Ho Chi Minh City
This city in the South of Vietnam is one of my favorites places to venture about, as there honestly is so much to do. If you’re looking to spend a week here I can assure you, you will be able to fill your days with daily tours and venturing out on your own. If you’re wanting to learn about the Vietnam War then you have arrived at the right destination. Most tour operators are reasonable with their prices; however as always through Asia, the price is negotiable so don’t be a sucker and over pay.
What not to miss:
- The Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day Tour ($5 USD for Transport & $5 Entrance Fee) showcases a region that was bombed during the war. This region is scattered with hundreds of kilometers of tunnels that were used by the Vietnamese to hide from the Americans throughout the war. Here you will learn some history, climb inside the tunnels yourself and for those interested in firearms you can shoot a range of guns on the range.
- The War Ruminant’s Museum ($2 USD Entrance) This is a must when visiting Vietnam to learn about the war. As confronting as it may be for some, this is an eye opener as to what went on during the Vietnam War, what the rest of the world thought about the war and the damaging aftermath of Agent Orange.
- Ben Thanh Markets (FREE) Looking to pick up some souvenirs or rip off handbags, wallets and watches then this is the place to visit. At night there is a regular night market, which also offers great food options. Remember to bargain on the prices as they will shake you for everything you have!
- Baba’s Kitchen (Farely Priced) I ate at this restaurant in 2011 and have recently returned. The food is just as delicious as before. Don’t get me wrong eating Indian food in Vietnam does seem strange however this is hands down the best Indian food I have ever had!
This beautiful stretch of coastline in the south of Vietnam has so much to offer you. Once you see past the abundance of Russian writing on majority of the billboards and menus across the city, you will see the true beauty that is Nha Trang. There are many hotel and restaurant options to choose from. I would highly recommend the Azura Hotel ($18-$20 USD per night) one block from the beach and in the heart of all the action.
What not to miss:
- SCUBA Diving ($75 USD for 2 dives, gear and breakfast) and/or Snorkeling. You should get out onto the reef and adventure. It’s something truly special. I highly recommend diving with Rainbow Divers (click here to read my review).
- Thap Ba Mud Baths ($10USD +) Looking to relax in the fresh mud baths and leave feeling refreshed? Make your way here, and you will not be disappointed.
- Watch a sunset from the beach of Nha Trang (FREE)
- The Local 2 Restaurant This place has awesome food at a cheap price of around $2+ USD and has the cheapest Saigon Beer we could find in Vietnam $0.30 cents USD.
This destination is a short taxi ride from Danang. The taxi costs roughly $20 USD to your hotel if your bargaining skills are good otherwise you can be safe and go on the meter which may be a little more. Once you arrive in Hoi An, you will almost feel like you are somewhere else in the world. If you have been to Cartagena, Colombia you will know what I mean. With a French colonial style of architecture this city is beautiful with such a cool vibe. If you’re in the market for tailored clothing and have a few days to play with then this is a place for you.
What not to miss:
- Exploring the beaches. Jump on a bicycle, into a taxi or tuk tuk and make your way to the coastline and spend the day laying out and observing the stunning scenery.
- My Sons UNESCO World Heritage Site ($5 USD for Transport & $5 Entrance Fee) If you’re all about the history of Vietnam then adventure to the old temple ruins. Quite a fascinating day tour with guides who will try and answer any question you throw their way.
- Dining at ANY riverside restaurant! Most restaurants offer a set menu which is well worth the money. Best bet is to walk the riversides during the afternoon and return in the evening to dine at a place that fits within your budget. The restaurants all vary in prices. Don’t be fooled if no one is dining downstairs as most have a second floor or ‘roof top’ where most people will go to catch the fresh breeze and sunsets over Hoi An.
Here is a summary of the cost for my travel through the South of Vietnam via Train. NOTE: Always book these at the station directly. Don’t book online or with a tour operator. You can always check online for the schedules at https://vietnam-railway.com/
Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang (10 hours) – $31 USD Soft Sleep
Nha Trang to Danang (13 hours) – $25 USD Hard Sleeper