I am attending a conference (as a professional photographer) in Singapore, during the second week of October and afterwards want to travel to Vietnam for about 3 weeks.
My plan would be to fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh, travel overland (trains/buses) north to Hanoi and from there, fly back to Singapore. When travelling I generally try to avoid tourist areas/sites and I am particularly interested in photographing local life - people just getting on with their lives, ‘street photography’. So the first place I visit in a village/town/city would be the market/local areas. I will be travelling on a fairly tight budget and will therefore seek inexpensive accommodation – hostels are OK, as long as I have my own room/facilities!
I would therefore greatly appreciate any advice/tips/recommendations as to which places are worth visiting between Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi and the best methods (trains/buses) of travelling around.
Hello friend, My name is Le. I'm from Ha Noi, Viet Nam, I'm a Hanoian. I'm very happy to show you something in Ha Noi becuz I know it well.
If you want to take photograph local life, there are some nice place for you like:
- Duong Lam Village. It's the oldest village in Ha Noi. You will have chance to see the peaceful life in here.
- French old quarter: there are 36 streets have sold something special. Please enjoy Pho, Bun Cha ( hang Manh) or you can visit my house to enjoy Bun Oc. It's a delicious dish.
- Chuong Duong bridge: it's very nice to take picture at night.
- Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Literature Temple, Thang Long citedal, West Lake, Sword Lake are good place for you.
- there are some traditional craft village like: Bat Trang, Dong Ho, Chuong....
Thre are some highlights between Ha Noi - HCM: Ha Long- Hue - Quang Binh ( have you heard Son Doong cave these days? But we haven't had a chance to visit it, the way to go is rough). Quang Binh has Phong Nha - Ke Bang cave. It's famous, - Hoi An - Da Lat - HCM.
For me, there are some good places for you if you want to take photos like : Thung Nai ( Hoa Binh), Mai Chau, Sa Pa. You will see directly ethnic minority groups as well as natural.
How about accomodation: I think you should acces: tripadvisor.com to know about price. I don't know much!
Here are some advices, i will give you more detail if you need:
Feel free to ask any information.
I wish you had a good time in Vietnam.
I would highly recommend getting some tailored clothes in Vietnam, not only is a beautiful country but they have some extremely good tailors and it was very affordable.
We also did a motorbike tour for a few days which was probably one of the best experiences we had while traveling asia for 7 months.
Hanoi old quarter, Cholon area in Saigon and Hoi An are my highly recommend for street life photo.
For portrait of ethnic monorities, landscape, local markets as well as villages you should head to mountain on Northern Vietna, try this route: Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai and plateau area of Hagiang
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
First of all, get the hell out of Saigon as fast as possible. Some of my favorites in Vietnam are Dalat (fly from Saigon), Quy Nhon (very cheap, few tourists, fly from Saigon), Hoi An (touristy but still a must, fly into Danang), Hanoi (VN's most expensive city, but you can get a hostel for $6.), Sapa (also touristy, but another must, train from Hanoi) and Mai Chau (bus from Hanoi or tour).
Even in touristy Hoi An or Hanoi or Sapa, if you want to avoid the hawkers and tour guides, just walk away from the center and you're in the real Vietnam. Hotels have been overbuilt, and this means a buyer's market (esp in 2015 with the tourist industry so hurting for visitors).
You should do as much research as humanly possible, and Travelfish is the place you should start - wonderful info (I recommend their newsy newsletter).
Stay off of long distance buses - terrible and VN roads are quite dangerous! The train is ok, but very very slow, and airfares can be quite cheap (try Vietjet if on a budget).
In October, be sure to check weather reports because this is the typhoon season (usually affecting the Central Coast). Parts of Vietnam will flood, but they're quite used to this situation, and life goes on as usual. It could delay surface travel.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jul-2015, at 11:44 by Daawgon ]