Where Next? Travel with Kristen and Carol

Vietnam - Travel Tips with Christy Teglo

April 14, 2024 Carol & Kristen Episode 62
Vietnam - Travel Tips with Christy Teglo
Where Next? Travel with Kristen and Carol
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Where Next? Travel with Kristen and Carol
Vietnam - Travel Tips with Christy Teglo
Apr 14, 2024 Episode 62
Carol & Kristen

Embark on a journey to the heart of Vietnam with the intrepid traveler Christy Teglo. Our latest episode is a vivid tapestry of cultural immersion and local flavors, where you'll discover the unexpected cool of the northern mountains and the rhythmic chaos of motorbikes dictating the pace of city life. Christy generously spills secrets on the best times to visit, regional cuisine, and the art of managing the local currency. Prepare to be enchanted by her stories of lantern-lit streets in Hoi An and the surreal Golden Bridge in Da Nang, all the while gaining practical tips that will transform your Vietnamese adventure into an episode of your own life's travel series.

Foodies, take note as  Christy  takes us on a mouthwatering tour through Vietnam's diverse culinary landscape. She shares the nuances of local breakfasts and street food scenes that are as vibrant as they are flavorful. From the challenges of adapting to a morning bowl of green onion brothy soup to the cultural insights gained over a bowl of pho, your palate will be itching to explore. And if you've ever wondered how to cross a street swarming with motorbikes,  Christy recalls a local guide's bold strategy that's as effective as it is emblematic of the energy that pulses through Vietnam's veins.

For those mapping out their next Southeast Asian odyssey, this episode is brimming with sage travel tips. Christy's firsthand lessons on the varying climates, best activities, and transportation hacks across Vietnam are invaluable for any traveler looking to navigate this country with ease. Listen closely, and you'll leave with a treasure trove of knowledge that promises to make your journey as rich and fulfilling as the stories that have graced this episode.

Map of Vietnam

You can find Christy here:
Website:
https://teglogoes.com/
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/teglo_goes/
Christy's Book - Weathered: Finding Strength on the John Muir Trail
https://teglogoes.com/weathered/

Support the Show.


Please download, like, subscribe, share a review, and follow us on your favorite podcasts app and connect with us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wherenextpodcast/

View all listening options: https://wherenextpodcast.buzzsprout.com/

Hosts
Carol: https://www.instagram.com/carol.work.life
Kristen: https://www.instagram.com/team_wake/

If you can, please support the show or you can buy us a coffee.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a journey to the heart of Vietnam with the intrepid traveler Christy Teglo. Our latest episode is a vivid tapestry of cultural immersion and local flavors, where you'll discover the unexpected cool of the northern mountains and the rhythmic chaos of motorbikes dictating the pace of city life. Christy generously spills secrets on the best times to visit, regional cuisine, and the art of managing the local currency. Prepare to be enchanted by her stories of lantern-lit streets in Hoi An and the surreal Golden Bridge in Da Nang, all the while gaining practical tips that will transform your Vietnamese adventure into an episode of your own life's travel series.

Foodies, take note as  Christy  takes us on a mouthwatering tour through Vietnam's diverse culinary landscape. She shares the nuances of local breakfasts and street food scenes that are as vibrant as they are flavorful. From the challenges of adapting to a morning bowl of green onion brothy soup to the cultural insights gained over a bowl of pho, your palate will be itching to explore. And if you've ever wondered how to cross a street swarming with motorbikes,  Christy recalls a local guide's bold strategy that's as effective as it is emblematic of the energy that pulses through Vietnam's veins.

For those mapping out their next Southeast Asian odyssey, this episode is brimming with sage travel tips. Christy's firsthand lessons on the varying climates, best activities, and transportation hacks across Vietnam are invaluable for any traveler looking to navigate this country with ease. Listen closely, and you'll leave with a treasure trove of knowledge that promises to make your journey as rich and fulfilling as the stories that have graced this episode.

Map of Vietnam

You can find Christy here:
Website:
https://teglogoes.com/
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/teglo_goes/
Christy's Book - Weathered: Finding Strength on the John Muir Trail
https://teglogoes.com/weathered/

Support the Show.


Please download, like, subscribe, share a review, and follow us on your favorite podcasts app and connect with us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wherenextpodcast/

View all listening options: https://wherenextpodcast.buzzsprout.com/

Hosts
Carol: https://www.instagram.com/carol.work.life
Kristen: https://www.instagram.com/team_wake/

If you can, please support the show or you can buy us a coffee.

Speaker 1:

Hi, welcome to our podcast. We're Next Travel with Kristin and Carol. I am Kristin and I am Carol, and we're two long-term friends with a passion for travel and adventure. In each episode, we interview people around the globe to help us decide where to go next. So today we have Kristy Teiglobba from one of our most popular episodes that we already talked about Argentina. So thank you, kristy, for joining us, and our focus today is going to be Vietnam. Is that correct?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, that's my understanding, yeah, okay, but, yeah, thanks, thanks for having me back on. I, you know, really enjoyed talking to you guys last time, so excited to talk about a new location.

Speaker 1:

Where are you calling from right now?

Speaker 2:

I'm in Joshua Tree in California right now doing a house and cat sitting.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, so cool. Okay, how long?

Speaker 2:

you there for this. One was a week, and then I have a cat sitting long beach that I use through trusted house setters, which is great because then I get to explore new areas and, yeah, get to see new areas, stay for free, take care of the kitties. But this was my first time out in Joshua Tree, so about two and a half hours or so from LA. So, yeah, it's pretty cool out here.

