Experience · Travel · Vietnam

Ninh Binh Trip Diary – Day 1

Woke up early for 10 am flight and realized it was domestic flight from Ho Chi Minh City so I actually didn’t need to go to the airport that early. Arrived at domestic airport at 8am and while waiting for drop-in baggage saw an email from Vietnam Airline saying the flight has been reschedule to 12pm! Okay… So, I waited for my friend and we decided to check-in the baggage first and go somewhere else. My friend wanted to go to shopping mall, but at that time none opened yet.

Since I was hungry, I suggested to go have breakfast. But they’ve eaten already at home so it was just me. At first I wanted to try com tam ba gien. I’ve been wanting to try it but changed it to banh cuon (which I regretted later). The place is very close from airport. We went there by taxi. It only cost us 27k vnd but the airport surcharge is 10k. So total 37k. Only me ordered banh cuon. The place is very local. Their banh cuon was disappointing. I didn’t like it. No minced pork! Only the rice paper with fried onion on top of it. And they charge me 40k for that. I think it was a tourist price…

We went back to airport, which is very near, only 5 mins. The taxi cost 26k vnd but he asked for 10k surcharge as well! Next time if you are stranded in the airport, just stay inside unless you go back to your house/hotel which worth the cost.

We decided to wait inside and just proceed to security check. The queue was very long! Embrace yourself.. enjoy every moment… Once we got through the security, we went to food court to get snack for my friend’s son. I ordered cajun fries in the end. Too tempting. But it was around 10am already. So it was well calculated 😀 I knew we will get lunch on the plane.

By 11.20am we went to the gate and not long after we heard an announcement that our flight will have another delay to 12.30pm due to technical problem. Oh well, already waited for hours, another 30 mins was not a big deal.

Boarding the plane. They served lunch in the air so it was good. Arrived in Hanoi at 2.30pm. My friend have arranged a pick up service by Binh Minh Limousine so we just needed to wait for them. She already told them that we were gonna be late to arrive there and they knew it. She tried to get in touch and it was really hard to get in touch with them. The phone number listed in their website and facebook were not responding. I tried to look for their phone number through other website and called them. It was the same number that my friend tried earlier.

They finally picked up my call on the 3rd tries. It was already late for 1 hr since our arrival time and they asked us to wait another 10 mins. We were told before that an executive van will pick us up directly from airport and take us to our homestay. But when we arrived in Hanoi, they told us they were sending a small car to pick us up from airport and bring us to their center then we will use the limousine van. We didn’t understand why they couldn’t pick us up with the van because we saw many vans on the airport as well. They said vans are not allowed to go into the airport. After so many communication back and forth and still no car, we decided to take taxi to our homestay instead. It was more expensive but we were just too tired of waiting.

They called my friend when we were on the way in taxi. Asked my friend to hand in the phone to driver but she didn’t do it. And they hang up on her! So rude. After that, they called her many times but she didn’t pick it up. Dude, manage your business better if you don’t want to lose customer…

Can you see the goats on the mountain?

It took us 2 hrs to go to our homestay in Ninh Binh, Sierra Homestay. And the taxi cost was 1.6 mil vnd. We paid more than if we used the limo taxi. It would be 300k vnd per person if we used the limo from binh minh company. But anyway we finally arrived in Ninh Binh! Yay.

The people from our homestay are very friendly. We got our rooms and immediately headed out for the chance of taking photo before dusk. I got a few good shots. The man with the water buffalo was very nice. He couldn’t communicate with us but he still tried to get us a scene with his buffalo. He tried to tell us that the buffalo were heading to a certain direction so he asked us to wait there.

Rooftop Sierra Homestay
View from our rooftop
two people and a tree ninh binh people
They can bring anything with a motorbike (and a cart)
Buffalo taking a shower in the river Ninh Binh
Follow my lead, guys!
The buffalo guy ninh binh
Time to go home
people of ninh binh
Nice to meet you, little girl!

We didn’t know where to eat since it was just our first day here and no chance to look around yet. I ordered fried noodle with pork. It was good. But it couldn’t fill me up for long enough. I got hungry again…

Rest for 2nd day~

Night sky line of Ninh Binh Village
Good Night, everyone!
Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Things to do in Da Lat, Vietnam

If you haven’t been to Da Lat, you should. This was my first time in Da Lat as well and I was only staying for 3 days 2 nights. I didn’t do any research before coming here. What I wanted was just to relax and have a good time (plus taking a lot of photos). No plan whatsoever on this visit. I came with my friend and stayed at the hotel outside the city.

