General Travel Advice
Best Planning Tips for Vietnam
My best planning tips for Vietnam are different than I expected they would be. Because I was traveling with my daughter we made sure we took our time and relaxed. My top tips for Vietnam are below. KC will also write about our journey. There were language, weather, and food barriers in Vietnam. Vietnam is a ‘foodies paradise” but for some reason, I liked the food, but the food didn’t like me.
I would go back to Vietnam. Vietnam has Natural Beautiful, luscious Fresh Food, and a warm inviting Culture.
Best Planning Tips for Vietnam
Hotels – Our Hotel Book in Advance
Length trip – three nights in Hanoi, two nights Ha Long Bay, one night Sapa, two more nights in Hanoi, six nights in Ho Chi Minh
Favorite Place – Stay at Le Siesta in Hanoi. Use booking.com or the link on this page for the best rates.
Take a Food Tour – Street Tour in Hanoi
Go Hiking – Sa Pa we stayed at Sa Pa Paradise View
See great views breathtaking natural beauty – In Ha Long Bay we took a cruise on V Spirit Cruises
Visit a modern city – In Ho Chi Minh, we stayed at the Grande Silverland Hotel
See a Beach – it’s your choice depending on the season and mosquitos
Travel tip: Fantastic Natural Beautiful, Safe. Helpful Vietnamese People. Beautiful.
Fresh food – 4 Hours from Farm to Table
Start Planning Early – Book Airplane Tickets In Advance
One year ago, I booked my ticket for my recent trip to Vietnam. We began our planning in January for our November trip. We used air miles and airline programs to book our flight on Delta. My first hurdle for this flight was overcoming my Delta booking errors. What made the booking flight harder was Delta recently changed the Sky Miles Program. The program is far harder to use now. As a result, my ticket wasn’t booked successfully. The reason was that one leg wasn’t available on Sky Miles, so I bought the ticket. By the time, my ticket was booked, I had three confirmation numbers.
Hopefully, you won’t run into this problem. I linked my daughter’s flight to mine. Linking your flights is a smart thing to do. If your flight changes, you will both be able to move your reservation and will stay together on the new plane. At one point, the reservations person told me the flight was not available and to upgrade for the whole trip. Well, the long and short of the story is that wasn’t true, our flights were unlinked, and a lot of confusion happened. Net-net of the story, I am still working on the situation.
Customs and Culture
The website Audley Travel’s advice is good. Although we didn’t find tipping is required if you are on your own and not part of a tour group. If you are part of a group – you will be guilt tripped into tipping and sometimes more than the service is worth. Here is a good link for Vietnam travel advice offered by an agency.
Best Planning Tips for Vietnam – Weather
It rains in Vietnam – there is no getting around it. But you might consider when you go and how much rain you want to depends on your booking dates. Look at the weather history, for temperatures and humidity levels, rainfall and other things that might affect your happiness during the trip. Check the weather channel for Vietnam.
Some people deal with the sudden rain by getting wet and going home to change.
We took cover and waited it out, had a cup of tea and stayed under awing’s to avoid the rain in Hanoi.
Weather and Temperature
The weather is variable in Vietnam. Check the weather before you book your trip check the each in each location. To find a cooling breeze in the evening eat in street restaurants or restaurants on rooftops for great views and natural breeze.
We were thankful for the overcast skies, Vietnam, which may be prettier when it’s sunny, but with the sunshine comes heat and humidity. In Vietnam, the higher up in a building, a restaurant is, the cooler and more comfortable the temperature is.
Vietnam is like the movie I once saw I think it was Bald Runner, where the very poor live at street level and the wealth live on the top floors. In Vietnam, the wealthier and more affluent trendy restaurants are frequently in high rooftop locations.
Book, a boat trip to Ha Long Bay, to avoid the heat.
Planning Tips for Vietnam
One thing we noticed is accessibility ramps in Vietnam doesn’t exist. There are a lot of steps into hotels; restaurants are several flights of stairs to walk up and even at boat landings. There isn’t accessibility uniformly available in Vietnam. If stairs are a problem for you, consider your options for dealing with lots of stairs and limited elevators and lifts or ramps.
Being Single In Vietnam
We found several single women were traveling, and mothers and daughters like us were going together in Vietnam. The lady in pink started her trip with a friend and decided to go solo. We found this happens. So if it happens to you don’t let it define your vacation, carry on and have fun. She is an excellent example of having a good time. We were happy to meet her. We found her to be lots of fun. She is a role model for independence.
Best Planning Tips for Vietnam – Tips for Solo Women
We found people hiking solo and taking guided hiking tours bought from their hotels. Everyone doesn’t speak English in Vietnam. Language barriers make travel in Vietnam difficult. Hotels and tour speak many languages. Language and communication can be a challenge but that would be true for a woman, man, or couple so if you are flexible and patient it’s a perfect place.
Planning Tips for Vietnam
This sign says below explains the appropriate dress. When going to churches and temples, wear a skirt covering your knees and shoulders. Important to know, no shorts unless you want to get turned away from a shrine. We were only stopped once entering a church because the main at the entrance didn’t like my daughter’s shorts. Dress codes aren’t strictly enforced, however, when they are implemented showing shoulders and knees can prevent you from seeing the experience.
It’s hot! Heat comes with a trip to Vietnam because it’s hot all year. My recommendation is to hide from the heat at noon. Take a Siesta. Once rested, start sightseeing again.
If you don’t like the heat, I suggest going to Vietnamese beaches such as Ha Long Bay. October and November are good months if you don’t like the heat and don’t want too much rain. Expect lots of crowds. It’s picturesque, very busy, full of tourists, but we found the people on our boat were great and made a fabulous experience.
Best Planning Tips for Vietnam
Carefully check exchange rates, we found our hotels gave one of the best exchange rates. If we negotiated, by telling that our last hotel gave us a better rate, the hotel seemed to match the price. Negotiate everything in Vietnam from taxis, purchases in the market (50% off in the market unless its fixed price) even the money exchange rate is negotiable. After wandering around, we learned that large bills at Western Union offices get a higher exchange rate compared to smaller bills ($1, $5, $10, $20 bills). By turning it into a game by being inquisitive, we asked the money changers that we saw on the street what their rate was and then left. After we had got enough information, we learned how to get the best exchange rate. The way to get the best rate is to Negotiate. Negotiate everything in Vietnam to get the best deal.
Price of Travel and Hotels
Pricing, safety, and comfort are important when traveling. We found you could stay safely and in a clean place from $6.00 per night for a hostel to $30.00 for two people. We heard from a couple from Bellevue WA, the cheapest they found that was very nice was $30.00 for two people. It’s very inexpensive in Vietnam, and Vietnamese people seem to like things clean. The markets two hours after opening, get a strange smell because the markets and meats aren’t refrigerated. The fish swim in water bins with the merchants changing the water that the fish swim in until sold.
The Only Negative
The only negative in Vietnam is the smell of the city. I didn’t like the smell of Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City. To us, the city smells like rotten meat, fish, and pork, with gas fumes and moth balls. We didn’t miss the smell when we left, and this might be why the people on motorbikes dress like this. It’s why I think people wear odd motorcycle clothing. I believe people riding motorbikes are trying to stay clean.
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