British Colonial style in Singapore at Raffle's

We've just returned from a family holiday to Vietnam and Singapore, as those of you who follow along on Instagram will be aware. Vietnam seemed like the perfect family holiday destination for us as it's a relatively short 2 hour flight from Singapore, and it would expose our children to a totally different culture to that of home. We also wanted it to be a holiday centring on relaxation - it's been a busy year for all of us. So Hoi An in Vietnam ticked all the boxes. It's located on the coast in the mid part of Vietnam and while it is technically currently Winter there, it enjoys a tropical climate, so it was a mild 25-28C most days. Warm enough to swim, but not so hot that walking around the old town of Hoi An was unpleasant.

 Temple rooftop in Hoi An resplendent with Dragons

 Hoi An was formally a trading port, and is now Unesco World Heritage Listed with an interesting mix of Japanese, Chinese and French Colonial Architecture dating from the 15th - 19th Centuries. Mr AV and I had holidayed through Vietnam 11 years ago, and loved it then, so I suppose you could say we'd already done some reconnaissance regarding the logistics of a family holiday and did not feel particularly daunted about taking youngish children there. Personally I feel it is a far safer destination than Bali, which is the default Asian family holiday spot for many Australians. 

The Japanese Bridge, which dates to 1590

Inside the bridge there are several shrines, this one has a monkey

Timber post construction inside the Japanese Bridge

We stayed in two hotels whilst there - the first, Anantara, is located on the river very close to the old town which made it easy to walk into the centre with the children. It's designed in a French Colonial style, and was a lovely base. The second hotel, Nam Hai, was one of the resorts located a 10-15 minute drive out of town on the beach and comprised the 'relaxation' element of the trip. It's been designed by a French Architect in the style of minimalist, modern Chinese pavilion style, and is very elegant.



While all the resorts on the beach offer free shuttle bus services into Hoi An town, we felt that when our children became tired it would be far easier if we could just walk 5 minutes back to the hotel (or rickshaw them there while the rest of us walked), rather than wait for the next shuttle to a resort, hence why we broke the trip into two separate places to stay.

The two youngest being cycled in a rickshaw back to the hotel

You can get direct international flights into Da Nang (the nearest large city approximately 30 minutes drive away from Hoi An), so it made for an easy travel destination all round. The car ride did not seem long to the children as they were completely fascinated watching the traffic and the lack of apparent road rules, the strange things being carried on the back of scooters (animals, stock for shops), and the families of three on one scooter zooming past. While I would have loved to go back to Hanoi and also shown them Hue (the former imperial city), we decided staying put in Hoi An would be the go this time around. It was also easier to navigate due to the lack of traffic - the old town is blocked to scooters and cars, so is perfectly safe for pedestrians.

A street full of tailors

A shop that sold bamboo bicycles and straw baskets

Hoi An is charming - it's famous for its many tailors, although having overindulged in bad tailoring 11 years ago I avoided them like the plague this time (no one with a 12 hour turnaround time is going to do a stellar job in my opinion).



They are also well known for their hanging lanterns, made in all different shapes and covered in silk, which are strung up all through the town and lit up at night to give quite a magical effect .




Other Vietnamese specialties are well represented in the town shops such as lacquer, objects made of Water Buffalo horn (they shed them naturally and they are then crafted into small bowls, salad servers, necklaces and hair pins), beautifully hand embroidered linens and bags and items made from silk. Sadly there are now a reasonable number of shops selling polyester Polo Ralph Lauren polo shirts and vinyl Louis Vuitton and Mulberry bags - I suppose it is inevitable that when Western tourists arrive in any quantity in Asia these items start to become popular, and from conversations I overheard most visitors left with entire new suitcases full of extra stuff they'd bought.


