5 Coffee Shops In Hanoi You Have To Try

Hanoi is a city with a coffee shop culture that runs deep. Regardless of the time of day the city’s cafes are overflowing with citizens from all walks of life. Though Hanoi is famous for its Egg Coffee, there are a myriad of hideouts that have a more low key menu. After living in Hanoi for a while now, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites! Here are five cafes that should be at the top of any coffee lovers list!


1. Cafe Nola


Tucked away from the bustle of Hanoi’s most touristy street – Ma May, is Nola. A gem hidden in plain sight. Enter through a small alley on the side of the road, and be prepared to be transported to a whimsical land full of paintings and coffee. This multi story cafe not only makes a mean Cà Phê Sữa Đá (Vietnamese ice coffee) but they also have a rooftop terrace and a rotating art gallery!


Must try:  Cà Phê Sữa Đá

Address: Mã Mây, Quan Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 


Cafe Nola

Cafe Nola


2. The Note Coffee


The Note Coffee is two words: quirky and cute. The walls from floor to ceiling are lined with colorful post-it notes with messages from people all over the world. The open air rooms extend a few stories up and give great views of the street below. Located right in the heart of the Old Quarter, The Note Coffee Shop is a great place to duck into when you need a break from exploring. The drinks are sweet just like the decor, it is an absolute must visit!


Must try: Coconut Latte

Address: 64 Lương Văn Can, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội


3. Hanoi Social Club


One of everyone’s favorites is this speak-easy/cafe, Hanoi Social Club is more than just a coffee shop. They hold workshops and talks every week and act as a community meet up spot. Offering a full menu of absolutely scrumptious items, wifi, games, and even cocktails in the evening you could easily spend an entire day here! Located down an alley near Hanoi’s famous railroad street it’s a great location to base more exploration.


Must try: Avocado Toast and a Latte or a mint and lime slushie 

Address: 6 Ngõ Hội Vũ, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội


4. Cong


This famous chain is almost like the Starbucks of Vietnam. Normally this would put me off but the fact that there is a Cong on every corner is reason to celebrate! Decked out in wartime apparel this themed cafe has an impressive menu of exclusively Vietnamese favorites from yogurt coffee to smoothies you can get a real taste of the countries history along with a tasty cuppa something great!


Must try: Coconut Coffee (!!!)

Address: Every street in Hanoi


5. Căng-Tin 109 Cà Phê


Căng-Tin is like traveling back in time to Hanoi 100 years ago, when the streets were quiet and life was slow. This old world cafe is located a little out of the way, and far from the tourist trail. Situated next to a pagoda in a small neighborhood it’s an authentic escape from the chaos of the Old Quarter.


Must try: Trà Quất (Kumquat Iced Tea) 

Address: Ngõ 198 Xã Đàn, Phương Liên, Đống Đa, Hà Nội



5 Notorious Instagram Girl Poses Explained

Navigating the world of Instagram is a daunting task, let alone trying to figure out what the heck us ladies are doing in our photos! Before I started taking lots of travel pictures I would just be BAFFLED at these travel Instagram accounts!

Like WHY AM I ONLY SEEING THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD?! Or why are you wearing a dress and a hat on the top of a mountain, I KNOW you had to hike up to that!!

I remember thinking ‘this is dumb’, BUT little did I know these gals had it figured out. These are the essentials to making beautiful wanderlust-y photos.

Here I want to give you the behind the scenes explanation of 5 that I have (sort of) figured out and am totally guilty of!!


1. The Walking Away To Nowhere Shot

This is a BIG one in the Instagram world. You will see us Instagrammers aimlessly strolling along a street, or Riviera or some other picture perfect place. Somewhere that yes we probably did walk but WHY are we being photographed doing it. Well let me tell you!

I’ll start with the no BS reasons why I like to take pictures walking away from the camera:

Firstly, facing away from the camera covers up the fact that it’s probably 150 degrees and I’m sweating a lot.

Secondly, it also covers up the fact that I’m definitely wearing no make up and look like a tired traveling goblin.

