Tag Archives: Vietnam

Where to Eat in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An's Central Market

Head to Hoi An’s Central Market for the town’s best Cau Lao

Hoi An, as I mentioned earlier, was somewhat unkind to us. But it wasn’t just the rain. In addition to dodging drops we also had a terrible time finding good places to eat, let alone great ones.

Partly, I think we just got spoiled in Hanoi. It was so easy to find delicious meals in Hanoi that almost anywhere else would seem a disappointment by comparison. And so it was initially with Hoi An.

Don’t get us wrong, Hoi An is a lovely city. But it really is a tourist town. Unfortunately, many of its eateries reflect that. Too many cater to what they think westerners want and serve up mediocre food at inflated prices as a result.

In the past we’ve been able to side-step tourist cuisine by avoiding the places where tourists eat. But in Hoi An, that strategy didn’t always work. We had bad experiences at upscale places as well as downscale ones and everywhere in between.

Through sheer persistence, and a week of trying, we did eventually uncover these handful of standouts.

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Postcard Pretty Hoi An

Hoi An, River Scene, Vietnam

Hoi An was unkind to us in a way. We knew we were visiting this central Vietnamese city near the end of its rainy season, but with a week to spend in the relatively small town we figured we had more than enough time to see and do everything. We were wrong. The rain was nearly relentless for seven straight days.

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A Day in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay Vietnam “The police are behind us. Jump on!” I heard from over my shoulder as we leapt through the doors of the still moving mini-bus.

The driver’s offense: idling in Hanoi city traffic. No officers gave chase, though, and we settled into our seats and set out with a small group on an overnight outing to scenic Ha Long Bay in northeast Vietnam.

Several hours later, after a honking-filled ride along highways chaotic with traffic, through dusty small towns, and past watery rice fields, we got our first look at Ha Long Bay’s dramatic hallmarks—limestone pillars rising from the water and mostly shrouded in mist. We knew we were rolling the dice by coming to this striking spot in December, which is the start of Vietnam’s winter. In fact, several days earlier, severe rain storms had forced tourists back to Hanoi shortly after making the lengthy trip out to Ha Long Bay. Read More…

Santa’s Sleigh in Hoi An, Vietnam

A bike with presents Hoi An, Vietnam

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Why you can’t listen to anyone else about travel

Typical smiling faces in North Vietnam

We heard so many mixed things about Vietnam that we weren’t quite sure what to expect when we arrived. Some people spoke very highly of it. But even in those cases the endorsements were usually qualified, as in “I love Vietnam, but . . .” or “It’s beautiful, but . . .”

Other folks dispensed with the “buts” altogether, claiming that “the northern Vietnamese HATE westerners” at worst, or – at best – “they aren’t very friendly.” On one thing most people seemed to agree: “Everyone tries to rip you off in Vietnam.”

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