vietnam

Visiting the beach paradise of Hoi An, Vietnam with some delicious local seafood

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While I was in Vietnam, one of the coolest places I had the chance to visit was a small beach town known as Hoi An. It is home to some of the prettiest beaches I have seen in Vietnam and was only 20-30 kilometers away from the nearby city of Da Nang, where I was staying. In Vietnam, tourists are allowed to ride motor scooters around so for around $5 a day, I had a pretty nice little ride! Seeing these beaches as uncrowded as they were in a summer month like August still astonishes me to this day! Why don’t more people go here?!

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An awesome, uncrowded beach in Hoi An.
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A beautiful rice field on the way to Hoi An

When I got there I pulled up to the first beach I saw and saw there were a lot of tables sitting there vacant with red plastic chairs in the sand. I sat down and ordered a tasty Coke since it was too early to drink. The weather was damn hot and humid though, so I decided on going for a swim! I rented a locker and stored away my valuables and went for a swim and man, the water was perfect.

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After a few hours on this beautiful beach, the sun started to set and I went to a nearby restaurant across the street from the beach for a seafood dinner.

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The first dish was a mango salad with shrimp and pork. (Goi xoai tom thit) for $2.69 USD (60,000 dong) It was tasty, but I found the pork mixed with the seafood was a bit odd. Also the mango wasn’t really sweet, it was a more firm and bitter slice of mango. The shrimp was also a bit small. What do you expect for such a cheap price anyway? The peanuts complimented the dish overall nicely though. The second dish was fortunately much better.

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My last dish was some sauteed squid with chili & lemongrass (Muc xao sa ot) for just around $4 USD. This was much better, and the whole dish was covered in a very nice but not overpowering sweet sauce. The squid tasted very fresh, and the lemongrass added a wonderful citrus kick to the dish overall. I enjoyed it all with a cold beer. Check out the video at the top for the video footage, and I’ll see you next time! I have to ask, what do you think about Vietnam?  Have you been? Would you return? Let me know because I want to know why more people don’t go here.

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Hanging around at Da Nang beach in Vietnam

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As  my trip to Vietnam would soon come to an end, I still had my last day in Da Nang.I also had my motorbike for the day so I hopped on it and rode a short 5km from my hostel, to Da Nang’s main beach.

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On the way to the beach, I crossed a pretty cool looking bridge

When I got to the beach I was amazed once again. The beaches of Vietnam are totally uncrowded, in prime summer vacationing time. I absolutely can not figure out why. I know some people don’t like Vietnam for certain reasons, but I can’t see why this place isn’t more popular.

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The empty beaches of Da Nang

I saw all these nifty lounge chairs covered with an umbrella so I felt obligated to lie down in one. Before long, I was greeted by a server who informed me that if I wanted to use that hotel’s lounge chairs I had to pay a fee. He asked me how much, he said 100,000 dong (Which is around 5 dollars). I was like, ah, well, sure why not! In any other country the fee would be much higher. I know that in a beach in Dongbei, China for example, it’s around 30 dollars for a chair rental. I also took advantage of the server and had him bring me a beer for around 2 dollars. What a steal.

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The beaches are like straight out of a movie

The view was incredible of the ocean and the peninsula. In fact, I was even able to catch the massive Lady Buddha statue on top of the peninsula from the beach. You can see me explore that area on motorbike on my video you can find on the blog page: Vicarious Vietnam: Riding motorbikes around Da Nang and exploring the peninsula

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I laid on my beach chair and contemplated to myself. Why can’t I move to Vietnam? At that time my mobility was pretty available and even though there are good jobs in Vietnam, and I’m sure a great bit of opportunity for someone like myself, I decided to stay in China, since I’ve got a lot of good stuff cookin’ in Guangdong. However, I do intend to return to Vietnam, you can say that for sure! Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel and like and subscribe if you enjoy the content!

Vicarious Vietnam: Riding motorbikes around Da Nang and exploring the peninsula

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It has been a long time since my last post – my apologies for getting off track, but I’m back! Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel Ian’s Journeys where all my traveling/cooking/China videos can be found!

 Da Nang, Vietnam is an amazing city. The cost of living is incredibly low, the air is sweet, the beaches are beautiful, and the area is downright tropical! I started my day off by renting a motorbike from the hostel I was staying at, and it was 100,000 dong/day, which is around 5 US dollars. What a steal! Filling it up is even cheaper, 1-2 dollars.

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The motorbike I rented was surprisingly fast, and easily surpassed 110km/hour

I started off by riding around town a bit. I also found Da Nang bay and did a quick ride around. However I soon wanted to go and take a look at the peninsula that everyone was talking about where I could see the Lady Buddha, and possibly even some monkeys.

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After seeing the eye candy that is Da Nang bay, it was time to move on toward the peninsula. The ride was scenic, and very relaxing, except my helmet kept being blown off by the wind, no matter how hard I strapped it on!

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Riding to the peninsula
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Once you arrive at the peninsula everything turns an incredibly lush green and the ambience is overwhelming, like a rain forest!

Eventually I made it to the area where the statue of the Lady Buddha is located. It was an incredible sight. The statue must have been hundreds of feet tall, and I had never seen anything like it before. There were also a number of buddhist shrines there and I captured the moment (In the video at the top, you can see) when I saw a number of people chanting. It was very serene, relaxing, and made me forget about the hustle and bustle of life back home for just a moment.

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A beautiful buddhist shrine with chanting religious fanatics. Don’t forget to remove your shoes!

Eventually when I reached the end of the peninsula, I came to a beaten path off the main road where I was told I could find monkeys. Did I find any? Check the video at the top to find out! See you next time!

