Apr 16 2012

The electric bus route in Hanoi

Published by under Transport

A couple of years ago, vehicles reminiscent of golf buggies started appearing on the streets of Hanoi. As if the motorbikes, bicycles, cyclos, cars, buses and trucks weren’t enough. But I mustn’t complain, the carts are there in the name of green tourism: Hanoi’s attempt to cut down on the pollution caused by the other … read the full post

Apr 14 2012

Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral

The past few weeks I have written a few posts about some of the city’s more popular pagodas and temples; these focused mostly on Buddhist temples, but HCMC happens to be home to a large Catholic community and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t talk about another popular religious destination in Saigon, the Notre … read the full post

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 12 2012

Saigon’s Reunification Day

Published by under Festivals

Everyone knows that travelling to Saigon during Tet can be a bit of a headache, with many restaurants and shops closed and transportation is limited. Tet, however, isn’t Vietnam’s only celebrated holiday that can throw you for a loop: Reunification Day on April 30 (followed a day later by May Day on May 1) marks … 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

Apr 02 2012

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda

Although there are plenty of pagodas in Saigon, as I’ve mentioned a few times recently, most of them are pretty quiet; which could lead to inner peace, or you might just get sleepy from boredom. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my temples as much as the next guy but I can only watch turtles … read the full post

Mar 31 2012

Hanoi street food: Bo bittet

Published by under Food

It’s been a favourite of mine since I first came to Hanoi, so goodness knows why it’s taken me so long to write about bo bittet. It’s true that I don’t eat it too often — it’s hardly the healthiest of options — but having had a recent relapse at the weekend I was reminded … 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

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