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Truth in Travel: Chicken Schnitzel

Our new series, Truth in Travel will share the not so pretty side of travel. We will be sharing stories that need to be shared in order to increase awareness and to make the world and the travel world a more inclusive place for all. Sharing the truth is now more important than ever in order to see the changes we all want to see.

It was in October 2016, I accompanied my husband to Vienna in Austria while he was there for business. He was at a conference for three working days, in which I was so thrilled to explore the beauty of Vienna without any time restrictions or a partner with conflicting plans! We had moved from San Francisco ten months prior to this conference, so we were eager to travel to every city we could. Europe wasn’t unfamiliar to me, as I was born and raised in Scotland before moving Stateside. But I also wasn’t fully aware of the mentality in some places in Europe.

Prior to my trip, I spent countless hours pinning posts, reading blogs, and researching cool photography spots. There seemed to be so many things I knew I would love from the Hundertwasserhaus to the Vienesse Sachertorte and was so excited to be going.

It was the 12th of October, a chilly Wednesday morning. I packed my camera, put on wooly socks and lots of layers, and set out to explore the city by myself. All those exciting feelings of when you’re in a foreign land, hearing a foreign language, were kicking in. It didn’t take long for the buildings and architecture to captivate me, the imperial traditions to enthrall me, and the old coffee houses fascinate me. After climbing 50 meters high in St Stephan’s Cathedral, I was hungry and knew exactly what I wanted – chicken schnitzel! I had marked a place I would have lunch at for the three days my husband was going to be at the conference and there was no doubt in my mind which would be first – Cafe Diglas.

Cafe Diglas is a classic Vienesse coffee house serving traditional Vienesse food. Besides the food offering, there was another reason I really wanted to have lunch there. I once saw a photo of a woman on a rainy day, dining there sitting by the window looking out. Raindrops speckled her face and from above shone an angelic yellow glow from a light fixing, where the lampshade was dressed in a tutu skirt. After doing some more research, I learned that all the lampshades by the window booths were tutus and this got me really excited – the little things. Famished, I reached there past lunchtime rush hour where many people were vacating tables. It took a while before anyone noticed me, and being new to a city, I was still figuring out how the dining situation worked – do I wait to be seated or grab a table. A couple of elder women walked in five minutes after me and were seated immediately. That prompted me to seek the attention of the staff and asked for a table for one, hoping they would place me under one of those dusty pink tutu skirts. The server told me to follow him. I walked in past the bustling bar area, hearing the clinking of glasses, the murmur of chatter. I passed people putting on their scarves and coats, thanking the staff for their service, saying goodbye upon exiting, embarking from their empty tables. I next passed the window seats with the tutus I so longed to sit under, questioning myself why I couldn’t have sat there. The server guiding me to my table was fast so I couldn’t reach him to ask. So I kept following, walking now in a part of the restaurant that didn’t even seem like the restaurant, up a dark corridor, where the sound of the faint classical music was replaced with the clanging sounds of pots and pans. Soon after, the server introduced me to my table – an isolated table in a peculiar spot next to the opening of the kitchen. There were no windows, no natural light, and no other customers. I was puzzled and afraid to ask why I was seated there when there were plenty of vacant tables. But I plucked up the courage to ask why I couldn’t sit in the main restaurant to which I was told there were no available tables if I don’t have a reservation. I swallowed hard and had a knot in my stomach. I was soon given a menu and the waiter walked away.

I should have got up and left. I should have stood up for myself and demanded one of the vacant tables. I should have questioned why I was seated where nobody could see that there was a brown woman eating chicken schnitzel. But I didn’t. Was it my British politeness that didn’t want to cause any bother? Was it because I didn’t want to spoil the rest of my day after spending so many great hours in the city? Was it because I didn’t want to accept that I had been discriminated against by the color of my skin?

My heart sank. I felt like I had been punched in my stomach. My throat was dry. But I refused to show the waiter I was troubled by his ill-treatment and immersed myself into my phone, acting busy and unphased, but really typing about my experience in my iPhone notes. I ate my chicken schnitzel, paid the check, even left a tip in case I was treated even worse, and left, saying bye to the staff with a broken heart and wet eyes.


