Ho Tram & Ho Coc Beaches

Just 120km from the city, Ho Tram & Ho Coc are by far the best beaches within easy reach of Saigon. Forget Vung Tau, Long Hai & Can Gio, this is where you should head for sun, sea & sand when you don’t have time to go to Mui Ne or Phu Quoc. Continue reading

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Dim Sum in Saigon

Dim sum is increasingly popular in Saigon. But my favourite dumpling joint is an old-timer in Chinatown. Boasting a 10 page bible of dim sum dishes, this unassuming place offers great variety, quality and value for money… Continue reading

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Ocean Dunes Resort, Phan Thiet

On the beach in Phan Thiet City, the Ocean Dunes Resort is excellent value for money. Offering high-end amenities at mid-range prices, the Ocean Dunes is a great option for budget travellers looking for a slice of luxury and, because of its wide greens spaces, for families… Continue reading

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Mountains in the Mekong: Motorbike Loop

Most of the Mekong Delta is as flat as a sheet of rice paper. But my favourite corner of the region, the western edge along the Cambodian border, is blessed with some high ground, in the form of a mini mountain range, which rises from the plains of An Giang Province. These mountains are connected by beautiful back-roads, perfect for a road trip… Continue reading

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Mango Bay Resort, Phu Quoc Island

By now, most travellers & expats know about Mango Bay Resort on Phu Quoc Island. It’s been around for over a decade & withstood the massive changes the island has gone through. But, despite increasing competition, Mango Bay is still the best place to go if you want to live the tropical island fantasy for a few days… Continue reading

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VIDEO: Saigon, My Saigon

My Saigon is not the high-rises or attractions of downtown. My Saigon is the local neighbourhood where I live – the alleyways, the market, and the people who inhabit it. In this film I’ve tried to capture the rhythm of daily life over 24 hours on a rainy season day in the area I live in… Continue reading

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Goat Noodle Soup in Chinatown

Deep in Saigon’s Chinatown, there’s a bowl of goat noodles that’s meaty, rich, silky and smooth. This soup is full of farmyard flavours: it’s a barn in a bowl. Make no mistake, this is a heavy breakfast, but it’ll keep you going till the evening… Continue reading

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Saigon Midnight Motorbike Loop

Saigon is just too darn hot, humid, busy and polluted to enjoy during the daytime. At night, however, temperatures are cool, humidity is low and traffic is light: it’s the perfect time to see the city. I’ve put together an urban motorbike route designed specifically for riding after dark: I call it the Saigon Midnight Loop… Continue reading

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Saigon’s Street Food ‘Ghettos’

Throughout Saigon, there are clusters of crumbling old apartment complexes, all of which are on the verge of either collapse or demolition. Living conditions appear cramped and grim but, outside on the sidewalks, the street life and street food is among the best and most vibrant in the city… Continue reading

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My GIVI Bike Box

This is the story of my GIVI bike box, bearer of my baggage on all my road trips. Convenient, secure, durable and stylish, my bike box has allowed me the freedom to go anywhere and see everything, which is what motorbiking is all about…. Continue reading

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Binh Thuan Back-Roads: Inland Loop

Binh Thuan Province is known for its beaches, but inland there’s a rich and varied landscape waiting to be explored. A network of rarely used, rural back-roads takes you on an inland loop – over arid plains, through forests, and across rivers – starting and ending in Mui Ne…. Continue reading

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River Road: The Cai Valley

A silver seam of glistening water, the Cai River meanders through a beautiful valley between Dalat and Phang Rang. A new road follows the course of the Cai River – from its source in the high, forested hills to its mouth on the eastern seaboard – making an excellent, scenic road trip… Continue reading

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The Pine Tree Road

An enticing road leads north from Dalat and into the remote forests and mountains of deepest Lam Dong Province. Coniferous forests stretch to the horizon making this route great for camping or picnicking. The road is in excellent condition and the riding is easy: it’s the perfect day trip from Dalat… Continue reading

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The Golden Loop: Central Vietnam by Motorbike

Many people choose to travel by motorbike between Hoi An and Hue, via the scenic Hai Van Pass. The popularity of this route is largely thanks to the 2008 Top Gear Vietnam Special episode. But there is an extension of this road trip which takes the ride, quite literally, to another level. I call it The Golden Loop… Continue reading

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Grilled Chicken Corner, Saigon

At night, a scented fog hangs over a busy intersection in Saigon. The aromatic haze is the ‘Chicken Mist’ resulting from a dozen roadside barbecues hissing, smoking and grilling hundreds of fresh chicken carcasses. This is Chicken Corner, and this is where you come to get your poultry fix of crispy, tasty, delicious, grilled chicken in Saigon… Continue reading

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The Food Triangle, Saigon

Everyone knows Saigon is full of great food. But there’s one corner in District 1, where you can eat three excellent meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – in three excellent establishments, all within a few metres of each other: I call it the Food Triangle…. Continue reading

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Desert, Sea, Sky: The Ninh Thuan Loop

Located between the two most popular beach towns in Vietnam – Mui Ne and Nha Trang – Ninh Thuan Province boasts coastal scenery to rival its famous neighbours. One of the most sparsely populated, least developed, and driest regions in southern Vietnam, ambitious new roads have opened up access to Ninh Thuan’s captivating scenery… Continue reading

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Weather in Vietnam: When & Where to Go

Many people assume that Vietnam is bathed in tropical sunshine year-round. But Vietnam’s climate is complex, variable, and very local. Having travelled to all of Vietnam’s 63 provinces, I’ve put together this personal guide to where in Vietnam I would most want to be at different times of the year… Continue reading

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Sweet Saigon: Where to Eat Chè

A kaleidoscopic world of luminous colours, shifting shapes, unfamiliar textures, esoteric ingredients & rich flavours, chè is a fascinating sub-category of Vietnamese cuisine. Commonly translated as ‘dessert’, in reality chè is so filling & nutritious that it’s a meal in itself…. Continue reading

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Southern Islands: Con Dao or Phu Quoc?

Con Dao and Phu Quoc islands are the two most alluring beach destinations in Vietnam. But these two southern islands are very different in character, and therefore appeal to different types of travellers. As most visitors or expats only have time to go to one, which island should you choose? Continue reading

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Victoria Beach Resort, Mui Ne

One of the first luxury resorts to grace the sands of Mui Ne, Victoria Resort & Spa is still one of the best places to stay on this popular beach on Vietnam’s southeast coast. With lush tropical gardens & a long stretch of beach, Victoria is far more spacious than its competitors… Continue reading

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Ha Giang Extreme North Motorbike Loop

Ha Giang, Vietnam’s northern-most province, is home to a mythical landscape of conical limestone peaks & craterous valleys. Considered the last frontier for adventurous travel in Vietnam, this motorbike loop offers perhaps the most thrilling road trip in the country… Continue reading

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Local Guest Houses: Nhà Nghỉ

Essential knowledge for the adventurous or budget traveller in Vietnam, ‘nhà nghỉ’ means ‘guest house’ in Vietnamese. However, this form of cheap accommodation often goes unnoticed by foreign travellers & suffers from a bad reputation among local people… Continue reading

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Best Streets for Street Food in Saigon

Saigon is arguably the best place to explore Vietnam’s extraordinary street food scene. The city boasts so many street food outlets that Saigon feels like one gigantic open-air restaurant. This is my fully updated and extended guide to 7 of the best streets for street food in Saigon… Continue reading

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Phu Quoc Island by Boat

Travelling by boat to Phu Quoc Island is easy & fun, but it’s always been difficult to find up-to-date ferry information. This is my guide to taking the boat to Phu Quoc, including all current ferry times, fares & information. Continue reading

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Con Dao Islands on a Budget

Despite several high-profile luxury developments, travel to the Con Dao Islands needn’t be too expensive. Budget travellers & backpackers can still enjoy this beautiful archipelago by taking certain steps. This is my guide to how to keep the cost of visiting one of Vietnam’s most enchanting destinations to a minimum. Continue reading

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Best Beaches in Southern Vietnam

Vietnam has a coastline of over 3,000km, but the best beaches are found in the south. Blue bays, white sands, swaying palms: Vietnam has it all. Yet travellers and expats often complain that the beaches aren’t as good as those in Thailand and Malaysia. I disagree: Here are my 7 best beaches in southern Vietnam…. Continue reading

