A Vietnamese girl has tamed a fully grown wild elephant and keeps it as a pet

  • A Vietnamese girl has tamed a fully grown wild elephant and keeps it as a pet
  • It is used to help villagers work the fields, transport goods and build houses
  • She interacts with it despite the fact a single move has potential to be fatal
  • French photographer captured their heart warming relationship

These are the remarkable pictures of a young girl who tamed a fully grown wild elephant.

Kim Luan, who is part of the M’Nong ethnic group from central Vietnam, has now become inseparable from her pet elephant and the two are best friends. It is common in the M’Nong society to tame wild elephants before introducing them to the community and keeping them as domestic pets.The elephants are then used to work with the villagers in the fields, transporting goods and helping them build houses.

Kim Luan (right) plays with her pet elephant, which helps to transport goods and work the fields

The two are said to be inseparable and the old ageing elephant is happy to let Kim play around him

The now two appear totally at ease with each after Kim tamed the fully grown elephant from the wild

The pair are at total ease with each other and the gentle jumbo happily lets her play around it.

In Kim Luan's (pictured) village in central Vietnam, it is common for locals to have a pet elephant

In Kim Luan’s (pictured) village in central Vietnam, it is common for locals to have a pet elephant

French photographer Rehahn, 35, captured the heart-warming scene in Buon M’Lieng earlier this month.

He said: ‘Elephants are considered members of the community – everything related to them must follow M’Nong traditions.

‘As a foreigner I was very surprised to see this bond but for the M’Nong minority group it’s common to have an elephant in the garden – just like we might have a cat.

‘I felt the respect between both. The girl was more scared of me than the elephant.’

The photographer has lived in Vietnam for seven years, capturing some 45,000 photos of the country.

But this is the first time he has witnessed such interaction between M’Nong and their elephants.

He added: ‘It’s not dangerous for her – the elephants are peaceful until you try to do wrong with them.

‘But M’Nong live in nature with elephants and know how to keep them quiet.

‘It’s unique, plus the M’Nong don’t really wear traditional costume anymore which makes the photos more special.’

(Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2811291/Herd-one-girl-best-friend-elephant-Vietnamese-youngster-trained-JUMBO-sized-pet.html)


Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

Always Keep Ice in Your Beer

Written by  Evan Hudson


…and other practical advice for attending weddings in Vietnam. ‘Tis the wedding season after all. Words byEvan Hudson. Photos by Nick Ross

 Here’s a situation that may or may not sound familiar: your friend or coworker has pressured you into attending a wedding — theirs, or their uncle’s or maybe the man who neutered their cat. The venue is located somewhere in the vast urban sprawl surrounding your city on a street Google Maps has never heard of, and as you arrive you feel a sinking feeling in your stomach. You have no idea what to do.

That’s okay! A Vietnamese wedding can be a tricky proposition. If you play your cards right, it can be a beautiful celebration of love and family. If you act the part of Bumbling Foreign Fool, it can be three hours of awkward, boring purgatory. I want to help you, dear reader, to avoid this fate, so I have composed a short list of suggestions to help keep you from making a fool out of yourself at any weddings you may have to attend in the future. If you keep these rules in mind, hopefully you won’t end up sleeping in the bushes or sitting at the kid’s table, wishing you were at home watching HBO. Walk with me.

Don’t Flake Out

Upon receiving the wedding invitation and replying in the affirmative, it is important to recognise that you are definitely going to attend and plan accordingly. I made this mistake some time ago. A female coworker invited me to her wedding, which was to take place at some ungodly hour on a Saturday morning. When the time came I elected to stay in bed instead of following through on my promise.

For the next eight months she never said a word to me again even though I sat two cubicles away from her for more than 20 hours a week. If you are invited and aren’t sure if you’ll be able to make it, say so — because once you say you’re going, you’re locked in.

Starve Yourself a Little

It looks weird if you’re not eating anything. People will think you’re not having a good time, so it’s a good idea to skip breakfast the day of. Eating seconds is good form. You will probably eat thirds because the food at weddings is always on point.