Thirdly, it disguises that I probably have a stomach ache and I am in pain. Also if I extend one of my slightly chunky-ish legs it makes it look s’long and lean which works for me! It’s like the magic Photoshop for real life.

Now the more *~artsy~* explanation – Basically, this effortless aka totally planned picture, is supposed to beautifully recreate what we are actually doing which is probably walking down a beach or alleyway but with the intent to transport you there as well!

Showing only the back of my head makes it way easier for random Instagram viewers to imagine themselves exploring a new coastline or shopping in a local market. Its silly and kind of annoying but true!!

2. The Hat *also face turned away* Shot

Basically this kind of picture is the same as the one above but just add a hat to it! Why? Because the hat is the face of the back of the head! It adds interest, it covers up a bad hair day and hats are just cute right?!

3. The Dancing Twirl Shot

This is a classic instagram photo, you know that like dress or skirt which has the, as 7-year-old me would say ‘twirl factor’. Why are we spinning? It makes literally no sense and I actually can’t even explain it to you other than its fun! Twirling is fun, and that ‘funness’ is conveyed by the movement of clothing. But yeah I don’t really get this one but I’m totally guilty of it.

4. The Smiling At Literally Nothing Shot

Okay this one is a go to of mine, and may only be applicable to me, but I’ll explain anyway. A lot of people can pose in a shot and look super moody and mysterious by not smiling but your girl ain’t one of them. If I am not smiling I look a bit constipated and my face just looks puffy, overall not cute. SO that’s why I am smiling, and usually I am genuinely happy to be looking at whatever dumb thing I am looking at. ~*~miles of smiles~*~

Exploring back alleyways of Hanoi, also wishing that this orange Vespa was mine 🤗✨🍊

A post shared by Kelsey | Miles Of Smiles (@milesofsmiles._) on

5. The Scenery With You Being Very Tiny In The Frame Shot

This one is a popular one, and is actually a basic rule of thumb for photographers and hobbyists alike. These type of shots are used mostly to show off a view or something in the background and if you put a person in the frame it instantly creates more intrigue along with showing off what is in the background! It also creates a scale so that the HUGE mountain will actually look huge next to a person.

Every person you will ever meet knows something that you don't, learn from them // Bill Nye ✨💛 ☼ Did you know that Malaysia is predominatly Muslim country? While I was in Kuala Lumpur thought it would be fitting to learn a bit more about its religious culture, so I visited this absolutely ~*stunning*~ Mosque. Up until then I had never been to a Mosque before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect! ☼ I went on a short tour of the building and was amazed by the intricate tiling, and impressive architecture but even more so by the people who were there. They were kind, patient, and knowledgeable. We chatted about religion, art and just life! It was an absolutely amazing experience as a whole and totally what travel is all about – educating yourself! ☼ Tell me about a time you learned something completely new whilst traveling, let's share the knowledge! 🤓❤️

A post shared by Kelsey | Miles Of Smiles (@milesofsmiles._) on


There ya have it, 5 poses that I am guilty of using explained. I hope that this provides on insight and less eye rolls when scrolling through your Instagram feed. Do you have any others that you see or use often? Let me know what they are and why below!


Wondering how I can take all of these photos in different locations? Check out my latest post here which explains how I can travel so much!


Keep smiling (at nothing while twirling and walking away)


xx Kels

5 Thai Islands You Need to Visit

Renowned for its beaches, Thailand boasts some of the best shorelines in South East Asia, but with the rapid influx of tourism its hard to know what islands are in and which are out. If you are looking for beach getaways that are less college party and more, everything else, then here are – in my opinion Thailand’s best islands/ beaches!

*Disclaimer: I have not been to every one of these beaches, although I have been to many. Overall these options are carefully crafted due to my own experiences along with discussions and gathered opinions with travelling friends who have frequented these paradises!


