A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Pauluiza

Naples - Italy - 2024

Pompeii & Napoli (Naples), Campagna, is today laundry day and we didn’t get the memo?

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We take a 2 hour (45 euros) taxi to Colombo, wait for 3 hours and catch an Air Arabia flight to Abu Dhabi. We have a marathon wait at the airport of 10 hours then board our WizzAir flight to Fiumicino Airport in Rome, arrive at 10pm and then wait for a 4am FlixBus to take us Naples. Arriving in Naples, we leave our backpacks at a self-service left luggage (booked online in advance) and take a local train to see the historical site of Pompeii. After a 30 minute ride, we arrive and get our 20 euro per person tickets. Pompeii is a vast archaeological site. Once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city it was buried under metres of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. We wander around the site but we feel it lacks a bit of interpretation (maybe to encourage visitors to pay for a guide?). Also, a lot of the most relevant artefacts seemed to now belong to the Archaeological Museum, so, be aware that you will be paying only to visit the actual site which is still a big deal, don’t get me wrong. We then take the train back to Naples, get our backpacks and almost 36 hours later, check in at a simple but nice and very well located Hotel Alloggio del Conte (40 euros, great value for money!!).

With Pompeii done, we can now focus on Naples and its iconic street food for the next few days. Deliriously tired, we find the strength to drag ourselves out for a pizza at Passiona Mij Pizzaria just around the corner, hands-down one of the best pizzas we’ve ever had, and we’ve been around the pizza block a few times… We also try the frittatine (deep fried pasta with bechamel sauce) and have a delicious half bottle of white. We grab another bottle from the supermarket and head home after almost 48 hours non-stop and a 5 and a half hour jet-lag to catch up with.

We wake up the next morning and go for a “cornetto & capuccino”, a popular Italian breakfast for 3 euros, then we find another place, Tarantino Bar, that sells the same combo for 1.50 each, and the guy is so friendly we become instant regulars and regularly raise our morning sugar levels through the roof. Lovely to be greeted with a smile and a Ciao Bella in the morning, don’t even mind I haven’t had my first coffee yet. We walk around the Old Town sightseeing for hours and feel like saying “Napoli, where have you been all my life?” We fall in love with this incredible city almost on the spot. Street food, urban art (the Old Town is an open-air art gallery), fabulous architecture, great atmosphere, more locals than tourists, a meatball filled baguette for lunch, whats not to love? The entire city smells of fresh laundry, its incredible to see all the washing hanging on the lines outside the windows, it’s so colourful and it smells great. It’s like it’s proudly sponsored by the Napoli Tourism Board. We feel like this is the real deal, the real Italy everyone is always looking for. We walk along the Lungomare, this incredibly beautiful promenade along the ocean with Mt Vesuvius in the background across the bay until we reach Cibi Cotti Nonna Anna Restaurant. A very traditional simple restaurant inside a local market serving typical Napolitan fare, al dente pasta with delicious sauce and a great bottle of red for 16 euros for both of us. Too full to walk back, we catch the Metro to go for a siesta then in the evening we go back to Passiona Mij for more delicious pizza, one pizza each for about 4-5 euros, of course, always. Paul is pretty fluent in Italian (he lived in Italy about 30 years ago …) and I’ve been learning Italian for the last 10 months. We are both keen on practising some Italian only to realise that they speak Napolitano, their own language (not a dialect), so they understand Italian but reply in Napolitano and we have very little idea what is being said, but we definitely have some fun trying.

After another “cornetto & capuccino” breakfast, we head to the majestic Galleria Humberto and walk around the amazing Quartiere Espagnole and the incredibly vibrant Centro Historico, finishing with a delicious cuoppo along the way (deep fried awesome bites served in a paper cone), another example of iconic Napoli street food. Then we head to the Cantina del Gallo restaurant, a very traditional place where we have polpette pasta and a grilled sausage meal with a litre of the most delicious local chilled red wine, totally worth the walk off the beaten path. The walk back through Rione Sanitá suburb is almost magic and we feel we are on cloud 9. It’s incredibly vibrant and coulourful with a wonderful atmosphere. It’s our last night and we go for a pizza portafoglio (a folded pizza) and a beer at Il Tutino (open since 1935), 2 euros for a pizza and 1.50 for a beer? We are in heaven!!! Our time in this wonderful, legendary, pleasant, real city is coming to an end and of course 4 days was not nearly enough, so we both definitely feel like its an arrivederci instead of a ciao, bella Napoli. We wake up at 3 in the morning, walk to the bus station, catch a bus back to Rome Fiumicino Airport, bus transfer to Rome Ciampino Airport then a Ryanair flight to Lisbon followed by a quick metro ride and then a FlixBus trip to Coimbra where our neighbour who is a taxi driver, comes to pick us up. Then suddenly we're home again, it's great to be back!!! Well it's been a hell of a ride and we ended the trip how we started - in Italy - it just seemed a fitting way to round it all off. So.... after 5 months, 11 countries and countless amazing adventures, we’re back home.

