Vietnam seems to be on everyone’s list these days.  As little as one year ago, I had little clue how much the country has to offer travelers.  As I sit here today, it seems the word has gotten out — the culture, the sights, the FOOD.

Vietnam is an experience.  There is culture, language, and flavor here that is unlike anything you will experience in the rest of the world, in Asia.  Though traveling there (starting with the visa process alone) is a bit more complicated and a bit more emotionally challenging (particularly for Americans) than many of the other destinations in Southeast Asia.  More than other countries I’ve visited, Vietnam has layers and layers that you could spend weeks uncovering.

If you’re looking at a trip to Vietnam as a part-time traveler, however, you’re likely to have limited time to spend there.  I still find practical itinerary advice — where to visit, for how long, and what to prioritize, to be mostly missing online.  I’ve outlined the highlights based on my experience traveling through most of the country.  Whether you’ve got two, three, or four weeks there, one thing is for sure — you’re going to have plenty to see.

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Mekong Magic.


Bamboo bridge over (troubled?) water.

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Below are photographs from my time spent in Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, and the roads in between.

You’ve got one more photo essay coming your way from the South of Vietnam.

I’m working hard on an itinerary post and a Vietnamese food post (mmm…with recipes!!) that I can’t wait to share.  Of course, I also have Cambodia and Laos to share at this point…stay tuned 🙂



Fishing nets abound at the river in Hoi An


Hoi An by night


Hoi An Lanterns

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Everyone hopes for adventure when traveling.

Adventure that includes: getting lost, getting found, discovering new cuisines, new cultures, new friends.

An adventure that no one hopes to have is…nearly being denied entry at their destination’s border. Especially not when tickets across the country are pre-booked for certain dates, and therefore there’s neither time nor flexibility to reapply for any visa.

It all began when I went to check in to my flight to Hanoi from Central Station in Hong Kong.  From the center of the city, you can check in for your flight and check your bags without having to take the trek out to the airport. (Brilliant! Why doesn’t anyone else do that!?)

We presented our passports at the counter.  The woman behind the check-in desk was silent, typing away, pausing only to let me know that the passport number on my visa letter was one digit off from the number listed on my passport.  What was supposed to end in 3, ended in 8.  The staff began to reclaim my baggage from the conveyor belt, and I began to panic.

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