Koh Lipe | © Getting Stamped

Koh Lipe:

Often known as the Maldives of South East Asia, Koh Lipe is in the deep south of Thailand. This super romantic island is relatively small and is rather difficult to get to, but the water is crystal clear, blue and sparkling. What more could you want right?! All you need to do now is book that five star resort and find someone to go with! Check out this great guide to Koh Lipe here!

Krabi - Railay Beach


Krabi/Koh Lanta:

Krabi along with Koh Lanta are the prefect Ying and Yang of beaches, and often times these are my number one suggestion if you are coming to Thailand and want a mix of majestic postcard worthy spots along with an authentic chilled out vibe. Krabi is on the coast, and is a tourist hot spot, with beaches surrounded by gorgeous towering limestone cliffs covered in lush greenery how could it not be? Pair this with long tail boats lining the coastline and its hard to get a more picturesque place. While Koh Lanta just down the shoreline is rather untouched and offers a much more scenic and relaxed atmosphere! Best of both worlds?

Koh Chang View Point

Koh Chang:

Down the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand lies Koh Chang, flirting with the boarder of Cambodia this massive utopia is often forgotten about. Thailand’s largest island is also quite a trek to get to but it is so worth the travel. With loads of hippy shops and reggae vibes the nightlife here is unlike any other of the Thai islands. Think of it as Koh Phi Phi’s older, cooler brother, who is also in a band.

Koh Samet - Wai Beach

Koh Samet:

For Thailand being as wacky as it is they did get this right – Koh Samet, the island where ‘Thai’s go to vacation’ is located just three hours from Bangkok making it the closest and cheapest island to travel to if you are anywhere in central Thailand. Why people don’t know about this place is beyond me, but the beaches are gorgeous, the fire shows unparalleled and sunsets top notch!

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao:

Rounding out the top five are these three sister islands nestled relatively close to the shoreline midway down the western edge of the Gulf of Thailand. I know, it is kind of cheating including three different islands as one but this trifecta is the perfect getaway! All three of the islands offer different specialties, Koh Samui perfect balance of authentic and luxury, is home to upscale resorts think many, many $$$, but Koh Pangang and Koh Tao are much more backpacker friendly – Phangan notorious for it’s parties and Tao for it’s stunning views. All of these are close to Ang Thong National Marine Park, which is a must and definitely the main attraction.


Its hard to go wrong when visiting Thailand, all its beaches are stunning, and regardless where you go there will be something to satisfy every type of traveler – but in my humble opinion definitely go to one of these!!

Pin it for later!  5 Thai Islands You Need To Visit

30 Photos That Will Make You Wish You Went To Wonderfruit Festival


Wonderfruit Festival is a four day celebration of arts, food, music and culture in Pattaya Thailand. Held on picturesque desert fields, Wonderfruit draws crowds from all over the world. Its large art installations starkly exposed on the flat landscape bring to mind images of Nevada’s Burning Man Festival while its hip artsy vibes pay homage to California’s Coachella.

Although elements of other festivals are present, Wonderfruit adds new elements of sustainability and authenticity by highlighting eco-friendly practices through talks and wellness workshops. Wonderfruit is nothing but unique and utterly wonderful. Here are 30 photos that will definitely make you wish you went! 





























Many thanks to Wonderfruit for sponsoring my entry to this festival. As always, any opinions stated are my own. 

5 Ways To Be Respectful While In Thailand

When you are traveling to a new place it is always important to understand the culture a little bit. Here I have put together five tips to help you understand what is culturally respectful in Thailand, hopefully this will help you feel more comfortable and avoid any awkward interactions!

1. Wai, Wai, Wai!

A Wai is the action of putting your hands together and bowing your head slightly. In Thailand this is the universal greeting and basic sign of respect. You Wai everyone and anyone, always at hello and often at goodbye as well.

The higher you place your hands the more respectful it is – placing your hands together at your forehead and bowing is the most respectful and is only used when at temple. Normally you can keep your hands just below your nose. This is an acceptable level.

*You don’t need wai children, just people of similar age and older!


Don’t be this guy!

