Backpacking in Da Nang

Footsteps in Vietnam – 2 guys recorded their 7-day backpacking trip to share with people in 2012. They started from Hanoi, taking the train to Danang for the International Firework Festival. After that, they headed to Hoi An, lived there in 2 days and then jumped on a boat for Cu Lao Cham island. The guys decided to taste a wildlife trip on the island so they camped on a quiet beach for 2 days, enjoyed the nature as much as they can before heading back to the mainland.


Attractive diving tours in Nha Trang

Footsteps in Vietnam – Nha Trang is the second bay in Việt Nam, after Hạ Long, was listed in the club of the most beautiful bays in the world (Germany-based international organization). If you come to Nha Trang, don’t miss a chance to explore the sea bed.

Colorful seabed

Diving services appeared here from 1995. Currently, Nha Trang has tens of diving clubs, including Blue Diving, ORCA, Octopus and Rainbow. Most of local hotels and coffee bars on Trần Phú highway are agents to sell ticket for diving services.

Tằm island, some 12km from the seashore, is an ideal destination for people who like playing parachuting, water-skiing and water motorcycle race. If you wish to visit the whole view of Nha Trang bay, you should play parachute towed by canoes at Tằm island. Flying at the height of 50 – 70m in the middle of the sea, you will have unforgettable strong feelings.


Scuba diving in Nha Trang. Photo:

Near Tằm island is Mun island. Mun means blacks. It was a volcano a long time ago and has become black gradually. Mun island is around 10km from the heart of the city and it takes visitors over one hour to come to the island from the city. Mun island is the most beautiful diving place in Việt Nam. It has nine points for diving and under the sea water surface is the coral paradise for travelers’ exploration.



The diving places have fresh and clean water. On nice sunny days, you can see coral rows at the sea bottom. You will be instructed to use adjutages for breathing. The instructors will dive with you to give support in necessary cases and take you to see corals.


Diving in Madonna Rock, Nha Trang

The sea area has many famous diving points such as “Madonna stone”, “black tunnel” and “coral garden” where visitors can see the colorful world of tropical corals. Diving at the depth of 4 – 10m, you will see a wonderful water palace which has strange kinds of fish. In the sunlight darted on the blue water, actinia tassels moves like sea snakes, and seaweed bushes swing slightly and colorful fish run around you. Coming to the depth of 10 – 15m, you will not see coral rows, but many nice caves for exploration. You even have to lights to see sea creatures in some caves.

Diving tourism services in Nha Trang have become more attractive to both local and foreign travelers.


Vietnam’s best beaches

Footsteps in Vietnam – Vietnam might have been late to Southeast Asia’s beach party, but it was well worth the wait. The country boasts more than 3400km of coastline, with infinite stretches of powdery sand, coves, lagoons, impossible boulder formations and tropical islands ringed with yet more beaches. We can help you navigate the overwhelming amount of choices.

Nha Trang


Nha Trang coast by J Y White. CC SA 2.0

The heavyweight champion of Vietnam, Nha Trang has been knocking out visitors for years. True, the town is brazen and brash, but the beach is bold and beautiful and a gateway to a cluster of quieter islands.

Mui Ne


Mui Ne Beach by Mark (LP).

Set on a seductive swathe of sand, Mui Ne is an absolute charmer with swaying palms and towering dunes. Get pummelled on the beach by a masseur or pummelled by the waves with some water sports – this place blends action and inertia to perfection.

Phu Quoc


Phu Quoc by Mark (LP).

Simply the most beautiful island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc is liberally sprinkled with picture-perfect white sand beaches and cloaked in dense, impenetrable jungle. Long Beach is sophisticated, Ong Lan Beach romantic, and Bai Sao simply irresistible.

Con Dao

The Con Dao islands have been protected from over-exposure by their isolated location off the coast. Enjoy it while it lasts, with their smattering of resorts and an overdose of idyllic beaches, as this is sure to be the next big thing in Vietnamese beaches.

My Khe/Cua Dai


China beach by @Saigon. CC SA 2.0

Whether you call it My Khe to the north or Cua Dai to the south, or even China beach, it’s all just one long, luscious stretch of sand. Try surfing off the shores of Danang or just pamper yourself at the resorts near Hoi An.

Doc Let


Doc Let Beach by Cmic Blog. CC SA 2.0

While the rest of the world is sunning itself in Nha Trang, slip up the coast to this little teaser, home to some atmospheric resorts and some squeaky white sand; a place to get away from it all.

Ho Coc

Vung Tau to Phan Thiet is almost one long beach, but much of it remains mercifully inaccessible to the masses. Sample its potential with a retreat to Ho Coc, a glorious sandbar about midway along this stretch.


A perfect trip to Vietnam

From the island-studded seas of the north to the meandering waterways of the south, Vietnam is a country defined by the diversity of its land and the resilience and generosity of its people. Lonely Planet Traveller magazine shows you how to take the perfect trip to Vietnam.

Halong Bay: best for coast

The mystical landscape of Halong Bay, where over 2000 limestone islets rise from the Gulf of Tonkin. Photo by Matt Munro

Once upon a time, a friendly dragon lived in the heavens above Halong Bay. With invaders from the seas threatening Vietnam, the gods asked the dragon to create a natural barrier to protect its people. The dragon kindly obliged, performing a spectacular crash landing along the coast – digging up chunks of rock with its flailing tail and spitting out pearls – before grinding to a halt. This scene of devastation is now known as Halong Bay – Halong literally translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’.

Less exciting explanations of this landscape involve eons of erosion by winds and waves – but nobody disputes the splendour of the end result. Rising from the shallows of the Gulf of Tonkin are thousands of limestone islands – towering monoliths lined up like dominoes, some teetering at worrying angles. The islands’ names testify to the overactive  imaginations of sailors who’ve spent too long at sea – Fighting Cock Island, Finger Island, Virgin Grotto. Having largely resisted human settlement, the islands have become home to other creatures. From above, sea eagles swoop down to pluck fish from the waters, carrying their prey – still flapping – high into the air, and squawking congratulations to each other from their nests.

Hanoi: best for city life

Fruit seller heading to market. Photo by Matt Munro

It’s rush hour in Hanoi, and the streets of the city’s Old Quarter throng with hundreds of scooters. The pavement and the central reservation are fair game in the chaos; zebra crossings exist more as a personal challenge than a guarantee of safe passage. Hanoi is a city that refuses to grow old gracefully – a millennium-old capital of crumbling pagodas and labyrinthine streets, now undergoing a werewolf-like transformation into a 21st-century Asian metropolis. In the Old Quarter, ancient temples now neighbour karaoke joints, and dynasties of artisans ply their trade next to shops selling cuddly toys the size of grizzly bears.

Few have studied the changing face of the city as closely as Do Hien, an artist who has spent a lifetime painting Hanoi’s streets. He welcomes me to his studio, and idly leafs through sketches of city life – couples waltzing beside the willows of Hoan Kiem Lake, and alleyways where hawkers prepare steaming bowls of pho. ‘Hanoi is a place that runs in your blood,’ Hien says thoughtfully, sitting cross-legged among stubs of incense sticks and paintbrushes strewn across his studio floor. ‘Had I not lived in this city I might not be able to paint like I do.’

Sapa: best for walking

Ripening paddies near Sapa. Photo by Matt Munro

An evening fog hangs over Sapa. Clouds sporadically open up a bit to reveal a village, a chunk of a mountain, a patch of jungle, before obscuring them from view again, like stage scenery sliding into the wings. Eventually the clouds lift, and the Hoang Lien mountain range emerges. It is a landscape of extraordinary beauty – the Asian highlands half-remembered from childhood picture books and martial-arts films. Above are peaks thick to their summits with greenery. Below, rice terraces run down the hillsides at right angles, as neatly as the folds in origami paper.

Sapa is a town where the weather seems to operate on random rotation – switching between brilliant sunshine, thick fog, driving rain and occasionally a dusting of snow, before coming full circle to brilliant sunshine, often all within the space of a few minutes. A hill station settled by Vietnam’s French colonists, Sapa now serves as a trailhead for hikers happy to run the meteorological lottery of a walk in these mountains. ‘We have four seasons in one day here,’ explains Giang Thi Mo, my guide, shimmying along the edge of a rice paddy as a rain cloud approaches. ‘There’s no way to predict the weather – just be lucky!’

We pass through a village, and Mo points to bamboo irrigation systems that send trickles down the hillsides and into rice pounders that see-saw with the current. ‘There’s a Hmong saying that “we flow with the water”,’ she explains. ‘It means we don’t worry too much, and take things easy.’

Hoi An: best for food

Le Hanh gives a demonstration at her cooking school, Gioan. Photo by Matt Munro

Hoi An is a small town that likes a big breakfast. As dawn musters strength on the horizon, a small army of chefs sets to work on Thai Phien street – firing up gas cookers and arranging plastic furniture on the pavements. Soon, the city awakes to sweet porridges; coffee that sends a lightning bolt of caffeine to sleepy heads; sizzling steaks; broths that swim with turmeric, chilli and ginger. In Vietnam, street food is a serious business – a single dish prepared day after day by the same cook, perfected and honed by a lifetime’s craft.

‘Food in Hoi An is about yin and yang,’ explains Le Hanh, a young female chef scrutinising vegetables at the morning market. ‘It’s about balancing hot with cool, sweet with sour, salty with spicy.’ True to Hanh’s philosophy, cooking in Hoi An goes big on contrasting flavours; food that plays good cop/bad cop with the palate. The sharpness of fish sauce blends with the subtlety of fresh herbs; cool lemongrass makes way for the eye-watering panic of accidentally chomping on a red chilli.

Mekong Delta: best for river life

Watermelons being offloaded at Cai Rang floating market. Photo by Matt Munro

A heavy rain is falling on the Mekong Delta, flooding the footpaths, swilling in the gutters, turning riverbank mud from light tan to a rich coffee colour. A tangled network of rivers, tributaries and canals, the waters of the delta criss-cross the lowlands of southern Vietnam, before emptying out into the South China Sea through mighty, yawning estuaries. For centuries, life here has ebbed and flowed in tandem with the current of the Mekong – an all-in-one launderette, bathtub, highway, toilet, dishwasher, larder, social club and workplace for the communities surrounded by its waters.

‘If you live on a river island with twenty other people you have to learn to get along with everyone,’ explains Mrs Bui Nguyen, beckoning strangers to shelter in her bungalow beside the Cai Chanh canal. ‘That’s the reason why people in the Mekong are so friendly!’ A 77-year-old who attributes her longevity to a lifetime avoiding doctors, Mrs Nguyen wistfully reflects on the delta of old – in days when the only artificial light came from peanut oil lamps dotted along the riverbanks; an age long before roads had reached the villages. Times have changed. However, human life still instinctively congregates on the water’s edge. Lining the riverbank nearby are grocers’ shops, cafés, a gym, a billiards club and a blacksmith’s. Floating markets, too, are still held every morning at nearby Cai Rang – with creaking barges from across the delta bashing into each other as they offload cargoes of watermelons, pineapples and turnips.