The children found the bartering aspect fascinating (and the performance that goes along with it), and the fresh food market with the stallholders produce set out on the sides of the roads - mounds of fresh coriander, ginger, salad ingredients, dragon fruit, women walking past with the traditional shoulder poles carrying baskets with fresh fish in totally them eye opening. There was a stall that sold live chickens in small bamboo cages (not sure whether to eat or for eggs, but you do see a lot of chickens wandering about roadside just out of town). It was no sanitised Western style market, and nor are the buildings a scrubbed clean Disney- style old town. There is a lot of patina in Hoi An still. It's all surrounded by rice paddies tended by workers wearing traditional conical hats and Water Buffalo and was a good eye opener to our children as to how people in other countries live.

French Colonial style at Hill Station cafe in Hoi An

I have always loved Vietnamese food and all bar one meal we had was exceptionally good (that meal was in a tourist trap style place that overlooks the river where they float lit rice paper lanterns down in the evening. The food was ok, but definitely not exceptional. View was good). Vietnamese food relies on fresh, clean tasting ingredients with lots of herbs. Hoi An has a lot of seafood locally caught, and the dressing and sauce flavours are sharp/sweet/clean tasting without so much of the chilli heat other Asian countries, such as the Thai, have. They are also very fond of a baguette, and their pastries are delicious (the French influence). Our favourites were the White Rose dumplings, a specialty of Hoi An (they have shrimp and pork in the centre and are very delicate in flavour and texture), and the Vietnamese Omelette, Banh Xeo, in which you cut the omelette into pieces and wrap in a section of rice paper with fresh herbs and salad leaves before dipping in a sauce served on the side. Delicious and something I'm going to look up to make at home. The small clay Hot Pots of curry are also worth trying, so delicious. 

some sort of green mango salad and shredded chicken for lunch


One restaurant I'd recommend (and we ate there 11 years ago and enjoyed it then too) is the Brother's Cafe. It's just out of the old town, near the Anantara Hotel on the river. It's got an absolutely charming courtyard to dine in on the river, and at night is lit up with lanterns.

Brother's Cafe in Hoi An, which is housed in a French Colonial style building

All up it was an excellent family holiday - the highlight for me was walking out of the hotel one morning with an enormous bag full of laundry and having the 4 women, who have enterprisingly set up laundry services at the gates, begin fighting for the job. If only that happened at home. Returning home with a suitcase full of clean clothes after a family holiday was a miracle in itself.


There was also a lot of design inspiration all around me. While we didn't buy a lot, the beautiful details in the Hotels in both Singapore and Vietnam, the French Colonial and Chinese influences of the old town of Hoi An, their use of colour, traditional screens, pots and mood lighting were all inspirational in themselves. I could really get a sense of where the Australian/ British Interior Designer Anoushka Hemple found inspiration.

tiny tea pot

And as for what my souvenirs of the holiday were (aside from the happy memories and many photos), I purchased a tiny tea pot for one with tiny tea canisters of tea leaves from TWG tea in Singapore. You can buy the tea in David Jones' stores in Australia, but the range in Singapore was far larger, and the teapot was so charming I couldn't resist. The teapot has an insulating sleeve around it and literally brews only a single cup, so is perfect for me.

Halong Bay, still from the movie Indochine

My Hoi An purchase was a set of napkin rings carved from a single shell for each. They're apparently made up in North Vietnam in Halong Bay (If you've ever seen the movie starring Catherine Deneuve, Indochine, then you'll remember the stunning beauty of Halong Bay which was the second star of the movie, and if you haven't watched the movie then seek it out as it is beautiful). Another great movie, shot around Hoi An, is The Quiet American starring Michael Caine. And with that I think I'm off to do a binge watch of both those movies and relive a fantastic holiday. Hopefully we will return to Vietnam far sooner than in another 11 years.