We asked the owner of the hotel on what to do in Da Lat, but we also did some googling when we were free. So this list is just a few of many things you can do in Da Lat that we managed to do in our short visit 😅 Plus, it was raining every day so it limited our activities as well.

1. Crazy House (Hằng Nga Guesthouse)

A unique house. A lot of areas to explore and to take photos with. A must do in da lat. Entry fee 50k vnd. It has rooms for rent as well because it is actually a guest house. Their room is unique. The whole area’s design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured design elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. The architect admitted that he was inspired by Antoni Gaudi in building design.

 

2. Da Lat Market (Cho Da Lat)

A big market in the city. Will be nice to visit if not raining and wet, but even tho we had a nice walk inside the market. Good to buy souvenir or snack, Da Lat speciality. A very busy place even though it was raining. Maybe because it was Saturday. Better visit on the weekday. They have a huge variant of winter clothes, shoes, ao dai fabric, snacks, and many more. The street outside the market building also interesting. There are a lot of fruit sellers. I bought strawberry 1 kg, just couldn’t resist it. It was very cheap and sweet kind. There are a lot of mulberry and artichoke sellers, which are the speciality in Da Lat as well.

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3. Da Lat Cathedral

A small Catholic church in the middle of the city. We couldn’t go inside the building, it was not allowed to enter the church. So we just strolled around outside and took some pictures. There is an area with Lady Mary Statue where I can pray or sit there if only it was not raining.

 

4. Datanla Waterfall

Visiting a waterfall is a must-do in Da Lat. There are a lot of waterfalls and we had no idea which one is the best because every one of them has uniqueness. We chose Datanla Waterfall because it was quite nearby from our hotel (although the taxi driver tricked us! She took us the long way). It was very busy in the morning. There were so many buses! Inside the area, they have a lot of activities including a single-person roller coaster, high rope, cable car, and several waterfalls to look at.

Recommended route based on my experience: After entering the gate, go on the walking route (to the left area) until you reach the first waterfall. Enjoy the scenery, take a lot of photos. Next, buy a return ticket for the cable car (or walk down along the path if you feel like hiking). Take the elevator to the lower level and you will reach another waterfall. Again, enjoy the scenery, take a lot of photos. Next, buy a return ticket of alpine ride. Enjoy the ride, it is so much fun! If it’s not too crowded you can ride it alone. Or you can ride it together with a friend (2 persons per car) on one-way and get back in a separate car. There is a camera installed on top of the track on the way back where they will take ur photo while on the ride! Make sure to give a good pose if you plan to buy the photo after the ride. It was only 60k vnd per photo. A good purchase to remember the moment.

Once finished, go back up again with the cable car to the first waterfall, then to go back to the entrance either by walking or riding another alpine ride. This one is a very short route though.

The restaurant on location is not recommended. We were disappointed by their food. Bring snacks to hold the hunger if you don’t want to eat at this place.

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5. Cable Car

There are 2 points for the cable car in Da Lat, you can start from either side. We took the entrance near Truc Lam Pagoda because it’s close from Datanla Waterfall. I must say this is a must-do activity in Da Lat. From cable car, we can see a vast forest on one side and the whole city at the other side. It can be scary when it rain and windy because the cable car swings a bit and the sound of wind can be scary as well. When this happens, just turn on the music on your phone and listen to it while enjoying the view. 1 cable car fit 4 adults, with a maximum weight 300kg in total.

 

6. Da Lat Flower Garden

A must do in Da Lat if you like flowers or take a selfie. Big area full of many different flowers and trees. Very good to relax and enjoy the weather along with the colourful flowers. Can easily spend 1 hr there.

 

BONUS PLACES !

Bicycle Up Cafe

Address : 82 Trương Công Định, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt

This place is hidden in an alley (but not too far from the main street), and has a small space. The interior is very interesting and not too crowded so you can enjoy your drink and relax. I tried their coffee and they are good! Most importantly, it didn’t make my stomach hurt. I like their homemade yoghurt as well. They have many drinks menu but no food menu. Recommended place to take a rest after a long walk.