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Posted by Pauluiza 08:51 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Sri Lanka - 2024

Sigiriya, Nilaveli & Unawatuna (Unawatuna Beach, Dalawella, Turtle Beach & Jungle Beach), back 20 years later for some unfinished business (to climb a very high rock and some R&R on the beach)

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We catch the A4 bus (50 baht) all the way to the airport and then our 8.20pm Air Asia flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. We arrive at midnight having booked a taxi to take us all the way to the town of Sigiriya, a two and a half hour long drive for 50 euros. Are we becoming the kind of people who arrive at the airport looking for a driver holding a sign with their names on it? Hardly, but it definitely happens from time to time, a lot in this country and never our choice, believe us… The taxi we booked and paid for online is not there yet but the guy holding the sign with our names seems to be in control, apparently. A car arrives, we get in and after a lot of talking in Sinhalese (the national language), we have to get out as it’s the wrong one. Another one arrives and it’s finally the right one and after two and a half hours we arrive at our guesthouse, the couple wakes up to welcome us very nicely and the room is basic but nice and bright. There's a tiny frog in the toilet, we’ll need to discuss boundaries… We sleep falling into a deep coma as its 4.30 in the morning and we need to wake up at 7. Breakfast is a very local fare with hoppers with eggs, hoppers with butter & jam, dry pancakes, coffee and fresh fruit.

We were last in Sri Lanka over 20 years ago for our 10th wedding anniversary, when we were serenaded by a local band of “Mariachi” singing Elvis characters... Now we are back for some unfinished business, to climb up to Sigiriya and to visit the East Coast that was off limits last time due to the civil war. After breakfast the guesthouse owner takes us to the Sigiriya Archaeological Site in his personal Tuk Tuk for free. The entry ticket price is pretty high, around 33 euros per person and you can pay by card. We climb Sigiriya, not too easy but not as hard as people say, the views are amazing and we recommend you do it as early in the day as possible as it gets very hot and humid mid-morning. Sigiriya is the most important archaeological site in Sri Lanka and one of the most important in Asia. The history behind it is that in the late 5th century, a Sinhalese prince killed his father and usurped his brother’s throne. Fearing reprisals, he built Sigiriya, a fortress on top of a mountain. His brother eventually returned from self/exile in India, defeating him and Sigiriya lost its brief status as a capital. The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king's death. The site was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mission accomplished, we take another taxi to the seaside village of Nilaveli, (40 euros for 3 hours), on the east coast of Sri Lanka. At this point I have to clarify that long distance comfortable, convenient and reliable transport in this country is not readily available at the moment, hence the frequent, long and exorbitant taxi rides. We check in at our nice and comfortable guesthouse and go out for a way below-average lunch. Most of the restaurants are closed and the general feeling is a bit depressing, nothing like a normal seaside village gearing up for the high season. We feel like the east coast is not quite ready for tourism as yet and still has a long way to go. We go for a walk on the beach and it’s nothing like the pics, next morning another walk in search of that elusive low tide beauty and there’s no improvement, so after another very mediocre lunch of watery chicken curry and rice, we begin preparing our escape to the other side of the country. We decide to go back to Unawatuna, the beach place we liked the most on the south coast the last time we were here. We cancel the extra days at the guesthouse and our other booking at Pasikudah beach further down the east coast and book a taxi to take us back to Colombo, another 90 euros for 6 hours, yes, I know, it’s hard to believe. Whatever basic infrastructure there was here 20 years ago, seems to have fallen behind and to get from A to B has become a very expensive exercise. We’re thick skinned and used to using public transport but here it’s just unreliable or non-existent and seriously uncomfortable for medium to long term trips. We leave at 5.30 in the morning and arrive at the Colombo train station at 10.30. We buy 1st class AC train tickets as we heard it’s quite hot and full in 2nd and 3rd class with lots of people travelling standing up for a 2-3 hour ride.

