If you want to see a real Vietnam you should literally 'get off the beaten path'. It isn't complicated - just take a bike or a motorbike and go out of the city/town in any direction. After some time turn into a less popular small road and follow it. For sure after a few miles you will find a place not spoiled by tourism yet.
Driving any vehicle in Vietnam may seem crazy because the traffic rules probably don't exist or are completely different than you are used to. There is simpler way to find some 'wild' places. While visiting town or city forget about your Lonely Planet or any other guidebook, just walk ahead and live old quarter or any other popular among tourists place.
During our journey I practiced these rules and we experienced unforgettable moments like....meeting a group of children who didn't know what camera is!
Do not discount Nha Trang. It depends on what you want to do but it has alot of bang for the buck.
I was just there last month and while I found it alot more "busy" than previous trips, I still had a great time.
You can go to Doc Let which is about two hours north of Nha Trang. It is much more quiet but not cheap.
Check out the posts for Nha Trang and other locations and decide what it is you want to do and if it fits your plans.
If it's a beach, there are both public and private beaches in Nha Trang.
We went to the public beach right by the amusement park, paid a few dollars for two chairs and then got a lobster from a vendor who walks up and down the beach. Grilled right there for us for about $8.00 USD. A very nice day to say the least.
The Hai Van pass is located in central Vietnam and in many peoples opinion is the deviding point between north and south Vietnam.
When the country was devided the border was a little futher north though.
The pass is 497 meters above sea level and it´s a popular stopping point for peole on a roadtrip as the views from there are very good.
At the top of the pass you also have some old bunkers from the wars Vietnam had against France and USA, aswell as an old gate build by the emperor Ming Mang in the 19th century.
There is also a car tunnel going under the mountain that takes a lot of the heavy business traffic and that is real nice as that means the narrow road to the path is not that crowded.
When I went from Saigon to Phnom Phen I took a tour on the Mekong river. I truly recommend this, it was a journey of a lifetime. There are many tours to take from Saigon to Cambodia, make sure to bring a few photos for the visa procedure at the border. But there are no worries otherwise.
We took a cooking class in Saigon. They picked us up from the hotel, took us to a market to shop for the ingredients, had a half day of cooking and then ate what we made. It was the best meal we had in Vietnam and the food there is awesome! It was conducted in English. I booked the class on-line. We emailed back and forth.
We made caramalized pork, green mango salad, and Vietnamese spring rolls.
We drank beers the whole time, fun! It was just us three guys too.
Vietnam Cookery Center, 177 Dien Bien Phu , District 1, Ho Chi Minh-Ville , VIETNAM
Tél: +848 82 35 872 Fax: +848 82 35 873 e-mail: email@example.com
This village is famous for snake breeding and processing .
Snake is a special food of Vietnam. you can buy liquor of snake or, you can taste foods processed from snake(beware, some people are alergic to snake meat). Annual festival is carried out on the 23rd of the third lunar month . In festival, there is an unique dance of snake.
Get off the beaten path.....you'll see so many more of what you came to Vietnam for.
Imagine a quiet and calm field of rice patties in you view, a flock of ducks paddling in the pond nearby....and a few water buffalos grazing across the field.
The sun shine may get too bright at midday....you could sit down on a grassy patch under a cool shade of the bamboo trees. Light winds blow through your hair....and no horn noises that mixed with dust in the air. Everything is just so pure of peace and calmness. Enjoy Vietnam.
Quy Nhon is a fairly big seaside town situated between Da Nang and Nha Trang.
It´s not a big tourist place at all, but the place has a decent beach, a vibrant fishing scene and is in general a very friendly town.
I stopped there for the night while cycling through Vietnam and thought it was one of the nicer towns in Vietnam.
Quy Nhon has a nice seaside promenade where you have hotels in all price ranges and plenty of nice seafood restaurants.
If you are on a roadtrip though Vietnam then this is an obvious place to stop by for a night.
The Cu Chi tunnels were one of the main factors in the Vietnam war and mabye the most important symbol of the war in the country.
It´s an enourmous network of tunnels through southern Vietnam that the Viet Cong used to hide in and the americans never knew when someone stuck their head out of the groud and shot at them
These days, some parts of the tunnels are open to the public and some very interesting tours are given there.
