My 5: Bonsai Exhibition Garden – The Imperial City – Hue, Vietnam.

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1. Bonsai Exhibition Garden (The Imperial City, Hue), April 2018. I’d more or less finished exploring the main grounds of Hue’s Imperial City when I stumbled upon this gorgeous Bonsai garden, accessed via the inner courtyard road. 

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My 5: The Imperial City – Hue, Vietnam.

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1. The Imperial City, April 2018. I’m not much of a history buff; all those dates, names and battles tend to go in one ear and right out the other. I tend to avoid guided tours too, I just can’t seem to focus on what’s being said, invariably a flurry of facts and figures, most of which will be lost to me by the time I’ve settled down for dinner. Instead, I like to wander and explore with my own thoughts, try to breathe in the essence of the place. I’ve always loved the sense of reflective calm these historical palaces bring and knew I was going to like Hue’s Imperial City from the moment I approached Ngo Mon Gate, the palace’s main entrance.

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My 5: Phong Nha Cave, Vietnam.

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1. Phong Nha Cave, April 2018. We were rattling through Phong Nha-KBàng National Park (try saying that with a mouthful of marshmallows) in the minibus when I found myself speculating on whether Phong Nha Cave might turn out to be something of an anticlimax. Our intimate little tour group had just finished exploring the wondrous Paradise Cave, which had been so damn impressive I couldn’t imagine this next cave coming anywhere close. Pulling up outside a boat station alongside a beautiful deep-green, hill-framed river, we all jumped out and followed our guide Nick to a waiting vessel.    Continue Reading »

My 5: Paradise Cave, Vietnam.

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1. Paradise Cave, April 2018. Arguably the highlight of central Vietnam, Paradise Cave is an essential stop on any itinerary around the country! After all, this is the longest dry cave in Asia at a staggering thirty-one kilometers. The cave’s public access section covers just one of those kilometers, but fear not… it’s still a jaw–dropping experience. Seen one cave seen em’ all? No!!!

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My 5: The Tree Hugger Cafe – Dong Hoi, Vietnam.

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1. The Tree Hugger Cafe, April 2018. I’d been wandering around Dong Hoi in the burning sunshine for most of the morning when I felt my body crying out for caffeine. And having done my research beforehand, I knew exactly where I was heading! The Tree Hugger Café occupies a charming, quiet spot on 30 Nguyen Du, a few doors down from The Buffalo Pub.

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My 5: Quang Phu Sand Dunes – Dong Hoi, Vietnam.

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1. Quang Phu Sand Dunes, April 2018. I still can’t believe I had the balls to drive a moto! Anyone who knows me is only too aware that I’m not a driver, in any shape or form. And if you don’t know me, trust me, I’m NOT a driver… in any shape or form. But sometimes circumstances push you into taking desperate measures. I was eager to get out to Dong Hoi’s captivating sand dunes and becoming increasingly frustrated at my failed attempts to hail a taxi for a reasonable price. “You can borrow our moto if you like”, said the woman behind reception at Nam Long Hotel.

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My 5: Nhat Le Beach – Dong Hoi, Vietnam.

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1. Nhat Le Beach, April 2018. Dong Hoi’s city centre beach is a delightfully laid back affair, even during the city’s annual Seafood Festival where the crowds only seemed to kick in during the evening for live music and sizzling street food. My visit came on a warm, overcast weekday afternoon and I was the only westerner around.

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