1. WHERE SHOULD YOU BASE YOURSELF OUT OF:
I like to split Vietnam into 3 – southern, central, and northern. HCMC is the main city of the south, Da Nang in the center, and Ha Noi in the north. If you’re the type of person that would rather book somewhere for an extended period and travel from there, then those are the three cities to look in!
2. THE BEST WAY TO BOOK ANYTHING? FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM!
Yep! While I do love all the normal booking and tour sites, usually the best option is to just contact properties, tours, and even restaurants via Facebook and Instagram DM. I swear Facebook is how Vietnam interacts the most! Every time I wanted to book a hotel, I usually just Facebooked the hotel and had a reservation. Heck, in Saigon if I wanted to order from somewhere, I sometimes skipped over Grab and just Facebooked them!
With most places, you’ll pay at the end of your stay. While you shouldn’t have issues using a credit card, some smaller spots may only take cash.
3. STAYING AT HOMESTAYS
One of the fun, more unique things to do in Vietnam is to stay at a homestay. This is more common in the more countryside areas like in the Mekong. Da Lat, or Sa Pa. You basically stay with a local family or person. It’s not glamorous but it’s a nice way to get more insight into the region! Some home stays are more built for visitors while others you’re literally in someone’s guest room.
4. PICKING BETWEEN HOTELS AND HOSTELS
Because Vietnam is a big backpacker spot, there are an abundance of hotels and hostels with high ratings. I remember looking at Hoi An and having a ton to choose from with a rating of 9 or higher. I’d say to help you choose, look at reviews of customer service and where the hotels/hostels are located. I’ve had some of the loveliest experiences at hostels here and some of the worst at nicer hotels!
5. INDULGING IN LUXURY IN VIETNAM
If you’re a hotel buff, you’re going to love all the incredibly-designed hotels throughout Vietnam. Bill Bensley himself has design quite a few, but I’ve only stayed at Da Nang Intercontinental so far. A number of luxury brands have properties here including Azerai, Aman, Anantara, MGallery, Four Seasons, Six Senses, and much more. Not to mention the boutique hotels like Pilgrimage Village in Hue, Poulo Condor in Con Dao, or the Mia in Saigon. I will also say from my luxury stays, I’ve had nothing but amazing customer service, so if you’re looking to indulge, this is the country to do it.
6. WHAT IS AIRBNB LIKE IN VIETNAM?
Airbnb does exist in Vietnam! I used it to find a more long term place when I was coming for a month. Now that I think about it, though, after that first time I hardly used it. When you stay long enough, it’s better to try to rent an apartment, and there are just so many hostels, hotels, homestays, and resorts that Airbnb becomes an afterthought.