BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN VIETNAM
SAIGON TOP BEST PLACES TO VISIT
Saigon is cheap but it offers very low quality of life: One of the most polluted cities in the world, dirty streets (rats everywhere), filthy restaurants with extremely low level of hygiene (only fine dining are clean), the noise produced by traffic and construction is unbearable. The system is pretty much corrupted (ensure you have a reliable local Godfather) and there is no customer service culture, worst thing locals will never accept they don’t know something, they will better tell you a lie just to give you an answer. Most indoor places have aircon and you will find yourself breathing that air most of the day. There are few parks but not as many public recreational areas where you can safely exercise (you cannot even walk as motorbikes invade pedestrian areas). You will be in a constant battle of comparing prices trying to avoid being ripped off. These this issues affect all the main cities in Vietnam.
On the other hand, Vietnam’s tourism 2016 visitor numbers rose at one of the fastest rates in the world, according to a new United Nations report. A global report published recently by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation ranked Vietnam’s tourism growth as seventh in the world, and the country was the only destination in Southeast Asia to make the top 10. Most of the natural landscape across all pristine beaches in Vietnam are disappearing making room for luxurious resorts with no match regulation around it.
These are my personal notes of my 3 weeks in Ho Chi Minh City. Your experience will always be different to mine so I encourage you to explore and even go to places that are not listed here. Ask locals about their favourite places and do not be afraid of the language limitations.
HO CHI MINH DISTRICT 1
- Opera House: A O Theatre company performances – must see! Tickets are around 600.000 dong. This was one of my top activities I will always remember.
- War Memorial Museum: interesting to see. Remember that it tells one side of the story. Allow for at least two hour visit. Lots of documentary photography from the Vietnam War.
- Independence Palace. if you can get a guide. There was no guided tour when I visited it so I could only see furniture from the 60’s and 70’s. If you do not have much time, it is totally ok to miss it.
- Myst Hotel rooftop bar – Well designed hotel with a beautiful lobby. The restaurant and rooftop bar with swimming pool and great view is worth a visit.
- Acoustic Bar: nice bar to see live music and local people, there are many other cafes around it.
- Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine (FITO Museum): old traditional wooden house, nice to visit if you are interested to learn about natural traditional medicine. I got a free ticket when I paid for AO performance at the Opera House.
- Fine Arts Museum: nice to visit to learn about Vietnamese art from ancient art to contemporary art. 3 buildings, allow for at least two hour visit. The building are a little bit run down, no guides.
- M2C Cafe, nice little cafe next to La Fenetre Soleil in D1.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: was closed but nice to see from outside.
- Central Post Office: Still works as a post office, nice old french style building you can see inside and outside.
- Panam bar – French bar with live music at the back of Cuba la Casa del Mojito
- Shelter cafe – nice, relaxed small cafe in D1
- Bến Thành Market – This is a local market made for foreigners, higher prices than other local markets. Better to go to other local markets.
- Ngon Restaurant on Pasteur St D1: Nice big restaurant lots of plants with a great selection of food. worth the visit!
- Akai cafe, nice cafe to sit across the canal on D1 and enjoy the view. They can also bring you food from a street vendor.
- Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street – Nice to walk it at night time, they have some local performances. At one end is the river and on the other end is the People’s Commitee Building. You can see local kids and families enjoying the night.
- Bui Vien Street – this is the backpacker area, full of bars, nightclubs, massage parlours, a bit tacky, dodgy and ugly. I just passed by.
- Cuc Gach restaurant 95 Thach Thi Thah st. Nice food.
- Ru restaurant in Tan Dinh ward, D.1.
- Secret garden restaurant. Pasteur st, next to Ngon restaurant, really nice outdoor terrace setting. plates are around 120-200k dong mark so a dinner for two is likely to cost you around 500k dong. Some of the dishes we tried were really tasty (shrimp and bacon) some others were just ok.
