So we head off to another country after about a month in Cambodia. We set off on another land crossing with the only bus company I trust Giant Ibis. https://bit.ly/2OwTGPi This time we are setting off for Vietnam. If you plan to make a land crossing make sure you get your Evisa in advance. You will need a Evisa before arriving. They can not give you one at the border.
We left Phnom Penh in the morning,around 8:00 am. We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City about 7 hours or so later. The cost for this was only 19$ USD per person! What a steal as a plane ride would have been about 200$ USD for two people. The same as with the crossing into Cambodia. At the Cambodia border you take your passport to be stamped. Get back on the bus and the driver collects all the passports with visas. You go have a quick lunch and within 45 minutes everyones is back on the bus and off to Vietnam. Again another painless crossing.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Start Coworking Campus- 18bis/14 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam https://bit.ly/2tLciQZ
About The Accommodation:
- Another Coworking/Coliving situation.
- High speed internet, multiple skype rooms, office rooms and open seating. Ethernet cable access.
- Sign up for lunch everyday it is not included, but it totally worth it the lunch is very tasty. The menu is something different everyday and week so it is most definitely something you should try.
- The place is super safe fingerprint access to get into the gates.
- In a great area for local food or a short walk to western food.
- The staff and everyone who works there is really nice and fun to be around. They have a facebook chat and often go to eat together.
- Single 34$ USD per night. Double: 44$ USD per night. Totally worth it again for the stable internet and getting to meet people.
What To Do In Ho Chi Minh City:
- When we arrived we couldn’t get a table to eat anywhere. This was in December and every place we went to we were turned away. Well we come to find out that Malaysia was playing Vietnam in the Suzuki Cup. They made it all the way! We all worked together at Start and decided we were going to watch the final match. Vietnam won. The streets were lined up with motor scooters, flags, horns it was so amazing to see. It was for sure a once in a lifetime experience.
- Craft Beer: If you are willing to spend a little extra cash then you need to check out all the craft breweries in Ho Chi Minh City. Some we liked were: Quán Ụt UT https://bit.ly/2BQb2kv, Winking Seal Beer Co. https://bit.ly/2FO7ouJ,
Ong Cao, Craft Beer https://bit.ly/2CMxUT5 ,East West Brewing Co. https://bit.ly/2V1ZOS1 Rouge Saigon https://bit.ly/2HO2tvO, Pasteur Street Brewing https://bit.ly/2V6hxIe, and Heart Of Darkness Craft Brewery https://bit.ly/2O4P01S. Man we tried some beers that were full of so much flavor and after living in Portland, Oregon for so long it was very much needed. A pint will set you back about 6$USD, but we mostly did the tasters. However we did like the local Huda beer as well!
- Airbnb Experience Motorbike With Locals: We went motorbiking all through HCMC. The college students took us to many great sights, along with trying to much amazing local food. We opted for the night experience so we could explore all types of local eats. This is the first time we were on motorbike and the drivers were very safe. It was so much fun to be with locals trying so many foods, visiting sites and the market. While it is not on airbnb anymore it is on TripAdvisor. https://bit.ly/2YDQqXk
- Where to get some good eats: We tried lots of street food without to much research. It was all super affordable, like with all local food; make sure prices are labeled, don’t take anything you didn’t order and pay ahead. Go early most are lunch places: E-Coffee,Bahn Mi Honh Lien( a short walk from Start) , Bahn Khot 335/2 Bahn Xeo Mien Tay 335, Hu Tieu Tron A. Hung, TIEN HOC LE-HAU,Bun Cha Ho Guom,Bang mi ngoc chau , The Gangs,Lunch Lady( Was on Anthony Bourdain taste was ok, but very overpriced(as in the price changes for everyone about 15$usd for two soups, one beer and all the extras they don’t tell you about), Bun Rieu Nguyen soup, Hu tieu nam vang soup, Quan Anh Hong Soup, Pho 1954, My Bahn Mi.
