More Musings on Vietnam – Part Two
Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, World Traveler
15 November 2018
Vietnam is definitely a fascinating place!

Decoding the WiFi

I’ve become highly amused by WiFi network passwords in my travels. In the US it’s like a whole secret you couldn’t guess. In France it’s the cryptic code that comes on the router, in Costa Rica and Portugal it’s frequently open, with no code, but in Vietnam WiFi, with few exceptions, uses one of three formats for their passwords. The code is one of, “12345678,” “88888888,” or the same name as the WiFi network itself.

The lanterns in Hoi An.

Photograph by Heather Markel, Copyright 2018

How to Accidentally Make a Cultural Blunder

In Hoi An there is a full moon lantern festival every month. The day after, apparently, is Happy Buddha Day. Once I learned this, I busied myself wishing everyone a Happy Buddha day. I flew to Ho Chi Minh on that day, so I figured this was a very good omen. I therefore wished the flight attendant a Happy Buddha day. She looked horrified, had no idea what I was talking about, and walked away. The Vietnamese man next to me explained she’s Chinese. Oops. So I tried to wish him a Happy Buddha Day, but he was from Ho Chi Minh and said it must be a regional thing because he hadn’t heard of it. Gulp.

“Different cities celebrate different things.”

On Weather

Weather can vary immensley throughout the country in the same season. I’m sure I shouldn’t be surprised, but it doesn’t seem that large to me. Sa Pa, in the north, in October, is chilly, 50s and 60s, cloudy and rainy. Hoi An, at the same period, is so hot and humid I sweat through my shirt in minutes when it gets near noon, my face is pouring sweat and I feel like I need a shower three times a day. Ho Chi Minh is warm, but not unbearably humid.

Woman fishing. Near Ninh Binh.

Photograph by Heather Markel, Copyright 2018

Massages and Coffee

Massages are a dime a dozen. Well, close to it! I’ve happily indulged in several massages. In Hanoi I got a 2-hour massage for about $25! Yup, two full hours where the masseuse used four different techniques. I was in heaven, and so was my budget! I typically enjoy deep tissue massages in the US, but in Vietnam it turns out their version of soft is about comfortable for me, medium is pushing it, and hard is like if you rub any harder I’m going to mix with the massage table and not be able to get up. Coffee, um wow. I freaking love those “phin” drip coffees – both hot and iced. The coffee is some of the best in the world. And, I’ve tasted a lot of coffee from a lot of places now! Trung Nguyen coffee is robust and yum and I’m going to have to bring me some of that home! Love the condensed milk too!

Impeccable Service and Friendliness

With only a few exceptions I’ve found the Vietnamese people really helpful. Many times it’s because they want you to buy something, but nonetheless, their helpful spirit is much appreciated. I’ve gotten many offers to take me on a motorbike where I need to go by hotel owners and even restaurant staff! One of my hotel staff in Ho Chi Minh physically walked me to the nearby passport photo office, held my hand crossing the street, blocked traffic for me, and spoke Vietnamese to the shop owner so I could get what I need. Most of the time I find people who speak English well enough, and where they don’t, Google Translate to the rescue!!

Vietnamese Women – True Heroes

I think Vietnamese women are super heroes. They carry extraordinary amounts of weight on their small frames, work all day in the heat, take care of everything, raise children, row fact the men seem to be hidden. I did see them on fishing boats and sometimes as a tour guide, a boat driver or at a reception desk. But when it comes to manual labor it seems like the women are the visible masters. Not to mention that I saw elderly ladies sipping tea together sitting on those low down seats made for Kinder gardeners. They are NIMBLE heroes!

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.






Costa Rica


New Zealand








2 + 6 =

Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

Ready to start a more fulfilling life but can’t figure out the money part? This eCourse may be your answer! Click here for more details.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: