Notes From: Vietnam

Our next destination was the largest city in Central Vietnam: Da Nang. Most people will visit the much larger cities in the North and South but we wanted something a little less touristy. We got it. (It backfired a little bit because when Sunday came, the closest worship services where we could partake of the sacrament was ten hours away…)

We did find a great house to stay in while here. After sharing beds in the last couple cities, the girls were happy to live like Vietnamese empresses. 

And of course it was even more appropriate because, in Jane’s words, “Even I’m a millionaire here in Vietnam.” 

Currency Update

Remember the last post with the money math? The math of Vietnam Dongs blew it out of the warm turquoise water. Will came up with this one. The math: Dong times 4 divided by 100,000. 

1,000,000 Dong -> (times 4) 4,000,000 -> (/100k) -> $40

You can get used to the math when you use it everyday but really our approach was “If it’s under 500k dongs, just buy it.”

Like 6 rolled ice cream from this fine fellow. 180k dong total. Just buy it.

Warm Weather Week

After a cold week in Japan and a cool week in China, we were happy to be back in the warm area. We spent a couple days at the beach with the jellyfish and the jungle mountains. 

When you grow up going to the Southern California beaches, it’s a little strange to sit at a beach and have jungle mountains and Lady Buddha in your peripheral view.

Vietnam Highlights

  • The build of most Vietnamese people is on the smaller end. I don’t usually feel like a big person but here I did.
  • The family went for a massage. It was the first time for the kids so I just sat in the lobby in case one of the girls wanted to finish a little early. I ended up sitting by myself for the whole hour. They loved it even though they “had to hold in the laughs when they were working on our feet.” 
  • Uber had no success in the city because Grab absolutely dominates. There are always inexpensive rides available. But even more delicious: you can order any kind of food and it quickly delivers on a moped and is so inexpensive. We had full spread meals to feed all six of us for under 500k dong. ($20) That’s dangerous for a snacky family but anything we can do to support the local economy…
  • I’m grateful to have strong boys to haul the water home every night. Important to stay hydrated. 

Lights in Hoi An

One highlight of the week was releasing a lamp in Hoi An. Totally touristy. Totally simple. You just load the boat and float around in a little loop.

You’re supposed to light the lamp, place it in the water, and make a wish. For most of us though, the wish was immediately quenched out by another boat. (Luckily my wish was just a great night with my family so I won before I boarded.)

Short Flights

It’s now back to the airport with our three suitcases. (We each have a backpack but we use just three shared suitcases which always confuses airport staff. Pack light. Move quickly.)

We’re going to stick around this part of the world for a while. It’s so nice to have short flights, no time zone adjustments, and a new culture to learn each week. 


Notes From” is a series where I share observations from recent adventures. You can read more of these in the “Notes From” category.