Wanderlust has led many to traverse different parts of the world and one of the easiest ways to do so on a shoestring budget is by backpacking. Vietnam especially, highly sought-after for its spectacular landscapes and rich culture, is a backpackers’ haven with plenty of budget-friendly accommodation choices and cheap eats everywhere.
Offering low fares and easy connectivity to a wide variety of travel destinations both local and international, planning a budget-friendly trip to Vietnam for the upcoming holiday season is now easier than ever with Vietjet.
Once you have your tickets sorted all that is left is to enjoy the full leg of your journey. Here’s what a 10-day backpacking trip across South Vietnam might look like.
DAY 1: Kuala Lumpur – Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is a vibrant city full of hidden treasures. Walking the streets of HCMC you will see the past come to life through its well-preserved colonial structures and war relics, side-by-side modern buildings and trendy shopping malls.
Upon arriving in HCMC, backpackers can check into one of its many budget hotels, motels or guesthouses located at Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1. This is the city’s “backpackers’ district” filled with local and international restaurants, bars, coffee shops, tour operators, internet cafes, craft shops – basically everything you would need to settle into your holiday.
DAY 2: Mui Ne
Mui Ne is a beach resort, about six hours away from HCMC. After a good night’s rest, backpackers can take the 7.30am bus to Phan Tiet, Mui Ne. Alternatively, a four-hour train ride will take you to a nearby town, from which point you will need to take a taxi into Mui Ne.
Mui Ne Backpacker Village is well-known among backpackers, largely for its inviting pool, bar-restaurant and social vibe. It not only houses plenty of budget-friendly accommodation options, but is also a mere 100-metre stroll from the main beach where you can unwind and sample the region’s fresh seafood.
Day 3: Mui Ne
One of the unique attractions of Mui Ne is its giant red and white sand dunes located less than an hour away. Yes – it is one of the only deserts in Southeast Asia. To explore them at your own pace, skip the day-tours and make your way there in time to catch the glorious sunrise.
Alongside the sand dunes is Fairy Stream, known for its soft red creek, which gets its colour from the clay and limestone particles that filter in from the strange rock formation at its shores. This is a perfect backdrop for tons of insta-worthy photos!
DAY 4: Da Lat
From Mui Ne, you can catch the 6.30am bus to Da Lat. About 5 hours from Mui Ne, Da Lat is referred to as the “Alps of Vietnam”, and surrounded by a series of pine-covered hills, lakes and higher peaks. Once there, you can check-in to one of the many backpackers’ accommodations along Bui Thi Xuan Street.
The best way to experience Da Lat is on a motorbike, which you can rent, or join a motorbike tour. Some of the scenic pit-stops include Linh An Tu Pagoda, Elephant Falls in Nam Ban, Tuen Lam Lake and Pongour Falls. At night, Da Lat’s night market comes alive with local delights to tantalise the senses.
Day 5: Da Lat
The LangBiang Mountains, just 12 kilometres from the city centre, is an ideal spot for the more adventurous at heart. According to legend, LangBiang is named after a couple who were deeply in love with each other.
Backpackers can hop on the local buses from the top of the central market, which takes from 45 minutes to an hour to reach the mountain top. Once there, you can get your adrenaline fix with activities like mountain climbing, paragliding and trekking. There is also plenty of native flora and fauna to be explored, with breathtaking views of the entire city of Da Lat below.
As you head back down, make a pit-stop at the Valley of Love – one of the most picturesque and romantic spots in the city.
Day 6: Nha Trang
From Da Lat, backpackers can take the 7.00am bus to Nha Trang, one of the country’s premier beach destinations. You can check-in to one of the affordable accommodations along the street of Hung Vuong. Aside from the beaches, you can also visit Thap Tram Huong, Long Son Pagoda, Hon Chong Promontory, Po Nagar Cham Towers, Ba Ho waterfalls and Fairy Spring waterfalls.
Nha Trang has a vivid nightlife, with ample beach bars offering cheap drinks, a variety of music and live dance performances. Travellers can spend their time exploring these or venture into some of the city’s cultural spaces that host nightly traditional puppet shows and light shows.
DAY 7: Nha Trang
The next day can be spent exploring one of the beautiful and untouched islands around Nha Trang. There are several, and Diep Son is one of them, with crystal waters, hidden coves and caves and beautiful winding paths that are partially submerged in the water.
Backpackers can get to the island via a boat from Van Gia Port which departs around 9am and returns to the city at 5pm. This will take you back just in time to catch the 10pm train heading back to HCMC. For those who want to spend an extra night in Nha Trang, there is also a train that departs at 7.30am, although the 8-hour journey back will mean you have little time left in HCMC the next day.
DAY 8: Ho Chi Minh City
Back in HCMC, backpackers may want to spend time exploring its many historical sites like the War Remnant Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Opera House and Independence Palace. The best way to get around the city, which is home to some 7 million people, is by hopping on to a moto-taxi or by renting a motorbike.
Military buffs should devote a good portion of their day to visit the Cu Chi tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns in the Vietnam War, and used as base of operations in 1968. You can crawl through some of the safer tunnels, view command centres and booby traps, taste the food of the soldiers and even fire an AK-47 rifle in a firing range.
DAY 9: Ho Chi Minh City
To cap off the holiday, take a half-day boat tour through the Mekong Delta, also known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam – where boats, houses and markets float upon the innumerable rivers, canals and streams. The tour will take you to traditional river villages, sample coconut candy, and watch rice paper being made.
The remainder of the day can be spent exploring Ben Thanh market for local handicrafts, souvenirs and art. As the day ends, take a stroll down Dong Khoi Street for some of the best shopping and dining options in HCMC.
DAY 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Kuala Lumpur
After 9 days of combing through South Vietnam, it’s finally time to pack up and head back to Kuala Lumpur. Backpackers can take an airport shuttle bus or grab a taxi in time for their 9.30am flight on Vietjet.
To be part of the Vietjet’s fun, innovative and affordable travel experience, simply visit www.vietjetair.com to make your booking today!