Our train leaves at 14.40 and we arrive in Unuwatuna just before 6pm. We check in and the owner is very nice but obviously that fridge, TV and kettle advertised as included are mysteriously missing from the room, from all the rooms. We understand things have been hard in this country after the tsunami and even worse for the last 4 to 5 years, and people are trying to survive but sometimes it gets kind of tiresome. Anyway, sometimes you just need to learn to let go and pick your battles… so we go out for food and realise the town is buzzing with tourists, mostly Russian tourists and other Russians and Ukrainians who became residents escaping the war. There’s a lot of resentment and some racial tension between the tourist majority and the locals but there’s also some kind of an unspoken agreement that somehow makes things work. There are restaurants and cafes and it feels like the place is getting ready for the upcoming high season. We go to Jungle Beach, Turtle Beach, Dalawella Beach and of course, Unawatuna beach, just to be reminded why we came all this way, the beaches. The beaches are just incredible, crystal blue water fringed with coconut trees and the ocean temperature is just perfection. That great or even decent meal is still eluding us but we don’t give up easily and will keep on trying. Another important thing to keep in mind is that cigarettes (10 euros per packet) and alcohol (3 to 4 euros for a local beer) are extremely expensive here, so bring your own supply from the duty free airport you’re flying in from (not on arrival in Sri Lanka). The cost of food is also very high, both in restaurants and supermarkets, I Have no idea how the local families cope, it is a wild guess but I think they really don’t. We take a day trip on a bus to revisit nearby Galle with it’s lovely fort, still a nice and pleasant place to visit even on a boiling hot and humid morning. Our time in Sri Lanka is coming to an end and we’re still trying to understand what happened to the food in this country, our best meal was definitely a chicken burger and fish & chips at a heritage hotel nearby, and you know how much we love our Asian food, go figure. After visiting Sigiryia and spending 11 days on the most perfect tropical beaches working hard on our tan, it’s time so say ciao to Sri Lanka or maybe this time it’s goodbye.

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Posted by Pauluiza 09:22 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Thailand - Bangkok - 2024

Bangkok, Thailand. Sawasdee, the Farang (foreigners) are back in town and they're hungry!!!

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Disclaimer, this chapter is about food and almost only food, we are here for 11 days to eat our way through this incredible city, if you’re not that much into Thai food or not even curious about the best cuisine in the world, we suggest you skip to the next chapter

The train arrives in Bangkok at 6.50am, we then catch the metro to a station near the Royal Palace and then another tuk tuk to the New Siam 3 Guesthouse. We have stayed here a few times and we know the deal. We can only check in at 12pm, so we go out for breakfast and reacquaint ourselves with this city that we love so much and know so well. We walk around my favourite capital city and we realise that we can navigate Bangkok much better than Rio, Niteroi, Perth or even Coimbra, after all it’s our 14th time in this city, all of them jam-packed with eating and sightseeing. This time there’s no need for sightseeing as we’re here for 11 days just for the food and the vibe. Of course we immediately go back to the Hong Kong Noodles Restaurant, one of our favourites and then have an evening Pad Thai & Pad Kra-Pow meal in Khao San Rd. After 3 days we have to move to the Erawan House guesthouse as our place is full. Erawan is also an old favourite as we’ve stayed there many times, it needs an upgrade but for old times sake we enjoy our stay. It’s been boiling hot here as usual, 35 degrees, 39 real feel but nothing can keep us away from Thai food, move over Vietnam as there’s a new kid on the block, Thai food is back as our number one favourite, followed closely by Vietnamese.

We visit the shopping centre precinct just to be reminded how fabulous the shopping experience is in this city, and I’m not a shopper. There’s something for everybody, from high end to craft to cheap stuff, fakes, souvenirs, you name it, Bangkok is where you shop. We interrupt our food pilgrimage for a visit to one of the best open markets in Asia. Chatuchak Market is on Saturdays & Sundays all day and should not be missed even if you’re not buying anything. If you’re around Khao San Road, you can catch the number 3 bus and it will take you all the way there. To return, use the pedestrian crossing and wait for the same bus on the other side of the road, easy. There’s also plenty of great food available at the market, don’t miss it, seriously. On the way home we go back to the Michelin Guide Krua Apsorn Restaurant as nothing should get in the way of me and the best crab omelette on the planet, you can obviously try other dishes but the crab omelette is a must. We also go to the Michelin Guide Polo Fried Chicken Restaurant for the best ever, you guessed it, fried chicken with crispy garlic, also highly recommended together with their som tam (green papaya salad).

