The Vietnamese Government has recently introduced a 14 day visa exemption for certain nationalities. The question is – what can you see in Vietnam in two weeks? Well we crossed the border from Laos into the south of the country and below are the places we suggest visiting if you get a chance to explore Southern Vietnam.
Dalat is a mountainous city located in the central highlands of Vietnam. The temperature is a welcome change to the heat and humidity of the rest of South East Asia. The city has a real European feel to it and you especially notice the French influence when walking around Xuan Hong Lake which is right in the middle of Dalat.
Whilst in Dalat you should also climb up Lang Biang mountain which provides for excellent views over the city and the surrounding mountains. The walk up is fairly easy until you get near to the summit and then you ascend steeply for around 300-400 metres. It took us around 3 hours and the views at the top are incredible.
We also went out for a really nice Vietnamese meal at 13 Cafe Bar which we would highly recommend. Our meal was accompanied by a bottle or two of Dalat red wine and it was so good it makes our ‘must do’s’ when in South Vietnam!
We decided to hit the coast for a few days and this meant a visit to the small town of Mui Ne. We just chilled out on our first day and Mui Ne is perfect for doing this!
The second day we decided to rent a scooter to go and explore the nearby sand dunes. The drive along the coast is fantastic as you pass hundreds of local fisherman boats along the way. However, the fun ends if you get stopped by the police like we did! We didn’t know it at the time but this is a common occurrence for foreign visitors who get pulled over for a whole host of things…..in other words it is a scam. A few threats are made by the police but they are just looking for money and if you pay them what they ask for then they will leave you be.
We tried to forget about the above by renting sand boards to whizz down the red sand dunes. Board in hand we walked to the top of the biggest sand dune that we could find and attempted to slide down. Attempted being the key word here. We found any movement pretty impossible and probably go down as the worst sand boarders in the world!
Ho Chi Minh
A visit to the capital was next on our list and here are three things we would recommend seeing whilst you are there.
War Remnants Museum – A chilling insight into the Vietnam war and its aftermath from the Vietnamese perspective.
Central Ho Chi Minh Architecture – Notre Damn Cathedral, The Central Post Office, The Reunification Palace, The City Hall and The Opera House are all worth a visit.
Ben Thanh Night Market – A great place to snag a bargain. We bought two North Face backpacks here and decided to go all Vietnamese by buying a couple of hats for ourselves.
The Mekong Delta
We are not really a fan of tours and we are not going to lie by saying this is the best way to see the Mekong. However, we were pushed for time and the three day tour that we booked did take us to a lot of different places. Can Rang floating market gives you a good example of the hustle and bustle of the Mekong as dozens of boats manoeuvre through this section of the river every morning selling all kinds of food.
We also had a great time cycling around one of the islands of the Mekong and also on one of the small boats that sailed along one of the many canals of the Mekong. Nicole played the tourist part very well by wearing her new hat for both activities!
Vietnam is a great place and there are many other places to see if you do the whole country. However, if you only have time to do the south we hope we have provided you with some must do’s and places to visit! You can check our Youtube video below for our highlights.