A Day Trip to Vinh Long Vietnam

From the moment you travel over the magnificent Mỹ Thuận Bridge, crossing the mighty… [more]

A Day Trip to Vinh Long Vietnam A Day Trip to Vinh Long Vietnam

Vietnam Myanmar Visa free Agreement from 26 October

Vietnam and Myanmar will soon in act an agreement to allow visa free entry into each other’s… [more]

Vietnam Myanmar Visa free Agreement from 26 October Vietnam Myanmar Visa free Agreement from 26 October

Single Indochina Visa Option for Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam not Far Away

It looks increasingly likely that Vietnam will join the Indochina visa agreement that… [more]

Single Indochina Visa Option for Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam not Far Away Single Indochina Visa Option for Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam not Far Away

Vietnam Airlines Nha Trang Moscow Direct Service is Launched

A direct airline service between Nha Trang and Moscow was launched today by Vietnam Airlines… [more]

Vietnam Airlines Nha Trang Moscow Direct Service is Launched Vietnam Airlines Nha Trang Moscow Direct Service is Launched

Vietnamese New Year Tet Festival and Dates

Tết Nguyên Đán or simply Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival and is the most important… [more]

Vietnamese New Year Tet Festival and Dates Vietnamese New Year Tet Festival and Dates

Etihad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Flights set from October 2013

Etihad Airways will begin Ho Chi Minh City services from 1 October 2013 making Vietnam… [more]

Etihad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Flights set from October 2013 Etihad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Flights set from October 2013

Vietnam Airlines Baggage Allowances

If you are flying to or within Vietnam with the countries national carrier Vietnam Airlines,… [more]

Vietnam Airlines Baggage Allowances Vietnam Airlines Baggage Allowances

Vietnam Travel Guides

Ho Chi Minh City night

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Travel and Destination Guide

Saigon known today as Ho Chi Minh City and is the largest city in Vietnam which is officially home to nearly 8 million people (in reality it’s a lot more) and is the business and economic capital of Vietnam. Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City will find it a youthful and vibrant and city, that is developing at a staggering rate after relations between Vietnam and the west were normalised in the early 90s. As a travel destination Ho Chi Minh City has a lot to offer travellers whether it is for the cities tasty food, great shopping experiences, architecture or for the history and culture. For easy navigation to the different sections of this Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Travel and Destination Guide please refer to the following index for direct access to the relevant section. Saigon Weather and Seasons | Transportation Into Out Saigon | Transport In Around Saigon | Things to do in Saigon | Shopping in Saigon | Food and Drink in Saigon | Saigon Hotels and Accommodation   Saigon Weather and Seasons As with the majority of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City have two distinct seasons the Dry Season which runs from October through to March and the Wet Season which runs from April through to September. By far the best to visit Ho Chi Minh City and the rest of Vietnam is during the Dry season with the best months being December and January as there is rarely rain and both heat and humidity are a lot lower than average. During the Wet Season expect rain on a daily basis and for part of this season it can rain non-stop for days added to this heat and humidity are very high. For a more detailed listing of the weather and seasons in Ho Chi Minh City look my previous post Ho Chi Minh City Weather and Seasons Transportation Into and Out of Saigon Because of Ho Chi Minh City’s status as the largest city in Vietnam transport you should not find yourself stuck for transport options into out of and around the the city. Flights into Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Around 45 International Airlines run services into Ho Chi Minh Cities Tan Son Nhat International airport, the airport has the IATA airport code of SGN which goes back to when Ho Chi Minh City was called Saigon. The flag carrier of Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines operates both domestic and international routes and along with other carriers there is certainly no shortage of options to get into Ho Chi Minh City. Some travellers fly directly into SGN from their home country and others fly into neighbouring countries as part of a greater Indochina trip The full listing of airlines and flights are too large to go into detail in this guide however I will be putting a link in soon to a more detailed posting on this topic very soon Ho Chi Minh City Bus Services Ho Chi Minh City has two main stations operating bus […]

Cai Rang Floating Market Can Tho

Can Tho Travel and Destination Guide

  Can Tho (Cần Thơ) is located 169 Km ( 105 miles) south west of Saigon Ho Chi Minh City and is the main economic hub of Vietnam’s Mekong region, the city is sometimes referred to as Tây Đô or western capital. Population wise Cần Thơ had an estimated population of 1.5 million citizens in 2012, which makes it Vietnam’s fourth most populous cities, the city of Can Tho also gained full Provence status back in 2004. Can Tho Weather and Seasons As with the majority of Vietnam Can Tho has two distinct seasons, this is more evident in Can Tho because it is located in the deep south of the country closer to the equator. The dry season runs from December to April and the wet or rainy season runs from May to November. During Can Tho’s Wet season (May to November) you can expect daily maximum and minimum temperatures to range from 26 C to 34 and monthly rain fall averages of around 270-350 mm During Can Tho’s Dry Season (December to April) you can expect daily average maximum and minimum temperatures to range from 23 C to 30 C with an average monthly ran fall of around 27mm Even though the temperature differences between the wet and dry seasons are not significantly different the main factor is humidity because of all that extra rain, therefore the best time to Visit Can Tho as with much of the south of Vietnam is between December and February, because there is little to no rain and the heat and humidity is at its lowest. Transportation to Can Tho Can Tho is accessible by road and air with most travellers opting for an express bus if travelling directly to/from Ho Chi Minh City or Cambodia or personally hired mini bus services if travelling around the Mekong area on a more complex Mekong itinerary. Travel to Can Tho by Bus Travel to Can Tho by express bus or mini bus on the 169km journey from Ho Chi Minh City Saigon takes around 3 ½ to 4 hours depending on the time of day, time of year and the operator you travel with. The major express bus operators charge between 80,000 – 120,000 Vietnamese Dong (approximately US/AUD $4.00 – $6.00) The major express bus operators servicing Can Tho as well as most of the Mekong area include: Mai Linh Express Corp – (08) 38323888 Mai Linh is one of the most popular and visable Transport company in southern Vietnam as well as operating a highly respected (and one of the largest) taxi companies in Vietnam they also operate express bus services throughout Vietnam.  The Mai Linh express bus service from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho leaves from Bến Xe Miền Tây (Western Bus Station) every 30 minutes with the trip taking 4 hours with a 30 minute break at around the half way mark. The cost of a one way trip is VND 80,000 (AU/USD $4.50) Thanh Buoi – (08) 38306306 Thanh […]

Ha Long Bay Boat Tour

Ha Long Bay Vietnam Travel Information

Consider every superlative you know, such as idyllic, mysterious, magnificent, breath taking, beautiful, wonderful, etc. etc. and you are just on the cusp of almost adequately describing the splendour of Ha Long Bay, that means descending dragon bay.  It’s one of those few places, for example, like Uluru (Ayres Rock) in Australia or the Grand Canyon in the United States of America, that has to be seen to be believed and cannot, no matter how well taken, be adequately captured through pictures.  The 1992 Academy Award and Golden Globe winning film, Indochine, with its brilliant cinematography, comes the closest of all to portraying the mesmeric allure of this UNESCO World Heritage listed area. Ha Long Bay is located in northeastern Vietnam, around 150 kilometres to the east of Hanoi, and encompasses an area of some 1,500 km2 of over 3,000 limestone islets bordering the Gulf of Tonkin.  The most visited area of Ha Long Bay is its core of around 450 km2 that has in the vicinity of 750 limestone islets, that have been formed over the last 500 million years. The effect is stunning with numerous grey limestone monolithic islets that displays karsts (geologic formations shaped by the dissolution of layer or layers of the soluble limestone) of various sizes and shapes appearing to have just leaped out of Ha Long Bay’s tranquil waters.  Some of the islets have exposed, sheer, faces that are devoid of any flora with other islets being covered in lush tropical foliage with sea caves, grottos, beaches and vast internal caves. Visiting Cat Ba Island, Titop Island and Tuần Châu Island is very popular, as they all rise spectacularly from the waters of Ha Long Bay with dense jungle and magnificent cave systems, which contain large stalactites and stalagmites, together with relaxing tourist facilities including hotels (Cat Ba Island) and stunning beaches. Also arising majestically from the waters are numerous other limestone features, including “Kissing Rocks” two extraordinary shaped limestone features that are much photographed and were depicted in the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.  Surprisingly, to many westerners, Ha Long Bay is also home to many Vietnamese who live on floating villages, where the residents cultivate fish farms and have a thriving tourist trade through the sale of snacks, souvenirs and the like, together with the hire of sea kayaks that can be used for closer exploration of the many wonders of this area. Travelling to Ha Long Bay is easy with a variety of trips being able to be booked from any accommodation in Hanoi, that generally involve a mini bus ride to Ha Long City and then embarkation on a boat to cruise the waters.  There are numerous cruises available ranging from single to multiple days and the shoreline of Ha Long City is full of pleasure craft, ranging in size, carrying capacity and standard of accommodation, just waiting for hire!  Spending at least one night on Ha Long Bay is recommended as it is really the only way […]

Hue Imperial Palace

Experiencing Huế

No trip to Vietnam is complete without visiting Huế (pronounced Way), this home to almost 1 million people who live in the Thừa Thiên-Huế province was once the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty and is located on the banks of the aptly named Perfume River.  Nestled roughly halfway along the coast of Vietnam, the city’s former prominence is in evidence everywhere, with its UNESCO listed complex of monuments, the Citadel and its Forbidden City and numerous pagodas, that are truly national treasures.   Sadly, Huế has seen more than its share of conflict over the centuries through struggles in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the most recent being 1968’s Tết Offensive during which, in the Battle of Huế, the city suffered considerable damage from American fire. Fortunately many of the fine structures survived, some in severely damaged states, and over the years there has been a progressive restoration program that is gradually and faithfully restoring many of these exquisite buildings to their former grand states.  The Citadel, with its 2 metre thick walls, high and imposing flag tower, is as impressive as it is vast and by just spending some hours walking through its enclosed grounds, you gain some sense of its former grandeur.  You also experience the thrill of knowing that contained within these walls is the Forbidden City with its Imperial Enclosure where once only emperors, their concubines and a select few were granted access.  Although little of the Forbidden City remains today, tourists can be safe that their entry is now no longer punishable by summary death! Many monuments, including those of former emperors are located along the Perfume River and the wonderful pagodas are well worth visiting, along with other reminders of Huế’s regal past such as the Ngo Mon Gate, Halls of the Mandarins, Thai Hoa Palace and the To Mieu Temple Complex together with a boat ride along the river.  There are also a number of interesting museums to visit, such as the Museum of Royal Fine Arts, Ho Chi Minh Museum and the General Museum Complex. Accommodation is readily available ranging from luxurious resort style developments to the modest and inviting guesthouses.  Numerous places to dine are sited throughout Huế and the local cuisine is delightful, with a wide range of vegetarian meals available that also make use of the variety of fruits, such as rambutan, jackfruit, lychee, durian, dao, dragon fruit, star fruit, mangosteen, coconut, kumqut, Vietnamese apple etc. that are grown in this region, due to the all year level of rain, together with plentiful seafood, fresh vegetables and succulent meats. Huế is unlike any other city of Vietnam with its own culture that has developed over the centuries to overcome its geographical and climatic difficulties that is reflected in its food and many other aspects of its resident’s everyday life.  Possessing a cheerful and inviting disposition is reflective of a resident of Huế. Huế can be readily accessed by road or regular air flights, however, travelling on […]