46 comments:

  1. I loved Hoi An. And you make an excellent point regarding it being safer than Bali
    Thanks for the post- love reading travel tales x

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    1. I guess Bali is cheaper in air fairs which makes it more attractive to many, but really, it was surprising the number of people that regarded us taking the children to Vietnam as dangerous, whereas it's a politically stable country with no terrorism. Glad to hear you loved Hoi An too, I think most people do that go there! x

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  2. You're back and you are back! Hoi An is one of the few places in Asia along with Burma and Nepal I want to visit. I haven't done India but for some reason it doesn't call me. Isn't Vietnam so underrated don't you think? The patina is just wonderful and like a set for a World of Interiors shoot. I need to try and squeeze it in. Did your kids have a go at bartering too or did they just wonder why they don't do that at Myers? Bet they had an amazing time and it all looks wonderful! x

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    1. You really have to get to Vietnam - you'd absolutely love it. It's developed a lot since we were there last, but it's still very authentically Vietnam and not yet big international Asia like a lot of other places - the patina in all places you go to is lovely. Hue would be an interesting destination for you too. The oldest tried a bit of half hearted bartering, but they were slightly stunned by the whole thing to be honest! It was pretty funny. They couldn't believe the fighting that broke out amongst the laundry women. Am definitely back and have a lot of blog posts in me so will try to get a few out over the next few weeks!! x

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  3. Loved this post.We're looking for a large group family holiday...would you say that the areas you stayed/visited were expensive or mid range? Thank you.
    Linda C.

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    1. Hi Linda, it's the perfect destination for a large family group holiday I think. Vietnam in general is very cheap for good quality accommodation, and there is a larger jump up in quality for not a lot of extra money in hotels (so for instance you'll find a big difference between the hotels that are $150/ night to $200/ night). The Anantara wasn't terribly expensive for the quality, around $200/ night per room which included a large buffet breakfast and is 4 star with good quality, nicely decorated rooms and very helpful staff. Nam Hai is expensive, but for comparable levels of resorts in Australia/ or elsewhere overseas it was reasonable for the inclusions and service and overall exceptional quality. Eating out in restaurants is fairly cheap in Vietnam too, and the shopping/ tourist activities are not expensive. It will depend on what time of year you go though - mid year is peak season, this is off season, but I personally wouldn't go in July as the heat would be pretty stifling. Hope that helps!

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  4. I dislike most travel posts but this was so interesting. It makes me even want to go there. You might not realize what an accomplishment that is. That first photo is stunning. Glad the kids loved it and you even got a souvenir! It's a terrible fact that the restaurants with the best views seem to have the worst food. I must see Indochine.

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    1. I'm always hesitant to post travel things as I think blogs with travel stuff can sort of run the risk of being the modern day slide show… not particularly interesting for anyone else, so I'm glad to hear it was interesting!
      So agree about the restaurant observation and Yes, you really have to see Indochine. You will love it. The scenery, costumes, Catherine Deneuve… it's all brilliant.

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  5. Lovely holiday Heidi - my husband and I stayed at Anantara a few years ago and had a wonderful week in Hoi An. We were lucky enough to meet a local photographer who took us way down river before dawn to see the fishermen raising their nets - and then on to a local village market - we were the only tourists there. It was a fabulous experience -but I probably wouldn't have gone if the boys were with us. I'd love to take them back for a beach holiday. I would not be going to Bali given current warnings - I think my job makes me rather careful. x

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    1. The fishing experience sounds fantastic Ann. We didn't get to do those sorts of things due to the children, it was more walking and looking, and trying new food… but the larger component was the beach side part which they loved as well. It was a good mix. Bali I haven't been to since I was 19, and will not likely ever go to again. Not only has tourism completely exploded since I went there 22 years ago, the spectre of terrorism is very real. x

