Transportation in Vietnam

Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation
Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation

Travel in Vietnam and what transportation options to consider

It’s true.  Almost all forms of transportation in Vietnam is chaotic, energetic and seem like utter maddness from the sidewalk (or usual lack there of). Heck, even crossing the road succesfully can seem like a miracle some days. 

Not so though. We’ll arm you with some basic information that will take the hectic right out of it.

What are the most common forms of transportation in Vietnam?

Vietnam has many travel-friendly traits and is well known for being cheap to travel within. One of those traits is that you can get anywhere you need super easy.

The country has a vast network of roads and rail lines. Old and new alike, connect almost every inch of the country.

Before we go any further we have some business to take care of first and that is, our

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So, what are the best ways to get around Vietnam? Let’s find out.

Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation

Bus

What are the options? They are public buses and tour buses.

 

Public Buses

Public buses can get you (and cargo, lol) almost anywhere in the country. It’s one of the main methods of transportation in Vietnam and also one of the cheapest for travelers.

Getting info online can be tricky for remote or rural areas but less so in the cities.

Da Nang, for instance, has DanaBus which offers a very useful website in English that includes,

  • Clear route layouts
  • Time tables/schedules
  • Fares, and
  • Ticket booking facility

If you’d like to see it in action, have a look at Leon’s bus trip from Da Nang to Hoi An.

In rural areas, you may find yourself in a bus station trying to buy tickets over the counter. If you can’t speak the language, don’t stress. Google translate is your friend! Locals are pretty good at interpreting the most interesting translations. Once you get past that you should be okay.

If you can’t find the bus station but know which bus you want, then no stress either. You simply hop on and pay for your ticket on board.

We had to fall back on this option in Coa Bang on our way to the Ban Gioc Waterfall. It was a hilarious adventure.

Travel Tip!: Be aware of scams. We came across many during our search for bus options. The most common was over charging when buying a ticket on the bus. Operators will try to charge tourists more than locals, then extra for your baggage. If it’s only a couple of bucks out of your pocket, don’t sweat it but be aware of unusually large amounts.

Tour buses

Tour buses are everywhere! In fact, they will find you before you find them. Most activities from main centres offer tour buses to get you there and back.

We experienced a few like our trip to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi which was a very pleasant experience. (There are some horror stories out there too so do your research first.)

We looked for tours with good English reviews (you can tell the local attempts from real reviews easily) and photos.  Photos are your friend because amongst the fravolity lies the gold. Look for things like condition of the vehicle exterior and interior. 

If you’re happy with the condition put them on the list of possibilities.  Also reach out to the travel communities on social media.  Facebook groups in particular were very helpful and insightful with our searches.

 

Sleeper buses

The least of the favorites

Couple of things to know;

  • They are not comfortable if your height average is above 5’7”
  • Night time can be the most dangerous time on the road (no police, poor vehicle maintenance, lack of care)
  • Theft is also a common occurrence on these buses, not only on the bus but we’ve heard for situations where people luggage have been ransaked in the cargo compartment during the trip. (we have a solution for that though)

If you can live with the above then go for gold.

Not sure where to start looking for bus tickets, time tables and the like?

No problem, we've got you covered. Hit search to find  your travel solutions

Train

As a traveler, there is only one train line you’ll be looking for and that is the Reunification Express.

This national trunk line stretches from the Mekong Delta all the way up to the capital Hanoi. While that may seem basic, it’s anything but.

It’s a fluid line integrated with a generous amount of stops to help you get anywhere in the country. This is why it is the second most preferred method of transportation in Vietnam.

The stretch between Da Nang and Hue alone is enough to make angels weep.   Views that are worthy of its spot on the list of top ten train rides in the world.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Traveling on one of the top 5 train rides in the world, Da Nang to Hue on the Reunification Express.

If you want to know more about schedules and how to make bookings? We’ve done it all for you in our Reunification Express Post.

Travel Tip!: Make sure you sit on the side of the train that looks out over the water. You’ll get the best views, especially if you want to take photos and video.

Private Transfers

Not quite a taxi and not quite a tour. Private transfers are not only easy to find but a very budget friendly option. Especially for short trips like Hoi An to Hue or Hue to Dong Hoi.

They advertise in mysterious ways though. In popular tourist areas, they will spray paint their telephone numbers and ‘transfer’ on street sides. Not ideal if you can’t speak Vietnamese.

The best option here is to ask for quotes through your accommodation or local tourist kiosk. The former will be cheaper as they generally ‘know some people, who know some people’ and get the best deals.

Travel tip!: We used a private transfer from Hue to Hoi An and asked to go via the Hai Van Pass for sunset photos. It was the best thing we did!

Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation

Motorbikes / Scooters

We get asked about this one a lot. We did after all, travel the country by motorbike for over six months.

In that time we learned some valuable lessons. Lessons want to share to give you an opportunity to make informed choices.

During our time, things were fairly lax around foreigners renting and riding motorbikes in Vietnam. That is changing fast though.

With an influx of visitors comes a steady rise in fatalities involving foreigners. We’ve seen many debates and arguments online about this topic. We don’t claim to be experts, all we can do is speak from experience.

What an amazing experience it was too! 

 

The freedom of your own transportation in Vietnam

On a bike, you get to make your own itinerary and with it, a greater freedom to travel your way. It’s not all amazing though.

We almost got wiped out on day one of our road trip by not only one, but three heavy vehicles. One was a bus from a well-known company that couldn’t be patient enough to wait for a clear stretch.

When you’re jammed up against the safety rail on your side of the road with nowhere to go, watching a tour bus barreling down on you, sh*t gets real, quick!

What saved us on many occasions was experience, advanced training and taking it slow. All you have to do is watch one of our riding day videos to understand what we mean.