Nha Trang Vinpearl Spa and Resort Beach

Nha Trang Travel Information

  If relaxing on beautiful beaches and enjoying swimming and diving are your passions then Nha Trang is the destination for you.  Located on one of the world’s most beautiful bays, Nha Trang Bay, this coastal city that is also the capital of the Khanh Hoa province and home to around 350,000 people, is an extremely popular destination for tourists. Readily accessed by road, air or rail, being about 1,050 kilometres to the south east of Hanoi and only about 320 kilometres to the north east of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Nha Trang has rapidly become a popular destination in its own right and a location that remains a delightful stopover on a full tour of Vietnam.   However, as delightful as it is, just lazing on the beautiful main Na Trang Beach (of almost 6 kilometres in length) with its fine, clean sand and clear waters gently lapping nearby or enjoying the ambience and diving of nearby and tranquil Hon Tre Island (Bamboo Island) is really not allowing yourself to truly “discover” Nha Trang.   The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam, housed in a beautiful French colonial building and the Trí Nguyên Aquarium on Hon Mieu (Bong Nguyen) Island that has a “pirate ship” at its entry are worth visiting, as they are home to not only rare species of the sea but also sharks, turtles, coral reefs, lionfish, sea horses, and many other creatures.  The Alexandre Yersin Museum is also of interests, as it memorialises the life of dedicated Swiss scientist who tirelessly undertook research in Vietnam from the late 19th century until the 1943.   Also, visiting locations such as Long Son Pagoda, Po Nagar Cham Towers, NH Trang Cathedral and Thanh Dien Khanh Fortress are a must, to gain a greater appreciation of Nha Trang.  There is also plenty of shopping to be enjoyed!       However, no trip to Nha Trang is complete without riding the Vinpearl cable car to Bamboo Island.  The view is spectacular and although the resort and theme park may not be to your liking, it all adds to rich tapestry of Nha Trang.     Another of the many delights of visiting Nha Trang is that you are able to luxuriate in mud without hearing your parents scream “… what are you doing in there, get out or you’ll get filthy!”  Spending a couple of hours at the Thap Ba Hot Spring Mudbath is fantastic, as there are a range of pools that contain differing grades of mud at varying temperatures, together with warm natural mineral water pools.  The mud baths and mineral water pools are supposed to have magic health benefits that assist with chronic rheumatism and other ailments.  That may well be true but one thing is for sure, sloshing about in the warm mud is great fun!   Catering for its growing tourism, there is a wide range of accommodation options available to meets all requirements and if you’re in Nha Trang, well you’re at […]

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Vietnam Travel Feature Articles

Vinh Long City Vietnam Mekong River Tour

A Day Trip to Vinh Long Vietnam

Vinh Long set on the banks of the Mekong river in southern Vietnam is a travel destination delight, offering travelers a break form the hustle and bustle of Saigon and revealing a more traditional Vietnam that can be missed when only visiting the big cities.

Vietnam Border Crossings

Vietnam shares 13 International border crossings with China, Laos and Cambodia each country and each border crossing has different rules for entering. For instance some border crossings into the same country accept visa on arrival where as others do not therefore it is important to do a little research before venturing too far from the capitals and embassies of the courtiers you are planning to visit. Important note: In all cases it is very important to remember when entering Vietnam it does not have any form of Visa on arrival via its overland crossings so you will need to pickup your Vietnamese visa prior to departing for your trip to the border. Below is a list of these 13 international border crossings and a link to that relevant country border crossing article for more information, also scroll further down for a large google map with markers for each crossing. Vietnam China Border Crossings Mong Cai Dong Hung Border Crossing Dong Dang Ping Xian Border Crossing Lao Cai Hekou Border Crossing Vietnam Laos Border Crossings Tay Trang Sop Hun Border Crossing Nam Xoi Na Maew Border Crossing Nam Khan Nam Can Border Crossing Cau Treo Nam Phao Border Crossing Lao Bao Dansavanh Border Crossing Ngoc Hoi Bo Y Border Crossing Vietnam Cambodia Border Crossings Moc Bai – Ba Vet Vinh Xuong – Kaam SamnorXa Xia – Prek Chak Tinh Bien – Phnom Den Le Thanh – O Yadao View Vietnam Border Crossings in a larger map

Vietnam China Border Crossings

Vietnam and China share three international border crossings at Mong Cai Dong Hung, Dong Dang Ping Xian, and Lao Cai Hekou. Tips for Vietnam China Border Crossings: Visa on arrival into Vietnam is not available, travellers should ensure they obtain the correct visa before trying to enter Vietnam or risk being turned back at the border. Travelling from Vietnam into China only the Lao Cai Hekou border has Visa on arrival however this is for a limited number of nationalities, so we recommend getting your visa at the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi before leaving. The Three Vietnam China International Border Crossings from east to west are as follows: Mong Cai Dong Hung Border Crossing The eastern most border crossing between Vietnam and China is close to world heritage listed Ha Long bay and Haiphong, even with its close proximity it is not a widely used crossing by International travellers. Dong Dang Ping Xian Border Crossing The Dong Dang Ping Xian Border Crossing is the closest Vietnam China Border Crossing to Hanoi and the closest major Chinese city is Nanning. Lao Cai Hekou Border Crossing As mentioned above this border crossing does provide Chinese visa on arrival to some nationalities however we recommend you either get your Chinese Visa in Hanoi or call them to confirm if your country is on the list.  This border is very close to the Vietnamese tourist destination of Sapa. View Vietnam China Border Crossings in a larger map

