Beer Corner Hanoi: Old vs. New, which is best?

Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam

Beer Corner Hanoi: Old vs. New, which one is best?

Before pubs and clubs became a thing, bia hoi or beer corner Hanoi, was the original choice for locals looking for a cheap, tasty beer. 

Travelers suckling on bottles of Saigon or Bia Hanoi soon got wind of an even more affordable tipple and so began a tradition. Beer corner is almost like a traveler’s rite of passage in Vietnam. 

The old beer corner has become so popular that it has lost its uniqueness.  Like most things in Vietnam, popularity has all but destroyed the experience.

All is not lost though! Much to our delight, some entrepreneurial locals have revived the institution.  They simply took the original concept and started it around the corner. Let us tell you about it and why it’s a must-visit when exploring Old Quarter in Hanoi.

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What is Bia Hoi?

Bia hoi is the Vietnamese phrase for ‘fresh beer’.

This light, refreshing Vietnamese beer or rather, rice lager is made from, you guessed it, rice. It’s easy to make, can be done in big batches and takes no time to mature.

That convenience translates into bulk supplies and cheap prices for the thirsty masses.

At VND 5,000 (~USD 0.21 / ~AUD 0.30) to VND 8,000 (~USD 0.34 / ~AUD 0.50) for a glass we can see why it’s a winner with locals and visitors alike.

How to find Beer Corner Hanoi

Finding Hanoi’s cheapest beer is easy.

Simply look for people sitting on tiny tables and chairs surrounding a keg with a sign that says ‘Bia Hoi’ and a cheap price.

The trick is to find the experience you would enjoy most.

 

Old Beer Corner

You can actually type ‘beer corner Hanoi’ into Google maps and it will pin point a location for you.

Now, this is where you will need to make a decision.

Do you want the original beer corner Hanoi (also known as bia hoi junction), with large crowds and overpriced glasses of beer? Great, then head to the pinpoint on the map, at Ta Hien Street.

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It literally is a street, not corner, crammed with tiny bars out to convince you they have the cheapest beer on the street.

To be honest, it didn’t look like a good option for a quiet drink. It’s narrow and noisy and it can be hard to have a decent conversation.

What surprised us most was the price of the beers. It certainly wasn’t the spot to get a cheap beer. Some of the prices were higher than most of the bars and clubs in Old Quarter.

 

New (unofficial) Beer Corner Hanoi

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If like us, you want to have the authentic experience of a traditional beer corner, then head to the unofficial new spot on Pho Ma May street.

The best way to find it is to head to the Medallion Hanoi hotel and look across the road.

Travel Tip!: There is a toilet available in the Medallion hotel reception. You know, for when you eventually break that seal and make room for ‘more’. Cue tipsy laughter!) 

What to expect

Simplicity is key for the perfect beer corner experience.

 

Pick your spot

You will have a pick of spots. They are easy to identify as they consisting of no more than one to three tiny tables per spot. Each spot will have one to two large pressurized beer kegs with a server eager to get you to join the fray.

Once you’ve picked where you want to have your beer, you simply grab a tiny seat and plant yourself. While you do that, the server pours your beer with efficient precision straight from the keg into a 8 oz (250ml).

We can almost guarantee your beer will hit the table, the same time your bum hits the seat. There’s no mucking around here!

 

Savvy servers

The beer servers are some of the savviest we’ve ever come across. A fresh beer was in front of us mere seconds after the last mouthful of the old glass, without even having to ask. It’s great, but can lead to sore head and empty pockets the next day. LOL!

At the end of your visit, your server will let you know what you owe and you are free to go.

Things they don't tell you

The popularity of the original beer corner has caused new ones to sprout up through Old Quarter.

Daytime businesses are turning their sidewalk space into beer corners at night. All in the hopes of cashing in on extra income.

But it is a gamble and why there are usually only one to three tables. It’s all about available space and staying out of ‘trouble’.

 

Uh-oh, it’s the police

Thing is, it’s not entirely legal. It’s also the reason you’ll see the local police roll round in a small truck patrolling the streets. They confiscate offending tables and chairs where they catch them.

This is why the server will suddenly tell you to stand up and start clearing the tables and chairs, leaving you and your beer, hanging in the breeze.

