Dec 30 2012

Review: The Village Noshery, Sapa

Published by under Sapa

An eclectic mix of furniture.

A new Sapa dining opening worth checking out in Sapa is The Village Noshery, which offers great coffee and Vietnamese and Western dishes in eclectic, interesting surrounds. The Village Noshery opened in mid-2012 on Cau May Street and its spacious downstairs area is inviting and stylish, decorated in similar  style to the H’mong Mountain Retreat … read the full post

Dec 15 2012

Review: The Hill Station, Sapa

Published by under Sapa

Take it easy on the wine if you sit upstairs.

Sapa hasn’t changed much over the last few years, but one new addition that stands out is The Hill Station. Located near the junction of Cau May and Muong Hoa Roads, it’s in the thick of things, but provides a cosy respite from the streets and hawkers outside. Set on two floors, with a narrow … read the full post

Dec 07 2012

Overnighting in Tam Dao

Published by under Hanoi excursions

Not recommended in winter.

While not a must-visit destination, if you’re not in a rush and are keen to explore less touristy spots in Vietnam, Tam Dao hill station is worth an overnight from Hanoi, especially to escape the capital’s summer heat. Here’s some advice on how to spend your time there. Leave Hanoi after breakfast — by bus, … read the full post

Dec 02 2012

Hotels in Tam Dao

Published by under Hanoi excursions

A decent view from Gia Le Hotel when it's a clear day.

Tam Dao, a cooler-clime retreat you can easily get to from Hanoi, is so chock-full of hotels that it can be difficult to know where to start. Here’s our guide to a few places that might fit the bill. Although Tam Dao prices are on a par with, if not pricier than, Hanoi hotels, there … read the full post

Nov 30 2012

Getting to Tam Dao from Hanoi

Published by under Hanoi excursions

Quite a view.

At 80 kilometres northwest of Hanoi, Tam Dao hill station makes for a good overnight or one-day respite from the chaos of the Vietnamese capital. You can get to the cooler area, where there are plenty of hiking trails and pretty scenery, by bus, motorbike, taxi or private car; here’s a little about how to … read the full post

Sep 29 2012

Pronouncing Vietnamese — a starting guide

Published by under Vietnamese language

Grilled chicken, not fish.

Vietnamese is a notoriously difficult language to master, and in particular to pronounce. Here are some tips of a few of the sounds to help you get at least somewhere close. Almost a year ago I wrote about learning Vietnamese in Hanoi and shared a few key phrases: hello, thank you and the like. But … read the full post

Sep 09 2012

Exploring Bac Kan province

Published by under Hanoi excursions

Corn is so important that it's given its own tent

You don’t always have to stick to the tourist trail in Vietnam; simply striking out somewhere for the hell of it can be richly rewarding. Bac Kan province is little visited by tourists, although its main point of interest, Ba Be Lake, attracts those looking for natural beauty outside of Ha Long Bay. We took … read the full post

Jul 06 2012

Massage at Huong Sen

Published by under Spas & massage

No, the metal door isn't the massage bed

It’s been well over a year since I wrote about getting a cheap and decent massage in Hanoi, and that’s proven to be a popular post, so: time for another massage-related post. In the name of research, I headed to Huong Sen Healthcare Centre. I mentioned Huong Sen II in my last post, but this … read the full post

May 15 2012

Cuc Phuong National Park

Published by under Hanoi excursions

Located 120 kilometres south of Hanoi, Cuc Phuong national park was established in 1962 and is the oldest national park in Vietnam. Consisting of more than 200 square kilometres of tropical forest and many grottoes, the reserve is rich in wildlife and natural beauty and also possesses historical significance, as prehistoric tools and ancient tombs … read the full post

May 02 2012

Hanoi people: the musician

Published by under Hanoi people

I’ve written before about how the live music scene in Hanoi has improved since my arrival here in 2010: new venues, active promoters and high profile events have helped with this growth, not to mention more and more local and expat musicians wanting to share their talents with the masses. One such artist is Zippy. … read the full post

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