Lonely Planet Experience Vietnam
Quy Nhon Food Guide
Vietnam Coracle short films
Hiking the Con Dao Islands
Guide to expenses for a motorbike road trip in Vietnam
The Secret Con Dao Resort, Independent Review
Nui Chua Coast Road
Fresh herbs & spices in Vietnamese Food
Vietnam Coracle 10 Year Anniversary

Popular Guides

  1. The Best Street Food Streets in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam

    7 Great Streets for Street Food in Saigon

    Saigon is arguably the best place to explore Vietnam’s extraordinary street food scene. The city boasts so many street food outlets that it feels like a gigantic open-air restaurant. This is my guide to 7 of the best streets for street food in Saigon…

  2. Ha Giang Extreme North Motorbike Loop, northern Vietnam

    Ha Giang Extreme North Motorbike Loop

    Ha Giang, Vietnam’s northern-most province, is home to a mythical landscape of conical limestone peaks & craterous valleys. Over the years, it has gained an almost legendary status among travellers. This motorbike loop is perhaps the most thrilling road trip in the country…

  3. 23 of the Best Beaches in Vietnam

    23 of the Best Beaches in Southern & Central Vietnam

    With a coastline of over 3,200km & thousands of islands lying offshore, Vietnam is a great beach destination. Blue bays, hidden coves, white sands, swaying palms & dramatic cliffs, Vietnam has it all….

  4. Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam: All 8 Episodes Reviewed

    Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam: All 8 Episodes Reviewed

    Anthony Bourdain felt a special attachment to Vietnam. Over the course of his TV career, he filmed multiple episodes in the country. I’ve pulled together & reviewed all 8 of his Vietnam shows…

  5. Climbing Fansipan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

    A Guide to Climbing Mount Fansipan Independently

    Known as the ‘Roof of Indochina’, Mount Fansipan is the highest mountain in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. At 3,143m (10,312ft) it’s a ‘real’ mountain. But Fansipan can be climbed independently, without a guide or porters or any specialist climbing equipment, in one day…..

  6. Plants, Flowers & Trees of Vietnam

    Plants, Flowers & Trees of Vietnam

    The colours, shapes, sizes, smells & variety of flora in Vietnam is mesmerizing. In this guide I’ve compiled an illustrated index of some of the flowers, plants & trees I regularly see in Vietnam’s countryside & cities….

  7. 25 of the Greatest Riding Roads in Vietnam

    25 of the Greatest Riding Roads in Vietnam

    Vietnam has some incredible riding roads: possibly some of the most scenic in the world. Based on my experience of riding around Vietnam for the last decade, I have compiled a list of what I consider some of the greatest riding roads in Vietnam…

  8. Phu Quoc's Beaches, Vietnam

    Phu Quoc’s Beaches: A Guide

    A halo of sand encompasses this green & forested island in the Gulf of Thailand. But Phu Quoc is currently undergoing major development, so now is the time to visit its beaches, before it’s too late (in some cases, it already is)…

  9. The Hai Van Pass: Motorbike Guide

    One of the most famous roads in Vietnam, the Hai Van Pass weaves around a mountainous stretch of coastline in Central Vietnam, linking Danang & Hue

  10. The Cafe Apartment on Nguyen Hue Street, Saigon

    The Cafe Apartment on Saigon’s Walking Street

    Boasting over 30 independent coffee shops & fashion boutiques, the old apartment block at No.42 Nguyen Hue is the coolest address on Saigon’s Walking Street. I call it the Cafe Apartment: this is my complete floor-by-floor guide…

  11. Saigon to Hanoi by motorbike: 5 Suggested Routes

    Saigon to Hanoi by Motorbike: 5 Suggested Routes

    Thinking about riding the length of Vietnam by motorbike? Here are 5 great routes between Saigon and Hanoi, each one specifically designed to suit the needs of different travellers, based on scenery and time frame among other things….

  12. The Con Dao Islands

    The Con Dao Islands: A Guide

    With its wild and beautiful beaches, rugged, jungle-covered interior, and fascinating but tragic history, the Con Dao Islands is a remarkable place. Once a brutal penal colony, established by the French colonial administration, today the Con Dao Islands is one of Vietnam’s most beguiling destinations…..

  13. The Ho Chi Minh Road, Vietnam

    Ho Chi Minh Road: Motorbike Guide

    Stretching almost 2,000km along the mountainous spine of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Road is fast becoming famous as one of the finest motorbike rides in Asia. Now fully paved from Saigon all the way to Hanoi, this is my updated and extended guide to the entire Ho Chi Minh Road….

