When I decided to visit Vietnam, trekking and homestay with a local H’mong hill tribe was at the top of my list.
Have you ever traveled to a destination where you felt transformed by the experience? A place so distant from your reality, but at the same time, so connected and simple?
My time with a Black H’mong family in Sapa allowed for total immersion into a tribal culture, while having the opportunity to appreciate little things that we take for granted like a comfortable bed, and a daily hot shower.
My experiences in Sapa are up there with some of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had; while sharing a house with a hill tribe in the mysterious misty mountains of north-western Vietnam.
Vietnam is home to hundreds of markets, and bartering is common practice when shopping almost anywhere in the country.
At first, this can seem daunting for travellers who aren’t used to negotiating for every purchase they make. But bartering and visiting markets in Vietnam is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.
It’s also a fantastic way to score a few bargains – and one of the best ways to avoid getting ripped off! Follow these tips and you’ll be a pro at bartering before even setting foot in Vietnam!
Despite a recently tumultuous history, Vietnam today is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries, and unforgettable experiences run up and down the length of this incredible nation.
A resilient country who bounced back from a war torn 20th century, today Vietnam is known for a patchwork of emerald rice paddies, white sand beaches, full tilt cities, venerable pagodas, vast caves, craggy mountains, smiling villages, and vertical limestone islands rising dramatically out of the sea.
From the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), to the trekking opportunities and outdoor adventure, and relaxed flow of the Mekong Delta, there is no shortage of reasons Vietnam should be at the top of the list for your next vacation.
Of the world’s many incredible journeys, sailing from Vietnam to Cambodia featured prominently on my list. And while floating up the Mekong River on a luxury ship might sound leisurely, there was still something truly adventurous about it.
Picture this: you’re aboard an exquisite colonial style wooden ship, sailing up one of the world’s longest rivers. While your final destination will be Cambodia, you know that if you keep following the river north, it’ll lead you all the way to China.
While you board in one of the most cosmopolitan and bustling cities in Asia, the landscape up river quickly changes. The skyscrapers of HCMC change into a countryside dotted by rice paddies, fish farms, and tropical fruit orchards.
Inbetween major ports, daily life comes alive in undeveloped and unexplored parts of the region that you wouldn’t have been able to access by land; remote, seemingly untouched villages, where locals may have never seen a foreign tourist, and rush to shake your hand.
There are many reasons to take a Mekong River Cruise, though today I want to dive into the specific highlights; individual experiences that are so full of magic, they become some of your most cherished moments.
I had never taken a river cruise, and, to be fair, this was my first trip to both Vietnam and Cambodia, though I was fairly certain that a river cruise was the best way to see each country. I had a feeling in my gut that traveling independently by land would mean missing out on half the adventure.
One of the world’s longest rivers, covering 4,000 km from its source high on the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River is the lifeblood of Southeast Asia. It flows from China to Vietnam through six countries (China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), and is key to the survival of some 300 million people.
From fishing boats to floating markets, river life along the Mekong is vibrant, and has been for thousands of years. And it captures a diversity that you wouldn’t experience by land; a juxtaposition of ancient temples with modern palaces, of imperial cities with traditional villages.
I didn’t want an incomplete picture of from my trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. I wanted to see the major tourist sites, sure, but I also wanted to see daily life come alive in undeveloped and unexplored parts of the region. I wanted to immerse myself in new languages and lifestyles, to shake hands with locals who had never seen a foreign tourist, and really witness local life as we drifted along the Mekong Delta to Cambodia.
And one company stood out in particular.
When you imagine a tour of Vietnam, what visions come to mind? Perhaps wild jungles, white sandy beaches, and fantastic street food? Breathtaking natural beauty, ancient history, and adrenaline pumping activities?
Vietnam is home to a wealth of destinations that will seduce every type of traveler, and with a diverse mix of everything mentioned above, travel here quickly becomes addictive.
