Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Most of these Hotels accept VISA cards, but do add 3% to your
bill for using them, and had TV, mini bars and air-conditioning.
SAIGON - HO CHI MINH CITY
127 Cong Quynh St., District 1, TELE: 848-8368761
Answered email for reservation right away, and arranged pick
up from airport: $6 for private car. Madame Cucís very well run
establishment, $20 USD per night includes breakfast and one meal a day,
plus fruit, coffee and tea any time of day. Large air con room, TV,
minibar, great bathroom. Friendly staff, and will arrange any tour you
want, or reservations for your next hotel stay elsewhere. VISA not
accepted for room, or tours, but was accepted as payment for air ticket.
MORE INFORMATION ON
Thanh Binh III
Their newest hotel just around the corner from Thanh Binh
Nhi Trung Street (New) Hoi An Town, TELE:
$16 USD for a double room. Donít let the pool and nice looks
fool you. The service was poor, and inattentive for this VERY NOISY over
priced hotel. Also the included breakfast buffet was weak at best. Perhaps
they hadnít gotten their act together yet. If you decide to stay there,
get a room in the back away from the street noise, and from the incense
that constantly rises up from their altar and invades your room. VISA
HOI PHO HOTEL
4 Nhi Trung St., Hoi An Ancient Town, TELE:
We spent $8 for a double, although they were listed at $10.
Family run, quiet and clean, with friendly, personable service. Good
Value. Near internets, restaurants and tailors. Helpful in arranging
travel to Hue. VISA accepted.
Binh Minh II (Sunrise),
45 (19) Ben Nghe St., TELE: (84)(54)849007
The Binh Minh I Hotel was recommended to us, but apparently
(after asking for a quiet room), and due to construction noise, we were
brought to the Binh Minh II hotel. After the confusion was settled, we
were quite pleased. $15 USD for a large double, with a very decent
bathroom, satellite TV, minibar, air conditioning. Breakfast included.
Friendly service and helpful in making reservations for air flights or
tours. VISA accepted.
Prince II Hotel, 42B Hang Giay Street, TELE:
Hung, the Manager answered email quickly. Great
location, near restaurants, internet and shops. Only two years old.
Smartly appointed large rooms with French shuttered windows, Chinese
furniture and beautiful marble floors, $15-$20 USD. Airport pickup,
sometimes offered on promotion with 3 nights stay. Breakfast included.
Offers many different tour bookings. VISA accepted.
We flew Bangkok to Saigon, Hanoi to Bangkok. $260 USD for one person.
Taxis can easily be found at the airports, however, we arranged most of
our taxi pick ups with the hotels in which we stayed. One hotel would call
ahead to another, book the room and taxi, or we would take care of both
online via the internet sites. Airport departure tax of $14 USD to leave
30 day visa; ours cost $60 USD per person. Have your travel dates in
order before applying, as the visa dates are fixed.
Bring dollars in small bills. There are ATMís (which are what we use)
in each of the cities we visited which will give you local currency. Most
prices are quoted in dollars, and itís usually to your advantage to use
them, as the hotel exchange rate can vary. Most of the hotels took Visa,
some adding a 3% charge. In the shops, you can pay with dong or dollars,
depending on the exchange rate you are given. Some shops take Visa and
Mastercard, others donít. Not all add the surcharge.
All of the hotels in which we stayed, except one, included breakfast,
which was a baguette, jam, butter, cheese, fruit and coffee, juice or tea.
Some hotels offered extensive breakfast buffets, but we were not in any of
those. Free internet was offered at some hotels as well. Just a note -
make sure you get a quiet room. We had a beautiful balcony room in Hoi An,
but the street noise from honking busses and motorbikes is horrendous, and
takes away from a good nightís sleep. This adversely affects your
Many reservations for your next hotel can either be made at the hotel
you are staying in or online. Also, taxi pick ups can be made either
online or from your previous hotel.
TRANSPORT/EASE OF TRAVEL
Hotels will easily arrange transport for you to and from the airports,
including the purchase and delivery of air tickets, and transportation for
To get from Hoi An to Hue the hotels will arrange a minibus to take you
over the Hai Van Pass. Be sure to sit on the right hand side window to get
the best view.
Cyclo drivers are everywhere and for a couple of bucks will take you
anywhere, and will wait to take you back. They are paid by the hour, but
they can be paid by the trip. Itís important to negotiate the price and
time beforehand. We would have them write the price on a piece of paper,
that way there was no mistake about it later. This procedure saved us a
couple of times.
Also motorbike taxis are readily available usually for a buck or
After reading our guidebooks, Saigon was a concern for petty theft and
motorbike bandits. These guys fly past you and grab your bag, necklace or
whatever. But, we are happy to say, we had no experience with theft
whatsoever. We do, however, tend to keep a low profile, thus not making
ourselves targets, and we are very conscious of our belongings - our
travel bags, any extras including eyewear or hats. We wore no jewelry and
did not flash any wealth at any time.
We found the people very kind and helpful, and very honest.
WHAT TO BRING/CLOTHING
Bring as little as possible, you will be able to purchase all kinds of
clothing while in Vietnam. If there is ďnothing in your sizeĒ, you can
have it made anywhere in the country. Hoi An is noted for their tailors,
but really, you can have anything made just about anywhere.
For fabric, the best selection is in Saigon, and the best prices are in
Hanoi. Buy in one of these two places and have the tailors do your bidding
anywhere along the line you visit. Everyoneís sister or mother or father
is a tailor or seamstress and most items can be finished in less than 24
hours. Pick a shop, any shop, and go from there. Make sure the items are
double seamed so that they donít fray, and make sure they use the same
color thread as your item being made.
Restaurants are everywhere, most with some of the menu in English. You
can eat well in the Vietnamese restaurants for little money, or you can go
to the Western places and order something closer to home, but you pay
accordingly. With the French influence here, there are some decent
cheeses, salad dressings and sauces for foods. Not sure where they get
their beef, but for an Asian country, it is better than we have had
elsewhere in the region.
You will find great bargains here. Be sure you donít buy at the first
shop you see something, and be sure to bargain. Although many shops offer
the same item, always check out the quality.
It seems that the shopkeepers are still working out their selling
skills. Some are very attentive, some not at all. One vendor will look you
over before giving the price, another vendor will have prices marked. With
a few vendors, the thinking is that because you look, you have made the
promise to buy and are upset if you do not. Still others realize that
looking is good, coming back again is even better. They, over all, seem
eager to please.
The best way to purchase is to look at several shops, find the ďrealĒ
price for something, and then go to the shop you favor with your items in
mind, and negotiate from there. The large markets, many times, will have
the best prices over an individual shop, but not always. And of course,
the more you buy, the better the price.
Our trip took us from Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi to Halong Bay.
However, it is difficult to fit everything in on a first visit, and you
will not be at a loss for places to go, things to do. On this trip, due to
time constraints, we missed the Mekong Delta and the Sapa region, both
highly recommended to us.
Do some research, choose according to your interests and the season,
and plan a return visit!
Sin Chau - Hello
Than Biet - Good bye
Hen gop lai - See you later
on - Thank you
Bia hoi - Draught beer
Com - Rice
- Noodle soup
Ga - Chicken
Bo - Beef
Tom - shrimp
Ca - Fish
For more stories and photos
of Vietnam, click here
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person Ė the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesnít
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha