Dan

A Web Development Professional with experience in entrepreneurship, web applications and digital marketing.

Vietnam Day 0-1: Arrival and Refreshed

Background: Co-worker and friend Hai Nguyen recently planned a trip back to Vietnam with his sister. He invited me along as well about a month before. I was a little hesitant to plan a cross country trip so last minute, but finding a flight on China Southern for only $598 quickly changed my mind. A $600 international flight is just something I could not say no to. So, I booked the flight, applied for a Visa, and have spent the past 28 hours flying from LAX to Guangzhou, China to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Currently, we are sitting in a comfortable hotel room in Ho Chi Minh and can’t wait to share the overwhelming amount of culture, business, and coffee that I was not able to fit into our last adventure in the country. Enjoy!


9/27 – Arrival

11:50 am – Arrived in Ho Chi Minh. Absolutely exhausted. 15 hour flight from LAX to Guangzhou, 3 hours layover, then 4 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh. China Southern is not the comfiest airline, but for such a cheap ticket I can’t complain.

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12:40 pm – Toan and Hai arrived with Hai’s sister. She is flying to Da Nang for a few days with Hai’s aunt. It is great to see Toan again.


1:40 pm – Dropped off Hai’s sister at her terminal, then headed to check in to our hotel in Ho Chi Minh. The hotel is $25 a night between the two of us. It is so awesome what you can get in Southeast Asia for such low prices.


1:45 pm – The cab driver who dropped us off wanted an extra 10,000 dong fee for driving us from the airport. I was taken off guard at first, but Hai reminded me it is only $0.50.


5:00 pm – Napped in the hotel room. Can barely function, so sleepy. Heading to a hot pot dinner to meet up with Toan and Khoa.


6:54 pm – So good to see Khoa again. Between him and Toan, I feel like Vietnam is a second home. They are very welcoming, business minded, and proud of their culture. Khoa is bringing us to the sauna/spa after dinner.

The streets at night smell of delicious grilled foods on every other corner.

The streets at night smell of delicious grilled foods on every other corner.


10:24 pm – After a sauna/shower finally ready to sleep.


Day 1 (9/28): Refreshed

8:21 am – Feel so much better after a night’s sleep. Circadian rhythm a little screwy (woke up at 3 am for a while). Heading to breakfast to meet up with Toan.


8:23 am – Streets are bustling with scooters per usual. Cannot put into words the absurdity of driving in the city here. No one goes over 40 mph, but lanes are rarely used.

Very common to see overloaded scooters or 4/5 people trying to fit on one as they go down highways and main roads.

Very common to see overloaded scooters or 4/5 people trying to fit on one as they go down highways and main roads.


9:05 am – Ordered 4 fish noodle soups, 3 waters and 3 teas for $10. Noodle soups are the main breakfasts here – as noted in my previous trip, most Pho shops close around 11 am.

Ngon (delicious).  Hai suggested I avoid eating the lettuce.  I'll probably find some way to get sick regardless.

Ngon (delicious). Hai suggested I avoid eating the lettuce. I’ll probably find some way to get sick regardless.


9:38 am – Toan and Khoa are bringing us to a salesman who specializes in Vietnamese coffee from the company Hung Nguyen.


10:16 am – We sat around a table inside and tried varieties of specialty coffee beans grown and roasted in Vietnam. The coffee here is phenomenal. High quality, hand crafted, and very very strong. I will be trying to bring a lot back into the US.

Trying fresh brewed dark roasted beans.

Trying fresh brewed dark roasted beans.

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11:45 am – After trying all the coffee, we stopped in a local computer shop and learned a little more about the slowly growing tech of Vietnam. Computers in this shop are about $100 and sold to businesses and students. There are also a lot of Apple reseller businesses, as most Vietnamese trust brand name pre-built computers much more than any custom built ones. This is regardless of the age of the technology too as many of the computers they sell are quite old, around 5 years.

Computer shop.  Note the Buddha on the counter - almost all businesses have a Buddha and incense holder in the storefront.

Computer shop. Note the Buddha on the counter – almost all businesses have a Buddha and/or incense holder in the storefront.


12:46 am – Resting in the hotel room and trying to plan out the next few days. Hai, being a fruit fiend, bought yet another batch interesting street vendor fruit for us to snack on.

It is called Mang.  Envision an apple mixed with a tomato mixed with a rhubarb.

Hai called it Mang. Envision an apple mixed with a tomato mixed with a rhubarb.


2:07 pm – Walked around the main indoor market – Cho Ben Thanh – and was quickly accosted by business owners. “You look handsome. Buy T-shirt?”

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3:13 pm – Hanging out at a Trung Nguyen coffee shop for a bit. The A/C in here is a blessing, as it is extremely humid and about 90 degrees out.

Have had about 4 cups of coffee today - the jet lag and caffeine mix makes me feel a little... off.

Have had about 4-5 cups of coffee today – the jet lag and caffeine mix does not create the greatest feeling in the world.


7:40 pm – Dinner at a local restaurant – grilled squid, grilled rabbit, seafood vermicelli, and weird beef. I forgot how many vendors come up to you while you eat. Gotta make a living somehow! But they can get pretty pushy.

She was not happy I took this picture and didn't buy anything.

She was not happy I took this picture and didn’t buy anything.

9:28 pm – Still feeling pretty drained from the long flight. Going to call it a night and probably fly out to Da Nang (the coast) tomorrow afternoon. Good night.

Shout out to Laura Holman who wanted me to share this smoothie recipe of hers. She made it for a Super Smash Bros' gaming community and asked me to share - I would never turn down fellow gamers or  aspiring chefs :)  Check out her blog warandpeach.com

Shout out to Laura Holman who wanted me to share this smoothie recipe of hers. She made it specifically for a Super Smash Bros’ gaming community and knew I would never turn down fellow gamers or aspiring chefs. Check out her blog WarAndPeach

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