Last week I came to Phnom Penh and spent two wonderful days with my lovely Cambodian friend Kounila Keo. I first met her from the ASEAN Blogger Festival in Solo Indonesia and we’ve been talking a lot ever since, but we could only meet again just now.
It was not the first time I’ve been to Cambodia. Last year in March I took a package tour to Phnom Penh and Siem Riep. The advantage of taking a package tour is that you have most of the popular tourists’ destinations checked, you don’t have to plan for your trip, and in fact it is also relatively cheaper than going by yourself (seriously!). However, after the package tour experience I told myself “never again”. I don’t like going in big groups, especially when people are loud or slow, and I also prefer having more than 20 minutes at Phnom Penh Central Market (What’s up with the tour guide giving us only 20 minutes in the market?)
The whole group at Dai Yem Waterfalls, 11 km away from the town center of Moc Chau
On the occasion of the long holidays last weekend (2nd of Sep is Vietnam’s Independence Day), my travel group had another exciting motorbike road trip to the mountains. This time the route was quite mild and we also drove our Honda Wave much less than our previous two trips. It was only a total of 500 km (310 miles) in 3 days. And guess you have noticed how large the group was. 13 people! My personal record for the biggest travel group I’ve ever had. Ever! Continue Reading
So after the Blogger Conference in Kuala Lumpur in March, I was lucky enough to get invited to the ASEAN Blogger Festival 2013 last month in Surakarta (often called Solo) in Indonesia.
That was my first time visiting Indonesia and also the first time I heard about an ASEAN blogger community.
Before my departure, Hanoi Grapevine had the initiative of posting the event on our website, with the purpose of sharing my experience at the Kuala Lumpur conference to encourage more young Vietnamese people to blog.
The post might sound quite a serious piece of news, but in fact the conference was much more informal and much more fun than all those guidelines and discussion theme.
A fun batik fashion show performed by ASEAN bloggers
Recently I had the chance to visit Kuala Lumpur again after more than 2 years. It came out all of a sudden when Minh, a blogger friend in HCMC, gave me a call asking: “Do you want to go to a tourism blogger conference in Kuala Lumpur?” – “When?” – “Next week!”. And yes, from the time I heard about the conference until I headed to Kuala Lumpur to attend it was about 4 days, and the conference itself lasted 2 days only. But that 2 days was wonderful!
Sunset on Mekong river in Luang Prabang
Let me start my blog by saying this: I LOVE Laos! I seriously do. This country is such a beautiful and peaceful haven for anyone who dreams of an escape from the bustling Hanoi. The laid-back lifestyle here has earned Laos its nickname “Lao PDR = Lao Please Don’t Rush”. Everything is sooooo slow here. No, I am not complaining. That’s just a fact and the more I discover the country the more I fall in love with it..
Last year, after coming back from Saigon, I actually even planned to move to Laos, I tried to send my CV around but unfortunately my attempts didn’t work out. It was also a shame to admit that I had lived next to Laos for almost 30 years but never been there once, until 2 weeks ago.. Continue Reading
#HanoiTweetUp is a networking event initially organized for twitter users in Hanoi to meet face-to-face with their virtual “friends” and “followers”. However, the concept soon changed into an event for everyone who are interested in social media and want to broaden their network. HanoiTweetUp was originally inspired by this same event in HCMC called #SaigonTweetUp, organized by @Vietnam720.
There have been 4 events of this type in Hanoi:
- The first one in May 2011 and the second one in July 2011 by me @MienHPham
- The third one in October 2011 by @playingwithsid and @philip_arthur (when I was in HCMC)
- And the fourth one in January 2013 by @HanoiGrapevine (my team)
Grapevine would like to say thanks to @potsnpanshanoi for the host, to @ourman for the interesting talk about animal rescue in Asia, and to everyone who turned up.
Here is the list of participants, in no particular order: Continue Reading
My travel group of 6 people, all Vietnamese
After the motorbike road trip in September to Mu Cang Chai and Sapa, our travel group set off again for the new year holidays. This time our trip covered a famous route in the North of Vietnam: Bac Kan – Cao Bang – Lang Son (Cao – Bắc – Lạng). It was almost a border road trip because we drove mostly along the border between Vietnam and China. Roughly 1,000 km (620 miles) in 4 days! And each of us spent less than 1.5 million VND (USD 75) including petrol, food, drink, guest house, etc.
Day 1: Hanoi – Bac Kan, 230 km (143 miles)
We had an unlucky first day. It was drizzling the whole morning so the road was super dirty. However, we were totally aware that dirt was a certain part of a motorbike road trip so we didn’t bother too much.
We left Hanoi around 8am and arrived in Bac Kan in the afternoon. The destination was Ba Be Lake (Hồ Ba Bể), the biggest lake in Vietnam.
You can take a canoe to go around the lake and explore the small islands. The whole package will take 5 hours. We didn’t have time since it got dark very quickly in winter, thus, we cut the canoeing time real short to only 1.5 hour.