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The best of South East Asia in a nutshell

view from Utopia, Luang Prabang, LaosAfter a tour of eight weeks in South East Asia, visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Levi and I put our feet firmly on Dutch soil again last Friday.

Of course there is much too much to tell about those eight weeks, so I am going to cut it short (this is, after all, a blog about Amsterdam) and tell you only about the very best finds.

1. Mediterraneo in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is run by a true Italian and also has a place in Hue. Levi and I had the most amazing pizza's here (that tomato sauce... so tasty, sweet, intense. The best ever) and an unforgettable vegetable lasagne. It was a far cry from the usual stodgy fare, it was light and surprising and utterly delicious. In case you ever find yourself in Hanoi, do yourself a favour and visit this original Italian place on 23 Nha Tho Street.

2. Utopia in Luang Prabang, Laos. The bamboo deck, covered in comfy cushions and low sidetables, is suspended over a small valley overlooking the Nam Khan river with gorgeous sunset views. Catering to traveller's taste, the food is good, if not exceptional. This is the spot to go to for relaxing, unwinding, some lovely freshly pressed orange juice and an exciting eveningtime match of beach volleyball. It may be a bit of a walk (Ban Aphay, opposite Wat Visoun, follow the UTOPIA signs to the river), but paradise is waiting when you get there.

3. Yew's place on Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. While it is hard to find a passable latte or cappuccino on Phi Phi (for some reason they do not seem to know the difference between the two), Yew does know his latte from his cappuccino and makes strong, but flavoursome coffee, complete with lovely latte art (leaves or hearts in the gorgeous fluffy but firm foam).

The place is in fact a clothesstore, but the clothes in the store are well overpriced (as nearly everything on touristic Ko Phi Phi is). The coffee however is very reasonably priced, although there is no seating space (we had ours in paper takeaway cups on the steps of the store while chatting with Yew about coffee). Location is in Ton Sai village, towards Long Beach, near the noisy Apache Club. Look out for the grey espresso machine in the storefront.