Malaysia Day 3.

Haircut, people watching at a casino and food.

So I’ve been meaning to get a haircut for weeks. The combination of hot weather and a very unkempt hairstyle is a big no no for me so first thing we did was head to the local salon (Yes, before eating any food. Can you believe it? I can’t. Especially since I only woke up at noon again and lunch time was beckoning). A whole bunch of us got our hair cut (me, wifey, sister-in-law, grandmother-in-law).

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Haircut at the local salon. Cheap and good. Can’t go wrong.

So today’s plan was to go to Genting Highland. This is basically a casino area, high up in the mountains. There are many shops, food and drink outlets and entertainment activities. So off we go.

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Driving to Genting Highland.

The drive is about an hour from KL. The roads are ok but there are a lot of curvy left and right turns as you go up the mountain. It wasn’t my turn to drive so I occupied myself in the backseat by taking some photos and dozing off.

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Artistic shot attempt in the car on the way up the mountain to Genting Highland. Matching gear.

First stop was a halfway point up the mountain. Time for eating.

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Somewhere halfway up the hill to Genting Highland. Lots of shops, hotels (for those who can’t get bookings at the main casino hotels, this is where they stay) and of course, restaurants.

And finally lunch time! Some food at last! Hurrah! I’m freaking starving. Please put food in me now!

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“Restoran Foon Lock”. What a lovely place. Fast and great tasting food. The broth they used in all their dishes was so delicious. I would be content with having a bowl of white rice and just the sauce.

So now I’m happy and satisfied. Let’s continue our journey.

We arrived at the car park and made our way to the cable car station. The one we went to is the newly built extension so here we are checking it out for the first time.

Cable cars run from I think 6am – midnight. And you can bring a bag with you, as long as it meets the following requirements.

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I interpreted this as “If you can fit one person in the bag which doesn’t exceed these dimensions, go ahead and bring on board!”

If your bag is bigger than this, or if you have more than one bag, there is a MYR 20 additional charge. Next part is lift off!

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Artistic shot attempt through the viewing pane of our cable car before it launches out from the station. Yes, it was drizzling.

I have never felt at ease with hot air balloons and cable cars. But its been a long while since I’ve been on either of those. Perhaps this time it will be ok?

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Up we go the mountain. My facial expression doesn’t show it but I was terrified.

The view was nice. But I was sh*tting myself. I’m such a wimp.

So here is the main concourse. Huge LCD screens adorn the walls and light up the whole area with life.

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Beautiful large LCD screens at Genting Highland’s newly built extension.
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LCD screens everywhere. They absolutely lit up the place and really made the whole hall feel alive.
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A wefie of the wifey and I.

Then we made our way into the gambling zone.

Note that they have a ‘no back pack / ruck sack’ policy. If you have a sling bag or hand bag, then that’s ok. Oh yes, bring a jacket. The weather up here is much cooler, and combined with the air conditioning, it can be quite chilly.

After getting through security, we walked in and wow were we impressed. The area was so huge and there were so many gambling tables, machines, screens etc. Once again, LCD screens were everywhere. They had them on the ceiling and the walls. It was actually quite magical.

I’m no gambling man. In fact, I have zero interest and talent in gambling. But I do enjoy watching other people play. Watching their expressions change from ‘ahhh I know I’m gonna win this time’, the ‘awww f*ck I lost’ to the ‘ok let me give it one more try’ was quite entertaining for me.

Coffee, tea, juice and water are free. I guess this helps keep the pundits refreshed and keep them at the gambling zone. After a couple of hours, we headed to the bar.

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My 94 year old grandmother-in-law enjoying a cold pint of beer, exhausted after hitting the gambling tables (no big bets of course, just some fun). Respect.

Though I wasn’t gambling, people watching can be quite exhausting too. Time for food again. This time we headed to a restaurant inside the casino. There were quite a few selections on offer, ranging from chinese to western types of foods.

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A place of ‘Char Kway Teow’. Typical fried flat noodles with pork fat, egg, chinese sausage and bean sprouts. Extremely popular local dish which you will find in most restaurants.
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A hot bowl of ‘Ba Ku Teh’. This is a pork bone broth that is very popular in Malaysia. This particular version we had contained too much ginger in my opinion. This dish is served with a large bowl of rice and should always be accompanied by a bowl of chopped chili and soy sauce. A great combination on a cold day.

After dinner, we left the gambling zone and walked around the retail areas. There are a ton of restaurants and cafes. Had a coffee at ‘Street Churros’.

