travel

Eating Kao leng mian (A Chinese enchilada?) near The Great Wall in Dandong, China

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China is full of completely different types of cuisine, so when I was in Dongbei (Northeast China) I made sure to try as much as the local cuisine as I could. Here in Guangdong, the food just doesn’t match up to the rich and flavorful foods of Dongbei. In the city of Dandong, near the Great Wall I was able to sample some kao leng mian, 烤冷面 which is basically a rice noodle that very much reminds me of a Mexican enchilada.

For only 6 RMB ($.87) you can get a plate of this stuff and it is quite delicious! I watched as they cooked it on an open grill, added egg and other toppings.

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We watched as they prepared this delicious street snack on an open grill.

Upon tasting kao leng mian, it really did taste like an enchilada! The first big noodle they use looks so much like a corn tortilla, and tastes very similar too. I was sure it was made of corn until asking, and found out that it is actually rice. Maybe it’s my mind playing tricks on me, but I swear it tasted just like an enchilada, although no meat. Have a look at the picture below and see if you don’t think it’s an enchilada!

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All it really needed was some melted cheese and you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference! Check out the video at the top if you are interested in how they make this interesting dish. I’ll be returning to Dongbei soon, and I can’t wait to try out this kao leng mian once again!

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!

Vicarious Vietnam: Riding motorbikes around Da Nang and exploring the peninsula

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It has been a long time since my last post – my apologies for getting off track, but I’m back! Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel Ian’s Journeys where all my traveling/cooking/China videos can be found!

 Da Nang, Vietnam is an amazing city. The cost of living is incredibly low, the air is sweet, the beaches are beautiful, and the area is downright tropical! I started my day off by renting a motorbike from the hostel I was staying at, and it was 100,000 dong/day, which is around 5 US dollars. What a steal! Filling it up is even cheaper, 1-2 dollars.

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The motorbike I rented was surprisingly fast, and easily surpassed 110km/hour

I started off by riding around town a bit. I also found Da Nang bay and did a quick ride around. However I soon wanted to go and take a look at the peninsula that everyone was talking about where I could see the Lady Buddha, and possibly even some monkeys.

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After seeing the eye candy that is Da Nang bay, it was time to move on toward the peninsula. The ride was scenic, and very relaxing, except my helmet kept being blown off by the wind, no matter how hard I strapped it on!

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Riding to the peninsula
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Once you arrive at the peninsula everything turns an incredibly lush green and the ambience is overwhelming, like a rain forest!

Eventually I made it to the area where the statue of the Lady Buddha is located. It was an incredible sight. The statue must have been hundreds of feet tall, and I had never seen anything like it before. There were also a number of buddhist shrines there and I captured the moment (In the video at the top, you can see) when I saw a number of people chanting. It was very serene, relaxing, and made me forget about the hustle and bustle of life back home for just a moment.

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A beautiful buddhist shrine with chanting religious fanatics. Don’t forget to remove your shoes!

Eventually when I reached the end of the peninsula, I came to a beaten path off the main road where I was told I could find monkeys. Did I find any? Check the video at the top to find out! See you next time!

Having a few at the beer drinking street in Hanoi and eating Bun Cha

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When I’m on on vacation, I drink beer. I just do, as do most of us, moreso than I do when I’m not on vacation. So when I was in Hanoi, I was like, why not do it where everyone else does it? That is at the Beer Drinking Street, which is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

Basically, on this stretch of restaurants and bars, during the weekends, they set up hundreds of little stools outside of all the establishments. People are encouraged to come, sit on the stools, and drink a few cold ones. While I was there, I was crying to myself “Why don’t they have this in China?!?! ;-(

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We walked our way down through the Old Quarter.

I met up with a couple friends whom I had recently met in Hanoi, my friends Ri and Hynek. Super cool dudes! We had some bun cha for dinner which is a pork dish with noodles, and we also had some egg rolls and beers. It was absolutely delicious to say the least and it really only cost a few dollars including the beer!

