Vietnam | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Thu, 18 Jan 2018 23:21:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg Vietnam | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 The Caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park https://moon.com/2016/01/caves-phong-nha-ke-bang-national-park/ https://moon.com/2016/01/caves-phong-nha-ke-bang-national-park/#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:30:02 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33049 A labyrinth of subterranean tunnels and jaw-dropping, otherworldly landscapes, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park may be off the beaten path for now, but its anonymity is fading fast. Decked out in eerie, alien rock formations and spindly stalactites, these tunnels are estimated at around 3-5 million years old. Here you'll find the world's largest cave, home to a thunderous river, clouds, and an entire jungle ecosystem.

The post The Caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
A labyrinth of subterranean tunnels and jaw-dropping, otherworldly landscapes, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (TL20, Son Trach village, tel. 05/2367-7323, 7am-5pm daily, entry fees charged per cave) may be off the beaten path for now, but its anonymity is fading fast. Ever since a team of British cavers turned up in 2009 to explore the vast interior of Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, at 5.5 miles long and tall enough to comfortably house a high-rise, tourism to the area has taken off.

Paradise Cave is one of the few sights in the park that can be visited independently. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Paradise Cave is one of the few sights in the park that can be visited independently. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Decked out in eerie, alien rock formations and spindly stalactites, these tunnels are estimated at around 3-5 million years old.Just over 130 miles north of Hue, Phong Nha’s major draw is its three sprawling cave systems, Phong Nha, Vom, and Nuoc Mooc, which combine to roughly 90 miles of darkened passageways and have earned the area World Heritage status. Decked out in eerie, alien rock formations and spindly stalactites, these tunnels are estimated at around 3-5 million years old and, according to researchers, may be a mere handful of the caves in existence between here and the Laotian border.

It’s possible to visit the park without a tour group, but you’ll be limited to certain caves. For many of the more impressive caves, visitors must be a part of a tour group. Phong Nha offers cave tours only through certified companies and limits the number of annual visitors to Son Doong, which can be explored for a cool USD$3,000 a head.

Day trips from Hue are cheap, though these are hardly worth the effort, as the long drive to and from the park eats up most of your time. Staying closer to the park offers you the chance to experience Phong Nha in greater depth. On longer excursions, you may find yourself wading into a subterranean river, rappelling down a rock face, or camping out in a cave. While these adventures are a little more expensive than most, the quality of the park’s conservation efforts and the expertise of local caving companies more than justify the price tag.

Visit Phong Nha between February and September, when the weather allows for full access to its underground attractions. Rainy season, particularly the months of October and November, can be restrictive, as rivers rise and the area’s rainfall renders some of the more adventurous options unavailable. Phong Nha is a budding tourism destination, so don’t expect to find five-star hotels or fine dining. Travel to and from the area can require more time and money due to its remoteness, but those who do so will find this destination one of the most memorable in Vietnam.

Boats along the river in the National Park of Phong Nha Ke Bang. Photo © mihtiander/123rf.

Boats along the river in the National Park of Phong Nha Ke Bang. Photo © mihtiander/123rf.

The World’s Largest Cave

You could fit a jumbo jet or a city block inside Son Doong and still have room left over. This massive grotto stretches about three miles into the earth, with a range of landscapes you’d seldom imagine inside a darkened cave. A river roars through Son Doong, tumbling over cliffs and around corners. Clouds pass through its many chambers each day. Thanks to a pair of large skylights, Son Doong is also home to a jungle, complete with monkeys, snakes, flying foxes, and birds, not to mention a few new species discovered within its massive boundaries.

The discovery of this jaw-dropping subterranean world belongs to Ho Khanh, a local farmer who happened upon the entrance one day in 1991. At the time, the find was of little consequence, and so the man carried on but filed its location away in the back of his mind. Not until 2009 would Howard Limbert and the British Cave Research Association enlist Ho Khanh’s assistance in tracking down the cavern once more. The team of cavers was able to measure the size and length of Son Doong, and the results turned out to be far greater than Malaysia’s Deer Cave, the previous record holder. There is still plenty to be learned about Son Doong and the surrounding area—many believe there are even bigger underground chambers nearby.

An expert team of caving professionals at Oxalis (Son Trach village, tel. 05/2367-7678) have begun running six-day excursions into Son Doong at USD$3,000 a head. The outrageous cost makes at least some sense when you consider the number of porters required, not to mention the fact that you have to rappel down a cliff and trek through the jungle just to reach Son Doong’s entrance. In order to preserve the wildlife and landscapes of the cave, only 220 permits were issued in 2014. Oxalis is the only outfit with permission to enter the cave.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post The Caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/caves-phong-nha-ke-bang-national-park/feed/ 0 33049
The Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam https://moon.com/2016/01/imperial-city-hue-vietnam/ https://moon.com/2016/01/imperial-city-hue-vietnam/#respond Mon, 25 Jan 2016 17:16:01 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33058 From the early 19th century through the end of the Vietnamese monarchy in 1945, Hue’s Imperial City housed an impressive cache of temples, palaces, and administrative buildings. Of the 148 buildings in the walled Citadel complex, today 20 remain. Wide, opulent palaces and dimly lit temples pepper the now-overgrown grounds, boasting a mix of traditional Vietnamese architecture, vibrant lacquered woodwork, and ornate rooftops, not to mention 143 years’ worth of imperial history.

The post The Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
From the early 19th century through the end of the Vietnamese monarchy in 1945, Hue’s Imperial City (23 Thang 8, 7am-5:30pm daily, VND150,000) housed an impressive cache of temples, palaces, and administrative buildings belonging to the 13 kings of the Nguyen dynasty. On the northern side of the Perfume River, the walled Citadel complex reached a total of 148 buildings during its prime, most of which were constructed between 1802 and 1832. Today 20 remain, making for a captivating sight. Wide, opulent palaces and dimly lit temples pepper the now-overgrown grounds, boasting a mix of traditional Vietnamese architecture, vibrant lacquered woodwork, and ornate rooftops, not to mention 143 years’ worth of imperial history.

