πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City. Travel and Backpacking – Dec 2019

Vietnam’s Football Team won the SEA Games. First time in 60 years. Celebrations were city wide. Scooters in the streets!

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of December 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Bustling and vibrant city.
  • Rather touristy.
  • And you thought there couldn’t be any more scooters. Bloody loads!
  • Hot and humid.

πŸŒ… Activities

Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

Notre Dame at Night… plus the scaffolding πŸ™ˆ
  • Currently has extensive construction work going on.
  • We only looked at it from the outside as we visited after hours. Open Monday to Saturday 8-11am and 2-4pm.
  • Built in the late 1880’s by French colonialists.
  • The cathedral had neo-romanesque features with stain glass windows, two bell towers, a peaceful garden and not forgetting the all red brick facade.

Saigon Central Post Office

  • Free entrance.
  • Open daily 7am till 7pm.
  • Located next door to the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • A remnant of French Colonial times.
  • Gothic and French renaissance style architecture.
  • A late 19th century style building with high looping arches, intricately designed marble floors and old school telephone boxes.
  • Still operates as a post office today.
  • Some vendors are inside selling Vietnamese silver jewellery, some souvenirs, stamps and other post office related items.
  • A large portrait of Ho Chi Minh takes centre stage inside the building.
  • Looks even more enchanting at night.

Tan Dinh Church

  • Aka the pink church.
  • Free entrance.
  • Open daily 5am till 5.30pm with a break around mid day.
  • A Romanian style church.
  • Very romantic looking with its light pink exterior and bright pink interior.
  • We only enjoyed views from the outside but it’s meant to have beautiful italian marble alters.
  • Built in 1876 and survived Vietnam’s turbulent periods.

Bui Vien Street

  • THE place to be if you love partying and backpacking.
  • Generally rather expensive however there are some local restaurants which offer cheaper beer but it depends what atmosphere you’re after.
  • Lively after dark.

πŸ› Food

Journey – Sandwich Cafe

Sandwich Galore from around the Globe!
  • Huge sandwiches inspired by the world.
  • Cheap prices for the quality and quantity.
  • Really lovely staff.

Street Food Market

  • Worldwide options.
  • Everyone can eat at different places but dine together, either inside or outside.
  • Reasonable prices.
  • Arran had a crispy fish Bao bun (85,000 VND – Β£2.80) and I had tandoori chicken with salad (90,000 VND – Β£3).
  • Theres also a couple of bars to buy alcoholic beverages, however most stalls offer soft drinks or beer.

Secret Garden

  • Reasonable prices. Most dishes at 90,000 VND (Β£3). Drinks are a little more expensive e.g. local beer 30,000 VND (Β£1).
  • Good quality, tasty food.
  • Cute setting on a rooftop.
  • The stairs are killer. No lift. Just keep walking. oh by the way… It gets hotter on each floor too.
  • Whoops! We were having such a good time, we forgot to take photos.

πŸš‡ Transport

  • Scooters for rent but the city roads are madness.
  • Public buses are available but no information of times and prices are online.

Coach from Vietnam to Cambodia

  • There are multiple companies that offer these services e.g. Giant Ibis,
  • There are also varied price packages. This depends on whether it includes help with processing the visa at the border or whether it is a direct/non-direct coach.
  • We went with a company called Giant Ibis.
  • The company promoted help with the visas and no coach change.

Visa Issues

Giant Ibis provided information in regards to the visas. In total the processing fee would cost $35 – $30 for the visa and $5 for the bulk process – not sure why we had to pay the extra but no doubt it is just a way for them to squeeze extra money out of visitors.

Prior to us booking we clearly asked about the extra e-visa charge (another $2) on top. The gentleman behind the desk stated that this was an extra charge if you had already bought a Cambodian electronic visa (e-visa).

However, this apparently also applies if you have a Vietnamese e-visa…once again it all felt a little scammy. Furthermore, this was only made clear to us once on the coach. Upon questioning this with the Giant Ibis attendant he firstly became irritated that we even questioned the ‘extra’ cost. Our discussion resulted in the attendant simply stating, “We will see at the border.”

In short, the extra $2 dollar charge was bullshit! Once we got to the border on Vietnamese side the immigration official simply looked at our phone. No mentioned of a charge. The whole point of the e-visa is to save paper and time…so bullshit.

  • Personally, next time I will simply do my own processing at the border.
  • However, if you want the simple route the following should happen:
  • Entering the coach you are given two identical forms – this is the visa application. Name, reason for visit blah blah blah.
  • Passport is collected by an employee of Giant Ibis along with your $35 dollars or 850k VND.
  • If you have any form of e-visa expect an extra $2 charge. Unless you have it printed – which can cost more depending on where you get it printed. (We overhead someone say they were charged $8!)
  • Then at the border you simply que up, scan some finger prints and look into the camera for your mugshot/missing abroad picture.

Give the exact amount for the visa and processing.

Rachael and I paid in VND which totalled 1.7 Million (1.8) including the extra e-visa charge. However, I gave the Giant Ibis attendant 2 million. Thus at least 200k VND was our change.

First of all we had to ask when we would ecieve our change. In turn this was given to us at the last stop off. However, it was given in dollars not VND. At the time we did not know a majority of Cambodia used dollars. Cambodians also use their currency, Khmer Riel. Once we stated we had no use for dollars the Giant Ibis attendant started getting a little unsettled and annoyed. He also short change us compared to the VND he owed us.

Another young lady on our bus had a similar problem. She gave $100 but only received $50 back…not $65. Once again it all got a bit scammy. To save time and hassle just have the correct amount.

  • Once on the other side and arriving into Phnom Penh the coach was happy to drop people off in different locations.
  • As long as it doesn’t divert from their initial route.

πŸ›Œ Accomodation

Running theme…
  • Booked on Airbnb for Β£11.87 per night approx. 365,500 VND (including service and cleaning fee).
  • Clean although the bedroom looked a little tired compared with the photos.
  • More upmarket amenities, refrigerator and aircon.
  • Private bathroom with shower that has a door (although the water still runs out when you open itπŸ™ˆ).
  • Communal kitchen, roof terrace (although we didn’t use it) and fridge.
  • Location is about 10/15 minutes from Bui Vien street.