Situated between the South China Sea and Cambodia borders, the narrow country punches well above its weight when it comes to unforgettable experiences. Here are 7 places you can’t afford to miss.
Vietnamese tourism is becoming more popular every year. Western travelers flock to this small, oceanfront country in Southeastern Asia due to its rich culture and affordable pricing.
Even though tourism is on the rise in Vietnam and the surrounding countries, many travelers still don’t know what to expect when they arrive. Here are five of the most surprising facts about traveling through Vietnam.
Everyone looks forward to the weekend, though more so if you have the chance to explore a new destination.
And if you’re based in Asia you’re in luck; a patchwork of incredible countries, islands, and cultures, you have a whole continent at your doorstep, and hundreds of destinations which you choose from from for a quick weekend break.
Phu Quoc island is a relatively unknown tourism destination in Vietnam. Yet, the biggest island in Vietnam and the gulf of Thailand offers no shortage of tourism attractions, landmark, and unique tropical experiences.
As an almost virgin, relatively unknown destination, you can expect a clean tropical paradise with spectacular panoramas. For beach lovers, Phu Quoc is definitely a tropical paradise, but the island offers a wide variety of landscapes from rocky mountains to beaches to the city itself.
If you are looking for your next adventurous destination, Phu Quoc should be a serious contender; here are some of the unique experiences you can enjoy.
To much of the developed world, especially in recent years, tattoos are seen as beautiful/trendy additions to one’s personality, with many tattoos succeeding in telling interesting stories about a person’s past.
But in some countries, tattoos are still seen as extremely taboo. Exposed tattoos in such countries can commonly result in arrests, and where a traveler is concerned, sometimes deportation.
So the following is a list of countries where you should be extra careful about flaunting your ink – otherwise you may end up in more trouble than previously thought!
Perhaps a story idea has been gnawing at you for years, begging to be written, but you just haven’t found the time to put pen to paper. Or maybe you’re worn down by the rat race and want to spend a year rekindling the sense of creativity that used to flow so freely before life got in the way.
Whatever your motivation, you’re considering leaving your day job in pursuit of your passion. As powerful and life affirming as this decision is, it’s also terrifying. Unless you’re independently wealthy, worries of how you’ll make rent and afford groceries without a steady income will inevitably weigh on you.
The good news is, the world is bursting with idyllic destinations that will provide you with ample inspiration, and where living costs are so low that you’ll be able to stretch your savings much longer than you could ever dream of doing at home.
Here are three unexpected, but incredible places to run away to when you’ve decided to quit your job and write your book.
As many a traveler will tell you, taking an overnight train in Asia is quite an adventure, one that I have always found to be enjoyable and something to look forward to.
Overnight trains are my favorite means of covering long distances because they’re usually friendlier to my budget and more comfortable than taking long road trips being cramped in a small car or bus.
The other advantage is that you get to stretch your legs out and get a good night’s sleep in exchange for just a little bit more than you would pay for a hostel or budget hotel.
There are numerous reasons why you should make it to Vietnam one day. Breath-taking landscapes, friendly and hospitable Vietnamese, affordability (backpacking in Vietnam is popular and it’s a well known destination among budget travellers), and of course, coffee, coffee, coffee! Yes, there is nothing better than enjoying a cup of black (ca phe den) or iced coffee with condensed milk (cap he sua da) while watching as life goes by on a corner of the street!
When planning your Vietnam itinerary, there are certain places you can’t afford to miss. You may not know, but Vietnam has all the off-the-beaten-path experiences that you are all looking for, such as hiking the Northern mountain area of Sapa or taking photos over the beautiful sunrise in Hoi.
Vietnam has a passion for cycling. Though it’s a developing country, it is relatively safe and its roads are for the most part in good shape, making it an ideal region to experience by bike.
Suitable for cyclists of all fitness levels, while it may not be in your Vietnam travel guide, experienced peddle heads tend to head for the hills and beautiful landscapes of the northern highlands, and beginners and leisure riders favor the flats of the Mekong Delta in the far south.