Backpacking in Vietnam

Vietnam, in the south-eastern region of Asia, is a beautiful country, home to lush mountains and breathtaking rivers. Along with its abundance of diverse landscapes, the country also has a fast emerging city life in tourists hubs like Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial centre of the country. In recent years budget travel has become more and more popular. Vietnam in this regard is now among the top countries preferred by contemporary travellers of today. Backpacking in Vietnam is both cost-effective and fun to do. With affordable accommodation, cheap and delicious food and a plethora of travel options, this country is a recommended choice for anyone looking to get their money's worth in travel.

With great diversity, Vietnam is cheaper as compared to other Asian countries, making it a perfect getaway on a budget. Many young tourists start their backpacking journey in this pleasant country as a solo traveller or with a group. Here is all you need to know about backpacking in Vietnam. 

Places to Visit while Backpacking in Vietnam

1. Northern Vietnam

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If you plan to start your trip to see the charm of olden Vietnam, begin with Hanoi, the capital of the country. Rich in history, the Old Quarter is a bustling area of narrow streets where you can stroll through streets and soak in the French-colonial architecture. Hoan Kiem Lake emphasized as the heart of the city along with Truc Bach and West Lake, are among the must-visit attractions. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the famous attractions here in the capital and it was named after the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh who defeated the French in 1954. People lovingly referred to him as “Uncle Ho”. Visitors can pay respects to Ho Chi Minh, whose body is preserved in a glass case, only accessible from a reach at certain hours in the day. Hanoi is serviced by Noi Bai International airport and can be reached by buses and taxis. Travelling to major tourist attractions is easy here and the weather in the months from April to June is particularly stunning.

A major attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay is where tourists can cruise on green waters that offer views of beautiful islets far and wide. Multiple islands lined with tall limestones and covered with lush greenery are great spots for scuba diving and hiking. Trekking at Cat Ba National Park to the rock climbing spots is worth every effort for the mountain climbing enthusiasts, offering magnificent views of lush valleys from the top.

2. Central Vietnam

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Another one of Vietnam's treasures is the ancient town of Hoi An. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this quaint town is known for its preservation of a beautiful amalgamation of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and French colonial architecture. One can wander around the narrow streets here bounded by colourful shops. The canals in Hoi An are among the most famous in the world, and a sampan ride is highly recommended at dawn or dusk. The Hoi An Night Market, another highlight of this town is a lively experience. Bright lanterns on the Thu Bon river and streets lined with local vendors make this market a photographer's haven. Tourists can shop for souvenirs, clothing items, accessories, handmade products and many more at bargained rates here.

The sandy blue beaches or dine-in restaurants with gorgeous views facing the sea are characteristic of the town of Da Nang. A hotspot for tourists, Da Nang can be toured with the help of taxis or simply hiring a scooter. A little outside from the town, there is a road which leads to a hillside coast road and furthermore to Son Tra Peninsula, a dense forest area home to a rare monkey species named Red-Shanked Douc. They are said to be endangered and do not engage much with humans. One can safely spot them from a distance. Hue and Nha Trang are few other places known for having time-honoured Buddhist temples and beaches as well.

3. Southern Vietnam

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Talk about this part of the country and Ho Chi Minh is the first thing that clicks instantly. Presence of both street shops and skyscrapers makes this tourist spot a buzzing city altogether. Taking a flight from Hanoi is the fastest way to reach here rather than a 30-hour long bus ride or a direct flight is also available from a bunch of countries. To explore hidden beaches of Vietnam hop a bicycle and ride onto the coastal roads of Mui Ne or Con Dao, as both of them are at the most southern part of the country. Not many tourists decide to take them as availability of hotels is infrequent here.

What to Eat While Backpacking in Vietnam?

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Bread rolls and spring rolls or goi cuon, being the oldest foods tried by the earlier tourists are now experiencing much variety in the cuisine. With rice, noodles, vegetables and meat, Vietnamese cuisine is considered to be one of the healthiest.
Pho, a lighter soup served with meat of choice along with rice noodles is a classic dish offered at both restaurants and food stalls. Seafood is an equally important part of many dishes just like chicken or beef and this standout delicacy Cha ca perfects the sautéed fish along with noodles.

Bun Cha and Bahn mi are few other traditional main course dishes which differ slightly in taste according to the place it’s being made.  While Bun Cha happens to be grilled meat served with broth and noodles, Bahn mi is a sandwich with a filling of meat in it.
Coming to the dessert or Che as it’s called, this Vietnam is never falling short of choices for both locals and tourists. Since rice is an essential part of the diet here, it’s included in dessert as well, like the Che Bap made with sweet corn and rice.

Che ba ba is a sweet soup made with sweet potato, tapioca pearls, and coconut milk and best enjoyed warm. Mango sweet cakes or Banh Xaoi, Mung bean pastry are few other sweet options you should try for as they are both unique and tasty.

Vietnam tourism is blasting with tourists mostly backpackers visiting this amazing and serene country like never before. Vietnamese people are quite friendly, even though most of them are not familiar with English; the welcoming vibe itself is more than enough. Planning a 10-day itinerary is enough to cover the major attractions all over the country. Do some more research when it comes to places, flights and visa requirements to be sure and enjoy hassle-free.
                  

This post was published by Snehal Jadhav

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