Hot Chocolate at Baguette & Chocolat, Sapa, Vietnam

May was our fantastic guide for the day. She is a Black Hmong woman who learnt English by speaking with tourists and has now become a guide. She brings tourists to visit her local village, and we spent the whole day with her another couple of tourists from Australia. Our day was spent walking up and down the valleys, saying hi to the local women, many of who were carrying corn. She told us all sorts of incredible families about her family, her traditions, her beliefs. She was surprised to hear that we in our own countries have many of [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00 September 21st, 2012|ASIA, Sapa, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at Sapa Rooms, Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa isn’t the easiest place to get to but it is one of those trips where the journey there is part of the whole experience. It starts with an overnight train ride which leaves Hanoi at 8.30 pm and rolls into Lao Cao at 5am.  From here you then board a bus that takes you on a windy road up into the mountains for an hour and a half to Sapa. At the start things aren’t really as scenic as you probably expected when you decided to make the trip here but as you get closer to Sapa and higher [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00 September 19th, 2012|ASIA, Sapa, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at City View Cafe, Hanoi, Vietnam

Early in the morning Hanoi seems empty but if you think that everyone is still sleeping, think again. They are all doing their exercise around Hoan Kiem Lake. There are groups doing tai chi, others doing dances with fans. A rather large group is dancing Merengue. There is even several lines of people giving each other standing up massages. The rest are walking around the lake, doing 3 km laps while watching the sunrise over the water. Hoan Kiem means Lake of the Restored Sword. According to the legend the emperor handed a magic sword which brought him victory in [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00 September 17th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at Baguette & Chocolate, Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam is a fascinating country, so much richer and deeper than I ever realised. There are 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam all with their own cultures and customs. The main group, the Viet, account for approximately 87% of the population. The remaining 13%, some 8.5 million people, spread out across the country have incredibly interesting and rich cultures that are celebrated at the very interesting Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi. Museumas are a tricky thing when travelling. Everyone always tells you to go to Museums but most of time they are dark and dull spaces. This place is a highlight [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00 September 14th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at Cafe Nhan, Hanoi, Vietnam

Today we met up with my friend An. An is from Hanoi but I met her in the US when we were both doing a course together there. That was in 2004 and I haven't seen her since so it was so nice to see her again and to get a little introduction to Hanoi from a local perspective. We spent a few hours visiting the Temple of Literature, the first national university in Vietnam. It was build in 1070 and is dedicated to Confucius. An tells us that this is a popular spot today for students studying for exams. [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00 September 12th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at the Sofitel, Hanoi, Vietnam

The Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi has a Chocolate Buffet. Yes, you heard me correctly; an all you can eat buffet celebrating chocolate. I found this out while doing my research on Hanoi and so we made a point to visit the Sofitel near the French Quarter one day at 3pm, right when it started. The Sofitel is quite a stunning hotel. It is a gorgeous colonial style building. The hotel also has a very rich history and several information panels along the walls introduce you to some of the highlights of that history. Guests at the hotel also [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:47+00:00 September 10th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at Cafe Nang, Hanoi, Vietnam

What better way to start off a day trip to Hanoi than an early morning walking tour of the Old Quarter. At 5.45am we meet up with our guide Tuy to explore the empty streets and narrow alleyways of this old and vibrant city. Everyone is just waking up and getting to business. Baskets of freshly made noodles are being dropped off in front of restaurants. Tiny plastic chairs are being set up along the sidewalk where the locals are sitting to eat their breakfast of Pho or rice pancakes filled with ground pork and mushrooms. At the end of [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:47+00:00 August 27th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate in Japan Airlines Lounge, Narita Airport, Tokyo, Japan

I joked when I knew I was going to have 4 hours at Narita Airport that I’d have to find a hot chocolate to tell you about in Japan. I have never been to Japan before but have always wanted to visit so I was so excited to have a sneak peak at the airport. The airport is full of little stores selling beautifully packaged sweet treats made of red beans and green tea. I bought a few for my family and then proceeded to the lounge. I was so lucky to have access to the Japan Airlines Lounge on [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:47+00:00 August 25th, 2012|ASIA, Japan, Tokyo|
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