Vietnam

A lesson in Vietnamese road culture

For the Westerner, traffic invites mistakes and adventures alike.

How I ended up in Hai Phong, Vietnam, with 10 other teachers is somewhat of a mystery. Being the only tays (meaning “Westerner” in Vietnamese), we were pseudo-celebrities in this small town. It was not ...

Cuc Phuong, Vietnam: a typhoon experience

Category 3 storm on a motorbike.

It was October 27th, 2012, and the sun was shining down on North Vietnam. My friends and I had planned a motorbike trip to the national park of Cuc Phuong, some 120 kilometers south. Due ...

Riding the Reunification rail

Discover authentic Vietnam on the Saigon–Hanoi train.

I’ve always loved riding trains: Pacific Surfliner, Starlight Express, Eurail, etc. The sound of the train whistle never fails to spark my wanderlust, and I find the combination of comfort and adventure when riding the ...

Motorbiking the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Experience Vietnam's magic on this two-week route from Hanoi to Saigon.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail follows the infamous supply route created by the North Vietnamese guerrillas during the Vietnam War. We began our motorbike journey from Hanoi (left), headed toward the south to Ho Chi ...

Hill Tribes of Sapa

A camera gives the author license to steal in Northwest Vietnam.

“Also, being a photographer gives you a license to steal experiences that you ordinarily wouldn’t have. You enter into other people’s worlds who are usually very highly specialized, very rare.” ~ Jay Maisel I love ...

An American in Dalat

(Before Americans were allowed in Dalat.)

“Welcome to Dalat. Please give me your passports. You are American? How do you come here?” Not an unusual greeting from the young female receptionist in a white ao dai local dress at the Dalat ...

Trying to Fit In at the Củ Chi Tunnels

An American in Vietnam.

Vietnam is a unique country in many ways. First, it’s Southeast Asia’s “skinniest” country. Second, the country is still divided over geographical, political and cultural lines. The North and South divide is an active component ...

I Am a Superhero in Kon Tum, Vietnam

While the rest of the world was going gaga (not Lady Gaga) over the movie The Avengers, I was busy playing the part of superhero for some kids in a village in Vietnam. The town ...

Saigon: Be Careful What You Shop For

“So, you’re going to Vietnam? Can you pick up an ‘ao dai’ for me while you’re there?” If a casual female friend ever says this to you, politely decline. Say you’re sorry; you’ll be too ...

Hip Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

"In Ho Chi Minh City, there are eight million people and five million motorbikes," my guide informed me as we slowly wound our way through this bustling city en route to the Củ Chi tunnels. ...

Exploring the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

“I think that thing is staring at me,” someone in our tour group remarked nervously. No, it wasn’t a wild animal spotted while hiking through the wilds of Vietnam. It was the fish proudly displayed ...

Hanoi, Vietnam: Looking Toward the Future

Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital and second-largest city, is one of the most beautiful capitals in Asia. Most well known to Americans for its role in the Vietnam War, Hanoi celebrated its 1,000th birthday in 2010. As ...

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is about midway between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi up the Vietnamese coast. If you’re traveling between the two largest cities in Vietnam, it is the perfect spot to take a break. ...

Enchanted Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Four days, two nights spent boating through majestic Halong Bay is like a dream. Turquoise blue water and giant, dragon-shaped cliff islands covered by jungle forests simply equals magical. There are a million different tour ...

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Do's and Don'ts

Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City, is full of traveler do’s (and a few don’ts). For instance, DO know that Ho Chi Minh City was called Saigon until it was renamed in 1975. DON’T ...