Month: April 2016

Adventures in Saigon and the BEST Banh Mi

After a delicious breakfast at The Pullman Resort we headed off to Da Nang Airport to catch our 8:45 flight. For domestic flights in Vietnam, you should arrive at least an hour early, as check in closes forty minutes prior to departure. We had checked in online the night before, so we only needed to check our bags. After checking our bags and going through security, we headed towards our gate, which was changed last minute. So, be sure to listen to the announcements overhead when walking through the airport! When Jess booked this early morning flight, she didn’t consider that by selecting seat 7A she would be obligated to get drunk on a plane. Yet again, Vietjet only stocks 6 beers per flight so she was in luck, and ordered one (which we shared). When we arrived at the Ho Chi Minh City Airport we deplaned and were driven by bus to the baggage claim. This time, both our bags came quickly and even came out at the same time! After grabbing our packs, …

Tuk Tuk for the day $30,Visiting ALL of the Sites in 16 Hours $50, Lunch and Dinner $10, New City and Great New Friends…PRICELESS!

Our one full day in Phnom Penh started out with an early wakeup around 6:30am.  We walked out of the Kabiki hotel and were able to find a Tuk Tuk driver waiting right outside on the street.  We were planning to spend the day with our new friends Gillian and Gavin from Scotland and decided it would be cheaper for the four of us to hire a Tuk Tuk for the day than pay for individual rides to all of our destinations throughout the day.  So, a guy drove up to us in a royal blue t-shirt and asked if we needed a Tuk Tuk.  We said yes and he told us it would be $30 for the day.  We asked if he would do it for $20 and he said no, but $25 would be ok and we agreed.  Sony was our driver for the day and he was awesome!!  We have his contact information at the end of this article for anyone traveling to Phnom Penh.  You can contact him directly and he …

Choeung Ek Genocidal Center and S-21 (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum): Cambodia

We have been trying to post updates and suggestions for all of the cities that we have visited.  However, we felt that our visit to the Killing Fields in Cambodia warranted its own article.  This experience was so impactive and moving that I truly didn’t have many words once we completed the tour.  Upon arrival, we walked towards what looked to be a beautifully designed building.  Being that I had read a few other blogs about trips to the killing fields, I knew what we were approaching, but the three other people I was with did not.  Inside the central building of the killing fields you will find 17 floors of human skulls and a collection of bones. The sight is both chilling and devastating.  As we began the tour, Steven turned to me and said “oh what a nice building.”  I responded and asked “do you know what is inside?”  He said “No…”, I explained to him that the building is a memorial for the people that were murdered in the fields that we were …

The Pullman Da Nang Beach Resort: Vietnam

We arrived at the Pullman Da Nang Beach Resort around 9:30am.  Check in time is usually later in the day, around 2:00pm, however we were greeted and informed that our room would be ready within 30 minutes.  At this point we were able to fully take in the vastness and beauty of the resort.  The lobby was open air and had a 50 foot ceiling, with a beautiful chandelier in the center.  The back of the lobby looked out to the two infinity fountains decorated with large wire dragonflies.  The architecture and artwork complimented the atmosphere of the hotel very well.  Beyond the fountains was a large infinity pool and then the beautiful private beach.  We relaxed in the lobby until our room was ready, with our refreshing welcome drink of blended tea in hand.  We took in the view and were truly blown away by the beauty of it all.   We stayed in a double superior room with a view of the property and the ocean.  The room was amazing and had tile floors, a …

Da Nang: Another Giant City

On our way from the Almanity Hoi An Resort and Spa to the Pullman Da Nang Beach Resort, we arranged to stop at the Marble mountain. We agreed to do a quick visit four about 20 minutes.  This seems to have been an okay amount of time, but may have been better to have about 30-40 minutes.  However, we were not charged extra for our trip from Almanity to Pullman with this stop, so we took what we could get and made the most of it.  Entrance to the mountain is 15,000VND per person.  They have built an elevator to bring you up to the top, so you can opt to take the stairs or pay 15,000 VND per person per way to use the elevator.  We chose to take the elevator up, mostly because we were on a time crunch and we weren’t really sure how many stairs it was to get to the top.  It turns out this was a great choice and even if you are fit and can climb the five …

Breakfasts, Cooking Class and Poolside Cocktails at Almanity Hoi An Resort and Spa

