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  • Peter Kim

    Nha Trang, Vietnam - The Light Hotel & Resort is right along the beach and very convinent. Sounds like a good plan. I actually didn’t’ spend much time in HCMC. In terms of sights I just went to the Palace and would recommend doing a half day tour of the Cu Chi Caves. I won’t bother with the Mekong Delta or go to Can Tho or Vung Tau unless you’re really interested. The first time I was there I stayed at a Hotel called Ta Hien which is very close to Ben Thanh Market (landmark of Saigon) and everything else but I would recommend stayed in the backpackers area if you are on your own and there is just great food everywhere around that strip. I stayed at the Sports Hotel 3. It was basic and cheap but it was everything I needed. To eat Restaurant with best food is Lang Nuong Nam Bo at 283 - 285/C145 Cach Mang Thang 8, Phường 12, Quận 10, HCMC but you have to go with other people cos this place is massive and the roast pork is devine! Banh xeo at An La Quien Restaurant is the best. They have several outlets. Also recommended as a novelty --> Cuc Gach Quan, and the address is 10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh, District 1, Saigon. http://en.cucgachquan.com/ and http://www.travbuddy.com/The-Lunch-Lady-Nguyen-Thi-Thanh-v385540 Be careful if you are going on a cyclo cos there are lots of scams. Since you have two weeks, you could take your time in Vietnam or you can go to Cambodia from HCMC. It’s really cheap and easy. Book bus with Saigon Tourist and get visa when you cross the border. I stayed at Mad Monkey in Phnom Phen and The Siam Reap Hostel in SR. I can give you a good tour guide’s details if you want. I did my trip in 4 days. In Vietnam, my favourite places are Hoi An, Sapa (must but if you don’t have time, you could just go to Halong Bay), Nha Trang was fun (you could go to Dalat –it’s nice but not that much to see). If you want to go to the countryside, I would suggest Mai Chau. Nha Trang. I stayed at The Light Hotel & Resort is right along the beach and very convinent. I was with a group of 6 cos that was cheap for us. Im not sure where the backpacker places are. Nha Trang beach is average. You want go island hopping, negotiate for boat to take you and pick you up. We really liked Mini beach so we ended up staying there. Louisiana Brewhouse on 29 Tran Phu Street is the best for variety (fresh seafood is excellent) and beer. They ahve a mixed menu so there is Vietnamese as well as international. Sushi there and the steamed or grilled fish that you wrap in rice paper is really good. You’ll probably end up at the Sailing Club for drinks and a dance. Dalat was nice. In the mountains. We did an ezyrider tour and that was awesome but other than that, it wasn’t that happening at night and quite a honeymooners place for Viet people. Will be cold in Dec cos it’s winter. I would definitely go to Hoi An cos it’s pretty but its a tailoring place so not sure if you think that’s too girlie. The food there is great. Go to Bale Well, Morning Glory (everyone knows where it is and can show you). The Banh Mi place (salmonella rolls) on Hoang Dieu is the bomb. I stayed at An Huy Hotel, 30 Phan Boi Chau St. But there is heaps of accommodation you could just rock up there, look at hotels and then choose one you like on the day. I love Sapa. I booked everything through Sapa Rooms and stayed at the Hmong Retreat for a night. I did some mountain treks with ethnic minoritites and went to Bac Ha Market (on Sunday only). It was amazing. It does take time to get there and back on overnight train. Stay two full days if you don’t have time but it’s a must. Hanoi is a great stop over for travellers to go to Halong Bay and Sapa. While you’re here, i would got see the Ho Chi Minh’s resting place, the Army Museum and there are quite a few museums with biased historical information so you might wanna check out the kinda propaganda about. thenewhanoian.com.vn has all the events happening in town, the word or hanoi grapevine are also good. I think its gosaigon.com.vn for the Saigon equivalent. The Hanoi Backpackers is a big institution that looks pretty clean and lively. It’s right in the middle of old quarter where you can walk around and there are heaps of bars. Hang Bong is also a main strip. Go past the Church on Nha To street. Cafe: Viet coffee at 12 Hang Gai. Its through a tourist shop and into a place that looks like someone’s house. Order there (try the egg coffee with ice, my fave) before climbing up the steps. You have to go up the spiral stairs to the balcony. You’ll see why when you get to the top. Eat: Bun Cha on 1 Pho Hue Best Pho BO is at 49 Bat Dan St VND Try Pho Cuon close to Truc Bach and walk around Truc Bach lake and Tay Ho, there is a temple and pagoda around there too. Other northern food to try that you will see everywhere: Bo Nuong, Bun Thang, Mien Luon, Cha Ca, Lau If you got to Quan An Ngon on Phan Boi Chau, that one has every Viet food in the country and you can order whatever you like. Really good atmosphere there. Halong bay is easy to book. When you get to Hanoi, just go down Ma May and choose a tour that has the activities you want to do like kayaking, swimming etc. If you pick the tours that are around $60 USD for one night/two days; they are the ones that generally attract young tourists and those tours are much more enjoyable if you are travelling alone. Otherwise you’ll be on a boat with heaps of couples and retireees. Mai Chau is four hours from Hanoi by car. Might not be worth it at the time you are going especially if you are by yourself.

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