Travel Tips

Going To Vietnam? Don’t Miss This Essential Travel Hack

Imagine yourself hopping onto a bus with a few fellow travelers winding down the roads of Vietnam. The countryside pops into the window seat beside you offering you stunning views. Bánh mìs, egg coffee, craft beer, scenic treks, island hopping, motorbike dodging, and many different types of cultural diversity are needed to be experienced throughout Vietnam.

If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to backpack Vietnam, you will find no better convenience than purchasing the Vietnam open bus ticket. This allows you to start your adventure either up north in Hanoi or down south in Saigon. From either of those starting points, you can travel across the country stopping at various cities on your own schedule. Vietnam by bus is easily accessible and allows you to experience the diversity of the ancient Chinese influence mixed with French colonialism.

What Is The Vietnam Open Bus Ticket?

The Vietnam open bus ticket is a single ticket that allows you to hop on and hop off in certain cities. You can choose from a slew of open bus ticket packages that range from about $35 – $50 with the cheaper options offering fewer stops. The advantage of a great price with a flexible itinerary is worth it. Even if you feel that you want to ditch the other tourists on your multi-city trek across Vietnam, rent a motorbike (more on doing that here) or smaller bus from one of the set destinations and head elsewhere for a few days before you hop back on to your Vietnam open bus ticket transportation. The open bus ticket typically allows you to travel for up to a month at your leisure. All you need to do is call a day or two in advance when you are ready to head on over to the next town on your adventure.

It’s best to purchase the Vietnam open bus ticket upon arrival in either Hanoi or Saigon. You can visit any tourist center and inquire about the Vietnam open bus ticket.

8 Common Vietnam Open Bus Ticket Destinations:

1. Saigon is where you can experience a metropolis of 8.5 million people weaving their motorbikes through the city. Saigon is worth seeing for the War Remnants Museum, the delicious pho, and some of Asia’s best craft beer. It’s a city with a diverse twist of traditional Vietnam culture with touches of the outside world pouring in and bringing in a global feel. The hectic buzzing and busyness make people watching an event. There are loads of parks throughout the city to enjoy. Saigon is an accessible starting point to explore the Mekong River Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels, and the southern islands.

Saigon also hosts lots of amazing and cheap street food. Check out this video for 10 street foods under $1 in Saigon:

2. Dalat is a must for those who love smaller mountain towns and outdoor adventure. One of the most popular attractions in Dalat is canyoning. You can sign up for a full day tour of rappelling off cliffs, sliding down streams, and swimming in the river. Dalat is also a perfect place to rent a motorbike or bicycle and get lost in the countryside while searching for really good coffee. The town is quite small which makes it easily walkable and a bit more relaxed for those who want something a bit more low key.

Canyoning in Dalat
Canyoning in Dalat

3. Muine has grown to be loaded with beach resorts. But don’t let that turn you off quite yet. You can hop into a guesthouse or hostel just on the other side of the beach for a much cheaper price and not be trapped into the resort life. However, if you want to have a fancy night or two, Muine is a good spot for that. Even during the day, you can relax on the beach, pay entry for a pool or table at a resort, or visit the famous sand dunes.

Muine's Sand Dunes

4. Nha Trang is another great beach town but with more of a lively city feel rather than just resort-speckled beaches. You can soak in the famous mud baths and island hop in your free time. Spend days relaxing in the sun before enjoying nights out in the city. Nha Trang is another stopover worth spending a few days.

Nha Trang Scenery

5. Hoi An has stunning beaches right outside of the city center. The old town has a nice riverfront and is easily walkable. The night markets are bright and lively and you’ll be tempted to snag some of Hoi An’s pretty lanterns. You may get a bit overwhelmed by the mass amounts of tailor clothing shops, but it’s worth getting some new custom-made outfits while in Hoi An. While not busy finding your measurements or lounging on the beach, grab some cao lao near the river in town. You can also rent bikes to make it easy to explore the entire city or do a day trip up to Da Nang.

Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An

Some beach in Vietnam

6. Da Nang is just a quick motorbike ride north from Hoi An and another stop on the Vietnam open bus ticket trek. It’s worth heading to the iconic Lady Buddha that watches over the country’s third largest city from her hill. Da Nang is not a prime hot spot for tourism so you can get away from some of the regular backpackers for a bit. If you head here, make sure to check out the Marble Mountains just outside of the city with their stunning views between the caves and temples. If you are looking to head somewhere away from the shops of Hoi An, this is a great getaway. Of course, both are worth seeing, and it’s easy to go back and forth between them.

Marble Mountains
Marble Mountains (Photographer: Bernard Gagnon)

7. Hue is worth seeing for the history. Hue was the capital for almost 150 years up until 1945. As being fairly centrally located on the strip of Vietnam, you can see where different parts of Vietnam have come together. You can roam around the forbidden purple city visiting various ruins and old pagodas. Some people bypass Hue, but it’s definitely worth a couple of days to see a side of Vietnam that’s not as well known to travelers.

8. Hanoi is lively, but only until about 10pm. Life shuts down early but the days and sites make it worth it. Walk through the Old Quarter, sing karaoke, and eat BBQ on the streets. The architecture mixed with the French influence is perfect for photographers. You can buy many famous brand name items at a fraction of the cost. Go and sip a cup of weasel coffee, but check the cafes that are “real” as you may see them all over the place. If you have some time, from Hanoi you can access buses to the mountains of Sapa where you can trek through the rice paddies or grab a boat to Halong Bay.

Near Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay

The open bus ticket is great for those who want to see loads of Vietnam—big towns, small towns, beach towns, mountain towns, French history, war history, regional food, and good beer. You can get bits and pieces of the entire country with the Vietnam open bus ticket. Best of all, it’s affordable and convenient! The buses typically get you to a part of the city where you can easily find accommodation and grab lunch nearby. The buses are safe and comfortable. However, remember that you are not bound to the itinerary listed above. From each destination you can hop on other buses to head away from the tourist crowds. You will not regret seeing the country with the help of the Vietnam open bus ticket.

Suggested next reading: How To Go Rogue And See Southeast Asia By Motorbike

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