A guide to tailor made clothes in Hoi An.

Hoi An is home to perhaps some of the best tailors we have on this planet. Bold statement, i know. BUT TRUE.

Where to find a tailor?
Just wander around the Ancient town and the lantern lit streets are lined with tailors. The whole experience can be some what overwhelming as they all look to be incredible good. In each and every shop, there are more fabrics than you could imagine, more designs than your eyes can focus on and more options than decisions will be made.
Thats why it’s important to go with a plan of what you would like made.
Trust me, leaving it to chance of ‘i’ll decide when i get there’ can only go one of two ways;
A) You leave empty handed, and a stressed (probably) sweaty mess.
b) You leave with more items than you can fit back in your backpack.
Having a plan of what you would like made, will help you stay on task.

Where do i recommend? 
I have now tried a couple of tailors in Hoi An and my favourite so far are Maya Design.
The turn over of their products is literally over-night and the staff are so friendly. They will let you design anything you have a vision of, whilst offering tips and tricks from their side of it and what works well for the fabric you have chosen.
The staff spoke good english, and were more than happy to help!

What is the process?
Within seconds of being in the shop i had already been asked if they could help and what i was looking for. I explained i would like trousers and a playsuit and i was shown fabric choices and styles, a few moments later i had found what i wanted and we began the sketching process.
This is where they will draw up a quick mock of your product and ask if you want any additions such as belt loops, pockets, sleeve lengths etc. Quick Tip: This usually can be helped if you go in with a picture of what you want making and they will essentially copy the image,
The next step was getting measured. One of the best parts of having tailor made clothes is the fact it is custom-made to your exact measurements. PERFECT.
Be aware you will be measured in front of the rest of the shop so do wear clothing that allows this process to be as easy as possible. (I’d give skirts a miss)

How long does it usually take?
The turn around from sketching to final product is a super speedy process, we arrived at 12(ish) and went back at 2:30 the next day for final fittings before getting our products later that night. Be sure to stay in Hoi-An for a couple of days incase of alterations or changes. Of course the bigger the order the more time they may need. You can always ask in the shop too and be sure to tell them when you are leaving so your items are made in time.

What is the price like?
Not only are the clothes made incredibly quick but the price is more than fair compared to other Tailors i have been to. Remember though, as with anything, you par for what you get. I suggest thinking about the occasion the fabric and the purpose of your garment. Also be prepared to pay more for things added like, pockets , belts, lining etc I designed one pair of trousers and one playsuit and payed just over 2million for them both (£66)

 

(Jumpsuits we had made in Hoi An ) 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please do leave them in the comments and i’ll see you next time.

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What to do in Hoi An : Vietnam. 

Hello everyone, today i’m going to tell you about one of my favourite places i have come across whilst being in Vietnam and that is Hoi An.

Hoi An is on Vietnam’s Central Coast and is one of the most charming places i have ever experienced. With the Ancient town, lantern lit streets, canals and beaches it is truly beautiful.

Here are my top tips for visiting Hoi An.

Stroll though the Ancient town.

Here lies the quiet beauty of this little town. The small streets are covered in flowers and lanterns. There are restaurants all along the canal side where you can find delicious sea-food and other local specials. There is such a charm to this area that makes you want to move there indefinitely.

Quick Tip : If you can, be sure to try and go to Hoi An on a lantern festival date to see the canal full of floating lanterns. It is so beautiful.

            Hire a bike and drive around.

Whilst in Hoi An it is a good idea to hire a bike (scooter or push bike) to get around and see some of the outskirts of Hoi An. Try biking to the beach from the old town and spot the rice fields as you go. Compared to the hustle and bustle of other places in Vietnam i quickly came to realise that Hoi An is a lot calmer and more forgiving to drivers who aren’t 100% confident on the roads. 

Go to the beach.

Hoi An has incredible beaches and the further south you go the less populated they get (from my experience) The East Vietnam Sea is incredible and well worth getting up early to go in and watch the sunrise as it’s just beautiful to see the sun come up from behind the mountains. There are loungers on the beach that you can hire for no more than $2 a day and food/drinks are optional too. I’d suggest taking food/drink down with you to avoid having to bring too much cash etc out with you. An bang beach is perhaps my favourite, the sand is beautiful and depending on the time of year the waves can be super fun to play in!

Get clothes tailor made.