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Vietnamese food is delicious to say the least!

We went down to the beer drinking street soon after dinner together and poured out a few. It was a good time for sure. As the night started to really fire up around 9-10 PM the crowds started to get insane!

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At one point it was hard to walk anywhere without bumping into anyone.

The atmosphere and vibe of the drinking street is super laid back and super cool. The nightlife in Hanoi is super affordable as well, so it didn’t break the bank at all. A standard beer in Hanoi even at bars can be had for as little as 20,000-100,000 dong (Between 1-4 dollars) and food is also very cheap. I ordered some nachos for 120,000 dong ($5.41 USD) if I remember correctly. We hit up a bar later that night and finished the night off with a little hooka session, which I hadn’t done in years.

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Hynek hitting up the hooka like a boss

Overall, the beer drinking street is one of the coolest nightlife spots I have ever been in my entire life, and in my opinion, the coolest during my time in Hanoi. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are looking for new cooking videos/traveling videos every week! See you next time!

Hanging out at Hong Kong International and my arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam

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It was finally time for my next trip. Living in Asia affords you the luxury of seeing a lot of countries for bargain prices. Because I live in China, I do not have to pay thousands of dollars in airfare every time I want to visit a country in Asia. Such is the truth about living anywhere, you can travel anywhere nearby much cheaper than you could if you were farther away. So while in Asia, travel in Asia and my next destination is Vietnam.

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Some traffic in Hong Kong on the way to to the airport.

I got my roundtrip flight for a beautiful $222.00, what a steal. Anyway, it was time for a new journey and I was growing restless in China. I had just done some great traveling in Guilin, China in the previous weeks but it was time to get out of the country. It was time to see a new culture. I exited Shenzhen through the Louhu border crossing, took Hong Kong’s MTR down one stop and caught the A43p but from Sheung Shui to the Hong Kong Airport.

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The Hong Kong bay view from the bus

When I arrived at the airport, it was nothing new. I have flown in and out of HKG many times before, and every time I leave China it’s the airport I use. When I got there, I arrived a few hours before my flight so I got through security and enjoyed some Popeye’s Fried Chicken. This is one of the western comforts that I have yet to see in mainland China. I seldom eat this kind of crap, but when I do, it’s delicious.

The flight to Hanoi was very short, only about 2 hours. I love easy, 2 hour flights. They never get old. It’s like your in and out, and boom you’re in another country! Upon arrival at Hanoi Noi Boi Airport, I hopped in a cab and headed to my hostel.

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In the cab from the airport, on the way to the Old Quarter.

My hostel was located near the Old Quarter, and after checking in I decided I wanted to have a few beers and check out the night market nearby to get a selfie stick. It was lively, and there were people everywhere! I had some delicious coconut milk for about 50 cents US per cup. I also bought a selfie stick for a few dollars.

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A lively night market in the Old Quarter.

After leaving the night market, I was pretty tired from traveling all day. However when I got back to the hostel I met so many cool fellow travelers, I stayed up until about 1 am drinking with them. It was a good time! You can see all of this in this week’s episode, which is at the top of this page. Give it a look! Don’t forget to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel and let me know what you think! See you next week!

Visiting the 20 RMB mountains of Xingping, China and eating beer fish

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Having just recently finished my trip to Guangxi, China one of my favorite places that I visited was the small fishing village of Xingping. Xingping is famous for being home to the mountains which are famously sported on China’s 20 RMB yuan note.

We got to Xingping by bus, from the town of Yangshuo (Visited in Paying a visit to the very lame town of Yangshuo, China, one of my recent blog posts) and there was not much to see. A small, quiet village with plenty of people looking to make a few extra kuai off the foreign tourists.

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Xingping is a quiet little village.

