15 Facts About Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines


15 FACTS ABOUT CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY

by Marvi Maglipong; @marvijune

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            I have been blessed to see the beauty and wonders of other cities, and yes, I was left in awe each time. Yet, at the end of the day, I still find myself beaming with pride of what has been my home since I have seen the light of day. So, read through as I take you to a sneak peak of Cagayan de Oro City.

1. Cagayan de Oro is popularly known as the City of Golden Friendship because of its innate warm hospitality and happy disposition.

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 2. Kagay-anons definitely find delight in eating in long tables either with family or friends, and sometimes, with both. CDO offers a wide array of local and international cuisines. You can choose from Bigby’s Restaurant to Thai Me Up, from Hukad to Kogi Bulgogi; or if you’re on a very tight budget, from Butcher’s Best to Mandex.

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3. At dusk, street food vendors start to emerge just in time when students and workers are on their way home. They stop for a bite of “Proven” (Chicken’s proventiculus) or “Kwek-Kwek” (one whole cooked egg wrapped in flour), the two most popular street foods in the City; finishing it off with a plastic cup of Coconut Juice or a bottle of softdrink.

 4. Some Jeepney drivers drive faster and hastily like there’s no tomorrow, so you better hold on tight to the hand bars located just above your head.

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5. Every Fridays and Saturdays, locals and tourists hit the Night Café, located in the heart of the city, to shop for garage sales, second hand clothings and the like or what we locally call “Ukay-ukay”; you can also choose from a variety of grilled menus if you can feel some rumbly in your tumbly. J

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 6. In CDO, we refer to something beautiful or nice as “Tsada!” The said word is one of the indications you are a Kagay-anon or you learned from one.

 7. Kagay-an Festival is an annual celebration every 28th of August, in honor of the City’s partron saint, St. Augustine. 

8. Typhoon Sendong was the worst typhoon that has ever hit Cagayan de Oro with a death toll of more or less 1,500 and leaving 1,090 still missing.

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 9. When in the city, white water rafting is one of the adventures you MUSTNOT miss- ever. Famous for its great rapids, this is indeed, your thrill of a lifetime.

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 10.  Need a body massage but on a tight budget? Never fret for at Divisoria Park, trained blind masseurs give you the massage you yearn for while you sit comfortably on a chair, not to mention a very affordable price.

 

11. Xavier University- Ateneo de Cagayan is the first university of Mindanao, and according to its history, first to be given university status way before its sister school Ateneo de Manila granted theirs.

 

12. Among the four bridges of CDO, Maharlika Bridge is the busiest and the longest. Though the name of the bridge was renamed after the EDSA revolution, locals still use the original name which is the Marcos Bridge.

 

13. Limketkai Mall is one of the oldest malls in the City that has stood the test of time and until now, still stands mightier and stronger than before. If you’re in the mood for a cup of coffee, Starbucks is just a stone throw away, or you can opt to walk a few meters to reach Bo’s Coffee Shop or Coffeeworks.

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14. The color violet is very apparent in all corners of the city. It represents the color choice of the incumbent mayor, which also happened to be the favorite color of his daughter who passed away.

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15. If you look forward to meeting up an old friend and do some serious catching up, Missy Bonbon Breadshop is a perfect place to do just that. They serve fresh breads and pastries and the only place in the city where you can devour the best gelato ever concocted. Don’t leave the shop without trying their Custard Cake as well. Both earned 5 stars from me. ^____^

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Being the gateway hub that connects the city to the rest of the region and other neighboring provinces, Cagayan de Oro City indeed offers big opportunities for a very promising future. This list is just but a few of the many things that you might discover for yourself! J

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Cagayan is our home- We got married there and delivered two babies in this city 😉  I enjoy reading this and I hope you do too!

This is Marvi’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’   . 

Don’t forget to rate below (5 stars, YAY!)  and we welcome comments on Marvi’s amazingly fun and informative facts about her city.  

15 Facts about Penang, Malaysia


15 Facts about Penang, Malaysia

by Celine Grace Yap

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This is my first ever blog about a place, any place!  This is also my simple answer to a friend’s request to write some 15 facts about the place I now refer to as my third home; Philippines being my first, and Vietnam my second. As this week only marks my 9th week here, this is probably not as extensive as I would want it to be.  Nevertheless, wherever one is, there is always something new to discover.   I hope you’d enjoy reading through my version of 15 Penang facts. 

 

