Vietnam has a tourism problem

Vietnam is an odd ball. Part of me highly recommends some places, but overall I can’t say I enjoyed traveling there nor would suggest others come here. I’m still trying to work out what is wrong though!

The Vietnamese beach haunt of Vung Tau

If Nha Trang and Mui Ne are the beach resort of choice for the Western Tourist, then Vung Tau is the place the Vietnamese go. It’s not the nicest beach, nor does it have great food, but it’s awesome all the same.

Cu Chi Tunnels

A lot of tourism in Vietnam focuses on the Vietnam war, it’s hard to get away from and you are constantly reminded of it. Here, in Cu Chi, you get to see a little more of the VietCong lifestyle and be subjected to the propaganda machine in full flow.

Mui Ne – just a kite surfing beach

Mui Ne was next after Nha Trang and it was meant to be a better beach town, slightly less night-life, lots of things to see including amazing sand dunes. For me though it didn’t work out that way though.

Nha Trang Mud baths

Nha Trang is a party place on the Vietnamese coast, most of it’s draw is the sunny weather and the party atmosphere but this is lacking in the constant rain of the Winter – there is still fun to be had though!

Another Party Cruise, Nha Trang

This was a second attempt at the “party cruise”, the first having ended in disaster in Halong Bay. I have to say it was a complete success and everywhere the Halong Bay Cruise failed, the one in Nha Trang succeeded.

Hoi An – Its all about the Cakes and Coffee

After the horrendous stay in Hue, Hoi An was a breath of fresh air. The tourist lined streets, the respectful locals, the nice buildings, the relaxing atmosphere and the company of two great people. Hoi An was perfect.

Huế is a terrible place to be

Hue is a fairly historically important city in Vietnam acting as the capital at one point but also given it’s proximity to the North, South DMZ was home to one of the more important battles in the Vietnam War so it should be interesting. The problem is, it’s a horrid place and in my experience should be avoided at all costs.

Phong Nha Cave

Back on New Years Eve I posted a blog about visiting Paradise Cave in the Phong Nha National Park, this is the companion post about the other cave I visited – Phong Nha Cave and the bicycle journey we took to get there.

Halong Bay in the rice paddies–Tam Coc

The first stop after leaving Hanoi was a little town just a few hours south called Ninh Binh. There are day trips running out of Hanoi, but these are expensive and since it’s en-route, why not stop there?

An Englishman loses his cool in Hanoi

I’ve mentioned a few times that Hanoi is full of hustle and bustle and that if you don’t have patience then it can easily drive you insane. I saw it happen a few times, but the best one was easily an Englishman who was on the walking tour.

Hanoi

Hanoi was meant to be a staging point for Halong Bay and Sapa trips but in the end I stayed much longer than anticipated and it was an interesting introduction to South East Asia travel. Most of my time there was spent just walking around or drinking cheap beers!

A Party Cruise & Halong Bay

Just before I left I spent some time reading various blogs and read one account of a boat trip into Halong Bay and thought it would be a personal type of hell. I arrived in Hanoi, booked my tour and re-checked that blog post. You can tell what I did can’t you! Doh!

Arriving in Vietnam

Leaving Singapore at the last minute meant a bit of organisation and quick thinking but it was worth – Vietnam impressed with it’s craziness within the first minutes

The perfect New Years Eve – Paradise Cave, Phong Nha National Park, Vietnam

The last few years I’ve spent New Years Eve at Al’s house with an Indian takeaway, beers and a few movies and it’s been great. This year I’m many thousands of miles away from my old bah-humbug partner so decided to do something a little different – visit the place I came to Vietnam for. The place I’ve wanted to visit for a year and has been hyped up in my mind more than you can imagine. Did it match the hype though?

A different type of Christmas

As 2011 comes to a close, it brings with it not only an eight month anniversary of travelling but also my first holiday season away from my family. It’s a strange to be surrounded by 63 other travellers and partying all day!