Located in the heart of South-East Asia, Vietnam is a country rich in history and culture, one that has been heavily influenced by periods of both Chinese and French rule.
From the incredible beaches and nightlife of Nha Trang and the quaint old town of Hoi An, to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City – and, of course, the country’s 1000-year-old capital, Hanoi, Vietnam is a place of great contrast but also great beauty. It really is a place where the old world meets – and thrives – with the new world, the perfect spot for a honeymoon to remember.
With more than 300kms of coastline and three weather systems, Vietnam boasts a variety of tropical and sub-tropical climates, so there really isn’t a ‘wrong’ time to honeymoon in Vietnam as, for the most part, you’ll experience sunshine and rain in varying proportions – but mostly sunshine.
Generally, however, Vietnam has two seasons: a cold season that runs from about November to April, and a hot season between May and October.
Note, however, the weather in the north is usually a little crisper and cooler with longer bouts of rain, and the weather is the south tends to be warmer and more humid, which makes it perfect for a beach-loving honeymooners.
Vietnam boasts a variety of amazing attractions, both old and new, and natural and man-made, including the following:
Halong Bay: Located in Vietnam’s north-east, Halong Bay is an absolute highlight. With enormous limestone islands engulfed by forests popping out of the emerald waters, there really is no place on Earth quite like it. If you truly want to take it in, spend a few nights cruising this area or, if you’re eager to squeeze as much out of your honeymoon, partake in a day trip while you’re in Hanoi.
Hoi An: This quaint, ancient town sits just outside of Da Nang in central Vietnam. Visitors will experience authentic Vietnamese architecture, centuries-old Chinese shophouses as well as some remarkable temples and pagodas, and colonial French buildings.
Mekong Delta: Located in the south is the Mekong Delta which gives travellers a unique opportunity to experience rural Vietnam. With the amazing river that flows through it and the little canals that lead into it, it is truly a once in lifetime experience. Be sure to go see the Vietnamese rice paddies while in this area.
Using ingredients such as fish sauce, lemongrass, shrimp paste, mint and chilli, Vietnamese cuisine has a most distinct – and very fresh – flavour.
Meals are often served to share and includes dishes like pho (noodle soup), Nem cuon (salad rolls), Bánh bao (a sandwich) and Bánh xèo (a crispy egg pancake). There is also a huge French influence on Vietnamese food and it is not uncommon to see snails and frogs legs on restaurant menus.
Vietnam is also known for its delicious coffee. Served cold and sweet in the south, and warm and bitter in the north, the coffee is strong yet delicious.
From buses and taxis to trains and boats, Vietnam offers myriad methods for getting around, including the country’s favourite mode of transport: bicycles! If you’re fit enough, you could hire a bike and rely on your own pedal power for travelling short distances.
For tourists, the easiest means of getting around is by taxi. Taxis are available most anywhere but be aware that you should ask for a fixed price – or ensure the metre is running as scams are not unheard of. Xe Oms which are motorbike taxis, are also available in cities, as well as cycles which are bicycle rickshaws.
Overnight trains head from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, as well as buses that travel the same routes. Trains are more comfortable to travel in and allow you to see Vietnam’s beautiful countryside, but need to booked in advance to get the best cabins.
Buses are not as comfortable, but they are cheaper. There are airports is almost all cities in Vietnam with local airlines like Vietnam Airlines and VietJet.
Whether you’re looking for a bargain, something traditional or high-end fashion, Vietnam has it all.
With amazing quality at affordable prices, Vietnam is a dream destination for honeymooners on a budget. From tailored suits to the best quality silk, in Vietnam most items are sold at a fraction of the price of their equivalents in Australia.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are teeming with both bargain and high-end shopping, and Hoi An is a must for traditional garments and authentic souvenirs as well as markets galore that sell everything from fresh fruit and flowers to local handicrafts and jewellery.
Whether you’re visiting Vietnam on your honeymoon – or just enjoying a holiday – you want it to be as hassle-free as possible, so be sure to purchase travel insurance before leaving home.
It will make your special time away even more enjoyable as you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you and your belongings are covered (within your policy’s limits, of course) should anything go wrong.
As they say in the travel industry, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!
Purchase your travel insurance when you book your trip and, depending on the policy you choose, you should be covered for theft, injury or illness. Some travel insurance policies do not cover certain activities such as diving, hiking, parasailing, or renting a motorcycle, so ensure you read it before signing up so that you’re aware of what it does and doesn’t cover. Take a copy of your travel insurance documents with you when travelling.
The Vietnamese Dong is the currency in Vietnam.
With a variety of ATMs and money exchangers in all major cities, it is easy to get a cash withdrawal or exchange money in Vietnam.
Be sure to ask your hotel where to do cash withdrawals as they’d know where a safe ATM is.
Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards are accepted in most hotels, tourist shops, tour companies, car rental agencies and banks. Most hotels and restaurants also accept US Dollars.
Depending on the time of year you decide to visit Vietnam, you’ll need pack various items.
The south of Vietnam is usually humid and warm with the occasional rain storm so you’ll need to pack lightweight summer clothing such as shorts, skirts, t-shirts, blouses and dresses.
If you’d like to go out dining or partying at a nightclub, you’ll need to pack more formal clothing such as a collared shirt and smart dress. Be sure to not forget your beachwear behind which should include flip flops and swimwear. A comfortable pair of walking shoes and a light waterproof jacket will also come in handy. The north of Vietnam is also warm, but can get cold at night so pack in a warm jumper as well as some lightweight clothing.
A few must-have items that you should not forget at home are sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, hand wipes, after sun lotion, headache tablets and toiletries.
Tipping is common in the bigger cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but is not part of Vietnamese culture.
At upscale restaurants and spas, a tip is often expected. Your tour guides and private drivers, as well as waiters and spa workers are, likely, used to being tipped between 10-15% of your bill, but it depends on whether or not you’ve received good service.
Tour guides, generally, receive a tip of at least 10% of the total cost of the tour.