All posts tagged: south east asia

Ben Lac, Mai Chau, North West Vietnam, Vietnam, mountains, mist

The Untouched Gems of Northwest Vietnam.

For many travelers, Vietnam is the cities of Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi, and the tours that take you around the area. While some of these are pretty and tourist-friendly, most of these are fabricated versions of Vietnam’s real beauty and people. We managed to ditch most of these must-tick boxes in our Vietnam itinerary to explore the less-treaded North Western highlands of the country. Mai Chau No Lonely Planet overview can prepare you for the gorgeous, mist-covered mountains that greet you as you enter the village of Ben Lac, nor for the hospitality of its White Thai folks. There are organized tours from Hanoi that take you there, but if you want to experience the untouched, go on your own. We took a local bus from Hanoi to Mai Chau via Hoa Binh, with locals who spoke no English beyond “Where are you from?” but who were friendly enough to call their friends in Ben Lac and arrange a village homestay for us! We stayed with a couple in a traditional stilt house, and …

Once Upon an Island

Sometimes I think we can measure our lives by the places we’ve seen. There’s so much beauty in the world, so many undiscovered gems, and yet so many of us will spend our days in a small little box, unable to escape the vicious work-money cycle. Without getting too philosophical, I want to introduce you to a heaven-on-earth-like beauty in Indonesia, called Nikoi Island. I created the video below, entirely based on my imagination and these Flickr pictures, for a competition in which I won a free trip to this dreamy island. My gut says Nikoi will be all this and so much more. I’ll write about my personal experience at Nikoi Island after I visit it in December  Till then, you can read reviews by other people on Nikoi! Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the …