Are you planning a trip to Vietnam this year? I wish I could be your tour guide. Instead, I’ll do the next best thing — share the photos, tips, and insights I gathered on my two visits.
Here’s how I laid out the information.
Part one of this article covers my first return visit to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
Whether you call it Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, the energy level is quite infectious. I suggest part of your pre-trip planning include lots of exercise and rest. Vietnam is a high-octane country. You’ll want to keep up with all the excitement. My second return trip to Vietnam covers Hội An, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay.
Oh, about one zillion motorbikes
Wi-Fi savvy + Surrounded by delicious food
Two years later after my first return visit, I crossed the Pacific again to my birth country, wanting to traverse and learn more about what my life would have been as a local.
Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Want to know what to expect to the popular destinations of Hanoi and Ha Long Bay? These are my city favorites, and I look forward to adding a few more in the future. Details here.
Tab for a delicious meal for two.
Insight on the Local Mindset
The locals are ambitious and very friendly. There were a few incidents where I felt pressured in purchasing a ride or buying a trinket. You just have to be polite and firm and let them know that you are trying to enjoy your vacation and they will understand and leave you alone.
I felt safe on both visits but always kept my phone secure and watched my surroundings. You just need to be aware of your surroundings as you would at any travel destination.
Note to the Fashionistas
On both trips, I had 12 articles of clothing tailored to fit. On my first trip in Ho Chi Minh, I gave the tailoress one of my favorite dresses to use as a sample. It was great to pick out my own fabric. I would suggest picking a pricier fabric and negotiating with the seamstress to let her know that you will buy in bulk.
Also, I suggest you head to the tailor on your first day as you will need to be re-fitted in case you are particular like I am.
The result: I have many beautiful pieces to remind me of my journey.
I hope to revisit soon to share Part lll as I report from my perspective of learning what might have been had I not immigrated to the United States.