Category — Asia

{magic kingdom} A Journey Through Bhutan, the Last Himalayan Kingdom

When I received an email saying “Here are your documents for your visit to the Land of the Thunder Dragon” I knew that visiting Bhutan was going to be the trip of a lifetime. And I was right.

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September 30, 2014   3 Comments

{recipe} Cha Ca: Hanoi-Style Catfish with Turmeric and Dill

My last post was all about eating and drinking in the North Vietnamese city of Hanoi. One of the dishes I mentioned was the famous Cha Ca – a catfish dish served in sizzling oil and flavored with turmeric and dill, an odd-sounding combination. It comes with lots of cooked scallions and fresh dill, and is accompanied by roasted peanuts, rice noodles, and fresh leaves of basil, lettuce, cilantro, and mint.

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June 14, 2014   2 Comments

{travelogue} I Went to Hanoi, and All I Did Was Eat and Take Pictures. If That Sounds Good to You, Read This

Hanoi is a fun, vibrant, dirty, smoggy, incredible city that I can’t recommend highly enough. It’s modern and old-fashioned and surprising and busy. It’s Vietnam with a French Instagram filter.

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Just when you can’t take almost being run over by 22 dozen mopeds anymore, you can duck into a soothing courtyard oasis and eat something wonderful. And in hindsight, I spent nearly a week there and basically all I did was eat and take pictures. So if that sounds good to you, keep reading!

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June 12, 2014   No Comments

{travelogue} Street Eats and Spicy Stuff; Crickets and Craft Beer: A Second Time Around in Shanghai

I recently went back to what I think might be my #1 favorite Chinese city: Shanghai. I have met so many Westerners who tell me they don’t like Shanghai, but I think the problem is that it’s like New York or London or any other huge metropolis: it is so big and there are so many things to do that it can be hard to crack past the touristy spots and get into the real Shanghai. But once you figure out what to do and where to go, it is a fantastic cosmopolitan destination that should be on everyone’s short list.

detail of stone carving

This trip, we made a point of discovering great street food, trying restaurants that represent cuisine from different parts of China, and exploring some hidden treasures. Here are my recommendations to help you figure out all of the very best things to do in Shanghai. And be sure to read my previous post for a complementary set of recommendations so you’ll be totally well-versed on all that’s great about this busy city!

January 29, 2014   No Comments

{10 second vacation} Hidden Beaches & Floating Villages of Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam

If you travel to North Vietnam, chances are you will make an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Ha Long Bay. Its calm waters are dotted with unique karst formations, tiny beaches, and floating fishing villages. You can take an overnight boat cruise on a small junk, which is a great way to explore the bay’s wonders. The floating villages were a sight to see. Since we were traveling with a 2-year-old we were doubly impressed with how adeptly some of the young children could swim and steer boats all on their own! 

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January 21, 2014   1 Comment

{10 second vacation} Kamakura, Japan

Kamakura is a small, peaceful beach town about an hour (by train) outside of Tokyo. It was the political capital of Japan for a couple of hundred years, but that ended in 1333; still, the town is rife with beautiful temples and Shinto shrines, some with hundreds or thousands of clay figures used as funerary offerings.

Kamakura is also home to the Great Buddha, which is known as the Daibutsu. It’s the second largest Buddha in Japan and is thought to have been cast in bronze sometime during the mid-1200s.

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May 17, 2013   1 Comment

{travelogue} Eight Fun Things to Do in Bangkok

Last month, I hit up Thailand for a quick trip on the way to and from Bhutan. I had been forewarned that Bangkok was a big, messy, dirty place, but once I got a little beneath the surface, I found there was a lot to love about it. Here are eight fun things I recommend you try if you find yourself in Bangkok!

Eight Fun Things to Do in Bangkok

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January 7, 2013   1 Comment

{adventures in gingerbreading} The Snowy Japanese Gingerbread Pagoda

Last week I did a roundup of my previous adventures in non-traditional gingerbreading, and I’m excited to show you what we made this year: The Snowy Japanese Gingerbread Pagoda.

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December 21, 2012   3 Comments

{ask me anything about anywhere} Travel Tips for Hong Kong & Shenzhen

People ask me for travel advice all the time, and sometimes I just don’t get around to blogging about it in advance. Here’s your chance to ask me anything about anywhere! If I have any good intel–I’ll gladly share it with you.

The question: “I’m finally making that trip to China I’ve talked about for so long – and will be spending 3 weeks in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Any advice would be appreciated!” 

Hong Kong is one of my favorite world cities, and neighboring Macau also holds a very dear place in my heart–so while I must admit I’m a little jealous about your impending journey, I’m excited to share some fun things to do!

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: in Hong Kong they actually do use bamboo for skyscraper scaffolding, as seen in every Jackie Chan movie ever made. This, I feel, is incredible.

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December 26, 2011   3 Comments

{travelogue} Soaking up Shanghai

Shanghai might just be my all-time favorite Chinese city. This history-rich melting pot offers a little bit of everything you want—which shouldn’t be too surprising, considering its position as one of the world’s major global ports and the financial center of Asia, boasting a young, open-minded, and fast-growing population that currently tops off at close to 30 million. If you’re dreaming of visiting, here is a look at some of my favorite things. First, what to do, then, what to eat, and finally, where to sleep.

A tip for finding things: when possible, you should look up where you’re going on the excellent website SmartShanghai.com, which gives you a map to help you find the location, the nearest metro station, and the option of a taxi printout in Chinese that you can give to a cab driver. [Read more →]

August 21, 2011   3 Comments