I wanted to share a few of my favourite photos from my recent trip to Vietnam but only managed to whittle them down to 90 which is still way to many for one post, so I’m going to have to divide them up. I have every intention of writing about each of the 3 regions we visited and share more in-depth photos of these places, and need to talk about the food too, but that is going to have to wait for another day. Life is a little busy right now as everyone is racing to finish up for the year so the deadlines are on. I’m hoping to get these up by the middle of December or so.
I prefer to tell stories from a visual perspective so here are the first lot in no particular order. They will all make sense when I put them in context later on. You will see a ton of pictures of markets and people selling and making food on the side of the road. This is something that completely hits you when you visit Vietnam. All available pavement space and side streets are taken up by informal vendors making or selling food. I have never seen such incredible produce in my life. Better then you can find in any retailer in South Africa, in abundance and everywhere.
We spent 3 nights at the Ramada Plaza in Bangkok and loved staying in the quieter neighbourhood right on the eastern bank fo the Chao Praya River. It’s a huge property and a 30-year-old 5 star hotel that is decorated in a very traditional style that is now retro cool. The building is shaped in a U around a huge swimming pool and tropical garden which all looks out over the river.
The hotel offers frequent complimentary boat shuttles to the nearest Skytrain station which is just the coolest way to access the city and literally takes about 12 minutes. The property is located on the legendary Charoenkrung Road which was a great neighbourhood to explore. Check out a few of my pics in this post from one of our evening strolls.
For shopping, the nearby Asiatique night market is a new shopping emporium / lifestyle center with many restaurants, bars and shops. The hotel also offers free tuk-tuk rides to the centre which is really only a 5-minute walk away. We had dinner there on one of the nights and battled to choose which informal restaurant to eat at as everything looked so delicious.
The staff were super friendly and I can highly recommend this hotel for its location and affordability.
Here are my pictures of the hotel and surrounds:
My sister always said if I ever went to Bangkok I’d need a minimum of five days. She was wrong. Five days merely scrapes the surface of this amazingly vibrant city that I have fallen in love with. But five days it was and I packed it in. The pressure was on.
We checked into the elegant Oriental Residence in the heart of the embassy and business district in Bangkok and after a quick shower met a friend of mine who was already in the city on business for a late supper and drink. We hopped onto our first tuk tuk and literally zoomed across town to Soi Rambutri near the famous Kao San Road. I couldn’t believe how easily the beer went down (I don’t really drink it) and proved the perfect beverage in the humidity and with the spicy food. We also encountered our first monsoon and it was like the sky opened up and dumped a wall of water on us. Instant flash floods. This also prevented us from wandering around and checking out the street food stands later. The tuk tuk ride home in the rain was our last. Despite thinking we bargained the driver hard, we soon realized that the tuk tuk is very much a tourist trap and despite how much fun they are, they are way more expensive than a metered cab. Continue Reading →
My favourite restaurant experience on my recent trip to Johannesburg was a lunch at Urbanologi. Located in the trendy 1 Fox street The Sheds precinct and inside the Mad Giant Brewery. Very edgy and very cool. The interior has a retro / industrial feel with murals by graffiti artist Justin Nomad. The furniture and interior designer is by Haldane Martin, the tableware by ceramicist Mervyn Gers, and the organic uniform design by Daniella Kisten. Angelo Scirooco – who won the San Pellegrino Chef of the year in 2015 and who worked under Liam Tomlin at the Chefs Warehouse and Canteen (one of my favourite restaurants in Cape Town), heads up the kitchen and is knocking up some incredible food. I was blown away by the menu, the presentation and the man himself. The menu is likely to change and evolve but I do hope they never take the deep-fried potatoes with seaweed emulsion off the menu because this mayo is life changing. After a little interrogation I’m so going attempt to make something similar because its that wonderful. We ate as much as we could and the steamed buns with truffle creme and toasted potato skin salt (I know right?) along with the crispy dropped black pepper pork belly with a tamarind dressing are dishes that will linger in my memory for a while.
Here is the visual story of the restaurant and the space it’s housed in. Continue Reading →