Still to go:
- L’Usine, cafe but also store. 151/5 Dong Khoi, D1; 70B Le Loi, D1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
- The Place Saigon – Roof top bar. 38 Le Lai, District 1, Saigon
WHERE TO GO LATIN DANCING IN HO CHI MINH / SAIGON
- Salsa dancing at La Fenetre Soleil in D1 on Wednesday nights starts 9:30pm
- Salsa Dancing at Liberty Riverside Hotel – Skybar top floor on Friday with nice view and swimming pool.
- Salsa Dancing at La Salsa bar on Saturday nights.
- Latin Dancing at Cuba La Casa del Mojito, every night they have something on. Free Kizumba class on Tuesday 9pm. Free salsa class on Monday 9pm.
- Caravelle Saigon hotel in D1: Some nights they have latin dancing. – Did not go but worth checking it out.
HO CHI MINH DISTRICT 2
- The Factory Contemporary Arts centre in D2: Nice to visit and support local artists. I had a personal guide, she spoke english and was really nice. $35000 dong entry fee.
- The Deck restaurant on D2, right next to the Factory Arts Centre, fine dining with view to the river. Expensive for local standards.
- Saint Honore French Bakery D2: Chicken Sandwich for $75.000 dong, visited by many foreigners, friendly staff. They also sell curated meats.
- Vin Gallery – Did not go but was recommended.
- Many nice Restaurants on Xuan Thuy st on D2 Did not go but was recommended.
- Inpages – Independent Publisher and art bookstore – 4 le van mien – open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6:30pm
- Kokoïs cafe 24 Thao Dien, D2. Did not go but was recommended.
HO CHI MINH DISTRICT 3
- Oz Coffee House 2 on D3: nice cafe with a lot of plants
- Nhu Lan bakery – One of my favourite places to eat nice cheap Vietnamese food. I love the grilled pork sandwich (Banh Mi) only $25.000 dong which is a traditional French baguette-style roll stuffed with different preparations of pork, chicken liver pate, sweet Vietnamese chilies, spring onions, fish sauce, pickled carrot, daikon, Maggie sauce and fresh cucumber and coriander. The the banana sticky rice dessert (banh chuoi chien) for only $12.000 dong is another of my favourite dishes of this popular bakery in Saigon. They also have another shop on D1.
HO CHI MINH DISTRICT 4
- Xom Chieu street. Lots of local food for very low prices. it is not supposed to be an area for a foreigners – I was the only foreigner in a 3 hour period – so if you go there just take the absolute minimum. it is not dangerous but I was told it is not safe for a foreigner to be there.
HO CHI MINH DISTRICT 5
- China town ( Cho Lon) – Did not go but was very recommended.
- Coconut egg pudding in Alley 14 Tran Binh Trong st. D5 open from 1pm to 7pm – Did not go but was very recommended.
HO CHI MINH DISTRICT 7
- Western style district with new modern apartment buildings. Some multinational companies have their headquarters there: Unilever, KPMG, etc.
- We bought some nice cheap desserts on D4 first and then we visited the StarLight bridge on D7, we sit down and enjoy the view: water colour fountain bridge.
- Anna Sanctuary Wellness Spa in district 7. You can use the pool for $100k dong. Did not go but was very recommended.
OUTSIDE HO CHI MINH
- Cu Chi Tunnels: worth going to as it is amazing to actually see with your eyes how the tunnels look like.
I met a couple who did the Mekong Delta tour and they recommended Can Tho Touring: Susan: +841263825976 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: canthotouring.blogspot.com fb: facebook.com/canthotouring US$65 per person including accommodation and all food from midday to midday the next day.
TOP 5 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PHONG NHA VIETNAM
- Phong Nha Cave. just take the boat from town and visit this beautiful cave.
- Paradise Cave. Bigger than Phong Nha cave and very similar.
- Dark Cave (Hang Toi). This one includes zip lining, a bit of kayaking and mud. Fun! Check weather conditions first as it might be closed during monsoon season.
- Botanic Gardens. Very basic place, not much as botanic garden but worth visiting the waterfall and the water hole for a nice swim. They have a scam during monsoon requiring visitors to pay a guide saying it is too dangerous to walk around by yourself, charging you a “guide” fee.
