Why should you come to Vietnam? Entering Vietnam easier with Vietnam Visa

Actually there is no reason for why not. Coming to a new place means to explore another part of the world, to learn something new and to experience things that you would not find back home. Vietnam has stolen many people’s hearts because of its nature’s charm, its exotic history, its excellent cuisine and even its madness. It is easy to dislike this country but it is even easier to fall in love with this land.

The long old history


Maybe the American and the French Wars would come up when people talk about Vietnam. The tragedy that the wars caused might have branded in many people’s minds but the victory has marked an unforgettable memory for not only Vietnamese people but also for the world war history. Being in Vietnam, you are able to learn more about what happened in the past and how much the wars have changed this country.

Worth to visit: Dien Bien Phu, Cu Chi Tunnels, Hue

Vietnam’s magnificent nature will steal your heart


Not many people know that Vietnam has an unique gift from the mother of nature. It is endless to list out how many mountains Vietnam has or how insane caves are in Vietnam. The ocean shapes along the S of Vietnam which brings so much resources for this country. In every region, every part of the country, there is always something for you to explore. Vietnam has a total of 8 world heritage sites in which 2 of them belong to Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha Cave. However, the new found Son Doong cave is currently blowing people’s minds and has become one of the hottest destinations in Vietnam.

What should be in your bucket list? – Ha Long Bay, Sapa, Phong Nha Cave, Hai Van Pass, Phu Quoc Island

The diversity of people and tribes is the spice of life in Vietnam

Taken in Sapa by Alexander Stephan

Taken in Sapa by Alexander Stephan

If you think everyone in Vietnam is the same, you might think again. There are over 27 tribes which make every single person in Vietnam different already. You can recognise the difference between people in Hanoi and Saigon or people from the far north and the rest of the country. Each part of Vietnam has shaped a different character in each person living here. After living in Vietnam for several years and being a Vietnamese born, I have seen this diversity in characters, personalities and appearances of each person in different part of this country. They somehow bring colours to the knowledge of human learning.

You should go to: Sapa, Bac Ha, Kon Tum

Vietnamese cuisine is exquisite and mouth-watering


Talking about food, most foreigners know Vietnamese cuisine by Pho (traditional noodle soup). A bowl of goodness with clear stock, rice noodles and thin slices of meat (either beef or chicken) is something you would like to try first thing when you come to Vietnam. However, it is just one dish that you know of because Vietnam offers so much more. Where should I start? There are more than 10 different kinds of noodles and each kind offers estimate over 20 kinds of dishes. That I have said about hundreds of dishes which do not relate to noodles. Home cooking dishes in Vietnam are also something that you would like to try because of its authentic taste and its cultural experience.

Can’t leave Vietnam without eating: Bun Cha, Pho bo (ga), Bun Nem, Cao Lau, Banh Xeo, Bun Bo Hue, Bo La Lot

Vietnam is like nowhere else and things that you can only find in Vietnam

  1. The madness of traffic
    Every country has something unique but something in Vietnam you are not able anywhere else. One fact that the traffic in Asia is madness but in Vietnam, it is extreme. For the first time crossing the road, you pray to god that you survive by the time you get to the other side. It might sound exaggerating but crossing roads in Vietnam can be listed to the scariest thing to do. However, don’t be too scared because it could turn into fun. It might look like vehicles going towards you but actually they always manage to drive around you. Therefore, it is said that you better close your eyes and cross. It might be safer.
  2. Street barbers – dare you find it elsewhere
    People ask me to find something that so special, so unique in Vietnam. After listing out several points, it came down to one specific job that nowhere offers – Street Barber. Walking in every city in Vietnam, you will find a private business opened in some corners where a man has his tools set up for barbering. You can get an affordable haircut but no guarantee, unfortunately, depends on your luck.
  3. Morning exercises
    I love the fact that this activity has become a distinctive culture of Vietnam. Most of the time, you see it most often in Hanoi. People wake up early in the morning, no matters hot or cold, rainy or sunny, people still go to the Hoan Kien Lake to do exercises. Some dance, some run, some stretch…
    Read more: Morning in Hanoi

No difficulty to enter Vietnam by Visa on Arrival with Vietnam Visa

Vietnam has changed some regulations upon visitor allowance. Some European passport holders such as German, English, Italian, etc. and people from South East Asia do not need to apply for a visa but get a visa on arrival. To check the full list of who needs to apply for a visa HERE.