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Da Lat. Travel and Backpacking. Dec 2019

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • At night, the large lake in the centre glistens reflecting the neon lights from the town.
  • Greenhouses engulf the surrounding hillsides.
  • Flowers galore!

πŸŒ… Activities

Elephant Falls (That Voi)

  • 20,000 VND entrance fee per person.
  • Lovely views of the cascading waterfall from the bottom.
  • You enter at the top of the falls.
  • Makeshift stairs make access to the bottom of the waterfall. Ensure to hold the rail as it’s slippery at points.
  • Unsuitable for people who struggle with mobility as the walk down can be a little challenging at points.
  • You are able to walk near the back of the waterfall but be warned you may get wet.
  • Spend one to one and a half hours here.
  • Easily accessible via public bus, motorcycle, taxi or tour group booking. We obviously took the public bus (see Transport). TIP: Refer to Elephant Falls as That Voi if they don’t understand where you mean.
  • Few restaurants, coffee shops and mini marts nearby.

Crazy House (Hotel and Museum)

  • 60,000 VND entrance fee per person.
  • The weird and the wonderful!
  • A mishmash of different worlds combined.
  • You can even stay here for VND per night.
  • A few cafes/ drinks bars located onsite.
  • Souvenir shop.
  • Easily spend 1-3 hours here.

Flower Gardens

  • Not overally exciting.
  • Mall/Big C Supermarket underneath.
  • Lots of people around – watch your bags.
  • Great views of Xuan Huong lake and the surrounding hilltops.

Other Things To Do

Unfortunately we only spent 1 full day here as our visa was running out. However there are plenty of other things to do in Da Lat…

  • Visit the Coffee Plantation (accessible via public bus).
  • See Linh Phuoc or Linh Son Pagoda.
  • Visit Prenn or Datanla Waterfalls.
  • Go lake pedal boating (Arran threatened to push me in a few times so I didn’t risk this one).
  • Visit, yet another, night market.

πŸ› Food

Blue Parrot Mexican Grill

  • Average prices for fantastic food.
  • 80,000 VND (Β£2.60) for medium and 110,000 VND (Β£3.60) for large beef burrito. – I mean this seems cheap but overall in Vietnam it was a little more expensive.
Beef Burrito.
  • You guessed it – Mexican cuisine.
  • We were also tempted into getting a deep fried ice cream which was lovely. 35,000 VND (Β£1.20).
  • Wonderful and friendly Texan owner named Tim. We spent ages chatting about his 9 years in Vietnam and getting to understand the culture.
  • We learnt that the Vietnamese always believe they are right as they are not allowed to make mistakes – they can be punished at school.
  • They don’t believe the sky is blue as they don’t have blue in their vocabulary – it’s green!

Thien Thanh Cafe

  • Relatively cheap for Da Lat.
  • Served free tea.
  • Mainly Vietnamese cuisine.
  • However we opted for spaghetti bolognese.
  • Two spag bol and two soft drinks cost 194,000 VND (Β£6.25).
  • Not too far from the Crazy House.
Looking Oh So Festive😍

πŸš‡ Transport

Local Bus

  • Cheap and a great way to get to Elephant Falls.
  • Price dependant on travel distance.
  • Elephant Falls was 25,000 VND (Β£0.85) per person one way.
  • Travel with locals and take in the beautiful landscape.

Directions to Elephant Falls

  • The bus drops you off on a road in a small town/village.
  • Walk around 10-15 minutes to reach elephant falls.
  • Walk in the direction that the bus will continue (if you came from Da Lat), basically a straight line, until you see this sign…
  • Now turn right and walk a few metres as the Elephant Falls entrance will be on your left.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Mr Rot’s Secret Hotel

  • One of the cheaper accomodations compared to the many expensive ones around.
  • However, expensive because we have had better for less.
  • 397,000 VND (12.80) per night including breakfast.
  • Cold – no heater – had to ask for another quilt.
  • They took both passports… This was unusual for us as most places either wanted one or took pictures/scans.
  • This in turn restricted motorbike accessibility and when queried the hotel stated we could rent off them.
  • Room was small but clean.
  • Had a small amount of amenities.
  • Breakfast was basic but good.
  • Shower took time to heat up…cold nuts.

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Nha Trang Travel and Backpacking. Dec 2019.

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Ferocious waves in the ‘winter’ season.
  • Nice beach.
  • Russian Bali.
  • A few activities but don’t expect a week long adventure.
  • A place best used for relaxing.

πŸŒ… Activities

Travelling can take it out of you… So we can’t say we did much in Nha Trang as we just wanted a little rest and recouperation. Plus as it’s the winter months it’s not exactly the warmest at this time of year. Well warmer than England but in my opinion not bikini weather either.

  • Pretty obvious but a day at the beach soaking up the sun.
  • Local Tours of Nha Trang.
Feels like heaven…
  • Vinpearl land – Vinpearl cable car and amusement park.
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling.
  • There’s never a place without a market..
Hoang Sa Shopping at Night.
  • Ponagar Tower (another temple πŸ™„)
  • Long Son Pagoda
  • Walk along the promenade and watch the waves crash in – be careful not to get wet!
  • Museum of Oceanography
  • See the pink Tower of Incence.

πŸ› Food

Nom Nom Restaurant

BBQ Pizza
  • Tasty good for a moderate price.
  • 90,000 VND (Β£3) for Chicken Green Thai Curry with rice. 80,000 VND (Β£2.80) for a 28cm Pizza with various toppings.
  • We also had a sharing platter which we felt was over priced for the amount of food you received. Medium 350,000 VND (Β£11.50) Large 500,000 VND (Β£16.50).
  • Tucked away down a side street.
  • Very popular with local and foreign tourists throughout the day and evening.

Liberty Central

Vietnamese version of a British Breakfast.
  • 99,000 VND excl. 10% VAT for breakfast, choices include American, French and Vietnamese with a drink. (Β£3.35)
  • Remember it may say American but it’s Vietnam’s version of American.
  • Food was okay, nothing exciting.

City Pizza – Little Italy

  • Great portions for a great price.
  • Food was tasty – Pizza was scrummy at 99,000 VND (Β£3.35).
  • Ordered local rum and coke which turned out to be whiskey, plus ants. Not sure if they were in the straws tbh.
  • Family run restaurant.

