Vietnam Travelogue 2013- Introduction

4 Jun

Hello there! Yippee, I am so excited and happy to start blogging about my Vietnam Trip. This trip is a very different trip from the rest of the places that I have been. I’ve met a few other travellers on the road, tasted food which I have not tasted before and viewing things in a different perspective.

After I am back from this trip, I still am thinking about it and excited to meet and hear stories from other travellers again. I think I am in love with backpacking and the idea of traveling while working or even quitting my  job and travel for a couple of months (but first, I need to save up).

Well, some of you may ask, why did I decided to travel to Vietnam? Well, honestly, we didn’t have it all planned out. My friend and I had the intention of backpacking but we don’t know exactly where about. And then, last December Jetstar Airlines was having the ‘Fly a Friend for Free’ promotion going on so we just decided, and snap, my next destination was in Vietnam – the start of our first backpacking trip for the both of us.

We bought a one way ticket to Ho Chi Minh City, with the idea to fly back from Hanoi. In between, we have no plans on where and how we wanted to go. We didn’t get it all checked out and bought the return tickets from Hanoi from Singapore Airlines, with the mind to travel for 7 days (kind of reckless). However after asking people on forums and the internet, we concluded that 7 days was too rushed to cover from south to north of Vietnam. Then again, both of us don’t have that many of annual leave to take, so we just changed our flight back to a 9 days trip instead (which is equally rush but better than 7days).

Even though this trip is not ‘literally’ considered as a backpacking trip (cause we had most of the stuff planned out and booked mainly due to the short time frame we have), we still think it has been a tremendous ‘first’ travelling-with-a-backpack- kind of experience for us to both have 🙂

And so, after telling you about how my destination landed in Vietnam. Like all my other travelogues, I will start with some general introduction which hopefully could help some of you out there to understand Vietnam a little better 🙂

General Introduction
Vietnam is larger than Singapore (duh) and is divided into the south, central, north etc. For the individual locations for each part of Vietnam, you can check out this link: Each city is unique to its own culture. For this trip, we travelled to Ho Chi Minh (also known as Saigon), Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and Halong Bay. Not only the culture slightly differs from each city, the weather and the people as well.

Weather in Vietnam
The weather is pretty similar to Singapore, sunny all year-long with two monsoon seasons differing from the south and the north of Vietnam. Personally, I think Vietnam is so much hotter than Singapore. Probably cause Vietnam (south) is much nearer to the equator and hence explains the heat. So better check out the months that is suitable for traveling to the different parts of Vietnam over here:

Mobile Card in Vietnam
After exiting the International Airport, you could see a row of money exchange booth (on the right) and most of them sells mobile sim card as well. If you are holding a smart phone, don’t worry, they have it all covered too. I paid about ₫$180,000 (S$11) for unlimited data usage for the 9 days I was there. Even though am not sure how much credit it is left with but it’s surely worth it.

Transport in Vietnam
The main transport we took while traveling in the cities is by walking. Walking is the best transportation. From city to city, you can take domestic flight to fly from one place to another (if you don’t have much time like us). Other than that, sleeper bus and trains are a great idea too. You can choose to buy on the spot but to play safe, we generally will buy in advance especially during the festive holidays (like TET). I will share with you guys more on the mode of transport we took to travel from one city to another.

People in Vietnam
They are generally really nice! (even when you bargain). But some locals may try to sell you something or I’ve read on forums on scamming cases but thank god nothing of that happened when we were there. Most of them are cool when we rejected politely. Different cities are kind of different too. Will share more of that later as well 🙂

Language in Vietnam
The national language of Vietnam is the Vietnamese language. I always feel that it’s good to learn a few simple phrase of the local language to communicate with the locals. Even though Vietnamese language is really hard but smart phone application made it all easier. Just simply search for free Vietnamese phrases on your smart phone app, you can easily get free apps and learn a few basic phrases! 🙂

Some of the locals (especially shop vendors) can speak basic English. The younger generation mostly can speak English. From my understanding from the guide, they have to learn English up to primary school. And most of them continue English lessons at educational centres. However, as English is not the primary language used in Vietnam,  it may be a little bit harder to understand them (because of the accent) but all is well for us! Use sign language or simply pressing the calculator if you need to 🙂

I hope this general introduction is helpful for you. Look out for my day 1 Vietnam travelogue next week 🙂

Have a good week.

p.s. one more thing to note: Vietnam is an hour behind Singapore.

Oh! by the way, you can catch a glimpse of my entire trip in a video created by my friend over here, if you haven’t: Summary of Vietnam 




2 Responses to “Vietnam Travelogue 2013- Introduction”

  1. eniralc September 11, 2013 at 23:25 #

    Hi raine! I’m planning to go for a backpacking trip to vietnam after im done with my studies in polytechnic 🙂 im saving up really hard rn, and im gonna book a one way ticket to hcmc this coming march (2014) once im done renew-ing my passport. i see if ill travel up the north or take a bus to cambodia and then to thailand after im done touring hcmc!

    • travellingwithraine September 12, 2013 at 00:50 #

      Hi eniralc, that’s really cool! during my trip I did met travellers travelling up north then towards cambodia and thailand. It’ll be really nice if I can do so one day too, when I have more time & leave! Thanks for leaving a note and let me know if I can be of any help & I’ll try my best to (:

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