Vietnam Laos Border Crossings

Vietnam shares six international border crossings with Laos, which are fairly evenly spread along this their borders. Tips for Vietnam Laos Border Crossings Visa on arrival into Laos from Vietnam is available at all border crossings at a cost of US $30-40, which can be paid in Dong, Kip or USD. You will also require 1 passport photograph (you can purchase if you don’t have) plus an additional 5,000 kip fee (2,000 Kip for H1N1 test and 3,000 kip to cross the border) Visa on arrival into Vietnam is not available via overland border crossings, travellers should ensure they obtain the correct visa before trying to enter Vietnam or risk being turned back at the border. From North to South Vietnam Cambodia International Border Crossings are as follows: Tay Trang Sop Hun Border Crossing The Tay Trang Sop Hun Border Crossing is the northern most border crossing shared between Vietnam and Laos the closest town on the Vietnamese side is the historically significant Dien Bien Phu and in Laos is Muang Khua. Nam Xoi Na Maew Border Crossing The next border is the Nam Xoi Na Maew Border Crossing which is the closest border crossing to Ha Noi other Vietnamese cities in close proximity are Thanh Hoa and Hoa Binh. This is the border of choise for destinations in Laos such as Luang Prabang Nam Khan Nam Can Border Crossing The NamCan Nam Khan border crossing is one of the most popular and is close to the Vietnamese city of Vinh and on the laos side Phonsavan and Luang Prabang Cau Treo Nam Phao Border Crossing Cau Treo Nam Phao Border Crossing is in close proximity to major city of Vinh in Vietnam and on the Lao side the town of Lak Xao, and is another popular crossing with travellers. Lao Bao Dansavanh Border Crossing The Lao Bao Dansavanh Border Crossing is close to hue in Vietnam and on the Laos side Savannakhet. Ngoc Hoi Bo Y Border Crossing The Ngoc Hoi Bo Y Border Crossing is the southernmost border crossing between Vietnam and Laos, and major cities on the Vietnamese side include Kon Tum, Da nang, Hoi An and Pleiku and in Laos Attapeu. View Vietnam Laos Border Crossings in a larger map

Vietnam Cambodia Border Crossings

For travellers wanting a different experience rather than the regular fly-in fly-out trip travelling between Vietnam and Cambodia by bus via one of the Vietnam Cambodia border crossings is a viable option. Another great travel option is travelling from Vietnam to Cambodia (or vice versa) via the Vinh Xuong – Kaam Samnor Border Crossing Vietnam and Cambodia share 5 international border crossings as follows: Moc Bai – Ba Vet Vinh Xuong – Kaam Samnor Xa Xia – Prek Chak Tinh Bien – Phnom Den Le Thanh – O Yadao Moc Bai – Bavet Border Crossing the oldest international border crossing which is by far the most popular and most used border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia simply because it is on the main bus route between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. Cambodian Visa on Arrival is Available Vinh Xuong – Kaam Samnor Border Crossing is a popular crossing for travellers wanting to do the river based border crossing, many travellers catch the ferry from Chau Doc up to Phnom Penh. Cambodian Visa on Arrival is available at this border crossing Xa Xia – Prek Chak Border Crossing is the southernmost Vietnam Cambodia border crossing that is fairly close to the ocean. From this crossing travellers have easy access to Kampot and the rest of southern Cambodia. Cambodian Visa on arrival is available at this border crossing. Tinh Bien – Phnom Den Border Crossing more remote than the others listed above as the nearest larger towns on either side are a little further away. Cambodian Visa on arrival is available at this border crossing. Le Thanh – O Yadao Border Crossing is the most remote international border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia linking Ban Lung and Pleiku. This border crossing is located in the north eastern corner of Cambodia. Cambodian Visa on Arrival is available Vietnamese and Cambodian Visas Vietnam has a very limited visa on arrival system which only operates out of 3 of its international airports, so you need to ensure you have your visa before entering the country. However going the opposite way from Vietnam into Cambodia is a different story with each of 5 International border crossings into Cambodia allowing visa on arrival. View Vietnam – Cambodia Border Crossings in a larger map

