Enchanting streets of Hanoi

Vietnam is beautiful. The people are so kind, so welcoming to these strangers wandering – like lost children attempting to find their parents – searching around street corners anticipating the next couple of yards of mesmerising chaos. The car and bike horns are deafening as I dance inbetween the cars to squeeze through the chaotic traffic. The path ahead of me is constantly clouded with the charming gift of the unfamiliar.

Shops, like the streets, are crowded with items – exciting tourists’ vision with an array of colours and patterns. Unable to walk past, I am drawn into each shop to sift happily through the many items; hippy pants, patchwork fleeces, bags, bowls laden with engravings and intricate detail, the list goes on…

Day one in Hanoi, Vietnam and already I confess my love for this country. It has an enchanting charm I can’t quite put my finger on…and in the next thirty days I have no doubt I will be overwhelmed by its elegance and beauty numerous more times.

 

Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

Be weird. Be wonderful.:)

Advertisements

Koh Tao Tranquility

Koh Tao…the smallest island on the east coast and one of my favourite places in Thailand. Unlike Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, it has yet to adhere to the chaotic drunkenness and overwhelming touristy vibe. With its clear waters, blue skies, and endless activities to pass the time, combined with its chilled out vibe, Koh Tao truly is a paradise. Although the island is renown for its diving opportunities, if diving isn’t your thing, it still has much to offer. Whether your days on the island are passed by snorkelling, cooking classes, yoga or simply nestled in a hammock by the beach watching the sun set, Koh Tao does not disappoint.

image

After spending our first week on Mae Haad beach doing some diving with Crystal Dive, we found a cosy bungalow just metres from the beach on Tanote Bay which is situated on the other side of the island. Tanote Bay is a popular destination for a day trip with travellers, boasting awesome snorkelling and cliff jumping opportunities. Here, we found our own little sheltered paradise away from the travellers swarming, like bees to honey, to the bars and restaurants of Sairee beach. After our first night at Tanote Bay, we awoke to our beach hut trembling against the force of a fierce wind and looking out of our window, we saw the crashing waves inch closer and closer to our bungalow. An awesome Thai family invited us in for breakfast and shelter from the storm, assuring us it was perfectly normal and would pass in a few days.

While venturing through the jungle surrounding Tanote Bay, we stumbled across a Reggae Bar. In amongst the jungle and overlooking the ocean below, Jah Bar is donned with hammocks, floor cushions, Bob Marley paintings and quirky handmade decorations. This combined with some chilled reggae music and we had found our own little jungle haven. The woman Gah, who owns the bar with her husband, is an all round awesome human being; having built the reggae bar, she now makes the cocktails, cooks the food and runs a tattoo hut out back where she does bamboo tattoos. We were taken aback by their kindness – constantly offering us fruit and desserts from their family meal. I felt completely at home there as I lay back in the hammock, overlooking the beauty of Koh Tao and being surrounded by such kind hearted and welcoming people. If you venture to Tanote Bay, I urge you to seek out Jah Bar…I promise you will not be disappointed!

image.jpeg

It is with a happy heart that I leave Koh Tao as I know I will definitely be back – every time offers yet more adventures and more fond memories. But for now goodbye Thailand…hello Vietnam!

 

Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

Be weird. Be wonderful.:)