• CategoriesTravel

    A Local Experience in the Muong Hoa Valley

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    I awoke on the 26th December 2018 perhaps the freshest and best rested I’d been all year. The dead quiet of the Mường Hoa Valley, combined with the unbelievable comfort of the bed in Mama Chu’s house and the fatigue from the lengthy trek to get there all combined to create the perfect conditions for a refreshing night’s sleep. I was a honestly quite reluctant to rise from the super-soft bed and its almost mattress-thick blanket but, with the rest of the household already up and about, I felt a little guilty sleeping in.

  • CategoriesTravel

    A Christmas Miracle in Sapa

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    I arrived in Sapa in northwest Vietnam much earlier than I planned, at about 2am on the morning of Tuesday 25th December 2018 – Christmas Day. I’d been told that the bus would arrive closer to 6am, getting me there just in time to find a place to stay, dump my gear, rest a bit and then plan my adventures in this remote mountain town. Instead, I found myself in a sleeping city, with not a single hotel open for business.

  • CategoriesTravel

    Dodging Tourist Traps in Ninh Binh

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    When it comes to historical edifices and their restoration, there’s a sweet spot – a fine line between completely ruined and completely rebuilt which is difficult to exactly trace. At least, there is for me. Sadly, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu missed the line by a country mile.

  • CategoriesTravel

    Playing the Tourist in Tam Coc

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    I arrived at Ninh Binh train station from Hanoi as the sun was dropping out of a hazy sky. I had the general intention that I wanted to rent a motorbike and find a homestay (the Vietnamese name for a hostel), but that’s about as far as my plan went.

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    War Planes and Word Games

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    My second day in Vietnam started with a hasty departure from the apartment I’d borrowed. My plan, formed the previous evening with the person who usually lived there, was to head to the train station and get a ride to Ninh Binh, which I’d been told was a beautiful and peaceful spot.

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    Not Being Lonely in Hanoi – Part 2

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    In my last post, I talked about my plan-less plan to see the north of Vietnam, arriving in Hanoi and rescuing a young girl’s balloon in a random act of kindness. Now that first evening in the country continues as I approached the Old Quarter.

  • CategoriesTravel

    Not Being Lonely in Hanoi – Part 1

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    Anyone who has ever asked me if I get homesick while living the expat life has always been given the same answer: Only at Christmas. Having grown up with big family Christmases, suddenly finding myself alone and thousands of miles from my homeland hits me hard. This year, I decided to force myself into a situation where I wouldn’t and couldn’t think about it. I also needed to use up the last of my annual leave allotment for the year, so I booked a holiday in Vietnam.