Archive for April, 2013

Apr 17 2013

Quan Am, the bodhisattva of compassion, in Vietnam

Published by under Culture

Some stars never fade.

Anyone who spends more than a few hours in Vietnam will notice the many white statues of a divine woman usually holding an upside down vase. It’s not some feminine looking Buddha or an “Asian Virgin Mary” — it’s Quan Am (aka Kuan Yin, Kuan Shih Yin, Guanyin or Kannon), the bodhisattva of compassion. In … read the full post

Apr 16 2013

Review: Hoa Su Villa Resort, Hoi An

Published by under Accommodation

The neighbours..

If you don’t mind the slightly out of the way location, Hoa Su, a five-villa resort located next to the river on Cam Thanh, makes for a serene, top-range retreat away from the madding Hoi An crowds. The man behind Hoa Su was involved in the building of Vietnam’s most exclusive resort, the Nam Hai. … read the full post

Apr 15 2013

Visa on arrival at Saigon, Vietnam

Published by under Visas

This is the shortest I've ever seen the line.

Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, getting into Vietnam is slightly more difficult, requiring most foreign travellers to apply for a visa weeks before visiting. Instead of visiting their nearest Vietnamese embassy, many fliers opt for Vietnam’s visa on arrival. However, the visa on arrival process at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat can be confusing, especially … read the full post

Apr 15 2013

Hanoi’s 36 streets: Hang Quat

Published by under Hanoi's 36 streets

Almost as colourful as Hang Ma.

Hang Quat is one of the most colourful streets in Old Quarter and its time for coverage in our 36 streets series has now finally come. Quat means fans, and that is of course what was traditionally made on this street, be they from bamboo, paper or palm leaves. Villagers set up shop in the … read the full post

Apr 14 2013

Asia food tours: Food on Foot

Ours came in a bowl but these are prettier.

For my final street food tour adventure I opted for a budget-priced tour, joining a lunchtime trip with Food on Foot, operated by Vietnam Awesome Travel, with a great guide and plenty of stops. Usually pick-up is at your hotel, but given I haven’t lived in a hotel since first arriving in Hanoi three years … read the full post

Apr 12 2013

Review: Hanoi Grand Hotel

Published by under Accommodation

A headboard for very tall people.

With a name like “Grand” and a description on the website that reads “we have created this Hotel masterpiece and can safely assure an experience like no other” you might be expecting something special from Hanoi Grand Hotel. And that’s what you’ll get, though not in the way you might be thinking: it’s just simply … read the full post

Apr 09 2013

Negotiating Hoi An’s street food stalls

Published by under Food

Chasing the dream. Bahn Mi Sua at 20kms an hour.

Vietnam is a fast-food nation based around slow-cooked food. Breakfast and lunch is taken on the hoof — it’s pho to go and rice on the run until you sit down for dinner with the family at the end of the working day. Street food is king, with mobile snacking a close second. Here’s our … read the full post

Apr 08 2013

Review: Aston Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City

Published by under Accommodation

It looks regal.

With a prominent location on busy Bui Vien, which runs down the middle of Saigon’s backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, the clean facade of the 2012-opened Aston Hotel stands out among some of the dingier competition — and it represents great value compared to its neighbours as well. From the outside, the Aston looks … read the full post

Page 2 of 212