Hi there all,
Recently, I and three of my friends, Manas, Ankita and Ritwik, we went to the amazing country of Vietnam. Detailed accounts of the planning, travel, places we visited, food we ate, what we liked, what we didn’t are typed down in the links below:
- The Planning
- Touchdown – Ho Chi Minh City
- Ho Chi Minh City and onwards…
- Hoi An by the day!
- Hoi An by the night!
- Hoi An to Hue
- Hue – Imperial Citadel
- Ha Long Bay
You can go through each of the above links or find them all at a glance by following this tag: A week in Vietnam.
There are a few things I wanted to add which I felt is necessary to be known to all the travellers who are planning to make the trip:
- Plan early and plan meticulously. Go through every blog, website, journal and book that you can find and gather as much information that you can get.
- Save money for the trip. Yes, Vietnam trip can be done on a shoestring budget, you never know what extra expense you may incurr or rather what new dress shall entice you suddenly. It is always good to have a certain amount of headroom.
- Travel insurance is a must. No arguments whatsoever.
- Book through tickets. Cant stress this enough. Book tickets which belong to a single airline. The booking must be point to point, say from Mumbai to HCMC. In case there is a need to change flights, and the journey is in parts, please make sure you have the Visa already. It becomes very frustrating when you have the boarding passes but cannot get past the immigration to transfer the luggage to the next flight.
- Get a local sim. You may not need the calling facility, but to have internet is a blessing. Most of the places within the country has a good network coverage and speeds are decent.
- It is generally a better deal to withdraw cash from the ATMs in Vietnam than to trade in USD at restaurants or jewellery stores.
- You will need to pay USD 25 as visa stamping fee at your port of entry.
- Do not give up on the opportunity to travel in the train in this country. The trains are smaller, so are the berths. The view is scenic. I can vouch for the Da Nang to Hue.
- The Ben Thanh market at HCMC is pricey, the food is fine though. A must visit off course, maybe just to enjoy the place. Bargain, and bargain hard. Be ready to be hear “You handsome/pretty, I give you best price…xyz dongs”.
Despite being pricey, the collection in this place is damn impressive.
- Try your best to transact in VNDs. Every time you transact in USD, you lose out some value.
- Be careful of the notes. The denominations have a lot of zeros. Mostly the shopkeepers return or point out the correct denomination if you are paying excess or less.
- The paper cut out cards are really interesting.
- Veg food is rare. Chicken is scarce. Pork and beef galore.
- Banh Mi is a lifesaver. Pho is bland, to a Bengali palate at least.
- Pack carefully; for south of the country is warm and cosy, while the north is chilly and grey.
It is a beautiful country, Vietnam and I suggest you do visit it. Respond in the comments if there is any thing that you would want to enquire about.