- Check out all the markets:Ben Thanh Market ,Ho Thi Ky Flower Market( Cambodia Market)
- War Remnants Museum, Phung son Pagoda, Notre dame church, Landmark 81 building,Pho Bi bo bui vien, Central post office, Vinh Nghiem temple, Way Chantaransay.
We drank lots of Huda and craft beer, walked as usual and ate lots of well affordable street food. I would say a backpacker budget should be about 40$USD for two people.
We took off on a quick flight via Vietnam Airlines to Hue, Vietnam. The cost was around 85$USD for two.
Daisy Hostel – 64 Alley, Nguyen Sinh Cung street, Hue, Vietnam https://bit.ly/2uzemgn
You can use my booking.com code to receive 20$USD off https://bit.ly/2FpixBF
About The Accommodation:
- Our room was a private room, however the walls are extremely thin. You could hear every sound from people showering to flushing the toilet. This was not good for online teaching. However we got lucky that no one was there when we were teaching.
- Room was very basic, but for about 6$USD a night it was just what we needed. The wifi actually worked really well. Just make sure to ask for a room next to the router.
- Set in a local area, pub street is about a 30 min easy walk. Many local foods in the area to choose from. Across the street however is full of rats. While they did not bother us and were not in our place. The lady who cooks up amazing food next to the hostel is across from that. So you have to watch so many rats across the way. So if you are fearful like me it might not be your thing.
- Owner and staff are very nice. They will help you in any way you need. Offering you many local tips. They also rent scooters and do tours. Which we did not take but they were not pushing it on us.
What To Do In Hue, Vietnam:
- Places to eat: Hands down the best bakery is Bao Thanh since 1984. There is so many good baked goods to try we went there like 5 or 6 times. Across from the popular Dong Ba Market . A lot of the way we find our food is just by walking around. So start walking and you will find many local foods wherever you go. Try some roasted whole pig. Heo Sua Quay it will be nearby this location and you will see the whole pig outside. 106 Điện Biên Phủ, Trường An, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam Vietnam is tricky because a lot of the local food stalls are named what they are for example whole roasted pig. Nem Lui Nhu Yi, Bun Bo Hue,Thanh Pho. For non local food check out Burger Shack Hue.
- Bars we liked: Brown Eyes this is where we spent our Christmas good music and good happy hour, DMZ Bar,Vietnam Backpacker Hostel Hue.
- Another fabulous airbnb experience was cooking with a local: Phuong Nam and her husband picked us up by motor scooter. We then headed off to a local market with zero tourist! Perfect! There we shopped for some local items and we asked to cook up frog, which was butchered in front of us. Doesn’t get more fresh than that. We then head back to their house to cook and have dinner with the family. It was so cool to feel like apart of their family and have a local experience. This was about 3o$USD per person. https://bit.ly/2Yz2RU6
- Short on time as we were moving every week we booked another tour. We booked the tripadvisor Hue full day tour. After you are picked up from your hotel you board a long tail boat to head down the perfume river. Later you will see Thien Mu Pagoda,UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hue Imperial City and Citadel.After you head down to the Dong Ba Market to taste some local food. Lunch is included but was at a restaurant would have rather had local food. The day is not over, you then head to Tomb of Minh Mang,Tomb of Kahi Dinh and head over to make incense and conical hats in a local village. About 40$ USD per person, but covers a lot of what you must see when coming to Hue. https://bit.ly/2YyQPtP
- We took a long bike ride down to the beach and spent time in a local village. Tons of bakeries line your bike ride so make sure to stop when something smells good.
Hue was super affordable. Everyday we would just take long walks or bike rides and find so much local food. Huda beer is a great cheap beer. Without tours I would say 30$USD for two per day.
After spending Christmas day drinking at partying at the Vietnam Backpacker Hue we headed on the overnight bus to Hanoi. We booked with 12go and the bus company was The SinhToursit. We left Hanoi at 17:30 Christmas day, we got on and we learned the sleeper seats were not only small bunks but you felt like you were going to fall off. Luckily we switched seats to the far back and pretty much had a bed. You will arrive in Hanoi around 5-6 am. They will not announce any stops they just blare music. It is also a little bit of a rocky ride. However for about 12$USD per person it was just fine.https://bit.ly/2UiQAE1
Hanoi was very cold for a few days that we were there, now we have been traveling for over six months and it was the coldest we have been. With 2-3 of the days dropping to 3C! Thankfully we were prepared.