 

What that freedom could cost

Some things to think about before hopping on a bike;

  • Helmets, they save lives. It’s your brain, so think about what it’s worth to you.
  • Driver licenses. The most epic subject on travel in Vietnam. The short of it, you have to have a Vietnamese drivers license to legally ride on the road. Most police will wave you off or hit you up for a bribe but it doesn’t save you when it comes to,
  • Insurance. If you do not adhere to the T&C’s on your insurance policy they may not cover you. For example, our insurance policy stated we needed, a) a legal motorcycle license from our country, b) a Vietnamese issued drivers license and, c) helmets complying with AU/NZ minimum safety standards. If you’d like a good place to start your insurance research then we recommend starting with the team at Worldnomads for great info on travel insurance and things like riding a motorcycle overseas.
  • International driving permits aren’t as straightforward either, more on that here.
  • Accidents. It’s not a case of if but when. Vietnam has the world’s second highest fatality rate in the world. Think about that. Say you end up involved in an accident? You could get seriously injured or worse die. If not, local law could deem you responsible causing a whole lot more hurt. Jail, compensation to the deceased family, damages, etc. I can go on but I’m sure you get the grim picture. I’ll add one more thing though. If you don’t comply with your insurance policy, it could get a whole lot worse.
  • Emergency care. No insurance means you’ll end up in public hospitals. In a developing country, it can be hit or miss on what you get. Do you really want to try it?

If like us, you’re happy to make everything you need align then, Vietnam is your oyster! It was by far the best way for us to explore the country and we wouldn’t hesitate to do it again!

 

How does this two wheel thing work anyway?

 

Rental motorbikes

These are a dime a dozen and are literally everywhere. We do recommend doing some research.

 

Long Trips

Look for options that offers help for mechanical failures, have branches in areas you are traveling to or through and have good reviews. Look for reliable, well-maintained bikes too. That one is the most important. Don’t know how to do that? Then keep an eye out for an upcoming vlog on how to do a quick safety check before you ride.

 

Short Trips

Your hotel will almost always has a rental or two or hand. If not they most likely have a deal with a local rental company. 

Compare prices, look for options with good English reviews and check you are happy with the condition of the motorcycle before you sign up.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Say hello to BoB (bucket of bolts), our first rental motorbike in Da Nang

Buying motorbikes

Tourists are able to buy motorbikes in Vietnam no problem. Thing is you cannot legally put it in your name unless you have a temporary resident card or a local friend to help you.

Buying and selling a motorcycle among tourists is easy. Best way to look for them is to hit up social media platforms.

The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to make sure you have the blue card. This little blue document has all the manufacture and registration details of the motorcycle.

One, if you get pulled up by local law it’s the best way to prove the motorcycle isn’t stolen. Two, it makes things a lot easier come time to sell. You’ll be able to sell to locals as well as travelers but locals need the blue card to register it in their name. See the appeal? Nice.

Air Travel

The average Vietnamese person earns about US100 a month. True! When you think about a one way trip from HCMC to Hanoi costing around US60, it’s easy to see why it’s the least used mode of transportation in Vietnam by locals.

Tourist rejoice! For us, it’s heaven sent.

There are three main operators;

  • Vietnam Airlines – good reputation, well-maintained planes, almost always on time but usually the priciest.
  • Jetstar Pacific – good reputation, well-maintained planes, hit and miss on reliability and usually a good deal.
  • VietJet Air – good reputation, well-maintained planes, known for being late but the cheapest option (especially if you book a couple of weeks in advance)

 

Ferries

This was our least used method of transportation in Vietnam. In fact, we only ended up using the Cat Lai Ferry get into and out of Ho Chi Minh City.

It’s the fastest way to cross the Saoi Rap River if you’re traveling by motorcycle. There is a shiny new bridge but it’s an expressway and that means no two wheels allowed.

There are plenty of ferries running throughout southern Vietnam to many tourist-worthy destinations. Make sure to leave us a comment if you have used any of these, we’d love to know more.

Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation

Check ferry time tables, destinations and fares

The best local transportation in Vietnam

Ride shares

I’m guessing your first thought is Uber? Uber is no more in Southeast Asia and sold out to GRAB.

GRAB is one of the best and cheapest ways to get around in local towns and cities. It has a user friendly app and they offer plenty of discounts if you keep up with the messages you get.

If you would like to know how to get the GRAB app and how it works (even earn yourself a first-time user discount), then just go and follow our easy instructions – Registering and using Grab Share Ride

There are other ride share options, but we found GRAB to be the most reliable and cheapest option. You can book one person rides on motorbikes all the way to people movers taking small groups. Easy Peasy.

 

Taxis

We’ll admit this one can be a bit of a mine field. While they are convenient they are also riddled with scams and dishonorably behavior.

We found two companies, VinaSun and Mailinh,  that we never had issues with. In some instances they even ended up being cheaper than GRAB.

If you’re in a situation where neither VinaSun nor Mailinh are available, then always check the fare BEFORE you get in the car. Also it pays to be able to do currency conversions off the top of your head. If a five minute fair is going to cost USD 25 then walk away.

Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation

Travel tip!: We used to check the GRAB app to get an estimated cost on the trip. That way we could tell if we were getting ripped or not.

Driving a car

Can you drive a car in Vietnam? We get this a lot.

If you’re a local, yes you can. If you’re a foreigner, not so much. There are two good reasons for this. One, cars are hellish expensive in Vietnam. They also make the roads more treacherous than they already are. Two, you cannot hire a car in Vietnam (nor would you want to).

To be honest, the options listed above will get you anywhere and you don’t really need to use a car.

 

Other methods of transportation in Vietnam

There are still a few simple solutions to getting around in main cities and towns.

They include;

  • Cyclo – the traditional method of people carrying. While it had a hey-day, it’s more of a tourist trap now but still fun.
  • Xe Om – motorcycle taxis. They still exist in an ever-growing rideshare world and are widely used by locals. If you cannot speak the language though, it may not work for you.
  • Bicycles – another widely used hire option and great for exploring rural rice paddis in Hoi An for example. Not so great for main roads unless you know what you’re doing.

 

Transportation in Vietnam, ways to travel, places in vietnam, trains in vietnam, vietnam transportation

We hope this post answers some of your questions with regards to transportation in Vietnam. If you do have any more, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us directly.

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Beer Corner Hanoi: Old vs. New, which is best?

Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam
Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam

Beer Corner Hanoi: Old vs. New, which one is best?

Before pubs and clubs became a thing, bia hoi or beer corner Hanoi, was the original choice for locals looking for a cheap, tasty beer. 

Travelers suckling on bottles of Saigon or Bia Hanoi soon got wind of an even more affordable tipple and so began a tradition. Beer corner is almost like a traveler’s rite of passage in Vietnam. 

The old beer corner has become so popular that it has lost its uniqueness.  Like most things in Vietnam, popularity has all but destroyed the experience.

All is not lost though! Much to our delight, some entrepreneurial locals have revived the institution.  They simply took the original concept and started it around the corner. Let us tell you about it and why it’s a must-visit when exploring Old Quarter in Hanoi.

Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam

What is Bia Hoi?

Bia hoi is the Vietnamese phrase for ‘fresh beer’.

This light, refreshing Vietnamese beer or rather, rice lager is made from, you guessed it, rice. It’s easy to make, can be done in big batches and takes no time to mature.

That convenience translates into bulk supplies and cheap prices for the thirsty masses.

At VND 5,000 (~USD 0.21 / ~AUD 0.30) to VND 8,000 (~USD 0.34 / ~AUD 0.50) for a glass we can see why it’s a winner with locals and visitors alike.

How to find Beer Corner Hanoi

Finding Hanoi’s cheapest beer is easy.

Simply look for people sitting on tiny tables and chairs surrounding a keg with a sign that says ‘Bia Hoi’ and a cheap price.

The trick is to find the experience you would enjoy most.

 

Old Beer Corner

Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam

You can actually type ‘beer corner Hanoi’ into Google maps and it will pin point a location for you.

Now, this is where you will need to make a decision.

Do you want the original beer corner Hanoi (also known as bia hoi junction), with large crowds and overpriced glasses of beer? Great, then head to the pinpoint on the map, at Ta Hien Street.

Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam

It literally is a street, not corner, crammed with tiny bars out to convince you they have the cheapest beer on the street.

To be honest, it didn’t look like a good option for a quiet drink. It’s narrow and noisy and it can be hard to have a decent conversation.

What surprised us most was the price of the beers. It certainly wasn’t the spot to get a cheap beer. Some of the prices were higher than most of the bars and clubs in Old Quarter.

 

New (unofficial) Beer Corner Hanoi

Hanoi Beer corner, bia hoi hanoi, things to do in hanoi, hanoi nightlife, rice lager, fresh beer, drinking beer in Vietnam

If like us, you want to have the authentic experience of a traditional beer corner, then head to the unofficial new spot on Pho Ma May street.

The best way to find it is to head to the Medallion Hanoi hotel and look across the road.

Travel Tip!: There is a toilet available in the Medallion hotel reception. You know, for when you eventually break that seal and make room for ‘more’. Cue tipsy laughter!) 

What to expect

Simplicity is key for the perfect beer corner experience.

 

Pick your spot

You will have a pick of spots. They are easy to identify as they consisting of no more than one to three tiny tables per spot. Each spot will have one to two large pressurized beer kegs with a server eager to get you to join the fray.

Once you’ve picked where you want to have your beer, you simply grab a tiny seat and plant yourself. While you do that, the server pours your beer with efficient precision straight from the keg into a 8 oz (250ml).

We can almost guarantee your beer will hit the table, the same time your bum hits the seat. There’s no mucking around here!

 

Savvy servers

The beer servers are some of the savviest we’ve ever come across. A fresh beer was in front of us mere seconds after the last mouthful of the old glass, without even having to ask. It’s great, but can lead to sore head and empty pockets the next day. LOL!

At the end of your visit, your server will let you know what you owe and you are free to go.

Things they don’t tell you

The popularity of the original beer corner has caused new ones to sprout up through Old Quarter.

Daytime businesses are turning their sidewalk space into beer corners at night. All in the hopes of cashing in on extra income.

But it is a gamble and why there are usually only one to three tables. It’s all about available space and staying out of ‘trouble’.

 

Uh-oh, it’s the police

Thing is, it’s not entirely legal. It’s also the reason you’ll see the local police roll round in a small truck patrolling the streets. They confiscate offending tables and chairs where they catch them.

This is why the server will suddenly tell you to stand up and start clearing the tables and chairs, leaving you and your beer, hanging in the breeze.

There is no need to panic. As long as you’re on the sidewalk looking inconspicuous, you’ll be fine.

Give the five-oh a few minutes to roll past and watch as all the chairs and tables come rolling back out.

Before you know it, you’ll be back to having a beer ball on the sidewalk. It’s all part of the adventure, right?

 

 

General traffic

Our beer corner sat right next to a door to an apartment building.

We were constantly having to stand up or move our chairs for motorbikes zipping past.

It was clear they weren’t too happy about the arrangement but never made a fuss about it.

In some instances, your table might be hugging the curb, so it’s best to keep an eye out for traffic.

Again, it’s all part of the experience because where else can you do this?

So which is the best beer corner Hanoi, old or new ?

We’d say try both and decide for yourself.

We loved the new beer corner for many reasons but the main ones are,

  • It’s a legit cheap beer

  • It’s not overcrowded

  • You can make friends easier because you can have a decent conversation, and

  • There is a bit of fun involved regarding local law enforcement.

Leon and Tash Vlog

See Beer Corner Hanoi for yourself!

So, if you’re looking for things to do in Hanoi, make sure to add a visit to the beer corner as part of your Hanoi nightlife itinerary.

And if this is your first visit to our site, welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

 

Dark Cave, Phong Nha – What makes it so exhilarating?

Dark Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi
Dark Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

What makes Dark Cave, Phong Nha so exhilarating?

Dark Cave is whole different creature from your average tourist cave experience and we couldn’t wait to try it out!

We thought the weather was going to spoil our fun again this time round. We woke up to a wet and cold day, doubting our decision but opted to stick it out and stoked we did!

Sure, Paradise Cave has the beauty, the awe-inspiring landscape and easy access but nothing screams ‘awesome’ like flying through the air, taking a dip and hitting Dark Cave barefoot!