The Imperial City Gate. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The Imperial City Gate. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

English-speaking guides are in high demand, so call the Hue Monuments Conservation Center ahead of time to reserve a guide.Avoid heat and crowds by turning up in the early morning. Allot at least 1.5 hours to explore this sight at your own pace; there is a fair bit of ground to cover and you’ll likely want to stop and take photos or rest at some point. Electric car services are available, as are tour guides (VND100,000). English-speaking guides are in high demand, so call the Hue Monuments Conservation Center (23 Tong Duy Tan, tel. 05/4351-3818, 7am-5:30pm Mon.-Fri.) ahead of time to reserve a guide. Guides hired at the Imperial City tend to lead only a “greatest hits” tour, skipping the mostly destroyed Forbidden Purple City and the Thai Binh Reading Pavilion to swing by the Mieu Temple Complex, and can sometimes push hard for a tip. Hiring a guide is not a bad option for someone who has time constraints and a limited budget, but if you’re looking to get the whole story then you’re better off arranging a private guide or hopping on a public tour with a more knowledgeable leader.

Ngo Mon Gate and the Salutation Court

Before you pass through the enormous Ngo Mon Gate (Noon Gate), take a moment to look toward the equally huge flag tower flying Vietnam’s colors on the opposite side of the road. This tower is Hue’s most recognizable icon. The massive three-tiered stone structure has been around since 1807 and is as much a symbol of the city and central Vietnam as anything else within the Citadel complex.

Ngo Mon Gate. Photo © Caludine Van Massenhove/123rf.

Ngo Mon Gate. Photo © Caludine Van Massenhove/123rf.

To enter the Imperial City, visitors cross over a small moat and go through one of the five doors at Ngo Mon Gate. In addition to providing access to the administrative buildings and living quarters of the royal family, the top of this structure was once reserved for the king during special ceremonies and Lunar New Year celebrations. In the days of the monarchy, the pavilion was reserved strictly for men; no women were permitted to ascend its stone steps until the tail-end of the Nguyen dynasty, when emperor Bao Dai invited his queen to stand beside him. Below, each of the gate’s five doors granted access to a different group of individuals, with the central opening kept strictly for royalty, the two beside for civil and military mandarins, and the far doors used for elephants.

On the other side of Ngo Mon is the Salutation Court, a large open space often used for royal celebrations, such as birthdays, as well as the twice-monthly Grand Audience, an event in which the king and all high-ranking mandarins gathered within the Imperial City. Beyond a rectangular fishpond, the clearing’s three levels were used to organize civil and military mandarins into their respective ranks, lining up single-file beside the miniature stelae bordering either side of the courtyard today. Lesser members of the royal family, relatives of the Queen Mother, for example, were relegated to the back, near the entrance; soldiers, horses, and elephants took up the pair of green lawns beside the stone courtyard.

Thai Hoa Palace and the Right and Left Houses

At the far end of the Salutation Court is Thai Hoa Palace, the Imperial City’s largest and best-preserved structure. Wide and rectangular, this double-roofed building holds the original throne of the Nguyen dynasty. Its exterior, decorated with yin-yang tiles and vivid mosaic facades, captures the spirit of the Imperial City’s heyday. Inside, the palace’s pair of roofs are bolstered by 80 solid ironwood columns lacquered in red and gold. Up above, decoration alternates between a series of poems and picture characters just below the ceiling. The building, completed in 1805, has undergone major renovations twice, in 1833 and again in 1923, and now stands as the most intact structure in the complex.

At the center of Thai Hoa’s main room, the royal throne might not be the grand seat of the empire you might expect, but this small chair made of red-and-gold lacquered wood was used from the reign of Gia Long, first emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, all the way through to Bao Dai, its last. The throne sits upon a platform with three levels, symbolizing the relationship between human beings, heaven, and earth, and is covered by a decorative canopy that hangs over the platform.

Beyond the royal throne, the second room of the palace offers an informational video about the history of the Imperial City that’s worth a watch, as well as a model of what the Citadel looked like in its prime. This gives an idea of the grandeur of the complex before much of it was destroyed by the conflicts of the late 20th century.

After you’ve wandered through Thai Hoa Palace, you’ll exit onto the sunny grounds bordered by the Right and Left Houses. While their functions have changed considerably—one is now an exhibition hall, the other a photo studio where guests can dress up in imperial garb for portraits on a replica of the throne—these buildings were once the offices of the Nguyen dynasty’s civil and military mandarins.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post The Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/imperial-city-hue-vietnam/feed/ 0 33058
Planning a Visit to Tram Chim National Park https://moon.com/2016/01/visit-planning-tram-chim-national-park/ https://moon.com/2016/01/visit-planning-tram-chim-national-park/#respond Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:18:13 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33063 The stunning landscapes of Tram Chim National Park are awash with tall grass, flat, waterlogged land, and over 230 different aquatic birds. Visitors trace the watery avenues and flooded forests of this picturesque Delta scene by boat, spotting everything from an abundance of slender-necked storks to the vibrant yellow Asian golden weaver to towering sarus cranes.

The post Planning a Visit to Tram Chim National Park appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
The stunning landscapes of Tram Chim National Park (Vuon Quoc Gia Tram Chim) (Hamlet 4, Tram Chim, tel. 06/7382-7436, 7am-5pm daily) are awash with tall grass, flat, waterlogged land, and over 230 different aquatic birds swooping and wheeling across the park’s 7,000 hectares. Visitors trace the watery avenues and flooded forests of this picturesque Delta scene by boat, spotting everything from an abundance of slender-necked storks to the vibrant yellow Asian golden weaver to towering sarus cranes, whose bright red feathers and jaw-dropping wingspan make them the stars of the park.

