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Vietnam Travel Survival Guide

vietnam-map
map of Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Survival Guide

Ho Chi Minh  City (aka Saigon )

Take Sasco Taxi– prepaid airport taxi $5 (near baggage area),  Pickup SIMcard at same counter area.

Accommodations:

My My Arthouse
219/8 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, $8 Dorm, $9 Double
ph: +84 838367937,  [email protected]
Hostelworld booking  $11 Cancel Protection
Directions: Taxi to Pham Ngu Lao street (fare about $10, or $5 from train station). Enter alley 219 off Pham Ngu Lao street (next to Sacombank and Welcome Travel). Walk down the alley away from the street and take the first turning on the right. The guesthouse is then about 30 meters down on the left.

Things to Do and See in Ho Chi Minh

Rent a bike?
Dong Khoi (motorbike madness area)  pp.380
Ben Thanh Market– 50 stalls of street food

Mekong Delta Tour (overnight in Can Tho) $19 Delta Adventures

Alt Option to Self-guided tour to Mekong:
Take Mai Thay bus to Can Tho (5 hrs? @$6 OW)

Take boat to Cai Rang Floating Market (6A-8A)
1hr to get to market= 3-4hrs @ $5/hr per small boat (for women boat ops, go around “tin man” statue of HCM at the Can Tho boat dock).  Larger motor boats tour Mekong River $20 for 3hrs, 35 per 5hrs

Accomodations in Can Tho:

Than Phuoc 3 Hotel ($10-14) 17* great location overlooking river
Xian Mai Minihotel ($8-12) * daytime alleyway doubles as An Lac Market

Ho Chi Minh Tips and Articles

Hello Vietnam! What? You cancelled my room reservation?!.
Saigon: Vietnamese and Motorcycle Fever
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Photo Essay: Saigon’s Photogenic Nights
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Life on the Mekong Delta: Cai Rang Floating Market (Part III of III)
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Hanoi-map

Map of Hanoi

  HANOI

VIETNAM AIRLINES-Flex Sched (*can make changes to itinerary without add’l fees)
12:30P-2:30P,  $2 Vietnam Airlines shuttle bus to Hanoi

Accommodations:
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel  $7.50
48 Ngo Huyen st,
Hoan Kiem, Hanoi,  Vietnam
Telephone     84 4 8285372,
[email protected]
Directions     3 blocks west of Hoan Kiem Lake and 1 block north of St Joseph’s Cathedral.

ALT:  Camilla 5 Hotel, 81 Thuoc Bac, Hanoi, 84, Vietnam  $12 Single  Travel Punk/hostelbookers

Municipal Water puppet theater 
Roi Thuac Thang Long, 57B P Dinh Tien Hoang
$5 + camera, video fee
Times: 4P, 5.15P, 6.30P,8P, 9:15P

 

Hanoi Tips and Articles


Hanoi Impressions and my overnight train to Sapa
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Hanoi: Street food, Solo Boredom and Water Puppets
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Theft and Halong Bay in a Day
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HALONG BAY


D
ay trip to Halong Bay
Tour via  Sinh Tourist $18

AM:The car and guide will pick you up from the hotel about 7.45; depart to Ha Long city. Arrive in Ha Long, you will have lunch at a restaurant or on the boat.  PM: Boat cruise Ha Long Bay (4hours), where you have a chance to visit two most beautiful caves- Thien Cung cave or Palace Of Heaven Grotto and Dau Go Cave or Wooden Stake Grotto (-where in 1288 one of Vietnam’s most famous Generals Tran Hung Dao amassed hundreds of stakes deep inside the cave prior to a battle with an invading Mongol army) and we take a look at the Floating Village of the fisherman and the Fighting cocks. At 4.00 pm the boat goes back to Ha Long city and we get on the bus to go back to Hanoi. We arrive in Ha Noi at about 6:00 pm.

  SAPA


Wed- Sat, Aug 12-15 Overnight Train- Sapa Trek— Sinh Tourist  $95

 3-Day, 5 night  Sapa  Trekking Tour & overnight homestay $95,  booked through Sinh Cafe (directions for HCMC location here)

Included:  2 overnight sleeper trains, 1 hotel stay at Cat Cat Hotel***, 1 homestay night in Tavan Village
From Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam

Accommodations:

CatCat Hotel
042 Cat cat rd- Phan xi pang St
Sapa town
Tel: +84-0203 81 387/0203 502 681
http://catcatsapa.com
Email: [email protected]

* Directions for a Self-guided Sapa tour:
To Sapa (Travel time: 10.5hr)
Ha Noi-Lao Cai tourist trains:  Ha Noi Train Station B (behind 120 Le Duan Street).
Times: 8P/9:10/9:50/ 10:05P, arrive 4-6A,  $18 AC Softsleeper
Overnight train from to Sapa

Trains to Lao Cai: 9.15P & 9.55P (9hrs);
Trains to Hanoi: 8.15p & 9P– sleeper train to Lao Cai; then minibus to Sapa (28,000d, 1.5 hrs or taxi $28)
Sapa is about 40km from Lo Cai rail station and reached from there by tourist bus (US$2) or hired motorbike.

