Tag Archives: vietnam

Let’s Go To Asia – Travel Video

27th September 2015

So as the astute among you may have noticed, we are already finished with our trip. We are in lovely Australia. I still have a few posts about our trip to come, but I recently finished editing this little video together and couldn’t wait to share it.

So here is just a few of the best parts of our trip:

citadel hue5

Hue – Come for the Citadel, Stay for the Food.

19th May 2015

citadel hue5 Hue – A city of history and pancakes

Hue is known for many things, being the old capital of Vietnam, having a UNESCO awarded Citadel, the perfume river and many more things but I was there for one reason and one reason alone. Food!

Hue is known around Vietnam as the food capital of the country. It is said that when Hue was the capital of Vietnam the emperor would bring all the best chefs to the city. Each chef was in charge of a different dish. There were typically 53 dishes per meal. Obviously this was long ago but all of these recipes and skills seemed to have hung around the city because everything we ate was divine.

hue pancake One dish in particular blew our socks off and had us returning again and again. Bau Khoai is a fried rice pancake filled with shrimp, pork and beansprouts. It’s served with what I could only work out to be really ripe avocado and the traditional pile of herbs that seems to a company all Vietnamese dishes. The best part though is the sauce…oh the sauce. A perfect tongue pleasing combination of satay and thin hoisin. I could drink gallons of it. You combine all of this in a bowl and consume. I’m drooling just typing this.

The restaurant is famous on trip adviser and in the Lonely Planet but we think we went in the fake next door rather than the real one. The real one is called Lac Thien. I can only image how good the real one is since this one blew us away.

When we weren’t filling our faces we were absorbing the history. The very expensive history. Getting into the citadel was much more than we’d read online and in the guide books, but it was worth it to see inside. We had read it would be 2 pound (or 55,000 dong) but instead it was close to double that at 120,000 dong. The sad thing about it is that so many wars and natural disasters have ruined the original buildings so pretty much everything you’re seeing is a restoration. It’s still great to see but such a shame that the real history is gone. We loved stumbling on an area when the restoring hadn’t begun and you could see fragments of the real citadel under the grass.

citadel hue3 hue girl 2 hue girl 3 hue girl original hue citedel It was a beautiful city but did suffer from a quick rise in tourism. We didn’t even dare walk by the lake since we were hassled as if we were on the beaches of Boracay. The people would be quite aggressive and rude. Which is a shame. I wish the government would step in and help change this because the city will be ruined beyond repair soon and not worth a visit. I think we would have bought more and definitely taken tuk tuks and boat rides if we hadn’t been chanced down the street at every turn.

citadel hue dragon boats hue fish fight garden hue hue sunset Hue is a good city, but it definitely could be a GREAT city if tourism was nurtured instead of attacked by putting high prices on things and hounding people. I realise that sounds like I didn’t enjoy my time here. I did but it’s sad to be able to see how fantastic this place could be. Saying all that, it’s worth coming for a few days for the food and a glimpse at the beautiful architecture. citadel hue2 citadel hue4 citadel hue signature

A Great Alternative to Halong Bay – Catba Island

17th May 2015

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A trip to Vietnam isn’t complete without a trip to one of the natural wonders of the world… Halong Bay.

We researched Halong bay until my internet told me I had an addiction. The problem seemed to be:

  1. It was really expensive
  2. It was full of tourists

It seemed that even if you paid a hell of a lot you’d still end up on a shit tour unable to see anything through the throngs of tourists. So we tracked down an alternative. We decided to go to Catba .

Catba is an island the other side of Halong bay. Its bay is called Lan Ha bay but is still officially Halong bay. It’s just the other quieter side.

17 20 It was two thirds of the price and seemed just as beautiful. We jumped at the chance to visit.

We dragged out two visiting Irish friends with us and landed in Catba to discover it was the quiet season. The VERY quiet season. This wasn’t a bad thing since it meant really cheap accommodation and whole bars to ourselves.

We spent our first night catching up over gin and juice, trying the mysterious laughing gas (which is just an odd few seconds) and laughing…a lot.

16 catba I really liked the sleepy town of Catba but like all of Vietnam it closes early here with all street lights going off at 10 and bars closing about 12 (although you can track down places that go till the wee hours).

The next day we hit the high seas and went on our boat trip. We did our trip through Asia outdoors and I’d recommend it to anyone. So cheap (at just 25 dollars) and really well organised.

We sailed past the floating fishing communities and saw the bay emerge around us. It was spectacular.

10 11 (2) We then had the opportunity to ride the seas ourselves and hoped in Kayaks. Seeing the mountains from so low down only added to their spender. Photos really don’t to this place justice.

After a delicious lunch and more kayaking we were ready to say goodbye to the bay feeling like we’d all earned the right to draw a big line through a bucket list item. I’d definitely recommend the Catba route.

3 6 19 That night we chatted lots more over beers. We reminisced about Korea, congratulated Ciaran on his fantastic travellers beard and exchanged travel stories (both the good and the disgusting). We weren’t sad to head back to Hanoi when it came to it but I loved every minute of our excursion to the bay.

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You’ve got a little something on your face Ciaran

hazel2 If you are interested in this trip then I definitely think you should grab a Hazel and Ciaran for the journey. If that’s not an option then just the bay will do.

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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

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Tokyo Arcade

2015 Travel Plans

19th February 2015

So I think I owe you all an apology. For the last few weeks i’ve become a little bit obsessed with my up coming plans to the point that I have kept mentioning it without giving any details.

So I thought that I’d share with you some of the things we’re hoping to achieve over the next year.

