Vietnam Travel Magic

three book covers: Vietnam Travel Magic Series

These books illustrate my hiking trips and motorcycle adventures throughout Vietnam to inspire your wanderlust. They combine on-the-road photography with a running narrative to recount the adventure in a click-through visual storyline. They offer an insight into my zeal for international backpacking, from accepting exotic cultures and eating new dishes to overnight bus rides and being comfortably lost.

Pro Tip: If you are planning a trip to SE Asia, I highly recommend touring Vietnam by combining overnight buses and day-rental motorcycles. The road traffic can be bat-shit-crazy for long distances, but shorter day tours by motorbike are a rewarding way to see the country. From mountain caves and rocky beaches to crowded markets and bizarre food, Vietnam is an exotic land waiting to be explored.

Vietnam Travel Magic #1:
Wandering Hanoi

I wandered down a few crooked streets until I stumbled upon a cheap hostel. Eager to explore a new culture, I locked my duffel and went out to discover the capital city. Chaos – that’s what I found, as scooter horns filled my mind with a migraine-inducing symphony of beep, beep, beeping. Despite the ‘bat-shit-crazy’ traffic, I also found tranquility by the lakeshore for a beautiful sunset to balance my first day in Hanoi.
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In this first volume, I will be flying into the capital city of Hanoi to explore the historic Old Quarter, which seamlessly mingles the new and old. It has everything imaginable, from knock-off North Face gear and gourmet coffee shops to hundreds of temples and legendary talking turtles. We will navigate twisting streets through chaotic scooter traffic to discover exciting markets filled with bizarre goods, sample some of the local food delicacies and laugh with the locals.
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Amazon Reviewer Wrote:
“The author is a free spirit in search of tranquility and peace which is reflected in his photo books. The photos are crisp, clear, and reveal not only the tourist sites but also the local peoples in their native element.” – Teri Halstead

I really enjoyed this eBook. The photos are gorgeous and the text is lively–you feel as if the author is taking you along on his journey! He makes the city and the sites seem accessible, and his enthusiasm and enjoyment are contagious. I have definitely added a visit to Vietnam, and to Hanoi, to my bucket list.” – Amazon Customer

Vietnam Travel Magic #2:
Touring Sapa Mountains

I continued down the valley road until I reached a police checkpoint where I was flagged to the side of the road. The officer asked for my ID, and when I showed him my USA driver’s license he went ballistic; threatening me with arrest for not having an international DL. Nothing justifies police extortion, but if you’re a foreigner cycling in Vietnam, you should accept the fact that when you are stopped by the police—they will take your money.
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In this second volume, I will be taking an overnight bus up into the northern mountains of Sapa and visiting the local Hmong Hilltribes with their intricately designed fabrics.  Next, I will attempt to summit 3,143m Mt. Fansipan; only to reluctantly retreat as the rain turned to numbing sleet.  Finally, I will tour the countryside by motorcycle, smiling through a crooked police checkpoint, and remembering that its much better to be happy than right.
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Smashwords Reviewer Wrote:
“What an engaging opportunity to join Scott David Plumlee on his journey through the Sapa Mountains in Vietnam.  Helpful advice and humor are interwoven with beautiful snapshots of the trip.  Written in that genuine Plumlee voice.”  – Joseph Bengston

Vietnam Travel Magic #3:
Kayaking Halong Bay

Intoxicated by her French accent and eager for the adventure, we sailed out through the majestic Halong Bay. Our brightly-painted boat passed hundreds of vertical limestone karst islands that were dotted with greenery, wherever plants could cling to life. Such an awe-inspiring sight that it made me feel like Peter Pan, flying with Tinker Bell to Neverland, where I could join the Lost Boys to fight pirates and refuse to grow up!
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I begin the third volume by taking an overnight bus down to Cat Ba Island for a fun night of billiards, beers, and karaoke with a new French friend.  Next, we take a lazy day to discover some pristine beaches and have philosophical conversations about Don Ruiz’s book: The Four Agreements.  Finally, we will take a boat tour through the awe-inspiring Halong Bay, go kayaking through karst passages, and climb up to an overlook on Monkey Island.
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Amazon Reviewer Wrote:
“A fun, easy to follow account of one of the many overseas adventures by the author. The e-book definitely moved my desire to travel to SE Asia one or two notches, and his description of the kayak trip makes it a must do for me.” – Gibran Suleiman

“A bit of helpful philosophy mixed in a fantastic narrative and photos of Halong Bay in Vietnam.  Scott David Plumlee describes his experience in typical fashion, making me wish I could join him for a beer on the beach.”  – Joseph Bengston

Vietnam Travel Magic #4:
Caving Phong Nha

“Hey, did you hear about the dyslexic rock star that accidentally sold his soul to Santa?” Seth laughed and replied “Do you know why Santa is so happy?” “Um, because he’s got a dozen flying reindeer” I answered. “No, ‘cause he knows where all the naughty girls live.” We proceeded to sing the song and it just got funnier and funnier: “He’s making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice – Santa Claus is coming to town.” 
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In this fourth volume, I will be going to Phong Nha National Park to discover its legendary caves with a hilarious new American friend, who loves to share jokes.  Seth and I will tour the countryside on his motorcycle, go zip-lining into the muddy depths of the Dark Cave, and be awe-struck by the stunning interior of Paradise Cavern.  Next, we sail a dragon boat down the Son River into Phong Nha Cave and then visit an infamous pub that allows customers to decapitate their chicken of choice for dinner.
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Amazon Reviewer Wrote:
“The photography was amazing as was the narrative!  Makes me want to travel there even more now.  It’s a fun account of the author’s many adventures around the globe.  Thank you David for bringing me closer to Vietnam and its incredible beauty.” – Noel Allen

