My Vietnamese Experience...
Highs: The food and restaurants in Saigon (especially Xu); my entire time in Mui Ne; taking motorbike
rides again; getting clothes made in Hoi An.
Lows: Feeling, once again, like I didn't have enough time in Vietnam; 26-hour bus ride to Laos; getting
in a verbal blowout with a taxi driver in Hanoi.
Best Moment: Getting some incredible clothes made in Hoi An with Elisa. Sad but true.
Craziest Moment: For sure this has to be our taxi ride from the airport to the Old Quarter in Hanoi.
We were quoted $8 for the ride and when we arrived, he was insisting on another $20 and would not give
us our luggage in the trunk. He was not going to get one over on me - we ended up prevailing after much
frustration, yelling and getting other Vietnamese people in on the situation.
Smells: Fish sauce factories; burning of garbage.
Sounds: Horns of motorbikes; Christmas music (yay!).
Sights: Lots of shops; Mekong Delta; Mui Ne and the surrounding sand dunes; fishing village in Mui Ne;
many tailors in Hoi An; Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum; the water puppet show.
Tastes: Banh cuon; green mango salad; bamboo shoot salad; heart of palm canneloni; banana creme
brulee; Saigon Crush (drink at the bar at the Park Hyatt); fruit skewers passed around at the Park Hyatt
pool; banh xeo; fresh spring rolls; grilled tuna in Mui Ne; baguettes; pho; banana flower salad; white
roses; tropical fruit; different local Vietnamese candies; excellent food at Restaurant Bobby Chinn in Hanoi
Purchases: Silk flip-flops; tote bag; 'Tin Tin Au Vietnam' t-shirts; black silk jacket; black wool coat; a
new 'LBD'; a wrap-around dress; silk scarves; a skirt; a shirt for work; chopsticks and bamboo placemats;
a small piece of art on lacquer; set of three lacquer bowls. .
Experiences: Motorbike ride all over Mui Ne; Mekong Delta trip; boat ride on the river in Hoi An;
getting many o' clothes made at the tailors in Hoi An; 26-hour bus ride to Laos; show at the Water
Street Food: Pho; banh; fruit.
Western Companies Out Here: KFC; Gloria Jean's Coffee; Pizza Hut; designer stores like Gucci,
Louis Vuitton, etc in Saigon.
Other General Info...
Visa needed? Yes. It is necessary to get this before arriving. But make sure it's multiple-entry if you
even have an idea of crossing into another country in between visiting north and south Vietnam.
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');
Departure Tax: $14 US.
Religion: A combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.