Apr 13 2012

Hanoi’s 36 streets: Hang Giay

Published by under Hanoi's 36 streets

Hàng Giầy is right in the centre of Old Quarter: running from Luong Ngoc Quyen to Hang Chieu. Giầy means shoes — if it were giay it would be paper, which is why I’ve added the tones — but nowadays there are very few shoes on sale along its stretch. There may not be shoes, … read the full post

Apr 10 2012

Motorcycling around Ha Giang

Published by under Hanoi excursions

Motorcycling from Ha Giang offers arguably the best scenery in Vietnam or even Southeast Asia, and provides the opportunity to explore a stunning region as yet relatively untouched by tourism. Unless you’re a really keen motorcyclist or have lots of time to spare, travelling to Ha Giang by bus and hiring bikes there is a … read the full post

Apr 07 2012

Getting VND in Saigon

Published by under Money & costs

The currency of Vietnam, known as dong or VND, is non-convertible, meaning, in short, it’s a little tricky. Outside the country it’s hard to get a hold of and almost unusable; inside the country, it’s the preferred method of payment, especially off the beaten path. It used to be that US dollars were accepted throughout … read the full post

Apr 03 2012

Getting from Hanoi to Ha Giang

Published by under Transport

Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to join a team of doctors going to Ha Giang (in northwest Vietnam) to carry out surgeries on children from the mountain, supported by Child Surgeries Vietnam and HIWC. Not only was this an amazing trip from the point of view of the surgeries but it … read the full post

Mar 30 2012

Clips on Hanoi

Recently, Hanoi Grapevine alerted me to the YouTube launch and initial success of rap song and associated video Oi Gioi Oi. The tongue-in-cheek song and video by Hanoi Sessions features EP rapping about those things in Hanoi that make you say “Oi gioi oi” — an expression that can be used to express surprise, annoyance … read the full post

Mar 29 2012

Saigon motorbike driving tips: Dealing with police

Published by under Health & safety

Traffic in HCMC is ridiculous: it’s noisy, congested and totally awesome to navigate. To look at the traffic from the outside it would most certainly seem chaotic; people driving on the sidewalk, almost no regard for traffic lights, people swerving around people at whatever speed they desire. It’s so crazy that most people would be … read the full post

Mar 24 2012

Loss, theft and police in Vietnam

Published by under Health & safety

I’ve been through the theft part twice while travelling. I had cash stolen out of my bag in China — they sliced it open while it was by my feet on a bus — and a camera and iPod stolen from my baggage on a flight (yes, I know I shouldn’t have packed valuables in … read the full post

Mar 21 2012

Hanoi people: The Consular Officer

Published by under Hanoi people

Nalini Sadai started work for Britain’s Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) 10 years ago. She started off in London and then, in 2007, moved to Jamaica as Vice-Consul. She’s now the Consular Regional Operations Manager for Vietnam and Burma. I met with her to discuss her consular work and to find out what advice and help … read the full post

Mar 21 2012

Saigon ice cream

Published by under Food

It’s usually pretty warm in Saigon — even the early mornings of December and January rarely dip below 20 degrees Celsius — but the last couple of weeks here have been hot! We’re only in March; things are going to get even hotter over the next month. If you’re walking around the city when it’s … read the full post

Mar 15 2012

Jetstar check-in and airport bus in Hanoi

Published by under Transport

Efficiency of check-in at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport is hit and miss, and this can lead to frustration, so there’s a certain advantage to checking-in before you arrive. Jetstar doesn’t offer a web check-in but does have a check-in desk at its office at 206 Tran Quang Khai, on the main road just north of … read the full post

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