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A hot cup of ‘Spanish Latte’ from Street Churros, located within the new extension of Genting Highland. Sweet and gooey.

Then we made our way down back to the car park. Time to get back on the cable car again.

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A photo from our cable car viewing pane on the way down.

Came across this funny looking plug on the way to the car. Cute huh?

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Hello Mr Froggy. That’s what the socket on the right looks like to me anyway.

And then we called it a day. We head back to Bangkok tomorrow.

Ciao.

Malaysia Day 2.

Another round of food and, well, more food in Malaysia.

So a new day beckons in the land of ‘makan’ (eating). Being consistent with my pig like abilities, this was another late slumber as I finally got out of bed around noon.

If you haven’t seen my blog on Malaysia Day 1, go check it out first.

Let’s get on with the food adventures.

Just before I was getting ready to sleep last night, my sister in law knocks on the door with some late night snacks. The wife was busy working on the laptop (I know we are supposed to be on holiday but work is always there, like a little bug eating away at the back of your brain). So naturally, and very unhealthily, we snacked. And when we woke up today, we snacked again before lunch.

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Pan fried gooey yumminess. Though it was a little bit burnt, the snack on the left side quenched our late night stomach murmurs. The snack on the right side was a quick pick me up (crispy and savory). Delicious.

So what do you after snacking? Go and eat more of course! We headed off to my favourite ‘nasi lemak’ restaurant in Uptown. Now for those who don’t know, nasi lemak is a traditional malaysian dish comprising of a scented rice served with sambal, fried chicken, peanuts, cucumbers and other condiments to your liking.

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Village Park Restaurant in Uptown. My favourite! Totally recommended. Lots of seating but always packed.
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My plate of nasi lemak. They ran out of cockle rendang – oh well. But I come here for the fried chicken. It is simply out of this world. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, flavourful and juicy on the inside. Simply one of the best gastronomical experiences I have had.
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Ordered a ‘Milo Dinosaur’ to wash it all down. Basically a sweet ice blended milo drink (cocoa and malt) with tons of milo dumped on the top for some texture and crunch as you sip away.

With our stomachs full, we went walking around the shops around Uptown. Whilst the wife and mum-in-law headed off for some shopping, I paid a visit to one of my favourite vape shops (Panda Vape – but perhaps more on this later in another blog).

Then we headed to a ‘pasar malam’ (night market) in SS2 for a stroll. I know its not yet night time but the shop vendors were just setting up.

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Lots of stuff to see and buy. And definitely lots and lots of food and snacks.

After that, headed back home to rest for a couple of hours. Watched some Netflix (am watching ‘Designated Survivor’ at the moment – love it. Can’t help imagining Kiefer Sutherland breaking from his Presidential role into bad ass 24 Jack Bauer. Doubt it will ever happen but my fingers are crossed anyway). Then it was time to eat again.

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Home cooked chicken rice prepared by my mum-in-law. Very popular dish in Asia generally but there are variations from country to country.

After wolfing all that down, we rested our bellies a bit more until it was time to go out for a few drinks at the local bar (there was a rather annoying hostess that kept trying to make the wife and I neck down our drinks – but I suppose she was a bit drunk and just doing her job). So what typically follows some beer? Late night mamak of course! My favourite, Nasi Kandar. This is a very popular Malaysian type of dish which is basically rice topped with your choice of different curries, meats and vegetables. The wife went for a roti (something like a fried dough pastry) served with some chicken curry.

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I should not be eating this. I really should not. But its just so damn f*cking good.

And now I’m back home, regretting all the unnecessary calories I have injected my gut with and telling myself that I should wake up early and go for a run. I hope that happens. But then again, I was thinking the same thing last night and that did not go exactly to plan.

Ciao.

Malaysia Day 1.

Another quick trip to Malaysia but this time I’ll be taking notes on what I eat and see!

Had an early start to attend an ex-colleague’s wedding in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand which meant a speedy drive back to Bangkok in the afternoon and some last minute packing before flying off to Malaysia.

We were booked for Malaysia Airlines outbound and Thai Airways inbound on the way back (different airlines because of timing).

So the overall flight experience with Malaysia Airlines was ok. We were in Economy Class. It was a small plane which comprised of 3 seats on either side with a single aisle going down the middle. The entertainment console was ok (though the touch screen sensitivity setting was a bit off). Seats were appropriately sized and the staff were quite attentive, zipping up and down the aisle as they rushed about preparing refreshments and other errands.

The flight was a little over 2 hours so we had a main meal included (dinner). There was a choice of chicken and pasta or fish and rice. Being me, I went with the rice option.

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Simple box presentation. You get a cup of water and your main meal. No sign of desserts, starters or other condiments here.

The taste was alright but it was definitely on the salty side. After meal drink options were also quite limited. I think Malaysia Airlines needs to sort themselves a bit in the catering part of the flight which I found quite pale in comparison to other Economy Class flights (excluding budget airlines). It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either.

Anyway, we landed safely at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. My wife’s mum and sister came to pick us up and drive us back home.

Before passing out for the night, we had a quick stop at the local Hokkien Mee restaurant. I didn’t eat anything. After reaching home, my mum-in-law gave me an iced homemade ‘Lo hon go’ drink (this is a herbal type of drink which I find quite refreshing – also good for suppressing coughs) and a hot bowl of clear chicken soup.

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Iced ‘Lo hon go’ drink. Yummy.

I slept like a pig. I think by the time I got up it was already past noon. Had a quick egg tart before heading out with the in-laws for a visit to a seaside village next to Kuala Lumpur.

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Egg Tarts are everywhere in Malaysia. Hmmm, may have to do an Egg Tart Review Blog next time.

So we made our way to Tanjung Karang in Kuala Selangor. This was about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Our first stop was to pick up some seafood. There were quite a number of fisheries in the area – we ended up choosing Yu Soon Fishery. We got some fish and prawns.

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Yu Soon Fishery.

The surrounding area of the fishery was kinda cool and I managed to get a few artistic photos.

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Seth’s attempt at an artistic photo shot #1
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Seth’s attempt at an artistic photo shot #2

So now armed with our fish and prawns, it was time to go eat. We went to ‘Restoran Suang Le River‘.

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Very popular restaurant in the area. Be prepared for queues unless you drop by during non-peak times (ie: hours after lunch but before dinner).

We got our fish steamed and our prawns fried in butter. Also ordered steamed clams, fried battered squid, chili crab and noodles with clams.

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Our feast!

The food was sooooooo good. Overall cost (including the purchase of the fish and prawns) came just under MYR 200. What a f*cking bargain.

We washed the food down with some chinese tea and Hungarian dessert wine (I know, random huh?).

With our bellies full, we went to visit a few of the local attractions. We paid a visit to a temple that was being refurbished.

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This temple is dedicated to the Monkey God. They tried to make the exterior look like a cave.

At the temple car park, I noticed a car which had a very interesting repair job on their bumper. I thought the stitching was done quite well though I’m not so sure about its durability and safety.

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Have you tried ‘stitching’ your bumper back together before?

Paid a visit to a roadside coconut vendor for some coconut juice. Refreshing.

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She was very good at carving coconuts as you probably can tell from the picture above.

Then our last stop was a monkey / wildlife sanctuary. The monkeys were their usual curious selves but quite well behaved. The monkeys in Thailand can be very naughty and aggressive.

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Monkeys to the left of me, monitor lizards to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

So here I am, back at home and writing up this blog. May pop out later tonight for some late night ‘makan makan’ (Malaysian slang for ‘eating’) but I can hear the rain and thunder outside. Perhaps this is just a test…….haha.

Ciao.

‘Ban-moh’ Restaurant Review

Sometimes you don’t have to go very far to get what you want. Tried this gem of a restaurant which opened a few weeks ago near home.

So I’m heading back home after work and I notice there is a new local Thai restaurant that’s just set up shop near home. I’ve been meaning to go check it out for a couple of weeks now and today is that day.

The menu cover. It does home delivery too. Groovy for me.

So first impressions. The restaurant comprises of two adjoining shop lots at the ground floor level. One bit is air-conditioned, and the other is open space. The weather has been getting super hot over the past few days so we opted for the air-conditioned space.

Decor was simple, but the lack of furnishings in the space made the room extremely prone to sound echo. Hello…ello …llo (insert echo sound effects here). Now that may not sound so bad but now imagine you were coughing, chewing loudly or burping. Oh man, the sound echo that would follow…..lol.

Bring on the food.

Pad Kapow, hands down my favourite Thai dish of all time. This fine specimen from Ban-moh was a worthy opponent, though not quite the best I’ve had the pleasure of devouring. This dish here will set you back THB 50.
Seafood keng som. A spicy, sour and tantalising Thai soup dish. This variation at the restaurant comprised of garden vegetables (which I haven’t really had before) and shrimp. Price for a big bowl was THB 80.

Food was good. Portion sizes were spot on and tasty. Prices were great too. But the ‘dining in’ experience was a bit disappointing. Though, if you only care about the food or get a takeaway / delivery, you won’t be disappointed.

My ratings are: Food 7.5/10, Price 9/10, Dining in experience 3/10. Overall score if you get a takeaway / delivery 8/10.

With reasonably cheap prices, good taste and so near to home, I can safely say I will be a regular visitor. 

‘Ban-moh’ is located on Srinakarin Road.

Jim Thompson House Museum and Restaurant

Had a lovely time at Jim Thompson’s museum and restaurant.

Despite the many many years that I’ve been living in Thailand, I have never visited the Jim Thompson house museum and restaurant. Of course I had heard about it but I never really had a desire to go check it out.

So on a whim and a mood for some randomness, we decided to go check it out once and for all and see what the big deal was all about.

First impressions, ‘Wow’. Despite the narrow road you need to drive down (alternatively walking distance from the National Stadium BTS), I was pleasantly surprised by this place.

First stop was the restaurant. The decor was very nice and the place was packed. Most of the clientele were foreign tourists but I noticed quite a number of local Thai tourists as well. 

The wifey and I at our table.

We ordered a variety of dishes. We got the green curry, mussaman curry, pomelo and shrimp salad and spicy chicken tenders.

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Food at the Jim Thompson Restaurant

The food was very tasty and authentic. It wasn’t all too spicy (understandably for the comfort of its international tourists) but ordering some chili and fish sauce as condiments soon sorted that out. Personally, I would give the following ratings:-
Atmosphere: 8.5/10, Food: 8/10, Food Selection: 5/10 (the menu was quite limited), Drink Selection: 8/10 (lots of nice looking cocktails), Price: 6/10 (though the food was good, it was kinda pricey but as expected for a tourist attraction). Would I come back here again? Probably, but not by myself. If we had guests visiting from abroad, definitely. 

Next up was the museum tour. Tickets were THB 150 and this is a mandatory guided tour. There were a variety of language options and the groups were circa 10 pax. 

Before the tour, we had a wander around the other free exhibitions. Some interesting, some, quite frankly, weird and creepy.

Creepy exhibition at Jim Thompson. Notice the hanging heads…
Not quite sure what is going on here…

Ok, so the tour begins. Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to take photos inside the Jim Thompson house but thats ok. It was really interesting to see how the house was constructed and the historical stories of each room was intriguing. After the tour, we walked around and took a few pictures.

The exterior of one of the many houses at the Jim Thompson compound.
Lovely koi garden.
Huge frog / toad sunbathing on a lily pad.

There were also a few other things going on around the compound. There was nice air conditioned shop selling beautiful silk and other Jim Thompson products (I have to admit that I am a big fan of their silk printed pocket squares – that reminds me – that will be another blog post for the future. I am a pocket square fanatic), silk extraction, silk weaving, some traditional live Thai music and dancing and all sorts.

All in all, we spent about 3 hours and I have to frankly admit that I really enjoyed it. It is child friendly and overall a nice experience. Go check it out!

Ciao.

Germany and Austria – beer and food!

Work hard, play hard.

Yes ok, this was a business trip but who says you can’t find some time to unwind as well?

So last month, I had to go to Germany and Austria. Flew Etihad Airways so there was a stop over in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Decent airline though I still could not fall asleep.

The weather in Thailand was beginning to get hot so it was a nice change to land in Europe with relatively much cooler temperatures.

Look at the blue sky. I’m so jealous of my previous self now.

So the first night was at Hotel Augusta in Augsburg. Small room but comfortable enough for a good night’s rest. But not yet. Time for some food and beer.

Went for a stroll near the local fruit and vegetable market. The strawberries were f*cking awesome. Washed them down with some nice beer at the town square.

Big, juicy and tart. Fantastic strawberry.
A walk around the city square.
Beer!

Had dinner at the Osteria Albero Verde. A German / Italian restaurant serving great steaks in a beautiful old building. 

The hotel breakfast was quite nice. Breakfast was a buffet of cold cuts, breads and a small selection of hot foods. More than enough to kick-start the day right.

Stuffed to the brim and ready for productivity!

Lovely platter of pastries and cold cut sandwiches for quick lunch.

Aren’t they simply georgous?

Off to Munich! Some familiar sights and sounds from my previous trips here.

Selfie time at Marienplatz.

When in Munich, do as the locals do. Have a nice beer and do some people watching.

I could totally be a full time people watcher!

Had dinner at the Augustiner restaurant. Superb food and great atmosphere.