Recently Published & Updated

  1. Lonely Planet Experience Vietnam

    Lonely Planet Article

    For the new Lonely Planet ‘Experience Vietnam’ book, I explore the joys, history & practicality of motorbiking Vietnam…

  2. Quy Nhon Food Guide

    Quy Nhon Food Guide

    An up-and-coming beach city on the south-central coast, Quy Nhon has a vibrant dining scene, featuring fresh seafood & a host of local specialities…

  3. Vietnam Coracle short films

    3 Short Films from the Archives

    A mini-gallery featuring three videos made to accompany my early travel guides…

  4. Hiking the Con Dao Islands

    Hiking the Con Dao Islands

    One of the most pristine natural environments in Vietnam, several hiking trails traverse the Con Dao Islands offering sensational views…

  5. Guide to expenses for a motorbike road trip in Vietnam

    Expenses for a Motorbike Road Trip in Vietnam

    A guide to essential daily costs & how much to budget for your road trip in Vietnam…

  6. The Secret Con Dao Resort, Independent Review

    The Secret Con Dao | Independent Review

    Featuring minimalist décor & contemporary design, The Secret is a luxury resort on the beautiful & elegant seafront road on Côn Sơn Island…

  7. Nui Chua Coast Road

    Nui Chua Coast Road | Phan Rang to Cam Ranh

    Probably the most scenic coastal route in Vietnam, this is a meandering ocean road skirting the edges of a green & rugged peninsula…

  8. Fresh herbs & spices in Vietnamese Food

    Fresh Herbs & Spices in Vietnamese Food

    A gardener & home cook walks you through the most commonly used fresh herbs & spices that are fundamental to Vietnamese cuisine & culture…

  9. Vietnam Coracle 10 Year Anniversary

    10 Year Anniversary of Vietnam Coracle

    To celebrate its 10th anniversary, I’ve written an account of my website’s conception and development and an evaluation of its ‘success’.

  10. The Golden Loop, Motorbike Guide, Central Vietnam

    The Golden Loop | Motorbike Guide

    Nowhere in Vietnam is there such variety of landscape & richness of culture as in the central provinces, a region best explored by motorbike…

  11. A Guide to Drinking & Nightlife in Hue, Vietnam

    Drinking & Nightlife in Hue

    Artisanal breweries, local beer restaurants, dive bars for resident artists, chic cocktail lounges for posers & budget hangouts for backpackers…

  12. Vung Tau-Con Dao Express Ferry

    Vung Tau→Con Dao Express Ferry

    Using modern fast ferries, this sea crossing to the magical Côn Đảo Islands is a great alternative to flying for travellers who value an experience over convenience…

Northern Routes

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  1. Sapa to Sin Ho Scenic Motorbike Loop, Vietnam

    Sapa-Sin Ho Scenic Motorbike Loop

    Sapa and Sin Ho are two towns high up on the slopes of the Tonkinese Alps. They are connected by lofty mountain passes, offering grand scenery on a scale not seen anywhere else in Vietnam. This is an ideal scenic loop by motorbike…

  2. The Northeast Loop

    The Northeast by Motorbike: 5 Routes & Loops

    A bucolic corner of Vietnam, the Northeast is a garden of rice fields, forests, lakes & rivers ambling through limestone corridors. This guide focuses on 5 motorbike loops on meandering back-roads & freshly-sealed highways through three provinces: Cao Bang, Lang Son & Bac Kan…

  3. The Extreme Northwest Motorbike Loop, Lai Chau & Dien Bien, Vietnam

    The Extreme Northwest Loop: Motorbike Guide

    Straddling the Chinese & Lao borders, the extreme northwest of Vietnam is one of the least travelled & most remote regions of the entire country. Mountain roads carve a circuitous course between Lao Cai, Sapa, and Dien Bien Phu, running perilously close to the infamous Golden Triangle….

  4. 9 Great Northern Motorbike Routes in Vietnam

    Riding the Great North: 9 Motorbike Routes

    Northern Vietnam offers some of the best motorbiking opportunities anywhere in the world. In the north, the mountains are higher, the passes are loftier, and the scenery is more majestic than anywhere else in the country….

  5. Ha Giang Extreme North Motorbike Loop, northern Vietnam

    Ha Giang Extreme North Motorbike Loop

    Ha Giang, Vietnam’s northern-most province, is home to a mythical landscape of conical limestone peaks & craterous valleys. Over the years, it has gained an almost legendary status among travellers. This motorbike loop is perhaps the most thrilling road trip in the country…

  6. The Limestone Loop, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam

    The Limestone Loop: Motorbike Guide

    Thanh Hoa is a province of limestone pinnacles, rivers & rice paddies. Quiet roads meander through steep valleys cloaked in bamboo forests, & mountain passes twist skyward toward remote Lao border crossings. This motorbike loop is easily accessible from Hanoi, but travels through remote & beautiful landscapes….

