a flat surface. This spontaneous way of cooking also explains its name “grill what you want”. So you can basically add anything you want in your Okonomiyaki, a totally customized food.


Kabocha chiffron cake

Kabocha chiffron cake is a perfect example for using and combining different exclusive ingredients in Japan (locally-grown vegetables, adzuki beans, and tofu) and utilizing Western baking method to create an excellent cake. The cake is quite popular in Kyoto, and travelers can enjoy this cake at Sarasa 0 a local restaurant franchise featuring international and Japanese cuisine.



Takoyaki is a much beloved street food in Japan. In Japanese, takoyaki means grilled octopus and takoyaki is exactly that, a Japanese pancake with grilled octopus on the inside. You will spot the frame for making takoyaki everywhere in Japan.


Wagashi cake

Wagashi resembles everything that makes Japanese cuisine great, a twist of arts mixing together with authentic traditional culinary. This is a seasonal pastry that has been enjoyed through generations in Japan, with intricate flavors, appealing colors, showcasing both nutritional and aesthetic values. Besides, wagashi is a symbol of Japanese hospitality as it is often used as a gift in weddings, birthdays…



Onigiri rice ball is a very familiar food to the Japanese. To make this food, you first need to put white rice with tuna, salmon egg or tuna egg on the table before using seaweed to roll them altogether. You can eat them instantly or grill it for a bit to enjoy a tasty flavor.


source: ivivu.vn

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Myanmar tour in 4 days

If you take a Myanmar tour 4 days, ideally, you should spend two days in Inle Lake, and two days in Golden Rock, Bagan.

Inle Lake- 2 days

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

From Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay you can reach Inle Lake (Nyaungshwe) with the routes like Yangon – Inle (about 15.000kyat, 16-20 hours), Bagan – Inle (about 11.000kyat, 12 hours, Mandalay – Inle (about 10,000 kyat, 10 hours) respectively.

In Nyaungshwe you can rent an elongated boat, which is very popular here, and take a trip around Inle lake from the morning to the evening with the cost of about $ 10,000 – 20.000kyat. Generally, the price which you directly bargain in the marina is cheaper than the one you ask at the hotel or inn.

Inle is the ideal place for you to breathe the air of the lake surrounded by hills and mountains. You should spend a whole day just sailing on the lake, watching the Myanmar men rowing on foot, visiting Phaung Daw Oo or Phaung daw Oo temple, visiting shops and meeting the long-necked women, buying a plate of beautiful silk woven from water lily’s filaments in the village, going into the tomato fields floating on the lake’s surface, having lunch at the floating restaurant…

The peaceful sunset in Inle Lake

The peaceful sunset in Inle Lake

If you choose to stay right in the lake, the cost will be expensive, especially in the resorts and floating hotels. The backpackers often come back to Nyaungshwe town near the lake to find the accommodation which costs from only USD 5-8/room/night. Joy Hotel Guesthouse is a typical illustration.

A resort on Inle Lake

A resort on Inle Lake

Bago – Kyaikhtiyo- 2 days

In the second half of the Myanmar tour 4 days, you should be visit the Golden Rock Temple.

Kyaikhtiyo or Golden Rock temple is the place where tourists visit most frequently when they take a Myanmar tour 4 days or shorter. This is not because of the time limit but it is the uniqueness of the temple which has dragged the pilgrims’ footsteps to explore this land.

Golden Rock is said to be the place where stores the hairpiece of the Buddha

Golden Rock is said to store the hairpiece of the Buddha

You need at least 2 days to visit one of the treasures of Burma, Kyaikhtiyo temple, which is located on a rock attached to a large cliff. The easiest way is to buy a package tour visiting Bago and Kyaikhtiyo for about 70-100 USD if you don’t have enough time. If you are free, you can travel from Yangon to Kim Pun by bus (the nearest point to reach the Kyaikhtiyo temple) with the cost of about 7000kyats. From Kim Pun, you have to travel in a cramped truck with many passengers to reach the craggy peak with the cost of 1500kyats.

From the last stop of the truck, you need to walk 4km more to go to the Golden Rock temple, but it’s a worth trip to see one of the masterpieces of Myanmar Buddhism constructed by both human and nature.

Tourists shouldn’t sleep at the foot of the mountain because the price is generally high; you can go back to Kim Pun, stay in the hostel for $ 5-8 dollars and catch the early bus to come back to Bago in the following day.

During the journey from Kyaikhtiyo, you can stop in Bago, wander through the temples of the ancient capital and local markets to buy souvenirs. Bago is the old capital with a very slow pace of life. Let things gradually take you away in the final days in Myanmar.

