My last location on a recent Asian tour was to Southern Vietnam. First stop Ho Chi Mien City! Wow what a place- where as Thailand is like an adult playground, this place is still a little rough on the edges. It’s growing like mad and I think has aspiration to become a tourist favorite, especially with the Chinese, but there’s still a few years left and local culture is still present and very strong.
First night- local BBQ, grilled at the table. This was chaotic, noisy and oh so much fun! Marinated beef, crayfish, some veg all grilled on your table in a small charcoal pot. The kids especially enjoyed this- I would recommend.
The following day we did some tourist things but a little off the beaten path. The Strange Case of Dr. Lam- mystery tour of Chinatown. An innovative way to tour the area, looking for clues, meeting various parts of the story along the way (I think some creative people in Helsinki should try to come up with something like this for tourists!). The adventure took us through various temples, small cafes and back streets with actors giving us tips of where to go along the way. Once we solved the mystery and called the police we enjoyed a nice dim sum lunch at a local diner.
The evening program picked us up by Vespa and we toured the city by bike, stopping at various local eating establishments- Fish, Vietnamese pancakes, spring rolls, the coffee house scene, homemade ice cream shop- so much food we had to call it a night early. The best way though to see the city on the back of a bike, not worrying about traffic just looking at the city lights!
From there we took a short flight to Phu Quoc, a small island in the bay of Thailand close to Cambodia. Here we took a cooking class with our hotel chef after visiting the local market to figure out what to make. Eye opening experience! Quite the variation of meat and produce possible…there were very few non-local people on the streets, so this as well is still fairly original (though sadly the hotel construction is booming and a larger airport is planned). We made spring rolls- fresh and fried, the local beef soup (Puo), and boiled chicken three ways, which we had to eat for dinner as it was too much food.
And of course, that’s just a scratch on the surface….
My top picks
Eating and Touring: Vintage Vespa Tours, Urban Tales, 5ku Station, Arirang BBQ
What to buy? I did manage to get in a little shopping… I suggest you stop by the shop. I found fun recycled plastic shopper bags for your groceries and some lovely summer tops!