The Ultimate DIY Guide to Cycling Vietnam

The Ultimate DIY Guide to Cycling Vietnam

This post was last updated on June 21st, 2016It’s the question everyone keeps asking us: “Why in the world did you guys, two totally inexperienced cyclers, even want to bike the length of Vietnam?” It’s a valid question, and like most of the big challenges we throw ourselves into, the answer is perfectly straightforward. We decided to cycle Vietnam because it sounded like fun. That’s ultimately it. Our only prior cycling experience was a three-day jaunt down Taiwan’s East Coast, and obviously that was child’s play in comparison to six weeks of adventuring through Vietnam. But we did it. We opened ourselves up to new possibilities and embraced the challenge—both physically and mentally—and somehow, beyond any reasonable expectations, we succeeded. We cycled over 1,000 miles from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, and though it proved to be one of the most challenging endeavors of our lives, we wouldn’t have wanted to experience Vietnam any other way.     If we can cross-country cycle Vietnam, then you can too.   It takes a bit of physical strength and a whole lot of determination, but that’s about it. Of course, you might need some bikes and accessories and want to know where to go and how to do it. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered below. And really, those are all just added bonuses anyway. If you’re interested in seeing the world from the biker’s lane, then this is the guide for you. It’s designed specifically for Vietnam, but a lot of the tips are applicable for cycle touring anywhere!  Good luck and happy pedaling! Before you go: Travelers from the U.S., don’t forget...
48 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City — The Highlights

48 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City — The Highlights

This post was last updated on August 19th, 2016A humongous thanks to Dan and Casey for allowing me to talk to you all about one of my favorite places, Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon). I hope you all have read their article on The Best Reason to Visit Vietnam and that it’s got you all excited for your own trip, because it sure had me ready to return! Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll be booking your flights.  So you’ve arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. Maybe you’re just there on a short layover before you jet off to someplace else. Maybe you’re gearing up to cycle the length of Vietnam as Dan and Casey did. Or maybe you’ve come specifically to HCMC to learn about the city’s rich history and culture. No matter how long you have in the city, unfortunately, you’ll find that the number of interesting activities far exceeds the amount of time you have: the place is packed full of fascinating sights and sensory experiences! But in case you can only be there for a limited amount of time, here are the highlights: But first, before you go, make sure you know that you will need a Vietnam visa! Luckily it is now easy to get one upon arrival (which is what we did.) All you have to do is apply online and then you can pick up your visa in a Vietnam international airport. It’s only available if you’re arriving to Vietnam via air, but it saves a ton of time and is much more convenient than having to go through...

An Introduction to Vietnamese Cuisine

This post was last updated on November 2nd, 2013Experiencing Vietnam’s food scene is reason enough to visit the country. Best described as fresh, light, and local, Vietnam manages to create a variety of innovative and delicious recipes out of largely similar ingredients. The best meals are served from street vendors or small, family owned restaurants, often costing a mere $1-$2. Do be sure to ask for the price before sitting down to feast–Vietnamese are known for charging Western prices once you have finished your meal and can do little about the fee. Though we were cycling up to eight hours a day, I’m not sure my waistline saw much benefit from it. Here’s the reason why: An Introduction to Vietnamese Cuisine   Phở Phở is arguably Vietnam’s most famous dish worldwide. Flat rice noodles, steaming broth, shaved pieces of beef (bo) or chunks of chicken (ga), and a handful of herbs constitute this simple but savory dish. Although Phở found its beginnings in Northern Vietnam, it has long since spread throughout the country, with each region and even vendor serving up their unique variation. We ate more bowls of this noodle soup than we care to count. While locals consider it to be a breakfast dish, we often ate it for lunch and sometimes dinner as well. Just be careful—some of the best stalls in the cities will sell out before 11 am!   Bún chả Finding Bún chả took us an absurd amount of time before we were successful—but man was it worth it! This dish ended up being one of our favorites in all of Vietnam. A...

