Vietnam : To Explore 5 Cities In 5 Days

This is the first time I’m writing about my trip, well there should be first time for everything, right?

Last year a friend told me about her plan to Vietnam and without thinking twice, i instantly visited airasia’s website. Voila! Tickets of Jakarta – Ho Chi Minh – Jakarta were issued!

We also booked the domestic tickets online.

 
 Airasia
Flights Jkt-HCMN-Jkt : IDR 798,000.
Airport tax: IDR 150,000.
Supersize Regular baggage: IDR 60,000.
GoInsure Premium: IDR 49,000.
Convenience Fee: IDR 30,000.

Total Paid: IDR 997,000.

Jetstar (From HCMN to Hanoi)

VND 1,045,000 (excluding 10%GST and card payment fee)

Vietnam Airlines (From Danang to HCMN)

VND 600,000.

I can’t make it too detailed as it will be hundred pages or even a book! Hope this is helpful and inspiring you to have trip to Vietnam.

Actually it was very hot and humid in Vietnam when we were there, but I had great time visiting 5 cities in 5 days only with total expense not more than IDR 5,000,000.

Pardon the low quality photos as i took them with my blackberry camera.

 

DAY  1 : ARRIVED AT HO CHI MINH AIRPORT (HCMN)

From the airport to the Backpackers area which was located at District 1 area, we took Vinasun taxi which costed about USD 5. Better to pick Vinasun or May Linh taxi in HCMN, otherwise you will get shocked to know about the other taxis’ rates, very crazy.  Trust me.

The guesthouse that my friend had booked through the website (www.hostel.com), was clean enough for me, it costed USD 10/person including wifi and simple breakfast, with the bathroom inside our room. Actually we could get cheaper one, it’s very possible to negociate if we had booked it on the spot. But since we knew that we would arrive late at night at HCMN airport, we decided to book it online.

 

DAY 2: EXPLORING HO CHI MINH

Also known as Saigon City, there’re many military paths of the Vietkong war with USA in this city. My friend already inserted Chu Chi Tunnel into our itinerary as the 1st priority in HCMN schedule.  At the night we checked in, we asked the guesthouse girl about how to reach the Tunnel location, she explained if there’s city tour package which costed USD 5/person for the transportation and travel guide. And for the ticket to the area, it costed VND 75,000/person. Then we confirmed to take the citytour which then picked us up at 8 am.

The Citytour collected the tourists one by one at their hotels by a comfort bus and we reached the Tunnel after 2-hour drive.

Well, I was too tired after we went inside the last tunnel which had 100-meter length, can you imagine that we should walk with limited oxygen and in 90-degree position? In certain areas we had to do duck walks along the tunnels and it was really something. Really. I guarantee that my face was really really pale after doing that, even the guide asked me: “Are you ok?” Lol…I couldn’t even say a word at that time.

Once reaching the outside end of the tunnel, my legs were shaking and I decided to sit down for a while and pushed my self to walk to join others to finish the trip, but my legs were still shaking while walking.

The tour guide was a veteran of the Vietkong war that never stopped talking about his war experience during our bus trip. He told us that he would publish a book about Vietnam war shortly.

There was a girl from the city tour that agreed to have a shared taxi cost to the airport. So after taking a walk around Saigon to some historical buildings and traditional market, we checked out of the hostel and went to the airport.

 

in front of the hostel, awaiting the city tour bus

The history of the Tunnels

Taking picture on a war tank before the tunnels tour

After the tunnels tour

 

On cyclo after shopping at the traditional market

 

In front of St. Maria Catholic Cathedral

In front of St. Maria Catholic Cathedral

 

With Central Post Office as the background

With Central Post Office as the background

 

DAY 3: HA LONG BAY

We arrived at Hanoi airport in the middle of the night, hopelessly tried to find the hostel by airport taxi. An expensive taxi, VND 300,000.00 from Airport to the backpackers area. But we had no choice at that time, no May Linh taxi at that late night.

After finding out that almost all hotels were closed already, finally we found one, Green Tree Hotel, that offered USD 15/night for a nice room with twin beds. Not per person, so yeah that was so cheap that we were a lil bit shocked.  There was no wifi in the room, but they provided free internet at the reception area, 3 computers that we could use at anytime. But forget about facebook, they banned it. 

In the morning, the city tour that we reserved with the help of the reception guy, took us to Ha Long Bay. Same system as other city tours, picking up one by one at each hotels. The 3-hour ride was worth the beautiful view that we got.

 

Ha Long Bay view from our boat

Ha Long Bay view from the entrance

Near the cave of Ha Long Bay

 

At night around 8 pm, we were dropped back at our hotel and went to the Chicken Rice Noodle Kiosk beside the hotel. It’s delicious. Really. My friend even had her 2nd bowl.

And guess what, We ate that VND-20,000 Chicken Rice Noodle again at the night before we left Hanoi. So cheap and near.

 

Chicken Rice Noodles

 

DAY 4: EXPLORING HANOI

On the second day in Hanoi, we decided to walk around the city until our legs hurt. Lol.

 

The Huc Bridge over Hoàn Kiếm Lake

The Huc Bridge over Hoàn Kiếm Lake

 

Đền Ngọc Sơn or Temple of Jade Mountain on Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Đền Ngọc Sơn or Temple of Jade Mountain on Hoàn Kiếm Lake

 

Trấn Quốc Pagoda - the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi

Trấn Quốc Pagoda – the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi

 

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

 

Inside Ho Chi Minh Museum

Inside Ho Chi Minh Museum

 

That night at 7 pm, we went to the train station, heading to Hue. The train trip took us to Hue after 12 hours. We paid VND 457,000 for a soft-sleep ticket in a cabin with 4 bunk beds.

 

My 1st overnight train trip

My 1st overnight train trip

 

Hello Hue!

 

DAY 5 : HUE

From the train station, we asked the May Linh taxi driver to take us to Le Loi area to Phoenix Hotel. We reserved a room on hostelworld for USD 7 per night with breakfast included. Nice small hotel with wifi and bathroom inside the room.

 

The yummy Hue beef soup

After taking breakfast, we went to explore the city by cyclo, kind of tricycle or becak. But unluckily, we got a tricky driver. In beginning he was so nice, he agreed to take us to The Citadel for VND 30,000. He refused to be paid when we reached the place, he said he would wait in front of The Citadel and would take us to other places. I insisted to pay and asked him for not awaiting us. But again, he insisted.

Finished with the Citadel, then he tooked us to Thien Mu Temple. And we still thought that he’s a nice guy because he acted like one.

Hué is much more the cultural and religious compared to Saigon and Hanoi, I felt strong ancient vibe when exploring the old town.

 

The Citadel

The Citadel

 

Posing at the Citadel

Posing at the Citadel

 

After done with the temple, then we decided to go back to the hotel area to have lunch and exploring the central city by walking. The driver gave us shock therapy by charging us VND 230,000. PER PERSON. Of course we paid him, unsincerely, after some arguements.

Before we called it a night, we went out to watch Water Puppetry, an awesome show with players moving under the water –a small pool– to make the puppets appeared over the water.  Too bad I don’t have any photo of the show. The ticket was VND 80,000/person.

 

DAY 6 : LAST DAY – HOI AND DANANG

Having checking out from the hotel, we took a bus to Hoi An with cheap fare VND 50,000. The AC didn’t work well, too bad, but the rest area view paid it off.

 

The view near the rest area

The view near the rest area

 

From Hoi An to Danang airport, we got a taxi that charged us VND 340,000 only. The taxi driver didn’t complain when we asked to stop by, letting us take pictures at the Japanese Bridge and some Ancient Temples.

 
 
 
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The famous Japanese bridge with a lady under an umbrella

 

Bánh Tráng Mè (Sesame Rice Crackers) stall

Bánh Tráng Mè (Sesame Rice Crackers) stall

 

 

We ended the trip with flying back to Saigon then Jakarta. Until then, Vietnam!

 

Admission Fees:

Hoan Kiem Lake : VND 10,000
Ngoc son Temple : VND 10,000
Botanical Garden : VND 2,000
HCMN Museum : VND 15,000
The Citadel (the ancient kingdom) : USD 10,000
Museum of Art (fine arts museum) : VND 10,000
Military Museum (army museum) : VND 20,000

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