The Asian Golden Weaver. Photo © Kajornyot/123rf.

The Asian Golden Weaver. Photo © Kajornyot/123rf.

Opt for one of the two longer routes in order to make your trip worthwhile, as these will take you deeper into bird-watching territory.At the visitor center just inside the park’s main gate, choose from three boat routes around the perimeter of the park. The shortest route (45 minutes, VND500,000 per boat) is a quick jaunt that affords travelers a brief glimpse of the park. Opt for one of the two longer routes in order to make your trip worthwhile, as these will take you deeper into bird-watching territory. A 15.5-mile loop (two hours, VND800,000 per boat) through the park’s main viewing area to its watchtower is the most popular option. There is also an 18-mile trip (2.5 hours, VND900,000 per boat), adding on a bit more sightseeing time. Each vessel seats 12, so the more passengers you have, the cheaper the cost per person.

Accompanying each group are a driver and a guide who carries binoculars or birding field guides. Some of the drivers and guides speak English. The boats come within a few hundred meters of the various species of birds. Views from the park watchtower are stunning, with sweeping panoramas of the park’s greenery and birds in flight.

A stork in Tram Chim National Park. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

A stork in Tram Chim National Park. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Traveling by car or by bus along the main road leading to the park, you’ll see the offices of the park administration first and then a gate for the visitor center.

Tram Chim is best visited in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the most birds are active. While the steady trickle of visitors Tram Chim receives have helped to put it on the map, you’ll mostly have the place to yourself. Though the trip takes time and effort, it is worth it. When done by public bus, the trip can actually be affordable.

Where to Stay

Visitors to Tram Chim have the option of shacking up at the park’s on-site guesthouse (VND150,000-250,000). The guesthouse’s six rooms accommodate up to three people each, and include a television, refrigerator, and fan, with optional add-ons like air-conditioning and hot water. While this allows you to rise early for the birds, it also limits dining options to the few simple noodle-soup eateries located on the main road near the park (5-minute walk). There is an on-site restaurant, but it only caters to groups of six or more and requires advance orders.

For more accommodation and food options, not to mention more English menus, base yourself in Cao Lanh town, roughly 30 miles south of the park.

Getting There

Getting to Tram Chim requires some organization and prior planning. From Cao Lanh, Dong Thap Tourist (2 Doc Binh Kieu, Cao Lanh, tel. 06/7385-5637, 7am-11:30am and 1:30pm-5pm daily) organizes private trips to the park, often combined with a stop at the Xeo Quyt Relic Area in a two-day, one-night excursion. Similar itineraries are available from Saigon; however, these packaged tours are expensive and not worth the cost for small groups.

Travel map of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

The Mekong Delta

In Cao Lanh, groups of three or more can hire a car to the park, roughly 30 miles north (45-minute drive). Car rental rates are often negotiable, depending upon where you book. Dong Thap Tourist in Cao Lanh and Smile Tourist (82 Bui Vien, D1, Saigon, tel. 08/3920-4232, 8am-5pm daily) have private cars for rent. Smile Tourist can arrange all the logistics for those coming from Saigon.

An alternative, provided you’re up for a day of adventure, is to board a public bus to Tram Chim, which takes about 1.5 hours. From the Cao Lanh bus station (71/1 Ly Thuong Kiet, tel. 06/7385-1116, 5am-5pm daily), hop on one of the green buses bound for Hong Ngu (VND14,000). Let the fare collector know that you’d like to go to Tram Chim and the bus will stop at Thanh Binh bus station (Hwy. 30), where you’ll switch to an orange bus bound for Tan Hong (VND13,000). Show the fare collector the park’s name (Vuon Quoc Gia Tram Chim), and the bus will drop you right outside the visitor center.

Buses leave every 30 minutes from Cao Lanh, as early as 6am, and run through to the evening. Plan to leave Cao Lanh as early as possible to make the most of your day. The second leg of the trip—from Thanh Binh to Tram Chim—does not always run on schedule. These vehicles leave when full, but because there aren’t many buses that drive this route, you may have no trouble finding one.

If you get stranded at either the Thanh Binh bus station or the park, it is possible to enlist the services of a xe om to ferry you to the next leg of your trip. It’s about a 20-minute ride between the Thanh Binh bus station and Tram Chim’s visitor center. Hiring a xe om between the main road (about 20 kilometers from the park entrance) and Tram Chim runs about VND50,000-60,000.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Planning a Visit to Tram Chim National Park appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/visit-planning-tram-chim-national-park/feed/ 0 33063
The Stranger Side of Vietnamese Cuisine https://moon.com/2016/01/stranger-side-of-vietnamese-cuisine/ https://moon.com/2016/01/stranger-side-of-vietnamese-cuisine/#respond Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:43:48 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=32925 In a nation as food-focused as Vietnam, it is all but impossible to come up with dozens of savory masterpieces without having created a few strange dishes along the way. While pho and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) have gained worldwide acclaim as delicious, accessible facets of local cuisine, there are several specialties that manage to make some travelers wrinkle their noses.

The post The Stranger Side of Vietnamese Cuisine appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
In a nation as food-focused as Vietnam, it is all but impossible to come up with dozens of savory masterpieces without having created a few strange dishes along the way. While pho and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) have gained worldwide acclaim as delicious, accessible facets of local cuisine, there are several specialties that manage to make some travelers wrinkle their noses.

Century eggs

A traditional Chinese delicacy that has carried over to Vietnam, century eggs are regular chicken or duck eggs that have been preserved in a combination of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice for several weeks, during which time the pH of the egg elevates, changing the yolk to a dark green, creamy ball at the center of a gelatinous brown egg. The resulting dish is slightly off-putting in appearance. It’s often included in local meals and is something of an acquired taste.

Sliced Century Eggs displayed on a plate with garnish.

