Cat Ba is the biggest island of Hai Phong city, famous for very beautiful beaches, national park, Lan Ha bay (a miniature Ha Long bay ),… and interesting activities. There are many ways to travel to Cat Ba. You may combine travelling to Ha Long bay then get to Cat Ba by ferry, or go to Cat Ba from Hai Phong city.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Halong Bay is torn right out of a fairy tale book. It’s too beautiful to be true. Halong Bay of Vietnam has been a UNESCO Heritage Site for a long time now and its beauty has never failed any I promise. It’s just true that this attraction is becoming more touristified and taking a lot of cash out of your pocket. In this blog post are my tips, experiences and list of top things to do in Halong Bay to help you plan a more affordable trip.
Phu Quoc (Phú Quốc ), also known under the name Pearl island, is biggest island of Vietnam and is a district of Kien Giang. Phu Quoc is famous for beautiful sea, beaches, primary forests and ancient fishing villages. This island is an ideal destination of Vietnam. Following is my tips, experiences and top things to do in Phu Quoc island – VIetnam.
There are 3 main tourism areas in Phu Quoc: Northern, Southern and Western. Usually, visitors to Phu Quoc will spend 3 days to visit these areas.
Western part is Duong Dong town, the first place you see when coming to Phu Quoc.
The first site you should visit is Dinh Cau (Dinh Cậu), a very sacred temple with the locals.
Next is Ham Ninh fishing village. This is an ancient village with rustic and pristine cottages. You may also buy fresh seafoods and enjoy them on beach when ships of fishermen just docked.
After visiting Ham Ninh village, if it’s not yet dark, let’s visit Cuoi Nguon museum, where stories and legends about Phu Quoc island are kept.
In the evening, try out the bustling Dinh Cau night market and eat famous specialties of this island.
The famous attractions in Southern Island is Phu Quoc prison (Nhà tù Phú Quốc ). The prison was restored to be a museum, with wondrous statues about scenes of torturing prisoners.
Tranh stream (Suối Tranh ), rooted from Ham Ninh mountain, has beautiful scene and cool air like Dalat city.
Khem beach (Bãi Khem ) is surrounded by mountains. This is a beautiful beach of Phu Quoc with blue sea and a long stretch of sand coast.
Next destinations in Southern are Kingdom of pepper (Vương Quốc hồ tiêu ), Fish sauce barrel houses, which produces millions of litters of fish sauce every year. I’m sure, you will be overwhelmed by the massive barrel systems; and Pearl farms, which produces famous pearls of Phu Quoc.
Northern area of the island owns Phu Quoc National park (Vườn quốc gia Phú Quốc), which has the most beautiful beaches of the island, along with other pristine landscape:
Ham Rong mountain (Núi Hàm Rồng ), Ganh Dau beach (Gành Dầu ), Cua Can (Cửa Cạn, an estuary).
Bai Dai beach (Bãi Dài), the most beautiful beach of Phu Quoc.
Da Ngon (suối Đá Ngọn ), Da Ban stream(suối Đá Bàn) with beautiful waterfalls
Finally, Nguyen Trung Truc temple, the end of my northern journey, is where the locals commemorate a great hero of country.
My tips: You should rent a motorbike to visit all attractions in Phu Quoc and make sure to fill up gasoline if travelling the Northern area.
For motorbikes, you may rent in your hotel or contact: Mr. Thanh, +84918.579.218, very enthusiastic, price is also ok. Mr. Minh, +8498.384.6982. Mr. Duc, +8498.5034.111
Or for renting car, contact Mr. Huy +84168.8880.608
How to get to Phu Quoc island?
There are 2 ways:
1. By plane
You may go from Ha Noi or Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh city ).
– From Sai Gon to Phu Quoc. There are 6 – 10 trips every day. Fares are from $50 to $70.
– From Ha Noi, airfares are from $150 to $250, depending on season.
