The first thing you have to do before planning any Vietnam Travel is get yourself a visa.
A Visa to Thailand or Cambodia is easy to get.
You can purchase a visa online for Cambodia Travel and then Thailand offers a free 30 Day visa to all tourists entering through ANY of its border crossings.
Not So When You Travel Vietnam.
You cannot, under any circumstance, purchase your Vietnam Visa at any of its border crossings.
Without a pre-purchased Vietnam travel visa from a travel agent or an Overseas Vietnamese Embassy, you are not going to travel Vietnam or even get across the border.
Whether you fly into Saigon or Hanoi, Vietnam will be a place you'll come once and not soon forget.
But I'm not saying the memories will be good or bad ones.
It seems there is no middle ground with people on Vietnam.
They either find it charming or offensive.
I flew into Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) airport and went straight to the Pham Ngu Lao area of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
If you're looking for a short term room at a budget rate while you travel Vietnam then there is only one place to go. Check out some of the incredible Hotels in Vietnam.
The Hotels and Guest Houses are numerous and so close together that you can walk the entire block in 20 minutes and see all of the 60 odd places to stay.
Don't pay more than $6USD for a taxi if you are coming from the airport. If you're coming overland to do your Vietnam Travel, then you can sleep on the bus and don't worry.
All tourist buses call the Pham Ngu Lao area of Saigon their first, last and only stop.
In the Video below you can watch as I get off the bus on De Tham street in the Pham Ngu Lao area (District #1).
I Like the video because you can actually see, with your own eyes, what to expect. You could practically use the video to pick out the Guesthouse you'd like to stay in.
Here is a video of me arriving by bus on De Tham Street in the Pham Ngu Lao area of Ho Chi Minh City.
Saigon is a really bustling, lively and just plain in your face kind of place. Hanoi is not quite so crowded but the elements remain the same.
If you are looking to relax and sit by the beach while the birds chirp their pattered love songs then spend as little time on your Vietnam travel in the major cities.
But Vietnam is diverse with the beautiful central highlands of Dalat, the Amazing view of Halong Bay and the pristine deserted beaches lining the Eastern coastline.
Have a look at the Vietnam Beaches on offer. Some of them make any Vietnam travel headaches worth the sacrifice.
This Northern Capital city sits among tree-lined streets and the 24 lakes inter-spaced throughout the city. The buildings are as old and diverse as the moon is far.
You can see the Chinese influenced architecture from the last millennium and the French stamp obvious in the buildings from our own century.
Most Vietnam travel excursions from China or nearby Laos begin their journeys here.
It's a cool little place and anyone interested in seeing first-hand the roots of the country must come here.
And the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a freaky sight. They keep his body in an air-sealed glass cage that rises from the floor into the chilled air of a sealed room.
Still gives me the creeps but a must see.
Find out more about Hanoi.
Danang city is exactly halfway between Ho Chi Minh city in the South and Hanoi city in the North of Vietnam. It is a more industrial type city and is not a hot-spot for tourists.
Find out more about Danang.
Any Vietnam travel should include a visit to this medium sized city. Some places to see see are Da Noi (Palaces of the old Kings and Queens), Thien Mu Pagoda and at night, the Tien Bridge.
The last is a wonderful sight with all its lights up and changing colors.
During the day; however, if you go to Le Loi Street, you can see the bridge and pedal a swan across the river for 40,000 an hour. The Dong Ba Market is great to visit if you're looking for bargains on almost anything.
Find out more about Hue City.
About 45 minutes from Da Nang city. This city is often referred to as the "Venice of Vietnam" because of the narrow canals that cut through part of the town and serve as waterways for many various forms of small boat transportation.
Hoi An was originally founded by Japanese traders in the 16th century. It has since become Central Vietnam's most important port and trading center.
Find out more about Hoi An.
I asked my wife to marry me in Nha Trang. It was the first time we'd done any Vietnam travel together and I pushed hard to get her drunk before I asked.
Nha Trang is the beach city of Vietnam. It is home to some lovely beaches but they are far from the best in South-East Asia. Not even the best in Vietnam.
But fantastic seafood in Nha Trang and the Sailor's Club Restaurant on the beach is a magical place at night.
Find out more about Nha Trang.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is bustling with loud, honking motorbikes that thicken the air with the massive amount of pollution they create.
Just crossing the road in this abrasive city is an exercise in caution but Saigon serves up a powerful taste of Vietnam travel.
You will see a never boring array of life that is in constant motion in Saigon City (Ho Chi Minh City).
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is not packed with activities for tourists but there are a few shocking museums and a ride around the city on a motorbike might be the highlight of any Vietnam Travel.
Find out more about Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
The Mekong Delta is a flat agricultural area in the far south of Vietnam. It is honey-combed with waterways that locals use to get around on their tiny boats.
The Mekong is well worth a visit and you can book a nice 3 day excursion there from any travel agent.
A few months ago, I took a public bus to Chau Doc and spent a few days looking around then took a boat up the river to Phnom Penh.
I would recommend doing the same but it is not the quickest way to get over to Phnom Penh as you must overnight in Chau Doc and get the boat the following morning.
The quickest way overland is by getting The Mekong Express Limousine Bus to Phnom Penh.
The bus leaves Saigon at 06:00am from 161 Pham Ngu Lao Street. It's usually late.
(Frontier, Vietnamese Side of Border). Bus leaves here at 08:00am.
(Frontier, Cambodian Side of Border). Bus leaves here at 09:00am.
The bus arrives in Phnom Penh at 13:30pm. It's usually late.
About 300 km from Saigon is the ever-cool hillside city of Dalat. Temperatures here are always at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler than in Saigon.
If you are going to take the road up to Dalat city, then we recommend stopping at Cat Tien National Park along the way. You'll be glad you did.
The Dalat area is a very popular place for Vietnamese to visit and considered the perfect spot for newlyweds on their honeymoons.
I certainly don't recommend that you run out and book a hotel there for YOUR upcoming honeymoon though.
Find out more about Dalat.
Below is a video I took of the beaches in Vietnam. Lots of fresh crab and seafood on those beaches!
Most people I've met felt that their trip to Vietnam was a waste of time. They thought that the time would be better spent in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia.
Do you agree? Tell us why or ask us any detailed question about travel in Vietnam.
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