What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon.

Hello everyone i’m here to tell you about what to do during short weekend in Ho Chi Minh.

Ok what to do:

Bitexco Financial tower. Go to the observation sky deck. It’s an incredible view. I loved being up there and seeing all of the city. You have 360degree view out over Saigon and you can even look through telescopes to zoom in different areas you want to explore.

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Get yourself a hotel with a pool to catch that early morning sun. We went to the rooftop of out hotel Sunland every morning to set ourselves up for the day. It can get pretty hot in Ho Chi Minh so having a place to dip in and cool off was perfect.

Go to the War remnants museum. Though this can get a little tough at points the war museum is a good way to get to know what the Vietnamese have been though. It’s all obviously very biased and full of propaganda but, it does give you an insight.

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Marvel at the Saigon Notre-Dame , it’s hard to believe this is in Vietnam really, the Notre Dame is bigger than i expected and equally as beautiful. Well worth a stroll to see. I recommend getting an ice-cream from the shop on the corner before hand too.

Visit the Post Office, which by the way is HUGE! Just over the road from the Notre Dame, the central post office is more than your regular old post office. Look up high to see the fantastic murals.

Walk around the markets, Ben Thanh market in particular really shows off Ho Chi Minh as a city. The front is full of stalls, beautiful fabrics, intricate trinkets, handmade items as far as the eye can see, from models of boats, to great big fans and rip-off designer clothing. It is a bustling room of everything you could every hoard. At the back there is a small food section also, probably not the most clean of areas to eat in, we gave it a miss but it smelt delicious.

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Visit Tao Dan park, this park is incredibly picturesque. Spend time strolling around here. It’s the perfect spot to take a packed lunch to also. Sit amongst the flowers, cactus, pagodas and lakes for an easy afternoon.

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Head to the Jazz Cafe in the evening, the music is incredible. Be aware though they add a cover fee of 100,000vnd PER PERSON to the bill for the artists and a further 15% tip. So you need to be loaded to enjoy more than one drink here. We had one drink each and between three of us it was around 900,000vnd.

What/Where to eat?
Bun Cha – Just north of the Tao Dan park there is an amazing Bun Cha place you cant miss it
Pizza 4ps – There are two in HCM and it’s the best pizza in Vietnam
Cuba La Casa Del Mojito – Tapas and incredible cocktails paired with a free salsa lesson. Dance and drink you night away!
Sancho Cantina – Mexican . Need i say anymore.

Anyway, there’s my quick easy summary of my highlights.

Thanks for reading

Danielle
X

 

 

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165, Finding myself and continuing to climb. 

I write to you today sat on step number 164 of the mua caves viewpoint of Ninh Binh.Knowing I will not reach the top it’s hard not to feel defeated.

See I’m usually physically pretty fit. I can walk and hike and could handle 500 steps but a week ago I sprained my ankle and today my body says no more and it sucks.


As my five other friends continue to the top my FOMO kicks in. Ever since I was a child I’ve been in awe of things of great heights and extraordinary colours and here I am not being able to hike to the top and see the beautiful shades of Green Vietnam has to offer me.

This is my ‘this sucks ‘ situation.

I don’t know what’s worse, my one cankle or the fact that literally toddlers have gone past me able to get up these 500 steps and my cankle says no. I hear the people out of breath coming to the top of the 100th step and I envy them. I’ve taken to just telling them they can do it! If i can’t I’m sure gonna encourage others.


I’m usually someone who tries hard to overcome challenges and usually use the old think this is my Everest trick. You know the one, if I can get through this I can do anything but the truth is, this is out of my control. I can’t magically heal my ankle I can’t stop the throbbing and I can’t instantly make it better. I’m annoyed to say the least.

So I’m going to pretend now that this view only has 165 steps. I’m going to do ONE more step and I’ll make believe that I did it.


I’m going to breathe I’m going to stop and I’m going to take this time to reflect on other challenges.

Basically if you take anything away from this post just know. Not everyone is climbing up the same mountain, but everyone is climbing somehow.


