Posts in 2019
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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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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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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