Chris and I visited Vietnam two weeks ago. We only checked out 5 cities in Vietnam, but I wanted to share some of our favorite food and activities to do if you get a chance to visit as well!
We flew into Hanoi first, then traveled down south to see Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hui, and finally flew out from Saigon. When I travel, I tend to do and see as much as I can. If you have a similar traveling style, this is the most efficient route to hit as many cities as possible.
1. Egg coffee.
When you are in Hanoi, you have to try their famous egg coffee, aka cà phê trứng. Coffee Giang is the first café in Vietnam that serves egg coffee and is considered the most original. Egg coffee doesn’t sound that attractive, but I promise you it does not taste like egg at all. They serve it in a small English cup. 70% of it is whipped egg custard with condensed milk, and the other 30% is Vietnamese dripped coffee. I had 5 egg coffee on my first day there, and I still regret not drinking enough. Luckily, I got ahold of this secret recipe. If you are interested in the recipe, please subscribe to my blog! J
2. Food tour on scooter
While in Vietnam, I highly recommend you to ride on a scooter at least once. Chris and I took a scooter tour around town to try all the authentic Vietnamese food that has yet made ways to America. I had so much fun riding a scooter and I also experienced the crazy traffic in Vietnam. People never follow traffic lights or drive on the correct lane. Running red lights and driving on the opposite-direction lane are super normal. And so is seeing 5 people riding on a tiny scooter.
3. Bun cha
Just two days before Chris and I arrived in Hanoi, Obama and Bourdain got Bun Cha at Huong Lien in Hanoi. Curious and hungry, we decided to try out this place before we left! Results? Two happy bellies for a total of US$10.
This is the place Obama and Bourdain went to for Bun Cha
Massages are so cheap in Vietnam. Ranging from USD 7 to USD 35 per hour, you can get all the knots taken care of.
5. Couch surfing
One of the reasons I travel is to meet different people and see their lifestyle. The best way to do this is to meet up with a local person from Couch Surfing. The people we met during this trip were all cool, smart and friendly. If I ever visit Vietnam again, I would definitely want to meet up with them again.
Chatting with Harry (from Couch Surfing) over my favorite egg coffee.
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is 3 hour drive from Hanoi and it is one of the most picturesque places in Vietnam. We signed up for a 2 day, 1 night cruise to enjoy this natural beauty. The food and amenities on the cruise exceeded my expectation, and I don’t think there is a better way to experience Ha Long Bay
Da Nang is a relatively developed city in Vietnam. The city is filled with newly built resorts, high-end restaurants and roof-top dance clubs. Personally, I didn’t find Da Nang as interesting as some other cities we visited. However, Da Nang locates between Hoi An and Hui, and it makes sense to stay at Da Nang as a pivot point for your traveling.
1. Intercontinental Resort
I have been to Thailand, Singapore, etc., cities that are known for luxurious resorts. However, this place, The Intercontinental, is by far the classiest, most extravagant resort I have been to in Asia. We decided to check in for one night because we were just so exhausted from sunburns and riding scooters. You get to enjoy a private beach and an infinity pool here. The sand is clean, and the water is crystal blue. I can’t wait to come back here again.
Casually looking at the sunset on a floating pod. NBD.
2. Ba Na Hill (Do Not Go)
A coworker of mine recommended me to check out Ba Na Hill, and so Chris and I rented a scooter the first day in Da Nang and drove 2 hours under the unforgiving sun to check out this place. BIG MISTAKE! Ba Na Hill is the most westernized amusement park in Vietnam and it was built in 2015! When we got there, we took pictures with imitate French architectures and ate Brazilian BBQ. I guess some people like it, and that explains the high reviews and ranking on Trip Advisor. But you are looking for something more historical and culturally rich, you should go to the Marble Mountains.
3. The Marble Mountains
The only historical place we visited when we were in Da Nang.
If you visit Da Nang, you have to check out their night life because Da Nang is known for it. Keep in mind that in any Asian countries, going-out is very frowned upon for girls, and people tend to be conservative. We wanted to be more local and first went to a Vietnamese club (Name: OQ Dnd Beer Garden). The music there was good, but everyone was very isolated. In a traditional Vietnamese club, there isn’t a lot of mingling between different groups of people because you have to order a table and people usually dance around their own table. And so, we left shortly and checked out Sky36. This club is definitely more westernized and has a great panoramic view of Da Nang. The DJ there was awesome and people were more open to talk to each other. And of course, Chris and I had a great time being the only people (really) dancing there.
I love Hoi An! I will come back here again just to enjoy the lanterns and the lit-up river. Hoi An is 30 mins away from Da Nang, so we didn’t spend a night in Hoi An. Instead, we took a taxi around 5, and had the same taxi driver pick us up when most stores closed around 10pm.
1. Morning Glory
You should come here for dinner instead of only eating street food! Food was amazing, and I wish I came here during daytime to take a cooking class.
2. Street Game
There are so many games on the street. We had so much fun playing and losing Dongs on games that we would never win.
This is the place to shop for souvenirs. Make sure you bargain for 30% – 40% of their ask price. If they say they won’t sell it, just walk away. This trick works 100% of the time.
4. The Chef
We thought this was just a book store, but it turned out to be a roof top bar once we walked up to the second floor. It is a good spot for sunset and you should come here for a drink before heading to dinner. We came here after dinner during night time, but the ambiance was still amazing.
1. Car Tour
Pretty sure the majority takes a car tour to see Hui. A typical car tour consists of a hotel pick up, 5 – 8 different stops, 1 English speaking tour guide and a hotel drop-off. You can get picked up at either Da Nang or Hui (Price will be different depending on your pick up location). We got picked up from Da Nang, and we paid around US$110 per person (5 stops, and no tour guide). Apparently, US$110 is too expensive and you should never pay more than $80 for what we got.
1. 3A Station
This is similar to the Art District in Los Angeles. Wall murals, fashion boutiques, cute coffee shops, microbreweries. Everything about this place is just so hipster! Come here during sunset time!
2. Lesbian Banh Mi
Heard this is the best Banh Mi place in Saigon, but I think all Banh Mi’s are good, including the dirty ones you get off the street. They give you a pretty substantial sandwich for US$1, and they open after 3pm.
3. Clothing Boutiques
A lot of our clothes are manufactured in Vietnam, and so I wanted to check out some local fashion boutiques and support the local designers. I will talk more about where to buy in Vietnam in my next blog post! Stay tuned!
Similar to “New American” restaurants in the U.S., Saigon has some of the best “New Vietnamese” restaurants too. Bold and creative chefs in Saigon take Vietnamese food onto the next level. We had this fried soft shell crabs dipped in passion fruit sauce at Guan, a roof-top restaurant in district 1. HEAVEN.
Hope you enjoy my blog post! If you have any questions about traveling to these places, please comment below! Lastly, follow me on Instagram for more pictures! J
Smile and Style on~
Top :: Madewell
Dress :: Nasty Gal (Old, Similar here)
Shoes :: Madewell