Many travelers do not find Vietnam the easiest country to get around but its rich culture, which includes wars and years of colonization, and natural beauty make it a very interesting place to add to one’s bucket list.
How to Get In
Tourists normally come into Vietnam via one of their three international airports located in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. Visitors coming in from Beijing or Nanning in China take the train, with the latter’s schedule starting at around 6 in the evening. It is also possible to take the bus from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh in Cambodia or from any of the six border crossings from Laos.
Vietnam currently does not require a visa for visitors from 21 different countries, as long as they stay within the day ranges. Other nationalities will have to get a visa in advance in order to visit Vietnam. Visa extensions are no longer as simple and expensive as it had been before 2015.
Getting Around Vietnam
Traveling by plane is by far the cheapest and fastest way to get around the country. Among the many domestic carriers that you can choose to fly in include Vietnam Airlines, VietJetAir, Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong.
While the railway in Vietnam is the least developed in all modes of transportations available, the network still has 7 lines in operation. Baolau, a travel search engine, is the best way to figure out the different lines, schedules and fares.
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For those wanting to get around the country like locals, buses are always available and are pretty much in decent shape. Hoang Long is the biggest bus company running in the country and their English website is pretty straightforward, giving all the needed information such as rates and terminal locations in all the cities they operate in.
Other ways to get around Vietnam include by bicycle or motorcycle, which can be rented out; by motorcycle taxis, which are pretty cheap; by cyclo or by boat.
Things to See, Do and Eat in Vietnam
Pagodas dot the entire country and are often the most visited sites there. You can admire these beautiful shrines and temples by simply walking around the city or by going on a boat tour along the Mekong Delta. Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, is also a must-see city if ever you visit Vietnam.
Among the best ways to experience the life and culture of the country is to try getting around in a motorbike or a bike. There are even adventure tours being offered and will let you go on multi-day drives in the more remote areas of Vietnam. Travelers getting inside the country also love to do volunteer work although they will have to pay fees for meals, accommodation and so on.
The Vietnamese national dish, pho, is something you should not miss out on your visit in Vietnam. It is actually a broth soup that has chicken or beef and rice noodles in it.
Other Vietnamese dishes include cuisines that have fresh vegetables, herbs, fish and other seafood in them. Coffee, baguettes and pastries are also evident, a sign that they were once a colony of France, although these have been localized to fit the Vietnamese flavor.