Century eggs develop a dark green yolk, while the rest of the egg becomes brown and gelatinous. Photo © cokemomo/123rf.

Dog

While foreign perceptions tend to suggest that Asia is far more into dog meat than it actually is, the majority of Vietnam’s canine consumption occurs in the north, where dog is still considered something of a delicacy. Down south, you’re less likely to find locals indulging in dog, but there are still people who enjoy it every now and again, and Saigon does have a small street dedicated to the sale of canine meat. Most meals are prepared in much the same way as chicken, beef, or other meats—roasted, steamed, boiled, or barbecued—and served with rice or added into a soup.

With a government ban on the sale of dog meat and growing concerns over its safety, this delicacy may be harder to come by over the next few years. The harsh reality of this dish is that most of the animals slaughtered and prepared are actually pets or strays that have been kidnapped. Given the persistence of rabies in Vietnam, contaminated meat is a risk. Many people believe that canine meat is at its best when the animal has suffered, so the dogs are often killed in a brutal way. As demand increases throughout Southeast Asia, more and more dogs are being smuggled into Vietnam and killed, and the quality, safety, and humane treatment of these animals is fast decreasing.

Embryonic duck egg

Known locally as hot vit lon and more widely as balut, embryonic duck eggs are regularly consumed in Vietnam and several Southeast Asian countries, namely the Philippines. Larger and more dense than your average chicken egg, hot vit lon is consumed when the fetus is 19-21 days old—still too small to hatch but old enough that its wings, feet, beak, and eyes are visible. Like any egg, the yolk is thick and a little dry, while the tiny bird makes up the majority of the shell. Hot vit lon is commonly enjoyed on the street with salt, pepper, or lime and an ice-cold beer.

Pigeon

In the mountainous north where protein is scarce, small birds are often a part of local fare. Creatures like pigeons and other forest-dwelling birds are grilled and eaten with rice and rice wine or beer.

Cooked pigeons served on a bed of lettuce.

Cooked pigeons served on a bed of lettuce. Photo © ayu oshimi, licensed Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike.

Rice paddy rat

In the Mekong Delta and parts of Cambodia, rice paddy rats are a delicacy. Much cleaner than their city-dwelling counterparts, these countryside rodents are sold at the market on a seasonal basis and usually grilled, barbecued, or boiled. Dishes are best enjoyed with beer or rice wine.

Snake

Particularly in the north, snake meat is a delicacy. While some creatures are simply slaughtered and prepared like any other meal, eating snake is more often than not an almost ritualistic experience. First, the live animal is slit from neck to tail, slicing open the skin to reveal its flesh, before its blood and bile are drained into separate shot glasses and combined with rice wine. After the blood has been consumed, the snake’s still-beating heart is removed and swallowed by the guest of honor.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post The Stranger Side of Vietnamese Cuisine appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/stranger-side-of-vietnamese-cuisine/feed/ 0 32925
Planning Your Time in Ho Chi Minh City https://moon.com/2016/01/planning-your-time-ho-chi-minh-city/ https://moon.com/2016/01/planning-your-time-ho-chi-minh-city/#respond Sat, 09 Jan 2016 19:16:28 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33059 Get anywhere near the flashing neon lights, full-throttle traffic, sardined houses, and soaring commercial towers of the country’s southern hub and it becomes clear why Ho Chi Minh City is the future of Vietnam. Still known to locals as Saigon, the city packs all of southern Vietnam’s best food, art, culture, and diversity into the jumbled houses and narrow alleyways of the country’s most ambitious metropolis.

The post Planning Your Time in Ho Chi Minh City appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
Get anywhere near the flashing neon lights, full-throttle traffic, sardined houses, and soaring commercial towers of the country’s southern hub and it becomes clear why Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the future of Vietnam. Indisputably the economic heart of the nation, this fast-paced, ever-expanding behemoth has charged fearlessly—and sometimes recklessly—into the 21st century, carrying along a diverse and multifaceted population, a keen business acumen, and an irrepressible spirit.

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Along with the madness of the city comes an intricate and fascinating history that announces itself time and again in the city’s eclectic architecture and multifaceted cuisine.Shackled by heavy-handed governmental policies after the Vietnam War, HCMC hit the ground running in the mid-1980s, as the nation’s doi moi economic reforms flung open the door to international business and trade. A decade of pent-up energy was unleashed, sending the city on a frantic, determined mission to become Vietnam’s cosmopolitan leader. HCMC—still known to locals as Saigon—packs all of southern Vietnam’s best food, art, culture, and diversity into the jumbled houses and narrow alleyways of the country’s most ambitious metropolis.

Settled on the sticky, humid, pancake-flat marshland just east of the Mekong Delta, the city began only a few centuries ago but has exploded in population over the past two decades. Even today, immigrants travel from near and far, hoping to make a home and a living amid the bustle of Vietnam’s largest city. Government statistics put the urban population at around 7.5 million residents and counting, but this number hardly seems enough when you sit bumper-to-bumper in midday traffic or squeeze onto a tiny patch of sidewalk for a nighttime ca phe bet (streetside coffee). Others estimate the actual population as much higher, from just north of 8 million to as great as 10 million people. Whatever the number, HCMC shows no signs of stopping. Already, outlying districts are swallowing up nearby towns like Di An and Bien Hoa, and the population of the greater metropolitan area is expected to grow to as many as nine million by official statistics in 2025.

From a traveler’s perspective, the city is both a blessing and a curse: HCMC provides a more lively, chaotic, and occasionally dangerous atmosphere than the sleepy towns of the coast. Along with the madness of the city comes an intricate and fascinating history that announces itself time and again in the city’s eclectic architecture and multifaceted cuisine. Stroll along the wide boulevards of downtown District 1, where opulent colonial-era buildings stand, or hang onto your helmet as you race down the narrow streets of Chinatown on the back of a motorbike, defying the laws of physics as you weave through traffic.