πŸš‡ Transport

  • Public buses.
  • Hire a motorcycle.
  • Local bus – we bought through our accomodation. Nha Trang to Da Lat for 120,000 VND per person. A little bumpy and not as comfortable as tourist buses.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Papaya Homestay

Bedroom with viewing tank.
  • 317,000 VND (Β£10.21) per night king size bed with private bathroom.
  • Towels and toiletries were provided but an added bonus was the free to use washing machine on the rooftop floor.
  • Good location and clean.
  • Quiet besides a woman throwing a brick at next door on our first night. I think they must have fallen out 😬

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Hoi An – Travel and Backpacking Nov-Dec 2019

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Lantern’s galore.
  • Mass of people – very popular with lots of tourists.
  • Old yellow European and Asian influenced architecture.
  • Old city has a very romantic feel.
  • 2-3 Nights

πŸŒ… Activities

Hoi An Ancient Town

  • 120,000 VND per person
  • Choose to visit 5 sites scattered around the ancient city.
  • Explore the history, culture and life of Vietnam.
  • Some of the sites we visited there wasn’t much information provided on English.
  • We watched a short 25 minute performance which showcased some of Vietnam’s musical instruments and dance style. (The choreographer needs sacking if you ask me!)

Lantern Boat

  • 250,000 VND (Β£8.40) for 2 people on private boat (included a beer). 200,000 VND 2 people on join in boat (with other tourists).
  • Short 10 minute ride up the lake, could be hand paddled or motorized.
  • Send cute candle-lit lanterns gliding down the lake.
  • Really cute experience and lovely to watch the other boats all lit up on the lake – even if it rains!

Ba Na Hill (Golden Bridge)

What we should have seen Vs What we actually saw. Never mind!
  • Booked via tour agent 1.3 million VND (Β£43.60) per person. Inclusive of cable car ticket, water, lunch, English speaking guide and transport to and from.
  • Ba Na Hill was named after the French called it Banana hill due to the prosperous growth of Banana trees.
  • The golden bridge is a grand site – well we had to use a little imagination due to the fog!
  • Gardens of giants, fairies and Greek influenced statues.
Flower Garden
  • Wine cellar – small scale version of the building with Barbie’s wining and dining. Then somewhere where life size people can buy and drink ridiculously expensive wine.
Selfie stage.
  • There are some temples and pagodas to be seen (because they’re built everywhere – even on huge mountains 1,478 metres above sea level).
  • An amusement area with some small rides, 4D and 3D movies and lots of arcade games. Oh and even rock climbing!
Entrance to Fantasy Park.
  • French village where the restaurants, hotels and a church are located.
  • All buildings are stylised by French architecture.
The French Village.
Entrance to Sun World Hoi An.

Into Perspective – Price

  • Cable car alone costs 700,000 VND (Β£23.50).
  • Food is expensive once in the resort. The Beer Plaza buffet was 250,000 VND for all you can eat for 1 hour. Not sure if this rises to 349,000 VND if you want a drink included.

Other Things To Do

  • Lantern making workshops – we really wanted to do this but we have no where to prevent it being broken during transportation. Costs between Β£9-Β£17.
  • Lune production of ‘Palao’ at the Bamboo Theatre. Tickets cost between 700,000 VND to 1.2 million VND (Β£23.30-Β£39.90).
  • Take a bicycle ride to the beach (approx 45 minutes from old town). Be careful of people telling you that you can’t go further to the beach and you need to park up. Others were seen riding to the front. Unsure if it’s a scam as they say it’s free to park your bike with them.

πŸ› Food

Namaste Omar’s Indian Restaurant

Feast fit for a king.
  • Fantastic Indian food!
  • Set menu is excellent: choose onion bhaji or veg samosa, any chicken or veg main dish from the menu, garlic or plain naan, local rum or vodka, poppadoms with dip and rice – all for a measly price of 160,000 VND (Β£5.40). πŸ˜‹
  • All the curries we tried were excellent! They also ask how spicy you want it.
  • Lovely attentive staff.
  • A must if you like Indian food! πŸ’•

Phi Banh Mi

Chicken Sandwich and Vietnamese style Pork Sandwich.
  • What it says on the tin – Bahn Mi aka sandwiches.
  • Great place for lunch!
  • Sandwiches start at 15,000 VND. Our meal, 2 meat sandwiches, 1 can & 1 beer cost 80,000 VND (Β£2.70).

Eat Thai – The Thai Kitchen

Penang and Massaman Curry
  • Moderately priced. 175,000 VND (Β£5.90) for beef Massaman and 130,000 VND (Β£4.40) for pork Penang (though it tasted more like red curry).
  • Drinks are expensive compared to most other places 22,000 VND coca cola and 27,000 VND for local beer.
  • Good Thai food out of Thailand.
  • Food was tasty though the Massaman was too oily.

Bikini Bottom

Banana Chocolate Pancakes
  • Average prices but decent portions! Banana and chocolate pancakes 100,000 VND (Β£3.30) stacked 5 high!
  • We cycled here for breakfast one morning.
  • Near the beach front.
  • Beware of the super cute yet naughty puppy who is currently testing the boundaries. He had us in stitches.

πŸš‡ Transport

We spent most of our time on foot as everything is pretty much in walking distance. But here are the alternatives…

  • Rent a scooter – 150,000 VND
  • Hire a Bicycle – like ours, some homestay’s provide this service for free.
  • Taxi

An Phu – Sleeper Bus to Nha Trang

  • Booked online via vietnambustravel.com
  • Hoi An to Nha Trang (no hotel pick up) Β£20.
  • Seats were comfortable for a sleeper plus more leg room than others we’ve been on – people over 6 ft don’t get too excited.
  • Driver drives well – only the roads prevented us from a better night’s sleep.
  • English speaking thus communicating breaks and times.
  • All stops were squatter toilets – it’s a no from me.

Alternative and cheaper option: The Sinh Tourist, book at the office for 239,000 VND (Β£8). If you book online there is a $7 processing fee.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Bi’s Home Homestay

Family Room… Just about big enough for Arran’s head.
  • Β£11 per night for Deluxe Double room with private bathroom.
  • We ended up being given the family room which meant we had a cute balcony overlooking nearby rice paddies (not the time of year for rice though, so watery sludge was also fine).
  • Nice large bathroom with glass sliding doors – make sure you know who you stop with rather well. I really enjoyed seeing Arrans outline whilst using the bum gun every morning. πŸ™„
  • Clean and tidy decor.
  • Bi was lovely and helpful although we did feel her hospitality blew a little hot and cold.
  • Free bicycles provided to borrow even after we checked out.
  • She offered tours, laundry and sleeper bus services (250,000 VND per person from homestay to Nha Trang).
  • Nonetheless a fantastic place to stay!

