Vietnamese cuisine with its refreshing flavours, citrus hits and use of distinctive herbs and warm spices is one that’ll shake up your taste-buds. With its careful use of oil it’s also one of the healthiest. The mere thought of succulent lemon grass chicken, green papaya salad or crisp spring rolls stuffed with minced pork, ginger and Thai basil starts me salivating. Not only does it taste amazing it looks good too. The food pops with colour – think fresh green herbs, blushing-pink prawns and scarlet-red chillies against a backdrop of pale, fluffy rice. It’s simple, yet sophisticated, vibrant yet subtle.
We’d done the local sightseeing in Mui Ne; the Fairy Stream, the dunes and the fishing village. we’d spent hours mesmerised by the kite-surfers and we’d kicked-back and chilled on the long sandy beach. So what to do next? Now this may surprise you but on our third day in Mui Ne we took up our clubs and played a round of golf at Sea Links Golf and Country Club in Ham Tien.
After a stay in Ho Chi Minh City most visitors to Vietnam looking for a bit of beach time head East to busy Nha Trang and the South China Sea. Further south is the nuoc mam (fish-sauce) producing town of Phan Thiet but keep going a little further and you’ll come to Mui Ne a small fishing town with a long sandy beach which is the kite-surfing hub of SE Asia. If you’re not looking for an adrenaline hit or you fancy a day away from the beach there are some sights in the area that are well worth a visit. Check out my guide on what’s to do and see in Mui Ne.
Mui Ne with its temperate micro-climate and 6k stretch of golden sand is Vietnam’s kite-surfing central and adrenalin hub. Surf’s up most days and although that brings with it a breeze its cooling and refreshing under a hot sun and vivid blue skies. Perfect for a kite-surfing or surfing holiday. The fishing village at the end of the bay is authentic and colourful which means there’s also a surplus of fresh seafood and there’s some unusual sightseeing nearby too.
This is Central Market in Hoi An where every day is market day and every day brings the hustle and bustle of traders selling their wares and shoppers on the look out for the freshest produce at the best price. The smell of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables hit the senses but not half as much as the fish section. Mopeds jostle for room with shoppers and the scene is a jumble of colour, noise and aromas. This shot is a fleeting glimpse of someone passing through the hubbub.
This post is part of the ‘weekly photo challenge‘ Fleeting
In Hoi An town at full moon the town celebrates. All the electric lights are switched off and softly coloured lanterns cast magical shadows in the narrow streets. Candles are lit and cast into the river along with wishes and prayers and set sail into the night flickering in their small paper cups. A gentle glow radiates through Hoi An…
This post is part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme – Light
What a busy year this has turned out to be both travel and work-wise. 2012 took me to 17 cities and seven countries; four of them completely new! I’ve continued to explore my home county of Sussex enjoying unusual festivals and the gorgeous countryside. I’ve eaten some delicious food but have to tip my hat to Italian cuisine this year which has been stunning and I’ve stayed in some wonderful and unusual hotels. Here’s what happened in 2012.
We started 2012 on a high celebrating New Year Saigon style. This has to be one of the best New Years I’ve ever had and the first spent away from home. We watched the celebrations from the rooftop bar at the iconic Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City before joining the crowds on the packed streets to see in 2012. A New Years Eve that I’ll never forget and Vietnam was an amazing way to start my travel year. We also spent time in Hanoi and Halong Bay but Hoi An is the place that stole a piece of my heart.
Tenerife got a lot of Travelbunny love this year with four trips to the island, three for work but the first visit of the year was with my daughter. She was working for Tui had some concessions to use up and treated me to a week in the sunshine – what a lovely daughter I have! We mainly relaxed but did head out to La Gomera for a day which is a beautiful little island and especially lovely in the springtime.
April arrived and time to pack up the car and head for Morzine in the French Alps, where we stay with friends every year, skiing in Avoriaz and the Porte du Soleil. We take all the food for the evening meals as we love to cook and after a day on the slopes there’s nothing better than spending time with friends, food and a glass or two of red next to a roaring fire.
April also saw two days in Tallinn, my first ‘new country’ of the year. This was a work trip so I didn’t see as much of the town as I’d have liked but was surprised to find it had more of a Scandinavian feel than Eastern European. Note to self: ‘Go back. Explore’.
Celebrations in April as I won round 39 of photo roulette with the theme Local Character. I went on to host round 40 with the theme ‘Street Scene’ and had a great time discovering lots of talented people, their blogs and photography.
May and another new destination for me; Paphos in Cyprus. I spent a week working with a colleague on a conference we’d organised for 300 people. Unfortunately we only got out of the hotel on one evening for a meal and I probably shouldn’t count this a new destination as I didn’t actually see any of it! Another place to re-visit methinks.
June puts in an appearance and with it a whole heap of excitement – my first trip to Italy! I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get there and I have totally fallen in love with this country, its people and that amazing Italian food. We based ourselves in Sorrento visiting the fascinating city of Pompeii and taking the famous Amalfi Coast road down to Amalfi itself. I’m heading back to Sorrento next year for some serious gelato research.
