10 Reasons To Visit Vietnam

Author: Tim W. Russell
Filed under tourism -> travel-guides-and-tips | Sun, 01 Nov 2009 | viewed (1817x)


There's a global recession on apparently - you may have read about it in the newspapers. Yet many surveys suggest holidays are the last thing people will cut back on. They may eat out less, take fewer short breaks, or not buy so many gadgets, but they will still travel, and this is why destinations that offer good value for money will survive the credit crunch.

And right now there are few better-value destinations than Vietnam! Here are 10 reasons why 'Nam is THE crunch-busting hotspot for 2009...

1. It's cheap to get here

Everyone's offering flight deals at the moment. A quick Kayak search on Heathrow-Saigon threw up plenty of flights at the $700 mark, with Air Asia offering an amazing $299 deal. Flying in from neighbouring countries such as Singapore & Thailand has never been cheaper.

2. It's cheap to sleep

Vietnam's top-end hotels may have gained a bad rep for overcharging during the country's recent tourism boom, but the penny has finally dropped and rates are starting to come down. Wotif are showing rates of under $100 for some of Saigon's 5* hotels. And if luxury is less important, Vietnam has literally thousands of mid-range hotels and resorts, along with guesthouses and minihotels, where clean and comfortable en-suite rooms can be had for as little as $10 a night. Or for a more adventurous option, book a homestay & stay with a local family, or rent a self-catering house/flat.

3. It's cheap to get around

OK, so you've arrived and found somewhere to stay, and now you want to see the sights. Well, the average taxi ride within Saigon or Hanoi costs around a dollar. Buses up the coast to Mui Ne cost around $7, or you can hire your own car with personal chauffeur for around $50 a day. Internal flights are a steal - around $80 return from Saigon to Phu Quoc Island or Hoi An. Or if you're either brave or clinically insane, you can rent a motorbike for around $7 a day (though your medical bills might be a bit more!)

4. It's cheap to eat

Dining in Vietnam is a joy, with cheap & cheerful street meals available for under a dollar. Most larger towns have traveller cafes where western & Asian dishes are available for around $2-3. Even the 5* hotels do great value buffets with free-flow wine for around $30 - expensive by local standards, but a snip for many visitors.

5. It's cheap to drink

Travellers who like to let their hair down and have a few bevvies will love Vietnam. Most expat bars charge around $2 for a beer, with local joints charging half that. Cocktails & wine can be had for around $4 a go (more in hotel bars). But for a real bargain, hunt down a bia hoi. Common in the north, less so in the south, these oases charge as little as 25c for fresh draught beer - provided you don't mind sitting on a plastic chair on the street. They also sell good food, and it's a great way to meet the locals, who are invariably friendlier & chattier after a few beers!

6. It's cheap to shop

Shopping is a national pastime in Vietnam - seemingly every family runs a shop of some kind. Bargains include clothing, shoes, lacquerware, luggage and jewellery. Most places don't display prices to get your haggling head on and be firm, but don't argue over pennies. If you're happy with the price offered, take it. Markets are a great place to shop, especially ones outside the main tourist areas, but be careful when buying fake DVDs - they may be confiscated on your way out of Vietnam, or on your way into your next destination.

7. It's cheap to go bespoke

Always dreamed of having a tailormade suit, dress or overcoat? Can't afford Savile Row? Vietnam is the place for you. If I had a penny for every tailor in Vietnam I'd be a very rich man indeed. Tailormade 2-piece suits can be had for as little as $70, dresses even cheaper. Hoi An is king of rapid tailoring; Hanoi or HCMC offer similar prices and higher quality, but you might have to wait a while longer.

8. It's cheap to stay in touch

We all love to stay in touch with friends & family when we're travelling, and in Vietnam it's very cheap indeed. Most tourist hotels have free internet and/or wifi, and there are very cheap internet cafes with VOIP in every town, even in remote Mekong Delta villages. Or you can bring your mobile and buy a local SIM for $5, or even buy a local mobile for $40 and sell it on when you leave. International calls cost as little as 20c per minute.

9. It's cheap to relax

Vietnam, especially the cities, can be hot & stressful, but they also have lots of spas, massage parlours and health clubs where you can cool down & relax after a day's sightseeing. Full massages cost as little as $6 an hour (though the cheaper the rate, the greater the likelihood of being pressured into "extras"!), with luxury hotels offering spa & massage packages from around $35. Many resorts even offer massage on the beach - the ultimate in relaxation.

10. It's cheap to make yourself beautiful

Whilst cosmetic surgery tourism is in its infancy here (compared to Thailand), Vietnam is home to literally thousands of hairdressers, beauticians and nail salons. Do as the local ladies do and get yourself a full hairwash & massage session for as little as $1, or get a new hairdo for $3. For full details, email Nhung at Come & Go for expert advice.

Tagged : tourism visit reason plan