AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Chinese Food

Chinese Food


Posted on Jul 9, 2014

Our first foray into China last November hadn’t been so successful from a food point of view. We’d struggled to find nice food or decent places to eat and almost everything we had eaten was very hot and spicy. Quite a few dishes were hot enough to make my eyes water! Most restaurants had looked out of our price range, were simply serving inedible stuff or had a Chinese only menu with no pictures. Once we had to run away from a restaurant because the dish we’d ordered was a huge pot of chicken stock and blood with bits of chicken floating in it! The food we had been ordering consisted of a meat dish with two side dishes of rice. The only meat we recognised on the menu was beef and almost always came with fresh chillies. That was our staple meal for our first visit. On the plus side, we didn’t eat anywhere western (such as McDonald’s) for the whole 17 days. Another bit of good news is that on our most recent visit we discovered why we’d had so much trouble finding somewhere to eat in Beijing. The area near Tianamen Square has very few food places (I think the authorities want tourists to get in, see it, then get out without lingering). We struggled to find anywhere to eat in this area recently (we stayed in a better area the second time and only once went near Tianamen) and with the benefit of hindsight I can see why; the hostel we’d stayed in was close to Tianamen and had been in a ‘dead area’ as far as food is concerned. I can also see how wrong our mindset was. China was our first proper destination on this trip and when we arrived we associated eating out with eating in a restaurant. In Asia eating out has so many more options than just a restaurant but we stuck with what we knew at first and missed out a bit. We approached China rather apprehensively the second time around. We’d really struggled with finding and ordering nice food and we were worried about this next visit which would be longer than the last one. We have taken lots of photos of the food we ordered to show people what we ate in China and to record for ourselves and look back on. I think that overall we ate pretty good. Over two visits, 20 days and 19 days, split by a 5 day stopover in Hong Kong, we only bought food twice which we didn’t like. Most food was pretty good and some of it tasted great,...

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Langtang Trek: Costs


Posted on Mar 16, 2014

Note 1: We hired a porter for this trek. The going rate for a porter is $15 per day. Note 2: Porters/guides require an almost compulsory 15-20% tip. Note 3: All prices are in Nepalese Rupees. Note 4: At the time of writing 100 NPR = $1.01 = £0.61 (which I round to $1 & £0.60). Note 5: You can pay the real price for the bus ticket by buying it yourself from the bus station at Maccha Pokhari (in Kathmandu), most hotels will charge between 500-700 per ticket for the local bus. Note 6: I have put breakfast as part of the daily cost for each previous day. This is because the evening meal and breakfast is paid the following morning to the lodge marked from the day before. Note 7: On the second day we bought boiling water for our hydration sacks. Towards the end we topped up a hydration sack with a bottle of water. At all other times we used the lodge water supply (for free) and chlorine tablets for purification. Note 8: Due to not feeling well we both skipped an evening meal once and both skipped a breakfast once, bringing down costs to an artificial low. Note 9: Until the final days we bought no chocolate or fizzy drinks. No alcohol for the entire trek. Note 10: Take off the cost of the porter and the Jeep (or get a better deal) and large savings can easily be made. Note 11: We did this trek in mid March and all guest houses asked us to name our price for the room. Others told us they paid nothing for their room, we could probably have had free rooms if we’d asked. Note 12: If you don’t eat in the lodge where you are sleeping at least 1,000 NPR will be added to the price of the room. Guaranteed! Summary of daily costs Day 1: 3,470 NPR Day 2: 2,550 NPR Day 3: 3,580 NPR Day 4: 200 NPR Day 5: 450 NPR Day 6: 8,200 + 2000 NPR Day 7: 2,680 NPR Day 8: 3,240 NPR Day 9: 880 NPR Accommodation + food: 27,250 NPR/$275/£165 Porter + tip: 17,000 NPR/$172/£103 Jeep: 7000 NPR/$71/£42 Total: 51,250 NPR/$518/£311 Average / 9 days:$57.50/£34.50 per day Day 1: Kathmandu – Syabrubesi Taxi to bus station: 340 NPR Bus tickets for 3 people: 1500 NPR Accommodation: Buddha Guest House Double room: 500 NPR 24/7 hot shower Power sockets in room WiFi Lavazza Coffee Clean Good beds Carpet Slow food service Front desk not always available Evening meal Small pot of ginger tea: 180 NPR Dal Bhat x2 : 600...

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Saigon: A Truly Modern City


Posted on Dec 18, 2013

Saigon has a very different vibe to the rest of Vietnam. In fact it feels totally different to anywhere we have visited so far. The main reason for this is by how modern and western it feels. Big wide streets, wide footpaths, parks dotted around the city and a real hustle and bustle feel. The parks are filled with people, day and night, break dancing, yoga and playing games. There are fitness machines in the park free of charge to use when you want (when it’s about 10 degrees cooler I’ll consider using them). There are huge hotels costing hundreds of dollars per night and equally large and flashy shopping centres. It’s one week to Christmas and the shopping centres are decked out in full Christmas livery, enough to rival London in scale and quality. Many tourists are flocking here not to shop but to have their photo taken in front of the oversized snowmen and giant reindeer, covered in fake snow and bright lights. Most impressive of all are the neon lights on the buildings. Saigon could almost be a giant Christmas tree itself. Some streets are lined with lights and a number of the higher buildings have impressive light shows going on. The food is also fantastic. This evening we had Greek food. At the end of the street is a fish & chip restaurant. Italian, American, French, everything is here. Bars galore. A bakery selling proper croissants and pain au chocolat is now our usual breakfast location. This is a great city and we’re enjoying our time here. Posted from Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City,...

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