Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries, attracting travellers to its lush mountains, bustling cities and golden sand beaches. Despite rapid modernisation in Vietnam’s urban centres of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, time-honoured traditions remain intact amongst the locals. There are numerous ancient landmarks and colonial structures that have survived throughout the bumps and scrapes of history.
Unforgettable experiences are everywhere in Vietnam.
There’s the sublime: gazing over a surreal seascape of limestone islands from the deck of a traditional junk in Halong Bay. The ridiculous: taking 10 minutes just to cross the street through a tsunami of motorbikes in Hanoi. The inspirational: exploring the world’s most spectacular cave systems in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The comical: watching a moped loaded with honking pigs weave a wobbly route along a country lane. And the contemplative: witnessing a solitary grave in a cemetery of thousands of war victims.
Enjoy Vietnam with its staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages.
“To travel is to embrace the unknown.”
We are travellers that like to experience everything a country has to offer. In every country we visit there are also a few basics we value and that is comfortable sleeping and good food. Of course this has to fit within our budget, which isn't a backpacker budget, but we also don't have unlimited financial resources.
What we usually strive for:
Local food which is cheap and most of the time the best food you ever had.
Value for money accommodation where we focus on cleanliness and a comfortable bed.
A mix of must sees which are almost for nothing as it is a hard to reach place or yet unknown and must sees which are pricy as it is very touristy.
Vietnam is a very cheap country to travel through. From transport to hotels, from going out to dinner. The most expensive things are the tours you will be taken. The cost of transport is low because we bought two scooters in Hanoi. We drove the entire country around this and eventually sold it with profit in Hoi Chi Min. Highly recommended!
To travel through Vietnam you can use the numbers below to set up your daily budget.
FOOD & DRINKS
EUR 36,65 per day per person
on the basis of 27 days and excl. fly ticket
You have two choices for obtaining the visa for Vietnam: apply for a visa at a Vietnamese consulate in a different country or get a Visa Approval Letter via a third-party travel agency. You can obtain the Visa Approval Letter online for a small fee, then present it for a visa on arrival at one of Vietnam's international airports.
Your passport must have at least six month's worth of validity left to receive a visa for Vietnam.
NOTE: All travelers can visit Phu Quoc Island for 30 days without a visa for Vietnam.
Vietnam E-Visa System:
Vietnam implemented an E-Visa system on February 1, 2017. Although the system was buggy at first, travellers will be able to take care of their visa online before arriving, greatly simplifying the process.
You'll need a scan/photo of your passport as well as a separate, recent passport-size photo of yourself. After uploading images, you'll pay US $25.
Three days later, you'll receive an email with your Vietnam E-Visa attached. Print this and bring it with you to Vietnam.
Vietnam Visa on Arrival:
The most common way for travelers to get a visa on arrival for Vietnam is to first apply online for a Visa Approval Letter through a third-party travel agency. The Visa Approval Letter is not to be confused with an e-Visa; they are issued by private companies rather than the government and do not guarantee entry into the country.
Warning: The visa on arrival only works for arriving in one of the major international airports: Saigon, Hanoi, or Da Nang.
If crossing overland into Vietnam from a neighbouring country, you must have already arranged a travel visa from a Vietnamese embassy.
Vietnam has a lot to offer. But before you go you need to know what the hotspots of the country are. Beneath, we have selected a few of our finest moments. Of course there is much more to explore and if you want to see more, please click on the button below. You will not only find our highlights, but also from fellow travellers. Are you also one of these travellers that takes the unbeaten path, leave us a message.
DRINKS & BITS
This is the coolest bar you've ever been. You do not have to look deep into the glass to get lost in your thoughts. No, the next cafe is meant to literally get lost.
The best way to discover the bustling city of Hanoi is with the Hanoi Streetfood tour. For another 20 euros you walk about 3 hours through the streets of Hanoi and you go to eat at the best street food venues in Hanoi. You discover.
Buon Ma Thuot city in Dak Lak province is known as the capital of coffee. This central highland city is famous for its excellent coffee and numerous cafes.
Ta Hien street is also called the Beer street, This street is full of bars and restaurants and hundreds of people sit outside on the street in tiny plastic stools sipping beer. The bars compete with one another in terms of offers to attract customers. It is said that the beer here is fresh and they seldom store it for more than a day.