At the Almanity Hoi An Resort and Spa, a buffet style breakfast was included in our stay. The spread at breakfast had a wide range of both local vietnamese and western style breakfast choices. For the buffet, there were fresh fruits, breakfast pastries, smoothies, fresh yogurt, cereals, and prepared salads. We both ate our fair share of many of the buffet choices and thoroughly enjoyed all that we ate. In addition to the buffet style selections, there are three stations where food is prepared to order. The first station served two different dishes that are typical of vietnamese breakfasts. The options varied and ours were beef or pork pho and cao lầu. Cao lầu is a noodle dish with pork and green vegetables and can only be found in the town of Hoi An. Its exclusivity to Hoi An is a result of the century old square wells from which water is drawn to make the noodles for cao lầu. There was also a fried rice dish and chicken congee. We had originally planned to share a beef pho on …

Our Stay at The Almanity Resort and Spa

Our experience at the Almanity Hoi An Resort and Spa was far beyond our expectations. The hotel is located about ten minutes away from the old town if walking, and free bicycle rentals are available to hotel guests.  We opted out of bike rentals as we were a bit nervous with the traffic in Hoi An, but if you are feeling brave go for it! When we arrived at Almanity we were greeted by a warm and welcoming staff.  While checking in, we were offered delicious welcome drinks. When the drinks were initially set in front of us they were blue, but after the staff added another component to the drink they turned pink! We were advised that our room was ready and that we would be staying in a Double My Mind Town View Room.  This room had a king sized bed, shower, air conditioning, TV, and a balcony overlooking the streets of Hoi An.  It was very clean and comfortable. In addition to our room, our package included one spa journey per person per day at …

From Hanoi: The Capital of Vietnam to Hoi An: Tailor Shops by Day, City of Lanterns by Night

Our last day in Hanoi was really just the morning, which we decided to spend enjoying what the hotel restaurant had to offer as we had breakfast included with our room.  We stayed at La Siesta Hotel Trendy, the new sister hotel to La Siesta Hanoi Resort and Spa.  The restaurant in the hotel is the Red Bean Restaurant and has been rated as one of the top five restaurants in Hanoi. The included breakfast spread was a mix between a western style breakfast and a Vietnamese style breakfast, though other items could be ordered off the menu. Fresh fruit, home made yogurt, and an order of beef Pho made for for a great start to the day. We finished breakfast with a vietnamese egg coffee and a vietnamese coffee, checked out and ordered an uber. They also offer cooking classes, but we did not have time to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. We highly recommend staying at this brand new hotel!  The service was impeccable and they made sure everything was perfect from …

New City, New Friends, New Memories in Hanoi, Vietnam

About a week before our journey to Southeast Asia began, Jess overheard another nanny talking about how she was moving to Hanoi in a few days while waiting for school pickup. Jess couldn’t help but introduce herself to ask for some tips about the city. They ended up exchanging emails and after a few quick messages back and forth, planned to meet in Hanoi. As a pleasant surprise, Morgan and her husband Nick offered to show us around for the day, as it had been almost eight years since they first met while studying abroad in Vietnam and wanted to do some touristy things as well. We began our day meeting our new friends at Cafe Phố Cũ, a well hidden gem of a coffee shop located behind two souveneer shops. Had we not met Morgan and Nick out front, we never would have found the place! After a brief conversation on the sidewalk, Morgan drove her motor bike straight through the souveneer shop, down an alley in the back of the store and into …

Oh the Rain in Ha Long Bay

At 630am, the phone in our hotel room rang. As a last minute request the night before, the front desk staff was able to get us two seats on a one day tour to Ha Long Bay. We were told to be downstairs in the lobby by 7:30am. After quickly tossing our belongings in our packs, we ran down to check out and grab a quick breakfast of Vietnamese sticky rice, roasted tomato, and fresh yogurt. By 8 o’clock, a car, sent by the tour company, Vietnam Open Tours, had arrived to bring us to meet the tour bus in the Old Quarter. We were dropped off in an alley way and became slightly skeptical about the whole thing. We walked up and down and couldn’t figure out where we were suppose to go. Finally we found the storefront and when we walked in, we were greeted by name. They were expecting us, as we had paid for the tour at the hotel in advance. We were told the bus would be arriving in approximately 10 …