Category Archives: Everyday life

10 days in Vietnam {part2}

Day 6 & 7 

Visit of Sapa and the villages, first village we did was Ta Van, we also did Ta Phin, Thac Bac water fall. Beautiful villages where you need to get lost and just walk though the streets.

End of the day 7, we took a bus to go back to the train station and then take the night train back to Hanoi.

Day 8

Arriving early morning to Hanoi, we took a cab to go the Hanoi Airport direction Hue. After 1h flight, at Hue our private driver is waiting for us. Direction Da Nang and Hoi An through the traditional road and the “COL DES NUAGES – ĐEO HảI VAN”. It takes around 4hours but its definitely worth it.

https://hueprivatetaxi.com/hue-to-hoi-an-by-private-taxi/ --> this is what we used to book our driver. +++ beer at arrival, very flexible as our flight was 3 hours delayed. 60 USD

After 4 hours drive and amazing views we reached Hoi An. We booked a very nice hotel for this part of the trip : Hoi An Beach resort. 

1 Cửa Đại, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam

Day 9&10

Visit of Hoi An old town. The best way to visit Hoi An is to walk in the different streets. You can at the entrance of the old town buy a ticket that give you 5 visits of old houses and museums. One house to visit is enough has they have always the same spirit and construction. The bridge is worth to visit.

Day 11

One day trip to My Son Sanctuary. Very nice temples, they are being restored. We booked our tour at the tourist information center of Hoi An, with a french speaker guide. The whole day was visit of my son and then visit of a fisher man village and back to Hoi An though the river.

Day 12

We took a flight the day before in the evening to go to Ho Chi Minh. We only spend 1 day at Ho Chi Minh before taking our last flight to Singapore. We did the walking tour written in the lonely planet. We stopped for lunch at “la propaganda” very nice restaurant ! A must to do !

10 days in Vietnam {part1}

Duration : 10 days
Budget : ~1300 sgd / pers (flights/hotel/activities and food included)

10 days in vietnam is a good duration to be able to visit a bit and enjoy the country from north to south. We most of the time stayed 2 days is each cities.

Overall trip : Hanoi –> Halong Bay –> Hanoi –> Sapa –>Hanoi –> Hue –> Hoi An –> Da Nang –> Ho Chi Minh

Day 1 – Hanoi

Arriving to Hanoi from Singapore after 3 hours flight we took a cab to reach the city center (~40 min drive, it should cost around 400,000) and our hotel Rosa Bella Hotel. Nice and welcoming people took us to our rooms. Very clean hotel, maybe the breakfast is a bit small but still okay.

Hotel bella Rosa : 21 Cầu Gỗ, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

To start our visit, we looked for a nice place to grab something for lunch.  We ate at the Artisan Buon Dua Le Cafe. Very nice place, nothing fancy but just great.

Buon Dua Cafe : 20 Hàng Hành Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội Vietnam

Day 2 – Hanoi

We did the lonely planet walking tour which is just perfect to enjoy Hanoi and all the small streets.

Highlights :  Ngoc Son temple, The Huc, The monument of the martyrs, Pho Hang Be and the market on Pho Gia Ngu, Pho Ma May, to discover, at n ° 87, the delightful commemorative house, Pho Ta Hien, to the famous bars, the Bach Ma Temple, Cua O Quan Chuong  Pho Thanh Ha, where a street market, the Dong Xuan Market, Pho Hang Ma, where the fake notes are sold during the Buddhist ceremonies, the tinsmiths and the mirror makers, Buddhist altars, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Ho Lo Jail.

For our afternoon, we took a cab to go at the west lake and enjoy a nice walk next to it with the visit of a temple.

For dinner, we ate at la Porte d’annam. Absolutely amazing. Careful, there might be lots of people, it’s better to book.