Bai Dinh is the largest temple complex in Vietnam and continues to be developed over a grand 700 hectares. Temples, shrines and pagodas are spread out over the hillside with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. As it’s been recently built, it has a much different feel to the other spiritual places in Ninh Binh and is an interesting look into modern day faith of the Vietnamese people.
Halong Bay is a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam near the Chinese border. The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Southwest of the Vietnamese city of Hué hidden in the jungle is a huge deserted water park. The construction of the water park was discontinued in 2004 after an investment of three million dollars. Today, this hidden swimming paradise serves as a scary park for tourists and hangout for a handful of young Vietnamese.
Cu Chi Tunnels and Firing Range Visit Cu Chi Tunnels (70 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City), an amazing complex of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam war. There are more than 200 km of tunnels, comprising a main axis system with many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters and other tunnels. Afterwards you can access the firing range to blow of steam.
CAMPSITE & HOTELS
A small hotel with a big reputation for outstanding service at budget price. Rooms offer as standard; free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities, hot water.
Between the rocks of about 40-50 meters high you will find a small lake with beautiful bamboo bungalows on stilts. Nguyen Shack is a small-scale guesthouse in the middle of one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. They have simple double rooms and slightly more luxurious detached bungalows. From the shower you look out on the lake and you enjoy the ultimate pleasure in the hammocks on the veranda. Here you can chill out!
Very nice boutique hotel right in the center of Ho Chi Min. Both the dorms and the double room look very good. The beds are nice and the showers are hot. The rooftop bar makes it complete. Price per night from: € 12 Dorms | € 52 Double room
Basic B&Bs or straightforward five-star luxury may be alright for some, but often a vacation is made all the more special by staying in an entirely unique hotel. Crazy House is one of the most unusual, unique and quirky hotels and accommodation across the globe.
TIPS & TRICKS
Eating in restaurants is the biggest risk factor for contracting travellers’ diarrhoea. Ways to avoid it include eating only freshly cooked food, and avoiding shellfish and buffets. Peel all fruit and try to stick to cooked vegetables. Eat in busy restaurants with a high turnover of customers.
Snakes both poisonous and harmless are common in Vietnam, though very few travellers are ever bothered by them. Wear boots and avoid poking around dead logs and wood when hiking. First aid in the event of a snakebite involves pressure immobilisation via an elastic bandage firmly wrapped around the affected limb, starting at the bite site and working up towards the chest. The bandage should not be so tight that the circulation is cut off, and the fingers or toes should be kept free so the circulation can be checked. Immobilise the limb with a splint and carry the victim to medical attention. Do not use tourniquets or try to suck the venom out. Antivenom is available only in major cities.
Bedbugs are the biggest nightmare of every traveler. If you are a bit unlucky, after a night's sleep you will be completely covered by the bumps and you will look like you have chickenpox. In addition, they are very awkward and difficult to get rid of. How do you recognize bedbugs? What should you do if you are bitten by bedbugs? And more importantly: What can you do to prevent you from sleeping in a bed that is full of bed bugs?
Tips when checking your room In luxury hotels you are much less likely to have bed bugs than in a cheap hostel of 5 euros per night. So you go backpacking then it can be smart to do a quick check at every hostel before you decide to spend the night. It will only cost you a minute and will save you a lot of hassle and itch!
First, check your mattress well for small black or dark brown creatures. Remove the bedding from the mattress and look between the edges of the mattress. They are almost always between these seams of the mattress but they also like to sit on the mattress label.
Check the pillow cases and sheets for small blood stains. This can be a sign that they suffer from bedbugs because often a bit of blood gets on the sheets after the bite of a bedbug. Because blood does not go well in the laundry, this is often a sign that they have recently had a bed bug infection.
If a bed has red bedding, be extra alert. On this you see the blood spots less well and perhaps that a hostel that often has a contamination has therefore opted for red bedding.
So what should you do if you are bitten and / or have bed bugs in your backpack? In any case, do not go to another hostel before you have taken the following measures. It would of course be very annoying if you infected the room with the bedbugs of the previous hostel. If you have an infection you will have to take the following steps to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Put all your clothes including your backpack and items that are not made of plastic or metal in trash bags and close them well so that the contamination will not spread to other rooms.