Tet 2011 Tet New Year Lion

Vietnamese New Year Tet Festival and Dates

Tết Nguyên Đán or simply Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival and is the most important festival in Vietnamese culture.  As Tet is the celebration of the first day of the lunar calendar so it’s celebrated on a different day each year on a 12 year cycle. Tet was introduced to Vietnam by the Chinese during their 1000 year rule of the country and therefore there are a few similarities between the Vietnamese and Chinese Lunar New Years however there are also many differences. Timing and Dates of Vietnamese New Year Tet Tet Year Date of Tet Lunar Zodiac Animal Tet 2013 10 February 2013 Snake Tet 2014 31 January 2014 Horse Tet 2015 19 February 2015 Goat Tet 2016 8 February 2016 Monkey Tet 2017 28 January 2017 Rooster Tet 2018 16 February 2018 Dog Tet 2019 5 February 2019 Pig Tet 2020 25 January 2020 Rat Tet 2021 12 February 2021 Buffalo Tet 2022 1 February 2022 Tiger Tet 2023 22 January 2023 Cat Tet 2024 10 February 2024 Dragon   Differences between Tet Vietnamese New Year and Chinese New Year As mentioned Tet almost parallels Chinese New Year, however there are a few very important differences, for start one of the Lunar Symbols is different between the Chinese and Vietnamese festival, the Chinese year of the Rabbit in Vietnam is the year of the Cat, also the Chinese Zodiac the OX is referred to in Vietnam as the Water Buffalo. There is also timing differences as Tet is sometimes celebrated on a different day from Chinese New Year because of the time difference between Hanoi and Beijing. Additionally there are many local Vietnamese New Year customs and Provincial customs which make Tet very different from Chinese New Year. Tet and its Customs In the lead up to Tet families are busy cleaning/preparing the house and stocking up on food/supplies for the festival, with all of this activity around the markets and businesses the streets of major cities like Hanoi and Saigon are more hectic than usual. Tet is a weeklong celebration which almost everyone goes on holiday for therefore during this time very few markets or businesses are operating and the country virtually goes into shutdown, many families that originate from rural areas but live in major cities such as Saigon or Hanoi head for their family ancestral hometown. This temporary mass migration leaves the normally hectic Saigon unusually quiet. For visitors  travelling to Vietnam this can sometimes be a pain as trying to do normal tours is almost out of the question. So if you are in Vietnam during Tet our recommendation is to try and celebrate with the locals, as Tet is a great celebration which many visitors rarely get to see. The Tet celebration is especially significant for children, with the giving of lucky (Li Xy) red packets of money by adults to children. Also children are normally given new clothes, which in some poorer rural areas is the only time they will have […]

Saigon Central Post Office Front Building

Saigon Central Post Office Ho Chi Minh City

The Saigon Central Post Office (Bưu điện thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) is located in District 1 of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) directly across the road from Saigon’s Notre dame cathedral and within walking distance from other recommended District 1 attractions such as Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Place and the War Remnants Museum Saigon Central Post Office was designed and constructed by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel (yes of Eiffel tower and Statue of Liberty fame) construction of this great Gothic architectural styled building began in 1886 and was completed in 1891 Entering the Post office you are faced with a large portrait of Ho Chi Minh and along the side wall there are there are old French colonial maps the first of which titled ‘Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1936′ translating to ‘Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892. And the second is titled ‘Saigon et ses environs 1892′ Translating to ‘Sai Gon and its environment 1892′   If you are interested in sending a postcard the centre counter has plenty of postcard packs at fairly good prices, after you have purchased and filled in just head to one of the first few maned counters on the left side of the building to purchase a postage stamp.       Getting to Saigon Central Post Office Saigon Central Post Office is located at 2 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and is walking distance from all district 1 hotels, also if you don’t fell like the walk hop onto any of the following buses leaving from Ben Thanh Bus Interchange. All of these buses will take you past the door of the Saigon Central Post Office as well as Notre-Dame Cathedral 3,18,19,26,42,50,52 Saigon Central Post Office is open from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm every day and entry is free View Saigon Central Post Office Ho Chi Minh City in a larger map

Saigon Tran Station Ga Sai Gon

Saigon Train Station Ga Sai Gon

Saigon Train Station (Ga Sài Gòn) is located at 1 Nguyen Thong Street, District 3 Ho Chi Minh City which is around 3 Km from Ben Thanh Market. Popular Stops or small trips from Saigon along the Vietnam Railways network include: Trip Cost VND (US/AU $) Duration Saigon – Hanoi 530,000-1,966,000 ($26-$98) 30-41 Hrs Saigon – Nha Trang 180,000-845000 ($9-$42) 6h30m – 11h54m Saigon – Phan Thiet 80000-242000 ($4-$12) 4 Hrs Saigon – Hue 288,000-1370000 ($14-$68) 18-24h Cabin and class options that make up the above price include hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper, soft sleeper and VIP Other towns and cities along the Vietnam Railways network include: Hà Nội Phủ Lý Nam Định Ninh Bình Thanh Hoá Vinh Đồng Hới Đông Hà Huế Đà Nẵng Tam Kỳ Quảng Ngãi Diêu Trì Tuy Hoà Nha Trang Tháp Chàm Phan Thiet Bình Thuận Biên Hòa Sài Gòn It is important to note that there are many different trains are at different levels of moderness which each have different stops along the Vietnam Railways network, added to this each train has several different cabin or class types, so unless you have a travel agent that knows the Vietnam railway system very well, leave your booking until you arrive to get advice from the locals. Having said that if you are travelling during Vietnam holiday seasons such as Tet (Vietnamese New Year) or other peak periods it is wise to book in advance as soon as you arrive in Ho Chi Min City especially if you want a soft sleeper or VIP room/cabin. Tickets can either be purchase from: Ga Saigon (Saigon station) Saigon Railways Tourist Service 275C Ð Pham Ngu Lao (Ph 3836 7640 ) Reputable travel agents (for a small agents fee) District 3 is not the original location of the Saigon Train station it was originally located near Ben Thanh Market in District 1 it was moved to its present location in the early 1980’s, as the progress of Ho Chi Minh City moves forward there already talk of moving yet again out to Binh Trieu. Getting to Ga Sài Gòn to save some money you can take SaigonBus from District 1 just get yourself on to Bus 7 from Ben Thanh Bus stop (across the road from Ben Thanh Market) the trip will only cost VND 4,000 In google maps Ga Sài Gòn at 1 Nguyen Thong Street, District 2 Ho Chi Minh City can be found here: View Larger Map

Mien Dong Bus Station Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Mien Dong Bus Station (Eastern Bus Station) Ho Chi Minh City