Planes to Phu Quoc also have cheap fares, but you have to keep your eyes out for promotion or book a few months beforehand.
– First, from Sai Gon, you will get to Rach Gia by bus. If going at night, you will arrive at 5am. Then, catch a taxi or motor-taxi to the dock.
Notes: Try to remember the number of your bus as it will stop a few times for break during the ride and there are many similar buses around at the stop.
Best taxis in Rach Gia:
Mai Linh: +848 3929 2929
Phuong Trang: +848 3833 3468
– Second. Usually, ships go to Phu Quoc leave at 8am and 1pm, taking from 2h30 to 3h depending on the weather.
Two ship firms:
– Superdong ship. Add: 14 – Tu Do street, near the dock. Phone: +8477.877.742 – +8477.877.741. Fare is $15/adult.
– Shavanna ship. Add: 12 Tu Do street – Rach Gia, near the dock. Phone: +84773.692.888. Fares: : $15/adult and $10/child.
Best Hotels and motels in Phu Quoc Island
1. Kim Thanh Nga hotel inregion 7 (khu phố 7) – block 20 – Duong Dong town is $18 to $25. Fine room, good hotelier. $7 for taxi from airport to the hotel.
2. Hong Tuyet hotel is at14 – Bach Dang street – Duong Dong. Near the Duong Dong night market, and dock of night squid fishing.
3. Sea Breeze hotel is very clean and spacious with balcony overlooking the sea. Prices from $18 to $43. The hotel is located on Tran Hung Dao street. Phone +8477 399 4920
4. Hiep Thoai hotel on Tran Hung Dao street is in the town center. Phone: +8477.398.1060. I don’t know its exact price, but for sure it’s affordable, you may call to check the prices.
5. Huong Giang bungalow hotel. I really like this hotel. It includes 16 bungalows, located in bustling area of Phu Quoc and only 5 minutes walk from beach. Prices from $25 to $30. I’m pretty sure you will like it too.
Some cheap motels in Phu Quoc
6. Thien Vy motel at 6 – Ly Thuong Kiet, near Phu Quoc ariport.
7. Oc Dao motel has very cheap price at only$10. Phone +8498.2111.232.
1. Le Giang restaurant is near the traffic circle of night market. This is familiar breakfast place of groups tourist.
2. Quoc Anh on 30/4 street, near Thang Long hotel. I don’t try yet but some my friends said it’s good.
3. Banh canh cha ca is a popular restaurant close to Thang Long hotel. If you want to watch the streets and enjoy taste of the local, let’s come here.
4. Breakfast buffet at Huong Bien hotel. You may call the hotel to book breakfast.
5. Vuon Tao (Vườn táo ) is my favorite. They have raw herring, which is the pride of Phu Quoc cuisine. Other restaurant also have this dish, but here is best. You should drop by this restaurant during daytime, because it’s quite distant from the center of the town so deserted in night.
6. Zen is a luxurious restaurant on 30/4 street. Cool campus and professional staffs. This restaurant also serves breakfast.
7. Song Xanh restaurant has nice view, overlooking Duong Dong river.
8. Trung Duong has good prices.
9. Huong Bien restaurant is located on terrace of Huong Bien hotel, which has a very impressive sea view. This is ideal place for dinner.
10. Ngheu So Oc Hen and Nghe So restautants serve seafoods at reasonable prices.
11. Dinh Cau night market has many restaurants close together and prices are also average. Let’s enjoy a very Phu Quoc cuisine style.
12. Gia Tuong is the only restaurant in Phu Quoc that does not have seafoods but serves specialties from Phu Quoc forest instead.
In southern Island
12. Sao beach club is a new restaurant with nice view and good service. You may rent hammocks or chairs to eat on the beach.
In Northern Island
13. Mai Phuong restaurant on Vung Bau (Vũng Bầu ) beach has over 10 bungalow.
Phu Quoc is known as the pearl island, it wins many tourists’ favours to be called “the heaven on earth”. the island is the largest island in Vietnam, formed in Kien Giang Province, located in the Southwest of the country, being about 120km from Rach Gia.