There is no need to panic. As long as you’re on the sidewalk looking inconspicuous, you’ll be fine.

Give the five-oh a few minutes to roll past and watch as all the chairs and tables come rolling back out.

Before you know it, you’ll be back to having a beer ball on the sidewalk. It’s all part of the adventure, right?

 

 

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General traffic

Our beer corner sat right next to a door to an apartment building.

We were constantly having to stand up or move our chairs for motorbikes zipping past.

It was clear they weren’t too happy about the arrangement but never made a fuss about it.

In some instances, your table might be hugging the curb, so it’s best to keep an eye out for traffic.

Again, it’s all part of the experience because where else can you do this?

So which is the best beer corner Hanoi, old or new ?

We’d say try both and decide for yourself.

We loved the new beer corner for many reasons but the main ones are,

  • It’s a legit cheap beer

  • It’s not overcrowded

  • You can make friends easier because you can have a decent conversation, and

  • There is a bit of fun involved regarding local law enforcement.

Leon and Tash Vlog

See Beer Corner Hanoi for yourself!

So, if you’re looking for things to do in Hanoi, make sure to add a visit to the beer corner as part of your Hanoi nightlife itinerary.

And if this is your first visit to our site, welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

 

Paradise Cave Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

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Seen one cave, seen ‘em all? Not the case at Paradise Cave, Phuong Nha Ke Bang National Park

During our 2016 visit to Dong Hoi, we attempted to visit Dark Cave in the Phuong Nha Ke Bang National Park.

It wasn’t to be as bad weather flooded the cave, foiling both our plans and a second shot at it since our schedule was pretty tight at the time. But not this time!

For this trip we planned things a little differently.

One, we made sure we had amazing accommodation at Au Lac Bar and Hostel. A nice, cozy spot to stay for a few extra days in case the weather got nasty. Two, we had a backup plan this time.

We were ready to get our cave on, no matter what!

What attracted us to Paradise Cave?

Phong Nha is well known for its extraordinary cave systems. Heck, it sports the world’s second largest cave, Song Nha.

But we weren’t interested in big brother. We wanted to see two of the smaller systems, famous in their own right, called Paradise and Dark Caves.

Lucky for us, Au Lac Bar and Hostel had connections to a variety of tours to the cave and we picked one by Tour to the Caves. Best part was we could choose which of the three caves we wanted to do! This was perfect because not all tours offer this option and we specifically wanted to see Paradise and Dark caves.

In this blog we’ll tell you all about Paradise Cave and then more on Dark Cave in a different blog as they were two very differed experiences.

The best way to get to Paradise Cave

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Almost everything you read will tell you to stay in Phong Nha because it’s closest to the caves, but we beg to differ.

Dong Hoi isn’t that much further out and most tours are happy to pick you up from your hotel in Dong Hoi, as was the case with Tour to the Caves.

If you prefer to do the caves on your own then a taxi or private transfer is your best option. Private transfer possibly being the cheaper of the two options. Most hotels and/or hostels can hook you up with private transfers.

The beauty of Paradise Cave

We opted to do this one first and keep the fun and excitement of Dark Cave for last (wink-wink).

On arrival we made our way to a waiting electric buggy that took us up to the stairs leading to Paradise cave. It’s an approximate 1.2 kilometers ride and you can walk it using the covered walk way provided.

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Good thing is there are plenty of rest stops for catching your breath.

Before entering Paradise Cave

At the entrance to the cave is a visitor’s area with seating, vending machines and an attendee desk.

This is a great spot to grab a seat, catch your breath and revel in the breathtaking jungle covered karts surroundings.

There are boards with basic information on the discovery of Paradise Cave, its layout and basic safety instructions to be aware of.

You can buy water or other cold beverages from the vending machines, but we opted to take our own which you can do too.

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A fun experience for all.

Paradise Cave is a relaxing and fun experience that anyone can enjoy.

The staircase from the mouth of the cave down to the viewing platforms and walk ways might look intimidating but it’s not that bad.

The walk ways are relatively well lit.  Enough to make your way around comfortably but doesn’t detract from the stunning views.

The experience will either leave your jaw dragging behind you or leave a massive smile on your dial.

Is Paradise Cave affected by weather?

It sure is. We weren’t sure whether we were actually going to make it to the caves due to rain the previous two days.