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    2. Oh Heidi - one more thing !
      When you come to Melbourne (and have time) you should perhaps try House of Hoi An - opened recently by Miss Vy who has three restaurants in Hoi An - it's just off Chapel at the Windsor end. I went when it had only been open a couple of weeks and enjoyed it. Food lovely. I'll go back sometime soon and see how it's settled in.
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/food-wine/house-of-hoi-an-destiny-leads-us-from-vietnam-to-melbourne/news-story/74bd70257e4e5a3057a152d232d27e0c
      http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/food-news/just-open-house-of-hoi-an-windsor-20151022-gkfwk9.html

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    3. Ooh - will definitely look it up, although haven't done a lot of travel to Melb the past year, hopefully I'll get back a bit more this year. x

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  6. Hi Heidi, yes, Hoi An is delightful, though sometimes I thought it was a little Disney-ish. A sort of 'Asia-lite' experience. But delightful nevertheless and worth seeing if only for the wonderful lanterns, aged buildings etc. I did a cooking school experience at Hoi An, which included a visit to the market to buy ingredients then a boat ride down the river to the purpose built (and very beautiful) cooking school. Cook, eat, drink. Wonderful. Halong Bay is so astonishingly beautiful but is also now FULL of tourist boats doing the overnight cruise thing. Of dear, I sound negative. I don't mean to be. I loved Vietnam and was astonished at the vitality and entrepreneural spirit of the place. If time permits visits to Saigon, Hanoi etc are essential.
    But see Vietnam soon I think. Before it does indeed become thoroughly Westernised or a tourist cliche like poor old Bali.
    I loved seeing your photos. I need to go back one more time.
    Thank you, Judith (aka another tailoring tragic from Hoi An)

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    1. I would have loved to do a cooking school Judith, it sounds fantastic - the food was so good, I'm definitely going to be seeking out recipes to make it at home.
      That's sad about Halong Bay, although it doesn't surprise me. We went on a day boat trip 11 years ago, and there were already a lot of tourists in boats, but still reasonably authentic. Apparently it's a popular honeymoon destination with Mainlander Chinese and Halong town already had a couple of very ugly high rises back then, so I'm sure development has boomed. It was interesting to hear the views of local Vietnamese on the Mainlander tourists (they don't like them, and one hotel told me that they limited the numbers staying as otherwise they annoy other guests!). They seem to be the Asian tourist that everyone loathes (they are considered rude and loud).
      Laughing that you too fell trap to the tailors! I think everyone does… so this time I was strong, and propped up the local economy in other ways.

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  7. Dear Heidi, what a lovely post on your family holiday to Vietnam. We holidayed in Nha Trang with our kids last July and found the people, culture and food wonderful. Thanks for the hotel recommendations, we never travelled to Hoi An but maybe one day will be lucky to return. Welcome back. Karen

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    1. The people are really lovely, I didn't mention that but they have such a lovely, gentle manner to them. I've not been to Nha Trang before, or anywhere further south than Hoi An, but maybe when we get back we'll do a bit more travel around the country. x

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  8. Hi Heidi, I loved reading about your family holiday to Vietnam. My husband and I lived in Hanoi years ago, and we managed to fit in quite a lot of travel while we were there, so reading about your stay in Hoi An brings back a lot of lovely memories. We used to go to a beautiful restaurant called Brother's Cafe in Hanoi. I didn't realise there was one in Hoi An as well. I know of those movies that you mentioned, but have not seen either of them. I will definitely be adding them to my 'To Watch' list – thank you! Denita

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    1. They're the same restaurant! Owned by the man who owns Khai Silk. He also has a small hotel in Hoi An, which we stayed in the first time we were there, called the Riverside Resort. It's still exactly the same (the restaurant), which was a nice surprise. How lucky you were to live in Hanoi for a time. You definitely need to see the movies, I'm sure you'll enjoy them a lot. x