Photos, what photos?

Okay. This is where I admit that I don’t have any photos from my camera because it’s in my phone and there was NO way I was taking that out in the wet and mud.

Luckily, we had our trusty Olympus Tough with us which we used for shooting our vlog and I’ll try and snaffle some footage from that.

Apologies for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience during this blog.

Dark Cave as part of the 'Tour of the Caves' experience

Phong Nha sports three massive cave systems;

Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave and Dark Cave.

They are open to the public and tourists on pretty much any given day, weather permitting of course.

Now these three have a famous big brother called Song Nha. If that rings a bell it will because you might know as the second largest cave in the world.

We did consider a guided tour of Song Nha, but it’s harder and waaaay more expensive to book, though not entirely impossible either.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Our visit to Paradise Cave, the other half of our Tours of the Cave experience was like.

Instead, we opted for a tour that allowed us to visit two of the three caves of our choosing. Few tour operators are that flexible, so check tour details and itineraries before you lock it in.

While Paradise Cave was a delightful bonus, Dark Cave was the real reason we came to Dong Hoi.  What makes it special?

It offers a very different and unique visiting experience. One where you can get down and dirty as well as clean and fresh, all while having the time of your life.

What is the best way to get to Dark Cave?

Almost everything you read will tell you to stay in Phong Nha because it’s closest to the caves, but we beg to differ.

Dong Hoi isn’t that much further out and most tours are happy to pick you up from your hotel in Dong Hoi, as was the case with Tour to the Caves.

You don’t have to be in Phong Nha or Dong Hoi as there are a lot of tours available from Hanoi too.

If you prefer to do the caves on your own then a taxi (from Phong Nha or Dong Hoi) or private transfer (from anywhere) is your best option. Private transfer possibly being the cheaper of the two options. Most hotels and/or hostels can hook you up with private transfers too.

What to expect from your visit to Dark Cave

After our visit to Paradise Cave, we sat down to a share lunch. On offer was a great selection of goodies that was both filling but not stodgy or heavy, making it perfect for our next activity.

 

Does anyone not like Dark Cave?

Unlike Paradise Cave, Dark Cave is not for everyone.

If you’re not great with heights, water or the dark, then Dark Cave will definitely not be your thing.

In saying that though, if you’re on the fence and feeling brave, then it’s tame enough to still be a great experience. So, why not give it a go?!

 

Is Dark Cave affected by weather?

It definitely is affected by weather and not just during the wet season.

It’s surrounded by water, so it doesn’t take much for it to flood.

Thankfully local operators have a finger on the pulse. If  at any time it looks like the caves may flood, then the operator won’t hesitate to cancel tours and close the caves immediately.

Again, check with your tour operator or hotel/hostel before you set out.

 

What’s best, a guided tour or a DIY tour?

We did Dark Cave as part of the ‘Tour of the Caves’ two cave tour and it worked out perfect for us because it included everything.  Even a hot lunch.

You can go to Dark Cave without having to be part of a tour. We saw a few people do this cave only as it is the most adventurous. It’s also a good option if you’re short on time.

 

How long does a visit to Dark Cave take?

The two cave tour was a full day option with pick up at 8AM, starting at Paradise Cave, followed by a lunch break at 12PM, then Dark Cave before being dropped back off at 5PM.

The Dark Cave experience took about an hour, maybe a little more.  This cave is tiny in comparison to Paradise Cave so you won’t need nearly as much time here.

 

Dark Cave entrance fee

The two cave tour with Tours to the Cave cost us VND 1,350,000 (~USD20.00 / ~AUD27.00).

Tickets are available at the entry gate or if you are travelling with a tour group, then just stick with your guide.  They’ve got you covered.

 

What to take with you

As you can tell, it’s not your average cave experience so we thought we give you a quick list of what to take with you.

Included in the activity is;

  • Insurance (for the caving and zip lining only)
  • Safety equipment (harness, hard hat, headlight, life vest)

Things to take with you that are not included in the activity ;

  • A small towel that you don’t mind throwing away after as the mud is impossible to get out (Our tour had towels available as well but don’t bank on that happening with them all )
  • Bathers (swimsuit, togs, cozzie)
  • Spare set of clothes
  • Floating devices for your cameras/gear that you’re planning on taking with you (it’s compulsory). If you don’t have any you can buy them before you gear up.

The Dark Cave Experience

Getting geared up for the adventure!

The first order of business was signing and paying for additional insurance. Our hosts were giving us (and them), a bit more piece of mind, considering we were about to embark on an adventure sport.

The second order of business was making sure no one took their phone and we all had floating devices on all our cameras. 

We’re guessing a few peeps before us lost their gear so now it’s compulsory to have floating devices for your gear. Not a bad thing really.

If you don’t have any, don’t stress, they do offer some simple solutions to buy right next to where you sign your insurance form. We had to buy one for the Canon and it only cost VND10,000 (~USD0.45 /~AUD0.60). Best part is we’ve added it to the kit for future use. Cue big grins!

 

Flying across the river

We were pondering our sanity, standing in line, in our bathers, on a wet chilly day waiting to have a harness fitted. The idea of zip lining in nothing but a bikini on a rainy day seemed ridiculous, lol, but exciting too.

The safety equipment included a harness and proper hard hat with headlight, which left me wondering what the light might be for.

I was in for one heck of a surprise! We were also given a life vest each and it wasn’t until we slid them on that we realized they were satch’ed and cold!

All part of the experience, right?

The zip line from the tower across the river towards the mouth of Dark Cave was short, cold but exhilarating! The stop at the was a whole different story but i was sporting the biggest grin ever!

It wasn’t the best part of the adventure either.

 

Didn’t dodge the cold river

This was the teeth-chattering part of the fun. We had to swim 10 meters from the end of the zip line to the mouth of the cave and it was COLD!

On a hot day it would be heavenly but when it’s already wet and chilly, all you can do is swim faster and that was exactly what everyone did!

 

We’re going dark!

The adventure continued with a walk into the cave, wading through thigh deep water to a beach well into the dark cavern.

By this time, it was clear what the headlight was for, LOL!  It was so dark inside that even the light from 12 other people wasn’t enough to light the whole space around us!

On the beach toke off the life jackets and waded through more water to another beach. This one had a narrow pathway leading into a dark abyss.

 

Getting down and dirty

The narrow pathway led us up and down a slippery passage until we hit a large pool of red, viscous liquid that looked very sus.

We were the last of the group to get in and all we could hear were nervous giggles and reluctant chatter, wondering what was waiting for us.

Turned out it was a mud bath!! Or rather mud pool?

 

Pick a spot, any spot

Everyone picked a spot and gingerly lowered into the mud to cover most of their bodies, some even daring to coat their faces.

We were warned not to get the muck in our eyes at any cost as it would be hard to wash out given that we had nothing but more mud around us.

Oh man! The texture under my feet was insane!

It felt like what I imagine guts feel like squishing between your toes and slippery, far out it was so slippery!!

At first it was horrible but the longer we stayed the better it got. The muck warmed up the slightest bit and by then everyone was having a blast.

 

Lights out…wait, what?!

Our guide checked to make sure we were all comfortable with the dark before telling us to turn off our lights.

Fourteen people gasped in awe, surrounded by an utter black space and not a peep from anything anywhere.  It was the eeriest experience. 

That was until the first person fell victim to the slippery surface under foot and then a few more went down.

We turned the lights on after that and headed back to clean water to rinse the mud off and continue the adventure!

 

Heading back out into the world

When we reached the first body of water, we all rinsed off the excess mud and headed back towards the mouth of the cave.

Again, we were the last four of the group and the tour guide told us to hang back a bit, watching the others go, then asking us to turn our lights off.

This time we had to navigate the waters without light and it was hilarious!

We had to try and stick to single file but we couldn’t do it to save ourselves. We were all too busy laughing and falling over.

 

Row your boat

When we came out of the cave, we waved goodbye to the hard hats and hit the paddles and two-man canoes. It was time to head back to base and have some more fun.

It’s a short seven or so minute row and when we got back to base there were a few fun water activities to do.

I opted for a shower and my clothes as I was pretty cold but Leon stayed behind and enjoyed a few more zip lines and laughs with the others.

Leon and Tash Vlog

An epic day of adventure at Dark Cave Phong Nha

Would we recommend Dark Cave?

Absolutely! Even on a cold, wet day we had the time of our lives and stoked we finally got to do Dark Cave.

If you’re travelling on a tight itinerary and looking for one fun thing to do in Dong Hoi, then we highly recommend a visit to Dark Cave!

Hope you guys enjoyed our visit and the info was of use but if you’re looking for more, then hit us up in the comments.

And if this is your first visit to our site, welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

 

Dark Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

Paradise Cave Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi
Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

Seen one cave, seen ‘em all? Not the case at Paradise Cave, Phuong Nha Ke Bang National Park

During our 2016 visit to Dong Hoi, we attempted to visit Dark Cave in the Phuong Nha Ke Bang National Park.

It wasn’t to be as bad weather flooded the cave, foiling both our plans and a second shot at it since our schedule was pretty tight at the time. But not this time!

For this trip we planned things a little differently.

One, we made sure we had amazing accommodation at Au Lac Bar and Hostel. A nice, cozy spot to stay for a few extra days in case the weather got nasty. Two, we had a backup plan this time.

We were ready to get our cave on, no matter what!

What attracted us to Paradise Cave?

Phong Nha is well known for its extraordinary cave systems. Heck, it sports the world’s second largest cave, Song Nha.

But we weren’t interested in big brother. We wanted to see two of the smaller systems, famous in their own right, called Paradise and Dark Caves.

Lucky for us, Au Lac Bar and Hostel had connections to a variety of tours to the cave and we picked one by Tour to the Caves. Best part was we could choose which of the three caves we wanted to do! This was perfect because not all tours offer this option and we specifically wanted to see Paradise and Dark caves.

In this blog we’ll tell you all about Paradise Cave and then more on Dark Cave in a different blog as they were two very differed experiences.

The best way to get to Paradise Cave

Paradise Cave Vietnam Phong Nha National Park cave tour things to do in vietnam

Almost everything you read will tell you to stay in Phong Nha because it’s closest to the caves, but we beg to differ.

Dong Hoi isn’t that much further out and most tours are happy to pick you up from your hotel in Dong Hoi, as was the case with Tour to the Caves.

If you prefer to do the caves on your own then a taxi or private transfer is your best option. Private transfer possibly being the cheaper of the two options. Most hotels and/or hostels can hook you up with private transfers.

The beauty of Paradise Cave

We opted to do this one first and keep the fun and excitement of Dark Cave for last (wink-wink).

On arrival we made our way to a waiting electric buggy that took us up to the stairs leading to Paradise cave. It’s an approximate 1.2 kilometers ride and you can walk it using the covered walk way provided.

Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

Good thing is there are plenty of rest stops for catching your breath.

Before entering Paradise Cave

At the entrance to the cave is a visitor’s area with seating, vending machines and an attendee desk.

This is a great spot to grab a seat, catch your breath and revel in the breathtaking jungle covered karts surroundings.

There are boards with basic information on the discovery of Paradise Cave, its layout and basic safety instructions to be aware of.

You can buy water or other cold beverages from the vending machines, but we opted to take our own which you can do too.

Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

A fun experience for all.

Paradise Cave is a relaxing and fun experience that anyone can enjoy.

The staircase from the mouth of the cave down to the viewing platforms and walk ways might look intimidating but it’s not that bad.

The walk ways are relatively well lit.  Enough to make your way around comfortably but doesn’t detract from the stunning views.

The experience will either leave your jaw dragging behind you or leave a massive smile on your dial.

Is Paradise Cave affected by weather?

It sure is. We weren’t sure whether we were actually going to make it to the caves due to rain the previous two days.

Fortunately, the rain wasn’t heavy enough to affect the cave for our visit but it can and does flood during the wet season, which may affect your visit.

