Posts Tagged ‘vietnam’


Vietnam: Cat Ba Harbour

We ended up on Cat Ba Island in the middle of winter. What is apparently a bustling picture of rock climbing, hiking, water sports and partying in summer is nothing but a sleepy fishing village in February. Even the ever-present touts had disappeared for the season. Not that any of this is a bad thing, the town has a beautiful outlook over a bay, a working harbour and a busy market. I’m not even sure if I’d like to go back in the high season there was an odd juxtaposition of construction and decay that didn’t quite sit right. Not that the fishermen appeared to notice, they were just going about their business.

 

Vietnam: Hà Nội

We spent quite a bit of time in Hà Nội, it’s a great place. It has equal parts, cosmopolitan, hustle, bustle, backpackers, in-your-face-asia, beauty and grace. (Yes I did just use grace to describe a city.) The food on the streets is great, and the people while not super friendly aren’t too pushy or agressive. The old-quarter Hoàn Kiếm, is a rabbit-warren of windy, claustrophobic streets, extensive shops and street merchants by the dozen. It’s easy to spend a huge amount of time lost in it all, and it’s time well spent. Here’s the first batch of photos from this amazing city.

 

Vietnam Photos: Huế

One of my favourite places in Vietnam was the ancient capital of Huế. The city itself is dominated by a vast ancient citadel complete with watch houses, walls and a moat. Within the walls of the citadel is the old palace which although it was damaged in the war a great deal of the buildings still stand.

One of my most enjoyable meals in Vietnam was in Huế when a few lotto ticket selling ladies and street vendors took me under their wing. Without speaking any shared language, snails and tea were forced upon me.

 

Vietnam Photos: Sa Pa

I haven’t written in a long time. So, in the interest of getting some mojo back I’m going to get into my Vietnam photos and share some. Today it’s photos from the the mountain region of Sa Pa.

It’s an amazing place with a very laid back alpine vibe, with endless stairs of rice terraces in the surrounding valleys. The region is also home to a great deal of marginalised hill tribes who are wily traders and merchants who speak brilliant English and use some of the most subtle sales techniques to get you to purchase their textiles and jewelry.

We took the overnight train there and through poor planning were only able to stay one night. It was a brilliant night with great hospitality from the staff at Sapa Rooms who made some of the best coffee western style coffee we had in Vietnam.

Sapa Rice TerraceSapa Rice Terrace VillageSapa Cherry Blossom

 

Hanoi Pho

I want to talk a little bit about Pho and what it actually is. My impression before coming to Vietnam was that it was the soup dish involving rice noodles, a dark stock and sliced beef. It isn’t. Pho is actually just fresh rice noodles. The dish itself comes in a variety of different forms. Pho Bo, the aforementioned beef noodle soup; Pho Ca, similar to the beef soup but made with fish; Pho Tiu which is similar to a pad thai, with roast pork, peanuts and bean shoots.

Pho Tiu

It’s mainly eaten for breakfast or lunch and is ridiculously inexpensive 1-2USD. It’s also available in abundance, a store on every footpath on every street and boy have I eaten a lot of it.