Dec 23 2011

Photo: Incense at Thien Hau pagoda

Published by under Photos

Ho Chi Minh City‘s many pagodas are renowned for their evocative burning incense, but none quite so much as Thien Hau Pagoda in the heart of Cho Lon — Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown. Dozens of slow-burning incense coils hang from the ceiling while yellow slicks smoulder at waist-level by the fistful. While the temple … read the full post

Dec 22 2011

Canyoning in Da Lat

Published by under Saigon excursions

When you’re travelling in Vietnam, taking tours can become a common theme of your trip. Tours can be great, but after you’ve done a few they can get a little repetitive. Lately I’ve been looking for a little more adventure in my travels around Saigon so when my friend recommended I take a quick weekend … read the full post

Dec 19 2011

December getaways: Hanoi to Sapa

Published by under Hanoi excursions

If you end up in Hanoi at Christmas but don’t want a city-based festive season, what are your options? With no good beaches within easy travelling distance – and the weather not likely to be good enough for lazing on a beach anyway — why not go in the opposite direction and head for the … read the full post

Dec 19 2011

New Year’s Eve in Saigon

Published by under Festivals

Christmas in HCMC is a bit of an extravaganza, with fantastic decorations everywhere and people making an evening out of just hanging out around them. But as crazy as Christmas gets it has nothing on New Year’s Eve in Saigon. Ringing in the New Year right is a high priority for the city; decorations line … read the full post

Dec 16 2011

Christmas in Saigon

Published by under Festivals

Saigon is in the grips of the Christmas spirit. Everywhere you go, something will be there to remind you that the happiest time of the year is right around the corner. Large streetside decorations, cafes pumping out your seasonal favourite songs, and tin foil snow is everywhere. A Saigon Christmas is a different sort of … read the full post

Dec 14 2011

A Christmas day in Hanoi

Published by under Festivals

Despite Christmas not being traditionally celebrated in Vietnam, the Christmas spirit has certainly arrived this year, with decorations proudly lacing many an office and apartment building. I celebrated early on Saturday, as I’ll be in the UK over Christmas this year: Santa hats and decorations were purchased on Hang Ma, Secret Santa (anonymous) gifts were … read the full post

Dec 12 2011

Photo: Trader house Hanoi

Published by under Photos

One of the great tragedies of Hanoi’s last few decades has been the demolishing of its many trading houses and shopfronts. It’s a testament to the sad state of affairs that many of the places of architecture walks in Hanoi’s Old Quarter no longer exist. Still, some remain.

Dec 08 2011

Hanoi’s villages: Bang So (Bamboo village)

Published by under Hanoi excursions

In the past, villagers in Vietnam tended to specialise in making particular items to meet their needs, sharing their skills with neighbours and relatives. This led to individual villages becoming known for a particular handicraft. As people moved to the cities they gravitated towards others with the same trade and hence we have areas such … read the full post

Dec 07 2011

December getaways: Saigon to Nha Trang

Published by under Nha Trang

With the exception of Tet, which sees Saigon comes to a four-day screeching halt, holidays can make people here go extra crazy. Christmas sees Saigon residents jam the streets to look at the Christmas lights around the city and getting a taxi from the airport is ridiculous: last year on Christmas Day I was quoted … read the full post

Dec 06 2011

How cold does it really get in Hanoi?

Published by under Weather

With the temperature dropping notably over the last week and my friend calling me this morning to ask where she could buy a heater, I thought it was an appropriate time to comment on the frequently asked question: “How cold does it get in Hanoi?“. We arrived in Hanoi at the end of January 2010 … read the full post

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