Resources & Compilations

  1. 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…

  2. Travel Fitness

    Travel Fitness

    Travellers often neglect their fitness. I practice exercise routines, methods & activities that are suitable for travel & help to maintain my fitness while on the road…

  3. 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…

  4. 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…

  5. 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….

  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. 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…

  8. Ha Giang, Vietnam: A Picture Book

    Ha Giang Province | Picture Book

    One of the most visually arresting regions in the nation, Ha Giang is Vietnam’s northern-most province. This gallery features 50 images showcasing the beauty of Ha Giang in order to inspire wanderlust…

  9. 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….

  10. Sustainable Travel: Single-Use Plastic in Vietnam

    Sustainable Travel: Single-Use Plastic in Vietnam

    By making some simple changes to way I travel & live in Vietnam, I’m trying to reduce the amount of single-use plastic I consume. Here’s my experience….

  11. Edible flowers in Vietnamese Cuisine

    Edible Flowers in Vietnamese Cuisine

    Vietnamese cuisine utilizes edible flowers in myriad ways. Flowers are healthy and aromatic, adding colour, flavour and texture to many dishes…

  12. 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….

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. The Vietnam Coracle Map

    The Vietnam Coracle Map

    An interactive map of Vietnam with all my guides, posts, articles, reviews, and videos marked on it, including direct links from the map to all my content. The Vietnam Coracle Map will help readers navigate the content on my website, in order to get to the information they are looking for….

  16. 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….

Transportation Guides

  1. 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…

  2. Saigon to Phan Thiet by Train: Passengers & Motorbikes

    Saigon to Phan Thiet by Train: Passengers & Motorbikes

    The daily, non-stop express train between Saigon & Phan Thiet/Mui Ne is a cheap, easy, fun, fast & efficient way to get from the city to the beach. Put your motorbike on the train with you & let the rails carry your wheels….

  3. The New Can Gio-Vung Tau Car Ferry

    The Can Gio→Vung Tau Car Ferry

    A great boon to travellers, this new ferry connects two of the most popular destinations near Ho Chi Minh City: Can Gio mangrove forest and Vung Tau beach…

  4. 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…

  5. Saigon to Vung Tau by Ferry Boat

    Taking the boat between Saigon & Vung Tau is one of Vietnam’s most underrated journeys. It’s a fascinating voyage from downtown Saigon, along several rivers, and across open sea to Vung Tau. New, comfortable & more reliable boats now ply this route…

  6. Saigon Waterbus, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Saigon Waterbus: Guide & Itinerary

    The Saigon Waterbus should be near the top of every visitor’s itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City. As a way of seeing the city’s skyline, of experiencing its many different neighbourhoods & for sheer value for money, the Saigon Waterbus is practically unbeatable…

  7. Soc Trang to Con Dao Express Ferry, Vietnam

    Soc Trang→Con Dao Express Ferry

    The fastest, cheapest & most reliable boat connection from the mainland to the islands, the Sóc Trăng→Côn Đảo ferry takes just 2 hours…

  8. Car Ferry from Cần Giờ (Ho Chi Minh) to Cần Giuộc (Long An)

    The Can Gio→Can Giuoc Car Ferry

    This ferry enables travellers with their own wheels to bypass Saigon completely when travelling between the southeast coast & the Mekong Delta…

  9. Hanoi→Lang Son→Dong Dang by Train: Passengers & Motorbikes

    A train runs once daily in both directions between Hanoi, Lang Son & Dong Dang, on the Chinese border. Linking Vietnam’s capital with its mountainous northeastern provinces, this is a scenic rail journey & passengers can carry their motorbikes on board

  10. Can Tho→Con Dao Islands Express Ferry

    Can Tho→Con Dao Express Ferry

    A fast ferry route connecting the largest city in the Mekong Delta with Con Son Island in the Con Dao Archipelago…

  11. Phu Quoc Island by ferry boat, Vietnam

    Phu Quoc Island by Boat

    Taking the boat between the Mekong Delta & Phu Quoc Island is fun, cheap, convenient & relatively hassle-free. A huge increase in fast boats & car ferries operating on several routes, means it’s now easier than ever to reach Phu Quoc Island by sea….

  12. Fanxipan Express, sleeper train, Hanoi to Lao Cai, Vietnam

    The Fanxipan Express: Hanoi to Lao Cai by Train (Passengers & Motorbikes)

    Rattling through the night from the capital city, along the Red River Valley, and into the northwest mountains surrounding Lao Cai on the Chinese border, the Fanxipan Express is a romantic rail journey that’s cheap, comfortable & easy to organize….

  13. Hanoi to Hai Phong by Train: Passengers & Motorbikes

    The Hanoi↔Hai Phong train is a brilliant option for travellers with motorbikes looking to get from the capital city to Cat Ba Island (or vice-versa), without having to negotiate the horrible highways….

  14. How to send your motorbike on the train in Vietnam

    How to Send a Motorbike on the Train

    Putting your motorbike on the train is a very convenient option for road-trippers in Vietnam, allowing you to start or end your journey pretty much anywhere along the coast between Saigon & Hanoi. These days, it’s a fairly easy & efficient process…

Beaches & Islands

  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. 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….

  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 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. 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….

  6. 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….

  7. 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…

  8. 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…

  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. 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…

  11. 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….

  12. Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

    Video: Con Dao Islands

    From the moment you step off the plane on the Con Dao Islands, you know you’re somewhere special. The main island of Con Son has a tragic past as a penal colony, set up by the French colonial administration. But today, it is the gorgeous natural beauty of this archipelago that’s attracting attention.

  13. 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…

  14. 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….

  15. 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…..

  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. 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….

  18. 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’….

  19. 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.

  20. Bai Rang Beach, Quy Nhon, Phu Yen, Vietnam

    Bãi Rạng Beach, Quy Nhon

    A small crescent of toast-gold sand lined with coconut palms & casuarina trees, Bãi Rạng Beach is squeezed between two rocky bluffs, 15km south of Quy Nhon. It’s still a local, working beach & remains undeveloped….

  21. Hon Gom Sandbar, travel guide, Vietnam

    Hon Gom Sandbar

    Stretching 30km out to sea, like a giant causeway to a sunken castle, Hon Gom Sandbar is a beguiling peninsular on the south-central coast. A road leads along most of its length, offering access to deserted beaches, sheltered coves & isolated fishing hamlets…

  22. Dai Lanh Beach, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam

    Dai Lanh Beach

    A broad sweep of sand between two dramatic headlands, Dai Lanh Beach is a strikingly beautiful spot. Long blighted by the traffic & noise of Highway 1, Dai Lanh is on the cusp of great things, with the imminent opening of a new tunnel…

  23. Long Thuy beach village, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam

    Long Thủy Beach Village, Phu Yen

    More than just a lovely white sand beach & glistening sea; Long Thủy is also a charming network of narrow backstreets, lined with crumbling homes, small temples & cowsheds. Wandering through its tangle of alleyways is like stepping back several generations…

  24. Vung Bau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

    Vung Bau Beach: Go Now

    Vung Bau beach is one of the last vestiges of ‘old’ Phu Quoc. Located in the northwest of the island, the largely undeveloped sands are lapped by a sapphire-coloured sea, a reminder of what Phu Quoc’s western shore was once like…

Writing & Articles

  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. Farewell to my neighbourhood: Ward 25, Binh Thanh District, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Farewell My Neighbourhood

    After nearly 9 years, I’m leaving my neighbourhood in Saigon’s Binh Thanh District, where I have many memories of many people, places & experiences…

  3. 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…

  4. 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…

  5. First Rains: An Ode to the Monsoon in Vietnam

    First Rains: An Ode to the Monsoon

    Monsoon downpours & tropical storms are the quintessential expression of the tropics, representing the exotic & the mysterious. For me, the monsoon embodies the excitement & romance of living far from home….

  6. Vietnam Coracle 2022 End of Year Review

    2022: Year-End Review

    I reflect on a significant year, focusing on post-pandemic travel and life in Vietnam…

  7. 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….

  8. 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%…

  9. 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….

  10. '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…

  11. The Odes: A Collection

    The Odes | A Collection

    Over the years, I’ve written ‘odes’ in praise of aspects of Vietnam: from natural phenomena to types of food to specific places & personalities…

  12. 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….

  13. 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….

  1. 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’.

  2. 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…

  3. 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…

  4. An Interview with Vietnam Coracle

    An Interview with Vietnam Coracle

    A written interview featuring long-form, detailed answers to questions ranging from the evolution of Vietnam Coracle to its purpose and function, and the nature of travel writing in the Internet age…

  5. 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….

  6. Year of the Cat Q&A with the Vietnam Coracle Team

    Year of the Cat: Q&A with the Coracle Team

    To celebrate the Lunar New Year, I put several questions to all members of the Vietnam Coracle team to find out their thoughts about Vietnam in the Year of the Cat…

  7. 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…

  8. 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….

  9. Vietnam Coracle on the Untold Pacific Podcast with James Bradley

    Podcast: Vietnam Coracle on Untold Pacific with James Bradley

    A discussion with New York Times best-selling author, James Bradley, about my website & present-day Vietnam…

  10. Farewell to my neighbourhood: Ward 25, Binh Thanh District, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Farewell My Neighbourhood

    After nearly 9 years, I’m leaving my neighbourhood in Saigon’s Binh Thanh District, where I have many memories of many people, places & experiences…

  11. 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

  12. Portrait of Ms Ca, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

    Portrait of Ms Ca

    This is Ms Ca. Born sometime in the 1930s (she can’t remember the exact year), I met her sitting in the shade of a cashew tree, sheltering from the midday sun….

Destinations Map

This is a map of all my Travel, Destination & Information Guides. Zoom in, click a marker, then click the link in the description to go directly to the guide.