Thoughts on Northern Vietnam

It was a fantastic ten days in Vietnam; I should be more precise North Vietnam. From what I’ve heard, the South is different. The northern part has different landscapes such as mountain and rice fields in Mai Chau, plateau and river in Ninh Binh, or limestone karts in Halong Bay. Visiting Northern Vietnam will satisfy all tourists – from the adventurous to the organizer travelling travel agencies.

The people are very relax and calm. As a solo traveller, people were very friendly and always happy to help me; several times I was just sitting on the Hoan Kiem Lake quay, and will randomly have small chats with locals. I also find them very stylish, for example, because of pollution they often wear a mask when on motorbikes. Outside of Hanoi, people use the ugly green medical-like mask, in Hanoi folks design their pollution mask matching it with the jacket they are wearing.

Food is fantastic, although I have been disappointed by the Pho. By disappointed I mean, I though they would all be fine, but some were below ok. Regardless, I had several dishes, springs rolls, egg rolls, salty peanuts, some veggies dish as well, and of course RICE! You’ll have plenty of it!!

My few cents on tourism, It is well developed in Vietnam, not as much as Thailand though. But I strongly recommend, especially when traveling solo or within a group of adults to do all your trips/activities by your own. Try as less as possible to book with travel agencies, they often impose they schedule, and you may feel like you’re not really on vacations. I remember meeting a group of tourist mentioning they went to Halong Bay with a travel agency, and the agency only let them swim for twenty min, by the way, they were coming from Denmark.

In any case, Vietnam should be in your list of countries to visit; you won’t be disappointed. The country has it all to make your stay memorable.

Bon Voyage!

Thailand and Thai people

Thailand is a nice country to visit, being the second economy in South East Asia after Singapore; it is quite developed compared to the region, and tourism is already well implemented. Thai people are genuinely nice and welcoming. The only thing I regret is they usually don’t speak English, so I found it quite hard to communicate with them. If I compare with Cambodia, which is poorer, people there speak English, I remember I could even joke with Cambodians kids.

When visiting Thailand, plan it for several days or weeks if possible, (it will probably depend on where you coming from). The country is large and although I’ve seen a bit of it there are many parts of the country I have miss. I can think of the Southern part known for its beaches or the North with places like Chang Mai where you can do a lot of outdoor activities among other things.

My last comment is about the food; it is good, better than good, exquisite.

They have it all, rice, noodles, meat, fish, spices, sauces, vegetables, fruits…you name it. I cannot remember a particular dish I like but generally speaking a foodie in Thailand will not be disappointed.

Cambodia and Cambodians

My thoughts on Cambodia and Cambodians…

Cambodia is a great country to visit; I highly recommend it to anyone visiting South East Asia. Despite the poverty, people are nice, friendly, and welcoming. I also think they are genuinely honest – of course you will sometimes bargain, but it is not comparable to other countries in South East Asia.

If you visit Cambodia, try to do it all, cities, villages, beach (I didn’t). Travel using buses, taxi, tuk-tuk, and boats if you can, and while exploring the country, try the Khmer cuisine. If you are an adventurer, and you meet the right tuk-tuk driver, you will even get to try real exotic food such as dog meat and local rice wine (2nd and 3rd picture).

Kampuchea as the locals call their country is an amazing place with plenty to do for all tastes.


It is a safe bet if you are looking for a trip with adventure, History, architecture, food, or just looking for an inspirational trip.

First Impressions – Part II

Hello again, I hope you enjoyed Part I of my first impressions — Following this topic, a third point I heard a lot and interesting enough to mention is how Singaporeans are actually proud of the cleanness, greenness of their city-state.

Raffles Terrace

I mean sure, it’s quite clean (as there are a bunch of cleaners, maids, etc.) but then gums sale is forbidden in the country, littering will give you a considerable fine, and there are others interesting laws as well (but not as interesting or funny as the one in the US I must admit). So yes, I think the city is clean but it comes with a price.

This is a funny picture I found online illustrating the ban.

This is a funny picture I found online illustrating the ban.

As far as greenness is concerned, Singapore is heavily urbanized, but there are still a lot of green area mostly with parks, natural reserves, and golf courses! Singaporeans enjoy it and despite the heat, you will often see people walking around with their kids in parks, or simply walk along different rivers. It’s actually nice and Singaporeans really like it, it’s a bit different to their rival brother Hong Kong, which it’s often criticized for its extensive urbanization, non green area, and constant pollution.

Lastly, they are proud of the overall safety of Singapore. I mean, I agree although people sometimes stare at me, I still feel very much safe here. But then, I think about all these laws, especially how using drugs will lead you to death penalty here! It makes you think twice before using herb. I also heard stories about the Police force here, apparently they don’t joke man (even more so if you’re a foreigner). At least that’s what I heard…

Don't even think about it here.

Don’t even think about it here!

On the other side, locals and expatriates (mostly with children) value that security. For them, it means kids can go home from school without worrying, it also means you can take out your latest smartphone on a bus or subway without any issue, or just walk back home safe from a nightclub at 3am.

MRT (Singapore underground name)

MRT (Singapore underground name)

So yeah, to sump up Singaporeans like their country, they like the way it’s perceived in Asia and in the world. They like (or not so much anymore) the fact that foreigners want to come here to work, and use the city as a hub to travel around Asia.

I think it’s good to like your country as opposed to not to. I grew up in a place where putting the country flag on a window was not really common, and can easily be perceived as nationalist, hence Not coOl!! Not the case here, and if you are planning on coming here, you, just as me, will just have to get used to that “extra” love of the country.

For those of you still skeptical about that huge pride they have, below are some pics and a video of landmarks the country built to improve the condition of living of the Singaporeans (with some foreign help of course)!!


Singapore skyline but with iPhone quality…

Next time let’s talk fOOd!