where to find the best vegetarian food in Hanoi, Vietnam: veggie restaurants + what to order

Vegetarians and vegans won’t go hungry in Hanoi thanks to the city being filled with damn good, affordable food. Like the many other destinations I’ve had the privilege of visiting in Vietnam, the food in Hanoi is overwhelming good. While the food is delicious, the veggie restaurant scene isn’t as booming in Hanoi as it is in Hoi An. That’s why I’ve put together a list of my favourite veggie food spots for those visiting Hanoi looking for the right place to grab a meal— to make it easy for ya!

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hidden views of Ha Long Bay: a guide to hiking Bai Tho Mountain

Like many Instagram hotspots, the final product photo from Bai Tho tells a story far from the reality of getting your ass up the mountain. It’s quite a straight forward hike, but it’s also closed to the public, making it a sneaky thing to do as well as a bit dangerous.

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a responsible luxury Ha Long Bay visit with La Regina Cruise and YESD Vietnam

Ha Long Bay is not only one of the most naturally beautiful places I’ve been, and I’m obviously not the only one who feels that way, since approximately 7 million tourists visit per year. Adding to the destinations appeal, it’s been named one of the New 7 World Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’ve wanted to visit Ha Long Bay with its limestone karsts and teal waters for since my first visit to Asia. Luckily for me, YESD Vietnam invited me on a Ha Long Bay cruise to make my dream come true and mark another item off my ever-growing bucket list.

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Instagram realities: the stories behind 5 of my most liked + most asked about photos on Instagram

Instagram is not reality. It’s a highly curated social media platform with heavy emphasis on branding and aesthetic. We all know this to be true but, for whatever reason, there is still so much pressure for everyone to get the perfect picture. I think Instagram becomes fully dangerous when we compare our every day lives to the highlight reels of others. My Instagram guides are some of my most read blogs, and I love putting them together. But, and it is a large but, I don’t ever want people thinking it’s all easy breezy and that bad things never happening and that life is all glamour all the time.

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10 reasons to add Malaysia to your bucket list

Not sure if Malaysia is worth a visit? I promise, you want it on your bucket list. It’s well, well, well worth a visit. Malaysia was a surprise to me the first time I visited. Wow-ed by their breakfasts, dazzled by the detailed architecture, but thrown off by all the staring, Malaysia had me puzzled from my very first visit. Now, after multiple returns to the beautiful country, I can truly say I am a lover of all the country offers its guests. If you’re on the fence about whether to make the trip to Malaysia or not, I’ve got a list of reasons to book your plane ticket today!

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homestay highlight: Vanvisa At The Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos

As a total surprise to me {and I can count the number of times I’ve actually been surprised on two hands}, I was told only to pack an overnight bag and swimwear, I was at an absolute loss for what to expect. Whisked away on the back of a motorbike, I was more and more confused as we got further and further south. Surely, we were heading to the waterfalls? But…there’s no place to stay the night at the waterfalls? I WAS CONFUSED. We pulled up near the gate of Kuang Si and took a turn down a dirt alleyway. Pulling up to an area filled with open seating and pools of teal water I’d never seen before, Luke jumped off the bike and said, “We’re here.” And that’s how our time at the hidden hotel I’d never heard of in all my time in Laos started— the Vanvisa At The Falls Homestay Resort.

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Mekong Kingdoms Sunset Cruise: the sunset cruise in Luang Prabang you cannot miss

Right before the daylight dips behind the jungle-covered mountains of Luang Prabang, tourists sit on the banks of the Mekong to witness the end of the day that was. Basking in the golden light of the low-hanging sun, Luang Prabang steps fully into its best self. It’s because of this, its “unspeakable beauty” as the late Anthony Bourdain put it, that sunset cruises along the Mekong River has become a “must-do” for most travelers visiting this tiny UNESCO town.

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November in New Zealand: a photo diary from my most recent trip 'home'

I’m currently going through the archives of New Zealand posts, re-vamping guide to Auckland, Wellington, and a road trip through the South Island {as well as re-vamping Myanmar posts and South America posts, per your Instagram requests}, and it’s given me such a warm heart to see how this blog space has changed, grown, and improved. But, it’s also reaffirmed for me that I will never not want there to be some personal touches on this space. So, I’ve created this little photo diary from my most recent North Island return.

