Flight-Delayed's Guide to Backpacking in Vietnam
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
It is quickly becoming the tourist destination of Southeast Asia and the number of the visitors entering the country is growing year on year. As it stands, Brits make over 200,000 visits to Vietnam each year with a large number of those being backpackers.
Brits are becoming increasingly canny about where to travel, researching things such as exchange rates and cost of living in the countries they travel to.
You’ve just landed in Vietnam and the only thing you have access to is this blog. So we hope This guide can be of assistance. Here is the Flight-Delayed guide to backpacking in Vietnam.
This is important for any trip and we have covered it aplenty in the previous post. In terms of clothing, though, lightweight washable cotton garments will do the trick. It is warm and dry for most of the except in monsoon season but the climate does vary somewhat from North to South.
Depending on which part of the Vietnam you are starting your backpacking journey, your first major indulgence will probably come from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city. Take a moment and soak in your surroundings. One of the first things that will grab your attention by the throat is the swarm of scooters zipping around. This is the land of the scooter of that there is no doubt.
Get lost and watch the people. Time people watching is not time wasted. Know the people and you will know the place. It is common that the locals might be as open to tourists as they are in other countries but don't let that put you off. The tourism industry is growing and fast becoming an important part of the country's economy. Just have your wits about you, as scams or also prevalent.
Getting there should be fairly cheap depending on how long you are prepared to wait on the layover. A flight with only one stop and the shortest travelling time of 16 hours would cost you £511 with Etihad from London Heathrow to Ho Chi Minh City.
You've travelled halfway around the world and I bet you've not had a decent bite to eat in hours. Well, you're in luck, the Vietnamese food market is possible the best in Southeast Asia. It is truly the best way to get a ‘taste’ of Vietnam, but also the best way for your palate to explore the world you inhabit.
Unlike some other countries you might visit it is encouraged to try the street food. Rice noodles are a particular favourite. Another thing to try is the coffee, it will be served in a small cup and tastes, unlike coffee from anywhere else. It is certainly an acquired taste but you never know you might love it. One thing to steer clear of is the local beers. It will be used in an attempt to lure you into restaurants but there is no polite way to describe the taste so we advise staying away from it.
You may well have just stepped off one plane and straight onto another and hopefully, your flight was not delayed. Because Vietnam’s other modes of transport as a rule of thumb are slow and Vietnam Airlines connects to most major cities and places of interest it's easier and quicker to fly.
There are buses and trains however if flying is not for you. The buses tend to run by private operators, they can be quite good but are more often than not packed to the rafters making for bad travel conditions.
As for the trains, Vietnam trains connects the main cities but are slow and not up to international standards so make sure you have plenty of leigh way at the other end. Oh, and a handheld fan as only a few trains will have air conditioned cabins.
If the public transport is not for you and you’re not in a rush then rent a motorbike and zip from one end of the county to the other and in the process take in the beautiful Vietnamese countryside. Be safe though and wear a helmet. Remember what we said about being airlifted.
The best time to travel to Vietnam is spring February to April and autumn August to October. It is at these times you will experience more moderate temperatures and lighter rainfall. Making backpacking through Vietnam more pleasant.
If you're a British national then you can travel for 14 days without a visa but any longer than that will require one. For more information visit the gov.uk.
Places to stay:
The country has slowly opened its doors to tourism and a large number of tourist backpacking. Due to that, you will not be short of somewhere to rest your well-travelled head. All over the country, you should find a range of places to call home for the night and the bonus is it should be cheap as well. Depending on the type of traveller you are, there will be much to satisfy your comfort needs. Well, reviewed hostels start at around 11 quid a night but if you're after a few more amenities then there are plenty of hotels ranging from £30 per night to £199. Some research prior to going could be the key to luxury on a budget as there are some real gems of hotels out there.
The water is not safe for consumption. If you do find yourself forgetting that, there are hospitals in every major city. If you are unfortunate enough to need airlifting to a hospital it is going to get costly. Make sure you're fully comprehensively insured as most doctors will not start treatment until you lace their palms with silver. Also, make a trip to your GP before you go if you haven't already, to get all the required shots.
As always when you travel be sensible and trust yourself. If it doesn't feel right don't do it.