Things to see and do while backpacking in Vietnam.
Check out tips from other travellers and bloggers and their experiences in Vietnam.
If you're already planning to visit Vietnam - scroll to the next section for a list of the best places to stay.
Pho Nagar Cham Towers
This temple is located at the North of Nha Trang city. Taken by its architecture, I was intrigued to see for myself the intrinsic carvings depicting the Gods. The temple is an active worship ground for Vietnamese Chinese and Buddhists. Also packed with tourists, be ready for a slight crowd. It was built by the Cham people who were of Hindu origins. The Cham people were known for their skills in sculpture and architecture. Their legacy can also be experienced in Cambodia and Thailand.Jay Nair
The Flower Safari of Hanoi’s T?t
As a result of globalization, many East and South East Asian countries are starting to abandon the Lunar New Year, and instead celebrate the Western New Year. However, in Vietnam, even in the capital city of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, the people just cannot abandon the Lunar New Year, which has already been a huge part of their traditional culture.Hiếu MD
Pu Luong Retreat – A true off-the-beaten-path experience in Vietnam
Pu Luong: A hidden gem in Vietnam You might have never heard of Pu Luong before, though places which this place is often compared to such as Sa Pa and Mai Chau appear ubiquitous in the numerous travel agencies on the streets of Hanoi. A quite new destination in North Vietnam, Pu Luong lies serenely in the mountainous north west of Thanh Hoa province, approximately 160 km from Hanoi. In the local language, Pu Luong means “the highest mountain”. This whole area is a spectacular nature reserve which until last year was still unheard of among both foreign and domestic travelers in Vietnam. Pu Luong Retreat is built based on the trending concept of an eco-resort with wooden bungalows surrounded by pure nature. It is situated on the second highest mountain in Pu Luong, overlooking a broad green valley where terraced fields are beautifully cultivated. Your first glance at this place might give a mixed familiarity, suggesting a place lying somewhere between the famous terraced fields of Sapa and the green valleys of Mai Chau. However, do not be fooled.Fiona Mai
ZONA RIO-PLAZA DEL ZAPATO-ZONA CULTURAL.
Plaza del zapato is a place where you can find very good Vietnam food, and some other local restaurants with their own menus, as well as a lot of breweries with really good local beer, here the variety of styles for bars are as complete as in 6th street.Brenda Shappu
5 Top Places I chose to visit during my limited “Tourist-time” in Singapore:
Initially before trying to live here, I’ve get to have a taste of what is to be like a tourist that was back in 2012. Everything about the country seemed to be perfect the city life, shopping, public transportation, amusement parks and museums, did I mention shopping already? It was cleanest city I’ve ever been to, something similar on how you want your city to be arranged in one of your social media games. Being a tourist, me and my friends decided to stay at Marina Bay Sands Hotel for a week. It did cost a bit of a fortune even if it was bundled with a few discounts coming from someone we knew, that’s only when it came to our senses that we are living the high life on a 6 star hotel. Chauffeured from the airport by a glamourous hotel coach, I felt like a Hollywood celebrity that time. The room was amazing, of course and top it all you’ll get to have an infinity pool on the 57th floor, you embracing all of Singapore’s skyline. Be aware that you cannot lift drinks or food from the bar if you don’t intend to consume them, as there is a sensor that would tell the staff that a product is sold once it has been lifted from the bar. Since I was attending a conference while on this trip (I just need constantly remind myself this), I chose the must-see places I should visit to make my trip complete and worth it, and proudly say that “Oh! I have experienced Singapore at its finest!”. 5 Top Places I chose to visit during my limited “Tourist-time” in Singapore: The iconic lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum which featured “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” and “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal” during my visit. This museum is also known as “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore”. The modern architectural wonder Helix Bridge which provides a pedestrian connection across the head of the Singapore River between the city’s existing CBD and its new Bayfront district. The best time to appreciate this architectural wonder is at night time, as the stainless steel bridge consists of two helix structures that act together as a tubular truss – inspired by the form of curved DNA structure will be well lighted. The Universal Studios Singapore brought out the child in me! I went to this amusement park alone. Yes, alone in an amusement park. How boring could that be? Not even close to that word! I used my social butterfly special power to make friends with another tourist from Vietnam who was also travelling alone that day. We had a lot of fun together and my favourite attractions were The Mummy and Transformers. The famous Marina Bay Sands Skypark and Shoppes are places no one should miss when traveling in Singapore. The Observation Deck, Infinity Pool and posh restaurant and bars of MBS are actually located in the Sands Skypark. It was an experience of a lifetime to be floating in the largest rooftop infinity pool with the lovely view of the glittering city-skyline. For shoppaholics out there, who are drooling over branded stuff, posh services and fancy restaurants, the Shoppes is the place to be. The Little India in Singapore. The name of the place speaks for itself. It is a bustling Indian quarter. I came here primarily to shop at a 24-hour shopping mall called Mustafa Centre, which basically offers everything in a cheaper price. I am serious about this. It sells EVERYTHING! You name it, most likely Mustafa Centre has it. After visiting Singapore as a tourist, I promised myself that I will put all efforts to be able to work and live in this progressive country. First, it’s clean and very organized. Second, there are heaps of job opportunity with enticing compensation package. Lastly, I just felt that living in Singapore must be the “Livin’ the Good Life” kind of lifestyle I have been dreaming of as a yuppie. After almost two years from my first time of visit, an opportunity to work and live in Singapore knocked on my door. Life had been good and it was a successful first year in the Lion City. I was traveling often for work around South East Asia, and I must say that it’s cheaper and more convenient to travel from Singapore compared to other neighboring countries. Direct flights are available to many destinations across the globe. Moreover, Changi Airport is world class! Not only as an airport but as a shopping haven. One of the best things about this country! I loved arriving early in the airport before my flight as much as possible, because I am excited to shop around as I don’t have to pay for GST even if I am working in the country. Naughty!Jinice Bautista
Hectic and historic Phnom Penh
She was a nation limping from a bombardment of explosives on the Ho Chi Minh trail to flush out North supply lines spilling from the Vietnam War. Bombing killed up to half a million innocent Cambodians, leaving the overthrown King fragile, and the opportune moment for a new leader, Saloth Sar.Lucian Reed-Drake
24 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s beloved national dish is best sampled at breakfast time (as the locals do), once you get over any preconceptions about eating savoury noodle soup first thing in the morning. Delicious bowls of the fragrant broth are served from hole-in-the-wall style cafes on every street corner – usually the more basic the cafe, the better the pho. You can order ‘pho tai’ (rare beef) if you only have one chance to try it, but there is a choice of different toppings if that doesn’t whet your appetite. True to most Vietnamese food, pho comes with a small garden on the side for you to customise your bowl. At a local style cafe, if you pay more than 40,000 VND (2 USD) then you are paying too much. The best way to find somewhere for pho is simply to walk a few blocks, wherever you are in the city, and take a seat…likely on a plastic stool, but it will be worth it.Lucie Sherwood
Unwind in Hoi An
Honeymoon in Hoi An, Vietnam Arriving at Auckland airport two days after getting married, I had my passport, a suitcase full of ‘kinda warm, and kinda cold clothes, and absolutely no idea where our destination would be. Hubby had decided that organizing the honeymoon was going to be his surprise for me. No complaints from me – do you know how much planning can go into a wedding? A blissful retreat? Backpacking? Beaches? Mountains? Having already traveled to multiple continents across the world, I was game for anything. After being told at the ticket counter that our destinations were different (That would have been a great honeymoon right?), my hubby lets me in on the first destination for our travels. We were going to be going back to Hoi An, a place that we had visited together as friends a couple years prior.Kathryn Taylor
4. Skip the Expensive Destinations
Okay, so maybe you are having difficulty saving money for your dream European vacation. The good news is, a lot of popular destinations, such as south-east Asia, are very cheap. For example, some days in Vietnam I spent as low as $10 a day. Our hostel was $5 per night, meals around $1-$2, we explored the town on foot (free!), and got a few trinkets at the market for $1. The bigger touristy areas as well as travel between cities will set you back more money, but in general you don’t need more than $20 a day.Carolyn Walter
Dong Hoi- A bit of history, great cuisine and stunning caves!
