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…

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…

Hong Thien Ruby your heavenly stay in Hue

Hong Thien Ruby

Hong Thien Ruby

Heavenly Hong Thien Ruby in Hue is waiting for you!

You’ve heard about the beauty of Hue and decided to go see what the Forbidden Purple City is all about.

The list of things to see is long, the way to get there clear. What is unclear, is where to stay.

How we found Hong Thien Ruby hotel?

We found this little gem purely by accident after a rough start to our Hue adventure.  It was our third hotel in three days and our first two experiences were a tad hair raising.

Thankfully Hong Thien Ruby restored our faith in Hue hospitality.  And why it is our first option when planning our next trip back to Hue.

Where in Hue is Hong Thien Ruby?

She’s tucked away in smallish alley off Chu Van An, right in the middle of the tourist area. If you were to simply walk down the street, you would never know it was there.

Hong Thien Ruby Chu Van Anh

The location is also perfect for getting around Hue on foot or by taxi and ride share.

An added bonus is that even though it’s in the busier part of town, you would never know it. The hotel sits at the back of the lane way, making it a quiet and enjoyable option. (Town can get rowdy over the weekends.)

How long did we stay at Hong Thien Ruby?

For this visit, we stayed five nights and would happily have stayed longer.  But we had work commitments to attend to at a different venue.

How much does Hong Thien Ruby cost?

We paid VND350,00 per night (~USD16 or ~NZD23 per night) for a double room with en suite, including daily breakfast.

We thought it was a great price for the location and what was on offer. (Feel free to check HotelCombined for comparisons.)

[Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a booking via the link, we get a small commission that helps keep us on the road. For that we thank you immensely.]

Why choose Hong Thien Ruby?

There are plenty of reasons to choose Hong Thien Ruby.

For a smaller, lower price point property it delivers a high level of quality and service.

The rooms are comfortable and well laid out (even the smaller double rooms). This one came with a queen size bed which is larger than the standard double bed you’ll find in most of the other hotels.

Hong Thien Ruby Double Room

We also work on the road. So, the desk in the room came in handy for one of us and the other had the option of working at a table in the reception area.

I worked in reception for a couple of days and was rewarded with regular delivery of freshly made fruit juice during the day. Not something you get up in the room or a working space LOL. It was a nice touch and made the working day a lot more enjoyable.

Hong Thien Ruby fresh fruit juice

The en suite was very clean with no signs of water leaks or mold and had ventilation to the outside. This may sound silly but in a tropical humid country it can be an issue that could spoil your stay.

An added bonus here was the shower. It was tall enough for 6’3” Leon to fit under comfortably and it had the best pressure! Not to mention plenty of hot water (also an issue that seems to crop up regularly here in Vietnam).

They offer laundry services, so you don’t have to run around trying to find it yourself.  Our laundry came back in good condition and was done on the same day.

The best part about Hong Thien Ruby?

The norm here in Vietnam is fresh bread rolls and eggs (which is a good way to start the day). But here at At Hong Thien Ruby they spoil you a bit more. You get a cooked to order breakfast and you can have as much as you want! The letter being very unusual for other accommodation options.

Hong Thien Ruby included breakfast

The selections are great and cooked with that homemade touch. Very yummy!

Hint: Try the banana pancakes. It’s a house specialty and they are scrumptious!

We will admit that we’ve had better coffee elsewhere, but their juices are a great alternative.  Made from fresh fruit and vegetables every day, they are very tasty.

Another great thing about Hong Thien Ruby’s  and her location is that Chu Van An turns into a walking street from Friday to Sunday between 6PM and 12AM so you’re right there for the action too.

If you want some free entertainment. Wander down to the intersection of Võ Thị Sáu and Chu Văn An. On the weekends, they have random people come together to play musical instruments and sing. It’s a form of street karaoke and it is great fun to watch.

Parking at Hong Thien Ruby

Scooter parking is available but limited. If you are travelling on your own bike, best check before you make the booking, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be an issue.

Note, there is no parking or access to the hotel for vehicles. Something to think about if you’re travelling with luggage that is not easy to move.

We can’t stop talking about the service

The staff at Hong Thien Ruby were outstanding which made our trip to Hue even more memorable. They were always happy to help with anything and offered great recommendations for food and attractions in Hue.

They spoke very good English and were a pleasure to interact with.

Would we recommend Hong Thien Ruby?

For us and our accommodation needs, it’s a winner! We couldn’t find fault with this property, hence why it is our go to option for Hue now. If you choose to stay here, please let us know what you think of it in the comments.

That’s it for our stay at Hong Thien Ruby

Many thanks for reading our review on Hong Thien Ruby. We would like to mention that this is not a paid piece either, we truly enjoyed our stay here and wanted to share it with you.

