Off the Beaten Track. An Insider’s Guide of Where to Shop and What to do in Hanoi.

A street in Hanoi with temple, motorbikes shop and a bright red Vietnamese Flag

If you are hoping to get off the well-trodden tourist track or looking to buy something a little more unique during your time in Hanoi, this is my insider’s guide of the ‘best shops to visit, and things to do’ during your stay. All of these options are ones that that I personally loved when I lived there and always suggested to visiting friends.

Hanoi is a bustling and vibrant city and there is a vast amount of options for everything – dining, shopping, touring – that it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. Coupled with the fact that there is a number of less than desirable establishment that are looking to make a quick buck – usually at the tourist’s expense – it can be quite disheartening. The places on this list that I have curated are all reputable and offer quality products or services. Nearly all of which, have a strong focus on sustainability and offer fair wages to their staff and workers. This may mean they are more expensive than other options you will find in Hanoi, but you can be confident in not only the quality of your purchases, but also the positive impact of them.

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Bonito and the South Pantanal

Although I may not have been blogging frequently (if at all!) over the last year,  that does not mean to say that I have not been travelling. In fact, C and I have managed to do a number of incredible trips squeezed in-between being pregnant, having the baby and C’s very hectic travel schedule.

The most memorable of these trips was our family Christmas vacation to Bonito and South Pantanal –  a trip so incredible, that I thought it was best to share this story first!


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Chapada Imperial – and General Catch Up!

My, my, my it has been quiet around here lately – I do apologise.

I have come to the realisation that I am a terrible blogger, as I am just unable to multi-task! As soon as I have a lot on my plate, The Travelling Chopsticks get pushed to the curb side. All inspiration dries up, and I just focus on the tasks at hand.

What is that you may ask? Well – it is all quite exciting really.

  1. Teaching:  I have started to teach English privately, and currently have three students. As these are my first ‘real’ (AKA paying) students, a LOT of time has gone into researching lesson plans and finding suitable material.
  2. World Cup: Even though I am not a big football fan, the World Cup has taken up a lot of time. In fact we have had seven (I repeat SEVEN) of C’s friends come to stay with us over the last 10 days, and as you can imagine, it has been hectic!
  3.  Buying Property: C and I have decided that we are finally grown up enough that we should buy something of our own. Our natural choice is the U.S. as one day if we are ever sent back to the Mother Ship, we will be in the D.C area. The logistics and research of buying property in a country you do not live in (and in my case never lived in) is quite a challenge!
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Biking in Beautiful Buenos Aires


A few months ago, C and I spent a wonderful long weekend in Buenos Aires. It was such a magical and romantic few days, that it has taken me quite a while to let the whole experience sink in and be able to put it into words. Quite frankly the city stole my heart. The European architecture, the beautiful people, the vibrant restaurant scene – everything about Buenos Aires sang to me.

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Exploring Paris with Urban Adventures


In August on our way to visit my family in Sweden, C and I decided to stop off for a few days in Paris. C had never been to Paris before, and the last time I was in the ‘City of Lights’ was when I was backpacking around Europe with two of my very best friends after high school. Let’s just say we had different interests and budget back then, which mainly involved drinking in various European Capitals and being chased by persistent Italian men! So Paris, has always been a place that I wanted to return to and explore as a ‘grown-up’.

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Cusco and Machu Picchu – The Lazy Man’s Tour

As many of you know, C and I got married in Lima last March. It was an amazing wedding which we got to celebrate and share with our closest and dearest family and friends. It truly was one of the best days of our lives – and all those months of hard work and planning really paid off.

Due to our somewhat crazy international lifestyle, we had over 90 overseas guests attend our wedding! Seriously – C and I should have received commission from the Peruvian Tourism Board?!

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