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 Visit Vietnam, quick guide for backpackers

Why choose Vietnam?
Vietnam is a country that is ideal for the novice backpacker. Vietnam has a beautiful nature and it is safe. Also if culture is concerned, you can indulge yourself and traveling the country is pretty cheap. It is ideal for the independent traveler, as transportation to destinations is very well organized.

How does it travel in Vietnam in practice?
Lonely Planet is an ideal guide with lots of practical information on the country. October to April is the best time to visit Vietnam. It is then the dry season. A travel time of 2 to 3 weeks is fine, although three weeks actually the best, because you can do everything at ease. You can start in Hanoi (north) or in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon (the South). It is best to land in Ho Chi Minh City. There are numerous agencies. In those travel agencies you can buy tickets to get by bus from place to place. They will pick you up at your hotel and take you to your desired destination. Taxis is not cheap and public transportation by bus is a much better choice.

You can also book various excursions through the travel agency and they are very inexpensive. You can book a day trip to nearby places or they can also arrange excursions of 3 days or more including inclusive hotels and meals.

An example of a classic journey
You start in Ho Chi Minh City and visit the sights, such as Cho Lon (Chinatown) and the very impressive War Crimes Museum. You can just visit these places on a bicycle. You can book a day trip to the Cao Dai Temple combined with a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels (from the war with America). Also you can get a 3-day excursion to the Mekong Delta. You will cruise among others on the Mekong River. You see a floating market, a fish farm and various other attractions. A stay of 6 or 7 days in Ho Chi Minh City is recommended.

You can then take the bus to Dalat. There are also excursions around the city. A stay of 2 to 3 days is enough there. From Dalat you can travel to Nha Trang by local bus (5 hours). Nha Trang city lies at sea. One can see the old Cham towers, spend your time on the beach, try mud bath and visit Vinpearl amusement park. Then you can take the bus to Hoi An. This is one of the most beautiful towns in Vietnam. It's great fun and many tourists come here clothes to buy clothes, especially the Australian, there are many tailors shops, up to nearly 500 just in a small area. It's also fun to rent bikes take a cycling trip to the countryside. Here one can certainly have about 5 days. The journey continues to Da Nang. That is China Beach, the beach which was used by American soldiers. One can also visit the Marble Mountains with beautiful stone sculptures. The next destination is Hue. This is the city where the old imperial palaces and pagodas are located. A boat trip on the Perfume River is also a nice experience. A day or 2 is fine if you want to see the sights. After Hue one can take a bus or fly to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The city has a very different atmosphere from Ho Chi Minh City. It's nice to visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and the Old Quarter. From the city can make various excursions. A must is to make a tour to Sapa and Bac Ha. A typical trip takes about 3 days 4 nights, with 2 nights on train to and from Sapa. One gets a chance to visit local markets and meet hill tribe people, especially the colourful Flower Hmong or Red Dzao. Another excursion from Hanoi is a trip to Halong Bay, recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage. Also this excursion lasts several days. It is lovely and is a great experience! From Hanoi you can fly back to home country.

Finally some warnings
Vietnam is a popular destination for tourists. Sometimes the taxi drivers at the airport tell you that your hotel has been closed and recommend you to another hotel so that he receives commission. Do not trust hime! If you want to take a taxi to the city centre, speak to the driver clearly what the price is and whether it is per person or for two persons together.

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