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Hoi An

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Two weeks in Vietnam

Notes and highlights from my trip

I just returned from two weeks in Vietnam, where the soap smells like scented crayons and, even in cities teeming with motorbikes, the vibe is languid. (For every person laboring, there seemed to be another two watching. Even the incessant honking was done leisurely.) I explored the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City, biked around quaint Hoi An (where Anthony Bourdain was planning to buy a house), and kayaked around the bays surrounding Cat Ba Island (near Hanoi). It was hands-down the best vacation I've ever had. The peaceful, happy people and the amazing food and the splendid sights played a role, no doubt, but more impactful, I think, was the spirit of spontaneity with which we approached each day.

Notes and photos below! For those of you planning a trip to Vietnam or contemplating planning one in the future, feel free to reach out with any specific questions.

Ho Chi Minh City
Lodging: Long Hostel
Highlights:

  • Barbecuing our own frog's legs and goat meat
  • Frolicking freely in the amazing HCMC zoo
  • Crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels and seeing all kinds of Princess-Bride-like booby traps
  • Drinking way too much Vietnamese coffee (concentrated drip coffee filtered one cup at a time, made creamy and toothsome with sweetened condensed milk)
  • Riding around on the back of a vespa through the bustling streets

Hoi An
Lodging: Hai Au Hotel
Highlights:

  • Getting an emerald green velvet blazer tailor-made in one day
  • Riding bikes to the sea, turning down unmarked dirt roads at random along the way
  • Getting a mud wrap followed by a facial and a massage for way too cheap

Ha Long Bay (Blue Swimmers EcoTour, which I highly recommend)
Lodging: Bungalow on private island first night, two-story junk bed (for 8) second night
Highlights:

  • Stargazing from our junk boat, out in the middle of nowhere
  • Kayaking through caves and coves
  • Hiking with puppies!

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