After routing through the options i had with the money i have, ive decided to do a tour of Vietnam in May 2009.
My current itinerary is a little rough, but it consists of flying from london to Ho Chi Mingh City and then 30 days traveling north eventualy reaching Hanoi, getting there by bus and train stopping at towns etc along the way, i have done alot of research but there are so many places i want to visit, so i shal take it as it comes.
Is there anything else i should know about traveling in Vietnam? Were not to go, what not to do?
Is it a bad idea to take a laptop? or a smaller PDA, basically used for blogging and securing my photos.
Bad idea to take my DSLR? or stick with a compact?
I am aware i need a visa, but any other things i will need other than vacs, insurance etc?
I will be backpacking too, so would a 30ltr bag be sufficient?
Sorry it's a little bleak, hope to hear from someone soon!
I did very well with my small 30L pack + Sony point and shoot and no laptop (plenty of free computer access). May will be quite HOT - perhaps you like the heat?
Vietnam is a great destination, but you must be quite careful with possessions and be aware that there are many who would like to assist in "helping" you for a price! Read these forums heavily to prepare for your trip (Tripadvisor and Thorn Tree especially).
This will be my second trip - March, I really love the Vietnamese - you should try to interact with them and not just see the sights. Contact the free student tour groups for tours of Hanoi and Saigon. Food and accommodation are outstanding for the quality - you will be spoiled forever. Add at least 25% to all prices listed for inflation. No tipping in VN and bargaining for most hard goods and many services.
If you'd like to have me answer specifics, just PM me on TP. I have some good recommendations available. I really think you should leave your expensive electronics home for a first trip. Read this site - very comprehensive:
I suggest you use the 'open tour' bus system. It allows you great flexiblity when going from HCMC to HaNoi. You can stay in many cites along the way for 1 day or 30, your choice.
Sinh Cafe is the largest, best know travel company, but at least 3 other companies have open tour buses. I wrote about this in my blog. I have heaps of VN photos as well that may help with your planning. I also vote to leave your DSLR at home. You will be walking around with a camera that costs more than most VN make in many months. I vote you take your PDA, leave the laptop at home. There are Internet shops everywhere for blogging and I had my photos burned onto CDs every week or so to back up my memory chip.
You do have another choice. Take your expensive equipment and buy travel insurance. Make sure it covers camera/laptop. Then if the worse happens, you won't take major hit to your wallet. Since you are backpacking, it might be worth the money to use pac-safe. Makes it very difficult to steal from you. Perfect when you have to leave your bag in a dodgy room or in storage.
I have been to VN 5 times and will help if I can. Send me a PM if you have questions.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 4, 2009, at 12:24 AM by vegasmike6 ]