Fortunately, the rain wasn’t heavy enough to affect the cave for our visit but it can and does flood during the wet season, which may affect your visit.

The tourism industry in Dong Hoi is pretty onto too, especially during the wet season!  This means all you have to do is ask your hotel on the status of the caves. We got unprompted updates each morning at breakfast from our hostel hosts.

Another great testament to the amazing customer service you can expect in Dong Hoi.

What’s best, a guided tour or a DIY tour?

It’s a cave, so you have the option of going with a tour or you can just do it on your own.

Pros and cons of a tour depends on your travel needs.  Usually we avoid them but this time round we decided a tour was better and we weren’t disappointed.

We learned things about the area and the discovery of the cave systems in it from a local that we wouldn’t have found by ourselves.

Also, our tour guide, was amazing to interact with. He was not only local but passionate about sharing his knowledge of his home and had some really interesting tidbits to share with us.

Tour to the Caves were great at making sure their guests got the most out of their experience and we thoroughly enjoyed our company!

How long does a visit to Paradise Cave take?

One kilometer doesn’t sound like much but we loved every second of it and almost ran out of time to see the whole thing.

It took us two hours to do Paradise cave but mostly because I was running around taking a million photos and we were shooting for our vlog too.

On your own, you could probably smash it out in 45 minutes to an hour.  Maybe less if you’re just there for a quick look and it would still be worth the visit.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Paradise Cave was the first half of our Tours of the Cave experience and we loved every minute of it!

What to expect of your visit to Paradise Cave

Discovery of Paradise Cave

In 2005 by a local wandering the mountains looking for a specific kind of wood found an entrance to what he thought was a small cave.

Not wanting to get lost, he went home and reported the find. This resulted in the government getting a team together to go in and explore the area to see what turned up.

It turned out to be so much more than they expected!

Once the geologists finished digging around and exploring the cavernous space, they found it was over 30 kilometers in length. Think about that for a second…

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What you can see of it today

The first one kilometer of the cave is open to visitors and is accessible by existing walkways.  The widest section in this part of the cave is about 170 meters across and the deepest spot takes you down 150 meters.

There are many platforms connected by a wide walk way, catering to large crowds making it easy to get around.  You get plenty of opportunities to gawk in awe at the different formations and changing sub terrain landscapes.

The fact that it has sat dormant for so long is extraordinary but then, Vietnam is discovering a lot about herself in a short space of time and we love exploring her!

Paradise Cave entrance fee

Our day tour with Tours to the Cave cost us VND1,350,000 (~USD59.00 / ~AUD82.00) per person, which included entry to both Paradise and Dark Caves.  Lunch was also included in this price.

If you prefer to visit Paradise cave on your own, then entry is VND250,000 (~USD11.00 / ~AUD15.00) and includes the electric buggy ride.

Tickets are available at a stand by the entry gate or if you are travelling with a tour group, then stick with your guide, they’ve got you covered.

One thing that sold us on the tour was the included lunch. There are some options to grab something to eat at the caves but it won’t be cheap and might not be what you feel like.

Our lunch consisted of a share table of different dishes including chicken, pork, an array of veggie and rice dishes. There was plenty to go around and it was nice and filling but not too heavy.

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You don't need to stay in Phong Nha to see the caves and we tell you why!

Would we recommend Paradise Cave?

We enjoyed our visit to Paradise Cave and if caves are your thing, then Paradise Cave is definitely worth adding to the itinerary.

Note: We’re not able to compare it to Phong Nha cave as we opted not do that one. Two of our tour companions went and they were beaming when they joined us, saying it was well worth the visit too.

Dark Cave is a very different experience all together and might not be everyone’s cup of tea but we’ll tell you more about why in our next blog.

If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing experience with a bit of action to get the heart pumping then we highly recommend a visit to Paradise Cave.

And if this is your first visit to our site, welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue is a Vietnam must see

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Thien Mu Pagoda, a rich piece of Hue history

The Thien Mu Pagoda is a local superstar in Hue. Every tour agency, local tour and Hue local will tell you it’s a must see.

It has a breathtaking location on the bank of the Perfume River and linked to a profound moment in history.

