Books That Will Make You Want to Buy a Plane Ticket Right Now: Vietnam: 100 Unusual Travel Tips

March 23, 2016

Vietnam (1)

Four years ago right before I left Asia, I decided at the last minute to stop by Vietnam for a few days on my way back to the States. Because that was my life back then: just stopping by countries on a whim because, whatever, why not? These days, I stop by Target on my way home from work when I’m feeling sassy.


Anyway, the main reason why I decided to go to Vietnam was not for the culture or the beaches or even for the pho. It was because my friend, Barbara, who I had only ever met on the Internet, told me I should come visit her and her husband, Vu, and stay with them in Ho Chi Minh City. Because, again, that was my life back then: going to foreign countries to stay with people I’d only ever met on the Internet. Because, WHATEVER, WHY NOT, AMIRITE?

I spent my four days in Vietnam eating everything Barbara told me to eat, going everywhere Barbara told me to go, and posing for ridiculous photos usually involving statues because Barbara told me to, okay?


And it was super awesome.

I ate a whole bunch of things I never would have ordered on my own.

Yes, those are legs coming out of my mouth. WHAT?

I went to a whole bunch of places I never would have known about had I been relying on Lonely Planet.

Giant Jesus statue. In Vietnam. Because of course there is.

Giant Jesus statue. In Vietnam. Because of course there is.

And, well, this happened.


And this:


Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s a giant butt statue. WHAT?

But what if you’re planning on going to Vietnam and you don’t have your very own Barbara to tell you what to eat and where to go and what to do? And, don’t you even think about stealing MY Barbara because she’s MINE and you can’t have her.

(Although you can go on her Saigon Street Eats Tour. But I doubt she’ll invite you to go home with her. She’s crazy. But not that crazy.)

Barbara. Clearly out of her gourd. In a good way.

Barbara. Clearly out of her gourd. In a good way.

Well, you’re in luck! Because Barbara and her husband, Vu, have just released their very own guidebook to Vietnam, Vietnam: 100 Unusual Travel Tips and a Guide to Living and Working There.

As the name suggests, there are tons of insider tips on everything from when to go to where to visit and, of course, what to eat.


There’s also an entire section with important information for people who are considering moving and working in Vietnam — including advice on jobs, housing and schooling, and a list of all the weird Western goods you should bring with you because, Lord knows, you won’t find them once you get there.

My favorite part of the book is where Barbara lays out the itineraries she would use if certain people were to come visit her in Ho Chi Minh City. For example, for her “hipster DJ sister,” she’d go to a microbrewery in town that uses jackfruit in their beer, make a stop at spa and then pick up some durian ice cream at a place called Fanny Ice Cream because, of course, it’s called that.

Barbara doesn’t mention in the itinerary section what she’d do if her “weirdo, American friend from the Internet” came to visit her. But I imagine it would involve lots of posing with statues. As it should.


You can buy Vietnam: 100 Unusual Travel Tips and a Guide to Living and Working There on Amazon in paperback or Kindle form by clicking the image below.

Do you use guidebooks while traveling? If so, what’s been your favorite? 

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means I can earn a small commission for any purchases made at no extra cost to you. Which means more donuts for me! Yay!


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On March 23, 2016 at 9:44 am Maryjean said:

    This is perfect timing for me. I just decided to teach English in Vietnam next year and I’ve been following both of your blogs. Thannks for sharing this!

    • On March 23, 2016 at 11:23 am Sally said:

      Wow, that’s great, Maryjean! I’m sure you’ll love teaching in Vietnam. I regret not teaching there when I had a chance — maybe I’ll have to go back and do that one of these days!

  2. On March 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm Jessiev said:

    I love this book. I also love your photos! I think you and B should create a fun photo tour of Vietnam… 😉

    • On March 26, 2016 at 12:18 pm Sally said:

      I have about 500 photos from the 4 days I spent in Vietnam and they are all either pics of food, my stuffing my face with food or me in some ridiculous pose that Barbara told me to do. It was quite fun going through them looking for photos for this post!

  3. On March 23, 2016 at 11:07 pm Barbara said:

    I love this post! Mainly because you are the only person I’ve ever met who’s actually done what I told them to do. Everyone else just tells me to rack off when I order them to pose with statues!!!!
    Barbara recently posted..Vietnam: 100 Unusual Travel Tips

  4. On March 30, 2016 at 5:10 am Kassandra said:

    How random, I was in Vietnam last year and I went on their food tour. It was great fun! Vu noticed that I had a stiff neck at some point during the morning and brought me to a market where some very kind strangers proceeded to try and fix me with cupping and what not — it didn’t work, but it was a great experience 🙂

    In fact, my post about Vietnam was my last written blog – I need to get back in the writing game!


    • On April 2, 2016 at 11:43 am Sally said:

      So glad you got to go on their food tour. Isn’t it great! And I’ve always wanted to try cupping but those it also kind of freaked me out. I’m impressed you did it, even if it didn’t help!


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