We once again move hotels for the last 6 nights, to the New Siam II, busy, nice mid-range place with a pool and a perfect location as they give us a great deal as walk-ins. Next day back at the Hong Kong Noodle Restaurant we have more fantastic dim sum, including the best deep fried tofu skin stuffed with crabmeat ever, and we’ve had a few in our lifetime. Another day, another perfect lunch, this time at Yada Kitchen in Khao San Road, Pad Prik Gaeng (stir fried pork in red curry paste & steamed rice) and Pad See-Ew pork (thick rice noodles with pork), both for just 60 baht each, absolutely amazing, an unbelievable little place. And of course along the way we stop for BBQ pork buns & siu mai skewers from the lady with the big steamers just outside the supermarket on Phra Arthit Road, open from 9am to 5pm. Again, one might think we’re focusing too much on food and one might be absolutely bloody right, we were here 5 years ago for another food adventure and apparently 10 days wasn’t enough, so we’re back for another 11 days of food bliss.

Another day, another quest for fabulous food, this time, Mr Joe, a little joint also in the Michelin Guide serving crispy fried pork belly and some dim sum on the side, spectacular. We then go to Tuang Dim Sum, a Bangkok institution and have one of our best dim sum experiences ever, giving our Hong Kong fabulous dim sum lunches a run for their money, we strongly recommend you give it a shot, the 15 bus will take you almost there and back.

Our days in Bangkok are flying by, so much to eat, so little time, so, after another fabulous Thai Massage (Nancy Massage & Beauty, 300 baht for 1 hour, highly recommended, mean it), we are faced with a new dilemma, A. Do we continue exploring new eateries or B. Do we go back to the places we trust and love? I know, tough one but we choose B and go happily revisiting our favourite places on this trip. Anyway, time flies and after 11 absolutely jam-packed days and a deeper dive into Thai cuisine, kicking and screaming, it’s time to say ciao Bangkok, thanks for the food, fun and small acts of kindness. Bangkok is not only my favourite capital city in the world but also the only capital city in the world that gets better every time you visit, without losing its soul, we will be back for sure.

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Posted by Pauluiza 12:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Thailand - North - Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - 2024

Fabulous northern food & colourful temples

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We catch a taxi to the airport and after a 2 hour Air Asia flight we arrive in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Another short tuk tuk ride and we arrive at the Mantra House Guesthouse. Of course we feel right back at home in Thailand as it is our 14th visit to this great country. We walk around quickly reacquainting ourselves with this beautiful, pleasant and very food-oriented city. We revisit the gorgeous Wats (Buddhist temples) to admire their unique and stylish architecture, go for a run along the ruins of the ancient city walls, visit the incredible markets and food markets and of course, sample the delicious cuisine and street food of Northern Thailand. From spicy pork sausages, to spring rolls, to rotisserie chicken, basil pork with rice, masasman curry, panang curry, jasmine rice, som tam (spicy green papaya salad), fried chicken, a wide variety of stir-fried rice and noodles, curries in many different colours (red, green, yellow...), spring rolls, and of course, Phad Thai, the Thai national dish (stir fried noodles with tofu, pork, chicken or prawns). Yes, you could think we are already obsessing about Thai food and you would be so right. Also, it’s been very hot, so we have to get up very early to go for a run and a long walk and retreat to our room straight after lunch as it hits 35 degrees early in the afternoon, but who cares when you get to enjoy this lovely city in the mornings and evenings? The traffic here is very gentle for a city in South East Asia, drivers and motorbikes slow down or even stop for pedestrians. People in general are very gentle and greet you with a big smile and a Sawasdee Ka (Kap for men) when walking on the street. We also have an amazing Thai massage, we try to have one once a week when we are here. Its the best massage technique ever in our humble opinion. They use their hands, knees, elbows and feet to hit you in places you didn’t even remember existed, they push, pull, stretch and punch you and sometimes, literally walk all over you... then you pay them, tip them and say Kap Kunh Kra (Krap for men, thank you), yes, it is that good. A few hours later you will feel sore but your Chi should definitely be realigned, whatever that means... This time we went to Rak Thai Massage and paid 250 bath plus 50 tip each (7.50 euros total) for one hour, highly recommended. We also have to highlight the food of Pakorn’s Kitchen, highly recommended authentic Thai food that won’t blow your budget. The little gentle lady who is the housekeeper at the guest-house takes a shine to us, she’s always smiling and saying Ka, she’s so lovely we give her a fridge magnet from Portugal and of course a nice tip when we leave. Anyway, time to say ciao to lovely Chiang Mai after 4 awesome days, see you again soon.

