Best of South East Asia: #3 – Halong Bay, Vietnam

Coming in at number 3 for my summer recap is our cruise along Halong Bay, Vietnam.

I barely need any words to explain why this is so high on my list.

I mean.. just look at this place.

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We took this three day, two night cruise. It wasn’t the cheapest cruise we came across but we decided to ‘splurge’ on this part of our trip. We didn’t mind.

Halong Bay is made up of nearly 2,000 islands. It makes for stunning views regardless of where you are.

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We ate SO much on our cruise. This was lunch one day. FOR THE TWO OF US. img_1772

Big surprise– I took a time lapse! This may be my favorite one I’ve ever taken.

The views were beyond gorgeous.  We luckily had beautiful weather (not always the case during rainy season!) and we even made some friends which we met up with at our next stop. (Hi Alex and Rohan!)

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So.. is Halong Bay now added to your list of ‘must visit’ places now?

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Best of South East Asia: #4 – Thai Farm Cooking School

Continuing my epic summer recap– coming in at #4 of my favorite memories of the trip was learning to cook Thai food at Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai.

Carrie and I didn’t plan too many things before we left but this was something we knew we wanted to do. We both love thai food and like to cook so it sounded perfect.  We decided to go to the Thai Farm Cooking School based on a recommendation from our friends.

We got picked up at our hotel and headed to a local market with our guide, Wass.

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The way they cut pineapple in Asia is genius. I would wind up seriously injured if I attempted this.

We got to try Thai iced coffee for the first time. Coffee is made with sweetened condensed milk all over South East Asia. It made for the perfect (most high caloric) iced coffee ever.

We left the market and headed to the farm with our group.

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Wass, our instructor, gave us lessons on the various vegetables used in our dishes in the garden. She was hilarious. And clearly pulls off that hat better than I do.

We all got to choose what we wanted to make. Carrie and I decided to try to make different things to get the most out of the experience.

First up was the curry. I made green curry and Carrie made yellow. Both consisted of a lot of work with the mortar and pestle.

Next we made soup. I made Tom Kha coconut soup. Carrie made Tom Yam soup. The interesting thing was all our ingredients were the same except mine was coconut milk base and hers was water. They tasted so different.

I loved this soup. oh man it was delicious.

After the soup it was time for some spring rolls.

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Yep. They were as delicious as you would think.

Finally it was time to cook our ‘main dishes.’  The green curry that I made early would now finally be cooked. Along with sweet and sour chicken.

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Green curry. YUM!
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This was a tiny little eggplant. It was SO bitter. I ate around it.
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Sweet and sour chicken

The last part of the day was to cook our dessert- mango with sticky rice.

img_1618The rice was dyed by boiling coconut milk with a flower.

Overall, this day was pretty amazing. Wass was absolutely hilarious which made our experience so much more enjoyable. We heard the phrase ‘same same, but different’ a ridiculous amount of times. Every time she laughed..and we did too.

We laughed SO much and we ate incredibly delicious food. Their website has some of the recipes, so you too, can try some!

How often will I actually put the recipes I learned to use? My guess is not too often. However, I’ll always have those skills and be able to say ‘Yep, I learned how to cook this in Thailand.’ : )