Upon our arrival, I had to pay 2 RMB to use one of the most disgusting toilets I had ever encountered in my entire life. We quickly took a risk and hopped into one of China’s famous three wheeled carriages (Which I also mention in my last post, and is just small motorbike welded to a carriage frame) which slammed up and down and gave me possible brain hemorrhaging the entire ride.

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The calm Li River as we made our way towards the mountains.

As we got closer to the mountains of Xingping, we passed the Li River which looked very calm in its splendor. A beautiful river, no doubt. We finally arrived at the mountains, and it was worth the long bus ride from Yangshuo!

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The glorious 20 RMB mountains.

When we arrived, there were of course plenty of people taking pictures, which we did as well. I was also filming for my travel blogging show (Which is on YouTube, of course) but to be honest, we didn’t stay all that long. Once we had our pictures, it was so hot out, we were pretty much set to go.

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The 20 yuan note, partially lined up with the mountains. I should have taken a few more pictures where it was lined up better <_>

After seeing the mountains, we wanted to have some lunch so we went to a local restaurant in Xingping. We ordered some pijiu yu (啤酒魚), which is literally translated as “beer fish” it’s one of this region of China’s local delicacies so I was happy to dig in.

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Delicious beer fish!!

The beer fish was, most definitely, DELICIOUS. If you are curious about how it tastes or what it’s like, be sure to check out my newest episode of my show, Ian’s Journeys, in the YouTube box at the top of this page! See you next week! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Paying a visit to the very lame town of Yangshuo, China

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After leaving the Li River that day (Check out my post Cruising down the Li River in Guilin, China) we hopped into a three wheeled motorbike and headed to a place called Yangdi, a small village on the Li River where we could catch a ride to the town of Yangshuo, one of China’s most renowned towns for backpackers and travelers alike.

The three wheeled motorbikes just amaze me. It’s such a ghetto piece of garbage, but somehow it makes do. They modify an absurdly low quality motorbike by welding a carriage on it, and somehow it actually works. Although every time the old man shifted into the next gear, you could hear the pleasant sound of metal grinding.

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The mountains and orchards were beautiful, though the ride was bumpy.

Not to mention, the carriage wasn’t exactly well balanced. The thing was slamming up and down the entire ride. Once we got to Yangdi though, we were quick to get off it.

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The small village of Yangdi, a place I will probably never ever see again in my entire life.

Yangdi was a pleasant little locale, though we didn’t stay very long but the time we waited for the bus. In fact, we didn’t stay more than 5 minutes because the bus was already there. It was beautiful though to see the crazy looking Guilin mountains in the background everywhere.

After a long bus ride that was the better portion of 2 hours long, we arrived in the town of Yangshuo. We were tired as hell from traveling all day, so we promptly found our hostel. We stayed at the Yangshuo Culture House, which we found to be less than appealing. I got a few cans of Liquan River Beer (Because that’s the only damn beer you can find in this particular region of China) and we set out to walk towards New West Street when the sun went down. New West Street is the most popular street with food and bars in Yangshuo.

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Yangshuo’s main road. The dust was terrible

Yangshuo was the exact opposite of what I had pictured. The town pretty much sucks. There’s nothing to do, no good beer, and yeah, the place is just gay pretty much. We decided to take a good walk around New West Street to at least give it a chance.

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The foreign beer shops at New West Street were insanely overpriced.

The only thing I actually liked about Yangshuo was the opposite of what you’d think – not the beautiful scenery or the cultural Chinese aspects of the town – it was the foreigner street. Yes, I found Yangshuo to be hot as hell, dusty as shit, and quite boring. The foreigner street was almost as bad, but it brought some western comforts that we are familiar with, like incredibly overpriced “imported” beer that was probably made in China.

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As much as you might hate it, the mountain formations are beautiful though.

Other than that, we had planned to stay in Yangshuo for a few days – but strike that. We left the very nexr day. Fuck Yangshuo. However, please do continue following my travels! Check out my YouTube channel and don’t forget to check out this episode’s video above!