Through our home stay, we organised a mini van to come and pick us up and drive us to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. There are plenty of ways to get up there - tuk tuk, private car, motorbikes or share vans. We decided on the share van because it’s the most comfortable and also really cheap! It’s less bumpy, has aircon and is quick and comfortable. It cost us $40,000 Kip, which is about $6AUD for the return trip each and it takes about 45 minutes - 1 hour to get there.
Randall and I somehow scored shotgun, which was amazing because we got this awesome view, but also because if you get motion sickness this is the place you wanna be. The road is very windy, and on the way back I got stuck at the very back of the van and was ready to chuck my guts up by the time we got home!
One of the other delicious street noms that you can get in Laos are these little coconut pancake bites! They’re made from coconut milk, rice flour, sticky rice flour, sugar, salt and water - completely vegan! We took our little container to the ladies to get our pancakes in here, rather than a plastic bag. They were more than happy to oblige and we avoided unnecessary plastic waste! 🙌🏼 #coconutpancakes#streetfood#plasticavoidance#nowastehere#vegantreats
One place in Brazil that really sticks out is a tropical paradise that lures not only backpackers but also people on holiday. This place has beaches, gorgeous waters, jungle, culture and a cool going out scene. We’re talking about Morro de Sao Paulo.Morro de Sao Paulo is part of a 26-island archipelago situated around 60km from Salvador, the colonial capital city of Bahia. Making its name back in the 1980s ‘Morro’ has become a major travel destination within Brazil for visitors both locally and abroad.
Um lugar no Brasil que realmente se destaca é um paraíso tropical que atrai não apenas mochileiros, mas também pessoas de férias. Este lugar tem praias, belíssimas águas, selva, cultura e uma cena legal. Estamos falando do Morro de São Paulo. O Morro de São Paulo faz parte de um arquipélago de 26 ilhas situado a cerca de 60 km de Salvador, a capital colonial da Bahia. Fazendo o seu nome na década de 1980, 'Morro' tornou-se um importante destino de viagem no Brasil para visitantes tanto locais como estrangeiro
We decided to hit up the famous night market for dinner. The market is huge and there is an alley off the main market street that houses most of the street food. It’s full of people, so you won’t miss it. If you wander down there are 2 buffet type stalls, one with blue bowls, one with pink. All the food they serve is vegan, which is pretty bloody good! One bowl, which is a fill it up as much as you god damn like system, is $15,000 Kip, which is about $2.25. Not bloody bad!
A lot of people get nervous about street food. When eating it, it’s better to see everything be cooked fresh if you can. The advantage of street food for vegans is that there is no meat or dairy to go off, which is excellent! But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get sick. Our entire trip has not seen any street food that has done us wrong! I think it’s sometimes luck of the draw, but in my opinion, never be afraid to try new things! And street food is cheap, tasty and safe 99% of the time. Plus eating is the best part of travelling right?!
(Also you can’t miss the market. It’s huge! But just incase it’s the main road next to Mount Phousi)
The view from the top of Mount Phousi is quite amazing. Sitting at the centre of the town you get a great birds eye view of the whole area, plus a beautiful view of the Mekong and the mountains surrounding the town.
The only bummer is that it is a really popular area and so the top is riddled with tourists, which can kind of ruin the zen of the experience. We were up there nearing sunset, which was a very popular time. I’d hazard a guess if you headed up early in the morning you’re more likely to get the place to yourself!
Don’t miss it though! It’s worth it regardless of the other people around. The climb up is just as good anyway!
As anyone who has visited Luang Prabang has probably done, we decided to climb up Mount Phousi, which is a small mountain that lies right in the centre of the town. There are a few paths up, and it’s really not too steep, with lots of beautiful view points. We walked up near some temples with young monks living in nearby housing, and the closer you get to the top the more amazing huge gold statues cover the sides of the mountains. I got particularly stuck at this one site because of all the temple kitties! (You can only see 1, but there were more) Such precious sleepy babies!