- BBQ at Nguyen Shack Hostel. Rustic hostel with nice dishes including bbq vietnamese style.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN PHONG NHA
- Wild Boar Eco Farm. Only 30 minutes by car from Phong Nha town. If you want to sleep in a quiet place.
- Nguyen Shack Hostel. Nice rustic two bed dorms inside Phong Nha town.
LOCAL FLIGHT WEBSITES IN VIETNAM
HALONG BAY – CAT BA ISLAND – BOAT TRIP
There are many different one day, two days and even three day tours around Halong bay. I took the one day boat tour with Cat Ba Local USD$20 which was a bit more expensive than others you find at many travel agencies in Cat Ba from USD$14. The Cat Ba local boat trip is very similar than the others – they all include kayaking for 1.5 hour, snorkelling (which is nothing as you do not really see much fish) and lunch. The Cat Ba Local tour sell it more expensive as they go a bit further to the other boats and indeed we were in some parts that no other boat was. However, if you probably need to save the $6 difference, you might also be ok taking the cheapest option. The lunch was ok but nothing really fantastic, the boat is an old run down boat, nothing interesting. What you pay here is pretty much for the opportunity to relax the whole day and enjoy the magnificent scenery and landscape.
Catba local contact details are: Tung Pham – General manager – +84972498666 email@example.com Address: 229, 1/4 street, Cat Ba island.
If you need to buy a bus ticket from Catba to Ninh Binh, do not buy it at Ca Ba Local 200.000 dong (already included 10% discount); better you buy it at Cat Ba Sailing which is a Kiosk right on the main road of Cat Ba, like a gazebo placed on the footpath, a guy called Tu. They sell the same trip for 160.000 dong. saving you 40.000 dong. It is exactly the same bus trip that includes (bus-ferry-bus) to Ninh Binh.
TOP 5 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN HUE
- Old Citadel (Kinh Thanh)
- Thuan An Beach. Go to the beach bar, really nice rustic bar.
- XQ Embroidery Museum
- Cho Dong Ba market (Local food market)
- Abandoned water park at Thuy Tien lake
PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE IN DALAT
TOP 5 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN NINH BINH VIETNAM
- Mua Caves. Not much for the caves but for walking the hill and enjoy the view.
- Tam Coc. This is the little town nearby Ninh Binh where most likely your bus will drop you off. From here you can explore the great country side, rivers and caves.
- Van Long Nature Reserve.
- Cuc Phuong National Park.
- Trang An Grottoes – boat trip. Inundated with tourists, it is a place that if you are already there you gotta visit. the canoe trip will last around 2.5 hours and will take you around some amazing limestone pinnacles and water caves you have to totally lie down on the boat to fit in. it is worth the price. around 210.000 dong per person. Bring a hat and sunscreen as the boats lack shade. Trang An is 7km northwest of Ninh Binh.
HANOI BEST PLACES TO VISIT
HANOI BEST PLACES TO VISIT
- Free Public Swimming pool. With an area of 4,500 m2, the village pond in Duong Lieu Commune, Hoai Duc District, Hanoi, has been converted into a swimming pool, attracting people of all ages to cool off on summer days.
BEST BEACHES NEAR HANOI
- Do Son Beach features a four-kilometre-long promontory formed by the Rong Mountains in Hai Phong port city. Less than two hours away from Hanoi by car, it was a popular resort town among the French during their occupancy in Vietnam thanks to its smooth sands, picturesque surroundings and close proximity to the Vietnam capital. The beach also houses plenty of restaurants, hotels and resorts with views of the ocean and islets, while the main town is renowned for its annual ritual buffalo fights (late-September or October), attracting travellers looking to experience the local culture during their holiday in Hanoi.
- Thinh Long Beach, located within Nam Dinh Province, is a relatively untouched landscape that’s mostly frequented by locals during weekends and holidays. Perfect for when you’re in need of a break from Hanoi’s often chaotic pace, this quiet and clean beach also offers cool winds and gentle waves that are suitable for surfing, swimming and canoeing to rock islets just off the coast. There are local eateries serving authentic Vietnamese dishes and fresh seafood sourced from fishing villages within the area.
- Bai Chay Beach is a coastal town about 100 km northeast of Hanoi, attracting a huge crowd of beachgoers in the summertime. It’s also the closest beach to the iconic Ha Long Bay, where you can find plenty of resorts, seafood restaurants and beachside activities such as jet skiing, surfing and canoeing. For those looking to enjoy some sightseeing during their visit, notable landmarks on Bai Chay Beach include the Hoang Gia Park, Royal Water Park and Ha Long Night Market.
- Tuan Chau Beach on Tuan Chau Island, Quang Ninh Province boasts modern villas, stylish upmarket restaurants and recreational facilities for travellers looking to enjoy a luxurious vacation outside Hanoi. Located 160 km east of Hanoi, this manmade resort town also houses one of the largest entertainment complexes in Southeast Asia, where visitors can watch daily dolphin and seal performances, laser light shows and film screenings. Tuan Chau Beach also has a massive botanical garden and marine wildlife centre as well as tour companies offering day trips to the iconic Ha Long Bay.
- Cat Ba Island is one of the many islets within the UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay, with almost every tour company offering a boat trip there. While it’s full of the usual tourist places (such as hotels, restaurants and bars), you can still find several sandy beaches along the east coast of the Cat Ba Town. The beaches of Cat Co One and Cat Co Three are linked by a cliff-facing pathway that’s great for daytime strolls, while Cat Co Two Beach offers plenty of bungalows and chalets that are perfect for romantic getaways.
HANOI LONG TERM ACCOMMODATION WEBSITES
Known for its unspoilt landscapes, magnificent limestone mountains, steep roads, rich ethnic culture and the charm of its buckwheat flower fields that makes the northeastern province distinctive.
- Lung Khuy Cave is a newly-discovered cave with impressive stalactites
- Chieu Lau Thi Peak. The second highest mountain in the province at 2,142m above sea level.
- Tu San Canyon is 800m deep and 1.8km long.
- Dong Van Karst Plateau, UNESCO Geopark Site offers steep hills, winding roads and the diversified culture of many ethnic groups
- Nho Que River. Go kayaking.
- Meo Vac. Visit the Ta Lung Commune hanging lake – freshwater reservoir.
- Lung Cu
- Buckwheat Flower Festival
- Khau Vai Love Market
- Lung Luong Primary School, Thai Nguyen for its architecture by Vietnamese architect Hoang Thuc Hao
- Nam Dam homestay village, Quang Ba Commune, Quan Ba District, 310000 Quản Bạ, Vietnam. Stay in this place for its architecture Vietnamese architect Hoang Thuc Hao
- Sà Phìn, Đồng Văn, Ha Giang, Vietnam. Visit the “hanging lakes” – freshwater reservoirs. Visit the H’mong King’s Palace at the Lung Phin Commune. known as the king of the H’mong or Meo ethnic minority group in the area, built the palace which cost 150,000 Indochina silver coins equivalent to VND150 billion (USD 6.61 million). Duc earned his fortune from growing and trading opium. The palace that is built from stone, fir wood and terracotta tiling in a combined Chinese, French and H’mong traditional architectural style. Covering a total area of 1,120 square metres, the palace was used as a residence and fortress during the Vuong Dynasty. The two storey, 50-metre long palace took eight years to build and has four long houses and six wide houses with 64 rooms for the king’s wives, children and soldiers. All the walls are 50-60 centimetres thick. Surrounding it is a stone wall which is two metres high and 80 centimetres thick. The palace is divided into many areas such as dining room, bed room, kitchen, opium store, rooms of his wives, a prayer altar and an area for criminal executions. The Vuong family gave the palace to the state in 2004 and it has been turned into a tourist site. A woman member of the family, Vuong Thi Cho, is now working as a guide at the palace. The palace is well maintained by the provincial government. Visitors can still see old furniture and tools here including wardrobes, fireplace, beds, flour-mill, crossbow and pan-pipe.
