Archive for November, 2012

Nov 30 2012

Getting to Tam Dao from Hanoi

Published by under Hanoi excursions

Quite a view.

At 80 kilometres northwest of Hanoi, Tam Dao hill station makes for a good overnight or one-day respite from the chaos of the Vietnamese capital. You can get to the cooler area, where there are plenty of hiking trails and pretty scenery, by bus, motorbike, taxi or private car; here’s a little about how to … read the full post

Nov 26 2012

Where to get a SIM card in Saigon

Published by under Practicalities

Get your SIM and some cigarettes.

Purchasing a SIM card is a top priority for many visitors on arrival in HCMC. While the cards are readily available, prices and options can vary wildly and many sellers have set themselves up to take advantage of the less than savvy travellers. If you can manage to steer clear of purchasing an overpriced SIM … read the full post

Nov 25 2012

Hanoi’s French Quarter

The centrepiece of Hanoi's French Quarter.

If you need a break from the chaos of Old Quarter, wander down to Hanoi’s French Quarter, where wide open streets, majestic buildings and high-end hotels, restaurants and shops await. Hanoi’s French Quarter lies to the southeast of Hoan Kiem lake. In the late 19th century, when the French occupied Hanoi, they demolished many of … read the full post

Nov 15 2012

Extending your visa in Hoi An

Published by under Practicalities

Compared with Saigon and Hanoi, extending your visa in Hoi An can be a costly and complicated process. Rules and prices change with every travel agent you speak to and prices can spiral out of control if time is not on your side. We spent a day finding out the options, from extending a first … read the full post

Nov 14 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hoi An

Published by under Festivals

Party time in Hoi An

Hanoi and Saigon may be steaming ahead when it comes to modern development, but rural Vietnam and in particular Hoi An has kept a firm handle on its roots in tradition where generations of families still hold faith in myths, legends, fables and folklore which for thousands of years has formed the heart of the … read the full post

Nov 11 2012

My Spa, Saigon

Published by under Spas & massage

Quite the menu.

What better way to take a break from sightseeing or shopping in Saigon than a massage and facial? My Spa is a well-located, mid-priced spa, and if you can make your way safely through their dark and crowded hallways you may be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the treatments. On a recent trip to … read the full post

Nov 10 2012

Eating on the cheap in Saigon

Published by under Food

That's a lot of noodles.

Saigon is a big city with plenty of high-dollar, splurge restaurants ready to take your hard-earned vacation money. Luckily for the thriftier of travellers, however, it’s still easy to eat on the cheap in HCMC. Here’s how to eat for less than 100,000 VND (US$5) a day. You can start strong during breakfast. Just head … read the full post

Nov 08 2012

Boat tours on Hoi An’s Thu Bon river

Published by under Sightseeing & activities

Sunset on the Thu Bon river.

Cheesy though it may sound, a cruise down the Thu Bon river is one of the best ways to idle away an hour or two when in Hoi An, and although you can do it the posh way by jumping aboard a tourist boat, it’s far better to go local; and by local I mean … read the full post

Nov 03 2012

Hanoi’s streets: Au Trieu

Oh so pretty.

Au Trieu is one of my favourite spots in Hoan Kiem and thus, despite not being one of the 36 streets, deserves its very own post; spend a few hours here enjoying the shopping, eating and activities for an enjoyable Hanoi experience. Au Trieu was the nickname of Le Thi Dan, a female revolutionary of … read the full post