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Vietnam 2015

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Words can do little justice to the scenery that awaits travelers to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hundreds of forested limestone karst formations rise from emerald-green waters, looking like slumbering creatures ready to stir. The...
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phường 7, Quận 10, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

We spent our last day in Ho Chi Minh City with Geoffrey Deetz, a restaurateur and foodie from Oakland, California, who has lived in Vietnam for the past decade and operates the wonderful Black Cat Cafe. He and his Vietnamese girlfriend took us on...

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26 Lê Thị Riêng, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
You want to find the best banh mi in Saigon - then go where the lines is. There was a huge line at Huynh Hoa on Le Thi Rieng street. It was a little hole in the wall shop, but the stand was packed with locals pulling up on their bike and getting...
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Thu Bồn River, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Cẩm Nam, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Let me set the scene for you. A sleepy Vietnamese town on the Thu Bon River, a place where colorful shops loom over ancient cobbled streets, lanterns illuminate the path through a grandiose covered bridge, and tiny men pilot tiny skiffs across the...
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Pho Ga (chicken pho) is traditional to northern Vietnam and is served all day. The best time to get it from a local vendor is early in the morning because it's SO fresh and makes for a perfect breakfast. As a side note about this photo, I love...
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118 Lê Duẩn, Văn Miếu, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
My first day in Ha Noi, I was lucky enough to meet up with fellow AFAR traveler Heather, who also aimlessly wanders to get a sense of a new place. Soon after dropping off our bags, we started following our curiosities. At some point in the...
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10 Đặng Tất, Tân Định, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Recalling Saigon's past, Cuc Gach Quan offers fine Vietnamese fare in a cozy setting that re-creates the home of the owner’s grandmother—a French-colonial house with worn, wood-plank floors; retro furnishings; warm lighting; and a...
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Set along the evocatively named Perfume River, Hué is a good place to get a feel for the conflux of Vietnam's history, French colonial influences, and postwar life—and this riverside hotel is the perfect base from which to soak it all...
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Cooking schools seems to be popping up everywhere in Hoi An – and most of them also include some sort of market tour that will familiarize you with the how the market operates as well as explain those many unique fruits and vegetables that baffle...
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73 Đường Mai Thị Lựu VN, 73 Đường Mai Thị Lựu, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Emperor Jade Pagoda is a fascinating temple full of haunting carvings, figures and altars. The peeling courtyard walls evoke a sense of time and history.
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175 Cửa Đại, Cẩm Sơn, Hội An, Quảng Nam 560000, Vietnam
My friend and I stayed at a beautiful little inn on the river in Hoi An. Vietnam was originally not on our trip list but, since we were visiting Thailand and Cambodia, we threw it in. We were so glad that we did! Vietnam is such a beautiful...
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Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Intricately stacking and securing goods onto the back of a bike was a fairly common, but always fascinating, sight in Vietnam. Next time I visit, I'll find a place to sit with a better background (probably on the side of the main road which is...
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Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam 564010, Vietnam
The beautiful sites that put Hoi An on the UNESCO list were a highlight of my stay in this wonderful city. This picture is of the Japanese covered bridge.
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341 Cao Đạt, Phường 1, Quận 5, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Whenever I get the urge to complain about my lack of space in the US, I remember the efficiently packed tight way that almost everyone else in the world lives. For instance, SE Asians are the masters of balancing their wares on bicycles. They also...
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Chợ, Lê Lợi, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
Jackfruit and dragonfruit on display at a fruit stand in Banh Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh.
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11 Lý Thường Kiệt, Phú Nhuận, Thành phố Huế, Huế, Vietnam
Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, the small, genteel city of Hue (pronounced “Hway”) is renowned for its elaborate cuisine—a legacy of the 19th-century emperors who lived here and reportedly feasted on 50 different dishes at every meal. Hue’s...
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7 Trần Quang Khải, Lộc Thọ, Thành phố Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa 650000, Vietnam
Unique boat made in bamboo basket to float on the sea? Would you dare sail the coast in it? Vietnamese do! The only control they have is a paddle.