Speaker 1:

So do they have a house in Joshua Tree.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it's in, technically, Landers, so it's about 20 minutes from the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Yeah, it's definitely. There were some rainstorms at the beginning of the week and it was pretty cold, but the last few days I was able to get out to the park and explore and do some hiking. Yeah, it's funny, I've been in the beach for so long and never came out to Joshua Tree, which is so silly because it's really close, so I'm glad I finally get to explore over here.

Speaker 1:

Nice, that sounds like fun too. So trusted house setters, and they do. Is it pets and just house too, or is it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's pretty much. You can do pets or just houses, but I've never seen any that are just houses. They're pretty much all have some sort of pet. But it's really cool. You just pay the annual fee and then the rest is there's no exchange of money and so you pay for like 120 a year for background checks and verifications and stuff. Great for the homeowner their pet and house gets taken care of and great for me because I get to stay for free and get to see different pets.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And how long have you done that and how has your experience been so far?

Speaker 2:

The first one I did was in Australia in 2019. And I did three different cats. That's there. They were great. I was still in touch with two of the three homeowners and really became friends with them. I did cats, and then one had two cats and then two goats that she had just gotten. She'd gotten a couple of goats and so I had to take care of them as well. And then I did one in Switzerland, one in Boston, one in Long Beach, and then I tried looking when I was in South America, but there was very few available. Actually, it doesn't seem like it's really taken off there. And then when I was in Southeast Asia, I had there was a couple in Thailand that I saw. I don't remember if I saw any in Vietnam. So there's definitely some areas of the world that it's not really being used very much, but it definitely is being used in the US, the UK, canada and Australia, and then a lot most of Europe as well, but so it's spreading so you can use it to see different areas of the world.

Speaker 1:

Really interesting. Well, I'm excited to dive into Vietnam, and who long ago were you in Vietnam?

Speaker 2:

So I was there March of 2019. I had spent a month there and I'm really glad I had the opportunity because once COVID hit you really couldn't go there for quite a while with everything shut down around the world. So I think pretty much I was kind of looking to see if things have changed with different travelers and stuff, but I think it's pretty similar to how things were when I was there in 2019. But it was a great time of year to go. I think I was there pretty much all of March. I think I got there the beginning of March, left the end of March.

Speaker 2:

You know it's a good time of year because the weather is not too hot, although in the North it gets. It can actually get really cold. I did a motorbike tour in the mountains in the North near China and it got down to 50 degrees and I remember the tour guide said I was one of the few people who came prepared with a coat because they said a lot of people show up to Vietnam thinking it's just hot everywhere all year and it's definitely not the case there. Once you get to Central and Southern Vietnam it was very hot and humid, but in the North, in the mountains, it was actually pretty cold.

Speaker 2:

So do pay attention to the season.

Speaker 1:

And how high are the mountains? Are they like thousands or just a couple hundred feet above?

Speaker 2:

You know, I don't know the exact feet actually, but thousands. It's kind of funny because some of them are really steep and the grade like when you're driving. There's a loop called the Ha Zhang Loop in the North and it's pretty famous to do a motorbike tour. You can also do a tour with companies that take you in a car. They'll drive you.

Speaker 2:

If I ended up driving my own motorbike, it was a four day tour and you do home stays and get to see all the scenery and drive through the mountains. The other people in our group there was four other people. They rode on the back of a motorbike, so they had a driver. They actually make you test to drive around a couple of streets before you head out into the mountains and because it's a semi-automatic motorbike, you have to shift with your feet. I was pretty nervous but I drove it successfully around and then I found the other little tour groups and stuff that they had. There was one group, the women. Two women tried and by the end of the street they both had crashed and kind of skinned up their legs and so they said yeah, no. This is why we make you test before we, because these grades are 11% grades on the mountain.

Speaker 2:

So it's very steep, going up and down a lot of corners and stuff.

Speaker 2:

So most people ride on the back of a motorbike, but you also have the ability to drive your own motorbike and or do it in a car if you're not comfortable, and they'll drive you around. But it's really beautiful because you just see these villages, you see how they grow rice on the side of a mountain and it's like they'll cut out. It's like two feet, and then there's two feet of rice growing and then it just is so steep it goes up another foot and then they cut out two feet and literally you're growing rice and growing these things on the side of these really steep mountains and then you see them carrying all of these I forget what else they were growing. It was really long, probably like five feet of different leaves, something with leafy, something that they'd bundled to their back and be carrying up the mountains. So it's definitely steep, but actually the HaZhang loop gets you right to kind of the border with China, so it can get quite cold because of the high elevation.

Speaker 1:

There's a couple of questions. One did you have any experience riding a motorbike before, or you just learned on the fly?

Speaker 2:

Growing up, I mean a few times here and there I had driven like a moped or a scooter or something you know, for very short periods but I've driven like when I was in Canada I did a snowmobile and in Thailand I drove a four-wheeler. So just getting familiar with, I did a scooter when I was in Italy on a wine tour. So once you get familiar with, okay, you've got to kind of move your body. So by the time that I went to Vietnam I said, okay, I think I can do this, and thankfully you know it was in the more remote areas and going into the different villages, because those areas again aren't crazy traffic. Now, the rest of Vietnam, you will see that it is motorbike central. I mean you can't cross the street Like they don't. There's no stop signs, there's no stop lights. You just make eye contact with people and you honk your little horn beep, beep, beep, beep, beep as you kind of slow down and you look at each other to see who's supposed to go.