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Tamarind Cooking School in Luang Prabang, Laos: what to expect from the community-minded cooking class

Long-time readers of this blog will know, ya girl is a fan of cooking classes. I think there are so many benefits to learning about the cuisine of a culture. So, when I was asked to check out Tamarind cooking school to see what they’re evening classes offer guests in Luang Prabang, I was over the moon.

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an expat's guide to non-Lao food in Luang Prabang

I’m all for eating the local cuisine. For one thing, it’s delicious and a door to deeper cultural understanding. Finally, it’s much cheaper! Where you might pay USD $5 for falafel pita here, you’ll pay USD $1.66 for a heaping plate of yellow noodles with veggies and chilis. However, when you live or stay anywhere long enough you need a little variety. This post promises to provide a comprehensive list of eateries where you can get your non-Lao food fix!

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should you visit Pak Ou Caves: what to expect + why I was underwhelmed

Pak Ou Caves are one of Luang Prabang’s most famous tourist attractions. Limestone caves sitting alongside the Mekong as a place of pilgrimage for over a thousand years sounds like magic, amirite?

But, I simply wasn’t as dazzled as everyone else.

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renting a motorbike in Laos: questions to ask + things to consider

Wind in your hair. Dust on your face. Sun at your back. Freedom as far as the road extends. That’s the beauty of a motorbike. Renting one is popular with tourists, but there are many things they should consider before they hop on two wheels for a joy ride through a beautiful country like Laos.

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Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park: where to catch free aerial views of KL in nature

I love exploring new cities. That being said, what I miss most when I’m hitting the pavement of a cosmopolitan locale is nature. Ya girl like her greenery! So, when I found out via Travel Dream Seekers Instagram account that there was a park where you could get aerial views of Kuala Lumpur with a dose of Mother Nature, I was more than a little eager to visit!

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a day trip from Prague to Kutná Hora + the Bone Church: what to do, where to eat, + is it worth a visit?

Kutná Hora is a city located in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic that is frequented by tourists. Despite the number of people who trek out to the UNESCO town, it’s quiet and easy to see everything in half a day if you’re ambitious {a little longer if you move slower}. With delicious bistros and interesting churches, Kutná Hora is a town just a 1-hour train trip outside of Prague.

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an alternative Instagram guide to London: where most people go for pics + where to head instead

There are staple Instagram spots in every destination; stunning landmarks, cafés with perfected interiors, and signature street art. But, I’ll be the first to admit, it means there is a lot of “sameness” on the internet. Today, I’m sharing some alternative spots in London for photos that are less crowded, less visited, and less Instagram-famous.

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Prague from every angle: where to find fantastic views of Prague, Czech Republic

Given Prague’s compact layout, fantastic public transportation system, and Bohemian-meets-Gothic architecture, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground in only a few days and stumble upon fantastic views of the Czech capital. During my 4-day return to Prague, I got to see the city from a variety of angles. Here are my favourites, and some alternatives {just in case}!

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a café guide to Prague, Czech Republic: the best hidden cafés + where to find them

Prague is quickly catching the attention of happy café-hoppers looking for the right ambience and a delicious cup of drip. I was out amongst the architecture of the city and its cobblestone streets for 12 hours almost every day I was in Prague, only escaping the cold for brief interludes in hidden cafés I would stumble upon. The best places are always the ones that are harder to find, away from main roads, or hidden in plain sight— these cafés are no exception!

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2018: a year of upheaval + falling back in love {with life}

If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be celebrating a new year in England and that I was starting to make my living as a writer, I would have told you to get lost. If you would have told me this time last year that I’d be going to New Zealand twice in 2018, I probably would have thought it a cruel joke. If you’d have told me future Tara would spend 2018 revisiting favourite countries, getting compensated hotel stays and tours, working with brands I love, and that I’d be writing at a British-owned and Chinese-based publication, I’d have told you to get the hell out.

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the case for slow travel: 7 perks of traveling slower + longer

Since many people are planning their travels for the new year, and because I have a lot of slower, elongated travels booked for 2019 myself, I thought I’d explain my reasoning for my travel-style preference. This post is for all of us, myself included, to remember that slow travel is full of benefits!

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