We weren’t going for the temples or tours or because of what we heard. Leon caught wind of a little blue Austin that had him in a frenzy. We are both automotive enthusiasts so it didn’t surprise me that he wanted to go and look at a car.

It wasn’t until we were there filming that he revealed the significance of THIS particular car.

It still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

How we found out about Thien Mu Pagoda

We missed visiting this beauty on our first visit to Hue, but that meant we had a bit more time to find out more about it for our second visit.  We already knew it had a great historic presence in Hue and sits in a spectacular location. What we didn’t know was just how special this place really is thanks for one significant event in world history.

Where in Hue is the Thien Mu Pagoda

The Pagoda sits on the across the Perfume River from the city center and a couple of kilometers down from the Hue Imperial Palace.

How to get there

A popular choice is by taxi or GRAB and it won’t cost much. 

Something that is really fun and a more traditional method of transport is trying  one of the many local cyclos.

If you’re thinking of doing the Imperial Palace and Thien Mu Pagoda on the same day, then definitely negotiating a cheaper day rate with those guys. There is plenty of competition around and they tend to be negotiable.

Not keen to go out there by yourself? It’s not unusual as many travelers prefer either the company of others or enjoy a guided tour that provide more info.

There are loads of options to choose from like online agencies (check reviews before booking!) or you can simply walk down Chu Van Anh and walk into any of the tour operators office off the street.

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Looking for a tour option that is outside the box and will have you grinning from ear to ear? Then let us introduce you to Vespa Safari Hue! The gold standard of local Hue tours.

Renting a bicycle is another excellent way to explore Hue and her attractions. The Thien Mu Pagoda is one of many within a pleasant scenic ride from the city.

We preferred taking our two Honda Waves out there and parked them on the side of the road. There is a paid parking area next to the pagoda for VND5,000 (~USD0.21 / ~AUD0.30) if you prefer that option.

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Things to know before you head into the Thien Mu Pagoda

General Entry

Hours: 8AM – 5PM, Monday to Sunday.

Entry fee: No entry fee, it is free.

Dress code: No naked shoulders or knees for men or women. Inappropriately dressed visitors may not be able to enter.

Apart from being an historic place of interest, it’s also an active temple. Please be respectful.

The pagoda is also an outdoor attraction with limited cover. We suggest checking the weather forecast before you head on out to it.

Who would enjoy it?

It is a family friendly destination but not sure how much entertainment kiddos will get from it.

The Thien Mu Pagoda is perfect for history lovers.

We would suggest finding a guide who can tell you more about the history of the place. Learning about it would certainly make it a more enjoyable visit.

We opted to do it by ourselves armed with info we found online and that was fine too. We managed to learn quite a bit about it that way actually. We’ve also read some hilarious anecdotes relating to the Thien Mu Pagoda in the process.

How long does a visit take?

Our visit lasted about two and half hours. It gave us plenty of time to explore, take photos and get some footage for a vlog too.

You can easily combine a visit here with another spot in the area. The Imperial Palace or perhaps the Temple of Literature come to mind and both are interesting.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Follow us around the tranquil and surprising complex of the Thien Mu Pagoda

An famous historic event with ties to Thien Mu Pagoda

As I mentioned before, we were there for a little blue Austin. When Leon asked me if I recognized the car, I was a little confused. Then he told me to look at the picture on the back wall. 

That’s when it hit me!

Isn’t that the Rage Against the Machine album cover?

The picture I’m talking about is also called, “The Burning Monk” by Malcolm Browne. Feel free to Google it, but we warn you, it is graphic so please be careful.

It’s a harrowing story and well worth the read. We wrongly assumed it had to do with the Vietnam/American war and we couldn’t have been more wrong. The plight of this story had its own enormous significance. It resulted in a toppled government and made the whole world paying attention in united horror.

Total goosebumps

The monk in the picture, Thích Quang Duc was from Hue. The little blue Austin we’re talking about is the car he used to drive from Hue to Saigon in June 1963.

To stand there and see it in person was an experience I find hard to describe. The fact that someone thought to save the car and bring it back to Hue is mind blowing.

Seeing the photo broke my heart. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen it but I now knew the true meaning behind the act. Seeing the Austin didn’t just make it a photo anymore, it made it so real!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what seeing something from that picture could do?

What is the rest of Thien Mu like?