Speaker 2:

And actually when I first arrived it was in the North and then I did Hulong Bay and then I did this motorbike tour. It was in Hanoi, the capital city, and then the Ha Zhang Loop, which is like a six hour bus ride, which side note, I'm sorry, forget to mention this they have a lot of sleeper buses that go up to Ha Zhang because they go overnight sometimes during the day. This standard sleeping bus, they put you in these like double decker, it's like metal crates and basically, if you're above like five feet one inch, you will not fit. It'll be very uncomfortable. I'm six one, so it was the most uncomfortable six hours of my life. Really crazy. For an extra $5, you can get a VIP bus which you have like your own little cubicle. It's amazing. So I always tell people, if you ever see in Vietnam the choice for transportation, for VIP or not, get that.

Speaker 2:

So I went to the North and Ha Zhang and did the loop, and so, again, you're going through smaller villages.

Speaker 2:

So I felt a lot better by the time I got back to the city, and then I traveled to the central part and then the southern part.

Speaker 2:

I realized, though, the best way to get around is motorbike, and the reason why I think they said there's I wanna say there was like 65 million people as a population, but there's like 90 million motorbikes or something it's really crazy is because they get taxed very, very heavily on cars and so because of that the motorbike population has just exploded. And when I first rode a motorbike in a busier town I forget the name of the town, but in the central I started to stop at a stop sign because there are still stop signs that exist and I got honked at and almost hit and so I just kept going and I. So if you're not comfortable, I just tell people just right on the back, you can still get the experience with a guy driving you and you just pop on the back and have your backpack and you drive around and then, if you really don't feel even comfortable with that, you can just take like they'll take a little shuttle bus or a car and drive you and you'll get to still see the views and everything.

Speaker 1:

And how long does it take to do the whole thing? Oh, same question.

Speaker 2:

The average is about four days. Some people have done three days. It depends on how long most people it's because they wanna also see the villages and then do the. You do homestays and you get to know locals and they'll make you food, you know, tell you about their culture. You'll get to stop and like there's one area where there was a cave that we got to walk in, this huge cave it was like nobody around. It was pretty crazy. It depends, I'd say some. I think some of the tours are three days. You might be able to get away with one, that's two days, but that's really stretching it. Usually most of them are three to four days. I think some go up to five depending, but the average is about three to four days. I mean it wasn't that expensive, especially for, you know, covered transportation, the homestays, a hotel covers your food. You traditionally eat food kind of in groups you know and share different plates.

Speaker 1:

Is it safe to eat their food?

Speaker 2:

You can't drink any of the water. The water definitely will not be good for Western stomachs. But I will say there is like one restaurant it was somewhere in one of the small towns in the North. I had to use the restroom and to get to the restroom you kind of had to go through the kitchen, you know, and it's all like outdoors cement, and down these steps and through the back and a lot. And I just saw this guy chopping like chicken on a cutting board. But it's like on the ground and he's like chopping and I'm thinking oh, uh-oh.

Speaker 2:

I don't want to be sick. And once I, when I was in Da Nang, which is in the, in Hoi An, which is central Vietnam, I had met up with this group who actually was on the tour with me in the Ha Giang Loop. They were also touring. They were, they had lived in America for 10 years and they were taking like an eight months sabbatical, and so they were in Vietnam also for a few weeks. And we met up again later in Da Nang and Hoi An and they said, on Hoi An, da Nang, we saw them in Hoi An's, only like an hour away the next day we're supposed to meet up. And one of them she said you know, yeah, I can't leave the bathroom, I am not well, I have not been well for two days. And so after it was like day two or three, she was able to meet up. She was like I haven't eaten in two days. She was like I could not leave the bathroom.

Speaker 2:

And I met a few other travelers who also say but you see, I learned my lesson the hard way when I went to Ecuador in 2008. And I had very upset stomach and I really wished I had some amodium and I did not and I had to go to their pharmacy to get their version of it. And so now, everywhere I travel, I bring with me amodium just in case, and I also bring activated charcoal. Activated charcoal actually works amazingly well because activated charcoal is just a pill. You can swallow it and it picks up. It's a binder, so any bacteria, anything, it will bind to it, and then just you pass it. So as soon as I would start to feel ooh, my stomach's not feeling so good, I would take some activated charcoal and maybe take it for a couple of days and I would be fine when every other traveler I met said at some point they had upset stomach. So definitely just bring some stuff with you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and don't drink the water and don't brush your teeth with it either.

Speaker 2:

I think I did two or three food tours and because the way that most of Vietnam eats their food is street vendors, street food and the thing is you do need to know, like, where to go or what to eat, how to eat it Sometimes soups and bulb like okay, you get these mints and you gotta break up the mint and put it in here and so I actually did a food tour in the north and I did one in central Vietnam and the food tours were awesome because I would not have ordered or known to go to all these different street venues and we went to a couple of restaurants, but most are you go through a back alleyway and these places are super narrow and you don't even know they exist.

Speaker 2:

And so there's a ton of food tours and I definitely recommend them in Vietnam because their food can be hard to know what to order. It's not like you. Just they have restaurants you can just go into, but most Vietnamese eat different street food and different markets and vendors that are hidden, that are really hard to find, and so the food is really good. It was just, out of all the places I've traveled to, it was definitely the most complicated that I felt. It was a challenge to sometimes figure out what to eat or where to eat, and then, with street vendors, just comes more possibility of upset stomachs, and so when that is, the majority.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely elaborate. What is the food? And I'm sure it's different. I'm so interested in what you liked, what there was, traditional and where to go.

Speaker 2:

So I really like they have their sandwiches. Ba Min, Ba Min I'm totally blanking on these names, I don't know. The soup, the pho, yes, yes, thank you.

Speaker 1:

I just had that last night for the first time and it was really good. Oh, my goodness.