One of my all time favourites. Liver dumpling soup. Hot, hearty and wholesome.
Suckling Pork Roast!
Yummylicious beer.

And of course the pretzels. Oh my gosh. The salted pretzels. I want one right now damn it! So freaking good.

I really want a pretzel now.

Woke up early and had breakfast hotel. Another lovely buffet.

Needless to say I was very full.

Headed off to Austria straight after. Beautiful blue skies and cool weather. Great driving conditions. Next meal was a quick working lunch.

Sausages and pastries galore.

Stayed at Hotel Attersee. Beautiful view of the lake from my room.

Taken from my room balcony. What a view eh?

And of course next up was dinner. Yummy.

Boiled beef. Yumm. Beefy.

Followed by a lovely dessert.

Spatzle! Waffle pancake thingy with powdered sugar and steawberries.

Had a great sleep after. In the morning, had another nice breakfast and headed off to the airport back to Bangkok.

Zzzzzzzzzz.

As much as I really enjoyed the German and Austrian food and beers, I missed spicy Thai food and rice.

After landing back in Bangkok, I couldn’t help myself and got a plate of hot stuff before heading back home.

Kapau Moo Korb a.k.a. rice topped with stir fried basil and crispy pork at Lee Cafe restaurant in Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Until next time. Ciao.

20170415 Ho Chi Minh

We fly back tomorrow morning so have got to make the most out of today in Ho Chi Minh.

Another late morning but what the hey, we are on holiday! Screw the alarm clock. After breakfast at the hotel, we made our way into Benh Thanh market (aka Ben Ten – well, thats how I pronounce it anyway).

A lot of souvenirs and stuff to buy. Don’t buy from the first shop you see – visit a few and as you walk away, the vendors drop their prices like crazy. Then you will have a better gauge about what is considered to be the market price.

Settled on this beautiful large decorative plate. We were quoted 1.2m VD but ended up with one at 290k VD. I’m sure you could squeeze the price down lower but I was ok with that.

Had some lunch in the market as well.

Bowl of pho was about 60k VD. Pricey, but what is there to expect in a market filled with tourists?

A bowl of Bun Mam noodles at 60k VD. Ouch. Not cheap but at least it was very tasty.

Had some great coffee at Trung Nguyen opposite the Benh Tenh market. Cup of the special legend coffee was 150k VD, a cup of latte with jelly was 59k, and 500g of ground coffee (Sangtao 8) was about 402k VD.

Cafe Latte with Jelly 59k VD.

Decided to rest the legs a bit today. Took a taxi to the Emperor Jade Temple from our hotel which was about 60k VD. 

Entry was free.

After the temple, we went walking around and stumbled across this corner restaurant selling roast duck and chicken. Lovely.

Roast duck restaurant near the Jade Emperor temple. Not a tourist in sight which must be a good sign!

Lovely meal. Half a roast duck 130k VD. One whole chicken baked in bread / crackling? 270k VD. Didn’t order because it was too big of a portion.

Stopped by a dessert place. Ordered a Che.

Che. Dessert drink with assorted fruits and nuts. Sweet and refreshing. 17k VD.

Taxi to 718 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, 1, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam (grab car) 81k VD.

Our next stop was a famous dessert place called Quán Chè Hiển Khánh. 

Bowl of sweet syrup with fruit, glass of sago puree and some various snacks 53k VD.

We then tried to find the ‘oldest coffee shop’ nearby but it was shut for the day already.

Settled on another coffee shop nearby. Cafe Tram.

Ordered a cookies and cream coffee. 33k VD.

And finally, the highlight of the day. Went walking through narrow alley ways that peeked through the local’s houses to find this place.

Nice walk through the small alley ways. It was an interesting insight into the locals’ routine as they headed home after work.

We arrived at our destination. The famous Dao Snail Restaurant! Wow. What a great place. Packed with locals. 

Had snails, scallops, octopus, razor clams and beers. 384k VD. Bargain.

With our stomachs full, we walked back towards our hotel to wash up and rest for a little bit. 

Popped into a local massage place to soothe the aches and pains from all our walking. Foot massage for one hour was 220k VD per person. The masseurs expect tips from 50k – 100k so be prepared.

And our last stop of the night. Lets have more noodles by the street!

Simple, authentic and delicious. Dining with the locals this way was really quite enjoyable.

A bowl of noodles was about 50k VD.

And that’s it folks! Time to head back to the hotel, pack and sleep. Tomorrow we fly back to Bangkok. Ciao.