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Rat Meat

Each morning for the last couple months I’ve opened my front gate in Saigon to greet the new day, only to find a fresh mound of rat droppings on my door step. By way of ‘revenge’ I decided to pay a visit to one of Saigon’s rat meat restaurants… Continue reading

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Ho Chi Minh Road: Motorbike Guide

Stretching almost 2,000km along the mountainous spine of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Road is fast becoming famous as one of the finest motorbike rides in Asia. Now fully paved from Saigon all the way to Hanoi, this is my updated and extended guide to the entire Ho Chi Minh Road…. Continue reading

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One of the Best Soups in Vietnam

Nho Quan is a small, industrial town in Ninh Bình Province, 90km south of Hanoi. The bare concrete buildings and dusty streets are a far cry from the natural beauty of the surrounding area. However, hidden amongst the unappealing sprawl is one of the best soups in Vietnam… Continue reading

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Con Dao Islands

Once a brutal penal colony, set up by the French colonial administration, today the superb beaches and rugged terrain of the Con Dao Islands is starting to attract attention. The prisons are preserved as a national memorial, but they are in stark contrast to the beauty of this archipelago. Continue reading

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Thùng Xe Máy GIVI của tôi

Đây là câu chuyện về Thùng xe máy GIVI, phụ trách mang vác hành lý cho tất cả những chuyến du lịch xe máy của tôi. Tiện lợi, an toàn, bền chắc và phong cách, chiếc thùng xe máy cho phép tôi tự do đi đến bất cứ nơi đâu và nhìn ngắm mọi thứ có thể, đó là điều mà du lịch bằng xe máy mang lại cho chúng ta… Continue reading

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The Tết Classic: Lunar New Year Motorbike Loop

Tết (Lunar New Year) is the biggest festival of the year in Vietnam, but that’s not necessarily good news for travellers. Public transportation is at breaking point and accommodation is expensive: travel can be extremely difficult. That’s why, every year, I choose to take a meandering road trip that bypasses popular tourist spots and makes the most of the southern dry season weather… Continue reading

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The Northern Hotel, Saigon

In the shadow of downtown Saigon’s high-rises, the Northern Hotel sits on a quiet street in the affluent yet quirky enclave known as the Japanese district. A five minute walk from such major landmarks as the Opera House and the Saigon River, the Northern Hotel offers very comfortable, mid-range accommodation… Continue reading

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Saigon’s Budget Sushi Scene

Eating good sushi in Saigon needn’t burn a hole in your pocket. In the last couple of years, there’s been an explosion of good-quality yet reasonably-priced sushi joints. Décor is cheap and cheerful, ambience is informal and fun, and customers are young and convivial: welcome to Saigon’s budget sushi scene…. Continue reading

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The Saigon River

Many cities are closely associated with a major waterway that runs through them: Saigon has the Saigon River. Currently, the city is in the process rediscovering and redeveloping its river. This is my personal reflection on the Saigon River, and a guide to the waterway that flows through my adopted home… Continue reading

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6 Reasons to Slurp Your Noodles

Slurp and suck: this should be every traveller’s primary objective when sitting down to enjoy a bowl of one of Vietnam’s famous noodle soups. Here is my guide to why you should embrace local etiquette and leave your preconceived table manners at home…. Continue reading

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The Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino

Big, brash, bold and extravagant, The Grand Resort and Casino marks the beginning of the transformation of the quiet and unassuming coastline of Ho Tram, into what is hoped will become Vietnam’s answer to Macau and Las Vegas. I have mixed feelings about this gigantic integrated resort on the south-east coast…. Continue reading

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Motorbike on the Train: Saigon to Phan Thiet

Put your motorbike on the train and let the rails carry your wheels between Saigon and Phan Thiet/Mui Ne. It’s cheap, easy, fun, fast, efficient and relaxing. Even if you’re not taking your motorbike with you, the train is a much better option than taking one of the buses along Highway 1…. Continue reading

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Camping the Ocean Road: Saigon to Nha Trang

