42 Nguyen Hue is the Apartment block you won’t wanna miss

42 Nguyen Hue is the Apartment block you won’t wanna miss

The cafe apartment at No.42 found in Ho Chi Minh City is a sight to behold. It houses hip boutiques, independent artisans, and third wave coffee shops facing Nguyen Hue Walking Street. The historical building is a nine-story apartment that can be best described using a popular quote from Forrest Gump; it’s like “a box of chocolate – you never know what you’re gonna get!”

The apartment at 42 Nguyen Hue was built in the 1960s. It was used as a military housing for American troops and high-ranking officials working for the southern government. After the fall of Saigon, some of the properties were given to shipyard workers. As tourism flourished and the city developed, some rented out their units to cafes and shop owners albeit illegal. The government however have taken steps to close down the shops with a series of eviction notices. The shops are still open but their future is uncertain.

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

The history of the place gave it its unique style mainly because it was originally intended as an apartment block. The building as a result, offered a layout different from most commercial spaces. You can instantly feel the homey vibe to it; the cozy feeling of the residential staircase and peaceful neighborhood.

With over 30 businesses inside, you are sure to find a perfect hang out space that caters to your need and liking. Tea and coffee aficionados will have the most fun sipping their drink while looking at the nice scenery at Nguyen Hue. We won’t be able to list all the shops in the building so we recommend you to check out the place for yourself and find the ambiance and style that suits you.

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

42 Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment block Ho Chi Minh City travel tips to Vietnam, foodie wanderlust

 

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The Golden Bridge is the new top destination in Vietnam
Visit the little noodle shop featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

 

The Golden Bridge is the new top destination in Vietnam

The Golden Bridge is the new top destination in Vietnam

A new bridge just outside Da Nang is getting all the rave right now because of its unique design.

The Golden Bridge is located on the grounds of  Bà Nà Hills resort, in the Trường Sơn Mountains west of the city of Da Nang. The resort is already a favorite tourist spot offering wonderful scenery and amusement rides for thrill seekers. Their latest attraction, the Golden Bridge, is designed to feel like a walkway in the sky held up by two gigantic stone hands.

Golden Bridge Ba Na Hills Resort Da Nang travel wanderlust architecture design infrastructure hands of god

The bridge, designed by Ho Chi Minh-based firm TA Corporation, is part of a $2 billion project to promote tourism in the area. The 150-meter-long-structure is suspended at 1,400 meters (4,593 feet) above sea level  and extends over the edge of the cliff that offers a perfect 180° view of the Bà Nà mountains. According to the firm, the design of the bridge symbolizes the hands of God pulling a strip of gold from the land. The hands are also painted and decorated in such a way that it looks like a part of the jungle with mosses and leaves dangling all over it. Another ornament not to be missed are the purple Lobelia Chrysanthemums lined on each side of the walkway. It’s a design to evoke a perfect balance between human and nature.

Golden Bridge Ba Na Hills Resort Da Nang travel wanderlust architecture design infrastructure hands of god

This novel architecture has been a favorite instagram spot for both international and local travelers since it opened in June. The structure sits atop the mountain so the climate is a little different and can be foggy at times which adds to the ethereal effect of the place. Walking the Golden Bridge is a nice bucket list addition to anyone who is planning to visit Vietnam. You can also try the Bà Nà cable car – the worlds longest non-stop, single-rope cable car system that can also be found at the resort.

Golden Bridge Ba Na Hills Resort Da Nang travel wanderlust architecture design infrastructure hands of god

Golden Bridge Ba Na Hills Resort Da Nang travel wanderlust architecture design infrastructure hands of god

 

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Visit the little noodle shop featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown
A guide to Vietnamese culture

 

Visit the little noodle shop featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

Visit the little noodle shop featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

Bún Chả Hương Liên was just an ordinary, small time noodle shop in Hanoi until it blew up after being featured in Anthony Bourdain’s CNN travel show, Parts Unknown, on April 2015. The show’s guest, former US President Barack Obama, made it twice as interesting. Of course viewers of Parts Unknown are already familiar with Bourdain’s adventurous and exotic taste, often exploring street food and go-to restaurants of the common local folks. But nobody imagined a foreign president to be able to casually dine and share a few cold Hanoi beers with Bourdain in Veitnam.

Bún Chả Hương Liên was like any other noodle shop in Vietnam’s capital – they have low plastic stools for seating, presence of cigarette smoke mixing with the smell of grilled meat, and cheap but delicious food. A month after the visit, Bún Chả Hương Liên would never be the same.

Bún Chả Hương Liên Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama in Hanoi, Vietnam for Parts Unknown 2015

The hole-in-the wall restaurant only had 10 reviewers on TripAdvisor but is now reaching nearly 500 with mostly positive feedback. The Bún Chả, shared by Bourdain and Obama, obviously became their most sought after dish. It was eventually rebranded, marketing the dish as Bún Chả Obama and the entire meal set now predictably called the Combo Obama.

The easily missed, three-story establishment is now a cornerstone shop in Hanoi, offering authentic and delicious Northern Vietnamese cuisine at an affordable price. Drop by early or prepare to wait in line if you plan to visit Bún Chả Hương Liên as the place is now jam-packed most days with locals and tourists flocking the place.

Bún Chả Hương Liên Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama in Hanoi, Vietnam for Parts Unknown 2015

(Also read: Sorrow at the Vietnamese noodle shop where Bourdain dined with Obama)

 

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A guide to Vietnamese culture
Top 5 Vietnamese dishes that are highly rated by foreigners

 

A guide to Vietnamese culture

A guide to Vietnamese culture

Vietnam is a country known for keeping its rich culture and traditions. The people of Vietnam are instilled with a deep respect for the environment and their ancestors. Having been colonized by France and occupied by the Japanese,  their history have strengthened their nationalistic ideologies and fought hard to emancipate themselves from foreign hold. Vietnam has a single-party socialist republic government and have mainly kept to itself but times are changing, and so is the country. Slowly, tourists are coming to the country and is becoming a popular destination among backpackers.

As visitors, it is important to know the Vietnamese culture to avoid messy situations. Here are some things you should know before touring the country:

People don’t want to be humiliated

If you come from a country with a liberal and outgoing personality, you might be surprised at how quite and passive people can be in Vietnam. Don’t take it as being rude; they are actually talkative people once you get their trust. They also don’t like to be humiliated in public so you should avoid arguing or bartering too aggressively that the locals might feel diminished or belittled. They are non-confrontational people.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

Education is top priority

If you get a chance to speak to students in Vietnam, you will learn how strict their routine is. With a booming economy such as Vietnam, the environment can be a little competitive. For students, getting at the top of their class is a must if they want to secure a decent job after graduation.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

Respect the elders

Vietnam is built on Confucian beliefs where respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors is a virtue. That means, don’t bring up any inappropriate topics such as death or sex when you are with them. Their advice is also greatly valued as they account old age as being wiser and more experienced. It can be a little bit frustrating when an older person speaks down to you, especially in an office setting, but respect their views and be patient with them.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

War history is an important and sacred topic

Don’t ever besmirch their war veterans or speak ill of anything related to the war for that matter. It is a sensitive topic for them so unless you have something important to say, don’t include it in the conversation. Also, turning it into a joke doesn’t give you a pass. It is a very serious issue for them and again, they are a group of nationalistic people so their history is an essential part of their being.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

Learn how to negotiate

Shopping in Vietnam is fun, especially when you understand the art of negotiation. As a foreigner, expect that the local vendors will charge you more for their products. It is their initial feeling of having all the cards against you. This is where you have to stand your ground and be wise about transactions. Negotiate the prices down up to the lowest they can offer and then, walk away. They will come back at you and give you their best reasonable price.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

Tipping is not customary

Vietnamese people rarely tip in restaurants or bar. If you feel that a staff’s service was excellent, it is okay to tip but be very discreet. It is definitely not expected so do it at your discretion. However, tips are usual on salons and spas.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

Food is a part of Vietnamese culture

If you are visiting as a guest, especially in someone’s home, you can expect that they will prepare and cook for you. No matter how full you are, never say no to a food being offered as they can take it as being rude. But don’t take more than you can eat! They respect the land and the food that is created from it; daily sustenance is a blessing for them. Obviously they are going to hate it if you waste food.