June also saw the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in all its jubiliciousness and we were lucky to celebrate without getting rained on. I also met the Queen for the first time at Royal Ascot – well she rode past in a carriage but she did wave at me!
Next up July and with it Blogville and back to Italy. I met up with fellow-blogger Kathryn from Travel with Kat and we discovered Bologna, food capital of Italy, Rimini and Ferrara together. We had a fabulous time and it was wonderful to explore with someone who quite understood the need to stop and photograph every sight, building and morsel of food that we encountered!
I like to spend August at home because there’s nowhere better than England in the summertime, however, summer didn’t seem to arrive this year but that was okay because we were kept busy as London hit the spotlight and we cheered on our sporting heroes. I didn’t get to the games but did see the Olympic torch both in Battle and Bexhill where Eddie Izzard held the flame aloft.
September took us to Turkey, the final ‘new country’ of the year and a holiday. We started off in Cappadocia where we stayed in a Fairy Chimney, the most unusual hotel stay ever! We then travelled by bus to Pamukkale, had beach time in Bodrum and finished off our trip in Istanbul. The highlight had to be our dawn hot air balloon trip in Cappadocia – in fact that is one of my highlights of the year. In September Easyjet awarded me ‘Blogger of the Month’. Wow what a month!
The rest of the year has been busy around work with two trips to Tenerife in November and December. This time, although I was working, I managed to get to Teide National Park for a morning which was stunning. On one of the trips we stayed at the amazing Abama Hotel, a Ritz Carlton property which was an experience in itself!
This year also saw lots of awards from my fellow bloggers and I now have a ‘fit to burst’ virtual awards cabinet and a big fat grin across my face. These awards are a fabulous way to learn about other blogs and I’ve been introduced to some very talented bloggers this way from the world over. So thank you all for stopping by, liking and commenting on my travel tales, it means so much to me that you take time to do so. Remember too, if you’d like any advice or tips on any of the destinations I’ve visited just drop me a line – I’m more than happy to help out if I can.
So that was 2012 – but what of future travel? Not a lot booked at the moment but that’s how January 2012 started off so who knows where I’ll be travelling to next year, wherever it is I hope you’ll join me on the journey.
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
I love to go through my travel photos to re-live past trips and experiences so when Kathryn from Travel with Kat nominated me to take part in a photo competition run by Travelsupermarket.com it gave me the perfect opportunity to dive in – thanks Kathryn! Bloggers were asked to submit a photo blog post with up to five photos which really ‘Capture the Colour’. The colours in question are Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red and each photo should feature one of these colours prominently, preferably with a unique twist.
I have thousands of photos and it’s been difficult, to the point of painful, to choose one over another but, finally, here are my choices and I hope I’ve managed to capture both the colour and the moment…
If you know my blog then you’ll be expecting a shot of Vietnam – so for my first image we’re heading for SE Asia. Hoi An is an ancient trading town which sits on the South Central coast of Vietnam. The vibrant blue of the old woman’s tunic really stands out against the faded, sun-scorched wood of the sam pan but to me this image also conveys a feeling of sadness.
You’d think an image of sunflowers would come under the yellow heading wouldn’t you? Whilst staying with friends near Poitier in France I was delighted by fields of gorgeous sunflowers – guaranteed to make me smile! I took heaps of photos but this image shot from a less obvious angle appealed.
It’s all yellow! – the wall, the dress, the jewellery, the flower in her hair… Shot in Havana, Cuba this woman was smoking a large cigar and had three more lined up on the table to last the afternoon. I loved the way this colour-conscious, coordinated woman set up her stall and sat waiting for custom with that very knowing smile on her face. The dog looked pretty laid-back too.
The Taj Mahal, Agra, India. When I first set eyes on The Taj Mahal its beauty took my breath away. India’s most visited monument is a white, marble mausoleum; built by Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. Close up the intricacy of the carvings and detail are exquisite and I think the serene whiteness of the building contrasts beautifully with the vibrancy and colour of India as a nation. More from India…
Back to the Caribbean and Havana, one of the most colourful cities I’ve visited and one of the most musical too with its ever-present salsa back-beat. These old American cars thrumble through the city their sparkling chrome and glossy paintwork a stark distinction against the faded facades and crumbling buildings.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my colour captures; if you’d like to enter you can find full details here at Capture the Colour. You don’t need a nomination to enter but to take part you have to be a blogger and submit a blog post with photos that showcase the above colours by 29 August 2012 nominating five other travel blogger to take part. Notify TravelSupermarket that you’ve entered the competition by either posting a link to your blog post on Facebook mentioning Capture the Colour and tagging the TravelSupermarket.com Facebook page. You can also link to your post via Twitter including @travelsupermkt and #capturethecolour hashtag.
Here’s whose Capture the Colour entries I’d like to see:
- Passport and a Toothbrush
- The Gypseynesters
- Heather’s Harmony
- Tita Buds
- Cosy Travels of the Viking and his Kitten