My friend Anna and I both love a good adventure. We’d been craving an a vacation for quite awhile and since both of us have flexible work schedules and neither of us have children, we knew we had to take advantage of this season in our lives, and we headed to Southeast Asia! In Vietnam, we stayed close to Pham Ngu Lao street, in the backpackers district, to get a better feel for the real Ho Chi Minh City. We were also sure to make a few excursions to Dong Khoi street to experience the city’s fancier areas as well. I recommend evening drinks atop the Rex hotel and in the morning definitely stop by L’usine cafe for a very hip croissant and coffee.
Our most favorite experience in Vietnam was the cooking class we took at The Vietnam Cookery Center. Our lesson included a walking tour of the Ben Thanh market during which our guide explained the role each of our purchased ingredients would play in our meal. It was the perfect excuse to carefully examine each vendor’s spread without feeling too intrusive. The class itself was also fun and we found ourselves making a salad of shredded banana leaf, Vietnamese pancakes and sautéed chicken with lemongrass and chili. Afterward, we were given a cookbook to take home with us. As we speak, I’m reminded just how amazing that sautéed chicken with lemongrass and chili was!
Ho Chi Minh city is a shock to the senses! It’s the land of motorbikes and when crossing the street one must walk slowly and surely as to let bikes zoom past. But it’s also this same bustle that is integral to its excitement. This and the Vietnamese iced coffee, Banh Mi sandwiches and small sidewalk Pho stands on every corner!
Try the traditional Vietnamese pho at the Pho Thin restaurant.
Treat yourself to a cooking class at The Vietnam Cookery Center.
Be sure to stop by the war remnants museum.
Don’t forget breakfast at L’usine Cafe.
Dam Sen Cultural Park is a fun and unique stop.
Rooftop drinks at Rex hotel are a must!
Em Scott is a Fine Art Wedding + Editorial photographer based in The San Francisco Bay Area. She loves to travel with her husband, scour thrift stores, drink coffee and snuggle with her dog. In her free time she is also an editor for The Refined Woman, a fashion blog for the working woman.