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Ngọc Hiệp, Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa, Vietnam
Contrary to belief wallowing in a muddy mess is perfectly OK, in fact it’s almost therapeutic! But before you run out into your backyard and dive in, please understand that I am rambling on about the type of mud that contains minerals and...
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42 Đường Phan Bội Châu, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
I used to call Hoi An "The Venice of Vietnam" as its narrow streets and colorful houses remind me of Venice. The city is well-known for its lanterns. Highly recommended to stop by for few days, here in the center of Vietnam.
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141 Nguyễn Huệ, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
The Rex Hotel remains the most historic hotel in District 1. It’s undergone massive renovations since its heyday as a hangout for journalists during the war, including the addition of a luxury ground floor filled with pricey shopping. Skip that...
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Huế, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam
Hue, Vietnam is the home of the Forbidden Purple City - the Citadel, bombed out in the Tet Offensive during the war, there has been much rebuilding. Take a ride up river to a peaceful monastery, some imperial tombs, and craft villages where...
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Hạ Long Bay, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam
The absolutely fantastic Halong Ginger junk cruising on Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. The Ginger is an upscale boat with three decks that house an elegant restaurant, lounge, two bars, a small boutique, library and ten first-class sleeping cabins. When I...
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Thuận Hòa, Huế, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam
Just like everyone else on AFAR, I love travel. It’s one thing we all certainly share a love for here. I’d expect though, that despite them being an almost essential factor of travel, not everyone also loves hotels. Personally, I fall into the ‘...
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40 Hai Bà Trưng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
The Indochine Hotel is a great haven in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, making your initial landing in Vietnam pillow soft. It's a small, family run inn that caters to casual and business travelers. The location makes walking to a lot of the sites...
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15 Phố Ngô Quyền, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 010000, Vietnam
A landmark in Hanoi’s French Quarter since opening in 1901, this colonial building with distinctive green shutters and gleaming vintage Citroën Traction cars out front has welcomed presidents, ambassadors, and literary and cinematic...
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While traveling in Vietnam in 2010, I had heard mentions of a legendary "lunch lady" who served the most delicious soups out of a small cart in Ho Chi Minh City's city center. Each weekday she features a different soup, each hand made with fresh...
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I come from a city with a decent reputation for Vietnamese food, and though I knew the food would be better still in Vietnam, I couldn't fully understand how much better it would be. This is cross-an-ocean-just-to-eat-it good. This is...
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The two-story Binh Tay Market is an impossible-to-miss Chinatown landmark on the edge of Ho Chi Minh City's District Six; it boasts a distinctive Chinese-inspired clock tower, yet it was a French patron who financed the construction of the market...
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135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Phường Bến Thành Quận 1 Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Hear the sizzle of the grills while sitting outside sipping a cold beer – this is what the locals do in Vietnam. The Vietnamese love grilling but most families don’t have patios and gas grills in their backyard – so they come to BBQ Garden in...
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38 Nguyễn Ư Dĩ, Thảo Điền, Quận 2, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Arriving at the Deck Saigon, a restaurant in District Two on the Saigon River, is often one of the highlights of an evening here—many customers come by boat directly from District One to dock right at the restaurant’s waterside steps....
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If you’re looking for a more modern shopping experience than Big Ben, then Saigon Square is the place to be. It’s a new take on an old story. Saigon Square offers electronics and clothing at “cheap, cheap” prices, minus the tight quarters of Ben...
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Make sure you look inside that coconut as you may find one of the best desserts in Vietnam - Rau Câu dừa. This refreshing dessert is simply coconut jelly and custard made with agar agar. It is typically served in a coconut shell and often you see...
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2 Hùng Vương, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Though the venerable Vietnamese leader asked to be cremated, Ho Chi Minh's remains now reside embalmed inside this imposing, pillared, gray-granite memorial. His resting place is hugely popular, drawing Vietnamese in droves as they pay their...
