November Newsletter 2019


WTM In London 2019


Dear partners, friends and customers,

On behalf of everyone at Saffron Travel, I would like to thank all who came to meet us at the WTM trade show. It was such a great occasion to get together with so many people from around the world who share the same passion to provide travelers with unique and memorable journeys. I wish you all huge success as you return from WTM London 2019.

Once again, our sincerest gratitude,

The Saffron Travel team


Flight Updates


Vietnam Airlines Launches Direct Flights From Saigon to Bali

The route will operate an Airbus A321 each week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The flight takes off from Saigon at 1119 and lands at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali at 1539. The return flight will leave Baili at 1650 and arrive in Vietnam at 1745.

Vietnam Airlines Increases Carry-On Weight Limit From 7kg to 12kg

The national airline has increased the carry-on luggage weight limit from 7 to 12 kilograms for economy ticket holders. As for check in luggage, the airline allows one free 23-kilogram item for those flying economy within Vietnam or to Northeast Asia, Europe and Australia.

Vietjet Launches New Flight Route From Danang To Hong Kong

The Da Nang-Hong Kong route will operate daily return flights starting from December 12th. The flight will depart from Da Nang at 1245 and arrive in Hong Kong at 1530. The return flight will depart from Hong Kong at 1720 and land in Da Nang at 1805.


Promotions Of The Month


Radisson Blue Cam Ranh

Situated on the beautiful shoreline of Cam Ranh Bay, the Radisson Blu Resort Cam Ranh welcomes everyone who is looking for a restful retreat by the sea. The resort is offering a 10% discount for early bird bookings from specific markets: European, Oceania and North America.

  • Booking period: Now – 31st January 2020
  • Staying period: 1st December 2019 – 31st August 2020
  • Applicable room type: Deluxe Room – Ocean View

The Caravelle Saigon

One of the oldest luxurious hotels in Saigon, The Caravelle, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. For this special occasion, the hotel is offering 25% discount for bookings from 18th November 2019 through to the 29th February 2020 at their newly renovated rooms.  

As much of the region undergoes rapid change, ‘heritage tours’ in many of the major cities are changing too. Saffron Travel provides highly illuminating tours with local experts who bring to life the heritage and history of South East Asia. These tours have received rave reviews from visitors and are a fun, engaging and informative way to get a different perspective of the rapidly changing city you are visiting


Saigon Arts Tour


The art scene across the region is extremely vibrant and varied. From traditional art forms to more contemporary styles there is a great deal to discover.  Saffron Travel arranges art tours with experts, such as artists, collectors and gallery owners who are able to introduce the best examples of local art and enable the visitor to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the local art scene.


Balloon Safari Over Bagan


Enjoy a magical moment in a hot air balloon overlooking the stunning vista of Bagan. The balloons float along the “little dessert,” past thousands of stupas and ancient pagodas, and have become the iconic symbol of the area. The best time is early in the morning after a light breakfast. It lasts approximately 45 minutes with several dreamy photo opportunities and an unforgettable birds-eye view of Bagan. If you are putting Myanmar in your bucket list, this experience should definitely feature on that list as well.

Ballooning season in Bagan runs from the beginning of October to the middle of April and we recommend that you book in advance.

A trip to the theatre or the circus is often a great highlight of a visit especially during this festive season so we thought we’d showcase some of the new productions from around the region.


Chic, Unique And Boutique


Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are fast becoming a paradise for shoppers tired of the over-commercialised chains that increasingly dominate cities all around the world. Saigon, Phnom Penh, Yangon, Luang Prabang, Battambang, Hanoi, Hoi An and Danang increasingly boast chic and interesting galleries, boutiques, local brands and cool bars. Over the next few newsletters we are going to be highlighting some of our favourites, city by city. Of course, there are new outlets opening all the time so do ask us for our recommendations when you next visit. We’re going to start this new section of our newsletter with our home town here in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon

  1. Noirfoto Darkroom Studio Gallery – the first and best professionally equipped photo darkroom in Vietnam, dedicated to bringing emerging talent out of the dark and into the light.
  2. Couleurs by Réhahn – displays of Réhahn’s work as well as details of his philanthropic projects in Vietnam. Réhahn is referred to as someone who “captures the souls of his models”
  3. L’Usine – excellent downtown café and designer warehouse. Big space, high ceilings and great food all hidden inside a maze of alley ways right in the centre of HCMC
  4. Marou Chocolate –  delicious, high quality, chocolate fresh from the Mekong Delta
  5. Ryu –  a perfect getaway with a unique selection of drinks, paired with beautifully curated food in a wonderfully chilled space.
  6. Villa Royale –  a tearoom that also sells great quality antiques from all around the world all set inside a lovely Villa





