There’s something a bit rough around the edges in Vietnam compared to other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand or Cambodia. It came a little bit late to the tourist game and you can tell – but that’s one of the things that makes travel here so enjoyable.
Vietnam is a very safe country and it’s definitely cheap. You’ll find everything you need to get around and explore but it all comes with a sense of adventure. You’ll hit some language barriers and you’ll need to be prepared to haggle, but you’ll never be in trouble.
When it comes to a trip in Vietnam, my suggestion is to embrace the variety that the country offers. You’ll find fascinating cultural sites, some stunning nature, relaxing beaches, and incredible food.
There are definite differences between the north and south, just as there are between the coast and the highlands, so try to spend your time in at least a few different areas.
If you’re short of time, you may prefer to focus on just the north or the south of the country. If you have time, though, it’s quite easy to see most of Vietnam as you simply travel either up or down the coast.
The currency is the Vietnamese dong.
Vietnam uses both A (similar to US) and C (similar to Europe) power plugs.
The official language is Vietnamese, but English is spoken in tourist areas.
Travelling independently in Vietnam is relatively easy and there’s a comprehensive train and bus network. Train will probably be easiest if you’re going between major cities, and there are night options to maximise your time.
The big cities are full of excitement but you’ll also find yourself relaxing if you have a few nights in some of the smaller towns or the national parks. Try not to move too quickly, because half the joy is just walking the streets and eating the food!
Stopping at the main destinations as you travel through Vietnam will show you some of the country’s highlights – but don’t forget there are plenty of smaller places (that are just as interesting) in between them.
To continue your travel planning, have a look at all my stories about Vietnam.