Porte d'Annam : 22 Nha Tho street, Hoan KiemHanoi 00000001, Vietnam

Day 3 – HON GAI HARBOUR – BAI TU LONG BAY – THIEN CANH SON CAVE

Direction : halong bay. 4 hours drive to reach the area.

http://www.indochina-junk.com/ No 58, Au Trieu street Hoan Kiem district Hanoi- Joining PRINCE junk

7.30 – 8.00: Pick up at your hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area. We booked through indochina junk a small boat for max 8 people. It’s more expensive than the big boats but worth it as the trip is not the same and they are going through smaller path where you’re getting more privacy.

12.00 – 12.30: Embark at Hon Gai International harbor.

12.30 – 13.00: Check-in, we enjoyed a welcome drink and add a cruise briefing.

13.30 – 15.00: Have lunch while cruising to magnificent Bai Tu Long bay; admire the fascinating formations on the way.

15.15 – 15.40: Explore the well- hidden Thien Canh Son cave.

15.45 – 18:00: Enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach at Hon Co island, swimming or kayaking.

18:00 – 19.00: Back to junk for refreshing before having dinner on board.

20.00 – 21.00: Relax, enjoy fresh air & overnight on board.

 

Day 4 – VUNG VIENG FISHING VILLAGE – HON GAI HARBOUR

07.30 – 08.00: Morning view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air.

08.30 – 09.30: Visit Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat.

10.00: Check out of the cabin. Start cruising towards the harbor while an A la carte lunch is served.

 

11.45 – 12.00: Disembark. Drive to Yen Duc village in Dong Trieu province.

14.00 – 14.30: Enjoy water puppet show performed by local artists which is good for kids not really interesting for adult.

14.45 – 17.30: Arrive in Hanoi.

Once in Hanoi, we moved to the railway station to get our train to Sapa. We booked one bedroom with 4 beds with the Orient Express. Small but clean, let’s go for 6 hours night train to Lao Cai.

Day 5 – Sapa

6am, we arrived at Lao Cai station. We took a taxi (you can have cheaper if your take the local bus which is correct, but we were too tired !). 1hour later we finally reached Sapa. Next objective, find 4 scooters. We found some in the street next to the bus stop, for 60 $ 4 scooters for 3 days.

Sapa is changing a lot currently with constructions everywhere. They are also lots of ethni that try to sell you many handmade braclette, neckless… They also try to sell you hotel rooms, or visits of small villages. Be strong ! you can say no sometimes.

With our scooter, we drove to our guesthouse (1h by scooter). Beautiful road for the view, but not great for the road itself with lots of hole.

Ta Van Ecologic Homestay --> super nice homestay with a magnificient view on the rice field.

 

Dallas full of surprise …

Dallas full of surprise …

Local Dallas

Dallas is full of surprise, apparently not the city you would like to spend vacation but if you look deeper in the city you might find many interesting and nice place to enjoy your days and evenings.

Dallas it’s Downtown ; Updtown ; Deep Ellum ; Lower Greenville ; Bishop Art.

Downtown, epicentre of Dallas, lots of building and museum. The best way to visit downtown Dallas it’s to park somewhere on the Trolley line (http://www.mata.org/schedulesroutemap.html ) and take the trolley until Downtown area (free ride). Then just walk by the building and status. You might enjoy a nice drink at the small but not nice klyde warren park (http://www.klydewarrenpark.org/ ).

Downtown 6
Klyde Warren Park
Downtown 5
Klyde Warren Park

Downtown 3 Downtown 2

Downtown 1
View from dowtown
Downtown 4
The financial district

Uptown, nightlife of Dallas and especially McKinney Avenue with plenty of bars and night clubs. High select part of Dallas, and rich people are living there. Here is a list of clubs and bars that are good but not only! The Den, Blackfriar, The avenue (very select), So&So, the Concrete Cowboy…

During a sunny day, go and have a walk at Katy Trail. Nice path for bikes; runners or just walkers. If you’re getting tired you can always have a drink on the patio at the Ice House (very nice area, nice beer and average price).

