Vietnam Budget Tour Review

by Dwight

Here’s a quick Vietnam budget tour review – Airfares, Hotels, In-country transportation, In-country tours and Restaurants

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Airfare –

All budget tours start with getting to your destination for the cheapest airfare possible. Most Vietnam travelers arrive in Vietnam by air or one of the nearby countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, China or Laos.

Matrix Airfare Search is the data base used by many of the online booking agencies like Travelocity. Matrix is the source for the lowest published airline fares. There are a number of regional budget airlines that do not provide fares to Matrix. Asia Air and JetStar are two examples that serve Vietnam – internationally and domestically. Search for airlines servicing your home country and Vietnam, you might find a good deal.

Find the cheapest published airfare and then establish an “acceptable” fare – 70%, 80% or 90% of the published fare as you goal. Don’t get greedy. If you find your “acceptable” airfare, take it and move on. Keep in mind that a few hours of research on the internet can save you 100s of Dollars, Euros or ?.

Hotels –

Family run hotels catering to tourists offer great values through-out the country. There a two questions to consider in finding a good price on a room. Do you want to save money or do you want to spend your time doing “tourist” stuff? You can shop for a room when you arrive at your destination, or you can arrange for a hotel in advance and then hit the street.

Shopping for a room takes a little time, but you can bargain and inspect the room before agreeing. Arranging a room in advance sets the price for you and you may have to spend a night in a questionable room.

In country transportation –

One word – CHEAP!! Airlines are Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar and Air Mekong. Vietnam Railways is cheap but getting a bit ragged. Poor maintenance is showing. Most railroad cars do not have “western toilets”. Bring your own food unless you’re hardcore. Compare airfares and railroad fares. Trains to Lao Cai / Sapa offer fares for all budgets – even “Orient Express” service.

Open tour buses are great. They’re cheap – currently $30 Saigon to Hanoi. There are shorter legs. They’re the best way to see Vietnam, unless you’re a serious bicyclist or like motorbiking.

Local buses can be OK if you’re familiar with them. Schedules are in Vietnamese. Your hotel staff can should be able to help you really want to take a local bus. A map, and destinations written in Vietnamese will help. Be sure to have taxi fare for an emergency.

In country tours –

Wait until you get to Vietnam to book any tours. Shop for the tour you want to take. The same tour can vary in price by 100% or more. Check with your hotel for tours. Ask questions. Try to get recommendations online. Double check the name of the tour agency. Trademarks, copyrights and other commercial property rights are non-existent. Example – The Sinh Cafe (now known as Sinh Tourist) had a lot of impostors.

Inquire about road conditions, especially after heavy rains in mountainous areas. Road construction can make what should have been a pleasant trip into a headache.

Restaurants –

The food in Vietnam is great. Get recommendations from other travelers. Consider taking a cooking class. There are lot of western style restaurants if you miss home. Coffee and beer are popular beverages in Vietnam. Street cafes are common, travelers like to congregate and trade stories. You’ll even find a fair number of expatriates in the larger cities in Vietnam, you can usually count on them to provide reliable information.

Other advice –

Watch your stuff – petty crime happens. Keep you money and documents close to your body, not in outside pockets. Carry only the cash you’ll need for the day. Use the hotel safe if available. Cameras, mobile phones and laptops are attractive “souvenirs.”

Thanks for checking my Vietnam Budget Tour Review.






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