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The 15 Best Markets For Taking Stunning Pictures

A Personal Selection of Markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and South America

Woman smoking at the 5-Day Market on Inle Lake, Myanmar - The five villages on the shore of Lake Inle take turns, so there is actually a market each day of the week.

Woman smoking at the 5-Day Market on Inle Lake, Myanmar – The five villages on the shore of Lake Inle take turns, so there is actually a market each day of the week.

No matter where I travel, I immensely enjoy visiting markets. Many of them, especially in Africa & in Asia, but also in the Middle East & in South America, are an assault on your senses: colorful and at times disorientating, aromatic or even intoxicating, vibrant and eventually hectic places… But this is where “the real life” can be found, so different from touristic highlights (though some markets have turned extremely popular in the last years, also amongst tour groups…) Continue Reading →

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Markets Around The World – A Selection Of 40 Pictures

A Photo Essay on Markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and South America

Bac Ha Sunday Market, North Vietnam

Bac Ha Sunday Market, North Vietnam

No matter where I travel, I immensely enjoy visiting markets. Many of them, especially in Africa & in Asia, but also in the Middle East & in South America, are an assault on your senses: colorful and at times disorientating, aromatic or even intoxicating, vibrant and eventually hectic places… But this is where “the real life” can be found, so different from touristic highlights (though some markets have turned extremely popular in the last years, also amongst tour groups…)

Here you find a selection of 40 pictures I took at markets in Asia (China, Myanmar, Vietnam & India), in Africa (Ethiopia & Senegal), in the Middle-East (Oman) & in South America (Colombia & Bolivia). Continue Reading →

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Vietnam – A Selection Of 42 Pictures

Opera House at Night, Ho Chi Minh City

Opera House at Night, Ho Chi Minh City

We visited Vietnam twice: in 2003, we spent 4 weeks there, discovering the main highlights of a country that was already popular but not overrun: Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, the Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay and last but not least SaPa.

In 2015, Gilles spent 5 weeks there alone, and tried to visit, along with the main “highlights”, some lesser known parts of the country: Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Tam Coc, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Sapa & Bac Ha. Continue Reading →

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Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Vietnam

An Amazing Experience… If You Go Off The Beaten Track!

Full Moon Festival, Old Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Full Moon Festival, Old Town of Hoi An

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

We visited Vietnam twice: in 2003, we spent 4 weeks there, discovering the main highlights of a country that was already popular but not overrun: Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, the Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay and last but not least SaPa.

In 2015, Gilles spent 5 weeks there alone, and tried to visit, along with the main “highlights”, some lesser known parts of the country: Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Tam Coc, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Sapa & Bac Ha.

Continue Reading →

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Grand Escapades’ Budget Guide To Vietnam

Easy To Travel On A Budget

Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh

Type Of Travel

We are basically Flashpackers and this is how we traveled both times we visited Vietnam, in 2003 & 2015. We prefer to stay in hostels or local guesthouses, but always stay in private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Longer distance we covered by plane, like Ho Chi Minh City to Danang. Good food is important to us, this can be a food stall, small local restaurants and maybe a cocktail sipped on the roof terrace of an international hotel. Continue Reading →

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SaPa Rice Terraces & Bac Ha Sunday Market

A Photo Essay Of Northern Vietnam

Bac Ha Sunday Market, North Vietnam

Bac Ha Sunday Market, North Vietnam

Given that Vietnam is a very large country, five weeks simply weren’t enough. Like usually, the rushing sets in at the end of a trip. So four days was all we could spend in Vietnam’s scenic Northwest, focusing on SaPa and Bac Ha. In each place we moved around independently, avoiding tours! Continue Reading →

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Surf Halong Bay – Turf Tam Coc

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

It is all about limestone. At Halong Bay the tree covered outcrops rise from the emerald ocean, making it THE tourist attraction in Vietnam. At Tam Coc they stick out like pillars from bright green rice paddies. Hard to say, which one is more spectacular! We think it is best to start with Tam Coc, a two-hours drive south of Hanoi and then head for Halong Bay (even better to Cat Ba directly) since the latter might be the more spectacular one of the two. Continue Reading →

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Halong Bay – Tourism In The Fast Lane

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Yes, Halong Bay is a place of sheer beauty. Unique! The tree covered limestone outcrops rising from the emerald ocean create such a spectacular seascape you want to inhale it, so it won’t leave you.

Needless to say, to explore this splendor you need a boat. The options are numerous. Since most tourists travel in groups, their cruises are pre-arranged. Individual travelers have a wide choice of anything from a private junk to the typical packed cruise boats. Whatever you choose, the tours are organized by “Travel Agencies” all offering the same itineraries, taking everybody to exactly the same places, at the very same time, to a very limited part of the very vast Halong Bay! Imagine there are almost 2.000 islands and islets waiting to be discovered… Continue Reading →

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5 Reasons To Stay In Phong Nha Longer Than You Planned…

Paradise Cave, Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Phong Nha, Vietnam

Paradise Cave, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Southeast Asia and was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2003. Only after Hang Son Doong, the Mountain River Cave, was identified as the world’s biggest in 2009, tourists started arriving.

Nevertheless, there is much more to Phong Nha than “only” caves. It is actually a great place to spend a lot more time than what we had planned…

 

Continue Reading →

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Central Vietnam… Clearly Not As Expected!

Not less than three different UNESCO World Heritage sites are packed into in a relatively compact area in Central Vietnam:

Full Moon Festival, Old Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Full Moon Festival, Old Town of Hoi An

The Old City of Hoi An

Its new semi-pedestrian zone makes the perfect place for strolling and breathing in the unique colonial charm of this ancient town. The lovely one-story buildings (most painted in dark yellow) have quaint pillars, wooden balconies and roofs made of tiles. Continue Reading →

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