Vietnam in 8 days

Thanks to Dan’s coworker and his quickness with sharing one of Scott’s Deals pricing mistakes, we set off for an unexpected trip to Vietnam, which I ended up spinning into a honeymoon! It was a whirlwind trip and travel took a full 24 hours with layovers. Everyone warned us we weren’t going for long enough and of course they were right, but if waited who knows when the “right” time to go would be.

Things to know before you go: You’ll need to apply for a Visa to visit Vietnam. Fortunately, Dan’s mom took care of this for us at a Vietnamese travel agency. Book tours when you arrive. We booked online before our arrival only to find that the hotels usually have services in the lobby and it’s cheaper. Also, tours are kind of necessary in Vietnam. I was skeptical of the tours, convinced we could go it on our own, but navigating Vietnam is difficult and we would have missed so much without our tours.

Day 1: Arrive in Hoi Chi Minh City at 1AM.

We visited Dan’s family and ate homemade bun ram and banh xeo.

Pasteur Street Brewing Company (PSBC) brews American style craft beer using the highest quality ingredients from Vietnam & around the world. 

Thuần Việt - Quán riverside restaurant with beer purchased by the case and a wide variety of food.

DAY 2: Fly from Hoi Chi Minh City to Hue (1.5h)

Imperial Hotel - This hotel was in a great location and a breakfast buffet with a view.

The Imperial City & Forbidden Purple City - A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Quán Cẩm - Bún Bò Huế - Rice vermicelli, lemongrass, beef, and fermented shrimp sauce.

Ba Do - Steamed rice cakes - we ordered one of each, except for the noodle dish.

Perfume River Private Dinner Cruise - While enjoyable, the food was oily and bit bland, but we enjoyed the experience of lighting lanterns and floating along the river.

day 3 - Bus from Hue to Hoi An (3h)

La Residentia - Loved this hotel! Service was excellent and they really went above and beyond making us feel special for our honeymoon.

Hoi An Old Town - While touristy, this area is charming and a nice place to get started in the area. It’s also home to the famous banh mi sandwich.

Banh Mi Phuong - Anthony Bourdain visited during No Reservations - it did not disappoint. We visited in twice.

Hoi An Central Market - It’s a place for haggling and for enjoying white rose dumplings and cau lau.

Hoi An Night Market - Hoi An Old Town, as well as other connecting parts of the city transform into a beautiful night market. The lantern/board ride sales folks can be aggressive, but otherwise, it’s a nice way to spend the night.

Day 4: Hoi An/Da Nang

Tour of My Son, Marble Mountains, the Son Tra Peninsula - Tour with Hoi An Express. This was roughly an 8 hour tour in an air-conditioned van with an experienced guide. Great way to learn about the historical significance of the sites.

Ong Hai (Mr Hai Restaurant ) - For cao lầu a local dish made with noodles, pork, and greens.

Com Ga Ba Buoi - Chicken and rice.

Day 5: Bus from Hoi An to Da Nang (1h) | Fly from Da Nang to Can Tho (1.5h)

Tran - Am Thuc Da Nang - Very clean and on the fancier side restaurant - roll it yourself (R.I.Y).

Vinpearl Hotel Can Tho - Five-star hotel with a rooftop pool and tour booking in the lobby.

Cafe Lotus - The hotel staff recommended Cafe Lotus, so we rented a motorcycle, but got caught in heavy rain on our way there! That poncho was one of the most expensive things I purchased in Vietnam. Thankfully a nice old man let us hang out in his wheel shop while the rain died down.

Vịt Nấu Chao Thành Giao - After all the rain, duck hotpot was the perfect dinner.

Tay Do Night Market - This was a much smaller night market than the one in Hoi An and most people drive up to the stalls. We tried some dessert and juices.

Day 6: Can Tho/Mekong Delta

Real Mekong Tour with Can Tho River Tour - This tour is a scooter (primarily) and boat tour. We visited the Cai Rang floating market, a cacao farm, fruit orchard, made noodles, and went off the beaten path. You can see my full review of this tour here.

Bánh Cống Cô Út - Fried prawn cake with mung beans, and shredded taro root.

Bánh Canh Cua Ngô Khang - Crab noodles and Thai noodles.

Day 7: Bus from Can Tho to Hoi Chi Minh City

Cinnamon Boutique Hotel Saigon - This hotel was right around the corner from Dan’s grandma’s house which was very convenient and centrally located. The service was great, but the nicest room is located on the 5th floor and there’s no elevator.

The Workshop Coffee - Excellent third wave coffee and good place to cool down.

Family dinner and late night rides - Dan’s family hosted potluck dinner for us to sample local favorites. Afterwards we went to a nearby karaoke bar and rode around for some late night snacks. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the names of the places we visited we were pretty drunk.


Ben Thanh Street Food Market - For breakfast we enjoyed tried the a combo of the mien luon gion (vermicelli soup with crispy eel meat) and mien luon men (vermicelli soup with soft eel meat).

Bosgaurus Coffee - Best coffee we had in Vietnam. 15 minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City to get to this coffee shop. It’s a modern space facing the river built in an old mansion.

The Lunch Lady (Nguyen Thi Thanh) - Popularized by Anthony Bourdain, we ordered two bowls of the daily special (there’s only one item on the menu). After eating bun bo hue in Hue, this just didn't compare.

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa - This sandwich a couple doors down from our hotel on the other hand was delicious!

42 Nguyen Hue - Old American military office turned into an apartment block with hip businesses and coffee shops.

Ốc Sáu Nở - Our final meal in Vietnam and it was snails!