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Hội An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
A short drive south of Da Nang, Hoi An is a spellbinding UNESCO World Heritage site, with intact 16th-century architecture that celebrates its origins as a trading port that long welcomed merchant ships from China, Japan, and Europe. The Old Town...
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Chợ Đồng Xuân, Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
One of the best parts about visiting Hanoi as a traveler is the food—so fresh, so delicious, and so abundant that you can literally trip over it when trying to navigate the city's notoriously crowded sidewalks. This vegetable vendor outside Dong...
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65 Huế, Bùi Thị Xuân, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
This was one of my favorite restaurants to visit for lunch. My partner and I liked it so much that we visited again and again. This restaurant offers rough and ready local dishes, all brilliantly done and super tasty. Flavors abound in each dish,...
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58 Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Don't skip Temple of Literature when you visit Hanoi, especially if it is during the time of the New Year Celebrations. This is when students and their families will come and pay a visit and calligraphists will assemble outside the temple and...
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Hàng Quạt, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
I loved the Old Quarter. Each street's name corresponds to the wares in its shops. It was mind-boggling that the Vietnamese would be so rigid & organized, which is not the first impression you have (or even the 10th) when you visit this country....
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57B Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
While the art of puppetry is common throughout much of Asia, Vietnam has the unique discipline of water puppetry. These puppets are carved from wood and then lacquered to protect them from the water. The stage for a show is a pool of water, with...
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Hội An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
An important destination for East Asian traders in the 16th and 17th centuries, Hoi An is famous for its traditional Chinese silk lanterns. This shop’s family has produced its own lotus-shaped versions for generations. Du Kien Thanh. 49 Le Loi...
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Careful cookery, with good enough service, too. When I return to Hoi An, I'll just dine here every day, it's consistent to the core, every other restaurant in town is a bore. [Feature dish: White Rose (banh bao): steamed prawns in rice dumplings...
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Xuyen Trung, Cam Nam, Cẩm Nam, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Hoi An is one of my favorite travel destinations in all of Asia. Sure, it's undeniably touristy, but it's also quite laid back and relaxed - nothing like other South East Asia tourist hotspots like Chiang Mai, for instance. Hoi An has a wonderful...
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10 Trần Hưng Đạo, Sơn Phong, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Travel for me is as much about tasting as it is about seeing. Aided by speedy metabolism, I have a voracious appetite and rarely pass up the opportunity to eat. Southeast Asia, and Vietnam in particular, have a culture of inexpensive, delicious...
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03 Hoàng Diệu Thị Xã Hội An, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
I showed the picture on my phone to fruit vendor at the Hoi An market early in the morning. Her once stern face softened and she soon sprung to life eager to help me find the Banh Mi shop in the picture. She drew me maps, and practically walked me...
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103 Nguyễn Thái Học, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam 560000, Vietnam
"The beauty of Silence" nestled in Hoi An, a calm oasis. Reaching Out tea House is a social enterprise, ran entirely by young adults with speech and hearing difficulties. Talking is discouraged, all communication is done by notes, signs, gestures...
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Trần Quý Cáp, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Markets throughout the world yield beautiful travel photos of meats and produce arrayed in dazzling patterns of eye-popping color. The market in Hoi An, Vietnam, is no different--in parts. But this fish monger was hard at work cutting up the day's...
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6 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Phú Hoà, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam
My best food tip? Ask your taxi driver for the best place to eat. You'll be pleasantly surprised. That's how I came to Lac Thien, a street cafe, for Banh Khoai--a savory crepe pan-fried to a golden crisp, stuffed with shrimp, bean sprouts and...
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All along the beaches in Vietnam, you can buy fresh fruit sold by locals. The woman walk up and down the beach with these heavy baskets weighed on either side of their shoulders. Even more, they cut and prepare the fruit for you to eat.
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Tan Thoi Nhat, District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In Vietnam’s bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, glittering high-rises and global brands are on the rise—but at L’Usine, a café-boutique hidden along shopping strip Dong Khoi, it’s the old, the handmade, and the local that are revered. Housed...