Tag Archives: fresh beer


Hoi An – Lanterns, Dreamy Nights and Yellow Walls

20th May 2015

hoian Oh Hoi An!

I’ve taken a while to write this post mainly because I don’t know what more to say about this place apart from. I LOVE IT!

bike2 birdcage japanese bridge Lee and I arrived with high expectations. Every person we know told us we would just love it . We are the type of people that like to go into a movie not hearing it’s great so that we can be pleasantly surprised , and we are the same with countries so we were ready to be under whelmed but some how this magic place was all we had heard and more.

My friend Kaleena wrote a post here that explains it much more eloquently than I ever could.

but here are some things to do when in Hoi An:

.Drink 9p fresh beer – it’s basically water but so so cheap you just have to give it a go.

beer .Try rose dumplings – a specialty in Hoi An and they are really tasty.

bike .Ride a bike to the beaches – this was my first attempt at riding a bike. Lee was a great teacher but it was terrifying.

.See the lanterns – just stunning. Such a magical feeling seeing the town lit up.

lanterns1 lanterns2 .Put a wishing candle on the river – You can by them on the street for a dollar and they all look so beautiful. We both agreed to wish to come back.

.Eat at Bahn Mi Queen – THE BEST Bahn Mi in Vietnam/ the world. We also tried the really famous one that Anthony Bourndain recommends but the 88 year old Bahn Mi Queen just hit the spot like no other  and it was so cheap. We ate far far too many .

bahnmi . Get something tailored – Lee got a stunning suit, I got a dress and a playsuit. My recommendation would be to get a pinterest board set up of all the lovely things you want. Show them and make sure you have a few days to have a few fittings squeezed in.

.Take a cooking class – We went to the Thuan Tinh Island class which was recommended to us and we adored it. It was great. They took us out to a special island, gave us all we could drink passion fruit juice and just loved it all. Now we can hopefully take Vietnam home with us.

cook1 cook2 cook3 cook4 cook5 cook6 cook7 .Eat Cake – We went to Cargo a restaurant for desserts and ate our weight in chocolate cake. Worth the extra pounds. All travel pants are elasticated anyway.

There are so many other things to try and do in this city but these are just a few of the things we loved. I want to take every one of my friends there to rent bikes and drink wine outside in the sunshine. Lee and I can’t wait to go back. cook9 market night oldquarter1 yellow yellow2 yellow3

Discovering Hanoi – (or more importantly discovering Bahn Mi)

12th May 2015

hanoi streets I could not for the life of me remember the name of Vietnam’s capital before we got there. I constantly called it Hoi An (it had consumed my brain because I was so excited to go there) that was until I realised that Hanoi sounds like a posh person saying ‘how annoying’.. honest it does.. Give it a go. Lee found this funny…the first two times. After that he ironically found it very annoying.

This was the extent of lee and my conversations about this place. That was until we got a message from our best friends.

Our two Irish friends (and one of our favourite couples) had been traveling across Asia together for 4 months and had one last stop before flying home. It just so happened it was the exact same time as we would be there. Hanoi was instantly my new favourite place.

We were both so distracted with the excitement of seeing these two that we didn’t think about the fact we were entering a new country. So it took us a little by surprise when we were in our taxi and flying past rice paddies, tea fields and people in pointy hats.

train tracks hanoi pond opera house We loved Hanoi. It is vibrant, busy and down to earth. The French influence is apparent everywhere. When the French left Vietnam in 1954 they left behind their architecture and most importantly their bread.

bread The old quarter of Hanoi looks like Paris was squashed up and abandoned in Asia. Thin buildings with balconies and shutters surround you from all sides and every inch of space is used. I don’t think I saw one area of the street that wasn’t occupied by a tiny plastic chair.

hanoi bars fresh beer wires hanoi It was cheap, delicious and full of life.

On top of the place looking and being fantastic, the Vietnamese people that fill it are great too. We had some of the nicest hotel staff I’ve ever met and everyone was so willing to help you. (The hotel was called Icon 36 and we would highly recommend it).

We spent our few days in Hanoi catching up over 9p beers or as the locals call it ‘fresh beer’ with a stupid amount of fried spring rolls.

I tried my first phò which was instantly a new favourite. We also had Bun Cha which consists of fried pork spring rolls, noodles, a delicious broth and chunks of beef. All with bitter melon and a ton of herbs. My taste buds that hadn’t experienced a fresh herb for two years in Korea were happy.

bun cha We didn’t spend long in Hanoi, we could have stayed for weeks, but we squeezed in some sightseeing and a trip to the water puppets which was originally started in North Vietnam. The water puppets is a hard one to explain. Imagine puppeteers stood waist high in water behind a curtain and you watch these wooded creatures tell you Vietnamese tales. It was fantastically bizarre but very worth the few pound to watch it. Water puppets originated when workers would entertain people on the rice paddies with the puppets 1000 years ago but now has evolved into a great tradition and something I’d recommend. Weirdly and wonderfully Vietnamese. Like most things here. Lee and I spent the whole time quizzically looking each other trying to gage if the other person had a clue what was going one which inevitable ended in a fit of giggles.

water puppets2 water puppets The other thing about Hanoi…it’s so cheap!!! After Japan and the Philippines we were happy campers to be paying less than 50p for a Bahn mi sandwich. If you don’t know what Bahn mi is then instantly throw your computer away. Go into the nearest Vietnamese restaurant and experience one/as many as you can force in your face. Imagine a chunk of perfectly soft and crusty French bread. Fill it will pate, mushroom paste, bean sprouts, lettuce, carrot, BBQ pork, lemongrass chicken, cheese and a fried egg. Top it all off with a sweet and sour chili sauce and you have a classic Bahn mi. I honestly think it is the discovery of the trip so far. Our wallets and we were very happy to be in Hanoi. We can’t wait to see what the rest if the beautiful country has to offer. bahn mi