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Food Hotels Insider Tips Instagrammer's Guides North America

A Portland Photo Diary & Insider Guide

What to Do

Powell’s Books

A visit to Portland is not complete without stopping by one of the most iconic independent bookstores, Powell’s City of Books in the upscale Pearl District. One could easily spend an entire day here with the many floors and stacks of books in this massive bookstore. We even found our hardcover book, Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure on the shelves! You can also grab a copy on their website.

Portland Japanese Gardens

The gardens made me feel like I teleported to Kyoto. The Portland Japanese Gardens are located in the West Hills and are incredibly peaceful. On a clear day, you can even experience spectacular views of Mount Hood. You can pre-purchase timed tickets online. $18.95 per adult.

Catch the Sunset from Portland City Grill

Great spot for almost 360 views of PDX from the 30th floor.

Alberta Arts District

This was one of our favorite areas in Portland. Thanks to how multicultural the Alberta Arts District is, the neighborhood is super vibrant with tons of colorful murals and endless trendy restaurants and boutiques. Every inch of the place is photogenic. Explore the area on your own or on a good tour with Eat Adventures!

Day trip to Portland’s Wine Country, Willamette Valley

With over 200 wineries, tons of farmer’s markets and beautiful scenery, the Willamette Valley is the perfect place to spend a day sipping on some of Portland’s best wines and it’s only quick 30 minute drive from downtown. Our favorite wineries were Domaine Roy & fils and Fairsing Vineyard.

Day Trip to Multnomah Falls

This stunning waterfall is an Instagram favorite and is so easy to get to from PDX. You can get there by car or take a shuttle from Portland’s Gateway Transit Center to the falls. Round trip fares are $10.

Where to Eat

Bollywood Theater

In the Alberta Arts District, this spot serves up very authentic Indian street food and Instagrammable interiors.

Bunk Sandwiches

Your go-to spot for a sandwich fix, especially their grilled cheese.

Shalom y’all

We absolutely loved the vibe of this location downtown. The space is small and cozy but the best spot to have lunch is at the gorgeous bar. The service was friendly and the food is just sublime.

1927 s’mores co.

Located downtown, 1927 s’mores co. is the most charming little slice of heaven. The moment you walk in you feel like you’re entering summer camp and the s’mores take you right back to your childhood.

Tusk

Dinner at Tusk elevates the Middle Eastern dining experience. The romantic and trendy ambiance is incredible and the delicious dishes are creative while also maintaining the authenticity of the Mediterranean cuisine.

Hey Love

Fun spot for drinks and group friendly.

Where to Caffeinate

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

We love the location inside the Ace Hotel thanks to its retro ambiance, cozy couches and delicious coffee. Pictured here: Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure book.

Case Study Coffee

We absolutely loved this cozy coffee shop in the heart of downtown. Gorgeous interior, friendly service and delicious coffee.

Where to Stay

The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland

This luxury hotel in the centrally located, Downtown PDX has one of the most beautiful views of the city from their rooftop, Departures. The excellent service is consistent with the Luxury Collection hotels and the posh aesthetic makes for a perfect stay.

Ace Hotel

One of our favorites in PDX, the Ace Hotel is a classic. The hipster and vintage style is perfectly aligned with the PDX vibe. It’s located in the Pearl District, making it super easy to explore the area by foot with easy access to some of the city’s top restaurants, bars and shops.

Woodlark Hotel

The interior design of the Woodlark is an Instagrammer’s dream. Light and airy spaces, vintage vibes and lovely attention to detail. Located Downtown.

Trip sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

 

Food North America Travel Health & Wellness

A Wellness Girl’s Guide to San Diego

We’re not as woo-woo as LA, but San Diego is a health and wellness mecca in its own right. There’s no shortage of fresh pressed juice, boutique fitness studios and holistic spas in this city. For those planning a weekend getaway with wellness top of mind, San Diego is one of the best places to go. Here are a few tried and true local restaurants and activities to make your trip a breeze, from one wellness girl to another. 

Eat & Drink

Donna Jean

The best things in life aren’t very complicated. Donna Jean has a simple menu that happens to be 100% vegan. Best known for their thin crust pizzas, Donna Jean also has handcrafted pastas, salads, and sweets on their seasonal menu. Their plant-covered front patio feels like a secret hideaway, a quiet reprieve from the nearby bustling city and Balboa Park. A glass of wine with crusty focaccia bread under twinkling string lights…it’s the perfect atmosphere for a casual, comfortable and cozy dinner. 