Speaker 2:

It's really really good, it's really really good.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, and so I had had some in California, but then in Vietnam. It was really good. And then on the food tour, I cannot remember the names of some of the stuff. I had to be honest with you. But there was one that it was almost like the pho, the noodle, but instead of it being a soup it was just like the noodles and the meat and then like the sprouts and the mince and things like that. And that's where I cannot remember the names of some of the things.

Speaker 2:

But the food tours the crazy thing about the food tours that I did they will take you to like seven different places, so you will be stuffed by the end of the food tour. And at one of them, in Da Nang, she took it was. I happened to be the only person on the tour and so she just took me around on her motorbike and it was really awesome. And we ended up ending at this one restaurant where part of it was eel, and so it was really small, thin slices of eel with stuff and I tried it. It was not really for me and I say I'm willing to try it, but not so much. It's just slimy and the problem is it just looked like little snakes or something you know. They're really small and thin and slimy, but it was kind of chewy and so I didn't care for that. But pretty much everything else I liked wasn't crazy.

Speaker 2:

There was one in this kind of a street alley. It was my favorite thing. It looked like a pizza but imagine the bottom was like a fried tortilla and then they crack a fresh egg on top and then have like green onions and other things that like. It was so delicious. It was one of the favorite, my favorite things I've had. And then there was this Pudding.

Speaker 1:

It was like a called the thing with the egg on it.

Speaker 2:

I can't remember, I have to. You know, I on my website I have where I blogged about Vietnam and I do try to. I have some pictures and then I have Links to remember. I think I have the names of some stuff or at least have the company that I used to kind of took me around.

Speaker 2:

Oh, nice, and what's your, what's your blog for it's teglow goes T-e-g-l-o-g-o-e-s Dot com, yeah, and then I have pretty much everything with within Vietnam they have. But the problem is that, like on the food tour, we went to probably seven different places and you go, oh yeah, this is really good, and then the next one, and then you, unless you write it down, it's really hard to remember, which I do recommend like write it down, because what would happen is, I did the Food tour and I think, oh yeah, I will totally remember this, this is so delicious. And then I would be out ordering by myself and I'm like crap, what was that called? Again, and you know it's in Vietnamese, and so trying to remember and how to say it was a bit challenging. And I some of the hotels that I stayed at they would have some items that were more Western, typically European type breakfast, where they have like their ham and cheese slices and bread, but then a lot of the places I stayed at they had traditional Vietnamese, so they would still have like beef and they would have the soup, and I tried to eat it one morning and I just was like I can't eat this, like green onion brothy soup for breakfast.

Speaker 2:

It's really weird, though, because in my head I thought, oh, I need like breakfast food. I don't think I can eat these like cooked onion and broth for breakfast. But then I thought, wait, but I eat omelettes with cooked onion. Why is this any different? But my brain is just not used to having it for breakfast, and and so it depends on where you go. There are some hotels that will be much more geared for tourists and they'll have food Pancakes, you know things like that but if you go to some other places or smaller towns, they might only have what they typically eat, and so it's definitely not gonna be pancakes and, you know, omelettes or anything.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so, so these tours. So you went. Did you go on a the loop tour and a food tour, or is it one in the same?

Speaker 2:

Well, so the hajong loop tour was just the four-day motorbike tour in the north where you just kind of Explore the whole region. So it's four days like completely with the guides, homestays, kind of all-inclusive, and then I took the bus back to Hanoi in the north and then I ended up from Hanoi. I spent like a week there. Hanoi is a big, busy city, more Polluted, more dreary when I was there, compared to the south, but just like an hour away. You can also do a tour to see how long Bay how long Bay I do recommend it's really cool, it's. You see a whole bunch of these big like rock formations out into the ocean.

Speaker 2:

So they do a whole bunch of boat tours out there kind of do it as a long, how long Bay, yeah, it's like ha, and then LONG how how long Bay and it's really pretty they have you can just do like a day tour to go see all of that from Hanoi and then from there I took the train south and I stopped at several different cities along the way before I got to Ho Chi Minh City, which used to be Saigon in the south, and they, as you get, it's really interesting. There's, you know, vietnam, they have the Vietnam War and they were kind of divided, the north and the south, and you can still kind of see the division and you can see like Ho Chi Minh City in the south was a little bit more modern, a little bit newer than Hanoi in the North. And when I was in the central part of Vietnam, da Nang, it's a pretty big city and then that's where I did another food tour. I did one in the north and Hanoi and then one in Da Nang, and the one in Da Nang was just me and the girl and so both of these were just like five-hour tours where they come pick you up and walk you around to the different places. And the one in Hanoi it was me and two other guys and Then the tour guide, and she was really awesome, the tour guide, because I had only been in Vietnam, I think, a few days, and you know the streets were really hard to cross because there's just Thousands and thousands of motorbikes and you know it's not like one or two, it's a row of you know, there could be ten motorbikes across, you know, coming all at the same time.

Speaker 2:

And she, we were, we're in the small street and I said you know, we don't know how to pass. And she's just this, this short little thing, petite girl, and she just stands up so bold and she grabs my arm and she says you follow me, and she literally just puts her hand up like Stop, and puts her hand up to these motorbikes and grabs my arm and pulls me across the street. The guys just followed next to us and she was like literally putting her hand up like stop, stop, stop, stop, so we could cross the street. We crossed and I was like dude, that was the most intense cross, we're just gonna walk. And she's like no, you just have to be firm and you just have to look them in the eye and you tell them no, and then you just walk.

Speaker 1:

So she pictures. It's pretty mad. I mean it's like, yeah, you don't see any street, you just see people on.

Speaker 2:

Yes, well, yes, it's just so many motorbikes.

Speaker 2:

And so she, it was like a walking food tour and so we would just walk from one place to the next and see different parts of the city. And then in Da Nang, because it was just me and the tour guide, she was an accountant during the day and then she did food tours at night, so she just picked me up on her motorbike and I hopped on the back and some of them we drove to and then some we'd walk a little bit to these different places around Da Nang. But it was really cool because you know you get the opportunity to Taste all the delicious food, but then the tour guides give you information just about like things like crossing the street, different things about their culture and how to do other things, and so a lot of the different cities around Vietnam. You can find, even on TripAdvisor here's Food tours that you can go on and you can read reviews to see you know what people say. But they're typically a few hours long and you will definitely they'll be very full by the end of the tour.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So I see Hanoi, Hulong Bay, da Nang, and then they're way down the south. I see Ho Chi Minh City, like of those, all those locations Like say you go for a month, should you hit it all, or is like you could probably skip Hanoi but just go to Da Nang and like.

Speaker 2:

I guess it depends on what you like, but yeah, I mean it depends on what you like, but I honestly think you want. I mean it's it's not a huge country, land mass wise, so it's not, like you know, the US or Australia or Canada. It's very populated and there's still a lot to see. And so, even if you only have a week yeah, don't push it where you're only at places like a day, a day, a day and you're rushed but even if you had a week, I still think the top thing to do would be doing the Hajang Loop in the north, just because you get such a unique experience doing that. And even if you do it, let's say for three days, you could then go to Hanoi how long Bay is really cool.

Speaker 2:

As you go further south, there's a city it's just north of Denang, I can't think of the name, but it has different, different Mountain type structures, not like huge mountains it's hard to describe that are kind of jungly. They it's where they filmed some of like King Kong and stuff. So it depends on, like you know, if you're a huge fan of that. But Hoyan, which is H-O-I-A-N I don't know if there's one under two, I can't remember that one is known for being a very romantic place.

Speaker 2:

When I bring it up, yeah, yeah and yes, it's very, very, it's so cute, so I definitely recommend staying there. Even Denang's only like an hour away, but Denang's a bigger city, oh yeah, it's just super cute. They have a whole bunch of those canals with the little boats and they're basically a lantern city. So you'll see everywhere at the pictures, and I did like a lantern making class and so you make your own lantern and it folds down so you can take it home with you.

Speaker 1:

It's just like very colorful and, yeah, it's beautiful with the land.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so you kind of feel like you're in a fairy tale world in Huyen. So it's. It's like you said, it's like the Venice, where it's got canals, you're on these little boats, you've got lanterns everywhere. I did, I rode a bike around there. It's very cute there in Denang and the just like an hour from there. There I don't know if you remember there's a famous bridge when it's a huge kind of half circle bridge with hands holding it up.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna ask about that. I just, yeah, I saw the dragon bridge and I saw that. Let me go back to the. The hands, yes, but not that is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that is basically in Denang, you, it's like a 30 minute bus ride to get to the top of the mountain, and at the top of the mountain, where the bridge is, there's also like a little amusement park there. It's really interesting. It's almost like a knots, very farm type thing, but not a ton of rides but more like just different events and characters and dancing and singing stuff, and then they have the bridge there. So it's, it would be really cool to say, okay, I'm gonna go to Denang see the bridge, but then I'm gonna go to Huyen again. Some people do it just as a day tour, like if you're, if your hotel is in Denang, you could go see Huyen just for the day and come back. Or you could stay in Huyen and then just go to Denang. I'm, denang is where the airport's gonna be, and so that's kind of like, even if you just covered that for central. And then in the south, ho Chi Minh City is a little bit more modern than Huyen. It's gonna be. It was warmer, I'm just goes for it further south when I was there in March.

Speaker 2:

But one thing I don't recommend I did go to an island I think it was Pukuo, like PHO, and then Q U O C, I believe, and I had learned how to scuba dive in Thailand and so I thought, oh, let me go to an island and go scuba diving and Get a little bit of rest and relaxation. And I was used to the Thai islands, which are super tropical, warm, incredibly clear water. Warm water like just beautiful tropical vacation. That is not the case one it was. The hotel itself was really nice, but the whole island I went scuba diving it was. The water was much colder, it was not clear, you could barely see anything. It just was not at all. And I realized, okay, it Vietnam is not known for like beautiful vacation tropical islands like Thailand.

Speaker 1:

I did not realize that until I went and well, the pictures that they're showing on Google Kind of makes it look pretty trap.

Speaker 2:

It looks tropical, it looks, yeah, waters and turquoisey color yes, and that's the thing and I went there and the hotel was nice. The hotel was like this little hut. There was a lot of greenery and flowers and there was a pool there and the food was great and so that aspect it did kind of feel resorty. But then I rented a motorbike to get to the dive shop, which was like 30 minutes away, and Went diving and it was just like, oh, this was definitely not a place to go diving. I actually got stabbed by a sea urchin.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I wonder is it because of the time of year that you went? Was it like because it is?

Speaker 2:

It is possible, because I remember too it just felt very cloudy and very dreary. It was just such a striking difference compared to Thailand, but it very well could be. Also, it was just the time of year wasn't ideal, so it's, you'll still get some tropical. It's just compared like. Thailand is just where the people go, especially February, march. You'll see a ton of people from Europe there on spring break, because it's Thailand is more like Hawaii, where it's just clear skies, beautiful Sunsets. I mean it just felt like every day was a clear sky with bright blue sky and then beautiful sunset. And then Vietnam, it was like cloudy gray sky. It just it was not Tropical or sunsetty, I guess, like Thailand Compared and it was. It was only a month later, so it was a little. I just, yeah, if you're, if you want to do diving or do tropical, I just recommend Thailand. Vietnam I think is really cool for exploring like that north, the mountains, the food, doing that sort of stuff.