 

L’angfarm Specialty Shop

The famous souvenir shop in Da Lat. They are everywhere. Just look for a nearby shop and you will find one. Some of them have a coffee shop as well so you can have a drink and relax. What to buy from this shop? Many things! But mostly food or drink. Their strawberry and mulberry extract are famous. My friend bought it to be mixed with soda water. Or you can use for baking as well. I bought dried fruits. I tried their sweet potato as well but it was too sweet for my taste. Don’t forget to get artichoke tea if you like drinking tea, especially flowery tea. Artichoke tea is one of the specialities from Da Lat. I like the mixed chips as well, especially the one with dried bitter melon. They have a bag of only bitter melon, but I didn’t dare to buy lol.

Dried Bitter Melon
Dried Bitter Melon

 

Chu BBQ Restaurant

Address : 38 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt.

We were looking for something different after several days in Da Lat, and we found this place. The numbering system there is quite messy so you just need to walk until you find it. We were so hungry and wanted to try so many dishes, and ended up doing so! We ordered barbeque menu because the special thing about this restaurant is they are using a hot stone to grill the meat. Put all the meat on the hot stone and cook there. Beware of the smoke though! I had to get up to avoid the smoke. So many smokes! Pork Ribs BBQ is my favorite. Fried noodle with veggie is a bit spicy but taste good. Fried tofu.. could’ve used some seasoning on it. Too bland. Another thing that we loved from this restaurant is their chili. It was not too spicy and the taste was so refreshing with sour and salty touch.

 

Last but not least, I wanna share some tips if you plan to go to Da Lat :

  1. bring warm clothes, or bring more layer, especially if you come from tropical country.
  2. rain is normal in da lat, so prepare an umbrella whenever you go out.
  3. staying outside the city is nice too, but you need to find a hotel with good food because there is no nearby restaurant there.
  4. beware of a sneaky taxi driver. If you have mobile data on your phone, better check the route they are taking as well.

That was all that I can share from my trip to Da Lat. Have you been there? If so, which attraction or activity is your favorite? Let me know in the comment 😉

Thank you for reading!

Ciao.

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Experience · Travel

Trip to Thailand (First Destination: Chiang Mai) – Part 1

This trip was actually very exciting because it was not planned! I needed to go somewhere to clear my mind and spend Christmas somewhere other than Saigon. Thailand is picked because I have several friends there (which I never met before, but I knew them for 7 years through an online game, and this was one of the reasons for the excitement).

I have 7 days until New Year, and I wanted to see Chatuchak Market in Bangkok on the weekend so the trip would be Chiang Mai first then Bangkok after. There are several airlines to fly to Chiang Mai, and I chose Nok Air because of the schedule was similar to my friend’s flight schedule. It has transit in Bangkok for 1.5 hours, at Dong Mueang Airport. I heard it’s a smaller airport compared to Suvarnabhumi Airport. And I never heard of Nok Air as well. It is one of the budget airlines from Thailand apparently!

On departure day

I went to Nok Air counter to check in. The staff asked me to show my return ticket back to Saigon. Hmm, this never happened before. Maybe because I only have visa now, no more resident card. I showed her my ticket and she finished the check-in. I also got a sticker along with a boarding pass. She told me to put the sticker on my chest once we arrived in Bangkok so that their staff can recognize me and issue the second boarding pass to Chiang Mai. Interesting. I’ve been in transit flight before but never had a sticker.

Nok Air Sticker

Since I still have quite some time I had breakfast first then when it was almost the time for boarding, I went to my gate. I sat on one of the seats there, and I saw a lady (the one that served me at the counter) was walking toward me and called my name. I was surprised to see here there, and surprised by the fact that she remembered me! She told me that she needs to change my boarding pass due to the seat next to me has a baby. She thought it would be inconvenient for me to sit with a family who has a baby. That is very thoughtful of her! I was amazed by the service.

I sat on aisle row, which was good. Easy to get out if I needed to go to the toilet. There were so many tourist groups in the flight. Mostly Vietnamese people, but there are some foreigners as well. The different thing about this airline compared to other budget airline is they gave us water! It was a small bottle, but still, very thoughtful. I saw the flight attendants also very detail on checking everything before taking off. They worked meticulously. If someone didn’t do something that they’ve been told of, the flight attendant waited until the person did it. It was not just a reminder.

