Planning to go backpacking in Southeast Asia? Make sure you also visit Vietnam! Familiarise yourself with the visa regulations of the countries you intend to visit. For instance, to visit Vietnam, you need a Vietnam visa.
Vietnam is great for backpackers
Every year, a large number of holidaymakers from the UK head to Vietnam. Vietnam is becoming more and more popular among backpackers, and not without reason. The cost of living, accommodation and transport in Vietnam is low, which means that you can see and experience a lot even on a limited budget. The flight is likely going to be the biggest expense: depending on the season, a return ticket will cost you around £470. The country is therefore ideal for backpackers who have less to spend or who want to save money for the rest of their trip.
In addition to the low cost of living, Vietnam is also a country where you can enjoy delicious food, an exotic culture and varied landscapes. There are things to do almost everywhere in the country, so you will never be bored. If you want to immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife or explore the busier cities, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are the right places to go. If you need to relax afterwards, Nha Trang, Mui Né or one of the islands in the south of Vietnam are a good idea. Furthermore, you can visit the impressive caves or hop on the back of a local's motorbike during the Easy Rider tour to explore the unknown places together. Although the country has industrialised a lot in the last decade, there are still many unspoiled natural landscapes and authentic villages to be found.
Travelling in Vietnam
Before you hit the road in Vietnam, by whatever means of transport, it is useful to familiarise yourself with a number of things so that you are not faced with surprises. Although the infrastructure is generally well organized, there seem to be no traffic rules according to British standards. Priority is given to the one who drives the fastest. A more comfortable and above all safer alternative to the motorbike or bus is the train. Most of the country's sights are easily reached by train. If you do choose to drive yourself, know that in some cases it is cheaper to buy a moped or motorbike instead of renting one. Renting pays per day, but the amount you pay for a moped or motorbike is a one-off payment, and when you sell it at the end of your trip, you are likely to receive a large part of it back. A faster but more expensive alternative are domestic flights. Take note: the later you book your flight, the higher the prices will be.
Vietnam is a relatively safe country
Apart from the chaotic traffic, Vietnam is relatively safe. A good dose of common sense will get you far. Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of local customs and habits so that you do not unintentionally offend people. Always make sure to consult the safety information provided by the Foreign Office before travelling.
The best time to travel
The best time to travel to Vietnam largely depends on which part of the country you want to visit. Due to the characteristic long shape of the country, there are large differences in climate between the North and the South. In addition, the country has different rainy seasons.
In the north, where Ha Long Bay, the Ho Dynasty Citadel and the capital Hanoi (all on the UNESCO World Heritage List) are located, temperatures are pleasant in July and August. At the same time, these two months are the rainy season in this part of the country. From November to March there is the least chance of precipitation, but it can get quite cold in these months. It is therefore best to visit the north of Vietnam in the months of October to April. However, Vietnam has even more cities, areas and sights that are worth visiting. In central Vietnam, for example, you will find the harbour town of Hoi An and the bustling city of Danang. Here, the rainy season starts in September and lasts until December. Temperatures are high from April to September, making February and March the best months to travel to this part of the country. If you want to go to the south of the country, for example to visit Saigon or the fantastic beaches Phu Quoc or Con Dao, you should take into account the rainy season from May to October. Temperatures here are fairly constant throughout the year.
What you should not forget
Backpackers naturally take their trusty backpack with them in the first place. Indeed, this is a must-have for every traveller to Vietnam. In addition, you should of course bring your passport, airline ticket and payment card. If you are using a debit card, make sure it is unblocked for usage worldwide, otherwise you will not be able to use it in Vietnam.
Hiking shoes are also not a superfluous luxury in Vietnam. Sturdy shoes offer reliable protection against most snake bites and are therefore strongly recommended. In addition, take a travel plug with you to be on the safe side. In general, type C plugs are most commonly used in Vietnam, but type A and D plugs are also available. Keep in mind that the tap water in Vietnam is not drinkable. So stock up on water when you arrive in the country.
Apply for a visa
One document you should definitely not forget for a trip to Vietnam is the Vietnam visa. Since 2018, the visa for Vietnam can be easily applied for online. Check in advance whether you meet all the requirements of the visa and also take into account the validity period and maximum length of stay. The e-visa Vietnam allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of thirty days, which is sufficient for most backpacking trips.