Speaker 1:

So Vietnam owns a lot of like sea, coastal, and then Lao is like got got the bad stick and it got no ocean or sea, and Cambodia.

Speaker 2:

Did you go to Laos or Cambodia and you know that was my plan and I ended up not making it there because then I went over to Australia. I definitely want to go back and see those areas and I know that other travelers and stuff that I met they said Cambodia and then Laos both have a lot of like temples and Things like that that you can go see, so that that whole region. I will say, if you have a lot of time, what a lot of people do is they go to Thailand, vietnam, cambodia and Laos because they're all relatively close together. I would still recommend flying. So even when I within Thailand, I flew from the north to Bangkok and then flew to the islands and back, but then in Vietnam, just because I generally like taking trains, because trains give you the opportunity to see the countryside and you know trains or buses, but I took a train in In Thailand, actually to Bangkok. That was not ideal and Vietnam was very similar, where the trains are very old, they don't really have food available other than like a street cart will come Writing down the main aisle but it'll be like you know a thing of corn or something, and so I was very much like, oh, where's? Where's the other food I'm used to, because this was like a eight-hour, you know, train ride.

Speaker 2:

So I Don't necessarily recommend the trains. I mean it'll get you from point A to point B but they're pretty slow, they're old and the flights within Vietnam are actually pretty cheap. So when I flew, I think I flew from, I think I took the train from or a bus I did other different buses as well, but again, if you can find one where it says VIP bus a hundred percent, take it. It's usually five, maybe ten dollars more and it is night and day experience, like one of it was only 45 minute or hour drive from Dending to Hoi An. I took a little VIP bus and it was like a minivan. It was super nice, luxurious, you know, had a little table for you and everything, and so some of the transportation is not bad if you find the one that says VIP. Otherwise the buses and the trains are really old. But you can get really cheap flights that are, you know, $50 to get from one city to the next and you know you'll get there in an hour, you know if that it's really how do you book?

Speaker 1:

it is like travel agents, or is there apps?

Speaker 2:

I ended up so with the trains and the buses I did. I think it's called 12 go Asia. It has you could book a lot of things through there but other like plane tickets. I just went on Expedia price line Book through there. You could go directly to the airlines website. The one thing I will caution is that they do weigh your carry-on and your carry-on can't be more than seven kilos, which I think is 15 pounds and yes.

Speaker 1:

Expecting just a bathing suit and a towel or something.

Speaker 2:

Well that's for your carry-on, but then your checked baggage. I think they only allow it was 20 kilos, which I think is like 44 pounds. So I frequently was overweight. When they weighed my carry-on I thought, man, I purposely put all my heavy stuff in my carry-on to avoid baggage fees of my checked baggage. And yeah, so my carry-on tends to be like 20 pounds, not you know 15, and they actually weigh them and they'll tell you Nope, nope, you've got a, you've got a pain for this and you don't let you like have them both out and kind of like rearrange stuff.

Speaker 2:

Right then, you can, if you, yeah. The problem is that the checked one is also only like 44 pounds, and so it can be challenging when you're like, oh crap, both of them are overweight. So you know, yes, they just charge you more, is that it? I do charge you more and, and I will say, like the one in Thailand, I ended up because Air Asia is really popular within Southeast Asia, and I took Viet Viet jet, I think it was.

Speaker 2:

I did not care for that one. Some of their I think it was the one in Thailand the seat was so small, like some of these, because they're inter, you know, continental, they're just short flights, they're very, very small planes. So, and your six one, like myself, you just really I mean, my knees were like digging through the seat in front of me you can't really complain because on one hand you're like, oh, this is a $40 ticket, but then your baggage fee. They're like, hey, this is overweight and this is overweight. Now You're paying another $20, which 20 bucks is not bad, but then you're you're like that's almost the price of my plane ticket.

Speaker 2:

You know, I think if you're prepared for it, you won't be so upset. I was pretty annoyed in Thailand when I started realizing just because most of the world it was pretty standard that it's 50 pounds for luggage and then I've never seen any other airplane or airline ever weigh my carry-on, except for in Southeast Asia. And so I think some people think you, I will just put a carry on and I'll pack everything in here and not check a bag. It's like that's fine, but just know that you only have a 15 pound limit, so it's gonna be a little tough.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely no, but that's good to know for sure. How much did it cost in order to travel through Vietnam? Some? How much did someone expect to pay for like a place to stay and like a daily food allowance and Just getting around?

Speaker 2:

so Vietnam has been growing. In 2019, they were the world's fifth largest growing economy and so things were changing pretty rapidly with pricing. But, um, partly because they had opened themselves up for tourism, you know, over the last 10 years, and so they were becoming more and more popular, and so it was just like them getting used to tourism and figuring all of that stuff out. But they, I Would say, like in the north, or I think most of my hotels Were probably 40 to 50 dollars a night. Some I could, if I did, like an Airbnb or a smaller Place, that might be 25 30 dollars, but they definitely still had some hotels that were a hundred dollars, two hundred dollars. So it depends on how comfortable you want to be, because I was I was really surprised compared to Thailand Thailand my money went a lot farther where I could get a whole brand new studio Apartment on Airbnb for like $23 a night. And then in Vietnam it was more like oh, this regular two and a half star hotel is going to be 40 to 50 dollars, versus these nicer hotels are a hundred hundred and fifty and so. But those are the hotels that they are catering to people who maybe don't want to get too far outside their comfort zone, you know. So they want the typical kind of Western breakfast and they want extra amenities. And even like, the first hotel room I got was in Hanoi I think it was about 40 a night and I mean my room was so tiny, it was a nice room, it was clean, I don't have any complaints, but it was so small, I had a hard time like opening my my luggage, and so if you're looking for something that you're a little more comfortable, you can expect to still pay over a hundred dollars.