If you’d like to read more reviews like this, please head over to Our Two Cents!

And if you want to read about our adventures in Vietnam, check out our Destinations Page.

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

 

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A month in Vietnam already, hard to believe!

WOW! You can blow me over with a feather right now. I can’t believe we’ve been in this apartment for a month already. (Cue Home Alone face palm, panic moment).

So many memories already!

I had a look and between us, we’ve taken over 900 photos this month. Some you have seen on Facebook and Insta, and others haven’t made it to the stage yet. That’s working towards extraordinary mind you so we’re still a work in progress.

We have 76 Facebook, 148 Insta and 28 YouTube followers. Doesn’t sound like much I know. When you consider that millions of people are online during any 24-hour period and just as many uploading, those numbers are amazing to a beginner. These 252-ish people have taken the time to follow our adventure so far. And that is pretty freaking fantastic if you ask me.

So, what have we done over this month? A fair bit to be honest. We haven’t shared everything because not everything goes to plan. That’s normal.

Learning curves

We’ve set out with the greatest of intentions to film everything and bring you a masterpiece every time. Hasn’t happened much. Why not you ask? Well the YouTube gig has been an epic learning curve.

The best thing about that learning curve? We get to do it without stressing about the holiday or weekend coming to an end. We don’t stress if we don’t get it because, well, we can come back and try it again. Learn from our mistakes and do it again. The idea of being somewhere for a month already and not achieving all our goals if foreign too but we’re adjusting to it easy enough.

That part of the process is both frustrating and fun. For every step you take forward, you sometimes take two the side. That’s okay too, because you learn something new again in those sideways steps. Even better, you make a new discovery all together and BAM, you found yourself a new adventure to pursue.

I can explore with writing blogs which is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. Now I have that opportunity. No idea how it’s going to go but I’m stoked I’m getting the chance to try it.

Achievements this past month

The things we’ve done this month so far;
Moved to a new country (developing country I will add) – read more about it here or you can watch it.

Find our new home has changed completely in the two years we’ve been away. But it’s okay because she is growing from caterpillar to butterfly.

Discovering new and delicious food. Some containing hellish peppers that want to kill you on the spot. (Night 3, my first banh mi since being back. It contained a large jalapeno pepper and didn’t end well for me, and I haven’t been back for more).

Found a new apartment to move into – more on that in our post and vlog.

Rediscover the city you fell in love with. Exploring her every nook and cranny again like it was the first time (and we haven’t even covered it all yet).

Go for a walk on the beach three or more mornings a week without having to stress about making it to work on time.

Meeting awesome expats and nomads daily.

Making amazing new online friends, aka our Tribe (my favourite).

Meeting fantastic locals and hearing their insane stories.

Sorting our Vietnamese licenses (should arrive next week, stay tuned for more adventures).

What did we get up to during the month?

We did a laundry list of activities, like;

Sunworld Asia Park, (see our vlog)

Helio Night Market (see our vlog)

Helio night market
Da Nang Free Walking tour, (see our post and vlog

Market exploring, (watch the vlog)

Food exploring (we’re working on a better vlog for this one),

Alley exploring,

Midnight missions just walking around,

Da Nang Vietnam
Military Zone 5 Museum,(see the vlog)
The Linh Ung Pagoda,

Linh Ung Pagoda
The Da Nang Fresco Village, (read the post and watch the vlog)

Upside Down World Da Nang,

Upside Down World Da Nang
Some scary as hell taxi and share rides here, there and everywhere. (More to come so stay tuned. I can see those that know us starting to grin lol). We’re hoping in another month to depend less on these.

We will sit or stand in one spot and be absolutely blown away by the world around us and how different it is from our ‘own’.

Watching the city grow in a month

We’re witnessing a country that has only had their freedom for the last 46 years. It’s trying to catch up with the rest of the world, and they are doing remarkably well. Consider this for a moment. The city we live in only had three storey buildings up until six years ago. Now think of the photos I’ve posted (Or see the one below.  Most of those high rises have only been there for the last two years.).

A month of beach walks - My Khe Beach Da Nang

It’s a very clever nation and they deserve a pat on the back for their efforts. It can’t be easy catching up in today’s economic environment.

The things we miss about home

With that in mind, there are a few things that could use a tweak. Such as plinths.

What is a plinth? I hear ya! I had no idea until we moved into this apartment on how important those obscure little features are. (Those with carpenters in the family are probably rolling around on the floor laughing right now. Please, be my guest lol).

The plinth is the bit of wood that sits back a bit and separates the cabinets from the floor. VERY important little bit of wood that one. Because they stop your toes and toenails from getting ripped off lol. Not having somewhere out of the way to put your feet while you try and open the door is a mare! I’ve developed this somewhat of a duck foot now when approaching the cupboards to save my pain receptors.

