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 right  here.

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!

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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

Come meet 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 or contact us directly.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one…

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.

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

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

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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.

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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

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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.

Keen to see what other adventures we’ve been up to? Head on over to our Vietnam where we tell you more!

Thanks for coming on our beer corner experience 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.

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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…

 

Five Free Things to do in Da Nang

Five Free Things to do in Da Nang Vietnam
Whether your passing through or staying for a while, there is always something going on in this epic city. We’re here to tell you about five free things to do in Da Nang.

No great introduction to any new destination has to start with a hefty price tag and Da Nang is no exception. In fact, Da Nang has the unique advantage of offering both beach and city activities.  That alone, makes it the perfect all-round vacation destination.

Five free things to do in Da Nang

Free thing #1 – Da Nang Free Walking Tour

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Location: 108 Bach Dang street, Da Nang, Vietnam

 

Free walking tours are the best way to get a genuine introduction to this amazing city.

The guides are local university students who are are passionate about their city.  It’s also a chance for them to meet new people from all over and to practice their English.

For visitors, this is a chance to meet someone who can tell you more about the local food, entertainment and living side of Da Nang.

 

#VietnamVlog – Da Nang Free Walking Tour

 

The tour lasts about 2 hours and includes five planned stops. Between those, you get a ton of information on where to explore further on your own. It’s super easy to book too, just head to their Da Nang Free Walking Tour website.

Now, we listed this as a free thing to do in Da Nang as you don’t have to pay for the tour. There is an opportunity to give you guide a tip at the end IF you want to. More on that in the link below.

 

Free Walking Tour Intro to Da Nang  

 

Cheap upgrade tip: Test your haggling skills at Han Market while you have an interpreter there with you. That way you can communicate with the seller and you can come back with a bit more confidence later to buy more.

Free thing #2 – Da Nang Bridges

Free Walking Tour Da Nang, best things to do in Da Nang, Dragon Bridge, Da Nang Cathedral, Lady Buddha, free things to do in da nang, da nang fresco village

Location: Han River Da Nang

 

It’s true! Da Nang, is also known as the city of bridges and for good reason. It has 7 bridges and three of them are super stars with their own history. They are Han Bridge, Dragon Bridge and Than Thie Ly Bridge.

The most recognizable of the three is the famous Dragon Bridge. This one comes alive every Saturday and Sunday night at 9PM. Make sure to check it out as not only is watching the bridge fun, but watching the crowd is fascinating too.

#VietnamVlog – Da Nang Sunrise and Dragon Bridge

Cheap upgrade tip: Not fond of crowds? Then head down Tran Hung Dao street towards the Than Thie Ly bridge where you’ll find the street side vendors. They’ll prepare you a fresh coconut or sugar juice of your choice on request. All you have to do is grab a seat at one of their adorable tiny chairs and tables with the perfect view of the action. A fresh coconut should set you back about VND35,000 (~USD1.50 / ~AUD2.10) and the seat if free.

Free thing #3 – Da Nang Fresco Village

Da Nang Fresco Village, Free Walking Tour Da Nang, best things to do in Da Nang, Dragon Bridge, Da Nang Cathedral, Lady Buddha, free things to do in da nang

Location: 75 Nguyễn Văn Linh, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng

 

This is one of the neatest things we found in Da Nang and believe is part of a worldwide movement.

Local residents were looking for a way to get tourists and locals to interact more with each other. The idea of a fresco village came about and they set out inviting local artists to be part of the initiative.

Their aim was to transform their labyrinth of narrow alleys and high walls into an outdoor gallery where artists could show their talents and visitors could enjoy the artwork for free.  You just have to find the narrow entrance to let the magic begin.

 

Da Nang’s painted paradise

 

You can explore this spot in your own time, admiring the artworks and take as many pictures as you like. Each painting tells its own story and there are so many, you wouldn’t know what to look at first.

The Da Nang Fresco Village isn’t far from the city side of Dragon Bridge and absolutely worth the visit.

 

#VietnamVlog – Da Nang Fresco Village Street Art

 

Cheap upgrade tip: There is a small ‘outdoor food courtyard’ where you can buy a traditional Vietnamese herbal drink. There are other refreshments and light street food available too. It’s not expensive and the money goes back into the project for maintenance and expansion.