Speaker 2:

But, that being said, there was one place where I took a bus I ended up arriving. It was overnight, it was like seven in the morning. It just dropped me off in this town and so I, just right on the corner was a hotel. So I walked over there and I said, do you have a room that I could go to right now because I'm exhausted, I just want to sleep? And she said, well, we only have our like penthouse room and but because you're booking like last minute and normally we charge for this early of a check-in, just but and I think it was like seventy five dollars a night or seventy bucks or something. Where I was, I get there and it's like on the top floor, this huge room, this, and I was like, oh yeah, that's totally fine, I think you know. Yeah, so your money can still go far.

Speaker 2:

The food is where you're gonna save the most money, because they are mostly eating street food and you might get. They typically eat like eight different small Meals or snacks a day, so they're not often sitting down and eating like one big meal. One place in the north and Hanoi I did go to I forget the name of the restaurant. I have to look at my my notes on my blog but it was a restaurant that was like a four or five course and it was amazing like five star, five course. I mean it was like highly rated on TripAdvisor and I think my bill was like $80 or something, which Was a lot Vietnam for standards, because usually you're buying street food for a few dollars Anywhere else in the world.

Speaker 2:

To get this like amazing Multi-course five star restaurant, you know it's be significantly more. So, yeah, they're. I mean I would say that the plane tickets, bus tickets, are Relatively cheap. When you're looking at tours, they can still be anywhere between, like a food tour might be, you know, 30 to $50 because it's including your food. So it's it's a little bit more expensive, I'd say, than Thailand, but if if you're from America or you know have, depending on your currency conversion, your money can still go pretty far with accommodation, tours and food.

Speaker 1:

That's yeah, it's surprising, okay, yeah, yeah, all right, so we're getting close to the end of our time here. But, christian, if you have any other Questions before I go into the rapid fire about you know, the normal food and breakfast and all that, Think I'm good it's been. Yeah, it's been fun to check out, thank you. So what is the popular religion in In Vietnam? Did you are able to pick up on that visit?

Speaker 2:

You know. So most of Vietnam is actually not. They don't follow any organized religion and so they kind of have like their Deities and stuff that they might pray to, but there isn't a really a lot of organized religion. I think the most popular that is organized which again is still smaller percentage is probably Buddhism, but yeah, it's generally not a very organized religion, religious country. They just have kind of different Deities and different you know beings and things that they will pray to, but not part of any sort of like church or anything that they're going to.

Speaker 1:

Okay, got it. And if you could pick one dish to eat there, what would it be?

Speaker 2:

I would definitely say like a beef fuck, it's just, the noodle soup is so good.

Speaker 1:

That's what I had last night.

Speaker 2:

my friend is saying yeah, you really can't go wrong with it. And the thing is they'll have different cities, they'll have slight variations to it, and so it's not like, oh, I've tried it once, I'm good. It's like no, I'll try it different, because I might have a slightly different recipe or have different meats in it or something.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and what's a popular breakfast? I know you said something about not wanting, like you know, onions and stuff for breakfast. Do they eat the pho for breakfast, or?

Speaker 2:

They do, they really don't. They think it's which, I mean, totally makes sense, but they think it's a little strange to have sweet in the morning and so they really don't have sweets. So again, if you're at a hotel though that's pretty touristy you will have like toast and a pancake or you know things like that. But they don't generally eat a heavy breakfast. When they do, it's normal, regular, like pho and things like that.

Speaker 2:

One thing that did surprise me is they do not have a lot of dairy.

Speaker 2:

So finding yogurt is really hard, and when you do find it, it's very liquidy, it's not at all like creamy or thick, and then they don't have like finding cheese, like I would go to the market and just get some groceries for a few days and even finding it the market like cheese, yogurts, their coffee you know, their coffee is amazing, by the way, it's very well known as Vietnamese coffee but what they put in it is condensed milk, and so in condensed milk, you know, is sweet and like a thick paste almost, and they just don't really have hardly any milk or coffee cream, or doesn't exist there, it's just condensed milk in it.

Speaker 2:

And I believe what they said when I was on a tour is it was because during wars and stuff they it was really hard to get certain supplies and so that's when they started using condensed milk for their coffee. But even here, like in the US, if you go to a Vietnamese store or you go somewhere that has Vietnamese coffee, they traditionally will have it with condensed milk, because that's now how traditionally it's made and I think part of the being the reason is they just don't really have cows over there, so that's why you won't see a lot of dairy over in Vietnam at all Okay, wouldn't it be?

Speaker 2:

One thing they do use fish oil in almost all dishes because it's just, it's part of their you know, kind of oil, kind of a spice that they put into a lot of food. And when I was at that really fancy restaurant actually there was a couple next to me that were from America and the girl was telling her boyfriend, she told the waiter that she was vegan and she said you know, I can't have any dairy, I can't have any meat which is really not too hard there, because they eat a ton of vegetables and they have tofu and they have fish or they have you know, depending on what your dietary restrictions are. But then she's like eating this one soup and then she says do you think there's fish oil in this? And he goes oh, 100%, I think there's. And she goes wait a minute. So I've been like eating fish oil this whole week and he goes yeah, he goes.