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  9. Heidi, So nice to see a post - have been missing them! What a lovely family holiday! Had a journalist friend who lived in Ho Chi Minh City for a couple of years as a Volunteer Abroad and she loved it and travelled around a lot. Though she had a rather scary experience at Ha Long Bay - they were offered the chance of taking a swim off the boat but the current was very strong and she couldn't swim well enough to get back to it. Luckily one of the other tourists spotted her difficulties and she was picked up and saved. Have always wanted to visit Ha Long Bay after seeing the fabulous Indochine. But somehow when we were doing holidays in/or work trips to Asia (eg Sri Lanka, China, Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, HK, Thailand, Japan etc) we never made it to Vietnam. Now we mostly just go to Europe with stopovers in Singers. So don't think we'll get there. But I do love Raffles - so beautiful and gorgeous ambience. Their breakfasts are superb too - love the Singapore (or is it the Raffles?) omelette - also the absolute best eggs benny. They have a historian on the staff and you can book a private tour of the hotel with him and he'll tell you lots of interesting stories about the hotel, its famous guests and staff - and how they shot a tiger there. The newish Singapore garden domes are fantastic - also, specially love the orchid gardens at the Botanical Gardens. Pammie xx

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    1. We went through Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, which was fabulous - loved the domes. Also loved Raffles as it's so old school. It has a real sense of place, which we like in a Hotel. Too many of the hotels in Singapore are just big modern anonymous Asia style, and you could really be anywhere. I suppose when you worked near to Vietnam it wasn't really open for tourism? My parents went around 22 years ago, and it really had no tourism at all. THey had government appointed tour guides who were with them all the time (to ensure they didn't talk to locals, and the tour guides would report back on their movements), and there were literally only two hotels in Saigon to stay in that remained from pre war days. It's changed a lot since then! Will try to write a bit more and get back into normal posting, just needed a break from blogging and a holiday in general! xx

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    2. Heidi
      If you're ever spending a couple of days in Bangkok, try the Hotel Sukhothai in South Sathorn Rd. It's only about 20 or so years old but designed (strangely enough by an American architect, Tuttle I think) as low rise buildings with Thai furnishings and fittings - in subtle neutrals - beautiful teak, Thai silk, white orchids, bronzes, huge bathrooms bigger than most Paris hotel rooms. Have stayed there quite a lot in the past so they often give us a complimentary upgrade to a suite - absolutely fab. The buildings are constructed around beautiful pools and fountains with tropical foliage and Buddhist statues and stupas. It has a wonderful ambience and also a real sense of place.
      It's situated way back from the main road down a private access road. Last time we were there the security people stopped all cars entering and checked underneath with those special bomb detecting mirrors. Seemed then to be more security conscious than the Oriental. It's quite near embassies and major business addresses so often guests are visiting foreign diplomats or senior business people. One of our former Foreign Ministers loved this place. Pammie

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    3. That sounds absolutely lovely Pammie - I'll definitely file it away for any future trips to Bangkok. I think as we do spend a lot of time in our hotels, due to the children's ages, I like them to be part of the experience as well. We're not really able to be out and about 18 hours a day due to early bed times etc. Hopefully we'll get to do a lot more travel in the next few years, now the kids are at an age where they are able to manage the flights well. THey've been playing 'airports' since we got home! (lots of weighing of luggage and serious stamping of pretend passports going on).

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    4. Pity you can't see FB. Naomi just posted some pics of the Sukhothai - she says it's one of her fave hotels in the world. Though struggling a bit now because of all the new hotel openings - and I suspect also there might have been a reduction in tourism numbers in the upper brackets following the political problems and street violence of a few years ago. Pammie

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    5. I'll go check her insta account - occasionally I miss Facebook, but Insta will work as a stand in! xx

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  10. Hi there Heidi,
    what stunning photos. Vietnam is on my bucket list and your photos show it to be even more beautiful than I thought. Looks like a great destination for the family, I thought it would be too much hussle and bustle for young kids, but it looks really serene. Vietnamese food is my fave so would be in my element.
    My sister snd husband lived there and worked in newspaper there for a year or so and she said it was wonderful how everyone used everything they bought without thinking of it as eco, making plant holders out of their yoghurt containers and so on. Thanks for the wonderful photos

