Asia

Visiting the beach paradise of Hoi An, Vietnam with some delicious local seafood

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While I was in Vietnam, one of the coolest places I had the chance to visit was a small beach town known as Hoi An. It is home to some of the prettiest beaches I have seen in Vietnam and was only 20-30 kilometers away from the nearby city of Da Nang, where I was staying. In Vietnam, tourists are allowed to ride motor scooters around so for around $5 a day, I had a pretty nice little ride! Seeing these beaches as uncrowded as they were in a summer month like August still astonishes me to this day! Why don’t more people go here?!

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An awesome, uncrowded beach in Hoi An.
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A beautiful rice field on the way to Hoi An

When I got there I pulled up to the first beach I saw and saw there were a lot of tables sitting there vacant with red plastic chairs in the sand. I sat down and ordered a tasty Coke since it was too early to drink. The weather was damn hot and humid though, so I decided on going for a swim! I rented a locker and stored away my valuables and went for a swim and man, the water was perfect.

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After a few hours on this beautiful beach, the sun started to set and I went to a nearby restaurant across the street from the beach for a seafood dinner.

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The first dish was a mango salad with shrimp and pork. (Goi xoai tom thit) for $2.69 USD (60,000 dong) It was tasty, but I found the pork mixed with the seafood was a bit odd. Also the mango wasn’t really sweet, it was a more firm and bitter slice of mango. The shrimp was also a bit small. What do you expect for such a cheap price anyway? The peanuts complimented the dish overall nicely though. The second dish was fortunately much better.

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My last dish was some sauteed squid with chili & lemongrass (Muc xao sa ot) for just around $4 USD. This was much better, and the whole dish was covered in a very nice but not overpowering sweet sauce. The squid tasted very fresh, and the lemongrass added a wonderful citrus kick to the dish overall. I enjoyed it all with a cold beer. Check out the video at the top for the video footage, and I’ll see you next time! I have to ask, what do you think about Vietnam?  Have you been? Would you return? Let me know because I want to know why more people don’t go here.

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Hanging around at Da Nang beach in Vietnam

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As  my trip to Vietnam would soon come to an end, I still had my last day in Da Nang.I also had my motorbike for the day so I hopped on it and rode a short 5km from my hostel, to Da Nang’s main beach.

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On the way to the beach, I crossed a pretty cool looking bridge

When I got to the beach I was amazed once again. The beaches of Vietnam are totally uncrowded, in prime summer vacationing time. I absolutely can not figure out why. I know some people don’t like Vietnam for certain reasons, but I can’t see why this place isn’t more popular.

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The empty beaches of Da Nang

I saw all these nifty lounge chairs covered with an umbrella so I felt obligated to lie down in one. Before long, I was greeted by a server who informed me that if I wanted to use that hotel’s lounge chairs I had to pay a fee. He asked me how much, he said 100,000 dong (Which is around 5 dollars). I was like, ah, well, sure why not! In any other country the fee would be much higher. I know that in a beach in Dongbei, China for example, it’s around 30 dollars for a chair rental. I also took advantage of the server and had him bring me a beer for around 2 dollars. What a steal.

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The beaches are like straight out of a movie

The view was incredible of the ocean and the peninsula. In fact, I was even able to catch the massive Lady Buddha statue on top of the peninsula from the beach. You can see me explore that area on motorbike on my video you can find on the blog page: Vicarious Vietnam: Riding motorbikes around Da Nang and exploring the peninsula

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I laid on my beach chair and contemplated to myself. Why can’t I move to Vietnam? At that time my mobility was pretty available and even though there are good jobs in Vietnam, and I’m sure a great bit of opportunity for someone like myself, I decided to stay in China, since I’ve got a lot of good stuff cookin’ in Guangdong. However, I do intend to return to Vietnam, you can say that for sure! Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel and like and subscribe if you enjoy the content!

Cruising down the Li River in Guilin, China

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I have been posting about Guilin for the last few weeks, and the main reason we came to Guilin in the first place was to take a boat ride down the famous Lijiang River. When we were at Yao Mountain the previous day (Check out this blog post: Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride) we met this interesting tour guide named Claude who, surprisingly, spoke pretty decent English. We had already purchased Li River boat ride tickets on a large 100 person vessel – but Claude told us for about half the price he could get us our own individual raft without a million tourists in our faces every time there is a photo opportunity. So, reluctantly we said yes! Here is the video I made of our journey below, but don’t forget to read on for some unforgettable pictures!