Bishop Art, area in rehabilitation and transformation. Nice bars and expos there.

Deep ellum, I love that place. Great streets with street arts and hipster bars/clubs. If you want to enjoy brewery go to Braindead Brewing (http://braindeadbrewing.com/ ), Pecan Lodge or BuzzBrews Deep Ellum.

DeepEllum (3)

Walk in the street of Main Street or Elm Street you will see nice street paintings. Enter in the strange handicraft shops and vintage shops.

DeepEllum (1)
Somewhere in Elm street
DeepEllum (2)
Elm street / Main street
DeepEllum (4)
Elm street / Main street
DeepEllum (9)
Elm street / Main street
DeepEllum (14)
Elm street / Main street
DeepEllum (16)
Elm street / Main street
DeepEllum (17)
Elm street / Main street

Lower Greenville/Knox Henderson, nice area similar to deep ellum but more hip. Nice rooftop with a view on downtown skyline.

You can find a really good French bakery: Boulangerie (http://villagebakingco.com/ ).

Great coffee shop: Houndstooth Coffee (http://www.houndstoothcoffee.com/ ) with real espresso from different countries.

If you’re at lower Greenville, you must also stop at Truckyard (http://www.texastruckyard.com/ ), great way to have a beer with friends outside.

Finally, if you feel more fency, you can enjoy a good meal/dinner at the French restaurant: St Martins (http://www.stmartinswinebistro.com/ ), but a meal will cost you around (50$/pers including 2 plates starters and meal plus a glace of wine. For a good affordable brunch you can go to the Old Monk (http://www.oldmonkdallas.com/ ).

Greater Dallas

If you take your car a drive a little bit outside of Dallas, you can also find really nice things.

Parks and lakes

Close from Dallas: White Rock Lake, you can enjoy a picnic and a nice view of the lake. Path and parking are available for walks, rides…

White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake 2
White Rock Lake

North West Dallas: River Legacy Park: http://www.riverlegacy.org/ , huge park so great if you want to go out from the city life.

South West Dallas: Cedar ridge preserve: Audubon nature preserve offering 9 miles of hiking trails through 600 acres of hill country habitat. http://cedarhilltx.com/1700/Cedar-Ridge-Nature-Preserve

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Cedar ridge preserve
Cedar ridge preserve
Cedar ridge preserve
Cedar ridge preserve
Cedar ridge preserve

Nightlife

  • Country nights:

Red River Irving: http://www.cowboysdancehall.com/dallas/ Outpost of a honky-tonk/dance hall chain with live country music, dance lessons & a mechanical bull. Free classes Thursday nights at 7pm.

  • Karaoke nights:

Family Karaoke: http://www.familykaraokedfw.com/ Karaoke outfit features a sizable song selection, a spacious bar & well-equipped private rooms.

  • Fency/clubbing nights :

Uptown dallas and Deepellum

 

3 days through Tennessee

For this three days weekend (labor day) we did a road trip in Tennessee.

Distance: 665 miles

Duration: 9h39 min

Total cost : 150$ / per pers

Trajet Nashville - Memphis

First day: Memphis

We made a first stop in Memphis to visit the house of Elvis Presley (Graceland). Nice visit, you have lots of souvenir store and the explication inside the house about the life of Elvis are great. The audio guide is well done and really good.

Graceland Graceland Graceland Graceland Graceland

After this stop, we went in Memphis at Beale street which is the heart of Memphis music and entertainment. This street is a melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and gospel.

Beale street Beale street

Second day: Nashville

We drove 1 hour before we stopped in an hostel on the road to Nashville. The next morning we drove 2 hours before heading up to Nashville.

First stop Green Hills, nice area, kind of hipster with shopping and fancy bar/restaurant. Nice place to stay and chill out.

Second stop ; downtown Nashville. We walk around, there is a nice street Broadway street to listen to some live music.

