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Month: October 2017

How to Spend One Day in Ho Chi Minh City

Anyone who has ever accompanied me on a trip knows just how slow I travel. It’s actually one of the reasons I travel solo – more freedom to move at my ridiculous snail’s pace. But I’m well aware that where I spent five days holing up in cafes and reading every single museum plaque, others could very well get their travel fix in a single day. Case in point: Ho Chi Minh City, more commonly known (by travelers and locals alike) as Saigon. HCMC is the largest city in Vietnam, forming a kind of southern bookend to the country with capital Hanoi in the north. Many visitors use it as a base for exploring the Cu Chi tunnels or the Mekong Delta, but there are plenty of attractions within the city itself. Follow this itinerary to make the most of one day in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Should You Attend the Full Moon Festival in Hoi An?

There are few images more romantic than lanterns floating down the river in Hoi An. The Full Moon Festival each month draws hundreds of tourists to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town for what seems to be a quintessential experience in Vietnam. In fact, it’s so popular that the “festival” is no longer limited to the date of the full moon. You can find vendors selling lanterns to float on the river every single night in Hoi An. As I was preparing for my RTW trip, a blog post on Getting Stamped seeded my mind with questions. Is the Full Moon Festival an authentic cultural experience, or just a gimmick for tourists? More importantly, what happens to the hundreds of candles and paper lanterns that float down the river daily?

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How to See Halong Bay in One Day

When I arrived in Vietnam, halfway through my RTW trip, I had very little knowledge of the country and few plans. I knew which cities I’d be stopping in for the next few weeks and that was about it. There are perks to traveling this way. The fewer expectations you have, the less likely you are to be disappointed. There’s a greater sense of discovery to not knowing exactly what you’ll find. But on the other hand, you risk missing out on some big stuff by not knowing enough about your options. Case in point: I didn’t know about Halong Bay until I was already on my way to Hanoi. As one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam, this natural attraction seemed like a must-do while in the country, but most itineraries recommended setting aside at least two or three days for an overnight junk boat cruise. Is it even possible to see Halong Bay in one day? While I definitely see why so many recommend a longer stay, the answer is yes – you can fit this bucket list attraction into a single day trip.

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