VIETNAM – WHY, HOW AND WHEN?
Vietnam is getting more in more popular among European travelers. It is cheaper and less crowded than for example Thailand. Its borders spread across few climate zones, guaranteeing biodiversity, which creates a perfect landscape for nature lovers. Vietnam doesn’t have spectacular beaches of Thailand, therefore there are less people on the available ones. It doesn’t mean that the tourism industry doesn’t exist. On the contrary, it is actually facing an intensive growth, so the high time to visit Vietnam before the masses appear, is now. Taste the yet unspoiled Vietnamese culture and be the one and only discovering the best spots – start planning your trip today!
Before you dive into the cheap flight searching craze, answer one important question: would I rather go to Vietnam on my own, or with a travel agency? First of all, self-organized holiday will be definitely cheaper. What’s more, you will be able to see much more, visit only the places you really want to and experience unforgettable adventure. A very popular way of exploring Vietnamamong backpackers (independent travelers with the backpacks on – there’s a lot of them in Vietnam!) is on a scooter, which you buy at location. It is actually the most widespread way of transport for Vietnamese people, but unfortunately, it pollutes the environment of their overcrowded cities heavily. Up until recently, the only way of transport in Vietnam was by bike, although the growing amount of scooters displaced the ecological mean of transport quickly and efficiently, changing simultaneously the humid and hot air of southern Vietnam into a thick layer of smog levitating over the streets. The situation is a little bit better in the north, where the air is much cleaner and fresher, especially in the higher parts of the land. Despite the pollution, I would recommend visiting southern part of Vietnam, which will definitely cause a cultural shock at first sight and leave some bittersweet memories (in my opinion at least) to hang on to in the future. But wait a second – You would ask – isn’t it a waste of time and money, going on a holiday to the country, which will not satisfy our expectations? No, it isn’t, because all you are going to experience will be fresh and new. Moreover, it will open you mind to social and economic aspects, which many of Europeans has never been familiar with before.
HOW TO GET TO VIETNAM?
There are two main airports in Vietnam: situated near Hanoi, in the north of the country: Noi Bai International Airport (HAN); and situated in the south, next to Ho Chi Minh: Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN).
International travelers usually fly to Hanoi, from where they travel south to Ho Chi Minh, to fly home from there. Less people choose the other way round, therefore flights from Hanoi are generally cheaper, which is worth taking under consideration while planning your holiday.
The cheapest flights I ever came across were the ones from Warsaw to Ho Chi Minh. These direct return flights were offered by Polish travel company called Rainbow Tours. The flight carrier is LOT (Polish airlines), so it is worth checking their website for the best deals. Once, I even found return tickets for 250 euro per person (!), but this offer appeared only one day before departure. When is the best time to look for the tickets? Start looking long before the journey and if there’s nothing interesting, wait until one or two weeks beforehand. The more patient you are, the better the deal you can find.
Cheap flights can be found on popular websites and search engines such as: Fly4free, HolidayPirates, Skyscanner, Momondo, etc. However, most of them offer flights with at least one change.
TIP: If you plan to buy plane tickets yourself, you have to get a visa beforehand. You can actually do it at the airport in Vietnam, but the custom officers are not obligated to issue it, therefore it is better not to risk having to get back home from the airport with empty hands, and take care of visa few months before your holiday.
WHEN TO GO TO VIETNAM?
There are only two seasons in Vietnam: monsoon season and dry season. Trust me, you don’t want to visit this country when it is pouring down from the skies! Definitely go in the dry season, which starts at the end of October and lasts till half of April, whereas the most sunny months are in the wintertime: December, January and February. Vietnamese people are trying to make the most out of them by raising the prices for the tourists, so try to avoid them and aim at traveling in November or March.
TIP: At the beginning of November heavy rains may still occur, which can cause inconvenience in travelling, such as impassable roads, flooded streets and unpleasant climate, so in case you aim at November, try to go in the second half of it.