Vietnamese Embassy is not available everywhere in your area so that it makes applying for a visa way somehow inconvenient. With Vietnam Visa, it is fast and no hassles is applied. However, keep it in mind that, “while visa on arrival is more convenient and less time-consuming, it is applicable for those who travel to Vietnam by AIR only“.

As easy as it goes:Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 15.52.13

Information by Vietnam Visa

For more information about  Vietnam-Visa.com:

Website: http://www.vietnam-visa.com
Phone: +84.473.005.333
Email: support@vietnam-visa.com


Vietnam: Son Tay – An older and quieter version of Hanoi, featuring Thao Vien Resort

Being in the city for a long time, Hanoi gave me nerve. For those who have lived in Hanoi, you know what it is like to be in this city – pollution, traffic, noise… It exhausts me every now and then (actually most of the time). Surprisingly, just about 40km north west of Hanoi, Son Tay is a small town right next to Hanoi but it would give you a different atmosphere. Something old, something new, something very familiar but somehow so different.

An hour away from Hanoi, I arrived in Son Tay and breathed the new air. How crazy it could be when this town is so close to the city but it showed me such a big change. People still speak with the Hanoian accent, around town looks very much similar to Hanoi but a bit older, but there is no noise, there is no honking, and the air seems fresher and clearer.


First checked in in Thao Vien Resort, a change already hit me. The scenery is set up in a traditional Vietnamese way with a touch of the countryside’s vibe. Palm trees grow everywhere, thatching huts are placed along the resort and some are on the water which look very dreamy, and staff dresses in the traditional way. The heat of the summer day following the warm breeze zigzagging through a row of weeping willows started to hit me. I sat down on the bench and looked out to the pond. Cricket was chirping which completed the picture of one of those summer days. I finally escaped from the noise of traffic and the city’s life to be out here cuddling myself up in quietness.

I came to Son Tay without knowing anything but maybe it was a good thing. That late afternoon, I took a drive to the centre to visit the Ancient Citadel which people had told me to check out. A canal runs around the area which reminded me of Utrecht, where I used to live in The Netherlands. That image just caught my eyes which made me feel like Dejavu. People were having their afternoon run along the canal and some were chilling on the pavement playing chess. The Ancient Citadel seems like to be placed on an island where the area is relaxing playground for locals. It somehow still got its solemness. What is most solemn is the flagstaff standing high with the flag of Vietnam.

Son Tay does not have much to offer but somehow this place seems so peaceful. It got something so alike to Hanoi but quieter, cleaner, people are way much friendlier. I couldn’t believe that those changes could be so big even though Hanoi and Son Tay are literally next to each other. Two cities, two different images. For a day get-away from Hanoi, Son Tay could be a great place to be.


Vietnam: Good morning, Hanoi

That bit of sunlight sneaked out very early in the morning in Hanoi in those summer days. I woke up at 5am to catch the sunrise but somehow I was still the late one. The whole sky was brighten up already and many things around me had started going on. There was one thing I had wanted to witness was the activities in Hanoi in mornings. Having spent many years visiting Hanoi, lived here for awhile, but somehow I hadn’t known that much of this motherland of mine.

The street seemed quieter in that early morning. There was not much traffic on the road but it was still crazy driving a motorbike then nonetheless. I was the only one stopping at the traffic light but then I realised it did not make no sense of stoping anyway. However, seeing Hanoi so empty like that is quite rare. So there I went to Hoan Kiem Lake.


One thing I noticed about early mornings here was many people going out with their bicycles. Along the lake, everyone cycled their way around the lake and elsewhere. Some were probably doing that as their morning exercise. Some people sitting by the post office were wrapping newspapers to deliver on time. Old people were gathering together into different groups – some joined taichi group, some gave massage to the other, some did some stretching… Maybe this image I had seen many times on TV and on media, but it was my first time witnessing it. Actually, this has made Hanoi so colourful and fascinating.


Making a lap around the Hoan Kiem Lake, I was amazed by the variety of activities at that hour. Some looked quite strange to me such as old women rubbing their bellies, or men using trees as their kungfu training tools. Some dance groups were very active – from Aerobics to Latin dance. If you think about it, you wouldn’t find this anywhere else except in Hanoi. The image of old people doing exercises either in the park or around Hoan Kiem Lake has been the typical picture of this capital city and it has got to most people’s memory no matter they are tourists or Hanoians. Funnily, this has made a vivid culture of Hanoi. Either hot or cold, the morning exercise is one thing that people will never skip. Like on that day, even though the temperature was close to 35 degrees, sweat was running on everyone’s face, it wouldn’t be an excuse to stop skip the morning routine.

