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    The art of fixing Vespa scooters is dying. This niche skill is a difficult one to master, especially with the increasing rarity of vintage Vespas. Our mechanic, Duy, has fixed over 1,000 Vespas! Check out this post for more info, and learn about how this scooter became legendary in Vietnam here.

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One For The Road: Iced Coffee or Cold Brew?

By Sally Writes Two things that Vietnam has in great supply are Vespas and great coffee. In fact, there are now around 35 million Vespas on the streets of Vietnam. And when it comes to coffee, the country is the second largest coffee producer in the world. Both have become a huge part of the culture and economy here. There's nothing much better than taking a break during a ride and finding a local friendly café to enjoy a delicious coffee while watching the world go by. But have you thought about switching your coffee to cold brew? It’s become…
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5 Ways to Escape the Hustle and Bustle of Ho Chi Minh City

  Yes, red lights are somewhat optional. Yes, the traffic is always buzzing. Yes, the sidewalks are constantly flooded with people. And don't worry, you will get better at crossing the street. Ho Chi Minh City is a place of organized chaos, but its chaotic nonetheless. You may need a relaxing breath of fresh air every now and again, and I've got just the options for you: 1) Taste Vietnamese Coffee in a quiet Cafe Iv'e tried a new cafe just about everyday, and each day I'm surprised to find the new cafe more relaxing than the last. Vietnam is the…
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Meet Saigon’s Oldest Public Letter Writer

You’re going to have to visit this magnificent post office to meet Mr. Duong Van Ngo, Saigon’s oldest public letter writer. I caught Mr. Duong around 3:05 PM, nearing the end of his 3:30 PM sharp work day. Although Mr. Duong had his plastic bag filled with his treasured belongings to head home, he offered me a seat, and assured me I wasn’t a bother; he wouldn’t leave a minute before 3:30 PM. Mr. Duong told me he started working at the post office when he was a mere 16 years old. Today, he is 85. Although elderly and delicate,…
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5 Drinks to Cool You Down in Hoi An

You don't want anything to get in the way of your exploring Hoi An, especially not the radiant sun and steaming hot temperatures. Here are a few delicious drinks that can make your day under the sun a little cooler: 1.) Sugar Cane Juice Passing a sugar cane stand on a hot sunny day in Hoi An is a frequent delight.  There's even a stand outside of Cafe Zoom where a small cup is sold for just 5,000 Vietnamese dong. The refreshing afternoon drink is extracted from sugar cane stalk, and it surprisingly offers several health benefits, such as increasing your…
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6 Reasons to Visit Hue, Vietnam

  Hue - home to the old Kings of Vietnam. Prior to the French colonisation of Vietnam, Hue was the capital city. It thrived and flourished. This city is geographically in the centre of this long country, perfectly situated in a mountainous valley which creates a natural barrier to enemy forces. Another natural feature of this city allowed it to boom is the Perfume River. Here are 10 reasons for you to travel to this Imperial City on your trip to Vietnam. 1. The History The history of this area is fascinating. Walk through the Imperial City and imagine a…
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The Art of Mango Picking

Truthfully, they are laughing with me and at me.  Phi, my guide from the Hoi An tour, and I were making our way on a Vespa through the scenic countryside when we passed a group of women and children outside of their home poking a long bamboo stick with some sort of hook to pull at the mango stems so they would fall gracefully into the bed sheet. As we passed the group, Phi explained the process of mango picking, and without much though I said, “I want to try.” “You want to try?” Phi asked me.  Then he whipped…
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Rice Farming in Vietnam

  Vietnam’s countryside is filled with rice fields, and the cities with rice dishes.  Rice fuels people’s stomachs as well as the economy. Vietnam is the second largest exporter of rice in the entire world, and is the seventh biggest consumer of rice according to the International Rice Research Institute. On an average summer day, the sun is beaming and the temperature feels as though it's continuously rising, making conditions extremely harsh for these rice farmers that cover their bodies head to toe to avoid the sunlight.  Just outside of the Phan family temple, a rice farmer was kind enough…
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Try Vietnam’s Signature Fish Sauce!

Don’t be deterred by the term fish sauce.  Nor should you be deterred by the process that, from the pictures, looks somewhat unappetizing.  Vietnamese fish sauce is my absolute favourite, whether it’s used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or just used as a flavourful ingredient in cooking delicious Vietnamese cuisine.  If you’re traveling in Vietnam, you’ll soon learn this is a staple ingredient. Vietnamese fish sauce is extremely flavorful with a slightly salty, almost bitter taste.  The sauce is cooked with a mixture of fermented anchovies, sardines, water, and salt.  There are three different types of Vietnamese fish sauces…
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Start Your Morning with Morning Glory

Morning glory may be cheap in price, but it’s rich in Vietnamese food culture.  This vegetable that was once considered protein for the poor is served with most Vietnamese rice and noodle dishes.  The moist vegetable is often sautéed in garlic to give a flavorful salty taste.  It’s a Vietnamese must try, but also an inevitable try if you plan on eating local Vietnamese dishes during your visit. Morning glory is a semiaquatic plant that grows in water or damp soil and is from the same family as water spinach.  The vegetable takes little to no care to cultivate. Because…
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Welcome to the Shipyard: the Craft of Boat Building

Bring closed toed shoes and your balance if you are interested in taking the off beaten path to visit a company that builds large-scale handmade fishing boats. No, you won’t climb the boats in construction. You may, however, get to climb a wobbly wooden plank up to a fully constructed boat if there’s one docked during your visit. There are several superstitions in Vietnamese boat culture that especially restricts women from climbing or sitting on boats in construction. It is understood that should a woman sit on a boat before it is completely built, the boat will be forever cursed…
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Hoi of Hoi An: Family Temple Keeper