INTERESTING INFO ABOUT HA GIANG
- Ha Giang welcomed nearly 469,000 visitors in the first six months of 2017, with foreign tourists accounting for more than 85,000. Total earnings from tourism exceeded 18 million USD. The area needs to focus more on its environmental sustainability policies. The lax regulations, high levels of emissions, deforestation and limited water treatment are depleting the environment and should be addressed, perhaps at a multilateral level, to build the foundation for a more sustainable development of the region.
- The issues facing Vietnam Tourism and why visitors are not coming back.
- How to travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang
- In Hanoi, Go to Mỹ Đình Bus Station Mỹ Đình 2, Nam Từ Liêm and take a bus there.
WHY I DID NOT GO TO SAPA
I was told Sapa has become very commercial with rampant tourism. Hotel prices expensive compared with Ha Giang and not ncie a Ha Giang. Someplaces in Sapa I would have loved to visit:
- Topas Ecolodge. recently voted No 1 on the National Geographic list of places to stay if you care about the environment.
- Vietanm Mountain Marathon (VMM) from September 22-24 in Sa Pa.
BỤI Homestay: The night we stayed there were some drunk locals making noise until late hours. Only two shared bathrooms. Located right on the main highway so if you do not wake up early, the noise will. Breakfast was very average, better your bring your own food or eat breakfast in town. Futon on shared dorm was comfortable. You might get better options in town. Look around and then decide. I paid 135.000 dong including breakfast. If you want something cheaper and probably the same or even a bit better you might want to check out Mr. Hung Hostel in Dong Van town that offers a bed in a 10 be dorm for only $60.000 dong. To get to Hung Hostel once you enter the town on the main road, turn the first main road to the right and then left, you will find it on the left hand side, opposite to the local market.
HANOI TO SAPA BUS STATION INFORMATION
Departure point from Ha Noi:
①”My Dinh” bus station—7 km west of Old Quarter area/it’s okay to go by taxi or by Xe-om(=bike taxi) or directly by piublic bus No.34(its final bus stop is My Dinh bus station) from a bus stop at Red River side of Old Quarter area or by ＜No.9 + No.34＞ from “Bo Ho” bus stop at north end of Hoan Kiem Lake(very close to Old Quarter) first then transfer to No.34 at Cau Giay bus terminal(=No.9’s final bus stop).
②”Ha Noi Giap Bat” bus station=Southern bus station— 9 km south of Old Quarter area, along NR.1/it’s okay to go by taxi or by Xe-om or directly by public bus No.3 (its final bus stop is “Ha Noi Giap Bat”)
Take the “Hai Van Express”—a reliable bus company in Viet Nam equal to the most reliable bus(transport) company in Viet Nam=”Mai Linh Express”
Book bus o train here: BaoLau website.
LOCAL FLIGHT WEBSITES IN VIETNAM
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN NHA TRANG
- Ba Ho Waterfalls: not as nice as waterfalls in Colombia or brazil but it was really enjoyable. there is a cliff jump to the water hole which is pretty cool. If you like nature, this should be your first activity to do when visiting Nha Trang.
- Yang Bay waterfalls. This are very small compared with Ba Ho. The motorbike ride is really enjoyable, specially the last 10 km when you get into the rural area and enter the Hon Ba Nature reserve. Do not follow Google Maps as it will take you via the highways. Check the map but take the little dusty roads which are far more enjoyable as you will see the little villages, houses and local farmers around.
- Bai Dai beach. This beach is around 2 hours ride in a motorbike going south of Nha Trang. I went on a sunday and there was a live band playing music. The food was very average and expensive to vietnamese standards. If you go pack a picnic and enjoy the beach.
- Monkey Island: very touristic, I did not go.
- Fisher man village: I missed this one, it should be fun to go. you will have to wake up very early and get there around 5am.
- Hon Chong Promontory: a bunch of rocks, nothing really special. full of chinese tourists there. Avoided!
- Po Nagar Cham Towers: Nice to go, I walk from the tourist area all the way to there and it was a nice walking trip.
- Long Son Pagoda: yes a nice pagoda to see. free of charge.
- Cable car: World largest over the sea. I did not take it but I remember floating i nthe ocean every night and watching the cable cars.