The Austin isn’t the only attraction. In fact, most people don’t even know about the Austin and its significance until they get there.

Phuoc Duyen Tower

Upon entering the pagoda, the The Phuoc Duyen tower greets you with all it’s glory. It’s an octagonal shaped, seven storey beauty. From what we’ve read, seven is a sacred number in Vietnam. Even the number of stairs can on each storey is divisible by seven.

In the same area is a six-sided pagoda, home to the Dai Hong Bell. Built in roughly 1710, this ~2,000 kg, this behemoth is audible from 10 kilometers away.

On the other side of Phuoc Duyen tower is a building that houses a stela that dates back as far as 1715.

Pagoda Grounds

Through the main gate is the Dai Hung Temple. This beautiful building is an active temple and loved by locals.

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Towards the rear there are a number of other temples and shrines. Each one has its own unique origin and legend around it. We’ve read so many different things that it would be good to have a guide to know which ones are true.

Just walking around the grounds leaves you with this calm and peaceful feeling.

Mind you we did get there right on open time and there weren’t many people there yet. Our advice is to get there just before it opens to enjoy as much of it in peace as you can.

If you get a chance, head on over to the Old Gate that used to the part of the original perimeter for the temple grounds.  It has an fantastic few across the Perfume River.

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What other things are there to do in Hue?

Hue has a lot on offer and it’s legit one of our favorite cities to visit in Vietnam!

It’s also home of some of Vietnam’s most famous dishes like Bun Bo Hue and banh beo.  There is also no shortage of eateries around. All you have to do is head to the tourist area  (Chu Van Anh street, Le Loi street, Doi Cung street and Nguyen Thai Hoc street)

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Experience the wonder of Hue from the historic Hue Imperial Citadel

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Five Free Things to do in Da Nang

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Whether your passing through or staying for a while, there is always something going on in this epic city. We’re here to tell you about five free things to do in Da Nang.

No great introduction to any new destination has to start with a hefty price tag and Da Nang is no exception. In fact, Da Nang has the unique advantage of offering both beach and city activities.  That alone, makes it the perfect all-round vacation destination.

Five free things to do in Da Nang

Free Thing #1 – DA NANG FREE WALKING TOUR

Free walking tours are the best way to get a genuine introduction to this amazing city.

The guides are local university students who are are passionate about their city.  It’s also a chance for them to meet new people from all over and to practice their English.

For visitors, this is a chance to meet someone who can tell you more about the local food, entertainment and living side of Da Nang.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Exploring Da Nang with an amazing free walking tour

The tour lasts about 2 hours and includes five planned stops. Between those, you get a ton of information on where to explore further on your own. It’s super easy to book too, just head to their Da Nang Free Walking Tour website.

Now, we listed this as a free thing to do in Da Nang as you don’t have to pay for the tour. There is an opportunity to give you guide a tip at the end IF you want to. More on that in the link below.

Leon and Tash Blog

Come with us as we explore our first Vietnam destination, Da Nang with an amazing free walking tour

Travel Tip!: Test your haggling skills at Han Market while you have an interpreter there with you. That way you can communicate with the seller and you can come back with a bit more confidence later to buy more.

Free Thing #2 – DA NANG BRIDGES

It’s true! Da Nang, is also known as the city of bridges and for good reason. It has 7 bridges and three of them are super stars with their own history. They are Han Bridge, Dragon Bridge and Than Thie Ly Bridge.

The most recognizable of the three is the famous Dragon Bridge. This one comes alive every Saturday and Sunday night at 9PM. Make sure to check it out as not only is watching the bridge fun, but watching the crowd is fascinating too.

Leon and Tash Vlog

A real dragon that spits real fire! For real!!

Travel Tip!: Not fond of crowds? Then head down Tran Hung Dao street towards the Than Thie Ly bridge where you’ll find the street side vendors. They’ll prepare you a fresh coconut or sugar juice of your choice on request. All you have to do is grab a seat at one of their adorable tiny chairs and tables with the perfect view of the action. A fresh coconut should set you back about VND35,000 (~USD1.50 / ~AUD2.10) and the seat if free.

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Free Thing # 3 – DA NANG FRESCO VILLAGE

This was one of the neatest things we found in Da Nang and believe is part of a worldwide movement.

