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  1. Jim Ellis says:

    Good morning Tom, I have not chatted with you. For some time. Reminder my unit was in Vung Ro Bay in 68, on top of the knoll above the gas plant.
    I want to say thank you for your time and input of the Oracle. It is very informative and I hope one day to visit. My.mind still wants to hold me back.

  2. Julie Richardson says:

    Hi Tom,

    we have been recommended your assistance by some friends. Are you able to assist us in touring northern Bai Tu Long bay. We wish to avoid the Halong area as much as possible.
    Also, can you recommend hotels in Hanoi other than the 2 in your blog?

    Cheers, Julie.

    • Hi Julie,

      Yes, it’s a good idea to go to Bai Tu Long Bay instead of Halong in order to avoid the crowds. Check out Quan Lan Island – there are boats there from Halong and Cai Rong ports.

      For hotels in Hanoi, it depends what area and price range you’re looking for?


  3. Nora says:

    hi Tom,

    Very interesting blog and good tips. I would like to ask a quick advice on Qui Nhong. I will spend there 4 days and would like to go around with the motorbike and visit some nice (not crowded beaches) and landscapes. DO you have any good tops? You suggested mon beach and vung ro bay? I was wondering if you have any other tips.

    Thanks so much:)

    • Hi Nora,

      Yes, the coast road north and south of Quy Nhon is full of very good and empty beaches – just get a motorbike and spend a day riding in each direction and you will find plenty of sand. Nhon Hai, north of Quy Nhon, and Bãi Răng south of Quy Nhon, are particularly nice. Or continue further south towards Vung Ro Bay and on to Hon Gom Sandbar too.

      I hope this helps,


  4. Richard says:

    Really good website – I am travelling for two weeks at the end of July with my two sons (18, 15). Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hue – Hoi An – Saigon – Con Dao. We are using internal flights to get around. I still need to book Halong Bay trip and accommodation in all those locations. Other than researching your website for hotels etc – any further advise?

    • Hi Richard,

      That sounds like a pretty good itinerary. I haven’t written much about Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An, but you will find lots of information about them online.

      I cover Saigon and Con Dao a lot, so I hope you can find some useful information about that.

      I recommend trying to book most of your domestic transportation and hotels in advance, because you will be doing quite a lot in just two weeks, so it will be easier to relax and enjoy your trip if you have everything booked in advance, and it will save you the time and effort of doing it once you are in Vietnam.

      I hope this helps,


      • Richard says:

        Thanks – all internal flights booked. Hotels etc still to book – given some advice to use Tonkin Travel ([email protected]) based in Vietnam to help with bookings. Cheaper than booking through U.K. Agents but maybe not as cheap as doing it myself using your website or Lonely Planet.

        Any advice as best (not 6 senses!) place to stay on Con Dao?


        • Hi Richard,

          I’ve written about accommodation options on Con Dao in this guide. When I go there with my family we like to get a sea-view room at the Con Dao Resort.

          I hope this helps,


        • Richard says:

          Any thoughts about watching turtles laying eggs on Con Dao? If I have the chance, is it worth visiting Cham island? Marble Mountain visit? Richard

          • Hi Richard,

            I’ve been advised by a trusted Con Dao resident not to partake in watching turtles on the islands, because of some serious environmental and sustainability issues.

            Cham Island is nice but can get crowded during weekends and holidays – the same goes for Marble Mountains.

            I hope this helps,


          • Richard says:

            Thanks for the advice – much appreciated. Are there any particular fun things to do on Con Dao – ride scooters around the island? Travel in to the interior? Richard

  5. selin says:

    Hey there!
    REALLY GOOD blog, thanks for sharing. It’s really easy to read and full of info.
    We’re coming to Vietnam between May 14th – 27th as a couple. Both of us love adventures and we don’t like to make big plans before our trips.
    Anyways, do you have any suggestions for a “first time 2 week Vietnam trip”? If you can just give me the names of the cities to visit and beaches to see, I can book b&b’s from those cities and I want to arrange our flights in between.
    Thanks in advance!

  6. Katy says:

    Cannot thank you enough for the sushi recommendation! Just superb

  7. John Forbes says:

    Hi Tom! I’m truly inspired by your works! I will be traveling to Vietnam solo beginning of March 2015, flying into Ho Chi Minh City, returning USA April 6…I want to ride! but not sure if I should take HCM Road or ride up the coast…am looking for suggestions on which road be better for such a short stay, where to rent a bike, etc etc etc… this being my 1st trip to Asia… I need all the help I can get. I look forward to your reply!

    • Hi John,

      As you have a whole month in Vietnam, that is the perfect amount of time to ride around the country.

      Weather in March is pretty good country-wide. Read more about weather here.

      If you’re considering riding from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi you can do that in the amount of time you have. To get some route ideas take a look at my south to north archive here.

      In general, it’s best to stay on the coast in the south and stay in the mountains in the north. To do this you can take coastal roads from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An, Danang or Hue, and then head west up to the Ho Chi Minh Road which will take you all the way to Hanoi. To familiarize yourself will the kind of routes and the kind of scenery that you can expect, spend some time browsing my full Motorbike Guide Archive here.

      You can rent a bike in Ho Chi Minh City and then return it in Hanoi. Try Flamingo Travel or Rent a Bike Vietnam – these are both reputable rental companies and you can mention Vietnam Coracle if you like, they know me.

      I hope this helps you start planning your trip,


  8. Ho Nguyen says:

    Hi Tom,
    My nephew and I (both in our late 60s) are riding HANOI-HCM City, and exploring points in between, in December/January. We’re so glad to have found your blog! Great resource for riders. Thank you for taking time to share your experience.

  9. Scott says:

    Why did I not find your blog earlier?! I bought a used Honda Wave in Hanoi a little over a month ago and rode south, winding between coast and mountains back to Saigon. With several weeks left on my visa, I’ve decided to visit Phú Quoc. Having information about the ferry from Rach Gia was very helpful! And yes, ticket should still be bought in advance to be safe. Ferry’ sold out for motos the next two days. So Ha Tien bound (for the car ferry) we are as soon as this morning’s rain dies down. I’m keeping my bike and intend to come back and explore even more now, thanks to your excellent information!

  10. Peter says:

    Hi Tom been enjoying your blogs of last year, decided to do the Saigon to Ha Noi trip on the HCM road with my wife and youngest son. My son rides a Honda 1967 CD50 slightly modified with carrying racks, and for me and my wife a 2010 Honda Future 125cc. We left Saigon on the 19th Aug 2014 and are currently in Huong Khe. We made many stops along the way to see family of my wife, but really enjoying the ride, especially through the highlands, absolutely spectacular.
    Hoping to reach Hanoi by the 1st of October. No hurry aye!!!!

  11. Andrés says:

    great blog!!! I hope that i have the time to do one of the trips on your blog on my next visit our vietnam (September 15th till i don’t know). Great writing. you gave me another view of Vietnam.


  12. Dave says:

    Fantastic site with wonderful images and thanks but it also fills me with sadness looking at that virgin cruising wonderland that me as a cruising yachtie is not allowed to visit.
    Hopefully it will happen soon – I will be waiting in a land nearby.
    Until then, I’ll have to settle for transpot on the giant silver bird.

  13. An outstanding blog! Really one out of the box, and so needed by those of us wanting to get into the nitty-gritty of Vietnam. Thanks for making and maintaining it.

  14. damiri says:

    Hi Tom,
    I found your blog as I am surfing for some info on motorcycle travel in vietnam.
    Last february 2014, I rode my bike yamaha XT1200Z in Laos, from china border town Boten and Luang namtha to Pakse, where I crossed back to Thailand.
    I am planning to tour on my bike, from south vietnam coming from cambodia border town Bavet/Mocbai to dien bien phu then cross to laos luang namtha. I m thinking of doing it around Jan /Feb 2015. I see you are very familiar with vietnam and I saw your travel maps. My question is how do I totally avoid all major town to complete the stretch I mentioned above…if its even possible.


  15. Mark says:

    Some great writing on a great blog. An nspirational Vietnam lover.

  16. Zip says:

    Very nice blog : ), i’ve traveled many places and it’s so good to have more view from someone like you.

    Keep writing, Tom !!

  17. Hanh says:

    Great! Thanks.

  18. Yna Reyes says:

    Great blog!

  19. Yna Reyes says:

    Hi there. My niece, Raina Reyes, recommended your blog to me. I’m visiting her in Vietnam next year. She said I should check out your blog to get a good idea of the adventure ahead. Also, that you’re an excellent writer 🙂

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