The Well Beaten Track of Vietnam

Life around the Mekong Delta – Photos from Chau Doc, Vietnam
June 1, 2012
Runaway Photo: Emei Shan in Photos
June 8, 2012

The Well Beaten Track of Vietnam

Halong Bay

‘Off the beaten track’ is the magic word for getting travelers’ attention. We want something different. Funny, when you think about the old days when not many people were traveling, doing typical things were the best. Doing things that everyone knows. I call it the well beaten track.

The well beaten track can be dull, but it’s easy, convenient and simply pleasant. Maybe it won’t give us the satisfaction of the explorer, but at least we won’t be fail. Don’t forget; there are reasons why the track is so well beaten.

Here are few of the well beaten track in Vietnam I followed.

Hanoi Old Quarter


Getting tailor made clothes in Hoi An

“Did you go to a tailor shop?” is the first question you ask to fellow travelers when they said they’ve been to Hoi An. When you include Hoi An in your itinerary, you have to make a room in your backpack to fit the new clothe in. I, as well, got tailor made dresses. It was a pleasant experience with unusually low budget price. I got two formal dresses made for 42 USD total. And they are pretty.


Cruising in Halong Bay

As a UNESCO heritage site, Halong Bay is certainly one of the top places to visit in Vietnam. And the answer to how to enjoy the view is cruising. There are numerous cruise ships that you can arrange from your hotel or local tour operators. No matter what you choose, you’ll go the same route and stay at the same part of the bay. Moreover, the view would be amazing from any kind of a boat. I went swimming in the bay at the back of our boat, and the sunset was amazing that evening. It’s a beautiful place.


Nha Trang Beach


Shopping at Old Quarter of Hanoi

The Old Quarter, near Hoan Kiem lake, has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. The little streets are connected like a spider web; and literally you can get whatever you want from this area. From backpacks to broom, from silk to a doorknob, anything you can think of. It is one of the most touristy areas in Hanoi, but there are more parts of the old quarter that where local people shop. Certainly, a doorknob isn’t really a souvenir. I got my new carryon backpack from here for only 200,000 VND (10 USD).



Enjoying a laid back beach in Nha Trang


Look at the map of Vietnam; the country is long and half of the land is along the beach. Nha Trang is particularly popular town with their pristine beach. If you enjoy scubadiving, Nha Trang is the place to go. There are numbers of backpackers and restaurants with English menu; it makes easier to be around. Most of all, the places along the ocean has excellent facilities to enjoy the beach. You can rent a beach chair and an umbrella for just 2 USD. Portable seafood restaurants are there with lobsters, shrimps and beers. Sky’s blue and water’s warm; Nha Trang deserves to be popular.


Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Juno set off for the wider world to pursue her passion for travel and storytelling. She traveled the world as an award-winning travel blogger and photographer, witnessing the everyday life of different cultures. Currently based in Anchorage, Alaska and exploring this amazing Last Frontier. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Instagram .


  1. I’ve found that a lot of places on the well beaten track are there for a reason. A very good reason. Sure, it’s nice to get off it sometimes and find something new or explore a little without a million other tourists but if you skipped out on all the well known places, you’d be missing out on a lot of great things!

    It looks like you had a fabulous time on the well beaten track of Vietnam 🙂 I know I’ll be following that path more or less when I’m down there next year,

    • Juno says:

      I agree. There’s a clear reason why it’s so popular from the beginning. Of course we trapped into a tourist trap sometimes but hey, that’s the experience. 🙂
      Let me know if you need any information about Vietnam! I followed ‘off the beaten track’ also. 🙂

  2. Dina says:

    Yea, we tried to do Halong Bay independently, so we went to Catba (that biggest island in Halong) by bus and boat, not organized tour. Then we stayed at Catba, and got the chance to explore the island by motorbike. Agree on “beaten path is beaten for a reason”. We do both 🙂
    We took Halong day trip for Catba. Taking a boat tour is kinda not avoidable if we wanna see the famous halong in budget way, I think. But correct me if I’m wrong!
    Btw, here’s our photo from Halong, see how much it’s matching with yours 😀

    • Juno says:

      I’ve heard about Catba, I’m sure it was great! I only had a month in Vietnam; so I had to cut out a lot of things that I wanted to do. But still it was a wonderful time. I’ll check out the photos! 🙂

  3. Noel says:

    Well said “a beaten path is beaten for a reason”, and that’s so true especially in Vietnam where it’s truly difficult and less rewarding to go off the beaten track. But it’s easy to find “off the beaten track” experience in the beaten path.

    Halong Bay is just so incredibly beautiful and I liked Hanoi for its atmosphere and character. However, I wasn’t very impressed with Na Trang. I guess I was there on a school holiday had something to do with it. 😛

    • Juno says:

      You were in Nha Trang for school holiday? That’s awesome! 🙂 Off the beaten track was specially hard in China, but Vietnam was relatively easy maybe because people could speak more English.
      Hanoi was great; I wasn’t ready to leave but I had to. Would like to go back.

  4. Whilst I love being off the beaten path, it is also nice to be on the tourist trail. It is usually the tourist trail for a reason (because the sights are so amazing), and I don’t think I have ever been disappointed by going on it. I have only been to HCMC and the Mekong Delta so far, but will definitely go to Halong Bay and Sapa one day as well. Even if that makes me a predictable traveler. 🙂

  5. I agree with Amanda. There is a reason that some places are so well-touristed. It is a shame to miss places that are on the beaten track just because other people will be there. Get around it by going in low-season!

    Vietnam is a great country. So easy to travel in.

    Did you try the mud springs at Nha Trang?

    • Juno says:

      Totally did!!! I was going to include the picture but it was too location specific. I really enjoyed the mud spa. Couldn’t believe how cheap it was. All the mineral water hot spa and mud spa was only $5! If I was there longer I probably went there twice. 🙂

  6. Gray says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the beaten path, Juno–especially if it’s enjoyable. It’s not the destination that needs changing, it’s people’s attitudes.

  7. Laura says:

    I think Vietnam is the best place to visit..I heard a lot of things a bout Vietnam their foods also is good to eat..But the people needs to change their attitude..

  8. Leslie says:

    Like you said, there’s a reason places are on the beaten path– they have something great to offer!

  9. Spencer says:

    Great post! Brings back wonderful memories of my travels through Vietnam back in 2005. Its a fantastic place and the food is amazing!

  10. Andrew says:

    I’m actually a big fan of the beaten track, especially when I can just look at it in a different way. I never really had Vietnam on my list, but since Ali was there and brought back pictures and stories, I think I would be quite happy pending some time. Especially in Hanoi and going to the bay.

    • Juno says:

      You’d like Vietnam Andy! The food is amazing. I like to go the beaten track and see the other side, like you said. See what’s there, and see why it’s so famous and popular. Dismiss it just because it’s ‘tourist trap’ is not a good reason!

  11. Travis Ehrenstrom says:


    Thanks for the absolutely wonderful photos and great words! I think as a vacationer it is very important to walk the fine line of remaining off the beaten path, but seeing the things on the path that need to be seen.

    I think in order to truly dive into another culture you have to remove yourself from the expected tourist destinations and visit the regions where the culture of the country or place is still thriving. That being said, I am a huge sucker for historical architecture and will never miss the opportunity to see some magnificent buildings!

    It looks like you had a wonderful time, thanks again for the post!

  12. Kathryn says:

    While the unusual is always enticing the well known places, as you say, are usually well known for a reason. Mixing it up is what I like to do given the chance. And I’ve never been to Vietnam so I’d really love to do some of the well known to others but new to me things!

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