Phong Nha Ke-Bang, Vietnam

Phong Nha Ke-Bang – The new place to go to in Vietnam

Heading to Vietnam anytime soon? Make sure you make a pit stop in Phong Nha, the latest destination in Vietnam that’s destined to become a popular backpacker place. As you enter the small, quaint town, you’ll already notice how there’s established western restaurants and hostels. Even so, it still remains its small town charm and feels authentic.

There’s just something about Phong Nha which makes everyone come here. If you’re tired of the big cities or you’re just looking for a place where you can relax, enjoy nature and still be able to do plenty of actives, this is where you need to go. Rent a scooter for a day or two, ride around the National Park, explore the incredible underground caves, go zip lining, swimming and much more! You can also just cruise around the park and look at the women working in the rice fields, watch the sunset and then head back for a cold brew in one of the restaurants. What makes Phong Nha so great is that you don’t need to do a big effort in order to fully enjoy it. There’s beauty everywhere here. It’s also easy to find accommodation, with plenty of hostels, hotels and homestays in the area, and you can enjoy a good local meal here or western food. The choice is yours! Whether you like vegetarian food or not, you should check out “Veggie Box” which is situated in the center and serves some incredible, healthy and fresh food. You can come here for breakfast and try one of their smoothie bowls or why not grab some sushi for lunch? Either way, it’s a must when you’re in Phong Nha.

As night falls, there’s a few bars in the area that you can go to. One of the most popular hostels and bars in Phong Nha is the “Easy Tiger Hostel”, where you’ll find plenty of backpackers lounging around, eating and drinking. There’s also the newly built hostel “Central Backpackers” which is planning on opening their pool this year. The weather can get quite hot so a pool is just a welcoming touch to a hostel.

So, don’t miss out on this lovely place in Vietnam and come see it for yourself. You’re guaranteed to have a good time here.

This post was made possible by our good friends at Microblading Boston.

Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan – neither a success nor a failure

Bagan is one of the world’s most famous places thanks to its many pagodas and temples. There’s simply no such thing as visiting Myanmar without going to Bagan. I had read the many articles about how incredible it was and how there’s no such thing as Bagan in the world – which I can agree on. But it simply didn’t wow me. And I’m going to tell you why.

I had the pleasure of traveling to Bagan in February 2019 and my expectations were high. Every person I met raves about it and I knew that I was going to see something very unique. When I arrived, I knew I had to do two things: see the sunrise and the sunset. It’s then when all the magic happens, when you really get to see the beauty of the place. Granted, it’s a wonderful place during daytime as well, when you can see all the details of the temples and pagodas. But I came for the sunrise and sunset.

What I didn’t know was that in order to be able to fully appreciate it, you have to climb on top of a temple and get the panoramic view you’ve often seen on photos. I just didn’t realize that the government had started to shut off all the entrances to the temples so that you can’t climb up, therefore ruining your chances of getting that postcard view that you came there to see. This really bummed me out and I thought it must be some sort of mistake. It wasn’t.

However much I enjoyed cruising around on an electric bike and watching all the natural wonders unfold, it was extremely disappointing that you couldn’t climb up to take in the views. All of a sudden it felt like one of the main purposes of going to Bagan was… lost. Although the beauty of the place can’t be denied, I knew that I would be getting an entirely different experience than that of the people who came here before me.

Bagan was neither a success nor a failure. It still gave me a chance to marvel at the old temples, get to know the history of Myanmar and learn more about the locals lives. During my days there, I met some of the friendliest locals in the world who made my stay in Bagan much better.

But it’s hard for me to say if I’d recommend Bagan or not. I think if you do get the chance to one day climb on top of a temple and see Bagan in its full splendor – yes, then I highly recommend it. There’s no doubt about it. But do I recommend it now when the government made all of these changes? It’s hard for me to do so. If you’re going, come with low expectations, then you’ll be sure to have a good experience. But if you’re like me and have very high expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed.