Have been in Hong Kong a few days now promoting Murdoch James Estate wines, after leaving Hanoi on Wednesday last.
Vietnam was a great country to visit, and the contrast between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi was dramatic.The former, bustling and growing fast, but with that change a lot of history has gone. Hanoi by contrast still has it's 'Old Town' with narrow streets and leafy avenues, plus it's famous cathedral. It is still growing fast, but in a more controlled manner. The local people we great, very friendly and helpful, while the restaurants served excellent food and were great value for money. One example: two course lunch with two beers for just NZ$12! The roadside food stalls were even better value and exciting to experment with.
I did have to pay special attention to the currency though. One NZ$ = 13,800 Vietnamese Dong, so not uncommon to get bills for many hundred thousand Dong! One evening meal for 4 of us was Dong 1,300,000. Scary, until you divide by 13,800 and realise that is only NZ$100!
AsI flew out to Hong Kong, I was thinking that there is plenty of room for me to grow Murdoch James Estate wine sales in Vietnam, but it won't be easy. Taxes on wines are over 100%, there is huge competition from Chile and Australia and beverage consumption is only slowing swinging away from whisky and cognac. The big hotels like this will be an important target market, as will the coastal tourist resorts; and I'll certainly need to come back!