1.       Penang is a food haven! In fact, it is referred to as the food capital of Malaysia.  Being Filipino, it is common to eat more than 3 meals a day. Thus, I came to the right place.  From my own observation and I may exaggerate a bit, there is probably a hawker place or  food carts every other block in Penang so there is no chance to go hungry.  Some of my favorites are Char Koay Teow (a fried noodle dish with shrimp, oyster, eggs and bean sprouts), Poh Piah (what I refer to as the Chinese lumpia), and Ais Kacang for dessert (similar to the Philippine halo-halo). 
2.       While we are on the topic of food, hawker stations are the best places to grab your taste of Penang food.  They are cheaper at these food carts too and offer a wide variety from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and even Western food or some fusion of cuisines.  If you are a bit sensitive on the tummy, just pick the ones that go through heat and you should be fine, most of the time anyway.
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3.       Penang is definitely a melting pot.  I learned just last week (and I may only be slow) that there is a new generation of Chindians, a product of intermarriages between the Chinese and Indians. There are Dutch, British, Australians and a lot of other mixtures.  Foreigners can easily fit no doubt about it.
4.       Penangites are linguists J Most speak at least 2 languages.  Most common are Bahasa, Chinese, Tamil and English.  Many of my friends speak 3 and a few of them learning 1 more.  OK, now I feel……..below standard haha…
5.       History-wise, Penang is known to be the home of quite a few firsts for Malaysia and Southeast Asia.  It is the home of the first Anglican church in SE Asia which is the St. George’s Church, one of the many landmarks of the state.  It also became the first  British outpost in SE Asia, reason why one would see many British-inspired structures especially in the island.  Among its other firsts in Malaysia are: George town – first town to become a city, Penang Botanic Gardens – first botanic garden in Malaysia, and the Penang Hill Railway – first funicular hill railway in Malaysia.  
6.       George town which is Penang state’s capital city is one of only two cities in Malaysia to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can have your fill of art and culture by just walking around.
7.       Some must-see places in Penang are the Kek Lok Si Temple, Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, Khoo Khongsi clanhouse, Penang Hill, Penang Botanical garden and Tropical Spice garden, Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Thai temple, Weld Quay Clan Jetties, Penang road for the foodies, and the streets of George Town where you can go find some 20+ famous street art.
8.       There is an abundance of 24-hour clinics because most folks in Penang go to these places to get checked up for common aches and pains.  Hospitals, as it seems, are for more critical and sensitive sicknesses.  This is merely a personal observation; thus only a Celine-fact.
9.       If you love taking several baths a day or washing loads and loads of laundry, Penang is the place for you.  Water tariffs are very low as they are subsidized by the government.  I paid 5 Malaysian Ringgit for my 2 months which is not even 1 USD. 
10.   Gasoline is pretty cheap too.  I believe this is because Malaysia has its own source of oil and the government subsidizes a portion of the cost.  A liter of unleaded 95 gas is priced at 1.90 Malaysian Ringgit (roughly 63 cents US).
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11.   One more thing you might consider buying when you are in town are bed sheets.  Yes, bed sheets!  I don’t know why but I just find good quality beddings, 400 thread count and up at cheap-er prices over here. 
12.   Another surprise is that I find Apple products sold here at about the same or even slightly cheaper prices compared to US.  Or is it just my conversion? Hmmm…
13.   There are so many malls and groceries around this second smallest state in Malaysia; from Parkson, First Avenue, Prangin, Komtar, Bukit Jambul, Queensbay, Plaza Gurney, Sunway, Tesco, Jusco and more. One thing is for sure, there is no lack of places to go spend your money at.  To add to that, there are year round sales.  Just make sure you keep some for the rainy days J
14.   For the most part, Penang is an easy place to live in.  What I don’t like though is the traffic.  From my perspective, there is no seriously efficient means of mass transportation.  There is Rapid but then it only services main roads and you will have to wait forever (well, give or take 15-20 minutes) before the next bus comes.  This does not really cut it for most folks so this means that most families own 2 or more cars. When you have them all on the road at the same time, traffic! Big time! I try to avoid going out on the road at rush hours  and especially avoid George Town and Gurney areas on Friday afternoons.  This is where the night life is at.
15.   Last but not the least, Penang is definitely a charm of its own.  It is a modern state albeit not quite Kuala Lumpur.  But then again, I wouldn’t like for it to be (if it were only left to me).  I just like how it is modern but still much rooted to its traditions, where a mixture of races can freely practice their beliefs and live harmoniously; where state-of-the-art buildings rise up alongside old time Chinese shop houses. It is simply a unique place that could only be Penang.
 

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Am glad she submitted an entry! I have never been to Penang so this info would be very useful on our first visit to the place.

This is Celine’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’ .

Don’t forget to rate below (5 stars, YAY!) and we welcome comments on Celine’s amazingly fun and informative facts about her city

15 facts About Mumbai, India


15 facts About Mumbai, India

by Nicky @rocksstar10 ; http://thenickyblog.com/

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Mumbai, the capital city of the state of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India has been my home for the past 20 years. Being born and brought up here has obviously made this city absolutely close to my heart. Here I’ll share a few facts about my beautiful city – Mumbai!

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1. Mumbai was originally named “Bombay”. The name was changed in 1995. The name “Mumbai” is derived from Mumba or Maha-Amba — the name of a Koli goddess and “Aai”, which means “mother” in the language of Marathi (which happens to be my mother tongue :))

 

2. Mumbai can get really crowded in the evenings since most people head out to unwind after a long day at work. Mumbai is also the most populous city in India.

 

3. Mumbai is a melting pot of many communities and cultures. Hence, Mumbai is always buzzing with different festivals, celebrations and cultural activities. The city of Mumbai never sleeps! 🙂

 

4. People of Mumbai love food. Right from street food to fine dining, Mumbai has it all.  Especially, Mohammad Ali road in South Mumbai offers mouth watering non-vegetarian, vegetarian food as well as sweet food items to satiate the foodie in you! You’ll find a huge variety in the food all over Mumbai, right from North Indian to South Indian!

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5. Mumbai has malls everywhere! These malls are frequent hang out places for families and friends.

6. If you love shopping, Linking road in Bandra should be your destination! You can find everything from international brands to affordable local goods here. There is a mix of brand outlets, street-side carts and regular shops that sell a variety of clothes and a wide range of accessories.

 

7. For short distances, people of Mumbai travel by auto rickshaws. Auto rickshaws operate only in the suburban areas of Mumbai, while taxis operate throughout Mumbai. Taxi and auto rickshaw drivers are mostly male (though there are a few women taxi drivers for women-only taxis!) 🙂 Everybody calls the male taxi/rickshaw drivers as “bhaiyya” which means “brother” in Hindi.

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8. Hindi is the most spoken language in Mumbai (since Hindi is the national language of India). But since Mumbai attracts migrants from all over India, you’ll hear a wide range of languages here!

 

9. Trains are the most preferred mode of transport for long distances in Mumbai. But be careful, it gets very very crowded during rush hours. There are separate compartments for women only 🙂

 

10. Bollywood – India’s huge film industry is based in Mumbai!

 

11. Considering Mumbai’s population, the traffic will move slowly in the evenings and help you increase your patience 😛

 

12. Chowpatty beach and Juhu beach are popular places to enjoy the sun, the sea and the sand.

 

13. Marine Drive is a ‘C’-shaped six-lane concrete road along the coast of Arabian Sea. It is also known as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’ because if viewed at night from an elevated point anywhere along the drive, the street lights resemble a string of pearls like a breathtaking necklace. It is a major tourist attraction of Mumbai!

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14. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai is located in the area of Borivali. The rich flora and fauna of Sanjay Gandhi National Park attracts more than 2 million visitors every year. The natural environment, the greenery, the forests, lakes, and fresh air will help you relax. It provides a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the main city 🙂

 

15. People of Mumbai are warm, friendly and always ready to help!

 

So, if you’re planning to visit Mumbai, don’t forget to go to the places I mentioned here! 🙂

Credit for Marine drive image: http://my.opera.com/Amiraj/albums/showpic.dml?album=3614822&picture=52404092
Credit for Mohammad ali road food pic: http://onewaybombay.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/eid-on-mohammed-ali-road/

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This has got to be the first blog post about India that has been written on our website. Although hubsy and I are big fans of Indian food, we’ve never been to this beautiful country. Thanks to our rock star blogger- Nicky- for giving us this valuable list of facts.

This is Nicky’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’   . 

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15 Facts about Nha Trang City


15 Facts about Nha Trang City

by: Diem Khanh

Photo Khanh

 

Nha Trang is my mother’s hometown. Growing up there, I have always loved Nha Trang City in the province of Khanh Hoa and I visit this place every year. I am very lucky to have had a chance to discover Nha Trang, enjoy its culture and cuisine with local people. These ‘15 facts’ are from my own experience. Enjoy!!

 

1)      Nha Trang beach has been ranked highly in many lists of top beach destinations. For example, Nha Trang beach was on the top three beaches in the online survey carried out by Expedia.com.au in 2011.

 

2)      Locals  love to swim on the beach at dawn or between 5 to 6 AM.

 

3)      Local people can park their motorbikes and bicycles in the pavement by the beach without worries of losing their vehicles.

 

4)      Beside some well-known islands in Nha Trang such as Hon Tam, Hon Mun, Hon Tre, etc, there are also a lot of islands which are barely inhabited. If you have enough guts, you can take a visit to play Robinson Crusoe on a deserted island.

 

5)      Po Nagar festival is rated as one of 16 national festivals in Vietnam and takes place from 21st to 23rd March every Lunar year in Nha Trang.

 

6)      The Vinpearl Cable Car, which is 3320 meters long,  is the longest over-water cable car in the world. Remember to try it when you want to visit Vinpearl Land and prepare to be amazed by the feeling of floating and looking at the poetic landscape from the height of 60 meters.

 

7)      In rural areas of NhaTrang, there are still some stores selling Bánh Ướt (steamed flat cake) which is probably the cheapest street food in Vietnam: 500VND/dish.

 

8)      Tran Phu Street is considered the most popular and most beautiful street in NhaTrang. There are so many hotels on this street as tourists only need to walk across the street then they can reach the beach.

 

9)      People in Nha Trang go to bed quite early. Only the central part of the city and bars are still crowded at night.

 

10)  One stunning noodle dish in Nha Trang is Jellyfish Rice Noodle (Bun Sua).  It is cooked with special local rice noodle that is only found in Nha Trang. This dish is well-known for not using meat soup, but fish soup instead. The sweet taste together with crispy pieces of jellyfish makes it one of the must-try dishes in NhaTrang.

 

 

11)  Local people call plastic bag as “bị” which sounds a little bit odd to hear for people from other regions.

 

12)  Standing at the entrance into NhaTrang is the one and only high and majestic Twin Tree (Scientific name: Dipterocarpaceae). The tree of two-winged fruit has this name because it is divided into two huge trunks at the stump. It is 30 meters high, over 200 years old and is considered as a symbol of strength of the land and people living here.

13)  Visiting Hon Tam of Nha Trang on Tet holiday, you will be amazed by the beauty of Hoa Do Mai (Gliricidiasepium flower) that is planted along the rock slope. These beautiful flowers are pink like cherry blossoms and, interestingly, can be cooked as a salad dish with oil vinegar.

14)  Đầm Market is the biggest market located in center of Nha Trang. It’s well-known for the outstanding architecture. You can find all specialties and souvenirs here; just remember to bargain for the best price. 

 

15)  If you ask senior citizens in NhaTrang “What is the color of the ocean?”, they will answer “The color of the ocean is the color of the sky”.

 

 

I hope you find my post interesting and visit Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa soon, and probably, vote and comment on my post. 

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Have you been to this city? Here are our photos and posts : Nha Trang City

This is Khanh’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’   . 

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15 Facts about Ho Chi Minh City


15 Facts about Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)

by: Phung Dieu Trang

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I’ve spent my whole life here in this very city. I can’t say I love everything about my city, but so far I enjoy living in this dynamic place. Below is what I will never forget about HCMC if I ever have to leave.

1. Although Ho Chi Minh City, originally named as Saigon, is not the capital of Vietnam, it is the economic centre of the country. Gradually there are more and more people migrating to HCMC in search of better jobs.

 2. You can find “Cơm Tấm” and “Bánh Mì” food stalls at almost every corner of the city. Even in a small alley, there is at least one. Saigonites can have these two kinds of food any time during the day: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

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 3. When there’s a traffic jam and you try to stay in line, people will shout at you. So just go with the flow 😉

 

4. When the traffic light turns amber, it means “Drive faster” instead of “Slow down”!

 

 5. Recently, thanks to the global spread of English, foreign language centers have mushroomed across the city. You can spot many on the street, especially on Ba Thang Hai where there are approximately 10 (or maybe more), however, when people think about the reliable place to hone their skills, VUS and ILA seem to be the top choices.

 6. Coffee is one of the most common drinks here.  Coffee shops can range from Street Style to Romantic and Modern ones; prices can be between 5,000 VND and 70,000 VND. These days coffee shops are not only destinations for friends to chill out, but also for businessmen to sign deals.

 

 7. De Tham, Pham Ngu Lao are also known as “Khu Pho Tay” (Western Town or Backpacker’s Area). Many foreigners coming to Vietnam stay and/or live in this part of Saigon. They have all kinds of leisure facilities here, such as bars, cafes, travel agencies etc.

 8. Districts 5, 10 and 11 are areas where the majority of the Chinese-Vietnamese live. These are also where you can buy goods in large quantity at wholesale prices.

 

 9. Being built in the 19th century by French colonists, Saigon Notre Dame is an icon of HCMC. Besides serving for religious purpose, this church is also one of the tourist attractions in HCMC and among the favorite sights for couples to take their wedding photos.

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 10. “Banh Trang Tron” va “Banh Trang Nuong”, which are believed to originate from Phan Thiet, are two irresistible snacks for the students, and also for the officers, as well as teachers 😉

 

 11. If you want to take a tour around HCMC, a new bus route numbered 35 is already launched to help you. This bus passes by the downtown area. Understandably, many bus takers complain that bus 35 is not suitable for daily commuters since it takes longer time to travel, compared with other buses.

 12. More and more restaurants with Ha Noi styles (i.e. sticky rice, Bun Cha Ha Noi) have opened in HCMC since the number of immigrants from Ha Noi has increased dramatically.

 

 13. During Christmas and New Year, if you’re in the mood for some ‘photo shoot’, you can go downtown- from Le Duan St. to Le Loi St. These main streets are always well-decorated with flashy lights and festival symbols.

 14. KFC, Lotteria, Jollibee are among the most common places for kids to celebrate their birthdays nowadays. It is likely that 7 out of 10 kids will choose “KFC/ Lotteria/ Jollibee” when they eat out.

 

 15. Compared with other cities in Vietnam, it is safe to say that services in Ho Chi Minh are sufficient and adequate.

What else can I say about Ho Chi Minh city? Well, I would say I’m proud to be born here, but I also want to explore the rest of Vietnam.

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Do you want to read more about the city? Click here: Saigon

This is Trang’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’ .

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15 Facts about Hanoi, Vietnam


15 Facts about Hanoi, Vietnam

by: Noelle Ha @KikiPBN http://psychonoelle.wordpress.com/

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Hello everyone, I am an Original Hanoian and I am writing this to share my knowledge about the place where I was born. You may agree or disagree with me but I’m just sharing this based on my own knowledge about the capital city of Vietnam. 

 

Here are the facts that (at least according to me):

1. Hanoi-the capital of Vietnam, is a rich cultural city with a history that goes back at least 100 years although it had had inhabitants long before that. In 1010 Ly Thai To King had recognized Hanoi or Thang Long (Ascending Dragon) as the capital of Vietnam, a status which has remained till today.

2. Located on the bank of Red River, Hanoi still maintains trace of the Rivers that run through it last time in the form of famous lakes such as Ho Guom (Sword Lake), Ho Tay (West Lake), Ho Thien Quang (Halair/Halais Lake), Truc Bach Lake, Bay Mau Lake (Seven Hectare Lake), Thu Le Lake (in the Thu Le Zoo) to name just a few. Hence sometimes people refer to Hanoi as the “City of  Lakes”.

3.The city has a long-standing history of traditional cuisine with many famous delicacies. Food in Hanoi gathers quintessence of all food from other regions of Vietnam. People from other parts of Vietnam bring their hometown’s specialties to Hanoi and modify the taste to suit the taste of Hanoinese. Culinary style of Hanoi food is influenced by Chinese, French and Thai.

4.Snail Noodle Soup (Bún Ốc) is a fairly Best Vietnamese Food that can be found everywhere in Hanoi and seems rather simple to cook. However, it is not at all easy to serve the best Snail Noodle that makes all crave for more or at least try it again. Hanoians have 2 different ways to eat this Best Vietnamese Food : hot and cool (or cold). The cool serving just exists in Hanoi, it tastes very much the same except for the heat, and it not at all fishy thanks to the chili and the aroma of wine vinegar. Generally, hot snail noodle is more popular than its cool version, since one can have hot snail noodle all year long as it is simple to cook and easy to eat. 

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5. Since the early of 20th century, Pho Thin, Pho Giang, Pho Long My have been famous and were sold on the street. Nowadays, Pho has come the special dish of Hanoi and is served in the eateries at the street corners or in the luxurious restaurants. Pho in Hanoi has a special taste that cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Some traditional Pho could be found in Bat Dan, Ly Quoc Su, Bo Ho, Luong Van Can street. Or you can try some modern high end Pho restaurants like Pho vuong, Pho 24. 

6. Night life in Hanoi is divided into two categories. One is for those who like to explore the night market and the delicious Vietnamese food that are abundant at these places. Another is for those who prefer to chill out a local bar or club for some local nightlife experience.

7. Tran Vu Pagoda in West Lake is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi (from 12nd century) which houses a big black copper statue made in 1667, weighing around 4 tons.

8. From Hanoi, you can also take a one-day visit to some traditional handicraft villages like Ceramic Bat Trang Village, Van Phuc Silk Village, Ba Vi National Park or Huong Pagoda.

9. Teenagers in Hanoi like to have a nosh with close friends after school-time; the most interesting place is Ta Hien street. No matter where you come from, a lot of foreigners like drinking Bia Co Ta Hien, make friends and talk to the locals every evening.

10. Foreigners rarely go out to have some Trang Tien ice-cream, because they don’t want to queue for it 😀 But Trang Tien Shop only uses natural ingredients to make a “fresh-tasting” product. In spite of many foreign ice-cream brands, Hanoians remain loyal to this “quality” ice-cream. The Original Shop at No 35 Trang Tien Street in Hanoi. (Again, this is just my opinion :D)

11. The Original Hanoians always dress elegantly, luxuriously but still reticent. We have a proverb: Ăn Bắc mặc Kinh.

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12.The Hanoians have wide vocabulary, a big heart, a simple life and are humble but good at communication. 🙂

13. Hanoi’s dishes are delicate and refined. A dish does not require too many ingredients, but each has own spices and garnishes. As @herdailydigest shared in her post, the locals always leave 5 to 10% in the cup after drinking. If you empty the cup, the old man will consider that a cup was drained to the dregs.

14. Poetry, songs and literature will tell you that the best time to visit Hanoi is during fall (September to December) and spring (March to May) as these are the two most beautiful seasons in this city when the weather is cool.

15. A trip to Hanoi would not be complete if one does not come to visit Temple of Literature located at Quoc Tu Giam Street. This is the oldest University (1070) in Vietnam where you can see many stelae (turtle stones) carved with “doctorate” degree holders’ name and their hometown.

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I have been to Hanoi, thrice. It’s same same to HCMC but different 😉 This city is very close to my heart because it’s got the title of my first photo book : My First Stop: Hanoi . 

This is Noelle’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’ .

Don’t forget to rate below (5 stars, YAY!) and we welcome comments on Noelle’s amazingly fun and informative facts about her city.

15 Facts about Phu My Hung, Vietnam


15 Facts about Phu My Hung, Vietnam

By: June Lee

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1) Aka ‘Saigon South’, it’s located in District 7 of Ho Chi Minh City, south of downtown District 1.

2) It’s an urban area developed by a joint venture between Taiwanese and Vietnamese groups.

3) Most residents are either expats or of the upper-socio-economic Vietnamese demographic.

4) The central PMH area radiates from the Nguyen Van Linh / Bui Bang Doan intersection, but has also expanded to the southeast along Nguyen Luong Bang Street.

5) It’s just like home (give or take a little). From international fast food joints like Carl’s Junior, Lotteria, and the recent addition, Burger King, to 3D mega-cinemas, to shopping centers like Lotte Mart and the Crescent Mall, there’s plenty of the ‘developed world’ here to keep you from feeling too homesick, at least for a little while.

6) Not yet ready to get on a motorbike? You can travel within PMH or even within HCMC for nearly nothing. Use the red Lotte Mart shuttlebus (free!) to get around within PMH, or take the Cityview shuttlebus to go to Dong Khoi street in District 1 for a measly 15,000vnd. If you feel more daring, try the large or small city buses for around 5,000vnd a ticket. (See the HCMC bus routes here: http://www.buyttphcm.com.vn/admin/Images/sodotuyen2012-09-19.jpg)

7) Looking for a place to take a romantic little stroll? Try the man-made ‘lake’ and ‘star’ bridge behind Crescent Mall. The bridge walkway is adorned with little lights that come on at night, hence its namesake.

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8) Want to see more of the local life? Try Tan My open market, just north of FV hospital on Nguyen Luong Bang street. It’s open all day, but liveliest in the early morning.

9) Like trying foreign cuisine? There’s Australian, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese, and more!

10) Looking for quality groceries? A favorite for locals is the Coop-Mart, for its relatively lower prices. It can get quite crowded though, which is why many expats seem to prefer the Lotte Mart supermarket or Giant (in the basement of Crescent Mall).

11) Need a time out? PMH (and the rest of HCMC, for that matter) is spa heaven! No particular recommendations here, as most of them seem to have pretty good service, although there may be a few that are overpriced in comparison to the rest.

12) Got kids? There are plenty of other kids in PMH who might be going to school with yours at one of the numerous international schools here. There’s American, Australian, British, Canadian, Korean, Taiwanese, and several others, as well as an Australian university (RMIT).

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13) Got a furry friend? So do a good number of the PMH residents, and they love bringing them out to mingle with each other. There are also a couple of pet grooming/pet care centers, a vet, and even a ‘doggy café’ where you (not the dog) sit back with a coffee while your pup munches on treats or plays with other visiting pups.

14) Keen on learning a second language? There are a couple of Vietnamese language schools, several English schools, and one or two that teach Korean or Chinese.

15) Need to get in shape? Although most of the larger apartments have their own mini-gyms, perhaps you would feel more motivated to exercise if you actually paid for a membership. Many of the gyms offer dance/yoga/pilates classes, and there are also places where you can wall-climb, learn martial arts, play tennis, swim, and golf.

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Have you been to Phu My Hung? We have listed  10++ Places To Hang Out in Phu My Hung 

This is June’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’   . 

Don’t forget to rate below (5 stars, YAY!)  and we welcome comments on June’s amazingly fun and informative facts about her place.

15 facts about Jakarta, Indonesia


15 facts about Jakarta, Indonesia

by Veve Kristanti @ekrist ; http://v-in-v.blogspot.com/ Ekrist n Terracotta Warrior

1. What is the world’s most active Twitter city? Surprisingly it is Jakarta, Indonesia! See link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2012/12/30/the-worlds-most-active-twitter-city-you-wont-guess-it/?utm_campaign=forbestwittersf&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

 2. More and more Jakartans have two phones and one of them is BlackBerry.

 3. The best time to enjoy Jakarta is during Idul Fitri (Eid al-Fitr)Muslim Holiday when most of Jakartans are away. The city is quiet,MONAS Monumen Nasional or National Monument in Jakarta - Copy less polluted, less congested and we can see the blue sky!

 4. During Idul Fitri Muslim Holiday, hotels in Jakarta are occupied by families whose domestic helper/babysitter is away for the festive season.

 5. Friday evening is the worst time to bet in the business district.  Rain will make traffic worse; heavy rain may cause flood and heavier traffic.

 6. A few minutes after the rain starts, especially in the business districts, many children from the surrounding areas offer their ‘umbrella services’.

 7. Better traffic is expected during school holidays!  However, in general, heavy traffic starts anytime from morning to early evening from Monday to Friday.

 8. The blue taxi, Blue Bird, drives everyone around the city.  It is a reliable taxi company that most people use.

 9. More and more Jakartans like to do “Gowes” which means cycling. On a regular basis, the main street down town is closed on Sunday morning for car-free day.

 10. Shopping malls are the number one destination for family weekend getaway.

 11. Most people in Jakarta (and Indonesia in general) take a shower twice a day (morning and late afternoon/evening) due to sunny weather.

 12. Indomie (instant noodle) with an egg is a simple breakfast consumed by many people at home and work.

 13. Kopi tubruk (black coffee without separating its residue) is still a favorite for many people, especially smokers in Jakarta.

 14. “I don’t feel well, I have ‘masukangin’.” Masuk = to get in. Angin = wind. It is a common Indonesian’s term for saying they are feeling unwell. It is a symptom of getting sick (i.e. feeling dizzy, cold like fever, sick inside stomach, wanting to throw up, having cold sweats etc.)

 15. The newly elected Governor and Vice Governor are well-supported by the Jakartans. The Governor is recently named Third Best Mayor in the World for 2012 by World Mayor Project.

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Have you traveled to Jakarta? My family and I went there in 2010. We had spent most of our time in the shopping malls and the best bit was the indoor zip line activity which we all enjoyed! Here are my posts about Jakarta.

This is Veve’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’   . 

Don’t forget to rate below (5 stars, YAY!)  and we welcome comments on Veve’s amazingly fun and informative facts about her city.  

 

15 Facts about Singapore


Let’s say you have read this- 15 Facts about Vietnam   – and more or less, you already have an idea of what I am going to say in this post.

Anyway, this has been our third visit in this city- all the trips in the past had been short and fast-paced as we would always go sightseeing and visiting theme parks. You see, when you are packed with activities, you don’t really notice other people; all you do is take pictures or enjoy the rides. Only when we people- watch at a coffee shop or talk with our expat and local friends from that city do we really notice and learn a lot of things.