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Hue – Travel and Backpacking Nov-Dec 2019

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November – December 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Seems like a quieter city.
  • Plenty of shops, restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Perfume River runs through the city.
  • A city of grey compared with other cities however we got positive vibes.
  • 2 night stay but 1 day possible if you get there early.

πŸŒ… Activities

Vincom Plaza

  • Small variety of branded shops.
  • Coffee shop and fast food restaurants.
  • Cinema – An absolute steal at 40,000 VND (Β£1.51) per person.
  • Nothing too exciting but with all the rain it kept us warm and dry.
Drying… But ready to watch Frozen 2.

So before we entered Vietnam we didn’t really have any trips planned bar one. Which unfortunately, due to the torrential down pour on the day we intended to visit, we didn’t get there. ☹️ But here’s for those who get better weather…

Make shift wellies to wade through the water filled streets.

Thuy Tien Lake Abandoned Water Park

Photo via Instagram by @Laurens_castermans
  • No official entrance as the site is closed due to safety reasons… But if you hand the security guard 20,000 VND per person you shouldn’t have a problem getting in.
  • However you get there (we planned on motorbiking) you will have to walk around 10 minutes through a woodland area to gain entrance to the site.
  • Built in 2004 for around 70 billion VND (just over 23 million GBP) by Hue Tourism Company.
  • Closed in 2014
  • A graffiti covered dragon, ironically symbolic of prosperity and power in Vietnamese culture, stands tall watching over the lake.
  • The dragon is over three floors high where marine animals were kept in tanks – crocodiles still roamed until they were re-homed a few years ago.
  • Old, derelict water slides can also be found within the park – not to be slid down due to the murky, algae covered water.

Then pair this trip with a visit to…

Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh King

Photo provided by https://vietnam.travel/things-to-do/inside-guide-hue-tombs
  • 15 minutes from Thuy Tien Lake
  • 100,000 VND entrance fee per person.
  • Tomb of the 12th Emperor Khai Dinh, also known as Ung Lang, of the Nguyen dynasty.
  • Fuses architectural trends from Europe and Asia, both ancient and modern.

There are also other tombs which also cost 100,000 VND per person. I think there’s also a combination ticket but you’d have to double check!

Other Things To Do.

Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Where doesn’t have a market!

πŸ› Food

Cozy Restaurant and Cafe

  • The food was so good here we ate 3 times in our 2 days in Hue!
  • Cheap, scrumptious food with lots of Vietnamese variety.
  • We spent between Β£5 and Β£13 for 2 people (the latter price included 3 cocktails, a glass of wine and 2 mains).
  • You get a free caramel flan for dessert.
  • The staff are really friendly and extremely polite. Best service in Vietnam by far.
  • You can find this amazing eatery off the main road, down a little side street near Vinicom Plaza.
  • Easy to find too – they have a sign!

Nook Eatery

  • Great burgers! Aussie beef without any grissel!
  • Cute little arty setting.
  • Average price – 135,000 VND (Β£4.60) for Nook Burger with fries.
The Nook Burger
Standard Burger

πŸš‡ Transport

  • Rent a scooter for the day, 100,000-150,000 VND depending on cc.
  • Taxi’s – make sure you check the meter is on. A 10 minute journey from our accomodation to Hue train station cost 50,000 VND (1,70) although the meter said 34,000 VND (Β£1.20).
  • No grab cars, only motorbikes.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Moon and Sun Hostel

  • 225,000 VND (Β£8.35) per night for a standard double room with private bathroom and breakfast included.
  • Nice hot showers with plenty of room so the toilet does not get wet (it’s the little things!).
  • Breakfast is standard but tasty, choice of fried eggs with French baguette (not sweet!), Pancakes with fruit and noodles.
  • Towels provided (even though they are the smallest bath towels ever – I’m tiny but these are miniscule).
  • Refridgerator, aircon and fan in room.
  • The most pleasant and sweet staff. Always trying their best to help.
  • They let us check-in mega early for no extra fee! Great news after a horrendous night on a sleeper bus without any sleep possible.
  • Good location near to some good restaurants.
  • Motorbike hire available 100,000 VND 100cc bike or 150,000 VND for 150cc.
  • We’d definitely stop here again!
Summary of our time in Hue.

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Tam Coc (Ninh Binh Province) – Travel and Backpacking Nov 2019

Temple in the Old Citadel.

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation
Abandoned Lake House

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Scenic bike rides.
  • One main street.
  • Mountains, caves and rice fields with a sprinkling of adventure.

πŸŒ… Activities

Ride A Motorcycle

  • 100,000 VND to hire a motorcycle for the day plus petrol.
  • Enjoy the beautiful mountains at your own leisure.
  • Stop off to take some snaps.
  • Be careful of the uneven road surfaces – especially when wet.
  • Best way to see the surrounding area.
  • We used the scooter to reach some of the local tourist attractions however most we did not visit as the weather was rather miserable.

Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel

Grand Entrance to the Old Citadel
  • 20,000 VND entrance fee. Motorcycle parking 10,000 VND.
  • The capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th Century.
  • The city was re-modelled in the 17th century after it had been abandoned and deteriorated.
  • Mountains surround the old citadel which hid the ancient city from attack.
  • Temples were built to commemorate multiple emperor’s and their families.
  • Modest dress is required to enter the temples however free skirts are provided.

We didn’t visit the following attractions as it was pouring down and to be honest we’ve seen enough pagodas.

Thung Nham Bird Park

Entrance to Thung Nham Eco-Tourism Area

We would have loved to do this however it’s a huge area and the weather was rather miserable. Here’s what we know about the attraction…

  • 100,000 VND entrance fee per person.
  • 15 minutes from Tam Coc on a motorcycle.
  • 20,000 VND fee per person for Thung Nham Boat Tour.
  • 20,000 VND fee per person for But Cave (Buddha Cave).
  • Caves, greenery and birds to explore.
  • There is also a resort and restaurant within the Bird Park.
  • We would have loved to do this if the weather was a little better!

Bich Dong Pagoda

  • No entrance fee however motorcycle parking is 10,000 – 20,000 VND.
  • 10 minutes from Tam Coc on a motorcycle.
  • Few steps to climb (slippy when wet) but the views over the mountains and rice paddies is meant to be lovely.

Trang An Grottoes

  • 200,000 VND entrance fee per person. Includes boat trip.
  • Very touristy and busy.
  • Lots of grottoes and caves to be explored via boat.
  • According to lots of trip advisor reviews the scenery is gorgeous.
  • We felt we had done quite a few similar things in other places.

πŸ› Food

T-Pub

Meat Lovers Pizza πŸ˜‹
  • Western cuisine and craft beer.
  • Moderately priced but so worth it.
  • Deal between 7pm & 9pm buy any pizza and get a draft beer free.
  • Pizzas cost around 180,000 VND for meat topped ones.
  • Fresh, handmade pizzas with tomato sauce and mozarella.
  • Drinks are reasonably priced including spirits.
  • Lovely and polite staff.

Ngoc Linh Restaurant

Bun Cha and Stir-fried Beef Noodles
  • Cheap Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Free bananas.
  • Tasty Bun Cha – particularly the sauce. No herbs unlike other Bun Cha dishes we’ve had.

Thao BΓ©o

(Not so) Spicy chicken, overcooked chips, chicken in coconut milk and steamed rice.
  • Moderately priced – we felt expensive as the food wasn’t great.
  • Dishes as it says on the tin but without any real flavour.
  • Free bananas.

πŸš‡ Transport

Bicycle

  • Hire for 50,000 VND per bike.
  • Great way to see the surrounding scenery whilst getting in some light exercise.
  • Most of the local tourist attractions are within cycling distance.

Sleeper to Hue

  • 250,000 VND per person.
  • 11 hours although ended up being 9… Keep reading to find out why.
  • Ended up being a local sleeper even though we were told it was a tourist bus on purchase.
  • Zero sleep had all night.
  • I think we were auditioning for fast and furious 10 as the driver sped, heavily braked and hurtled round corners.
  • The seats were rather uncomfortable, no seatbelts and we slid down the chairs due to his erratic driving.
  • Less toilet breaks. No communication of when they were either.
  • Dropped off on the outskirts of Hue at a random hotel. Although we asked multiple times where we would be dropped off and they replied the centre of Hue.
  • The outcome of two sleep deprived disgruntled passengers who then had to walk 30 minutes in the rain to our new accomodation – also way too early to check in.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Phi Hung’s Unique Homestay

  • Β£10.10 per night for Deluxe double room with private bathroom and breakfast included.
  • Comfy king size bed and soft pillows.
  • Clean and tidy with bag storage, hairdryer, towels, aircon and refridgerator.
  • 2 options for breakfast – bread and omlette or banana and pancakes with tea/coffee, fresh fruit juice and fruit.
  • Would be a quiet homestay tucked off the main road however there was construction work going on next door which started early and finished late.
  • The sweetest couple who host the homestay. However they speak little English but we managed with Google translate.
  • Luggage storage after check out.
  • 30,000 VND for towel and shower fee after check out.
  • We’d definitely stay here again if we came back to Tam Coc.
Arran on the bridge to the old citadel.

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam: Ha Long Bay (Bai Chay & Cat Ba Island) Travel and Backpacking. Nov 2019

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Bai Chay – 1-2 Nights.
  • Cat Ba – 2 Nights.
  • Personally, we felt Bai Chay should have been skipped.
  • Views of the bay are gorgeous!
  • Built for tourism.
  • Beach is lovely and seems to be under a little construction at the moment.
  • Lots of all you can eat and seafood restaurants but not many cheap eats.
  • Cat Ba had a larger “party” scene and seemed busier.

πŸŒ… Activities

Bai Chay

Sun World

  • Different attractions in a huge complex including cable car, theme park and water park.
  • Each attraction had a different price tag. All prices below are for one adult ticket.

We also believe the prices are subject to change according to the season. They also have combination tickets providing entry to multiple attractions at certain times in the year and family tickets.

Dragons Theme Park

  • 50,000 VND each (Β£1.80).
  • Open between 1pm & 6pm.
  • Great for kids until approx age 13/14.
  • Few larger rides but plenty for the younger ones.
Thought we were going on the monorail to see the whole of the park… We made a mistake and ended up on the kids dinosaur train. πŸ˜‚ To make it worse, the attendants clapped us at the end of the ride.

Queen Cable Car & Inclusive Attractions.

  • 350,000 VND (Β£11.80)
  • Runs between 2pm & 10pm weekdays and 10am & 10pm at weekends. However check as on the day we went it didn’t open until 5pm (at this point it was crazy).
  • Tickets provide access to Ferris Wheel, Samurai Slide, Zen Garden and Kiddoland. There is also a water puppet show (free) every hour.
  • There are some other attractions which come at an extra fee and also restaurants/ fast food vendors.

Ha Long Bay Cruise

  • Half day, Full day and overnight trips available from tour operators and hotels.
  • We booked via the hotel with HΓ  BΓ¬nh Cruises. Full day for 750,000 dong per person (approx Β£25).
  • Seen half day for 500,000 dong and overnight (1 or 2 nights) starting from Β£170+.
  • Trip includes visiting Fighting Cock island, … Cave, Monkey Island via kayak or bamboo boat, lunch and beach stop. Oh and how could I forget, the welcome drink…
  • Sail past multiple stunning views across the UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • … Islands. None of which are inhabited by humans only monkeys, birds and bugs.
  • No plastic permitted in Ha Long Bay. If you are found with such items you will be fined.
  • We certainly didn’t expect the lunch we got – a seafood lover’s dream. Fresh Prawns, Clams, Squid and Sea Bass along with some chicken, staple rice and veg. Drinks were extra (obviously).
Seafood Lover’s Dream.