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Trekking Articles

Trekking Sapa via the Mud Trail .
Vietnam: Exploring Solo & Sapa
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Photos: Cat Cat Village & Sapa Market
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Trekking Sapa & a Village Homestay
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Tour Operators I liked

 Communication in Vietnam


Tourism SIM
:  comes in $10 and $5 varieties, and can be charged via top-up cards. The charges are extremely low – about 18 US cents per minute for an outgoing international call, and 12 cents for an international SMS.

 

Domestic Flights in Vietnam


Jetstar (HCMC-Hanoi approx $70-110)
Flights from HCHC/Saigon to Hanoi  $110
Vietnam Airlines (HCMC-Hanoi approx  $107)***

 

Maps for Vietnam

Hanoi
Sapa

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Train Schedules for Vietnam:

(Vietnam Impressive– advance booking and ticket delivery)


. Getting a Vietnam Visa from Korea


Xanadu
80,000 + 20,000 service charge= 100,000 (but located in Seoul)
Kangsan Travel 105,000 + 30,000 service charge= 135,000
Hana Tours 90,000 (if you book w/ them)
Homeplus 120,000

I got my Vietnam visa for *70,000W*  at  :
무궁화관광
Moogunghwa Tour
http:www.tourm.co.kr
83-53-422-5555

Near Daegu City Center, a block away from Novotel hotel off of the Jungnangno stop. There’s only one travel agency in the area that resides on a block corner & it’s pretty big. There was no service charge.
* Note: I recently heard they boosted their rate to 110,000 and their quote for an India visa was 180,000! Yow. Perhaps they’re trying to phase out visa only purchases.
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  Voltage & Travel Converters for Vietnam


  Awesome iPhone Apps for Vietnam:  Viet Travel

Easy to use, navigation friendly, this little app packs quite a surprising punch for $0.99! I expected something very basic, but it really gets in there, breaks it down and it makes me want to throw away my Lonely Planet guidebook. I love the tips: How to Get there (they offer options: bus, boats, flights, etc..), What to do, Accomodations (budget to high), What you might want to buy & more!  It’s got a great set of tools such as Vietnam currency & weather converters, holiday/festival info and emergency numbers, It’s by far one of the best travel apps I’ve seen for any country .

3 Things to Do & See in Vietnam(grrrltraveler.com)
5 Top Tips on traveling Vietnam
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8 Tips to Finding a Great Budget Tour in Vietnam
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5 Daredevil Things to Try in Vietnam if You’re a Solo Traveler
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3 Comments

  1. Jamea says:

    Malou passed this site on to me and I am in AWE!!! This is so wonderful! I will be traveling through S.E. Asia this winter and you have given me an awesome guide! Thank you!!! (sorry about all of the exclamations)

  2. Malou says:

    Christine – Thanks so much for sharing your itinerary and documenting your travels. It’s such a great resource! I plan on checking out some of the tours you went on when I go to Vietnam this winter. I’ll pass along your site to others who are traveling there, too!

    • @Malou: Thanks, I’m glad it can be helpful. Definitely check out the tours and feel free to shop on that. Sinh Cafe is one of the more reputable and professional of them ( LP recommends them) but there are many to choose from. Tours are very popular with a majority of tourists and while this can sometimes be a bit of detractor for travelers who like independent and off-the-beaten path, in many cases, I’ve noticed it to be the most cost-effective route. Also, check out my 8 Tips to Finding a Great Budget Tour in Vietnam. There are really so many tours out there and there are scam tours that replicate reputable ones. This will give you an idea of what to expect and things to be aware of.

      @James: Thanks for the exclamations!!!;-) I’m glad when others can use the research and docs I’ve done on my own trip. Researching a trip can feel time-consuming. You take it and then all that research gets thrown out. Another traveler comes along and starts the process again… If this helps at all, then that pays me back for those hours I put in on Google. Thanks for dropping by.

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