A street vendor in District 1. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

A street vendor in District 1. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Hidden farther down the city’s many alleys is another world altogether, quiet and reserved, where children play on empty sidewalks and old women sit sentinel, fanning themselves in the afternoon heat. For as many modern complexes as the city has acquired in recent years, remnants of an earlier time remain in the aging facades of historical buildings and the one-room restaurants that continue to turn a profit, even as high-end eateries go into business next door. HCMC is a sensory overload. Step into the chaos with optimism, and you will be rewarded by life in Vietnam’s largest city.

Planning Your Time

Though the jumble of traffic and mismatched buildings can seem infinite, the city’s downtown area is small. Most of the city’s major sights and activities can be covered within four or five days, as attractions tend to be concentrated around Districts 1 and 5.

Travel map of Ho Chi Minh City, District 1 in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, District 1

Do your sightseeing in the morning to avoid the heat, especially if you’re visiting pagodas and other non-air-conditioned places. Afternoons are great for activities, eating, and taking in the buzz of the city. Though businesses stay open at lunchtime, many Vietnamese take siesta around noon, particularly those working at museums and government-run buildings, so avoid these places at midday. Once the sun goes down, street vendors set up along sidewalks, restaurants open, and tiny roadside stalls sling beer and do nhau (drinking food). The heat also lets up, making the evening a perfect time to wander through a night market, grab a bite to eat, or delve into the city’s nightlife.

Set aside a day or two to escape the downtown area and pay a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels or Tay Ninh’s mammoth Cao Dai temple.

You should have no trouble finding English speakers downtown, though you may occasionally have to rely on the pick-and-point method. When heading out for the day, grab a business card from your hotel or jot down the address of wherever you’re headed: While most taxi and xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers know the city’s major landmarks, it pays to have the address and district on hand for lesser-known locations.

The biggest holiday of the year is Tet (Lunar New Year, late Jan.-mid-Feb.), a day when everyone in Vietnam returns to their hometown to celebrate. During this time, HCMC is virtually a ghost town. Most streets are empty and businesses deserted. Many services are not available or if they are prices go up considerably to compensate.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Planning Your Time in Ho Chi Minh City appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/planning-your-time-ho-chi-minh-city/feed/ 0 33059
Planning Your Time on Vietnam’s South-Central Coast https://moon.com/2016/01/planning-your-time-south-central-coast-vietnam/ https://moon.com/2016/01/planning-your-time-south-central-coast-vietnam/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 22:01:29 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33050 The bulk of Vietnam’s most-visited mainland beaches belong to the south-central coast, a vibrant, sun-soaked shoreline that runs unbroken from the tumultuous cliffs of Quy Nhon down to Mui Ne’s bizarre tropical sand dunes. Whether you’re an adventure junkie plying the surf of Mui Ne, a party animal living it up on the sands of Nha Trang, or just a traveler in search of some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation on the quieter shores of Phan Rang or Quy Nhon, there are plenty of places to lay your towel here.

The post Planning Your Time on Vietnam’s South-Central Coast appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
A vibrant, sun-soaked shoreline runs unbroken from the tumultuous cliffs of Quy Nhon down to Mui Ne’s bizarre tropical sand dunes. The bulk of Vietnam’s most-visited mainland beaches belong to this region. Rounding out the belly of the “S,” this gently curving stretch of coast is a feast of greens and blues, with lush jungle green palms and azure waters, providing a picture-perfect backdrop for the region’s sleepy fishing villages and bustling city thoroughfares. Whether you’re an adventure junkie plying the surf of Mui Ne, a party animal living it up on the sands of Nha Trang, or just a traveler in search of some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation on the quieter shores of Phan Rang or Quy Nhon, there are plenty of places to lay your towel here.

Nha Trang Beach. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Nha Trang Beach. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The major stopover on the south-central coast is Nha Trang, the largest and flashiest of the region’s cities, where sunny beach days give way to all-night parties.Beyond the beach, the south-central coast boasts an equally colorful history as the former kingdom of Champa, an ancient Hindu civilization whose red-brick ruins still dot the shoreline today, and as a thriving part of the nation’s fishing industry, awash with brightly hued wooden boats and miles of wispy white fishing net. Farther inland, 80 miles from shore, the highlands town of Dalat provides an excellent contrast to its coastal cousins, with adventure travel written all over the undulating mountains and dense forests.

The major stopover on the south-central coast is Nha Trang, the largest and flashiest of the region’s cities, where sunny beach days give way to all-night parties. Some may venture away from the sand and on to Dalat, gateway to Vietnam’s interior and home to mountainous adventure. Those seeking a more anonymous beach destination will be rewarded at Phan Rang or Quy Nhon, whose peaceful shores can be a much-needed escape from the buzz and chaos of Vietnam’s larger cities without having to take a step off the beaten track.

While parts of this coast enjoy clear skies year-round thanks to a semi-arid climate, south-central Vietnam is at its best from February to April, when the temperature has risen but the rain has yet to arrive. Sunshine prevails through the summer months until August, though the heat during the latter part of this period can get oppressive. The fall is reserved for the rainy season, when winds pick up along the southern part of the coast and cooler weather settles over Nha Trang and Quy Nhon.

Planning Your Time

Most travelers can hit all the highlights of this region in a little over a week, though you may need more time if you veer off the coast to Dalat. Spend 3-4 days in Nha Trang. If you crave beach time beyond that, spend 2-3 days in Quy Nhon or Phan Rang-Thap Cham. Mui Ne can be substituted as a quieter alternative to popular Nha Trang. Dalat is the polar opposite of the region’s coast towns, and is worth a stay of 2-4 days.