Wash all your clothes and backpack at a temperature of at least 60 degrees or place it in the freezer for 24 hours.
Go to the doctor for medicines that help against the bites. This will heal faster and prevent you from scratching them.
Did you take them home? Then have a control service as soon as possible.
"Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. But if they do, then take your shoe and hit them till they’re black and blue".
Clarkson may have done it, but he had a whole production crew and still ended up with a couple of broken ribs. Vietnam is not the place to learn to ride a motorbike. But if you have experience than it is one of the most rewarding trips you will ever take through Vietnam. But drive safe as the stories of tourists killed attempting a two-wheeled adventure are all too based in fact.
If you're determined to get the thrill of a bike, it's worth looking into the Dalat Easy Rider (dalat-easyrider.com) where an experienced Vietnamese rider will take care of the driving so you can sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Prices of things are very cheap, but expect to pay whatever you can haggle for it. There are no fixed prices. It is normal in Vietnam for locals to overcharge or inflate prices when they feel they can get more money for something. It’s how they have been doing business for centuries. Sellers will make false claims, pretend you’ve agreed to a higher price, or give you back less change than you’re owed. Happens every day. It’s advisable to hide all items that make you look richer – watches, jewellery, big bank notes – to make your offer more convincing. Pro tip: come up with a maximum price you’re willing to pay and stick to it. No matter what. Don’t underestimate the value of politely start walking away.
CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE TEMPLES
When visiting Buddhist pagodas, dress conservatively and remove shoes before entering. It’s also considered impolite to have your back facing Buddha statues. Donations to the upkeep of temples are welcomed but not expected. Always ask for permission before photographing people or places of worship.
BEST TIME TO GO
Vietnam is often depicted as a place with steamy jungles and hot beaches, but country's climate is quite diverse, with freezing temperatures and even snow in its northern highlands.
Vietnam has two distinct monsoon seasons. The southwest monsoon brings in wet and humid weather while the northeast monsoon delivers drizzly, colder temperatures to the north and dry weather to the south.
Northern Vietnam has four seasons: during its winter months December-February, it may dip down to 5-6°C occasionally, even below zero in mountainous areas. The summer months of June and July are hot, with daytime temperatures reaching 35°C. Drizzling rains and more pleasant temperatures come in autumn, August-November, and the spring, March-April.
Central Vietnam has warm temperatures year round, with the hottest months in middle of the year, and cooler, drier days from November to April. Southern Vietnam has a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October.
Overall, Vietnam enjoys a mild tropical or subtropical climate and aside from a few months a year in the high northern region you'll never need to worry about packing cold-weather gear. But do bring an umbrella, especially if visiting from July to November, Vietnam's stormiest months.
Rainfall (mm) Temperature (°C)
Rainfall (mm) Temperature (°C)
The 29th till the 31th of January Têt (Vietnamees New Year), 30th of April Liberation of Saigon, 2nd of September National Day.
A positive travel advice applies to Vietnam. Check the current travel advice for Vietnam before departure.
The only vaccination required by international regulations is yellow fever. Proof of vaccination will only be required if you have visited a country in the yellow-fever zone within six days of entering Vietnam.
Required & Recommended Vaccinations:
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers to Southeast Asia: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid.
Malaria: For such a serious and potentially deadly disease, there is an enormous amount of misinformation concerning malaria. You must get expert advice as to whether your trip actually puts you at risk.
Many parts of Vietnam, particularly city and resort areas including Danang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang have virtually no risk of malaria. For most rural areas, however, the risk of contracting
the disease far outweighs the risk of any tablet side effects. Travellers to isolated areas in high-risk regions such as Ca Mau and Bac Lieu provinces, and the rural south, may like to carry a treatment dose of medication for use if symptoms occur. Remember that malaria contracting the disease far outweighs the risk of any tablet side effects. Travellers to isolated areas in high-risk regions such as Ca Mau and Bac Lieu provinces, and the rural south, may like to carry a treatment dose of medication for use if symptoms occur. Remember that malaria can be fatal. Before you travel, seek medical advice on the right medication and dosage for you.