They have even made a few of the tunnels a little bigger so that it´s possible to fit western tourists in the, so you can get in to one of them and get a little taste of what it was like to live underground during the Vietnam war.
They are located about 2 hours drive north east of Saigon and you have many tour s from Saigon leaving to the tunnels.
Cycling the Mekong delta is one of the best things i have ever done.
Not that there are a lot of big sights, but this is truly Vietnam without the souvenier shops and motorbike taxi drivers.
Get off the main road and in to the rice fields and just pedal along the rice workers, who are not very likely to have seen a tourist on a bike before.
The day trips mentioned are all good.
If you stay in HCMC, you could visit Soui Tien Theme park, which is basically an amusement park that is largely based on the culture and mythology of Vietnam. (i.e. You enter a building and encounter Vietnamese gods) I don't know how to quite explain the place, but it was an interesting place to walk around and take some great pictures. They have some simple rides too. The highlight for me was a large alligator section (or crocodile, I don't remember) where you can actually feed some of the thousands of alligators as you pass on a walkway only a few feet above.
If you want to go to the beach, you can take a hydrofoil boat to Vung Tau. The beach is not that great but it's a day trip.
If you want a better beach and you have a couple days, I recommend taking a night bus to Mui Ne. The beaches here are nice and the inland sand dunes are amazing. Nha Trang is another popular beach, but it's more crowded and thieves are more prevalent.
Another trip you could take if you have a couple days is to buy a cheap flight to Danang and take a taxi south to Hoi An, a small city that still maintains it's "traditional" feel and is a wonderful place to spend some time. It is also a city that is geared towards helping tourists.
For shopping in HCMC, you should also check out the market in China Town if Ben Thanh doesn't quite quench your thirst for a good bargain.
Also, I'd love to recommend the Yellow House Hotel to you. It is in the backpacker district of HCMC. The people who run the hotel are great and it is a cheap but no frills place. It has everything you need any nothing more.
I hope you have a great time in HCMC!! I really love it there!
oh! yes , the local tour agency in Hanoi is very tricky. Last time, I found it out the guide is represented to different agency. But the price of the trip of different agency will also mark in different. Since there are variety of trip in the same boat, some of the tourists paid more but got the similar facilities to go to Halong Bay. My friend who lives in Hanoi, she has been worked in travelling agent in Hanoi for years. So she recommended one to me , it's the reasonable price for 3days 2night which is Youth Hotel. Most hotel located in Old quarters with the service of local tour. I don't recommeded that since most of them are marked higher as there are commission from some big travel agency at all(I supposed). Finally, all the tourist will guide by one local tour guide in the same boat. hm...... I'm wondering that the tourism is not so developed in good system.
The hotel 3 stars hotel in Hanoi is not included safe in each room. So if you've got expensive equipment , you'd better pick up one 4 stars to 5 stars hotel, we checked last time ,the price almost costs US$50 up.
Four and a half hours away from Saigon is a sleepy town with a great beach!
Things to do in Muine:
1. Sleep on the beach
2. Get a massage on the beach
3. Drink Saigon Beer on the beach
4. Go to the Fairy Stream
5. Visit the Sand Sunes
6. Stay at the Canary Resort
Check out this guy's blog. www.vonallmen.tv/simon/blog4.html
Apparently, my colleagues have the same sentiment after their recent trip to Saigon Factory Outlet.
Taxi drivers are getting from bad to worse in HCMC these days. Far more accidents than compared to the past and more incidents of ripping tourist off and getting them to wrong location. So, travellers beware.
October or november the weather in the north of vietnam is quite nice to travel around, i would prefer day trip to village in the north compare to south mekong detal, company viet vision travel they are ever oganize trip to villages for homestay with good facilities, half day cycling around, cross rice paddy field next day trip continue to Halong bay, or even can cycling from villge to CatBa island
over night on boat, enjoy kayaking. back to Hanoi overnight to sapa, home stay optional. it is about 10 day package tours in the north , advantage of that is enjoy seeing Halong bay, cycling in village, home stay, and highlight of sapa
there are no company doing this program. execpted vietvisiontravel let check it out
All rooms offer pool of City views with full luxury amenities. As true sense 5- Star hotel, it is...more
We booked 2 rooms and all of us simply loved it. We are given complementary drinks at the restaurant...more
It's worth the money to stay and enjoy the beach like in Victoria Hoi An. Price from 150$++ public...more
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