Vietnam Travel Blog
As a favourite holiday destination of ours Vietnam has something for every traveller. We have visited Vietnam many times and it keeps drawing us back. Vietnam has stunning scenery and has a tropical humid climate for most of the year. It can however get surprisingly cold in the winter months so if your travelling to Vietnam in around February and March be sure to check the weather beforehand.
A visa is required to visit Vietnam for tourism and our complete guide to Vietnam visa requirements will show you how to get the right visa.
Although the US dollar is widely accepted. The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong with approximately 23,000 Dong to one US Dollar. Check the currency converter for the current Vietnamese Dong exchange rate. When travelling in Vietnam we prefer to use the Vietnamese Dong rather than US dollars and have never had a problem.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and often the starting point for many visitors. It is a vibrant modern city that still retains a large part of it’s old heritage. We normally stay in the Old Quarter of the city which is close to many of the cities famous attraction such as the former prison know as the Hanoi Hilton. The centrepiece of Hanoi’s old quarter is Hoan Kiem Lake with it’s peaceful gardens and ornate bridges. With so much to see and do in Hanoi you can easily spend a week exploring the old and new sections of this city. For a guide to spending time in Hanoi see our recommendations on what to see and do in Hanoi.
Visiting Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay in Northeast Vietnam is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its towering limestone formations and peaceful inlets. A drawcard for many tourists visiting Vietnam it covers a vast area with thousands of small islands dotted throughout the inlet. Tour operators provide many options for cruises through it’s crystal clear waters offering single day, overnight or multiple days cruising through the islands. The style of cruise options caters for all tastes and budgets from small junk style boats up to luxurious offerings with all onboard amenities.
We did an overnight cruise of one of the mid-range cruise boats and thoroughly enjoyed our peaceful and relaxing time taking in the breathtaking scenery. We highly recommend visiting this part of Vietnam. You can read more about Halong Bay cruises for a guide to choosing which one is right for you.
Ho Chi Minh city formally known as Saigon has a blend of old and new and is rapidly transforming into a modern metropolis. Huge modern apartment blocks are constantly under construction and with every visit to this city we notice the transformation taking place. Thankfully Ho Chi Minh city still retains it original charm and the backstreets are full of small roadside markets selling traditional Vietnamese food and hand made wares. Bargains are readily available throughout the city and there is so much to see and do in Ho Chi Minh city it’s well worth staying a few days to pack in as much as you can. For travel tips on spending time in Ho Chi Minh city see our extensive guide to Saigon.
Accommodation in Vietnam
Vietnam is well known as an affordable place to visit which is a major drawcard for tourists wanting a unique Asian experience without the high prices of some of its neighbouring destinations of Hong Kong and Singapore. Accommodation styles vary and offer excellent value for money. Whether your travelling to Vietnam with kids, or a couple there is something for every budget from guest house style lodgings to high end Hotel chains.
We have stayed in many types of accommodation and our expectations are often exceeded, not only for the level of comfort offered but also by the warm and friendly hospitality of the hotel staff that often go that extra mile to ensure your stay in memorable. During our stay in Ho Chi Minh city we stayed at one of the premier hotels in District 1 which was located within the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s tourist attractions. For a detailed review of what to expect with this style of accommodation see our hotel review of the Grand Hotel Saigon.
Thousands of visitors per year visit Hoi An and it’s nearby beaches. Our guide to finding the best accommodation in Hoi An has reviews of many of the top places to stay during a visit.
For those looking for places to visit in southern Vietnam Nha Trang is popular choice. Nha Trang is a coastal city which is geared toward tourists and has many high rise hotels and apartment blocks. The vast expanse of beach is the major reason for it’s popularity.
A 3 hour bus trip from Nha Trang is the French inspired city of Da Lat. Set in the mountains Da Lat should be included in any itinerary especially if you are visiting Nha Trang. Our article on the what to see an do in Da Lat has how to get to Da Lat, where to stay and the best day trips in and around Da Lat.
Planing your Vietnam visit
There are so many places to see in Vietnam. From the pristine beachside historic villages of Hoi An and the nearby An Bang Village which are both only a short distance from the popular resort town of Da Nang, to the bay area of Halong Bay and the mighty Mekong Delta to the large modern cities.