The nation of Vietnam is a great place to explore independently. This richly varied country attracts a wide range of different types of travellers, from backpackers on a tight budget to those with a little more cash to splash. The people of Vietnam are generally friendly and welcoming towards visitors, while the country features a wide range of different types of destinations to discover from vibrant cities to picturesque hill stations and gorgeous bays scattered with golden sandy beaches.
First time visitors to Vietnam should spend their first few days in one of the major cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. These cities offer an excellent range of amenities for visitors such as cheap guesthouses and hotels, restaurants that serve cuisine from all over the world, bustling markets, internet cafes and travel services that visitors can use to find the information they need to plan the rest of their trip.
Make sure you take the time to see some of Vietnam’s world famous attractions such as the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City and Halong Bay. Consider joining a group to explore these attractions so that you can split the cost of a guide and get the most out of the experience. When it comes to eating and shopping, the best bargains can be found in bustling markets, especially in major cities such as Hanoi.
Vietnam boasts an excellent transportation network and most of the major destinations in the country are connected by both road and rail. Travelling by train is a great way to see all that Vietnam has to offer in comfort and style. Taking the Reunification Express from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. This train runs along the country’s coast for some 1723 kilometres and although the journey takes around thirty hours it is possible to book a bed in a sleeper car or hop of the train to explore destinations such as Halong Bay along the way.
Although travel in Vietnam is relatively safe, visitors will still need to take a few precautions, especially if they are travelling alone. Make sure that you make copies of all your important documents such as your passport and flight tickets and keep them in a safe place separate from the originals. Although padlocks can be broken, they provide a deterrent to opportunistic thieves, so make sure that you keep your bags securely locked, especially if you are travelling on public transportation. Purchase cheap bottled water rather than drinking tap water and make sure that you stay well hydrated to help your body to adjust to the often hot and humid climate of Vietnam.