The interesting puppets in Bagan

The interesting puppets in Bagan

Hopefully, the world of the unique Buddhist temples of Myanmar will remain forever in your mind when you leave this fairy land. How simple but attractive is Myanmar.

10 Quick Facts about Angkor temples

The magnificent temples of Angkor are obviously known by every traveler around the world. However, only few of us truly understand about the incredible cultural and historic values of this ancient wonder. So if you want to visit Angkor temples soon, take a look at these interesting facts:

1. Built between 1113 and 1150, Angkor Wat is the largest religious building in the world.


2. Angkor Wat is initially a Hindu temple. However, in the late 13th century, Angkor Wat was shifted to a Buddhist temple and remained to be so until today.

3. More than half of international tourists in Cambodia consider Angkor Wat as their primary reason why they choose to visit the country.

4. The symbol of the temple was presented on the center of the Cambodian flag, as well as many Cambodian banknotes.


5. Most of the money used to restore Angkor Wat comes from foreign aid.

6. It was not until late 16th century when the first westerner ever set foot in the temples of Angkor.

7. Angkor Wat is not the only attractions in the area. A bit further north to Angkor Wat is Angkor Thom, which houses many famous temples and ruins built in the prime time of Khmer Empire.

8. Khmer bricks were bonded together not by mortar but by a vegetable compound which remains unknown today.

9. Ta Prohm temple is made famous by serving in a scene of the movie Tomb Raider, in which features Angelina Jolie.


Bayon Temple is another must visit in Angkor Archaeological Park. This temple features 37 gigantic stone towers, each is carved with four mysterious smiling faces on each side. This number used to be 54 in the past.


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Tips for Responsible Travel in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia remains one of the poorer areas in the world. Many people are still suffering, both in cities and rural areas, and for many of them, sustainable development of tourism may be the light out of the dark tunnel. And we travelers can help them quite a lot by travel responsibly by a variety of ways. But here are just some small tips for responsible travel in Southeast Asia that you can take along the way.



  1. Don’t give money to beggars, especially children. This will encourage them to keep begging for money, and that’s not good for them. If you want to make a donation, do so via a reputable organization.
  2. Be aware of some common scams such as buying books for schools, milk powder for babies. In most cases, this will not help people you are intending to help.
  3. Don’t give candy or sweets to children. It will affect their dental health.
  4. Research orphanage’s reputation because visiting some orphanages cannot be a good idea.
  5. Respect local culture and abide some rules that you have to. A great example is alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang.
  6. Support by using services at some restaurants, shops, spas where the poor, or orphans work to earn some income and develop their skills.


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5 Reasons to Practice Tai Chi

A great cruise journey does not just enable passengers discover the destinations, but also engage them in various practical and beneficial experiences such as taking a cooking class or exercising Tai Chi early in the morning.Originally considered as a martial art in China, Tai Chi is now described as “meditation in motion” or even “medication in motion” and has become well known over the world. Many scientific proofs have shown that Tai Chi can help treating or preventing various health issues.Below are 5 of the reasons to practice Tai Chi.

  1. Tai Chi is for everyone

Tai Chi is different from other types of exercises. It involves circular, slow and gentle movements so younever get forced while practicing Tai Chi. Muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, joints are not bent and connective tissues are not stretched. Thus, everyone can easily practice Tai Chi, from men to women, children to the elderly, from the fittest to those who are confined to wheelchairs or rehabilitating from an injury or surgery.


  1. Strength and flexibility

Several studies including one conducted by Stanford University in 2006 has shown that Tai Chi can strengthen both lower and upper body as well as the muscles of the back and abdomen. Women taking part in the 2006 Stanford study also experienced significant improvement in their body’s flexibility.

  1. Balance

Tai Chi reduces falls by enhancing balance ability. Tai Chi training can helps reducing the fear of falling and keeping one’s proprioception (the ability to sense the position of body in space). By these ways, Tai Chi also reduces falls and boosts recovery process from a stumble.

  1. Reduce stress

Many people who practice on a regular basis believe Tai Chi adds tranquility and serenity to their minds. We also believe that it can act as an antidote to the 21st century stress. So if you choose to cruise with us and join us in a Tai Chi session on our deck, you can put life burden aside, let your body loosen and follow the gentle movements while relishing every bit of the ever-changing seascape of Halong Bay.


  1. Last but not least, it’s never too late for you to start

Many passengers who practice Tai Chi on our deck say that was their first time exercising this form of meditation. And some of them still keep practicing after returning from Halong Bay. Hopefully you will enjoy your Tai Chi sessions on your next voyage at the magnificent Halong Bay.

