This travelogue describes my trip to Vietnam, specifically the Vietnam Gourmet Traveller tour offered by Intrepid Travel. To make a couple of quick notes before I start, I quote prices in a mixture of Vietnamese dong (VND) and U.S. dollars (USD). Typically, I list a price in the currency I used for the purchase I refer to. At the time of my trip, the exchange rate was roughly USD 1 = VND 15,600.
I also wanted to comment briefly on a linguistic matter. Other people I know who've been to Vietnam have remarked that separation of syllables when spelling is inconsistent. This is not actually true. The rule is that if you are writing in English, you write words without syllable breaks, while you put in syllable breaks if you're writing in Vietnamese. How do you tell which language is being used, since Vietnamese uses the Roman alphabet? Simple! Vietnamese has various tone markings which appear above syllables, as well as dots which can appear below vowels to alter the way they're pronounced. If you put those marks in, then you break up the syllables. I'll also note that the tones make it difficult to learn Vietnamese and I never got more than a few phrases. I did, however, learn to recognize some menu items to point to, primarily those related to coffee.
Introduction and Hanoi
Hue and Hoi An
Nha Trang and Dalat
Saigon, the Mekong Delta, and the Trip Home
last updated 18 January 2004