  7. Sapa to Ha Giang by motorbike on borders & back-roads, Vietnam

    Borders & Back-Roads: Sapa to Ha Giang by Motorbike

    Connecting two of the most mountainous provinces in Vietnam, this motorbike route straddles the Chinese border, passing through some of the remotest parts of the country…

  8. Ha Giang-Ba Be Lake-Cao Bang, road trip, Vietnam

    High Roads: Ha Giang→Ba Be Lake→Cao Bang | 3 Routes

    The roads between the northern provinces of Ha Giang & Cao Bang travel through some of the most spectacular & remote regions of Vietnam. Here are three highly scenic (but not always easy) motorbike routes linking Ha Giang, Ba Be Lake & Cao Bang….

  9. Rice harvest, Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam

    The Harvest Route: Mù Cang Chải

    Every year, between September & October, the terraced rice fields of Mù Cang Chải, a rural district in northern Vietnam, put on a luminous show of picturesque harvest colours. I spectacular road runs through this region: I call it ‘The Harvest Route’….

  10. Sapa-Y Ty Scenic Motorbike Loop, Vietnam

    Sapa-Y Ty Scenic Motorbike Loop

    Sapa’s dramatic mountainous landscape continues north of town, via Y Ty Village, all the way to the Chinese border. Several small roads penetrate deep into steep, terraced valleys & climb high above ferocious rivers creating a scenic loop….

Noodles

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  1. Bún Kèn noodle soup, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

    Bún Kèn Noodles | Island Broth

    A speciality of Phu Quoc Island, bún kèn is an underrated dish that deserves a place in the pantheon of Vietnamese noodle soups. Packed with fish, fruit & colour, it’s a tropical island in a bowl.

  2. Ngoc Han Curry House, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Cà Ri: Vietnamese Curry in Saigon

    Serving up a mild, thick & richly aromatic curry (cà ri) with chicken or shrimp, Ngọc Hân is a small, informal, well-organized, family-run soup house on Phan Xich Long Street, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)….

  3. Best Phở in Saigon

    The Best Phở in Saigon

    It’s surprisingly difficult to find a truly outstanding bowl of phở (beef noodle soup) in Saigon. But, after 8 years living & eating in this city, I’ve finally found a place that, in my opinion, serves the best bowl of phở in Saigon…

  4. Bún Riêu Cua Ốc - crab & snail noodle soup, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Bun Rieu Cua Oc: Crab & Snail Noodle Soup

    A broth of tomatoes & pulverized crab poured over white rice noodles & topped with marinated snails, bún riêu cua ốc is one of Vietnam’s most complex soups

  5. Bún Quậy Kiến Xây, Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc Island

    Bún Quậy | ‘Stirring’ Noodles

    A seafood noodle soup native to Phu Quoc Island but with roots in the central coastal region of the mainland, bún quậy literally means ‘stirring noodles’…

  6. Instant Pot Noodles in Vietnam

    Instant Noodles: Pandemic Staple

    A national comfort food, a convenience, an indulgence & in some cases a necessity, instant noodles are a staple of the Vietnamese diet. During the pandemic, however, national consumption rose by 30%…

  7. Bun mam soup

    Bún Mắm: the Mekong in a Bowl

    Bún Mắm is a robust Vietnamese soup from the Mekong Delta. It’s packed with contrasting flavours, textures and colours. You’ll find bún mắm all over southern Vietnam, but one place in Saigon is especially good.

  8. Goat noodle soup in Saigon, Vietnam

    Goat Noodle Soup in Chinatown

    Deep in Saigon’s Chinatown, there’s a bowl of goat noodles that’s meaty, rich, silky and smooth. This soup is full of farmyard flavours: it’s a barn in a bowl. Make no mistake, this is a heavy breakfast, but it’ll keep you going till the evening…

  9. Breakfast in Ha Giang

    When I had breakfast at a noodle house in Ha Giang, Vietnam’s northernmost frontier, it was one of those occasions when food, people and place come together perfectly…

  10. Phở Gia Hân, Saigon

    Phở Gia Hân, Saigon

    I was first drawn to Phở Gia Hân by the enticing aroma that wafted over the narrow street on humid evenings. A family-run soup house in a local neighbourhood, this is one of my favourite places for phở in Saigon…

  11. Saigon's other Lunch Lady

    Saigon’s other Lunch Lady

    Everyone knows who Saigon’s Lunch Lady is, right? Well, probably not this one. Ms Nga is 43 years old. She serves a different soup each day of the week, from her cramped, ramshackle soup stall. Originally from Thai Binh (a northern province famous for producing excellent cooks), she moved to Saigon in the mid-90s…

  12. Bò kho (beef stew)

    Beef Stew (Bò Kho)

    Bò kho (beef stew) is a hearty, spicy and aromatic broth with diced beef, carrot and lemongrass. Eaten on its own with a warm baguette for dunking or served over noodles, this is one of my favourite dishes in Vietnam.

  13. Mì Quảng 85 Noodle House, Saigon

    Defined by its thick yellow noodles, crunchy rice crackers, quail eggs, fresh mint & salty-sweet sauce, mì quảng is a much-loved dish from Central Vietnam. The version at Mì Quảng 85 in Saigon is full of texture & colour, if a bit too sweet….

  14. The Lunch Lady's Menu

    The Lunch Lady’s Menu: An Illustrated Guide

    The Lunch Lady in Saigon is famous for serving a different soup every day of the week. Here’s her weekly menu, illustrated with tantalizing images of each of the dishes…

Islands

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  1. Nam Du Islands, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam

    Nam Du Islands: Travel Guide

    A glistening archipelago of small tropical islands off the southwestern coast of Vietnam, Nam Du is beautiful & undeveloped. With mesmerizing beaches & bays, a jungle-clad interior, and over 20 outlying islands, Nam Du is a treat…

  2. Ly Son Island, travel guide, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam

    Ly Son Island: Travel Guide

    A volcanic island surrounded by a ring of reefs, Ly Son is a striking, stark & geologically fascinating destination. Easily reached by regular fast ferries, Ly Son Island is located off the coast of central Vietnam….

  3. Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay, Travel Guide, Vietnam

    Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay: Travel Guide

    An island of dramatic coastlines & jungle-clad limestone pillars, Cat Ba is one of Vietnam’s star natural attractions & part of world-famous Halong Bay….

  4. Phu Quy Island, travel guide, Vietnam

    Phu Quy Island: Travel Guide

    A new & exciting destination, Phu Quy Island is but a drop of green land in the vast blue ocean, and has only very recently opened its doors to domestic & foreign travellers. A fascinating place with a real sense of isolation, this is my comprehensive guide to Phu Quy Island….

  5. Pirate Islands (Dao Hai Tac), Travel Guide, Vietnam

    Pirate Islands (Đảo Hải Tặc) | Travel Guide

    Lying in the Gulf of Thailand, just off Vietnam’s southwest coast, Pirate Islands is a rugged archipelago, only recently opened to foreign visitors…

  6. Hon Son Island, travel guide, Vietnam

    Hon Son Island: Travel Guide

    Hon Son Island is a gem. It’s a rugged yet green & exceptionally beautiful isle. With jungle-covered mountains rising from the ocean, peaceful fishing hamlets in picturesque bays, and palm-fringed beaches, Hon Son has got it all…

  7. The Con Dao Islands

    The Con Dao Islands: A Guide

    With its wild and beautiful beaches, rugged, jungle-covered interior, and fascinating but tragic history, the Con Dao Islands is a remarkable place. Once a brutal penal colony, established by the French colonial administration, today the Con Dao Islands is one of Vietnam’s most beguiling destinations…..

  8. Tam Hai Island, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

    Tam Hai Island: Travel Guide

    A small & tranquil island at the mouth of a river, Tam Hai is within easy reach of Hoi An & Danang. This little island is a self-contained, peaceful world, with its own beauty, its own festivals, and its own resort….

  9. Phu Quoc Island, North & East Coasts

    Phu Quoc Island: North & East Coasts

    Newly completed roads have opened access to the beaches, bays, forests & hamlets of the north & east coasts of Phu Quoc Island. Previously difficult to get to, these parts of Phu Quoc are the least developed, most characterful & charming on the island….

  10. Phu Quoc's Beaches, Vietnam

    Phu Quoc’s Beaches: A Guide

    A halo of sand encompasses this green & forested island in the Gulf of Thailand. But Phu Quoc is currently undergoing major development, so now is the time to visit its beaches, before it’s too late (in some cases, it already is)…

  11. Hiking the Con Dao Islands

    Hiking the Con Dao Islands

    One of the most pristine natural environments in Vietnam, several hiking trails traverse the Con Dao Islands offering sensational views…

  12. Island-hopping in Vietnam: A Guide for Independent Travellers

    Island-Hopping in Vietnam: A Guide

    From north to south, the Vietnamese coast is flecked with thousands of islands; hundreds of which are inhabited & dozens of which can be visited by island-hopping. A handful of these islands are already well-established tourist destinations, but many are only just emerging as potential attractions….

  13. Diep Son Island & Sandbar, Van Phong Bay

    Lying in the calm, warm waters of Van Phong Bay, just an hour north of Nha Trang, Diep Son is a mini-archipelago of small green islands. At low tide, a curving sandbar is exposed, linking three of the islets via a ‘sand bridge’….

The Vietnam Coracle Map

An interactive map of Vietnam with all my guides, reviews, articles, posts & videos marked on it. Zoom in, click a marker, then click the link in the description to go directly to the guide.

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