Everyone has different limits and goals they can physically and mentally achieve mine today was 165.

 What’s yours?!
Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade x

Why last nights girl gang chat made me fall in love  the blogging community even more 🌈💕

Now if you don’t already know the wonderful @dorkfaceblog runs a twitter chat on behalf of the @Thegirlganghq and it’s pretty damn good.
This week the topic was LGBTQ+ something that is obviously near and dear to myself.

As an active member of the community I was hesitant at first to see what kind of responses this chat was going to bring, I now see that I had no need to worry.

You know why? Because everyone was so wonderful.

First up we were talking about the saga that is occurring with YouTube at the moment. This whole ‘restricting’ LGBTQ+ content ultimately making it unavailable to audiences, the same way it’s unavailable to freely search for someone performing and act of something actually worth being restricted like, oh I don’t know, people actively showing abusive cases of homophobia. Totally mind boggling that these two acts fall under the same restrictions one being love and one being the hatred towards two people in love.

You know what made me feel better about this whole shit situation though? Comments from all of you guys, supporting and celebrating LGBT+ community. I mean only one comment pissed me off a little buuuuuut, I soon got over it because of the overwhelming group hug I felt I was getting from literally EVERYONE ELSE!

Throughout the chat people were giving their opinions and views on how to keep progressing with LGBT rights. How to keep moving forward for a brighter more rainbow filled future.

More than anything I want in the world, i just want plain old Equality. Pure and simple, and it was so so refreshing to see how many others were too campaigning and striving for the same.

Throughout the chat I did some internal ‘YES GIRL’ and ‘hallalujah’ praises to some people’s answers; for instance…


Sarah Jane @sarahjdocker made an excellent point, you’re literally stripping away role models for youths. You claim restrictions are for protection. I’d sure as hell feel more protected having someone to relate to when I feel all alone wouldn’t you?

These lovely ladies also brought up valid points about progression in the LGBT+ community and how we can continue to improve!


@naomindoll @following_lisa @megsiobhan @beautycreep )
I think that Katie said it best though,

@whiteaesthetix

We are the voices of the future. You are so right. Together we make changes, and educating ourselves on what we are fighting for and aiming towards is key.

Anyway I know this is very different from my usual posts but I wanted to get this out there.

So from the bottom of my little gay heart, I just want to thank you all for speaking out and fighting for myself and others right to love.

You can’t even imagine how loud your 130character tweets sound to me right now!

Danielle Jade.

Please let me know if you joined in the chat and how you felt about it!

New York City for theatrical people!

Let’s get one thing straight NYC is perfect for theatre people. If there’s one thing for sure it’s that the streets are crawling with dancers, singers, comedians, actors, performers and other such like professions. The theatrical side of life runs perfectly against the shimmering lights of Time Square. I remember one of my first shows I ever performed was FAME (I mean, wasn’t everyone’s) I was about 11 years old and in love with the idea of becoming a dancer. Blissfully unaware of the future.

I loved that show though, I loved the story (for the most part, and what I understood at that age) I loved the songs, everything! I remember thinking…I’ll go to New York one day! My whole outlook on New York was what I had watched and performed as a child.
When I turned 24 I actually went to New York. Bam. There I am smack bang in the middle of this world that I had dreamt about so many times as a child. I visited all the places I’d ever wanted to Radio City, The Rockerfella, Broadway dance centre, the American ballet theatre. I saw them all!

Only thing is, when you’re 24 and you’re in NY admiring all these places it’s hard not to feel hard on yourself because inside these theatres are people your age DOING IT!
You do see the streets lined with dancers singers and actors but the harsh truth is that most of them are unemployed or working at what was the most tragic part of our trip, Ellen’s stardust diner. We arrived pretty late and struggling artists half heartedly yet beautifully belted out show tunes to drunk people indulging in late night fried cheese. I couldn’t help but say how much more i wanted for these amazing artists.Clearly these people were over qualified for serving me blue coloured cocktails with several bendy straws at 1am.

