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.
I went to a whole bunch of places I never would have known about had I been relying on Lonely Planet.
And, well, this happened.
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.)
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!