Free thing #4 The epic My Khe beach

My Khe Beach Da Nang, Free Walking Tour Da Nang, best things to do in Da Nang, Dragon Bridge, Da Nang Cathedral, Lady Buddha, free things to do in da nang, da nang fresco village

 

One of Da Nang’s stand out features is without a doubt its spectacular beach called My Khe, (pronounced Mi KE beach).

One of the best things to do on it is to simply walk along it, no matter the time of day. From dawn till dusk it’s everyone from tourists to locals’ favorite playground. It’s a great place to meet locals to, especially in the mornings.

Along Vo Nguyen Giap road is plenty to do, eat and drink too but it will cost you. Not much, just not free.

Cheap upgrade tip: Find a cheap beach cabana for the day. If you want to experience the most epic chill beach day of your life, then hire a lounger under a beach hut/cabana. It will cost you around VND40,000 (~USD1.70 / ~AUD2.40) but shop around, there are a few options. This way you get a comfy spot for the day and you don’t have to worry about getting fried. Also, where there’s a cabana, there’s usually refreshments too and loads of street food vendors that wander along the beach. Perfect, huh?

Free thing #5 The Linh Ung Pagoda (Lady Buddha)

Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Da Nang, Free Walking Tour Da Nang, best things to do in Da Nang, Dragon Bridge, Da Nang Cathedral, Lady Buddha, free things to do in da nang, da nang fresco village

Location: Chùa Linh Ứng, Hoàng Sa, Thọ Quang, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng

 

If you’re sitting on your beach lounger chilling on My Khe beach then you will notice a gigantic white figure standing at the base of the Son Tra Peninsula. What is it you ask?

She is the famous Lady Buddha and she is an epic 72 meters tall. The Lady of Mercy isn’t the only amazing thing about this spot either. It’s perfect spot for sunrises and sunsets, not to mention great photos.

 

Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula

 

The complex sits on 20 hectares so there is a lot of room. It is super popular with tourist crowds ! If you want the place almost to yourself, then you need to get in and out, well before 8AM or after 5PM-ish.

 

#VietnamVlog – Lady Buddha Da Nang

 

There is a small catch with this one. The complex is free to enter but you will need to get there which will either be by GRAB, taxi or a rental bike.

Neither of these options are expensive as it is a short ride out there and well worth a visit! If you do rent a bike/scooter than Son Tra Peninsula is another awesome free thing to go and check out!

What do you think of our five free things to do in Da Nang?

Have you been to any of these? Want to share your experience with us? Then please feel free to comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

If you haven’t been and have some questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We lived in Da Nang for 3 months, we might be able to help you with what you need.

Our Vietnam experiences

We’ve been to a few other places in Vietnam too.  If you want to find out more about our adventures, then head on over to the Our Two Cents or Destination pages. That where we tell you all about it.

Now we don’t just write pretty words either. You should watch all our Vietnamese adventures on our YouTube channel. Be kind to us lol!  Da Nang was where we started this crazy adventure and even we will admit that we were terrible in the beginning. But hey, we all grow, right?

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one…

Khach San Ngoc Phuong Bao Loc

Kach San Ngoc Phuong

Good budget accommodation in Bao Loc

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Khach San Ngoc Phuong was the first of what is going to be many one-nighters on the second stretch of our road trip adventure.

The LTXtraordinary Road Trip

So, why only one night in Bao Loc? We’ll tell you more in our Leg 10 blog. In the meantime, let’s tell you more about our over night stay.

Where to book Khac San Ngoc Phuong

If you haven’t met us before, first off, welcome. Secondly, if you had you would know we rave about the conveniences of using Hotels Combined. Especially when we are out on our road trip.

How we choose accommodation in Vietnam

Khac San Ngoc Phuong was our winner. Not only did it offer the basic conveniences we look for but it had a couple of our ‘luxury items’ too. Bonus!

In addition to the above it came at a great price which was why we booked it on the spot.

(PS: those are affiliate links. You don’t pay extra to use them but we do get a small commission and that helps keep us on the road longer and to tell you about more places like this one!)

Location

Our winner sat slightly past the town center at 184 Lam Sơn, Lộc Sơn, but this was on purpose. We chose this hotel because it sat just off the route we had mapped out for the next morning to Da Lat.

More importantly, it was close to a gas station and walking distance to a brand new Vincom complex. Handy for stocking up on water and Netflix supplies.

We also found a Jolibee inside and decided to have lunch while we were at it.

Facilities

Khach San Ngoc Phuong had stories and no elevator on site. The staircase was semi enclosed which buffered a bit of the ground level noise.

They offer two simple options in room type, namely twin and double rooms.

For us the bonus was that they had free, secure onsite parking. In fact, it was so secure we couldn’t even get to them the next morning. LOL. It didn’t take much to free them so there was no hassle there.

They also have free WiFi but we didn’t end up using it so can’t tell you if it’s any good or not.

Our Double Room

We stayed in a nice light and spacious double room at the front of the property. Furnished in traditional Vietnamese furniture.

Initially we thought it might be noisy due to the busy road but as soon as we settled in, we realized it wasn’t an issue at all.

We had a large bed with a firm mattress which wasn’t too uncomfortable. The linen was clean and decent and included a light blanket.

The room came with a small fridge, kettle, large flat screen TV and cable channels. Basic but nice.

We had a private bathroom in the familiar all-in-one style we’ve come to know so well. And it came stocked with clean towels and basic toiletries.

Unfortunately, the hot water didn’t last long but the pressure was good. Thankfully the small water heater worked fast and we didn’t have to wait too long to take showers.

Service

The check in process was easy.

I simply showed my passport, he took a photo of it and gave it back to me.

That was a first, as they will usually hold your passport until check out. Not sure why this was different, but if we find out, we’ll let you know.

Apart from the above, our only other interaction with staff was when they asked us to park the bikes in the garage.

They were very friendly and easy to interact with, even with the lack of English. We just used Google translate and that worked a treat.

Cost

Our one night cost us VND250,000 (~USD11.00 / ~AUD15.00). Not a bad deal at all.

Khach San Ngoc Phuong lets you book a room without using a credit card and you can pay in cash on check in or check out.

That’s our stay at Khach San Ngoc Phuong

The only thing that marred our stay a bit was the weird artificial bird song coming from the balcony.

The same song played continuous. It didn’t stop until around 11PM and fired up again at 5AM. It just wasn’t happiness.

But as I said it was the only thing that was frustrating and it’s small in the grand scheme of things.

The rest our stay was very enjoyable. We would happily use it again if we need another reason to overnight in Bao Loc. Next time in a back room though, ha-ha!

Have questions about Khach San Ngoc Phuong?

Hope this was of use but if you’re looking for more info, then try Our Two Cents Page or our Destination page.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Then feel free to leave us a comment below. Or you might find the answer on our Leon and Tash channel.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post…

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

Looking for budget accommodation in Hoi An? Then find out why Hoi An Riverlife Homestay should be your first choice.

Hoi An Old Town Hoi An accommodation

Sure, everyone is constantly on the hunt for accommodation in Hoi An old town. Why not, it’s charming and popular but it can get expensive! What if we told you about an option that is cheap, comfortable, has river views and offers exceptional service? The Hoi An Riverlife Homestay delivers all those things along with hospitality that is second to none!

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay was suggested to us by another traveler back when we were planning our first visit to Hoi An.

Generally, we tend to lean towards hotels and apartments over home stays. They tend to suit our travel needs better but in this case, we decided to give this one a go and we haven’t looked back.

Hoi An – central Vietnam’s little charm

This happened to be our third time staying at this simple but most hospitable home stay.

Hoi An Old Town Hoi An Accommodation

How we found Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

Back in April this year we planned our first trip to Hoi An. We were living in Da Nang at the time where one of our first Tribe members suggested Hoi An Riverlife Homestay) to us.

We hopped on our favorite accommodation booking site, Hotels Combined. Found it on there and booked it immediately!

(PS: those are affiliate links. You don’t pay extra to use them. By using them you help us earn a small commission that keeps us on the road to tell you about more awesome places like these! Thank you for your support, we appreciate it!)

Where to find Hoi An Riverlife Homestay?

The location is one of the best parts of this home stay. As the name suggests, it sits next to the Thu Bon River on An Hoi island at, 68 Road 18/8, Phường Minh An.

What makes this location so great? Well, you can look for the best accommodation in Hoi An Old Town or stay here where it’s a short walk to both Old Town and the Hoi An Night Market. Tucked away from crowds but close enough to immerse in the action whenever you want! 

Catching a taxi or GRAB from here is super easy too and the hosts will even arrange it if you want.

Hoi An Night Market Hoi An accommodation

Facilities

The Hoi An Riverlife Homestay is almost more hotel than home stay with private and comfortable rooms, a reception area that is open between 7AM and 11PM and they offer secure onsite motorbike parking.

The family do offer an array of activities that guests can enjoy such as:

  • a tradition BBQ with the family, 
  • shopping with the family at the local market, and
  • learning how to prepare a local dish
Ask Chi for more details on those.
Hoi An Old Town shopping Hoi An accommodation

They can also arrange transportation to and from the home stay to most places. These include areas around Hoi An and Da Nang or, as far up as Hue. We’ve used this service before. It’s reliable, cost effective and hassle free.

Another neat feature of this home stay is the rooftop terrace. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beverage at the end of the day or a morning cuppa while you wake up with the rest of Hoi An.

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay Accommodations

The home stay consists of two levels with two rooms per floor. There are two rooms with river views and the other two overlook Old Town. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and well designed with foreign visitors in mind.

There are three room types to choose from:

  • Standard Twin,
  • Superior Double, and
  • Family Room

We’ve stayed in both the superior double and family rooms.

Superior Double Room

We happened to stay in the same room on two of our visits and loved it!

This river view room was spacious and light. It also came with an added feature of a small balcony overlooking the Thu Bon river. (Perfect for a cheeky avo vino and nibbles).

Simply furnished with a comfortable large double bed, a small dresser, sitting area and luggage storage.

There was no blanket or duvet in any of our stays, but we found we didn’t need one. We’re pretty sure they will have one if you need it.

The private bathroom was clean and simple with a separate shower, western toilet and basin. Stocked with towels, toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste), and a hairdryer.

The room had a large flat screen TV with cable channels, a bar fridge and came with free WIFI.

The Family Room

The family room had all the same conveniences as the superior double with a few key differences.

The main area/room housed two large single beds, a flat screen TV and fridge. It also had double doors opening onto a balcony.

While the main bedroom had a large double bed, wardrobe and its own flat screen TV and balcony.

The private bathroom was also slightly bigger and offered the same amenities. It would easily accommodate up to four guests.

Service

Chi and her family will welcome you with open arms and make you feel right at home. That was the best part of all our stays at the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay.

The service doesn’t stop there either.

You can opt to order a home cooked breakfast and we hear it’s pretty impressive. (We’re always out the door so early and don’t want to bother them with getting up early to feed us.)

If you are not sure what to do in or around Hoi An then then just ask Chi. They have a wide variety of tours, activities and excursions on offer. They are very knowledgeable on the area and offer excellent recommendations.

All you have to do is ask.

How much does the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay cost?

The superior double room cost us VND300,000 (~USD13.00 / ~AUD18.00) a night.

For the family room, we paid VND400,000 (~USD18.00 / ~AUD24.00). (We did get a discount on this because it was our third stay with them in a year and they were showing us some love.)

Either way, we would happily pay standard pricing as it is totally worth it.

That’s it for our stays at the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

Being greeted with a giant smile and a warm hug every time we stay is what we love most about this home stay.

So, if this is your idea of home-away-from-home, then we highly recommend coming here.

Wondering what else is in Hoi An?

Never been to Hoi An? Don’t know how to get there? Check out our hilarious vlog about getting to Hoi An from Da Nang by scooter and public bus.

Hoi An is an incredible foodie destination and it where we tried our first street food adventure. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and modern options, have a read of our favorite spot to eat, Avos and Mango!

Hope this was of use but if you’re looking for more info on any of our other Vietnam adventures, then try Our Two Cents Page.

Thank you for reading and see you in the next one…

Hoi An old town night Hoi An accommodation