10 tips for backpacking in Vietnam
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Whether you’re a first-time backpacker or you’ve already caught the travelling bug Vietnam, with its varying scenery and culture, is the country for you. With such a vast array of food to sample, landscape to explore and activities to try, we’ve put together 10 top tips so you can get the most out of your trip. 1) Explore the islands in Ha Long Bay Ha Long Bay (pictured) and its vast maze of giant limestone karsts and secluded islands make for an amazing experience that you will not forget in a hurry. There are numerous tours to choose from, most of which last 3-5 days and leave from Hanoi. Many tours also offer a host of activities such as kayaking, overnight island stays, rock climbing, tubing, trekking and wake-boarding. Before deciding who to go with, be sure to do some research. Ask to see pictures of the boat you’ll be travelling on and seek advice from fellow travellers. 2) Enjoy the food The subject of food between travellers in SE Asia is a popular one. From time to time you’ll hear the odd story about someone who’s fallen ill from eating ‘street food’. However, if you stay savvy you should be able to sample the local cuisine without any nasty repercussions. Find places that seem to attract the locals. Just like in the UK, if a place is busy, it’s for a reason – it serves good food and has built a good reputation! If you do find yourself craving western dishes, then be prepared to pay through the teeth for the privilege. 3) Learn to barter In Vietnam, you can near enough barter for anything and everything. Play the game but at the same time, be respectful. A useful Vietnamese saying to take with you is “Ma Qua” which means “too expensive.” Say it with a smile on your face, they’ll love the fact that you’re making an effort to barter in their language. 4) Planning – don’t do too much of it Having a general plan is always a good idea but don’t micro-manage your travels. It’s a good idea to have a rough idea of the things you want to see and an idea of the route you want to take. However, not pre-booking where you’re going to stay or knowing how long you’re going to stay for gives you the freedom to tailor your trip as you go. So if you fall in love with a place, you can stay there for as long as you like! 5) Hoi An
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