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First trip... Need advice

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SureShot

Hey guys,

Just booked my next trip to Thailand, and am planning on spending a week or so in Vietnam.

I'm going to do a few touristy things, so would like to hit Da Nang to see the new golden bridge.
I don't know anything about Vietnam really, so I have a few questions and recommendations I'm hoping you guys can help out with:

- Does Da Nang have much in the way of mongering opportunities?
- What else should I check out while there?
- What is the best area to stay in ?   Not huge on beaches, but don't mind going if that's the place to be. I enjoy the nightlife, and obviously want to stay in some of the best area's for girls.
- I figured I'd probably hit HCMC for 3-4 days, should I do that, or are there better places to go? (the more mongering opportunities the better, but I also like to do\see cool shit).

I'll be going mid December, if that matters at all....

Any advice would be appreciated!

thanks!

 

 

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footix

If you are going to Da Nang you really should visit Hoi An as it's less than an hour away by bus or taxi. Beautiful town that was spared during the Vietnam/American War. It is pretty touristy but still magical when lit up at night. Definitely worth a day trip at least and I would spend a couple of nights there if you have time. 

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SureShot
10 hours ago, footix said:

If you are going to Da Nang you really should visit Hoi An as it's less than an hour away by bus or taxi. Beautiful town that was spared during the Vietnam/American War. It is pretty touristy but still magical when lit up at night. Definitely worth a day trip at least and I would spend a couple of nights there if you have time. 

Good suggestion!  I've heard people say how nice Hoi An is, so it was in my mind to check it out. I didn't realize it was so close to Da Nanh, i'll definitely add that to the list.  thanks!

Would you happen to know a particular area in Da Nang I should be searching for hotels?

Edited by jay_613

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footix

Da Nang is a bit of a weird place. I only stayed for 1 night on 2 separate occasions and wouldn't particularly recommended either place I stayed. The island has the beach but not much else - full of Chinese hotels and the beachfront area has a whole line of expensive seafood restaurants aimed at Chinese customers (who appeared in very short supply when I stayed there). 

The other side of the river has a more Vietnamese feel to it but there are a few bars and restaurants aimed at non-asian tourists. The dragon bridge is pretty impressive but whether it's worth going a long way to see it is doubtful. I may be being a bit unfair as I only spent a very short time there but the main attraction of Da Nang is the fact it has an international airport with good links to the main cities in Vietnam and elsewhere in SE Asia. It is an important city but I think for most tourists it acts as the gateway to Hoi An. 

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SureShot
11 hours ago, footix said:

Da Nang is a bit of a weird place. I only stayed for 1 night on 2 separate occasions and wouldn't particularly recommended either place I stayed. The island has the beach but not much else - full of Chinese hotels and the beachfront area has a whole line of expensive seafood restaurants aimed at Chinese customers (who appeared in very short supply when I stayed there). 

The other side of the river has a more Vietnamese feel to it but there are a few bars and restaurants aimed at non-asian tourists. The dragon bridge is pretty impressive but whether it's worth going a long way to see it is doubtful. I may be being a bit unfair as I only spent a very short time there but the main attraction of Da Nang is the fact it has an international airport with good links to the main cities in Vietnam and elsewhere in SE Asia. It is an important city but I think for most tourists it acts as the gateway to Hoi An. 

Okay, good to know. I'll continue on with my research! thanks for the insight!

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bigbadbaz

Like Jay, I'm going to Vietnam for the first time in December. Myself and a mate going for 5 nights to Ho Chi Min city staying at the Edenstar hotel and Spa in District 1.

We are doing homework but if anyone can recommend bars/areas nearby will be great. Quick money question is it better to change money there as in Los for better rates, do they exchange places or is it banks. Do they prefer the local stuff or is it $ similar to Cambodia.

 

Foodwise what tends to be the specials out there, we don't have Vietnamese restaurants in Barnsley ( only got McDonald's in July) but will be trying a couple of restaurants before I go

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Stillearly
1 minute ago, bigbadbaz said:

Like Jay, I'm going to Vietnam for the first time in December. Myself and a mate going for 5 nights to Ho Chi Min city staying at the Edenstar hotel and Spa in District 1.

We are doing homework but if anyone can recommend bars/areas nearby will be great. Quick money question is it better to change money there as in Los for better rates, do they exchange places or is it banks. Do they prefer the local stuff or is it $ similar to Cambodia.

 

Foodwise what tends to be the specials out there, we don't have Vietnamese restaurants in Barnsley ( only got McDonald's in July) but will be trying a couple of restaurants before I go

Book a food tour for when you get there ( Walking or motorbike ) think it's a good introduction to the local food 

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worldpunter
4 minutes ago, Stillearly said:

Book a food tour for when you get there ( Walking or motorbike ) think it's a good introduction to the local food 

including mcdonalds   ,

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SureShot
20 minutes ago, bigbadbaz said:

Like Jay, I'm going to Vietnam for the first time in December. Myself and a mate going for 5 nights to Ho Chi Min city staying at the Edenstar hotel and Spa in District 1.

