Vietnam is a gem of South East Asia offering a rich and diverse history, vibrant culture and plenty of fresh, tasty cuisine. From the bustling and moped-packed cities of Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south to the allure and mystery of Halong Bay and the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang, there is so much to explore you'll want to go back time and time again! From trekking and diving to shopping and eating, Vietnam holidays can be packed full with as much or as little as you like.
There are flights to Vietnam from London Heathrow arriving in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City via Bangkok. Flights take around 11 hours to Bangkok and a further two hours to either of the cities. If you're heading to the capital Hanoi, you'll arrive at Noi Bai International Airport, 35 kilometres north of the city. The cheapest option to get to the centre is by the local bus, although these can often be very crowded and confusing. Taxis can be expensive and drivers have been known to take you to a 'friends' hotel rather than the destination requested! An alternative is to ask if your hotel offers airport transfers, if they do this it's often a cheaper and more reliable option. The same applies if you're arriving in Ho Chi Minh or any other airports in Vietnam.
You can pick up relatively cheap domestic flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to further destinations such as Da Nang and Hue although the cheapest way to travel is by bus or train. Tourist buses and trains are surprisingly comfortable and relatively easy to negotiate, just be aware that Vietnam is pretty big, and journeys can often be long.
It's pretty easy to find cheap hotels in Vietnam. The best deals can usually be had by booking in advance and it's always worth asking for a discount if you're staying longer than a few days.
Good value, authentic Vietnamese fare can be picked up for next to nothing all over the country. Try one of the many street stalls or look out for restaurants serving pho, a delicious noodle soup with either beef or chicken. If you're after a nice cold beer forget heading to an upmarket bar - do as the locals do and go to one of the numerous street 'bars' that offer patrons a plastic chair on the pavement and cut price booze. The tiny chairs might not look that comfortable, but they're great for watching the hustle and bustle while enjoying a bottle of Saigon Do.
If you're going on holiday to Vietnam there's always a deal to be had - whether it's the cost of a tour or the price of some souvenirs, make sure you haggle lots and you're bound to pick up a bargain for next to nothing!
Updated 22nd May 2013
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