Pitch your tent under a coconut palm just metres from the surf and enjoy Vietnam’s southeast coast sleeping in the open air: this is my guide to camping on the beaches along the Ocean Road from Saigon to Nha Trang. New roads have made horrible Highway 1 practically obsolete, and excellent camp grounds are popping up on remote beaches…. Continue reading

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Edenstar Hotel: Saigon Mid-Range

Centrally located with a rooftop pool and sleek modern rooms, Edenstar is a solid Saigon mid-range hotel. Catering to all types of visitors, Edenstar is on a narrow street, lined with tall trees, and within walking distance of most of Saigon’s major attractions….. Continue reading

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The Deep South: Riding the Dragon’s Tail

After 9 years travelling in Vietnam, the last four provinces that I have yet to visit are all in the Mekong Delta. These are the southernmost provinces in the country: the Deep South or, as I like to call it, the Dragon’s Tail. I thought it was about time I made it to all Vietnam’s 63 provinces, so I finally set out to travel as far south as roads go… Continue reading

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Cơm Tấm, Saigon: 7 of my Favourites

I love cơm tấm. Some of my happiest moments in Saigon have been sitting down with a good plate of barbecued pork & broken rice, watching the city go by. Saigon and cơm tấm are inseparable, and this city does it better than anywhere else. Cơm tấm is the quintessential Saigon experience. Here’s where to eat it…. Continue reading

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Saigon’s other Lunch Lady

Everyone knows who Saigon’s Lunch Lady is, right? Well, probably not this one. Ms Nga is 43 years old. She serves a different soup each day of the week, from her cramped, ramshackle soup stall. Originally from Thai Binh (a northern province famous for producing excellent cooks), she moved to Saigon in the mid-90s… Continue reading

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Trash Talk: Litter in Vietnam’s Beauty Spots

Vietnam is an extraordinarily beautiful country, but thousands of scenic areas across the nation are increasingly ruined by trash. A major catalyst for litter in beauty spots are picnickers, who neglect to clean up after themselves. Beaches, forests, and rivers are filling up with rubbish, and there’s no sign of things getting better… Continue reading

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ROUTE MAP: Two Month Motorbike Road Trip

During the autumn of 2014, I spent two months travelling over 9,000km by motorbike across Vietnam. This annotated and illustrated map of my road trip is designed as a resource for other riders. On it I’ve included links to relevant motorbike guides for specific regions; all of my overnight stops; and my exact route… Continue reading

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Ma Maison Boutique Hotel, Saigon

Hidden deep within a network of alleyways, Ma Maison is a warm, bright boutique hotel in a typical, local Saigon neighbourhood. Decorated in French Provençal fashion and located away from the city centre, Ma Maison plugs travellers straight into genuine local life… Continue reading

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The Hanoi Impressive Hotel

In the quiet, shaded alleyways, behind the neo-Gothic façade of St Joseph’s Cathedral, the Hanoi Impressive Hotel is my go-to place to stay when visiting the capital. At $40 a night, it’s fantastic mid-range value… Continue reading

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The Café Quarter, Saigon

In Phú Nhuận District – Saigon’s unofficial ‘café capital’ – a small grid of leafy streets plays host to a collection of trendy coffee shops. Bounded by the Thị Nghè Channel and Phan Xích Long Boulevard, I call this the ‘Café Quarter’… Continue reading

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Hot Toddy: Rice Wine Pudding

Anyone who’s spent time in Vietnam’s highlands will have come across rượu nếp – rice wine. However, on a recent visit to Cao Bang, I was introduced to rượu nếp in its pure, non-liquid form: a hot toddy meets rice pudding… Continue reading

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Saigon’s Parks & Open Spaces

Saigon might be known as a burgeoning city full of motorbikes and exhaust fumes, but it still has a great many green spaces in which to escape the heat, noise and pollution. From lush gardens dating from French colonial times to sleek, modern, waterfront promenades, here are Saigon’s best parks and open spaces… Continue reading

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Bac Ha Sunday Market

In the rugged mountains of northwestern Vietnam, the town of Bắc Hà holds a big, bright and busy market every Sunday. Attracting colourfully dressed ethnic minorities from across the region, the market has become a major magnet for tourists… Continue reading

