Vietnam Coracle

Independent travel guides to Vietnam

The Spring-Hopping Loop, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
'Fourth Wave': The Covid-19 Pandemic in Vietnam
Mun's Cafe & London Pub, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Ode to the Ocean: A Personal Meditation on the Sea in Vietnam
101 Images to Inspire a Road Trip by Motorbike in Vietnam

Recently Published & Updated

  1. The Spring-Hopping Loop, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

    Spring Hopping Loop | Phu Quoc Island

    Several refreshing streams run cool & clear off the spine of jungled mountains along Phu Quoc Island’s eastern flank, all linked by quiet back-roads…

  2. 'Fourth Wave': The Covid-19 Pandemic in Vietnam

    ‘Fourth Wave’ | The Pandemic in Vietnam

    A long-form personal narrative & travelogue describing my experiences during the ‘fourth wave’, Vietnam’s worst outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic…

  3. Mun's Cafe & London Pub, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

    Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar | Phu Quoc Island

    Overlooking an attractive bay on Phu Quoc Island, this unpretentious, open-side little beach bar & cafe is an inexpensive & informal place for a sunset cocktail…

  4. Ode to the Ocean, A personal meditation on the sea

    Ode to the Ocean

    Throughout human history, the sea has been both dangerous and generous: a cause of destruction and death, but also a source of food, fun, wealth and beauty…

  5. 101 Images to Inspire a Road Trip by Motorbike in Vietnam

    101 Images to Inspire a Road Trip by Motorbike in Vietnam

    An independent motorbike road trip in Vietnam is one of the most exhilarating & memorable travel experiences available anywhere in the world today…

  6. Weather Guide to Vietnam: When & Where to Go

    Vietnam Weather Guide: When & Where to Go

    Weather is an important consideration when planning a trip to Vietnam. Here’s a month-by-month guide to weather conditions across the nation, including recommendations of where to go (and where to avoid) at different times of year…

  7. The Pier Phu Quoc Resort, Vietnam, Independent Review

    The Pier Phu Quoc Resort | Independent Review

    A small, modern, mid-range resort on Phu Quoc’s lesser-known east coast, The Pier occupies a fabulous position beneath jungled hills with sweeping coastal views.

  8. Mango Bay, Phu Quoc | Independent Review

    A long-time favourite beach retreat for travellers & expats, Mango Bay is still the best place to stay on Phu Quoc Island in its class & price bracket. Mango Bay offers guests both comfort & a connection to nature, but not one at the expense of the other…

  9. Huu Tri ‘Donut’ Shack | Phu Quoc

    A local, hole-in-the-wall, Vietnamese-style ‘donut’ shack on Phu Quoc Island, Huu Tri specializes in bánh chiên (fried dough). For over a generation, this family-run business has been serving hundreds of bánh chiên made freshly on the premises each day…

  10. Vietnam Coracle: New Site Launch

    Vietnam Coracle: New Site Launch

    More than a year in the making, I’m proud to announce the launch of Vietnam Coracle’s all new design. Read the story behind the project…

  11. Ode to a Banyan Tree

    Ode to a Banyan Tree

    Temples of the forest, banyan trees are great, natural edifices rich in cultural, spiritual & folkloric symbolism. A bridge between the human, natural & spirit worlds, banyan trees are found all over Vietnam…

Most Popular Guides

  1. 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…

  2. 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

  3. 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…

  4. 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)…

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  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. 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….

  9. 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….

  10. 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…..

  11. 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….

  12. 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….

Where to Travel this Month

  1. Wild camping in Dalat, Vietnam

    Camping in Dalat: A Guide

    One of the best travel experiences in Vietnam’s Central Highlands is wild camping under a canopy pine trees in the misty mountains north of Dalat….

  2. 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….

