Vietnam Guide

Date visited Vietnam: 17 July 2017

Duration: 3 Weeks

 

Guide to 2 weeks in Vietnam

As independent travellers here at Kiwis off course, we usually do the research, make a rough travel route then go it alone, hit the road and see what we find along our way. Discovering awesome adventures that we love to share with you lot reading this!
In that sense, our trip through Vietnam was a little different. We signed on to Busabouts two-week Vietnam Adventure. We would travel from Hanoi all the way south to Ho Chi Minh. No research necessary, with our itinerary already set. No last-minute hostels because fancy hotels were already organised and no ramshackle local transport because our private bus will be taking us the whole way.

Vietnam was the end of a lot of travelling.

11 in 14 months we had just spent on the road taking care of everything ourselves. By signing up with Busabout we were saying to ourselves… Lets just stop for a minute; how about letting someone else take care of this travel admin for a while so we can kick back and simply enjoy the ride. Wow it felt good!

 

The tour was a bit of a change for us. No admin meetings, deciding the next spot to discover. We went from couple travel to making some awesome new friends in the group environment while also having a nice balance of organised activities and free time to explore on our own. Finally the icing on the trip was the awesome guy and amazing guide, Tim. Yes its is easy to say this change was good, we really enjoyed our Busabout adventure trip!

 

 

 

Transport

 

Vietnam is a great country for road-tripping, Many travellers buy a scooter in either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh then make their own way cross-country. Being a long thin country the route is simple, North or South. When your tour is finished, it is easy to either sell back to the bike dealers (for a small loss) or sell to another traveller for a fair price.

We chose a more cosy option and signed up with the Busabout Vietnam Adventure tour. All our travel from here on out would be taken care of! No organisation necessary, sweet. 

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Accommodation

Accommodation is included in the Busabout tour. They choose the hotels to stay and because the company tour’s regularly you can count on them being reliable. We always had private rooms as we travelled in a couple. Single travellers may have to share with a group buddy depending on group numbers.

Here is a list of the hotels we stayed at each destination.

 

 

 

See You At Lily’s, Hanoi

Rooms starting from VND 113,636 – 477,271 ($5 – $21 USD) p/n Hanoi, Hostel, Accomodation, Vietnam, best travel guide, Travel Blog, Vietnam guide, What to do in Vietnam

We stayed here one night before our Busabout tour started. See You At Lily’s is in a great location right in the heart of backpacker’s district. We enjoyed a short but sweet stay here, even though it was only for one night we felt right at home at this cosy hostel. Our room was clean and tidy and the beds were comfortable, each dorm and private room also comes with an en suite bathroom. The staffs here are very friendly and know all the local information about Hanoi. Breakfast is also included in the room price, very basic but tasty. As we were out most of the day we were able to leave our bags in a secure area. You can also book all your tours around Vietnam here, making it such a great starting point.

 

 

 

 

Hong Ngoc Tonkin Hotel, Hanoi

Rooms starting from VND 1,250,288 ($55 USD) p/n

This hotel is in a great location, right in the old quarter. 3 minutes walk to the lake and restaurants. The rooms were clean and the beds were very comfortable. We did receive WiFi in our room but heard that sometimes it can be a hit and miss. Buffet breakfast was included and served a variety of different foods. Brett and I didn’t stay very long here but we did enjoy our short stay.

 

 

 

Homestay 32, Mai Chau

Dorm room VND 100,000 ($4.40 USD) p/n

Mai Chau was one of our favourite stops in Vietnam. Without the Busabout tour, we would have missed this secret gem. It is a very small local village where we got a taste of the “rural” Vietnam. What made our stay was sleeping one night with a stilt house Home-stay. It was very basic accommodation but for one night it was an experience. We stayed in a traditional stilt hut with mattresses on the floor along with the entire group in one room. There were multiple fans in the room so it wasn’t too hot. The food was included in our stay and they did an amazing job of serving up delicious Vietnamese food, we were very spoilt. We were then served bottles of “happy water” (rice wine) after dinner which was a great way to get to sleep, just don’t forget to put your mosquito nets down. We really loved our stay here and recommend to everyone to visit Mai Chau.

 

 

Sai Gon Hotel, Phong Nha

Rooms starting from VND 545,580 ($24 USD) p/n

Phong Nha is another small town that can easily be discovered by foot. Sai Gon hotel is right on the main street and 5 minutes walk to the middle of the street with restaurants and shops. The rooms itself was basic but cosy, it wasn’t the best place we stayed at but it did the trick while we were in Phong Nha. The staffs weren’t the friendliest bunch but that may just be because of the language barrier. Breakfast was very average and not at all filling, which was quite disappointing. The main reason we liked this hotel is because of its location.

 

 

Park View Hotel, Hue

Rooms starting from VND 1,136,625 ($50 USD) p/n

We couldn’t believe that this was our hotel for the night in Hue, it was very grand and expensive looking, so we felt like kings. Our room here was so large, we had more than enough space. Our beds of course were very comfortable and we always love a hotel that provides robes and slippers. Park View also had a pool, gym and business centre on site. We wished we were here for more than one night so we had enough time to experience all the facilities. Buffet breakfast here was delicious! We had so much to choose from that we couldn’t decide. We would really recommend this hotel when visiting Hue.

 

 

Green Heaven Hotel, Hoi An

Rooms starting from VND 1,151,400 ($51 USD) p/n 

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Hotel Green Heaven, Bedroom

After a last-minute change on the Busabout itinerary we headed to Green Heaven Hotel to spend our 2 nights in Hoi An. This hotel was in a perfect location of walking distance to the bars, restaurants and tourist attractions. Our room was very comfortable once again. We were very impressed with all the hotels chosen on the tour; they had done a great job in picking them out. Inside the hotel not only was there a pool to cool off in the heat but also a spa. We were treated to a couples massage from Busabout as an engagement gift, which was something we were super thankful for and a lovely gesture from the tour company. Once again the buffet breakfast was on point with so many varieties of food that we could gorge in.

 

 

 

Edele Hotel, Nha Trang

Rooms starting from VND 795,637 ($35 USD) p/n 

Although we felt like Nha Trang was a missed opportunity, our hotel Edele was a great place to stay at. The staff were very friendly and accommodating which created a warm atmosphere. Our room was large and comfortable, that also featured a big bath to relax in. There was a roof top pool, which was a great place to watch the sunset. Breakfast however lacked choice for a buffet.

You may have already heard but Nha Trang is a mini Russia, and most of the signs and food menu’s are in Russian.

 

 

Da Lat Plaza Hotel, Dalat

Rooms starting from VND 871,000 ($38.32 USD) p/n

As Da Lat is situated 1,500m above sea level it is drastically colder than the others places we visited in Vietnam. This was the first hotel where we did not need air conditioning. We really enjoyed our room here, it was large and spacious and the bathroom was very clean. However the walls were very thin and while in bed in the early hours of the morning you could hear everything and anything happening on all floors. The breakfast buffet made up for the noise and offered a great variety of food. We did enjoy our stay here and it was in a good location only a 5-10 minute walk from the main area of restaurants and bars.

 

 

Au Lac II Hotel, Ho Chi Minh

Rooms starting from VND 886,375 ($39 USD) p/n

Both Brett and I can agree this was one of our favourite hotels “on tour”. Au Lac II was in a really great location, walking distance to the square, market and river. The staffs here were very friendly and our room was immaculate and grand. We couldn’t get enough of our big and comfortable bed and the en suite bathroom was well equipped with a large bath, which was well needed for R&R time. This was a great hotel to end our stay in Vietnam on tour the past few weeks. We were really surprised and impressed with the hotels chosen for the trip as we really enjoyed each one.

 

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Au Lac II Hotel, Bedroom

 

 

 

 

Food

  • Bánh Cuôʼn – This is a steamed rice-cake dish. Made from rice flour batter that is put onto a steamer and covered by a lid for a few seconds, then transferred onto a tray to be filled with mushrooms and pork. Each bite is topped with fried shallots.
  • Phő – a very popular dish in Vietnam. It is a rice noodle soup served with meat (either beef or chicken), bean sprouts, lime wedges, greens (basil, mint, coriander and onions) and chilli. It is very cheap and tasty and usually eaten at breakfast time but as it is a popular tourist staple can be eaten at any time.
  • Bún Châ – Rice vermicelli (Bún) is very common in Vietnam and the Bún Châ especially in Hanoi. It comes with grilled pork sausage patties, herbs, bean sprouts, pickled veggies and the tasty important nuoc cham sauce (pour over everything). A must try in Hanoi.
  • Gői Cuôʼn – is known as “salad rolls”. Cigar shaped rice paper rolls are packed with greens, shrimp or pork and herbs. They also come with the nuoc cham sauce; you can dunk the rolls in. We ate so many of these, you can find them all around Vietnam.
  • Bánh Mì – Brought over when the French colonised Vietnam but adapted by the Vietnamese with entirely their own fillings. This baguette can be filled with either, pork belly, fish cakes or meatballs and served with pickled carrots, greens and chilli’s. Perfect for a quick bite of lunchtime meal.
  • Bánh Xeo – is known as the “sizzling pancake”. This pancake contains shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg, which is then fried, wrapped in rice paper with greens and dunked in a spicy sauce.
  • Cao Lau – One of Hoi An’s specialities. A mouth-watering bowl of thick rice-flour noodles, bean sprouts and   pork-rind croutons in a light soup flavoured with mint and star anise, topped with thinly sliced pieces of pork and served with grilled rice-flour crackers or sprinkled with crispy rice paper.
  • Cha Ca – delicious seafood dish from Hanoi. It is a white fish sautéed in butter with dill and spring onions, then served with rice noodles and a scattering of peanuts. If you like seafood, you will have to try this!
  • Com Tam – “Broken rice” is a street food favourite and that is usually served with barbecued pork or beef, a fried egg, thin cut slices of cucumber, tomato and pickled vegetables.
  • Ca Kho To (caramelized fish in clay pot) – Clay pots retain the heat and moisture, helping to soften and caramelize meats when braised. You can have it with different varieties of meat but fish is our favourite. This dish has a comfort feel to it and definitely a must eat!
  • Canh Chua (Vietnamese soup) – There are many tasty soup dishes in Vietnam, but our favourite was the Canh Chua. It is made from star fruit, tamarind, pineapple and tomatoes. Full of contrasting flavours and textures.
  • Nom Hua Chuoi – is known as the banana flower salad. This is a delicious meal and a great meat-free option. Lime and chilli are key flavors and add a kick to the shredded veg dish.
  • Goi (Vietnamese salad) – Goi is the generic word for salad but doesn’t usually involve any lettuce. The base instead is a pile of thinly sliced green papaya or mango, lotus root and cabbage. Then topped with pickled carrots, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and nuoc cham sauce.
  • Coffee – Coffee here is absolutely delicious, as it is served with sweetened condensed milk instead of milk. If you are a sweet lover you will definitely enjoy this.
  • Ca Phe – More like a dessert, it is a Vietnamese coffee mixed up with a raw egg. This may not sound appealing but give it a go.
  • Beer – There are many beers in Vietnam, Brett’s favourites were Saigon, Huda and Tiger.

 

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Delicious boat trip lunch

 

Recommended restaurants

 

Hanoi

  • Red Dream – This restaurant was recently opened and is owned by See You At Lily’s Hostel. It was our first time ordering a Pho in Vietnam and they definitely set the standards high. We really enjoyed the atmosphere here as well.
  • 1946 – Hidden away in a small alley, you will find 1946. It is the perfect place to eat local cuisine in a local atmosphere and specialising in Hanoi cuisine.

 

Phong Nha

  • Bamboo Café – is a popular spot in Phong Na and a good overall restaurant. They serve here all types offood, so there is a lot to choose from.
  • Worlds Best BBQ (probably) Restaurant – One of our favourite restaurants in Vietnam, serving pretty damn good BBQ food! I had the Banh Mi spit roast pork and it was so tasty it puts all the other Banh Mi’s to shame.

  

Hue

  • Golden Rice Restaurant – served up delicious and tasty local food and at reasonable prices. This was our first time trying the clay pot and it was cooked so well we couldn’t stop talking about it. Highly recommend in going.

 

Hoi An

  • Lanterns restaurant – has to be one of my favourite places to eat in all of Vietnam. I ordered the seafood CaoLau, which is one of Hoi An’s specialities. It was absolutely delicious with array of large seafood that was very filling. This is a must try and conveniently right next door to Yaly, the tailoring shop we recommend in going to.
  • Streets – is a restaurant providing a program to help train the Vietnamese people to learn life skills and work in the hospitality industry. The food here is very delicious and a little more expensive, but for a great cause we were more than happy to help out and spend a few extra dollars to provide a better future for these people.

   

 

Nha Trang

  • Lanterns restaurant – directly opposite our hotel, which was very convenient and another well recommended restaurant. The food here is very tasty, serving a wide variety of food. As this place is well-known there is usually a line to get in around dinnertime so be sure to make a reservation in advance.
  • Street food (Bahn Mi) – Just up the road to the left from Lanterns restaurant, you can find a little corner kiosk serving freshly made and delicious bahn mi. Great for a small snack and a quick feed, this bahn mi costs VDN 30,000.
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Lunch at the national park.

 

Da Lat

  • Artist Alley – This was one of the more unique restaurants we have been to. Situated down a small alley was this hidden gem. The restaurant was decorated with interesting art and we had our very own guitarist playing soothing flamenco style music. On a cold night this is exactly where we wanted to be. The food here was very tasty and comforting which fit the whole theme, they served a small variety Vietnamese food but all cooked superbly. Both Brett and I were very happy in our food choices and I can definitely recommend the avocado smoothie!
  • Tu Anh’s restaurant – Owned by the loveliest Vietnamese lady, Tu Anh. She offers a large variety of food both Vietnamese and Western. Though we didn’t think the food was the best we had, we really enjoyed her company, energy and the atmosphere.
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Local vegetable market

Ho Chi Minh

  • BBQ 26 – A great find, serving delicious BBQ food and a large variety of Vietnamese dishes. This place has now gained a reputation for itself and is very popular among locals and tourists. If you like seafood we recommend trying anything seafood, it is absolutely delicious.
  • Street food (Bahn Mi) – to the right of our hotel at the corner (Au Lac II), was a large area of street food. Here you can choose your fillings for your Bahn Mi, just like subway and some spring rolls to compliment. They are open in the early morning and the perfect snack after a long night of partying.
  • The Café Apartment – This is a 9 story apartment building filled with trendy fashion boutiques, cafes and co-working spaces. Wander floor by floor and stop at coffee shops that take your fancy. Highly recommend visiting this interesting building.
  • Burgers – If you are burger lovers and craving a good old fashion gourmet burger we recommend in hitting up Chuck’s burgers and Soul burgers, great break from the Pho and Bahn Mi 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Must see & do 

 

Hanoi

  • Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple – The Lake is in the centre of Hanoi and is a great focal point of the city. Ngoc Son Temple is the most visited temple in the city and sits on an island on the Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Wander Around The Old Quarter – Discover the maze of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and temples. The Old Quarter is as old as the 13th century and once you wander around you will notice each street specializes in a certain business.
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum – Museum dedicated to the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and the struggle Vietnam faced against foreign powers. You can find photos and documents here relating to the overthrow of the French and the rise of communism.
  • Hoa Lo Prison Museum – Prison used by the French colonialists in Vietnam for prisoners and later used by North Vietnamese communists during the Vietnam-American War. The museum shows the array of torture weapons used during this time as well as the confined overpopulated cells.
  • Backyard railway – The railway line runs through the old quarter’s narrow back streets, where people dismantle/pull up their shops when the train is approaching. This is a very unique sight to see and try time it so you are there to see this happen.
  • Temple of Literature – This temple is dedicated to the Confucius (Khong Tu) and honours the country’s finest scholars. It is a well-preserved example of Vietnamese architecture.
  • Weekend Night Market – Starts from 7pm on Friday through to Sunday. Here you can find great deals on souvenirs, clothing and shoes.

 

 

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Drone shot of Ha Long Bay.

  

Ha Long Bay

Travelling in the low season comes with low crowds but also unreliable weather… We booked a tour to Ha Long Bay with Urban Adventures, and found out later all boat tours the previous day had been cancelled due to weather conditions. It was raining in Hanoi but our tour guide assured us it was worth pressing on. We only had time for a day trip, although we would have loved to stay on an overnight tour.

After an early hotel pickup, we arrived dockside four hours later. Our group was only 7 and we were served a huge delicious lunch on the cruise out to the bay. Just as we arrived the rain began to pour buckets! Lucky our first stop was the beautiful (and sheltered) cave. By the time we had finished the clouds were parting and pieces of blue sky shone through. We then took a lap of the immensely beautiful Ha Long Bay interior. Shear rock faced mountains stick straight up out of the ocean creating a marvellous spectacle. At this point the over night tours would settle in and explore some swimming spots. For us it was time the boat returned and we were taken back to our hotels after an awesome full on day exploring Ha Long Bay with Urban Adventures.

Highly Recommend!

 

 

 

 

Mai Chau

If we had not been on the Vietnam Adventure Busabout tour we wouldn’t of known about Mai Chau. A small rural village tucked away in the mountains surrounded by rice patty fields. We were so happy to escape the city life and get a taste of the rural life. We stayed at a beautiful home stay that welcomed us with opened arms. One of Brett and I’s favourite adventures was going on a bike ride around Mai Chau exploring the memorable, photogenic landscapes and truly experiencing life with the locals first hand. We ended the perfect day with a home-cooked dinner and sleeping in a traditional stilt house. I cannot recommend enough to get out of the bustling city of Hanoi and head out to Mai Chau to stay at a home stay.

 

 

 

 

 

Phong Nha

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the main attraction in Phong Nha. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003 and contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia. There is so much to see here; many cave systems and underground rivers waiting to be explored.

See below what we got up to:

 

  • Paradise Cave – is a dry passage of Vom Cave, which is the longest dry cave in Asia at 31km long. Tourists can visit the first kilometre of Paradise Cave, entering by a long set of stairs and a lit up boardwalk. Here you can see thousands of years old stalactites and stalagmites emerging from the cave.
  • Dark Cave – a more adventurous and muddy excursion. The dark cave is reached by a zip line or short kayak, where you then enter the cave and indulge in a mud bath.
  • Adventure course and kayaking – After exploring the caves you can enjoy a swim in the river or brave up to the adventure course & over water zip line.
  • Son Doong Cave – Unfortunately we didn’t get to go here as you have to book tickets in advance and it is very expensive. Son Doong cave has only been recently discovered in 2010 and it is as high as 200m and wide 150m, this cave is large enough to fit a New York City block of 40 story skyscrapers. The cave has its own eco system and weather system which makes it that much more unique.

 

  

 

Hue

  • Imperial City – Also called “The Citadel” was once home of Vietnam’s emperors. The palace grounds are surrounded by a moat filled with waterlilies. A lot of the structure was damaged in battles but the restoration is ongoing. It is colourful place to walk around and very photogenic if you love to take photos.
  • Tomb of Tu Doc – Is the most popular and impressive royal mausoleum. Emperor Tu Doc designed it himself to be used before and after his death. It is surrounded by the most beautiful scenery and definitely worth a visit.
  • Thien Mu Pagoda – Is the tallest religious building in Vietnam and situated overlooking the Perfume River. The temple grounds is a site of political significance, during 1963 the catholic government cracked down on Buddhism in the country, even though most of the population were Buddhists. When 9 unarmed Buddhists were shot in Hue, Thien Mu Pagoda became an organizing point for those involved in the movement. When the government refused appeals of religious equality, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc drove to Saigon and in protest, he famously sacrificed himself by setting himself on fire.
  • Take a ride on a cyclo taxi – It looks like an adult pram, with a seat in front of the bicycle taxi. This is a fun and unique way of exploring the streets of Hue where tuktuk’s are not allowed.
  • The Perfume River – The Perfume River flows through the centre of Hue. You can take a boat trip along the river and enjoy the views, have a meal and visit some of the major tourist sites accessible by boat.

 

 

 

 

Hoi An

  • Stroll around Hoi An Old town – One of the most well-preserved traditional towns in South East Asia. Wander around the beautiful Old town and find some quirky coffee shops, trendy markets and delicious food.
  • Attend a cooking class – Immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture by taking a cooking class. This was organised by Busabout where we learnt to make spring rolls, papaya salad and rice pancakes.
  • Cross the Japanese covered bridge – Be stunned by the beauty of the four-century old Japanese covered bridge and its even more stunning at night.
  • Get a tailor-made suit or dress – One of the reasons I was excited in visiting Hoi An, was to get something tailor-made. We recommend in going to “Yaly” one of the best and well-known tailor-made shops in Hoi An. You can go in choose fabric and even show them a photo of what you want and it takes around 24 hours to receive it! They did such a good job on my dress I would recommend them to anyone.
  • Grab a bike and cycle through the rice fields – no better way to explore Hoi An and surrounding villages by bike. Don’t forget to stop and take it all in, there are many beautiful shots that can be taken here.
  • Visit the beach – Only a 20-minute bike ride away you can find An Bang beach, soak up some rays and lounge out on the sand or hire a chair for the day. There are plenty of restaurants here so you wont get hungry or thirsty.
  • Experience the nightlife – Across the river you can find a strip of cheap bars and nightclubs. Enjoy yourself and head out for a fun night in Hoi An!

 

 

 

 

Nha Trang

  • Snorkelling and Diving – Our view has perhaps been tainted by over expectation, having dived in some exceedingly beautiful places. Nha Trang however was not one of them. Skip this activity. Locals told us a typhoon had come through recently and brought all the rubbish in the water with it. I’m not sure I fully believe them with the amount of tourists carelessly leaving rubbish everywhere.
  • Po Nagar Cham Towers – A popular tourist attraction, these towers were built between 7th and 12th centuries and still functions as a worshipping site for Buddhists.
  • Long Son Pagoda – Buddhist temple located in the heart of Nha Trang. Make sure you venture up to the hill where you’ll find a giant reclining Buddha, a charming pagoda, interesting cemetery and a giant white Buddha located right at the top.
  • Hire a private karaoke room – If karaoke is your jam, then hire out a private room at the Liberty hotel for an hour or two and order vodka by the bottle for VND 200,000 each! It was truly a fun night out.

 

 

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As a group we still had some fun.

 

 

Da Lat

  • Visit the Crazy House – also known as the Moon Villa, has been an ongoing project by one of the local artists since 1990. It is really out of this world and definitely a site to see if you have time in Da Lat.
  • Elephant falls – There are many waterfalls in Da Lat, unfortunately we only had time to visit one, Elephant falls. It is a very grand waterfall with a tricky pathway down but totally worth it.
  • Explore the night market – After 7pm, the night market comes to life, situated near the city centre, you can find some great souvenirs and clothing here.
  • Get lost in the craziest bar you will ever see – Head over to the maze bar called 100 roofs bar, order a drink in the entry way then go off exploring the maze themed rooms ….. you are bound to get lost!
  • Busabout exclusive tour with Mr Rot’s secret tour – This one would be hard to find without doing the bus-about tour. There are a few tour companies that take tours to see the minority villages however some villages have almost lost their authenticity due to the constant tourist contact. Not so Mr Rots secret tour. Mr Rot has a unique story he was raised in the minority villages until fortune would see him adopted by a wealthy businessman who put him through schooling and university. He now gives back to the minority communities where he was raised. The tour changes villages every time to decrease impact on the local’s lifestyles. He gives a fantastic tour that allows insight into the minority culture, an insight you simply cannot get from anyone else!

