MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

7 Day Road Trip from South to Central Vietnam

From the 20th March to the 26th March, Linh's father hired a minibus and driver and together with his family and us, all took a road trip up to Central Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh in the South. So apart from when we made our way out of the towns and cities, our view in these seven days looked mostly like this:

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When we stopped for petrol and toilet breaks, this was our view:

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Ok, so the experience was a little more varied than that. Rural areas of Vietnam are much more peaceful, in contrast to the bustling towns and cities (until an engine pumping bike comes along). However, Linh did get to try out some face masks, although she always sat in the comfort of the van, so didn't need them really.

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The aim of our road trip was to visit a few of the cities along the way, going up as far as Hue. The family have done it all before, so Linh and I benefited the most from seeing everything for the first time.

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Our itinerary consisted of the following:

Day 1 / Friday 20th March
Left Ho Chi Minh early morning to drive north, reaching Nha Trang by early evening, staying there overnight.

Day 2 / Saturday 21st March
Left Nha Trang, passed through Qui Nhon City for lunch and arrived at Hoi An for dinner.

Day 3 / Sunday 22nd March
Explored Hoi An, moved onto Da Nang and then stayed in Hue.

Day 4 / Monday 23rd March
Left Hue and drove back down to Qui Nhon City for an overnight stay.

Day 5 / Tuesday 24th March
Left Qui Nhon City, passed through Nha Trang for lunch and arrived at Da Lat.

Day 6 / Wednesday 25th March
Stayed in Da Lat to explore.

Day 7 / Thursday 26th March
Left Da Lat to make the journey back to Ho Chi Minh.

More detail about the places we visited along the way will be posted after this entry and will be dated all the way up to the 26th March.

The minibus and driver hire cost around US$500 for seven days worth of traveling, which is quite cheap! Every night, we stayed in fairly modest hotels which cost around US$20 per person and because there's a few of us, Linh's father told us that they usually ask the hotels to also put the driver up at no extra cost ("otherwise we'll go elsewhere"). We also pay for the driver's meals, but since there's already a few mouths to feed, a variety of dishes are usually ordered collectively and one extra doesn't make that much difference.

On our first day, for instance, we stopped by for lunch in a roadside restaurant that served up a main dish on a gas burner that consisted of fish and vegetables in a soup. There were a few other large plates of food, all of it being much tastier than I make it sound, but I didn't take down any further details of what we ate unfortunately. Everyone gets stuck into all of the dishes.

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By the evening, our dinner at our first stop in Nha Trang was a simple but delicious table barbecue in a typical, open-fronted Vietnamese restaurant with dated, tiled decor, but fuming with smoke from around thirty tables of diners. Marinated meats were supplemented by vegetables, both destined for the flames, whilst fries and bread helped to balance out the meal.

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Linh and I were lucky that her father organised this road trip since we managed to see so much of Vietnam in a short space of time. I'm sure a tour package would cost more, although I did read online that alternatively, you can hire a bike and rider and do the South to North Vietnam road trip instead. (Like Top Gear!)

Anyway, more on the next seven days in the following posts!

(Note: Entries up to the 26th March are still being written up - please be patient!)


This entry posted in : Vietnam.

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