When I was listing down budget friendly countries, I have come across Vietnam. After researching and reading about the country, I found myself looking for visa and plane tickets.

First things first— Lets get the Visa!

Instead of getting confused between, “Is it On Arrival” or “ We have to get it well ahead “ ? kind of questions, Click here  and scroll down to Vietnam to get the complete Visa application details.

Lets Fly :

I personally recommended to book your flight tickets directly from airlines than the travel sites preferably Air Asia for a lower fare.

You are officially allowed to carry a 7kg hand luggage which is good for a 5–6 day holiday. So opt out the check-in luggage option and doing this you save around 2k-3k :-). If you are someone who goes on a shopping spree, better choose the check-in luggage as you will find a lot of flea markets.

Day 1 — Alighting at Ho-Chi Min

After completing the immigration formalities the money exchange can be done at the airport.

1USD = 21,000 Dongs (Vietnam Currency) and you feel super rich 😀 carrying all those 1 Lakh Currency notes with you.

To Dos:

–  Drinking water is very expensive here. So better to buy  5 liter cans that are sold at local stores and save some money.

– Right next to the Hostel in District 1, there is a happening street with several clubs and restaurants, check it out.

– If you are a non-vegetarian, chicken wings are really tasty and a must try here.

You can spend your evenings here by just walking through different streets and trying various dishes. If you are interested, you can check out the night market which starts around 8:30 PM and is close by to the hostel (in District 1)

Day 2 — The Mekong Day

Booking For the Mekong Trip:

First when I looked at the fares to book a trip from few sites on internet, it showed around $70-$80 for a day trip.

Later when I enquired the same at the airport with few travel agencies, they quoted $110. I was not certain whether to include this place in my itinerary or not.

I have casually checked at the hostel reception if  they could get me a better deal with the Mekong tour. To my surprise the reception lady said it was $18. I gave her $36 to book the tour for me & my friend and she replied saying it’s $9 per head and $18 in total. Such massive price differences and I personally recommend to always do a reservation for a day tour or any ride, once you actually get to the city.(Had similar experiences in other countries too)

Off To Mekong:

After a decent breakfast at the hostel we started at 8:30 A.M. Here you will get to meet a lot of interesting travellers from different parts of the globe.

It is a 2–3hour ride from District 1 and on the way you will stop by to see Vietnamese art work.

Finally we reach the Mekong river. It looks splendid with  boats around and there is also a floating market.

During the ride, guide explains the history & culture of Mekong. We enjoyed shopping there by just jumping from one boat to another. It was fun!!!

Beautiful Mekong

Highlights of the Boat Ride:

  • You will get to taste the best Honey-Lemon tea of your life. It is simply amazing.
    Do not hesitate to ask for an other cup, they serve you with no questions.

  • Walk through few locals houses and see their livelihood.
  • Stop by and look at Dance/Singing performances.
  • We get to sit in a boat, where a max of 4 people can fit in. This ride reminds me of “Annaconda movie” 😉 , may be the video below shows it all.

  • When you stop for lunch, please tell the guide if you are a vegetarian so that they serve you a perfect Veg meal (Tofu)
  • After the lunch, please do not miss or forget to do the bicycle ride. We can drive through the woods. Personally this was the “Best of Mekong” Trip 🙂

After the lovely outing we got dropped at our hostels back at 5:30 P.M. Relaxed and refreshed, we decided to explore the Night-Life of Saigon city and reached Bitexco tower. It is very much walkable from District-1, you can just look at the huge tower and follow the path.

This tower has both coffee shop and a pub which is placed at the 52nd floor. From here you get to the see the beautiful Ho-chiminh city from top.
Very affordable and killer place to party .

Bitexco Tower

(FYI — If at all you are hungry- there is always a 24*7 Mc.Donald’s store open, which can be spotted on the way to Bitexco tower.)

Day 3 — Enter the Phu-Qoc Island

I am very thankful to my friend for suggesting this place. We  started at around 5:30 AM to Phuqoc Island by domestic airlines Vietjet (Link to book Flight). And to reach the airport we booked the taxi at hostel for $10.

The domestic airport is pretty cramped and if you have a luggage to check-in, you got to be 2 hours before to get through the long queue.


We touch down the Phu-Qoc Island at 9:15 AM and here we could not find any local transport. Comparatively, traffic of flights is pretty low and not too many people are seen at the airport. We did not do any prior request with the resort guys to provide transfer services and hence we had to take a taxi for $22. The drive from airport to resort had some nice views.

The staff here are very friendly and this resort is an Utopia. At first I was blown away looking at the view from our room, later pool, food, spa and many other things make this place a paradise.

Food here is amazing. I went and thanked the Chef in person for cooking such delicious meal.

Now this is what you might call a Perfect Holiday — Relax by the beachside all day long, eat your heart out, listen to your favourite music and talk about everything and nothing with your friend 🙂

Interesting things about the resort:

  • There are Happy hours so look for some good deals.
  • Do not miss to try the Shrimp & Mushroom dishes.
  • All the people who work here assemble for dinner at the beach-side (roughly at 10:30 PM–11 PM), prepare their own barbeques. They sing, laugh find them the most happy people on the planet. Join them to enjoy the vibe.





 Day 4 — The “D” (Diving) Day

I was so excited and couldn’t wait for the underwater experience again.

The driver picked us at 7:30 AM and we started to south island. We were the only non-natives in the bus, so most of the time guide communicated in Vietnamese. Our co-travelers Amy & family were very friendly and helped in translation.

On the way to Saigo beach, the first stop will be at pearl museum. Here I met an interesting man- I call him the “Sea Man”. He explains how pearls are made. This guy did diving for about 14 years now and all his bones are shrunk. Do not miss to meet him and hear his crazy stories.

Now we reach the white sand AKA Saigo Beach and you get to do the below activities :
(a) Do Fishing .

(b) Snorkeling — Get to see wide range of fishes, especially angel fishes. [P:S:I don’t know how to swim, but do not restrict yourself. Life Jackets are pretty safe and people always monitor you. Just go for it :-)]
(c) Have the authentic Vietnam Lunch.

(d) Chill by the beach side and have coconut water.


Our Translators – Amy & Family 🙂 !!!

We got dropped at the resort around 5:30 PM and earlier our plan was to get freshen up, rent a bike for $10 and get to the city side. Knowing that it would be our last day at the beach, we dropped the city plan and decided to stay back at the resort. Spent rest of the pleasant evening at beach side enjoying the waves sounds and food.

Day 5 — Ciao Vietnam

Our flight back to HoChiMinh City was at 8:30 AM. The resort people arranged us transfer service for free to the PhuQoc Island airport with packed breakfast.

We were a little upset that our trip comes to an end but then as they say  “All Good Things Must End” :-).

We reached the domestic airport of HoChiMinh around 10:30 AM and we had some time for our flight back to India. So we dropped our luggage at the baggage drop centre at the international terminal for a charge of $6 and went to a nearby shopping complex(FYI: It just takes 3–5 mins to walk from domestic to international passage and you can just reach there by following the board signs).

Sorry, I do not remember the name of this place, but it is just 10 minutes away from the airport. Went bowling and did some shopping here. We were happy that we spent the transit time well 🙂 

End of story 🙂  and if you haven’t backpacked before, then Vietnam is a good choice to kick off.

If you would like to know about our stay details, please click here

One Reply to “VIETNAM”

  1. Amazing Sridhar! Your blogs give all those critical and those helpful bits of information that come handy to all fellow travelers. Keep Traveling new places. Keep Sharing Happiness. Cheers!!!

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