I had been in Dong Hoi for three weeks now. Initially not even on my plans, I had ended up here based on a recommendation. The recommendation came during a drinking game in Hoi An, through a Danish girl called Elin. She told me to specifically go to Beachside Backpackers, a hostel situated a little out of the town center, right on the beach. And within no time, I had struck a good bond with the owners of the hostel- An, the Vietnamese hardworking man and his Irish girlfriend, Michaella.Aniket Ketkar
Dalat- the most dalat-ful city in Vietnam
Dalat- the most dalat-ful city in Vietnam Although the hustle and bustle of Saigon is exciting and exhilarating upon arrival in Vietnam, it’s natural to become overwhelmed by the thousands of faces and its sweltering humidity. When this feeling arrives, I suggest jumping on a sleeping bus and heading straight for the mountain town of Dalat.Claudia Zalmstra
Vietnam: Shopping in Nha Trang
Let’s start with the most pleasant thing. When we are thinking about Vietnam, the first that we imagine is a white beach, warm sea, and seafood! There are many marine inhabitants: shrimps, mussels, octopuses, scallops. You can buy them on the street or try in your hotel, but relying on my experience and taste – Vietnamese are the bad cookers. My octopus, cooked in 5 stars hotel, tasted like a shale. Despite these troubles with seafood, Vietnam can boast of many other delicacies, and a lot of them you can bring home.Iva.wanderer
Vietnam’s Vibrant Coffee Culture
Travelling isn’t always about visiting a city’s tourist spots. It’s also about getting a feel of what it’s like to live as a local in a city that isn’t your own. And if you want to know what it’s like to be a local in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, there’s no better way than by spending time in its numerous cafes. Vietnam’s Vibrant Coffee Culture Known for its unique coffee, Vietnam is also becoming increasingly popular among travellers for its numerous cafes. There’s no shortage of independently owned coffee shops in Saigon, visited by both locals and foreigners alike, each with its own unique concept, appealing interiors, and of course, impressive coffee. Whether you’re a serious coffee connoisseur, casual coffee drinker, café hopper, or if you just need your daily fix of caffeine, you’ll surely find a café to your liking in Saigon.Dane Luna
Vietnam: Motorbike trip to the provincial mountains
Whilst planning our trip to Vietnam, we have had been fantasising with the idea of motorbiking around the country. My brother had completed a similar trip last year and had glowing reviews. The difference being, of course, that my brother is far more mechanically minded and engine savvy than either me or my partner. Regardless, we put these thoughts to one side and set off to Vietnam with a loose plan to purchase or rent bikes along the way.Loz Treasure
Ho chi Minh – Experiencing the Vietnamese family culture
Ho chi Minh – Experiencing the Vietnamese family culture We spent our first days in Vietnam with a local family, who invited us to stay in their home through couchsurfing. If you don’t know what couchsurfing is, you should definitely look it up. It’s a website where people all over the world invites travelers to stay at their place for free.Little Venture
Why You Should Visit Da Lat, Vietnam
Nestled in the central highlands between the popular tourist destinations of Nha Trang and Mui Ne sits the small town of Da Lat. Away from the coast and slightly out of the way, this has long been a popular destination for Vietnamese couples on their honeymoon. Also used as a resort area for the French during their colonization of Vietnam in the 70’s, Da Lat is beginning to get popular with foreigners again and for good reason.Carolyn Walter
Skip the Tours and Find Home in Sapa Vietnam
Let me preface by saying that I’m a bit of a rebel. I tend to want to do the opposite of what I am supposed to do. Sometimes this gets me into trouble. But in Vietnam it resulted in me finding the loveliest, most welcoming, (and possibly my favorite) place I have ever stayed: My Tra Homestay.serrana-gay
Da Nang: City of lights and beautiful beaches
Whenever people think of spending their vacation in a beautiful place, they end up traveling to Bahamas or Bali. Unfortunately, there is a beautiful and affordable option that most of the travelers miss. Da Nang is the wonderful city in the central part of the historic Vietnam that has many beautiful beaches and quite a few historical, tourist places. As a traveler, I was very surprised to see how people miss this heaven. In Vietnam, it is the third-largest city as it has the highest urban population and also an important port city in the country.Dhinesh Rajarathinam
