One neat feature of human memory is that we tend to remember unique experiences more clearly than repetitive daily routines. It's just short of two years since Kelsi and I set off on our adventure, but I can still remember each hostel and home we stayed in, in order. (I used to be able to recall each meal we ate as well, but I have to go back to my notes or pictures to remember them all now.)
Tet is the celebration of Vietnamese New Year, the biggest holiday of the year in all of Vietnam. The date is based off of a variation of the Chinese lunisolar calendar and usually occurs sometime in January or February, lasting a few days in urban areas and up to two weeks in rural towns. Our visit to Vietnam fell right in the middle of the holiday, which meant that while many attractions were closed, we got to share in the celebrations first hand. This post is all about the Vietnamese customs that we observed during our time in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Just outside of Ho Chi Minh City lies the Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, the Cu Chi Tunnels were part of an enormous tunnel network connecting much of the country. Viet Cong soldier would use the tunnels to hide from American troops, sometimes for days or weeks at a time. These same tunnels were used to great effect in the Tet Offensive.
Street food tours in Vietnam are listed among the top highlights for visitors to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. I was sorely tempted to book one, as all the major companies got rave reviews and shuttled their guests around on motorbikes. At $50-70 a pop though, we made the prudent, though slightly disappointing decision to try to explore the food scene on our own with the Internet as our guide. Could some travel blog research, a good map, and a lot of patience sufficiently reward our labors?