Travel map of The South-Central Coast of Vietnam

The South-Central Coast

This region spans a large swath of land, so travelers tend to town-hop. Nha Trang can be a base for visiting Quy Nhon or Phan Rang-Thap Cham. Culture vultures and history buffs will breeze through the area fairly quickly, making short stops in each destination to glimpse the pagodas and historical sites scattered along the shore, while beach bums are sure to stick around longer, as this is Vietnam’s prime spot for sun and sand.

Highway 1, the largest national road, is the major route for traveling between the region’s cities.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Planning Your Time on Vietnam’s South-Central Coast appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/planning-your-time-south-central-coast-vietnam/feed/ 0 33050
Day Trips From Hanoi https://moon.com/2016/01/day-trips-from-hanoi/ https://moon.com/2016/01/day-trips-from-hanoi/#respond Fri, 01 Jan 2016 17:44:34 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33046 Beyond the city limits, Hanoi’s suburbs and surrounding countryside offer a few easygoing day trips. Take a jaunt to the booming traditional handicraft villages of Tam Coc and Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh’s main attractions, and visit the serene pagoda complex of the beautifully austere Perfume Pagoda.

The post Day Trips From Hanoi appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
Beyond the city limits, Hanoi’s suburbs and surrounding countryside offer a few easygoing day trips. At the heart of the Red River Delta, a pair of booming traditional handicraft villages complement the urban chaos, while a serene pagoda complex southwest of the city affords an altogether different view of northern Vietnam. Jaunts to Tam Coc and Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh’s main attractions, are possible with plenty of tour providers offering day trips to the area.

Perfume Pagoda

If a vendor invites you to try out the pottery wheel or help you make something, there will almost always be an expectation that you buy something in return.One of over 30 pagodas dotting the mountains of Ha Tay province, the beautifully austere Perfume Pagoda (Chua Huong) (tel. 04/3384-9849, 8am-5pm daily, VND50,000 plus boat fare) is Hanoi’s most popular day trip destination. Perfume Pagoda, named for the clouds of incense permeating the cave’s interior, is located inside a cave at the top of a mountain. Forty miles west of the capital, the pagoda complex sprawls across a series of hills overlooking the Yen River and is considered northern Vietnam’s most important Buddhist center of worship. Though it’s become increasingly more commercial, with the usual roving vendors and boat drivers, the scenery and famous incense-filled grotto are worth a visit for those looking to escape the city.

Stairs leading to an old building near Perfume Pagoda. Photo © Tuomas Lehtinen/123rf.

Stairs leading to an old building near Perfume Pagoda. Photo © Tuomas Lehtinen/123rf.

Most trips to Perfume Pagoda are done via all-inclusive tour. Tour outfitters transport passengers to Yen Vy, a boat station in the town of Huong Son. From here, travelers board a small wooden rowboat (VND40,000/person). The boat glides on a small river past craggy limestone mountains and dense forest, taking about an hour from end to end. When your vessel reaches the pagoda complex, venture through the impressive three-door gate, a stark, towering structure whose black Chinese characters stand out against a bright white background. Past the gates, the temple Chua Thien Tru, also known as Heaven’s Kitchen, houses a statue of Quan Am. It’s one of the more atmospheric pagodas in the north.

The highlight of the pagoda complex is Huong Tich Cave, which is 164 feet above the water’s edge atop a mountain. Though you have the option of reaching Huong Tich on foot, following a winding path up the mountain, most visitors prefer to jump in a bright yellow cable car (VND90,000 one-way, VND140,000 round-trip) to the mouth of the cave, where a set of stone steps descends into the darkened grotto. The cave interior is filled with small altars, obscured by an incense haze, and lacquer effigies. Once you’ve wandered through, walk back down toward the river. The steps become treacherous in foul weather; you can also hop on the cable car for the return trip. Respectful dress is a must at the complex.

While it’s possible to reach the complex on your own via motorbike, the hassle of urban traffic is not really worth the few dollars you might save. Moreover, the journey to Perfume Pagoda is not nearly as picturesque as the sight itself. Dozens of tour companies in Hanoi offer full-day excursions that include transportation, entry fees, lunch, and a guide for as little as VND530,000.

Handicraft Villages

Across Vietnam, dozens of villages lay claim to culinary specialties or unique traditional crafts. These small, tight-knit communities have produced marble statues, fine silk, traditional Vietnamese lacquerware, or handmade pottery for centuries. Just outside of Hanoi, Bat Trang to the south and Van Phuc to the west each boast a long tradition of producing top-quality items and are known throughout Vietnam for their skilled craftspeople.

Bat Trang

Ten miles south and across the Red River, the small village of Bat Trang has been making high-quality ceramics since the 15th century and is a popular stop for shoppers in search of ceramics. Today, its pottery is nationally famous and exported around the world, with modern-day potters crafting both the traditional blue-and-white ceramics of the past as well as more colorful contemporary designs. Price tags in some of the larger outlets tend not to vary much from those in the city, but you’ll find that there is more room for bargaining here and seemingly endless variety.

Bat Trang pottery.

Bat Trang pottery. Photo © Greenknight dv (Own work) CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons.

Most shops (which are also people’s houses) are open around 7am-5pm or 6pm daily, and vendors sell similar objects. Visiting Bat Trang is like perusing a large pottery market.

Often, shops will have someone working on pottery, giving a glimpse of the pottery-making process. Ask permission before taking photos, though most shops will likely give permission. If a vendor invites you to try out the pottery wheel or help you make something, there will almost always be an expectation that you buy something in return.

Travelers can reach Bat Trang independently by taxi, bus, or hired vehicle. Bus 47 departs every half-hour from the large bus stop near Long Bien Bridge just north of the Old Quarter off Hang Dau street. Cyclists and motorbikes can reach the area by way of Provincial Road 195 on the eastern bank of the river. When crossing, cyclists should use Long Bien Bridge, while other vehicles should use Chuong Duong Bridge directly south.

