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Backpacking in Vietnam: Travel-Tips & Experiences

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In this blog post, we summarized all our noteworthy travel tips and experiences from one-month backpacking in Vietnam.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Where we stayed in Ho Chi Minh City

Happy Saigon Hostel (mixed 8-bed dormitory)
Price range: $
Our rating: 5/5
Breakfast: very good (different options and Vietnamese coffee)
Good to know: the room and bathroom were very small and dark, the owner was one of the kindest people we have met, good laundry service

The JOY Hostel (mixed 10-bed dormitory)
Price range: $
Our rating: 4/5
Breakfast: not included
Good to know: the common room was very small, the hostel was hard to find, really new, clean rooms and nice owner

Topical Vibes Homestay (mixed 10-bed dormitory) – we don’t recommend
Price range: $
Our rating: 1/5
Breakfast: not included
Good to know: dirty bathroom, rats in the kitchen and unfriendly staff

Sunset view from a rooftop bar at the backpacker street Bui Vien in Saigon
Sunset from “The View Rooftop Bar” in Ho Chi Minh

Where we ate in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Self-cooking
  • Großer Markt ( Ben Tanh)
  • Banh Mi (Street Food)
  • ABC Bakery
  • Phuong Hoang Cafe (Bui Vien Road, vegetarian food)

highlights of our stay in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Breakfast at the Happy Saigon Hostel
  • Doing workouts in the park in the early morning
  • Watching the sunset from the “The View Rooftop Bar
  • Visit Binh Quoi tourist village
Binh Quoi tourist village in Saigon Vietnam
The Binh Quoi tourist village near Ho Chi Minh

Travel-Tips for Ho Chi Minh City

  • Visit the Binh Quoi tourist village
  • The „Secret Garden Restaurant“ ($$)
  • Enjoy sundown from a rooftop bar or from the “Thu Thiem Bridge”
  • Visit the pink „Tan Dinh Church“
  • There is a huge supermarket (Co.opmart) in the Cong Quynh Street (but fruits and vegetables are more expensive than on the local market)
Pink Church in Saigon aka "Tan Dinh Church"
The pink “Tan Dinh Church” in Ho Chi Minh

Mui Ne

Where we stayed in Mui Ne

The Source Kiteboarding Lodge (budget double room)
Price range: $$
Our rating: 2/5
Breakfast: very good, different international options
Good to know: don’t book the cheapest room, it is souterrain, only has a small window and it smelled fishy all the time!

Travelers sitting on the red sand dunes of Mui Ne
Us sitting on the red sand dunes of Mui Ne

Where we ate in Mui Ne

  • Nha Hang Nhu Bao (a local restaurant across from The Sinh Tourist)

Highlights of our stay in Mui Ne

  • Fairy Springs
  • Red Dunes
  • Fishers Village
Orange sand at the Fairy Springs in Mui Ne
The fairy springs in Mui Ne

The best Travel-Tip for Mui Ne

  • Enjoy the sunrise at the Red Sand Dunes and go to the local fishing village afterwards (8 AM seemed like the rush hour)
Vietnamese fisher boats at the coast of Mui Ne
Boats of the fishers in Mui Ne

Da Lat

Where we stayed in Da Lat

The Lemongrass Homestay (family room)
Price range: $$
Our rating: 5/5
Breakfast: very good; DIY and Vietnamese coffee all-day
Good to know: scooter rental available, very friendly hosts

Where we ate in Da Lat

  • Quan Com Chay Au Lac
  • Fruits and vegetables from the market
The Crazy house in Da Lat in Vietnam
The Crazy House in Da Lat

Highlights of our stay in Da Lat

  • Datanla Waterfall
  • The Crazy House
Landscape of Da Lat
Scooter trip in Da Lat

Highlights of our stay in Da Lat

  • The „100 Roof Bar“
  • Rent a scooter to explore nature in the south of Da Lat

Ninh Van

Where we stayed in Ninh Van

Ninhvana Vietnam Backpackers Hostel (mixed 16-bed dormitory room)
Price range: $$
Our rating: 4/5
Breakfast: good, actually included, but toppings were really overpriced!
Good to know: the sea was really dirty, lots of activities offered, the food was delicious but expensive

Where we ate in Ninh Van

  • Ninhvana Vietnam Backpackers Hostel

Highlights of our stay in Ninh Van

  • Free waterfall tour
  • Sports facilities

The best travel-tip for Ninh Van

  • Bring your own food if you are on a tight budget!