- Vien Pearl Land -Theme park. I did not go but if you are with a group of friends it should be very fun to go.
BEST GUEST HOUSE IN NHA TRANG
- Annie guesthouse. 120/53 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Nha Trang, Vietnam. This place is divided into two properties. One house that offers long term private room rentals and another house that offers 3 private rooms and one dorm (6 bunk beds) for short stay rentals. I stayed and only say the short them one which is a small nice decorated guest house in the heart of the tourist area. Hannie is from Dong Nai province and husband from Nha Trang. They have a 3 year old daughter called: Annie. I stayed in the dorm (200k/night) which was the most expensive of all hostels, likely that’s why it was only me in the dorm. You get water to drink for free. I booked it via Airbnb using this free $50 voucher or promo code. You will be very close to the nice part of nha trang beach but quiet far walking distance from the local market and the local eateries.
- Min Hostel. Address:44/41 Biệt Thự, Tân Lập, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa. I went to check it out. it is a hostel with no much personality. the dorm was a bit lame with no decoration or anything special, it was totally empty, I did not see any travellers there.
- My Homestay. This hostel is run by a friendly korean guy. I just went to have a look and there is only dorms available (no private rooms) the dorm was big size and many beds 10-12. it was quiet full and very smelly as you can imagine. They were offering free laundry and showers in an open terrace.
- Tabalo. Address: 34/2/7 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, Tân Lập, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa. they have both private rooms and dorms. The private rooms were small but ok. The dorms extremely small with no much room. I would not stay there.
- Ccasa. Address: 24 Sao Biển, Vĩnh Hải, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa. This is hostel at the north side of nha trang which is far more local. The hostel has been taking some attention as it has been build using metal containers. However the dorm sizes are extremely small which no much free room. It might be a good option if you want to stay in a more local area however the beach near by is not as nice as the beach down south where the tourist area is.
- Thien Truc GuestHouse. Address:30/16 Hùng Vương, Lộc Thọ, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa. I went there as I saw some good reviews on Booking.com. When I got there no-one was there only a kid playing in the reception area. He ask me a something in vietnamese – I did not understand – and I responded my age. He handed me the a room key with the number of my age. Not really safe if you leave your key in the reception ha!!, The kid ended up shouting something and this skinny guy who was sleeping somewhere came and show me a part took me to a side building which seemed older and not that nice. Then I asked him to show me the rooms on the other building and they were really ok for the price (300k/night). I would suggest this place but be very careful with the security as there is no much I could see. Never handed the keys in the reception. One of the very few decent bakeries is around the corner and the place is not too far from “Xo Chom Moi” the local market where you can buy cheap fruit, fresh juices, vegetables.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN NHA TRANG
- Sea food: 24 Ngo Duc Ke or Thap Ba str.
- Banh Can is special food of Nha Trang: 51 To Hien Thanh (open from 2pm).
- Bun rieu cua: Me Linh cross 36 Ngo Duc Ke 20.000₫.
- Banh Dap ( bánh đập ): 16 Hồng Lĩnh 7000₫/piece.
- Phở Quỳnh: 53 Hồng Lĩnh 25.000₫ – 30.000₫.
- Mi Quảng, Bun cá Hùng Quý 87 Trịnh Phong.
- Bánh mì heo quay A Thái 15.000₫: 64 Huynh Thuc Khang.
- Chicken rice: 75 Ngo Gia Tu or 24 To Vinh Dien section.
- Duck grill and soup at 141 Tran Binh Trong. Or 26 Han Thuyen.
- Nem nướng Vu Thanh An 15 Lê Lơi.
BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS IN NHA TRANG
- Mây restaurant 25 Nguyen Thien Thuat.
- Cơm chay Bồ Đề 62 Huynh Thuc Khang. Buffet menu, different vegetarian option. My favourite. Plates from 17.000 to 30.000 depending the amount of food you eat.
- Cơm chay Cô Tấm 5 Lac Long Quan.
- Senta restaurant 31 To Hien Thanh
OTHER RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS IN NHA TRANG TO CHECK OUT
- Olivia restaurant pizza & pasta
- Livin restaurant 77 Bach Dang.