Bring Money

There will be a box near the entrance for storing the envelopes of money brought by guests. Even if you’ve never met the bride or groom, the envelope with your name on it needs to have at least VND500,000 inside if it’s a city wedding (at country weddings, you can get away with stuffing in VND200,000, though you run the risk of being thought of as the cheap foreigner). It goes up from there — if you’re going to a wedding in a five-star hotel, a minimum of VND1 million is safe. Try the same if you’re going to the wedding of a close friend, a coworker or a family member.

If you feel like showing off, put your money in one of the complimentary envelopes assembled by the entrance. The conspicuous delivery of your gift will likely be rewarded with a curt nod of approval from at least one of the salty old aunts standing around.

Water It Down

Here’s your mantra: 75 percent ice, 25 percent beer, and only drink the rice wine if you can’t get out of it without looking like a wuss. Your beer should be the colour of a well-hydrated marathon runner’s urine. If you notice your chunk of ice dissolving, grab the tongs and get another one in your glass swiftly. If you ignore this advice you will probably be in sorry condition by hour three.

Be Adventurous

Try all the food provided. At countryside weddings, especially, you might be asked to try some unfamiliar things — congealed duck’s blood, frog, pig fat, guts. It doesn’t really matter, because you should eat whatever’s put in front of you. To decline proffered food is an awkward refusal of hospitality — and it’s not like you’re going to look back from your deathbed and wish you had experienced fewer things.

When you go back to wherever you’re from, and the girl you had a crush on in high school asks you what totally crazy foods you tried in Vietnam, you can be like, “I ate a duck butt and it was actually good!” It will be impressive to her because she has three kids and limited time to go to one of your hometown’s three ethnic restaurants.

Bring a Friend

Especially if it’s a huge blowout wedding (you can tell by the invitation — if it has gold leaf on it, it qualifies). It’s probably even cool to bring a friend or two — it’s not like there’s not going to be enough food or drink. You might want to notify the hosts in advance, though.

Not that going by yourself is a bad idea — if you fly solo, you might actually end up having a better time because wedding guests are super friendly, but you run the risk of flying too close to the sun with the rice wine. Remember, if it’s a small countryside-type wedding, you’ll probably be the only foreigner in the room, so literally everybody and their uncle will want to meet you — and offer you a drink. This is where the danger comes in.

Nam Muoi-Nam Muoi

Say you’ll drink 50 percent, but actually drink 25 percent. If you’re not acquainted with the custom of tram phan tram, you soon will be. This is Vietnamese for ‘100 percent’ — and when you hear it and vocalise your agreement, it means you have to finish your beer even if you’re already having trouble keeping your head off the table.

A good idea is to counter the offer of tram phan tram! with nam muoi-nam muoi, offering to drink 50 percent of the beer instead of the whole thing. Then only drink 25 percent, and hope the drunk uncles don’t call you out on your cowardice.

Choose Your Table Wisely

Sit with people who will be fun to hang out with for a few hours. It’s bad form to dip out before everybody else, and if you are sitting at the kid’s table or a table full of very elderly women three hours can feel like a very long time. Conversely, if you sit down at a table of college-aged dudes, you’ll be forced to drink at least a dozen beers. Sitting at a table with a nice-looking family is a happy medium.

Most importantly, don’t sit at the table of grizzled-looking middle-aged men. In addition to the communal shots (mot-hai-ba-vo! — rinse, repeat for five hours), you will be asked to drink shots with each and every man sitting at the table.

One time, at a wedding in a small town near Dalat, I tried to put a tally on my hand for every shot I took. I awoke some hours later in a coffee field behind the outhouse, with about a dozen marks on my hand and a large infinity symbol drawn in what appeared to be lipstick.


If you only sit at your table and talk with your friends, people will think you’re a snob. Even if you don’t speak Vietnamese, hang out with the grannies a little bit and let the host show you off to their relatives. Practise English with the kids a little bit. You’ll come off as a friendly and polite cultural ambassador, and meet some cool people in the bargain. Remember to thoroughly ice your beer before you begin to make the rounds.