Van Phuc

West out of town en route to Perfume Pagoda, the whirring looms of Van Phuc silk village draw droves of curious shoppers exploring the countryside for the day. As early as the 9th century, local residents raised mulberry trees and silkworms here, spinning their fragile cocoons into fabric for sale both in the village and across the country. During the days of the Nguyen dynasty, Van Phuc was required to produce bolts of silk to clothe the royal family. Today, the village houses over a thousand looms and its goods are often exported beyond Vietnam’s borders. While shoppers will find the cost of raw material about the same as in the city, ready-made items like scarves, ties, and shirts are notably less expensive here.

Shops generally open at 8am or 9am and close at 5pm daily. Most of the shops in Van Phuc are also workshops. The silk is made there, so you can watch as local proprietors weave different fabrics with a loom. Shop owners are often happy to let you try out the loom, but you will be strongly encouraged to buy something in return.

While most visitors to Van Phuc get here by way of a day tour to Perfume Pagoda, it is also possible to reach Van Phuc independently. Buses 1 and 2 travel out to the village by way of Highway 6, departing from the French Quarter and the lower part of Hoan Kiem district near the train station. Drivers can access Van Phuc via the same route.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Day Trips From Hanoi appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2016/01/day-trips-from-hanoi/feed/ 0 33046
Sights North of Nha Trang, Vietnam https://moon.com/2015/12/sights-north-of-nha-trang-vietnam/ https://moon.com/2015/12/sights-north-of-nha-trang-vietnam/#respond Mon, 28 Dec 2015 21:46:53 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33051 There are two notable sights north of Nha Trang: the Po Nagar Towers and the rocky promontory of Hon Chong, both excellent sites for scenic views and interesting histories. Both are easily visited in one trip; stop first at the towers and then continue along the same road for another mile to the sea.

The post Sights North of Nha Trang, Vietnam appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
There are two notable sights north of Nha Trang: the Po Nagar Towers and Hon Chong, both excellent sites for scenic views and interesting histories. Both are easily visited in one trip, stopping first at the towers and then continuing along the same road for another mile to the sea.

Po Nagar Towers

One mile north of Nha Trang, the Po Nagar Towers (2 Thang 4, 6am-6pm daily, VND21,000) bear not one but two histories. From the 8th to the 13th centuries, the Cham empire built these Hindu temples to honor Po Nagar, their most significant female deity. When the Vietnamese arrived in 1635, ending Cham authority, they adopted the towers and Po Nagar became Thien Y A Na, a young girl taken in by an elderly, childless couple who taught her people to farm rice.

One mile north of town, the Po Nagar Towers bear not one but two histories.Inside the entrance gates are 22 columns (once 24). Here, the Cham would prepare offerings before hiking up the steep steps at the far end of the clearing. The tallest of the four towers is dedicated to Po Nagar and houses a black stone statue of the deity, which dates back to AD 1050.

Beside the main tower, a slightly smaller structure belongs to Shiva (in the Cham version) or Thien Y A Na’s husband (for the Vietnamese). Inside is the largest linga and yoni statue (symbols representing male and female energies) on-site.

The remaining two towers are more humble, each housing a smaller linga and yoni statue. The one beside the two large structures honors Skanda, first-born son of Shiva, as well as the adoptive parents of Thien Y A Na. Behind Po Nagar’s main tower, the smallest structure is dedicated to Ganesh, second-born son of Shiva, and the children of Thien Y A Na, Princess Quy and Prince Tri.

Po Nagar Towers. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Po Nagar Towers. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Peek inside the exhibition room at the back, where replicas of the towers’ statues are on display. Near the steps, Po Nagar also offers nice views of the Cai River.

Many tour groups and independent travelers pass through the towers. Respectful dress is a must inside the temples. Guests can use the gray robes located near the main tower, free of charge, if they are not dressed appropriately.

Hon Chong

Overlooking the sea, the rocky promontory of Hon Chong (Pham Van Dong, tel. 05/8628-9137, 6am-6pm daily, VND21,000) extends out from the southern end of Bai Duong Beach in a series of smooth, tan, stone formations. By the ticket booth, three traditional Vietnamese houses display local specialties and handicrafts, plus an array of musical instruments used by the region’s ethnic minorities. Musical demonstrations occur when visitors arrive in large numbers.

Hon Chong from Co Tien beach.

Hon Chong from Co Tien beach. Photo © Vinhtantran CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia. Commons

Down a set of stairs, you’ll clamber over a jumble of sandy rocks as you head toward the sea. Passing under the formation known as Heaven’s Gate, in which a substantial rock hangs precariously between two larger stones, can be a nerve-racking experience. The formation has been this way for centuries without incident.

Towering above the rest at the far end of the promontory is Hon Chong, the stone after which the place is named. Legend has it that fairies used to bathe in the waters near Hon Chong. One day, while spying upon these bathing beauties, a rather inebriated giant stumbled and nearly slipped off the rocks. The massive gouge in Hon Chong that resembles a handprint is where the giant caught himself and managed not to fall in. As you face the ocean, to your right is Hon Do, or Red Island, a small piece of land that houses a Buddhist pagoda and is so named for the color it turns at sunrise.

While it is possible to hire an English-speaking guide (VND50,000) from the ticket booth, this is not really necessary as the major draw of the place is its scenery. Most visitors simply wander around on the rocks, snap some photos, and then enjoy a coffee at the adjoining café, which overlooks Hon Chong and Bai Duong Beach.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Sights North of Nha Trang, Vietnam appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2015/12/sights-north-of-nha-trang-vietnam/feed/ 0 33051
Planning Your Time in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay https://moon.com/2015/12/planning-your-time-ha-long-bay-vietnams-northern-coast/ https://moon.com/2015/12/planning-your-time-ha-long-bay-vietnams-northern-coast/#respond Thu, 24 Dec 2015 20:05:31 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33040 Boasting wild, uncharted jungles and karst-studded seas, Ha Long Bay and Vietnam’s northern coast captivates travelers with its breathtaking scenery. Whether on water or land, the otherworldly landscapes of the region provide a stunning backdrop for adventure.