We strolled around the banks of the Mekong and the streets of Luang Prabang, in some type of delirium tbh - it was absolutely bloody hot in comparison to everywhere else we’d been and I was lolling around on the ground at one stage. But it was so pretty I had to prevail and see the views and feel the vibes 🙌🏼 #luangprabang#mekongriver
Luang Prabang is a freaking gorgeous city in the northern area of Laos. It’s pretty tiny, you can walk around the town area quite easily, and sits surrounded by the Mekong River. The views are spectacular, there are loads of gorgeous temples and tasty food, a hugeeeeee night market, plus loads of nearby waterfalls and natural settings to explore. It is definitely worth a visit and I’m feeling like the perfect place to begin our adventure here! #luangprabang#newcity#excitingtimes
Perfect spot to take a shadow selfie with my backpacks. Walking around with them makes me feel like a turtle. I got all my stuff with me and I am pretty slow. At the same time it gives me an incredible feeling of independence. When I am walking with my backpacks, I feel like I can go wherever I want and I can do whatever I want - so that is what I am doing!
The picture is from Sevilla, Spain - December 2017
Well as you may remember, we finished off our posts making it across Canada. We now start our journey back.
We had a bit of a wet and stormy night of camping outside of Halifax but in the morning the weather held up for our visit to Peggy's Cove. It's one of the great places to visit when you are in the area. It's a small town with a lighthouse and some really cool rocks you can walk all over. Just don't go on the black rocks!
When your backpacking and don’t have a bowl just use your grapefruit peel 🤷🏼♀️ why not? Trying to get in all the nutrients I can with this ginger turmeric chia pudding elixir blended with pineapple and grapefruit and topped with dried papaya, goji berries and a little extra chia seeds for show (that’s a long one). I picked up some concentrated golden turmeric elixir at a little farmers market in Byron Bay and it is delicious mixed with different fruits and veggies to make a smoothie. I just posted the recipe for my Power Packed Backpackers one I’ve been enjoying this week soo go check it oooutttt! Link in bio 👆🏼 •
We finished Vietnam with a trip to visit Unky Ho. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t realise to see his bod you have to be there between like 8-10am. So that sucked. Travellers beware! But we walked around his mausoleum and his stilt house, and checked out the museum attached. The museum is particularly interesting, although the heavy propaganda makes it all a bit much by the end. •
The Uncle Ho fever that Vietnam sits in is quite unusual. To me anyway. Coming from Australia where all our political figures are a bunch of wankers (with maybe a few exceptions), it seems so strange to be to truly love and idealise an individual in that way. I just don’t trust people in power. But you know, I’m not Vietnamese and I have never lived through the struggles that the Vietnamese people did. The pessimist in me just things he’s gotta be a shady guy. He speaks too fondly of Stalin, and he’s too kind and elderly looking. I don’t buy it. Can anyone shed some light on some Ho Chi Minh naughties?
We hit up one last AMAZING vegan joint - Jalus - again quite close to Ho Hoam Kiem Lake. Dear god. That drink I’m holding, is THE best drink I’ve ever had. It was some concoction of banana, cacao, chia, and who knows what other heavenly substances. Plus it came with a bamboo straw! •
The food was equally as amazing. I particularly got around the hot pot. Delicious! And they even had raw vegan peanut butter choc cheese cake, so you know, you kind of have to get it right? And it was fucking toight. •
The place itself is super cute and quaint and sits on a second level with a balcony, so you can watch the world go by. A massive vegan menu, and this owner uses proceeds to help Vietnamese youth who live on the streets. It’s pretty much perfect. If you’re in Hanoi, honestly vegans - or actually anyone - do yourself a favour! #foodcoma#foodheaven#jalus#veganinhanoi#veganvietnam#veganhanoi
We hopped back to Hanoi for 1 last day in Vietnam and perused the city streets. The area surrounding Ho Hoam Kiem Lake had all the roads closed and some strange street fair extravaganza thang going on. It was totally strange and amazing. There were troves of tiny children driving tiny motorised tanks and cars. There were squads of teenage dancers tearing up a storm with fierce moves. There were minions. There was everything. We even saw a small child semi terrorising semi loving a porcupine. I don’t quite know what was happening, but it was a world of its own.
Ocean Waves. Sandy hair. Vibrant music. Sunset dinners. Lush rainforests. Breathtaking waterfalls. Endless adventures.