They gave us an arrival card. I didn’t fill it out immediately which was a mistake because I had free time to do it on the plane and it could reduce waiting time when we transit. I will tell you more about this later.

Thai Arrival Card Immigration

Once we landed in Bangkok, I put on the sticker on my chest (as instructed) and tried to find the ground staff. But I saw no one. I kept walking by following the sign to domestic transit. There I found the counter of Nok Air and Air Asia. Yup, just two airlines, and small counter as well. I checked in to Nok Air and they asked about arrival card. I have to fill it up there because the next post is Immigration Passport Control. So I spent a little bit of time filling out the card, showed it to the staff, then she gave me my boarding pass.

Immigration counter was also smaller than usual. Only 3 counters there, and by that time only 1 was operating. After immigration, I had to go to security check where they don’t allow you to bring liquid. I had to throw away my water bottle there but kept the small water bottle from Nok Air.

Nok Air small water bottle complimentary

And voila! I was inside Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok. I heard this airport was smaller than Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is true, but actually, it was not that bad. There are a lot of places to eat, shops, cafes/coffee shops, and even 7-11. All needs are covered enough. So tempted to buy Anello bag but I survived! No shopping until I’m in Bangkok. That’s the plan. Although, technically I was at Bangkok airport…

Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport

I waited for my flight in one of the gates, but then I noticed the announcement for that gate was for another destination! Oh no! I was at the wrong gate! I quickly checked the schedule on screen again and found my correct gate. It was far… at the other side of the airport. Luckily it got delayed, so I still had time to walk and even wait there. Got delayed for 1 hour.

Arriving in Chiang Mai

When I landed at Chiang Mai airport, on the way to baggage claim I saw an airline staff hold a paper with my name on it. I approached her and she told me to follow her. She brought me to somewhere which apparently International Arrival Hall! Other passengers went to Domestic Arrival. Okay, so I flew on the domestic flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but since I came from abroad I had to go to International Arrival. I was confused. My friend who flew from Indonesia at the same time was taking his bag at Domestic Arrival Hall. And I was on the other side of the airport! Anyway, I waited for my suitcase. It was taking so long to get my suitcase. An airport staff announced that there is a suitcase at the other belt. It was mine…

Chiang Mai International Arrival area

After I got my suitcase, the first thing I did was to exchange money from USD to THB. I exchanged it at SCB, seems like they have a good exchange rate compared to the other bank. But so much different though if you don’t exchange many.

The next thing I did was buying a sim card. I did some research before coming to Thailand and found out about this AIS sim card. It has a good internet connection and also a good deal for 7 days. Was 249 baht for 7 days internet, and surprisingly it lasts until now! So it is not like the tourist sim card that is expired after a certain time. My friend also bought local sim card but from a different provider. His was truemove, 299 baht for 8 days.

Thailand Truemove Tourist Sim Card

My friend landed before me with Airasia but he was at Domestic Arrival Hall, so I had to go there to meet him. It was a very easy access from Internal Arrival Hall. Once I got there, we were having a funny moment because I couldn’t find him nor contact him. His phone was out of battery! A friend came to pick us up and I never met him before so I didn’t know how does he look. It was so hard just to meet them even though the hall was not that big… Finally after about 10 minutes, I found both of them!

My friend came with a car so we went to his place easily, but if you don’t have anyone picking up you can always get a taxi to go to your hotel. It took us about 30 minutes to get to his place. He owns a hostel so we were staying there. It is called Box Hostel. Since there were no other customers, I could use the room by myself! Lucky me, because I never stayed in a hostel before and it kind of freaks me out a bit.

Chang Phueak Food Market

After resting for a bit, we walked out to a food market. There is one food market near the hostel, called Chang Phueak market. They have a lot of local food that we wanted! We walked around a bit and decided to order at Pad Thai cart. My friend ordered Pad Thai and I ordered Fried Mussel. We didn’t order drink because we still have leftover water from the trip.

Pad thai was really good. It was different than the pad thai that I ate outside of Thailand. Really recommended trying this. I love my fried mussel more though. It was so yummy and was not fishy (or maybe because I’m not that sensitive to fishy taste…). They were very cheap as well, 50 bath each. After dinner, I wanted to try Mango Sticky Rice. Of course, you have to eat this if you’re visiting Thailand! There were 2 places that sell mango sticky rice on that market, but the one which good was near the dessert cart, at the corner of the street. It was soooo yummy. I didn’t know that mango sticky rice can be more expensive than pad thai! It was 60 baht per portion.

Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Dessert Stall Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Best Mango Sticky Rice Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Best Mango Sticky Rice Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Best Mango Sticky Rice Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

We walked back to the hostel and met my friend’s sister who was about to leave somewhere with their dog. She offered to drop us off at night bazaar. Of course, we took the chance! She drove us there and left us.

The area for night bazaar is really huge! They are selling any kind of stuff. Many stalls were there and very busy area as well. Be aware of pickpocket!

Chiang Mai Night BazaarDream Catcher Chiang Mai Night BazaarChiang Mai Night BazaarChiang Mai Night BazaarChiang Mai Night Bazaar

Most of the stalls here need to bargain, or else you will get a pricey item. You need to bargain at least 30% off. But this place is really nice to buy a souvenir. There are bags, shoes, ceramics, lamps, dolls, Thai seasonings (red curry powder, green curry powder, etc), watches, snacks, paintings, adult t-shirt, children wear, toys, and many more! I can’t mention it all. You can also get a foot massage and fish therapy. I think it is a fun place to visit if you don’t mind crowded place.

I bought some coin pouches for a souvenir. It is a handmade and very cute as well.

Chiang Mai Night BazaarFoot MassageIce Cream RollsAnusarn Market Chiang MaiCoin Pouches Handmade Souvenir Chiang Mai

There was a closed area as well, shops inside the building, but we didn’t see them all. I was tired and it was too crowded for me to continue, so we decided to go back to the hostel. We called Uber, and it costs us around 90 baht.

So far the first day was fine and nothing to worry. We rested for the day.

To be continued to day 2…

Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Nha Trang Trip Diary – Day 1 (Nem Nuong – Long Thanh Gallery – Long Son Pagoda – Sailing Club)

It was my birthday trip and I never been to Nha Trang before. Excited to see how it looks like! We took flight with VietJet in the morning, and was delayed for almost an hour! My husband booked a car from the hotel to make it easier. But actually you can take taxi to the city as well. There are Mailinh and Vinasun in Nha Trang. The trip from the airport to our hotel took about 40 minutes. Yes, it was far!

Arriving in Nha Trang with VietJet
Arriving in Nha Trang with VietJet

We stayed at Alana Beach Hotel because the location is good and their price is reasonable. One of the reasons for their low price is the new construction building next to them which block the view to the sea! From our room, we could see sea about half of the window. Not bad, but would be better without that building though! The most damage made by that new construction is in the bathroom. There is a big window next to bathtub intended for guests to enjoy the sea view while taking a dip. Now it is blocked by the construction, and of course we need to close the curtain. Unless you don’t mind being watched by the workers lol.

Alana Beach Hotel Nha Trang Executive Suit Room

Alana Beach Hotel Nha Trang Executive Suit Room

Construction blocking the view

Happy Birthday To Me!

Flower Bouquet from hotel, picked by my husband

The hotel provided a flower bouquet and a small cake for my birthday! I’m sure it was a request from my husband though for the flowers because the color was red and white. Just like our flag color. My birthday is the same as Indonesian Independence Day. Hence the color of the bouquet. The upsetting part was when I realized that I couldn’t bring the bouquet home 😦

It was past lunch time when we arrived at the hotel. We ate the cake to fill up our tummy before going out to find a place to have lunch. My husband reminded me about nem nuong which I love in Saigon. He said new nuong in Nha Trang is different. More authentic and taste so much better. He found a place called Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, not far from our hotel. About 13 minutes of walking. Off we go to that place!

The place was very empty when we arrived. It was past 1.30am so no wonder no one was eating there. I just want the nem nuong. My husband ordered beef as well. They served the food quite fast. Nem Nuong consists of crispy fried rice paper (which I like so much) and grilled pork. They came with vegetables and dry rice paper. We need to make the roll our self by putting everything we want on the rice paper and rolled it. Can add the sauce as well.

Quan Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa

Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa

Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa

Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa

Beef Dish

Very light color Ice Tea

First bite and I was in heaven! It was so good. The combination of vegetable, pork, crispy rice paper, cucumber and mango were really nice. I loved it! Totally recommended this place for lunch or dinner. They have another branch on the same street just a bit further away.