Phu Quoc island has cool weather all the year with an average temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius, a tropical monsoon climate which is divided into two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Gifted the beautiful weather, calm sea, and a few rainy days,… Phu Quoc is the ideal destination for those who are planing to go travel somewhere fantasic.
Vung Tau is a heaven of sea tourism in Southern Vietnam. It’s beautiful and very close to Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City) so convenient for travelling. You need just 1 day to visit most of the attractions in Vung Tau City, or 2 days if you want to visit its nearby spots. The following is my tips, experiences and top things to do in Vung Tau city – Vietnam for 1 or 2-day trip.
Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam. I visited Hue twice with many different emotions, but one thing never changes, the silence. Any one who visited Hue probably have had similar experiences. There seems so few people on the streets, life is passing very slow, and even a little sad. So, why go to Hue?!
Hue is the capital of Vietnam’s last feudalistic dynasty, hence preserves numerous pagodas, temples, palaces and especially the magnificent citadel. And the people of this ancient capital are amazingly wonderful too. Don’t forget the local food! Definitely worth a visit! In this article, I’m happy to share with you my experiences, tips and things to do in Hue – Vietnam.
How to get to Hue from Hanoi and Saigon?
If you’re in Hanoi or Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh city), you can travel to Hue by bus or train. While bus is generally faster and more convenient with many high quality companies offering sleeper services, train is also a good choice for those who prefer a more peaceful trip.
Hoi An ancient town was the cultural and commercial center of Central Vietnam during the 16th and 17th centuries. Now it is “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port” (UNESCO). Following is my experiences, tips and top things to do in Hoi An city, that I collected after a few trips.
Da Nang is the center of culture and tourism in Central Vietnam. From here, you can combine travelling to many other places such as Hoi An ancient town, Nha Trang beach, Ba Na hill, Hue ancient capital. But Da Nang alone already has a lot to visit. It is the most worthy place to live within Vietnam. No kidding. Check out why!
I was fortunate to visit Mui Ne, Phan Thiet twice. Both times left very deep impressions in me. The most attractive thing in South-Central of Vietnam is the long beaches with a very charming and picturesque beauty. In this post, I will share my experiences, tips and top things to do in Mui Ne – Phan Thiet to those who are planning to explore this city.
Best period to visit Mui Ne. Any time! Just avoid Jul and Aug, season of seaweeds, which makes the sea not clean and blue. Best time is Jun, with a lot of sunshine.
Assuming you are in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, there are two ways to go Mui Ne: by bus and train. By bus, you can get straight to Mui Ne, a little more convenient. By train, you will stop in Phan Thiet city, then go to Mui Ne from Phan Thiet, about 22km.
* From Ho Chi Minh city to Mui Ne
– Sinh Cafe has seat car and bed car.
Times: 07:30 – 15:00 and 20:30
Add: 246 – 248 De Tham, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city. Tel: +84.8.38 38 9593 – Fax: +84.8.38 36 9322
24 -26 Pho Ðuc Chinh , District 1, Ho Chi Minh city. Tel: +84.8.38 222 892 – Fax: +84.8.38 217 416
– Phuong Trang
Times: 7:30, 08:30 and 14:30
Address: 272-274-276 De Tham, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city. Tel: +84. 83. 837 5570
Office in Mui Ne: +84 62 3743 113 or +84 62 3743 040
– Tam Hanh
Times: 08:00, 09:00, 15:00 and 20:00
Address: 272 – De Tham – District 1 – Ho Chi Minh City. Near Sinh Cafe and Phuong Trang offices
Tel: +848 9205 653
* From Hanoi to Mui Ne
Hoang Long has 2 offices in Hanoi:
– 1A Nam Dong, Dong Da district, Hanoi. Tel: 8494 321 19 00
– 19 Thuoc Bac, Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem district, Ha Noi. Tel: 844 6295 5565
*From Ho Chi Minh city to Phan Thiet
Everyday, there is 1 trip from Sai Gon station to Phan Thiet at 7:05 am. Saturday and Sunday have 1 more train in the afternoon. From Phan Thiet station, you can catch a bus to Mui Ne.
