Cruise World Heritage Site Halong Bay
Ha Long Bay is an UNESCO World Heritage site that the Vietnamese call the 'descending dragon'. It's a truly remarkable place. In a relatively small area there are 3,000 island mountains that protrude straight up from the sea.
The best way to see this area is Via 'dragon boat' (the Vietnamese call the boats Junks) cruising in and out of the mountains.
From a letter home
We 'lived' on a two story wooden boat with giant red sails and a dragon head in the front. It looked a bit like an ancient wooden barge. The ground floor had about 10 cabins and the second floor had the dining room (again all in wood) with big open windows. You could go up on the roof and sunbathe or just enjoy the sights but I spent most of my time by the giant dragon head in front of the boat watching the mountains go by.
Virtual tourist wont allow its users to label by areas..only cities...so in the Virtual Tourist Website Halong Bay is listed by its county or nearest city
Thanh Pho Hai Phong > Haiphong
"The backpacking area"
The backpacking area was established in early 1990, and made it popular to tourist following the increasing of hotels, motels, guesthouses built up.
Three first elegant hotels in this area were Liberty 3, Liberty 4, and Vien Dong. And it opened a bright future. Following that, several private households transformed their places into budget & mid-range hotels to host foreign visitors.
There are around more than 500 businesses registered in this area. Most of them gather along 3 main roads: Bui Vien, De Tham & Pham Ngu Lao – become so popular to the extend that some people name it Pham Ngu Lao town.
In this area, you have so many options to choose for yourself. It could be a budget, basic guesthouse to a classy 3-star hotel. Price might range from below ten to hundred dollars per night. However, the number of budget places totally overwhelms the high-class and it gradually makes this area into tourist mind as heaven for backpackers
"Where to stay in Backpacking area ?"
Hotel Liberty 3
Add: 187 Pham Ngu Lao, DIST 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: (84-8) 38369522, Fax: (84-8) 38364557
Add: 233 Pham Ngu Lao, Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: (84-8) 3838 5585, Fax: (84-8) 3838 5583
Hotel Quê Hýõng - Liberty
Add: 265 Pham Ngu Lao, Dist.1, Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: (84-8) 38364556/ 39141926, Fax: (84-8) 38370778/ 39141927
Hotel Du Na
Add: 167 Pham Ngu Lao, DIST 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: (84-8) 38373699, Fax: (84-8) 38376606
Hotel Ðai Hoang Long (Giant Dragon)
Add: 173 Pham Ngu Lao, DIST 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: (84-8) 3836 9268, Fax: (84-8) 3836 7279
Hotel Duc Vuong
Add: 195 Bùi Viện, P. Pham Ngu Lao, DIST 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: (84-8) 39206991, Fax: (84-8) 39203436
Hotel Le Le
Add: 171 Pham Ngu Lao, DIST 1, Tp Hồ Chí Minh
Tel: (84-8) 38368686, Fax: (84-8) 38368787
"Language - confusion part!"
What can you expect?
If you travel around the city centre, pop in some food courts - a lot - to try some local food. It's safe. The waiters & shop owners in centre area, most of them, can speak English.
What can you not?
Apart from citi centre, such as Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Thu Duc, you may find it a bit inconvenience talking with local. You cannot expect them to understand what exactly you want to talk about. However, the local people are willing & kind enough to do their best to get what you want. That’s VN hospitality!
The advantage of traveling apart from city is that you have chance to see some less noisy scenes, and enjoy not worrying much about doing bargain.
Most VN do not speak English very cool
They do finally understand what you want to – it takes time.
Southernism is also much easy-to-listen than the Northernism in term of English speaking
Hanging out with local & learning some local expressions is not a bad idea.
Honestly, people in South is much easy than the Northern
Guests in hotel
I hear most Ho Chi Minh Hotels dont allow guests.....Can anybody recommend Hotels where this is not a problem?
RE: Guests in hotel
Try Mondial Hotel on Dong Koi street. Should not be any problem.
I saw many guests bring local girls.
RE: Guests in hotel
Last time I was there, (Feb 2004) I stayed at the Giant Dragon in the Backpacker area on Pham Ngu Lao.
Nice rooms, no problems with guests day or night, but they do lock up later at night and you need to get security to let you in.
They do want the guests ID card usually.
Get to know the staff and security. They were all very nice and helpful. They watched after me and made sure I was taken care of.
Also done a couple of doors is the Duna which I heard was liberal also.
Of course that was a year ago and things do change quickly.