The next morning, we ate some Burger King  (Because there was literally no good breakfast in the area…) and took the one hour bus ride to Caoping, which is where the boats were docked.

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The small village of Caoping

Once we got to Caoping, I bought 5 or 6 Liquan river beers (The only beer that they seem to sell in this region of China…) and we hopped on our vessel and began our beautiful journey.

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This was our boat (With the red roof)

As the boat took off and we sailed down the river, I was beyond amazed. This had to be one of the most peaceful awesome rides of my life. While sipping beers and getting a nice buzz going was also cool, the unique curves of these mountains and the green tinge of the river were absolute eye candy.

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The water was a beautiful green tinge (Actually the water seemed quite clean, too)

We even saw a fair share of wildlife in the river. We saw plenty of ducks, and we also saw some water buffalo! We tried to approach the water buffalo on land too, but they were very hesitant and of course walked away very fast.

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Ducks swimming around looking all cute
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We also saw a water buffalo and her baby

As we continued our trek down, we saw a number of memorable peaks and mountains. We also saw a very famous cave as well, that was clearly famous due to the number of tourists outside it.

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A very mysterious ancient cave, lined with modern stairs to the side.

Of course during that boat ride I was busy filming the whole time and I produced a great YouTube video for this day, which can be seen at the top of this page. Don’t forget to check out  my YouTube channel, and make sure to like and subscribe if you enjoyed the content!

 

Exploring the famous Elephant Trunk Hill and Seven Star Park in Guilin, Guangxi, China

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Last week I posted about our Yao Mountain cable car ride in Guilin (You can see it here: Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride) and this is the remainder of that day. After finishing up at Yao Mountain, our tour guide took us for a motorcycle ride around the most famous sights in Guilin. It was quite the spectacle! Check out the video down below and keep reading for more pics!

As we arrived at the park, it was about a 15 minute walk before our tour guide took us to a secret spot where we could get the best pictures of the famous Elephant Trunk Hill which lies on the Li River.

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The Li River, with the Elephant Trunk Hill on the opposite side.

So we finally got to the Elephant Trunk Hill, and it surely is an amazing form of nature. The rock juts down like a gigantic elephant’s trunk with a searing gap in the middle.

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After taking a million pictures there, our tour guide us further down the river where we could see all the locals actually SWIMMING in the Li River. I was a little surprised to see this, because China’s rivers are notorious for being very polluted and dirty. After looking closely at the water, it seemed relatively clean and clear, but still, I wouldn’t trust it.

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Locals swimming in the Li River

Soon after the sun was beginning to set, so we got on the motorbike with our guide and went to the most famous local park, known as Seven Star Park. Here we were able to see probably the coolest rock I’ve ever seen, known as Camel Hill. I even got to kiss the camel!

Make sure to check out my YouTube channel and to like/subscribe if you enjoy the content! Next week stay tuned for our exciting journey down the Li River!

Eating Guilin Noodles in Guilin, Guangxi,China

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While I was in Guilin, I of course had the opportunity to sample the famous Guilin mifen (桂林米粉) also known as the famous Guilin Noodles. These are rice noodles covered in a sweet gravy broth with a number of different ingredients not limited to ox bone broth and mangosteen in addition to many others. (The recipes vary greatly by restaurant) On top of the noodles green scallions, pickled cabbage and green beans and radishes are usually added on top. There is also a bit of meat in there, usually pork or dog.

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The condiments which you can add on top of your noodles.

One of the first things I did when I came to Guilin was look for the noodles so I could make that obligatory Guilin noodle video, which is what I did. The noodles were only 4 rmb for the bowl, which is about ~$.60! After covering with all the additional condiments, the noodles look quite pretty and very colorful.

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The flavor is immense in these noodles. The peanuts are nice and crunchy and fried and mixes very well with the soft noodles. I love scallions in just about everything, but the pickled radishes and green beans were also tasty! The pork was super fried and had the consistency of something like pork rinds back home, but only the crispiness on the outside, meatiness on the inside. I think the bamboo shoots were probably the best condiment, though. Here’s one more look at them, don’t forget to check out the video I posted about these videos on my YouTube channel above!

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Those delicious Guilin Noodles!

 

 

Looking for monkeys in Da Nang, Vietnam

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I got to Vietnam about 5 days ago and arrived in Hanoi. The entire trip so far has been awesome. Of course I don’t have my pc with me so I haven’t been able to edit my weekly videos but I have more videos from China scheduled to upload which I will post when they do – don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for my latest travel videos. I will have plenty of videos from Vietnam coming once I get home and edit the hours of footage I have! This is just a sample of what’s to come!

Today was my first entire day in Da Nang after arriving at the airport last night and I am blown away. Vietnam is beautiful, clean, and incredibly cheap. I rented a motorbike for 140,000 dong (around $7, their currency really needs to be rounded down) and drove around the peninsula just outside of the city. I was advised by a couple of travelers to go here to see a few local monuments, some amazing views and possibly even some monkeys. 

I rode to the nearby peninsula and saw the legendary Lady Buddha statue, the premiere attraction in Da Nang.

I absolutely love this country. Freedom seems to be a big thing here, and I was amazed how quick I was rented a motorbike with no license. I’m even told by some locals that drunk driving isn’t even illegal in the country. Regardless I’d never do something silly like that. While driving past the Lady Buddha I encountered one of the most amazing viewpoints I’d ever seen. 

The views were endless serene and beautiful

My German traveler friend recommended I follow the road all the way to when the mountain starts to take back the road – meaning where the bushes start to overgrow the path – to look for monkeys. I, in fact did see a number of monkeys but didn’t get my camera out in time unfortunately. I caught a few seconds of one on video, but it’s awfully blocked by bushes. Perhaps I’ll have another opportunity before I leave Vietnam in about 9 more days.

I don’t have a whole lot more to share except for a few pictures but I felt it would be good to update the blog. Rest assured, plenty of great travel logs of Vietnam are on the way. I still have a lot of videos from Guilin I need to get out as well, the work never stops! 

One of the coolest places I’ve ever been to

Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride

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On day 2 of my trip to Guilin I woke up very early in the morning around 5:30 AM. Maggie was taking the sleeper train into town from Shenzhen so I had to go to Guilinbei Railway Station to meet her and bring her back to the hostel. I caught a couple nice looking views from the cab on my way there.

After meeting Maggie, I brought her back to the Li River around 6:30 to catch the sunrise. It was breathtaking. We were also surprised to see a ton of fishermen there trying to catch some fish from the river. In Chinese I asked them if they had caught a lot of fish. They looked at me very annoyed as if I was making too much noise and said no.

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The fishermen were annoyed as we asked them if they had caught any fish.

We headed back to the hotel, had a shower and some breakfast, and then we were off to explore Guilin! We planned to go to Yao Mountain on this day, and that’s what we did. However first I had to buy a pair of pants because the mosquitos in Guilin are terrible – I got 15 mosquito bites on my first day in shorts. The remainder of the trip was spent in jeans. (Which I buy in the video) After that, we took a bus ride to Yao Mountain and found that you actually had to walk quite far from the bus to reach the mountain. Regardless, we found it and the cable car ride was AMAZING.

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The cable cars were like ski lifts, and honestly seemed kind of dangerous

So the cable car costs 65 RMB ($9.79 USD) to go up one way, and 110 RMB for both up and down ($16.57 USD) per person. It was well worth it though. Hiking to the top of that mountain, despite how much I love hiking, in that heat would be miserable. Plus, the views you get from the cable car and the nice breeze is unforgettable!

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Another unforgettable mountain view. Nature is beautiful.

Going up the cable car was even a bit scary for me, but poor Maggie had an absolute meltdown. In fact I plan to do another video on just how funny I thought her freaking out was. She was truly terrified on that cable car ride.

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Really awesome picture of a random tree branch sticking up and Guilin in the bg.

As the ride came to an end, we even caught a picture of a beautiful butterfly that landed on our cable car. Make sure to check out  my YouTube channel and check out the video of this day at the top. Let me know what you think in the comments! See you next time! I am off to Vietnam tomorrow so expect tons of good video logs and blog postings from there as well! I will be there for two weeks, and I still have videos scheduled to post to my YouTube channel while I’m gone, and I will see what I can do as far as updating the blog goes.