Just came back from a wonderful week trip to Vietnam. This time had a bit more time and saw more of the country. All amazed on how a war torn country can come back and be so alive and working. Vietnam is spoken less than other Asian countries when it comes to infrastructure and tourism but its a sleeping giant awaiting to catch the Asian boom.
This is the official tourist bureau of the country, http://www.vietnamtourism.com/e_pages/news/index.asp
I came in from my usual trek, Nantes, Paris CDG, to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) surprisingly many locals still refer to it as Saigon, the inner central districts. The airport is nice small easy to navigate; I had locals pick me up by car. So no experience with public transport ,however, taxis are plenty just outside the terminal ,and figure its the best way to come to city center or district 1. http://www.hochiminhcityairport.com/
Once there I went to my by now home, the Hotel Grand Silverland, in district 1 ,right in the middle by the great famous market of Ben Thanh. This is as a classic hotel as you can find, old look, and modern facilities throughtout, with a great breakfast,and easy walking to the market, muséums,and lively street life of the city. It has a wonderful rooftop pool and resto with fabulous views of Saigon. http://tanhailonghotel.com.vn/grandsilverlandhotel/
From here ,I tasted the nightlife best for action, and the best looking women of Vietnam locals or expats try the Beirut Gardens with belly dancing shows after 20h. 74/13D Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city telephone +84838222188 . http://beirut.tinhung.vn/ Just be there and you will see. I was surprise to be invited to a restaurant where Pres Bush even visited while there,and his pictures still hang on the walls lol!! TIB restaurant ,It is at the end of a narrow passage street, no web but here is the contact 187 ter, Hai Ba Trung, District 3, Tel +84 8 3829 7242. This has great dishes in a colonial setting even with pictures of Vietnam last queen and king(1945).
I continue my culinary search into HCMC =Saigon, at Ngọc Sương 106 Sương Nguyệt Ánh,district 1, Tel: (84.8) 3925.6939 ; here we had a nice fireup shrimp dish that was superb. And it has a webpage with the address at least, http://www.ngocsuong.com.vn/vietnamese/saigon.html
After this one we went to the Rose Palace, no webpage and not on the tourist page, but locals know, a big restaurant for banquets and special events, with a big event of models parading that was awesome, the food is good and the service is great so seek it out when in town. I,also, try another local favorite of Bung Tao, no web and as was taken to them, forgot to write down the addresses, tant pis, but well Worth asking for them on your trip there. See the pictures here on the hotpot dishes. Another one was comga Van Xuong at 74 Hàm Nghi, Dist 1 (gần bánh mì Như Lan), famous for its Hunan chicken style food of China. just ask for it.
We drove by car from the airport of Chu lai, but before we stop for lunch at Bung Tao on the road restaurant, a airy picnic type large place with local service and good food of the area, fish sea and river, and great Tiger beers with a lively table of 10, lots of cheers and happy crowd, the driver was good lol! This one of course will take a good local to take you to it, but here for the memories and good cheers, XHO cheers salut a votre santé! see the picture with the car and a country house patio.
At Chu lai airport was just a country airstrip but apparently busy as it is close to the beaches; and of course it was built by the USA… B52 landed here. we flew on VASCO domestic Vietnam Airlines. The best info on it found this webpage http://www.ourairports.com/airports/VVCA/pilot-info.html
At Chu Lai, we took a car, and drove to Da Nang. Here we had a night stay across the beach at the Hotel Doan 27, 128 Trường Sa street nothing fancy ,it houses the army personnel when on manouvers,and then a tourist hotel the rest of the time, basic training, food for breakfast order before hand, and not that great chow; the beach across was great thus,and wonderful views from my room. Here again see the pictures as cannot find a webpage, the locals took me here , to get rid of me hahahaha!!! The best part is that next door there was a small cafe where I tasted the best coffee in Vietnam!!! again just in the corner of the hotel and sideways facing the beach.
We did ate here , first at Tea house Viet Nam, see the photo with the addresses as no web could find on them, very nice clean place we had good soups here,and rices, with green and yellow tea and water, very cheap I was told my friends paid lol! Then we move on to one very special, its a patio with buddha and hills decoration, terrace out and covered, very nice place and service, again forgot the name yikes!! its me sorry, see the photos with the table and the tree in it, 3 photos of it Inside the restaurant, will need to recall those names or maybe someone reading the post can tell me.It will the unknown restaurant of Da Nang.
Here in Da Nang, we went to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, very nice airport at Da Nang, notice this is a big tourist spot in Vietnam, and famous name from previous wars. http://www.danangairportonline.com/ There are severail nice hôtels , casinos, and the rotating bridge as well as the famous dragon bridge that spurs fire at night Fridays and Saturdays.
Before leaving Da Nang, we went very late to the historic city of Hoi An, it was midnite and my camera did not work well flash problems; but there is the famous Japanese bridge and the many pagodas plus many restaurants and antiques gifts clothing stores all the town seems to be for tourism and preservation of houses more than 300 years old, the Japanese were here,then Chinese, then French,and Americans. Other than info found in Vietnam tourist office, here is one locally done, http://hoian-tourism.com/?lang=en
I finally took my flight back to Paris at Hanoi, by midnite, the flight was smooth,and on time. This is a nice size airport spacious and easy to navigate, here is the site http://www.hanoiairportonline.com/
In all a very nice trip,and many thanks to the local people who helped me thru the airports, road transportation,hotels, and restaurant accompanying me on everything. Looking forward to return. Cheers.