I think it is absolutely a must do when you go to Hoi An. There is something so exciting about having clothes made exactly to fit you or to correspond with that idea you have in you mind. It’s such a fun experience and perfect for finally finding items to fit you whilst in Asia.

Eat & Drink.

If there’s one thing Hoi An knows, its how to eat and drink. The super chilled vibe of this place only helps with making you want to eat and drink everything possible. There are plenty of wonderfulstreet good places, Mr Sons has the best wantons ive ever had. There are also a few more places i have come to love here especially The Deckhouse and Soul Kitchen as they sit right on the edge of the beach, they have excellent drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, they stay open late and the Soul Kitchen in particular has a great music scene there. Live acts were playing every night we went. It was the perfect evening sipping Espresso Martini’s under the stars listening to a guy playing the piano.

So there’s a quick 5 things to do in Hoi An

Thanks for reading, Let me know in the comments if you have been to Hoi An and what your favourite activity was.

Danielle Jade

 

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

 

 

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

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 

Top 5 dishes you must eat in Hanoi (Vietnam) and where to find them! 

First of all, Hello welcome to Vietnam, or xin chao as we say over here.

Now, I must tell you Vietnam has some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted and that’s probably the biggest understatement. With its complete freshness and wonderful diversity the food is not only incredibly cheap but incredibly yummy!
First up;

BUN CHA.

Now for those of you who may be unfamiliar with Bun Cha let me explain what this dish consists of. Bun Cha is essentially Grilled Pork and noodles, but it’s the extra components that really makes this dish so delicious. The fatty pork also known as (Cha) is served with white noodles (Bun) a basket of fresh mixed greens and herbs usually but not limited to coriander, lettuce, mint and a dipping sauce of fish sauce, carrot and papaya.

Now don’t be confused there is only ONE real way to eat bun Cha, you take a small amount of each mix it together in the dipping sauce like a soup and tuck in.


COST?: Bun Cha typically costs around 30,000-45,000VND £1.61
WHERE?: This one is from Quan an Ngon

Next;

BUN BO NAM BO

Bun BO nam BO not only looks but tastes delicious. (Or so I’m told) Now I must say I don’t even eat beef but it’s hard not to feel good envy just looking at this dish. White noodles (Bun) make the base of this dish, mixed with green leaves, beef (BO) crispy shallots and crushed peanuts. This is more than the ordinary beef salad just look at it.


COST? 40,000-50,000VND £1.70
WHERE? 67 Hang Dieu

NEXT;

BAHN MI

Banh Mi is where you really get to see how the French have influenced food here in Hanoi. This baguette though, is more than just another sandwich. Usually given the choice of pork, pate, chicken or egg, you add cucumber coriander carrot and ‘spicy’ sauce to make the ultimate lunch snack. It’s the perfect fusion of Vietnamese and French food in one carbohydrate canoe. My personal favourite is honey chicken!


COST? 20,000VND -25,000VND £0.91

WHERE? 25 Hang Ca Street
Next;

FRESH SPRING ROLLS.

Now, i’d had the usual fried spring rolls way before i arrived in Vietnam, however i’d never had fresh spring rolls. I must admit that i now prefer the un fried version. I first learnt how to make these at my Hidden Hanoi cooking class . It’s a process where you take Rice paper rolls, and fill them with Vermicelli noodles, fresh green leaves, herbs, pineapple, carrot, chilli and crushed peanuts. You can also add in whatever meat/seafood base you prefer. I love this dish as it tastes super fresh and you can make it as adventurous or safe as you feel that day.


COST? 35,000-50,000VND £1.81
WHERE? 147 Nghi Tam Road (Hidden Hanoi)
PHO

Now I don’t think it would be possible to write a post on what to eat in Hanoi and not eat pho, its a must try. The amount of time that goes into this dish is what makes it so perfect. The broth is always left for the right amount of time to make the perfect base. Throw in the noodles, the chilli, the herbs and a squeeze of lime, wait hold that thought i gotta go, time for Pho.


COST? Around 35,000VND £2.00
WHERE? LITERALLY EVERY CORNER IN HANOI

Ok, now there are my top 5 dishes to eat in Vietnam! (Hanoi)

There are so many more I want to share with you so please comment below if that’s something you’d be interested in!

Thanks for reading,  Danielle Jade x

Hanoi (Vietnam) First Impressions. Get to know all about it!

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Hello everyone!
Im back today with another Travel/Lifestyle post, this one’s all about my first impressions of Hanoi Vietnam.