A month of watching our toes

Also on the we-don’t-need-those-here list, is sound insulation. We’re on the fifth floor and can pretty much hear everything in the whole building. Be it the crowd upstairs doing their bathroom duties to the guy who is always sneezing on the second floor. Oh, and the uhm other bits that make everybody in the building blush.

Speaking of floors, we actually have six but the lift doesn’t go up that far, only the shaft does. The lift stops on our floor and then you have to traipse yo’self up two sets of stairs to get to the most expensive digs in the building. Glad I didn’t have to explain that one to the boss lol.

Also, there is no normal water system to any of these buildings. There is a separate water tank on each roof and they run off very noisy water pumps. Being so close to the roof, we’ve become use to the noise now.

More oddities

Oh man I can go on and on. One more thing on the buildings that cracks me up is that they are built right up against each other. Not even a centimetre of space between them. Imagine living in the building that is being built next to, at 5AM (Cue another Home Alone palm slap).
And construction is rampant here. A one to two storey will get demolished in two to three days and construction on a four plus storey starts the next day. And it doesn’t stop until the sun disappears. Count your council blessings lol.

Vietnamese construction

Ah yes, the next item has been the object of my terrors and nightmares lol. The ever-present bum gun. Yup, you heard that right. Instead of good ‘ol toilet paper they have sprayers that you use to hose down your hoohah area when you’re done. That includes you boys, erm men haha.

A few logistical issues with this one. I can’t go into detail as I might get banned from publishing another blog lol. I’m not a fan, at all. The silver lining on this one is that we have been using a lot less toilet paper than we would have back home. That’s a good thing.

The things we love!

Now one of my favourites. Spas, heavenly spas. They are everywhere! I have about six within a minute walk from my building. I’ve tried a couple and found one lady that does everything.
She is great, very affordable and a pleasure to visit. I’m going to miss her when our time here is done. A hair cut costs me NZ$3.50 (No wash or blow dry – will try that next time as you have to ask for it), and a pedicure costs NZ$6.00. Can’t complain about that. Dung from Ocean Spa offers amazing services including hair, massage, mani’s/pedi’s, waxing and more.

Power is pretty cheap here too. We had our first bill this week and it cost us NZ$52 for the month. We run an aircon day and night when we are here as we have the sun on us most of the day.

Food

Food and coffee are a dime a dozen. You can eat like a king for NZ$30, or you can slurp a delicious bowl of Pho (pronounced Fhuu) for NZ$2.40. Best part is you won’t need another meal for the rest of the day. The food is flavoursome, well cooked with a fair bit of French influence with generous portions.

A month of food in Da Nang

It does pay to be careful though. We are particular with our eating spots as a lot of the local places prepare their food out in the open. Don’t panic though. The food is freshly purchased and consumed every day. Try to avoid drunken food raids at 11PM when the food is not cooked in front of you though.

Coffee

Oh, and the coffee. The coffee is heavenly. Even the instant coffee (which I’m not normally a fan of – I know I’m a total coffee snob, I’ll own it lol), is pretty potent here. There are coffee shops everywhere and most are cheap as chips and offer free Wi-Fi.

Cong Ca Phe Da Nang - a month of coffee

Drinking water – important one. Everywhere we go here, we’re told not to drink the tap water as the quality is questionable. I’m a bit paranoid by this one so I boil the tap water we use for dishes and cooking with. Drinking water comes from a 20lt bottle we buy from a convenience store around the corner. One of those sets us back sixty cents, about every two to three weeks.

The things that are a little different to home

Grocery shopping is a bit different to home. Not as cheap as eating out every day but then the locals have a different way of doing things. You need to speak the language and have master level negotiation skills. I have neither so I’m staying clear of the markets for now. If you’re brave, you can get fresh fruit and veg, meat, fish, etc. for cheap. I’m working my way up to that one O, Ooo and Ouo at a time. While market shopping for food can be great, we really haven’t found much need for as we only did one grocery run this month.  The street food and eateries are super cheap and convenient enough that you don’t have to go shop for food.

Speaking of language, we started Vietnamese lessons this week. The first one didn’t go so well, but we’re not giving up yet. There is going to be a fair amount of practice required but we’re up for the challenge. We’ll keep you posted.

All that in a month!

In a nutshell, our first month has been a rollercoaster ride. We’ve had ups and downs and a few nights missing home (mainly Tash), but we’re quickly distracted by the things to come. We are having a blast and now that we have the licenses on the way we can start planning the main attraction. Stay tuned for more.

Until then, thanks for reading and see you in the next post…

Da Nang – the must see city of Vietnam

Things to do in Vietnam Da Nang City