Nashville downtown Nashville downtown Nashville downtown Nashville downtown

Third stop; Midtown Nashville. There is a reconstitution of the Parthenon. There is a nice park with a lake where you can enjoy a dinner or lunch on the grass.

Nashville midtown

Last stop; back to Broadway street to enjoy more live music and country music.

Third day: drive back to Dallas.

The last day of our 3 days weekend is the drive back to Dallas -> 7 hours of driving is waiting for us.

 

Big Ben National Park

16th of May,

Destination Big Ben National Park, next to the Mexican border. Very nice natural park, amazing background, looks like Yosemite with beautiful canyon. This park is really nice.

Distance: 7h50 , 533 miles.

We drove during the night south heading to Big Ben. We made a first stop at Odessa. We slept in an hostel.

We woke up early to reach Big Ben National Park by 10 am.

The entrance of the park is 20$ (less if you have the park cards).

  

We spend the day in the center of the park (chisos), we did different trails. Amazing background.

We slept outside the park (south west); Terlingua because all the other campground were full.

  

  

Next morning, let’s go to the rio grande canyon and a trail next to the mexican border.

Last night we spend it on the same campground.

Awesome roadtrip.

Trip expenses:

  • gas: 100$
  • hostel: 60$/nights
  • campground : 20$/nights
  • park entrance : 20$
  • food: 200$
  • extras
  • total : 130/person

Vaxholm, one day in the archipelago

8th June,

A little history
Vaxholm – capital of the archipelago –

Vaxholm is the hub for boat traffic between the north and south of the archipelago.

There are a thousand years, the area around Vaxholm was inhabited and there were Viking villages (Bogesundslandet, Rindö and Resaro). Vaxholm began to build at the end of 1200. During the year 1500 Gustav Vasa built a fortress between Vaxon Rindö to defend the entrance to Stockholm.

How to get there?
– By boat from Stockholm (departure opposite the Grand Hotel, Kungsträgården).
– By bus from northern stockholm

What to do?
A Vaxholm there are many small shops, several restaurants and cafes, and small art galleries.
The best way to visit is to walk through the small streets, take a small coffee on terrace.

Vaxholm (24)  Vaxholm (25)

Vaxholm (37)  vaxholm

Vaxholm (31)  Vaxholm (21)

Fabric & Tea Market

Fabric Market

In Shanghai there is a market for almost everything.

For foreigners like us, these markets are very attractive, cheap price and very practical.
So I would not leave China without buy something custom and handymade!

Direction Fabric Market, there are several in Shanghai of course we went to the nearest from Yuyan Garden.

168 Dongmen Lu,
near Zhongshan Dong Er Lu
东门路168号,
近中山东二路

It is indeed very “profitable” for us European. We may have my jacket cashmere tailor made for € 70. Pierre two custom shirts for € 25 and € 50 for a suit. 🙂

The procedure is as follows:
1. The model is chosen
2. Prices are negotiated
3. Measures are taken
4. You pay a deposit (half of the total price)
5. you wait 1 week
6. We just get our order!

isn’t it magic ? 🙂

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Tea Market
We also went to the tea market!
520 Zhongshan Xi Lu,
near Wuyi Lu
中山 西路 520 号,
近 武夷 路
Although less people has square corners or in tourism. Tea is good and above can enjoy the leisurely quiet.There are also all the utensils to become a pro in the tea ceremony. Finally, there are services has magnificent tea and really cheap.
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Xishanzhen Island

Sunday, August 11,

Start: 9:00 am
Return: 5:00 pm

On this sunny day, towards an island (Xishanzhen) not far from Suzhou.
We accessed it by bus from the stop 58 Peoples Hospital. Around 1hr bus to the terminal!

