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  • vietnam, cai be :: river cruise on the mekong delta

    The day after we returned from the beautiful Phu Quoc Island, we were off on another exciting adventure – swapping the ocean for the river, we set off nice and early for our Mekong Delta tour in Cai Be.

    We did try to do some research to find a good river tour, but we should have gone straight to BB – of course, she knew exactly the kind we wanted, and recommended one to us that the family had been on before and loved. This particular one is organised by Victoria Hotels, and they can cater for all kinds of groups or private tours. We chose one that was a little pricier than some others we’d come across (it was about 70 USD each), but it was definitely worth it for our amazing guide, the luxury of having a private boat, the great driver who took us to Cai Be, the delicious lunch that was included, and all the other highlights of the trip. 

    / April 27, 2016
  • vietnam, phu quoc island :: bamboo cottages

    I’m going a little off the chronological course here (we went on an exciting tour the night before we left for the island, which I’ll write about later on), but I thought I’d take you on a little beach break as a breather from the Saigon hustle and bustle. Plus, I’m going to introduce you the cutest puppies I have ever laid eyes on, and if that doesn’t perk you up mid-week, I don’t know what will!

    When we were planning our trip, we knew that we wanted to go somewhere by the beach for a couple of days to relax and basically do nothing. After much research, we decided on Phu Quoc Island, which is about a 45 minute flight away from Saigon (the flights are also very cheap), and we found a little gem of a hotel – Bamboo Cottages. Not only did it sound like exactly the kind of hotel we love (family run, non-corporate, small, boutique), it also fit in perfectly with my Year of Mindful Living. Bamboo Cottages is 100% solar powered, an independent business run by an American/Vietnamese family, and through being completely “off the grid”, they minimise costs to help donate some of their proceeds to educational scholarships for local children. I fell in love with their ethos (and the beautiful pictures of their private beach didn’t hurt either!), and we headed there for 2 nights of blissful peace, fresh air and the salty sea.

    / April 20, 2016
  • vietnam, saigon :: cholon, bánh xèo & war remnants museum

    The next day in Saigon, we got up nice and early to go for a quick swim. After all, we needed to work up an appetite for a big day of eating! Also, it was just the nicest thing to wake up to bright sunshine, and take advantage of the already rising temperatures at 7:30am.

    The city is already bustling from the early hours of the morning, so by the time we left the house to head to Cholon (Chinatown) around 9am, the streets were already packed with people. BB took us to a few different pagodas in Cholon, where locals were tending to the temples and paying their respects, snacking and doing some maintenance work. The distinct scent of incense reminded me of my grandmother’s house, and I found it fascinating how different the temples are to those I’m familiar with in Japan. They’re colourful, kitsch, and each one varied from the next. 

    / April 18, 2016
  • vietnam, saigon :: scooters, sights and streetfood

    I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be sharing the highlights of our recent trip to Vietnam. For me, these memories will only live on with more colour and vivacity through documenting the snapshots on this blog, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

    Firstly, our holiday was made infinitely better, more comfortable, more fun and memorable by the fact that we spent time with my sister-in-law (who I’ll refer to as BB) and her family. We stayed in their beautiful (BB is an interior/decor/furniture designer, so when I say beautiful, I mean it) house, and BB was such a fantastic guide – we only had to utter a request of something we wanted to see or do, and she would know exactly where to take us. We know that without their help, it would have been a lot more tiring and challenging to navigate our way through the city, so we are forever grateful! Most importantly, it was incredibly special to be able to spend time with the whole family, because as you can imagine, reunions don’t happen all that often.

    / April 13, 2016