Vietnamese culture Hanoi Ho Chi Minh travel tips wanderlust blog

 

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Top 5 Vietnamese dishes that are highly rated by foreigners
Important lessons for crossing the road in Vietnam

 

Important lessons for crossing the road in Vietnam

Important lessons for crossing the road in Vietnam

To get across the street in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you have to be brave, focused and a little bit reckless.

Caroline Morse, Travel Editor of SmartTravel , made a trip to Vietnam and recorded her great experiences, including the road trips in big cities:

“In cities like Hanoi or Saigon, where there are very few pedestrian lights, many people pass red lights and thousands of motorcycles go unchecked. The road in Vietnam is a scary but an unforgettable experience.

crossing the road in vietnam - busy street in Hanoi

Here are the lessons I have learned from the road in Vietnam:

1. Be brave : You can’t stop traffic, just like most opportunities in life will not stop for you. You will have to pursue what you want, whether on the road or finding a new job. Like the famous saying “Fortune favors the brave,” remember that every time you hesitate in fear.

2. Know when to seek help: On the way to the city, the tour guide would take us across the road. It can be embarrassing sometimes to ask for help but the truth is, we were able to get to the other side much faster than doing it all by ourselves.

crossing the road in vietnam - busy street in Hanoi

3. Just focus on your path: Ignore other distractions. Walk in a straight line, focus on the target and ignore the obstacles around you. Be predictable and you will notice that the traffic will flow around you. Don’t hesitate and change your mind midway!

4. Follow the locals and veterans: One of the best ways to walk across a busy street is to follow a local person, and walk beside them when they cross the street. You should do the same in life, find someone who is more experienced and follow them, whether it’s when you’re in the gym, on the road or in your career.

crossing the road in vietnam - busy street in Hanoi

5. Ignore those who complain: There will be people honking or even swearing, but ignore them and focus on what you are doing.”

And finally, celebrate when you get to the other side of the road in one piece! Crossing a road in Vietnam can be daunting at first but take the tips mentioned above and you will be good on your own in no time.

 

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Let’s explore Hoi An by bike
Shopping experience in Hoi An ancient town

 

Let’s explore Hoi An by bike

Let’s explore Hoi An by bike

Hoi An is famous for its pedestrian streets around the old town. However, if you want a new experience, try exploring this world heritage on a bike.

You will discover secret nooks and other incredible sights when going around the old town by bike. It can also easily take you through the enormous tree-lined street corners, see paper lanterns on the porch, and the rows of green moss-covered houses.

At the end of the road, visitors slowly pedal through the large bridge connecting the old town and enjoy the cool breeze from the Hoai River. If your legs feel tired, you can stop at the roadside tea and enjoy their cool, sweet drink.

bike Hoi An travel tips at HappyLuke

You will have more time to explore the city of Hoi An via bicycle. Most hotels, restaurants, cafes in the Old Town have bicycle rental services by the hour or day and the price is not too expensive.

bike bicycle motor Hoi An travel tips at HappyLuke

The ideal time to bike around Hoi An would be starting from 3 p.m. when the sun is not harsh and some light wind.  If you are lucky, you can catch the romantic scenery of sunset by the river before ending the day. It is also recommended to ride the bike around town in the morning, preferably before 8 a.m. when tourists have not yet arrived.

We can also suggest getting a 3G/4G sim card at the airport to really take advantage of biking around town. You can get lost and go to random places but still have the ability to check an online map when you feel like going home. Also, having an internet connection can help you find interesting spots and check reviews.

In addition, Hoi An have been discouraging people to use motor vehicles. The best alternative to travel the area is by using a bicycle. The Old Town for one is a biker friendly place with little noise, very calm and poetic.

bike bicycle motor Hoi An travel tips at HappyLuke

 

Read more:

Shopping experience in Hoi An ancient town
Top 10 most attractive tourist destinations in Vietnam

 

Shopping experience in Hoi An ancient town

Shopping experience in Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An is popular among locals and tourists as a shopping destination. It offers a wide range of high quality yet affordable products and services such as suits, shirts, custom-made dresses and tailoring. Here are a list of things you can buy while visiting the ancient town of Hoi An.

Hoi An lantern

Hoi An lanterns, a traditional culture in ancient town, have a variety of colors that reflect the sophistication and talent of Vietnamese workers. Lanterns in Hoi An are durable, inexpensive, light and can be folded making it popular among tourists to buy as a gift or souvenir. You can get lanterns in the shops on Tran Phu street such as Ngoc Thu and Ngoc Thu lanterns and other shops on Le Loi, Nguyen Hue, Nguyen Thai Hoc.

Prices are subject to size, color, shape of the lantern.

HappyLuke travel tips to Vietnam - shop for lanterns

Footwear 

Shoes in Hoi An are rich in designs and plenty to choose from. You can find clogs, shoes, sandals and luxury footwears. The sellers here are very passionate and hospitable so you will definitely be satisfied with your shoe shopping experience. Notable shops in Hoi An are: Funky Shoes Shop at 38 Bach Dang Street, Cam Tu Shoes Shop at 8 Hoang Van Thu Street. You can also purchase nice looking, comfortable slippers in the area. Slippers are sold in the streets and markets of Hoi An.

HappyLuke travel tips to vietnam - shoe shopping

Skirts and dresses

Hoi An’s garment industry is well-developed, including a “quick” service to meet the demand of tourists but still ensure the quality and aesthetics of the dress. The fabric here is beautiful; they look sophisticated and thoughtful. Hoi An visitors love to get their clothes tailored in Vietnam. Minh An ward – area I of the ancient city, is home to 57 cloth shops and tailoring services such as Thu Thuy, Yaly, Phuong Huy, Thang Loi, A Dong Silk, Dong A, Bao Khanh, Gia Hung, Hanh Hung and Cam Nhan. 

Tailoring in Vietnam follows a standard process: the customer will shop for a fabric, pick a design, then the tailor will take the measurements and customer will have to leave his/her hotel address.  The tailor will schedule an appointment for fitting and will make the necessary adjustments afterwards if needed.

Those who have been to Hoi An can agree that the clothes here are inexpensive and beautiful, not to mention, the service is fast. In just a few hours, the mechanic will sew the finished clothes for you. If you can’t stay long enough, just leave the measurements and address and the store will deliver the product to you.

HappyLuke travel tips - shop for dresses

Artwork

After shopping for lanterns, shoes, and clothes, don’t forget to include artworks in Hoi An to your list. Composed of a large number of artists, Hoi An provides a wide variety of beautiful paintings and photographs but prices vary and can sometimes reach up to millions. You can find paintings in Hoi An at the Galleries such as Le Gai, Ha Ly, Thon Viet, Kim Chi.

HappyLuke travel tips to Vietnam - shop for paintings and photographs

Souvenir

After shopping in this ancient urban area do not forget to visit some souvenir shops such as Au Lac on Tran Phu Street, Ky Uc on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Popular among tourists are wooden sculptures, handbags, masks, bas-reliefs, Buddha statues or simply the To He’s grandmother sitting at the porch of the Bridge. Souvenirs are a nice way to make you remember all the wonderful experience you had while staying in Vietnam!

HappyLuke travel tips to Vietnam - shop for souvenirs