The tourism industry in Dong Hoi is pretty onto too, especially during the wet season!  This means all you have to do is ask your hotel on the status of the caves. We got unprompted updates each morning at breakfast from our hostel hosts.

Another great testament to the amazing customer service you can expect in Dong Hoi.

What’s best, a guided tour or a DIY tour?

It’s a cave, so you have the option of going with a tour or you can just do it on your own.

Pros and cons of a tour depends on your travel needs.  Usually we avoid them but this time round we decided a tour was better and we weren’t disappointed.

We learned things about the area and the discovery of the cave systems in it from a local that we wouldn’t have found by ourselves.

Also, our tour guide, was amazing to interact with. He was not only local but passionate about sharing his knowledge of his home and had some really interesting tidbits to share with us.

Tour to the Caves were great at making sure their guests got the most out of their experience and we thoroughly enjoyed our company!

How long does a visit to Paradise Cave take?

One kilometer doesn’t sound like much but we loved every second of it and almost ran out of time to see the whole thing.

It took us two hours to do Paradise cave but mostly because I was running around taking a million photos and we were shooting for our vlog too.

On your own, you could probably smash it out in 45 minutes to an hour.  Maybe less if you’re just there for a quick look and it would still be worth the visit.

Leon and Tash Vlog

Paradise Cave was the first half of our Tours of the Cave experience and we loved every minute of it!

What to expect of your visit to Paradise Cave

Discovery of Paradise Cave

In 2005 by a local wandering the mountains looking for a specific kind of wood found an entrance to what he thought was a small cave.

Not wanting to get lost, he went home and reported the find. This resulted in the government getting a team together to go in and explore the area to see what turned up.

It turned out to be so much more than they expected!

Once the geologists finished digging around and exploring the cavernous space, they found it was over 30 kilometers in length. Think about that for a second…

Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

What you can see of it today

The first one kilometer of the cave is open to visitors and is accessible by existing walkways.  The widest section in this part of the cave is about 170 meters across and the deepest spot takes you down 150 meters.

There are many platforms connected by a wide walk way, catering to large crowds making it easy to get around.  You get plenty of opportunities to gawk in awe at the different formations and changing sub terrain landscapes.

The fact that it has sat dormant for so long is extraordinary but then, Vietnam is discovering a lot about herself in a short space of time and we love exploring her!

Paradise Cave entrance fee

Our day tour with Tours to the Cave cost us VND1,350,000 (~USD59.00 / ~AUD82.00) per person, which included entry to both Paradise and Dark Caves.  Lunch was also included in this price.

If you prefer to visit Paradise cave on your own, then entry is VND250,000 (~USD11.00 / ~AUD15.00) and includes the electric buggy ride.

Tickets are available at a stand by the entry gate or if you are travelling with a tour group, then stick with your guide, they’ve got you covered.

One thing that sold us on the tour was the included lunch. There are some options to grab something to eat at the caves but it won’t be cheap and might not be what you feel like.

Our lunch consisted of a share table of different dishes including chicken, pork, an array of veggie and rice dishes. There was plenty to go around and it was nice and filling but not too heavy.

Leon and Tash Blog

You don't need to stay in Phong Nha to see the caves and we tell you why!

Would we recommend Paradise Cave?

We enjoyed our visit to Paradise Cave and if caves are your thing, then Paradise Cave is definitely worth adding to the itinerary.

Note: We’re not able to compare it to Phong Nha cave as we opted not do that one. Two of our tour companions went and they were beaming when they joined us, saying it was well worth the visit too.

Dark Cave is a very different experience all together and might not be everyone’s cup of tea but we’ll tell you more about why in our next blog.

If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing experience with a bit of action to get the heart pumping then we highly recommend a visit to Paradise Cave.

And if this is your first visit to our site, welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Don’t forget to subscribe and join our Tribe!  You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook , Insta  and YouTube too!

Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…

Paradise Cave Phong Nha national park, things to do in Vietnam, cave tours, dong hoi

Au Lac Bar and Hostel, Dong Hoi

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, Dong Hoi accommodation, Vietnam accommodation, Vietnam hostels
Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

Au Lac Bar and Hostel is more than your average Vietnamese hostel

This was our second visit to Dong Hoi and it was for pretty much the same reason. We wanted to visit the Phong Nha caves. While researching accommodation options, we found that not only was Dong Hoi cheaper than Phuong Nha, it had more to offer too.

Leon and Tash Vlog

The famous Phong Nha National Park Caves

On our first visit we found one hostel, Buffalo’s Hostel and all the foreigners were raving about. Everything else, was either in Vietnamese or way out of our price range, so we went with it.

We chose to book it as they offered accommodation and cave tour options, which at the time, was just what we needed. While our stay there was a fun experience, it wasn’t the warmest or most comfortable experience.

This time round we did the same thing and found the same result. Phong Nha just didn’t offer value for our money so we went back to looking at Dong Hoi.

I’m going to be honest and say that I wasn’t completely thrilled by the idea of staying at another party-hard hostel. What saved the idea was that it wouldn’t be for long and I could work with that.

Our stay at Au Lac Bar and Hostel turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip!

 

How we found Au Lac Bar and Hostel

Our regular readers will know that Hotels Combined is our ‘go to’ for finding a place to sleep and so far, it has been good to us. Though when it gave us another hostel option in Dong Hoi, I was a bit hmmmm.

As it turned out, Au Lac Bar and Hostel is now a new addition to our favorite accommodation list. Not to mention our first option for future visits to the super funky city of Dong Hoi.

Affiliate disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

 

Location

Au Lac Bar and Hostel

Au Lac sits at 68 Dong Hai, Dong My, Dong Hoi.

The area boasts plenty of restaurants, bars, hole-in-the-wall eateries and you can walk to the city center or river front in no time.

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Facilities

The first thing we noticed about Au Lac was the awesome decor and welcome feel when you step inside.

The massive pool table greets you at the entrance then leads you to the bar/reception area. before sweeping you up the stairs to the rooms.

The communal area extends from the comfy couch by the window with a great view, across to the the row of small tables and chairs on the opposite wall leading to the bar.

There’s no lift but thankfully it’s only three levels so you don’t have far to go. The staircase is nice and wide too, so you’re not wrestling your luggage to the room.

 

Parking

Au Lac Bar and Hostel does offer parking and at first, we thought the parking facilities were a bit silly as there wasn’t much room in front of the building.

We soon learnt thought that they use the parking space across the street as well as the space out front.

The staff also bring the bikes inside round 11 PM and then wheel them back out at 7 AM the next morning. We thought that was super courteous of them, making our stay so much more enjoyable.

 

Socializing at Au Lac Bar and Hostel

The ground floor area is great for mingling with other visitors or just doing your own thing.

We had a blast playing a few games of pool and chatting to Thao who was manning the bar. Not only was she awesome to hang out with but she had great taste in music and was happy to find a few of our favs too. Thanks Thao!

We met a few of the other visitors in passing, though we got the feeling it wasn’t fully occupied.

 

Our booking bonus

Another bonus for us and booking via Hotels Combined was that we got a free breakfast out of this deal.  Kien delivered our breakfast as soon as we were ready for it and it consisted of the most delicious banh mi. Freshly made by the local banh mi legend and we loved every bite.

Au Lac also has a proper coffee machine too! You can order a choice of Vietnamese or western coffees at very reasonable prices.

 

Red Peppers Restaurant and Pizzeria

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

If you’re looking for somewhere to to eat, then head on over to Red Peppers Restaurant and Pizzeria.

Au Lac guests receive a 10% discount on their food bill. Extra bonus, whahoo!

The food selection is a good combination of western and Vietnamese food. The ingredients are fresh, the dishes are really yummy and reasonably priced.

Red Peppers is a short walk from Au Lac and like the hostel it has a very welcoming vibe to it too. It is a sister property to Au Lac and you’ll receive the same high level of hospitality there.

It’s not unusual to see Thao, Binh or Kien floating between the two either.  Good company guaranteed!

 

Where to eat in Dong Hoi

If you’re looking for something of the more local variety, then head right out the front door where you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.

A short stroll across the bridge towards Cang Dong Hoi takes you to an area that is full of eateries with mouthwatering selections to chose from.

Dong Hoi also sports a lively night market. On of the main features is the selection of local delicacies and crowd favorites, which we miss out on thanks to the wet weather and of coarse a good reason to come back. HA!

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

We tried a local spot at the other end of Đông Hải that had a lovely little old couple running it. While communication was almost non existent between the four of us, Leon and I were quietly confident they would deliver a superb meal, which they did of coarse.

Our order turned out to be beef and noodle soup dishes that were absolutely divine, not to mention a great find as it cost us next to nothing at VND80,000 (~USD3.50 / ~AUD4.80) for both bowls.

The most enjoyable part of the meal was watching the old couple get excited about their foreign visitors, finding ways to converse which ended in a fun and hilarious conversation via Google Translate that still makes us laugh.

 

Our Room

Our room was a basic but lovely and comfortable space where everything felt and looked bright and fresh and the private bathroom was huge (compared to previous places we’ve stayed).

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

The queen size bed was a dream with a Western style mattress, crisp sheets and a super warm and comfy duvet.

The first bonus was the balcony with a view over the Cau Rau river and out over towards the Nhat Le river. It was a great spot to have a beer and watch the world go by.

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

Two special mentions.

One, there is no TV. We weren’t bother as we were too tired after exploring and touring. Two, there is no wardrobe as such but they do offer coat hooks. Still if you’re only there for a few nights, you won’t even notice it.

The bathroom was clean and modern with the traditional all-in-one set up and was big enough to swing a cat in. We love it!

It had a western toilet, basin, double head shower which was perfect for Leon and stocked with basic toiletries as well as plush towels.

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

Service Experience

Can’t fault the service in any way. Owners Binh and Kien, along with their team did an amazing job of looking after us. They give us heaps of insight into Dong Hoi and some great recommendations too. Then they hooked us up with a great tour to Paradise and Dark Caves, assuring us it would be both value for money and memorable.

We enjoyed hanging with these guys so much so that we’ve become friends and stay in touch regularly and it’s experiences like this that make us love this country so much!

 

Cost

We paid VND 200,000 (~USD 8.50 / ~AUD 12.00) per night for our three nights at Au Lac Bar and Hostel. It was an awesome deal and one of the best we’ve come across in our travels so far.

 

That’s our stay at Au Lac Bar and Hostel

We really enjoyed our stay. In fact, we enjoyed it so much so that we almost considered extending our trip to spend just so we could spend more time with Binh, Kien and Thao!

If you are thinking of doing the Phong Nha caves, don’t feel obligated to stay in Phong Nha. Dong Hoi has so much more to offer and Au Lac is the ideal spot for a base.

Check them out guys, you won’t be disappointed!

They are locals who know Dong Hoi well. They have a ton of recommendations that you will never find on TripAdvisor. Or any other review platform for that matter. (*Hint: Ask Binh about the hot springs.)

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one…

Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue is a Vietnam must see

Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda, piece of a rich and complex Hue history

The Thien Mu Pagoda is a local superstar in Hue. Every tour agency, local tour and Hue local will tell you it’s a must see.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda, UNESCO World Heritage site, things to do in Hue, Historic place of interest, must see in Vietnam, things to do in Vietnam

 

It has a breathtaking location on the bank of the Perfume River and linked to a profound moment in history.

We weren’t going for the temples or tours or because of what we heard. Leon caught wind of a little blue Austin that had him in a frenzy. We are both automotive enthusiasts so it didn’t surprise me that he wanted to go and look at a car.

It wasn’t until we were there filming that he revealed the significance of THIS particular car.

It still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

 

How we found out about the Thien Mu Pagoda

 

Thien Mu Pagoda, UNESCO World Heritage site, things to do in Hue, Historic place of interest, must see in Vietnam, things to do in Vietnam

 

We missed visiting this beauty on our first visit to Hue, but that meant we had a bit more time to find out more about it for our second visit.  We already knew it had a great historic presence in Hue and sits in a spectacular location. What we didn’t know was just how special this place really is thanks for one significant event in world history.