This habit is one long-time tradition of Hanoi. People who have ever lived in this capital city would miss this image when they are gone. One thing I know that the longer I linger my feet in Hanoi, the more attached I feel for my homeland. That does sound quite strange but for whom live abroad like me, we appreciate this moment which we find something so close to our root but far forgotten because of being abroad.





Vietnam: The ceramic village – Bat Trang

The sun kept shining harshly on Hanoi and the temperature did not seem to lower down. The route from Hanoi to Bat Trang was not the prettiest and the traffic on the highway could take your breathe away every second. However, that 30 minute ride brought me out of the city and took me to a village where the tradition of making ceramics has been passed on for the last 700 years and through different generations.


With its old tradition, Bat Trang has marked it name to the most famous village for making unique ceramics and their products have been supplied to all over Vietnam. The village is far from to be called touristy despite its popularity. Certainly, it is not a catchy place to come to take photos but it is fascinating to learn about. Each house has its own ceramic business – either selling ceramic products (Bat Trang Porcelain) or workshops teaching how to make ceramics or painting ceramic statues. I could not help but get very curious about making one myself. Looking at the instructor showing me how to create a simple vase, it seemed so easy. Starting with making your clay wet and try to centralise the inner point, working with your fingers and palms to make the pottery go higher and thinner. However, the second I laid my palms around the clay, I sensed its difficulty. It requires so much carefulness and gentleness. If the water is too much, it could ruin the whole thing. “The water is to make it dam not wet, to make it slippery enough to create the form of the pottery” – said the instructor.


The outcome did not turn out as pretty as I had expected it to be but I gotta learn to appreciate this handcraft industry. Even though, there are now several other ways to make potteries without making by hands but there in Bat Trang, it is the tradition that still stays alive and sure will not be forgotten any time soon.

If you come to Bat Trang, the porcelain market is not the only thing you should check out. Try to take a walk through small alleys because those are where you find the real ceramic village. People make the mixture for the clay, shape different potteries, store final products. That’s where you find what the actual procedure is. The paths are narrow but cosy. Somehow, it seemed like a maze but you will always find the way out. Sometimes you end up at some temples, or to the Red River, or to the other side of the village. No matter what, you would not mind being lost in that maze.






Vietnam: Cruising through Halong Bay | My ideal romantic trip

For most travellers, they come to Vietnam to cross one place off their bucket list – Halong Bay. That tourist attraction has got so much attention from all over the world by not only its place in UNESCO World Heritage List, but it is also just truly a treasure of the world. Its beauty is incomparable and its uniqueness is far beyond to describe. To you, it is a place you wish to come to see with your own eyes; but to me and to Vietnamese people, it is a pride to call it ours. The image of Halong Bay was just a blur through my childhood’s memory but I reckon it was a pretty beautiful memory. That memory led me back here to pay a visit once again, and one more time witness one beauty that was created by the mother of earth on the land I call home – Vietnam.


It was supposed just to be an unintentional experience with a cruise but everything stayed on that boat stupendously gave me what is called the best of its offers. Staggering on water in the middle of February was certainly not a great idea. The cold got to me harshly or it might have been my not-so-lucky day because the sun was hiding behind the clouds. However, it could not win the sacrificing of people who want to see the beauty of Halong Bay. And it stayed, stood exquisitely and shone by its own. I wondered, how all those nearly 2000 islets could stay in one place for centuries and if they chose to park themselves here or the mother of earth chose them to stand exactly where I was standing at that moment. On that deck of the boat, I was standing next to a man I briefly knew but we had something in common – we were on the same cruise and sharing the same view. May he has had a different thinking than mine but nonetheless, I wasn’t sharing that view alone.

