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HA LONG BAY :: HANOI :: HO CHI MINH CITY :: HOI AN
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay consists of roughly 1,900 islands and islets made from limestone and schist. Most of the islands are uninhabited and unaltered by humans, and they range in age from 250 million to 280 million years old. Only 989 of the islands have names, which come from their shapes and forms, such as Human Head Island. Ha Long Bay also has a large system of breathtaking caves and grottoes. Declared by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage for its natural beauty, it has also witnessed much of Vietnam's history, such as two naval battles, and it was one of the first cradles of human existence.
A captivating mixture of medieval and modern…of Chinese influence and French design, Vietnam's capital is one of Southeast Asia's most engaging cities. With much to see and do, highlights include several sites focused on Ho Chi Minh—his residence, mausoleum, and a museum; the wooden One-Pillar Pagoda, dating back to 1049; the Presidential Palace; 900-year-old Temple of Literature; the fascinating Old Quarter; and a performance of the world-famous Hanoi Water Puppets.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Hanoi. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host about Hanoi and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Hanoi, Vietnam insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
I was born in 1976 and attended at Hanoi University of Foreign Studies and completing a BA in English & Bachelor of Economics (Tourism Department). Since 2003 I have been a licensed guide in the city of Hanoi. I enjoy being a Local Host and look forward to showing you all that Hanoi has to offer.
Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter is famous for its small artisans and merchants including many silk shops. At the beginning of the 20th century, each of the 36 streets that today make up the Old Quarter, had merchants and households that specialized in a particular trade such as silk, cotton, leather, silver etc. These days the street names reflect these specializations although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here as well as a night market open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.
Meaning Lake of the Returned Sword or Lake of the Restored Sword, Hoan Kiem Lake in the historical center of the city, is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere or to take a leisurely stroll. It is one of Hanoi’s major scenic spots and a focal point of public life. There are some good photo opportunities around the shores of the lake.
Situated near the South China Sea, vibrant Ho Chi Minh City was an ancient Khmer settlement known as Saigon until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Today, its French colonial influence from the mid-19th century can be seen in the city's broad boulevards and elegant architecture. The small central core makes it easy to explore on foot. Weave your way along famous Dong Khoi Street and stop to see Notre Dame Cathedral and the beautiful Central Post Office. Other fascinating attractions include the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong as a hideout during the war; the War Remnants Museum; Reunification Palace; and the colorful Ben Thanh Market.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Ho Chi Minh City. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Ho Chi Minh and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
After gaining an English degree in 1997, I graduated from the College of Tourism in 1998. I started working as a guide in Ho Chi Minh City in 2002. We have a saying in Vietnam that says “the more you travel, the more you learn.” I love to travel not only through all of my beloved country, but also to other Asian countries. I also love my profession and am happy to serve and assist you in any possible way to make your trip in Vietnam enjoyable and memorable.
Home to the infamous “Five O’clock follies” and a favorite hangout for American officers during the Vietnam War, this rooftop bar still evokes memories of a time long past. The furnishings are a bit kitschy, but that is part of the charm. Stop for a drink or dinner and enjoy the great city views.
Cholon is the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City and gets its name from Cho Lon, which means “big market” in Chinese. This intriguing area is teaming with restaurants, temples, shops, and buzzing markets. The two primary markets are Binh Tay and Ben Thanh. These massive markets offer similar products and are a great place to experience the local culture, browse the many stalls, and sample great authentic local cuisine.
This city comes alive at night, and a “cyclo” ride is the perfect way to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. Sitting in the front of this 3-wheeled bicycle gives you a great view as you slowly meander through the streets. Although a rare occurrence, some “cyclo” riders may try to charge you too much or take you to places you don’t want to go, so make sure to negotiate the price and clearly state your destination before the ride begins.
Running from the Notre Dame Cathedral to the waterfront, this shopping area is well known for the quality of its goods. Here you can buy custom made silk garments that rival those of Hong Kong for a reasonable price. The workmanship is extraordinary. Among other items for sale are jewelry, handbags, tablecloths, ceramics, and scarves. If shopping isn’t your thing, this is still a great place to take a stroll to explore the city.
This popular rooftop bar, in the iconic Caravelle Hotel, offers sweeping views of Ho Chi Minh City. Stop by for a drink at dusk and enjoy the spectacular view as the sun sets and the city lights up. Live music is featured nightly. You don’t have to dress up, but no shorts please.
Ton That Thien Street is a great place to shop for Vietnamese and propaganda posters. You can also find funky lacquer ware and costume jewelry shops.
Once known as Faifo, Hoi An is an ancient city with more than 2,000 years of history. Located on the Thu Bon River, it was once an important trading center of Southeast Asia in the 16th century and now is a popular spot for visitors. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it serves as an outstanding example of a well-preserved, ancient town. Today, it is characterized by narrow, old streets; old houses made of wood and decorated with lacquered boards; pagodas; ancient temples; tombs; assembly halls; and an interesting, old Japanese Bridge.
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