Cat Ba

Cat Ba National Park

  • 80,000 VND entrance fee.
  • Can hire a guide or book trips with your providers however it’s also easy enough to do independently.
  • Easy Trek (around 2 hours in total up and down) and Harder trek (4-5 hours, also visiting Hait Village).
  • Advise wearing suitable hiking boots/ trainers and taking water.
  • Even on the easy trek it sometimes requires you to climb rather than walk.
  • Map at the bottom and arrows at points throughout the trek (some signs only in Vietnamese). Also, the map is a little confusing at the start but it all takes you to the same place. We went left round the back of a restaurant.
  • We were under the impression there was a zoo, specimen museum and rescue centre however we only saw the specimen museum near the entrance. What we think was once the zoo and rescue centre seem to have gone to rack and ruin. The only thing left is a few deer in a field.
  • Ruins of only 40 year old buildings. Shows what happens when it’s not looked after. Not sure where the 80,000 VND entrance fee is going…
  • Multitudes of wild life inhabit the national park including native langur monkeys, lizards, birds, spiders and… However we only saw butterflies, a chipmunk and a couple of lizards. ☹️

Canon Fort

Up the overgrown steps we go.
  • Currently under construction and the sign indicates it doesn’t know when it’ll reopen.
  • We walked up a overgrow set of steps further back down the hill towards the satellite tower. After a little climb we could see beautiful views across the bay.
  • Some people climbed the satellite tower – we weren’t so adventurous. Not sure if you’re allowed or its safe – I doubt either.
The Bay.

πŸ› Food

Linh Dan Restaurant

Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs and Beef Stir-fry.
  • Felt like a large function room.
  • Food cheap to mid range prices.
  • Stir Fried Noodles with Beef was tasty.
  • Sweet’n’Sour Ribs a little chewy.
  • Spring Rolls were okay – Standard.
  • Owners nice.

Bamboo Garden Cafe

  • Cheap food but not all that great.
  • 58,000 dong for chicken sandwich and 89,000 dong for seabass in a spicy sauce.
  • We found a hair in the fries, they took it away and never came back with more fries. We mentioned this on getting our bill, as we were still charged full price, they then discounted 20,000 dong.
  • Nice setting with views overlooking part of the bay.

Vinace Italian Restaurant

Vinace’s version of Penne Arrabiata.
  • Good Vietnamese style Italian food with lovely staff.
  • Prices are a little more expensive but the portions are decent.
  • Foid was tasty but pasta dish not like a western version.
  • Pizza was large and the base was good.

πŸš‡ Transport

Bai Chay – Local Transport

  • Local buses running from Bai Chay station to Bai Chay town. Prices differ depending on journey, expect to pay between 5,000 and 15,000 dong.
  • Grab is available.
  • Local Taxis available and love pipping you. We expect they are more expensive but do have meters.

Ferry to Cat Ba Island

  • 80,000 VND each for one way. (Β£2.80)
  • Terminal called Tuan Chau.
  • Ferry takes 45-50 minutes.
  • Arrive at Gia Luan Harbour (Top of Cat Ba Island)
  • A local bus waits at Gia Luan Harbour to take passengers to Cat Ba Town – 30,000 VND (Β£1.10) each for one way.
  • Otherwise there are taxis.
  • Journey from harbour to Cat Ba Town is roughly 30 minutes.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Travellers Comfort Hotel (Bai Chay)

  • Β£6.70 for 1 night bed and breakfast in deluxe double room with private bathroom.
  • Lovely room with view of the street.
  • Clean, tidy and plainly decorated (a nice change from the usual mux of multiple colours).
  • Amenities provided: refridgerator, towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel and toilet roll.
  • All breakfast options are rather greasy and drinks are luke warm.
  • Staff are friendly.
  • Other services at an additional fee: laundry 40k/kilo, scooter rental and trips.

Green Mountain Hostel (Cat Ba Island)

  • 174,000 VND (Β£5.80) deluxe double room with breakfast included.
  • Private bathroom, air con, fan, towels and other amenities provided.
  • Breakfast 7-9am (usual multitude of eggs, pancakes and noodles) and tea/ coffee served 7am-5pm every day.
  • No air to circulate which meant our towels didn’t dry.

β›²πŸ”«πŸ’¦ Bum Gun Number 2: The Experience

My thoughts. My feelings. My experiences.

Your best friend or Your worst enemy.

I did not want to rush reviewing the bum gun experience because it felt I needed to have a broader understanding by using multiple ones.

At present I have visited five different countries and countless toilets. There have been hotels, public rest rooms and service stations.

What To Expect

  • Overall – Brilliant. Convert. Try it.
  • You feel cleaner and somewhat hygienic.
  • Bus Terminals and service station are consistently the worst.
  • Sometimes there is no loo roll – always take tissues or wet wipes.
  • A majority of shops sell single rolls of toilet paper – they’re cheap and should always be an essential part of your kit.
  • Sometimes there is no soap – remember a bottle of antibac as it’s cheap and light to carry.

Personal Experience

  • 1 – Airport: The refreshing transition of cold to warm water was a pleasant surprise.
  • 2 – Hotel: Expecting gentle warmth got sudden cold.
  • 3 – Majority: straight forward point and shoot, a general temperature and water pressure.
  • 4 – Palace: Not sure if it was the position of my seat but mainly hit my back…gross…always consider aim.
  • 5 – B&B: The pressure of the jet made it feel like it took my skin off.
  • 6 – Homestay: Up in the hills were the air is cool…well…the water is colder…Icicle butt.
  • 7 – Bus Terminal: The Bum Gun had a leak at the handle…my hand also got wet.
  • Wild Card – Hostel: More like a bidet attached to the toilet…wiggle on seat for extra cleaning help…the trickle tickles.

In summary always test the water pressure before hand and check aim. Remember to always take tissues and antibacterial gel.

One of the better ones.
On a ferry. It smelt horrid. Plus, no bum gun or toilet roll.

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam – Sa Pa: Travel and Backpacking Nov 2019

Central Sa Pa

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • A gorgeous mountinus valley town.
  • Colder than most places.
  • A town seeped in French Colonial connections and architecture. Just beautiful!
  • Great place for hikes.
  • Views. Views. Views.
  • The weather can be a little unpredictable. This is especially common in November season.

πŸŒ… Activities

Fansipan including Cable Car (Sun World)

Meanwhile at the top of Fansipan…
“I want a picture with the flag!”
  • The highest mountain in Vietnam.
  • Trek for 2 days or take a 15 minute cable car and quite a few steps.
  • Transport via the cable car takes two separate sections. 1) A tram takes you to and from the cable car for 50,000 VND per person. 2) The cable car cost a massive 700,000 VND (Β£23) per person!
Cable Car Views Amidst the Fog.
  • There is also another tram that can take you to the top…70,000 VND per person…another 80,000 VND per person to get down. However, you do not need to do this and instead you can walk to the top.
  • If you don’t decide to take the second tram there are pagodas, temples and Buddha’s to see.
  • The scenes are beautiful! Even if it is foggy…it was foggy for us…not going to lie we were a little gutted.
  • Wonderful experience for us despite the expensive cost.
  • The other option of a hike varied depending on duration etc but cheapest rate seemed to be $50.

