From Legoland Malaysia to Vietnam

Legoland Johor Bahru, MalaysiaWe landed in Johor Bahru after a great time in Borneo. This was our second time in Johor Barhu, but this time we came for the specific purpose of visiting Legoland as we promised the kids we would do. Legoland Malaysia opens at 10 in the morning and closes at 7 pm and guess what? We stayed all day!

Star Wars exhibit legoland MalaysiaCallum’s favorites at Legoland were the Star Wars exhibit (of course) and the Lego Robotics Centre where Paul and Callum won the robotics competition. Callum attributed the win to all the practice he had when him and his buddy Rodi took a Lego Robotics course last summer.

some of the rides at Legoland MalaysiaWe all had a blast on the rides in the park.

Lego Figures at Legoland MalaysiaLydia especially liked all the Lego people.

WARNING!! Some kids may be freaked out by a couple of the pics below so parents please have a look first to be sure.

Vietnam flagAfter a few days in Johur Barhu, we headed for Hanoi in Vietnam. In Hanoi we stayed at the Chezlinhlinh Homestay with Thuy, her husband and 3 daughters. We had a lovely stay with this family and they went above and beyond to help us get situated in Hanoi and Vietnam.

lake in Hanoi close to chezlinhlinh homestay in VietnamThe Homestay was close to a little lake that offered a quiet area to walk and get away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. In the evening the lake is used by young lovers who park their motorbikes all around the lake and share a moment together. So Cute!! We loved this spot and headed here once or twice a day.

carrying a traditional vietnamese basket in Hanoi VietnamOk, so we head to the “old city” of Hanoi and as soon as we cross the street a local lady hands me her load and hat for a photo-op. Well, I think this is all kind of cool and we are all having a laugh while Paul takes my picture. Of course after the photo is taken, they want us to buy some pineapple and as we r haggling I hear Lydia say, “dad, he has my shoe.” I look down and sure enough, Lydia is only wearing one shoe. Turns out, a man figured the shoe needed repaired and he took it upon himself to do so. I see him working on Lydia’s shoe and go over to tell him “no” when Callum pipes up and says, “that guy took my shoe mom.”  So now both of our kids have only one shoe and Paul and I are running back and forth between the two shoe repair guys trying to get the kids shoes back. In the end, we did get the shoes back at no cost to us and I only lost my cool a little bit!

street food in old city Hanoi VietnamEnjoying some street food in Old City Hanoi with both shoes on.

electrical wiring in Hanoi VietnamI took this picture for my dad and good friend Bill H. Check out the wiring! Wouldn’t you wanna be an electrician here?

streets of Hanoi Vietnam

streets of Hanoi VietnamStreets of Old City Hanoi

Green Lake Old City Hanoi TempleWhile visiting Green Lake and the Temple we witnessed a man and his wife each free a basket of birds on the temple grounds. Always nice to see something set free. Couldn’t help but smile.

night train to Sapa from HanoiOn the move again!

We headed to Sapa in the Northern reaches of Vietnam on the night train. We had our own sleeper cabin with 4 bunks. Once we arrived in Sapa we had a quick breakfast then headed to the small village of Lao Chai.

We were so lucky, as on the day we arrived, the local villagers, the H’Mong people, were holding a festival that only happens for one day, once a year.

horse sacrificed for the new moon festival of the H'Mong VietnamOnce we arrive at the festival, the first thing we see is this! A bit gruesome for my liking, but I guess it is tradition to sacrifice a horse for this festival every year.

New Moon festival of the H'Mong in Lao Chai village VietnamAs for us, we much prefered the animals that were living.

New Moon festival of the H'Mong in Lao Chai village VietnamKids had fun with all the activities like the wishing tree and climbing the greased up bamboo post.

New Moon festival of the H'Mong in the Lao Chai village VietnamLocals enjoying the day.

Another tradition that occurs during this one day festival is called “pulling a wife”. A man can pull any unmarried woman he wishes and take her to his home. He will keep her at his home for three days and during this stay, he will try to convince her to marry him. At the end of the three days, he will take the woman back to her family and ask permission to marry their daughter. The woman also gets to decide if she wishes to or not. On the day after the festival, we learned that one woman was pulled. I guess she is quite beautiful and has been pulled twice before. Sadly, We will never know if she said yes or no as we had to carry on with our travels.

New Moon Festival of the H"Mong in the Lao Chai village VietnamRice wine stewing in the pot, pork on the grill, and some 5-color sticky rice all amounts to a fine lunch. After spending the day at the festival we walked up through the rice terraces to our homestay.

New Moon Festival of the H"Mong in the Lao Chai village VietnamOur home for the night was a very traditional village home. No washing machines here. All the laundry is done by hand.

New Moon Festival of the H"Mong in the Lao Chai village VietnamThe kitchen party! Even in a remote Vietnamese village, the party always ends up in the kitchen. Our beds were basic mats on the floor with mosquito netting and were surprisingly quite comfortable.

New Moon Festival of the H"Mong in the Lao Chai village VietnamThe homestay had a pig pen, a fish pen to grow their own food fish and of course no house would be complete without a doggie.

New Moon Festival of the H"Mong in the Lao Chai village VietnamSome of the working animals around the village.

Bamboo bar in Lao Chai village VietnamLeave it to us to find the bar in the village and during happy hour to boot!

trekking with the H"Mong in Sapa, VietnamThe next day we said good-bye to our homestay family and trekked through the rice terraces to another village called Giang Ta Chai of the Red Dzao people. Our volunteer trekking companions were two lovely ladies that were 50 and 70 years old. Just a wonderful pair of ladies and we very much enjoyed their company while we hiked.

trekking around Sapa VietnamA nice stop by the waterfall and gorgeous views of the village and rice terraces below.

trekking around Sapa VietnamAfter trekking around the different villages we had a couple of days in the township of Sapa. As you can see from the pic, the weather here was much cooler than everywhere else we have visited thus far and we even had to pull out our coats. Kind of nice to cool things down for a few days.

streets of Sapa VietnamStreet pictures while walking around the township.

foot massage in sapa vietnamAfter all that walking the Nixon’s get some R&R with a foot massage before we carry on with our travels through Vietnam which leads us to….


  1. So cool! What an adventure! I can see Cass totally losing her #%!@ over that horse, so I hope Lydia was okay. Every day it’s the ‘how soon until Lydia comes home’ discussion 🙂

    • Actually, with all the commotion going on around us, I don’t know if she really noticed it. It was a lot to take in when we first arrived. You can let Cass know, that Lydia misses her like crazy and talks about her all the time. She can hardly wait for some play dates when we get home.

  2. Hi guys…again, AMAZING diary of your trip. Dad says the wiring in Hanoi is similar to that of Mexico or Costa Rica. I laughed when I saw a certain red headed “monkey” 3.4 of the way up a greased bamboo tree. We’re so glad you share with all of us. An experience of a lifetime…..keep on being safe, and having more wonderful times. Love to you all, from both of us. xoxo

    • Thanks Spence, yes we r having a great trip. last week however, I just about snapped….a long time in the 3rd world was starting to get to me. But then we stayed at a nice hotel for a few nights which even had a tub. OMG, that felt so good! First tub in 3 1/2 months. Just the recharge I needed. Southern Vietnam is beautiful.

      Say hi to everyone from me and say to Kori, “Kori You’re so annoying.” with Ryans accent dubbed in;)

      see u guys after the summer,

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