Love the snuggly weather of Minnesota but I could go for some Vitamin Sea, travel and lots of fresh Costa Rican fruits right now. 🌊🌞🌸
What's your favorite warm destination? I'm taking note! 🌴
It’s always so frustrating to see pollution and debris in these stunning places. It kinda blows my mind. “Ah, yes, let’s spend $100+ to go to this beautiful natural setting. But let’s also throw our rubbish overboard and ruin it! MuaHahaha,” *sips drink and smokes a cigar*. You know, like, what the dickens really!?! It was frustrating to see the debris in the water, but it was awesome to see that the amazing people paddling these boats all had little nets that they used to catch any debris floating by! I tried to offer to be the catcher while our gentleman paddled us along, but those language difficulties; sometimes get things lost in translation. #marinedebris#oceanpollution#pickitup#dontbeadick#putitinthebin
The next morning, Randall and I got up at sunrise to do some Tai Chi, which was actually a really amazing way to start the day. It’s like exercising, without it being strenuous, but still makes you feel good. Like mega chill yoga. •
Then we went to visit a local fishing village. Nestled between a circle of limestone cliff, a small town actually lived floating on the water. The ideal location keep them protected from the weather and storms, and makes it easier for them to go out into the see to fish. •
We jumped onto these gorgeous little hand made boats and were paddles through the cliffs and the town. The ladies and gentlemen who paddle these boats must have bigger arm muscles than the Hulk! It was lovely to glide along the cliffs again and see some local life in Vietnam.
After kayaking around the cliffs we pulled into this gorgeous solitary bay. It was pretty tiny, and the cliff face was right there with the crystal clear waters sparkling up at you. It was absolutely stunning and felt like a neat little present for us! If it was warmer I’d of dove right in!! #baitulongbay#halongbay#kayaking#privatebeach#pristineaf
Our first off boat adventure was kayaking. I have never been kayaking before, but I was really excited, and also quite nervous. I kept having tiny panic stricken moments and telling Randall not to rock the boat when it very obviously wasn’t his fault. Sorry beb! But! Eventually I got the hang of it and my nervous face turned into this smiley mess! •
It was such a fantastic and personal way to see the beautiful limestone cliffs and bays. If you visit, you definitely have to make sure you get some kayaking in 🙌🏼 #kayaking#halongbay#baitulongbay#firsttimer#trynewthings
This is a sample of the range of meals we had prepared specially for us whilst on our Ha Long Bay Cruise. Each meal had about 6 courses, all bloody delicious and so filling I needed to food coma hard afterwards. I was particularly partial to the spring rolls (oh my god I could eat them forever) and the awesome soups and curries that we had. I don’t have a photo of it, because I ate it too quickly to take a photo, but they also made us a vegan pho for brunch on the second day, and it had radish in it, and it was just so amazing. #foooooood#veganinvietnam#halongbay#handspantravel
When trying to tackle Ha Long Bay it can be kind of over whelming. There are hundreds of boats and hundreds of companies that do tours around the place, all at different prices with different reputations. Most tours are similar, they take you to the caves, maybe Cat Ba Island, let you do some kayaking (with or without guide depending) and you spend 1 night/2 days on the boat.
I did my research into what kind of tour I wanted to do for 2 reasons. A) I don’t normally like tours - too many people, too little time, too much instruction. And B) I’m aware of the impact of large scale tourism on natural places and I wanted to be as conscious of this as possible. •
We ended up going with a company called Handspan Tours, and I was so, so, soooo happy with them! We anchored and sailed through Ha Long Bay, but we also visited the less travelled and equally as beautiful Bai Tu Long Bay. This meant WAY less tourists, and a much more enjoyable view. The company also bypasses the caves because they disagree with the impact the tours there have on the ecosystems and environment. Plus they take you kayaking on a guide led tour, and you get to interact with the local people living on Ha Long Bay. Oh! Oh! And they had vegan covered 100%!! •
I wasn’t sure I was going to like Ha Long Bay, but with these guys at the helm I fell completely in love with it. I would recommend them to anyone who is interested in seeing the Bays in a less touristy way, while still enjoying all the perks and none of the drags! #halongbag#baitulongbay#handspantravel
P.S. the boat is dope and the fanciest thing I’ve ever been on or in. God damn! WE HAD A SPA BATH.
Here’s all the goodies our Jerky of the Month subscribers can look forward to this month. Our Smoky Achiote Adobo (perfect for snacking or making tacos with) Pete’s Black Pepper and Paulette’s Maple Bacon. You can still get in on this! Just sign up through our website (link in bio on our page.)