Local residents were looking for a way to get tourists and locals to interact more with each other. The idea of a fresco village came about and they set out inviting local artists to be part of the initiative.

Their aim was to transform their labyrinth of narrow alleys and high walls into an outdoor gallery where artists could show their talents and visitors could enjoy the artwork for free.  You just have to find the narrow entrance to let the magic begin.

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When street meets art gallery and you can experience it for free!

You can explore this spot in your own time, admiring the artworks and take as many pictures as you like. Each painting tells its own story and there are so many, you wouldn’t know what to look at first.

The Da Nang Fresco Village isn’t far from the city side of Dragon Bridge and absolutely worth the visit.

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Experience a personalized tour of the Da Nang Fresco Village

Travel Tip!: There is a small ‘outdoor food courtyard’ where you can buy a traditional Vietnamese herbal drink. There are other refreshments and light street food available too. It’s not expensive and the money goes back into the project for maintenance and expansion.

Free Thing #4 – MY KHE BEACH

One of Da Nang’s stand out features is without a doubt its spectacular beach called My Khe, (pronounced Mi KE beach).

One of the best things to do on it is to simply walk along it, no matter the time of day. From dawn till dusk it’s everyone from tourists to locals’ favorite playground. It’s a great place to meet locals to, especially in the mornings.

Along Vo Nguyen Giap road is plenty to do, eat and drink too but it will cost you. Not much, just not free.

Travel Tip!: Find a cheap beach cabana for the day. If you want to experience the most epic chill beach day of your life, then hire a lounger under a beach hut/cabana. It will cost you around VND40,000 (~USD1.70 / ~AUD2.40) but shop around, there are a few options. This way you get a comfy spot for the day and you don’t have to worry about getting fried. Also, where there’s a cabana, there’s usually refreshments too and loads of street food vendors that wander along the beach. Perfect, huh?

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Free Thing #5 – LINH UNG PAGODA (Son Tra)

If you’re sitting on your beach lounger chilling on My Khe beach then you will notice a gigantic white figure standing at the base of the Son Tra Peninsula. What is it you ask?

She is the famous Lady Buddha and she is an epic 72 meters tall. The Lady of Mercy isn’t the only amazing thing about this spot either. It’s perfect spot for sunrises and sunsets, not to mention great photos.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Say hello to the magnificent 70 meter high guardian of My Khe beach

The complex sits on 20 hectares so there is a lot of room. It is super popular with tourist crowds ! If you want the place almost to yourself, then you need to get in and out, well before 8AM or after 5PM-ish.

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Come meet the mysterious tall lady of Son Tra in Da Nang

There is a small catch with this one. The complex is free to enter but you will need to get there which will either be by GRAB, taxi or a rental bike.

Neither of these options are expensive as it is a short ride out there and well worth a visit! If you do rent a bike/scooter than Son Tra Peninsula is another awesome free thing to go and check out!

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If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

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Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Crazy House Da Lat (Hang Nga Guesthouse)

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Do one crazy house thing in Da Lat!

Crazy House! You might be wondering what would inspire a visit to this crazy looking place.

First impressions of Crazy House will leave you confused, asking what on earth you’re looking at but trust us when we say, there is reason for the madness.

This labyrinth of narrow bridges crawling over a mish-mash of unique structures, is a well-known landmark. Not only in Da Lat but Vietnam as well.

It features in almost every travel guidebook list of ‘bizarre things’ or ‘crazy things’ to do in Da Lat.

Not to mention countless blog posts, Facebook posts and even Instagram and Pinterest.

So, it’s not hard to find at all.

Where is Crazy House?

It’s a quick and cheap taxi or GRAB ride from the city center.

Or if you are feeling energetic, it’s a good ten to fifteen-minute walk.

For those travelling by scooter or motorbike, there is parking available at a cost of VND 5,000 (~USD 0.20 / ~AUD 0.30) per bike for the day.

Roll up and park on the left of the drive and make sure you tuck in nice and tight. The attendant on hand will show you the best place to park on busy days.

The staff offered to put our our full faced helmets in the ticket office, which we did reluctantly.  Not only would they be a pain to replace but they had our Bluetooth sets on them too, hence us being hesitant about it.