Paloma cruise was the Halong cruise I chose to be on, a 4-star cruise that I had not expected to stay on (because I am a budget traveller) but was a good choice. Maybe those $50 cruises could also do the work but I was not a backpacker on this trip so why didn’t I go for something more luxurious and relaxing for change. I got myself checked in a beautiful cabin with a lounge and a wonderful view from my bed. Imagine waking up with a thought that I was lost in a painting but just a bit more real. Gotta say, a bit of luxury did feel really good. Also, it could have been an ideal romantic trip – a beautiful night on a boat and being surrounded by hundreds of limestones, amazing Vietnamese dishes served throughout a day, cruising through caves and islands, enjoying the sea in the middle of the bay and finding yourself sharing all that with the one you love. I certain that I will do that once again because it sounds like a dream, my dream.


Paloma Cruise


Packages: http://www.palomacruise.com/cruise-packages
Email: info@palomacruise.com
Tel: +84 935946688




Vietnam: Hanoi and The People


I used to live in this city, where you can find tons of interesting things that you can never find anywhere else. In which I find the most compelling must be the Hanoian people. There is a great variety here. People say Vietnamese people everyone looks the same. Take a look closer! The exotic Asian look might blind you but you will see they are different in a certain point.

If you have known, Asian loves to have ‘white’ skin. I mean, they prefer to have a lighter skin than a dark brown skin. Vietnamese people do have this favour too. The reason is simply about the way they want other people look at them. Light skin – ‘you work in an office, have a good job’; Brown skin – ‘oh, you must work really hard either on a field or always on a go’. It sounds quite funny but yes, that’s how they think. However, somehow it actually describes part of what they do. If you observe closely on each person pass by, there are women carrying big packages on a bicycle, old men trying to sell lotteries, men in suits, etc. This is what I mean with being different in a certain point. Hanoian (or Vietnamese people in general) work really hard. Everyone has their own businesses. Besides the higher social class with suits on, Hanoian people could be in a really low position. Some lucky ones have a job owning a shop, or driving taxi. Some actually work days and nights but only have the wage even less than a low position officer. Sometimes I wonder how they can handle everything in their lives with such a small amount of money.

Let’s get back to the jobs part. There are various jobs in Hanoi that you can’t imagine that they are even exist. I couldn’t tell them all, but I gotta say, thanks to them we have all the abilities to fulfil our needs while either living or travelling here.

About Hanoian people – I see ‘us’ in different perspectives. As a Hanoian born, allow me to use “we” in the following lines. There is a contrast between Hanoian before and now. What I learned about Hanoian people – as down to earth, kind, warm hearted, caring for each other – were way before the time I was born. I mean, I don’t say we are not like that. We are still warm hearted people and very hospitable. However, there is a certain extent, we have changed. I think, we only see this change through tourism. Tourists find Hanoian people are not as friendly as Saigon people. I have to admit, I see the same thing. I cudgel my brain about how much Hanoian people have changed. Looking around and I realised, the huge amount of people that we normally communicate with in Hanoi is from the rural area. As my perspective, they are less likely educated and they are quite aggressive in getting money. I’m not saying they have made Hanoi change that much but it gotta be one of the reasons, doesn’t it?
‘Do you know corruption is also one of the reasons?’ – T. asked.
After 3o minutes explaining, I got lost in the whole complication of Hanoi’s problems. Saigon is more developed than Hanoi. Its tourism is way ahead of us, thanks to the French reign. Therefore, the people there have a higher ability to earn more money and develop the city in any dimension. Somehow this leads to being more friendly in the South of Vietnam? I can’t tell but it really makes the people there happier and more relaxed in making money. In contrast, people from Northern Vietnam are more hostile in earning a living.

In my heart, I know we are great people. Because of some circumstances, we have to work hard for our livelihoods. And that’s what is all about. We could be someone sitting along the road with some small wooden chairs trying to sell tea or snacks, or carrying yokes around the city… I know that everyone all over the world has their own difficulties in living but I really admire Vietnamese people and how hard they work to afford a tough city life. Even though how fast the city has developed, Hanoian people still keep their own tradition and culture. In the end, everything I have mentioned comes from culture. And they are making the culture and profit us as travellers to see and understand a country better.








Vietnam: Saigon

Found myself in a café where there were quite many young Vietnamese people hanging out. Around me were different kinds of people but they all came here with the same purpose – have a cup of coffee and hang out with friends. And me, sitting alone with a cup of coffee and a note-book.

After a week of travelling alone, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was my final stop in Vietnam. It was a huge difference coming from Dalat to HCMC. From a place with a little cold draught and quiet alleys to humid and noisy Saigon. This city has a great amount of traffic on the road every day and night. Somehow, it gets even more crowded in the evening, especially District 1. D1 is the centre of Saigon that you can find a lot of backpackers around this area. Yes, I am included. The city seems never sleep in this district.

Walking around the city in the extreme heat, I passed by most of the main attractions. What actually worth a visit must be the war museum. An exhibition demonstrates the story of the Vietnam war. Looking through all the photos, you find sympathy. There is a heartbreaking array of photographs that bring you back to time. Mixed feelings in different visitors but they leave with something to think about. Night life in Saigon is crazy. I don’t have to mention the traffic but the amount of people going out is massive. I hid myself from the crowd by going up to a rooftop bar where are few steps away from the backpacker’s area. You are gonna love the view. The light is on and brings the city a spark at night. It is actually the highlight of my stay in Ho Chi Minh city.

I was in the rush so did not have the time to do any trips outside the city. But you are here, don’t miss the boat trip on the Mekong Delta or a trip to Cu Chi tunnels.  DSC_0507










Vietnam: Easy-rider On The Go

It was a spontaneous trip that was recommended by some people I met on the way. It was worth the fear being ridden on a motorbike. You get a chance to have a better view of the surrounding and feel like having a real adventure. If you are a backpacker, I think you should take a trip with an Easy-rider to experience the real Vietnam.

The trip I took was to the elephant waterfall. With $25, i was taken to many places along the way – to flower farm, mushroom farm, chicken village… Silk factory is quite interesting. Out of curiosity, I finally knew how silk is made. There, i saw the cocoon and how they make silk from those cocoons. How fascinating is is that a cocoon is able to produce kilometres of silk string. The whole process is demonstrated in the factory.


We moved on to the coffee farm where they plant several kinds of coffee trees. Our guide introduced us all of them and even showed us the process of making weasel coffee. I had heard about it before and found it kinda disgusting. However, after seeing it myself how it is made, I dared to take a try. Surprisingly, it tasted not bad at all, even good. I enjoyed it even more with a magnificent view from the balcony.


After visiting some places, we got to our main destination – the elephant waterfall. The waterfall is not really special to me since I have seen some better. However, it was quite a trip to get closer to the waterfall. If you visit, I would recommend you to wear shoes and old clothes.


It got more interesting on the way back. I was terrified a bit sitting behind my easy-rider. He went really fast and tried to avoid all the big busses from both directions. The fear was shown clearly on my face. The rider told me – Sometimes you have to take a risk for an adventure. We went up on the hill and to the Tuyen Quang lake where it is said that you can find all the romance here. After that, our last stop of the trip was Linh Phuoc pagoda. I was stunned by its architecture. The whole place is decorated by ceramic mosaics made from deliberately broken crockery. Every single detail is so beautiful.


The trip is really worth to try when you are in Dalat. And there is no better way than taking an Easy-rider. If you can drive a motorbike, you can take the trip yourself too. However, I would prefer to go with a local to know better about places I go.




























Vietnam: Coffee Village (Làng Trung Nguyên) @ Buon Ma Thuat

Buon Ma Thuat is not popular among tourists. I have asked some travellers in Vietnam and no one has ever heard of this place. There is a direct flight from Hanoi to Buon Ma Thuat that takes 1 and a half hour. I randomly picked this destination but there is no regret. The town itself doesn’t have any special attractions. Mostly they are 1-2 hours away from Buon Ma Thuat. For example, Buon Don Village – famous for its elephant races and the suspension bamboo bridge. However, you do not know that Buon Ma Thuat is actually the centre of the coffee making.

If you have landed to Buon Ma Thuat, visiting the Coffee village is a must. Come here around 9 o’ clock to have a breakfast and a cup of Vietnamese Trung Nguyen coffee. You can actually find the Vietnamese filter coffee everywhere in Vietnam, every café corner. But how great it is to taste the coffee from its origin. Gotta say, I cannot have 2 or 3 Vietnamese coffee a day because it is kinda strong but it tastes absolutely delicious. With a touch of the condensed milk, it makes the coffee have a little taste of chocolate.

The place is surrounded by coffee and tea trees. You can actually pick some coffee seeds to try out yourself. The skin of the coffee fruit is eatable and I tried it – it tastes nothing like coffee unfortunately. There is also a museum that exhibit all the products to make coffee – from drying machine to storages… One guy showed me around the museum and explained me the function of each product. It is quite different from what I have learned but it is nice to know another way of making coffee.