Plan Your Exit

Ask the location of the bathroom from a reliable source. One time I got tricked into walking into the bridal party’s dressing room in front of 500 people. Needless to say, I got some cold stares. Don’t make the same mistake.

Take a Taxi Home

Drunk driving is somewhere between a necessary evil and a national sport in Vietnam, but the truth is that you will probably be wasted and there’s no need to get killed on the way back from the party. Of course, you might be in the countryside, without easy access to a taxi, in which case you could always try to hitch a ride back to your hotel with one of the more sober guests. In any case, it will make your life easier if you arrange transportation beforehand.


(Source: http://www.wordhanoi.com/features/the-culture/always-keep-ice-in-your-beer)


Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com


By a pair & a spare


I’m not exactly sure what I expected when I visited Hanoi recently but what I found was a quaint, chaotic and full of life city (more like a big village) with such an enthralling street grain and inspiring energy, I fell in love instantly.  Although Hanoi doesn’t have the nightlife of Bangkok, or the trend culture of Tokyo, it has a distinct flavour and energy of it’s own, layer upon layer of history that makes it feel part Paris, part broke down Palace. The cluttered streets of the Old Quarter are filled with swarms of motorbikes and on every corner there’s boiling pots of street food and vendors selling vietnamese drip coffee. Lot’s to see, lot’s to do, and lot’s to eat. Could a weekend getaway get any better? See for yourself, and feel free to share any other tips you have!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The best thing in the whole world (seriously) – drip coffee with coconut frozen yogurt


After pretty much everyone recommended it, we splurged and stayed at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, it was only for a couple of nights and we loved it! After being in the city I can see that there are quite a few options of places to stay, but nowhere beats the atmospheric charm of this French colonial hotel. It really is a touch of Paris in Hanoi!


Old Quarter – If you only do one thing while in Hanoi, take your time to wander the busy, hectic and utterly charming old quarter. I have to say I fell in love the first day and didn’t feel the need to do anything else other than that the whole time! The maze of streets are filled with tiny shops, each street dedicated to a single type of merchant, it’s utterly riveting walking around all day and felt relatively safe to do on your own (although, as usual, keep your wits about you).

Hoan Kiem Lake – At the centre of the city, this lake and it’s surrounding strip of park is a breath of fresh air amongst the old quarter, a place to stop for a rest and enjoy a brief moment of tranquility. In the top North West Corner of the lake there’s a very cute little rotunda and cafe where you can have a cool drink and relax.

Hoa Lo Prison – First built by French Colonialists to house political dissidents and then used during the Vietnam war to hold captured American POW’s, this prison has a chequered past. A museum has been built in what was the gatehouse and it’s an interesting insight into the history of the place and the city itself. The seemingly happy coverage of the POW’s while in prison (note all the smiling American servicemen) seems to be at odds with accounts I have read elsewhere, but see what you think when you go.

Ethnology Museum – We loved this museum, filled with tribal art and explanations of the many differing ethnic groups of the Vietnam region. It’s a little while away so perhaps combine it with a trip to West Lake.

West Lake – ‘Tay Ho’ is a large freshwater lake to the NorthWest of the Old Quarter, a suburb where it appears lots of expats live, and I can understand why. Such a beautiful area with a mix of old and new Vietnam. Visit the flower markets or grab a drink at the Intercontinental. A welcome (short) reprieve from the busy old quarter.


Shopping streets – The Old Quarter is full of great shopping, with the best stores centred around Hang Bac (lots of silver jewelry here), Hang Gai (tailors, fabrics, linen), Nha Tho and Ly Quoc Su (clothing and handicrafts) and Hang Trong (slightly nicer textiles and homewares)

Tan My Design – When you’re in Hanoi, make sure you don’t go home without a new set of linen, the city is known for it’s cotton, silks and embroidery. The best place to do this is around Hang Gai, I bought the most gorgeous set from Tan My Designs, not completely dirt cheap but worth soooo much more than I paid for them. I look forward to crawling into my cloud of a bed these days like never before!

