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Phnom Penh Nightlife – The Last Stop

by Craig Bowman Our tour guide just told us we are headed to our last stop of the night. We have been to several places and according to my watch, it is near the end of the tour, but it just seems time has gone by so quick. Our last stop already? Our group gets on our Vespa’s and leave Independence Monument after a brief history lesson and picture opt. We cruise for a quick bit and stop on the side of the street. At this time, although it is a big sized street, it is rather dead and a…
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Bun cha Hanoi

By Summer & Kayli www.getbusyexploring.com The restaurant we were at was one of the oldest Bun Cha in the country and in Hanoi. Bun Cha is one of the most famous dishes in Vietnam and we got to eat it in one of oldest locations. This restaurant opened up back in 1966 with just the first floor serving people. They now own all 5 stories and are constantly bustling with happy customers. And we now know why! The food was amazing! We jumped off our Vespas into a crowded restaurant and climbed 3 stories to our reserved table amongst some…
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Hanoi At Night

It's no secret that the motor scooter rules as the king of the road in Cambodia and Vietnam. These two wheeled road warriors display utter fearlessness at intersections and total mastery of the streets. Vespa Adventures offers a selection of tours that allows visitors the unique opportunity to participate in this choreographed chaos. Before your heart skips a beat, (that will come later), you sit behind competent drivers that take on the task of negotiating your way through the heart and soul of the city. This is the real deal, off the beaten path experience. Forget the touts of tourist…
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Folk Art in Hue

We headed out very early in the morning. After stopping for some traditional Vietnamese coffee, making our way to a local market and admiring the old Chinese architecture along the street, we took a small wooden boat across the Perfume River. Our drivers met us at the other side of the river with the Vespa’s, and took us on the most scenic and vibrant drive through tall mountains and green rice paddies. We eventually made it to a small village along the water, and wove through quiet streets with smiling kids climbing trees until we arrived at a little home.…
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Must Try Dishes in Hue

10 Must Try Dishes in Hue Hue, Vietnam is known for its cuisine, which is why I highly recommend you try a food tour if you have the time during your visit to Vietnam. The Flavours are rich, and the variety is plentiful. There are certainly well known must try Hue specialties like Bun Bo Hue and Banh Khoai, but Hue’s notable cuisine goes beyond these two dishes. I’ll introduce you to some dishes you can find at local spots throughout the city that you’ll have to try during your visit! 1) Ban Khoai My mouth waters just think about…
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The Cambodian Genocide

Imagine if one in four people in your country were murdered, and by your own people. That is what happened in Cambodia, and those are the words spoken through your headphones as you enter Choeung Ek, one of Cambodia’s largest Killing Fields. Choeung Ek has been transformed from an extermination camp into a silent, and peaceful memorial where one is led by an audio guide through the mass grave site. The information provided during the tour is extremely heavy, gruesome, and appalling, and even despite all of that, I recommend you visit. Following the tour of the Killing Fields, my Tuk…
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The Hidden Pagoda

10,000 gold Buddha’s cover all four walls of the third floor from top to bottom, making the entire room shimmer.  Tuan and I entered the pagoda during a death anniversary ceremony, so we quietly wove through the group of men, women, and children praying in front of a shrine covered in candles and incense. Although Buddhists grieve when a friend or family member dies, there were no tears during the ceremony because death is seen as a part of life, and Buddhists believe in reincarnation. Death is thus merely a transition. The death anniversary ceremony is intended to celebrate and…
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Shrimp Farming in the Mekong

Shrimp farming is a risky business, but an important one in Vietnam! This is because shrimp provides close to half of the country’s revenue from seafood. The shrimp doesn’t stay domestically either- it’s exported all over the globe. In fact, 70% of shrimp consumption in the United States and Western Europe comes from shrimp farms in South East Asia. As you can see, these shrimp farms are large, but you may be shocked to find out just how large. These farms generally start off with 100,000 shrimp, then grow to one ton of shrimp after just one month. These are…
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Taste the Authentic Flavours