GreenCorner Moon’s House- Old Quarter https://bit.ly/2TL6qmm
About The Accommodation:
- Situated in Old Quarter this was close to everything you wanted to do in Hanoi. About a 20 minute walk to the pub street.
- The apartment was beautiful, down a local alley. The bottom floor the fridge and bathroom. The second floor has a living room area which also has couch that turns into a bed. The third floor is the bedroom.
- This was over Christmas break and our work gave us the time off. However we needed to teach one day and the internet simply would not work. I do not think the internet is from a company or has a data cap not sure, but if you need to teach online I would ask her to submit wifi speeds before.
What To Do In Hanoi:
- Number 1 must do is check out Halong Bay. We did an overnight tour with trip advisor and really wish we could have stayed longer. We didn’t have work so we did not have to worry about wifi speeds which was perfect. We normally wouldn’t do a toursity cruise but this one was so breathtaking. They pick you up at hotel and you make your way to Halong Bay. It will take 3-4 hours to arrive to Halong Bay. Once you arrive the group is split up onto the boats for the overnight adventure. The first day is action packed. You have a delicious coursed out lunch on the boat. After you head to Sun Sot Cave. Then you head over to Ti Top Island where you can climb to the top I believe a few hundred steep steps for a 360 view. During December it was cloudy but still was so beautiful. You also have the chance to swim. You head back to the boat for dinner, happy hour( alcohol not included in price) and a night of relaxation. The rooms are gorgeous and comfortable.
Day 2: You get up bright and early if you want to do Tai Chi. We did and it was really relaxing, but very windy. After breakfast you can attend a cooking class and cooking demonstration. You also have the option to kayak the Bo Nau Area. We did all of these while the kayaking was very cold it was still fun. Finally your activities are done and you head back to Hanoi. Some people extended the cruise going even farther and we wish we did. Cost was around 135$ USD per person but really worth it. https://bit.ly/2YxbVsJ
- Eating and Drinking: Market around old Hanoi city gate, Standing Bar,Sogreen Pressed Juice & Cafe. Pho Cit Quay 73 Hang Tiec https://bit.ly/2TJIobJHead down and watch the trains go by at Café Ga Đông Dương, here make sure to try the Pho, craft beer from 36 streets and egg beer. https://bit.ly/2JOcMSf
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral, walk all around old quarter and hit up the bar street. We were there for New Years Eve and the streets were packed. We took took a long bike ride to the Cổ Loa Citadel and hung out in the local community. (In Hanoi centre biking is very hard and compact streets)Chua Tran Quoc, One pillar pagoda, Temple of Literature, Thang long Citadel, Thap Rua.
Our biggest budget here was the tour to Halong Bay. Everything else like the rest of Vietnam is extremely cheap. It is a great country for an online teacher. I’d say a backpackers budget here should be around 35-40$USD for two people. Not including the Halong Bay tour.
Wow do I love Vietnam! Everything is so cheap, there is street food everywhere and man it is delicious. From the soups with crispy pork rinds inside, Pho’s,Banh Mi, skewers Vietnam has it all. The cheap Huda beer is tasty and if you need craft beer you can find it almost anywhere. It has a perfect mix of local and hipster stuff. The historical sights are never ending. We will be back to Vietnam as we want to go North to South in about 9 months.
One thing with traveling is when we go to a place other travelers always ask us have we been here or there. So we are always adding places to our list. While we want to see every inch of the world and every inch of a country wifi speeds are always a worry. Vietnam had excellent wifi, with a little more research on places it would have been seamless and great on a backpacker teaching budget.
Next we board a plane to head to the capital Vientiane Laos. Have you been to Vietnam or Vientiane if so share your experiences below by commenting. Don’t miss my post on Laos on Tuesday. Thank you again for reading and subscribe to never miss a post.