Arrived at the terminal, we are a bit lost, nothing, it feels like an abandoned village. A bit like Tonopath California. 😉

We walked back along the path of the bus Because We had seen signs. Garden, old town 10 km …

Heck, we are not going to walk for 10 km by 40 ° C in the sun. There is a stop and go on the first bus hoping that goes to the garden I would say from memory bus 196.

ob_b633bdbcdb3cdbf02d81931a0c254062_travel-route

 

After a few stops, we arrived at a sign “garden and temple.” Let’s go to the garden and the temple!

The entrance fee per person is 50Y.

Hayashiya Cave
Wuzhong District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, Kim Chambers Road

林 屋 洞 风景区

江苏 省 苏州 市 吴中 区 金 庭 路

0512 6521 7360

And there was the surprise of the day. We landed in a beautiful and wide garden. After some minutes walk in the garden, a new surprise we arrived at the entrance of a cave.

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After this good refreshing visit towards the pagoda overlooking the whole island. A sweat does not hurt (yeah except when it’s 40 ° C and there is not a damn tree for shade).

Once at the top, beautiful view of the lake (well it should not be nearly as large as a small sea I think …).

As they say after exercise the comfort except it would have been great to find a bus to take us back to what is the “center of the city.”

Finally, a bus came. Great, we will be able to quench their thirst with a beer and a nice meal … Woe took me, there are only chinese restaurants ! Well we’re going to choose and pray not to fall on the legs of the chicken or duck tongue.

Ouf what came on is soft vegetables, tofu, pork in brown sauce and tiny fish (squid style) with vegetables. We even managed to order a beer !!

Back in Suzhou, direction the pool. Ah that feels good.

If you have the chance to go through it, must stop. Well worth the cost!

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Chinese food

Saturday, August 3, 2013,

I was waiting until I tasted enough things to be able to write a post about the “Chinese food”… But also enough photos to put as illustrations.

Fruits

Fruit, china, anyway Shanghai choosing fruit is large enough. Many exotic fruits (mango, papaya, guava, mangosteen, banana …) but also fruits that we know more apples and pears. To know that all the exotic fruits are really delicious. This is not the same for pears and apples are just water like watermelon.

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Vegetables

Vegetables, I was a little bit disappointed on this side, the choice is much more restricted. Tomatoes, carrots, beans and broccoli. A lack of green vegetables and good salad!

Let’s start in the little more Chinese, Tofu. They come in all shapes, all textures for all tastes. Soft squares, sticks so squid, grilled … I think I’ve tasted a large part. Tofu is still in many cases not very tasty, same for the lotus.

food-1 food-2

Algae

We continue (souls very sensitive it is time to make a choice). Algae. Yes Chinese are fond of algae of all kinds. Black color through the green and even yellow. Taking forms more or less attractive. And can even be eaten cooked, raw, grilled or viscous manner.
In my opinion, the raw seaweed (or dry) is very iodine like crispy chips. The cooked seaweed looks more like the mushroom we are used to eat. As for the seaweed in soups, often viscous, nothing that we know … but it’s not bad at all.

food-3  food-5

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Chinese dishes

Let go to the chinese dishes, we often have eaten the famous spicy noodles and dumplings; the Chinese pizza ; peking duck; the chicken grill, braised, roasted ; cantonese rice, the Hong Kong rice (spices !!), natural rice etc., etc.

Many different dishes but often I fond the same criticism setting apart chillies there is no taste!

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Let’s go to the more or less typical of china dishes.

Chicken feet, yes yes they love chicken feet. Well I must admit that after this meal tasted I was a little disappointed. Tendons which crack under the tooth and no meat …

The cold duck tongue, to my surprise it was not bad. Well I do not adore it but it was not a strong taste.

Insects, most located north of China. I didn’t have the opportunity to taste it but Eva, Mom and Dad have experienced it. I believe “crispy”.

The jellyfish, tested for the first time last night. It is crisp and translucent. No taste.

The dog may be provided to the program next weekend depending on the roommate of Pierre.

food-17  food-19  food-18

I almost forgot to mention the egg… I did not wanted to risk indigestion but eggs, there are of all colors and from all years!
With that, enjoy!

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