 

Where to find the Thien Mu Pagoda

 

Thien Mu Pagoda, UNESCO World Heritage site, things to do in Hue, Historic place of interest, must see in Vietnam, things to do in Vietnam

 

Address: Hương Hòa, Thành phố Huế, Hương Hòa Thành phố Huế Thừa Thiên Huế

How to get there

A popular choice is by taxi or GRAB and it won’t cost much. (Never used GRAB before? Let us show you how it works and give you a first ride discount!)

If you’d like a more traditional method of transport then try one of the many local cyclos. Thinking of doing the Imperial Palace and Thien Mu Pagoda on the same day? Then try negotiating a cheaper day rate with those guys.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda, UNESCO World Heritage site, things to do in Hue, Historic place of interest, must see in Vietnam, things to do in Vietnam, Perfume River Hue

 

If you prefer a tour, there are a million options to choose from! Agencies are easy to find online or simply by walking around the tourist area. The pagoda isn’t hard to find and there are several different ways to get there.

Catch a tour to Thien Mu Pagoda perhaps?

If you are thinking about a tour and looking for something outside the box, then we have just the the thing. We highly recommend the crew at Vespa Safari Tours as an option.

 

Vespa Safari Tours – serious fun in Hue

 

Renting a bicycle is another excellent way to explore Hue and her attractions. The Thien Mu Pagoda is one of many within a pleasant scenic ride from the city.

We preferred taking our two Honda Waves out there and parked them on the side of the road. There is a paid parking area next to the pagoda for VND5,000 (~USD0.21 / ~AUD0.30) if you prefer that option.

Things to know before you go head to the Thien Mu Pagoda

How to get in

Hours: 8AM – 5PM, Monday to Sunday.

Entry fee: No entry fee, it is free.

Dress code: No naked shoulders or knees for men or women. Inappropriately dressed visitors may not be able to enter.

Apart from being an historic place of interest, it’s also an active temple. Please be respectful.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda, UNESCO World Heritage site, things to do in Hue, Historic place of interest, must see in Vietnam, things to do in Vietnam

 

The pagoda is also an outdoor attraction with limited cover. We suggest checking the weather forecast before you head on out to it.

Who would enjoy it?

It is a family friendly destination but not sure how much entertainment kiddos will get from it.

 

The Thien Mu Pagoda is perfect for history lovers.

We would suggest finding a guide who can tell you more about the history of the place. Learning about it would certainly make it a more enjoyable visit.

We opted to do it by ourselves armed with info we found online and that was fine too. We managed to learn quite a bit about it that way actually. We’ve also read some hilarious anecdotes relating to the Thien Mu Pagoda in the process.

 

How long does it take?

Our visit lasted about two and half hours. It gave us plenty of time to explore, take photos and get some footage for vlog too.

 

#VietnamVlog – Thien Mu Pagoda Hue

 

You can easily combine a visit here with another spot in the area. The Imperial Palace or perhaps the Temple of Literature come to mind and both are interesting.

What was Thien Mu Pagoda like?

As I mentioned before, we were there for a little blue Austin. When Leon asked me if I recognized the car, I was a little confused. Then he told me to look at the picture on the back wall and I froze!

We know that photo!

The picture I’m talking about is also called, ‘The Burning Monk’ by Malcolm Browne. Feel free to Google it, but we warn you, it is graphic so please be careful.

It’s a harrowing story and well worth the read. We wrongly assumed it had to do with the Vietnam/American war and we couldn’t have been more wrong. The plight of this story had its own enormous significance. It resulted in a toppled government and made the whole world paying attention in united horror.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda

 

Total goosebumps

The monk in the picture, Thích Quang Duc was from Hue. The little blue Austin we’re talking about is the car he used to drive from Hue to Saigon in June 1963.

To stand there and see it in person was an experience I find hard to describe. The fact that someone thought to save the car and bring it back to Hue is mind blowing.

Seeing the photo broke my heart. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen it but I now knew the true meaning behind the act. Seeing the Austin didn’t just make it a photo anymore, it made it so real!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what seeing something from that picture could do?

What else is there?

The Austin isn’t the only attraction. In fact, most people don’t even know about the Austin and its significance until they get there.

Phuoc Duyen Tower

 

Thien Mu Pagoda

 

Upon entering the pagoda, the The Phuoc Duyen tower greets you with all it’s glory. It’s an octagonal shaped, seven storey beauty. From what we’ve read, seven is a sacred number in Vietnam. Even the number of stairs can on each storey is divisible by seven.

In the same area is a six-sided pagoda, home to the Dai Hong Bell. Built in roughly 1710, this ~2,000 kg, this behemoth is audible from 10 kilometers away.

On the other side of Phuoc Duyen tower is a building that houses a stela that dates back as far as 1715.

Pagoda Grounds

Through the main gate is the Dai Hung Temple. This beautiful building is an active temple and loved by locals.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda

 

Towards the rear there are a number of other temples and shrines. Each one has its own unique origin and legend around it. We’ve read so many different things that it would be good to have a guide to know which ones are true.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda, UNESCO World Heritage site, things to do in Hue, Historic place of interest, must see in Vietnam, things to do in Vietnam

 

Just walking around the grounds leaves you with this calm and peaceful feeling.

Mind you we did get there right on open time and there weren’t many people there yet. Our advice is to get there just before it opens to enjoy as much of it in peace as you can.

What other things are there to do in Hue?

Hue has a lot on offer and it’s one of our favorite cities to visit in Vietnam!

 

Hue Itinerary must have – The Imperial Palace

 

 

Is this your first visit to our website? Then welcome!

We’re Leon and Tash and we did an epic road trip around Vietnam on two funky Honda Waves. We do our adventures and then share them with our Tribe!

If you want to see more then follow our adventures here on this website, as well as our Leon and Tash YouTube channel.

Looking for something specific? We might be able to help on the Our Two Cents page or feel free to drop us a comment below.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one…