In the end it was the best decision. Walking around with them would have been a mare on the narrow stairs alone. Not to mention trying to wade through the throngs of people with them.

Not sure where to start looking for bus tickets, time tables and the like?

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Affiliate disclosure: The information in this posts contains affiliate links for our travel partnerships.  You don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use them but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

What makes Crazy House so popular?

It is actually an active guesthouse, called Hang Nga Guesthouse . You can book to stay the night in one of many available rooms. It’s been voted one of the craziest places to stay in the world.

Affiliate disclosure: The information above contains an affiliate link for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

You’ll have to share your accommodation with curious visitors all day long, lol! So, make sure you’re okay with that first.

The guesthouse started as one structure. Designed and built by architect Dang Viet Nga.

It was a personal project and the idea was to make it look like a banyan tree. Incorporating the elements of nature, inspired by the beautiful surroundings of Da Lat.  It also incorporated elements from her favorite architect, Antony Guidi.

The original building has four rooms. Each one with its own nature inspired themed.

Since opening in 1990, Hang Nga Guesthouse has swelled into three large structures.

They are all connected by a network of narrow stairs dancing in and around the buildings in a crazy jig.

Hang Nga continues to grow, inspired by artist submissions as well as local craftsmen, earning it the name, Crazy House.

Leon and Tash Blog

Things to do in Da Lat

What is there to see at Crazy House?

Simple. The whole place!

Crawling all over, in and through this beautiful maze is something else!

So many themes and styles in one place that it doesn’t seem like it could work anywhere but Vietnam.  It truly is unique.

One minute you’re surrounded by soft, rounded angles. The next you’re traversing super narrow stairs with little or no railing.  It really is a crazy experience.

We’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.

There is plenty of new construction too. It left us curious about what the new will grow into and look like when it’s finished.

One of our favorite things was the original reception area.  It has been beautifully preserved and dedicated to someone special.

We later learned the man in the photos was Nga’s father, Truong Chinh, who was the second president of Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh.

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Guided tour or DIY?

There is no tour here. Which we thought would have been very handy.

There is plenty of information on Crazy House all over the place, but none of it is in English.

We did a fair bit of reading up after our visit as we had a lot of questions. We suggest you do a bit of reading before you head out as it might make a bit more sense.

Who would enjoy coming to Crazy House?

It’s a bit of fun and almost like a jungle gym for adults. But we would say mostly adults only. And for those who love architecture, this is a feast on the senses!

One thing to note. We didn’t see any small children here and that wasn’t a bad thing. There were plenty of things around that left us questioning the safety aspect of a lot of them.

If you want to take kids with you, we recommend doing some reaching first. Find out from those who have been with kids and get their advice. We don’t have them so we can’t give you any.

Entry fee

The entry fee for Crazy House costs VND 50,000 (~USD 2.15 / ~AUD 3.00) per person (haven’t seen a separate price for children listed anywhere). And it’s open 7 days a week between 8:30 AM and 7 PM, including holidays.

What did we think of the experience?

This was a crazy experience!

Not only was the whole place crazy, but the crowd was crazy too so, it pays to bring your patience.

And a camera! Taking photos here is unreal. You never know if you’re capturing it in a way that will make sense when you show it to someone who hasn’t been there, lol!

It certainly was one of the craziest, quirkiest and bizarre things we’ve done to date!

We had a great time at Crazy House and highly recommend a visit if you are in Da Lat.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Is this the craziest house in southeast Asia?!!

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Looking for your perfect Da Lat accommodation?

From 2 star to rock star! Da Lat can accommodate any need for any traveler. Find yours here!

Affiliate disclosure: The information above contains an affiliate link for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

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Looking for a great homestay experience in Hoi An?

Sure, everyone is constantly on the hunt for accommodation in Hoi An old town. Why not, it’s charming and popular but it can get expensive! What if we told you about an option that is cheap, comfortable, has river views and offers exceptional service? The Hoi An Riverlife Homestay delivers all those things along with hospitality that is second to none!

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay was suggested to us by another traveler back when we were planning our first visit to Hoi An.

Generally, we tend to lean towards hotels and apartments over home stays. They tend to suit our travel needs better but in this case, we decided to give this one a go and we haven’t looked back.

This happened to be our third time staying at this simple but most hospitable home stay.