Your Guide To Moving To Vietnam
The first time I visited Vietnam I fell in love with the culture, the people, and the food. The price of everything wasn’t terrible either. I only planned to be in the country for a month and that wasn’t nearly enough time to enjoy all Vietnam has to offer.Brady Gavin
Hanoi: Make your way to Vietnam on plastic stools
VISIT HANOI AS A LOCAL Two years ago, when I interviewed an American photographer for his first journey to Vietnam, he said: “Almost everyone in my county knows nothing about Vietnam except the war.” With the increasing number of construction projects and the influx of exotic culture, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is changing fast. It is a far cry from the image that makes it onto the screens around the world many decades ago. When Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) or Ao dai (Vietnamese national costume) started to depart from its origin, I have wondered what a “quintessential Hanoi” is. An apple didn’t hit my head while I was wandering around the French Old Quarter – an immersion point for most travelers. But right after I stumbled against a plastic stool on the pavement, it dawned on me that these low-slung chairs are so ubiquitous that they become indispensable to Vietnamese lives. In Vietnam, the pavement is rarely for the pedestrians. It is not just the motorbikes but mobile street vendors selling fruit, vegetables or souvenirs and local shops which also have expanded onto the pavements. However, once you get used to that bustle, you’ll realize that all of life aspects are played out on the streets which makes Hanoi become such a living city. But if it’s the stool’s curse to be emblematic of Hanoi’s pavement misuse, some are trying to embrace that legacy in a more positive way. You basically can do your own tour around Hanoi by taking a break on a plastic stool and watch the daily chaos. It’s really a good way for a first-time visitor to experience Vietnamese daily life, albeit challenging. STREET FOOD Even though there is no typical Vietnamese breakfast/lunch on the menu, many humble street stalls only serve you at a certain time. Bun oc (snail vermicelli soup) at No. 6 Hang Chai, for example, opens between 6 and 9 a.m. From the early morning, locals squeeze on to the rows of plastic stools, knee-to-knew with many others in a narrow corner. Heaped with snails and tomato, what is typically a gentle broth becomes a slightly sour, chewy dish. If you prefer an unusual take on the omnipresent Pho, come visit No. 1 Hang Trong in the late afternoon. It’s called “Pho bung” because there is no table to place your bowl and you’ve got no choice but carry it by your hand. Highly recommended addresses to visit: Mien luon – No. 2 Phu Doan (stir-fried rice vermicelli with small eels) Bun ngan Nhan – Trung Yen alley, a small alley off of Dinh Liet Street (vermicelli in Muscovy duck soup) Pho xao bap bo – No. 11 Hang Buom (fried Pho with beef shank) Bun thang – No. 32 Cau Go (rice vermicelli soup with chicken, pork and egg) My van than Phuong Beo – No. 9 Hang Chieu (Wonton noodles) Bun bo Nam Bo – No. 67 Hang Dieu (vermicelli with grilled beef) Bun moc – No. 57 Hang Luoc (vermicelli soup with mushroom meatballs) Bami Bread – No. 98 Hang Bac (banh mi) Banh mi P – No. 12 Hang Buom Banh mi pho – No. 97 Hang Bong Banh mi chao – No. 38 Dinh Liet (banh mi with Vietnamese-styled beef steak served on a frying pan) Opening hours: 7 a.m-10 p.m; Price range: $1.5 to 3 STREET CAFE It hardly costs you more than $2 to enjoy different styles of coffee in Hanoi, the capital city of a country which is one of the world’s largest coffee exporter. Head to Nguyen Huu Huan street in Old Quarter where to offer various pickings for both locals and tourists. Stop at Lam Cafe (No. 60) or Nang Cafe (No. 46) – two of the oldest coffee shops in Hanoi – for classic coffee drinks. Find a chair with a good view of the street and let yourself get used to the haze and taxing traffic. Even though it doesn’t look rustic as it used to be, it’s pleasant to watch lots of Vietnamese, regardless of age or class, spending hours gossiping, smoking and gazing at their smartphones. Highly recommended addresses to visit: Tho Cafe – No. 117 Trieu Viet Vuong Street Giang Cafe – No. 39 Nguyen Huu Huan (try egg coffee) Cafe Pho Co – No. 11 Hang Gai Su Cafe – No. 96 Nguyen Huu Huan Dinh Cafe – 2nd floor No. 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Nhan Cafe – No. 39D Hang Hanh Hanoi House Cafe – No. 47 Ly Quoc Su Cong Caphe – No. 27 Nha Tho (near the Cathedral) STREET BEERDung Phan
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