Introduction

Vietnam PictureDialling code: +84

Drives on the: Right

First impressions: We had a love-hate relationship with the Vietnamese. For our first love affair, it was on arrival into the border town of Dien Bien Phu – the historic battlefield where they overcame the French forces. With both bikes needing repairs, the locals sprung off their feet to help us.

Pushing our sorry looking bicycles, we were passed by a man on his moped, he signalled for me to hop on and to hold my bike to the side in search of a mechanic. I didn't hesitate to do so but struggled to support the weight of the bike and its luggage, leaving Cynthia in the unknown. He dropped me at the mechanics and quickly returned for Cynthia. When they arrived, the mechanic had shown he was unable to fix our bicycle. So again, on the moped we drove to the next mechanic, and again, until we were able to find new a derailleur and a tyre. He asked for nothing, accepted nothing, smiled and rode off into the distance...

Vietnam is one of the most complex destinations in the world. Boasting an incredible cuisine throughout its land, a relentless history of invading foreign forces and some of the most awe inspiring scenery you can experience. There is very little English spoken outside of the tourist centres, you will need to learn a few expressions and the numbers to get by if don't want to be ripped off !

This beautiful land is also an ideal cycling destination as this small country is densely populated with almost 100 million people. This is a fantastic factor as it means there is always another food stand/cafe/mechanic not too far away. Meaning packing light in terms of snacks and water is a lot more manageable. Plus the chance of a dip in the ocean to cool off is not too bad either, if you don't mind plastic bags floating around you... Not everything is perfect !

Here is some prices to help you figure out you budget before flying to this beautiful land. Vietnam is not as straight forward as Thailand or Laos, and you'll have to bargain EVERYTHING. Whether it's a coffee, a room or a plate of rice. Remember roughly how much a Pho costs, and don't be shy to tell them its too expensive. Don't become too worked up over situations such as an unfair price, it is a daily accurance. Keep your composure and smile if this doesn't work; walk away. If you've done it well, they will laugh and offer you the fair rate by respecting your perspicacity of the region.

Vietnam can be exhausting at times for these small factors, but taking it on the chin, you will enjoy the everyday games of the local people.

Prices below are listed in Vietnamese Dong. Look at the current exchange rate and bear in mind we did this journey in 2015.

Food

Pho: 10 - 20 000

Banh mi: 10 - 15 000

Banh Xeo: 8 - 10 000

Nem vegetable: 40 - 50 000

Drink

Bia Saigon: 7 - 20 000

Cafe Sua Da: 10 - 15 000

Coconut: 10 - 15 000

Cocktail: 30 - 70 000

Accommodation

Hostel dorm: 120 - 180 000

Hostel private:  150 - 200 000

Guesthouse: 100 - 200 000

Hotel: 150 - 400 000

Language

Hello: sin chow

Thank you: cauhm uhhn

How much : Banh new

Too expensive : Dat koua !

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn
Share and help othersShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn