Ancient sites

By on Monday, February 12, 2018 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

Negombo overnighter

By on Sunday, February 11, 2018 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

I had no desire to explore Colombo so we opted for an overnight stay in a suburb of Negombo, near the airport, and moved straight on to Dambulla the next morning. Surprisingly, we had the best breakfast of our trip at the small guesthouse here, enjoyed alongside the picturesque canal with a backdrop of Sunday hymns wafting across from a church on the other side. The hotel was in a suburb and not in central Negombo, which was my expectation when booking. We only had a brief look around and the beach wasn’t up to much It wasn’t somewhere I’d choose to spend more than a night or two – if the hotel had a pool. Although I hear that there are a few sightstuk tuk to the market and St Mary’s Church and maybe a boat trip on the lagoon. Where we stayed Serendip Village Guest House had a very large room and a warm welcome very late at night! The room was a bit noisy thanks to a neighbourhood dog but this was made up for with the delicious breakfast in a wonderful setting by the river. What I’d do differently Get there earlier! Some time by the pool, an evening out nearby and a good night’s sleep would have been a good idea after a 19 hour journey....

Notes on Sri Lanka

By on Friday, February 9, 2018 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

Over the Tet holidays in 2018, we spent two amazing weeks in Sri Lanka. For months before, I scoured online resources looking for hints and tips on destinations, activities, food, costs, and everything in between. Of course, there is a wealth of information out there, some of it more useful and reader-friendly than others, but there were still surprises and things I might have done differently had I known what I know now. So these posts are intended as a practical guide with a bit of a story thrown in. It’s a repository for my memories and photos but also, hopefully, of use to anyone else considering a trip.    

A weekend in Hoi An

By on Monday, April 20, 2015 in Hanoi | 0 comments

Last March I spontaneously escaped Hanoi’s grotty weather and flew down to Hoi An for a long weekend. Alone. This year I planned a bit further in advance and booked a flight as soon as we returned from our Tet trip to Cambodia. The weather in March this year wasn’t quite as bad but the break was still welcome: Paul had been laid up in bed for weeks with a knee injury and we’d had a stressful office move, so I was ready for a bit of R&R and me time. The place I stayed in last year has apparently gone downhill — as Caroline put it, “Coconut is effin awful now – loads of gap yar retards with Honda Wins doing the buffalo trail and whining about the price of a chip.” — but fortunately there was another cheap beach option: a small complex of four new bungalows at the southern end of An Bang beach for just US$20 a night. The room was basic but good for the price, and only a few minutes walk from the beach. It was quite a trek from the main action on An Bang beach though, so a bicycle came in handy. I spent some time each day sunbathing with a good book on the beach but also managed to fit in a nose around some potential wedding venues and guest accommodation and a 1/2 day street food tour, comprising 19 different dishes. I have listed them below for prosperity. I ate well all weekend of course, thanks to recommendations including the fish carpaccio at Soul Kitchen and a lovely French dinner at Sea Shells. I ate (and drank): Bún nạm (Noodle soup with beef muscle) Cháo dinh dưỡng Bánh cuốn Cháo vịt (Duck congee) Mì cao lầu Bánh Bèo (Rice cake with shrimp paste) Ốc hút (Sucking snail ) Bánh kẹp trứng (Vietnamese pizza) Nem Chua (Fermented pork paste) Bánh kẹp (Coconut rice paper with shallot, beef and chilli) Bánh bông hồng trắng (White Rose) Che bap (Sweetcorn sweet soup) Bánh căn or Bánh khọt (Fried rice pan cake) Bún thịt nướng (Grilled pork with noodles) Cơm gà (Chicken Rice) Bánh đậu xanh nhân thịt (Green bean biscuit) Trứng vịt lộn (Duck fetus egg) Banh mì Phượng (The Hội an Burger) Caphe sua da Sài gòn (Coffee with condensed...

Tet in Cambodia

By on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 in Outside Hanoi | 0 comments