From the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, to the beautiful beaches of Mui Ne, Vietnam has something for everyone! Interested? Here’s a few useful tips to help plan your adventure.
When to visit
There’s no one season in particular to recommend as the ‘best’ time because Vietnam is beautiful all year round. Generally, Autumn months (September to December) and Spring (March and April) are the most favorable seasons if you plan on touring the whole country because the weather isn’t too cold or too hot.
The temperatures in the South will tend to stay balanced all year around, whereas the North has very distinctive seasons. It’s generally sunny and warm from October until December, followed by a cold winter up until March. In Summer temperatures will reach 40°C, but it’s also rainy season!
• A rain jacket – Vietnam’s weather is unpredictable!
• Loose clothing if you’re visiting the North in the Summer months
• A mix of short sleeved and long sleeved shirts – out of respect for the culture you should dress appropriately and conservatively
• Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen
• Bring decent footwear as Vietnam’s streets are known to be very bumpy
• Ear plugs and a sleep mask for train journeys
• Mosquito repellent
22,500 Vietnamese Dong (VND) = 1 USD
The cheapest accommodation in Vietnam are hostels where you can pay around $6 for a bed in a dormitory. However, if you’d prefer to have your own room you’d be best staying in a hotel for around $10. If you plan on splashing out for a more comfortable stay, then $30-$75 will get you a room in a mid-range hotel with a pool and a bar. Fancy!
Mmmm Vietnamese food! The main component of a meal is rice or noodles, accompanied by a fish or meat dish. There’s two different choices you have for dining out. Street kitchens, which may not be to everyone’s tastes, can be must cheaper than eating at a restaurant. Don’t let the word ‘street’ put you off, this is how the locals eat! For a decent plate full in a street kitchen you can expect to pay around $1-$3. The second choice you have are Western-style restaurants where a meal can cost no more than $5.
Top tip: Try a Vietnamese spring roll – they’re out of this world!
In Vietnam, drinking is very much a social activity and very cheap too at just $1 for a bottle of beer. Most towns have their own local beers such as Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa who name their beers after their town.
The safest and cheapest way to travel at night is by taxi where you can expect to pay around $1 per kilometre. Make sure you only travel with companies who have a good reputation like Mai Linh or Vinasun. If in doubt, ask staff in restaurants or hotels to call you a taxi. Open-tour buses are a great way to get around both day and night. You can see some tourist sights on some routes too which can save time and money.
Where to go
Halong Bay is a place like no other and one of Vietnam’s biggest highlights. Taking a trip around the islands in a traditional Vietnamese boat is an experience you’ll never forget.
Sapa is one of the country’s most beautiful and most mountainous areas, with incredible scenery, vividly green rice terraces and small hill tribe villages. A great area for hiking and getting away from it all, Sapa makes for a perfect add on to any trip.
Known for its picture perfect streets filled with pretty colonial houses, cafes and temples, Hoi An is a must for any visit to Vietnam. Wander through its beautiful old centre, kit yourself out in one of its many fantastic tailors, and watch the world go by from one of its waterside bars. Be sure to hire a bicycle too and head out into the surrounding countryside.
As Vietnam’s economical hub, Ho Chi Minh is a bustling city full of energy – a 24 hour thrill to the senses. Dodge the never-ending hordes of mopeds speeding through the streets, try some incredible cuisine and shop for souvenirs in exciting Ben Thanh Market then party the night away in the city’s backpacker street, Pham Ngu Lao.