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Don’t Miss the Dawn

Dawn is the best time of day in Vietnam. Yet most travellers and expats never experience it. Wake up before sunrise and you’ll witness exquisite skies and the ‘roots’ of Vietnamese daily life. Rising early should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Vietnam…. Continue reading

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My Protein Diet Week

In December 2014 I spent a week on a protein diet in Saigon. I ate Vietnamese food from street vendors & informal eateries as much as possible, and I recorded it all in my Protein Diet Diary on this page… Continue reading

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Ho Citadel (Thành Nhà Hồ)

Designated a World Heritage site in 2011, Ho Citadel is a 14th century royal enclosure surrounded by pretty farmland. The ruins, partly obscured by foliage, are extensive and farming still continues inside this former imperial city… Continue reading

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Two Months on a Motorbike

Starting on Vietnam’s Independence Day (2nd September), I embarked on a two month road trip on my trusty motorbike, Stavros. I drove from Saigon up to the remote northern provinces around the Chinese and Lao borders, and back again. This was a journey of over 9,000km. During my time on the road, I kept a diary of my travels on this page… Continue reading

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Phở Gia Hân, Saigon

I was first drawn to Phở Gia Hân by the enticing aroma that wafted over the narrow street on humid evenings. A family-run soup house in a local neighbourhood, this is one of my favourite places for phở in Saigon… Continue reading

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Hotel Du Parc, Dalat

The Hotel Du Parc offers excellent value mid-range accommodation in the Central Highlands city of Dalat. Housed in a French building from the 1930s, this hotel has colonial ambience with modern amenities at reasonable prices… Continue reading

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The Lunch Lady: A Diary

Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh is The Lunch Lady. Her famous ‘rotating menu’ (she serves a different dish each day) is a huge draw for locals, tourists & foodies from around the world. I ate lunch here everyday for a week to see how good it really is… Continue reading

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Datanla Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Datanla waterfall is only 6km from Dalat city centre. It’s no surprise then, that this is the most touristy and developed of all … Continue reading

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Lien Khuong Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Liên Khương is a dusty, busy, and unattractive town, 20km south of Dalat. From the horrible highway that passes through town, you’d never … Continue reading

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Dambri Waterfall

Description | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Dambri waterfall is 130km from Dalat, but it still makes this list because the falls lie within Lâm Đồng Province. This impressive waterfall is, by some … Continue reading

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Pongour Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Pongour is one of the most famous waterfalls in the province. It’s much loved and much visited by Vietnamese of all ages. As … Continue reading

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Elephant Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Elephant waterfall is in a heavily farmed valley at the bottom of a mountain pass, 30km southwest of Dalat. It’s a popular excursion … Continue reading

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Tiger Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Tiger waterfall is situated deep in the pine forests surrounding Dalat. Only 15km east of the city, these falls are easily reached but … Continue reading

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Bao Dai Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Bảo Đại falls (also known as Jráiblian falls) is named after Vietnam’s last emperor. It’s said that Bảo Đại (1913-1997) would stop here … Continue reading

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Dalat’s Waterfalls: A Guide

Dalat is located in Lâm Đồng Province, a mountainous region that boasts lots of waterfalls. I visited them all, in order to compile this list & guide to the waterfalls of Dalat & the surrounding area. Many of the falls are truly spectacular, while some are ruined by tourist development… Continue reading

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Bo Bla Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle Bo Bla waterfall is 80km southwest of Dalat on Highway 20. Set in an undulating landscape covered in coffee plantations and dominated by … Continue reading

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Gougah Waterfall

Description | Image Slideshow | Map First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle The once mighty falls of Gougah have been tempered by the construction of a dam and reservoir nearby. As the water has subsided … Continue reading

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My Motorbike, Stavros

My motorbike turned 8 and a half years old last month. In that time it’s taken me all over Vietnam, clocking up over 120,000km in the process. Mountains, rivers, cities, beaches; my motorbike has seem them all. Affectionately known to me as ‘Stavros’, I’ve grown very attached to my motorbike over the years… Continue reading

