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.
Last year those nice people at Travel Supermarket held their ‘Capture the Colour’ competition and I had a lovely time going through my photos, re-living past trips and generally having a good old reminisce – it took me days! You can check out my 2012 post here. I didn’t win any prizes but did have the shot of my ‘yellow’ Cuban Cigar Lady added to their ‘World Photography Map’ in the North America section – I was pretty chuffed about that!
With over 3,000 entries the competition was a huge success and they’re running it again this year. So here’s my colourful collection for 2013 – I hope I’ve managed to capture both the colour and the moment…
It would have been all too easy to include a shot of deep blue skies or turquoise seas for the blue category but this picture sums up the colour and my mood when I took it. It was my first visit to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam and we’d just come out of the War Remnants Museum which displays a lot of black and white war correspondent photography with many harrowing images. This was a complete contrast to what we’d just seen and brought me back to the present again. The shot was taken at the end of February so we’d missed the New Year celebrations but we went back in 2012 and spent New Year’s Eve in HCMC – easily the best New Year we’ve ever had!
Ah, Italy, my beloved Italy! I visited Italy for the first time last year. Twice! The second time was to the Emilia Romagna region with Blogville and I think it was then I decided that Italy would always have a little place in my heart . And not just because of the gelato… As you can see there’s some stunning scenery in the area – I took this in Montefiore Conca, Rimini’s hinterland. I shall be returning to Italy three times before the end of the year – Bologna, Venice and Rome – can’t get enough of it!
Back to Asia and Thailand for my yellow shot – the gold stupa in the Grand Palace, Bangkok. There is so much gold at Wat Phra that you’ll need your sunglasses. These monkey warriors have either a blue or a white face and wear multi-coloured traditional dress, made of brightly coloured mirrors. Each statue holds up the Stupa with their out stretched arms, one monkey warrior, however, is a demon imposter. There’s a couple of clues – any ideas who he is?
My ‘white’ entry (or do you think it should have been blue?) is of the travertines at Pamukkale in Turkey. Pamukkale means ‘Cotton Castle’ in Turkish and perfectly describes the white terraces, which tread their way down the hillside. Each pool is created from white limestone deposits filled with water from hot springs in the area – natures own infinity pools!
Red was a tricky one. I have some lovely shots of Bologna, known as Italy’s red city, with its red blinds and warm coloured porticoes. But I felt I needed more people around and so we’re stopping in Hoi An, Vietnam for my final shot. This old woman sat at the roadside selling red, clay whistles. She was quite happy to let me photograph her for a while – so long as I bought a whistle!
Here are my five nominations which also happen to be five of my favourite blogs too:
Travel with Kat – Kat was lovely enough to nominate me last year
I hope you’ve enjoyed my colour captures; if you’d like to enter you can find full details at Capture the Colour. To take part you’ll need publish a blog post showcasing five of your favourite travel photographs which best capture the colour of the five categories: red, blue, green, yellow and white – all by 9th October 2013. You don’t need to be nominated 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 #CTC13 hashtag. More information and full terms and conditions here.
Have fun and wish me luck!
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.