I thought for today’s post I would concentrate on a country that I haven’t covered as yet on the blog – Vietnam. I wanted to look at first the planning needed beforehand, including the visa application and then look at a couple of places that would be on my must-see list when I visit. Deciding where to travel in Vietnam may be one of the most difficult decisions in your planning process. There are so many standout places, which hopefully I’ll highlight for you a little later. You can travel there on many different budgets and its known for both cheaper backpacking style holidays as well as pure luxury. But what else do you need to think about?
Visa, Passports and Insurance
When travelling abroad, you should have a valid passport according to the “6-month-rule”. It means that your passport does not expire six months within your arrival date. It’s quite possible that you will be declined to board your flight if your passport is not valid. So its incredibly important to give yourself time to both renew your passport if needed and apply for a Vietnam visa.
Remember to check how to apply for a Vietnam Visa, follow this link to understand what you need to know to apply for a visa for Vietnam, and how long you need it. It’s recommended that you apply for the visa online rather than use the visa on arrival facility. It’s also a clear method and quick to do online.
Wherever you go its important to arrange travel insurance, paying particular attention to checking if the country or an area has any exclusions or limitations.
When to visit?
The best time to visit Vietnam is between November and April. This is when the country experiences the least amount of rain. If you plan on travelling in December it is one of the driest months.
Where to visit in Vietnam?
Vietnam has a rich cultural heritage, the Vietnamese are friendly and it’s easy to navigate an area on a bike or train. It borders China in the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the Gulf of Thailand to the south, and the East Sea along its coastline. It is said that you could travel for weeks in Vietnam and still see something new every day. Everything from bustling cities, soaring mountains, deserted islands and beaches, and beautiful countryside.
Food and drink
The food and drink on offer in Vietnam is plentiful in its variety. I will mention some regional things to try later but the most famous dish must be Pho rice noodles. If you like coffee then in Vietnam it is served strong and sweet with condensed milk. Local beers are popular as is Rice wine, but believe me, it packs a punch with its potency.
- Cai Rang Floating Market
- Can Tho Old Market
- Tay Do Night Market
- Truc Lam Zen Monastery
It’s a three-hour bus or car ride from Ho Chi Minh City and has lots available to really feel like you are immersed in Vietnam culture. Museums, temples, floating markets, and rice fields that define the “Rice Bowl” of Vietnam. As it was once known as the “Western Capital” it has seemed to be inviting to people from a lot of the neighbouring areas who bring with them their regional cuisines and so Can tho is known to be a great place to eat as its offers so much variety.
What to do: If you haven’t ever experienced the colours and smells of a Floating Market, then this is a great one to add to your itinerary. It’s a wide river with lots of boats filled with produce grown in that area. Make sure you have your camera!
Downtown Can Tho has a pretty park and a terracotta tiled roof market. Tay Do Night Market is also a great place to purchase souvenirs as well as infamous street food. A speciality of the area is “chuoi nep nuong” a banana wrapped sticky rice that is grilled, then liberally sprinkled with creamy coconut milk.
My recommendations include :
- Ben Thanh Market
- Central Post Office
- Reunification Palace
- Bui Vien Backpacker Street
- Cu Chi Tunnels
Ho Chi Minh City large and very busy. It has plenty of work opportunities, as well as the universities, so attracts people from around the surrounding areas and beyond With beautiful modern skyscrapers, the fast-flowing Saigon River and tree-lined boulevards as well as the historic buildings.
What to do: An itinerary of War Remnants Museum followed by the Cu Chi Tunnels, which are a fascinating large network of tunnels with hospitals, schools, and kitchens. The Reunification Palace is also worth a visit as is testing your bargaining skills at Ben Thanh Market. Wanting to experience the backpacking style of Ho Chi Minh? Then head to Bui Vien (also known as Backpacker Street) with a full of life bars and inexpensive eateries. A dish to add to your bucket list is “hu tieu” a bowl of delicious noodle soup made in both meat and vegetarian options.
So there you have some of my essential tips for travel planning to Vietnam, make sure you note the passport and visa applications especially in your planning. If I can leave you with just one more then it would be that it’s considered very unlucky to leave chopsticks sticking up in a bowl of rice, so make sure you don’t do that on your travel adventures.