Hoi An is considered the architectural and culinary gem of Central Vietnam, receiving the stamp of approval from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We arrived there on a tourist bus from Danang and were dragged through the typical Vietnamese tour routine.
The bus conveniently stopped at one hotel where we got a hard sell. Those tourists who returned to the bus were taken to a second hotel, with guesthouse touts literally following the bus until its final destination. Continue Reading »
Despite what my husband says, I am not a clothes junkie. I avoid shopping if I can get by another season with the same clothes as last. Why is it that I turned into a clothes fiend while in Hoi An?
The Craze Begins
As soon as we entered the first tailor shop (there are over 200 in Hoi An), a recommendation from the Swedish travelers we had met in Sapa, I wanted all the silk tops and dresses I saw hanging on the wall. The saleswomen quickly tuned into my excitement and went to work taking advantage of it. Continue Reading »
Even in winter, Sapa’s landscape dazzles with its rolling hills and terraced rice fields. The villages and people are just as unique. It’s like a portal to another world.
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Visually, we were blown away by Bac Ha market in northern Vietnam. During our winter visit, the women and their brightly-colored clothing provided the perfect contrast to the muted winter landscape. Most of the women who make the trek to Bac Ha market from their hill villages are from the Flower Hmong ethnic group. As you can see from our photos, they dress in colorful head scarves and beautifully embroidered skirts and tops.
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Hanoi is a place where filthy abundance and noise follow you everywhere and the action takes place low to the ground. The fluid movement of traffic resembles a drift, like dunes. Time slows, suspended in particulate-filled air. While locals make business and take draws from traditional pipes, the sound waves of motorbike horns and tonal conversations compete for space through which to move
Some people call this relaxed and insist that Hanoi is laid back. In comparison to what, we’re not sure. Continue Reading »
As I was told by the General Manager of Craft Link, Ms. Tran Tuyet Lan, not-for-profit organizations have to sell quality products in order to survive. Charity isn’t sustainable.
But Hanoi’s Hoa Sua School and Craft Link try. The customer gets quality food and handicrafts, respectively, in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling from contributing to a good social cause. It’s an ideal – and apparently sustainable – combination. Continue Reading »
Everyone raves about the food in Hanoi. However, we found our street-eating selves a bit stymied the first few days of our visit. Not sure if it was the fickle weather, our outlook, or the fear of being served a surprise chicken foot or pig ear, but our initial impression of the cuisine was not quite impenetrable, but less than accessible.
Many street stalls offer only one thing that is mostly hidden in big cauldrons with a sign above in Vietnamese. For the first few days, all we could discern with certainty were the pho stalls. Eventually, we got the hang of it. Continue Reading »
Our visit to Hanoi’s Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology included all the requisite colorfully embroidered and woven clothing, agriculture tools, religious artifacts and sample living quarters in an ample demonstration of Vietnam’s surprisingly wide and diverse variety of ethnic minorities. The extraordinarily honest and introspective exhibition on the difficulties of life under Vietnam’s Subsidy Economy between 1975 and 1986 – now that was exceptional! Continue Reading »
Sometimes a moment of peace in a beautiful setting is what you need when traveling, especially when you are in northern Vietnam. A nod to Halong Bay for filling this need and for offering some of the most visually spectacular landscape in the region. Meaning “Bay of the Descending Dragon, ” Halong Bay has almost 2000 limestone islands that rise above the water like dragons moving through the sea.
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