Eye Candy

From Hanoi to Saigon and Everywhere in Between

by Chris Schalkx
Chinatown A rare sight: empty streets in Saigon's Chinatown the day before Vietnamese New Year. All photos by Chris Schalkx.

The travel blogger behind Thailand-based design blog Rice Potato takes us on a visual tour of Vietnam.

VIETNAM – Xin chào. Earlier this year, my wife and I spent a month traveling around Vietnam. We made our way from chilly Hanoi (seriously, it was freezing) to sunny Saigon, stopping for phở, coffee, and many photo opportunities along the way. Here are a few favorite snaps from our travels.

egg coffee in Hanoi

First order of business: egg coffee (yes, egg and coffee – it’s a thing!) Sounds strange, tastes pretty delicious. Giảng Cafe in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is known to serve one of the best, but you’ll find it in cafes all over the city.

Ninh Binh

We visited Ninh Binh on a day trip from Hanoi. Somehow overlooked by most tourists (who flock to nearby Ha Long Bay en masse), Ninh Binh’s scenery is absolutely stunning.

Hoi An shopping

Hoi An might be touristy as hell, but there is no denying that this little town in central Vietnam is incredibly charming. To dodge the crowds, get up early.

Hoi An rooftop

To take a break from the tourist masses, head up to The Chef restaurant in Hoi An’s old town. It sports a rooftop that is perfect for a coffee break or a drink at sunset.

Hoi An’s Hoa Van Le Nghia temple

In a sea of yellow, Hoi An’s Hoa Van Le Nghia Temple stood out for its cobalt blue color. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an old Vietnamese lady peddling her wares in this same doorway, which makes for a very photogenic scene.

Ho Chi Min City tet flowers

We traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as most locals call it, in the week before Tết (Vietnamese New Year) which is quite possibly the best time to visit. During the days, streets turn into fields of marigold and chrysanthemums, believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.

Ho Chi Min City skyline

Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline proves that Vietnam is so much more than stucco walls and crumbling buildings.

Ho Chi Min City Mountain Retreat restaurant

I’d be lying if I said my visiting Vietnam wasn’t 50 percent food-motivated (ok, more like 90 percent). While you’ll find fabulous street eats all around the country, there are some restaurants not to be missed either. We particularly liked Mountain Retreat in Ho Chi Minh City, a somewhat hidden rooftop restaurant with great food and fantastic vibes.

Ho Chi Min City artist

One last shot of an al fresco haircut in Ho Chi Minh City.

Keep Exploring Vietnam

A Whirlwind Tour of Vietnam and Cambodia
Sniff Your Way to the Best Street Food in Vietnam
Golden Hour Never Ends in Vietnam’s Ochre City

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.