After lunch, we walked to Sinh Tour which is close by as well. I wanted to ask about private tour with them. When my friend came to Vietnam last time, they went to Mui Ne and they used Sinh Tour’s private tour and it wasn’t expensive, so I wanted to try it in Nha Trang as well. For private tour, the minimum is 4 people. Since there were only 2 of us, the price was too expensive. The guy then offered us to rent a car, which would cost about 700k vnd for 4 – 5 hours. Still a bit too much for us. We also asked about Island Tour. And in the end, we didn’t use their tour service.

I haven’t made any itinerary for this trip, so everything was decided on the spot. For next destination, my husband suggested Long Thanh Photo Gallery. On google map, Long Thanh Gallery is located near Nha Trang Cathedral and Long Son Pagoda. Both about 10 minutes walk from the gallery. So first we go to Long Thanh Photo Gallery by taking a taxi, and it cost us 31k vnd which is not bad.

At the door, there is a sign “Please press the bell”. I pressed the bell and waited until someone showed up to open the door. It was a lady who opened the door. Followed by a guy which is the photographer, Mr. Long Thanh. It is a small gallery but filled with many beautiful photographs. All in black and white style. We strolled around the gallery and found some interesting photo to buy, but the problem is we didn’t know the price.

I started a conversation then with the photographer. He is very friendly and helpful as well. He gave me the price list and explained about his work. All of those photographs were taken with an analog camera in black and white film. So it is different than the one taken with a digital camera in monochrome style (Yes, he is very proud of his work. I would too! if I were him). He developed and printed it himself. He also told me that he likes to collect cameras. There are about 45 cameras that he owns now. That’s a massive number! I asked him why didn’t he exhibit his camera to the customer, like in a museum. He explained that he doesn’t have a proper storage to store his camera downstairs, and it is hard to maintain it. Now he put all camera in his working room inside special boxes that will protect the cameras. Make sense. Truly a photographer who loves his camera.

It is not allowed to take picture in his gallery, so I asked him to take photo with me instead after he packed up my purchases. If you are visiting Nha Trang and love photography, make sure to stop by at this gallery. He gave me discount as well for my purchase! And you can pay with credit card, not necessarily pay in cash. The photos are packed in a sturdy tube (We put it in our luggage and it is still good when we arrived back in Saigon).

With Mr Long Thanh the Photographer

After saying goodbye to Mr. Long Thanh, we continued walking to Long Son Pagoda. It took about 10 minutes of walking to reach it. This pagoda is huge and there is a certain area (the main hall) that you can’t go in if you don’t wear appropriate clothes, but you still be able to explore another area. My purpose here was to see the big Buddha statue! We climbed up the stairs and found something on the left area. Sleeping Buddha statue!! It is so majestic and nicely made. After taking some photos, we continue our journey to the top. Bring a bottle of water with you if you do this. Or you can always buy a drink there. There is small shop which sells drinks and coconut.

From the top area, we could see the city as well. The other part of the city though, that is full of buildings. The Giant Buddha statue reminded me of the one in Lan Tau Island, Hong Kong. But this one slightly smaller. Took some pictures and off going down back to the entrance. After the climbing, I felt very exhausted (getting old??) so we decided to go back to hotel first to rest. At the entrance, we took taxi from another company (not Mailinh nor Vinasun) and already prepared for getting scam with the fare. The trip from Long Son Pagoda to our hotel is about 12 minutes of driving, and it cost 61k vnd. My husband thought this is too much but maybe not really. Need to compare more.

After resting for a while, it was time for dinner. I wanted to eat seafood since we were in beach city. My husband found a place in Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street number 79. In the afternoon we passed by a place in that street that looked interesting. We checked them out to see if it’s the same place. Apparently not. This first place (I forgot the name) has smaller number than 79. And while we were waiting to be served, my husband checked on their review. It was 4.5 out of 10! Time to keep moving.

We walked to the other direction for bigger number, and tried to find number 79. It was a long walk and all we could see was number 75! There are so many building with number 75 (even inside a small street, still have number 75). When finally we arrived at number 79, we were disappointed because the place has changed. It is not a seafood restaurant anymore but selling Vietnamese noodle instead 😦 We also visited a restaurant with 79 on its name just in case, but they also don’t sell seafood.