We wake up early as our taxi is booked for 6am to catch our 7am bus and just over 3 hours later we arrive in Chiang Rai. It’s our first time here and we’ve heard and read so many nice things about this place, time to check it out. We check in at the Baan Siri Guest House, nice, very clean, quiet and very well located. We then go out for a delicious lunch at the Pad Thai Clock Tower, highly recommended. We gave ourselves 2 days here so today we can chill and get to know the city on the first day and go for some serious sightseeing on the second day. We jump on the first local bus and head for the very famous and excessively Instagrammed White Temple. We get there early but its already busy and not with worshippers. Anyway, it’s big, it’s white and it’s blingy. It’s very picturesque if a bit too new and shiny for us but people seem to love it and flashes and selfies are going off left, right and centre. From there we catch the nearest public bus back to town and take a walk to the almost equally famous Blue Temple. It feels a lot more real, not as dazzling but definitely not as touristy. Having said that, of course both temples are amazing and worth a visit, it’s all a matter of taste. Templed out and after another lovely lunch at the Pad Thai Clock Tower, we rest for a bit before we head to the Night Market. The food side of the Night Market is incredible and highly recommended, all sorts of Thai delicious food and lots of deep-fried glistening seafood, not to be missed either. On the way home we try a Thai table BBQ place which is again disappointing, not to worry as I’m sure it’s the only bad meal we’re going to have in this country. The next morning we want to see whatever we missed before we check out and we get to see one of the highlights of our trip here, the incredible Wat Ming Muah (Wat means Temple btw). It’s located just after the Clock Tower and is definitely a sight to behold. We have an early lunch of yet another addictive Basil Pork on Jasmine Rice, pick up our bags and walk to the bus station. We catch the bus back to Chiang Rai as we have a sleeper train ticket. Yes, we know how hard it is to get this tickets and we booked them over a month ago and got the last two tickets available. We allowed plenty of time to get to the train station but of course the bus breaks down along the way (back on the backpacker trail...). They stop every other bus and put one or two people in them as a replacement bus will take another hour to get here. Anyway, in the end they put us on a bus and we make it in time, catching a tuk tuk to the train station. The train is very nice and new, there’s a restaurant car and there are only 4 people per compartment. They make your bed up at 8pm and wake you up to unmake them at around 6am as the train arrives in Bangkok at 6.50am.

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Posted by Pauluiza 10:48 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Vietnam - Central Region - Hoi An, My Son and Da Nang

Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary, the Marble Mountains, Da Nang & crossing the Hai Van Pass. Happy to be back on the beach, but we are here to eat

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Once again we use Booking.com to organise a taxi pick up and it works very well, sometimes they work out cheaper and you can pay online by card. We wake up at 1.30am as our taxi is booked for 3am, our Viet Jet flight to Da Nang leaves 5.30am and arrives at 6.40. Another taxi ride and at 8am we arrive at the Hoi An Blue River Hotel (11 euros including breakfast and it has a pool, only in Vietnam...). Our room is not ready, so we go for a wander around and quickly get ourselves reacquainted with this atmospheric city, we were here in 2011 and loved it. Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its architecture reflects a wide range of influences, mostly Chinese and Japanese and later European, that have combined to produce this unique world heritage city. We stop for lunch and try some of the local must eats in the region with a few cold beers and fold for the day. On the second day we walk around admiring the pink and yellow houses, temples, pagodas and markets, all lit up with the traditional Hoi An lanterns which are the trademark of this town. We then go for lunch at the absolutely “we couldn't recommend it more if we tried” Bale Well Restaurant. There’s no menu as they only serve a delicious set menu of rice paper rolls to be filled with prawns spring rolls, BBQ pork skewers and Banh Xeo (a vietnamese pancake) served with fresh leaves, herbs and dipping sauces. The waiter will show you how to roll the first one and in which order, no rocket science, really but delicious, check out our photos. We walk around this beautiful city, visit the local markets, the extremely busy but still incredible Night Market, and then do a 15km hike to An Bang Beach. Then we take a walk along the river marvelling at the amazing architecture of the old town under the romantic glow of the colourful traditional lanterns which also glow on the river boats making the evenings here a little extra special.

One afternoon we arrive back at the hotel and there’s blaring Karaoke music from different places outside, it’s truly maddening. After a quick google search we realise its the beginning of Tet, which is the most important celebration in Vietnam, lasting for 7 days and leading up to the Lunar New Year, so, it’s officially party time. I have to say there are so many things I love about this country but karaoke music is definitely NOT one of them.