We are doing homework but if anyone can recommend bars/areas nearby will be great. Quick money question is it better to change money there as in Los for better rates, do they exchange places or is it banks. Do they prefer the local stuff or is it $ similar to Cambodia.

 

Foodwise what tends to be the specials out there, we don't have Vietnamese restaurants in Barnsley ( only got McDonald's in July) but will be trying a couple of restaurants before I go

hah! same... my buddy and I will be there, prob around the 13th or so. flying in from bkk...I figure if I hit pattaya first, I  won't want to leave and never get to Vietnam, so i'll do it early on in the trip :P

Good questions, pretty much the same info I'm looking for.  I'd assume you'll get the best rates for your cash in Vietnam, but... I have no clue.  I think they do prefer Vietnamese Dong there, but assume they'd take US but at a pretty shitty exchange rate. 

Edited by jay_613

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Stillearly

I've also got a trip planned ( Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Hue and HCMC ) will be my second trip , first was in 1997 - interested to see how much it's changed - from memory they only used VND 

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footix

Yes - unlike Cambodia you cannot use USD (I guess hotels may take them but I guess at a shitty rate). From memory I used ATMs to withdraw Dong. I think all charge for use of overseas cards but the amount can vary quite a lot.

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worldpunter
10 hours ago, Stillearly said:

I've also got a trip planned ( Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Hue and HCMC ) will be my second trip , first was in 1997 - interested to see how much it's changed - from memory they only used VND 

I was in Hanoi in Feb and used dollars everywhere   ,  Was told by  many only carry US dollars  , 

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PBear66

Try and be in Hoi An when it is a full moon festival, look up the calender and time if you can.

You can go over, not through the tunnel, from Danang to ancient city of Hue using the Hi Van Pass. Its a great run and get a cheap taxi to show you some stops along the way.

Danang hasn't much nightlife in my experience and Hoi An is a much nicer few days. Halong Bay and Coc Tac or long but worthwhile daytrips from Hanoi.

Hoi Chi Min is young, busy and bustling but i enjoyed Hoi An and the journey to Hue more than anything.

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Burgos123

Bring US dollars! 100 dollar bills get better rates than other notes. Jewelry shops usually gives the best rates but the difference is minimal.

Most ATMs won't let you withdraw more than 2.000.000 dong (less than 100 US) which will be too expensive in fees! There are ATMs that will let you withdraw more but only in Saigon and Hanoi and impossible to find!

One special thing I have noticed in Vietnam is that when you visit a restaurant/bar you will often find that they also have tables on the second floor.  Often you can sit like on a balcony and watch a busy street from above - I really enjoy that.

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bigbadbaz

Hi Burgos,

i like cash rather than ATM as at least you know the charges/rate there and then and no hidden extras. Reading the above is it better to exchange in Jewellery shops? On holiday in Turkey I used the small souvenir/grocery shop that did money exchange though not totally legal everyone did it.

I'm from the Uk and are they ok with sterling, it's a hard one to call to have to exchange for Dollars then dong or the ATM.

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akamai4u2
On 9/30/2018 at 20:58, jay_613 said:

Hey guys,

Just booked my next trip to Thailand, and am planning on spending a week or so in Vietnam.

I'm going to do a few touristy things, so would like to hit Da Nang to see the new golden bridge.
I don't know anything about Vietnam really, so I have a few questions and recommendations I'm hoping you guys can help out with:

- Does Da Nang have much in the way of mongering opportunities?
- What else should I check out while there?
- What is the best area to stay in ?   Not huge on beaches, but don't mind going if that's the place to be. I enjoy the nightlife, and obviously want to stay in some of the best area's for girls.
- I figured I'd probably hit HCMC for 3-4 days, should I do that, or are there better places to go? (the more mongering opportunities the better, but I also like to do\see cool shit).

I'll be going mid December, if that matters at all....

Any advice would be appreciated!

thanks!

 

 

 

On 10/2/2018 at 14:35, bigbadbaz said:

Like Jay, I'm going to Vietnam for the first time in December. Myself and a mate going for 5 nights to Ho Chi Min city staying at the Edenstar hotel and Spa in District 1.

We are doing homework but if anyone can recommend bars/areas nearby will be great. Quick money question is it better to change money there as in Los for better rates, do they exchange places or is it banks. Do they prefer the local stuff or is it $ similar to Cambodia.

Foodwise what tends to be the specials out there, we don't have Vietnamese restaurants in Barnsley ( only got McDonald's in July) but will be trying a couple of restaurants before I go

 

On 10/2/2018 at 14:56, jay_613 said:

hah! same... my buddy and I will be there, prob around the 13th or so. flying in from bkk...I figure if I hit pattaya first, I  won't want to leave and never get to Vietnam, so i'll do it early on in the trip :P

Good questions, pretty much the same info I'm looking for.  I'd assume you'll get the best rates for your cash in Vietnam, but... I have no clue.  I think they do prefer Vietnamese Dong there, but assume they'd take US but at a pretty shitty exchange rate. 

oh my...so many questions...

first off...Da Nang...i can not comment on Da Nang, because i did not stay there. but...

...the Golden Bridge is in Bana Hills, about 45 minute taxi ride from Da Nang. this is where i stayed. i should warn you that it's a tourist trap. tons of tourists during the day. it's a good day trip, but i recommend staying in Bana Hills overnight so you can have the whole place to yourself after all the tourists leave and in the morning before they arrive. two nights is probably better. and i recommend bringing a date because it's beautiful.

there's enough to keep you busy for two days. there is a French Village complete with shops, fountain and a beautiful church. there is an Asian inspired zone with tea house, pagoda and peace bell. there is a botanical garden with a wine cellar. there is a big buddha statue. there is an entertainment center complete with arcade games, an alpine coaster and one of those gravity drop thingies...albeit, it's only 30 or 40 feet high. and you can only get there via a tram/ropeway. the view is breathtaking...unless you're afraid of heights. all of this is located at the top of a mountain. hence, the wonderful views.

the ropeway fee is not included in your hotel stay. Bana HIlls was cool enough that i will go back again. simply because the golden bridge was not there when i went two years ago.

Hoi An is a nice small town nestled along a river. i stayed along the beach at the Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort. nice place. good buffet breakfast (included). shuttle service to the city center. didn't do a lot there. mostly hung out at the resort.

as for HCMC...there is a thread here somewhere on HCMC. find it and take notes. it a fairly good rundown on what to do and where to go. it talks about the hair salons that are more of a front for BJ bars but without the alcohol.

you want to stay in District 1. either near Bui Vien Street or Hai Ba Trung if you want to be walking distance from the entertainment areas.

Bui Vien Street is a cross between Walking Street and Khao San Road (Bangkok). very busy and crowded on the weekends. lots of restaurants, bars, cheap hotels and a few clubs and a few girly bars. there is an alley way that leads to several massage parlors with happy endings. the massage is cheap. the happy ending will cost you from 500,000 - 1M dong (US$22-$44). if you are not staying near there, you can tell the taxi driver to take you to Crazy Buffalos. you can also google CB and Ho Chi Minh City and you can find Bui Vien Street on a map.

Hai Ba Trung is in the nicer area of HCMC. hotels are nicer and pricier (US$30 - $150+). more variety in food choices. and believe it or not, there is also a little Japan Town tucked away in small alleyways off of Thih Sach and Le Than Ton. you'll find karaoke bars, counter bars, Japanese restaurants and massage parlors inside the maze of alleyways. there are also several massage parlors on Le Thanh Ton. i do not know it the girls at the karaoke bars are working girls or not. maybe 50-50. but most of the massage parlors are a guaranteed happy ending if you want.

the girly bars along Hai Ba Trung are very discreet, but you can find them by their address. they don't have big neon signs in front like Walking Street. i pulled this from the HCMC thread. the addresses are 35, 49, 51 and 91. and one street over on Dong Khoi, 29. one of them may not be there anymore...either that or i'm blind...which is a very good possibility. ST rooms are on premises. negotiations will usually start at 2M Dong.

there is also a club called Apocalypse Now where the freelancers go. it's on Thi Sach street. google it for exact location. starts hopping after 11pm. the starting price ladies were quoting was 2M Dong ($88) to go home with you. i don't know if that was ST or LT. i didn't pull the trigger. but i'm sure that was negotiable. there is a full selection of ladies from average to hot.

you should also upload the WeChat App. it is very popular with the freelancers. it will show you where nearby ladies are. most of them are working girls. ($60-80) and they will come directly to your room. it is very convenient if you're feeling a bit lazy and don't feel like going out hunting...or if it's raining out.

you can exchange money at the airport. there is an exchange booth right after immigration and there are multiple locations outside of customs. it is a reasonable rate. it is hard to find currency exchange places in HCMC other than banks. as someone mentioned, you can not withdraw a lot of cash at a time. if you want more than 2M Dong, you have to do the multiple withdrawals. i did find a Citibank on Le Thanh Ton that i believe gave out up to 4M or 5M Dong.

i also advise you to prepay for a taxi to your hotel at the airport to avoid being ripped off. if i remember correctly, it is around 200,000 Dong to district 1. they are many counters where you can prepay after you exit customs. some also sell SIM cards if you need one.

if you want something cool to do, you can take a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels under HCMC that were used by the Vietnamese military to move around undetected during the Vietnam War. or you can take an overnight trip to Cai Be and go see the floating market. you'll probably have to arrange a tour ahead of time. once you are there, you have to get up before the crack of dawn in order to see the floating market at it's peak at sunrise.

wow! that was long. sorry folks. not as interesting as a trip report. but i'm sure it will help someone. :D

Edited by akamai4u2

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SureShot

Awesome info, thanks man.   Exactly what I was looking for.
Once I'm done in HCMC, I'll probably stay in Bana Hills for a night or two, and either Da Nang or Hoi An for a few days.  I still have 2 months to plan, but you've given me a lot of info to go on.  Much appreciated.

I assume food is dirt cheap there, even moreso than Thailand?

Any idea how much a sim card \ plan was at the airport? 

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RakJay87

I did Vietnam in 2016 with my TGF.  Hanoi was probably our favorite city, you need to go there, it felt the most 'Vietnamese' out of anywhere we visited.  Da Nang was pretty uneventful and not worth the trip - nor is the bridge very impressive, although we stayed in Hoi An which was a bit better.  I wouldn't recommend staying in Hoi An for more than 2 days though, it gets boring very quickly, there really isn't much to do other than walk around and shop or a quick day trip to the beach - there is little to no nightlife.  HCMC is where you want to be for any semblance of bars, booze or women.  And yes, food is cheap, many things are cheaper than Thailand, my TGF kept saying "why everything so cheap?"  Not much in the way of infrastructure, malls or western food options outside of the cities - nor is there many signs in English, so plan accordingly with a guide if you want to do anything culturally relevant.  You'll have fun, its just 'different' than Thailand, pretty cheap and the food is probably the best in the world IMO.

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Wiley Coyote

Like you first time to Vietnam ,last January

Flew into Danang,easy taxi to Hoi An 2 nights,My Son archeology centre 

hotel arranged car to Hue (2 nights ) over Van Pass,dramatic views 

Citadel ,Perfume River Hue 

Train Hue to Da Nang ,2 nights Dragon Bridge ,Ba Na Hills

Good Luck with FL ,had problems with communication understanding English

No problems changing money banks ,sometimes not need to show passport

Have a good holiday

January was freezing cold

 

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bigbadbaz

Akamai,

many thanks for the advice and taking the time to post

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akamai4u2
On 10/6/2018 at 10:17, jay_613 said:

Awesome info, thanks man.   Exactly what I was looking for.
Once I'm done in HCMC, I'll probably stay in Bana Hills for a night or two, and either Da Nang or Hoi An for a few days.  I still have 2 months to plan, but you've given me a lot of info to go on.  Much appreciated.

I assume food is dirt cheap there, even more so than Thailand?

Any idea how much a sim card \ plan was at the airport? 

food prices are relative to Thailand. maybe a little bit less. a bowl of Pho (pronounced 'fuh') is like $3.

hotel prices seemed a bit higher for comparable accommodations in Thailand.

i don't recall the SIM card rates, as i didn't need one.

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SureShot

Nice.
Excited about the food, I pretty much live off Pho and Bun here at home.

I've been checking hotel prices lately, definitely comparable to Thailand.
Thanks again for your insight. can't wait for the trip!

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SureShot
On ‎06‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 06:52, akamai4u2 said:

...the Golden Bridge is in Bana Hills, about 45 minute taxi ride from Da Nang. this is where i stayed. i should warn you that it's a tourist trap. tons of tourists during the day. it's a good day trip, but i recommend staying in Bana Hills overnight so you can have the whole place to yourself after all the tourists leave and in the morning before they arrive. two nights is probably better. and i recommend bringing a date because it's beautiful.

there's enough to keep you busy for two days. there is a French Village complete with shops, fountain and a beautiful church. there is an Asian inspired zone with tea house, pagoda and peace bell. there is a botanical garden with a wine cellar. there is a big buddha statue. there is an entertainment center complete with arcade games, an alpine coaster and one of those gravity drop thingies...albeit, it's only 30 or 40 feet high. and you can only get there via a tram/ropeway. the view is breathtaking...unless you're afraid of heights. all of this is located at the top of a mountain. hence, the wonderful views.

the ropeway fee is not included in your hotel stay. Bana HIlls was cool enough that i will go back again. simply because the golden bridge was not there when i went two years ago.

 

Finally got my flights sorted out for Vietnam.  I'll probably only stay one night in Ba Na Hills, and visit the golden bridge at sunrise. 
Any suggestions for hotels near by? 
How far is the bridge from town? I assume I'd need to book a taxi to get to it?
 

Thanks!

 

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Nick Adams
including mcdonalds   ,
The most expensive meal I ate during one trip was at the airport McDonalds.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

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