The post Planning Your Time in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
Boasting wild, uncharted jungles and karst-studded seas, Vietnam’s northern coast captivates travelers with its breathtaking scenery. Whether on water or land, the otherworldly landscapes of the region provide a stunning backdrop for adventure.

Jagged, rocky islands pepper the seascape, along with hundreds of weather-worn grottoes, making this one of the most photogenic places in Vietnam.Ha Long Bay (literally, Bay of the Descending Dragon) is the country’s most famous attraction, entrancing millions of visitors each year to tour its islands and caves. The placid waters of the bay are awash with luxury cruise liners and modest wooden junk boats that spill over into Ha Long’s smaller and less crowded neighbors, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. Jagged, rocky islands pepper the seascape, along with hundreds of weather-worn grottoes, making this one of the most photogenic places in Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Ha Long Bay. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Blanketed in dense green jungle and razor-sharp limestone peaks, the majority of Cat Ba, Ha Long’s largest island, remains untouched, rounding out the western edge of the bay. Here you can lounge on a quiet beach or trek through the jungle in a national park, looking out for the island’s varied wildlife.

Where Ha Long is often overrun with tourist junk boats and foreign travelers, the smaller, quieter Lan Ha Bay, located off Cat Ba Island’s eastern shores, remains wonderfully unencumbered. The area’s trademark limestone karsts rise dramatically out of the sea in sharp, striking ridges and rippled rock faces, their bases worn away by erosion. Lush jungle foliage sprouts from the porous rocks, seemingly growing out of nothing, and if you’re lucky you may catch a monkey or two swinging between the trees.

Farther south near Ninh Binh are the mesmerizing karsts of Tam Coc and Trang An, affectionately nicknamed “Ha Long Bay on Land.” This region is growing more popular with tourists, and functions as a great base from which to explore northern Vietnam.

Planning Your Time

A visit to Ha Long Bay can take as little as two days or as long as four, depending upon your enthusiasm for on-the-water adventure. Most travelers—particularly those on a shorter schedule—opt for Ha Long Bay or Ninh Binh, as Ninh Binh also goes by the nickname “Ha Long Bay on Land.”

In Ha Long Bay, how you travel plays a role in the amount of time you’ll need. For a day cruise on the bay, devote two days of travel to arrive in Ha Long city, book a cruise, go on the cruise, and return to Hanoi. For an overnight cruise, set aside 2-3 days, depending on the cruise. For a stay on Cat Ba Island, give yourself a minimum of three days.

Travel map of Ha Long Bay and the Northern Coast of Vietnam

Ha Long Bay and the Northern Coast

A visit to Ninh Binh requires just one or two nights, with an extra day if you’re keen to see the langurs at Cuc Phuong National Park. Cuc Phuong can also be reached as a day trip from Hanoi.

The hottest months, between June and August, are an absolute madhouse, as domestic holidaymakers flock here in droves and prices skyrocket. From September to December, things quiet down considerably, while the weather holds steady. Traveling from late December to late February promises a slightly more peaceful atmosphere, though hundreds of Chinese tourists still skip over the border for a quick visit and weekenders arrive from Hanoi. During this time, inclement weather can often sideline boat cruises in Ha Long. Your best bet is to visit between September and early December, when the crowds are thinning out and the weather is calm enough to allow boats onto the bay.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Planning Your Time in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2015/12/planning-your-time-ha-long-bay-vietnams-northern-coast/feed/ 0 33040
Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market https://moon.com/2015/12/ben-thanh-market-saigon-vietnam/ https://moon.com/2015/12/ben-thanh-market-saigon-vietnam/#respond Tue, 22 Dec 2015 20:16:51 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=33062 Easily the most recognizable structure in Saigon, Ben Thanh Market–located at the north edge of Quach Thi Trang roundabout–is the original commercial heart of the city and a prime spot for souvenir shopping. Learn about its history and its popular day and night markets.

The post Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Easily the most recognizable structure in Saigon, Ben Thanh Market (Le Loi and Tran Hung Dao, D1, tel. 08/3829-2096, 6am-6pm daily) is the original commercial heart of the city and a prime spot for souvenir shopping, with over 3,000 small businesses and an army of multilingual vendors. Using the city’s waterways to transport goods, Ben Thanh became the Vietnamese answer to Chinatown’s Binh Tay Market, with each attracting traders from both their local communities and neighboring states. When the French arrived and began to incorporate their architecture into Saigon’s landscape, the market was formalized as a large, thatched-roof building near the river. Ben Thanh’s present-day site is at the north edge of Quach Thi Trang roundabout. The building was completed in 1914 and dubbed the “New Ben Thanh Market.”

Once the day market has closed its doors to the public, an equally popular night market sets up shop around the building on Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau streets from 6pm until about midnight.Since its inception, Ben Thanh has been a major commercial hub and the site of many historical events. During the tumultuous 1950s and ‘60s, several significant protests occurred outside its massive gates. The most notable of these occurred on August 25, 1963, when thousands of students and Buddhist monks gathered at the roundabout in front of the market to protest American forces and the presidency of Ngo Dinh Diem. As the protest grew in size and strength, shots were fired to subdue the crowd and one young protester, 15-year-old student Quach Thi Trang, was killed. Since then, the roundabout has been referred to as Quach Thi Trang roundabout.

Vendors begin setting up as early as 4am each day. The outer shops open their doors first, followed by the market’s main gates. Once the day market has closed its doors to the public, an equally popular night market sets up shop around the building on Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau streets from 6pm until about midnight.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vietnam.

The post Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market appeared first on Moon Travel Guides.

]]>
https://moon.com/2015/12/ben-thanh-market-saigon-vietnam/feed/ 0 33062