We asked and you spoke. Here are Escape readers’ best travel tips for visiting Vietnam, tipped to be the next big thing for Aussie travellers.
HOI AN HOTELS
In Hoi An we stayed here at the Sunrise hotel and I cannot recommend this place enough. It was truly spectacular, we had a great room, the staff were exceptional, happy hour (daily) was on point, all the amenities were wonderful it was, by far, the best place I have every stayed.
The Resort runs buses to the busier sections of Hoi An, they have bicycle hire (which from memory was free), dry cleaning, just about everything. Numerous restaurants/bars. It was awesome. If I were to ever go back to Vietnam, I would make that my anchor.
I love travelling in Vietnam there are so many hidden gems, literally each time I visit there is a new cultural scene developing. The creativity is off tap with emerging designers setting up in HCMC and with the new “market communism” attitude all business are not only growing, they’re thriving.
Lusine in HCMC is an oasis in the chaos.
Travelled from north to south Vietnam and loved the people and the scenery. Our favourite places were Hoi An and Halong Bay, but really it’s all lovely.
My tip is if you are going on a cruise on Halong Bay do the two nights not just one as you get to do more things such as a bicycle ride to a village, swimming, canoeing etc. We went on a boat called Halong Jasmine and had a ball.
Just holidayed in Vietnam specifically Nha Trang and Hoi An. Both were great destinations to enjoy the lifestyle and beaches.
The ancient town in Hoi An is an epicentre of great Vietnamese cuisines, shops and culture all in the one area. The real highlight though is when the sun sets — with the lanterns setting the scene for a romantic and picturesque backdrop to this town divided by a river with stands and people on both sides.
In Nha Trang the mud bath and mineral springs are a treat, their beaches are within walking distances and accessible to anyone. The tourist hub offers a variety of food and places to drink, in particular its roof top bars.
One of the best places we went in Vietnam was Phong Nha, where we stayed at Phong Nha Homestay, and explored caves, boated and kayaked on rivers, swam in rivers, both inside and outside of caves. Definitely a highlight of the two months we spent exploring Vietnam, from Phu Quock to Sapa, and everything in between.
My tips would be to bravely get on the back of a scooter, It is amazing to be able to scoot through the city, around the roundabouts, immerse yourself in the noise and be so close to the locals. Get dropped off near the Ben Tanh markets and just watch the passing traffic parade and lights while drinking a lovely cold beer.
1. If you’re planning on an overnight train journey, prepare by booking a month early to secure a first class sleeper ticket instead of the standard ticket. It’s only slightly more expensive but a very different experience.
2. Do a motor cycle tour, in particular I recommend Easy Riders Vietnam it is a really great experience and a way to see some off the beaten track attractions. Best of all you travel with a local who leads you on your journey. If you have some preferred location you wish to visit then they can also accommodate custom itineraries.
3. If going to Halong Bay, splash out and get a Helicopter from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Otherwise your sitting on a bus for three hours each way, with the 30 minute tourist stop where your encouraged to buy souvenirs at inflated prices.
My top tip for Vietnam is to visit the Perfume Pagoda. Located roughly 60km southwest of Hanoi it is a breathtaking complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines built as early as the 17th Century into the karst cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain (Mountain of the Fragrant Traces).
Getting to the pagodas you need to go by road for roughly two hours from Hanoi, then for an hour up River Yen Vi — on small peaceful wooden longboats — rowed by local village women though the scenic waterways between huge limestone cliffs and rice fields.
Then you can climb 4km to the top of Huong Tich Mountain on foot or by cable car (by foot is quite a walk, but definitely worth the effort as you climb through beautiful, remote countryside).
And then you reach the Perfum Pagoda. If you’re lucky enough you’ll witness Buddhist monks praying with incense sticks and singing hymns.
The pagodas are both spiritually and visually spectacular. It’s an amazing guided day trip from Hanoi.
I recently visited Ho Chi Minh City with my wife, over Christmas 2016, and the most invigorating aspect I found (apart from the affordability, traffic chaos, splendid hospitality, etc.) was visiting the war museums and actually becoming enlightened about the history of the region, during the French occupation, and engaging with the locals who are keen to promote their country for all to visit
During our nine day stay, I spent a lot of time with street vendors, looking at their wares and actually bought 14 dog tags that once belonged to US Servicemen during the War.
The prices for these relics are going up almost daily and cost me 3,100,000 Vietnamese Dong (about $AUD 183.00) but I seriously wanted to track down the original owners, or families, from the identification details on the tags.
I don’t charge anything for buying or mailing the tags over to the families of the original owners/soldiers, and they are more than delighted to receive that small part of their family history …. all for no cost to them. Bargain.
That is what made my trip there especially memorable, and is continuing to do so, as I scan social media while trying to track down more descendants of the remaining 11 tags I have here.