Hoi An Nights

Hoi An Nights

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

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Hoi An – a Culinary Quest

Hoi An – A Little Piece of Heaven

The Colours of Hanoi

The Colours of Hanoi

Just before dawn, as we drive from Noi Bai airport on the main road to Hanoi, we are surrounded by a stream of vibrating traffic; it’s like being in the middle of a swarm of bees – and it’s where the Hanoi buzz begins.  Scooters and bicycles piled to toppling with wares to sell in town; baskets stuffed to bursting with chickens, vibrant and exotic fruits and vegetables stacked high.  A dead pig lashed to the back of a scooter overtakes us, trotters dangling either side of the number plate.  People on push-bikes wearing traditional nón lá hats glide serenely along.  All have one destination in mind.  Hanoi. (more…)

The Nón Lá – Vietnamese Hat

The Nón Lá – Vietnamese Hat

A typical sight in rural villages all over Vietnam is a person wearing a traditional conical nón lá hat (leaf hat).  Worn to protect the wearer from both the sun and rain they are hand-made from palm leaves.  There are other Asian versions of the hat but the Vietnamese forms the most perfectly circular cone which tapers smoothly from base to tip.  In some parts of the country the hat is called a nón bai tho (poem hat) where lines of verse are romantically inscribed inside the hat and can be seen only when held up to the sunlight. 

When I see an image like this I know immediately from the nón lá that it’s set in Vietnam and this is why I’ve chosen it as my entry to The Departure Board’s Picture the World photography project. 

Picture the World

Thanks to Kat from Travel with Kat for nominating me to submit a photograph from Vietnam to The Departure Board’s Picture the World photography collection.

I’d like to nominate Tricia from Tricia A Mitchell with her lovely images of India and Madhu whose fabulous photographs can be found on her site The Urge to WanderYou don’t need to be nominated to take part; just visit Picture the World and see what countries don’t yet have an image partnered to them.  Instructions on how to enter are all on the page and please do share any images you submit.

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Hoi An – A Little Piece of Heaven

Hoi An – A Culinary Quest

A Night and a Day in Ha Long Bay

A Night and a Day in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam translates to Bay of the Descending Dragon and has recently become one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.  And truly wonderous it is – a mystical landscape where thousands of limestone karsts burst breathtakingly skywards from the depths of the  sparkling, emerald-green South China Seas.  We spent a day cruising through this stunning scenery followed by a night moored amid the beautiful limestone formations before returning to port the following afternoon, via Vung Vieng, one of the bay’s four floating fishing villages. (more…)

Vietnam – Tomb and Temple Hopping in Hue

Vietnam – Tomb and Temple Hopping in Hue

Hue, once home to Emperors, courtiers and concubines, is the place to discover the ancient heart and soul of Vietnam.   Located at the mouth of the Perfume River, Hue was the imperial capital of Vietnam’s Nguyen dynasty between 1802 and 1945.  We spent two days in the city visiting the Citadel and tomb-hopping our way down the Perfume River.

There are seven royal tombs scattered around Hue, individually designed – some by the intended occupant – some large, opulent and majestic, others which have fallen into disrepair. Here I’ll share with you two of the most ornate and therefore popular tombs. (more…)

Hoi An – a Culinary Quest

Hoi An – a Culinary Quest

Being a bit of a foodie meant that a big part of our trip to Vietnam was for the cuisine. Fresh, zingy flavours bursting onto the taste-buds combined with mouth-watering herbs and the warmth of South East Asian spices was such a lure. The Red Bridge Cooking School kept cropping up during our research so we booked ourselves on a half-day cooking class hoping to glean tips to help us recreate those tantalising flavours when we returned home. We were so glad we did – it was a mouth-watering highlight of our week in Hoi An. (more…)