 

 

 

 

 

Ho Chi Minh

  • Cui Chi Tunnels – The history of war in Vietnam is hard to believe. Crawling through tiny tunnels we saw how this small nation defended itself against the word’s greatest ever superpower. For years the Vietnamese lived and fought underground in claustrophobia inducing tunnels. This is a must see when in Vietnam.
  • Mekong Delta – Take a boat ride up the famous delta, see the floating markets and try a variety of vietnamese dishes. This is the highlight of many travellers Vietnam visits, unfortunately for us we had to cancel our trip because of illness.
  • War Remnants Museum – This museum is a great place to learn more about what the conflict between America and Vietnam was all about. It also shows some of the atrocities which cannot be forgotten by history such as the use of the toxic chemical Dioxin in Agent Orange.
  • Saigon Square – A shopping landmark, it is one of the biggest indoor markets in Saigon. You can find a range of products at affordable prices.
  • Ben Tanh Market – is located in district 1 and it is a great place to buy local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs.
  • Antique Market – This is right opposite the Ben Tanh Market, it is packed with many shops selling colonial memorabilia, Buddha statues, old coins, art, furniture and more.
  • Hanh Thong Tay night market – During the day this market sells fruits and produce, but at night from 6pm – 11pm you can find clothes, shoes, fakes jewellery, handbags, sunglasses and more! 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips & Advice

  • The currency is the Vietnamese Dong
  • Organise your Cambodia tourist visa before arrival. You can do this online at http://www.vietnamsvisa.com/ (make sure you bring a 4x6cm passport photograph of yourself)
  • Plugs used in Vietnam are the three round pins (Type D) in a triangle pattern or 2 pin connections (Type C). They operate on a 230V supply voltage and 50 Hz.
  • You can use USD dollars around Vietnam.
  • If you would like to purchase a SIM card, buy a Viettel, at either the phone shop or hotel. We paid $6 USD for a SIM card and 3.5GB.
  • In Southern Vietnam the dry season is from December to April and rains May through to November.
  • Central coast is the complete opposite. Dry season is from June to August and wet season from February to May.
  • Northern Vietnam is warm and sunny October to March and wet season from May to August.
  • Do not drink the tap water; try refill your water bottles hostels/hotels instead.
  • We did not feel at risk here, but as always just be travel smart wherever you go!
  • We did not have any trouble with language barriers, we felt that most people could speak if not understand English with lots of pointing.
  • Public transport is readily available and easy to organize trips between cities. There are a number of bus companies you can take during the day and night.
  • When visiting temples make sure you take your shoes and socks off, even if they are outdoors.

 

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Helpful words and phrases

The main language is Vietnamese in Vietnam:

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Hello                                      xin chao

Goodbye                                tam biet

Please                                     xin vui lòng

Thank you                             cam on

You’re welcome                    Chào đón bạn

 

Pardon me                             xin loi

Do you speak English?        Ban co noi duoc tieng Anh khong?

Yes                                           vang (north), da (south)

No                                            khong

 

 

 

 

Feeling Inspired?

Read about our 2 week Vietnam Adventure with Busabout

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See our Vietnam Travel Gallery for inspiring photos

 

 

 

 

 

* Updated to 2017 prices; Please let us know if there has been any changes to prices or if you have any tips to add.

 

* This guide is written in our own personal opinion and all recommendations are our own

 

 

 

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