Vietnam ~ Places to Stay


Landmark Hotel–Very nice, about 20$ per night. Free and large selection for breakfast. Great wifi.


Hue Backpackers–Chill main area. World sports on the TV, good dorms cleaned everyday. Location good for bars/restaurants but far from the Citadel.

Hoi An:

Sunflower Hotel–This converted hotel now caters to the backpackers. There is a pool, amazing buffet breakfast and good beds. They aren’t close to the main area, but it’s not too far to walk, and the beach is nearby.

Nha Trang:

Mojzo Inn–Cute boutique hostel. Elevator, rooftop breakfast, great staff, perfect location. Near beach and bars. This place is a great example of what new hostels should be.

Da Lat:

Dalat Family Hostel–The epitome of energy. The girls and Mama never get tired of entertaining. There are no lockers here, but a total family vibe prevents most theft. They are way off the main area, but such a funny place to stay and great for meeting and having a communal dinner and drinks after on the porch/street.

Ho Chi Minh City:

Long Hostel--Family run and family feel. Great beds, pillows, showers, new towel everyday. Clean, shoes off type place. Banana pancake free breakfast and delicious coffee. No common area, but good location away from the craziness but easily accessed.

If you want to recommend any other places, let me know.

Ho Chi Minh City ~ The Motorbike Capital of the World

HCMC moves like a gasoline generated river, ceaseless and smelly. Honking, belching black smoke, weaving between pedestrians and buses, the motorbikes live according to individual rules. There isn’t enough public transit, bikes are cheap and small and everybody needs to get somewhere. There’s a certain amount of city romance to the congestion. You can depend on the traffic, on the smell, on the horns.


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Saigon Kids

Saigon Kids

They were talking very animatedly and trying to get noticed. They posed with “V” signs instantly. I asked him if his shirt was the Led Zeppelin logo, he took off his backpack and showed me the Charmed logo. He was into the old WB vampress show I guess.

Western Food Paradise in Ho Chi Minh City

Perhaps because of the heavy influence of American troops from the war, perhaps because of the massive amount of transient backpackers funneling in on night buses, perhaps because the locals are interested in Western Cuisine, or perhaps because all the best Vietnamese food is elsewhere, HCMC is a destination for world cuisine. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat all the places that looked interesting, instead, I went the comfort food route. After all, it had been a month of focusing on Vietnamese food, I was ready for cheese!

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The Garden of Catholic Guilt

Wandering in Saigon, I came across a magnificent Pepto-Bismol colored church. It had a lovely flower garden complete with statues of all the Stations of the Cross. They were pretty brutal, as anyone who is familiar with the Easter rites of Good Friday well knows. Here’s a few samples: try to find the Roman soldier spearing Jesus, or the bald man flaying Jesus, or Jesus falling for the first time.


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Da Lat ~ “Crazy House” and Datanla Waterfalls

A few minutes ride from the main area of Da Lat resides an avant garde hotel/tourist trap called Hang Nga Guesthouse, or The Crazy House (03 Hunyh Thuc Kang). It was designed by a woman holding a PhD in architecture, a love of Gaudi and a wild imagination. It’s fun to walk around inside the house, and feel the lack of right angles smoothing out a cluttered mind. There are plenty of photo ops and really narrow staircases.

Nearby you can find Datanla Waterfalls. They weren’t as crowded with tourists. For 50,000 dong (3$), you can ride a self-controlled bobsled down the mountain to the base. As long as you don’t get a slow-poke in front of you, you can go as fast or slow as you want because you control the brakes! It was a sustained smile the whole way down. Afterwards, explore the fragrant pine tree walkways and then pop back in your bobsled which gets tow-roped back to the top of the hill.

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Da Lat ~ Black and White by the Lake

I noticed how calm everyone seemed beside the big, peaceful lake in the middle of this southern highland city of Vietnam. The monochrome complements the serene healing power of being near large bodies of water.


They offered me a beer, but it was only noon…and they were pretty deep already! Plus, I think they would have enjoyed the warm Saigon beer more than me anyway.

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Nha Trang ~ The Russian and Backpacker Beach

Its natural beauty is easy on the eyes, but as with most resort towns, tourists find a way to crowd out the beauty to be replaced by high rise hotels and trendy beach bars. The city is overwhelmed with Russian tourists due to the one way flights serviced from Moscow. Signs and menus are posted in Vietnamese, French, Russian and English. The Russians seem to be a hard bunch to impress and walk around with faces that seem to ask, “Is this all ya got?” Continue reading “Nha Trang ~ The Russian and Backpacker Beach”

Getting Lost in Nha Trang


These guys were hanging out laughing and whistling at chicks. They offered me some tea, I had a buzz for the next hour from it. Not sure what kind of tea it was, but it was strong.


Getting in some chilling time before hustling the tourists.

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