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Vung Ro Bay

A gorgeous, undeveloped bay on the south-central coast, 2015 might be the last chance you get to visit Vung Ro before construction starts on two enormous, multi-billion dollar projects, that will change the area forever. Continue reading

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The Best Phở in Saigon

It’s surprisingly difficult to find a truly outstanding bowl of phở (beef noodle soup) in Saigon. But, after 8 years living & eating in this city, I’ve finally found a place that, in my opinion, serves the best bowl of phở in Saigon… Continue reading

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Driving to Phu Quoc Island by Motorbike

Flying to Phu Quoc Island is cheap & easy, but if you want a real adventure, driving there by motorbike from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is much more fun. This road trip takes you from Vietnam’s biggest city to some of the country’s best tropical beaches, via the waterways & highways of the Mekong Delta. Continue reading

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Horse Meat

After the horse meat scandal in 2013, many people in Europe discovered they’d eaten horse without knowing it, but in Saigon some restaurants specialize in horse meat, and it really is delicious! Continue reading

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Ana Mandara Villas, Dalat

With 17 restored French colonial villas on a hillside just west of the city centre, Ana Mandara Resort & Spa keeps the charm & romance of Dalat alive. Luxury accommodation in the Central Highlands doesn’t get more atmospheric than this. Continue reading

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Juliet’s Villa Resort

Surrounded by coffee farms, tea plantations, rice paddies and fruit trees, Juliet’s Villa Resort is a quiet, secluded and peaceful place to stay in the Central Highlands. 80km southwest of Dalat, this small, family-run resort opens up a part of the highlands most travellers overlook. Continue reading

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My Top 5 Markets in Saigon

Saigon’s markets seem to exist in another dimension to the rest of the city. In downtown District 1 you’d be forgiven for thinking that the traditional Vietnamese market no longer exists; replaced by generic high-end shopping malls. But local markets outside the city centre continue to thrive: here are my favourite wet markets in Saigon… Continue reading

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Camping in Dalat

The best thing about Dalat is not the city itself but the natural beauty of the surrounding area – purple mountains cloaked in pine forests stretching into the misty distance – and camping is the best way to experience it. Continue reading

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Saigon’s Hidden Cafes

Saigon has thousands of independent coffee shops. Hidden down narrow alleyways, tucked away in forgotten colonial villas, or concealed in enigmatic old apartment buildings, there’s a whole sub-culture of ‘indie’ cafes in this city. These are my favourites. Continue reading

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Fetal Duck Egg

If you like eggs, you’ll love fetal duck eggs! They are, quite simply, ‘eggier’ than regular chicken eggs. Don’t be put off by the name or what they look like; this is a great, tasty, nutritious and cheap road-side snack anywhere in Vietnam. Continue reading

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Cat Meat

Although less widely eaten than dog, cat meat is still on the menu in many Vietnamese restaurants, especially in the north. So what does it taste like? Continue reading

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Southeast Loop: Motorbike Guide

If you’re looking for a road trip within reach of Saigon that takes you to beaches & mountains, but stays off busy main roads; this is it. Saigon, Mui Ne, & Dalat are all connected by quiet, scenic back-roads: this motorbike guide shows you how to do it. Continue reading

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10 Public Swimming Pools in Saigon

If you’re not lucky enough to be staying at one of the smarter hotels with a pool, or if you’re an expat looking to escape the heat and clamour of the city, Saigon has some good & inexpensive public swimming pools to choose from. Here are 10 of the best pools in Saigon… Continue reading

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Street Food Week

Can you live only on street food in Vietnam? Is it any good and is it really that cheap? To find out I spent a whole week eating exclusively street food in Saigon. Find out what I ate, where I ate, & how much I spent in this Street Food Week diary. Continue reading

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The White Sand Dune Highway: Beyond Mui Ne

Mũi Né, the famous resort -studded beach on the south-central coast, is lovely, but it’s firmly on the beaten track. It can get crowded, especially on weekends & national holidays. If you want to escape the crowds, rent a motorbike & head north-east up the coast for a two day road trip towards Liên Hương. Continue reading

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Hòn Gốm Sandbar: Motorbike Guide

