My Epically Terrible Vietnamese Bus Ride Experience

Every traveller you meet who has been to South East Asia has a bus adventure gone bad story. Well I was no exception. This is my story:

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Choosing Hue

I had been researching a lot about what our next stop should be after Hoi An. Hue is famous for The Citadel and the Imperial City and has been on UNESCO World Heritage list since 1993. It was also a convenient 3.5 hour bus ride away. I had read some mixed reviews about Hue but decided to give it a shot!

Booking the bus

 I saw a lot of signs around Hoi An for a shuttle that went from Hoi An to Hue. I asked Quyn from my homestay to help me book this and she insisted that it was too expensive and that she would book me a different one instead. We were picked up from the homestay by a small mini bus, which was so overcrowded. This was definitely a sign of things to come…

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Lila Homestay – The Best Place to Stay in Hoi An

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After staying in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh city I knew I wanted to try out a homestay at our next stop Hoi An. So I did what any modern traveler does, I took to Trip Advisor to find the perfect place. I initially booked the homestay for 3 nights as our plan was to head out and stay a few nights on the beach, little did I know that I would fall in love with this place and end up staying 10 days.

From the moment we walked into the homestay we felt at home. The family is so incredibly nice and treated us like royalty, nothing was too much for Quyn and her sister. She helped us book tours, did laundry, and recommended the best restaurants near by. The location is also great. It was a 3km bike ride to town and 2km from the beach.

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Beginners Guide to Hoi An: 10 Things To Do

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Things to Know Before You Go:

Why Visit Hoi An?

Hoi An is an oasis in Vietnam that was much welcomed after 5 hectic days in Ho Chi Minh City. Hoi An in English translates to “peaceful meeting place” and I could not agree more. Our plan was to stay three days and we ended up staying a week and a half – I would have gladly spent a month here though! I’d recommend staying at least two days but many more if your time allows! The history, colorful architecture, and  of course the lanterns make Hoi An the perfect stop on your Vietnam Trip.

How to get to Hoi An?

Hoi An is a quick half hour taxi ride from the Da Nang International Airport. We arranged a shuttle through our Homestay which cost us around 400,000 VND ($18 USD).

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XO Tours – The Foodie

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Since HCMC is the street food capital of Vietnam, I knew I was going to have the do the XO Tours – The Foodie. I have already posted about how much I loved XO Tours – The Sights that I had went on earlier that day.

This tour company is awesome! XO stands for Xe Om – which are motorbike taxis in Vietnam. The girls are so much fun to hang out with and the food we had was incredible.

The Foodie Tour ($72 USD) focuses on street food dishes that most people outside of Vietnam have not had a chance to experience. Every night like clockwork food stands and informal restaurants seem to magically appear around the streets. As the sun set we got on the back of the scooters for the second time that day and headed to the lesser known districts to try some of the best street food around.

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My Top 3 Favorite Coffee Spots in Hoi An

Anyone that knows me knows that I think of myself as a coffee connoisseur. I am OBSESSED with coffee and whenever I travel I insist on stopping at as many coffee shops as I possible can.  Hoi An was filled with so many little coffee shops which made making this list a bit of a challenge. But nonetheless I have done it! Drum roll please….

1). Rosie’s Cafe

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This very quaint and peaceful cafe is tucked into an alley hidden in the old quarter of Hoi An and run by two fabulous sisters. The breakfast menu is small but has everything you could need (and has great prices 25,000 – 50,000 VND). This cafe is known for it’s delicious cold brew and pressed juices, I of course had to try both! We came here a couple times and it was always such a treat. It is definitely a hidden gem with a very chilled atmosphere which is nice to relax in and get away from it all for a bit. It has free WiFi and very welcoming staff.

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Best Brewery in Ho Chi Minh City – Pasteur Street Brewing Company

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Everyone that knows me knows that I LOVE beer. I was especially excited when our hotel had a poster about a local brewery so I set out on a quest to find it.

This place is small and very hard to find. It’s not painted in a bright color or have any crazy antics out front of it. It’s situated in a small alley with just a tiny sign at the mouth of it. You then have to climb a stairway. But this place is awesome.

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XO Tours – The Sights

I had found out about XO tours on Trip Advisor and other media outlet weeks before my trip. For me this was a must do and one of the highlights of my time in Ho Chi Minh City. I could not decide between “The Sights” tour  ($42 USD) and “The Foodie” tour ($72 USD) so I opted for both. These tours are quite pricey compared to other tours offered but are totally worth it.

XO Tours is an all-female motorbike tour company. These girls take you zooming around the city like a local  and help you experience different districts that I would not have seen by simply walking around. For me, the tour guides made the tour. The girls are lovely, fun, and energetic, eager to answer any questions I threw their way.

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Mekong Delta Day Trip

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A trip to Ho Chi Minh City would not be complete without a trip to the Mekong Delta region. I was excited to see all of the rice fields and houses on stilts located along the river. It was nice to get out of the hectic city and get a glimpse of this Vietnamese way of life.

We booked a day trip tour to the Upper Mekong River with TNK Travel. I had read some great reviews about this travel agency and decided to book the tour with them on our first day in Ho Chi Minh City. This travel agency is located near the backpacking area of District One.

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Why I LOVE Packing Cubes!

OMG I leave for my backpacking adventure in South East Asia in less than two weeks. I finally have some free time to sort out what I am going to be packing for my trip. Unlike my everyday messy self, I do like to be very organized when I travel. Living out of a backpack is hard enough without having to deal with not being able to find things when I need them. Staying organized when traveling is a must for me.

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 My FAVORITE way to stay organized when I travel are packing cubes. These little beauties have changed the way I pack. They save a ton of space, keep everything organized, and essentially act as drawers when you get to your destination. No more having to unpack the whole backpack in order to find a sweatshirt and then spending the next ten minutes re-rolling all of the clothes back up again!

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I ordered my on TradeMe and they came with three different sized zippered pouches. My  set also came with some different sized laundry bags. These are perfect for separating clean clothes from the dirty ones when everything gets jumbled in a backpack.

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