Add of Sai Gon station: No. 01 Nguyen Thong street, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh city
Phone (automatic answer): +848 39 310 666
For information: +848 3931 8952 or +848 3846 6091
Ticket office: +848 38 436 524 or +848 38 468 701
Sai Gon station will bring ticket to the hotel if requested at +848 8436 528, only available for inner city from 7h to 21h everyday.
Also, Mui Ne has tent service on beaches. Sleeping in tents brings freedom and adventure, or simply helps you save money. You should ask about security on beaches where you will sleep. Some resorts in Mui Ne provide tent sleeping service:
– Thuy Trang resort. Tel: +84 623.849.196.
– Hon Rom 2 resort. Tel : +84 623.848.828
– Hon Rom 1 resort. Tel : +84 623.848.539 or +84 918.186.047
These resorts are placed on one road. If you come from Phan Thiet city, you will see: Thuy Trang – Hon Rom 2 – Hon Rom 1.
Renting motor in Mui Ne
The attractions in Mui Ne are far apart, so you should rent a motor to visit all of the sites. Most of hotels in Mui Ne has motor for rent, if not, talk to reception, they will help you.
If you had motor before going to Mui Ne, you can train from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city and send the motor on train.
Phan Thiet is coastal city so it’s famous for seafood. If possible, you should buy seafood on the beach from fishermen in the early morning. It’s fresh and tasty. Otherwise, you can eat seafood in restaurants.
I like Phuong Vy restaurant, that’s spacious and dishes are very delicious.
Sapa is a small town in Lao Cai provine – Vietnam, well-known for cool climate, diverse culture and majestic nature. Coming to Sapa, you will have the chance to relax in the cool climate right in Vietnam, a tropical country, visit villages of ethnic minorities and discover the beauty of majestic nature.
Best time to visit Sapa. You can visit all year round, summer is cool, winter is very cold, however, you will have big cloud formation, and fog covering the town. Each season has its own beauties. According to my Sapa travel experience, you should spend at least 2 days – 1 night, that’s enough time to visit the most attractive sites. Below is my experiences and top things to do in Sapa – Vietnam, hope it will be helpful for your Sapa trip.
1. You can go by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai city, from $8 to $40, depending on the quality. Then, get a bus or high quality car to Sapa, fares are about $2,5. Total time, from Hanoi to Sapa, is 10 hours (1 night).
You can buy the train tickets at:
– TSC agent (add: 114 Pho Duc Chinh street – Ba Ðinh district – Hanoi): +844-37162868
– Mua Xuan (spring) agent (add: 41 Ma May Street – Hoan Kiem district – Hanoi): +844-39263138 or +844-22109775
– Hanoi train station on Le Duan street.
2. You can go by high quality buses from Hanoi up to Sapa in about 5-6 hours.
You can buy car tickets of firms: Hai Van (Tel: +84203.872.606), Ha Son (Tel: +844 220.127.116.11), Hung Thanh (Tel: +84989.294.294), VietBus (Tel: +8443-627.27.27), …
Best hotels in Sapa town
2 areas that gather many cheap motels and hotels are Cau May and Fansipan streets. The average prices are from $10 to $20 for normal days, and $15 to 30$ for holidays. You can consider:
– Quoc Thai motel, on Fansipan street, tel: +84203.871384. The price is about $10 for normal days.
– Hoang Phuong motel, 200m from Stone church, close to the Sapa market and Ham Rong mountain. The motel is quiet and affordable, about $15 for normal days, 20$ for holidays.