Mien Dong (Bến xe Miền Đông) is Ho Chi Minh Cities busiest regional bus station in Ho Chi Minh City and the port for most buses coming from or going to Eastern as well as Northern towns and provences. In total Mien Dong Bus station has buses going to/from around 160 towns and cities some of the popular destionations that operate out of Mien Dong include: Destination Cost VND (US/AU $) Frequency Duration Ba Ria – Vung Tau VNĐ 80,000-90,000 ($4.00-4.50) 20 Min (0500-1940hrs ) 3 Hrs Buong Me Thout VNĐ 140,000-210,000 ($7.00-$10.50) Hourly (0445-1945 hrs) 9 Hrs Da Lat VNĐ 140,000-210,000 ($7.00-$10.50) Hourly ( 0800-1700 hrs) 8 Hrs Nam Cat Tien VNĐ 90,00 ($4.5) (1330-1630 hrs) 2 Hrs Phan Tiet/Mui Ne VNĐ 80,000 – 170,000 ($4.00-$8.50) Hourly (0500-1700 hrs) 5 Hrs Nha Trang VNĐ 140,000 – 220,000 ($7.00-$11.00) Hourly (0900-2200 hrs) 10 Hrs Hoi An VNĐ 160,000 – 220,000 ($7.00-$11.00) 1000-1500 hrs 15 Hrs Da Nang VNĐ 200,000 – 455,000 ($10.00-$23.00) Hourly (0630-1830 hrs) 16 Hrs Hanoi VNĐ 700,000 – 920,000 ($35.00-$46.00) 1500-1930 hrs 2 Days Prices quoted above are from a wide range of Bus companies and in general the lower prices are for a regular seat bus and the more expensive price is for a sleeper, also note prices  & times quoted above were accurate at the time of publication and are subject to change, and will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure this page remains accurate. As the range of bus companies is large is is impossible to list all here, however when choosing a bus company to travel with I recommend sticking with the ones known to provide good and reliable service, such Bus companies include: Mai Linh Express Phuong Trang Thanh Bui Kumho The offical website for Ben Xe Mien Dong is only in Vietnamese which I understand, however even with the poor translation from Google tranlation tool it is easy enough to understand Getting to Ben Xe Mien Dong From District 1 you can catch bus number 26 from the SaigonBus Ben Thanh Interchange (opposite Ben Thanh Market) the service run from 0530 hrs until 1700 hrs and costs VND 4,000. Mien Dong Bus Station is located around 7 Km north of district 1 at 292 Dinh Bo Linh street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City.   View Larger Map

Cai Rang Floating Market Can Tho

Top Must See Attractions on a Trip to Vietnam

Vietnam is such a diverse and stunning country, with awe inspiring landscapes that is matched by a rich yet sometimes turbulent history and a people that are always welcoming, this is Vietnam a country that has something for every traveller. Since there are so many things to see and do in Vietnam I have detailed just a few of the top attractions and places to visit, this is by no means a complete list, so I apologise if I have offended you by leaving of your favourite town city or attraction, I could have literally written pages and pages of the places I have visited in Vietnam that I love. Spectacular Ha Long Bay Perhaps Vietnams most well-known attraction, and for good reason with its stunning limestone islands that emerge from the water, like mountains through the clouds. There are literally thousands of these islands many of which with secretly hidden caves, beaches and villages. A day or overnight stay simply does not do Ha Long bay justice; I recommend at least 2 or 3 days to explore this simply amazing and unspoilt area of Vietnam. Bargains and Bargaining at Bến Thành Market Bến Thành Market is Hồ Chí Minh City’s main central retail market, even though this market’s primary cliental is now the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit Saigon each year, it is still a great place to experience the sound, smells and tastes of this great city and to also pick up some tacky and not so tacky souvenirs. As for most of Vietnam we recommend you start your bargaining at least one third of the quoted price and stick to whatever you are comfortable with paying, if negotiations are going nowhere start walking and most of the time things will go your way with you being amazed at what you have saved, or how much you could have saved if you started walking a little earlier. The Items we recommend from Bến Thành market include: Coffee & Vietnamese Coffee Filter lacquerware Traditional Clothing Replica Watches Vietnamese art and paintings Cu Chi Tunnels Located about 40 Km North west of Saigon Hồ Chí Minh City is the very popular Cu Chi Tunnels, this 250km tunnel system was built in the 1940’s during the French occupation to provide a strategic advantage in the war against the French, and were further expanded during the war with South Vietnam and the US. It’s quite amazing to think firstly that these tunnels were dug out with simple hand tools, and secondly that thousands of people at a time would live in them full equipped with schools, hospitals living areas and command centres. There are two main tunnels open to the public one that is not part of the original tunnels and was built for western tourists, made to a larger size so that we can fit in, the other which was part of the original tunnel network that is aimed at domestic tourists. Travelling from District 1 you can save some […]

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Taxis Mai Linh Taxi

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Taxi Guide

Taxis and Transport in Vietnam especially Saigon can be a daunting experience, as there is a large number of fake taxis on the streets as well as some of the real ones just aren’t up to any decent standard. The good news is that there are several Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Taxi companies that do make the grade, both in terms of modern vehicles as well good drivers. The good companies that make the grade include: Taxi Vinasun – After arriving in Vietnam for the first time I quickly learned that Taxi Vinasun were a great taxi company with its modern fleet, so Vinasun became my taxi company of choice when in Ho Chi Minh City. All Vinasun taxi are air-conditioned, clean and most of their fleet are 7 seaters so you have to worry about space or room for your luggage. Vinasun also operate in other cities. Mai Linh Saigon Taxi – Started around 15 years ago Mai Linh Saigon Taxi was Vietnam’s first privately owned Taxi Company and is now one of the country’s largest, their fleet is very modern, well maintained and clean. It’s important to point out that Mai Linh operate throughout Vietnam and they also operate a very popular express bus services to other centres (including Cambodia) Mai Linh operates both 4 seater and 7 seater cabs along with a deluxe/luxury brand company ComfortSavico – A joint venture between Singaporean based giant ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited and former state-owned enterprise Saigon General Service Corporation (Savico) the partnership forms Comfort Savico. I have been presently surprised each time I have been in one of their cabs.   VinaTaxi – VinaTaxi is another Joint-Venture Company involving ComfortDelgro Corporation Limited but this time with TRACODI (under Ministry of Transport, Vietnam) In general I have found their fleet to be a little older than both Vinasun and Mai Linh however it is well maintained their rates are cheaper than both Vinasun and Mai Linh, and they have very good drivers. Their Taxis are very recognisable as they are all bright Yellow Taxi SaigonTourist is operated by the same company that runs the main SaigonTourist travel company and has been in operation for around 10 years. Their taxis can be recognised by a sliver car with a red stripe along the centre of the car, note there are still many cars from SaigonTourist with their old livery  white car with red along the bottom of the car. SaigonTourist operates both 4 seater and 7 seater taxis Saigon’s Fake and Copy Taxi Companies I have personally heard numerous reports of tourists getting ripped and charged extraordinary sums by fake or not so honest taxi drivers. Some fake taxis or unscrupulous drives don’t to turn on the meter and demand a large sum for your 10 minute taxi fare, where others such as the fake taxis will have bodgie meters that charge more than a western taxi. For instance I recently heard of a fare from Tan Son Nhat International Airport into district […]

Vinh Long River Vendor Selling Watermelon

Vinh Longs Mekong River Food Vendors

On the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and for that matter most of Vietnams towns and cities, there is a constant stream of food vendors offering their goods up and down most busy streets, however if are living on the Mekong river gone are the street vendors replaced by river vendors that provide a valuable service to those living on the banks of the river. Below are a few of the photos I took on a single day just after Tet this year, on the river that passes in front of my in-laws house in Vĩnh Long. By far the most common river food vendors that traverse past my in-laws house are the Watermelon vendors and it’s not easy to miss out on your daily dose of it with the vendor singing out dưa hấu, dưa hấu (Watermelon, Watermelon) as they paddle or motor up the river.   The dưa hấu vendor is normally followed by the Sương Sáo sweet drink vendor, Sương Sáo is a mixture of grass jelly, shaved ice, evaporated milk with the addition of a red raspberry syrup/cordial.     The least common vendor on the day was what the vendor called xây cốm óng, and they weren’t in the true sense of the word selling food but in fact providing a service, as we gave them some rice and packet noodles which they smashed up and put it into their machine. The result was a long crispy savoury rice snack, if you are from Australia the closest thing I can compare it to is a very long burger ring or Cheezels without the burger or cheese flavour, for my Americans it like Puffy Cheetos. You also see vendors going up and down the river that are like a floating greengrocer selling a large variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish/meat, but unfortunately on this day I was unable to get any on camera. It’s also interesting to point out that it’s not just food sellers that float up and down the Mekong trying to make a living it is fairly common to see building products being sold which includes bricks and sand, you also see the occasional bulldozer being ferried up and down the river.

Vietnam Travel News

Myanmar Buddhist Temple

Vietnam Myanmar Visa free Agreement from 26 October

Vietnam and Myanmar will soon in act an agreement to allow visa free entry into each other’s countries from 26 October 2013 The new agreement will allow travellers with at least 6 month validity on their passport stay for up to 14 days. Visitors who wish to stay longer than 14 days will need to apply for a regular Tourist visa. At present a tourist visa into Myanmar will cost a Vietnamese citizen $20 and for a Burmese citizen to enter Vietnam costs $55 added up to 1 week processing time.

Vietnam Airlines takes over controlling share in Jetstar-Pacific

Single Indochina Visa Option for Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam not Far Away

It looks increasingly likely that Vietnam will join the Indochina visa agreement that Thailand and Cambodia already have in operation. Vietnamese Newspaper Thanh Nien is reporting that the concept that was originally in 2010 between the three governments will soon add Vietnam to the agreement. What would a single Indochina Visa mean? Travellers from the 35 countries and regions on the allowed list would only need to hold a visa for one of the three countries this visa would be accepted at the border the three countries. Hoang Thi Diep, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, was quoted by Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon (Saigon Economic Times) as saying Thailand and Cambodia get a large number of tourists, are close to Vietnam, and already have a common visa for tourists. There is a lot for Vietnam to consider before enter the agreement as Vietnam has the highest visa fees in the region with no visa on arrival system. Potentially the deal could see Vietnam lose a lot of tourist visa revenue, but then the country could expect to see an increase in tourist numbers. Should Vietnam enter the partnership we would likely see an alignment of visa costs along with a very possibility of a visa on arrival system. Time will tell but one thing is certain if agreement is reached it will translate to more visitors to Vietnam. Source Thanh Nien

Vietnam Airlines Boeing 777 to Service Nha Trang to Moscow route

Vietnam Airlines Nha Trang Moscow Direct Service is Launched

A direct airline service between Nha Trang and Moscow was launched today by Vietnam Airlines providing passengers a 1X week service. The Inaugural Nha Trang Moscow service flying under VN071 was serviced by a Boeing 777 and left Nha Trang’s Cam Ranh Airport at 11:15 am. This 1 time a week service is expected to be expanded to 2 times a week once the Russian holiday season gets into full swing in October Russia is one of Nha Trang’s top markets will just less than 180,000 visiting Nha Trang last year Speaking at the service inaugural ceremony, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang urged Vietnam Airlines and relevant agencies to speed up the upgrading of Cam Ranh Airport and building Vietnam Airlines to become a strong trademark not only at home but also abroad.

