Posts in Asia

Top 7 Experiences Traveling Vietnam As A Digital Nomad

‘Travelling across Vietnam wasn’t just a tour, it was a tale’, said Oliver Astrologo (check out his video of Vietnam here!), For me, traveling Vietnam was a life-time experience perceived by not just a Vietnamese, but one that has traveling and lived abroad for years. Exploring Vietnam got me from being curious to thrilled and shocked to see Vietnam. After traveling throughout Europe and living as a marketing student turned digital nomad for 5 years, I came back to my country to explore my routes and to seek the ‘feeling of being home again’! I did not know my own country has been this beautiful, and these best things I could imagine as a traveler were happening right next to me, but nowhere further as I was searching for adventures. Here are the best experiences traveling Vietnam to me as a digital nomad, and probably many other travelers who have been to the country where there is way much more than just remainings from the war with Americans.

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Cruising through Ha Long Bay UNESCO Heritage

A must-visit destination in Northern Vietnam is without double Halong Bay. You can choose a luxurious cruise, or book a day tour on the spot, both of which are great! You probably wont know where to start as Ha Long is too big and almost every travel agencies in Hanoi would try to sell you tours or party cruises. Just make sure not to miss out important spots such as Thien Cung Cave and Lan Ha Bay (close to Ha Long Bay, near Cat Ba Island). Kayaking is a must-do. Jumping from the cliff is possible, but optional.

You probably wont like it for the first time to visit Ha Long! For many people, the bay looks overcrowded and dirty as you kayak through some corners. However, having traveled to Halong for several times, I could see the different beauty of the bay: whether during the mystic spring time or through magical sunset.
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - travel Ha Long Bay
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - Lazalee cruise
Chilling on L’Azalee Cruise
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - visit Ha Long Bay

Explore Cat Ba’s hundreds of dazzling Islands 

Besides Hoi An, Cat Ba is certainly the second best destination of mine in Vietnam, and the best choice of visit in Northern Vietnam. The Cat Ba archipelago, consisting of 367 islands spanning 260 km2 (100 sq mi), has everything of a paradise for all sorts of travelers. Empty beaches, a breath-taking bay, gorgeous mountains, a massive national park, top-notched seafood choices – Cat Ba as it all! You can spend one day exploring the bay on a local boat and then go kayaking, the next day trekking trough the National Park and then try some adventurous mountain climbing. Though Cat Ba is not as well advertised by the country as Ha Long Bay, visiting the island is still more highly recommended outside the peak season. You wont enjoy the real Cat Ba during the crowded summer months.
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - visit Cat Ba Island

 

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - Le Pont Bungalow hostel
Breakfast at le Pont Bungalow hostel

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - kayak in Lan Ha Bay

Taking the boat ride in Ninh Binh through the caves and karsts

 
Chosen as one of the filming locations of Kong – Skull Island, besides Quang Binh and Ha Long, Ninh Binh is definitely a natural gem to explore while traveling Northern Vietnam. This little town is filled with tons of spiritual and historical attractions (Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Cu Ancient Capital); stunning caves (Hang Mua, Tuyet Tinh Coc), gorgeous limestone mountains, and stunning rice paddies surrounding peaceful river flows. You will be amazed while taking a boat ride through Tam Coc or Trang An, as these natural landscapes are simply unbelievably beautiful!
 
Experiences traveling Vietnam - Ninh Binh Valley Homestay
Ninh Binh Valley Homestay

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - boat tour in Ninh Binh

Trek through the rice terraces in Sapa

The best experience in Sapa I had was neither to take the cable car up the Fansipan mount nor capture a panoramic view of the colourful houses from Ham Rong park, but to trek through the villages and rice fields. It is amazing to see how these little people of ethnic groups can grow themselves such impressive rice terraces in a remote area like Sapa.
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - visit Gem Valley Art Gallery
Gem Valley Art Gallery (Restaurant & Homestay)

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - see rice terraces in Sapa

Riding the scooter or cycling around Hoi An

Ask travelers who have been to Vietnam to pick the top-rated destination and the majority would go for Hoi An. Not just experience of cycling through the old central towns of this ancient pedestrianised city is magical, but also to walk through the temple and congration halls, or watch Hoi An glowing on the waterfront from a local boat is majestic! If you are into adventurous riding, experience driving through the dangerous mountain passes in Ha Giang or Sapa too!