Read more: vietnam tours, myanmar luxury trips, myanmar cruises


Every year, according to lunar calendar, on 9th, September, Xa Pho people in Lao Cai begin to celebrate Banana Flower festival – a very national character festival. On this day, there have so many interesting and special activities in order to pray for good health, happiness, fullness, good weather and better harvest.

An unique festival

As the custom, no matter where it is held (in a family, group of families or the whole village), it is a meeting place to have fun, pray for lucks, pay thanks to their ancestors, try to overcome the difficulties in life of Xa Pho people (Van Ban).

To prepare for the important day, families will bring sacrifices to the organizers’ house before the festival, including: rice, chicken, wine, 3 fried birds and salted sour fish to contribute to the host. These sacrifices are often prepared at the host family to prepare for worship. When the food are ready, the organizers will put it on a tray made by bamboo and arrange it as an order on the holding area. Before starting to conduct the rites, families will burn incenses at their trays and pray as witness for the host’s heart to the spirits and gods. When the incenses extinct, the host will prostrate the gods and burn votive paper. After finishing these rites, families will have a meal together. The meal is separated into to trays – one for women and one for men.

As they finish their meal, the host and young men begin to carry out the rituals of planting banana trees in the celebrating area. They build a wild banana tree and plant it around banana tree and other wild flowers. There are also red banana flowers symbolizing for the good lucks. After planting , all people in the village inclduing young men, women and the elder start to perform the harvest praying dance and describe the ploughing, raking, picking, harvesting, hunting actions as well as offering to the spirits special food such as fried stream fish, fried mice meat, wild birds and taro.

Other activities in the festival

There are many other fun and exciting activities in Banana flower festival but the most unique one is the traditional dance describing the increasing production action and daily activities very lively. That traditional dance not only improves the interesting atmosphere but also expresses local people’s desires such as happiness, good health and good lucks in life. Even more specially, on this day, Xa Pho families are not allowed to bring anything out of their houses. Accordingly, other families in other villages weill not be invited if their villages have not celebrated the festival yet.

This festival makes the national culture more various and beautiful. Thanks to Banana flower festival, villagers in Lao Cai have a great opportunity to exchange, have fun, sing, dance traditional songs and become closer and more united together. Everyone coming to the village at this time surely will have unlimited fun and love this interesting festival with the hospitable local people.

View more: Tailormade Myanmar Art & Culture Tour | 10 Days Private Myanmar Tour

Experiencing Bagan from up high

Bagan is the first capital of the country Myanmar. Here, visitors can admire the marvelous beauty of more than 2,000 historical monuments, and temples with a Myanmar balloon trip. The most perfect time to go to Bagan is from October to April.
Taking a Myanmar balloon trip is an interesting and unique form of tourism
Taking a Myanmar balloon trip is an interesting and unique form of tourism
Renting a balloon
Besides riding horse carts, if you have a little more money, you can take a Myanmar balloon trip to get the feeling of watching Bagan from above in the form of balloon travel. In Bagan, there is only one British company providing this service – Balloon Over Bagan. The recorded prices on some website are $ 280 / person for a 45 minute flight. If you study some information before going and have luck, you can have the lower prices which are around $ 260. Tourists should also note that there are only 40 tickets are sold each day; therefore, you should buy tickets early to have a perfect trip. The air balloon can carry only a predetermined weight, and there is a farce but it is the fact that those who have more than 100 kilos of weight have to buy two tickets. Depending on the weight of each person, one airship can carry 8-10 people.
A balloon generally can carry 8- 0 passengers basing on their weight
A balloon generally can carry 8- 0 passengers basing on their weight
And enjoying your Myanmar balloon trip
An excursion by balloon usually lasts an hour. After the balloon is inflated, you will climb the basket and start your romantic on-air trip. The feeling of standing in a balloon and welcoming the sun from above is extremely beautiful and unique. If there is a camera or a camcorder, you will get a chance to record the unforgettable images of this trip. You will experience the most romantic and the most poetic feelings.
Balloons in the sky of Bagan
Balloons in the sky of Bagan
Under the balloons, thousands of temples and towers bob on a vast plain in Bagan – the ancient city being adjacent to the Ayeyarwady River (Myanmar), which is known for temples built from the 11th century.
The glittering golden peaks and the red color of the bare bricks are outstanding on dark green of the bushes. Far away, the smooth sand of Ayeyarwady River stretches to the western range of mountains beyond…
The balloon will take the passengers to fly over the ancient towers
The balloon will take the passengers to fly over the ancient towers
Morning is also an appropriate time to glide in the air balloons, watch the fairy land in a clear morning and imagine that you are on a carpet flying to the dreamland.
Myanmar balloon festival
If tourists are keen on watching balloon, they can take part in the Balloon festival in Myanmar. One of the most spectacular festivals in a year of Myanmar is the hot air balloon festival held annually in November in Taunggyi, commonly known as Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival. Thousands of local and international tourists going to Taunggyi to watch the giant models of balloon which are made of paper, pumped with hot air and released to the sky. The contests take place at both daylight and night, the colorful balloons are released to the shimmering night sky. The common balloon models are shaped elephant, cow, horse, buffalo, bird, parrot, pig, fish, birds, and owls (symbol of luck).
A big balloon is going to be released to the sky_0
A big balloon is going to be released to the sky