Speaker 2:

I hate to break it to you, but I think this is in, like all of her dishes. It just looked terrifying and she's like wait, I've been, cause she was complete vegan and she was like I've been eating fish oil, and so if you have dietary restrictions, I will say they are not really used to making adjustments to food. It's kind of this is how our food is made. That being said, you won't run into a lot of dairy if dairy is your issue, and same with wheat, because they generally do rice, they don't do a ton of wheat, and so the biggest issue would probably for most people if they're trying to avoid that is the fish oil.

Speaker 1:

Oh, got it. And what's the money called and how you want to use credit card or you want to change the money. What's better?

Speaker 2:

So they they're Vietnamese as dong and their bills. So I found this really difficult when I first arrived, and other travelers that I met had the same struggle. It was the hardest place with the dollar, the bills, the dong to understand, and the reason is that they're so high. So they have a thousand, two thousand, five thousand, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000. So they go up to 500,000 on the bills, and so I had a really hard time trying to convert it in my head.

Speaker 2:

And when you would go somewhere I would try to think wait, how much is this in US dollars? And places. A lot of places, especially if you're in the cities, they'll take your credit card and you know if you have that you want to make sure you have a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees. But a lot of places, especially in the smaller villages, they will prefer cash or they'll only take cash. And the way I figured it out that really helped me in my brain was the bills that are under 10,000. So the 1000, 2000, and 5000, they're really like coin. You have to think of it like change, like a dime or a nickel, and so those and they're actually like they just look different, they're a little smaller.

Speaker 2:

Well then, 10,000 was almost like a dollar. So if you go get a bottle of water, it might be 10,000, and you have a 10,000 bills so you just give them that and it's like a dollar. Then most the highest is 500,000. So if you're paying for a tour or something, you might be giving them a 500,000. People don't always have change, so you kind of want those 100 and 200,000s or the 50,000s, the 10,000s, to make sure they have change. One thing I discovered is because most of the smaller towns preferred cash or only took cash, I would go to the ATM to take out money, but many of the ATMs would limit me to about 85 US dollars, and that would not go very far.

Speaker 2:

When, then, you're paying for everything in cash, and the problem is I would get charged an ATM fee with my bank and then the ATMs there would charge like seven to 10 US dollars per transaction, and I was, yes it's like yes, I've never experienced this high of bank fees anywhere and I was really frustrated because then I'd say, well, if I'm gonna pay all these fees from my bank and from the ATM, I'll just take out $300, and then it would not let me Like some, I think, would let you take out one or 150, but some literally would cap you out at $85 US dollars.

Speaker 2:

And then so I would recommend come with some cash that you can either convert or when I was in South, I had never used Western Union at that point, but when I was in South America I used Western Union to wire myself money. I'd have to look to see if they're in Vietnam, but if there's Western unions, I would now wire myself money because then you just pay the one fee and you could probably take out more money. But otherwise I would show up with more cash and then just convert it because I just I can't believe how much I was paying. Honestly, sometimes it was like my bank charged me $5 to use the ATM and the ATM charged me 10. You know, so I'm out $15 and then that $85.

Speaker 1:

US dollars when they last me like two days.

Speaker 2:

So then I'm like I'm going to the ATM multiple times a week.

Speaker 1:

So our final question is where's the closest place to serve? I see a lot of water, but it might not be surfable for our sure thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I honestly didn't see any places that were like surfing. I will say in Da Nang that was the only city that I went to that had beach area and yeah, where it was I mean Hoi An, you're kind of in the canals and they do have some areas over there, but in Da Nang they do have actual like wide spread beaches. People are actually hanging out at the beach and going to the beach Now surfing it might just depend on if there's waves or the weather. But yeah, I was actually really shocked. I mean, the water is not super clear and it's not really tropical, so it's not really the best place for kind of water activities, to be honest.

Speaker 1:

Okay, go ahead All right. Well, thank you so much, kristie. Really appreciate you joining us again. This was really in depth. I hadn't learned so much. Thank you so much yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I appreciate you guys having me on. I love that each episode you guys have a different location, because I just think it's such a useful tool. I remember when I was in Banff over the summer, I went there for the first time with my parents and we immediately pulled up your Banff episode and listened to it with my parents on the drive from Jasper, and I was like, okay, we got to go to this restaurant, we got to check out this area, so it's really helpful. Yeah, because it's just it's like it's really helpful rather than just being like everything all the time. It's like, okay, I'm going to Vietnam, let me check about Vietnam. Right, I'm going to Banff, let me hear about Banff, or give you inspiration to go to a place maybe that you hadn't considered before. So I just really like your format and what you guys are doing with that.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, thank you, thanks for sharing that. That said that just really touching it. We're so what we've been doing it for three years and just get so used to doing it and we enjoy it and love it. But it was just I'm like, when I travel, I'm gonna do that. How fun to think that you were with your parents and was like yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was like we're just going to play this all in the car while we're driving there.

Speaker 1:

That's so great. Well, thank you so much. This was such a blast and, yeah, I really love that. I want to like get the motorcycle and do that tour.

Speaker 2:

That sounds fun and yeah, if people some of the names I couldn't remember on there, but if they go to my website, teglogoviscom, you can click on blog and then it will show Vietnam and then it'll I give all the information and stuff under there for Vietnam. So if they're looking for the links or which company or who to go through, it's all listed in there.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and here I'm sure I'll put that in the show notes for us as well. Perfect, okay, thanks, cool, thank you, okay. What another adventure? Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

So have a great time.

Speaker 1:

Have a great weekend, thanks Bye. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the podcast, can you please take a second and do a quick follow of the show and rate us in your podcast app, and if you have a minute, we would really appreciate a review. Following and rating is the best way to support us. If you're on Instagram, let's connect. We're at where next podcast. Thanks again, ark.

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