See You In Viet Nam – Share the best travel experience in Vietnam

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Family Vegan Food Adventure in Hoi An

It was a hot and humid day in early June when I had the pleasure of guiding this family of four on the Hoi An Vegan Food Tour. The weather was trying to give us a taste of what it feels like to be stir-fried, but that didn’t dampen our spirits! Allow me to introduce you to the super squad of Sendhil, Venu, Meera, and Karthik. They were like a globetrotting dream team who had been exploring countries like New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam during their year-long journey (and probably a bunch of countries in between that I missed during our conversation). Vietnam marked the halfway point before they returned to their home in Chicago in January 2024, making it an incredible trip that bonded the family even tighter than the lid of a pickle jar. What made this family particularly special was their encyclopedic knowledge of history, politics, geography, and various cultures, as well as their thirst for learning through travel. You can find more fascinating stories from their travel at 
Meet Meera and Karthik, the fearless explorers
Meera and Karthik, the young ones, astounded me with their intelligence and impressive knowledge about the world. They had a knack for timing and a punchline that would leave their parents speechless. Sendhil & Venu were excellent companions whom I would have loved to spend an entire day (maybe even two) conversing with, but my brain would have needed a recharge station by the end. I am passionate about geopolitics, and this was a wonderful opportunity to discuss with them how the past continues to shape our daily lives. If there were an award for the most fascinating conversation partners, Sendhil & Venu would take home the trophy without a doubt. Despite our limited time together (supposed to be a 3-hour tour but was extended to 4.5 hours), we tried to squeeze in more Vietnam historical knowledge than a semester at university, from ancient times to modern conflicts. And we even took a detour into the world of global politics, discussing populist leaders like Trump and Modi and how they have both divided and united nations in different ways. I had to keep reminding myself that I was their tour guide and not their apprentice philosopher!

A "fancy looking" juice that caught all of our eyes
Our Hoi An vegan tour progressed smoothly, with a few unexpected but delightful detours. We made a stop at a trendy bubble tea shop that caught Meera and Karthik’s attention; actually, Karthik had this location pinned in his Google Maps the day before. I swear they were like kids in a candy store, or rather, like kids in a bubble tea wonderland. We then proceeded to my favorite coffee spot—a century-old house that had been transformed into a hidden coffee shop. It had a rustic charm that often went unnoticed by tourists, but I found it inviting. The adults savored the classic Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk. As we were deeply engrossed in conversation, I completely forgot to pay the bill and just left. We had a dramatic coffee guy chase after us on a scooter, shouting. It took me a few seconds to realize my mistake. Lesson learned: deep conversations are best enjoyed in a relaxed setting, not while running from location to location. One of the most memorable moments occurred when we visited the Black Sesame Soup place. While I was off on a mission with Venu to find some headache pills, Sendhil, Meera, and Karthik had the chance to explore the house and learn about the family heritage from Mrs. Em. She shared the heartwarming story of how her family has kept their culinary traditions alive. We were not just enjoying a bowl of dessert; we were experiencing a connection to the history and traditions of Hoi An, passed down through generations. I had been there a couple of times before but always admired the power of the humble buckets of black sesame soup that the couple had walked and sold to generations of Hoi An people. With the income generated, their kids and even grandkids received an education and became teachers, and the entire family gained immense respect among the people of Hoi An.
Explaining How Hoi An People Turn Annual Floods into "Natural Disaster Tourism
But amidst all the laughter and light-hearted moments, what truly touched my heart was witnessing how Venu and Sendhil were raising Meera and Karthik. Through travel, they have instilled in their children a love for exploration and learning. Meera and Karthik displayed incredible independence and resilience. In the face of hot and humid days when other children sought refuge in air-conditioned rooms, Meera and Karthik fearlessly roamed the streets, their absence of complaints were truly inspiring. I probably covered only half of the information about the food and eateries that I could have if I had done the tour with only adults. But hey, that’s what makes being a tour guide so beautiful. You have a fixed itinerary with things you want to convey, but you can always adjust it based on the people you’re with. Ultimately, it’s not about the quantity of information shared, but the lasting memories created. The stories, conversations, and laughter we share make each tour unique and unforgettable. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to Sendhil, Venu, Meera, and Karthik for making that day an unforgettable experience. You have reminded me why I love being a tour guide, and for that, I am truly grateful. May your future journeys continue to be filled with laughter, exploration, and, of course, more delicious vegan food! Nguyen Truong, June 2023

I'm a video creator, tour guide, coffee addict and history buff.

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