2. Never point the bottoms of your feet towards people:

Thailand is a Buddhist nation, and in Buddhism the top of your head is the most sacred while the bottom of your feet are the dirtiest. Be sure you never point your feet towards anyone especially a Buddha statue or a monk. This is seen as incredibly disrespectful!

When you are sitting on the ground tuck your feet in or if you are sitting in a chair, keep them on the ground. If you want to cross your legs while sitting make sure to do an extra foot tuck so the bottom of your foot is not pointing at anyone. Never ever ever ever put your feet on top of a desk or railing or anything of that nature!!


3. Barter/haggle but don’t be unfair:

Bartering in Thailand is the norm! It is expected that you haggle a little bit when buying anything from a taxi fare to a bracelet at a market! If you know you are being ripped off just politely say no thank you and walk away.

If you are bartering over a small amount of Baht and things are starting to get heated just remember that these people selling you that tapestry make a fraction compared to most tourists so you are arguing over maybe a couple dollars. Just be fair and kind – don’t get carried away!


4. Dress respectfully at temples:

It is very important to dress respectfully at temples around Thailand, this is something that is taken very seriously. Men and Women must cover their shoulders and knees. Be sure to not wear anything sheer and modesty is definitely encouraged! Usually you will take your shoes off to enter temples so a good pair of slip-ons is a necessity.


5. Wear muted colors:

This past October Thailand’s beloved King passed away and since then the country has been in deep mourning. If you plan on visiting in the next couple years it will be very respectful if you wear muted dark colors as this is what the nation is wearing. If you do wear white or a brighter color, you can pin a black ribbon on your shirt as a sign of respect.

* Remember that Thailand has very strict lèse majesté laws forbidding any conversation or remarks about the monarchy. Refrain from any discussion while in Thailand.



Thailand is an absolutely beautiful country, if you are coming to visit please keep these in mind! Tourists can be looked down upon because they do not understand cultural guidelines, hopefully these help when navigating your crazy adventures in the land of smiles!

Pin it for later!


A Quick Guide To Pai, Thailand



Tucked way up north in the mountains of Thailand is the hippy haven of Pai! This small incense filled oasis is full of magical waterfalls, mouthwatering meals and breathtaking scenery. Although it is full of tourists, Pai is a city not to be over looked to the traveler seeking authentic Thai vibes. Here is a quick guide to understanding the must know information about Pai, Thailand!

How to get there:

Located roughly three hours away from Thailand’s northern hub – Chiang Mai it is accessible by wheels or airplane (although flights are a bit pricey – around 60 USD for the 30 minutes of air time).

There are vans and buses that depart every hour. If you are motorcycle savvy, you can opt to ride the curved roads yourself. The ride is quite scenic but full of twists and turns, many buses and vans cut corners so you have to be very careful!

From Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station you can catch a van at their office across from the Van Station. The first van departs around 6:30AM and one departs every hour after that but seats fill quickly, make sure to hustle over there to get a spot!

In Pai there is one bus station. It runs vans down to Chiang Mai, again seats fill up so buy your return ticket the moment you arrive. Although, if you are unable to buy a seat at the station, don’t worry! There are tons of different tourist agencies that can sort out a van for you, they will just take a bit longer – the bus station buses pride themselves on their timely schedules. A ticket, regardless of where you buy it, will cost you around 150 Baht, (4.20 USD).


Where to stay:

There are many different places to stay in Pai and the prices range to accommodate all different types of travelers. There are hostels, hotels, and resorts all around the city. The further away from ‘The Walking Street’ you get the more rural and scenic the views are. Keep in mind that this also means you will need transportation in and out of town!

There are motorbike/scooter rentals that range from 100 – 300 Baht a day. This is a good budget option for getting around town as well as to explore the surrounding areas.

There are a couple of larger hostel compounds that are a little bit outside of town. These have many amenities and the need to go into town is less great. This would be a great option if you want to maximize chill out time!

If you want to be inside the city, you want to be looking for proximity to The Walking Street. This is where the best places will be. The closer you are the more likely you will be hearing music from the bars that line this street and the surrounding ones. As long as you bring ear plugs, it shouldn’t be a problem!

Some great options for accommodations are:

Spicy Pai – Many friends of mine from around Thailand have stayed in this hostel and absolutely loved it! Beds go for around 10 USD.

Day Off Guesthouse – I stayed at this guesthouse while there and had a wonderful experience. It was clean and the vibes were chill. Great location although very close to the bars at night! Rooms go for around 11 USD a night.


What to do:

In Pai there are countless natural beauties to be explored! Mountain drives and waterfall adventures will fill your days and the lively Walking Street is abuzz at night. If you don’t care to do much, Pai is also just the place to do that! Take a nap and laze about in a cool coffee shop. The food is top notch, full of vegetarian specialties but if you are craving some spicy Thai cuisine that is available as well!

You can hire a Tuk Tuk or rent a bike for the day in order to see the sights around Pai for yourself. If you would rather take part in a tour you can arrange one in the city!



Pai is full of waterfalls, most of them are close to the city! Here are a couple of good ones to explore:

Pam Bok Waterfall: Pictured above, is a short drive out of the city. There is a small parking lot and it is a small walk to the actual falls.

Mo Paeng Waterfall: This waterfall is known for it’s large slippery exterior making it perfect for sliding down!

Mae Yen Waterfall: About seven kilometers from town, and a couple hours hike, but it is renowned as the most beautiful!


Hot Springs:

There are a couple of different hot springs in Pai. One is close to the city, Tha Pai Hot Springs, not to be confused with the Tha Pai Camping Grounds which are man made springs and cost around 300 Baht a person to get into!! The original Tha Pai Springs are deeper in the National Park!

Sai Ngam Hot Springs are 30 mins outside of town, all natural and cost 20 Baht for the National Park entrance fee and 20 Baht per person! The water was warm and clean, locals and foreigners alike paddled about the shallow water.



Pai Canyon:

A gorgeous place for sunset (although super crowded) is the Pai Canyon. This steep ravine filled landscape looks otherworldly. Be careful exploring the canyon though, there are no rails or safety precautions and it is slippery!




The Land Split:

Although it has a dramatic name The Land Split is far from breathtaking. The earth just moved a little creating a small crevasse. I wouldn’t recommend this solely for its archeological grandness BUT what totally made it amazing is that there is a little fruit stand at the entrance.

If you donate a small amount of money the owners will give you fresh Roselle juice and passion fruits or bananas to snack on! The workers there were delightful and so sweet – making this a must visit regardless of if you appreciate tectonic movement.




Shop on The Walking Street:

This street makes up the majority of the town and is lined with delicious eateries, cool coffee shops and hip bars! There are a myriad of shops and the majority are not your typical tourist fare (yay!!).

Everything from artisan soaps to handcrafted goods line the streets and in the evenings there are tons of different food stalls that set up that will curve any craving you may have! It is very easy to get lost perusing this chaotic wonderland.


Pai is a magical little haven full of hippies and chill vibes. Whether you stay in town or among the rice patties you are guaranteed to have a good time!

Hope this guide is helpful when planning your next trip to Pai 🙂




Pin it for later!

10 Awesome Things To Do In Hong Kong!


Delectable eats and awe-inspiring sights are stacked and packed into every corner of this layered city. From quaint hilly city streets and breezy ferry rides to skyscrapers and cable cars Hong Kong is not a city to be ignored! Full of culture and buzz Hong Kong’s balance of old world vibes mixes with futuristic sights making it a must visit in 2017!

Here is a list of ten things that you must do while in this concrete jungle!


Visit Victoria Peak:

This is probably on every guide to Hong Kong out there, and let me tell you – it does not disappoint! You can get to The Peak by bus, tram or car, making it easily accessible for any traveler. The sloped hills covered in greenery give the insane view a pre-made vignette. Given the angle you are looking it seems as if the sky scrapers are popping up at you like a built in fisheye lens! This spot is a must for views of the city day and night.