First, there are to-do lists…EVERYWHERE. My flat looks like a bombs dropped because there are about ten jobs going on at once but I’m hoping that it will all fall into place really soon and we will be ready to roll.

First I suppose it’s important to share with you what our plans actually are so here is our 2015 travel plans:

Tokyo Arcade Japan

Japan is somewhere magical to me. It’s a place mentioned in movies not a place that exists. When we went to Tokyo last year I was in my element and I fell in love with the place. Last night I was chatting to a friend who’s going to Tokyo soon and I couldn’t stop gushing about how much fun they were going to have. This time around we aren’t going to the bright lights of Tokyo, instead we are heading to Kyoto and Osaka. Kyoto has been high on my list for a long time and I feel guilty that one of the places i’m most looking forward to going over the next few months is our first stop but I just can’t wait to be surrounded by the history and beauty of this place….and the sushi!

 

El Nido Palawan Island, Phillippines Been here, truly magnificent and glorious!  http://www.lifebeyondthehorizon.com/philippinesparadise/The Philippines

Lee and I had never considered a trip to the Philippines but after seeing all of our friends fantastic pictures we quickly added it to the itinerary so we will be stopping in on Bohol, Boracay and El Nido. Here’s to sandy beaches and drinks with the locals.

 

Guilin, China. Globe Travel in Bristol, CT is standing by to make your vacation dreams come true!  Reach us at 860-584-0517 or by email at info@globetvl.com!

China

We went to China a few months ago but we can’t wait to go back. We wanted to see some impressive landscapes and the countryside of China is definitely the place to do this. We are heading to Guangzhou and Guilin …all the G’s. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it for the dumplings.

 

Hong Kong, China | 21 Most Colorful And Vibrant Places In The WorldHong Kong

I know listing Hong Kong as a separate country is debatable but I have a very good friend from Hong Kong who thinks of it as a different place and the British Visa application was different for Hong Kong compared to China so I think it’s fair to list them side by side. We are looking forward to climbing Victoria Peak and meeting up with my friend who happens to be visiting at the same time as us. Woohoo

Hoi An, Vietnam - Visit http://asiaexpatguides.com to make the most of your experience in Vietnam!

Vietnam

Vietnam is another place that’s been high on the list for a long time. We are starting in Hanoi  then going to Hue, Hoi an, Mui  Ne and Ho Chi Minh. We are looking forward to cooking classes, pho, and 12p beer… as well as all the culture/people/sights of course. We are going to the home of PHO!

Angkor Wat Cambodia / Watched the sunset here while drinking a horrid local wine and eating a crispy fried frog. A beautiful place & a wonderful adventure.

Cambodia

Next stop is a bus trip across the boarder into Phnom Penh. We don’t have long there before we are off to Sihanoukville. Before you all rush to tell us its not great we are only there for the night before we head to Koh Rong Samloem. A small island with about 5 hours of electricity a day. I’ll be celebrating my birthday here and I can’t wait. Sunsets and cocktails..woohoo. Lastly it wouldn’t be a trip to Cambodia without a sunrise trip to Angkor Wat in Seim Reap.

skyline2 Thailand

We are having a ‘do over’ in Bangkok since last time we had such a disaster (which you can read about here). People always think because of this we didn’t like Bangkok but I loved the place. I can’t wait to go back and see the place properly this time. Then it’s up north to the bloggers paradise that is Chiang Mai. Unfortunately , It’s rainy season when we go to this part of Asia . Our original plan didn’t have Thailand on it at all , instead we wanted to see Laos and Myanmar but the rain means we have to skip them this time, as well as the beaches of Thailand but I’m really excited to see Chang Mai after hearing so many great things. See you soon Pad Thai. You will be in our bellies.

Singapore's Supertrees at the "Gardens by the Bay". I see I'll have to go back to Singapore to see these by night.Singapore

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this country. Is it for the history? slightly. Is it for the culture? marginally. Is it because one of my best friends is moving there a week before we arrive? HELL YES! This is a selfish stop for Lee and I to see one of our favourite humans…and maybe go to Sesame Street in Universal Studios, which for a Muppet fanatic is the holy grail.

Rice terraces close to Ubud. Bali, Indonesia To book go to www.notjusttravel.com/anglia

Indonesia

When we came to Asia this was high on my list of places to see. We are spending a lot of time here and seeing Yogyakarta, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Air and Kuta Lombok. We can’t wait. Yoga, monkeys and beaches. We also may be dragging one of Lee’s best friends to meet us for a weekend so I can’t help but jump around a little bit when I think about journeying to this magic country.

The dolphins coming to shore at Monkey Mia, Western AustraliaAustralia

Lastly, but definitely not least is our new home for the year, Australia. This isn’t a country I ever wanted to live in , that was until Lee sold me on it because he is in love with the place. I am now fully on board and can’t wait to experience every inch of the place. We are starting in Perth but who knows where the year will take us.

Extra stops in 2015

Obviously we don’t know what will happen with the rest of the year but there are definitely some places we’d love to pop into:

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia

When we are in Singapore we are very tempted to just run over the border and have some food there to say we did it. We are a little bit addicted to adding countries to our list but we will definitely be back to spend some proper time there soon.

Wow, just wow! Bridestowe Lavender Farm, Tasmania - by Tim Clark

Tasmania

I realise this is still Australia but I really want to pop over to this lavender filled paradise.

Fiji IslandsFiji, Tonga and Samoa

It would be rude to not visit these places while we are in Australia surely….let alone the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu…ect

New ZealandNew Zealand

Once again this country is so close to us when we are in Australia that we would love to go and see the place but maybe we will do it at the end of year in Oz.

Here’s to an exciting year ahead.

 

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