– Momisa hotel is close to the market at $15/room/night. Tel:+ 84203 871 262
– Mua Xuan (Spring) hotel is also close to the market and 5 minutes by walk to Stone church. Rooms are good, clean and look to Hoang Lien Son majestic mountains. The prices are $12 for normal day, $16 for weekends and holidays. Tel:+ 84203 871 380
– Co Vuong (Mrs. Vuong) motel is located at 10 – Son Thach street. Prices are around $15 – $18, depending on days. Tel: +841677 604 658
– Khuyen Ngoc motel is located on Xuan Vien street. Quite cheap or you can call to recheck: +84203 872 449
– Little Sapa II hotel and restaurant. Add: 38 – Cau May street, tel: +8420 871238 or +8420 871222. Hotelier (Mr.Dung) is very gentle. You can also call him (+841688 063 526) to book room. The Little Sapa II is located in the heart of Sapa. From here, you can stroll around and visit some famous sites in few minutes.
There are many attractions in Sapa, however, there are some main sites that you should not miss:
– Ethnic Villages: Ta Van village (bản Tả Van), Lao Chai (bản Lao Chải), Cat Cat (bản Cat Cat), Ta Phin (bản Tả Phìn), Sin Chai (bản Sín Chải)
Ta Van and Ta Phin villages have many rice terraces, which are really impressive and majestic. Ta Phin is the village of Dao ethnic. Dao people have a very special service of bathing in herbal leaves, which is believed to be able to help get rid of many diseases.
– Ham Rong mountain is a tourist resort, located in the heart of Sapa with many things to see: Ham Rong flowers garden, garden of 12 holy animals, Thach Lam rocks garden,…and the most beautiful place is Ham Rong peak, where you can look down to the entire Sapa.
– Waterfalls:Silver (Bạc ) and Love (Tình Yêu ) are 2 most beautiful waterfalls in Sapa.
– Stone church is the only church in Sapa.
Fares of some attractions in Sapa:
– Ham Rong mountain: $3.5
– Cat Cat village: $2
– Sin Chai village: $1
– Lao Chai – Ta Van – Ho villages: $2
– Ma Tra – Ta Phin villages: $1
– Silver waterfall: $0.5
– Love waterfall: $2
– Fansipan, the highest mountain of Vietnam (3143m). To conquer Fansipan, you either take the newly built cable care or climb on your feet. You must be strong man because the journey is very difficult. You will need 2 days (and 1 night) to climb up the peak. Price for 1 Fansipan conquest tour is around $75 – $100.
What & Where to eat in Sapa?
Sapa has many specialties:
– Cap nach pig (lợn cắp nách): Small pigs, that you can lift it up with one hand.
– Black chiken (gà ác): their bones and skin are black.
– Thang Co (thắng cố): this is a dish of Hmong ethic. I really don’t dare to try this dish.
– Bacon (thịt xông khói),a nice dish of ethnics.
– Grilled food in Sapa is really tasty.
Best things to do in Sapa (For 2 days – 3 nights)
Night 1 and day 1: take thetrain to Lao Cai city. At 7am of the next day, you will be at Lao Cai station, catch a bus to Sapa. Next, check in your booked hotel and get going. You should rent a motor (for 2 days), asking your hotel for the shops.
-Morning: go to Ta Van village, visit the ethic houses (if they allow).
– Noon: back to the town for lunch.
– Afternoon: go to Ta Phin village, try out herbal bath of Dao ethnic and back to the town in evening.
– Second night: try Thang Co, Cap Nach pig and other specialties of Sapa in cuisine market, then stroll around Sapa lake.
– Morning: climb Ham Rong mountain and visit Silver waterfall (by motor).
– Afternoon: go to Cat Cat village, watch Hmong dance. You must get back to Sapa at around 4pm to return the motor, pack up and catch a bus back to Lao Cai city at 5pm.
Night 3: sleep on the train and dream about Sapa on the way back to Hanoi.