Brian Koh, 127 TCCS
Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne, Da Lat, Vietnam
I went on a solo trip to Southern Vietnam for about a week. I spent a full day in Ho Chi Minh City, then went to Mui Ne by bus. Mui Ne is a beautiful coastal city with lots of cheap hostels and expensive resorts. I got to eat a ton of seafood on the cheap and it was great to lounge around the pool. After a few days in Mui Ne, I traveled North into the mountains and stayed in Da Lat. The weather was perfect and it gets so cool at night that most hostels don’t offer AC in the rooms. Da Lat has a lot of great activities, I chose to spend a full day canyoning down a mountain. Overall, if you’re looking for something different but still affordable on a PC budget, I highly recommend a few days in Vietnam. Try to find cheap tickets on Nok Air. $60 roundtrip.
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If you travel to northern Vietnam I suggest at least a couple of days in DienBienPhu in the northwest toward the Lao border. The surrounding countryside is the home of both the Black Tai and White Tai tribes. Very congenial people. Many of their cultural dance performances are Thai in style. Had occasion to attend one performance at a hotel in DienBienPhu city. Afterwards we had occasion to talk to one of the young women performers. They were ecstatic to hear us speak basic Thai. They invited us to their family house some 10 km. from the city. They were very hospitable. Thai spoken Thai was very rudimentary but they expressed a strong historical affinity to Thai people even though none of them had ever visited Thailand. My wife who is Thai (the only Thai in our tour group of 7 people) was treated like royalty. All-in-all a great place to visit.