Welcome back to another edition of my #yow! You wanna know what’s one of the best things about traveling? Besides the food? It’s coming to the realization that your life is alright. And in as far as my current adventures in Vietnam are going, I’m going to say life’s pretty great so far. What’s better than paying less than $5 a day for private, clean accommodations, spending $2-$3 for great food, and getting a priceless enjoyment of a country from south to north? None I say!
As of this writing, I’m on my way to the beautiful central town of Hoi An in Vietnam, which I had been to before. Today marks my 11th day in Vietnam, and I thought I would give you guys a quick rundown on what I’ve been doing in Vietnam for the last 11 days in terms of sights seen and spending. In a future blog post, I shall detail out a 4-week travel itinerary for those interested in traversing all the cool sights of Vietnam, especially the relatively non-touristy parts of it. Without ado, let’s recap my latest adventures in Vietnam.
Day 1-3: Saigon, Vietnam
My adventures in Vietnam began in Saigon, which is the most metropolitan city in Vietnam, and is sort of like the unofficial capital, as it is the cultural and economic center of the country. The first two days were pretty relaxing. I used it to acclimate to the weather and scene, which I highly recommend you to do as well if it’s your first destination in Southeast Asia or first time in Vietnam. Use it to learn how to cross the street, to learn to ignore all the honking, and to deal with the miserable humidity (especially if you’re there during the summer…you poor sap).
Both days were used mainly to explore some of the unique cafes that have sprung up in Saigon in the last few years. A lot of these cafes actually have live music at night, and when they don’t, you can play with the instruments there. The few I went to were ICHI Cat Café (you can guess it from the name..heh), Cucuta Coffee (has a few cats living here, but really romantic café!), Loc Vung Café (very modern style café). Besides the cafés, I also went on an food-hopping tour where I pretty much ate everywhere. Pho, Bun, Banh Mi, fresh fruits, you name it. Saigon probably has the best compilation of food from all over Vietnam in one city. So great! On the 3rd day, I went to the Cu Chi tunnel, but not the touristy one where all the tours take you to, but the non-touristy part called Ben Duoc. You can easily get here by taking the 13 bus to the Cu Chi bus station (end of the line), then take the 79 bus and ask them to drop you off at Ben Duoc. This one was actually part of the tunnel system, instead of the other one called Ben Dinh, which was purposely built for the larger western tourists. Go to Ben Duoc. It’s a lot better. Trust me on that.
Day 4-7: Nam Du Island, Vietnam
After Saigon, I took an overnight bus with Futa Busline to a southern coastal city called Rach Gia. The bus line offers a free transfer to the dock, so I took that to get to the dock, where I took the 730am speedboat to a non-touristy island off the coast of southern Vietnam called Nam Du. Nam Du is actually an archipelago of over 21 islands, but the main one your boat will dock in is Nam Du. My private room here only cost 200,000 Vietnamese dong, which is a little less than $10. Frigging cheap right? Nam Du is a pretty small island, so on the first day, I rented a motorbike to do a cruise around the island, and saw the sunset at the only good beach there, Cay Men. On the 2nd day, I did a private tour with some local fishmen where they took me island hopping with them. We had seafood for lunch, which were crabs, stingrays, and some sorta shell fish. No idea its English name, but it tasted like lobsters. Total cost of the trip? $15 per person. Not a bad deal at all!
Day 8-9: Can Tho, Vietnam
On my 8th day, I took the ferry from Nam Du back to Rach Gia, where I then took Futa Busline to Can Tho. After a brief over night stay at a guesthoust, they organized a private boat tour for us for 350,000 Vietnamese dong next day to explore 2 floating markets in Can Tho. It was overall a 7 hour trip, and I would say worth it just to see how life on the river could have been like. I’ll do a more, detailed writeup in the future, but just remember this, Can Tho is like the mecca of fruits in Vietnam. Eat eat and eat as much fruits as you can!
Day 10-11: Dalat, Vietnam
I took an overnight bus from Can Tho to Da Lat with, you guessed it, Futa Busline, and spent 2 days in Da Lat. Da Lat is a former hill station city where back in the days when Vietnam was under the evil French colonialism, and to this day, you can still see the influence of the French. Nowaday, it’s used as a getaway by rich Saigonese (just made that up myself!) to get away from the humidity of Saigon during the summer. Because it’s over 2000 meters above sea level, the temperature here is always relatively cooler than the lowlands. On my first day, I rented a motorbike to go and explore 3 of the surrounding waterfalls (Datala, Pongour, and Elephant). Pongour Waterfall would have been awesome if there was more water (so maybe it’s advisable to go here during the rainy season? I dunno). Elephant Waterfall was pretty cool too as well!
Day 12-13: Quy Nhon, Vietnam
I left the central highlands for Quy Nhon, another non-touristy city located in the southern central coastline about 3-4 hours north of Nha Trang. While all the tourists go to Nha Trang, Quy Nhon is still relatively unknown, so if you’re looking to avoid the tourists but still get your beach time, Quy Nhon is a nice location to visit. Unfortunately, when I visited, the weather turned to crap, and it rained the entire time I was there (womp womp). I still rented a motorbike to drive along the coastline and saw a ruined Cham tower, but it’s a bummer I didn’t get to experience the beach. Ah well. I did get to try the local seafood, which was both amazing and inexpensive! The oysters you see there in the photo? 3 of them (at 300 grams total) cost me $1.5usd. BAM!
And that brings me to today, where I am now in Hoi An. The weather is still crappy, so hopefully it’ll improve enough for me to rent a motorbike to drive around. But if not, well, that’ll also give me time to catch up on my writing to you, my loyal readers! Until next time! If you have any questions on my adventures in Vietnam, ask below!
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