Taipei Restaurants and Hotel

Restaurants

Taipei presented eating challenges to us as English was not as commonly understood as in other cities. And it didn’t help that many of the maps we were given did not include English names. Still, we persevered by getting recommendations from our hotel for restaurants, as well as counting how many streets we [Read more ...]

Re-exploring Hong Kong

Hong Kong has always been about the future. Although the island had been used for farming and fishing for millennia, its real history didn’t even begin until 1841, when the British secured rights to the island from China in return for lifting a shipping blockade Britain imposed after China initiated the Opium Wars (in an [Read more ...]

Taipei Taiwan

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a new city with an ancient history. Although occupied by farmers as early as 1709, the area, due to its riverside location, slowly evolved into trading town. In 1875 it became the center of a new Chinese prefecture. Growth accelerated after 1895 when the Japanese temporarily took control of [Read more ...]

Perfume Pagoda, A Day Trip Outside of Hanoi, Vietnam

Day Trip to Perfume Pagoda

The Perfume Pagoda, named for the smell of the flowers that bloom in the spring, was built by a powerful lord in the 17th century. This temple, which is built in a cave high atop a mountain is one of the most sacred places in the country for Vietnamese Buddhists. [Read more ...]

Eating and Sleeping In Hanoi Vietnam

Hidden Hanoi Cooking Class

As we love Vietnamese food (especially The Slanted Door in San Francisco) we decided to take yet another cooking class…this time in Vietnam. This three-hour course, provided  by Hidden Hanoi, the same company that we used to tour around Hanoi,  had four of us cooking four different dishes for lunch. Fresh [Read more ...]

Hanoi’s Highlights and Sights

There is so much more to see and do in Hanoi in addition to touring the Old Quarter and French Quarter. Among our most interesting experiences were:

Surviving Hanoi’s Motorbike Culture. One of the first things you will notice is the city is dominated by motorbikes, which are much less expensive and can zip though [Read more ...]

Hanoi Vietnam: History, Old Quarter, French Quarter

We loved Hanoi, Vietnam on our first visit there about ten years ago: the charm of the crowded and hectic Old Quarter, the broad tree-lined buildings and grand French colonial buildings of the French Quarter, the tranquil park oasis around Hoan Koem Lake and the history, especially that surrounding Ho Chi Minh and the American [Read more ...]

Cat Ba Island in Beautiful Halong Bay Vietnam

Part of our 3 day/2 night adventure to Halong Bay, Vietnam included a side trip to Cat Ba Island, Vietnam—the largest island in Halong Bay. After an overnight on our boat in Halong Bay,  we were transferred to another boat for a beautiful hour and a half cruise to this island. Once landed, we went [Read more ...]

The Still Beautiful Halong Bay

One of our favorite places in the world is Halong Bay, Vietnam. Majestic limestone karst formations, of all imaginable shapes, shooting out of the water and into the sky. A cruise around the bay yields an ever-changing panorama of 1,969 different islands. Every angle yields new surprises. And even the same scene looks very different [Read more ...]

Luang Prabang

Although we weren’t particularly excited by Vientiane Laos, we were more intrigued by Luang Prabang. This  town has been a major Southeast Asian spiritual and cultural center since the 14th century and then, from the 16th through 1975 (when the Communists took over), a royal capital. It effectively fell under French colonial control from the [Read more ...]