Retirement Tour of Vietnam
This is our Retirement Tour of Vietnam. This is Dan from Vagabond Awake, the Youtube channel for Vagabond Buddha. I share information about how to retire cheap internationally. I just finished my report on the Top 5 Places to Retire in Vietnam. I toured Vietnam to find the best places to retire cheaply and wrote a report about each place. Then I ranked the top five places. This report is intended to help you save money on your retirement tour of Vietnam so you can pick your favorite place in Vietnam without wasting money.
During the last year, I have toured around Southeast Asia writing reports about the best towns to retire cheap in Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. I also spent 3 months touring Vietnam. As I toured Vietnam, I wrote retire cheap reports on Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Phu Quoc, Hue, Mui Ne, Vung Tau, Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh, and Hanoi.
Investigating the best retire cheap in paradise locations is not new for me. I already have more than fifty of my retire cheap reports published here on VagabondBuddha.com. The reports are created from data I gathered from the 65 countries I have lived in or visited over the last 13 years. Whether you are just traveling the world on a tight budget or you are looking for your future retirement heaven, my reports will help you save money.
This report is about touring Vietnam cheaply. So, it shares information I learned about moving around Vietnam with as little money as possible. If you traverse the cities of Vietnam in the right order, you will save money. This report describes the cheapest way to go from city to city whether by train, bus, or minivan.
Once you arrive in each city on this retirement tour, the report for that city helps you save money with cheap accommodations, delicious cheap restaurants, and free or cheap entertainment. I hate wasting money so I save as much as possible as I travel the world and I share that information with you.
This retirement tour of Vietnam has all the cities in Vietnam I recommend that you investigate for your cheap retirement. This report also suggests how long you should spend in each place, depending on how much total time you have for Vietnam.
Vietnam Best Retirement Places
Here are my Vietnam best retirement places.
Of course, the more total time you have in Vietnam, the more places you can see. So this post includes a table that allocates how much time you should spend in each location as your total time in Vietnam increases–7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 60 days and 90 days.
Vietnam Best Retirement Investigation Itinerary
Total Days You Have
Days Per Location
|Ho Chi Minh
If you hold a passport from a favored country, you can get a letter for approval of a 90 day Visa on arrival. The foreign passports eligible for this Visa and the process to get this letter is described here by Qiang Hui of Hoboventures.com.
As she explains, you must fly into one of the approved airports. Some of the process documents say the Visa is for only 85 days, but they stamped our passport for 90 days. They didn’t ask for an onward flight when we landed in Hanoi for our 3-month tour. We moved from north to south on our tour of Vietnam.
I almost never buy roundtrip tickets because I am always moving forward. I almost never fly backward. That made sense when we flew into Hanoi because we wanted to see if they stamped our passport for 90 days or 85 days before finalized our exit strategy.
Once we landed in Hanoi we were given 90 days in Vietnam. We stayed for 89 days and then entered Cambodia by land at the southernmost border between Vietnam and Cambodia. More on that below.
Before flying into Hanoi, we had spent about 90 days in Thailand, and before that, about 2 months in Malaysia. The retire cheap reports, the top places to retire reports, and the retirement tour reports for Malaysia and Thailand are already posted on Vagabond Buddha.com.
When we completed our research in Thailand, we flew from Thailand to Hanoi, Vietnam. We would have preferred taking one of the land routes from Thailand to Vietnam, but Vietnam pre-approval Visa letter process requires you to fly into Vietnam.
There is no guarantee that the laws won’t change by the time you go to Vietnam. Even when the laws don’t change, sometimes the airlines get it wrong. For example, someday when you are boarding a flight, an airline may ask you for proof of an onward flight (or roundtrip ticket), when immigration, where you are flying, does not require proof of onward flight.
But that is not a problem so long as you get to the airport early enough. If an airline stops you at the time of boarding your flight, just step away for a moment and purchase proof of an onward flight from various onward flight companies. Just Google “Onward flight proof” and buy an onward or return ticket for 24 hours.
Then go back to the airline and check-in to your flight with the onward flight proof. You can also just buy a ticket on Orbitz.com so you have proof of onward flight. Orbitz.com is one of the only providers that allow you to cancel within 24 hours to get a full refund. If you are required to buy onward flight proof, I suggest you buy proof of an exit flight on a different airline.
Always arrive at the airport 3 hours before your international flight. This will give you time to make these last-minute adjustments if the rules get changed at the last moment. If you arrive at the last minute, you won’t have time to make these adjustments before your flight departs. I cover many more of these travel hacks in my Affordable World Tour Report.
Never overstay your visa in any country. In addition to any fines you may have to pay, you may be subject to criminal laws. But the news could be even worse. Many countries share information about people that overstay their Visa. This means you could be blacklisted from visiting multiple countries because you overstayed in a single country.
The Shortest Path Through Vietnam
Once you decide (1) how long to spend in Vietnam, (2) which places to visit, and (3) how long to spend in each place, you will need to plan the shortest path through Vietnam. If you use the shortest path, you won’t waste money, time, or energy backtracking.
I am all about traveling cheap and slow. Traveling cheap and slow is a lifestyle for me. I don’t like to waste money doubling back to an area I have already passed. So I do my best to make sure I have seen everything in an area before I move onto the next area.
In my Affordable World Tour Report, I discuss all the reasons I like to travel cheap and slow. But I will share one here. I stay away from airports as much as possible. I prefer buses, trains, minibusses, and ferries even if there is very little savings. Why? You don’t really get to know a place if you fly over it.
If you stay on the ground and move slow, you really get a better feel for a country. Your feeling about a country during your site visit is one of the most important aspects in deciding if you can comfortably retire there. You have to spend enough time to know how it feels to be there.
Never move anywhere until you have done a site visit and personally verified that it will fulfill all of your retirement needs and that you have enough money to retire there. The fact that I like Vietnam does not reduce the need for you to do a separate investigation and determination.
Here is the shortest path through Vietnam. This is the path we took during our 90-day visit.
North Vietnam (Sa Pa, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An): Here is a link to the Google Map of our North Vietnam tour.
South Vietnam (Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne, Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh, Phu Quoc): Here is a link to the Google Map of our South Vietnam tour.
We toured all of Vietnam on a single visit. The maps are only separated into north and south above because Google will not allow all the stops on a single map.
Okay, now that you know the shortest path, here are the Vietnam best cheap transfers.
Vietnam Best Cheap Transfers
Hanoi to Hue: I prefer to take trains whenever possible. They often travel through remote areas that can’t be seen from the roads. Remote areas often mean there are no signs of human development. The train between Hanoi and Hue is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. You catch the train from Hanoi to Hue at the Hanoi Train Station. The overnight sleeper train cost 2.5 million dongs ($108 USD) for two people and took 16 hours. This is one of those times when we paid more for a train than a flight because the landscape is so beautiful. From the train station in Hue, take a Grab Taxi to your accommodations. It eliminates the two greatest annoyances with international travel (1) negotiating with taxi drivers and (2) trying to explain where you are going to taxi drivers. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap reports for Hanoi and Hue.
Hue to Da Nang: The train from Hue to Da Nang goes along one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. It took about $3USD per person and took 3 hours. For the best video and photography of the landscape on this train ride, film from the window on the door between passenger cars. Get your tickets and board the train here in Hue. Once in the Da Nang train station, take a Grab Taxi to your accommodations. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap reports for Hue and Da Nang. Make sure to stay in the Expat neighborhood we suggest in the Da Nang report. That is a must.
Da Nang to Hoi An: Hoi An is only 40 minutes by city bus from Da Nang. We caught the bus from Da Nang to Hoi An. The bus costs 30k Dong ($1.35 USD) and takes about 40 minutes with stops along the way. We caught the bus in central Da Nang at this stop. But you can catch it at any bus stop along the route to Hoi An. Just open Google Maps on your smartphone and put Hoi An as your destination and click the bus icon. Google will lead you to the nearest stop. Here is the nearest stop to the Expat neighborhood in Da Nang. Once in the Hoi An bus station, take a Grab Taxi to your accommodations. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap reports for Da Nang and Hoi An.
Hoi An to Nha Trang: We took a Grab Taxi from Hoi An to the Da Nang train station so we could catch the morning train. Then we took the morning train to Nha Trang. Here is the train station in Da Nang. The morning train took 10 hours and cost 419k Dong per person, which is $18.20 per person. From the Nha Trang train station, take a Grab Taxi to your accommodations. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Nha Trang.
Nha Trang to Da Lat: We transferred to Dalat from Nha Trang in a minivan we booked here. It cost $11 USD per person. The luxury minivan picked us up at our accommodations in Nha Trang and dropped us at our accommodations in Dalat. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Da Lat.
Da Lat to Mui Ne: We took a sleeper bus from Dalat to Mui Ne which cost about $7 USD per person. It took about 5 hours. They picked us up at our accommodations in Da Lat but we took Grab Taxi to our accommodations in Mui Ne. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Mui Ne.
Mui Ne to Vung Tau: The bus from Mui Ne to Vung Tau costs about $10 USD and takes about 5 hours. They picked us up at our accommodations in Mui Ne but we took Grab Taxi to our accommodations in Vung Tau. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Vung Tau.
Vung Tau to Ho Chi Minh: You can take a bus, minivan, or ferry from Vung Tau to Ho Chi Minh. The ferry is a better view but costs more as you would expect. Neither will pick you up in Vung Tau or drop you in Ho Chi Min, but you can use Grab Taxi on both ends. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island: This was one of those cases where the flight was so much cheaper than a bus and a ferry (and Qiang Hui gets seasick), so we decided to fly instead. We flew from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc. It was cheaper, faster, and nobody got sick. Phu Quoc even has an international airport on the island, so it just made sense this time. We used Skyscanner to find the best deal on our flight. As usual, we used Grab Taxi to go to and from airports. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Phu Quoc.
Phu Quoc to Kep Cambodia: we transferred from Phu Quoc Vietnam to Kep Cambodia via ferry, minivan, and bus for $18 USD which we purchased from John’s Tours in Phu Quoc. This included an agent that waited outside while we cleared customs and the bus from the border in Cambodia to the Kep Cambodia. Use PassApp in Kep Cambodia to get to your accommodations. Grab Taxi works in the larger cities in Cambodia. To save money on food, accommodations, and entertainment, use our living or retiring cheap report for Kep Cambodia and all other cities we recommend visiting in Cambodia. Visit Vagabond Buddha for travel cheap reports and guides all over the world.
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