Wonderguide by

Laura Chau


These are a few of my favorite cities, sights, and places to eat/drink in Vietnam! :)

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Image - Temple Of Literature
Temple Of Literature
Laura:Don't go between 4-6PM since the area is jammed by cars/ motorbikes during rush hour
Image - Hoàn Kiếm Lake
Hoàn Kiếm Lake
Laura:You won't miss this - it's the major lake in the center of the city. I wouldn't bother with the water puppet show.
Image - Hanoi Night Market
Hanoi Night Market
Laura:Night market that's fun to check out on Hang Dao street
Image - Hanoi Old Quarter - Khu Phố Cổ Hà Nội
Hanoi Old Quarter - Khu Phố Cổ Hà Nội
Laura:I love wandering around here. You can start at hang bong then go hang gai street. It's really nice, just start at any street with 'hang' which loosely means "shop" as the streets were named after the stuff they sold in the past. For example, "Hang Vai" means the shop of fabric as every house on this street used to sell fabric! It's really cute. You still see some of that stuff these days like "Hang Bac" means silver shop and they sell a lot of silver on this street. All the streets are small in the Old Quarter and they crisscross each other. It's super busy and very cute to walk around. A lot of small shops and food.
Image - St. Joseph's Cathedral
St. Joseph's Cathedral
Laura:This is near the old quarter and you'll likely happen upon it while you're wandering around. On the street facing the church you see tons of ppl sitting at street cafes. Try the 'cha chanh' which is a lemon tea, super famous. Good place to go in the evening or to have a coffee on a balcony. The cathedral itself is relatively small though!
Image - Quán Ăn Ngon
Quán Ăn Ngon
Laura:Restaurant worth trying!
Image - Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Laura:beautiful historic hotel that's been around since the French occupation in the late 19th century where we host all Heads of states! great place to have lunch or brunch at the pool.
Image - Old Quarter Ta Hien Corner
Old Quarter Ta Hien Corner
Laura:Beer street, i.e. Ta Hien street is a really fun place to hang out at night. Sit on the street and drink super cheap beer and people watch. It does close at midnight though because it's a lame city overall.
Image - La Vong Grilled Fish
La Vong Grilled Fish
Laura:it's a place that does one fish dish and has been around since the French colonial time. A little overpriced ($20-$30 per person) but the NY Times loves it and a lot of friends have recommended it!
Image - Avalon Cafe Lounge
Avalon Cafe Lounge
Laura:Haven't been here, but have heard that it's a nice place to have a drink overlooking the Sword Lake at Avalon bar's rooftop (it's an overpriced place otherwise but a nice drink at sunset is worth it)
Image - Old Town Garden Café
Old Town Garden Café
Laura:MUST try the egg coffee at either Cafe Pho Co on Hang Gai street (great rooftop overlooking the lake which you get to by going up a really dodgy set of stairs), or Cafe Giang (a bunch of outlets in the city)
Image - Giảng Cafe
Giảng Cafe
Laura:Another egg coffee place worth trying!
Image - Xôi Yến
Xôi Yến
Laura:Vietnamese stick rice is one of my favorite foods and harder to get in the US. Def worth a try :)
Image - Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hotel
Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hotel
Laura:Nice views of the lake while grabbing a drink
Image - Bún Chả Hương Liên
Bún Chả Hương Liên
Laura:This is the place that Obama went to eat during his visit to Vietnam. The Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodle dish) is delish.
Image - Travelade Image
56 Hàng Điếu
Laura:Restaurant is called: Bún bò nam bộ This is a restaurant (they have small tables along the street) that sells a Southern Noodle Soup with beef and peanut that I love :)
Image - Quán Bà Ngà
Quán Bà Ngà
Laura:One of the best Banh Mi sandwiches in hanoi :)
Image - Travelade Image
Ngõ Tạm Thương
Laura:Good place to try Nam Ran (Vietnamese fried egg rolls)
Image - Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
Laura:This is definitely worth spending an hour walking through. This is the prison where many vietnamese soldiers were held by the communist party, as well as John McCain when he was captured
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Things to do and see in the northern region of Sapa, home to many of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam

Image - ETHOS - Spirit of the Community
ETHOS - Spirit of the Community
Laura:I LOVED this tour company. It is run by a Vietnamese woman who grew up in the UK. The whole goal of her company is to create fair jobs and wages for the local ethnic minorities and eventually give them full control of this company to sustainably support their own community. I did the hike + overnight homestay with a Hong family and an excursion learning traditional embroidery in the home of a Red Dao woman. Hands down one of my favorite experiences
Image - Vietnam Railway
Vietnam Railway
Laura:Take the overnight train from Ha Noi to Sapa - definitely upgrade to the first class train with the overnight beds!
Image - Baguette and chocolate
Baguette and chocolate
Laura:Try the candied ginger tea :)

Ha Long Bay

Image - Paradise Cruises
Paradise Cruises
Laura:I loved this cruise - it was definitely more luxe. The boat was beautiful, everything was really clean, and the food was great. The Cruise operator should be able to coordinate a pick up and drop off for you from Hanoi or Hai Phong which is the easiest option. It's a shorter distance to Hai Phong if you are just trying to get to an airport to fly somewhere else in the country
Image - Bhaya Classic - Cruise Center
Bhaya Classic - Cruise Center
Laura:This one was cheaper than Paradise. You got to see all of the same sights as the Paradise cruise and the rooms/boat were all clean, just not as luxe.

Hoi An

Image - Cửa Đại
Cửa Đại
Laura:This is the popular beach in Hoi An - you can also check out An Bang.
Image - An Bang Beach
An Bang Beach
Laura:There is a small cafe on the beach called Manh Cafe: This tiny, family run business has a few sun loungers on the beach. Assuming you buy an beer or two, or some food, the use of the loungers is free. The seafood really is fantastic. If you make an order, the family make a dash to the seafood market and source the freshest foods.
Image - Hoi An Bike Rental
Hoi An Bike Rental
Laura:You can rent an automatic motorbike for around 100,000 VND a day from many places around Hoi An. Its worth testing for any excess smoke coming from the exhaust. If the bike rattles, the breaks aren't strong or the tires are bald, then move on and find something safer. If you are interested in hiring something bigger, check out the following link:
Image - Mr. XE
Mr. XE
Laura:My guy friends got suits made here that were great quality. Currently in the top 10 tailors on tripadvisor out of more than 400, Mr Xe excels in mensware and classic designs for men and women. If it's a suit you want, he has lots of fabric and great prices. His suits start from $65 but the real bargain comes with his top fabrics ($120 for a Kashmir wool blend suit). Woolen winter coats are around $65. Shirts and blouses are cheap.
Image - Be Be Tailor 3
Be Be Tailor 3
Laura:I had a bunch of dresses and coats custom made here. They had a ton of fabric choices and could make just about anything if you bring a photo in. You usually need ~2-3 days to have everything made and fit properly.
Image - Morning Glory Original
Morning Glory Original
Laura:Great restaurant - bit overpriced, but great variety and a nice ambiance. Make a reservation ahead of time
Image - Mermaid Restaurant
Mermaid Restaurant
Laura:Same owner as Morning Glory
Image - Hoi_an_ecotour_1
$ 120
Hoi An Farmer And Cooking Class
Laura:This was a really fun cooking class. You'll also get to ride in the traditional round basket boats that are only used in the central vietnam region :)

Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City

Image - Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant
Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant
Laura:Really popular restaurnat in Saigon. Some highlights are the tofu with lemongrass and chili, the caramelized pork in clay pot, sea bass in passionfruit sauce, and their sour soup. The fresh fruit juices are also great. Expect about $10 per person. Worth having your hotel call for a reservation
Image - Hoa Tuc Saigon
Hoa Tuc Saigon
Laura:Another great restaurant. It is located in a beautiful courtyard and serves a lot of classic Vietnamese favorites and many different takes on Vietnamese too. Also about $10 per person. They also do a good cooking class if you're interested (
Image - Chill Skybar
Chill Skybar
Laura:Somewhat expensive rooftop bar (~$10 per drink), but has the best views of the city and you can get one drink and hang out for a while
Image - War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum
Laura:Lots of propaganda, but definitely worth seeing.
Image - Taxi Mai Linh Mang Yang
Taxi Mai Linh Mang Yang
Laura:If you are using taxis, try to only use the green taxis (Mai Ling) or the white taxis (Vinasun) as they are the most reputable. You can also use Uber or Grab.
Image - Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market
Laura:Big market that's worth checking out (though it's targeted more at tourists so prices are a bit higher)

Wonderguide map

  1. Temple Of Literature
  2. Hoàn Kiếm Lake
  3. Hanoi Night Market
  4. Hanoi Old Quarter - Khu Phố Cổ Hà Nội
  5. St. Joseph's Cathedral
  6. Quán Ăn Ngon
  7. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
  8. Old Quarter Ta Hien Corner
  9. La Vong Grilled Fish
  10. Avalon Cafe Lounge
  11. Old Town Garden Café
  12. Giảng Cafe
  13. Xôi Yến
  14. Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hotel
  15. Bún Chả Hương Liên
  16. 56 Hàng Điếu
  17. Quán Bà Ngà
  18. Ngõ Tạm Thương
  19. Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
  20. ETHOS - Spirit of the Community
  21. Vietnam Railway
  22. Baguette and chocolate
  23. Paradise Cruises
  24. Bhaya Classic - Cruise Center
  25. Cửa Đại
  26. An Bang Beach
  27. Hoi An Bike Rental
  28. Mr. XE
  29. Be Be Tailor 3
  30. Morning Glory Original
  31. Mermaid Restaurant
  32. Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant
  33. Hoa Tuc Saigon
  34. Chill Skybar
  35. War Remnants Museum
  36. Taxi Mai Linh Mang Yang
  37. Ben Thanh Market

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