Who is Owee?

Nha Trang beach
Nha Trang beach

Mai and I are in or early 50’s. a little too young to retire, but eager to start enjoying life. We are middle class Canadians and both were employed. Myself by the municipal government, and my wife by our provincial health care system. We have left our jobs as of Nov 12 2009. Our final destination is a city called Nha Trang in Vietnam. There we hope to grow new roots, and hopefully be able to travel back and forth in the future.

To keep ourselves busy, we have taken over a small hotel in a less touristy area and are offering a foreign run hotel with western standards in a local and enjoyable Vietnamese area. The hotel is busy with enjoyable people who are eager for a glimpse of real Vietnam.


After flying back and forth for the past 12 years, for almost the past year we have called Nha Trang home. Mai misses Canada but is a real trooper and making the most out of our life here. I on the otherhand have come to love living here. I am in a bit of a unique position as I can speak the language somewhat, and understand the culture and the people. I live among them as almost one of their own, and experience a whole different world than most expats in Vietnam. Part of what I enjoy about life here is that some people seek me out to learn or experience the truth about this country, and not what some people that are confined to backpack areas believe it the truth. I am enjoying my busy retirement this country and  am happy to help others to enjoy it also.

Update 2
It has now been two years and we have made full adjustments to the change in lifestyle,. Besides operating the hotel, I have now become a tour guide offering Central highland tours by motorcycle or car and have become more involved in the Vietnamese tourism industry. The theme of the blog has changed from a way to keep personal contact with friends and family into a travel blog where I try to offer honest and accurate advice to those who wish to travel here. Mai is looking forward to the day soon where she will be offering Vietnamese cooking classes. Altohough we miss friends and family, there are no regrets in moving here ( My darling wife does not 100% agree with me)

Update 3 (2015)

Since the last update, we have closed the hotel and opened www.homestaynhatrang.com My tours have become very popular and people from all over the world come to share in the adventure. We are still all about offering advice and tours of non touristy Vietnam. We are now in out late 50’s and still going strong.

I can be emailed directly at owee@live.ca

199 thoughts on “Who is Owee?

  1. We visited in November 2011, and had a great time at your hotel. You got my GF a cake for her bday! Great to see you’re still going strong, we just might have to come back!

  2. Hi Owen,
    I tried to email you but for whatever reason my phone accepts emails but every email I send fails. I have no idea why hence sending message via your blog.
    I will be in Nha Trang from 23 – 27 February inclusive. I am just enquiring if you are available for a 1 day countryside tour on one of these days
    Appreciate your advice.
    Steve Stone

    1. Hi Steve, I am sorry but I am guiding a 7 day highland adventure at that time. I can set you up with one of my reliable easyriders if you wish. I will also send this by email. You might be able to reply

  3. Hi, Owen and Mai,

    we’ve been back in Germany for more than 2 weeks now and I’m still keen on telling people about our tours and experiences, specially in your area ;-).
    I hope you are doing fine with important decisions! I’m decided to travel to Vietnam again next year – and hope to see you two again. I’m thinking of doing a longer trip – possibly alone – and maybe visit Cambodia too.
    We’ve taken a couple of photos on the last day of our stay, remember?- I’ ll send them to you if you like, but I’d need to know where to upload them.
    Take care,

  4. Hi Owee,

    I’m Evomal from tripadvisor and I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog.

    We will be in Nha Trang from the 20/09 – 27/09. I saw ‘the amazing snorkeling trip” recommended on TA and read about it, but I need a snorkeling tour that might snorkel off a beach so that my young son and I can swim off the beach, while the other family members can snorkel. Can you recommend anyone who does this?

    Also, I have looked at tours for Nha Trang, and apart from the city tours, I haven’t found much else in the way of day tours. Any ideas or recommendations?

    Thanks Owee

    Kindest regards

  5. Hi Owen ,
    Just a quick message of thanks to both you and Mai for making us feel very welcome at you Riptide homestay and a special thank you for the central highland tour that gave us a different perspective on Vietnam and a feel for the “real” country. We are currently still in PhuQuoc sunning ourselves but I will leave a review on trip advisor as promised …. Hope all is well and that you continue to be busy doing your unique tours… Best wishes for 2016
    Regards Ray & Yvonne

  6. Hi Owee, i want to visit Ho Chi Minh for buy wholesale baby clothes and assesories, can u give me suggest where to stay and where to buy? thanks a lot before. im from Jakarta, Indonesia. i heard that there is very cheap price for Branded baby clothes, shoes.

      1. Thank you so much for information. and what hotel that you suggest for us to stay? budget around 300.000VND. and do we have to bargain to buy wholesale in chinatown?

        1. Yes you can bargain in Chinatown, however, they will start at prices much lower than Ben Thanh market so move less on price. There are many hotels in the 300000 price range. You can simply arrive and look for one that looks decent. I have never stayed in any hotels in that price range that are available for online bookings.

          1. In chinatown special for wholesale? is there a place for special wholesale for baby clothes and accesories? like shoes, belt, headband, etc.

            wholesale in china we know zhong san ba lu, in jakarta we know tanah abang. is there any market special for wholesale?

            and for place for stay, you suggest we to find a place on the spot? so we dont have to book online first? is it the immigration can allow us to enter ho chi minh without any hotel voucher?

    1. Chinatown has everything….Cho Lon is where you can go. I know of no reason why you would need a hotel voucher….. Book online for 1 night and shop around for another if you do not like where you book. That is about all I can say. I am not an experienced shopper I am afraid ?

    1. Hi Derrick,
      Sorry but there is really no such thing here. You will see some fishing charters in local tour shops but it is not fishing as we know it. Most fish caught are 3-4 inches or in floating pens. In order to catch larger fish you must go very far out and that is closely monitored by the government. I do know of a place inland where you can catch very large carp like fish that only locals know about.

  7. Hi Owee
    First of all congratulations on your blog it’s very interesting.
    I have a couple of question regarding going to live in Vietnam.
    Can you tell me what are the interest rates the banks are giving at the moment?
    Do you think it´s possible for a person to take € 35.000 (Euros) to Vietnam apply the money and live of the interest.
    I’m sending you an example with today’s rate.
    €35,000(Euros) = 867,373,808.170 VND.
    I looked at this site Standard Chartered Bank : https://www.sc.com/vn/personal-banking/deposits/interest-rate/en/_pdf/individual-interest-rate.pdf
    And they are giving for a 12 month Flexi deposit 4,7%
    So my question is can I live in Vietnam with 40,766,568.984 VND a year.
    Divided by 12 = 3,397,214.082 VND a month.
    Please correct me if my calculations are incorrect.
    Is it possible for me, to deposit this amount in a bank and apply the money?
    Thank you

    1. I do not think it is possible. You would need 100000 Euros in the bank to generate about 10 million a month. 3 million is about what it costs to rent an inexpensive apartment place to live.

  8. hi, we are looking to visit Cambodia, Siem Reap. We need a flight from hanoi to siem reap, can you tell us what agency we can use to book the flight and also siem reap tours?


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