Monday, June 2, 2014

Viet Nam


So I went to Vietnam the other day. It took about 15 hours to get there. I am not a good flyer. As a matter of fact, I sent my brother a final will and testament in a text concerning the cats. He could have two out of the three... I had to leave one for my brother-in-law too. So after about 15 hours of flight, a couple of glasses of wine (if you can call those cups "glasses"... more like 3 gulps), a herbal sleeping pill and no sleep whatsoever, we arrived in Hanoi. Hanoi is a good-looking Asian city, bustling with traffic, no regard for pedestrians and too many people hassling you for your money. I thought it was great! Crossing the street and making it unharmed to the other side was a small victory every time - a great adrenaline rush! Their beer came in 1/2L bottles only and the food was amazing. Why leave? 



This beautiful lady did not speak any of the languages I did... but she translated quite well unto this photo.

This cutie was one of the prettiest girls I ever saw... shy, but she liked that camera!


Students at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi

The Temple of Literature (or part of it) also appears on the 100.000 VND bill

This is why I love Hanoi... Need room for a train? Sure!

Some great streetfood in Hanoi... These nems were delish!

But we had to leave... and from Hanoi we visited Halong Bay and Tam Coc Nin Binh. These were both amazing places and I really lost my heart in Halong Bay. According to the legend, this bay was created by the dragon who lives in these waters. With his huge tail he smashed gaps in the mountains, and that is how these singular rocks were created. So hah! You learned something!


Fisherman's house - Could you live here?

Dem girls doe! Irene and Lucy


We took a night train. I was dreading this so much! After having heard "stories" from fellow travellers, I was almost ready to be like "screw that I'm taking a plane" because trying to ignore your fear of heights for an hour cannot be worse than peeing in a hole on a moving (!) train and sleeping on a wooden plank with strangers for 12 hours. But I was wrong. There was a reason we chose the more expensive "soft sleeper" section for the train. I did not sleep that softly, but because my expectations were so low, the night train was actually not too bad and we met a couple of nice Swedish guys travelling in the same direction as us.

Finally we got off the train, after a long night, and we arrived in the town of Hue. Hue is not very big, but we did have to walk 2km to get to the backpackers' hotel section of the town. Of course, once we got off the train, the wind that blew in our faces reminded us of someone turning a hairdryer on HOT and pointing it right in our face. Needless to say that after about 1km I needed to take a break. 

We left Hue after about 24 hours. It was too hot and had no fresh breeze to offer us, so we headed towards Hoian, a small town near a couple of beaches after having visited the Imperial Palace of Hue. We got to Hoian by bus. A sleeper bus - even though it was the middle of the day. Sleeper bus is really the only way to travel. Lying down in a bus. Seriously. AC, blanket, book and you're good to go.

A Vietnamese character on a wall made with bits of porcelain.
When we arrived in Hoian we knew we had to stay here and finally relax and enjoy ourselves. Hoian is also the place to get your fitted clothes made. You will find many a tailor here who will take your sizes and make you whatever piece of clothing you need. Men - get yourselves a suit here! Girls, that cocktail dress you've been eyeing at home but is too expensive? As long as you have a photograph of it somewhere, they can make it for you!

Come get your streetfood here!

Old Quarter of Hoian 

Banana?
I bet you've been reading this thinking: "Isn't this a foodblog? Where's the food?" Well here is my little review of my favourite restaurant in Hoian! It is called the Moon Restaurant and its speciality is streetfood but often with a twist. Chef Nguyen really knows his trade and certainly some tricks which make his dishes extra special. The food is slightly more expensive than what you would find in a regular local restaurant, but it is totally worth it. In the end, you are tasting dishes made by an award-winning chef!

Chef Phuc Nguyen (and me)
Inside Moon Restaurant and Lounge - very cozy
Mini spring roll as an appetizer. I am now also a star at eating peanuts with chopsticks.
I loved that the restaurant used bowls and other table paraphernalia you could get locally yourself. This is such a great way to push local merchandise to the tourists. But unfortunately, as we were backpacking, I was not able to bring back any of these pretty bowls.

Beautiful bowls you could get from shops around the town

Fried wontons with yummy filling and an amazing sauce on top. I wish I had the recipe for THAT sauce!


These amazing ribs are the restaurant's speciality.
Yes, I had some amazing food. From the yummy Moon Restaurant to the simple grilled cuttlefish with chili and garlic dip at the beach, my trip to Vietnam was certainly a success in my opinion. Before I knew it, I had to board that plane again and return home. Two weeks was definitely too short, but very sweet ;)

If you have any questions about my experiences in Vietnam, don't hesitate to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible!


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