Blogs from Northeast, Vietnam, Asia


Asia » Vietnam » Northeast April 1st 2014

Hollywood sign? In a rather remote part of north eastern Vietnam? The directions given by the Aussie guy who, with his Vietnamese wife, ran the homestay we were staying at didn't initially make sense. But when we cycled into town and saw the sign the locals placed high up one of the mountains (see photo), we understood. Much better than the day before, when Valerie and Matt (two English people I met) and I got hopelessly lost. We apparently had the dubious distinction of being the only travellers in 3 years to take a wrong turn on what was supposed to be a short idyllic ride through the countryside!? We were heading for another local house which sold beer and snacks - "The Pub with Cold Beer"! Instead we somehow ended up miles away, on a ... read more
Very Tough Going...
Our Destination
Gorgeous Scenery

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast March 3rd 2014

We wanted to take an overnight boat trip around the one of the ‘new 7 Natural Wonders’ – beautiful Halong Bay. However, the weather wasn't promising ... in Hanoi it rained or drizzled constantly for the 5 days we were there. One day had a forecast of patches of sunshine, so we decided to take our chance and booked a boat trip. While it never got better than overcast, we were still pleased we went. The scenery was almost eerie at times seeing the mountains shrouded in mist. The boat we chose (Carina Cruises) was quite deluxe – very comfortable and each meal was about six courses! The 18 passengers were quite an international bunch with six French people, four English, four American and Kaylene and I. Kayaking around a floating village was a highlight ... ... read more
Fun in the kayaks
Floating village houses
Hello Hello!

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast February 27th 2014

HA LONG BAY Monday 24th February It was and early start for the 3.5 hour bus trip to Ha Long Bay. Wake up call at 6am, bags out at 7am and on the road at 8am. Monday morning and the traffic was incredible! Fortunately it was far worse for those going into the city than for us. It was our first real look at the rice paddies and vegetable gardens that followed the road all the way. The weather was still foggy and damp but the temperature a mild 17-18c. On the way we had a ‘happy room’ stop at a large complex set up to employ disadvantaged young people. They made most of the product available for sale and the quality was very good. The complex was modern and ... read more
Fruit Carving
Bat Cave on a Ha Long island
Rhonda in Ha Long Bay

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Bac Kan February 26th 2014

The Czechs have a charming way of describing someone who is peculiar or off their trolley: “he is special.” The kindest thing I can say about the majority of women in Bac Kan is that they are special. If I want to buy bread at breakfast time, I have to pass three chemists1 and four hairdressers2. One of the main monthly expenses for the Bac Kan household is mum’s hair. As a good old fashioned chauvinist pig I am happy to note that the women take care of their appearance but there is a slightdrawback: they spend all day with their crash helmet on. In banks, offices, restaurants, walking down the street, selling, buying ….. high heels, puffy jackets, cloth smog masks and a crash helmet. img= read more
người phụ nữ ngu ngốc 3

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay January 2nd 2014

We started our day with Tai Chi on the sun deck before getting ready to sail back to the harbour. Before we left we we visited the Surprise Caves. There were 3 separate caverns The Surprise Cave the Amazing Cave and the Shocking Cave. Each had impressive features and although they may well have been spectacular the sheer number of visitors basically unrestrictedly touching, photographing and walking over has led to them being fairly ordinary and sadly grubby. Eking out the last of our Halong experience we lay on the sun deck watching the scenery go by as we drifted back to the pier where we caught a bus, stopping at the same type of tourist trap, back to The Boss in Hanoi. Wayne picked up some pizza, pasta and shopping mart beer whilst out getting ... read more


Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay January 1st 2014

Some feeling a little worse for wear with early breakfast and a transfer to the sightseeing boat for our excursion to Lan Ha Bay. We visited a Pearl Farm which was pretty much the grubbiest part of the bay that we saw and despite the "You no buy, you will regret" I have no regrets (well not about not buying pearls but maybe about the amount of gin consumed last night). We chugged further along into Lan Ha and stopped to kayak around some of the formations by Three Peaches Beaches including the Bat Cave, Dark and Light Cave and kayaking under and through many of the formations. A glorious day that included much lying around in the sun and enjoying the breathtaking scenery that we were cruising by. We finished the day by climbing to ... read more
Yeah that is how I paddle :p

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay January 1st 2014

My friend and I were dreaming of going on a cruise together and so when the opportunity to travel to see the Halong Bay came through, we grabbed it with both hands. We started off in classy Singapore airlines on the first day of the year. I watched a lovely historical Chinese movie called 'Face Reader' with all the thrills and drama of the Chinese court. We landed in Hanoi and it was lovely to feel the slight chill after hot Singapore. We immediately set off to see the Ho Chin Minh mausoleum and the Ethnology museum. I was lost as I admired the 53 different ethnicities in a country like Vietnam. I am too scared to think of the same in huge countries like China and India! We had some street food of baguettes, sausages ... read more
Mystical path
Limestone cave

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay December 31st 2013

After breakfast we left Boss and picked up another couple. Typical stop on way at giant tourist shop with silk and lacquer ware and giant stone turtles. On arrival to Halong Bay 3hrs later we were ushered to the Glory Cruise waiting area and offered tea whilst we waited for our fellow cruisers. A tender took us out to our junk. Really lovely timber interior with lots of velvety accessories. Once everyone was on board we cruised through the bay with the massive limestone rocks passing by as we had lunch. We stopped at a fishing village and kayakked around. A fellow traveller lost his iphone from his pocket as he got out of the canoe so our return to the boat was delayed a little as one of the local guys tried diving for it. ... read more
Limestone fomations
Kayakking around a floating fishing village

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast December 12th 2013

Just a note from aboard the train we almost missed, Nanning to Hanoi (Henei in Chinese). Jinyi is more random than I am and enjoys dashing and smashing around, especially at meal times. Our late afternoon snack (actually a huge batch of curried chicken with fresh coconut milk from the market) stretched on past our departure time, and when we hit the street there were no cabs to be found, or we got outmaneuvered by a long line of people waiting, like us, for a cab with a red light on. When we finally found one, it was off into a Friday pm rush hour. We bailed when we got close to the station and sprinted for two blocks with our backpacks on. We got to security six minutes prior to departure, only to learn the ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Bac Kan December 12th 2013

Animal welfare in Vietnam,not to mention dogs in Slovakia and Spain Next door to my new residence is a centre for the torture of animals. In Britain we have abattoirs which are supposed to be humane. They are humane - humans have nothing to fear because the place is nice and clean and away from public view. But the animals are terrified. I know because I have seen them. In Vietnam, they don’t have so many abattoirs. Why deprive the people of the pleasure of seeing the animals suffer? The living lie bound, next to the dead and the half-dead. They keep their “pet” dogs chained up all day. One possible excuse is the likelihood of the dog being stolen. In Slovakia, more than 10% of the population is “Roma” . There is a 10% likelihood ... read more
ready cooked takeaway
dog lover hanoi

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