Easy Trek

  • 440,000 VND (Β£15) per person.
  • A nice way to see the local villages, tribes and rice fields.
  • The tour felt rushed and we did not have much opportunity to interact with the locals apart from them trying to peddle items.
  • Lunch was a shared affair, there was a tufo dish, a chicken dish, vegetables and rice. Okay, nothing special.
  • The trek was muddy! For us the weather was cold and wet. Expect footwear to get dirty but at the start you have the option to borrow wellies for a mere 80p.
  • Some local tribes women join you on the trek to sell goods and offer help during the tricky parts of the trek.
  • If they help you they expect a tip at the end.

Other Things To Do

πŸ› Food

Family Restaurant

Duck and Chicken Curry
  • Quiet.
  • Cheap – a set menu was 115,000 VND (Β£4.00) per person.
  • Set menu was great! It included pumpkin soup, chicken or duck curry or chicken in cashews, garlic bread, vegetables, a banana desert and a free drink!
  • The food was wonderful and everything from the set menu was super tasty. It was some of best we have had in Vietnam.
  • The owners were lovely and friendly.
  • During the cold seasons it was a little chilly so you might need a jumper.
Another F*cking Banana – but it was good!

24 Restaurant

Keeping Warm… Order Pumpkin and get Potato Soup with Chilli & Garlic Fries.
  • Decent inexpensive food.
  • We ate here twice.
  • There is a range of cuisine to suit a majority of people.
  • Even the pasta and burger were tasty!
  • Staff speak a little English and google translator will help to ensure orders are correct.

Good Morning Vietnam

Chicken Coconut Curry.
  • This was the first restaurant we visited when arriving in Sa Pa.
  • Relatively cheap…
  • The chicken curry is a must! Super tasty and large portion.
  • Take in the beautiful views whilst you dine.

πŸš‡ Transport

Scooter Hire

  • I would have happily done this if we had spent another day.
  • Cost is 150,000 VND (Β£5) from our accomodation. It is possible to get cheaper but quality could be comprised. This is what our host told us.
  • The roads are not the best! Muddy and slippy as a word of caution.

Public Buses

  • Bus to Lao Cai (not sure if this is the village or town) from the centre of Sapa, we think it was 30,000 VND per person.

Local Sleeper Buses

  • Sapa to Ha Long Bay – 370,000 VND (approx Β£12.36) per person. Bought online at https://vietnambustravel.com/bus-tickets-phuc-xuyen-from-sapa-to-ha-long
  • Extremely rude staff. Never experienced anything quite like it.
  • Staff don’t speak English – although they should have learnt some at school.
  • Fewer break stops (only stopped twice).
  • Be quick on the toilet break as they would have left us if it wasn’t for some kind Netherlanders who stopped them driving off.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

The Hill Sa Pa Homestay

The Hill Sa Pa Homestay on a Foggy Evening
  • Β£11.65 per night for family room with shared bathroom and breakfast included.
  • Beautiful views of the mountains from your bed.
View from our Bedroom.
  • Cute little homestay tucked away from the main street. Not easy to find though as it’s not well sign posted.
  • Feels like you’re camping in a big metal tent.
  • Very cold when we visited in November so take extra layers.
  • Bed on the floor – not the comfiest but the quilt is warm.
  • The staff are lovely although they do not speak much English.
  • Trips, Motorbike and Laundry (30,000 VND per kg or pair of shoes) services available.
Fog rolling in.

πŸ‡»πŸ‡³ Vietnam – Hanoi: Travel and Backpacking Nov 2019

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is accurate as of November 2019.

CONTENTS

  • πŸ€” – What to Expect
  • πŸŒ… – Activities
  • πŸ› – Food
  • πŸš‡ – Transport
  • πŸ›Œ – Accomodation

πŸ€” What to Expect

  • Vibrant and Bustling City.
  • Beep, Beep! Crazy Roads.
  • So Many Scooters!
  • Pedestrian crossings with green men but the traffic doesn’t stop.
  • Historic and Cultural.
  • French Architectural Influence.
  • Roughly 30,000 Vietnamese Dong to Β£1.00.

πŸŒ… Activities

Hop On, Hop Off Tour Bus (The Red One)

  • Expensive – 450,000 VND each for 24 Hrs.
  • 350,000 for 4 hours and 650,000 for 72 Hours. The yellow one is slightly cheaper (think the route is the same but not sure)
  • Yes it is good for getting around the main attractions. However, way over priced for the service provided.
  • The route goes one way. There are sections that crossover so no need to ride the bus for ages.
  • Headphones and water provided on first trip – keep headphones.
  • The audio guide’s volume is a little low even at the highest setting. It also cut off information part way through sentences when the bus reached the next site or stop. This meant it was actually better to catch the tour at busier times.
  • Personally Rachael and I had already walked the tour without help the day before.

Hoa LΓ² Prison

Hotel Hilton Entrance
  • 30,000 Dong Entrance Fee. Additional cost for audio guide and booklet, both 15,000 dong each.
  • 2 hours spent here.
  • Open 8am – 5pm daily.
  • French colonialists built the prison between 1886 and 1901.
  • In its time it was one of the most secure prisons of Indochina.
  • The prison was built to house a maximum of 600 inmates but at times housed around 2000, including Vietnamese revolutionaries.
Portrait Opportunity
  • One of the French guillotine’s, used to behead important figures of the Vietnamese revolutionaries, is displayed in the museum.
In for the Chop
  • At the time of the Vietnam War it housed American captives, including John McCain and Pete Peterson.
  • At this time the prison was commonly known as Hanoi Hilton as the American prisoners were treated better than most, including dignity and respect.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

  • No Entrance Fee. Donations Welcomed.
  • Oldest Buddhist Temple in Hanoi built in the 6th century.
  • Closed Monday and Friday.
  • Lovely location and beautiful scenery.
  • It can get quite busy.
  • On West Lake.