Tour de Vietnam: Cycling Southern Vietnam

This post was last updated on August 6th, 2014Welcome to our last installment of Tour de Vietnam, where we share photos taken from the cycling lane. (In case you missed it, you can check out our snapshots from the North and Central region as well.) A massive thank you to everyone who has commented, tweeted, sent words of encouragement and virtual high-fives, and basically kept us inspired throughout our trip. Cycling Vietnam sure wasn’t easy, and if it’s wasn’t for you we might have found ourselves on the first bus barreling past. Seriously, you guys rock! This is our last installment of Tour de Vietnam, but we have an extensive post cram-packed with anything you could possibly want to know about cycling Vietnam coming at ya on Thursday. We are covering everything from how to buy bikes to cycling itineraries to where we slept and how we found toilets. If you have specific questions you want answered, send them our way and we will address them. Again, thank you for joining us on our journey. Hope to have you along for many more! And now, here’s a glimpse of Southern Vietnam! Tour de Vietnam: Cycling Southern Vietnam   Discover even more from Vietnam: Halong Bay, Vietnam: Is It Worth It?                  On Being Open to New Possibilities Through the Eyes of a Veteran:                           Tour de Vietnam: Cycling Northern A Tour of the DMZ                                ...

Our Most Terrifying Moment Cycling Vietnam and the Kindness That Saved Us From It

This post was last updated on August 6th, 2014I’m not sure I’ve ever had a panic attack before. There was one time I got lost on a mountain in Ecuador (a story anyone who knows me has long grown tired of hearing). I think I came pretty close to a panic attack then. I’m certain I came even closer one day while cycling Vietnam.   We had just finished a tour of My Son. To continue on our cycling journey, we had two options: return the way we came and then head south (adding an extra 30 km) or take a shortcut. I know. You’re thinking shortcuts are always a bad idea. And now we know you’re right.  But Google Maps said we would only have 5 km of dirt and mud before a highway greeted us, and that sounded like a pretty good deal. Plus, I hate backtracking like nothing else. We thought it over for about .5 seconds then took a left. Shortcut it was.   Little did we know this highway Google Maps promised was nothing more than a gravel path. Only, it wasn’t gravel in the traditional sense, because the rocks that constituted the road were larger than my fist, muddled with potholes great enough to swallow a cow. Of course, this whole debacle was uphill, through the most remote route we’d been on so far—no people, no towns, lots of construction facilities. It was somewhere while pushing our bikes up the rocks (we had long deemed cycling it impossible) that the first bit of nerves crept in. With two hours of daylight left, I...

Hoi An For Non-Shoppers

This post was last updated on March 27th, 2014Yellow stained walls line the hushed streets, paint flaking off just enough to be delightfully romantic. Strings of colorful lanterns dangle from branches, adorn storefronts, illuminate the banks of the Thu Bon River. Restaurants set up candlelit tables along the water, boasting western dishes and happy hours that stretch long past 60 minutes. Old women donning conical hats and baskets of fresh produce bump shoulders with tourists sporting their new custom-made threads. This is Hoi An, Vietnam. The charming UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its tailor shops, where tourists can indulge themselves with the custom-made clothes of their dreams; however, there is much more to Hoi An than wardrobe shopping alone. With quaint alleys to wander, local food to savor, and historic architecture to explore, Hoi An is the perfect place to watch time slip away.  It’s no longer much of a secret, and hordes of local and foreign tourists have also decided to make Hoi An their destination of choice. Luckily the city still boasts an authenticity not available on all sightseer itineraries, and one slip down an alleyway or through the market will offer a glimpse of traditional Vietnamese living. We first came to Hoi An like most other tourists, drawn in by its unique shopping options. We told our hotel we would be there two nights—we ultimately stayed for five. We didn’t do much during that time, but we were captivated by Hoi An’s beauty all the same. Here’s a glimpse as to why: The Architecture During the 17th century, Hoi An was a revered center...