All posts tagged: Asia

A Layover in Narita, Japan

On a recent trip to Asia, I decided to have a 12 hours layover in Narita to explore the city. Narita Airport is at least 40 minutes on a train from Tokyo while Narita city is only a 10 minutes train ride away. Narita city is not about the sights as there are few things to see. However the city boast an abundance of charm and a good way to observe everyday Japanese’s lives for a short duration. Narita is known for grilled eel or unagi and that is where my senses led me. I was fortunate to have a friend residing in Japan meet me in Narita for a short sight seeing break. This is the breakdown of my  adventure in Narita. I had Japan Airlines’ Sakura Lounge access so I was able to freshen up after a red eye flight and grab a quick bite in the lounge. I stored my luggage at the lounge but there are locker options at the arrival hall as well. You can inquire about the locker option at the information …

Must Do’s: Select Local Eateries in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

Ho Chi Minh City (“HCMC”) is the center of a diverse food and modern culture in Vietnam. HCMC is also the largest city in Vietnam and home to approximately 9 million people and growing. The city has gone through many iterations from an important Khmer seaport up to the 17th century to a romantic city under French colonization and now a vibrant metropolis in 2016. With its diverse history, it is no wonder that the variety of food is present in HCMC. I asked a good friend of mine to scout her favorite places to eat in HCMC and the following places are her recommendations. Ốc Đào (Seafood Restaurant) Address: 214/C84 Nguyễn Trãi St, Nguyễn Cư Trinh Ward, District 1 Hồ Chí Minh, Việt Nam Open: noon – 9:00 pm This is a quintessential local hangout for friends and co-workers. This restaurant serves many different types of snails and seafood at reasonable prices and has good quality. Don’t be afraid to check this restaurant out as they have pictures for non-Vietnamese speakers. Banh Mi Huynh Hoa (Vietnamese Sandwiches) Address: …

Hotel Review: Lotus Blanc Resort (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

On my recent 3.5 day trip to Siem Reap, I decided to check out a local boutique hotel instead of staying in better known international hotels. I combed through the offerings for 5 stars hotels on booking.com and other similar sites and decided to give Lotus Blanc Resort a try. I did not know what to expect from this hotel when I arrived in Siem Reap. There are some positives and negatives to staying at this resort. Even though the hotel is listed as a 5 stars establishment, it is really on par with 3.5 to 4 stars international rating. Overall, I rated this hotel 4 out of 5 stars as explained below. Website: http://lotusblancresort.com/ Room (3.5/5) The hotel was built approximately 10 years ago and recently changed owners.  All the rooms and public spaces were renovated two years ago.  I had the Landmark room that comes with a double bed and is very spacious. The room décor is a mix of modern with a lot of wood furniture that is typically seen at Asian resorts. Even though it was …

Hanoi: My Picks for Hair, Nails and Spa

Finding a good place for haircut or manicure can be daunting in Hanoi when you are only visiting for a few days. During our multiple stays in Hanoi, we tested several locations to find places that have a combination of quality service and fair price. Le Spa Du Metropole (Sofitel) Price: Expensive ($75+) Metropole Website This is one of my favorite spa and hotel in Hanoi. The design highlights the luxurious interiors with French Indochina aesthetics. The spa continues with the same decor but emphasizes more on relaxation as shown in the photo above. I sampled both facial and full body massage here which left me sleeping like a baby. The spa uses high end products including Clarins. The treatment costs approximately $80-$100. This is a splurge for those days when a touch of luxury is needed. Lavender Spa Price: Budget ($20+) 60 minutes massage is VND 520,000 vnd or approximately $23 Address: 28 Nguyễn Du Street Phone: 0433 899 999 (requires a reservation 1 hour in advance) This mid-range spa was recommended by my Hanoi friend.  This no frill spa …

3.5 Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Part 2)

In part 2 of my article on Siem Reap, I will explore the attractions outside of the city. A private car is necessary to get to the attractions as tut tut will not make the trek outside of the city area. It is also a wonderful way to see the Cambodian countryside and the locals’ daily lives. For the trip to Koulen Mountain, you will need to pack your swimsuit and a towel so you can swim under a waterfall. Surrounding Area of Siem Reap Day 3: Banteay Srei, Koulen Mountain, Banteay Samre and sunset at Phnom Bakheng Start the day at 9:00 am and head to Banteay Srei. This temple complex is also known as the “Citadel of Women” or “Citadel of Beauty”, presumably referring to its size and delicate carvings. Unlike the major sites of Angkor, Banteay Srei was not a royal temple. It was built not by kings, but by Brahmin priests. The temple is significantly smaller than the temples at Angkor, but the decorations on the outside are much more detailed. …

Three and a Half Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Part 1)

Siem Reap, Cambodia, was my first solo trip to a non-western country. I was nervous about traveling as a girl in a country that had limited English. To ensure that I would have a good time and be safe, I had a guide and/or a driver with me at all time. I was not bothered by the locals peddling goods. Additionally, the guide/driver also provided translations and enjoyable conversations to learn more about local life in Cambodia. Siem Reap and Angkor Wat Tips: A.  I recommend getting a tour guide for Angkor Wat on Day 2 (approximately $45 + tip) and hiring your own driver for Day 2 to Day 4 to make the most of your time there. I hired a private car which was approximately $45 for Day 2, $80 for Day 3 and $100 for Day 4. The rates depend on your distance. It was very hot and dusty in Siem Reap in November so I was happy to splurge on an air conditioned car. B. I would also recommend visiting Siem Reap …