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    1. You definitely need to go there Jody, I think you'd love it. The people are really lovely, and culturally it's at a really interesting point at the moment. How lucky your sister and husband were to live there too. I think, give your love of adventure travel, you'd find it a really interesting country. Also finding out about their history from their perspective (they call the War the "American War" and view their current communist regime positively as prior to that they'd been colonised by the Chinese and then the French, and then saw the Americans as invading them, so for them it was a war of Independence) is really interesting . xx

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  11. Your holiday looks lovely Heidi. Did you stay at the Raffles in Singapore? One of our favourite places in Singapore is Gardens by the Bay. My husband thinks working at the Gardens would be the perfect retirement job for him. No corporate stress, the perfect temperature inside the domes, lovely piped music and he could tend to the plants to his heart's content! Have not been to Vietnam before, but we are heading off on a Mekong River cruise from Ho Chi Min City to Siam Riep in March. We would then like to go back and spend some time exploring the coastal areas of Vietnam. Did your children find the flying okay? Hope you have a great week Heidi. Jo xx PS That little teapot is divine!

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    1. Yes we did Jo, and absolutely loved it, it was a very comfortable base and they made a real fuss of the children which was lovely. We took them to Gardens by the Bay too, and it was amazing! Such a feat of engineering, but the planting schemes are beautiful and very interesting too. Your upcoming cruise sounds fab. We'd like to take the children to Siam Riep next time we are there - we flew through the airport on our way back to Singapore and it was so temptingly close to us. Kids all flew well, which was great so we may start venturing further afield from now on. x

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  12. It's true, back in our Asian days, Vietnam wasn't a tourist destination. Neither was Burma of course but we had friends at our Embassy there and they'd invited us for a visit. In many ways it was similar to Sri Lanka during the time we lived there - old colonial buildings that were very rundown, exuberantly tropical and Buddhist. The Shwe Dagon was so worth visiting though - and the old colonial private houses were stunningly beautiful and had such ambience. But our hosts' home had a night watchman who used to strike the hours on a gong - all night! We even went to a British Embassy performance of "The Importance of Being Ernest" in a local hall. All so old school colonial.
    Last time we were in Singers we went on a private tour of their Buddhist and Taoist temples. Fascinating and quite beautiful.
    Our family are off to Fiji for eight days in a couple of weeks. Have just heard now that the girls don't want to go, especially the younger one. They're so looking forward to going back to school with their friends and also don't want to miss any school work. But our son has been longing for short break before the busy year gets going. Glad you had such a lovely holiday and break away - great idea getting all the laundry done too before packing the bags to return. Pammie

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    1. I'm sure the girls will adjust well once they're there! And how lovely to have a relaxing family break in Fiji together. As for the laundry - I wish I could smuggle one of the women home with me!! While I didn't have the laundry mountain to get through on our return I still feel like I've been doing a lot ever since we've returned! xx

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  13. Sounds like a wonderful family holiday and so good to see some Aussies venture to other Asian countries instead of Bali!
    I'm planning my first trip to Vietnam later this year, will probably stay in Hanoi as my brothers girlfriend lives there so she can be our personal tour guide. A trip to Halong Bay is a must too so I'd better watch that movie before I go :)

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    1. Poor old Bali is a little overrun now with Aussies I fear! That's great you'll be visiting so soon, I'd love to go back to Hanoi, and there's lots to do nearby. Halong Bay was a day trip for us when we went 11 years ago, and it was a great experience. Definitely watch all the Vietnam movies before you go Michelle! x

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  14. Luff this post H.

