HALONG BAY, VIETNAM

Vietnam almost broke us. Disastrous overnight journeys, lost possessions and bouts of serious illnesses robbed us of not only a lot of money, but also a lot of our optimism. So when it came to booking the last part of our journey, a cruise around Halong Bay, we were looking for a bargain and praying for the best – especially as the sunsets here are supposed to rival the best across the world.

halong bay sunset

Our hotel offered a two day, one night trip including food for $45, which seemed great and despite the saleswoman looking dubious and describing it as ‘not the worst, not the best’ cruise, we were feeling excited!

Needless to say, it rained. A lot.

halong bay cruise

But the boat was clean and modern, there was a wide range of food choices, the drinks were reasonably priced and we made some hilarious friends. Continue reading

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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF ANY GIVEN SPACE, HANOI

Smoothies by day, mojitos by night. It sounds so glamorous until you note the children’s stools spilling onto the busy roads to provide seating for the bar’s guests. But what’s life without a little risk?!

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The Green Pepper Bar, The Old town, Hanoi

Charlotte & Sarah x

LOST AND FOUND

As travellers who frequently find themselves lost with no idea how this came to be, we can speak with absolute certainty that some of the best finds come about this way. Although we can’t give specific directions to Chillout (Hanoi), we can advise a Google search or a wander of your own – these were the best smoothies we had in the whole of Asia and the bohemian vibe of the cafe made us feel ultra arty and cool in the process (a rare treat!).

P1110095 Continue reading

THE WATER PUPPET THEATRE, HANOI

Hanoi has some unique cultural highlights – French cathedrals, surprisingly speedy rickshaws and an impressive plume of moped smoke, but the Water Puppet Theatre has to be one of the most entertaining Vietnamese things we’d seen so far. With traditional music and costumes, puppets are made to ‘dance’ across the water, depicting some of the country’s native stories and legends.

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In spite of the seats being built to Vietnamese proportions (even shorty Charlotte had some leg room issues!) and sometimes getting slightly confused over the plot of a story, we loved it. Continue reading

AHOY HOI AN!

Finally what we’d been waiting for – the Vietnam that comes to mind when you’re dreaming of the legendary beaches, quaint streets and characterful buildings. Still a town for the tourist, but without compromising on its beauty.

With its narrow criss-crossed streets and rickety city bicycles for rent on nearly every corner, there was only one way we wanted to explore Hoi An.

We handed over our one dollar each and immediately took the straight road out to the beach.

vietnam cone hat

We sunbathed for a while and tried out the amazing noodle soups in the local restaurants along the beach front, before heading back to explore the old town. Continue reading

THE MUDBATHS OF NHA TRANG, VIETNAM

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After a night indulging in Nha Trang’s nightlife, the best cure has to be one their many mud baths. All the hostels and hotels arrange cheap tours to and from the nearest mud spa and it’s completely worth the $10. After just three hours of splashing around in mud, exfoliating under the vigorous waterfalls and floating in a mineral-filled tub, we’d never felt more radiant!

Charlotte and Ellen helping Sarah get the most from the experience...

Charlotte and Ellen helping Sarah get the most from the experience…

Silky smooth,

Charlotte and Sarah x

BANH MI PATE, HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM

After months of Thai cuisine and sweet bread, the French influence and baguettes on the Vietnamese food scene sent the two of us foodies into overdrive. It’s hard to find a single street not adorned with pâté stands and you can suss out the best and the freshest by the longest queues. Their traditional pâté baguette also encompasses sliced meats, Asian vegetables, soy sauce and mayonnaise (but you can mix and match to suit your palette!). Don’t be put off by the meats in the window, these are usually just for show and when it comes to making your order, the chef will produce fresh, cooled ingredients.

'Bánh mì' - Vietnamese for 'bread'

‘Bánh mì’ – Vietnamese for ‘bread’

At under $1 each the staff soon new our order by heart, slightly embarrassing…

Charlotte & Sarah