Feast on lots and lots of delicious food:

In Hong Kong Dim Sum rules with restaurants on every corner selling the most delectable steamed pillows of amazingness. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere that just seems busy! The best meals I had were at places that I didn’t obsessively research before hand. Just go where there are the most people, if its busy it most likely means it’s good!

**Eat the fish balls!! Even though this sounds mega questionable they were SO delicious. They taste nothing like fish and everything like what dreams are made of.



Shop at the Temple Street Market:

Just off Nathan Street (another cool place to wander around) is Temple Street Market. Similar to other markets in SE Asia, it is jam packed with trinkets, clothes, bags and knickknacks. It seemingly goes on for miles – it really seems like it never ends. There are some cool restaurants around there too! Stop and grab a plate of noodles and a beer while you people watch. Sometimes it is just nice to take a time out and observe all the craziness around you.

*Get there a bit later, around 10PM when the shops are closing down – then you’ll get the best prices



Marvel at Hong Kong’s skylines from the ferry:

For around five dollars you can take a ferry from Hong Kong’s Kowloon side to its main center. This is a great way to see both the shores from a different angle! It is not too long of a ride and a fun way to mix up your transportation.



Explore Aberdeen Center:

On Hong Kong’s island close to the pier are the hilly streets commonly referred to as Aberdeen Center this is where the majority of the restaurants are based. There are hip coffee shops to the most instagram-able dessert spots. The stacked architecture of the buildings are randomly decorated with super cool street art transforming the fresh market lined alleys into a mix of old world shops and hip modern vibes.



Stroll through Victoria Harbor:

On the Kowloon side of Hong Kong is Victoria Harbor. There are a couple different museums that line the water along with a glass-fenced promenade. This is where you can get your picture perfect snap of the skyline! Along with being a beautiful spot to wander, there are often events and performances taking place at its amphitheater like seating area. Pack a lunch and sit on the steps and watch the boats sail past.



Gawk at the architecture of Quarry Bay:

If you take the MTR a bit outside of the center of town you will find the towering apartment clusters that cover the walls of Pinterest. All around Hong Kong there are these tightly packed mega apartments. They are called ‘mansions.’ The mansions closer to the center of Hong Kong are filled with hundreds of vendors and food stalls. They often get a bit of a seedy rap. The mansions outside of the center of the city are empty and because they are not filled with shops the chaotic mess of tiny apartments that make up the mansion are exposed. Make sure to bring your camera as these are some views you definitely want to document.



Ride the Nong Ping 360 cable car:

Take the MTR to Chong Thor station; right near the station you can get tickets for the Nong Ping 360 cable car. Even if the line is long, its worth the wait! For 200 HK Dollars roughly 25 USD you get a round trip ticket on the cable car, which soars over the mountainous Lantau Island. The views are really quite astounding! You get a full view of the Big Buddha from the sky, along with an aerial view of the surrounding mountains.



Climb the 267 steps to the Tian Tan Buddha:

On Lantau Island is the famed Big Buddha temple! There are 267 steps that lead up to this towering statue. The Buddha is seated in a lotus flower high up in the sky. The surrounding area is very picturesque: large mountains and lush foliage. This is a must visit destination if you have the time!



Wander the grounds of the Po Lin Monastery:

Near the Big Buddha is the Pho Lin Monastery. This beautiful oasis is not only a submergence into Chinese Buddhist spirituality, it is also so intricately gorgeous! The architecture is stunning, bright and detailed. It is a fantastic spot to photograph and explore. Although it is a tourist attraction it is still a full functioning Monastery and is still frequented by many locals. A truly amazing place to slow down, and mellow out listening to the chanting of monks and patter of footsteps.




Hong Kong will surely steal your heart with its unique streets, architecture and food! A whirlwind romance that will leave you reminiscing for many years to come. These 10 things will keep you busy but I am sure you will find countless more things to do with your time. I was able to fit these ten things into four days there but I wish I had two more weeks. I can’t wait to return to this inspiring vibrant city! So much love for you HK.


Pin it for later!