Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Arranged Tours: A Nutritional Nightmare?

As much as I like to wander around and explore a new place on my own, there are some destinations that are best reached via an arranged tour.

When we visited Halong Bay, a 3-day, 2-night tour arranged by a travel agency was the best option. Aside from chartering our own boat, we couldn't have seen the beautiful scenery or visited the national parks.

From K - Halong Bay

But there are some downsides to joining a tour group. Most notably, the food.

I've been pretty successful thus far in finding healthy, vegetarian-friendly food in most of SE Asia. But since tours cater to tourists, the food can be hilariously awful. Based on the food offerings, I would assume that most tourists refuse to eat anything that isn't a) deep-fried or b) stir fried in a vat of oil.

This can't be a Vietnam thing, as Vietnamese food is well-known for being fresh, light, and fairly healthy.

A recent tour lunch:
Unidentified Fried Meat
From K - Halong Bay

French Fries
From K - Halong Bay

Fried Tofu
From K - Halong Bay

Fried Spring Rolls
From K - Halong Bay

Fried Squid (center)
From K - Halong Bay

This lunch was an exercise in avoiding high cholesterol.

On the other hand, most cafes around SE Asia have healthy offerings.
Here's my standard breakfast: yogurt, fresh fruit, and muesli.
From K - Hanoi and Hue

Now that's more like it.

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