Leon and Tash Blog

Hoi An - central Vietnam's little charm

Back in April this year we planned our first trip to Hoi An. We were living in Da Nang at the time where one of our first Tribe members suggested Hoi An Riverlife Homestay) to us.

We hopped on our favorite accommodation booking site, Hotels Combined. Found it on there and booked it immediately!

Want to book a stay at the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay?

Look no further than right here!

Affiliate disclosure: The information above contains an affiliate link for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Where to find Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

The location is one of the best parts of this home stay. As the name suggests, it sits next to the Thu Bon River on An Hoi island at, 68 Road 18/8, Phường Minh An.

What makes this location so great? Well, you can look for the best accommodation in Hoi An Old Town or stay here where it’s a short walk to both Old Town and the Hoi An Night Market. Tucked away from crowds but close enough to immerse in the action whenever you want! 

Catching a taxi or GRAB from here is super easy too and the hosts will even arrange it if you want.

What to expect from your stay

The Hoi An Riverlife Homestay is almost more hotel than home stay with private and comfortable rooms, a reception area that is open between 7AM and 11PM and they offer secure onsite motorbike parking.

The family do offer an array of activities that guests can enjoy such as:

  • a tradition BBQ with the family, 
  • shopping with the family at the local market, and
  • learning how to prepare a local dish
Ask Chi for more details on those.

They can also arrange transportation to and from the home stay to most places. These include areas around Hoi An and Da Nang or, as far up as Hue. We’ve used this service before. It’s reliable, cost effective and hassle free.

Not sure where to start looking for bus or train tickets, time tables and the like?

No problem, we've got you covered. Hit search to find  your travel solutions

Affiliate disclosure: The information in this posts contains affiliate links for our travel partnerships.  You don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use them but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay Facilities

The home stay consists of two levels with two rooms per floor. There are two rooms with river views and the other two overlook Old Town. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and well designed with foreign visitors in mind.

Another neat feature of this home stay is the rooftop terrace. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beverage at the end of the day or a morning cuppa while you wake up with the rest of Hoi An.

There are three room types to choose from:

  • Standard Twin,
  • Superior Double, and
  • Family Room

We’ve stayed in both the superior double and family rooms.

Superior Double Room

We happened to stay in the same room on two of our visits and loved it!

This river view room was spacious and light. It also came with an added feature of a small balcony overlooking the Thu Bon river. (Perfect for a cheeky avo vino and nibbles).

Simply furnished with a comfortable large double bed, a small dresser, sitting area and luggage storage.

There was no blanket or duvet in any of our stays, but we found we didn’t need one. We’re pretty sure they will have one if you need it.

The private bathroom was clean and simple with a separate shower, western toilet and basin. Stocked with towels, toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste), and a hairdryer.

The room had a large flat screen TV with cable channels, a bar fridge and came with free WiFi.

Family Room

The family room had all the same conveniences as the superior double with a few key differences.

The main area/room housed two large single beds, a flat screen TV and fridge. It also had double doors opening onto a balcony.

While the main bedroom had a large double bed, wardrobe and its own flat screen TV and balcony.

The private bathroom was also slightly bigger and offered the same amenities. It would easily accommodate up to four guests.

Costs

The superior double room cost us VND 300,000 (~USD 13.00 / ~AUD 18.00) a night.

For the family room, we paid VND 400,000 (~USD 18.00 / ~AUD 24.00). (We did get a discount on this because it was our third stay with them in a year and they were showing us some love.)

Either way, we would happily pay standard pricing as it is totally worth it.

Service that is second to none

Chi and her family will welcome you with open arms and make you feel right at home. That was the best part of all our stays at the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay.

The service doesn’t stop there either.

You can opt to order a home cooked breakfast and we hear it’s pretty impressive. (We’re always out the door so early and don’t want to bother them with getting up early to feed us.)

If you are not sure what to do in or around Hoi An then then just ask Chi. They have a wide variety of tours, activities and excursions on offer. They are very knowledgeable on the area and offer excellent recommendations.

All you have to do is ask.

Being greeted with a giant smile and a warm hug every time we stay is what we love most about this home stay.

So, if this is your idea of home-away-from-home, then we highly recommend coming here.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Riding a scooter from Da Nang to Hoi An vs. riding the bus

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…