Meet Hoi; a man as wise as he is friendly. At 80 years old, Hoi is the full time keeper of his family’s ornate and colorful temple, or ancestral house. The Phan family temple has thrived for 15 generations, and Hoi is of the 13th.  Hoi spoke fluidly and without sadness when he told Phi, my awesome tour guide and translator, that when he passes away, this duty will be taken on by the next generation, that being his younger brother.  Hoi explained that this 200-hundred-year old temple comes alive every year on the 10th of February when the family…
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Vietnamese Rice Wine

  "Mot, Hai, Ba, Dzo!". This is the ubiquitous phrase for "1,2,3, Cheers!" in Vietnamese. If you're at a party, Vietnamese wedding, or just enjoying dinner at a local restaurant, you'll without a doubt hear this famous phrase yelled out repeatedly. While travelling in Vietnam and meeting the locals, it's often a sign of friendship when offered a small shot of rice wine. Be careful, because this stuff can be dangerously strong! Most commonly, people are yelling out their cheers and clinking together mugs of beer with ice or small glasses of Vietnamese rice wine. The latter of the two is deeply…
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Keep Vietnam Clean & Green

Vietnam is a beautiful country. The diverse landscapes of Vietnam include cool mountains, stunning beaches, and unbelievable farmlands. Vietnam has it all. If you've travelled here, you'll know its beauty- not only in its landscapes but in its people & culture as well. Here at Vespa Adventures, we strive to help keep this country beautiful, which inspired us to get involved. In 2015, our team started doing community clean-ups. We didn't know what it would lead to, we just wanted to pitch in and help to tidy up some litter. Like any developing country, litter unfortunately exists.  Rohan Bark, who publishes…
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Vietnamese Bird Club Culture

  Vietnamese bird club culture is one that's overlooked by travellers, but it's extremely interesting and there's more to it than just sitting and drinking coffee. While wandering around the streets of Saigon, or any town in Vietnam, you'll notice an abundance of classic bird cages with delightfully chirping birds inside. These birds are more than just pets, they're a hobby. They're a lifestyle. Every morning, bird club enthusiasts like Lam in the video above go to the park, birds in hand. These enthusiasts, typically older men, hang up their bird cages and grab a coffee. It's common for these…
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Sizzlin’ Banh Xeo – Vietnamese Pancakes

  Thuy runs our favourite Banh Xeo restaurant in Saigon. This restaurant was built in 1945 by her grandmother, who can be seen in the painting above, as a way to provide not only income but also as a way to feed her siblings who she had to take care of. Now, it’s almost unbelievable to see how this restaurant has transformed into a favourite local spot, serving around 100 Vietnamese pancakes per day. If you visit the restaurant, you’ll see Thuy taking over many responsibilities - from waitressing, being a cashier, and even cleaning up the tables. Banh Xeo, also…
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Travel Tips for Vietnam

When travelling in any country, it's good to come prepared. Here's a great infographic from Buffalo Tours that explains some key points so that you can fully enjoy your time here. These travel tips for Vietnam are the perfect place to start planning your trip!     Can you believe the population of Vietnam is 90.5 million? This country may appear small at first glance, but it's actually larger than you may think. It's a little bit smaller than California but has over twice the population. Within this population, there are 53 ethnic minorities, which you can see from the infographic.…
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7 Reasons to Eat Street Food in Vietnam

You're coming to Vietnam - you've read about the street food, you've heard about the street food, but will you try it? You may be on your way here, telling yourself "Of course I'll try it!". But to be honest, upon first arrival, you may become wary of what you'll actually try. There's not likely to be a menu in English and it is more unlikely that the staff will speak great English. We've come up with 7 reasons to eat street food in Vietnam to help ease your worries!  1. It's great value. Street food exemplifies the phrase "bang for…
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Lunar New Year in Vietnam

      Tet is the celebration of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. It is a tradition passed down from Chinese culture, but the Vietnamese have their own style of doing things.  It’s the most important holiday of the year, and can be celebrated up to a whole month long. Companies have big Tet parties to celebrate and award their employees. (Check out ours from last year below!)   In 2016, Tet will celebrate the Year of the Monkey , beginning with Lunar New Year’s Eve on February 7th. Colorful lights, lanterns, and an abundance of fragrant flowers will line the…
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Trinh’s Story – In Her Own Words

As a foreigner working and living in Vietnam, I get invited to a lot of weddings. Vietnamese weddings are huge, and people invite just about everyone they know. However, I recently got invited to an engagement ceremony. This was unusual to me, since back home typically a friend will call and say "I got engaged!", but in Vietnam the call to say "I'm getting engaged!". It's a planned ceremony, and much more intimate than weddings. My friend, Trinh, is actually a tour guide here at Vespa Adventures in Hoi An, Central Vietnam. I asked her about her love story, and…
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Driving Motorbikes in Vietnam

We get a lot of questions about driving Vespas & motorbikes in Vietnam. Regarding our motorbike tours, we recommend that guests ride on the back of our experienced drivers so that they can fully experience their surroundings. When you're driving, you must concentrate on the road. If you're riding on the back, you can be more aware of the locals, sights, and scenery of this wonderful country.  In Saigon, there are an estimated 7 - 8 million motorbikes on the streets every day. That's a lot of motorbikes! If you're a foreigner (which you most likely are if you're reading this post),…
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