Thursday, 8th December 2016
Vietnam's varied transport: more than getting from A to B
When planning a trip to Vietnam it is very easy to get excited about the sights along the way, but forget about the actual travelling part. That would be a shame, however, as this corner of Southeast Asia offers some fantastic modes of transport and experiencing them is all part of the fun. See how many you can tick off during your time in Vietnam.
The bicycle rickshaw, known as a cyclo in Vietnam, has long been in the transport mix in this part of the world. An environmentally friendly way to get about, travelling in this way is a quintessential experience that should not be missed. Arrive armed with a map and a general idea of the distance you want to go, as haggling for a good price is imperative. Start up a conversation with your driver, as this is a great way to find out some of the stories of the local people.
Have you ever heard of the Honda dream? Originally it referred to a model of motorbike, but has come to represent much more than that in Vietnam. In a country where cars are prohibitively expensive due to import taxes, motorbikes are much more affordable for the general population and can be seen just about everywhere. Whether you fancy riding the length of the country on one or enjoying the brief thrill of getting back to your hotel from across town, be sure to buy into the Honda dream at least once during your stay.
With a name as grand as the Reunification Express, it’s safe to see how important this train route is to the Vietnamese. Snaking its way up the spine of the country, it connects the once-divided north and south, with some incredible scenery along the way. You can decide to travel the entire 1,726 kilometres between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi or opt for just a section. Classes range from hard seat to soft seat, then hard sleeper and soft sleeper, so the level of comfort is also up to you. Just remember to look out of the window to watch the slices of everyday life as you travel past.
Halong Bay is likely to be one of the highlights of your trip, as the pace of life changes from the frenetic energy of the cities and other parts of the country. Do it in style on board a traditional Chinese junk, which will glide through the karst formations of one of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes. You can swim straight from the boat or use kayaks to venture to some of the more remote corners, caves and islands of the bay. Staying and travelling on such a vessel will certainly be a memory you’ll treasure way beyond your time in Vietnam.
Related news stories:
Eat your way through Luang Prabang?s night market (26th May 2016)
Why has Laotian food not been widely exported to the rest of the world? (2nd April 2015)
Top tips for taking the Reunification Express (19th February 2015)
5 things you didn't know about Cambodia (12th July 2016)