With hungry stomach and tired legs, we decided to try Lee’s Grill. It has a good review as well. The place is clean and comfy but their menu is very minimal. I couldn’t find any interesting dish to order! (Well there was a spicy Korean noodle with seafood on the menu, for 70k vnd, but nope!!). My husband ordered assorted seafood skewers to share, and a Korean style clam soup. Then we got a portion of salad and garlic bread for free!

Assorted Seafood Skewer @ Lee's Grill

Clam Soup Korean Style @ Lee's grill

Avocado Juice @ lee's Grill

The skewers were pretty good. My favorites were grilled baby octopus and bacon with cherry tomato. Baby Octopus was not hard to chew and it tasted yummy as well. Marinated well. Bacon is bacon. Never wrong.

After dinner, we walked back to hotel but made a stop at T-shirt shop, named Ginkgo. Their t-shirt has a unique design and good material. They are using organic cotton. The price is a bit high though. Average prices are 310k vnd for a man t-shirt and 400k vnd for ladies t-shirt.

Continued our journey to the hotel afterward. Around 9 pm, we went to Sailing Club. It is a famous club in Nha Trang. Entrance fee was 150k vnd and we got a ticket for drink. We had to choose which drink we want, was it beer or a cocktail (vodka mixed with orange juice). I chose cocktail of course for that price!

When the drink came, I just remembered that I don’t like vodka! Silly me. Fortunately, this cocktail was acceptable. The portion also quite big for a cocktail. We also ordered chicken wings because we suddenly felt hungry. It was very yummy! The sauce on the wings were delicious and it tasted like they were using worcestershire sauce. Must try! Then dip it in cheese sace if you fancy. But even without it, already finger-licking good!

Vodka with Orange Juice @Sailing Club

Chicken Wings @ Sailing Club

The Sailing Club that night was full, but not many people were dancing on the floor. Music was cool and updated. MC was trying so hard to ask people to join her dancing. There were some people smoking but I didn’t mind it because it was an open-air. What I hate about pub in Asia is they smoke in the room!

After enjoying the music and atmosphere for a while, we went back to hotel and rest for the day.

Ciao!

 

Experience · Food · Travel

Day 6 (Last day) – Fukuoka (Ichiro Gyoza – Namco Arcade – Bebe No Kimochi – Soba Okonomiyaki)

Last day in Fukuoka! Time for last minute shopping. There were many things I haven’t seen! First thing first, breakfast. I only ate snack in the morning so we needed to find a brunch spot. Our first destination today was Hakata Bus Terminal Building. Why? Because they have Daisho there and I wanted to look for some stuff.

There is a shopping mall too there, including a department store. They have food area in 8th floor but mostly open at 11.00 am. We strolled around the lower floor and found some stuff. Their department store has an affordable price for clothes and shoes. Do not expect to see something very trendy though. For daily wear or casual wear (and some office clothes), it was nice.

Foot prints in front of Hakata Station

By 11.30 am, we went to the 8th floor and I instantly attracted to Gyoza restaurant. Gyoza! Finally I can try it. Not because I never ate gyoza (japanese pork dumpling) before, but because I heard that gyoza also one of specialty from Fukuoka.

I ordered the lunch package, which was rice and gyoza. For the drink, I ordered shocu, and I regretted it after lol. It had similar taste to Korean soju which I don’t like! But the gyozas were really delicious! The proportion of meat and vegetable were nicely done. The place was the only place who sells gyoza so it shouldn’t hard to find on the 8th floor. The name is Ichiro Gyoza.

Ichiro Gyoza Menu

Japanese Shocu

Yaki Gyoza @ Ichiro

Yaki Gyoza bite

We went downstairs after lunch and stopped by at Namco Station. This is what a gamer would like! Or if you are a gachapon lover like me, then it’s a heaven. I saw a gachapon machine with pikachu in it. Need to pay 300 yen to ‘play’ it. I inserted 300 yen and turned the knob. The next thing happened was I received a plastic container with pikachu figurine in it. Gachapon is like a lottery, you can’t choose the item you one. Now this is the exciting moment, which pikachu do I get. I got the cute one! Lucky.