    Indochine is Mr FF's favourite, I hate the scene where the girl is in water up to her NECK.

    xxxx

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    1. Mr FF and I are twins I tell you!! TWINS! xx

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  15. What a wonderful trip... I so enjoyed your photos on insta. I'm so glad that you had a good time. It is a very beautiful country. I'm sure I will be back, but it will be bittersweet for me as my father just adored it and spent so much time there. My best buys were tablecloths/linens, silver and the silk (completely agree on your comments about tailoring). I remember Mr. Khai very well - he used to sell knock-off bags in own of his shops in Hanoi, but went upmarket over the years ;) xxx

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    1. So funny re the knock off bags. That was obviously before I was there last 11 years ago. He does have lovely things in his shops. But the table linen is gorgeous! I remember those streets that lead up to the Opera House in Hanoi that had all the best shops with the French companies that have all their embroidery done there. Stunning things. I'm sure though for you all those memories that returning will bring up will be hard, even if they're happy ones. xx

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  16. HI AV. We found Vietnamese people to be more angry, aggressive, poor and resentful than the Thai. (Understandably so). We loved Raffles, despite the eternal tourists, and the Gardens by the Sea and the Zoos.Deb.

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    1. Hi Deb, I'm surprised you found such hostility in Vietnam? Which area were you in? We found when last there that Hue had an uncomfortable undercurrent (even though most people were polite), but that was an area that had significant devastation from the War (including deforestation by Agent Orange), and the physical scars were still evident from it. Gardens by the Sea are fantastic, and such an engineering feat x

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  17. Heidi what a gorgeous holiday! So interesting because we never think of going to Vietnam but now it is on my list. I would have wanted to bring home all of the straw baskets but that wouldn't be very easy. What an experience for your children too and I love that you think outside-of-the-box as far as family-friendly holidays go.
    I have to watch Indochine now which I have never seen. Thank you for taking us with you and sharing the beauty. I bet you feel really inspired by everything you saw which is that brilliant side-effect of interesting travel, it's so energizing! XOX

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    1. I'm sure you'd love it Dani, it really does have something for everyone there, and I know we'll all go back. We've spent a lot of our holiday time in Australia up until now, so it's great to now spread our wings a little with the children and go further afield. And yes, feel so energised by the trip and ready for the year now! xx

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  18. Hello Heidi,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post from your hols. The photos give your viewers a rich visual of what you experienced. I adored the architecture and colors and I could almost smell the place - it all looked to be so appealing.

    I had a good chuckle when you wrote about the tailoring turnaround time. Yup, take it from the daughter of a Savile Row tailor, you ain't gotta get much for that! Wise to avoid.

    I loved your little teapot and it reminded me of those Art Deco-era British ones (they made coffee pots too). I purchased on in London years ago for a collector friend and it was so lovely, I was tempted to keep it, but did not.

    Welcome back and thanks for sharing your travelogue with us.

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    1. The smell of the place made me laugh, as our first night home when my youngest picked up his bear to sleep with he gave him a big sniff and said "he smells like Vietnam still!"
      I did think you'd find the tailoring turn around time a little hasty! Definitely no multiple fittings etc there, and while some of the places had good fabrics a lot of them were full of horrible poly blends. It was definitely hit or a lot of misses. I think a lot of people on the backpacking route stop in for a refresh of their wardrobes, so perhaps they're not so discerning?! xx

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  19. What a treat! We are 95% sure that we will be honeymooning in Vietnam next year. I've been following your adventures on Instagram as I start to map out the trip. It looks like your holiday was magical: what a wonderful experience for your children!

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    1. You will have a wonderful time Jen, I just love Vietnam - still such a sense of place and the food is fabulous. It's also vastly different from North to South. If you're there in Summer then go up to Sapa in the mountains in the North- unfortunately it's too snowy in January, but the train ride up there and the beautiful architecture are supposed to be amazing. x

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  20. Would love to see pics of your room at raffles
    You did stay at raffles, didn't you?
    P xx

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    1. I didn't take any photos of the rooms without people in them, so not for publishing on the blog... the professional ones on the website are always better than my iPhone pics anyway!

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