Despite attending university in the South of the United States where seafood of every type is available in abundance, I pretty much steered clear of it. That is not the case here in Vietnam, and I’m glad for it. I’ve tried clams, mussels, snails, shrimp, and crab legs, and have enjoyed every single bite! Had I not done the Saigon food tour after dark where my hilarious and outgoing tour guide, Loan, encouraged me to try everything (and finish everything), I probably wouldn’t have been as brave. I highly recommend the tour if you’re looking to get out of your…
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Bình Tây Market

Don’t base your judgement of the Bình Tây market on the way it looks and feels on the outside, because I’ll admit the outside feels jam packed and overwhelming. When you step into what looks like a black hole, you step into a maze of vendors and products. However, unlike Saigon’s Ben Thanh market, these vendors don’t hassle you or grab at your shirt. In fact, most paid no attention to me unless I paid attention to what they were selling. You can find everything at this market, from fresh fruit to dry fruit, flip flops to sneakers, rice in a…
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Saigon’s Flower Market

We give flowers to ask for forgiveness, to celebrate a graduation, to greet a friend, to mourn a loved one, or to show affection to someone, and I was reminded today at the flower market in Saigon that this flower culture humans have created is a universal one. Of course, there are variations and adaptations within each culture, but generally it is a shared one. On March 8th, for example, International Women’s Day is celebrated throughout Vietnam, and flowers are purchased in abundance. There are choices upon choices at the Saigon flower market with alleys filled with orchids, water lilies,…
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Your Journey Through Cambodia

  No matter the mode of transportation, you’ll get to Siem Reap/Phnom Penh in one piece! None of the options are necessarily dangerous, but each have pros and cons that you may want to consider before making the trek across Cambodia. I hope this advice helps guide your decision in getting from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, or vice versa. Bus This is an adventurous, simple, and cheap option. As long as you get to the bus station 15 minutes before departure (depending on the bus company), all you have to do is sit and take in the view. I used the…
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5 Must Try Cambodian Snacks

 Water Beetles I know, it’s scary even to get rid of a beetle you find in your home, but trust me, it’s different here in Cambodia. The beetles are clean…and tasty! The female water beetles are much meatier, and are therefore sold at a higher price. The male water beetles have a pointy black piece under their shell that needs to be pulled off before you eat it. Just close your eyes, and crunch. Crickets This crunchy delicacy takes some bravery to try, but it’s most definitely worth a try. Crickets are served deep-fried and are cooked with lots of…
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The Magnificent Angkor Wat

It’s difficult to imagine yourself in a time other than the one you’re living. You can’t quite grasp the cultural norms, the political climate, the social expectations, the vernacular, or the gender roles. You can’t taste the food or talk to the people. Well, this morning I stepped into the 12th century. It’s not such a difficult thing to do at Angkor Wat, an extremely well preserved religious monument and the national symbol of Cambodia. Although weather and war have made their marks, the temple has withstood the test of time. The temple was there in the 15th century when…
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Incense Making

“Mmm:” the instinctive reaction to the sweet smell of incense. It’s not uncommon for your day in Vietnam to be pleasantly interrupted by the smell of burning incense. Whether you’re shopping in Hoi An, taking a stroll in Ho Chi Minh City, or visiting a place of worship in Hue- incense burns everywhere. But did you ever wonder where incense is made? Did you ever wonder what kind of people make incense or where they make it? During our day tour in the Mekong Delta, you will find answers to the most obscure of questions regarding incense. Deep in the…
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You Can’t Live Without Bamboo in Vietnam

Bamboo is engraved in Vietnamese culture and daily life, providing protection and representing resiliency.  Bamboo can be manipulated in any shape or form to assist in the simplest or most complex of functions. Here in Vietnam, and especially in the countryside, bamboo is used for everything- from chopsticks, to chairs, to agricultural tools, to roofs, to instruments, to home decorations. Bamboo’s functions have evolved with time. Historically, bamboo trees were sharpened, bent, and used to create weapons and traps, but today you can see bamboo in the most unique of forms. For example, you may see an eco-friendly bike and/or…
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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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TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence

We're so excited to be awarded 3 TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence for 2016! We've received these in 3 cities - Ho Chi Minh City (3rd year in a row!), Hoi An, and Siem Reap. Thanks to all of our guests who have left wonderful feedback on TripAdvisor!   Haven't left your review yet? We'd love if you took a minute to leave your feedback on the world's largest Travel network, TripAdvisor.
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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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