Nha Trang

Where we stayed in Nha Trang

Mojzo Inn (deluxe 2-bed room)
Price range: $$$
Our rating: 5/5
Breakfast: very good
Good to Know: free coffee and cake in the afternoon, very friendly staff, workout area, very comfy mattress

nha trang, vietnam, sky
Nha Trang

Where we ate in Nha Trang

  • Quan Com Chay Bo De: best vegetarian food ever and very cheap
  • Fruits from the market

The highlight of our Stay in Nha Trang

  • WiFi and food (we didn´t do anything else)

Cat Ba (Halong Bay)

Where we stayed on Cat Ba (or rather Halong Bay)

Thanh Luan Hotel (deluxe double room)
Price range: $
Our rating: 3/5
Breakfast: okay, the omelet was deep fried and the soup was an instant soup
Good to know: there are rooms with window and rooms without; the room with a window maybe 10.000 VD more

Where we ate on Cat Ba

  • Tinh Tam Quan/ The Buddha Belly Travel (vegetarian restaurant): was okay, but nothing special
  • Nha Hang Xuan Huong: great fried rice and noodles, very cheap
Limestones in Halong Bay in Vietnam
Limestones in Halong Bay

Highlights of our stay on Cat ba (or rather Halong Bay)

  • Boat tour
  • cave hospital
Couple kayaking in Halong Bay Vietnam
We went kayaking in Halong Bay

Travel-Tips for Cat Ba and Halong Bay:

  • Scooters on Cat Ba were the cheapest (2$) in Vietnam
  • The Lan Ha Bay is less crowded than the Halong Bay even though it is pretty much the same

Ninh Binh

Where we Stayed in Ninh Binh

Huong Sen Homestay and Massage Ninh Binh (double room)
Price range: $
Our rating: 4/5
Breakfast: okay, the pancakes were deep-fried, but Vietnamese coffee
Good to Know: very comfy mattress, our bus to Moc Chau was overpriced and an overcrowded Mini-Van

Where we ate in Ninh Binh

  • We bought some fruits on our way to the hotel, there isn’t much around the hotel
  • We had the best egg coffee and egg chocolate at “Brick Coffee”; the owner showed us how to make it
Hang Mua hilltop in Ninh Binh Vietnam
Hang Mua hilltop in Ninh Binh

Highlights of our stay in Ninh Binh

  • We found a beautiful lighted temple by night
  • We didn´t find a pagoda we were looking for
  • Disgusting food at the streets
Water buffalos on rice fields in Ninh Binh
Water buffalos on rice fields in Ninh Binh

Travel-tip for Ninh Binh

  • Rent a scooter to explore the limestone mountain area

Moc Chau

Where we stayed in Moc Chau

House by Lake – Nha Ben Suoi (standard bungalow)
Price range: $$
Our rating: 4/5
Breakfast: not included
Good to Know: mattress was hard, in winter it gets really cold in the night

The November (Standard King Room)
Price range: $$$
Our rating: 5/5
Breakfast: not included
Good to Know: the accommodation opened in October 2018, very friendly owner, good Vietnamese coffee

Where we ate in Moc Chau

  • Moc Chau Quan: there are 3 local restaurants across the Bank, all of them offer good local food for less money
  • fruits and vegetables from the market
Mountain view in Moc Chau in Vietnam
Mountain view in Moc Chau

Highlights of our stay in Moc Chau

  • We got invited by our new friend Minh for lunch (she is the owner of our first accommodation and a café called “Minh”). She cooked a vegetarian meal and we had the chance to listen to the stories of a young open-minded woman.
A couple on a scouter in Moc Chau in northern Vietnam
Scooter trip in Moc Chau

Travel-tip for Moc Chau

  • Rent a (expensive, 9$) scooter to see the surrounding of Moc Chau, it´s worth every penny!

Mai Chau

Where we stayed in Mai Chau

The Mai Chau Ecolodge
Price range: $$$$
Our rating: 5/5
Breakfast: great, buffet with all kind of delicious food
Good to Know: free bicycles, free traditional dancing show in the evening

Where we ate in Mai Chau

  • Mai Chau Ecolodge
  • Local peoples home
The Mai Chau Eco-Lodge in Vietnam
The Mai Chau Eco-Lodge

Highlights of our stay in Mai Chau

  • Eating, drinking and dancing with local people

Travel-tip for Mai Chau

  • Take a bicycle ride during sunset through the rice fields of Mai Chau

Hanoi

Where we stayed in Hanoi

D’annam Hostel Hanoi (mixed 8 people dormitory with double beds)
Price range: $
Our rating: 3/5
Breakfast: good, buffet but you have to eat outside, which can be very cold in winter
Good to Know: free beer for one hour in the evening, very small rooms

Hanoi Golden Hotel
Price range: $$
Our rating: 4/5
Breakfast: good, different egg options and fruits
Good to Know: they may even give you a little discount if you ask for it

Where we ate in Hanoi

  • Aubergine Café: really good veggie curry and garlic aubergine
  • V-Cuisine: we recommend Bun Tron and Bun Xao Chay
  • Chops: good veggie burgers with truffle fries but very pricy
  • Hidden Gem Café: great egg coffee and iced coconut coffee
Creative smartphone shot of a backpacking girl at the train street in Hanoi
The train street in Hanoi

Highlights of our stay in Hanoi

  • The streets of Hanoi were completely empty during the morning on the 5th of February, because of Tet
A travel girs holding a stick with colorful helium balloons in Hanoi
Anni holding balloons in the old quarter of Hanoi

Travel tips for Hanoi

  • Be aware of the circumstances in Southeast Asia during the Tet holidays
  • Spend a few hours just with walking through the Old Quater

More articles about Vietnam on our blog:

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