1. Saigon, Vietnam
A O Show – The Dah – The Mist
A O Show – The Dah – The Mist is a fun new show that is part circus, part concert and part dance performance. The performers portray the spirit of Vietnamese people, their daily lives and their heritage e.g. bamboo, basket boats, farming, bustling city life etc. Over 60 minutes the audience is gently introduced to a range of different emotions. To quote the producers themselves: ‘it is as if the audience were captured in a Vietnamese dream of life, survival, love and everything else in between.’

2. Cambodia
Phare, the Cambodian Circus

Phare is another interesting mix of performance styles including theatre, story-telling, dance, high-energy music and circus arts. Phare, which translates as “brightness of the arts”, is an NGO founded in Battambang in the 90s by former Cambodian refugees to assist disadvantaged young people through the arts.

The Siem Reap show is a spectacle of acrobatics, theatre, music and incredible youthful energy and talent. The narratives, which change regularly, are based around themes of contemporary Cambodian life. The great stunts, performed by the young disadvantaged people in the Phare programme, are a constant.

The performances take place each night in a circus tent behind the Angkor National Museum. It’s a fun, physical show and the tent brings the audience very close to the action.

3. Myanmar

Spark! is a group of volunteer circus performers who try to add a little sparkle to the lives of disadvantaged children in refugee camps, migrant schools, hospitals and orphanages along the Thai-Burmese border. More than 200, 000 refugees are based in camps along the border, with a large proportion of them being children.

In addition to all the fun that the children have learning circus skills, Spark! is designed to develop their creativity, physical fitness, communication skills, teamwork, confidence, and cultural awareness. Play is a fundamental part of children’s development and Spark! bring a big Spark! of happiness, love, amusement, and entertainment into these children’s lives and the lives of those who work in the camps and orphanages.


Hotel Of The Month: Thahara Inle Heritage


Thahara Inle Heritage is the ideal way to experience the majesty of Inle Lake, one of the great destinations in Myanmar. With a unique location in the middle of the lake and deep connections to the local community, Inle Heritage gives you special access to the sights, people and culture of the lake. There are just six bungalows, each perched on stilts above the water and surrounded by the lake and organic vegetable gardens. A beautiful wooden walkway connects the bungalows with the restaurant and the lounge.

Guests have a chance to discover the unique way of life of the Inthar people. Explore floating gardens, markets and whole villages built on stilts. Learn about traditional crafts like boat making and silk weaving and witness the Inthar’s iconic way of rowing with their legs.


Restaurant Of The Month: Blanc Restaurant Saigon


Blanc is a restaurant located in the central district of Saigon with a very special concept. The restaurant creates a path for guests to embark on a sensory journey into a different world and savour exquisite tastes and textures in silence. The service team at Blanc use sign language to communicate with clients and invite you to try a new dining experience.

The unique menus stimulate other senses as guests are learning a new language in silent surroundings. The experience is intriguing and illuminates much about the art of enjoying good food.

Tomato Fish Curry

Burmese fish curry: fragrant, healthy, easy and delicious. Tomatoes are cooked down into a luscious sauce with herbs like lemongrass, turmeric and ginger, and then fish is gently simmered in this flavorful liquid. It’s an easy and delicious way to start venturing into Burmese cuisine.


  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 firm while fish fillets
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 whole dried chilies, soaked in hot water
  • 6 tablespoon peanut oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, blanched in hot water peeled and chopped handful of fresh coriander, chopped


  • Mix the turmeric and fish sauce in a bowl. Coat the fish with the marinade, cover and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    Using a pestle and mortar, pound the onion, garlic and chilies to form a coarse paste or chop everything finely. Heat the oil in a saucepan and caramelize the onion paste over a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn as this will make the sauce bitter.
  • Mix in the paprika and stir until fragrant before adding the tomatoes. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes until it has reduced to a thick sauce.
  • Drop in the fish including any marinade and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Carefully turn the fish and cook a further for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (cooking time will vary according to the thickness of the fish).
  • Before serving, taste and add a splash more fish sauce if necessary. Sprinkle chopped coriander and serve with plenty of basmati rice.

Source: Tin Cho Chaw – Burmese Cookbook

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