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Getting to Vietnam's most famous pilgrimage site is an adventure in itself. From Hanoi, it is a 60km journey to the edge of the Red River Delta where limestone karsts start to rise from the paddies. An hour's ride in a row-boat up a flooded valley...
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Đại Đình, Tam Đảo, Vĩnh Phúc, Vietnam
Popular with the French during colonial times, Tam Dao is now a favorite with Vietnamese looking to escape the stifling heat of summer Hanoi. The French villas have all but vanished to be replaced with some pretty gruesome concrete architecture....
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59 Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam
A long-standing Hanoi institution, KOTO (Know One Teach One) is still going strong. Founded by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham as a way to teach disadvantaged children hospitality skills, the KOTO social enterprise has become a major success...
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2st Floor, 254 Đường Đề Thám, Hồ Chí Minh, 700000, Vietnam
Vietnam's Ginkgo delivers what no crank-it-out-cheap silkscreen operation can: lycra and organic cotton. With high-quality, locally designed and made clothing, Ginkgo is the dream T-shirt shop. While the iPho and "What the pho?" T-shirts sold on...
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1 Lê Thánh Tông, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Built in an architectural style that mimics the Opera House directly opposite, the crescent-shaped, beaux arts Hilton Hanoi Opera opened in 1999. Its location in Hanoi’s business district, just two blocks from Tran Quang Khai highway (from...
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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...
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35-37 Phố Mã Mây, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
This 38-room hotel on a bustling Old Quarter street has restaurants, bars, and travel agencies as neighbors. Out front, painted iron tables and chairs enable guests to soak in the street life, watch as roadside food hawkers sell their wares, and...
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44B Lý Thường Kiệt, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 001235, Vietnam
The Spanish chain’s sole property in Hanoi forms part of a green-glass, two-tower complex comprising an office block and the part-cylindrical hotel. Opened in 1999 in the Hoan Kiem district, its location puts it within a five-kilometer...
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5 Từ Hoa Công Chúa, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội 10000, Vietnam
The city’s largest lake, known locally as Ho Tay and situated just northwest of the Hanoi Old Quarter, plays home to this whitewashed hotel whose layout mimics the form of an open lotus flower. The main building houses about half the rooms,...
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Tây Ninh, Tây Ninh Province, Vietnam
Cai Dao clergy men awaiting noon service at the Holy See Temple in southern Vietnam. Originated in Vietnam, the religion embraces the values of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.
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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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Virginia, USA
View of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the Chesapeake Bay as seen from the southern point of the Delmarva peninsula. This lookout point is just before the 23-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, a link between the peninsula and Virgina Beach. The...
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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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Ninh Kiều, Cần Thơ, Vietnam
Farmers in southern Vietnam grow fruit and charge pickers to harvest their fruit to sell.
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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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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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1 Nguyễn Tất Thành, Phường Cẩm Phổ, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
It was hot. And humid. And we walked to the Ho Chi MInh museum only to find out that it did not open for an more a couple hours. Instead of walking back to our hotel, we found the first cafe we stumbled upon near the Dragon House (Nha Long) Wharf...
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187 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
The thing I love most about traveling (and living) in the tropics, is that you are never far from finding good tropical fruit. Such was the case on this afternoon as we walked to the bakery. A woman had staked out the sidewalk next to the shop to...
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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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58 Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, 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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Lương Ngọc Quyến, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
As a former resident of Vietnam, I’ve lost track of how many bia ho’i bars I’ve spent evenings at around Hanoi. For me, they are by far the best place to drink in the city, and not simply because they are cheap! Each bar is usually buzzing,...
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Tầng 26, AB Tower, 76A Lê Lai, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
I must confess; I have a certain penchant for sky bars. Clichéd perhaps, but sometimes there’s a reason things are popular, and in my opinion little beats a sun-downer cocktail perched atop a tall building in a hectic city – aside from sunset...
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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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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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40 Nhà Chung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Though it is just outside the French Quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks of the colonial era in Hanoi. The neo-Gothic church was modeled after Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral and sits on the west side of...
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Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
The tools of the last blacksmith in Hanoi. One of the smallest shops I have ever seen in Hanoi, this is the last location of a trade that was once an entire city block.
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You can get it all...in one stall. Street vendors cater to the whims of locals and expats on their nights out in Ha Noi, Vietnam. http://www.dontforgetthepepto.com/asia/2011/5/10/ha-noi-part-deux.html
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Down this side street is an alley full of locals eating delicious street food!
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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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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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27 Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Pho bo (beef soup) is traditionally made in the south but this bowl we had in Ha Noi was great. Green onions, noodles, thin strips of meat, an egg, and some tasty crunchy thing... mmm
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88 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
The roof top bar at the Sheraton is Saigon is probably the best place to catch the sunset and some amazing panoramic views of the city - but come in early, the amazing views, and two for one happy hour cocktails, make this a very popular sunset...
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strolling through the off-the-beaten-track areas of central Saigon you come across unusually gorgeous sites... like the Jage Pagoda
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Hồ B52, Ngọc Hà, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
It took ages to find the (much acclaimed at AFAR) sunken B-52 bomber in Ha Noi. The twisted pile of metal hardly resembles a plane anymore, but it was interesting nonetheless. Even more fascinating to me was the 'lake' it had fallen into. This...
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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I watched as the streets flooded rapidly and the Vietnamese locals didn’t skip a beat. Rain doesn’t stop them – and it shouldn’t stop you. I often get people who tell me they are skipping a country in Southeast Asia because...
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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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73 Phan Bội Châu Sơn Phong tp. Hội An Sơn Phong tp. Hội An Quảng Nam 越南, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
When I traveled to Hoi An, the prettied-up UNESCO-protected town on Vietnam's central coast for AFAR, I wanted to unravel the mysteries of the town's iconic (and secretive) noodle (and noodle dish of the same name), cao lau. One family has had a...
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135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
Also known as the Reunification Palace, this Vietnamese landmark was constructed on the site of an old French-colonial governor’s residence. It has a remarkably varied past; it housed Japanese officials during World War II and was later the...
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Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Vietnam has a coffee culture all to its own and in Hanoi, this includes a few cafes that serve it with egg. Whipped with sweetened condensed milk, the egg sits atop the slow roasted coffee, providing you with a hot afternoon treat that you'll...
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11 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Yes, you read that correctly, ca phe trung is a Vietnamese coffee specialty with a whipped and sugared egg. It's frothy and delicious. The coffee shop at 11 Hang Gai in Hanoi's old quarter is also a fantastically well kept secret (or maybe not...