Vietnam; a popular tourist destination, noisy, busy, delicious and beautiful. Rich with a deep history and culture it is no surprise as to why it is top of the list for the majority of backpackers. With all the natural beauty and incredible cuisine you will never get bored, but here is a simple backpacker guide to Vietnam to help get you started.
Apart from the busy streets of Hanoi, the North boasts much natural beauty that can’t be missed!
Hanoi, specifically the Old Quarter is super busy so watch out you don’t get hit by a motorbike whilst trying to cross the street. The nightlife is great, lots of bars and the streets are totally packed with stools and people eating in the street. Many hostels offer free beer and pub crawls, as well as free walking tours and so there is always something fun going on in the Old Quarter.
We stayed in the Old Quarter and for just $2 a night, the Hanoi Central Backpackers hostel was a great stay for us. The best street food ever, all the streets are packed with stools and people eating local dishes which are absolutely delicious!
Check out Train street and watch the train pass through one of Hanoi’s narrow streets or have a coffee in the Note Cafe and read some positive and happy messages.
Ha Long Bay
Iconic right? This gorgeous greenery mixed with blue water and a UNESCO World Heritage site is a must do when visiting Vietnam. Easy to take a bus and go there yourself, stay the night and enjoy the hike to the viewpoint and go on a kayak ride.
Equally, hundreds of tours going from Hanoi and tourist booths are dotted around the Old Quarter. Little bit overpriced if you ask me, I would recommend going by yourself instead to enjoy your time more.
Other must do's in the North
Hike and live with the locals in the rice field of SaPa.
Visit Ban Gioc Waterfall, Cao Bang.
The Dong Van Plateau.
Ho Ming Chi City/ Saigon
Just like Hanoi, Saigon is really busy and hectic with motorbikes so make sure you watch the roads as you cross. Bui Ven strip you will find bars, restaurants and a lively atmosphere.
From Saigon you can get a 5 hour sleeper bus to Mui Ne. It appeared to have an area of restaurants and hostels, however we went on off season and it was a really quiet town. We made friends with some locals who arranged to take us to the Sand Dunes by motorbike (instead of a tour) for a cheaper price.
They picked us up at sunrise and we enjoyed a morning on the Dunes. Trying to order dinner was hilarious because no one spoke english and so we had to rely on google translate to get ourselves some vegetables and noodles.
Can either get a tour from a hostel in Saigon, or really easy to get the bus there if you set off early. We made a deal with a local taxi driver, who agreed to take us and bring us back for a discounted price & split between two of us worked out pretty cheap and fast.
We did a local tour, tried local fruits, local honey, listened to music and the best part rode the river in a canoe.
Other cool places to check out
The Golden Bridge (big hands) Da Nang
Cu Chi Tunnels
Nha Trang Beach
As always check out my instagram for photos and videos from my trip- DM any questions you may have!