Dong Xuan Wholesale Markets – These markets are just to the North of the Old Quarter, and super hectic, but a great place pick up some trinkets, cheap jewellery or a pair of sunnies after you lose yours (naturally).

Cho Hom Markets – This market, although a little bit to the South of the Old Quarter (grab a taxi to get there if you’re staying centrally), is filled with fabrics and the area around it has a few tailors who may be able to stitch you up something if you have the time.

Chie Handmade: I found lots of stores around the old quarter selling Asian handicrafts, and after a while they tend to all look the same – same fabrics, bags, toys etc. I chanced upon this store and loved the uniqueness of their designs, a little bit different and a lot more elegant than the usual tat you find everywhere. I bought a few fabrics, some cushion covers and some other handmade goodies here. Definitely recommend! Currently located at 49 Hang Trong, with another store on that street too. They have a facebook page but no website, as is the case with lots of places in Hanoi.

Eat & Drink

Cong Caphe – If you only have one vietnamese coffee while you’re in hanoi make sure it’s here. Seriously. I don’t drink that much coffee anymore but took up the addiction for a few days just so I could revel in drip coffee with coconut frozen yogurt. I visited the Hang Dieu store everyday and sat on the tiny military stools for hours, taking in the activity on the street and loving the tongue in cheek military vibe of the cafe. Love!

Metropole Chocolate Buffet – What better way to while away an afternoon than a chocolate buffet afternoon tea in the light filled conservatory that is Le Club at Hotel Metropole. One of those please-roll-me-out situations, leave all diet restrictions at the door!

Bar Betta – An amazing terrace house in the Embassy district that’s been turned into a super fun kitschy bar, decked out with old records and mismatched vintage furniture – perfect for a lazy after dinner drink.

Green Tangerine – Pretty courtyard restaurant that serves up interesting french/vietnamese fusion food, to be honest I loved the spot more than the food but sometimes that’s what it’s about when you travel

67 Hang Dieu Street – Best simple beef noodle joint on the streets of Hanoi. Just go.

The Hanoi Social Club – Tiny little veggo cafe in the Old Quarter, great place for a lunchtime pitstop.

Indochine Restaurant – We loved this pretty house with simple food and a lovely late night vibe. Note to all, most kitchens close around 9pm so make sure you head out early.

Bun Cha Dac Kim – Street side stall selling BBQ minced pork balls served with vermicelli noodles and salad. On Hang Manh and best for lunch.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Street fruit vendors in the old quarter | Propaganda poster shop on Hang Bac

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

High tea / chocolate buffet at the Metropole (promise this wasn’t all for me!)

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

You’ll see painted signs all over the city which apparently advertise handymen, plumbers etc | Old wing in the Hotel Metropole

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Stopping for a bite at Bun Cha Dac Kim, Hang Manh Street in the Old Quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

I went to this cafe virtually every day for the people watching as much as the drinks. As someone who rarely drinks coffee you can imagine it was like: zing!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Was so inspired by the amazing tiles!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Just a simple day in the old quarter | Bicycle florists

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

One of the quieter streets in the old town.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The Metropole was truly magical | Brokedown palace doorways are everywhere in the old quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Streetside hairdressers

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Tailors around the Cho Hom markets | Peeking into people’s houses in the Old Quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Tomato noodles on the streets of the Old Quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Dodging scooters!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

It’s always tea time! | Meeting Miss Scarlet in the conservatory (ie Le Club in the Hotel Metropole).

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The Old Quarter has such a gorgeous broke down palace feel, I didn’t want to leave!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Wearing: Witchery chambre suit, Whistles bag, Witchery watch

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The upper courtyard at the Metrpole, talk about dreamy! | More tile love.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The Old Quarter is full of amazing shop fronts.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Simple travel outfit: Zara flats, J Brand shorts, 7FAM top, Whistles bag

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Shopping on Hang Gai | Shopping on Hang Dieu

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The perfect place to read a book.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Shopping on Hang Bac | Shopping on

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

(Source : http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/01/travel-a-quick-guide-to-hanoi.html)


Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com