Hot Chocolate at Moca Cafe, Hanoi, Vietnam

My guidebook, and several locals all told us to try Moca Café when I asked them for a good place for a hot chocolate. It is in a colonial era building very close to the St Joseph’s Cathedral and the Ba Da Pagoda. When we got there, the place was empty. We grabbed a seat near the window and sat down. After a few minutes we looked around, and there were several staff at the counter, all watching us like we are the show. Finally we got up and ask for a menu and brought it back to the table.  [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00November 5th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate at Helio, Hanoi, Vietnam

Every day, several times a day, tourists and locals alike line up to watch the Water Puppet show at Thank Long Theatre. Puppetry is a traditional art form used in all corners of the country. The show happens in a small theatre filled with bright red chairs. For 45 minutes you are transported on a journey through the country side of Vietnam. Musicians play a range of traditional music and instruments and accompany a range of gorgeous little wooden puppets that seem to magically emerge from the water and dance around. I loved every second of it and would go [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00October 15th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|

Hot Chocolate on the Ginger Junk, Halong Bay, Vietnam

I’ll start off by staying this was a terrible hot chocolate, really terrible. It is in competition for one of the worst hot chocolates I have ever had (and one of the most expensive relatively speaking, at 4$!). I don’t know if I was expecting to have a good hot chocolate this morning, it would have really been the icing on the cake, but regardless I had to order it because I wanted to be able to tell you about stunning Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of Vietnam, which encompasses an area [...]

2017-01-04T22:41:46+00:00October 8th, 2012|ASIA, Halong Bay|

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+00:00September 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+00:00September 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+00:00September 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+00:00September 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+00:00September 12th, 2012|ASIA, Hanoi, Vietnam|
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