- Restaurant 26 Thai Nguyen. (Excellent^^)
- Mix 77 Hung Vuong.
- Pita 7G Hung Vuong.
- Com Nieu Grill Restaurant.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN DALAT
- La Chuoi restaurant (Bamboo leaf) vietnamese owner who lives in Florida. This restaurant serves authentic vietnamese food. Set menu for around 80.000 per person, many “tapas style” options. I loved the food here, my favourite restaurant in Dalat.
- Bin Bin Coffee – 1 Thông Thiên Học. Nice coffee only 10.000 dong. A girl called: Quynh Nhu (pig) can assist you. She helped me organise my Dalat tour inside the city.
- Dreaming Hill + Valley of Love: very cheesy but i still a nice place to relax for 2-3 hours. If you are on a tight schedule probably not worth the visit.
- Xuan Huong lake + Flower Garden: it is nice. There is an area of art sculpture that I really enjoyed. As soon as you enter is on your right hand side on top of the grassy knoll you see.
- Dalat Market + Fungi Chingu (Korean bbq) restaurant: it was recommended but I did not visit it yet.
- Crazy House: One of the most touristic places in Dalat, over-rated, you can go but not sure if it is worth the US$5. I much preferred chillaxing and the cafe opposite to it that sells amazing smoothies.
- Phu Dong swimming pool
- Biang Bistro
- An Cafe
- UP Coffee Dalat – really nice view but shame the view is interrupted by a glassed that it is not really clean.
- Trong Dong -220 Phan Đình Phùng, Phường 2, Tp. Đà Lạt, Phường 2 – One of the few Non smoking restaurants in Dalat
- Sweet Garden Cafe – 16a Nguyen Du P9. I was just passing by and the garden took my attention. I had a spicy noodle soup (Bun Bo Boc Khoi) 45k dong. which was a great size serving with lots of flavour and ingredients (Bun, Thit Bo, Sun Bo, 3 loai cha, Gio Heo, Da heo, huyet). The owner Khuyen and waiter Quang were very friendly and professional. I also tried the delicious Yogurt shake with violet glutinous rice. I really enjoyed this place. There is a little cool monkey in the garden which i hope was free in his home jungle. Free wifi.
- S-food. Cư Xá Tp, Bùi Thị Xuân, Phường 2, Tp. Đà Lạt One of my favourite local restaurants. You can eat wet cake (bánh ướt lòng gà) or chicken conggee (ga conggee – pronuntiation: ga cosee) soup for only 20k dong. Wifi password: 333999. Hang is the lady who cooks she is very friendly at kitchen looks clean.
- Nem nướng Bà Hùng. It was recommended by the lady from s-food. I still need to go.
CO-WORKING SPACES IN DALAT
- EMotiv co-working space: 3E Hoang Hoa Tam street, Dalat
BEST HOSTELS IN DALAT – ACCOMMODATION
- Bua tiec nho hostel: Nice small hostel with great interior decoration. Only two dorms close to the Crazy House.
- Dalat View Hostel: Really nice and cheap. Ask for the discounted 150.000 Dong per night for a single room. They normally charge 200.000 dong.
- Vi Vi An Hotel: Nice room with balcony. Ask Lan Le ( the owner – she lived in America for 20 years) for the discounted 150.000 Dong per night for a single room. They normally charge 200.000 dong.
- Vuon Nang Am Hostel – not open yet I had the pleasure to enjoy this house on the outskirts of Dalat being waken up by the sounds of birds. Quan Hoang proved to be a very hospitable host.
AVOID SLEEPING ON:
- Happy Hostel: The host Cuong and family are really nice but I had to cancelled my booking after one night as the room was dirty and noisy. The bed was not a proper bed. really uncomfortable. The room had a balcony with a great view though.