Explore three highest mountains in the Southern Vietnam

Standing from the top of the mountain, you will see a panoramic view of wonderful space with the small houses and roads looming in the green color of trees. Then, you will see three beautiful mountains with their own mysterious legends.

Ba Den Mountain

Ba Den Mountain is the highest mountain (986m) in Southern Vietnam. It is located in Thanh Tan commune, Hoa Thanh district, Tay Ninh.


The relic complex of Ba Den Mountain is formed by three mountains which are Heo Mounatin, Phung Mountain and Ba Den Mountain. Travelling to here, not only do tourists can sightsee an imposing mountains in the peaceful Tay Ninh province but also they can have a good chance to visit the system of Dien Ba pagoda including manificient and gorgeous Thuong, Trung, Ha and Hang pagodas as well as exploring the mysterious beauty of caves alternately named Thanh Long, Ong Ho, Ba Co, Ba Tuan, Thien Thai, Ong Ta. Moreover, tourists can listen to the legend of a woman whose name is Ly Thi Thien Huong has the dark brown skin but is beautiful and gorgeous.


There are three ways to conquer the top of the mountain. The first way is that tourists can conquer it by walking on the road of 1000 staircase steps. Secondly, they will sit on the cable hanger. Finally, they can use the system of closed two-way slides. Each way brings different experiences but if tourists want to save time and effort as well as increasing the risky level, the cable hanger and slide system will be the best choices.


Beside Ba Den Mountain, tourists should visit Tay Ninh Vatican, Dau Tieng lake or go shopping in Long Hoa market.

View more: Tailormade Myanmar Art & Culture Tour | 10 Days Private Myanmar Tour

Chua Chan Mountain

With the height of 800m above the sea level, Chua Chan Mountain is also called Gia Ray Mountain or Gia Rao Mountain. It is located in Xuan Loc district, Dong Nai province. It is the second highest mountain in the southern region.


Specifically, in the height of 600m, there is a famous pagoda named Buu Quang. It is well-known for its sacred atmostphere with hundreds thousand of tourists coming to pray and worship on the holidays.

Walking is the only way for tourists to come to the mountain top; however, the road to go there is also divided into two periods depending on their purposes. To be more exact, the road from the mountain foot to Buu Quang pagoda with the stone-made stairs is spent for the pilgrims and the tourists. The backpackers, particularly, the road will be difficult to move because they have to find the direction and find the way to go on their own.


When visiting the mountain, tourists cannot ignore the beauty of two-root banian tree which is the strange wonder and the masterpiece of the nature if we do not mention the spiritual factor.


In addition, tourists can participate in rowing a boat on Gia Hi lake in Xuan Tam commune or take a visit to the amusement center of Nui Le lake in Area 7, Gia Ray town.

Ba Ra Mountain

Ba Ra Mountain is located in Son Giang ward, Phuoc Long commune, Binh Phuoc. It is far from Ho Chi Minh city about 180km. S’Tieng ethnic group often calls this mountain “Bonom Brah” (it means that the god mountain). To the local people, with the height of 733m, Ba Ra is ranked in the third in three highest mountains in the southern region.


If tourists want to conquer Ba Ra Mountain, they will have to walk along the staircase or use the cable system. With the cable, tourists can go straight from the mountain foot to the top. If walking, they can start from the foot of Bang Lang hill to explore the monument and then, experience the feeling of climbing through 1.767 stone-made stairs. Ba Ra Mountain is lower than Ba Den Mounain but its staircase is very slopy so conquering it takes tourists much time and efforts.


Right stepping on the top of the mountain, beside the feeling of relief before the road which is seems to be extremely tough to conquer, tourists will love this land with the peaceful landscape of looming houses, beautiful Thac Mo lake and holy Ba temple.