Happy 2019! How has everyone been? I’ve missed being here, and am glad to be back from our Asia travels, ready to tackle the new year.
Naturally, my first post of the new year is filled with travel pictures from my family’s visit to Hong Kong, Vietnam (Hanoi and Nha Trang), Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and our hometown of Indore, India.
We had a great time these past three weeks, and even though we’re back to reality, the effect of heartwarming Asian hospitality and their flavorful food will definitely linger for weeks.
The pictures I’m sharing are a combination of my camera and iphone. Enjoy a glimpse into our trip below!
The first stop of the trip did not disappoint. Big Buddha statue on Lantau Island, the stunning city views from Victoria Peak, catching up with cousins and an old friend Aliena, plus lots and lots of delicious food are what filled our days in Hong Kong. The girls refused to start their day without a dip in the hotel pool, so we also had that to look forward to every morning.
Cable car ride to Lantau Island
The Big Buddha and a couple of enthusiastic tourists : )
Po Lin Monastery
Stunning Views from Victoria Peak
Focusing on the food, there were two meals I found very memorable. The first meal was served at a tiny joint close to our hotel (I can’t even remember the name!). The savory chicken dish with noodles was phenomenal, and just hit the spot since it was our first hot meal after a long flight. The other favorite one was at Ming Court — I’ve never had a more delicious braised lamb pot before. So gratifying!
Traveling by foot is one of our favorite ways to explore any city. From traditional flower markets and hole in the wall food joints to more modern and developed parts of the city — we walked as much as we could, taking in all the sights and sounds. The markets were flooded with Christmas decorations and the festive feeling was definitely in the air.
Beautiful Orchids at Hong Kong Flower Market
Central, Hong Kong
My husband’s family traveled from India and joined us in Hanoi. There was now ten of us moving forward for the rest of the trip! The girls were elated to see their cousins (aka built-in babysitters – thank you!), and we were so glad to spend some quality time with everyone.
Hanoi is such an interesting city — a glorious paradox of traditional and modern. On one hand, they have very crowded streets, busy markets with tons of local vendors, and ad hoc traffic patterns. On the other hand, the city offers beautiful cafes (a result of the French influence), restaurants, and architecture that one can expect from any modern city. These aspects reminded me of parts of India (with a Vietnamese twist) in so many ways.
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Ceramic Mosaic Mural Wall, Hanoi
The touristy highlights were a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and a day trip to Ha Long Bay. The kids enjoyed a local puppet show while the rest of us enjoyed walking around the bustling streets and window shopping.
Exploring caves in Halong Bay
The two most memorable meals were at Cao Go (here we indulged on delectable local cuisine) and Dalcheeni (to satisfy our Indian taste buds) Yumm!
Nha Trang, Vietnam
To makeup for the girls’ dismay, due to the lack of a beach during our last spring break trip to Charleston, we definitely wanted to add a salt water destination this time. After the hustle-bustle of busy cities, Nha Trang was low key for everyone. Most of us adults are not really beach people, but watching the kids bursting with excitement as they played in the waves was pure joy. Other highlights were drinking fresh coconut juice, eating custard apples and other tropical fruits, flying kites we bought locally, and enjoying walks by the beach.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh was extremely hot, with temperatures over 90 degrees! We had to keep taking breaks to cool off. It had also been about two weeks since we had been traveling, and while we were having a great time, we were ready to fly to India for the last leg of our journey.
Exploring local markets, experiencing innovative farm to table restaurants (La Pergola was a favorite), and a visit to the beautiful Royal Palace were some of our favorite parts. We were surprised the USD was locally accepted almost everywhere!
We would love to visit again and travel deeper into Vietnam and Cambodia — there is so much more to explore and appreciate in these beautiful countries.
Lotus flowers for offerings in front of a Buddhist temple
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Central Market, Phnom Penh
These two refused to leave until I bought them shoes!
A couple flights and layovers later, we were finally in our hometown of Indore. We had a week here and many loved ones to meet. Plus, an endless amount of utterly delicious homemade food to eat. Without wasting any time, we got down to business right away!
Visiting Indore is always so special — my husband and I are both born and raised here. It’s fun to revisit old haunts, catch up with family and friends, and give the girls a peek into our childhood.
A week flew by way too quickly. Soon enough, after the girls got some well deserved rest, we were boarding the plane for another long journey back to Boston.
It’s always challenging to return back to the freezing New England weather in January, especially after leaving behind our families and the gorgeous weather. Mentally, I’m still in Asia enjoying the lush greenery and soaking in the warm sun. Sigh.
Happy place, Indore, India