Vietnam Coracle

Independent travel guides to Vietnam

Bancong Cafe, Hanoi
Brilliant Hotel, Da Nang, Vietnam, Independent Review
Dam Tre Bay, Con Son Island, Con Dao Archipelago, Vietnam
Dragons' Graveyard Coast Road, Cà Ná to Phan Rang, Vietnam
The New Vietnam Coracle Logo
Huế Food Guide
Contributing Writers on Vietnam Coracle

Recently Published & Updated

  1. Bancong Cafe, Hanoi

    Bancông Cafe | Hanoi

    A heritage building in the capital’s Old Quarter houses a nostalgic coffee shop, keeping the city’s younger generation in touch with its past…

  2. Brilliant Hotel, Da Nang, Vietnam, Independent Review

    Brilliant Hotel Danang | Independent Review

    In a prime location on the Hàn riverfront, Brilliant Hotel has large, spacious, comfortable rooms, good views, a rooftop bar & rates represent decent mid-range value…

  3. Dam Tre Bay, Con Son Island, Con Dao Archipelago, Vietnam

    Dam Tre Bay | Con Son Island

    Turquoise water & abundant coral rimmed by forested hills & dramatic cliffs, Đầm Tre is one of Vietnam’s most pristine, remote & utterly magical bays…

  4. Dragons' Graveyard Coast Road, Cà Ná to Phan Rang, Vietnam

    Dragons’ Graveyard Coast Road | Cà Ná to Phan Rang

    Chiseled into the cliffside high above the sea, this stunning coast road negotiates a boulder-strewn promontory where people say dragons come to die…

  5. The New Vietnam Coracle Logo

    New Logo

    Vietnam Coracle has a new logo. Read the story behind the logo’s creation & design…

  6. Huế Food Guide

    Hue Food Guide

    Explore the famous ‘royal cuisine’ of Vietnam’s former imperial capital with this extensive Huế food guide, featuring 16 Huế dishes & dozens of specific location recommendations…

  7. Contributing Writers on Vietnam Coracle

    Contributing Writers

    I’m excited to introduce the new writers on Vietnam Coracle. Together, we’ll create great content from across Vietnam…

  8. Horizon Rooftop Bar, Four Points by Sheraton-Marriott, Da Nang, Vietnam

    Horizon Rooftop Bar | Four Points, Da Nang

    Sip locally brewed craft beer or cocktails next to an infinity pool with panoramic views of Da Nang city & beachfront from the rooftop of the Four Points by Sheraton…

  9. Eating in Văn Thánh Market, Bình Thạnh District, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City

    Văn Thánh Market Food Guide | Sài Gòn

    Every Saigon neighbourhood has a local fresh produce market. Mine is Văn Thánh, where there are dozens of good, inexpensive street food vendors, cafes & juice stalls…

  10. The Sand Dune Highway: Mui Ne to Ca Na Coast Road

    Sand Dune Highway: Mui Ne to Ca Na Coast Road

    A short, scenic, easily navigable & rewarding road trip through desert-like landscape on excellent coast roads between Mũi Né & Cà Ná…

  11. La Vela Saigon Hotel, Independent Review

    La Vela Saigon Hotel | Independent Review

    A contemporary, stylish 5-star hotel in Saigon’s District 3 featuring one of the largest rooftop infinity pools in the world…

  12. The Pine Tree Road, North of Dalat by Motorbike, Vietnam

    The Pine Tree Road | Motorbike Guide

    North of Dalat, an enticing road plunges deep into the pine forests of the Central Highlands before dead-ending in the beautiful Krông Nô River Valley…

Most Popular Guides

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  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 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

  5. 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)…

  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. 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…

  8. 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…

  9. 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….

  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. 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. 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 in June

  1. 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.

  2. 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….

  3. Ba Be Lake homestays, Bac Kan Province, Vietnam

    Ba Be Lake Homestays

    At Ba Be Lake, limestone cliffs meet the placid water at right angles, creating a spectacular backdrop to Vietnam’s largest natural lake. On its southern shores, where the terrain is slightly less vertical, several dozen homestays offer cheap, atmospheric accommodation & excellent home-cooked food….

  4. 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….

  5. 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….

  6. Vijaya Cham towers & citadel, Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam

    The Cham Towers & Ancient Citadel of Vijaya

    Scattered across the plains of Binh Dinh Province, the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Champa are a powerful reminder of the rich history of what is now Vietnam. Visiting the remains of the Cham towers & Vijaya citadel is a rewarding day trip from Quy Nhon….

  7. 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…

  8. Mia Resort Nha Trang, Vietnam, Independent Review

    Mia Resort Nha Trang | Independent Review

    A crisp, clean & contemporary beach resort straddling the cliffs on the spectacular coast road south of Nha Trang, Mia is the embodiment of minimalist-chic….

  9. The Coast Road: Saigon to Hoi An & Dong Hoi

    The Coast Road: Saigon to Hoi An & Beyond

    Thanks to new coastal roads, it’s now possible to ride from Saigon to Hoi An, and beyond to Dong Hoi, following the coast all the way & avoiding the busy main artery of Highway 1 for the vast majority of the route. This is a salty, sunny, sandy & scenic road trip….

  10. Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam

    Vung Ro Bay

    A drop-dead gorgeous bay on the south-central coast, Vung Ro has been slated for development for several years now, but none has arrived. So, for the time being, this beautiful area remains virtually empty and perfect for exploration….

  11. Amiana Resort & Spa, Nha Trang, Vietnam

    Amiana Resort Nha Trang | Independent Review

    Ten kilometres north of Nha Trang, Amiana Resort features a long seafront, lush gardens & several enormous, highly photogenic infinity pools…

  12. 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….

  13. Lotus Home, Phu Quoc Island: Independent Review

    Lotus Home Phu Quoc | Independent Review

    Located on the island’s beguiling east coast, Lotus Home is a small, mid-range, ‘pier-style’ resort featuring photogenic bungalows above the sea on a long, wooden jetty…

  14. 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….

  15. 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…

  16. 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’….

  17. 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.

Lists, Libraries & Compilations

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. 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….

  4. 6 Most Popular New Posts in the Year of the Buffalo on Vietnam Coracle

    6 Most Popular New Posts in the Year of the Buffalo

    In a year dominated by the pandemic & a particularly difficult 12 months for Vietnam, I take a look at the 6 most-read new posts in the Year of the Buffalo…

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  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. 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…

  9. 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….

  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…

  13. 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….

Articles & Writing

See all
  1. 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…

  2. Sketches of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Sketches of Saigon: 5 Scenes

    Over the course of a week, I sat & wrote for half an hour on five separate occasions at five random locations in Saigon, and described the scenes as they appeared to me, in the hope of capturing something of the spirit of the city….

  3. Bell tower at the General Võ Nguyên Giáp's tomb

    The General’s Tomb | A Memory

    Sometimes referred to simply as ‘The General’, Võ Nguyên Giáp is a giant of Vietnamese history. Following his death, in 2013, millions have made the pilgrimage to his tomb in Central Vietnam, myself included…

  4. Don't Miss the Dawn in Vietnam

    Don’t Miss the Dawn

    Dawn is the best time of day in Vietnam. Yet most travellers and expats never experience it. Wake up before sunrise and you’ll witness exquisite skies and the ‘roots’ of Vietnamese daily life. Rising early should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Vietnam….

  5. 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…

  6. Phuong Boi hill & forest, the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh's retreat, Vietnam

    Phương Bối Hill: The Buddhist Monk Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Retreat

    In the misty forests on the slopes of the B’lao mountains, the young Buddhist monk, Thích Nhất Hạnh, came to build a retreat in the late 1950s. Now a world-famous spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh was forced to abandon the retreat in the 1960s, but the site still exists….

  7. '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…

  8. Trash in Vietnam's beauty spots

    Trash Talk: Litter in Vietnam’s Beauty Spots

    Vietnam is an extraordinarily beautiful country, but thousands of scenic areas across the nation are increasingly ruined by trash. A major catalyst for litter in beauty spots are picnickers, who neglect to clean up after themselves….

  9. 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%…

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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