• Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Sailing on the Ha Long Bay

    Sailing on the Ha Long Bay after 11 years felt the same, and yet different. Things were a lot easier back then. The pace somehow felt a lot more relaxed. The boat may have been motorised, but the sails were very much old style, like the junk boats you see in picture perfect snapshots of Ha Long Bay. And it didn’t feel so crowded. But hey, that was a long time ago. This is now. We walked into the first travel agency that looked like it wouldn’t fleece us, The Sinh Tourist in the Old Quarter (there are several branches all over the city). Here, we booked an overnight package…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Give me my bowl of pho

    If there’s one dish I can have for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Vietnam, then pho it is for me.  After all that walking around the Old Quarter in Hanoi, dodging motorists on their mopeds and bikes, and generally making sure you’ve crossed these chaotic roads safely, why not stop by and indulge with a portion of pho. Pronounced as fe (like in fern), it is a hearty, flavorful soup with broth, noodles, herbs and chunks of meat. Comfort food at its best. Walk around and you’re sure to find a vendor on any street corner or along the pavement, with the kitchen in a small hole. Of course, there…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Laos,  Travelogue

    The old man by the river

    The center of Luang Prabang is small. It has got just four main roads. Easily covered by foot, one of these roads leads you to a small gated park, which is also a good vantage point to click photographs. Look carefully, and you’ll see a pathway leading to the bank of the Nam Khan River. There’s a lady sitting there who’ll collect a fee for you to cross the bamboo bridge to go to the other side. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, walk a little further to the small temple, and as you walk around, chances are you’ll see a small hut. I called out and the old man stumbled…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Laos,  Travelogue

    Sunset over Luang Prabang

    After huffing and puffing for about 20 odd minutes, you’ve finally made it to the top of Phu Si Hill in Luang Prabang, an elevation of 100 metres. Once you have caught up with your breath, weave your way through the crowd of other tourists and see what needs to be seen. Then settle at a good spot and wait for the sunset. I suggest you make it to the top at least an hour before sunset as there will be others too who will have similar thoughts as you. So before it gets too crowded, I suggest you see what needs to be seen, and then settle down at…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Laos,  Travelogue

    Kuang Si Falls: Luang Prabang’s hidden gem

    Strange that I missed it in 2007. This time however, on a friend’s recommendation, I was going to see it . And oh boy, no regrets. Kuang Si Falls is about 30 odd kilometers from Luang Prabang, and is about an hour’s drive, depending on conditions. It’s unlike any other waterfall I’ve seen. From the bright green colours, to the way it flows down across three tiers. If you are looking for Instagram or selfie moments to capture, you’ll have lots of opportunities. And if you fancy taking a dip in the pool, then by all means, do so. There are changing rooms. Just make sure to carry your swimming…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Laos,  Resources

    Laos visa on arrival

    Applying for a visa on arrival at any Lao port of entry has has got to be one of the easiest and smoothest process I’ve gone through. I landed at Luang Prabang on my month-long tour of Indo-China. On entering the airport terminal from the tarmac, there’s a special booth directly in front of the entrance that you must head to. You’ll figure out which one it as there’s a queue of people standing in line, waiting their turn. Fill in the application form along with the immigration card and keep your passport sized photograph at hand, along with the fees. Fees vary for different nationalities. For an Indian passport…