  3. Ha Tien: Jewel of the Mekong Delta

    The most attractive place to be in Vietnam’s Mekong region, Ha Tien’s irresistible combination of bustling markets, languid backstreets, crumbling shophouses, forested hills, delicious food & local temples, makes it the ‘Jewel of the Delta’….

  4. Dak Nong Geopark↔Dong Nai River Motorbike Loop

    A meandering road trip in the cool, clear air & vivid ‘HD’ colours of the Western Highlands, the Dak Nong Geopark↔Dong Nai River Motorbike Loop is a sensory route, full of smells, sounds, sights & tastes: coffee blossom, blue skies, damp earth, wood smoke, rain, birdsong, spices & hot cups of locally-grown coffee.

  5. Ivory Falls Villa Resort, Di Linh Highlands, Vietnam

    Ivory Falls Villa, Di Linh Highlands | Review

    Surrounded by coffee farms, tea plantations, rice paddies & fruit trees, Ivory Falls Villa is a quiet, secluded & peaceful place to stay in the mountains & valleys of the Central Highlands…

  6. 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…

  7. Vung Tau: City by the Sea, a travelogue & guide

    Vung Tau | City by the Sea

    An illustrated travelogue-cum-guide to Vung Tau intended to inspire a trip to this rejuvenated city by the sea…

  8. Thien Thanh Limousine bus, Saigon to Rach Gia, Vietnam

    Beach Bus: Saigon↔Rach Gia Limousine | Passengers & Motorbikes

    Thien Thanh Limousine runs luxury buses between Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) & Rach Gia in the Mekong Delta, gateway to Vietnam’s islands in the Gulf of Thailand. This is a great service for passengers & motorbikes…

  9. Ana Mandara Villas Resort, Dalat, Vietnam

    Ana Mandara Villas, Dalat

    17 beautifully restored French colonial villas on a pine-studded hillside, Ana Mandara Resort & Spa keeps the romance of Dalat alive. Luxury accommodation in the Central Highlands doesn’t get more atmospheric than this…

  10. Cam Ranh Bay, Cam Lap Promontory, Vietnam

    Cam Ranh Bay: Cam Lap Promontory

    Cam Lap Promontory is one of those rare places that’s easily accessible yet largely undeveloped and utterly beautiful. It’s the kind of place you fall in love with, and one that really does deserve the overused epithet of ‘hidden gem’….

  11. Dalat's Waterfalls

    Dalat’s Waterfalls: A Guide

    Dalat is located in Lâm Đồng Province, a mountainous region that boasts lots of waterfalls. I visited them all, in order to compile this list & guide to the waterfalls of Dalat & the surrounding area. Many of the falls are truly spectacular, while some are ruined by tourist development…

  12. 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…

  13. Khmer Temple-Hopping Motorbike Loop, Tra Vinh Province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

    Khmer Temple-Hopping Motorbike Loop | Tra Vinh

    Connecting over 50 fascinating Khmer Buddhist temples via quiet back-roads through lush scenery in the seldom visited Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh, this motorbike loop is rich in culture & off the beaten path…

  14. 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…

  15. Ho Tram & Ho Coc beaches, Vietnam

    Ho Tram & Ho Coc Beaches

    Just 120km from the city, Ho Tram & Ho Coc are by far the best beaches within easy reach of Saigon. Forget Vung Tau, Long Hai & Can Gio, this is where you should head for sun, sea & sand when you don’t have time to go to Mui Ne or Phu Quoc.

  16. Tan Lap Floating Forest, Long An, Vietnam

    The Floating Forest of Long An

    Only 100km west of Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Lap Floating Forest is an enchanted patch of wetland where cajeput trees rise from the black, swampy waters, creating beguiling corridors through which canoes glide and raised walkways wind….

  17. Camping the Ocean Road: Saigon to Nha Trang

    Camping the Ocean Road: Saigon to Nha Trang

    Pitch your tent under a coconut palm just metres from the surf & enjoy Vietnam’s south coast sleeping in the open air: This is my guide to camping on the beaches along the Ocean Road from Saigon to Nha Trang….

  18. The Ocean Road: Saigon to Mui Ne, Vietnam

    The Ocean Road: Saigon to Mui Ne

    The scenic route between Saigon and Mui Ne, the Ocean Road is an easy, feel-good road trip, with a great balance of off-the-beaten-track experiences & creature comforts. Ride it in a day or linger for a week soaking up all it has to offer…

Lists, Libraries & Compilations

  1. 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….

  2. 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….

  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. The Southern Dry Season in Vietnam: Travel Guide

    The Southern Dry Season: Travel Guide

    A period of glorious, warm, sunny weather in the lower regions of Vietnam, the southern dry season lasts from November to May. Here are some of the best places to travel & stay during this time of year.

  5. Vietnam Reading List & Book Reviews

    Vietnam Reading List & Book Reviews

    A categorized reading list including personal reviews of over 50 books about Vietnam, ranging from Vietnamese authors in translation to travel writing, journalism, history, poetry, politics & more…

  6. 23 Differences Travelling South to North Vietnam

    23 Differences from South to North Vietnam

    One of the most interesting aspects of travelling through Vietnam is observing & experiencing the changes that occur from one region to the next. Whether serious or superficial, significant or frivolous, I’ve jotted down some of the differences I notice when travelling south to north…

  7. 101 Images to Inspire a Road Trip by Motorbike in Vietnam

    101 Images to Inspire a Road Trip by Motorbike in Vietnam

    An independent motorbike road trip in Vietnam is one of the most exhilarating & memorable travel experiences available anywhere in the world today…

  8. 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…

  9. Top 5 Swimming Pools, Saigon

    13 Public Swimming Pools in Saigon

    If you’re not lucky enough to be staying at one of the smarter hotels with a pool, or if you’re an expat looking to escape the heat & clamour of the city, Saigon has plenty of good & inexpensive public swimming pools to choose from…

  10. Vietnam Coracle Video Library

    Vietnam Coracle Video Library

    A categorized archive of over 30 short films shot during my travels in Vietnam & intended to inspire wanderlust.

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

Covid-19 Pandemic Posts

See all
  1. 'Fourth Wave': The Covid-19 Pandemic in Vietnam

    ‘Fourth Wave’ | The Pandemic in Vietnam

    A long-form personal narrative & travelogue describing my experiences during the ‘fourth wave’, Vietnam’s worst outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic…

  2. 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%…

  3. Quarantine in Vietnam during COVID-19 virus

    The Quarantine of Taz in Vietnam

    My friend, Taz, was quarantined for 17 days in Vietnam as part of the government’s strategy to contain COVID-19. After her release, I interviewed Taz about her experiences at the quarantine facility, just outside Ho Chi Minh City….

  4. Donate to Vietnam's fight against COVID-19

    Vietnam vs Corona Virus: How to Donate to Fight COVID-19

    Vietnam is doing an excellent job in the fight to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Please donate to help Vietnam continue its good work…

  5. Food in the Time of Corona, Last Meals before Lock-Down, Vietnam

    Food in the Time of Corona: Last Meals before Lock-Down

    Before the lock-down, street food was still thriving: indeed, sitting down to a bowl of noodles was one of the only times you could take off your mask. I documented my last meals before the spread of COVID-19 forced a nationwide lock-down.

  6. Pandemic Season in Vietnam, Covid-19

    Pandemic Season in Vietnam: Pre-Covid, Lock-Down, Post-Virus

    Part travelogue, part personal narrative, part analysis of Vietnam’s containment of Covid-19, this is a long-form account of the pandemic….

  7. The Pandemic Sessions: Interviews from Vietnam

    The Pandemic Sessions | Interviews from Vietnam

    A series of long-form interviews with people in Vietnam focusing on their experiences & opinions of the pandemic, and how their lives have changed as a result of Covid-19

The Vietnam Coracle Map

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