West Lake & TrΓΉc Bach Lake

TrΓΉc Bach Lake
  • It’s a lake!
  • Great for some landscape shots.
  • Plenty of cafes to sip a little coffee and look out across the water.

The Huc Bridge & Temple of Jade Mountain

  • Located on Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Price – 30,000 VND per person.
  • Beautiful scenes especially after the sun goes down.
  • Legend states an emperor was given a magical sword to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. In turn this meant the return on the Golden Turtle God to the lake.

Old Quarter

Madness.
  • Have a real cultural experience exploring the old quarter.
  • Watch out motorbikes about. There are so many but don’t worry they will let you know they are near with several pips of their horn.
  • It is a little touristy.
  • Plenty of bars and restaurants.
The Streets

Military Museum

  • Closed Monday and Friday – Open the rest of the week.
  • Times 8.30 – 11.30 and 13.00-16.30.
  • Visit early has the 1hr 30mins for lunch can mess up the day.
  • Learn about the troubling past of Vietnam’s existence.
  • Find out about the South and North divide during the Vietnam War.
  • 40,000 (Β£1.35) VND per person.
  • 30,000 (Β£1.05) VND for a camera – Rachael had her phone and they did not seem to charge for that…however, I probably could have hidden my camera and pulled it out later because no one checked the ticket.
  • Museum is small but there is a lot packed into the space. Military vehicles fill the exterior whilst interiors provide information and display weapons.
  • Interesting to learn about the Vietnam War but harrowing to realise the ordeal innocent people experienced.
  • Great exhibition on Military Women.

Xuan Market

  • Surprise, Surprise…another market.
  • A three level market.
  • Open 6am – 6pm
  • Selling various items.
  • Rachael and I were going to go but I messed up with the times so it did not happen.
  • There is also a night market after 7pm on the street outside. Busy is an understatement.

Train Street

  • Erm…A street with regular trains passing through it.
  • Have a beer mere inches away from a passing train.
  • Watch Instagram influencers dice with death whilst they try to get that perfect shot.
  • No entrance fee but prepare to get pestered at every bar/cafe on the tracks.
  • A couple of polite no thank yous whilst passing is usually enough.
  • Rachael and I had to rush through this bit because we had tickets for a show. Otherwise, totally would have stayed for a drink.
  • Trains do have a schedule and times can be checked online.
  • I’d check it out quick as the government plan on closing it in 2020.

Lang Toi – My Village – Theatre Show

Tuong Theatre
  • Tickets cost 700,000 VND (Β£23.50) for the cheapest seats.
  • A Lune Production
  • Using a cirque style, Lang Toi, gives you a creative peek into the life of a Vietnamese village. The performance transports the audience to witness farming, building and traditional games.
Bamboo Props & Folk Instruments.

πŸ› Food

Not the easiest experience the two of us have had with food. However, the Vietnamese do love their Pho.

Cumulus

Half way through we realised a photo was not taken.
  • Our best street food experience and a must visit!
  • Moderate cheap eat located in Old Quarter.
  • Bun Cha – 79,000 VND (Β£2.70)
  • Spring Rolls – 60,000 VND (Β£2.00)
  • The two ladies who served us were lovely, helpful and attentive.
  • Through a suggestion – Bun Cha is a must try. Grilled pork, accompanied with rice noodles, fresh herbs and a seasoned broth.
  • By adding ingredients to your own individual bowl a wholesome tasty dish is created.
  • One of the lovely ladies showed us how to do it.
  • Good portion size that we did not finish.
  • The ladies also provided us with a tofu tomato dish and rice for free!
  • Spring rolls were great – expected two but got six.

Pepperoni Pizza πŸ•

When travelling for a long period of time sometimes you just need some comfort food.

  • Had a delivery/takeout deal for 256k VND – Pizza, Pasta, Crispy Korean Chicken and, oddly, one can of choco milk.
  • The food was actually really tasty. Pizza was a decent size and portions were enough for two.
  • Choice of crispy base or thick base.
  • The eat in menu seemed a little expensive. They did have combo meals though.
  • If ordering takeout expect to wait. Not sure if Rachael and I pissed them off but it was a good 45 minutes in the end.
  • One of the employees mentioned there was an app called Foody. We did not end up using it because we were already at the restaurant.

πŸš‡ Transport

Public Bus

  • 7,000 – 8,000 VND one person per ride.
  • A cheap great way to get around the city.
  • Can get a little busy during rush hour times.

Tuk Tuk – Possible Scam/Rip off

There was a nice Netherlands gentlemen we met in Luang Prabang, Laos. He had visited Vietnam quite a bit and mentioned the Tuk Tuk drivers are scammers. He stated they will over charge you considerably for journeys. They will agree a price at the beginning but have a tendency to stop half way and double or triple the price.

In the end there was no need for us to use the tuk tuks because it was easy to walk everywhere. Otherwise, public transport is dirt cheap.

Grab Taxis

  • Really cheap for a city – an early morning (7am) six minute journey in a busy part of town cost 35,000 VND (Β£1.20).
  • Straight forward app similar to Uber.

πŸ›Œ Accommodation

Veque Villa

“Rachael and Arran surveyed their surroundings. Next door in Villa 3 there was a private bathroom, a mattressed double bed and decor only found in Homelife magazine. However, they were in for a surprise…” – Morgan Freeman

  • If you spot one of the other Villas attached don’t look or even peer through the door. Just keep walking – you are not getting that πŸ˜“.
  • Instead you’re treated to the Harry Potter box room.
  • The bed was rock hard. Not one good night sleep.
  • The door’s locking system was a padlock and key.
  • Bathroom was cleaned daily. Shared – the sliding doors had lightly frosted glass. Let’s just say no imagination was needed on the outside. The silhouette of me using the bum gun forever engrained on other residents retina.
  • The room had perplex glass and privacy was provided via a curtain. However, the curtain rail was not long enough. Thus, residents now had my hairy ass burnt into their retina. Just install a longer fu*king rail.
  • Free washer and dryer πŸ˜€. However, it was constantly in use…and next to our room. The hum and squeal of the machines really sooth you to sleep…not.
  • The host were lovely and a pet chocolate Labrador greeted us every morning. She loved a stroke of the belly.
  • Location was good.
  • Apparently there is a roof top space. However, we were not shown it.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Shops bursting with festive decorations.
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