One thing that fascinated me in NY was the comedy scene! It’s huge. Now it could be just as big in LDN but I often avoided or because i got plain sick of the people filtering their events in my face in Leicester Square. That being said in NY when some joker tempted the idea of seeing Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in my direction I snapped up that ticket.

To neither yours nor my surprise.
I did not see Tina or Amy that night.

I did however see, Judah Friedlander at Stand Up NY and he was as funny as I imagined. The intimate crowd were buzzing as I took the last seat available. Right at the edge of the stage, the spot that literally said ‘pick on me’ for the comedians, before I’d even sat down the MC was calling me out about my ‘sexy outfit’ and asked me ‘ohhh girl- you out there looking for a man, damn girl you got dressed up’ With my awkward laugh i looked back over at Naomi who was sat further to the back and said ‘im not no!’ ‘good, send them my way then’ she laughed and on with the show. I was already ready for it. I was placed in the perfect position. Perhaps my highlight of being called on was when on the comedians came on, sat down, browsed the crowd and looked at me. I knew it was time, he had a joke ready. ‘ How old are you?’ he asked. I laughed. ‘Should she be drinking? Did anyone check her id?’ he shouted as i drank me beer. I’m 22 i laughed. He dryly bit back ‘ you look 12’
I agreed. and e continue with the act. I loved this, the whole interaction with the crowd. It made me so happy.
So imagine my delight when we were queing up for AssssCat 300 at UCB. Home of such talent like; Amy Poehler (SNL, Parks and recreation, Sisters) Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) Kate Mckinnon (Snl, Ghostbusters) Bobbi Moynihan (SNL) Matt Walsh (Veep) and many more! It’s such an incredible experience.

The whole show was based on audience interaction. You shout out a word and a monologist will create the foundation for a story to be completely improvised by the comedians. AND THEY CREATE AMAZING WORK. It’s so bloody funny. I was overwhelmed by the talent i saw. Heads up – que for the 9:30pm tickets and the show is FREE!

Aside from the comedy scene, as you can imagine NYC is bursting at the scenes with the chance to see a show. Broadway is forever pumping new shows out and with 5-7 shows a week you are guaranteed to find something that will create a lifetime of memories. If that be dance, drama or the favourite musical you’ve been wanting to see. It’s often that NYC has that show waiting for you. One thing i will say about this is, it isn’t going to be cheap. Tickets can cost from $59 to $199 on average. Check out the off broadway shows if you are looking for something to be possibly more money friendly. They are just as good quality shows most of the time!

If that is still out of your budget i recommend taking tours of the theatres. We looked around Radio City Music Hall, New York City Ballet, Rockefella Centre and Carnegie hall. Just go look around, go admire the stages, the seats, the feel of the building, the costumes, the rehearsal spaces. The foundations of the theatre are all there waiting for you to walk around.

One of the shows i have always dreamt about seeing is the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. I was lucky enough to go on a tour of the theatre when i visited last time and it made me want to go back at christmas more than ever and watch the spectacular…one day.

Have you ever been to NYC and seen a show? Let me know in the comments before what you saw and how your trip was !

Danielle Jade.

 

What 6 months in Vietnam has taught me. 

Can you believe I’ve been in Vietnam six months now? I remember when I made my YouTube video saying I was moving here ; https://youtu.be/2Lt5kwr7IdY

Now it’s six months down the line and I’ve taken some time to reflect and appreciate my self growth. So here let me share with you; 

1. I learnt how to ride a scooter! Here in Hanoi. I know I’m crazy right. With only a couple of self taught driving lessons I’m now whizzing around Hanoi. The traffic is crazy and I did throw the bike across the parking lot at my work once but hey, this is still a major achievement for me! 


2. I’m a teacher. I literally teach tiny humans our crazy language. You know what else guys? I feel like I may just be good at this! I adore the children and I find my job thoroughly enjoyable. 


3. I’ve tried food I wouldn’t even dare to in England. The food scene here can be crazy different to back home so I think it’s important to try as much as possible, even though I don’t like it. I mean, who else can say they’ve eaten stingray just because…. 

