3 reasons to love Barcelona

August was my second time in Barcelona, and I loved it just as much as the first time. It really is a place that has everything, which is why its so popular all year round among tourists.

We stayed in the popular ‘Gothic Quarter’. The great thing about this place is that everything happens relatively close together, so most things are within 10 minutes walk from any popular destination.

Reason 1: A beautiful beach

Soft sand, clear water, an outside gym in the middle and bars and restaurants across the strip. What more do you need?


Reason 2: Lots of history

First and foremost, The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada FamíliaThis very large Roman Catholic church, designed by famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí is due to be complete by 2032. Dont let that stop you visting though, its absolutely amazing!


Camp Nou -The stadium home to FC Barcelona since its completion in 1957. With a seating capacity of 99,354, its the largest stadium in the whole of Europe. Now im not a football fan myself, but as I was with Liam, this was a ust on our to do list, and i have to day its was a great afternoon!

There are so many other museums and art galleries for those who like that sort of thing. The options are endless so make sure you have a look on Tripadvisor before you go!

And if you want a real taste of Tapas, without the tourist prices, head to Blai Street – a row of homely tapas restaurants that is cheap and absolutely amazing!


Reason 3: Vibrant nightlife

Whether you’re having a relatively ‘quiet one’ down La Rambla; the popular 1.2 kilometre street of cafes and bars, or partying until the early hours in Pacha along La Barceloneta beach, Barca nightlife really is one of the best.

Theres even an Ice Bar two clubs away from Pacha. Is anyone else just super impressed that such a hot country has an Ice Bar? I definitely am.

 

 

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A Night in Manchester

SO we headed up on a morning Virgin Train to Manchester on Saturday, to stay the night for triple birthday celebrations for 3 of my favourite girls.


We had lots of fun and stayed in the lovely Renaissance hotel. There was 8 of us girls so we booked two ‘double deluxe rooms’ for £50 each. When we arrived, to our excitement, we were told we have us adjoining rooms! We absolutely loved this as it meant we could still get ready and have a pre party altogether before we headed out on the town.

 The rooms were spacious and clean, my only negative would be that the lighting was very poor, which meant only in the bathroom could we all contour properly (oh women’s struggles eh?)


We started out at The Milton Club

We’ve heard lots of good things about here. The music was really good but a vodka and soda will set you back £10 so don’t expect cheap drinks! We stayed here until around midnight but it didn’t get very busy. I definitely wouldn’t call it a ‘club’, more of a ‘pre bar’ drinking spot.



We ended at Bijou

Absolutely loved this place! The music was spot on with a mix of everything! 

Great crowd and lots of space to dance so it gets a big thumbs up from me. I’d definitely go back to Bijoux if I headed to Manchester again. We didn’t get in until 5am so I think its fair to say we made the most of the night…


 

 

 

Favourite Ho Chi Minh drinking hubs

We went to a fair few bars in Ho Chi Minh but here are my 3 favourites! 

The view hotel bar A very cool 8th floor bar on the main strip with surprisingly inexpensive beer.

  333 beer at 20,000 dong? That’s traveller prices in a roof top bar which was highly unexpected. Or why not have a giant Tiger for a mere 50p extra. 

  
This place has a super relaxed atmosphere, pretty lights, lovely scenery and an OK view of the city. I’m sure you can find better views in sky bar or other rooftops but this is well worth a drink. 

   
 
Guess what, it even had a swing!

  
Donkey bar

  Although the prices here aren’t very traveller friendly (unless you buy 3 drinks for the price of 2 or again.. drink beer), it’s well worth a stop. The bar is situated over 3 floors and include foozeball, darts and pool tables making it a super fun place to hang out.   

Both of these bars are located on the very long ‘Bui Vien Street’ which is a strip of bars, hotels and restaurants 

Universal

 One for those with sports obsessed boyfriends.

This is a sports bar with the added luxury of a really good singer who performs there every other night, keeping us girls occupied while the boys shout at the tv. 

This ones around the other side.

What’s your favourite bar in Saigon – or which one of these looks like one you’d most enjoy?

LwL X 

Siem Reap nightlife

There’s a Pub Street, oh yes.  

 A whole street dedicated to getting you super drunk. You can also try a crocodile burger from one of the restaurants here too!

Here were my favourite 2 bars..

Angkor what? Bar

 
This is seriously cool. The whole bar is decorated in graffiti and inside its glow in the dark.