Having a few at the beer drinking street in Hanoi and eating Bun Cha

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When I’m on on vacation, I drink beer. I just do, as do most of us, moreso than I do when I’m not on vacation. So when I was in Hanoi, I was like, why not do it where everyone else does it? That is at the Beer Drinking Street, which is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

Basically, on this stretch of restaurants and bars, during the weekends, they set up hundreds of little stools outside of all the establishments. People are encouraged to come, sit on the stools, and drink a few cold ones. While I was there, I was crying to myself “Why don’t they have this in China?!?! ;-(

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We walked our way down through the Old Quarter.

I met up with a couple friends whom I had recently met in Hanoi, my friends Ri and Hynek. Super cool dudes! We had some bun cha for dinner which is a pork dish with noodles, and we also had some egg rolls and beers. It was absolutely delicious to say the least and it really only cost a few dollars including the beer!

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Vietnamese food is delicious to say the least!

We went down to the beer drinking street soon after dinner together and poured out a few. It was a good time for sure. As the night started to really fire up around 9-10 PM the crowds started to get insane!

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At one point it was hard to walk anywhere without bumping into anyone.

The atmosphere and vibe of the drinking street is super laid back and super cool. The nightlife in Hanoi is super affordable as well, so it didn’t break the bank at all. A standard beer in Hanoi even at bars can be had for as little as 20,000-100,000 dong (Between 1-4 dollars) and food is also very cheap. I ordered some nachos for 120,000 dong ($5.41 USD) if I remember correctly. We hit up a bar later that night and finished the night off with a little hooka session, which I hadn’t done in years.

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Hynek hitting up the hooka like a boss

Overall, the beer drinking street is one of the coolest nightlife spots I have ever been in my entire life, and in my opinion, the coolest during my time in Hanoi. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are looking for new cooking videos/traveling videos every week! See you next time!

Hanging out at Hong Kong International and my arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam

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It was finally time for my next trip. Living in Asia affords you the luxury of seeing a lot of countries for bargain prices. Because I live in China, I do not have to pay thousands of dollars in airfare every time I want to visit a country in Asia. Such is the truth about living anywhere, you can travel anywhere nearby much cheaper than you could if you were farther away. So while in Asia, travel in Asia and my next destination is Vietnam.

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Some traffic in Hong Kong on the way to to the airport.

I got my roundtrip flight for a beautiful $222.00, what a steal. Anyway, it was time for a new journey and I was growing restless in China. I had just done some great traveling in Guilin, China in the previous weeks but it was time to get out of the country. It was time to see a new culture. I exited Shenzhen through the Louhu border crossing, took Hong Kong’s MTR down one stop and caught the A43p but from Sheung Shui to the Hong Kong Airport.

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The Hong Kong bay view from the bus

When I arrived at the airport, it was nothing new. I have flown in and out of HKG many times before, and every time I leave China it’s the airport I use. When I got there, I arrived a few hours before my flight so I got through security and enjoyed some Popeye’s Fried Chicken. This is one of the western comforts that I have yet to see in mainland China. I seldom eat this kind of crap, but when I do, it’s delicious.

The flight to Hanoi was very short, only about 2 hours. I love easy, 2 hour flights. They never get old. It’s like your in and out, and boom you’re in another country! Upon arrival at Hanoi Noi Boi Airport, I hopped in a cab and headed to my hostel.

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In the cab from the airport, on the way to the Old Quarter.

My hostel was located near the Old Quarter, and after checking in I decided I wanted to have a few beers and check out the night market nearby to get a selfie stick. It was lively, and there were people everywhere! I had some delicious coconut milk for about 50 cents US per cup. I also bought a selfie stick for a few dollars.

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A lively night market in the Old Quarter.

After leaving the night market, I was pretty tired from traveling all day. However when I got back to the hostel I met so many cool fellow travelers, I stayed up until about 1 am drinking with them. It was a good time! You can see all of this in this week’s episode, which is at the top of this page. Give it a look! Don’t forget to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel and let me know what you think! See you next week!

Looking for monkeys in Da Nang, Vietnam

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I got to Vietnam about 5 days ago and arrived in Hanoi. The entire trip so far has been awesome. Of course I don’t have my pc with me so I haven’t been able to edit my weekly videos but I have more videos from China scheduled to upload which I will post when they do – don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for my latest travel videos. I will have plenty of videos from Vietnam coming once I get home and edit the hours of footage I have! This is just a sample of what’s to come!

Today was my first entire day in Da Nang after arriving at the airport last night and I am blown away. Vietnam is beautiful, clean, and incredibly cheap. I rented a motorbike for 140,000 dong (around $7, their currency really needs to be rounded down) and drove around the peninsula just outside of the city. I was advised by a couple of travelers to go here to see a few local monuments, some amazing views and possibly even some monkeys. 

I rode to the nearby peninsula and saw the legendary Lady Buddha statue, the premiere attraction in Da Nang.

I absolutely love this country. Freedom seems to be a big thing here, and I was amazed how quick I was rented a motorbike with no license. I’m even told by some locals that drunk driving isn’t even illegal in the country. Regardless I’d never do something silly like that. While driving past the Lady Buddha I encountered one of the most amazing viewpoints I’d ever seen. 

The views were endless serene and beautiful

My German traveler friend recommended I follow the road all the way to when the mountain starts to take back the road – meaning where the bushes start to overgrow the path – to look for monkeys. I, in fact did see a number of monkeys but didn’t get my camera out in time unfortunately. I caught a few seconds of one on video, but it’s awfully blocked by bushes. Perhaps I’ll have another opportunity before I leave Vietnam in about 9 more days.

I don’t have a whole lot more to share except for a few pictures but I felt it would be good to update the blog. Rest assured, plenty of great travel logs of Vietnam are on the way. I still have a lot of videos from Guilin I need to get out as well, the work never stops! 

One of the coolest places I’ve ever been to