Hidden corners of the world | Inquirer Lifestyle
Street shopping; Vietnamese fried crab spring rolls; tote bag from Orange; street food

Hidden corners of the world

Street shopping; Vietnamese fried crab spring rolls; tote bag from Orange; street food



Jesse Pizarro Boga



Went to: “Hanoi, Vietnam”


Favorite spots: “Ta Hien Street in Hoan Kiem District (where backpackers hang out for Vietnamese draft beer ‘bia hoi’); Ly Quoc Su Street, also in Hoan Kiem District, for good Vietnamese food; and Quang An Street in Tay Ho District for refreshing afternoon drinks with a beautiful view of West Lake.”

Where he slept: “In a house with a Vietnamese family in Phung Chi Kien Street, Cau Giay District. I got to live like a local!”


Best meal: “Bun nem cua be (rice noodles with Vietnamese crab spring rolls) in Noodle and Roll, 39 Ly Quoc Su Street. The dish is light, flavorful, filling.”


What he bought: “Cute tote bags in Orange (36 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street); street wear in Boo (boo.vn); and all clothes ‘made in Vietnam’ in Viet Brothers.”

Jesse embraces Vietnamese culture


Unforgettable moments: “Finding my way around the city via the Hanoi bus and never getting lost, ever (achievement unlocked); riding a bicycle and going with the flow of the crazy traffic (not for the faint-hearted); and experiencing perfect sunny days during autumn and winter.”


Tips for travelers: “Buy a local SIM, and subscribe to a 3G data plan (insanely cheap, fast and reliable at only $4 per 600 MB); Instagram every crazy, fun moment. Download Foursquare and Google Maps; you’ll never get lost, ever. Learn the Vietnamese language; it’s difficult but rewarding. Speaking French to some locals work, too! Check out the Hanoi Grapevine calendar (hanoigrapevine.com) for events and the Hanoi Massive Facebook group to connect with expats and locals alike.”


CLOCKWISE, from top left: Casa Batllo;Mela in Segovia; the aqueduct; best pig ever; Montserrat Monastery

Mela Almonte

Line producer


Went to: “Spain—Madrid, Segovia, Barcelona, Montserrat”


Favorite spots: “Montserrat was a day trip from Barcelona and it was amazing! I spent my birthday roaming inside the Prado Museum. If you like art, that is a a must-see. So many famous paintings are housed there. The Miro Museum in Barcelona was also good.”


Where she slept: “Hostels. I was in Spain by myself and didn’t want to end up not talking to anybody for days.”


Best meal: “Cochinillo (suckling pig) cooked asado-style, which is the specialty in Segovia.”



What she bought: “Clothes from Zara! At least one thing from the museums and the Sagrada Familia.”


Unforgettable moment: “Being at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, standing in the middle of the crowd, watching The Postal Service with fellow Postal Service fan Nikisa who was a Canadian I met at my walking tour in Madrid. That moment was so surreal. I couldn’t believe that I actually made that trip happen, and I was watching my favorite band and found somebody who was as big a fan as I was to watch it with.”


Tips for travelers: “For solo travelers: Use common sense and you’ll be fine. Don’t be afraid to talk to other travelers. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll meet interesting people. Read up on scams and dangers prevalent in a certain city so you’re aware of them.”


NJ in Mauritius

NJ Torres

PR manager


Went to: “Mauritius (Ile Maurice)”


Favorite spots: “Day trip on the catamaran to the Ile Plate for lunch; the visit to the Seven Coloured Earths”


Where she slept: “20 Degres Sud Hotel”


ENJOYING the Mauritius sun

Best meal: “Seafood Platter from La Mediterranee Mauritius”


What she bought: “Bought the well-known Chamarel rhum, and local chilies and spices.”


Unforgettable moments: “Driving a quad on top of a mountain in La Casela (Safari Park) and riding a horse along the beach.”


Tips for travelers: “For a planned, organized trip to Mauritius, you need at least one to two weeks on the island. I contacted Saya De Malha (www.sayadelamalha.mu), a travel agency in Mauritius, which took care of all the itinerary on the island.”


KHA at Palais Princier

Kha Santia



Went to: “South of France primarily in Côte d’Azur or the French Riviera (Nice, Villafranche-Sur-Mer, Cannes, Antibes, Saint-Tropez, Monaco, Menton)”


Favorite spots: “Le Chateau de Nice in Nice; Pampelonne Beach in Saint-Tropez (this is where the rich and famous prefer to spend their vacations)”


Where she slept: “Nice (Hostel Baccarat)”


The view from Chateau de Nice

Best meal: “Crepe (ha ha!)”


What she bought: “Magnets, lavender soaps from Provence, sardines and sandwich spreads”


Unforgettable moment: “Everything was unforgettable, but one of the moments that really stood out was when this guy flashed me and my companions on a rainy evening at the train station. We were so frightened and I was able to carry my 60-pound luggage while sprinting through the streets!”


Tips for  travelers: “Try the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus if you’re on a tight schedule. Always get a map from the tourist center. It’s really helpful and it’s free. Also, it usually indicates an easy-to-follow walking tour, which is great if you’re on a budget. Just make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear.”





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