Travel:

Think of the busiest place you know, Westfield shopping centre, being at the front of your favourite festival, leaving the stadium after the match finishes. There, Hanoi. Put all those people on bikes and take away most of the rules when it comes to driving and you can fully understand how it feels to be on a scooter in the middle of the Old Quarter. It is mayhem to a new driver. Everyone needs to get somewhere and an inch of space is the perfect opportunity for someone to sneak by you and disappear up the road. I think the only way i can describe how it feels to be on a bike in the middle of Hanoi is, it’s like being in a real life Crash Bandicoot game, anyone could swerve around and in front of you at any minute, there may be someones cardigan dropped ahead that you need to swerve from and U-turns are a given here, so watch out for those bikes coming towards you down that ‘one way’ street.
That being said, after you get used to the mindset, being a driver in Hanoi is actually quite enjoyable. It’s always fascinating to see new places, as you drive around. There’s a sense of accomplishment too, like YEAH, i CAN do it. I CAN drive here!

Food:

Oh my, now the food here. Hanoi is overwhelmed with smells. Both good and bad but find a good place and the food is just incredible!
We have eaten at so many different places here in Hanoi both traditional and Western. Moving to Hanoi i was originally very nervous about what i would find to eat. This is because i am somewhat  picky with food to start with. I don’t eat red meat, i barely like any spices, i don’t really like dressings or sauces. I’m a foodies worst nightmare. So you can imagine when i see ‘mixed meat’ on the menu i am less than excited to know what they class as mixed meat, however I’m currently trying to live with a ‘well you only live once’ outlook on life, so you know what i ordered? That mixed meat rice. It was delicious. I did only notice tofu and chicken in it (which was lucky) but it was truly yummy. Naomi has taken to eating Pho at any opportunity and for only 30,000vnd a bowl (that’s £1.09) it’s more than incredible value.
One day after work we went to a Vietnamese place with work friends and i suddenly realised i am actually no where neat as adventurous as i first thought. As they brought out Goat, baby birds, stingray and other impressive and petrifying foods. I felt myself coward back to the comfort of my tiger beer and rice paper rolls. I tried some of the sting ray and i must say it was tasty!

Sights:

Hanoi is rich in culture. It’s such a beautiful place to explore. I love our journey to work because we travel about half an hour away from our little Tay Ho bubble and in that journey i notice new sights every trip. If you have a bike take some time to go explore. There’s so many wonderful places to seek out. Including but not limited to the museums. Within our first week in Hanoi we had done three museums, in particular i enjoyed the Women’s Museum. Learning about the history of the Vietnamese housewife, the mother, the dress makers and the women who served in the Army. I felt incredibly emotional come the end of the museum. I really recommend going to this museum when you are in Hanoi.
I must also point out one of my favourite ‘sites’ to enjoy en route to work are other people’s bikes! It’s amazing how much people load onto two wheels.

I wanted to share with you some of my other favourite sights below;

The Districts:

Within Hanoi the city is broken down into smaller chunks, these chunks are known as districts. The most popular two you may know about before arriving at The Old Quarter and Tay Ho. The old quarter is what you want to explore if you’re travelling here. The old quarter is home to Lake Hoan Kiem aka ‘lake of the returned sword’.

Here is where you can sit and watch the traffic zoom around whilst having a beer up on the rooftops. You can wander for hours down the different themed streets that are adjacent to Hoan Kiem. You can watch the  water puppet theatre shows, get your hands on the best kinds of souvenirs and find some incredible places to eat. Perhaps what I love the most about the Old Quarter is the people, Vietnamese run businesses are the only kind here. Very traditional.

Tay ho on the other hand is quite the opposite. It’s known as the bubble here because of the ability to live in Hanoi without leaving Tay Ho. Here is home to most of the expats. It’s full of teachers, i say this as i too a new teacher now live amongst all my colleagues here in the Tay Ho bubble. Around here you are likely to hear more American, English, and South African accents than anything else. Unless you meet our door man, he speaks no english and our conversations are beautiful engagements of us nodding and pretending to understand each other. Tay ho has some amazing bakeries, inspired by the french, there’s a few places i have come to love along To Ngoc Van.

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I could honestly go on forever about how i feel living in Hanoi but i will leave you here for now. If you would like to hear more about my life here, do leave a comment and don’t forget to follow me on Youtube! because that’s a thing I’m doing now.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade.