Vietnam Journals

Good Afternoon, Vietnam

Good Morning, Hanoi

Cruising Along Halong Bay

Way Relaxed in Hue

My Beloved Hoi An

Cooking Class at Cafe 96

'Tailoring' My Need for Clothes
in Hoi An

Red Bridge Cooking School

Last Stop in Vietnam: Saigon

War Remnants Museum

Cu Chi Tunnels
Photo Albums
Hanoi and Halong Bay


Hoi An

Links relating to
my trip

Hai Nam 2 Hotel (Hanoi) - A bit
pricey at $22 but the rooms were
wonderful and I got free internet
and breakfast.

Binh Minh Hotel (Hue) - Great
staff and great price ($6) for free
internet and room with
bathroom and tv.

Vinh Huy Hotel (Hoi An) - 203
Ly Thuong Kiet Street. The staff
was beyond helpful. My $6 room
incl. free internet, a bathroom
and a tv in my room.

Lele Hotel - In Ho Chi Minh
City. It was $12 for a room that
came with TV with cable,
bathroom and breakfast.

Other Sites:

Linh Chi - The shop I went to for
my clothes to be made in Hoi An.
The address is 4 Le Loi. They did
a great job!

Cafe 96 (Hoi An) - 96 Bach Dang
Street; Cooking class for $6 that
includes a great lunch.

Red Bridge (Hoi An)- A cooking
school with market visit, boat
ride and a great atmosphere for
$15 for 5 1/2 hours.

Mango Rooms - An excellent
restaurant in Hoi An!

Hai Scout Cafe - A great
restaurant linked to the Red
Bridge Cooking School.

Hoi An Patisserie - Home of my
favorite dessert - the 'Chocolate

Old Hanoi - Great restaurant in
Hanoi where I did a cooking
class (for 250,000 dong).

Cargo Club and Hoi An Patisserie
- A great restaurant and place to
get dessert.

Green Tangerine (Hanoi) - An
incredible restaurant with an
incredible atmosphere.

Sofitel Metropole (Hanoi) - I
went here for afternoon high tea.
It was exceptional as it came
with a beyond-fab chocolate
buffet. I also had a massage here.

Qi Spa - I had a spa pedicure

L'Aopthiquaire - A great spa
where I had several treatments
between their two HCMC

Nam Kha - Where I went for a
very 'nice' (and delicious!) dinner
in Saigon.

Kinh Bac - 30 Dong Khoi.
Another excellent meal in Saigon.
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My Vietnamese Experience...

Highs: Water Puppets show; the Old Quarter of Hanoi; the food; Halong Bay; an incredible lightning
storm; how inexpensive everything was; the food in Hoi An; the tailors in Hoi An.

Lows: Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum being closed the day I planned to go; having to walk home in Hanoi
through flooded streets; seeing the effects of the war on the Vietnamese people at the War Remnants
Museum; not having as much time in Vietnam as I wanted - I would have loved to have seen Mui Ne,
the Mekong Delta and Sapa.

Best Moment: I had such a wonderful time in Hoi An. The entire time I was there was great and I
only wished I got to stay longer.

Craziest Moment: Watching the street outside of my hotel literally become a river during a

Smells: Wonderful food; fish and other not-so-pleasant things at the market in Hoi An.

Sounds: Motorbikes whizzing by; the 'toot toots' of the motorbikes; thunder.

Sights: The Old Quarter in Hanoi; the Water Puppets (40,000 for first-class tickets); lightning storm;
Hoa Lo Prison (5000 dong); One Pillar Pagoda; Halong Bay; the beach in Hoi An; Citadel in Hue (55,000
dong); War Remnants Museum (15,000 dong); Reunification Palace (15,000 dong); Notre Dame
Cathedral; Cu Chi Tunnels.

Tastes: Banana blossom and prawn salad; banana beignets; Cha Ca fish wrapped in rice paper with all
of the trimmings; afternoon high tea; gourmet chocolates; banh nam (rice pancake and shrimp steamed
in a banana leaf); 'white roses' of Hoi An; Hoi An pancakes (savory); a 'Chocolate Louver' dessert at the
Hoi An patisserie; toasted baguettes with a shrimp mousse with a mango coconut curry sauce.

Purchases: A pair of shoes; 2 suits (one for $45 and one for $65); 2 dresses (both $15); a wool coat
($35); some lacquerware; a vegetable shredder.

Experiences: Cooking classes in Hanoi and Hoi An (actually two in Hoi An); spa treatments in Hanoi
(two of them); boat ride on the Perfume River in Hue; boat ride on the Hoi An River; cyclo ride in Hue;
boat ride in Halong Bay; watching the water puppets in Hanoi; riding on motorbikes; 1/2 day at the spa;
hot stone massage at a spa.

Street Food: Banana beignets; pho; fruit; banhs.

Western Companies Out Here: KFC.

Other General Info...

Visa needed? Yes. It is necessary to get this before arriving.

Type of currency? Vietnamese Dong. About 16,000 dong are equivalent to $1 US.

Wallet Friendly? Yes! Hotels, great restaurants, clothes - everything is pretty cheap! Though
things do get a bit more expensive in Saigon.

Things Vietnam Is Known For: The War (which they appropriately call 'The American War');
excellent food.

Departure Tax: $14 US.

Religion: A combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Costs: About $800 (including airfare, shopping, clothes made, spa treatments, etc.)
November 19-29, 2006
In Halong Bay.
The sun setting on Halong Bay.
A woman on the street.