WEBSITES TO FIND APARTMENTS AND HOUSES FOR RENT IN DALAT
TOP 5 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN HOI AN VIETNAM
OLD QUARTER. Yes, it fights with Halong Bay as the most touristic place in Vietnam, you really need some few nights to explore and discover some of the shops and restaurants. Prices are 3-4 times higher of what locals pay only few blocks away but worth the visit and enjoy walking along the river, take some photos, eat, drink a juice and do some souvenir shopping.
CAM AN BEACH. Another tourist place you can come to Cam An beach by bicycle from Hoi An town, it might take around 125-20 minutes by bicycle. Most of the beach restaurants will offer you a free deck chair and umbrella as long as you eat. Otherwise you can walk along the beach and sit anywhere you want.
HOI AN FOOD MARKET. Affordable prices if you want to try all the popular food from Hoi An. Chicken Rise, Cao Lao dish (nooddle), Whole fish plates and others.
BANH MI PHUONG. One of the busiest local eateries for both locals and tourists. Funny tables with passport photos patrons leave there.
I was told Mango restaurant and Secret Garden in the old quarter a great to try but have not visited yet.
HOW TO GET TO DOMINION WATERFALLS – BETWEEN HOI AN AND DA NANG
Located in the north-west of the Ba Na – Nui Chua Nature Reserve, Da Nang, but the terrain is so bumpy that it is still a secluded and pristine place. Two streams from the west of Ba Na forest confluence in a canyon and then down. Starting from the car park of Ba Na cable car, you must conquer 7.5 km of winding mountain pass, cross the forest stream to reach the “point”. Through the first slope, the road is easy to go. The water from which formed a waterfall / cascade higher than 20 metres. Waterfalls also form a very deep lake with a horizontal oval of 20 metres and a length of 25 metres. Best to go by yourself in your motorbike so you do not pay the expensive tour guides that only charges you to get there. The tour guides in vietnam are not qualified and have no idea about botanic, nature, plants, trees etc. You will pay only for the right to get there. But if you are an explorer, get to the Ba Na – Nui Chua Nature Reserve and explore by yourself. Once you get there you are supposed to trek for an hour to find those amazing waterfalls.
ABOUT DOMINION WATERFALLS TOURS – IN CASE YOU WANT TO BE RIPPED OFF
The tour to “Dominion waterfalls” is one hour motor riding then one hour hike, then two hours enjoying the waterfalls. Then you will go back: one hour hike, and one hour motor riding to get back to Hoi An. Total time: Approx 6 hours. Prices start at USD$20/person + motorbike rental (80k dong per motorbike) + petrol. The guide can rent you the motorbikes. Tony from Danang Waterfalls company is the guide. You can negotiate as he is happy to get USD$40 for four people.
Mỹ Sơn Ruins
My Son hindu ruins were destroyed by Americans during the war. It is a one hour motorbike ride from Hoi An. Unesco world Heritage site. An excuse to get out of Hoi An and see a bit of country side.
GENERAL STATS ABOUT VIETNAM TRAVEL INDUSTRY
Foreign visitors to Vietnam rose 26 percent to a record 10 million last year (2016), earning the tourism industry VND400 trillion ($17.6 billion). Foreign arrivals to the country in the first half of this year (2017) increased 30 percent from a year ago to more than 6.2 million, according to the General Statistics Office.
The country has been rising in popularity, with the New York Times late last year naming it a place to travel in your twenties. The central seaside town of Hoi An was selected as one the world’s top destinations in 2017 by TripAdvisor users, who also selected Dalat and Sapa among the best vacation choices for the year.
The Telegraph also recommended Hanoi for an amazing food experience, while Ho Chi Minh City has cracked various lists of top destinations for solo and retiree travelers. Both cities were named among the world’s fastest growing destinations by MasterCard last year, and more recently by Price of Travel as on of the cheapest cities for backpackers.
With visa waiver policies for big markets in Asia and Europe, as well as a new e-visa system, the country hopes to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors and make $35 billion per year from tourism by 2020, contributing 10 percent to the country’s economy, compared to the current 7.5 percent.
Its top lawmakers have approved a brand new tourism development fund to boost tourism, which will be sourced from visa fees and an annual budget of $2.5 million the government sets aside for tourism promotions every year.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT – VIETNAM
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