Since we were there already, might as well walk around the place. The whole floor was filled with arcade games and photo box. I took some photos without knowing that it is not allowed. A girl approached me and told me “no photo”. I said sorry and we left the place because we’re done looking around and need to go shopping!!

Pikachu Gachapon Gashapon Japan

Namco Arcade at Hakata Bus Building

Namco Arcade at Hakata Bus Building

On the 5th floor is Daisho. A really huge one!! I’ve never been to Daisho in Japan, only in Vietnam and Indonesia. They sell almost everything! If you haven’t heard about Daisho, it is a one-price shop (which is 100 yen in Japan), but there are a few products with higher price as well now. We bought some stuff including dog treats and toys for my dog 😀

After finishing in Daisho, we didn’t go back to the hotel but off to Tenjin Station instead using city bus on the 2nd floor. We had no idea how to read the direction! It was all in Japanese language. We saw a “Tenjin” on one of the waiting doors, so we queued there. While we were waiting for the bus to come, I checked on google map which city bus to take from Hakata bus station. There were some according to google but none of them passed by. We were at gate 3 when I saw bus number 13 stopped at gate 2! That’s one of our buses, I thought. So I told Pris to walk to gate 2 instead and boarded bus number 13.

Bus Gate in Hakata Bus Station

Arrived in Tenjin area, we walked around Tenjin Chikugai Shopping Area. It is an underground shopping area. There are a lot of interesting stores there. We visited almost every one of them 😀

Next to Tenjin Chikugai is Tenjin Core. We’ve been here before but only for dinner, so this time we’re taking our time to look around the shops. Tenjin Core is one of the famous shopping malls in Tenjin area as well. It is connected to Vivre (another shopping mall) on certain floors.

We didn’t take a long time at Tenjin Core because we started to get hungry. Since we’ve already been in the food court of Tenjin Core, we looked for something else. Next to Tenjin Core is Parco, and it looked like it has a lot of restaurants. Upon arrival, we checked their floor directory. We found a crepe cafe! That’s it! Let’s try that.

Unfortunately, what they called cafe and what we thought of cafe were different! It was not a place to eat, but a small shop. Not selling any food or snacks 😦 We decided to look around on upper floor then. I needed to find something for my husband’s staff and found a cute Daruma wooden doll and a cute onsen towel. It is quite special I think.

daruma doll and onsen towel

After we finished with the shopping, we went to the other side of parco mall, basement floor. On the corner, we found an ice cream stall! I chose mango and yogurt flavor. They are using vending machine as well to order. We can insert money with a maximum of 1000 yen. I used 1000 yen bill then picked the ice cream I want. After done, I clicked on the button below and I got the change and the ticket. I gave the ticket to the girl and she asked if I want the ice cream in a cup or cone. Cone! I’ve never tried ice cream cone in Japan so this is a chance 😀

Their ice creams are using Ito Monogatari Milk. You can see them on display. The ice cream itself is milky and soft. I loved it! Pris ordered the plain vanilla.

Soft Ice Cream Bebe No Kimochi

Bebe No Kimochi Vending Machine

Mango and Yogurt Soft Ice Cream @ Bebe No Kimochi

We walked around a little bit after filling up with ice cream. But it didn’t last long. We had to have dinner before it gets busy. So continue in Parco, we strolled around the basement area and decided to try the okonomiyaki restaurant. They have a soba okonomiyaki which looked very interesting on the picture.

There were only 2 persons working in that restaurant. One lady was taking the order, serving and cleaning up the table. And one guy was cooking the food. We ordered 1 soba okonomiyaki for share. I knew we couldn’t finish it if we ordered one each.

This soba okonomiyaki was sooo yummy! Every bite was delicious. And we made the right decision about ordering only one. After first serving (which was a quarter of it), we had enough already. The taste becoming a bit strong and it was hard to finish it when that happened.

Soba Okonomiyaki

Soba Okonomiyaki

Pikachu on a glass

After dinner, we went back to Hakata Station by subway. We stopped by at Tokyu Hands there. Apparently they have 5 floors for Tokyu Hands! I thought only 1 floor on the first floor. We did final shopping there and heading back to hotel, because we had to start packing our stuff into our suitcase, which was not easy! It was like playing puzzle to put everything to fit in suitcase.

And this concludes our trip to Fukuoka! Thank you for reading and see you in my other adventure!

Ciao.