Jul 08 2013

When’s the best time to visit Hanoi?

Published by under Practicalities

Now that's when you want to be in Hanoi.

Don’t be fooled by the fact Hanoi is in Southeast Asia and think shorts and T-shirts are good to go all year round. Hanoi has four seasons, and as the city’s in the northern hemisphere, that means the chilly winter starts in December and steaming summer hovers around July and August. It’s impossible to give firm … read the full post

Jul 04 2013

Co Tu hilltribe harvest festival

Published by under Festivals

Dancing, chanting, gongs and a few fashion helmets in the crowd.

Live music, dancing, a bucket load of moonshine… This is the basic formula for a good festival the world over, even when that festival happens to be that of an ancient hilltribe village in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Quang Nam’s Co Tu tribe are no strangers to a good festival; apparently there are 92 … read the full post

Jun 21 2013

Budget drinks with views in Hanoi

Published by under Bars & nightlife

Now that's a view worth ending on.

You’ll have to spend a bit more than you’d pay for bia hoi or a cha da on the street, but with so many lakes it’s not too hard to find somewhere with a view and cheap drinks in Hanoi. Let’s start with the Old Quarter. Here, our pick for best spot is Cafe Pho … read the full post

Jun 17 2013

Ms Dzung’s Massage, Hanoi

Published by under Spas & massage

Welcome.

An offshoot of long established social enterprise Just Massage, Ms Dzung’s Massage employs blind and partially-sighted staff and offers quality massages in a calming environment at good prices in Hanoi. Just Massage closed in 2012 (it has now re-opened — see below) so Ms Dzung, a skilled blind masseuse and trainer, decided to set up her own massage … read the full post

Jun 06 2013

Getting shoes made in Hoi An

Published by under Shopping

Tong Art Shoe on Phan Boi Chau. One of the better cobblers in town.

Hoi An has got a bit of a reputation as a place to shop, and one area it excels in is shoes. Cobblers are lined back to back just outside the old town, each one displaying an arousing selection of dusty, dirty, badly glued pumps and sneakers, sandals and the odd bejewelled, eight-inch stacked heeled … read the full post

Jun 05 2013

A few good family-style guesthouses in Saigon

Published by under Accommodation

The sheets look clean.

Before the new crop of hostels in Saigon emerged, the best deals for a bed in the city were found at guesthouses. While guesthouses may no longer be the cheapest places to sleep in HCMC, they still offer some of the best bang for your lodging buck. If you value your privacy and want to stay … read the full post

Jun 01 2013

Acupuncture in Saigon

Published by under Health & safety

You can smile through the pain.

While everybody raves about the low prices of massages in Saigon, fewer people know that you can find great prices for other wellness treatments. Acupuncture, called cham cuu locally, is just one you can get at pennies on the dollar compared to what you’d find in the West. Here’s what to expect in HCMC. Acupuncture, … read the full post

May 12 2013

Tan My Design, Hanoi

Published by under Shopping

A tower of goodies.

Although Tan My Design stocks some of the same traditional items, as its parent Tan My Embroidery, it’s predominantly a showcase for stylish, modern designer items and makes for a unique and calming shopping experience amid the mayhem of the streets of Hanoi. Established in 1969 at 66 Hang Gai, Tan My Embroidery has spanned … read the full post

May 08 2013

Tourist etiquette in Hoi An

Published by under Practicalities

The naturally camera shy local fishermen.

Getting to grips with the right or wrong way to go about things in any country is always a minefield of ever-changing goal posts. In Vietnam, luckily the people are largely very forgiving of our faux pas and a little bit of common sense and humility goes a long way in bridging the gap between … read the full post

Apr 27 2013

Photo essay: Wet market tour, Hanoi

Food can be semi-prepared for you.

Despite the growth of supermarkets, wet markets and street markets still play a pivotal role in the supply of groceries to Vietnamese households. Many people, primarily women, visit the market twice a day, working trips around school drop-offs and, for many, their paying jobs. Street market to us — and this may not be everyone’s … read the full post

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