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After my sister moved to Vietnam 2 years ago, I have been desperate to visit not only to be reunited with my twin but also get to explore a new place with a local tour guide. It just so happened my dad was visiting her at the same time and I super excited to see him for Fathers day! I arrived to intense humidity and bustle of people in Ho Chi Minh city early Sunday morning. Finally making it through customs I ran into two very big hugs before heading out to try the dining on local fare.

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If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, check out Marou; amazing chocolate desserts with beans sourced from 5 provinces in Vietnam.

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To celebrate Fathers day we headed to The Deck, located on beautiful spot along the Saigon river, to catch up, watch the sunset and drink a few cocktails.

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From Ho Chi Minh City we flew to Hue, the ancient Nguyen Dynasty city to learn more about Vietnamese culture and history.  Visiting the Thien Mu Pagoda, the Imperial City and Tombs can all be done in one day. The tourist sites are all spread out so I recommend hiring a driver for the day to get around.

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Taking a guided tour of UNESCO world heritage Imperial City Citadel, the vast Royal Palace and Forbidden Purple City we learnt about the the history and devastation caused during the Vietnam War.

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Taking a break between site seeing, we tried the restaurant Hanh – famous for local Hue cuisine – enjoying the casual atmosphere and delicious food. Definitely ask for local recommendations but I enjoyed Banh Beo – a steamed rice cake with minced shrimp and pork paired with fish sauce and vinegar – and some Cha da – a refreshing iced tea, perfect for a hot day.

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After sight seeing all day we retired back to the centrally located Alba Spa Hotel – taking full advantage of the lush outdoor spa.

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Next stop: Hoi An

Written by Aimee C