4. On Mondays I take two dance classes Ballet and Contemporary , at a class where the teacher speaks no English and I no Vietnamese. Probably the biggest dance challenge of my life and that includes auditions. Yet, I loved it, dancing is something I adore and it was an amazing challenge to take on. He even made me solo for the group at the end- Petrifying. 

5. I’ve explored Thailand. I’ve seen from the south sunny island of Koh Phangan and up to the north little town of Pai. I’ve bathed in hot springs, splashed in waterfalls, walked with the elephants and explored temples all over the cities. 


6. I’ve learnt happiness is fundamental I’ve had significantly less negative MH days here in comparison to the UK. I truly believe this is because I’m happier than I was working my mundane job 24/7 in London. 


7. I’ve come to appreciate my loved ones so much more. Being away from them makes me miss their traits, but not in a homesick kind of way, but more of a splendorous kind of way. 


8. I’ve fallen more in love than ever. With my partner, with myself and with my life.

It’s really crazy how six months can change how you feel in different aspects of your life. 

So if today, you get the chance. Remember, you can do anything you want, be anything you want to be and life how you want to live. 

Please do comment and tell me something you’ve learnt about yourself in the past six months 
Danielle Jade 

Two thousand and something else… 

So that’s it 2016 came and went in a flash.Well that’s how it felt most of the time.

Am i happy with how the universe played out this year? Well no not completely, i am not however i would like to say it has definitely been one year that i will not forget.

Now, i am not going to join in by saying GOOD RIDDANCE 2016 or THANK GOD 2016 IS GONE  because i cannot see the future i don’t know if i’m leaving behind the terrible things 2016 threw at me or if i am now walking head first into the mess that started in 2016 only for it to continue into 2017, but i sure as hell am not going to waste my time dwelling on negativity and what ifs. I highly recommend you try not to either.

2016 gave me both ups and downs, i felt every emotion on the spectrum, i visited new places around the world, i had my first christmas away from home, i realised how horrible it feels when your vote doesn’t win (cough Brexit cough) and i learned to say ‘ahhh FUCK IT’

Within the year of 2016 i found my sunshine and rainbows in the form of;

New Friends- I met so many beautiful people in 2016. Mainly from my old workplace, i have met some of the most wonderful souls and cannot begin to thank 2016 enough for that. Also my beautiful best friend asked her girlfriend to marry her in 2016, not only am i happy that they will be getting married now but even the fact that LGBT couples CAN get married still makes me happy.

Travels – In 2016 alone, i went to Ibiza, Bangkok, Koh Phangan, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Guernsey and Cornwall. I saw more beautiful places around this silly little world. I realised i’m a teeny-tiny little part of beautiful big world and it’s actually incredibly fascinating.

Music – I managed to attend my first festival this year Lovebox , I saw Queen Beyonce and as always Ellie Goulding was incredible. I listened to so much more music this year and expanded my outlook on what i like and don’t like. I listened to everything and anything spotify gave me.

Days Out – Perhaps some of my favourite days in 2016 were day trips, Kew Gardens in London is so beautiful and walking amongst the tree tops was so beautiful. Harry Potter world at the Warner brothers studios was so much fun! The Eden project is something i recommend everyone goes to and try the zip line. PRIDE in London, a day full of glitter and cans of alcohol, people line the streets even in the rain to celebrate who they are and support others. Even though it was a crowded mess of rainbows i wouldn’t change it for the world!

Nights Out – London has some incredible places for drinks and i feel that in 2016 i really managed to take advantage of that. Great nights out with good friends and loud music can really be just the perfect way to let go and have some fun! Same as, getting together with the girls for cocktails and leaving drinks can be the perfect farewell, especially when there is gin involved.

As always 2017 had its negatives, i lost someone very important to my family, i moved over 5000 miles away from home and i changed my career goals but you know what?

I grew up.

Im not sure theres much more to say on that matter, i opened my mind, i said yes to more things i would usually say no to. I stopped being as afraid of everything i found too hard to comprehend. I trusted my heart more than my head. I fell hard and i got back up. I spiralled down and bounced back up like a firework. I exploded with anger and i sunk with sadness, i found happiness in the small things, and i laughed harder than i ever imagined but above all of this, i gave myself the time, respect and courage to carry on and accept all these feelings are justified , they are important and they are to be encouraged. They are me and i am ok with that.

Ok, so i know this was a short post for me but with the new year having been and gone,  i thought it was something that i should share with you all.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade

x

 

A taste of the island life! What to do in Koh Pha Ngan; Thailand. 

Ok so as some of you may know already Naomi and I went over to the beautiful island of Koh Pha Ngan for our first Christmas away from home. We went for 6days and despite the horrendously long journey it was more than worth it in the end…

Just look at that beautiful beach!


Koh Phangan is blessed with incredible weather which meant it was minimum 28degrees everyday even the next morning after it rained during the night!

How to get to Koh Phangan?
Now there are two main ways to get to Koh Phangan depending on your budget…want the quickest way, you’ll pay the most money. You can simply hop on a flight to the nearest airports and get the three hour ferry over to Koh Phangan.

Or if you’re budgeting then you can fly to Bangkok and get the 8hour bus ride and then ferry the next morning to Koh Phangan. All in all it could take from 11-12 excluding the flight and wait time in the airport. Not ideal if you hate waiting around but cost effective! Perfect for travellers and backpackers.


Where we stayed?

We dated at dreamland resorts in the more secluded and expensive north of the island. Away from the hustle and bustle of the port this area was more family and relaxation friendly.

The beaches were beautiful and calm with significantly less people on them than the most popular tourist hit beaches.


Our resort was in the form of little cabins ours was literally a 30second walk from decking to the shore and into the sea. I understand completely why it’s called dreamland. Now the rooms are pretty basic and not perfect but that honestly didn’t bother us as we spent 90% of our time lounging around the pool , pool bar and by the sea.
Just look at this view from my seat along the side of the pool, straight onto the beach!


What to do in Koh Phangan?
Here’s my top 5 ‘to do’ attractions in Koh Phangan;

1. Do go chasing waterfalls! Go and swim in the natural pools they have formed and gaze at the wonderful scenery. Our favourite was paradise waterfall, well worth taking the trip to. 

2. Hire a bike and ride around the island, there are very few roads in Koh Phangan and the two main ones literally take you from point a to point b covering the whole island. The views you will see as you circle the island are mesmoring. Our bike hire cost 200baht day which was significantly less than the 800baht taxis we were getting . I must say though, Koh Phangan is a very mountainous island so drive exceptionally carefully. If this is your first time driving I wouldn’t recommend learning here, it’s very steep and very windy. Be safe. Wear a helmet and cover your knees/elbows if possible. 

3. Speaking of views make sure to take a trip to Amsterdam bar if you are wanting to see Koh Phangan. look at this; the bar is one of the most chilled places we visited. It is called Amsterdam bar for a reason after all. The shakes are just as amazing as the view.


4. Watersports and/or diving tours . Well this could have been more fun had I not been convinced I’d seen a shark freaked out and yelled at Naomi IM GOING TO DIE. Let me set one thing straight, I’m not the best in the water but I really wanted to conquer that fear so we kayaked. Naomi seemed to love it, safe to say I’ll try something else like jet skiing next time! One thing I do know is I won’t be kayaking again any time soon.

5. Enjoy the party atmosphere. Get to 7/11 and get some cheap beers to pre drink with back at your hotel/hostel/beach and head to one of the parties! There are so many to choose from. Time it right and you just may make the full moon/half moon party. If you’re not there to make them we recommend the waterfall party for all your neon glitter and fire needs. Bonus: they literally sell food in the place.


We truly loved our time in Koh Phangan it was the perfect balance of entertainment and relaxation.

There are more ways to make this trip action filled just have a ride around the island to see more!
Hope you enjoyed reading.

Danielle Jade