  Try the cocktail ‘aspara’s blush’ for $3, it’s strong and slushy and was one of my favourite drinks 
  
Cheers

  This place is just passed the exit of Pub Street and it has a great mix of locals and tourists. 

Beers are $1 and strong house vodka is $3.

  Music is like a throwback to the 00’s, its serious cheese and they even have strobe lights. Winning. 

There are also lots of street vendor bars which are super cool if you fancy a rave in the road! 

  

LwL x 

Hanoi: City nightlife & a day at the Lake

Exploring Day 3

On our last day in Hanoi we headed towards the area of Ho Hoan Liem as I’d seen lots of good reviews online.

Ho Hoan Liem

Meaning ‘lake of the returned sword.’ The centrepiece of the city. 

 Legend has it that Emporer Le Loi threw his sword into the lake at a turtle dwelling there; after conquering the Chinese army in the 15th century. 
The lake has two islands, one built in the middle in honour of the tortoise named ‘Turtle Tower’..

  
 ..and another on the Eastern side named Jade Island.  

  

  

  
 Surrounding the lake are many beautiful patches of garden and flowers, it’s very picturesque. 
   
   
 It’s also beautiful at night..  On one side of the lake (over the road) is a statue of Ly Thai To (founder of Hanoi). 

  
The other side; King Le Temple, built in 1896 in honour of King Le Loi, and is home to a crowned statue and a rock carved with a poem written by the King himself about his determination to defeat the Chinese. 

  
    
Later on we wandered for the last time around the old quarter. I got myself a nice pair of Fonverse too for only £11! (Fake converse). Then we headed for the sleeper bus. 

What we missed
A Water Puppet show: Unfortunately we missed this as we planned to go on our last day near Ho Hoan Liem, but the show didn’t start until 5pm that day and our bus was at 6. Its a shame as this is a big part of vietnamese culture and I would’ve liked to have seen a show.

Hanoi ceramic mosaic mural: This one was a bit far out and doesn’t look like it was surrounded by much so we didn’t bother going but may be of interest to you. 

   Ho Chi Minh Museum: we only walked passed but you can actually go into the Ho Chi Minh museum. We was a bit museum’d out after spending that morning at Hoa Lo. It depends how much information your brain can take in a day I guess! 

Hanoi Nightlife
There are lots of bars and restaurants around the old quarter.

Of a night there is also a big long street market down the main road; selling everything from fake Adidas to pop-up birthday cards.

  

   
My highlight: witnessing a baby  riding an electric car beside me ha  
   

  

 Here are two of my favourite bars we went to:

Prague Bar 

Super relaxed, very chilled vibe with artistic paintings, low coffee tables and sofas. It reminded me of being Back in Amsterdam, which I imagine Prague is quite similar to? 

  This serves food and drink and a lovely array of flavoured sodas 

Rock Store/stone Bar
Sorry I can’t remember the actual name.. Rock something ha. 

This place has great wallpaper; all the names and logos of familiar rock’n’roll legends. 

The bar plays sports and has a great live band there every night singing some classic anthems. 

   
 The licence to party closes at midnight in Hanoi, however there are a few bars around the area that continue the party with locks ins. Ask around to see where to go, we heard that Toms bar do late night secret parties but we never went there. 

Anywhere I’ve missed that you’d recommend? 

LwL X 

Chiang Mai: Take 2

 Spending another 2 nights in Chiang Mai meant more exploring for us. I am actually glad we came here a second time as we missed our some vital places I can now share with you.

First of all, the night bazaar (take 2) opened us up to so much more of the road. A tuk tuk took us to the ‘start’ or finish, whatever way you look at it. The place in my last picture with the arch of lights I thought was a closed mall, is actually more shops and stalls. 

Remember this..

 
  Opposite that is another night bazaar that leads to bars, game stalls and another great big food court! 

  
   

 We also finally found where some nightlife is! (The city centre is pretty quiet and dead by midnight). The place to go is Loi Ak road, just before the bazaar. It is a long street of different bars that look like there open until the early hours. Unfortunately we found this on our last night..

  
  Don’t forget to head to Sompet Market in the day for a sweet coconut

   

 Here’s some other snaps of us touring the many temples Chiang Mai has to offer around the city centre: 

Three Kings Monument   
  

   
      
    
  

   
LwL X