Etihad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Services Airbus A330-200 - 2

Etihad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Flights set from October 2013

Etihad Airways will begin Ho Chi Minh City services from 1 October 2013 making Vietnam Etihad’s 6th ASEAN destination. Current timetables on the Etihad Airways site indicate show the following details for the flight Origin Destination Flight No Depart Arrive Abu Dhabi (AHU) Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) EY441 0830hrs 1835hrs Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) Abu Dhabi (AHU) EY440 1950hrs 0050 hrs +1 James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to announce the introduction of Ho Chi Minh City to the Etihad Airways’ global flight network. Like our home-base of Abu Dhabi, it is a vibrant, culturally rich and expanding city popular with business and leisure travellers. “The route will be ideal to carry passengers and cargo point to point from the United Arab Emirates, as well as from Etihad Airways destinations across the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.” His Excellency Tran Ngoc Thach, Ambassador of Vietnam to the UAE, said, “I believe that Etihad’s direct flights to Vietnam will contribute to improving understanding between the two peoples of Viet Nam and the UAE. More and more tourists will come to Viet Nam and a greater number of tourists will come to the UAE. They will also help to increase trade and tourism between our two countries for the benefit of the people and countries.” Eithad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Service will be operated by a 2 class Airbus A330-200 with 22 Pearl Business Class seats and 240 Coral Economy Class Seats.

Ho Chi Minh City Boat Cruise

Ho Chi Minh City Inaugurates first Inner River Tourist Route

The Indochina Junk Company has officially inaugurated the cities first inner waterway cruise, operating on Vietnam’s National day 2nd September the cruise boat took 25 passengers from  Bach Dang Quay in District 1 then along Ben Nghe and Tau Hu canals, parallel to Vo Van Kiet Avenue, for four hours. The cruise eventually landing at Long Hoa Pagoda on Ben Binh Dong Pier in Ward 15, where a vegetarian lunch awaited the visitors. Indochina Junk Company is the first travel service to offer waterway tourism within the city with cruises to initially operate every Sunday and increase after the company has more boats. HCMC has great potential to develop its waterways for tourism like other countries in the region. Water environment, environmental sanitation, landscapes along Ben Nghe, Tau Hu, Kenh Doi, Kenh Te canals have been improved. District 8 authorities plan to develop tourism, but will preserve the historical and cultural sites, and protect the environment. The district government will promote destinations such as Binh Dong Temple, Long Hoa Pagoda, floating market on Binh Dong Pier, and ancient and night streets. Vo Van Kiet Avenue has contributed to improving the environment and bringing a beautiful look to the city, an advantage for waterway tourism development. According to experts and leaders of travel companies, the municipal authorities can develop short day tours presenting daily activities of local people along canals to international visitors. The local government should also create advantages for enterprises to build their own piers to pick up tourists.

Hanoi Fruit Vendor Tourist Scam Vietnam

Authorities in Hanoi asked to Crackdown on Tourist Scams

Authorities in Vietnam’s northern capital of Hanoi have raised concerns of and asked authorities to crackdown on street vendors who harass and cheat tourists. Mai Tien Dung Vice director of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has requested that authorities in Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh and Dong Da districts “Tighten controls to detect wrongdoings among vendors at famous sites like the Sword Lake, Literature Temple and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum” Fines for violators also need to be increased to deter others, he said, adding that their misconduct has worsened the reputation of Hanoians, and the capital’s tourism environment among foreigners. According to VnExpress the department moved following recent media reports of an increase in the number of cases of foreign tourists being harassed and ripped off in Hanoi, where local authorities have banned street vendors on 62 streets since 2008. For instance, a local who lives near the Sword Lake in Hoan Kiem District last week wrote a letter to VnExpress about many foreign tourists being ripped off, if not cheated, by vendors of pineapples and bananas there. He said vendors who usually carry a pole with two baskets at the pole’s ends often put the pole on tourists’ shoulders and a hat on their head without asking, and invite them to pose for photographs. After the tourists take the photos, usually thinking that the Vietnamese people are just acting friendly, the vendors take the props back, give the tourists a couple of pineapple pieces, and ask them to pay some VND200,000 (US$9.6) The local letter writer wrote that he also saw vendors taking VND500,000 ($23.9) notes from foreign tourists who thought they were lower denominations. He also said that he once saw vendors charge foreign tourists VND1 million ($47.9) for four pieces of pineapple.

Mekong Prestige Luxury Vietnamese Cruise ship launched

New Luxury Ships Set for Mekong Tours

The two 68m long ships were recently built that are destined for Mekong River tours between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. Both ships are equipped with 32 luxury cabins and 64 passengers, and will sail under the name/tour Mekong Prestige Checking the operator’s website the first 8 day cruise  from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City will set sail on Thursday 11 October 2012 The operator’s website goes on to say the following about the ships cabins: “Accommodation is offered in a range of deluxe staterooms and suites at least 23 square metres in size and each boasting its own private balcony. Public areas include a beautiful expansive Sun Deck with whirlpool, an elegant restaurant and lounge and spa and fitness areas.”