Vietnam’s most easterly point, Hòn Gốm Sandbar stretches 30km into the South China Sea. Deserted, wild beaches line both sides, and a couple of tiny fishing villages shelter in calm coves. A new road runs along almost the entire length of the sandbar, making a great road trip from Nha Trang. Continue reading

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Dai Lanh Beach

Đại Lãnh Beach is a pretty stretch of sand squeezed between lush mountains, on the south-central coast. It should be more popular than it is, but its proximity to Highway 1 means that noise can be a problem. However, this will change once a new tunnel under the mountains is completed. Continue reading

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Núi Chúa Coastal Road

Núi Chúa is a beautiful promontory that juts into the ocean between Phan Rang City and Cam Ranh Bay, on Vietnam’s south-central coast. A new road has opened up access to spectacular beaches, forests, mountain springs and fishing villages. It’s great for a road trip! Continue reading

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Video: Con Dao Islands

From the moment you step off the plane on the Con Dao Islands, you know you’re somewhere special. The main island of Con Son has a tragic past as a penal colony, set up by the French colonial administration. But today, it is the gorgeous natural beauty of this archipelago that’s attracting attention. Continue reading

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Homestays: Pù Luông Nature Reserve

Homestays in Vietnam offer some of the best value accommodation and food that’s available anywhere in the country. The homestays in Bản Hiêu, a village on a mountainside in the stunning landscape of Pù Luông Nature Reserve, are some of the most atmospheric and romantic you could hope to find. Continue reading

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Beef Stew (Bò Kho)

Bò kho (beef stew) is a hearty, spicy and aromatic broth with diced beef, carrot and lemongrass. Eaten on its own with a warm baguette for dunking or served over noodles, this is one of my favourite dishes in Vietnam. Continue reading

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Dragons’ Graveyard: Mui Dinh Coast Road

Mũi Dinh is a sandy, boulder-strewn promontory hiding wild, windy and isolated beaches that have hardly ever seen a foreign visitor. The landscape is striking, arid and deserted, and the fishing villages are dusty, poor and salty: this is Vietnam’s Wild West. Located on the south-central coast, a stunning new road now connects Mũi Dinh with Phan Rang to the north, and Ca Na to the south. Continue reading

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The Ocean Road: Part 1

A quiet road runs 150km along the southeastern coast of Vietnam, linking the two beach towns of Vũng Tàu and Mũi Né. Skirting the deserted coastline for much of its length, occasionally ducking inland through fruit plantations and dusty villages where ox-drawn carts full of hay linger in the heat; I call it the Ocean Road. Continue reading

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TOP 5: Rooftop Cocktails in Saigon

Saigon is at the heart of Vietnam’s economic boom: new high-rises and five-star hotels go up every year. On the upper storeys there are stylish bars with views over the city, catering to the country’s nouveau-riche and wealthy foreign visitors. But, with the price of drinks still relatively low, rooftop cocktails are affordable for travellers on all budgets, especially if you make the most of Happy Hours. Continue reading

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Cà Phê Bệt: Saigon’s Street Coffee Scene

At 5 o’clock in the afternoons in Saigon, high schools and universities disgorge their students into the busy streets. Dusk is one of the coolest times of day, and many of these students head for one of the city’s parks, where they buy food and drink from street vendors and sit on the grass talking into the evening hours – this is Cà Phê Bệt. Continue reading

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The Limestone Loop: Motorbike Guide

Thanh Hóa is a province of limestone pinnacles, rivers and rice paddies. Quiet roads meander through steep valleys cloaked in bamboo forests, and mountain passes twist skyward towards remote Lao border crossings. New highways and upgraded roads have cut travel time between Thanh Hóa Province and Hanoi to within 2 or 3 hours. Continue reading

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Snails & Shellfish

Snail eating is incredibly popular in Vietnam. A night of shells and beer is a very local experience. On weekends, young and old feast into the early hours. The snails come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re delicious! Continue reading

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Broken Rice & Pork Stew, Saigon

Wherever you are in Vietnam, you can always rely on broken rice or pork stew to fill you up. Breakfast, lunch or dinner; these two pork dishes are always available. Forget phở – the famous beef noodle soup – the real national dish of Vietnam is pork and rice! Continue reading

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