Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reunification Palace


Reunification was once ironically known as Independence Palace and was home to Southern Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem and his family. Diem, often a brutal and unfair leader, worked closely with the U.S. during his Presidency and the American War. In 1975, Northern Vietnamese troops stormed the building during the fall of Saigon and claimed it (and the city) as their own. Since that time, the building hasn't changed much. In fact, it seems as if nothing has been touched or moved out of place since 1975. A trip here is like traveling back to a time when thick carpeting, brocaded drapes, and gold and green color schemes were all the rage.

Shooting range in the basement.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life By the Sea

Having spent a lot of time on the beach growing up, I've developed a love for places by the sea. Luckily for me, Southeast Asia has a lot to offer when it comes to sandy shores and beautiful water. Vietnam is no exception.

I had the pleasure of exploring various parts of Vietnam's vast shoreline during my visit to the country. I sailed on a junk boat through Halong Bay, went snorkeling in the waters surrounding Cham Island, drove along the shores of Danang and had the pleasure of spending time in Mui Ne and it's incredible Sand Dunes. I skipped Nha Trang for my hatred of big partying groups of tourists.

 Mui Ne is Vietnam's unofficial water sports capital and up-and-coming beach destination. The sand here is clean and the water is warm. Strong winds come in off the sea, which makes Mui Ne perfect for wind and kite surfing. We didn't have time to kite surf so we lounged on the beach, ate seafood and had an effing blast on an ATV in Mui Ne's otherworldly sand dunes.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beach Discovery

I hate to say it, but nice beaches are hard to come by in Hong Kong. The city's dense population and disregard for the environment means most of Hong Kong's beaches are overcrowded and super polluted. These dirty beaches are great for socializing and catching a tan but if you really want to have a quality beach day (which in my opinion means peaceful relaxation and lots of swimming) you have to travel far from Central. 

Yesterday Justin and I made the journey to Sai Kung to find a nice beach. We left Central early in the morning and arrived in Sai Kung center an hour later. From there we took the number 94 bus to the edge of Sai Kung Country Park and walked the rest of the way to the beach. We arrived at Long Ke Wan after 2 hours of walking along the paved MacLehose Trail Stage 1 (we took a taxi home along the same trail we walked, which was very fast and only cost about HK$100). Long Ke Wan is a beautiful beach with clean water, big waves and no crowd. It was lovely and well worth the trip.

Walking there.

A shady area with grill pits and space to pitch a tent!

Clean sand and clear, inviting water!

Friday, June 1, 2012


A cool, dry climate, stunning views and delicious produce define Dalat. The French colonists built it and used the city as a summer retreat from Vietnam's hot and humid weather during the 20th century. 

We spent our time here walking around, checking out the old french architecture and eating incredibly fresh and delicious produce. The mangoes and avocados in Dalat are some of the best I've ever had. The fresh air and mountainous terrain make Dalat a prime location for hiking and enjoying the great outdoors. Sadly, we didn't have enough time to do so. 

We stayed at Dreams Hotel, a must for anyone who visits Dalat. The location is perfect, the rooms and bathrooms are clean and comfortable, the staff is very friendly and the breakfast is outstanding.



Coffee Makers