So next day we hire a scooter to explore both My Son (its pronounced Me Soon) Sanctuary and the Marble Mountains. Mỹ Sơn is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Shaiva Hindu Temples in Central Vietnam, constructed between the 4th and the 14th century. The temples were dedicated to the veneration of Shiva and it’s a very unique Hindu complex in a very Buddhist region of South East Asia, a fascinating archaeological site. Our second stop is the gorgeous Marble Mountains complex (we were here in 2011 way before they built the elevator, yes, you used to have to climb up all the steps....). The Marble Mountains, AKA the Five Elements Mountains (the 5th element is wood in case you were wondering) is a cluster of five marble and limestone hills. All of the mountains have cave entrances and numerous tunnels, and it is possible to climb to the summit of Mount Thủy. Several Buddhist sanctuaries can also be found within the mountains, making this a great destination for both tourists and locals. After another fabulous lunch, we make our way back to the hotel, return the scooter and go for a bit of well deserved R&R. After seven fabulous days and a last memorable evening meal at the Vietnamese Chopsticks Restaurant, try the fried chicken please, its time to say “tạm biệt Hoi An”.

After another smooth taxi ride we arrive at the Golden Rose Hotel (11 euros for an excellent deluxe room, great location near the fabulous My Khe beach) in Da Nang and, of course, instead of paying for an early check-in, we choose to have a few beers on this beautiful beach to celebrate. As I said, it’s a stunning beach destination but we’re seriously more interested in food and chilling as this city is meant to be extremely relaxing as far as Vietnamese cities go. In the morning we find the best Banh Mi of this entire trip and it’s very close to the hotel, it’s also where the owners bake the baguettes, so we have fresh, out of the oven Banh Mi every morning and Paul loves watching the baguettes being made. We decide to try a Korean BBQ restaurant for lunch again just to confirm we really don’t like it. It’s our 4th try, so we consider we gave it a fair go. We paid much more than usual for lunch and I end up with food poisoning from a non Vietnamese restaurant, first time ever in this country, never again, back to tried, trusted and loved Vietnamese food.

We hire a scooter, 6 euros, as Paul want to cross the Hai Van Pass. The Pass is one of the most important ones in Vietnam and a must do for motorbike enthusiasts and over enthusiastic cyclists. We ride across on the scooter and cross the pass with the incredibly beautiful coastal scenery for company. When it gets too misty and visibility is compromised at the highest point, all the scooters stick together behind a big truck, it’s kind of an interesting ballet. Along the way we see beautiful lakes, rivers, Chinese fishnets, and lovely, empty beaches, coves and bays. On the way back we cross the Pass again and it’s still as misty as before, just amazing views. We then make our way to see the massive Lady Buddha statue back in Da Nang before a quick stop for some pho (traditional beef or chicken soup) for lunch. We walk across the Dragon Bridge, visit the Han market and try to find a very famous dim sum restaurant just to find out it’s closed as are so many Viet/Chinese businesses on the lead up to the New Year.

Da Nang is kind of another side of Vietnam, its clean, it has wide avenues, a skyline, lots of famous hotels and the traffic works, there are roundabouts, traffic lights and people stop or slow down for you to cross the road, the chicken has a shot here. Housing seems to be pretty good even when you’re out of the touristy side and the standard of living seems, in general, pretty high. The majority of tourists come from Korea or Japan and the enormous seafood and BBQ restaurants seem to cater to them. The beach is long, the sand white and the water is blue and clear. We learn very quickly that to eat decent local food you need to get out of the touristy beach areas (My An or the other side of the river, behind the Han Market) and were rewarded with brilliant local food as soon as we started doing it. Lunch today was Banh Cuon, rice paper pancakes filled with pork, garlic and mushroom) just delicious. We also visited the Fresco Village, a small hutong style village, with a very impressive urban art open air gallery. Another day, another perfect lunch, we make our way to Thia Go restaurant, Paul has the Ban Bo Hue (traditional beef noodle soup from Hue) and I have a delicious bowl of Ban Thit Xao/Bun bo nam bo (prawn noodle salad). We also share a portion of fresh prawn spring rolls Goi Cuon, everything is absolutely perfect, will definitely go back and highly recommend. Our time in Da Nang and Vietnam is coming to an end after 21 fabulous days filled with fantastic food, so on our last day we end our time here the same way we started it, having a cold beer on the beach, check out our photos and till next time.

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Posted by Pauluiza 09:21 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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