How to Backpack Across South and North Vietnam

The following contributed article was written by Expat Christopher Murray, a native of Luxembourg, photographer and backpacker of Southeast Asia.

Backpacking VIETNAM

Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and Everywhere in Between

So I land at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. I wait in line for an overly long time, I eventually get my tourist visa, grab my backpack, and step out into the arrivals area. There, I am greeted by Khang, a local whom I contacted before my trip and who kindly agreed to take me into the city. Before I knew it I was on the back of his scooter, and we are heading straight out into the synchronised chaos of the Friday night traffic in Vietnam’s largest city. What a fantastic introduction to Vietnam!

Northern Vietnam vs. Southern Vietnam

My journey through Vietnam started off fantastically, and only got better the further North I headed. Throughout the journey, I saw the kindness of the Vietnamese people too, and although it was a constant struggle to overcome the language barrier and communicate with them, I managed to truly fall in love with the country and its people.

What Are Some Things To Do in Vietnam as a Backpacker?

From wild and lively backpacker-streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the more conservative and historically rich Hanoi, the trip had it all. Sleepy hidden villages, glorious un-touched beaches, cascading waterfalls, tribal mountain treks…and I must not forget to mention, the magnificent Ha Long Bay! It is a stunningly beautiful country in every way.

Vietnam Today –  A Country in Transition

It is also one that is visibly going through a period of growth and increased prosperity. Construction sites can be found everywhere across the whole country.  The country landscapes, the cityscapes and the transportation networks are all changing at a fantastic rate. It is clear that the country is riding an economical wave, but whether or not its political system will enable the country to fully reach its potential, I’m not in a position to really say.

What I can say is that the hard-working locals that buzz around tirelessly on their scooters deserve a lot. Putting their past behind them now, it is time for the country to look forward. Seeing many parts of the country intimately during my short visit, I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in such a culturally rich and beautiful country. I was living the dream. Vietnam has so much to offer and I surely will be back in the future, and I would urge you to experience it too!

About the author Growing up in Luxembourg, and graduating in the summer of 2013 from University in Edinburgh, Chris is taking a year out to explore the world, learn Spanish and do some tutoring and volunteering work. He recently returned from a trip around the Middle East and South-East Asia. Feel free to check out his blog at!

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1 Comment

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