GOODONYA

Everything at the organic North County eatery GOODONYA will feel good in ya, thanks to high-quality ingredients. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner: with a menu this nice you might want to drop by twice! Morning meals include eggs and scrambles, avocado toasts, a coconut yogurt parfait and more. Nosh on organic Mexican dishes, bone broth and soup made from scratch, giant colorful salads, wraps, and similar fare. Wash it all down with biodynamic wine, beer, kombucha, low sugar cocktails, or the restaurant’s own electrolyte and mineral hydration blend. They’ve also got a daily happy hour, as if there wasn’t enough to feel good about.  

Parakeet Cafe

If probiotics and adaptogens often make their way into your vocabulary, you’ve come to the right place. Parakeet Cafe has three locations in San Diego, all overwhelmingly pretty in pink. Start your morning with a specialty coffee, ranging from turmeric and beet lattes to mushroom elixir and cacao blends. Personalize your coffee with almond, coconut or oat milk, collagen, MCT oil, and more…all this all before the food menu! Breakfast is served all day, so you can enjoy matcha waffles or shakshuka anytime. Lunch includes salads, soups and bowls, all packed with organic greens, vegetables, and add-on sides to make your meal just the way you want it. 

JuneShine

Hard kombucha is taking over the city, and it all started with JuneShine. Their honest alcohol is made with honey, green tea, organic spices, and juice to make delicious flavors like blood orange mint, pomegranate basil, and chili mango. Grab a glass or try a flight at their beach-inspired tasting room near the city. Or drive twenty minutes North to JuneShine Ranch, featuring brewery tours and a full food menu created by certified nutritionists. 

You & Yours

Undoubtedly one of the most Instagrammable places in the city, You & Yours is the perfect mix of trendy and charming. This female-founded distillery makes gin and vodka onsite, which means a fresh-as-it-can-get cocktail for you. You won’t find artificial syrups or mix-ins here; the drink menu offers a unique mix of fruit and veggie inspired cocktails, complete with adorable names. Little Bunny Foo Foo (gin with carrot, turmeric, ginger, and lemon) and Rhubarbie’s Dream House (gin with rhubarb, raspberry, lemon, bitters, and pink peppercorn) are just a few options. 

Rest & Restore 

Encinitas Meditation Gardens

Unwind surrounded by lush greenery and a stunning ocean view at this self-realization fellowship in North County. Look for three large gold dome-topped towers on the Pacific Coast Highway. The nearby meditation gardens are open to the public, offering walking paths and several spots to sit and be still next to koi ponds, cactus, beautiful birds of paradise, and other colorful plants. 

Citrine Spa

Tucked away on an adorable block of Point Loma is Citrine Spa. The setting is sweet and inviting, and the clean beauty facials are just as soothing. The Citrine esthetician Dawn will curate natural products specific for your skin type. Enjoy a series of cleansers, masks, peels, and even gentle microdermabrasion with an essential oil shoulder and arm massage. After your serene facial, keep that refreshed feeling going by visiting the tea bar and plant shop across the street. 

Leo by Liv3

This picture-perfect salon will make sure your nails are ready for a close-up. Offering manicures, pedicures and massages, Leo sources non-toxic treatment products as much as possible. The team here is known for creating expert nail art, both minimalist chic and bright and bold. Following through with their mission statement ‘be good to yourself,’ Leo also offers free postcards: write down a reminder for some self care, mail them to home and smile when you get something other than a bill in your mailbox. 

ALCHEMĒ

A medical spa that offers beauty services for the inside and out, ALCHEMĒ utilizes treatments both cutting edge and ancient medicine. Aesthetic medicine services range from plasma therapies to photo facials and skin tightening technologies. For something a little less futuristic, opt for a Chinese medicine treatment like cupping or gua sha, or simply consult with a functional medicine practitioner. There’s no appointment necessary for a vitamin injection at the shot bar if you’re looking to get an extra boost of energy, ward off an oncoming cold, or even to help prevent a hangover. 

Saffron & Sage

This holistic health club has everything a wellness girl could ever want. Get pampered with acupuncture, cupping or a massage. Get moving with a yoga class, or mindful with a meditation therapy session. Get advice from a nutritionist, psychologist, or life coach. Saffron & Sage also sells clean beauty products, minerals, essential oil diffusers, and more goodies to take home as a reminder of your experience. Spend some time in a calming, multi-sensory space filled with like-minded locals who dive deep into health and wellness. 

Break a Sweat

Babes Who Sweat

This event series makes fitness fun, with indoor and outdoor workouts all over San Diego. Check their Facebook page for information on upcoming events; past sweat sessions include spin classes, bootcamps, yoga classes, and stand-up paddleboarding, and typically include a goodie bag from local wellness brands.  Meet fellow health and fitness lovers through this inclusive, friendly community. 

Convention Center Steps

Looking to really get your heart rate up? Walk or run up the open-air convention center steps downtown: there’s nearly 100 steps on the grand staircase. Your reward is an epic view of the Gaslamp District one direction, and the San Diego Bay on the other.  There are several shorter staircases around the convention center, perfect for working on sprints, lunges, or similar bodyweight exercises. 

Torrey Pines Hike

Get close to nature at Torrey Pines State Reserve, covering around 2,000 acres of coastal land. Open from 7:15 a.m. to sunset, the trails here are great for newbies or more experienced hikers. Bask in dramatic ocean views, scenic overlooks, coastal plants and the area’s eponymous pine trees. Check the Torrey Pines website for more information on parking and entrance fees. 

Stand-Up Paddle-boarding

There are plenty of places to get your paddle-board on. But the most quintessential San Diego spot may be taking to the water around Coronado Island. SUP Coronado offers rentals and group tours, leading around the Coronado Bay Bridge with views of the city skyline. Sit, stand, and hopefully catch a glimpse of sea life during your session. 

Food North America

Foodie Recs Straight From A Washington, DC Local

Foodie Recs Straight From A Washington, DC Local

​​​​​​Today, I’m beyond excited to share my DC local friend Jenna Brayton’s favorite foodie spots in the capitol. (P.S. if you’re on the hunt for our insider’s guide to DC – look no further!) Hope you’re hungry. Take it away Jenna!

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​So you’ve booked your trip to our nation’s capitol. I can’t even express to you how lucky you are to be in Washington, DC now… instead of in 2012! Since I’ve moved here, the food scene in DC has changed dramatically over the past seven years. Washington has a Michelin guide now… which would have been truly unheard of 7 years ago! ​​​​​​Here are some of my absolute favorite spots around the city.

My Favorite Restaurants Right Now

  • Maketto – Get the fried chicken!
  • All Purpose – Great pizza and amazing garlic bread.
  • The Salt Line – Fantastic oysters and an amazing view of the river. You absolutely must spend time exploring the Wharf area. It’s brand new and such a great addition to DC. I absolutely love it!
  • Elle – The farro salad is wild and so worth it. Come for breakfast or lunch.
  • The Columbia Room – Amazing drinks. Do the drink tasting!
  • The Dabney – Delicious and a great environment.
  • Tiger Fork – This is a really good Chinese food (technically Hong Kong, I think). A word to the wise – sit at the bar. It’s faster and there’s no wait!
  • Maydan – I don’t have words to express how much I love this place. The spreads are all amazing. The fire in the middle of the room is great and really sets the atmosphere.
  • Sfoglina – The cutest place ever! Great vibe and really, really good pastas.
  • Fiola – Great oysters, especially for any seafood lovers.
  • Fiola Mare – Another great seafood option. I love looking at the water (…this is definitely the best Georgetown waterfront restaurant. Don’t bother with the others).
  • The Royal – Great breakfast. Really historic looking interior. Love getting my morning coffees here.
  • Bad Saint – I think they take reservations now which is huge – you used to have to wait in line for hours. Great Filipino food. Not super expensive.
  • Tail Up Goat – The breads are a must. Order their trio of breads as an appetizer you will not regret it. The rest is really good too.
  • Himitsu – This place has a really great Japanese experience. Highly recommend although it’s a bit small. 
Foodie Recs Straight From A Washington, DC Local

Classic Washington, DC Restaurants 

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl – President Obama has visited, Bill Cosby has visited, and it’s a DC staple. 
  • Taylor Gourmet – This sandwich chain is scattered across DC. They have AMAZING sandwiches and amazing sodas – made right on sight. It’s a very popular DC lunch spot.
  • Tortilla Coast on Capitol Hill – Affordable Mexican food, set on a “historic” meeting place… because it’s where Paul Ryan struck a secret budget deal with other members of the Republican caucus. And a lot of Hill folks do the same now today, in their room downstairs.
  • Georgetown Cupcake – Go here for the original Georgetown Cupcakes the TV show was filmed at! It’s in Georgetown on M Street. Worth the wait!
  • Old Ebbit Grill – Notorious DC celebrity spot – lobbyists are here always. It’s right across the street from the White House & the Treasury, so its a neat view!
  • Lauriol Plaza – Delicious Mexican food. Located in Dupont near Florida Avenue. Really neat location – the restaurant is beautiful and has a great patio if its nice out.
  • Ted’s Bulletin – Make sure you get the pop-tarts! They’re homemade. And they have these crazy boozy milkshakes that are perfect.
  • Marvin’s Tavern – This is where JFK proposed to Jackie and they have a booth you can request to sit in. Love Marvin’s! 
Foodie Recs Straight From A Washington, DC Local

Other Things To Do

For things to do, there is literally nothing you can’t do here! Obviously, go see the White House. Go see all the monuments – Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Washington are the best, as is the Reflecting Pond near the Lincoln Memorial. When you’re there, walk across the bridge and go explore Georgetown. Love doing my shopping on M Street & Wisconsin Ave.

There’s also a ton of JFK sights to see in Georgetown, which is neat to track dow!. You can go see the House he lived in when he was a Senator (3307 N Street), and the house Jackie moved into after he was killed (3017 N Street). Also go to Marvin’s, above, because it’s neat to sit in their booth! Go to the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and go see a show there. If you do see a show, make sure and go up to the roof afterwards because you can see across the Potomac River to Virginia… it is so, so beautiful.

Also it’s really worth doing some of the museums and some of the art scene. Go to the National Portrait Gallery and see the Obama’s portraits. Go to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture – it’s incredible. Go to Renwick – it’s got some really great installations. The Smithsonians are all good too, though I’d say they’re good and not great. The biggest upside is that they’re all free! And you can see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence if you go to the National Archives, which is neat.

If you have extra time and want to explore outside of Washington DC boundaries, go to Alexandria, Virginia, especially Old Towne. It’s a 15 minute metro ride outside of DC, across the river. Old Towne is absolutely beautiful. You feel like you’re in another time there – I love the cobblestone streets and all the historic homes. There are so many cute restaurants there it’s hard to pick – basically you just want to walk up and down King Street and you’ll find all of them.

Foodie Recs Straight From A Washington, DC Local

If you go to Alexandria you can turn it into a half day trip where you go see Mt. Vernon too, if you want to check out President Washington’s estate. I’m a big fan of history, so I love doing stuff like that. Also, Bethesda Maryland is a 10 minute metro ride outside of DC up the red line and is also beautiful. It’s a very cute little city center with good shopping.​​​​​​​ Most importantly, have a blast! Exploring Washington DC is sure to fill you with lots of pride in our nation’s history.

Asia Food Hotels Insider Tips Instagrammer's Guides

An Insider’s Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City blew me away with their majestic detailed architecture, storied history, rich culture and, of course, its endlessly friendly locals. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Between the bowls of delicious pho my mother and I slurped, washed down with refreshing Vietnamese iced coffee, always, between the wild honking of horns every hour of the day, between the playful interactions between the children we met along our journey – we became smitten with Vietnam’s two cities. Here is an Insider’s Guide to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Hanoi

Hanoi, the cultural capital of Vietnam, has endless sights and destinations to see. Truly, the best moments in Hanoi happen in a flash. And luckily, the city is extremely walkable, so we were able to soak in every fleeting, beautiful moment.

Old Quarter

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is endlessly interesting. You’ll find locals hanging the laundry out to dry, colorful displays outside of family owned businesses and restaurants, souvenir shops galore and spices wafting through every inch of the area.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

Cong Caphe

This cafe was so adorable! Cong Caphe is a trendy cafe chain in Hanoi, with nostalgic twist. I highly recommend a visit!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

Loading T

If you love architecture, make a stop at Loading T Cafe! It’s located in an aged, French colonial home with the most gorgeous tiled floors. Their menu is filled with all sorts of treats, perfect for a break while walking around the city. And, obviously, order their Vietnamese iced coffee! (I’m not kidding, if you travel and love coffee… Hanoi is your place!)

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

Lotte Hotel

Take a look at these views, and ask me how beautiful this hotel is. I couldn’t recommend the Lotte Hotel more! Waking up to the sprawling Hanoi city skyline below us was a dream come true. It felt like we were able to wake up in the clouds every morning. Add delicious pho and Vietnamese iced coffee delivered fresh for room service into the mix? If I weren’t such an adventurer, I’d stay here all day long!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi Railway Street

The tightly compacted Railway Street in the Old Quarter is so stunning. Yes, trains do pass by regularly! You’ll see the daily trips locals make to and from their homes (which are scary close to the tracks). I love little areas like this. It feels like a slice of authentic Vietnam every traveler dreams of.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral is a French colonial cathedral was constructed in 1882, with neo-Gothic/Parisian inspired architecture. It truly stands out in the city – and even I caught myself thinking I was somewhere in France when we passed by!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City delighted us in every way. The bustling former capital of Vietnam, also known as “Saigon” is busting at the seams with energy and life. You’ll find much more traffic, crows and chaos – but also serene scenes of local life, adorable neighborhoods and temples galore. Here’s some of my favorite finds in Ho Chi Minh City.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Cafe Gian Giao

Translated loosely, Cafe Gian Giao means “Cafe Scaffolding” – which is obviously inspired by the industrial, constructional vibe of the eatery. You’ll find traditional fishing canoes filled with plants next to concrete electricity poles. It’s a totally unique place to grab a bite that I’d highly recommend!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi Tunnels

Travelers who want to learn more about the Vietnam War should definitely check out the tunnels of Cu Chi. The immense maze of connected tunnels shows how ingenious the Vietnamese battle plans were. So many traps, puzzles and mazes! It’s impressive to experience each long and thin tunnel… just be sure to not get lost!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Independence Palace

Independence Palace, or the Reunification Palace, was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. Visitors can visit the well preserved palace, including its original tanks from the Vietnam War, its quiet gardens, secret rooms and command bunker!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Caravelle Hotel

The Caravelle was once home to the Australian and New Zealand Embassy, and the main center of communication during the Vietnam war… but now it’s become quite a fabled placed. It’s featured in many Vietnamese books! It’s worth a trip to see for yourself!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Opera House

You don’t have to be an opera aficionado to appreciate this gem! The concert hall puts on regular performances… so be sure to check out what is playing when you visit.

People’s Committee Of Ho Chi Minh City

The grand and opulent exterior of the People’s Committee building is a sight to behold! The building serves as the City Hall, so it’s not open to visitors – but the outside is stunning.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Rex Hotel

The Rex Hotel is a perfectly situated hotel in Saigon. Our accommodations were super welcoming and warm (always appreciated!), and I absolutely adored the overgrown greenery in its open air spaces. Gorgeous!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Notre Dame Cathedral

Another French-inspired Cathedral in the heart of Vietnam. The Notre Dame Cathedral (of Ho Chi Minh City that is, not Paris!) had all of its intricate tiles and materials shipped in from France. It’s a great place to see some of the European influence in the city right downtown.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Central Post Office

Saigon’s Central Post Office’s yellow and green exterior is a stunner. You’ll find tourists galore here, taking photos and exploring its expansive interiors. It’s a great spot to mail a post card or letter home while in Vietnam (while also getting some stunning photographs).

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Explore Saigon’s Bustling Streets

Of course, take some time out of your schedule to just soak in all of Ho Chi Minh’s busy street life. I loved snapping photograph after photograph of every scene that unfolded in the city. So many flowers, overgrown greenery, waves upon waves of motorbikes and colorful exteriors of the downtown area.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

The Loft

The Loft’s white bricked interiors are so welcoming! This cafe is actually up above an art gallery, where you’ll find marble tables, lots of natural light… and of course, delicious Vietnamese iced coffee! It’s the perfect place to take a break while exploring.

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

The Reverie

Feast your eyes! The Reverie is a bedazzled jewel of a hotel, offering some of the most opulent lodgings in the country. The interior decor is endlessly detailed and intricate, I loved exploring the different rooms and lobby areas – just soaking in all the color and textures. It’s truly an unrivaled beauty in Vietnam!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

Thien Hau Temple

As a culture loving traveler, I always take the time to research the important historical and religious sites wherever I go. The Thein Hau Temple was a must-do in my book, as it was dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu and the deified form of Lin Moniang – who saved her family from a typhoon with her powers. I loved watching the locals come to the alter and lighting incense. It’s always a blessing to be able to experience these sort of places first hand!

An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
An Insider's Guide To Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City

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