Discover love not war in Vietnam
If you love to travel, but don’t have a great big budget, think South East Asia. We’re enjoying our sixth trip through the region and even though our fave spots – Thailand and Bali – are becoming crazily popular, they’re still bargains.
You’ll find accommodation that fits any budget and travel between and within the countries can be delta overly easy and cheap than thanks to a proliferation of inexpensive South East Asia airlines. From our experience, we’ve realized flying is really the way to go whenever possible; its’s so much less taxing than going overland by bus or train or taking a long boat ride.
An added plus of traveling in this part of the globe is the cuisine! If you’re an Asian food lover like us, you’ll feel like you’re in hog heaven. And, if you’re a little less adventurous, there always seems to be a restaurant – even in the remotest place – offering that coveted “cheeseburger in paradise”.
This year, we’re on a three-month odyssey through Southeast Asia followed by a month in Europe so we really need to make sure our dollars stretch, especially as we’re coming from Canada; our money has taken a huge plunge against the U.S. dollar and the Euro.
After a few days in Vancouver to visit family, we kicked off our South East Asia trip in Vietnam, another bargain travelers’ destination that’s become a traveling hotspot over the last 15 or so years. It’s our first time in the country and so far, it’s been an absolute pleasure and very affordable – even though we’re not staying in hostels or budget hotels.
We’ve checked out three spots so far; Saigon – known since 1976, a year after the end of the Vietnam War as Ho Chi Minh City, then we traveled to Hoi An, and we’re currently enjoying the seaside town of Mui Ne.
All three destinations are very different; Saigon is a huge, busy, noisy city, Hoi An is a small tourist area steeped in history, and Mui Ne is a small but bustling southern beach resort, renowned for its seafood and kite surfing.
Since we don’t really like roughing it (been there, done that, got the t-shirt!), we happily discovered there are a lot of guest houses, hotels, and resorts in the low- to mid-range price category throughout Vietnam and they usually include breakfast! So far, we’ve averaged around $40 US a night. That’s pretty amazing considering everywhere we’ve stayed has had beautiful pools, comfy big rooms, great staff, and were located in areas that are fun to explore with have lots of fantastic inexpensive restaurants (it’s common to get a delicious meal for two for around $5!) within walking or cycling distance.
We head to Thailand in three days. The first time we explored this country was 30 years ago (am I really that old?) when mass tourism was just getting off the ground. Nowadays, many Thai destinations are virtually overrun by tourists. After a three-day pit stop in Bangkok, we’ll actually be heading to one such destination: Phuket. When we discovered that some lovely nearby islandswere up and coming travel destinations and then learned how relatively cheap it was to fly to Phuket from Saigon ($85), we decided against the all-day arduous journey involving buses, boats and taxis to the laid-back island of Koh Panghan where we’d blissfully hung out for a month last year.
We’ll be staying a few nights in the funky old section of Phuket city, which we understand won’t be infested with tourists like in the beach areas. Then, we’ll bus a couple of hours north to Koh Kho Khao, a sleepy little island just ten minutes by ferry boat from the mainland.
Stay tuned for highlights of our Thailand adventures!
April 18, 2017