“Reflections of Ambition. This lighthearted journey through Vietnam caves and countryside provokes the desire to appreciate the landscape and culture that surrounds us all.  The sense of adventure is evident; it draws you closer to your own dreams. Well done.”  – Dermot Conner

Vietnam Travel Magic #5:
Forbidden City of Hue

Dripping with sweat in the mid-morning sun, Joe and Yui showed me the impressive gateway into the Imperial City.  They explained that it was built in the 17th century by the feudal Nguyen Dynasty emperors, and served as the national capital from 1802 to 1945.  Deep within these walls was the Forbidden Purple City where only the emperor, his concubines, and their servants could access; the punishment for trespassing was death.
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In this fifth volume, I will be discovering opulent royal palaces and riverside Buddhist pagodas while touring the ancient capital city of Hue.  When I arrived, I had the good fortune to meet two local college students, Joe and Yui, who were keen to guide me around the Forbidden Purple City.  Adding a personal perspective on modern Vietnamese culture, it reveals the surprising political opinions of my new friends, as well as my own reflections on their tyrannical history. 
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Amazon Reviewer Wrote:
“Wanderlust! Scott’s series of ongoing travel pictographs and unique perspective keep on satisfying my senses of historic, social, cultural and culinary curiosities. Guaranteed to revive your wanderlust and provide a sane road map to your future travels!” – Ara Gregorian

“Inspiring – As with all of  Plumlee’s books, #5 is filled with stunning photos, rich history, and a personal account of the most amazing adventure. David has a true gift for sweeping you along on his travels – you can almost hear him talking to you along the way.” – Carys Jones

Vietnam Travel Magic #6:
Full Throttle Danang

Escaping the sweltering the heat, I twisted the throttle of my motorcycle and zipped down the highway, letting the breeze dry my drenched shirt. The map showed one last detour before I started climbing into the mountains towards Danang.  I discovered a sheltered beach for a refreshing swim, stripped down and waded into the cool ocean water.  While swimming away from the shore, something brushed past my leg and I nearly screamed when the first shark fin crested the surface.  I felt a surge of adrenaline as the second fin circled on my right, but it was the third fin that snapped me into action…
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In this sixth chapter of the Vietnam Travel Magic series, I will be riding full-throttle down the tropical coastline to the bridge city of Danang.  This travel story is an action-packed saga with many obstacles along the way, from a shark encounter to nerve-wracking traffic and a fire-breathing dragon.  However, the adrenaline-juiced storyline takes a philosophical detour when I face my greatest challenge: to be a victim or a warrior.  A victim allows fears to dictate their destiny, while a warrior challenges those fears with logic; taking calculated risks to rise above the limitations of doubt.
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Amazon Reviewer Wrote:
This was an amazing book. The pictures were stunning and the writing very thought-provoking. I will be looking into reading other books in this series. Mr. Plumlee gives one a whole different perspective on the culture and country of Vietnam.” – Brakeman

Written with depth, humor and cultural sensitivity, enhanced with stunning photography, this latest installment made me sway on the back of his motorcycle and hyperventilate at shark fins breaking the ocean surface!” – Carys Jones

Vietnam Travel Magic #7:
Hoi An Pilgrimage

I entered a massive cavern, awash with majestic sunlight that filtered down through natural fissures in the ceiling. The faint whiff of incense smoke rose as birds swirled around the chamber; their echoing chirps mixed with the sound of monk’s chanting. Carved into the back wall was a colossal statue of Buddha, seated in a peaceful pose of deep meditation; inspiring me to take a moment and enjoy this sacred sanctuary. My mind began to relax as I allowed the sound of the Aum-chanting monks to wash over me like warm surf. I closed my eyes, focused on the sound, and slowly quieted the dialogue within my mind – until – I unknowingly slipped into meditation.
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In this seventh episode of the Vietnam Travel Magic series, I will be taking an unexpected pilgrimage to a colorful lantern festival in Hoi An. This narrative chronicles my spiritual journey within at a Buddhist monastery; drifting through sublime caverns and slipping into a blissful meditation. This experience allowed me to push beyond my limits to discover my true potential and gain a deeper self-awareness. Next, I retired to the beach for a rainy day of endless backgammon games and then celebrated the full moon by floating candle-lit lanterns down the river.
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Amazon Reviewers Wrote:
“I enjoyed visiting this foreign land through the eyes of the photographer. His words opened up a new appreciation of the land and culture.  Although I have not traveled physically to these places I can travel there in my imagination.” – Janice

I love how David always brings the reader an inside look at things and places they may never have an opportunity to visit themselves.” – cirious

Goodreads Reviewers Wrote:
“This book has wonderful photographs of place I know I will not visit. Scott’s dialogue conveys his amazement as he travels up the east coast of Vietnam. I have read most of Scott’s books, and he does not disappoint.” – Gail H. Devoid

Vietnam Travel Magic #8:
Delat Canyoneering

Intro Blurb text
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In this eighth volume, I will be …
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Amazon Reviewers Wrote:
“….” – name

“….” – name

More Travel Magic

world globe

Lighting The Path

I developed this site to inspire you to go explore this big blue marble and discover the transformative magic of personal empowerment. Guiding your wanderlust, there are regional maps of the world that illustrate some Magical Places among the multitude of tourist traps. 

To help you succeed, I created Travel Advice pages divided into:
1) Before You Go: Basics, Documents, and Medical;
2) What To Take: Luggage, Clothing, and Technology;
3) On The Road: Immersion, Philosophy, and Books.

Lighting the path, the Travel Magic eBook series shares my personal experiences and takes you away to exciting locations; joining me to go cycling across New Zealand and backpacking throughout Vietnam.

I sell these adventure stories as digital eBooks exclusively on Amazon.  Click on any book cover image to visit my Amazon Author Page.