Vietnam Coracle

Independent travel guides to Vietnam

Ode to the Ocean: A Personal Meditation on the Sea in Vietnam
Weather Guide to Vietnam: When & Where to Go
101 Images to Inspire a Road Trip by Motorbike in Vietnam
Premier Village Resort, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Instant Pot Noodles in Vietnam
The Pier Phu Quoc Resort, Vietnam, Independent Review

Recently Published & Updated

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. Film: A Day in Saigon, Redux

    Film: Saigon, My Saigon [Redux]

    Revisiting my short film of a day in the life of my local neighbourhood in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), where I’ve tried to capture the rhythm of life over 24 hours in the rainy season

  4. 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…

  5. 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…

  6. Premier Village Resort, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

    Premier Village Resort Phu Quoc | Independent Review

    A luxurious resort in a spectacular location comprised of large villas with private pools, two beaches & a plethora of high-end facilities. Premier Village would usually be out of my budget. But, due to unique pandemic-related circumstances, my friends & I were able to stay for a reduced rate…

  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. 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…

  9. 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.

  10. 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%…

  11. 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’…

  12. Gold Coast Resort, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

    Gold Coast Phu Quoc | Independent Review

    In the northwest of the island, Gold Coast is a mid-range resort with excellent food, a good beach, easy access to local life & superb views of Phu Quoc’s rugged northern bays & jungles

Most 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. 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)…

  3. 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…

  4. 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….

  5. 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

  6. 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…..

  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. 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. 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….

  10. 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….

  11. 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…

  12. 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….

Where to Travel this Month

  1. Son Tra Peninsular, Danang, Vietnam

    Son Tra Peninsula, Danang | Motorbike Guide

    A rugged headland at the northern tip of Danang’s municipal beach, Son Tra offers mountains & forests, cliffs & coves, wildlife & centuries-old banyan trees, lofty mountain passes with majestic views & sandy beaches untainted by concrete high-rises….

  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. Homestays in Pu Luong Nature Reserve, northern Vietnam

    Homestays in Pu Luong Nature Reserve

    Set among sublime landscape just a few hours southwest of Hanoi, the homestays in Pu Luong Nature Reserve are some of the most atmospheric & romantic places to stay anywhere in Vietnam….

  4. Auberge de Meo Vac Mountain Lodge, Chung Pua, Ha Giang

    Auberge de Meo Vac Mountain Lodge, Ha Giang

    A timber, tile & rammed-earth structure encircling a stone courtyard surrounded by a stone wall with haunting limestone peaks looming all around, the Auberge de Meo Vac is a remarkably atmospheric place to stay in Vietnam’s northernmost province, Ha Giang….

  5. Tomb Rider: Hue to Dong Hoi on Back-Roads by motorbike, Vietnam

    Tomb Rider: Hue to Dong Hoi on Back-Roads

    Covering nearly 200km of completely empty beach, coastal back-roads lead from the old imperial capital of Hue to the beach city of Dong Hoi. Scattered with thousands of traditional-style tombs, this coastal region is rarely explored by foreign visitors…

  6. 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…

  7. Ban Gioc Waterfall, Cao Bang Province, Vietnam

    Ban Gioc Waterfall: A Guide

    Ban Gioc Waterfall is one of Vietnam’s most impressive natural sights, yet very few foreign travellers make it here. Located right on the Chinese border in a beautiful pastoral landscape, Ban Gioc is the widest & most scenic waterfall in the country…

  8. The beaches of Quy Nhon & Phu Yen, Vietnam

    The Beaches of Quy Nhon & Phu Yen: A Guide

    The beaches of Phu Yen Province & Quy Nhon have been laying low, but their popularity is on the rise: now is the time to visit this seductive coastal region, full of hidden bays, beaches & coves. This is an extensive guide to Vietnam’s next big beach destination….

  9. Where to Stay in Phong Nha: A Guide

    Backpacker dorms, family homestays, boutique farmstays & luxurious lakeside bungalows: here’s my independent guide to accommodation in & around Phong Nha….

  10. Quán Bình Hoa BBQ, Phong Nha, Vietnam

    Local BBQ in Phong Nha

    Just north of Phong Nha town, Quán Bình Hoa serves up an excellent BBQ in a local atmosphere. Roast pork, whole roasted duck, ox tail, grilled quail stuffed with lemongrass, hot & spicy baby clams and much more await you at this smokey roadside eatery….

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. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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. 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…

  7. 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…

  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. 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…

  10. 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….

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

Covid-19 Pandemic Posts

See all

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.

Open in Google Maps