Grooving and working by the beach in Southern Vietnam

I was never a kind of traveler in the mood to relax on the sea shore, enjoy drinking coconut and watching the sunrise. Checking the must-see spots off my list, trekking the national parks, hiking up the mount or cruising through the bay have always been stirring my heart and soul more than get-away vacations. However, adoring the seaside of Vietnam gives me rather adventurous thrills rather than the will to rest and have for myself a treat. There are dozens kinds of natural beaches that you could find near Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and Mui Ne. These are all landscape gems made by Mother of Nature! It’s incredible to witness how breath-taking and endless the coastlines in Vietnam are! Book your one-way ticket plus a top-notched bungalow style home-stay in Quy Nhon and come see them with your own eyes!
Trải nghiệm du lịch Việt Nam ở Quy Nhơn tại bãi tắm Hoàng Hậu
working by the beach at Life's A Beach Guesthouse
working by the beach at Life’s A Beach Guesthouse

 

Trải nghiệm du lịch Việt Nam ở Quy Nhơn ngắm bãi tắm Tiên Sa

Having plenty of cafe options to work from remotely in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh

It was nice for me to not just enjoy the experiences traveling through Vietnam, but also to live and work as a digital nomad. The dynamic working environment and booming start-up create tons of opportunities for young people to grow and sell themselves. Working remotely in Hanoi is convenient thanks to a decent number of authentic co-working spaces (e.g. UP, Toong, HanoiHub, Moonwork), and the massive number of cafes – all of which with free wifi and diverse range of drinks offered.
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Toong Co-working Space
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HanoiHub Co-working Space
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Moonwork Co-working Space
Everyday spent in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh is still exploring and discovering new places for me! I could literally pick a different cafe to work per day, and take weeks to visit all the nice ones. Try some recommended places below that I have been to (to be updated):
Hoan Kiem District (Old Quarter): Ifeel (lake view), Avalon (lake view), Chachago (close to beer corner and party area), Highlands (lake view), NEST AIA, Helio,
Ba Dinh District (near the Mausoleum): Xofa, Highland,
Tay Ho District (West Lake area where the expats live): Xuan Dieu street is full of options
Thanh Xuan District (south): Firefly (large space)
Dong Da District: Bui Xuyen Viet (travel theme)
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Experience Quest – The First International Festival In Vietnam

Held in the beautiful premises of Son Tinh Camp at Ba Vi, less than an hour driving from the capital city Hanoi, Quest is an international festival combined with outdoor camping – a communal celebration of music, arts and interpersonal connection amongst nature. Ques Festival is a 3-day escape for both local and foreigners, who came to Vietnam to enjoy diverse forms of art. More than 150 artists, festival enthusiasts and the event organizers including over 100 volunteers (counting for more than a thousand people in total), gather around this gorgeous space just for these special experiences, taking place once a year every November.

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The story of Quest

4 years ago, Quest was formed by a small group of expats and locals in Hanoi, with the idea to bring the brand new international festival concept to Vietnam. During that time and even till today, there is no such event at a similar scale. Quest started with only couples of hundred attendants, expanding more than a thousand this year. Highly drawn to the event from its unique concept, bustling vibe and growing popularity, many artists from different part of the world signed up to play, even without having their flight from the other half of the world covered.
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Questival offers the whole 3-day package of diverse art – music – performance – workshop

From Acoustic to Hip-Hop, Electronic to Rock, Folk to Heavy Metal, Quest’s live music program has it all! While there were above 30 bands playing throughout the whole festival, the most spectacular show to me were well performed by Kylian and Vegeance. Their set was a mind-blowing sophisticated compilation of electronic DJ set, violin play combined with singing. Emily (Kylian) and Attiss Ngo (Vegeance) were both young talented producers and artists originally from the US. Besides having artists coming from 5 continents, Quest also welcome local talents, including some of the most impressive Vietnamese rappers and beat-boxers I have seen.
One of the coolest workshops was Yoga, taking place every morning. You would find a wide variety of other interesting options including: belly dance, playing different instruments, etc. At Quest, not only do you get to see the performance, but also to actually get your hands on the art.
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The vibe of freedom and escape

At Quest, you are free to express yourself! This is true in many ways – either dressing, performing, or enjoying all sorts of music, arts and culture you could find from around the world. Whether you’d not bother to look as casual (and probably messy too), or dress up in lots of fancy and expensive layers of costumes, we all feel welcomed at Quest. Most artists do tend to look very edgy, vintage or hippy.
I had tons of fun putting on facial arts at the festival. There’s even a workshop area where you can have your face and body painted. Frequent questers have their costumes well done and prepared long time ahead. You can check different out Quest theme each year, costume guide and ideas on their website. And don’t be shy to show some skin too. Vietnam is quite a traditional and slightly conservative country in terms of dressing out, but at Quest, it’s important to be yourself!
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Partying is definitely counts a big part!

Be well prepared for partying hard, drink and dance from day till dawn. From evening till late night (9PM – 2AM), you’d feel the best energies out of the event. This is when the best DJs and artists rock the shows at main stages within the same time set. So make sure to scroll around the premise, in order not to miss any spectacular performance. Once the crazy parties are over, I love watching people doing nothing but chilling, lying besides the shores, or floating above the lake watching sunset.
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Things to consider

As this is not going to be anything like a promotional article, I must mention several drawbacks of Quest. Like any other good festivals, it is a big mess! And it is certainly one of the FUN parts of it! Do not bring along anything way to expensive, as you do not want to lose it while being tipsy at the event, or have it stolen from your camp by the worst scenario. Most of the toilets are not clean, though there were cleaners working on site from time to time. I did not shower for days as my ankle was broken several days before the event (yet I decided that I must show up at Quest!). Nevertheless, the lake is dazzling, where you should definitely enjoy your time swimming and chilling.
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Đọc bài viết bằng tiếng Việt tại đây.

6 Typical Misconception of Turkey You May Not Know

It’s been 2 months since I traveled back to South East Asia where I was born and grew up to start another nomad journey, this time as a professional writer, marketing guru and more of a travel expert. The plan was not just to enjoy being back ‘home’ a little bit, but also to travel across all the Southeast Asian countries, and start my upcoming series of ‘Digital Nomad Guides’. This idea led to my e-meeting with Sefa Sarikaya – a talented Turkish traveler and founder of Tips for Travelers group. This week, I got the privilege of having him write one of our guest posts on Asia’s Nomad. Read more to explore Turkey with Sefa.

Ahoy Ahoy humans! I’m Sefa from Turkey. The country Turkey. We don’t have any similarity with the animal one. But there are plenty of memes on the internet about this. When I was a child, a group of turkey chased me. Still I have no idea even if they caught me. It was a tiring escape for me. Anyway… I decided to write about misconceptions about Turkey. I hope your mind will change after this article about Turkey.

1) Do people travel by camel in Turkey?

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Well.. I’d like to say yes to this question. Camel is one of the best ride for nomads. But I must say no. Because we don’t travel by camel in Turkey. I’m 22 years old and I saw camels in some touristic areas and in the zoo during my life. I mean my whole life. The sentence was like I had lived in the zoo.

2) Do people speak Arabian language?

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Some foreign people say Turkish sounds like Arabian. Maybe it’s because we use some Arabian words in our language. But we don’t speak Arabian in Turkey. I’m planning to learn that language for my future job.

3) Is Istanbul capital of Turkey?

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Istanbul is not a capital city. But I can understand why people think it’s our capital. It is a metropolitan city and you can always hear about that city in your daily life. The capital of Turkey is Angara. Literally it is Ankara but the local people call it as Angara. Ankara is also very big and beautiful city. But almost every people in this country feel sad about Ankara doesn’t have sea. If you want to be major of that city, you can promise them to make an artificial sea.

4) Do men wear fez?

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Again nope. We don’t wear that red hat. But in the past, we were wearing. I mean not me but out anchestors. It stayed at some centuries ago.

5) Is Sharia form of government in Turkey?

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Sharia is a form of government in Iran and in some other Arabic countries. But it is not like that for Turkey. Not all women wear hijab. Turkey is a laik country. People can believe whatever they want. People can choose whatever they want. But generally we believe what our family and our environment believe. We choose what our family and our society choose. Just like the other societies on the world.

6) Is Turkey a dangerous country?

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Turkey is very safe. But for example when you consider Istanbul’s population (Officially 15 million, unofficially around 20 million) there are various people that government cannot handle. There can be snatching, disturbing to tourists etc. But it is same as other metropolitan cities. So Turkey is not more dangerous than other countries.

I hope you learned a lot from this article. I will write more about Istanbul soon.