By Mary Charie / 07/05/2016

TRACING VIETNAM: BACKPACKING IN VIETNAM

5 Most Affordable Destinations Outside The Philippines 2017

Sa Pa, Vietnam

RELATED ARTICLE: Get your Vietnam visa or Apply here!

With its lengthy geographical feature, Vietnam is quite easy to travel. As I always say to other travellers I crossed the path with, “you wouldn’t miss anything, and you will meet everyone”.  Everyone, especially backpackers, will either go up North or cruise down South. Backpacking in Vietnam with a motorbike is also a tradition or go on these affordable motorbike tours in Vietnam.

I will highlight the top places you could visit for your Vietnam trip. If you’re a hidden gem seeker, I suggest you find it yourself. I have found some, somewhere I left pieces of my heart.

*All prices are in US Dollars

Expected expenses per day: $30-$35

  • Accommodation: Dorm rooms: $5-7, Private Single room: 10
  • Meal: 1.5-3
  • Transportation: Buses are the cheapest and quite fast. Trains are more expensive and a lot slower. A motorbike can be bought for $200 (Hanoi) $270 (HCMC).
  • Tours: Tours all over Vietnam is unlimited, there’s so many things you can do and places you can explore. Make sure you will get an awesome local tour guide for a better experience.

Note: Scroll down (to the last part) if you are planning to start in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).From there, your guide for backpacking in Vietnam will begin.

RELATED ARTICLE: Cross the border from Vietnam to Laos and vice-versa

Tracing Vietnam: Backpacking in Vietnam

If you are travelling to the other parts of Southeast Asia, check this ultimate travel budget guidethat I thoroughly wrote.

Tracing Vietnam - Backpacking in Vietnam

Flying into Vietnam/Crossing Border from Laos

Hanoi

The starting point will be Hanoi for people who either do backpacking in Vietnam or spending holidays. From here you can either go to Ha Long Bay or Sa Pa. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, expect a huge number of tourists, a busy and chaotic city. Despite all these, Hanoi still managed to charm all its visitors. The fascinating traffic jams, crazy motorbikes and the small plastic chairs on the side street. One traveller said to me once, “In Hanoi, everything happens in its street”.

Where to stay? Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld or these Hostels That I Personally Recommend

RELATED ARTICLE: Teach English or Volunteer Teaching in Vietnam

Sa Pa

Sa Pa is famous for its trekking and Homestay. Trek through the stunning rice paddies and jaw-dropping mountains, experience how the people of the mountain lives and try some rice wine with them. Your backpacking in Vietnam will not be complete without this specific trip.

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

RELATED ARTICLE: Here’s a Sapa trekking and homestay guide

Tracing Vietnam - Backpacking in Vietnam

Sa Pa during winter

Ha Long Bay

Cruise around those exquisite limestone pillars across the Ha Long Bay, the limestone, green water, the gorgeous sunset, an overnight stay in an island and the isolation from the digital world; this place is a total package for nature lovers, holidaymakers or basically everyone who wants a break from their busy lives.

Ha Long Bay will help you relax your mind and enjoy a real vacation. You can check here the best Ha Long Bay cruise.

Book your room or bed now through  Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is also called as Ha Long Bay by Land. Some travellers skip Ninh Binh on their backpacking in Vietnam. This stunning place is only 2-3 hours from Hanoi, which suits for holiday tourists. Instead of cruising in the bay, Ninh Binh is a small boat sailing trip, you will go through underneath the limestone pillars. If you have time, I suggest you consider this place.

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

RELATED ARTICLE: Here’s a Vietnam Food Guide

Note: If you will not driving with a motorbike and you started in Hanoi, doing Sa Pa and Ha Long Bay will require you to do backtracking in Hanoi. There’s NO convenient way to do it this way: Hanoi-SaPa-HaLongBay- Ninh Binh. It will be this way: Hanoi-SaPa-Hanoi-HaLongBay-Hanoi- Ninh Binh. If your schedule is tight, there are overnight buses and trains; you don’t have to worry about wasting time.

Tracing Vietnam - Backpacking in Vietnam

Ninh Binh

Phong Nha

After I went here, I started to call Vietnam as the Land of Caves, you will be surprised how many gorgeous caves they have. Phong Nha is a national park, they have the famous Paradise Cave, which I personally describe as Lord of the Rings Cave, Dark Cave or Mud Cave and the Adventure Cave.

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Phong Nha is also famous Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave! Check out my blogging buddy’s week-long adventure trekking through the Jungle and camping in the caves.

Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

Hue was the capital of Vietnam way back in its history. For history geeks, visit the Imperial City or the Old City where you can learn about Vietnam’s intriguing history. For young travellers, Hue is the starting point of the popular Hai Van Pass. Rent a motorbike (either drive it yourself or jump on someone’s back) leave your huge bags with the motorbike company and let them transfer it to Hoi An. Drive through Hai Van Pass where you will be up in the mountains and clouds, enjoy the scenery of Da Nang from the top. This drive takes 6-8 hours depending on your speed. You will finish and arrive in Hoi An.

Where to stay in Hue? Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld 

Where to stay in Da Nang? Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Tracing Vietnam - Backpacking in Vietnam

Hai Van Pass between Hue-Da Nang-Hoi An

Hoi An

Where everybody gets stuck. Hoi An is a charming little town near the coast. Beloved for its trendy lantern on this street, quiet and less busy town, you will either spend a night here (because you’re in a rush) or 1 week because it managed to charm you completely. Praised for its customised tailoring of clothes, shoes, bags, suits or everything, take advantage of it. Treat yourself a good long gown dress or swimwear for a very affordable price and fast service. Your backpacking in Vietnam is not done without stopping here. 

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Dalat

Stop by Da Lat for its remarkable Canyoning, challenge your adventurous soul and get your adrenaline pumped! Rent a motorbike and add to your list to visit the Crazy House and the waterfalls.

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Mui Ne

Don’t miss the sunrise in the Red and White Sand Dunes of Mui Ne. This little town is also well-known for its beaches. Put your swimsuits and sunscreen, enjoy the sun and start relaxing.

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Tracing Vietnam - Backpacking in Vietnam

Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon

This is a bustling city, bigger roads (compare to Hanoi) and more motorbikes. Some say this is the Western City of Vietnam. However, HCMC still offers a handful of things to do to its tourists. Visit the museums, take a day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels or Mekong Delta and more. Don’t forget to try the Red Saigon beer. You may check this article about “where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City“. Where all types of accommodation are thoroughly discussed.

After your visit in Ho Chi Minh and a long trip, you may want a full-on beach holiday, there is no other place that you should go but to Phu Quoc Island, check out this complete guide about Starfish beach in Phu Quoc or you can cross the land border between Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on a 6-hour bus ride.

Book your room or bed now through Agoda – Booking – HostelWorld

Some people only have a limited time to travel, try not to feel bad and focus on making the most out of it. You can check out this article about backpacking in Vietnam for a more in-depth information.

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About the author

Mary Charie

She's the person behind this blog, she has been travelling since 2013. Torn between her itchy feet and writing, Mary found herself soaking up in the world of travel blogging. She travels on her own terms and tries to build her own world whilst pushing herself into every corner of life, breaking limit beyond her capabilities.

39comments
Einyel - 09/12/2016

Is possible to rent a motorbike in Hanoi and give back in Ho Chi Minh?? Thanksss

Reply
    Mary Charie - 11/12/2016

    I’m not so sure about this. I haven’t really heard about a company covering up the whole country for motorbiking. How long are you staying for? You think you don’t have time to sell your bike if you buy one? you can always sell it to a rental shop or repair shop as the last option. Or else you can ask this group if they know a company that you can rent the bike in Hanoi then give it back in HCMC https://www.facebook.com/groups/1380006002015676/

    Reply
nicol - 23/05/2016

i would love to go backpacking in vietnam one day. but i need to find time to go

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bericebaby - 22/05/2016

You lucky lucky lady!… Nor jealous at all, who am I kidding!
Looks like you had an amazing time 😀 I would absolutely love to visit Vietnam – Thank you so much for sharing hun.
Great post!
Charlotte x

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Melanie Edjourian - 22/05/2016

What a lovely informative post, I really love the photo’s it looks amazing there.

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secretplussizegoddessblog - 22/05/2016

I have always wanted to visit Vietnam and so this post was amazing to read! The photos are so beautiful too. Hopefully I will get there one day

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louisejoy - 22/05/2016

This sounds amazing and something I would love to do one day, I’ll have to add it to my bucket list! x

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Jack - 22/05/2016

I’ve always wanted to do Thailand and Vietnam, and this post my have just confirmed just how much I want to do it! I love that you’ve included a rough guide to prices. I’m off to read your other posts now! 🙂

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    Mary Charie - 22/05/2016

    Glad you found this useful, extra happy that I awaken your wanderlust soul 😀 Let me know if you have any questions!

    Reply
Life as Mum - 21/05/2016

I have never been there before but it looks so beautiful and amazing

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Sally Akins (@SallyAkins) - 21/05/2016

Fantastic post, really informative! I’ve always fancied visiting Vietman, and your photos make me want to go there ven more

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    Mary Charie - 22/05/2016

    I can’t blame you for wanting to visit Vietnam, it’s an amazing country x

    Reply
Miss Kitty Kaos - 20/05/2016

I have never been to Vietnam but it looks beautiful I may have to visit thank you for the tips X

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Rachel - 20/05/2016

Wow, I was totally and utterly engrossed in this post, what an adventure, the scenery is just beautiful x

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Sarah, Things Sarah Loves - 20/05/2016

I had never thought about visiting Vietnam (not sure why!) but your pictures have definitely inspired me. The caves look breath taking!

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hannahhowell912 - 20/05/2016

These photos have made me want to visit – I have never been before x

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Laura Hartley (@WhatsHotBlog) - 20/05/2016

Oh wow these photos make me want to get on a plane to Vietnam right now! I’m planning on backpacking round Thailand this summer but no plans have been made yet. I’ll consider Vietnam instead now as it looks beautiful!

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Renna - 20/05/2016

Very jealous. It looks amazing and I would love to do this.

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy - 20/05/2016

Vietnam is high on my list of places to travel. I have only been to Thailand in Asia, but would love to spend more time in that part of the world.

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    I’m pretty sure you’ll like Vietnam, it’s an amazing country! 🙂

    Reply
Sarahjane Wood - 20/05/2016

Wow if your visit was as amazing as those pictures are then wow! I really should travel more although I think I might stick to hotels…I like my comforts ha

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    Hostels are fun but indeed tiring! Lol!

    Reply
Liz Mays - 20/05/2016

There’s so much to see in Vietnam, wow. It would be so nice to do some exploring there.

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    Backpacking would a great way! However, there are tons of way to get around Vietnam 🙂 x

    Reply
Sarah Bailey - 19/05/2016

Wow what a stunning looking country to visit – I have to admit there are so many places I would love to visit around the world. x

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    Go travel once in a while Sarah, the world is beautiful and huge! xx

    Reply
Rhian Westbury - 19/05/2016

Looks like such an amazing trip, I’ve always wanted to go to Vietnam x

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    It was amazing Rhian. Thanks x

    Reply
Anosa - 20/05/2016

This post has made the globe trotter in me want to pack up my bags and head to Vietnam. Thanks for the motivation to add Vietnam to my bucketlist.

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    Glad to hear that! I hope you come visit this amazing country at some point x

    Reply
Sarah Ella (Mumx3x) - 19/05/2016

I’d love to visit Vietnam one day, it looks like a beautiful country. I’d find Hue fascinating with all the history, I am such a history geek. The caves sound and look amazing. It’s so cheap, too! Always a bonus. It sounds like a great time was had 🙂

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    I loved Hue! It’s a quite small town. Come visit! You’ll love it! Also, thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
Astrid - 19/05/2016

Vietnam sounds like a beautiful country to travel to. I am blind so cannot see your pics, but I was intrigued with your description of the Ha Long Bay. I’d personally be very interested in Vietnam’s history.

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    Wow Astrid, you are an inspiration. I plan to make compilation of clips soon where I describe the places I have been, I hope you’ll like it and could describe my travels for you! xx

    Reply
StressedMum - 19/05/2016

It looks like you had an amazing trip, I have never been to Vietnam but it looks such a beautiful country to visit x

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    Mary Charie - 20/05/2016

    Go for a small holiday in Vietnam with your family! The kids will surely love it and learn from it 🙂 x

    Reply
Jude Dunn - 19/05/2016

Vietnam looks absolutely beautiful and I think backpacking is definitely the best way to see all the country has to offer.

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nothingfamiliar - 12/05/2016

This list is making me miss Vietnam! We did almost the same route but missed out on Sa Pa! Guess we have to save something for next time!

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    Mary Charie - 13/05/2016

    Ahh, I miss Vietnam too! Especially the food! <3 I haven't been to Mai Chau, that's something I need to go back for! 🙂

    Reply
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