A thousand untold stories of traveling in Vietnam
ABROADER December 27, 2022 12 read
Through an internship, Jasper has created this travel guide for newcomers seeking to travel in Vietnam and is dedicated to ABROADER.
Through an internship in Vietnam, Jasper has been able to create this travel guide for newcomers who are seeking to travel in Vietnam and are dedicated to ABROADER. This all-in-one guide is for you to take on with you whenever you are traveling in the country of “ascending dragons”.
Jasper Maclean is a University of Pennsylvania student who joined an internship abroad with ABROADER in Vietnam. During his 8-week internship as an RnD intern at MODMO, Jasper had a unique encounter with the locals, their food, and other aspects of their special culture. From there, he detailed his memorable travels and provided his insights of journey in Vietnam in this travel guide.
Vietnam has 3 regions: Northern Vietnam, Central Vietnam, and Southern Vietnam. The combination of natural splendors and cultural diversity in Vietnam is remarkable. And every region has unique food offerings and dining establishments. Furthermore, it distinguishes VN and makes it a focal point for cultural intrusion.
In order for everyone to experience new views and tastes, Jasper captured his excursions through three different regions of Vietnam. Let’s plan your sightseeing with his journeys visited in Vietnam. Have fun with memorable experiences!
HCMC/Saigon (2-5 days)
While traveling to the Southern part of Vietnam, it would be a huge omission if visitors did not spend a few days exploring Ho Chi Minh city.
Best Banh Mi – Banh mi Huynh Hoa
Banh mi is arguably the most well-known Vietnamese dish outside of the country. Get set to eat well when traveling in Vietnam!
War Remnants Museum
If you only visit one museum in Saigon, make it the War Remnants Museum. Additionally, its collection contains photographs taken by world-renowned photographers, documents, military uniforms, and other items from the period known in Vietnam as The American War. Jasper said: “This is one of the best museums I’ve visited and super interesting about Vietnam war (definitely recommend going here especially if you go to Cu Chi tunnels)”
Cho lon Neighborhood
Saigon Cho Lon is the largest Chinatown of Saigon, with a long and vibrant history. Besides, the area is a colorful combination of old and new, with many traditional shops, markets, and local food stalls. The market here is way less overwhelming than other ones in Saigon if you want to buy items.
Dan Sinh Market
Do you want to buy some military surplus (unclear if from the war)? Also, it partly reflects the life of the people of Saigon and is a treasure trove of antiques worth investigating. And in this market, Jasper bought a really nice watch. Yay! That’s super interesting to explore in this Vietnam travel guide!
However, among the numerous remarkable sites in Ho Chi Minh City, the cafe apartment certainly stands out as an old apartment that was converted into a bunch of pop-up coffee shops. Particularly, people who were traveling in Vietnam for the first time were impressed by this location, which is located on a really cool walking street.
Cool apartment boutiques/thrift stores
The Cool apartment boutiques/thrift stores are transformed into really trendy, local, and abuzz with Vietnamese youth stores. It’s worth checking out!
The New Playground
In this underground mall, you can quickly cover to find independent businesses and designs from all corners of the world. Shopaholics may find themselves rummaging through all those racks in search of the perfect steal after consulting a travel guide for Vietnam.
Cool day trips from Saigon/HCMC:
One of the best things to do in Saigon is to get out of the city. Don’t miss these incredible attractions when you’re there!
Mekong Delta (all day):
Cruising through the verdant labyrinth of palm-fringed channels and islands of the Mekong Delta is a popular day trip that seems a world away from chaotic Ho Chi Minh City. Consequently, it offers an intriguing peek into the way of life of the people who depend on this delicate waterway for their survival. Furthermore, it’s well-known for its floating markets, which usually take place during the early morning.
Cu Chi Tunnels (half day):
Cu Chi Tunnels are not only a popular tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh City but also a permanent national monument. The tunnels of Cu Chi are one of the most significant antiquities of the city. This palace offers tourists first-hand experiences inside the massive underground cave as well as fascinating insights into the lives of Vietnamese soldiers.
Overnight/Longer Trips from HCMC/Saigon:
Dalat (2 days):
Are you soon planning a trip to Da Lat? Dalat is located in the central highlands of Vietnam. If you plan on visiting Dalat for holiday, carry a jacket because the weather is really cool (in the 60s!). Additionally, a $20 sleeper bus can take you there. However, Jasper went on a motorcycle tour of the countryside, which was breathtaking. Those who don’t want to spend their day jumping off cliffs, or rappelling off of waterfalls should head to Land Biang Mountain and it shouldn’t be missed when wondering what to do in Dalat.
Con Dao Islands (2 days):
Budget: ~$120 round-trip flight.
Con Dao is deserving of a resort paradise, featuring stunning beautiful islands with breathtaking beaches and mangroves. With its gorgeous appearance, Con Dao is undoubtedly one of Vietnam’s highlights and attracts tourists from all over the world.
It’s a wonderful place to learn to ride a motorcycle because there aren’t many automobiles, bikes, or people. However, there were no foreigners around, it felt extremely authentic, and most people spoke little to no English. Make sure you have plenty of cash to pay even the cost of your hotel or homestay because there are no working ATMs and no places that accept cards.
Hoi An (1-2 days is good)
Hoi An is an ancient city that has been preserved due to its charming appearance, vibrant colors, and more. Jasper offered a variety of experiences in this travel guide for the trip to Hoi An. When he went, it was the hot season there so it was kind of unbearable to be outside so he only stayed 2 days. Many visitors come to enjoy the famous delicacies of Hoi An and to buy artisan crafts for cheap.
In addition, you can also get a suit tailored here! He recommends Bao Diep tailor. Definitely worth haggling with them a little but he found that the people here were a lot more reasonable in terms of prices for things. Moreover, you should check out Ang Bang beach which is one of the nicest beaches I’ve visited for swimming and vibes.
Da Nang (1 day)
Da Nang city was created by Mother Nature as a river within the city, and the surrounding area is a cool beach town that is a more stunning version of Miami. The locals in this modern city are kind and helpful. Despite the fact that Da Nang is growing by the day, it has managed to preserve practically all of its culture and historic sites. Furthermore, tourists visiting Da Nang can immerse themselves not only in modern life, but also in traditional cultural spaces.
The visitor may see why people consider Da Nang to be a city worth living in once they arrive in Da Nang. You may go on a day excursion to Ba Na Hills, which is where “Hands Bridge,” which you’ve probably seen if you search for Vietnam, is located.
Hue (1-2 days)
Jasper wasn’t able to go here but from what he had heard it was amazing. It’s the old imperial capital of Vietnam. As this is a riverfront town, you will spend time enjoying the cool breezes and the beautiful panoramas wander along the riverside path. The trip or train from Da Nang to here is scenic. Hue cuisine is well-known throughout Vietnam. It was spicy, which he enjoyed.
Plan to follow by this advice as you explore the rest on your own!
Hanoi (1-3 days)
Dive into Hanoi’s pulsing downtown streets to experience the spirit of Vietnamese life. Especially, the country’s capital is a thriving economic powerhouse that maintains a strong connection to traditional culture, serving as a showcase for both old and modern Vietnam. When he strolled around the old quarter, he saw that it was much more walkable than Saigon/HCMC, which was pretty cool because they have distinct streets dedicated to different guilds. Additionally, Hanoi feels more historic than Saigon, and the old area is particularly charming. And If you haven’t already seen videos/pictures of train street, look it up! Everyone will want to know if you witnessed it.
Halong Bay (1-3 days)
There are various choices for those who want to enjoy more of Halong Bay’s natural beauty by extending their journey to Halong Bay for a day. The expedition costs $200 (covers all the transport to Halong Bay). Travel to Halong Bay if you want to sit back and relax without having to make any plans: meals, lodging, and sightseeing are all included in the boat ticket. Like if you can splurge you should send this one because it is amazing. Halong Bay boats are often air-conditioned and provide sun loungers with a clear view of the ocean as you arrive at and explore Halong Bay. They went on the Orchid Boat Tour and it was spectacular. Jasper showed all of this experience through this Vietnam travel guide.
Sapa (2-4 days)
Famous for its breathtaking landscapes, Sapa is a mountain town close to the border with China which is an ideal inhabitation for a great diversity of ethnic minority peoples. You can get here by train from Hanoi (apparently a beautiful train ride). On the outskirts of the town you will find jade hued rice paddies that are cut into the craggy mountain sides and the air is cooler as the mountains are covered in a delicate mist. Have you ever seen those pics of Vietnam with the huge mountains with terraced rice paddies? Yeah, they were probably taken here. Additionally, if you like trekking then this is definitely the place to come as the rugged scenery and mountain air makes this the perfect place to get outside and explore.
A big thanks to Jasper
Once again, we want to thank Jasper for providing this detailed guide for people who want to travel to Vietnam and for future interns and students joining ABROADER programs.