Alright, to minimize violent reactions I would like to make it clear that all 15 are just my personal observations. Yes, am no expert about Singapore although the TITLE could be a bit tricky. Nevertheless, I do encourage you to comment, share your thoughts or give light to what I think based on what I have seen, heard, etc.

1. All Singaporeans have iPhones.

2. They finish their sentences with ‘lah’ and questions with ‘meh’.

3. Yes or No? (English) = Can or Not? (Singlish)

4. They address their elders ‘Auntie’ and ‘Uncle’ as a sign of respect.  In Vietnam,  they say  ‘Chi’ or ‘Ba’ and ‘Anh’ or ‘Ong’. In the Philippines ‘Ate’ or  ‘Ale’ and ‘Kuya’ or ‘Manong’ :p

5. Lucky Plaza is a Filipino mall and walking down Orchard Road is like being in Manila. Everyone speaks Tagalog there :p I once thought there were more Filipinos than Singaporeans in Singapore. :p

6. Most Filipinos working in shops never spoke Taglish; they always spoke Singlish which made it hard for me to distinguish a Filipino from a Singaporean.

7. ‘Aunties’ and’ Uncles’ still work for a living here. They are very hardworking and this is rare because in most Asian countries, the elderly stay at home. Their children take care of them or they take care of their grandchildren. In the west, they are either in nursing homes or living somewhere else enjoying their retirement.

8. Customer service at its best. In the hotels, shops, everywhere-they don’t think of a one-time big purchase, they value repeat business more; that’s why they tell you how you can pay less.

9. Tell me, why are there a lot of sexy, pretty girls in Geylang? :p

10. Old historical buildings are plenty in Bugis and Geylang. Bugis has a lot of churches and mosques.

11. The Arab Street has a lot of delightful restaurants and shops. My friend Michelle fell in love with the earrings at a shop across Istanbul Grills and Cafe. They have unique, rare and fabulous jewelry.

12. Makansutra is a hot spot but their coffee is too sweet. I was told they put 2 tablespoons of condensed milk in it.  And oh, Makansutra is super busy at night; you have to go earlier to have a table and chair . Others have to stand and wait till they see a vacant slot.

13. You can hear 5 languages spoken on a train. No, not by the same person. It’s noisy when you ride on it in the afternoon but everyone feels talking in privacy even when they could be heard but not understood. I didn’t understand a single word.

14. No rush in crossing the street with 2 kids in tow, they’d wait till you are at a safer part of the road before they drive again.

15. On a train or bus – When you have a protruding belly, they’d give up their seat for you without verifying if you’re pregnant or not. They are that polite. And I was a little bit embarassed. :-p This does not work for males though.

Ha! Alright, that’s all! Thanks for reading, lah!

Do you plan to go to Singapore soon? Here’s some info on where to find the best flight deals to Singapore: Cheap Flights

Happy traveling 🙂

15 Things U need 2 know about Vietnam


So most of you have already read 15 Facts About Vietnam and I am sure you still want to know more about this country. Some of the things here have become normal to me. I have already inhaled and exhaled Saigon so much that I have become immune to it. And to be honest with you, it’s not that very different from my country. In fact, I only notice these things when a visitor points things out or when these issues come out during a conversation with other expats.

Now, if you are new to Vietnam or are traveling for the first time, reading my observations and recommendations might be very useful to you. I have also asked some of my friends on Twitter to contribute a thing or two. Here we go:

1. Pho is the most famous food in Vietnam. The spelling is correct and Oxford has already defined this word : Pho . Traditionally, Vietnamese eat Pho in the morning. Nowadays, people eat Pho anytime they want and that’s why they have Pho24, which can be seen almost everywhere. But people I know and I agree that the best place to enjoy your Vietnamese noodle soup is at Pho Hoa on Pasteur Street. This is well-known in HCMC and I have been there many times. I vouch for it.

Here’s the photo I took with my Motorola EX119 this morning:

2. When you check in a hotel, the receptionist asks for your passport and keeps it overnight. Our friends Marissa and Alice were skeptical about it and thought this was strange as the other countries in Asia- Thailand and Singapore for example- don’t ask for the passports. Don’t worry, your passports are safe with the hotel staff and they always return your most important document the following day.

3. I happen to have a big sized foot so shopping for quality and reasonably priced shoes is a bit difficult in HCMC. True, there are a lot of shoes anywhere, Nguyen Din Chieu and Ly Chin Thang Streets display colorful, trendy and inexpensive shoes for women. Apparently, I go for solid colors like red, black, brown or white and durability is my top priority. I go to Dong Hai, a brand trusted even by locals,  for my everyday wear. This shop is situated at 229 Hai Ba Trung St., District 1.

4. VN youth heart Korea and Japan. Teenagers would spend a lot of money for their costume to join the Cosplay. Could this also be the reason why I always catch them reading Japanese Comics like Doraemon?  Many boys and girls also dress up like South Koreans thanks to KPOP and Korean drama.

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5. Public transport could be cheap. The green bus (4,000VND) costs cheaper than the shuttle bus(15,000VND). My cousin Van usually takes the green bus in going to Phu My Hung from District 1.  She prefers Bus 102 over Bus 34 as this is faster. The bus station for green buses that can take you anywhere in Saigon is located across the Ben Thanh Market. You have to wait opposite the Grand Hotel in Dong Khoi Street for the shuttle bus which is a much cleaner and cooler one.

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6. It’s boiling from 9am to 4pm at the moment. I am talking about 33 to 38 degree Celsius and you can still see a lot of people wearing jackets. Also, Male employees are required to wear long sleeves and a tie at work and you see them walking outside during lunch. Making you wonder why people here eat Pho in their coat and tie at this very humid weather ;-).

7. There is a bunch of shameless expats on their 70s or 80s or 90s sharing sweet moments with pretty young Asian girls on the streets of Pham Ngu Lao or Bui Vien or De Tham. Those gals are almost thrice their age. Come on, the foreigners feel like they’re Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or Bi Rain as these girls think anyone white is good-looking.

8. You can watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters at 50 cents! Pirated DVDs are sold at 10,000 VND and it’s ‘buy 4, free 1’ in some shops – @kingceejay

9. You can photocopy a whole book and there’s no issue on that. Vietnam’s  copyright law is still at its dawn. Walk along Dong Khoi and LE Loi Streets and you’ll find photocopied books of Coelho, Grisham and Steve Jobs.

10. Things are often not constant in VN.  One day they (restaurant, service, people…) are the best. The next day ‘they’ suck big time. – @Vietnam720

11. When leaving the international airport in HCMC, go up to the departures level and find the Vinasun taxi stand. Less chance of being scammed – @barijoe

12. The Vietnamese have a different concept of space, hence the space in front of you does NOT belong to you. Westerners don’t realize this. 🙂 – @saigonnezumi

13. They nod “Yes” when they understand you and nod the same even if they don’t. –@lyraliza

He was the friendliest this morning14. They’re famous for their “Vietnamese Squat”.  Seen lots of locals squat on the streets while drinking their coffee (if there are no seats around) or playing Chinese checkers to wile away the time.  They squat even when they’re on the chair already. – @lyraliza

15. ‘No problem’ can mean a lot of things & it’s not ‘no problem’. ‘No problem’ can mean 1. I don’t know how to solve this, if I ignore it long enough it will go away. 2. I don’t want to deal with this, if I ignore it long enough it will go away. 3. I don’t understand what s/he’s talking about, if I ignore him/her long enough he/she will go away . 4. Go away, I am on Facebook/YM/listening to VPop. – @xxxriainxxx

Here’s a bonus info:

Going through Vietnam immigration: coming in & out is a breeze! No cards to fill out. So tourist-friendly, you feel truly welcomed! – @cblaguardia seconded by: @dodjie_d

Related Posts:

49 Saigon Moments

15 Facts about Vietnam

15 Facts about Vietnam


I’ve been here since 2007 and am sharing you my knowledge about Vietnam or let’s be specific- Saigon (“,) I could be right, I could be wrong, but hey…I will write anyway. But you are free to agree or disagree with me. Let’s just keep the discussion friendly and useful later on. Agreed? (“,)

Here are the facts according to me:
She was smiling at Pj

1. Iced tea is free in most restaurants. Some have hot tea; others have both.

2. When Vietnamese drink tea or water (or anything), they always leave 5 to 10% in the cup after drinking. They don’t empty their cups.

3. Vietnamese don’t take a shower in the morning. They take a shower/ bath in the evening.

4. Teenagers love anything Korean- food, music, hairstyle, clothes, etc. Yes, K-POP is a big thing here.

5. They take a nap after lunch. This means driving from 12noon to 1pm is really quiet and smooth- Yes, no traffic jam! and carry on.

6. “Happy New Year” by Abba , “Hotel California” by the Eagles , and “Papa” by Paul Anka are the most popular Karaoke songs.

7. The Vietnamese wear helmet not to be SAFE on the roads but in order not to be FINED by the police/traffic officers.

8. Nobody respects pedestrian lanes/zebra crossing here. Or is there one? We always have to say a little prayer when we cross the streets or when we walk on the pavement.

9. Every family has 2 or more motorbikes and they are parked on the ground floor. The living room is a garage at the same time.

10. Mai Linh and Vinasun are the most reliable taxis. At the airport, people queue up for Mai Linh or Vinasun. They’d rather wait for a long time than hop on random ones.

Another peace-signer. Vinasun's taxi driver

11. The locals ask your age, nationality and marital status on the first meeting.

12. The coffee here is heavenly. Everyone’s favorite is caphe sua da or coffee with condensed milk on ice.

13. “Nguyen” can be a first name or a last name and there are a lot of them here. 7 out of 10 Vietnamese I’ve met here has this name.

14. The Vietnamese are generally honest, friendly and helpful. Plus they are always smiling.

15. The language is just impossible to learn. Let’s say you can get on with the language in time but no matter how you say the words, they will never get what you mean. Write them down to be understood. As for me, miming is the key.

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Am I right? Yes? Thanks!

Wrong? Really? Tell me why. (“,)

Did you like what you read? Feel free to share this post to your friends.

Please LIKE us on Facebook: Herdailydigest Travel ; follow us on Twitter as @kingceejay and @herdailydigest for daily updates. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

Do also read:

15 Things U need 2 know about Vietnam

 

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